The biggest mistake I made sculpting with Gedeo Crystal Resin, and what I learned from it.

Here’s what I learned experimenting with Crystal Resins. The following post summarises my experiences.

Even though it did not turn out what I wanted (mistakes were made) it’s a learning experience.

I set out to design and create an emerald coloured, gold accented jewellery piece as a gift for mothers day. Inspired by things my mum enjoys (French province motifs, and cats) the design was going to be detailed and layered. The finished product would be stylish.

Unfortunately, I fell far short of my set standards.

It was a bit embarrassing, having to scrap the plans and find an alternative Mother’s day present. But the bright side was I learned quite a bit.

I thought that using the resin would be a gimme, considering success I had in the past making shapes out of resin for a cosplay, and then painting the shape with acrylic resin. I was wrong. It was, in no uncertain words, a mess.

Mistakes, though, are a sign of moving forward, on the right track. By making mistakes, we are just learning. They are one and the same, and are nothing to beat ourselves up about.

So for intrepid resin casting students or interested artist, here’s were I went wrong, so you don’t have to.

Philosophy aside, This was the one key mistake:

How long the product takes to set, and using proper mixing technique – this can vary, and it is worth doing a test batch.

Test batches are vital. Resins require two compounds mixed together in specific distributions to set into a solid, clear artwork (or lump). If the resin and the catalyst or hardener are not mixed together effectively, starting in one container, stirring in a second container, and then poured, the resin will not set.

Test batches are important because you can discover exactly how long the resin will take to set:

  1. Combine the resin and hardener.
  2. Start a timer, and gently mix the two products, taking care to use firm, but softer wrist movement to stop air bubbles.
  3. Transfer the mix to another container. Continue to stir.
  4. Stir until the colour of the resin starts to change. Most resins will turn slightly opaque. This is a sign the resin will set hard.
  5. Stop the clock. This gives you an idea of how long the resin will take to set (the pot life of the resin).

Smaller batches take longer to set. This is counter intuitive. You might think that a large amount of resin would take longer to set once the artist adds the catalyst. In reality, heat generated by the resin sets the product faster. The more product, the more heat. (Bruckner, Oat, and Procopio, 2010. Pop Sculpture, Watson-Guptill Publications).

Since I did not create a test batch of a the product I was working with, I had no clue how long it would take to set (spoiler: it was more than the suggested 24 hours in the Gedeo Product instruction manual).

The final sculpt was soft, like toffee, and even five days afterwards, did not set properly. This is a sign of under-mixing the resin and the catalyst element.

What I expected

Ambiance-jade_carousel_large-gedeo-copyright-Pebeo

What I ended up with

crystal-resin-testing-gedeo-product-wallflyer-CC-BY

Other observations:

    1. Suspending glitter and gold inside resin is possible. I did successfully combine crystal resin with Fimo Gold Dust, as a suspension inside the resin.
    2. It is important to keep the resin out of dust, with a cover over it.
    3. Adding a release agent, like a sculpting vaseline, is important to be able to separate the product from the mould

While it’s not an ideal outcome, it’s a learning experience. One that can hopefully be useful, eventually.

You can find more art content on the Wallflyer and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer .

Starting a voice acting career with Nolan North

Nolan North didn’t realise his career in voice acting would be a big deal, or how far he would travel in a career delivering voice and motion capture roles. This post summaries the stories and advice he told on voice acting careers at the Supanova Gold Coast convention in 2017.

North didn’t believe that after recording the line “Grenade! get down” over and over again that this extension of his screen acting would be a viable option.

North continued to find roles that pushed into the new voice acting profession. Like in any profession, his passion for making funny voices caught some attention. Like in any profession, actors improve by meeting and working alongside people who have a higher skill level, or more years of experience. An emerging actor, or even an experienced actor, can always benefit from being willing to learn from new experiences.

The actors job, according to North: “To me, an actor’s job is to deliver a performance. To deliver what I am supposed to.”

Physical acting skills developed and enlisted to build character with gesture and posture, flowed into motion capture sessions. North called on his physical acting repertoire to deliver a performance.

He confides that the willingness to play make believe remains an essential part of acting and creativity.

There’s a clash, however, between the logical, bottom-line focused thinking of delivering a performance, and the creative, powerful thinking of belief and imagination that can be traced back to childhood games. Balance and flexibility, and the ability to retain some autonomy to be creative and play, even when working toward a deadline, comes across as vital in creative fields, and particularly essential to voice acting careers.

Technical skill is important – repeating movements that match up with the direction players want to send the character in with a touch to a screen, control stick, or their W, A, S, and D keys, is one example North highlighted.

