But wait, there’s more (for Storyboard Pro users)

Posted on September 4th, 2018

Filed under: Code — Karl Olson @ 9:38 pm

Set or Reset Captions in Storyboard Pro.

After the very positive response to the previous script from storyboarders and animators working at just countless major animation studios all over the world, many independent creators and the actual software company itself regarding my first Storyboard Pro script, I was eager to revise the script with my friend Corey and make it even more useful by extending the simple caption delete script into something with a text input so you could also replace captions across multiple panels (or just do a delete still by leaving the text input empty!) So, after a few false starts and some double checking, the result is already being just as well received as the first script. I hope I can do some more of this work in future, so maybe I’ll see if I can get an old copy of SB Pro at some point (the script engine is an older version of QT Script, so the latest/greatest is probably fine.)

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My First Storyboard Pro Script / Remote Pair Programming

Posted on August 26th, 2018

Filed under: Code — Karl Olson @ 12:50 pm

One side effect of writing and modding for an animation news website back in the day, is that I made some great friends who went on to actually work in the animation, comics or anime/manga industries professionally. One such person is Corey Barnes, an animator/storyboarder/director who has worked on a number of high profile projects in various animation roles including Netflix’s Big Mouth, FX’s Archer, Adult Swim’s China, IL and much, much more.

Last night, he hit me up for programming advice with an issue inside of ToonBoom’s Storyboard Pro, a rather popular piece of software used for the storyboarding process in modern studios. Basically, while it’s easy to copy and paste existing storyboard panels, you’re then left with clearing out anything you didn’t want duplicated by hand, such as captions, unless you’re feeling confident enough with QTScript (a cousin of JavaScript/ECMAScript,) and Storyboard Pro’s API docs to start to automate clean up the specific info you want. Thus I hopped on Skype wtih screenshare, and over the next hour, we worked together, stumbling through the documentation to work out which options and data lived where, towards building this script: TB_Delete_Caption_Text.js on GitHub Gist (Dropbox.)

Now, instead of manually cleaning up each storyboard panel’s captions, you can just select as many panels as you want, pick which captions to clear in that selection, and the script does everything else. I have no idea how much time this might save storyboard artists, but it’s certainly proving popular with storyboarders on Twitter. I hope this is the start of writing more scripts that help animators. I can’t draw, but I certainly can code, and if I can use that skill so software gets out of the way of animators, that seems like a cool way to help with/participate in that industry.

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White Elephant: Ever More Drum n’ Bass

Posted on August 21st, 2018

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 8:47 pm

18 months, 5 drum n’ bass albums, each with 10 songs. Below is the 5th. Technically not my most productive stretch of time (even including the 20 song beat tape, 10 song Nerd(?) Rap/Pop(?) LP and 5 song Chiptune EP,) but I think the quality has been consistent. Give it (and the rest) a listen:

Spotify
Apple
Amazon
Tidal
YouTube

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Nick Arcade Game Board Demo: A 3 hour React sketch.

Posted on August 2nd, 2018

Filed under: Code — Karl Olson @ 1:19 am

Remember Nick Arcade? If so, you might recall the basic game play of the show involved moving a cartoon character, Mikey, around a map, where you might reveal a prize, a trivia question, a game challenge or an event where you lose control to the other team. A friend of mine who streams old shows joked that he wanted to pick shows the same way – randomly as you moved around a map. So, while he streamed recently, I wrote up this very rough draft of the Nick Arcade board, complete with shows. Since it’s a pain to share a JSFiddle otherwise, here it is embedded.

In future, I’ll definitely add a component to populate the show list so it’s not fixed in the component (it is randomly built each load though – navigate around and see which “classic” you might get to watch,) options to load a background graphic, and maybe even an animated Mikey (well, probably not.) Still, I think I have a good basis here, and it’s a fun, small project I can probably handle in the background.

Edit: took an extra half hour the next day to get it a bit more visually polished, look at the fiddle history to see the process in action.

