Adventure is Out There

Friends,

I'm writing to tell you about what's going on with me. As many of you already know, Forma Pictures is going quiet. It still exists, but I will no longer be accepting work inquiries or pursuing side projects at this time.

Why?

Well, I accepted a different job. One that will take all of my focus and fortitude. I've accepted a job at Blizzard Entertainment. It's long been my dream to join their team and to learn and collaborate with the fine people there. I'm very happy.

So, there it is. I work at Blizzard. Anything I say or do going forward from here will in no way reflect Blizzard. These opinions on this blog are mine and mine alone. But it'll be quiet here for a time.

Best to you all,

Bailey

100

Yup. This is the 100th entry for this blog. I started it 2 years ago to shed light on my travels as an artist and business person. It's been a way for me to share and process what I've been making and thinking. A lot has happened these past 100 weeks!

Over the last couple months, however, I've had fewer ideas of what to talk about each week. My guess is because I'm also making weekly video tutorials and essays. So, now I'm only going to post on this blog when bigger things happen or when I have something I want to share. The blog has been great for me, regardless of how many people have read it, but I feel like it's had its moment. I want to focus on other things now.

So, in one final, self-indulgent post, I'm going to list some of the things I've talked about over these past two years. Thanks for reading, friends!

Your pal, Bailey

Pokemon GO

Unless you've been living in a submarine this past month, chances are that you've heard of Pokemon GO. In an effort to summarize my feelings about this culture changing game, I interviewed Lars Brubaker, futurist, CEO, inventor, and game developer. Have a listen to us talk about why Pokemon GO is changing our social landscape in a big way:

Bailey

2 Years Old

Well, Forma Pictures is 2! That's pretty wild, if you ask me. These past 2 years have been somethin' else, and I have absolutely no regrets about it.

Deciding to up and quit my well-paying job was definitely the best decision I ever made. The reason for this is that I was able to go and do things I really cared about. Stuff that I believe in. If you're debating a similar set of choices, I urge you to do the thing that will lead you to more joy. Do that which will lead to a great story, even if it ends in embarrassment. Sure, the road may be harder, but it's worth it. At least it has been for me.

This past year was a lot of fun. I worked on a few commercials, a game, launched a journalistic website, started a weekly series of narrated videos, and lots of other designs, edits, and articles. It's been busy.

I have no idea what this next year is going to be like, but I'm not really phased by so much uncertainty anymore. I'm used to it at this point. It's fun!

Anyhoo, I'll leave ya with the project I started this year that is nearest and dearest to my heart. I fuckin love working on it:

Bailey

VR: A New Dawn

This past week I had the great pleasure of trying out VR with the HTC Vive.

I was beside myself. It was so unbelievably cool that I didn't want to stop playing with it. My family and I each took turns trying it on (including my grandpa), and we all adored it. We were all giggling with pure delight for well over an hour. It really, truly was that incredible. Without a doubt, it was the coolest tech thing I've ever experienced.

My grandpa tried it out too. He liked it!

My grandpa tried it out too. He liked it!

Naturally, it got me thinking about the future of my career. I have no doubt that I'll be developing art for VR before long. It's just so obvious that that's where everything is heading. Sure, it isn't saying much now that it's part of our zeitgeist, but there was a time when it wasn't. I've been begging for VR for the last ten years, and I've wanted it in some fashion for my entire life. Well, it's finally happening!! Nothing makes me more excited than VR and augmented reality. Nothing.

-Bailey

New Horizons

You know, every now and then, a whole bunch of sweet things happen in sequence. It isn't often that I feel overwhelmed by one piece of great news after another, but that's exactly what happened this week.

The life of a freelance artist can be difficult. That's not to say that I don't experience a great deal of happiness, because I do. But when there are so many unknowns, things can get a bit tricky.

But this week was different. A few buds on the tree I've been growing have begun to blossom. The site I run, Behind the Cinematic, is beginning to take off. It's early days yet, but it's positively brimming with potential. I can feel it.

Next week I'll begin interviewing artists in the industry who work on game cinematics. The interviews will be made available for people to read on the site. And let me tell you...I am extremely excited to be doing this. After almost six months of planning, it's finally happening!

And...there was some more good news this week. All speculative stuff, but opportunities are exciting. The future is bright. It's good!

Bailey

Facing the Truth

I wanna talk about the concept "do what you love." At this point in time, everyone has heard this phrase. But relatively few people actually understand why it's so powerful. It has less to do with doing things that are enjoyable, and more to do with facing the truth of who you are.

Being honest, brutally honest about who you are is no easy task. It takes years. And it takes even longer for some. Doing what you love is not about doing something that you like doing, like eating or sleeping (although it could be related to them), it's about being true to who you are. What do I mean by this? Well, for me it was about recognizing what I was predisposed to being good at and also what I'm obsessed with.

