#NothingToProve

logo_final_blue_smallOne of the gamer girl comics was put up on the Geek Girls Have #NothingToProve this morning.  This thread is made specifically for those girls out there that love and embrace their inner geek but constantly get challenged on it.  Although it says Geek Girls, this thread can be for anyone that feels like they’re not “geek” enough.  Yes, women often have to put up with more of it, but men can have to deal with it as well.  Any time you find yourself in a situation where you haven’t “read enough comics” or “played the right games” or you’re “not fan enough” or “not hardcore enough” just remember that you absolutely have NOTHING TO PROVE.  You are who you are, and that’s frikken awesome.

You can read Nessa’s run-in with the degrading self-proclaimed kings of the geeks HERE.

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Aloha!

hawaiilogo_final_blue_smallThe girls spent a few days in Maui after TRU’s short stint into motherhood didn’t work out.  They rented condos at a small resort in Lahaina called Noelani.  It’s about thirty condos and has ocean front pools and it’s own little beach.  Secure and tucked away and definitely not a mega-resort.  Each of them have some suggestions for anyone thinking of visiting Maui.

tanooki_blog_portraitTANOOKI – Go snorkeling!  If you have a lot o’ cash you can get on one of the snorkel or scuba tours, but you don’t have to.  Just rent a set from All About Fish for 8 bucks for a day and drive up to Honolua Bay.  There’s an awesome jungle trail to the water with wild chickens.  The water is still and warm and there’s TONS of colorful fish swimming everywhere.  Watch out for urchins though.  Bring booties or flippers.

Oh, and don’t bother with the trip to Turtle Town.  Just stay at Noelani.  Everyday sea turtles come RIGHT up to the shore by the condos.  One night we sat and watched about 50 of them feed off the rocks.  Turtleriffic!

9Key_blog_portrait9KEY – Monkeypod Kitchen.  Best frikken Mai Tai on the planet.  Screw the “sugar-infused-baby-bottle-juice-Mai-Tais-with-a-drop-of-crap-rum-that-you-get-at-all-the-other -places-that-cater-to-the-bland-tastes-of-the-fly-over-states.”  Make the trip to Monkeypod (ignore the sterile décor) for a drink or two then go down the street to South Shore Tiki Lounge for cheap beers and good service.

nessa_blog_portraitNESSA – If it’s your first time to Hawaii, go to a luau.  I know, I know, sounds all touristy, and it is.  But it’s really fun!  We went to the Old Lahaina Luau and got front row seats.  Each table seats six so you might end up with some people you don’t know.  Make friends.  Everyone is there for a good time and good food.  A LOT of good food.  It’s a buffet, be greedy.

The show is beautiful.  The dances tell the history of Hawaii.  It’s filled with beautiful women and hot men that hula their tails off.  The costumes are well made and swapped for each dance.  It’s pure eye-candy.  They don’t spin fire at Old Lahaina however, if you want a more intimate setting, exotic food, and fire go to The Feast at Lele Luau.  Book early though, we missed it by a day.

TRU_blog_portraitTRU – Maui is beautiful.  For such a small island there’s many different environments.  From fields to jungle to volcanos to beaches the landscape will never get dull.  I highly suggest going on a road trip for one of the days you’re there.

Iao Valley is a short drive from the west beaches where most of the resorts are.  Past a small town there is a steep, little trail that heads up to a landing where you can look out over the tropical forest and see the Iao Needle mountain top.  It’s a fantastic site and doesn’t take the entire day to do.

The road to Hana is a much bigger endeavor.  Get up at 6 or 7 in the morning to get on the road if you’re on the west side.  The roads are windy and dangerous, so hiring one of the many drivers to take you isn’t a bad idea, plus you get to see and learn more as you go.  You’ll see giant cliff drop offs, breathtaking waterfalls and hidden coves.  It’s the full experience of Maui if you have the time and the will.

eve_blog_portraitEVE – There is just a ton of fun activities to do in Hawaii.  If you’re a big surfer, go to Oahu instead of Maui.  If you’re in Maui and you want some ocean speed go to the North Shore and try your hand at wind-surfing.  The ocean is a bit choppy but there’s plenty of gusts that will keep you standing.  Paia is the little town close to the better wind-surfing spots.  It’s…strange.  It’s feels like someone scooped up a couple streets from Portland or Venice Beach and dropped them onto a little island in the Pacific.  There’s hippies on every corner trying to sell you crap paintings and playing wind flutes as you walk by.  Ignore them and head to Momma’s Fish house for a bite, then get yourself on the water.

If wind-surfing isn’t your thing there’s also boogey boarding, parasailing, small wave surfing, paddle-boarding, and tons of zip-lining.  Pick one and be adventurous!  Don’t just sit next to the pool all day *cough* NESSA *cough*.