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Dualities and Death Drives: A Very Verbose FLCL Progressive Analysis/Post-Mortem

Posted on July 25th, 2018

Filed under: Reviews — Karl Olson @ 2:04 am

No trend in modern media can likely be said to be more hubristic, more self-serving than the conjoined twins of reboots and belated sequels. In an era where we constantly eschew truly new properties in favor of those that are at least hyper-referential to (if not fresh extensions of) things people had already grown up with, it can almost become frustrating to see the same patterns again and again, especially as the novelty of finally understanding media in some depth wears off. As a veteran media critic, it can feel like you’re left with nitpicking how cleverly a property wrapped the Campbellian Monomyth, or how neatly it fits into one of story circles so beloved of auteurs like Dan Harmon. This makes the few reboots and sequels that outrun just being a soft-retelling or fanservice-laden extension of their progenitor stories while also not losing what made them special, insanely compelling even when technically imperfect. This applies even more so when the original creatives aren’t intimately involved to lend a hand towards keeping the tone and energy. It’s that unusual achievement that brings me to FLCL Progressive, the first of two sequels/spin-offs that are born from FLCL, a high-watermark in anime.

(more…)

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An Ultraklystron self-titled album after, uh, I guess 20 years of releasing music online

Posted on May 6th, 2018

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 11:58 pm

Why yes, I am washed! Why do you ask?

Anyway, slightly more seriously with slightly less pseudo self-deprecation, I’ve released my first Nerdcore(?) Rap(?) LP in over 2 years, and it’s brisk – 10 tracks, 26 minutes, so rather than continuing to talk about it, here’s an embed of my bandcamp, followed by links to all of the other services:

Oh that said, shoutout to CJSF in Vancouver for breaking this album already on the airwaves on their show “The Vancouver Mixtape”! College radio play for life!

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So, my mom just asked me if Facebook is still “safe.”

Posted on April 6th, 2018

Filed under: General — Karl Olson @ 12:38 am

With a lot of caveats, yes, it and other social media sites are safe.

The caveats are it is only safe if you can turn a skeptical eye to every last thing vaguely informational/educational/news-like item that comes across your feed, especially anything advertised to you or anything you feel strongly about, and also if you’re in a position to keep your profile open only to your friends and keep that list of friends very well curated. If you already tend to check on snopes, scientific journals and traditional print media websites for anything that’s shared by your small set of friends or advertised at you, Facebook is no worse than the rest of the internet, or at least no worse than the e-mail forward saturated inboxes older internet users have been dealing with since they got online two decades ago on AOL. If you’re actually some what familiar with statistical best practices like sample sizes and experiment design, and/or have a good sense of journalist best practices, you might even be in a position to help stop the spread of fake information in your circles here. Your friends need you in their feed, often, keeping them informed and honest!

However, as a person who has been online since childhood and thus learned the hard way to always research everything I see online, especially if it seems to good or bad to be true, and as someone whose job involves collecting and analyzing a ton of data directly on behalf of businesses that’s collected by voluntary participation in online research panels, the notion of “safe” is a very complex and fragile one if any of those things above start to fail. If you’re not in a position to be choosy about your friends (at the very least which friends are muted or not,) the odds of having a friend who will pollute your feed with things that are bypassing your natural skepticism are higher, and you’ll buy into lies or even end up being scammed or manipulated subconsciously. Even your real-life, childhood friends, if they’re not skeptical internet users, can end up bypassing your normal vigilance, because you’ll tend to believe them. If your natural skepticism is generally low, this is definitely worse, because bad arguments and fake news are everywhere on social media, and when you don’t have the ability to filter it out for yourself, you will likely to spread it around.

