April 4, 2024 : Saiyan Armor Painted White

After a few more days/nights of work, the Saiyan armor has been sealed, primed, and (partially) painted. Specifically, the white base has been airbrushed on.

Front shot of a work-in-progress cosplay Saiyan armor

The main outstanding item is painting on the yellow ribs and shoulder straps, which will be applied via a standard brush. The half round dowels also need another coat or two of white paint, applied via brush. They were soaking up the airbrush applications. It seems like they weren’t adequately sealed and/or primed. Bottom line, it’s the home stretch – fingers crossed…

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:29 pm

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March 18, 2024 : Happy Saiyan Day… Yes, It’s A Thing

How am I just hearing about this now?! Apparently, March 18th is Saiyan Day. If you’re asking why, first… shut up. Second: apparently, 3-1-8 in Japanese is San-Ichi-Hachi; and when that is shortened, it sounds like “Saiyan”. I’m not sure I get it, but does that really matter?

The main character Saiyans of the Dragon Ball franchise

I can’t find how long Saiyan Day has been around or its origins. Based on my search on the interwebs, it is at least 6 or 7 years old. It also seems to be really popular with the Dokkan video game, which I do not play. Still, I fully endorse this. Time to hop on this train!

posted by Pi Visuals at 11:36 pm

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March 14, 2024 : Happy Pi Day!

Who’s ready to relate a circle’s circumference to its diameter… at least more so than normal? That’s right, it’s Pi Day, which means it’s time to geek out about the world’s most needed irrational mathematical constant.

Pi Day Graphic using legos and pixelated text

Usually at this point in the post I relay some interesting fact. Sadly, I don’t have much to offer this year. How about this: did you know that the one millionth digit after the decimal point is a “1”?

Sorry, but I told you I didn’t have much. How about Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day? That’s pretty interesting; and I’m pretty sure I’ve never mentioned it on here before, which I find odd (and disappointing).

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:04 am



March 10, 2024 : RIP Akira Toriyama

In super sad news, Akira Toriyama passed away.

Vegeta shedding tears

There isn’t much to say. Like many, DBZ was the gateway to my love of anime. As such, I owe a lot to Akira Toriyama. His work brought joy to countless people. He was a true original.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:41 am

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March 3, 2024 : Finally Some New Moana

As an unapologetic Moana fan, I was excited back in 2020 on the news of a Moana TV series. After not hearing much about it since, Disney recently announced it has been changed to a movie sequel – with a November release date and fresh teaser:

There are also plans for a live action remake, which doesn’t interest me as much… but we’ll see. It does look like John Musker and Ron Clements are not involved with the sequel, but I won’t dismiss it yet since the world and characters they created had legs. That said, I hope they are at least brought in as story consultants. Those guys know a thing or two.

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:04 am

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February 17, 2024 : Saiyan Armor Progressing

After another night of work, the Saiyan Armor is coming along nicely. The front and back sections are nearly complete and partially connected.

Front and back progress shots for a Vegeta Cosplay Saiyan armor costume

The two sections need to be joined at the sides, and the details still need to be added. When that’s complete, painting can take place – which is a whole other beast. That said, I like where things are at relative to the deadline (late April… C2E2 Babaay!).

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:52 pm

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February 10, 2024 : Character Animation Fun

It isn’t anything super glamorous, but I started a new project at work that includes a good amount of character animation. It’s an educational piece that uses a stick figure with accompanying graphics to reinforce the script. That said, stick figures can actually be really fun to animate due to their aesthetic simplicity. I already set up the rig and did a few tests:

A stick man animated in After Effects

The work will be done in After Effects, which is still pretty powerful for character animation. I considered using a plugin (such is DUIK) but decided to keep things simple. I tend to do this type of work only a few times a year so it’s fun when I get a chance to flex these muscles – particularly since it’s been a little while since I’ve done a personal project… sigh.

I also wanted to go for a hand drawn look, which required some testing to get it how I wanted; but I think it’s in a good place. Overall it’s a fun, light-hearted project which is always something to look forward to 🙂

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:37 am

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January 21, 2024 : Vegeta Costume 2.0 Underway

With C2E2 just over three months away, the new build for the Vegeta Costume has begun in earnest. I spent some time in November and December coming up with a plan, buying supplies, and securing the undergarments:

Undergarments for Vegeta Cosplay costume

The planning was necessary since I don’t have nearly as much free time as I did 6+ years ago with the first version. With that out of the way, the main lift of the project has kicked off – specifically, building the armor. Fortunately, there are far more resources out there these days for a more efficient (and better) build. Plus, I still have the Goku to my Vegeta working on it with me. Thus far, the front of the armor is moving along:

The start of Vegeta's Saiyan Armor

There is still a fair amount to go with the armor, plus there are all the accessories. These include the hair, gloves, and boots. Some will be repurposed, while others will be redone. Hopefully the end result is an even better look than last time… which will say a lot.

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:24 am

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December 31, 2023 : Looking To 2024 With (Overly Ambitious) Goals

With the end of the year (and start of a new one) around the corner, I decided to document a list of goals I’m hoping to tackle in 2024. Here they are in no particular order:

Some of these goals are already underway. However, I acknowledge some others I might not be able to get around to or complete. In addition to normal professional commitments, I will be tied up with a fair amount of personal ones as well. That said, I’m fine starting off ambitiously and reeling myself in as the year progresses. Then again, perhaps I’ll add a few to the list.

If anything, these goals can provide more material to increase the frequency of posts. In fact, this post was partially done to make 18 for 2023. In case you were wondering, my ridiculous goal for 2023 was originally 26 (oops).

posted by Pi Visuals at 1:20 am



December 23, 2023 : Digital Candy Cane Breakdown

I really liked how the candy canes turned out in this year’s Holiday card. It took a few steps to get to the end result so I figured I’d share the progression:

Digital Candy Cane Design in After Effects

I ended up using After Effects – technically, the base shapes were done in Illustrator when I was creating the card’s general layout, but this could have easily been done in AE as well. I’m sure Photoshop would have been just as capable, but I used a fair amount of mattes, masks, and blending modes; and I am more comfortable doing that in AE.

Originally, I was planning on going with a more illustrative look so I could have easily stopped at #3 or #4; but as I kept working through things, I liked the realistic look more and more. The shadows/highlights really helped achieve the look I wanted, but I think the unsung hero that really sold it was the noise layer.

posted by Pi Visuals at 12:34 am

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