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Joseph Warren (Alex)
Artist | Student | Film & Animation
United States
Im A College Student and wish to create my first animated film upon graduation.

To see my animation refs, TV inspired content, & Other stuff, check out my other account

vcsstudies.deviantart.com/

More stuff coming soon.
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(SPOILERS)

Well, it's over. The Finale has come to pass. It was glorious, as one would expect, but I thought I'd write up a little editorial of my thoughts on the series as a whole. How it got started, how it ended, & where it should go from here. Now as I stated, there will be spoilers, so if you have not seen it yet, go forth & return proudly aware. With that said, here we go.

I'll be honest, I didn't see the first season of LOK when it first came out. My sister did, but this was back when it was on that weird, Saturday morning time slot. This was before SMC's were officially declared DEAD in America, but it was quite clear they were on their way out. Despite the odd time slot though, it was still a hit, giving the producers the chance to write up 3 additional seasons. I got caught up just weeks before the season 2 premiere so I could stay current. I was a huge fan of the original show, The Last Airbender (NOT THE FILM), and I was equally satisfied with this installment. Though, even then I knew that the creators of the show weren't prepared to make 4 seasons & Fifty-some episodes. I felt that Season 1 was sort of it's own unique thing, as it seemed to have wrapped everything up quite nicely in it's own right. But from a cannon perspective, it seemed to have future flaws ready to come out.

Those predictions materialized in Season 2, which released on the usual primetime slot, 8:00 PM CST, the following year. We got some great new characters, Varrick, Zhu-li, etc. But we also had some plot errors, some minor missteps. These included things like Korra's character not seeming to have evolved since the last time we saw her, the apparent divide between this season & the last, & the love triangle kinda sorta being revived. Didn't really care for that in Season 1, truth be told. Honestly. I think Korra & Bolin would have been a great couple. But that's just me. And finally, the villain was kind of boring to me. A problem that was quickly resolved I later seasons, however. But still, we had some great moments, like getting to meet the first Avatar, hearing both of my favorite voice actors (Jim Cummings & Jeff Bennett) give some good additional voices, & that Kick Ass Spirit Jaeger fight at the end. Over all though, kind of a hit/ miss.

Season 3 started off very much like season 2. So far, each villain had only 1 goal, kill the Avatar. At first, I thought this was just the result of, well what else are they going to do? But as time went on, it became clear that was the point. This new villain wanted to kill the Avatar because he wanted to have complete freedom, no government. & the Avatar was a spiritually chosen alpha to control all of humanity, benders or not. So to gain complete freedom, he need to squash the supremacy. He needed to kill the Avatar. But that's not all, in a genuinely gruesome & creepy scene, he executes the earth queen, sort of this Kim Jong Il type character, by bending the air out of her. So he was an equal opportunistic anarchist. Always ready to take advantage of each chance he got. Top it off with a beautifully animated season finale, & you got yourself a tightly written, animated, & interesting season with an ending that will leave you crying, & begging for more.

But trouble was brewing on the horizon. & it showed us it's ugly, porous, absorbent head in the middle of LOK's run. Just a third of the way into season 3's run, Nick clipped it from TV & made it online exclusive, to the chagrin of a few people, though I personally don't care either way, just as long as I can see it. As a result of this, season 4's run was entirely online. I saw each episode, and was loving it. Though I will admit, despite this having some of the best in the show's run, I couldn't help but feel that a few moments were kind of rushed. It wasn't until Remembrances was released that I figured out why. Nick has apparently fucked these talented guys over so hard that they were forced to waste valuable time that could have been used for character development/ tying loose ends on a FUCKING CLIP SHOW. Hey, if you want to do a recap of your show, fine. But at least in the 1st season, they took a funny/ creative approach with the Ember Island Players. Granted, the episode was handled well for something like this, & like I said it's not the creator's/ writer's fault this happened, but MAN this could have been the gem out of all of the seasons, were it not for 1 imperfection.