Being able to crouch, walk, and sprint from zero, ninety, one hundred and thirty, and one hundred and eighty degree directions from a standing position can prove difficult. North finds that the choreography difficult to repeat, but the technical skill and endurance of moving in different directions cannot be understated. He still dislikes going from a crouching position to sprint backward – sprint 130 degrees back. This type of cardio is a tough workout on an actor’s thighs and shins.

Another reality is that voice actors sometimes fall out the loop – their character directions might change, and their are no realistic channels for the news to reach the actor.

North has found out about dramatic character changes from social media questions often long before he receives a brief or update. This appears to be the reality of a busy corporate decision making network running at a different pace to the professional life of an actor.

In summary, North says that playing iconic roles represents a responsibility to be taken seriously. Consider the other actors in the field. Ask if they are well known for voicing a certain role before. Weigh up whether it fits with your career to taken on a character voices and brought to life by another actor.

And on that topic, North comment in a few lines on his impact created through voicing Deadpool.

You can find more games and film related content on the wallflyer.wordpress.com and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer

 

 

How to treat fans well, with actor David Boreanaz.

After a long weekend at Supanova, an Australian Comics, Film, Games, and Anime expo, One of the standout moments was a QandA panel with actor David Boreanaz. This post is a summary of how David Boreanaz interacted and treated fans. He treated fans well, and some of his choices stand up as good ways to treat fans.

He invited a young fan and her mum onstage, to sit on the celebrity couch.

This young fan was happy to sit and play on her mum’s phone, but did not want to interact with Boreanaz. Neither did she want to accept any chocolate from him. No doubt, she is a smart fan.

This was impressive since there is some danger in audience participation, regardless of the context in any theatre. It’s impressive that he could put a young fan under the age of 5 at ease for an hour long panel. His did not condescend, speaking across to the audience, and to her. I think this worked toward a calming atmosphere.

He insisted that one fan call her mum, who is avid fan not able to reach Supanova, and spoke to her through the phone and microphone. Her disbelief and shock was enormous.

Another risk an actor could take at a convention is allowing outside calls into a Q and A session. With some charm (and boldly inviting himself to dinner) Boreanaz chatted through the phone, putting his fan at ease. Openness in the face of risk, and willingness to be truthful and transparent with what he felt and wanted in the moment came across in this part of the Q and A.

He was open and honest, and standing up for his experience and opinions working through controversial moments in the Bones and Angel

Without spoilers, many fans expressed varied emotional reactions to the endings of several, final episodes. In response, Boreanaz sympathised briefly with fans, but also expressed his enthusiasm for change, for new characters, for growth, and development. This could become controversial easily, but Boreanaz was diplomatic in standing up for his experience and opinions.

For example, when challenged about acting in Buffy the Vampire Slayer with the content of the show described by one fan as “teeny, pop-stuff” (while the audience groaned in protest) Boreanaz replied by asking “What would Joss Whedon think?”.

With Whedon’s reputation as a writer, who delves into deeper character recesses, there is an argument against the Buffy as a superficial, fizzy and flashy show. Think back to Loki and Black Widow’s exchange in The Avengers movie, or the deeper themes of abandonment in the first Toy Story film. Boreanaz is informed about the wider context of Whedon’s work. He can defend their collaborations.

The level of openness, honesty, respect, but also confidence and diplomacy, came across throughout the panel. When asking about Tim Tams, the audience threw the biscuits to Boreanaz. They must have enjoyed the panel.

You can find more film related content here, and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer.

Supanova Gold Coast Cosplay 2017

Supanova Gold Coast 2017 took place last weekend, featuring guests from film and comic worlds, skilled writers and artists, and cosplayers.

Characters from all across different media gathered together, and this post is a list of the standout characters that I was excited to see cosplayed.

For example, haven written about Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4, it was a fun surprise to actually see a Naoto cosplayer. And more on that point, having started to play Persona 5, a Futaba Sakura cosplayer appeared on Saturday. Another shock, and a great surprise.

All photos from the weekend are available on The Wallflyer Facebook page.

How to Catch Celesteela in Pokemon Moon

Celesteela is only available in Pokemon Moon version. If you have Pokemon Sun, you must trade for this Ultra Beast

This post plainly describes one method of catching the Ultra Beast known as Celesteela in Pokemon Moon Version.

What you need to catch Celesteela: Beast Balls from Aether Paradise, and healing items like Hyper Potions.

The main item you will need is a Beast Ball.

