Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Be you a match made in heaven, the fifth dimension, human and half fey or just plain strange - we hope you enjoy your Valentine's Day! Have a treat, prepared by Mel Bontrager, featuring our own odd-couple, Rune and Inari!

More updates on the horizon for the film.Thanks everyone!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Black History Month

Happy February everyone and Happy Black History Month! One of the things we will be doing this year will be taking note of specific holidays and months and celebrations with pieces of art. Unfortunately we missed New Years and Martin Luther King day so we're kicking it off with Black History Month. As a minority African-American creator this is obviously quite important to me. On a personal note I have to say that I did not create ARMSmasters as a piece specifically meant to target 'urban markets' or a specific race or culture but rather something that was an expression of my love for a particular genre and style of storytelling. My personal approach is 'characters and people first' more so then making a character just a specific race out of a sense of obligation or 'target'. Riot is visually 'Caucasian' because I felt that fit the visual I wanted to exude - but I would be remiss to not acknowledge the need for more characters in both lead and supporting roles that minority races of all color can visually identify with and that also speak positive messages about the cultures they represent and are also capable of standing besides more 'mainstream' characters and being equally recognized along with their creators. The Legend of Korra absolutely thrills me with its lead, female, minority character of color. Young Justice was fantastic. The most competent, one of the most popular and one of the most powerful lead characters - indeed -the- leader of the team for a portion of time, Aqualad, was ostensibly 'african' in features (though Atlantean in origin.) and there are more and there needs to be more.

Tyr is own of my own personal expressions of this. As a character Tyr actually predates any of the other ARMSmasters characters by quite abit of time with the -possible- exception of Mountain. It was an early exercise in the early 2000's back at the College for Creative Studies where we were to storyboard and create an animatic based around the concept of Man vs Machine. I elected to do a 'version' of the John Henry story which I named 'Super' John Henry because I, of course, felt the need to amp it up to some sort of anime-heroesque levels haha - but the visual motif of Tyr was born and I kept with him over the years. As a character he came to represent some aspects of my personality though I can't say he (or any character) is an author insert I do believe we all put some aspects of our own traits into the stories we right. He's an 'artist' by means of an engineer and designer, a dreamer but still rooted and logical. He's a wierd combo of a 'nerd-jock' by means of being the team brains as well as a hefty dosage of brute force. Tyr is ARMSmasters Iron Man and Thor, rolled into one character. He's 'Beast' from X-Men - brains but with the capacity to flip a car over while grinning. In terms of his relationship to the Ensemble cast's 'Lead' - He's the 'straight man' to Riot's Steve Irwin like behavior and Danny Glover to Riot's Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon and sometimes the voice of the audience. He dotes over his daughter, almost to the point of insanity and is a fun character to write for.

Interestingly enough, perhaps, Tyr shares names and some visual motifs with Tyr the War God from Norse Mythology. In the ARMSmasters setting the nation Tyr hails from has a very Norse Mythology themed air about it via their character names, weaponry, abilities and focus on the advancement of military power and warfare and yet visually the culture is mixed in color. They are not vikings but instead inspired by the 'romantic' view of those ideals and outlook on life and the creatures and magic that populate those stories. We play loose with these concepts, using -some- of the implied relationships and what they mean as we delve more into this story revealing Tyr's brother, Thor, and his fiance Freya - and The Fenrir - the military airship Tyr designed which also cost him his left arm, during the war. We'll be delving more into story related posts for ARMSmasters in coming weeks.

I could wax on eternally about my thoughts on these things but I hope this post peeks interest and is good enough. Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Blogger Update!

Been a hot minute on here!

But if you are following us you know we're quite busy and active over on our facebook page and our tumblr page. Soon we'll be using Klout more often to simo-update all of our social media networks, getting onto the instagram badwagon and doing more to promote our efforts but more important then this is the aim for the finish line!

Speaking of finish line! Boards, boards, boards! Episode 1 (the micro-episode one. The 2-3 minute teaser.) is fully boarded and in animatic format. There are tweaks to be done, padding to be done, and so forth but we're well into our production effort on this now!

We also have a youtube channel up and functioning. I've taken the liberty of uploading some content that has never before been shared so place head over there and click on subscribe so we can begin to build, build, build!

