Message from Mike!

I love to do animation because I absolutely love to see things moving and to come to life. I guess that's why I became an animator. Generally I like more zany types of stuff though and God's Family was more from the heart. Even still it gave me the same feeling. I admit there were times when I wanted one of them to take out a mallet and whack the other on the head like in the old cartoons but of course that wouldn't have worked with the message. LOL!

As I animated I kept thinking that this lil' film may one day help someone to be a Christian and that kept me plugging away. I don't often get to use my God-given talents to help His kingdom so it was a great opportunity for me. It was not without it's challenges though due to some issues I had with the software.

To do the film I used a program called Adobe Flash CS 3 and while it's an amazing piece of software that has revolutionized my industry it can also be a bit buggy at times.

There is some sort of issue that can happen when you create a film in Flash where the scrubbing through the film can slow to a crawl and I had that issue with my software. Adobe couldn't explain it. My brother says I have a knack for finding bugs in software. He ought to know, he's a software solution architect. With no solution to my problem, it made animating very difficult to do. I also had an issue that when I would test render the film to see how it was coming along, the software would crash. Again, Adobe couldn't explain it after 4 hours on the phone with tech support. Eventually I figured out that issue but the solution only works for the time I keep the software running. When I close out of it and start it up again the next time the same issue happens again until I change the settings again to fix the problem. Annoying to say the least.

For equipment I used a Pentium 4 with 1 gig of ram. I also used a sheet-fed scanner to scan artwork in which was invaluable for some of the scenes such as the one where they both sit down which had to be drawn by hand frame by frame because it was too hard to use the character rigs I had created for the film for that scene. For most of the scenes, I used a technique called symbol tweening, where I created the elements for each character, such as each hand, forearm, bicep, torso, head, calves, thighs and feet as artwork then scanned it into the computer and assembled them all like a puppet in Flash. I also created the skull separate from the eyes and mouth so they could be placed 'inside' the skull so that when rotated all the elements would register.

The voice of Pedro was done by my daughter Melissa and we pitched her voice down to make it sound like a boy. She's done voices for me before and hopes to be an actress some day. The voice of Olivia was done by my other daughter Megan who in the past was afraid to do voices for me due to some stage fright. For God's Family she bucked up and did it anyway. She hopes to be a director just like her dear ol' dad. :-) I even paid them standard industry wages for the work and they both saved half of it and spent half of it on toys and clothes.

It was one crazy ride and I'm glad it's over. Would I do it again?

Yes, I think I would. :-)

After all, I'm a part of God's Family!


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