NaCreSoMo 2016: Audio Extraordinaire!

Hey, it’s April, and that means NaCreSoMo 2016 is over. Gone are the days of creativity; from now on it’s just dreary plodding until the world has traveled once more in its orbit, slightly less than τ radians—about a twelfth—around the massive yellow stellar body that forms the center of our local existence—

Er, I mean, let’s talk about how it went, shall we?

Every NaCreSoMo turns out differently. The first year I (deliberately) ended up trying a lot of different kinds of creation. The second year I tried to put together a CS tutorial, but the best posts were the ones I did in between that. And last year I had some great short story pieces and a mashup, and also put some work in on a music video project. Which didn’t get finished until the fall, so “True Hero” is in good company.

Right. This year I set off with a bit of an ambition: a sketch-based animation, “True Hero”, from the game Undertale, in the style of Alyssa Gerwig’s “Death by Glamour” (spoilers). I didn’t expect to finish, or even really come close to finishing, but I was hoping it’d be a catalyst to work on it like last year was for the music video.

And…well…that didn’t really happen. I have about 15-30 frames now instead of 5-10, but the planned length is 2:37, which at even 5 frames per second is on the order of 700-800. And the scenes I chose to do aren’t even next to each other, so I don’t really have anything to show. Two-second clips aren’t really worth posting. Worse, I actually tried to stitch some of them together, and it turned out that what looked okay in still format didn’t really work the way I wanted to animate it. So much for that.

I do still want to do this project, though, and I’m stubbornly hanging on to it even as my Undertale-mania (or is it Undertale-vania?) dies down in the wake of having finished the game. So I’m pivoting to make it like my Traced Portrait Project, and attempt to do a “frame” every week for the next year (i.e. until the next NaCreSoMo starts).

(Why is “frame” in quotes? Because really I’m doing “shots”: a background, then several poses on top of that background. This promise isn’t necessarily to complete an entire shot every week, but it’s likely that I’ll be doing more than one actual frame.)

For the TPP I kept myself honest by posting to Flickr; for this I’ll be updating this progress report page every week. We’ll see how it goes!

I do feel like I put up this big promise and then didn’t get anywhere, so here’s one last frame I haven’t posted yet (behind a link because spoilers). Currently pret-ty bad at drawing this character’s face/head.

The attempt at an animation project wasn’t the only thing unusual about this NaCreSoMo; at the start of the month I was travelling and decided not to worry about it, and so the first few days there were no posts and no creative activity. Then I got back and had plenty going on at work, didn’t get much sleep, finished only half a frame…all sorts of excuses reasons why I didn’t end up posting every day.

But this was hardly a failure. The primary point of NaCreSoMo is that it gets you to do and post more than you otherwise would have, and I think that certainly happened. And for me, the secondary goal is to try new things, and I certainly did that in spades. Taking stock:

Even if that’s not a post every day, I’d still say that’s pretty good! In fact, it’s even better than that, because I have ideas I didn’t get around to doing, and I hope to post them throughout April. (In particular, another guitar piece, and more work on the “Usan no Kaori” chiptune cover…and against all odds, another installment in the fanservice fanfiction.)

I’m especially happy with the chiptune covers. Even if they didn’t quite come out like the originals, they’ve been really fun to make, and are exactly the kinds of experiments I want to make to learn more about a new medium. And even though they’re small, amateur, and unpolished, I’m still proud of them.

How about that other part of NaCreSoMo, commenting on others’ work? Well, it was a pretty small group this year, and certainly everyone’s always busy. But we did get some great photographs from Gashley, assorted music and art from Josephine, an epic amigurumi project from Angela, intriguing short-form writing from Teddy, and comments and a few contributions from past participants…plus an incredible number of 3D and 2D art and process posts from a certain newcomer Robert.

So, is this event still serving it’s intended purpose? I can’t speak for its creator, but given what I saw this year, from others and from myself…

Well, I’ll see you again next year. Join us!