Tag Archives: adobe

Quickly Creating a 2-D + 3-D Cartoon

Part of my day job is creating animated cartoons for online learning courses. For my latest project, it was decided to have it set in an apartment with two-dimensional cartoon characters superimposed. Given the time frame, I tried to find the easiest and fastest way to model the apartment in 3-D using inexpensive software with the smallest learning curve.  Planner 5D met all of my requirements, so I decided to give it a shot.

Planner 5D on Windows 10

One thing I really liked about Planner 5D is that it’s available for Mac, PC, and mobile devices. This was handy because I could work in it anywhere and could easily show off different layouts to the team even if I wasn’t near my desktop computer.

Planner 5D on an iPhone 8 Plus

It also has a lot of built-in models that you can quickly drop in and customize as needed, which was a huge time saver. I was able to learn the software, create an apartment for the project, revise as needed from team feedback, and render out all of the stills in about 2 business days.

Some of the options of pre-built assets Planner 5D has available.

For the characters, I quickly sketched out some ideas in Procreate on my iPad Pro based on the descriptions given to me by the instructional designer during our meeting. In this case, the main characters were a college student and his anthropomorphic ostrich roommate.

I imported the sketches into Adobe Animate, traced them, and broke them into individual graphics so they could be easily animated.


I then imported the background images that were created and rendered in Planner 5D and animated the characters on different layers. The Keyframe Caddy extension for Adobe Animate is a huge time-saver and cut down the amount of time it took to lip-sync the characters to the dialogue.


If you’re looking to make an animation in a similar style, I hope you also find these tools useful. I know personally, it was very handy to have software like this to cut down on production time.

Tutorial: SpriteIlluminator

I was recently selected to be able to beta test SpriteIlluminator by CodeAndWeb. SpriteIlluminator helps you add dynamic lighting to your mobile games by helping you create a normal map to add to your sprite.

Since the majority of my mobile games are created using Corona SDK, I’m going to cover how to get started integrating SpriteIlluminator into that.

The first thing you’ll do is import a sprite into SpriteIlluminator. Here I just quickly drew a guy for this demo.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.09.32 AM

Next you can add the various effects, such as bevel and embossing.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.09.54 AM

You can drag the light source around and see how your sprites will look in real-time, which is very helpful. You can also use the lasso tool to select certain portions of the sprite and add effects just to that part.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.12.28 AM

When you’re finished, you can publish out the project and it will create your normal map file.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.14.42 AM

In this example, I beveled the sprite and then raised the shirt sleeve, nose, and eyes to make them stand out. Then in SublimeText, I created a main.lua file and did a composite of both the sprite and its normal map. Here you can see how a light source reacts to the sprite.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.18.54 AM

If you set the attenuationFactor to 0, you can see the portions are the image that I beveled and raised in SpriteIlluminator.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.19.06 AM

And if you reverse the order of the sprite and its normal map, you can see the beveled image.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 10.19.28 AM

SpriteIlluminator is a very easy-to-use and powerful tool to help add some nice dynamic lighting effects to your games. This is obviously a very basic example of what it can do, but hopefully it’s enough to get you started in integrating it in your Corona SDK apps.

Maddie Bear Comic Strip & Behance

I’ve finally decided to give Adobe’s portfolio site “Behance” a try. I was skeptical about the site for awhile because I thought it was just an easy way for people to rip off each other’s work, but now that I’ve been using it for a bit, I’ve grown to love it as a source of inspiration. There are so many great artists displaying their work on there, just looking at their pieces makes me instantly want to draw. It’s like a Facebook/Twitter for visual artists.

I made a regular page here and a pro page here.

Today I started a comic strip series about Maddie Bear. It lets me keep the characters going without the time investment of writing another full-length book. If I end up creating enough comic strips over time I might turn it into a comic book like Calvin and Hobbes, but for right now it’s just a creative outlet that I enjoy.

Maddie Bear Comic #1 Copyright 2014 Greg Pugh - GP Animations
Maddie Bear Comic #1 Copyright 2014 Greg Pugh – GP Animations
Maddie Bear Comic #2 Copyright 2014 Greg Pugh - GP Animations
Maddie Bear Comic #2 Copyright 2014 Greg Pugh – GP Animations


Adobe CC 2014

As many of your Adobe users probably have heard by now, Adobe released their next version of Adobe Creative Cloud, called CC 2014. The event was streamed live, but if you missed it, you can watch it here. They added new features to their existing software, created some new mobile applications for drawing and photo-editing, and even released a new stylus/ruler set (be it an expensive one) called “Ink and Slide“.

Ink and Slide - Copyright Adobe 2014
Ink and Slide – Copyright Adobe 2014

One part of Photoshop CC 2014 that I thought was intriguing was the ability to create 3-D objects and then have them printed and delivered to your doorstep. Just to test it out, I took part of my logo, extruded it, and then sent it over to be printed.