Season four had a lot of WWII leaning in it, & as a person who barely passed yet enjoyed WWII class in High School, I was digging this. & as a life long Godzilla fan, I was digging the Atomic Bomb references involved with that spirit weapon. I smelt it from the very moment I saw a vine in that Oxygen-Destroyer type tube (SEE GOJIRA [1954] TO GET MY MEANING). Also, Kuvira, big shock, was the best villain in the series by far. Zelda William's performance was top notch. She could really capture how it felt to be both genuine, & threatening all at once. Another thing one may notice is that a lot of the best characters on this show were women & girls. I'm digging that. I like to write great female leads too, but I don't create them because I feel like there needs to be more female leads. I create these characters because I WANT to see these characters as leads. I got that vibe here in this last season yes, but really the franchise as a whole. It doesn't feel like these characters are out to prove that women are as tough, if not tougher than men, being radical or all that stuff. It just feels like these were characters being themselves. Even in the most extreme moments like operating a GIANT JAEGER with a NUKE GUN on it's arm, it felt like these CHARACTERS, not these ARCHETYPES, are doing what they genuinely do as individuals. Yet another thing to love about the show. It's characters are diverse, but they don't shove in your face HOW diverse they are. See what I mean? 

Then there is the ending. I didn't expect that it would be Varrick & Zhu-Li who got the big wedding scene at the end. But I LOVED It. I knew they were gonna get together by the end, even from the start of season 4, but I just didn't know how they would "do the thing". See what I did there? Their romance in those last few moments was really something. Funny, action packed, & sweet. My kind of romance. I'll be honest though, I was expecting Korra to get back together with Mako. And they hinted at that a little bit with the line, "I will follow you into battle any day. I got your back" (Mako), and Korra giving him a smile, like "aw, you're so sweet. Take me". But the ending everyone REALLY talked about was between Korra & Asami. & their little moment in the spirit portal. Let me address the elephant-rhino in the room. I'm not expecting it to turn out that they might be lesbians. But if it is true in the end, neither will I be shocked, nor against it. I personally feel that such things are going to need to be addressed in children's shows. I mean after all, Adventure time did an episode on the battle between Science & Magic (note the religious symbolism). But there are some who might say that LOK has a few other things in common with AT, & I'm not sure I can agree. For one thing, we know that Korra & Asami are attracted to guys. Namely Mako. so obviously they aren't full blown homosexual. And if you're like me in believing homosexuality is NOT a choice, you may see how there could be some problems here. But incase standards & practices change in the near future, I am willing to give Brian & Michael the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it turns out they were Bi, & just didn't know it. But again, it may not be the best time for this kind of thing to be getting out into the main stream. After all, we are living in an age where it seems anybody can get offended by anything. You drop a toothpick on the ground somewhere, & suddenly you're a misogynist. It would be controversial, yes. I'd give it a pass either way. I personally don't see a problem in it, especially in an age where homosexuality is becoming more & more of a thing people are aware of. So I think in the future it will be healthy to see small amounts of it in kids media, just because they are going to go into the world aware that it is a thing one way or another. & I'd rather have my kids knowing about the world as it is, and what it could be with their future contributions to society, rather than what the censors, the black bars, & the 1 KHTZ bleep wants them to think it is. I didn't really want to go into that much detail, but I felt if I didn't explain it in full, people might get the wrong idea.

But now, what's the future of the franchise. Well, I want to see more of this world, but I fear what a sequel would be like. Because if things keep going the way they are, I have a sinking feeling the next avatar will be a backwards hat wearing earthbender playing the 100 year war on the SNES while listening to Vanilla Ice. If that were to happen, I'd be interested, but cautious... Agh, what am I kidding? and 80's/ 90's Avatar would be Awesome! But that's under the assumption that the next one is even coming, let alone moving forward in the timeline. Truth be told, I don't really know where they might go from here. I've heard the creators got picked up for work a DreamWorks possibly, but I can neither confirm nor deny. All I can say is time will tell.

Overall, LOK had it's pitfalls, sure. & you can't blame every single flaw on Nick. But it was still a fantastic ride all in the same. It took the world created in 2004 that I loved as a kid, & expanded it into new heights & fronts unlike anything ever seen in a kids show. There aren't many shows on TV for kids like this anymore, & by God does that need to change. & if Nick won't do it because it might hurt the eternal reign of SpongeBob, that's fine. There are other studio who are more than willing to experiment. & with Korra to look up to, I see a promising future for family television. Great action, great animation, great voice acting, great writing, great artistry... It's just great. I've gone on about it long enough, can't wait for what's coming next.

& just remember. In the world of TV, it's the yellow ones that refuse to die.
 

Journal History

Activity


(SPOILERS)

Well, it's over. The Finale has come to pass. It was glorious, as one would expect, but I thought I'd write up a little editorial of my thoughts on the series as a whole. How it got started, how it ended, & where it should go from here. Now as I stated, there will be spoilers, so if you have not seen it yet, go forth & return proudly aware. With that said, here we go.

