Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Anime Corner: Summer Wars

Hello friends! I hope you are all enjoying the holidays. Over the Christmas weekend, I re-watched an excellent movie called "Summer Wars," and I enjoyed it so much (even the second time around) that I had to recommend it here on the blog.

"Summer Wars" has it all: action, romance, great characters, and a heart-warming story. The story follows a timid high school boy named Kenji, who agrees to help his popular school mate, Natsuki, by accompanying her to meet her relatives in the country. Kenji awkwardly tries to fit in to the huge family as he tries to keep all the relatives' names straight while dealing with their scrutiny. Meanwhile, a terrorist has taken over the internet and is wreaking havoc on the real world. When people's lives become in danger, Kenji decides to take matters into his own hands and face off against the cyber terrorist in an action-packed, suspenseful battle.

As I said, there is so much to like about this movie, but what I love most are the characters. Natsuki's family feels so real, with unique personalities and comically relatable interactions. The women tend to run the show in this family too, which makes for an especially interesting dynamic. You can really relate to Kenji, who is a meek math nerd feeling out of place in this family descended from warriors. Ultimately, Kenji must prove himself a worthy warrior in an epic battle to save the world!!

This movie is a must-see. Even the second time around, it made this ninja cry... sniff. If you haven't already, check it out!! Here's a trailer:

Also, for Christmas, I got Zer07 some books relating to "Summer Wars." Zer07 loves art books, so I got him the "Summer Wars" complete storyboards and a design book with all the final character and background designs. The art is really beautiful in these books!

Summer Wars design book:

Summer Wars storyboards book:

Have a happy and safe New Year everyone! Nin nin!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Figure Drawing: Red Sonja

Hello friends! Yesterday we went to another figure drawing session. The model dressed up as the fearsome warrior, Red Sonja. This session, we focused on shorter timed poses, so the drawings are more gestural.

1 minute drawings by Zer07:

1 minute drawings by Shiro Ninja:

3 minute drawings by Shiro Ninja:


Saturday, December 10, 2011

If they mated: Bender x Gundam

By my brother's request, Bender from "Futurama" in the style of "Gundam":

Here's what I came up with:

-Shiro Ninja-

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Figure Drawing

Hello friends! Shiro Ninja here. I thought I'd share some figure drawing sketches that Zer07 and I did last week. We're a little out of practice, but now that we're planning on going to figure drawing more regularly, hopefully we'll see some improvement over the coming months.

Drawings by Zer07:

Drawings by Shiro Ninja:

Happy Thanksgiving!! Nin nin.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anime Corner: Nichijou (My Ordinary Life)

Selamat Pagi! (^_^)\

Shiro Ninja here. I'd like to start an anime recommendation corner here on the Studio Gattai blog. Today's feature is the gag comedy series, "Nichijou" (English title: My Ordinary Life). Nichijou literally means, "every day usual," so as the title suggests, this is a slice of life anime. The situations are relatable every day occurrences, but taken to epic proportions with over the top reactions and insane animation. Here's a taste: (Unfortunately, there isn't a subtitled version of this clip on youtube, but the setup is this: the brown haired girl explains the joy of saving the most delicious part of her lunch for last.)

(If you couldn't guess, the brown haired girl invoked the 3 second rule and claims the weiner is still "safe.") Each episode is broken up into several short, stand-alone chapters, allowing for a variety of bizarre and hilarious scenarios. The only drawback for this show is that some of the jokes are very specific to Japanese culture. Still, I have to recommend it for the super ultra great wonderful delicious animation! All 26 episodes of "Nichijou" are streaming in Japanese with English subtitles on Crunchyroll (as "My Ordinary Life").
Check it out:

Thursday, August 4, 2011



Beep boop. Hello fellow humanoid entities. Unitzer07 here to report on a brand new take on a classic cartoon from the times when I was still just an accounting program at ENCOM. That's right, your favorite ThunderCats have all been revived with a fresh spin on a great idea. There are some key differences to the look and story so let's dive in and explore!

