15 4 / 2014


A little behind the scenes look of the early stages of Green Lantern the Animated Series.

My eternal gratitude to everyone who helped prove the doubters wrong.

In web development, we love to do user testing, AB testing, goal-oriented, watching people—no, “users”—from behind the screens. The difference between user testing and focus group testing is that we’re trying to get the rats to run through the maze efficiently. Storytellers want the rats to be lucid and engaged during every part of the maze they’re being walked through—then come back to be walked through it again. It’s active testing vs passive testing.

But you have to be careful about reading what you want into the results. Linear storytelling can be much more subjective: one can argue that being confused could be good for the audience—if that leads them to engage with the story more. But with interactive testing, confused users tend to abandon ship rather than engage deeper.

Both forms of testing can be overdone. While it’s important to know how real people react to your creation early, it’s also important to know when to trust your instincts and when too much testing can muddy the waters, making something new and interesting go to ho-hum and “safe.” New user interfaces don’t always test well out of the box. Sometimes, you have to train the users up to it. For instance, we all use QWERTY keyboards, but these are not the most efficient for typing. More efficient designs exist, but by the time we’re introduced to them, the learning curve feels long and slow because we have to retrain our brains. Does that mean that we shouldn’t keep looking for better ways to type? No. But we should expect the unexpected to test differently.

Unexpected, unsafe—these are the things that have the most potential to change people’s hearts and minds and lives. They are also the most likely to bomb in a test!

29 3 / 2014

The latest Infinite Canvas is up: I got to interview Janina Woods, founder of 3D game development company Ateo in Zurich :D The joys of international travel, right? I’m about to head off to Denmark and London for two weeks. Maybe I’ll meet cool people to interview there??

If you enjoy this screencast, remember there’s more where that came from! Check out the library and feel free to support us if you like what you see! http://www.patreon.com/infinitecanvas?ty=c

28 3 / 2014

Finale of Kill la Kill. Oh my god my mommy issues and sister issues all over the floor. *sobs*

27 3 / 2014


If I’m able to, then perhaps I’ll be closer to portraying a true expression of love.

          -Hayao Miyazaki (x)

Nope. Nope nope. Everyone knows that if a boy and a girl appear in the same shot together, ships will ensue, whether intended or not.

(Source: spellthief, via d-pi)

27 3 / 2014

Been so long since I’ve done any drawing. This move to Portland has been seriously rough. I MISS YOU, CREATING THINGS.

Me sleeping on a plane and my usual Todd “Toad” Tolansky from X-Men Evolution.

23 3 / 2014


Pumzi, Kenya’s first science fiction film, imagines a dystopian future 35 years after water wars have torn the world apart. East African survivors of the ecological devastation remain locked away in contained communities, but a young woman in possession of a germinating seed struggles against the governing council to bring the plant to Earth’s ruined surface.

“….started off as a small script about what kind of world we would have to be if we had to buy fresh air,” - Wanuri Kahiu


(via d-pi)

21 3 / 2014

It was interesting when Ariel wanted to live on land. Exciting when Belle preferred books to marriage. But it got old when Jasmine wanted to go slumming.

Recently Titmouse gave a shout out to this Amazon Original Series, Spellbound. I tried to get through the opening animatics, but the song about how, “I’m not a boring girlie girl like those other girlie girls. I want moooooore…” and the following sluggish plot about how hard it is to be the perfect princess when you really want moooooore… Holy crap! How many times has this tired story been trotted out and put through its paces? Did we not just do this with Brave?

I don’t like stories like this for several reasons:

  1. The idea that someone is unhappy with a very privileged station in life just because it doesn’t suit them is a weak setup for a plot. Very few little girls actually have this feeling, especially when we live in a time where we’re push that they can do or be whatever they want. Who is this supposed to resonate with? Teen celebrities trapped in mansions, wishing they weren’t famous anymore? I don’t know! I honestly don’t know!
  2. It sends an inaccurate image of noblewomen as having no power or authority, of existing like court baubles. Actual history is far from the truth. There have been ebbs and flows in women’s courtly power over the generations, but for a great chunk of European history women have run businesses, castles, and even war machines either on their own or in cooperation with their husbands. This image is dangerous because it furthers that inaccurate image of women having been mostly disposable smiling faces throughout history.
  3. Weak plot = poor performance = “This is why we should never make anything for girls ever again!”

When was the last time you saw a story about a prince who wanted moooooore… Aside from Prince and the Pauper. 

A story about someone trying to leave their assigned role in life can be compelling: a slave escaping to freedom, a peasant becoming a general, an ignorant person uncovering their own hidden genius, an unknown becoming famous. Those are compelling stories that deliver. These life decisions are not arbitrary whims of bored youth. There has to be ambition, motivation:

"I want to be a soldier to save my father." —Mulan (which I disliked for its execution—but the premise was solid gold)

"I want to escape my control freak dad and explore and unknown world." — Ariel in The Little Mermaid

"I don’t want to be queen of people who think I’m a monster. I don’t want to kill the people I love most." — Elsa in Frozen

Compare those with these:

"I want to be a knight because their lives are so exciting." — What’s her face in Quest for Camelot (uh, why? Your dad died as a knight…)

"I want to escape from this posh palace and see how the other half lives, then go back to living in my posh palace." — Jasmine in Aladdin

If someone gives up their role in society, there has to be a bigger motivation behind it than “just because.” This can be done powerfully, as in Prince of Egypt. Moses has it all, but he gives it up. He sees his privilege and has a total perception shift: I’m the bad guy. Oh my god. I’m the bad guy. And he gives it all up for his people and his religion. Powerful, dramatic, compelling.

In the mean time, girls should want moooooore… because.

21 2 / 2014

When I was a kid, I loved catching critters, bugs, amphibians, anything I could put in a jar and gaze at adoringly. Sadly, I noticed that if I caught one insect, it became increasingly difficult to find another to catch. I wasn’t sure what was going on, but I thought of it as though the caught insect was telling all the others of its own kind, “This is no fun. You don’t want to come here,” in its own secret language I couldn’t hear.

As an adult fighting off cockroaches in a shitty apartment complex inhabited by college students, I wondered if I caught one roach, if I’d have trouble finding more, just like when I was a kid. So the very next roach I saw, I trapped it under a tumbler and waited to see if any others would appear. I didn’t bother feeding the poor thing. There was no way to get food in without releasing it. But I gave it water by sliding the glass over water drops I’d placed on the table. This was the Ambassador Roach, an honored guest in our home, and its glass prison occupied a distinguished spot on a sideboard within sight of the dining room table.

Sure enough, roaches didn’t show. And when the roach died and others began to creep back in, I merely replaced the tumbler over another, letting it inherit the same revered position as its predecessor.

I suspect that when under stress insects release a pheromone that says, “This is no fun. You don’t want to come here.” This was the secret insect language that vexed me so as a child, reworked to new purposes as an adult.

18 2 / 2014

An unusually candid interview I gave prior to an upcoming conference in London. I’ll be talking web animation and comics. Look me up.

17 2 / 2014


Nickelodeon has released the trailer forThe Legend of Korra/ Book 3 clips in the Netherlands. In Dutch, but you can at least see some coolness from it. :-)

Oh gawd yussss…

(via ktshy)