A New Website Layout for Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
April 24, 2010
I've reconstructed the layout for the official "Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet" website.
At the bottom of the webpage, I embeded a 1080P new rendering of the interstitials that inspired the game. The shorts were never showed in HD before. I still had the source files and was able to make a new version. Check it out.
A New HD Master for Prelude to Eden
April 21, 2010
Back in 1995, when I made my short film, Prelude to Eden, there was not much talk about HD. I was happy enough to get the film done on 35mm. I had a NTSC broadcast master made from the 35mm negative and that's all I thought I needed in terms of masters. I never made back-ups of the digital files and forgot all about them.
Now with the advent of HDTV, Bluray and HD web videos, I've been eager to make a new 1080P digital master. When I started to look for the original source files, I realized that they had been long lost. It seemed like my only choice was to create the HD master from the 35mm negative, which meant loosing a generation in the process.
After many enquiries, I was delighted to learn that Cambridge Animation, the company that created the Animo software, had made their own back-ups of the original files on 8mm and 4mm Helical-Scan Data Cartridges, which ended up at the Toonboom office, when Animo was bought out. I contacted Toonboom and the data tapes were sent to me.
I've now had the tapes for a couple of weeks and haven't been able to find anyone who can retrieve the information on them. The tapes were made in 1995 and the technology has changed quite a bit since then. Fortunately, I was able to find the right equipment on eBay and just purchased a drive a few hours ago. Hopefully, I'll be able to make it work and get what's on those tapes. I'll keep you posted!
Flight 6 Nominated for an Eisner Award
April 14, 2010
I just learned that Flight Volume 6 received a nomination for the 2010 Eisner Award in the Best Anthology category.
Being the artist who has contributed the most pages to the yearly anthology - close to 200 pages over a period of seven years - I feel very close to the project. I'd love to see editor Kazu Kibuishi pick up the trophy for all the hard work he's put into the book year after year.
You can see the full list of nominees here. The results will be announced in a gala awards ceremony on the evening of Friday, July 23 at Comic-Con International.
Numar and Rex Reviewed
April 06, 2010
Here are two recent reviews of my books, The Towers of Numar and A Search for Meaning: The Story of Rex, posted on the National Center for the Study of Children's Literature. I always get a bit nervous when reading reviews of my work, but these were nicely favorable, so that made me happy!
Michel Gagne and Fuelcell Games Bring Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet to Xbox Live
March 29, 2010
Seattle, WA, March 2010 – Michel Gagne and Fuelcell Games are pleased to bring their independent video game, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, to Xbox Live® Arcade.
Michel Gagne and Joe Olson, CEO of Fuelcell Games, met in 2007 in Seattle’s Fremont district where they discussed the possibility of bringing feature quality 2d animation to the gaming world in a classic side-scrolling adventure. Shortly after, a production team was assembled and Fuelcell Games was born. Their mission: bring the vision of Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet to life.
“This is one of the most thrilling projects of my career”, said Gagne. “I love working on ITSP with Joe and his team. It amazes me to see how they’re able to expand on my concepts and animations and create such a memorable interactive experience. Simply put, this game is going to rock!”
The Fuelcell team has been busy building a studio infrastructure and quietly working with Gagne on ITSP while exploring partnerships to develop the game. After months of negotiation with several entities, it was decided that Microsoft and Xbox LIVE Arcade was the best possible home for the project.
“The team here at Fuelcell is incredibly excited to be starting production in full force on Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet”, said Olson. “We’ve assembled an extremely talented, dedicated, and passionate group of people around this unique project. The combined forces of our team of game industry veterans, Michel’s unique artistic style and vision, and Microsoft’s expertise in the downloadable game space is sure to make for a lasting impression on 2D gaming.”
“Microsoft is thrilled to have Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet heading to Xbox LIVE Arcade”, said Saxs Persson, Senior Director of Xbox LIVE Arcade. “We look forward to helping Michel and Fuelcell realize their creative vision, and continuing to support independent developers looking to drive innovation on our service.”
Catsuka is the first French television program entirely devoted to animation. Each episode features news, clips, short films, studio spotlights and artist profiles. I was honored to be the featured artist on the just released episode five (segment starts at 5:00). The episodes are in French but each one is filled with enough eye candy to keep your interest even if you can't understand the language.
The Last Two Flights
February 27, 2010
Kazu Kibuishi has announced, "The next couple of years will mark the end of the Flight series. We will be wrapping it all up with Flight Volume Eight."
It breaks my heart to hear this. I saw Flight as a perfect playground for my concepts. I don't have time to be a full time graphic-novelist - I can only do so much in a day. Creating an installment of 40 pages a year is doable. That's why an outlet like Flight was so amazing for me. Also, being part of such a great group has challenged me to become a better artist and storyteller.
Flight 7 will be coming out in July. The work I've seen so far is phenomenal. I applaud Kazu's decision on Volume 7, to have text in every story. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone. I had to figure out a way to integrate prose into the Saga of Rex, which up until now has been completely silent.
All previous volumes are gorgeous and can be ordered on Amazon.com.
Fun Times in Barbados
February 20, 2010
Nancy and I had a great time in Barbados where I was invited to present a workshop at the Paint Me Barbados art festival. We enjoyed being part of the event, as well as meeting and hanging out with some of the other artists, Alcina Nolley, Robert Fionda, and Brian Stewart and his wonderful lady companion, Joanne. The people from the island were nice and the Caribbean Sea and white sand beaches were gorgeous.
My many thanks to Susan Phillips (whose vision made this event possible) and Grace Husbands (a talented singer and a classy lady) for taking care of us. Extra points for the Barbados rum. Hmmm, that stuff was good!
The workshop went well with over thirty attendees in an intimate setting. The class reacted with enthusiasm, making comments and asking questions throughout most of the presentation which lasted over three hours.
Barbados has an amazingly efficient transport system. There are busses at your disposal every couple of minutes and the rate is very reasonable. You can choose between either the larger Transport Board buses, or the smaller privately owned buses or vans.
The ZR vans (pictured on the left) are the most frequent and they were our favorite! The driving is fast and furious and as many people as possible are crammed in. I ended up sitting on somebody's lap a couple of times! It's not for the faint-hearted, that's for sure, but it's a good way to meet the natives and a fast way to get around.