The show starts out with our hero Lion-O as a young cat trying desperately to step out of his brother's shadow and become his own man. The main conflict seems to revolve around Lion-O coming of age and proving himself to those around him. Eventually (we assume) taking on the role of lord of the ThunderCats.

Now, if you're wondering, "Is this just a re-make?" I have to say definitely not. There are a few pretty big differences in the story that make this version of ThunderCats a more well rounded re-telling. The biggest difference is that the cats start on Third Earth. In the original show the ThunderCats flee, "Superman style" from their home planet "Thundera" just before it self destructs. Another key difference is that Tygra is now Lion-O's adopted older brother. He's literally taken on the role of the son that the king never had. Lion-O can never seem to live up to his father's expectations. King Claudis even goes so far as to say, "Why can't your brother be more like you Tygra?". This sets up an interesting relationship for the two of them. They are closer in age and always in competition. This is emphasized even more when Cheetara shows up.

(That's right Lion-O, you're my bitch)

Originally Tygra, Cheetara, Panthro, Wily Kit/Kat and Snarf all functioned as mentors for Lion-O. He was a boy stuck in a man's body and it was their job to raise him. This time around Cheetara is the only known member of the elite group of king's guards.(known as Jaga's clerics)

Also, Snarf does not talk, which I find I do not miss. Wily Kit and Kat take on this very Aladdin street rat role and they do not meet up with the cat crew in the first two episodes.

(gotta eat to live, gotta steal to eat...)

Panthro doesn't make an appearance in the first few episodes but it can be assumed that when he does, he will be the supreme badass of the group. Everyone always knew Panthro was the man and I'm glad it seems as though he'll be resuming that role. Now, for my biggest complaint, Mumm-Ra. I like the look, but the voice...originally his voice was menacing and deep. They've since repla it with a light hissy voice that sounds like Cobra Commander when he was turned into a snake. As he makes his famous call, "ancient spirits of evil" it definitely does not have the same impact as the original clip in my opinion.

The animation was produced by one of my favorite animation companies in Japan, Studio 4C, which has been responsible for some amazing productions such as segments of the Animatrix, Batman Gotham Knights, and Halo Legends. Partnered with Warner Bros, I'm hopeful that this show will remain at the high production value the first two episodes teased. Overall I'm very happy with the new show. The storytelling has been unified and brought to another level. The character animation is above what you would expect on television and the style has just the right blend of Japanese and Western influences. Let's hope that ThunderCats is a success and we can see more in the future!


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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Ninja Diet

Hello everyone! Shiro Ninja here. I hope you had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend! I enjoyed myself by eating whatever I wanted! This is kind of a big deal because for the past month or so, I have been trying to follow a special kind of diet.

They say that one in ten ninjas suffers from eczema, and I happen to fall into that unfortunate one in ten category. People have been telling me to avoid all foods that might cause allergic reactions, so that's what I've been trying to do... but it's pretty hard to stay on the wagon when you can't eat anything!
This is not only hard, but a lot of work! I've been making lots of trips to Whole Foods and stocking up on a ridiculous amount of fruits and vegetables. Here's a typical day:

Someone please give me a meatball sub.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Booting Up...


A quick update from animation on the upcoming series L5. Here I animated the ship's intelligent computer booting up and performing maintenance tasks. All the pretty floating screens were added after I was finished with the animation.

L5 - Clarke from Stanley Von Medvey on Vimeo.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy little clouds

Gobusata shimashita! Hello again friends! I've been away for a little while on some ninja business, but I'm back and ready to paint. I've noticed a lot of beginner Photoshop tutorials out there dealing with painting clouds. What is this obsession with clouds? I don't know, but the painting masters are telling me that this is what I need to paint, so that's what I'm doing:

Hmm. It's still looking a little cartoony to me, but for the most part I'm happy with how it turned out. Here is a link to the helpful tutorial I followed for this painting:

Happy Thursday everyone. Saraba!!

