Entries by vrbfw

Arcane: League of Legends and a New Benchmark for Digital Animation

I want to start with a warning. The show you’re reading about is not for everybody. Adult language, drug-use and addiction, intense violence, suicide, murder, insanity. Don’t let the word “animated” fool you into thinking I’m talking about a cartoon. This show can get dark.

I am late to the party for the nine episode Netflix animated series Arcane: League of Legends, but squeezed it in over the holiday and can’t help but share some feelings about it.

A little backstory on the show’s subtitle: in a way, Arcane is an origin story for a large handful of characters from the 2009 Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) video game League of Legends by Riot Games. (It’s worth explaining that this game further popularized a fan-favorite map/mode called “Defense of the Ancients” [or DOTA] for Warcraft III. In it, the general idea of Warcraft – building up and battling two armies of varying strength against each other (called an RTS or Real Time Strategy) – is replaced with taking on the persona of one of a select group of “heroes” in a 5v5 match defending bases. Ten players playing ten heroes in two teams. League of Legends has gone on to inspire a generation of MOBA games and even worked its formula into first person shooters such as Overwatch, Team Fortress 2, and Apex Legends.) You do not need any of this knowledge to enjoy the show, but here’s why I mention it: While I’ve never played the game, I know that in League of Legends you can pick any hero before you jump headlong into battle – and you’ll have a fighting chance of winning. This is because in order to continue their decade (plus) of success, Riot Games has had to achieve expertise in one thing more than anything else – and that is the concept of balance.

And it is this concept that lends a sobering dose of realism to characters steeped in fantasy, magic, and impossible feats. Where many video-

The Angel is in the Details

Of the projects I’ve done over the years, some stand out more than others. I enjoyed my work on Explore and Grow Daycare with a small team at Reagan Marketing + Design. For the audience I think it works well and I generally like it — but the one thing that I love about it more than anything else are these amazing illustrations. The client has different animal mascots correlating to each age group in the daycare center – and an amazing illustrator on staff at Reagan Marketing + Design drew these fantastic animals to put some faces with those age-group levels.  While I can’t take credit for these illustrations, I can take credit for the animation. I came up with the idea of sneaking some very subtle movements into these icons – and animated them myself – to see if anybody would notice the movements.

Thoughts on Episode 8

SPOILERS AHOY. Don’t read this unless you’ve seen the movie. It was good. It bordered on great. Let’s start with what I loved. Failed plans, as a theme. Act to act this movie let the characters fail over and over. It is refreshing to experience in a Star Wars movie, and it also shows what […]

Rogue One, Star Wars Zero

I want to start by saying I loved The Force Awakens, and that it is rife with some of the same things I complain about in Rogue One. The Force Awakens is not a perfect movie, and it obviously imitates other Star Wars movies to a fault… but it is still a good Star Wars movie. […]

Cold Brew Coffee

I did not understand the draw to cold brew coffee until this week, when I put my birthday present to the test. I got a Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker through Amazon from my lovely wife Melissa. I’m about to sell you on this idea. Ready? First, let’s talk cons. It uses an entire 12oz […]

My Uninterrupted Workday is Shorter Than Yours, and that’s OK

I start work at around 9:00am, like most people. But at 3:57pm something happens that disrupts my workday and interrupts the flow of task-completion. Because while there are benefits to working from home… a continuous workday is not one of them. What disrupts me? It is as yellow as a bumble-bee and significantly larger than a […]