I'll be honest, I didn't see the first season of LOK when it first came out. My sister did, but this was back when it was on that weird, Saturday morning time slot. This was before SMC's were officially declared DEAD in America, but it was quite clear they were on their way out. Despite the odd time slot though, it was still a hit, giving the producers the chance to write up 3 additional seasons. I got caught up just weeks before the season 2 premiere so I could stay current. I was a huge fan of the original show, The Last Airbender (NOT THE FILM), and I was equally satisfied with this installment. Though, even then I knew that the creators of the show weren't prepared to make 4 seasons & Fifty-some episodes. I felt that Season 1 was sort of it's own unique thing, as it seemed to have wrapped everything up quite nicely in it's own right. But from a cannon perspective, it seemed to have future flaws ready to come out.

Those predictions materialized in Season 2, which released on the usual primetime slot, 8:00 PM CST, the following year. We got some great new characters, Varrick, Zhu-li, etc. But we also had some plot errors, some minor missteps. These included things like Korra's character not seeming to have evolved since the last time we saw her, the apparent divide between this season & the last, & the love triangle kinda sorta being revived. Didn't really care for that in Season 1, truth be told. Honestly. I think Korra & Bolin would have been a great couple. But that's just me. And finally, the villain was kind of boring to me. A problem that was quickly resolved I later seasons, however. But still, we had some great moments, like getting to meet the first Avatar, hearing both of my favorite voice actors (Jim Cummings & Jeff Bennett) give some good additional voices, & that Kick Ass Spirit Jaeger fight at the end. Over all though, kind of a hit/ miss.

Season 3 started off very much like season 2. So far, each villain had only 1 goal, kill the Avatar. At first, I thought this was just the result of, well what else are they going to do? But as time went on, it became clear that was the point. This new villain wanted to kill the Avatar because he wanted to have complete freedom, no government. & the Avatar was a spiritually chosen alpha to control all of humanity, benders or not. So to gain complete freedom, he need to squash the supremacy. He needed to kill the Avatar. But that's not all, in a genuinely gruesome & creepy scene, he executes the earth queen, sort of this Kim Jong Il type character, by bending the air out of her. So he was an equal opportunistic anarchist. Always ready to take advantage of each chance he got. Top it off with a beautifully animated season finale, & you got yourself a tightly written, animated, & interesting season with an ending that will leave you crying, & begging for more.

But trouble was brewing on the horizon. & it showed us it's ugly, porous, absorbent head in the middle of LOK's run. Just a third of the way into season 3's run, Nick clipped it from TV & made it online exclusive, to the chagrin of a few people, though I personally don't care either way, just as long as I can see it. As a result of this, season 4's run was entirely online. I saw each episode, and was loving it. Though I will admit, despite this having some of the best in the show's run, I couldn't help but feel that a few moments were kind of rushed. It wasn't until Remembrances was released that I figured out why. Nick has apparently fucked these talented guys over so hard that they were forced to waste valuable time that could have been used for character development/ tying loose ends on a FUCKING CLIP SHOW. Hey, if you want to do a recap of your show, fine. But at least in the 1st season, they took a funny/ creative approach with the Ember Island Players. Granted, the episode was handled well for something like this, & like I said it's not the creator's/ writer's fault this happened, but MAN this could have been the gem out of all of the seasons, were it not for 1 imperfection.

Season four had a lot of WWII leaning in it, & as a person who barely passed yet enjoyed WWII class in High School, I was digging this. & as a life long Godzilla fan, I was digging the Atomic Bomb references involved with that spirit weapon. I smelt it from the very moment I saw a vine in that Oxygen-Destroyer type tube (SEE GOJIRA [1954] TO GET MY MEANING). Also, Kuvira, big shock, was the best villain in the series by far. Zelda William's performance was top notch. She could really capture how it felt to be both genuine, & threatening all at once. Another thing one may notice is that a lot of the best characters on this show were women & girls. I'm digging that. I like to write great female leads too, but I don't create them because I feel like there needs to be more female leads. I create these characters because I WANT to see these characters as leads. I got that vibe here in this last season yes, but really the franchise as a whole. It doesn't feel like these characters are out to prove that women are as tough, if not tougher than men, being radical or all that stuff. It just feels like these were characters being themselves. Even in the most extreme moments like operating a GIANT JAEGER with a NUKE GUN on it's arm, it felt like these CHARACTERS, not these ARCHETYPES, are doing what they genuinely do as individuals. Yet another thing to love about the show. It's characters are diverse, but they don't shove in your face HOW diverse they are. See what I mean? 