To obtain Beast Balls, you will need to follow a the sequence of events that form the Ultra Beast side quest. Note that you will also need to progress this sidequest, and capture the initial Ultra Beasts to reach a point where Celesteela will become available:

  1. Complete the main story, including a battle against the Elite Four and Champion.
  2. Go to the north coast of Akala Island, and enter the hotel on Route 8, which will trigger the Ultra Beast Sidequest.
  3. Fly or ride the Ferry (the ferry is a far slower travel method around Alola) to the Aether Paradise. Beast Balls are given as a gift in the basement laboratories.

While you can catch Ultra Beasts in ordinary manufactured PokeBalls, the Beast Ball has a far higher catch rate, which will make capturing all the strange and enigmatic Ultra Beasts easier, especially if you are aiming to catch one with a specific nature.

Healing items for your Pokemon team are also essential. I recommend Full Restores. Hyper Potions will do if you are low on PokeDollars. A way to raise some money for items is to send your Pokemon into the caves in the PokePelago to find rare treasure. You can also battle the elite four repeatedly.

With items accounted for, you will need to prepare your team.

Pokemon that will help you catch Celesteela: A Pokemon with high attack power and False Swipe, and a Pokemon that knows a status changing move like Sleep Powder or Thunder Wave.

Bringing Pokemon who can content with a steel type is essential. Steel type are all about physical defensive. A Pokemon with false swipe and a high attack power speeds everything along – Scyther or Scizor are good choices. Using False Swipe will always leave a Pokemon with 1 HP remaining.

A Pokemon who can inflict status conditions helps stop Celesteela from demolishing your team. Sleep and paralysis strategies will both help you. Alolan Raichu using Thunderwave, or a grass type using sleep powder or spore traps Celesteela, reducing its chances to attack.

As an added strategy, I added a Pokemon with focus energy and baton pass to my team. A ghost and flying type Pokemon first introduced in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl called Drifblim for example. One of these Pokemon arrived on my PokePellago’s Isle Abeens. Drifblim used focus energy and baton pass to send the boost to Scyther, which helped to add an extra attack bonus when using False Swipe.

A note on Pokemon natures and Synchronise

You can use a Pokemon with the ability Synchronise to influence the nature of wild Pokemon. An Abra with a modest nature and Synchronise will increase the chance of finding wild Pokemon with a modest nature by 50 per cent. Be aware that if your Pokemon with synchronise is at a low level, escaping from wild battles might be harder. If your Pokemon with synchronise is fainted, however, it’s ability will still work. You can also equip the Pokemon with a Smoke Ball item to ensure an escape from battle if you don’t want to leave a Pokemon fainted.

Where to find Celesteela: Malie Gardens, or Haina Desert on Ula’Ula Island.

The Ultra Beast lurks around Ula’Ula island – The largest of the four Alolan Islands. It can be found either in the Haina Desert, or in Malie Garden. Two Celesteela are available to capture.

I decided to search for Celesteela in Malie Gardens, since they were close to the Malie City Pokemon Centre, just in case anything went wrong.

Celesteela can be found in any patch of grass in the gardens, and appears on level 65.

My team had Scyther (lv67) and Drifblim (lv56) in the battle. My Abra with Synchronise was a far lower level, and I switched out Abra quickly. I used a Victreebel I had transferred from Pokemon Red version to put Celesteela to sleep with Sleep Powder.

After about five to seven turns, Scyther weakened Celesteela, lowering its HP. I then caught the Ultra Beast in a beast ball.

You can find more games related content here, and you can follow me, Joe, on twitter @thewallflyer.

A review of A New World: Music from Final Fantasy – seven leading pieces from the Brisbane performance.

The New World Players perform music arranged from the 30 year history of Final Fantasy. These eleven musicians, and one conductor in Arnie Roth, toured through Australia before their international tour continues overseas. This post is a short review of the Brisbane performance, and a list of some of the Final Fantasy pieces the ensemble performed.

Their sound allowed the audience a chance to hear the music of Final Fantasy in a new way, which I guess is where the title “New Worlds” stems from.

Alternatively, several of these pieces were new, and performed for the first time in Australia, or performed for the first time worldwide.

Some of the leading pieces, those I thought defined the event, that the ensemble performed that night were:

1. Two Final Fantasy traditions – The Victory Fanfare and the Chocobo Medley

An exacting string section, precise percussion, and energetic brass and woodwind performers worked together flawlessly alongside a solo guitarist (and ukulele expert!) to strike up a brilliant version of these well know themes. The victory fanfare marks the end of each battle in the Final Fantasy games. Hearing it live gives an insight into the technical work behind even the simple or smaller musical scores. Chocobo’s, for example, are brought to life with a simple but playful melody, which the Ukulele expert played with chill precision, and a bit of swagger.

