Spectrum – new video art w Shasta Wonder

Spectrum is video art created with model Shasta Wonder in Los Angeles, Feb 2017.  Filmed on my Fuji X-T2 and edited in Adobe After Effects.

Help support weird animations and short films like this at our Patreon! http://www.patreon.com/davidmiller


Making Motion Comics – Udemy Course

Welcome to the world of Motion Comics!  Course is on Udemy here!

This is a specialized form of animation using portions of original artwork to animate a story rather than individual drawings for each frame or cgi characters.  By animating in this style, we are able to keep the aesthetic of individually drawn panels with complicated foregrounds and backgrounds; we are able to make our comics into films.

Besides adding movement to our drawings, we’ll be able to create talking head characters that can be animated through your very own webcam- “live” animation using Adobe Character Animator!


This class uses animation techniques in Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and a sub-program of After Effects called Character Animator, so you’ll need access to those to start with.  We’ll cover the basics of each program so if this is your first time animating, this class is for you!

For my demo, I chose to use public domain Golden Age comics, so I’ll show you how to break apart and clean up the artwork from these scans.  If you need artwork, feel free to follow my example, or use your own illustrations.

Some expectations:

This class is designed to work with flat, comic book-style illustrations.

This class is not for people who are more interested in fully rendered, realistic animation in the vein of Pixar.

Also, we are focused on the technique and not on a final, fully completed 30 minute film with sound and voices. The final stories and editing are so unique project-to-project that I have chose to focus on these animation methods.

See you in class!

Adobe Illustrator Speed Draw #2: Catwoman + Pose Tool

Welcome to another Adobe Illustrator Speed Draw, this time going for DC’s femme fatale Catwoman!  Selina is not just one of my favorite Batman cast members or DC characters but one of my favorite fictional characters anywhere.  And although I’m happy to draw ridiculous versions of the male Batman villains, when it comes to drawing women I feel like I need to work from some reference as to not fall into the trap of bizarre, anatomically incorrect proportions on women.  For this speed draw I show you Pose Tool, an app on my iPhone that I use to pose a generic mannequin in exactly the pose I want to illustrate.  From there we get into the vector art fun of Illustrator!

Help support videos like these and check out my exclusive model shoot images at Patreon http://www.patreon.com/davidmiller

Also check out more in-depth tutorials at http://www.skillshare.com/r/davidmiller

Creative Working Habits

I love hearing on podcasts or in person how other artists work, so I decided to write up my work schedule and put it out in case anyone else had interest.
Maggie (30 of 31)
Some set up: I have 2 kids, 9 and 10, who are in 4th and 5th grades. Currently they are on a fall break but generally you can expect them to be out of the house 830am-3pm most days. I also work 19 hours at an art gallery in my local City Hall.
The creative week begins Sunday when I typically go to my photo studio around 8 am and film myself for YouTube, Skillshare/ Udemy tutorials, Patreon videos etc. One filming session is around a month’s worth of content. If my wife takes my kids to hang out with their cousins, I have the rest of Sunday to edit; otherwise I do stuff with the family the rest of the day, but film b-roll on my phone or shoot stock images if we go somewhere interesting.
Sunday night I write up a to-do list for the rest of the week, with “big goals” and “small goals” and parsing out even the tiny steps like “go make copies” or whatever. This is the only way I get anything done.
What I am working on changes, but in any given week I may need to film + edit + market tutorials/ YouTube content/ my own video art pieces, do beta testing for Adobe, try to wrestle up some freelance stuff, sell old work on Ebay or wherever, put music and images and footage into Shutterstock and Pond5, write blogs about all of these.
I also need to make new work- new music, new illustrations and animations and photo shoots for personal stuff. I really only schedule “make new work” when it involves other people, like filming for a short or a model shoot; otherwise, I do it randomly and pretty much on a daily basis. A lot of my music is done sitting in a car waiting or laying in bed, illustrations for animations done while watching tv at night w the kids.
6 out of 7 days is powered by either coffee or energy drinks, with a nap in the afternoon. I give myself 1 random day to not get caffeinated and don’t expect to do much art.
Monday and Tuesday I am super aggressive in meeting the needs of the list. I put in around 12 hours of editing/ creating/ marketing. By Wednesday, I need to get out and go to a museum or something else fun. Thursday, back to 12 hours, Friday is “anything goes” day where I just do creative things and forget about business/ marketing. Saturday is usually the full day off.
In total I spend about 65 hours a week doing artist stuff, a lot of that is done at my art gallery job (where I am writing this post before I edit another tutorial), as well as whatever I can do on mobile while out with my family.
Unless there is an immediate deadline, I usually spend only 2 to 3 hours focused on a particular project. For example, a short film project will have about 2 hours of sound editing done on it before I put it aside for the day/ week. This is a “chip away” philosophy that helps me not get bored or frustrated.
I also have to change my location- creating at home is the worst and most distracting, but if I’m at my gallery job, a library, my studio, a coffee shop, even a McDonald’s with headphones on- shit gets done.
The general creative output, per month:
4-5 pieces of music
20 content-type videos (YouTube, Skillshare/ Udemy, Patreon)
2 freelance gigs
2 pieces of video art/ short films
Part of the strategy of creating so much stuff is that I can recycle material in other forms – something I did for a YouTube video can be repurposed as a tutorial for a pay site, or music I made 15 years ago finds new life in a video art piece. There’s a constant strip mining and recycling of work.
Everyone’s creative week is unique to them, but I think an artist of any kind needs to have it be a constant, ongoing thing- you cannot just work on your creativity on weekends, or every so often. Even within family time, dog walking time, working out at the gym- there’s ways to work in creativity even if it’s just sketching or going to museum or getting inspired at a movie or letting your mind drift.  

Preview of October model sets on Patreon!


Coming in October on my Patreon!

..photosets with Glass Olive (18+), Maryjane Mclain, Lillie Monster (18+), and Lux Tango/ Lacheln
…video art piece with Ana Corbi
…the rest of my Learning Lightroom tutorial series, and the start of my Adobe Illustrator Shading/ Depth series
…plenty of Halloween-themed material from my Scream Queens series..
 $1 pledge to access the PG posts, $5 for 18+ photosets, $10 for videos and tutorials!
My Patreon is now several months deep in model sets and programmed through January, so if you’re on the fence about supporting a creator because you think they’ll flake on content- this one is chock full and will remain regularly updated with no breaks!

Learn Shading and Depth in Adobe Illustrator – A Skillshare Class

New on my Skillshare channel!

adobe illustrator coverLearn Shading and Depth in Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator is an amazing design program that can execute resizable vector graphics with ease, but many designers find themselves heading over to Photoshop for shading and adding atmospheric depth to their works.  This course focuses on the unique set of tools within Illustrator to give the impression of a three dimensional space, make your characters pop off of their backgrounds, and breathe a new life into the flat vector look.

Premium sign up with 2 free months of Skillshare is here, but a free link to just this course is here!

DIY Soundtracks With Splice Sounds + Garageband iOS

Garageband iOS is the recording studio in my pocket at all times, and with both the internal instruments and sampled sounds I’m able to create entire soundtracks that sound like full live bands.  The main source of my samples is a service/ app called Splice, which aggregates producer packs from cutting edge electronica to live jazz, world music and classical sounds.  In this video I talk you through my process of using Splice to source my individual music samples, then I show you how I’m able to construct my Garageband iOS tracks and play along with the samples to make fully finalized soundtracks for my short films and animations.