Happy 2017!!!

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Happy New Year, Friend!*

Enough people have pointed out what a maddening year 2016 was, so I won’t dwell on that. Instead, I’m focused on the future, and that includes making the effort to stay in touch with you.

For those who don’t know, I left my insurance career a few years ago to go to art school and study animation. It’s been challenging, but it’s a decision I feel good about. Since I finished school, I’ve gone back and forth between trying to make a go at freelance work versus looking for something full time. Recently, things have been looking up on the freelance front, so I’m turning my efforts more in that direction. I learned just enough about a lot of animation topics to make it hard to choose one to focus on, but I’ve finally settled on Data Visualization. It’s in demand, it lets me be creative, and it gives me the opportunity to take advantage of my left brain skills while I’m at it. I also think that, by helping people become better informed, I can do some good in the world. It’s a win all around. Now I just have to hone my skills and build up a portfolio. Challenge accepted.

Outside of work, things are great as well. I’m living on the north side of Chicago with my boyfriend (of three years as of January 2nd) Bill. We were matched up by an algorithm on OK Cupid, so there’s another reason for me to be a fan of data science! Bill’s a musician also a freelancer (web stuff). We spend a lot of time in coffee shops.

When I’m not working or trying to keep holiday catch-up letters from reading like employment cover letters (I give up – I’m just going to go with it), I’m probably knitting. And if you want to see the overlap between knitting and animation, I strongly encourage you to seek out Mochimochiland.com. I’ve been working with Anna for a few years now to make her little knitted creatures come to life in short, funny films. It’s highly gratifying work.

I put out a year-end survey recently (again with the data science) to see if I could glean some insights about my social circles. I didn’t get enough responses to build any cool charts, but I learned that my friends tend to be big readers and sci-fi nerds and that they are not immune to the charms of Hamilton. (So good, right?) Next year, I won’t rely on social media to get responses, so email me back if you want to be included and make your opinions known on books, music, and the appropriate number of bottles of mustard per refrigerator.

More importantly, email me back and tell me about your year and about your life and about your plans for the future.

Maureen

*Friend: Maybe I used to take a class with you and we’ve lost touch. Maybe we met once at a podcasting event and you made an impression on me. Maybe we’re blood related, but I just didn’t have your address to send you a holiday card.

Where else to find me:

4637 N Spaulding Ave., Apt. 3
Chicago, IL 60625

MauxBoyle@gmail.com
twitter.com/MauxBoyle
www.facebook.com/MauxBoyle
www.instagram.com/MauxBoyle

Fun with Images

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My friend Rachel recently set a new personal record for weightlifting – and her husband asked me to commemorate it by Warhol-ing up this photo of her from the competition:

File Apr 02, 10 13 47 PMI looked into some tutorials online, but I wasn’t really impressed by any of them. Mainly, the problem was that they were trying to replicate the iconic Marilyn Monroe print with the 2×2 grid of garishly colored portraits. This picture is asking to be Elvis. Beyond that, a lot of the tutorial images just didn’t look that great. They seemed to lack subtlety.

Another obstacle I had to face is that my friend is wearing a black t-shirt and leggings with a high contrast pattern. After isolating the image, and adding some contrast filters, I made masked layers to specifically lighten the t-shirt and the leggings. I did one for her hair as well. To get the rough lithograph look, I added a Vintage Halftone texture from Creative Market. I selected the colors from the Warhol original and painted them on a multiply layer. This came out darker and more muted than the original, so I added a second, low-opacity version of the colors in Normal mode. In retrospect, adjusting the levels on the existing paint layer would have made more sense, but I was sort of making things up as I went.

Because my levels adjustment had to contend with Rachel’s contrast clothes, the shadows didn’t really pop as much as I’d have liked. I added another layer of Halftone texture and masked it out, painting the shadows back in.

All in all, I’m very happy with how it turned out:

Badass

Graphic Design

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Boolean Knife at DebonairI keep applying for Motion Graphics jobs that expect a decent graphic design portfolio. So, it’s about time I put one together. What better place to start then with this retro-style Boolean Knife poster that I’ve been wanting to make anyway?

This is based on an old boxing style poster that I saw at at a venue in the suburbs. (And, yes, I had to do some searching to find out that this type of poster is called “boxing style.” I love to learn new things.)

Clicking on the image will show you a larger version of the poster. If you’re looking for a link to the show, here it is. (If you’re in Chicago, I’d love to see you at the show.)

If you have any feedback, or suggestions on what I should design next, let me know in the comments! Thanks!

 

 

Pata Noir

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Have you checked out the PataNoir app yet? More importantly, have you watched the accompanying music video? My very good friend William Steffey wrote the song and he and I made the video together.  As of this posting, 1,500 people have watched it. No great shakes by internet standards, but it makes me happy to know so many people are seeing and enjoying my work.

Set dressingI’m especially proud of this piece because of the shoestring budget we made it on. We splurged on a green screen and some stock video and shot the whole thing in our apartment.

Yeah, we have a lot of vintage props lying around.

There’s not a lot of animation in the video. I made some scene transitions with bursts of letters as a nod to the text heavy nature of the PataNoir app.

My main contribution to the video was keying the green screen out of the footage. Here’s a little making-of video for one of the shots.  (That’s Tim Koelling, of Boolean Knife, on the saxophone.)

 

Back to the Drawing Board

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This was on the first try!I really should be sketching every day and I have not been.  Today, though, I was inspired to draw my friend Christina so that I could make a cute post about her.  I tried not to over think it and just draw.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  It’s not a perfect likeness, but – to me at least – it’s clearly the person it’s meant to be.

I brought it into Photoshop and traced it to a line drawing.  That part was harder than I thought it would be.  I definitely need more practice drawing with my Wacom tablet.  The traced drawing lost a bit of the energy of the original, but I was able to get something I could work with.

And here’s the final product:

I hope she finds this funny.