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 9.23.22 AM

Depending on the material that you want it to be made of and how large/complex it is, the price will vary greatly. For instance, I was originally going to turn it into a coffee mug where the “P” would hold the liquid and the “G” would be a crazy handle. However, just making it 3″ tall, bumped the price up to about $120 shipped. Losing the coffee mug idea and reducing it to 1/4″ tall to just have a 3-D logo, bumped it down to $12 shipped. You can even get your models made of precious metals, which as you can guess, will bump the price up considerably.

Right now my logo model is being reviewed to make sure it’s not too thin where it will break. If it passes that it will go into production and shipping. I’ll post again once I receive it or if it gets rejected.

Corona Geek Guest Appearance

This past Monday I gave a presentation on Corona Geek about different graphics software that can be used to create app artwork. Check out the video with show notes here: http://coronalabs.com/blog/coronageek/corona-geek-hangout-92/ or just watch the video below.

Going from Analog to Digital

I recently watched “Dear Mr. Watterson“, the new documentary about Calvin and Hobbes’ and their creator. It reminded me of how my childhood dream was to become a cartoonist. Seeing current cartoonists still drawing on paper inspired me to pick up a sketchbook and a pen again. I actually haven’t drawn on a piece of paper since I was first able to afford my first Wacom tablet in 2005.

Dear Mr. Watterson – All rights reserved & copyright owned by creators.

I was quickly reminded of how much I rely on digital luxuries like undo, straight line, color picker, copy, paste, etc. Regular drawing is a lot more difficult than I remember.

After I drew some crude initial character sketches, I decided I might want to use the drawings in my latest app for Maddie Bear Books. Instead of using my wireless scanner to scan in the pages to my computer, I decided to use my iPhone, which was already in my pocket. I took a picture of the sketch, dropped it over to my Macbook using DeskConnect and imported it into Adobe Flash.

Screen Shot 2013-11-18 at 8.31.51 AM

There’s a feeling of something very native of drawing with pen and paper that I had forgotten about. Something about the feel of the pen or pencil touching the rough surface of paper that digital tablets can’t seem to replicate. I still prefer to color and finalize drawings digitally, but it’s a nice break from a computer screen.

Adobe CC: Great Idea or Awful Attempt?

Adobe officially announced their release of Adobe Creative Cloud yesterday at Adobe Max. This will affect many mobile application developers in some form since most artwork for apps is created using Photoshop, Flash, and/or Illustrator. Some of you may even use Dreamweaver or Flash to directly develop apps.

What does this mean for Adobe users? Well, the most noticeable difference is that you’ll no longer own their software. Buying Adobe Photoshop CC isn’t an option, you can only rent it from them. Adobe claims this model is great because using their cloud service, it will remember your tool preferences across multiple devices, you can save files to the cloud, collaborate more easily and share your work with a growing community of other creative individuals. That sounds like a lot of positive features, but let’s break it down.

Personally, saving my tool preferences across multiple devices isn’t an selling point. I do all of my work on one computer and only use my iPad for jotting down ideas or light sketching. This may be great for some people who will really appreciate it, though.

Saving your files to the cloud so you can collaborate is a nice feature. Unless you’re already using DropBox, a network, or other file sharing service. Since I own webspace and have 4 gigs of free DropBox space, Adobe’s Cloud service doesn’t interest me personally.

Finally, letting other members of the Adobe community see your works in progress for feedback. I’m very hesitant about that feature. I have rarely ever seen constructive criticism posted on the internet about anything. People tend to hide behind a user name to post derogatory comments, so I’m hoping this would be heavily moderated. Plus, when collaborating, you often sign non-disclosure agreements so you wouldn’t be sharing works in progress anyway for fear the idea might be stolen.

Adobe didn’t demonstrate too many new features to their products for mobile app development. They showed how Photoshop CC can make it easier to make mobile websites and I watched a video on Adobe.com showing how Flash CC can be turned to HTML5, but that doesn’t actually have anything to do with app development. Between Toon Boom starting to take over the animation world and Flash having to cater to HTML5, I’m actually surprised they bothered releasing a new version. I’d also be concerned about creating a .fla file in Flash CC, not renewing your monthly subscription and then not being able to edit the file until you resubscribe.

Overall, I haven’t seen anything innovative or interesting enough to make me drop CS6 and pay monthly to use CC. It feels like their new business model leans more towards their best interests rather than to consumer’s. The idea of a cloud isn’t new, renting software is obviously just to prevent piracy, and sharing files is also old news. I think I’m going to be a life-long CS6 user until the next best thing comes out, but right now, CC isn’t it.

What are your thoughts on Adobe’s new CC?