Then there is the ending. I didn't expect that it would be Varrick & Zhu-Li who got the big wedding scene at the end. But I LOVED It. I knew they were gonna get together by the end, even from the start of season 4, but I just didn't know how they would "do the thing". See what I did there? Their romance in those last few moments was really something. Funny, action packed, & sweet. My kind of romance. I'll be honest though, I was expecting Korra to get back together with Mako. And they hinted at that a little bit with the line, "I will follow you into battle any day. I got your back" (Mako), and Korra giving him a smile, like "aw, you're so sweet. Take me". But the ending everyone REALLY talked about was between Korra & Asami. & their little moment in the spirit portal. Let me address the elephant-rhino in the room. I'm not expecting it to turn out that they might be lesbians. But if it is true in the end, neither will I be shocked, nor against it. I personally feel that such things are going to need to be addressed in children's shows. I mean after all, Adventure time did an episode on the battle between Science & Magic (note the religious symbolism). But there are some who might say that LOK has a few other things in common with AT, & I'm not sure I can agree. For one thing, we know that Korra & Asami are attracted to guys. Namely Mako. so obviously they aren't full blown homosexual. And if you're like me in believing homosexuality is NOT a choice, you may see how there could be some problems here. But incase standards & practices change in the near future, I am willing to give Brian & Michael the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it turns out they were Bi, & just didn't know it. But again, it may not be the best time for this kind of thing to be getting out into the main stream. After all, we are living in an age where it seems anybody can get offended by anything. You drop a toothpick on the ground somewhere, & suddenly you're a misogynist. It would be controversial, yes. I'd give it a pass either way. I personally don't see a problem in it, especially in an age where homosexuality is becoming more & more of a thing people are aware of. So I think in the future it will be healthy to see small amounts of it in kids media, just because they are going to go into the world aware that it is a thing one way or another. & I'd rather have my kids knowing about the world as it is, and what it could be with their future contributions to society, rather than what the censors, the black bars, & the 1 KHTZ bleep wants them to think it is. I didn't really want to go into that much detail, but I felt if I didn't explain it in full, people might get the wrong idea.

But now, what's the future of the franchise. Well, I want to see more of this world, but I fear what a sequel would be like. Because if things keep going the way they are, I have a sinking feeling the next avatar will be a backwards hat wearing earthbender playing the 100 year war on the SNES while listening to Vanilla Ice. If that were to happen, I'd be interested, but cautious... Agh, what am I kidding? and 80's/ 90's Avatar would be Awesome! But that's under the assumption that the next one is even coming, let alone moving forward in the timeline. Truth be told, I don't really know where they might go from here. I've heard the creators got picked up for work a DreamWorks possibly, but I can neither confirm nor deny. All I can say is time will tell.

Overall, LOK had it's pitfalls, sure. & you can't blame every single flaw on Nick. But it was still a fantastic ride all in the same. It took the world created in 2004 that I loved as a kid, & expanded it into new heights & fronts unlike anything ever seen in a kids show. There aren't many shows on TV for kids like this anymore, & by God does that need to change. & if Nick won't do it because it might hurt the eternal reign of SpongeBob, that's fine. There are other studio who are more than willing to experiment. & with Korra to look up to, I see a promising future for family television. Great action, great animation, great voice acting, great writing, great artistry... It's just great. I've gone on about it long enough, can't wait for what's coming next.

& just remember. In the world of TV, it's the yellow ones that refuse to die.
 
Tarkaria: Shanjrah The Dame of Agrogeria by vcubestudios
Tarkaria: Shanjrah The Dame of Agrogeria
Ah, I love it when a good piece comes together.

Dames & Shield maidens are roles in Tarkarian Armies inspired by the exceptionally rare instances in history that women took part in medieval combat. Though not as large & strong as men, they proved thousands of years before Tarkaria's founding that they were exceptional strategists & were able to, quite well, master various forms of martial arts. As a result of this, Hyperboreans & Hypabeiatans adopted the practice very early on in their histories. The differences being that Elfish female knights were called Dames, & Dwarfish knights were called Shield maidens.

