Seeing the teaser of Red Squirrel Mai for the first time reminds me of my feeling when I first saw a Kungfu movie of Bruce Lee - it's different from all the previous 'ink wash animation' I've seen! - Nelson Chu
第一次看到《紅松鼠米高》預告片給我的感覺，就像我當年第一次看到李小龍功夫片一樣 —— 這跟之前我看過的都不一樣啊！ - Nelson Chu
Expresii is being used for producing the animated feature film Red Squirrel Mai 紅松鼠米高. Do check out the teaser above (those from China can see it here)! This film uses Expresii extensively - both animation background and foreground are drawn with Expresii. The teaser video is shown at Hong Kong Filmart 2019 earlier this month. We thank Ink Culture Ltd and Rooftop Animation for producing such a meaningful work - this animation is the first one made in Hongkong/China that has a distinct style different from all previous works. It's been only less than two years from the setting up studios in Hong Kong and GuangZhou.
Ink wash animation is a proud product of China from the 60's to the 80's. Nowadays, many attempts have been made to modernize ink wash animation. Our Expresii does provide a refreshing visual style that couldn't be achieved before.
One of the film Directors of Red Squirrel Mai Angela Wong draw Mai the squirrel, the movie protagonist, on the spot:
Visitors can get a glimpse of of the production processing:
Our Nelson demonstrates calligraphy in the show:
And also some doodles (after the famous comic artist 草日 from Hong Kong):
An inkjet printer was also setup there to print artwork done with Expresii on the spot:
We're lucky to encounter Kumamon as our Mai just stepped out of our booth: ^_^
P.S. Now you know why we have to put up a notice forbidding new users to use Expresii for making feature films till later in 2019. ^_^
Made a few animated GIF for the new year with Expresii.
This one is a design made using the Chinese character 鷄 , which means Chicken:
Running chicken 走雞：
'Sleep well on the 3rd day of the new year':
Essentially these animations are done using the Overlay as onion skin. You can also apply LightBox effect on the Overlay. You can toggle the Overlay via hotkeys ~ ` to alpha = 0 and 1. We output the frames to another program to do cropping or composition, and then feed the final frames to an online GIF maker to make the GIFs.
The following videos shows some of the stroking process:
Finally here is a Lion Dance greeting GIF made by Rooftop Animation using Expresii (along with Photoshop, etc) for the new year:
Thanks to CGVisual.com, we were able to participate in the SIGGRAPH ASIA 2016 Exhibition held in Macao last week from 6-8th Decemeber 2016. The show was busier than we expected! As a long-time SIGGRAPH visitor commented, "The show is quite respectable!" (๑•̀ㅂ•́)و✧
28" Tiltable & Rotatable Surface
For this show, we brought to you the freshly baked Expresii running on a 28" 4K screen held on a gas-strut flexi mount, which provides more degrees of freedom than the just-released Microsoft Surface Studio. We still can't get hold of a Surface Dial yet, so instead we use game controllers as our non-dominant hand remote. For pen input, we still use our trusted Wacom intuos 3 that supports stylus tilt sensing. This new version of Expresii accepts user-definable game controller button assignment. We ran Expresii on an ITX desktop equipped with a mid-range nVidia GPU from the latest generation (Pascal ) for a very smooth painting experience. This CPU used was only an Intel i5 from a few years back. Although Expresii's simulation is so much more advanced than all other paint apps, no super computer is required to run it! OpenGL is used for both our watercolor simulation and rendering.
SIGGRAPH is poised as the most prestigous conference for Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques in the world. This time with a large 28" 4K screen, we amazed many visitors with the high-quality rendering of brush strokes and ink flows in Expresii. Everyone says WOW when they see us start rotating the screen and the ink flows down according to the inclination - just like in real life! （°o°；）
The following video shows you the secret of how we combine low-cost off-the-shelf hardware with Expresii to crerate this amazing painting experience:
We got lots of praises from Computer Graphics professionals including Richard Chuang, co-founder of PDI. It was much fun talking to visitors, student volunteers, or other booth staff members alike from all over the world. Look at that cute fox animation that got made right on the spot below! ୧༼✿ ͡◕ д ◕͡ ༽୨
Gamepad as Controller for Digital Painting
Did we mention we can‘t get hold of a Surface Dial so we use a gamepad instead? Both our i-rocks gamepad and the Dial are connected via bluetooth, but the former provides more direct buttons/control than the latter. It can also be held by your non-dominant hard for quick control as you paint (instead of having to be put on some surface level enough so that it doesn't slide down). We believe this is generally preferred over the Dial by digital painters - we want to use muscle memory for fixed functionality instead of figuring what mode we are in or going through radial menu . Wacom offers a similar hand-held Express Key Remote Control with several buttons for their large Cintiq (vs. just one single button and a dial rim). And ClipStudio Paint also offers their own one-hand controller. If one really likes a circular motion offered by the Dial, we can simulate it with the joystick, with which you can, say, circle clockwise & anti-clockwise for undo & redo.
Let us know if you prefer a Dial or a hand-held.
more collaboration please!
We look forward to Surface Pen being tilt-sensitive so that we no longer have to use another controller for adjusting the tilt. We believe both mobile and desktop are important to creators so we will continue working our butts off to innovate in both spaces. It is great that now Microsoft enters into the creator market. We really hope hardware makers can work with us for the best expereince possible. (•̀o•́)ง
This SIGGRAPH ASIA booth showcase won't be possible without the tremedous help from:
Mark Lam of CGVisual
Ah Man from VTech
H2o and Maggie from lfxLab
Angela Wong from Rooftop Animation
And Shuen Leung, who allowed us to print her Expresii artwork for the booth
We also thank all the old and new friends who came and supported us!