Even if you’re very diligent, the data you share online also makes you and everyone you’re friends with a target for advertising designed to be about the things you all like, or vastly dangerously to yourself and to the society as a whole, the things you all hate both consciously and unconsciously, regardless of whether it’s real or fake. As such, your own skepticism is that much more critical towards safe, rational use of social media. This is to say nothing of how irresponsibly your data may be handled by social media websites and other parties with access to them in other ways, but even the on-label use of Facebook is to keep you reading by any means necessary with basically no ethical sense of how that’s done. It’s just worse when your data is then correlated by third parties to stuff you’re doing off Facebook (always use private mode, never save cookies!)

At it’s worst, Facebook and other social media sites can be malicious gossip distribution machines, carefully trained using everything they know about you to surface the most interesting things to you all the time, regardless of whether those things are real or true, and it’s trivial for people to make ads exactly around that and manipulate you towards their ends if you’re not double checking for secondary sources, and then actively blocking any sources that are pushing garbage, even if they are sometimes friends. If you can’t trust yourself to be super vigilantly skeptical, then no, Facebook is not safe for you, most social media that’s ad-supported and algorithmically sorted is not safe for you, and it’s not safe for the people you’d be on the website with. People, advertisers and the website itself will sink it’s claws into the serotonin centers of your brain to keep you here like an addict if you let them, and will tell you lies to do so if it happens to be what you like to hear, and once it has done so, you’re a vector to accessing your friends.

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Oh yeah wait. Another 1 & 1/2.

Posted on February 15th, 2018

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 7:21 pm

Ultraklystron – No Words Only Feels

&

Ultraklystron – Novelties

So I totally forgot to mention it here, but I did one more Drum n’ Bass LP & a Big Beat EP last year. Somehow I still just about managed to do a track a week on average including collabs As always, I’ve sent things to collaborators too, so seeds have been sown for 2018 as well, so actually, I probably did a bit over a track a week (most of it on the train though.) I really don’t know when I’m getting to my own new music this year (no more train commutes,) so be sure to really enjoy the 2017 stuff:

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A Rather Unexpected Drum n’ Bass Triptych

Posted on November 14th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 10:32 pm

Much to even my own surprise, I had ten more big Drum n’ Bass tracks in me this year, resulting in If You Have To Ask You Will Never Know, my 3rd LP in that genre this year. This time, I actually waited to blog about it until I had it up on some of the major music services, so if you’re more about iTunes, Spotify or Amazon, there you go. It should be up on all major services before too long, so keep an eye on or follow my artist page on your service of choice. The other albums of this sudden trilogy, Lookbook and Emergent Behaviour are also up on the all of the major services or should be there shortly too.

That said, it’s a bit shocking to me that I’ve probably released the most Drum n’ Bass since I was teenager this year. It certainly wasn’t anything I planned. However, it was rather enjoyable to write these records and find themes to encapsulate each one. Further still, my process – working out songs while commuting to and from work – was ultimately a throwback to how I often wrote in my early teenage years. Back then I’d have my headphones and QY70 pocket sequencer as I took the metro bus back home, burning through AA batteries on a black & white LCD screen with no backlight. The gear may have changed along with where I’m commuting, but at the end of the day, it’s about finding a relaxing use for time that’d otherwise be spent moping on public transit. I think I did a pretty good of that at a minimum.

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Neo Yokio is about to get lit…

Posted on September 25th, 2017

Filed under: Music News — Karl Olson @ 10:17 am

Why a tribute to the Netflix X Jaden Smith X Ezra Koenig X Nick Weidenfeld (of Viceland) anime mini-series Neo Yokio? Well, it was a fun watch, and the running Toblerone gag was oddly inspiring. Besides, I’ve released one other Rap track this year, gotta take chances when I’m feeling it. Which hasn’t been often… huh maybe this worked because I certainly had the right melancholic mood for a Neo Yokio tribute 😉

BTW, the actual show is good fun if you don’t overthink it or expect some visual masterpiece. This was done on a relative shoe string for Fox’s ADHD block originally, and could’ve been lost to time if the folks involved didn’t put in a lot of work to get it moved to Netflix. Approach it lightly and it’s a good time.

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