Shanjrah (Shan - H - Rah) is a soldier born in Hyperborea's capitol 46 years before the 1st Tarkin War. But while also being a soldier, she was also a Corporal Prophet (a fancy title for Genetic Engineer). Before the outbreak of war, Hyperborea was trying to solve another problem looming on the Horizon. You see, 3 times in Tarkaria's history since it's foundation, there were instances in which Saxon's Wyverns, the largest of all Wyverns, were overpopulating & taking over many local environments. The first of these instances was actually cause for a grand war between them & the Wyverns. But they knew that modern weaponry & overhunting would only get them so far. What we needed was a biological ally. Another animal that could fight back against this potential new danger. But what would that be?

Shanjrah breed, cared & nurtured this new beast for a while, but the call to war broke out all across Tarkaria, & she was sent off to battle. When she returned, battered & bruised, she bored the sorrow of her progeny being lost. She had even been told it was dead. She refused to believe it, but after a while, she had come to that conclusion. For the next 100 years, the threat of this Wyvern crisis was high, but before the war was declared, she had received wind that something lurked in the caves of MT Drachen.


What was waiting for her there? Find out soon. 
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Spinosaurus Walk Cycle 2.0 by vcubestudios
Spinosaurus Walk Cycle 2.0
I whipped this up as a means of demonstrating how important my watchers & commenters are to me & my work. After I did the first walk, a few people pointed out to me the unlikelihood of Spinosaurus being a quadruped. & after doing the research into the matter further, I too began to question my initial assertion.

In a matter of protecting artistic integrity, I craft these animation models of Dinosaurs & other prehistoric animals out of, or based on skeletons/ reconstructions made by others, in an effort to maintain the, admittedly narrow, accuracy of the animals I animate. As I stated before, the last animation was based on both a skull, & a statue of the 2014 reconstruction outside the Nat Geo museum, if I'm correct. For this one however, I decided to use this image as a ref.

phenomena.nationalgeographic.c…

Though I did lengthen the legs just as it was pointed out by Scott Hartman.

At any rate, whether Spinosaurus was a biped or a quadruped, my hope is that if I've accomplished anything, it's that I'd like to demonstrate the power of constructive criticism. Indeed without it, I would mostly stagger at an unwelcome place, and my work would grow ever stale & unworthy of view. & it's with no shame of mine that I thank you all for your gift of support & interaction. Keep commenting & analyzing. It's the only way I'll get better.
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Tarkaria: The Asharam Race (Ornithosapians) by vcubestudios
Tarkaria: The Asharam Race (Ornithosapians)
Another bizzare entry from the vault.

These creatures were a kind of ornithosapian (dinosauroid) that lived in the middle east 2 million years ago. Very stone cold & traditionalistic, they and their culture managed to survive on the surface world up until Homo Erectus appeared. It's believed their family descends from another group that colonized the Indian ocean, then making their way up the Gulf of Arabia some 2.9 MYA. These individuals are desert survivors, and have eccentric ways of combating both overheating, & heat loss. Their unusual hats are used as a means of cooling the head & neck by carrying a constant water supply on their heads at all times. & it also acts as a great method of keeping hydrated.
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Spinosaurus 2014 Walk Cycle by vcubestudios
Spinosaurus 2014 Walk Cycle
So, ladies & gentleman, may I present to you.... you sitting? Spinosaurus Aegyptiacus. A predator whom faded into obscurity, despite starring in the most successful Dinosaur movie franchises of all time. That's right, he was in The land before time...... didn't expect that one, did ya?

Ok, so I sat down & watched the NOVA episode on their website, if you haven't yet you should BTW, & I wanted to do this. Not to mention I have a Spinosaurus animation in my gallery, but it's based on old interpretations of the beasty. So, I felt only the need to get w/ the times.

Before I did the walk cycle, I also did a swimming animation loop, and that's what this model worked best for. That, and walking bipedally. But when I did the actual walk cycle, it just didn't look right. Now I based my model on restorations of the actual skeleton, a statue outside the NAT GEO museum in D.C., & a picture of the skull on the Wikipedia page. Putting it all together, though not 100%, it's pretty damn near accurate. & it forced me to rework the model, & get it on all fours. It's because of this animation that I am fully convinced this guy was a quadruped. Now, having said all that, if I could make a change, I'd have his hands either facing forward & his palms contacting the ground, or have the fingers curved to better get across the knuckle walking. But for what it is, it kinda looks like how an anteater walks. So, as of now I see no reason to enforce the change.

So there you go. Hope ya like it. I'm beginning to notice people like my creatures & dinosaurs more than my other stuff. Maybe I gotta do something about that.... Nah, I'll just keep at it. Anyway, that's about it. Take care.

~Alex
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