We're also working hard on another poster image and if you are a Kickstarter backer, rest assured, your incentives are on our mind! I hate to continue to beg your patience but I also hear feedback from you all from time to time and I'm grateful for the push towards finishing our product 'first' before worrying about the packages. Rest assured they are being worked on and soon you will hear directly from us.

Keep pushing this 2014!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy Holidays 2013!!

Happy Holidays Everyone!!

We're abit overdue on a post but this is hardly due to being inactive as I"m sure you all have guessed. The new year will see some changes in how we handle our social media posting schedule but in the meantime, enjoy some work in progress and sketch images! Ideally the plan is to have something to update all followers on in the next 30 days so keep fingers crossed that we continue to grind on this micro-episode effort!

Also, not yet posted to this blog, is the HD reel for ARMSmasters. You can find this on youtube in full on 1080hd glory, such as it is!

Last but not least. Our website has been overhauled and is serving as a better hub for news and our links. Our sponsor list, overdue, is next. You can find us at - Feel free to pass the link on!

Thanks for continuing to hang with us!

Monday, November 4, 2013

ARMSmasters 2013 Work Reel

ARMSmasters 2013 Fall Work Reel from Michael Winn on Vimeo.

Hello everyone! We are very proud to present our 2013 Fall Work Reel for ARMSmasters! This was shown at Youmacon at the Detroit Tradecraft Panel on comics, storyboarding and animation and has already been shared with our Kickstarter sponsors.

On this reel you will find updated color shots from our previous work in progress as we have been exploring color and compositing options. New shots from our intended upcoming content that continue these color and finish WIP explorations and finally rough animation and moving storyboards/animatics. Some of these things have been posted before but as we are picking up new followers from our recent efforts its good to share again.

In the next 60 to 90 days we will be moving even further by releasing a story trailer. Thanks for your support!
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Youmacon Follow Up and Report

Wow, what an amazing time! This was our first year doing Youmacon - Michigan's number one - and one of the fastest growing - anime conventions. It was certainly much bigger then any con we've been to yet and the atmosphere and audience was right up our alley.

We were located in the Dealer area of the con as we missed artist alley registration. Additional artist alley tables opened up but due to mis communication we were unable to secure movement to another area. As a result we did not do as many custom sketches as I would have liked but we did establish our presence quite firmly. We shared a vendor booth with Christina Barr of Ninja Dust Productions and The Gorgeous Geeks and we had a pretty awesome booth despite the cramped space. A number of info cards were prepared that con goers were able to pick up and that were also passed out and the number of cards that went out and the number of people interested in what we're doing was truly astounding and encouraging. We were literally running out.

In addition to this on Saturday we co-ran a panel on animation development and indie animation and comic book creation, held by the local group Detroit Tradecraft. This was a fantastic experience and the first time yours truly was thrust into a situation like that - and it was a blast. Con goers got a sneak peek at the 2013 Fall work reel, which played wonderfully well on the big screen, and to applause and interest and lots of question asking. We did a few on the floor interviews with various press that were walking the con floor so I expect some of those will be showing up here and there.

So if you met us at the con and are now following us on social media, thank you! We are looking to do the Media Expo this coming spring (if we do not do C2E2 in Chicago)  Thanks again!

Photo's are courtesy of our unofficial Alpha Omega photographer, Mel Bontrager!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Detroit Fanfare Report!

Better late then never but Detroit Fanfare was this past weekend and we had an amazing time! This convention is a fairly new one to the local scene but it is growing exponentially and this year was their best yet between guests like Palladium Games and the Adventure Time voice cast and amazing comic creators - we were in good company!

As for Alpha Omega and ARMSmasters - considering it was a last minute decision to do Detroit Fanfare - we did very well! If you have found this blog as a result of Detroit Fanfare - welcome! Expect much in the upcoming days.

Youmacon promises to be even larger as Youmacno is Michigan's largest anime-con and one of the fastest growing anime conventions in the country. We are highly anticipating an amazing weekend and a good reception for ARMSmasters as, unlike Detroit Fanfare which is more comic book focused, Youmacon is pop culture, media and animation (anime) so this is our crowd.

We had several sponsors come by and see us at Fanfare and several fans. Thank you guys so much. Your continued support remains an inspiration and blessing to us and thanks to Mrs. Bontrager for the awesome pictures! Also a special shout out to Niles Bontrager and his Lotus Emblem work, also being featured at our tables here and at Youmacon. Get ready folk!