Links and notes - 6th July 2020

TIL about Rick Riordan's current journalistic and social improvement efforts

This tweet popped into my timeline today. And it led me down a rabbit hole that made me realise a couple of things

  1. The Percy Jackson series (or at least the greek myth based series) is still actively being developed! I can't believe I missed this. This series was such a treat to read especially as it matured more towards The Last Olympian. I can't wait to dive into the new books now
  2. I also learnt that Rick Riordan is just an overall amazing human being who we can all learn from.

In a world where JK Rowling is actively dismissing trans people's comments as "not my problem", Rick Riordan seems to be a light of guidance. A guide on how to be open to new ideas without being terrified. In fact, it seems that since his first books, Rick has actively learnt, grown, and changed how he approaches diversity in his book series.

What's equally wonderful is seeing how well he uses his position of power and privilege to uplift voices from under-represented backgrounds. He has a series called Rick Riordan Presents. From his "other site"

Rick Riordan Presents is one small branch of the Disney-Hyperion Publishing family. We aim to publish about four books a year. All these will be books that my editor Stephanie Lurie and I feel will appeal to kids who like my books. In other words, they will probably be some type of middle grade adventure, with lots of humor and action, and probably draw on myth or folklore in some way.
Our goal is to publish great middle grade authors from underrepresented cultures and backgrounds, to let them tell their own stories inspired by the mythology and folklore of their own heritage. Over the years, I’ve gotten many questions from my fans about whether I might write about various world mythologies, but in most cases I knew I wasn’t the best person to write those books. Much better, I thought, to use my experience and my platform at Disney to put the spotlight on other great writers who are actually from those cultures and know the mythologies* better than I do. Let them tell their own stories, and I would do whatever I could to help those books find a wide audience!
My job is to help edit the books where it seems appropriate, to offer advice and guidance where I can, and to promote the great books we publish. I am not writing the books and I don’t tell the authors what to write.
Disney is paying me a nominal fee to write an introduction for each book, help edit and promote it, etc., but that’s the limit of my monetary involvement.

I feel like I can learn a lot from Rick. In a world petrified of saying the wrong thing, Rick seems to be showing that all it takes is being kind by default, listening, apologizing when wrong, and adjusting. That really seems to be all that's being asked from each of us. Not fear. Just acceptance and willingness to keep improving.

I discovered that Blender has released another open movie

I was browsing my animation timeline on Twitter and discovered that a new open movie from Blender had come out about a month ago. Apparently it had been announced closer to the beginning of this year. The film itself is both cool in terms of aesthetic and is definitely Blender's most abstract and interesting project in recent times. I watched it only once and there were so many details in it. I feel like I need to watch it again and again to take it all in. I like interpretive stuff.

Worth noting how I came upon the video in the first place.

Solo animation

You may have seen this VFX breakdown 👇🏽 pop up on your social media timelines in the past few months.

Turns out that it was made by 1 person which is pretty wild. File this one under the TIL folder. Absolutely mind blowing🤯!

It also made me remember the Warhammer fan made movie (Astartes) project.

Highly recommend watching the full playlist. The artist definitely gets better as time goes by and it shows in the quality of animation and direction.

Between these animators, and individuals like Beeple and even an acquaintance from my past, Randy Chriz it feels like the current toolset allows for more and more ambitious work to be made solo. What an exciting time to be alive!

Some people moan about how the old days of individual art is dead. Whether it be art as in illustration or music or animation or whether it be programming related stuff, many people moan that all we have is giant corp produced stuff. I'd say we are looking at a new renaissance of independently produced work being distributed at scales previously unknown. I'd love to play a part in this movement.

A new book - About Face

Started reading the book "About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design". I've been really longing to dive into the fundamentals of user interface design for a while and this book has been recommended highly as a starter. Going to keep notes on it as I go along. Will probably keep the notes in a public Notion doc as I go along.

Learning frontend development

Considering subscribing to frontend masters as I try to dive deeper into better designed interfaces. I really think it's time for me to level up as a developer. Before the end of this year I want to have released at least one of my own products and I would love to add some front end mastery to my skill set as I work on that.

Posted on July 06 2020 by Adnan Issadeen