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Creation Date: 2004-04-14
Greetings, I was too tired to say the obvious that I was too tired to make a drawing myself, so I used a scan of Gunnm Last Order 3 by Yukito Kishiro. I have two copies of this graphic novel. I like Gunnm so much, I'm reading the Japanese version. It's not easy, but the first two were pretty easy, since the English translation is on the web. The latter two I have had to piece together. I'm working on translating them both, but it is very hard. You see, the kanji is not down-translated into hiragana in Gunnm. This is because the target audience is Japanese young adults who know kanji very well. I am an American young adult who knows ~40 of the most basic kanji by heart. The rest, I just think of context and look at pictures. I could possibly get the English translation of "Battle Angel Alita Last Order" which Viz has so generously provided, but I'm a bit cheap. I may get a few of the comics, but not all.

So what is today's MoJF pic? If you don't know, guess the obvious: I'm working on my drawing technique. While I'm at it, I'm creating a whole bunch of characters for use in future video games. Just about all of my Hack Mars characters are now set in stone. So when I write Cell (a video game about the pervasive culture brought on by mobile communications), I'll have boys and girls galore. That's a good thing. Not only do you not want me to reuse Hack Mars' characters, but by the time it comes out, the nominal gaming machine will have 128 MB of VRAM, which will allow me double the number of unique character skins. The requirement for Hack Mars will be 32 MB. 64 will be recommended so no swapping is needed throughout the game. This is an interesting idea. Imagine a moment that you are developing a video game. You want medium resolution textures for each character, so you use 512x512 per character. That comes out to 0.75 MB per unique character skin. The environment will need a bunch of textures. Let's say 20 512x512 textures. That comes out to 15 MB already. Since the person will be in 1024x768, that will be another 2.25 MB. There will be about 5 MB of geometry on the VRAM if you do it right. You are left with ~10 MB of VRAM left on a 32 MB video card. That allows 13 unique character skins. Not much, eh? Well, 64 is nice, allowing 56 unique character skins. 128 MB will allow 141 unique character skins. Imagine a game with 141 unique character skins. GTA3 had ~20.

You'll see that the center one looks a bit like Gally. Each of my works will probably have Gally from Gunnm. Why? Because I'm in love with her. Gally saved me back when I was 16 and she brightens my day whenever I gaze upon her. I hate to get all freaky, but the fact that she has a cyborg body only makes her more sexy. But really, she's so great as a person. She's absolutely true to herself and those people she meets. She thinks, she understands. She doesn't try to save anyone trouble. She gets right down in it. I mean, the lessons I have learned from Gally are numerous. Unlike books which go hook, conflict, climax, end, Gunnm goes wild. If you've seen Battle Angel anime (a masterpiece which follows the first two graphic novels (of nine plus four Last Order and counting)), you might think that Kishiro has a very stylish plot line. But the graphic novel goes further into the abyss of the scrapyard and the city in the sky, Zalem. The horrible relationship that the two societies have is broken on so many levels. I don't want to give it away, but it's far more messed up than it originally seems. It really becomes the focus: Why is Zalem in the clouds?

Today's lesson is a bit about drawing. Sometimes I wonder how I am supposed to be learning. Should I just get into it? Should I not learn and just do? Does practice make perfect? Should I be looking for something easier? Should I work on making the best form possible? Should I trace other people? How do I train my hands to go from Kindy-Gardy kitties to drawing Gally like Yukito does? As you can see, I'm somewhere between the two. I like to think I've done pretty well on drawing faces. It has only come rather sooner than later. It's mainly just that I've put effort over a long period of time and that my hands are very smooth when I don't drink caffeinated soda. I can still draw when I'm all f'd up on caffeine, but I can't learn. Learning to draw really is about doing something until you have trained your brain to get it right a few times. I hate to say it, but the advice I have to give is forgoe the whole "I can control my brain" thing. When you are thinking abstractly, your brain will start out pretty rough and get refined as you decide which of the million patterns is correct.

So if you're learning PHP, I recommend the same: read a page and type your own version of it. Edit it until it works. Don't spend time on the non-php part of it for heck sake. I saw a guy spend 20 minutes writing an html page which he wanted to become a php page. HTML tags can be copied and pasted. PHP usually will not. If you're copying and pasting much PHP, you may be doing something wrong. PHP is not about content, it's about dynamic. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but if you wish to learn PHP, don't write html. What you're looking for is to write a bunch of PHP pages. Keep it going until you can find the ultimate pattern: a PHP page is written like this! Then you will have control of your page like an artist has control of his/her canvas.

if($a){$b;}else{$c;} while($a){$a = d($e, $f, $g); foreach($h as $j){print $j;}}

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