2. The Gold Saucer piano arrangement

Benyamin Nuss’ solo piano performance invigorated and expounded the sounds and themes of Final Fantasy. In particular, Nuss premiered a piano arrangement of the Gold Saucer theme from Final Fantasy Seven, and it was a fun surprise. Nuss other performance from Final Fantasy Seven stunned the audience.

3.The Those Who Fight piano arrangement

This and high energy battle theme performed close to the end of the second act turned the piano keys from fiery to incandescent. Nuss’ high-speed performance earned lengthy applause from the audience.

5. Temple of Chaos theme

Audience members can find a closer glimpse into the technical construction of each piece. Delving into history, an arrangement of the Chaos Shrine from the first Final Fantasy game displayed the technical brilliance of the New World Players, and the attention to detail that series composer Nobuo Uematsu, and Tsuyoshi Sekito.

6. Ivalice Landscapes

An arrangement of separate pieces from Final Fantasy Twelve marked the end of the first act. It wove a journey through the vast and complex world of Ivalice, from the Estersands, through the Salika wood, to the booming waves of the Phon Coast, into the gloom of the Feywood, and away through the mists of Nabudis. This was definitely an exotic and moving piece.

7. Safe Haven (Camp Theme)

From the first game, all the way to the most recent game in the series, the performance include a piece from Final Fantasy Fifteen, which is impressive, considering the game was released only recently in November, 2016. A relaxed arrangement of Tetsuya Shibata’s music, which contrasted with the more active and emotional sounds in the performance such as To Zanarkand, and the popular One Winged Angel.

Overall, the sound quality was polished, capturing the atmosphere of adventure, whimsy, and magic embodied in the music of Final Fantasy. For more information on the Final Fantasy New Worlds tour, the ensemble website has more information.

Five reasons why Maurice is a good father in Beauty and the Beast (2017)

One performance in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2017) I most enjoyed was Kevin Kline as Maurice. I thought he captured several good parenting skills in his portrayal of the inventive father of avid-reader, and protagonist Belle. This post is a list of how well Maurice models good parenting.

Spoiler warning – this post contains plot spoilers specific to the 2017 Beauty and the Beast film.

The Positive Parenting Program (The Triple P, an Australian initiative) presents good resources for families. They teach techniques to raise happier kids. They encourage parents to feel confident they are doing the right thing. They instruct parents how to take care of themselves as well.

One blog post from Matt Sanders of the Triple P program describes the five things that fathers and father figures should know.

Here’s how Maurice stacks up next to those ideas:

#1 Talk to your kids – Maurice and Belle share some of the most powerful conversations in the film.

This is a foregone conclusion. Maurice respects Belle, and speaks to her as an equal. On to the next one.

#2 Play with your kids – Building intricate things is one of Maurice’s skills, and he created a finely crafted baby rattle for Belle to play with.

It’s easy to picture Belle and Maurice playing with various micro mechanical projects together. Belle was able to design and implement a donkey-powered washing machine early in the film with her technical knowledge, after all.

#3 Set a good example – Of all the people in the community, Maurice is the only one to stand up to Gaston. This turns out to be costly, since Gaston is a neanderthal with a mind for wily strategy.

Maurice aims to be upstanding in all he does, regardless of who is watching. Except for maybe one lapse in judgement. He tries to strike Gaston with an open hand. In his defence, Gaston had verbally assaulted his daughter, attempted to murder him, and was casually gas lighting him in front of the town. Extreme conditions, for sure.

#4 Keep your vaccinations up to date – While vaccination would not enter mainstream medicine until the late 18th Century, Maurice protects himself and Bell from disease. This is a key plot point in the film.

Belle and Maurice move from Paris to the country to escape a plague. Belle’s mother died from infection. Maurice was doing everything he could.

#5 Get screened for depression – Despite Maurice being a model citizen, Gaston disparages his mental state, and a dour coachman hauls him off to the asylum.

His mental health remains sound, despite these assaults. He speaks in an even, conversational way to the coachman from the Asylum after he escapes the asylum’s padded and barred carriage. It is one sign that Maurice endures pain and grief, but resists violence and despair. His positive mental state persists.

At the end of the film, Maurice has moved from clockwork and metal crafts to painting. He appears calm, perhaps taking time to recover from his ordeal, and celebrate his daughters wedding by capturing the moment with water colours on canvas. But this is why care for and checking on mental health must take priority – like Maurice, a person with depression can appear find on the surface, but in reality, need more help. let’s hope he finds what he needs.

The original blog post with information for fathers and father figures can be found on the Triple P Blog, and you can read more about the Triple P initiative on their website.

This post was written by Joe at The Wallflyer. You can find more posts here at The Wallflyer, and you can follow me on Twitter for more updates.