writing prompt …@ grocery store

In a high pitched valley girl accent, touched with a southern drawl (if such a thing were possible):

“Anyone with a picture like thaaaaat, neeeeds—this.”

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Writing prompt

“Did he say squares or squirrels?”

“At that volume, hard to say.”


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AR enhancement for Rig it Right – YIPEE

The problem with text books are all of those interface pictures. They don’t print the fine detail one would wish.  Either they are too small and readers can not see all the details or they are too big and your editor (and you) start worrying about page count.

What if you could use your mobile device to look at the printed picture and see a better image or even a movie of that step in the tutorial?  Ah yes.  That would be nice.

I downloaded the app Aurasma Studio. (studio.aurasma.com) Many of the students have been using this to enhance their portfolios and motion media professors use it in their SCAD day (open house) demonstrations.


Why not use it for a textbook? 


aurasmaScreenShot_1496885162492.jpgHere’s a small, black and white image for the new chapter 20 in Rig it Right 2. (It will be color in the book.)

Download the Aurasma app  (iphone or android) and focus on this image.

It will load in a close up color image. At anytime I can update that to be a video or a more elaborate image.

The great thing – is you can move the mobile device closer and get a better view of the image as seen in the picture below. That’s excellent if the print in the book is small or you happen to require reading glasses, like myself.  All sorts of possibilities with this.

I’m going to keep moving in this direction to test.  It takes very little time to upload the image to Aurasma and extends the learning opportunity.  (And it’s fun, can’t overlook that.) We’ll see what Focal thinks. Maybe we can put something like this in the second edition?

Here are some other images of tests.  Mostly I’m just using this for menus and selections, not for the images themselves unless it helps the tutorial.


Here is a test of it over the book. This is just a mock-up.


Testing complete. Back to re-writing.  Thanks for following along!


ps – got a second rejection for “Absolute Darkness” last week with actual comments! Real comments—mostly about the cover and encouragement to stay the self published route. I’m so busy on this I don’t have time to shout and cheer. Luckily vampire stories have legs and stick around, especially unique ones like “Absolute Darkness”—I’ll get back to it later.


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Chapter 20 Quick Rig – Complete

0020_0005Whew. Just in time for June 1. I was sweating that deadline: my own internal deadline of one new chapter for this month and then 2 rewritten chapters a month from here on to March. I’ll take the next two days to test the viability of the images and make sure they aren’t too small.  Then I’ll test this AR thing I’m thinking might be wonderful for the educational experience of the tutorials. Plus it’s got the nerd-cool factor.

Focal just sent the final PDF from the first version today. So, I’m set for June’s rewrite of chapters one and two.

Chapter 20 went over two workflows: the quick rig tool and the character control tool in Maya to help shortcut to a quick skeleton and/or a quick control rig.  It was an interesting process and took many, many, many, many tries until I came up with methods that would be clear enough to follow.  The two tools are separate, mostly; but work together, somewhat. The create skeleton tools are what really peaked my interest.  Worth a look. Save clicks—save time.

I do need a technical editor to give these chapters a run through. I’ll suggest to focal that they connect with a SCAD alum. Any volunteers? Paid gig and I’m pretty low maintenance. By the time you get the manuscript (in 6 months or so) I’ve already tested it three or four times across multiple platforms.

Shout out to Alston Jones, Animation M.F.A., for use of this bird model. It remains one of my favorite models to work with.


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Chapter 20 – QuickRig in process

Chpt20aWhile Focal finds the pdf of chapters 1-19 that are edited for me to begin the second edition on, I’ve begun a new chapter covering Maya’s Quick Rig tool and the Character Control Tool.

My thought is that after spending half of the book learning how to rig the bird character we could take a look at what these quick tools might gain us.

It works best on normal biped characters with feet directly under the hips and  flat T-pose. Looks like you can use it more to rough out some skeletons quickly.

Chpt20The funny thing about writing a new chapter on a new technique is that you write the thing about three times. The fourth time – which will be tomorrow’s task – is to go through and find the most succinct way to get these ideas across, streamline the photos and then polish the text.

Most of the researching for this chapter is me grumbling to myself about how each of these tools works.  The dogs sit on the porch and stare at me in a concerned manner.

But time to put things away for the evening and watch the sun set on the mountain. Then it’s back to campus in the morning.

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Rig it Right II in 2018!!


That was the quickest turn around I have ever received from email pitch to contract: less than 24 hours. That occurred last week, in fact, tick-tock. Golly.  I was banking on a month at least to get my files in order and poke about.  Well, guess we’re writing this thing—right now. Lots of images to remake and new things to add. I’m happy I was able to get more pages for the book this time to make the pictures more legible. Perfect.

Latest Maya installed. Original files located. Cleaned up hard drive. Chapter to-do list and new topic to-research list compiled. Contacted alumni to update the special thanks page with links to where they are now. Had some bizarre hallucination that Maya 2018 came out two weeks ago and I needed to install it. Literally went to download it today and realized…I think I might have been having a moment. I swear I saw an email on it.  But search functions say I was dreaming.

Procrastinated by making a facebook page for the book.       https://www.facebook.com/rigitright/   (Why did I never have one – that’s weird.)

Procrastinated more by making this post.

My procrastination is actually scheduled. I give myself a couple cycles each week for plunking around.

I’ve been out of rigging and Maya for a minute while doing other things. (like the second edition of Hybrid Animation https://www.amazon.com/dp/0415718708  and that Absolute Darkness novel https://www.amazon.com/dp/1537422855 )  so it will feel good to get back to rigging land.  Lots of new things. Node editor and Maya’s auto rigger up first.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress on the chapters and as we figure out if videos go with this book or AR content (because I LOVE AR content* and prefer print books – so it is like having the best of both worlds.)

Happy rigging!


What do I mean by AR content? Glad you asked.  Check out these shining examples:

SCAD’s AR catalog: https://www.scad.edu/admission/academic-catalog
Boy Scout Animation Merit Badge with AR: http://boyslife.org/merit-badges/animation-merit-badge/

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REJECTED!! I am so excited!!

RejectI just received my FIRST rejection letter from a publisher and am so very ecstatic!

Seriously.  It means it went somewhere. It was seen.  If you aren’t getting rejection letters – you aren’t trying!

I was bummed I had not seen any rejection letters yet from publishers and was concerned. I look forward to the stack of them. It signals a journey. I’m anxious to see that journey get moving and it starts with the first rejection letter:

“We regret to say that we do not feel that we are the right publisher for Absolute Darkness at this time.”

I can’t wait to submit to more publishers and find the right one.  Good luck on getting your first rejection letter!



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