-Shiro Ninja-

Sunday, May 8, 2011

200 years later and still...


Greetings fellow robots!

UnitZer07 here with a long overdue update.

Many things have been going on in the past few months, so let's start with the big news. This year I have existed for a complete thirty cycles!! I am very excited to be self aware for so long and look forward to the future ahead. We have been very busy on our various projects and I come to you with an update on the super awesome Sci-fi adventure "L5".

Today we're going to take a look at a shot I animated of our astronauts emerging onto a giant freight elevator at the center of a vast space colony. I'm really excited to see this piece finished and I hope you enjoy the short taste of what's coming up from Studio Hemogoblin and Studio Gattai!

Elevator Collapse : 001_009_Final from zero seven on Vimeo.

If you're interested in learning more about L5 please visit the production blog at :

Look forward to some exciting news coming soon from Studio Gattai!

beep boop,


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Homework Assignment #1 complete!

Shiro Ninja here! I finally finished my "Full Metal Alchemist-Brotherhood" background painting. This final portion with the water and fountain is not exactly how I wanted it, but I'm going to call this assignment done. (Hey, I'm still learning and it's not going to be perfect right off the bat!) There's still a lot to learn about painting and using Photoshop. One tool that I discovered and now want to use all the time is called, "Gaussian Blur." That's what gives the water that soft, sexy glow. Now I just want to give everything that Martha Stewart glow!

Thank you Don for offering great painting advice and expertise! More assignments to come soon.


(To see the process behind this painting click here)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lost in Space...

Beep Boop

Greetings fellow robots! Unit Zer07 Here with an update on some very exciting activity. I've been given permission to show you all the work I've been doing on an up and coming internet series called "L5". "L5" is a 'hard science fiction' show about a crew of astronauts whose failed mission to find a livable home for humans is met with mystery when they return to earth to discover that they are 200 years late and all traces of humanity are gone. This post will introduce you to the process I went through to develop a digital double of a real actor for the film.

Being that the creator of L5 is a close friend of mine, I was charged with creating the digital doubles for two astronauts that will appear in the show's pilot episode. The point of a digital double is to do things that you normally can't easily do while filming in live action. For example, space exterior shots would be fairly impossible to film considering we definitely don't have the budget to send our actors and film crews up into space. So we create a digital double and film them in the computer instead.

It all started with the design for the characters space suit: (designed by Stanley Von Medvey)

From there the casting process begins. When we finally have actors cast to play their respective roles pictures are taken for reference.

These pictures usually include front, side and three quarter views. Usually the characters are also photographed displaying a wide variety of emotions and facial attitudes so that the artist can better replicate the actor.

At this point in the process I put all my effort into making the model look as much like the actor as possible. This is where that reference mentioned above really came in handy:

In this image you can see that most of the features are there. However there is just something off about the face. This is because right now the head is completely symmetrical.

After introducing some asymmetry to more closely match the actors form, we're ready to bring this model into a program called Zbrush. Simply put Zbrush allows an artist to add really fine detail like skin wrinkles:

It was around this time that I received the reference for the completed space suit. Once again I was given a model sheet with detailed photos of every possible area on the suit. This was a tremendous help in creating the space suit model:

From here I now have everything I need to finish this model. I started by blocking in really rough shapes and forms to get the character's silhouette working properly:

From here, I work on specific areas of detail.

Once the model is completed, it is ready for texture maps.

Texture maps are basically images painted on the surface of a model.

Now that this character has been modeled, it's time to build a rig and animate the character. The end result will hopefully be a seamless blend between cg and real life. If you are interested in "L5" please check out their production blog here:

L5 production blog

Don't forget to check out the teaser trailer linked below and for anyone interested in the construction process of the physical space suit just head over to The monsters musings for developer diaries and work in progress images of the space suit construction and general production of the short film.

L5 Teaser Trailer - HQ from Stanley Von Medvey on Vimeo.

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