9Key Painting Breakdown

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Hello GGP fans.  I’ve been asked by a few people for a progression breakdown of one of my digital paintings.  So I decided to go ahead and do it.  This particular piece is for the eventual redesign of the website.  Each girl will have their own full-body pinup representing something they love.  For this one, I chose 9Key showing off her graffiti skills.

progressionI always start with pose studies.  I generally have a good idea of the position I want but I still scribble a handful of gesture poses to get the perfect one.  It’s incredibly important not to just jump right in doing detail work or I’ll lose sight of the overall composition.  That may have been the hardest lesson I learned when I first started taking art seriously as a career.  “General to specific, don’t rush into the details.”  That goes for 3D modeling, traditional painting, game building and so on.

p1I picked the gesture I liked and created my line work around it.  This is where I spend a lot of my time getting things right.  I’m especially picky about expressions.  A raised eyebrow or a pouted lip can really change the feeling of an entire piece.

I used the default Photoshop brush with pressure sensitivity and a flat black color.  My gesture process is always quick and messy.  The movement and natural state of the pose is the main goal at this point.  Once I’m happy with the line work I joyously move on to the color.

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Flat color comes next.  Hopefully I’ve done my job right, and I now have nice lines to follow.  How fast this step goes greatly depends on the painting.  Each Gamer Girl has her own specific color palette which helps it go quickly.  Often times I can spend hours tweaking the hue slider before I’m happy, so it’s a nice relief to have the colors already chosen.  Each girl also has a different “favorite” color assigned to them which I use as the dominant color in each piece.  9Key’s is green, so I chose a simple green background for now.

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Next comes the fun part.  For this piece, I switched to a hard, round brush with a slightly transparent falloff.  I set the Opacity and Flow to about 50% so I can layer and blend the colors easily.  I like the hard edge look of this type of brush as opposed to the overly gradient blurring of the soft, round brushes.  I painted only the shadows at this point. I also increased 9Key’s size a bit to help her fill up the canvas.  Using the same brush with lower Opacity and Flow (about 30%) I added the green spray paint with a many layered pass of small circles.

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Next came the background and highlights.  I weeded through my folder filled with tillable brick textures, some I made myself and others I collected, and chose one I liked.  I scaled it behind her and ran a dry brush filter over it to wipe out some of the detail.  I placed a flat grey tone on the ground and added a noise filter for the concrete.  I then darkened the edges of the background and added a green overlay.  The concrete looked too clean so I washed the ground with paint.  (Apparently, 9Key is a messy graffiti artist.)

p5For this next step, I added 9Key’s tag behind her.  I created it to echo her stance and body positioning.  I increased her size again and moved her over to the right while pulling one of the cans into view since it got lost off the canvas.  I also shrunk her feet slightly.  Usually I don’t care as much about the main focus covering parts of the background, but in this case when I kept her in the middle it became hard to understand that the tag was conveying “9Key” without seeing the entire thing.  I also felt the piece was too green so I shifted the background to a warmer red color.

The last pass was all the final bits and details.  I added some additional graffiti to help her tag blend into the background.  The green was still too prevailent and I felt like 9Key herself wasn’t popping from the wall enough.  I used the color balance to eliminate some of the green from 9Key’s skin.  This greatly helped her stand out. I combed over the piece tweaking little things and cleaning up mistakes.  For the final touch I placed gamergirlpinups.com at the bottom and called it finished.

The entire piece took about 5 hours.  It was very fun to do and I’m excited to move on to the rest of the group.

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Xbox One Revealed

logo_final_blue_smallYesterday, Microsoft revealed their new console the Xbox One.  In the last 24 hour period we’ve heard a whole lot of bitching going on from the “hardcore” gamer world. So, here’s a few words for those unhappy controller-hogs out there…

“You’re going to buy it anyway! And Microsoft knows that!”

Microsoft did exactly what they needed to do in order to make the Xbox One the most important part of the living room.  They focused on simple interaction and usability, broadcast television, sport integration, and Xbox original content.  That’s what catches the attention of the rest of the world.

There’s plenty for us gamers as well.  There’s Smart Match so we don’t have to waste her time with badly matched opponents, in-game recording for to show off sick headshots, a revamped way of tracking achievements, better graphics, more power, better motion tracking, better voice recognition, game connection to secondary apps, and more.  We all are the most excited about how easy it is to jump in and out of a game, which comes in handy in a house with five avid gamers and only one “big” tv.

So stop your whining!  There’s plenty for everyone!  And the more Microsoft can sell to the non-lifestyle gamer world, the more money they’ll have to make us awesome new IPs and improved sequels to the ones we already love.

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