For instance, I have a great love for the sciences. I think that molecular chemistry, astronomy, and the laws of thermodynamics are fucking awesome. When I was in college, I almost exclusively took classes in the hard sciences. I took a year of chemistry, as much astronomy as I could, and my favorite class was physics. It was so deliciously cool that I thought I should get a degree in astrophysics just for the hell of it. And who knew, maybe it would lead to something else.

But...

I couldn't run from who I was. My brain, for better or for worse, is intensely attracted to design, art and being creative in an emotional way. The idea of being a scientist is very cool to me, and I wanted to be one (in some small way), but I was passionate about art. And it was a passion that I did not choose.

Now, I could have ignored my predilection for design and animation. But I would not have been as happy. So, I gave in to art. As I often say, "I did not choose to be an artist." Seriously. If I had my way, I would be something else because being an artist is a fucking serious emotional roller-coaster. But for whatever genetic or environmental reasons, I am bound to art. And I love it. But we don't get to choose what we love.

So the lesson is to listen to yourself. Unhappy every Sunday night because you have to go to work in the morning? Well, listen to that. Feeling a sinking feeling when you're getting ready to create something? Listen to that. Every one is different, and the answers you seek will be nuanced. But there are answers. They are there all the time.

As one of my favorite people in the world says "Notice what you can't stop doing." The truth is that you already do the thing you love, even if you don't recognize it yet. It's there, in some small way. It might be hard to see, but it's there. And as my grandpa says, "We're always busy being ourselves." Yep. Truth.

Your bud,

Bailey

In Sickness And In Health

A bit quiet over here. Mostly because I've been under the weather. I suppose I was due for a good illness. Still, I've managed to work on some things, like the video project that's in development. Nevertheless, I've fallen behind on a few other side projects. And I've been lousy with email lately. Don't take your health for granted. Good health really is the best thing there is.

On the mend now. I hope!

Bailey

 

Turning Point

Cinematics will always hold a special place in my heart. They captured my imagination when I was younger, and I continue to love them to this day. However, there was one particular cinematic that inspired me more than any other...

One afternoon back in 2009, while I was deep in the internet on some tangent going from one article to the next, I came across a random video link. I had no idea what it was, but I clicked on it anyway. It began with the developer's logo emblazoning on the screen. It was familiar, but I didn't really know who they were. Then screen went dark. Lights flickered on and machinery began to come to life. It seemed spooky, so I shielded my eyes for a second in case it was a trailer for some horror movie. But slowly I came to understand that it was sci-fi, and the brooding music foretold that that something interesting was going to happen. Then, when the music thundered into the second phase, it had my full attention. I was positively glued to the screen. It was wonderful! I couldn't believe what I was watching. Who made this again? Finally, when it was all over, the title of the game faded into view. StarCraft II. I proceeded to watch the trailer over and over and over again. I was smitten.

Many of you may know exactly what this feels like. It was a clear and undeniable turning point in my career. I've experienced this only a handful of times in my life. The cinematic itself wasn't the best thing that's ever been made, but it was deeply appealing to me. I wanted to know everything about it. And, ultimately, my trajectory as an artist was influenced by this trailer. I'm dead serious about that.

Here's the video I was talking about. I'm sure most of you know it well, but go ahead and watch it. Such nostalgia! (this cinematic was made by Blizzard Entertainment)

Again, I had nothing to do with this video. But I post it here to emphasize my anecdote. To me, this is one of the best cinematic teasers out there. It's got atmosphere, killer music, great art, and piques one's curiosity (as any teaser worth its salt should).

Bailey

Tedium Is My Middle Name

With every project there comes a moment where I have an idea for something, but it's going to require a hefty number of mind-numbing hours of tedious work. In each video I've made, I'v managed to dream up a sequence where a large number of objects on the screen have to animate, and they have to be hand animated. I try to find a way to automate things (and I often do), but sometimes...sometimes I just bite the bullet and do the work to get the result I want.

I thought last week had some tedious moments, but this week was a record setter. The shot in question lasts only about 40 frames, but what I did was place over a thousand cartoon leaves by hand. Each leaf was placed in a logical growth position so that they all grew sequentially in a way that made sense (based on tree branch growth, which I had animated beforehand). Each start point had to be set, and each leaf had to fill up the space so as to not leave any gaps in the image. This is probably boring. You'll just have to watch it to understand.

But anyway, that's my big story this week. I spent 3 days clicking myself into a state of pure monotony. Aren't ya jealous!? ;)

A small portion of the scene (like a 1/10 of view). There are thousands of layers (including the controllers).

A small portion of the scene (like a 1/10 of view). There are thousands of layers (including the controllers).

Bailey