So some of you may know but most may not if you don’t follow me on DeviantART and read my journals but I’ve been hitting it pretty hard with animation. Despite trying hard, the wallet and my PC and laptop can not handle 3D animation. Yes Blender is free, it’s what I use even though I want to be using Max but my RAM and GPU can’t handle it. So recently I opted for 2D frame by frame animation merged with 3D and 2.5D in areas where I can get away with it. But I am back at square one having taken such a long break from it. But I’m not doing to bad. Below is one of my first full colour blinking tests. I am aware of the various errors though. This was more to see if I had enough skill to use cel shade. I’m still on the fence with having shading in my animation. I haven’t fully discovered myself yet with animation.
The second video was my first ever attempt at rain. I know it’s not great but now that I know more about after effects I think if I made the store a 2.5D or 3D scene I could make much better rain. I’m trying to learn how to animate rain with droplets on the ground but I’m having trouble doing it on my own since I’m still very beginner. I have learned an awful lot though. So I’m still pretty happy, just frustrated.
You can check out all of my animations here http://draconianrain.deviantart.com/gallery/44699976 and in my scraps folder you may find a few very early test animations.
So far my main plans are:
- Learn Adobe After Effects
- Learn how to animate better in flash
- Learn other frame by frame animation techniques
So some of you may know from my twitter but some few weeks have passed now since I bought a Ronson Rice cooker. Before this we had a gifted one. A Kmart Homemaker cheap one. The cheap one was good at first but it had a lot of problems that made it dangerous to use. It would constantly over boil no matter how you did it and often the rice was undercooked. It over boiled over the power cord where it plugged in and I hated it. In fact since it was our first rice cooker we thought well maybe they are all like this so I hit up youtube and saw a Ronson Rice Cooker in action. I had to have one. In the meantime I had to wait. I started washing my rice before I cooked it to remove the starch. This helped a great deal with the over boil in my cheap rice cooker but it would still over boil and spit. I’d have crusty rice water all over my kitchen bench and curtains. It was frustrating.
Then my Fiance gave me $50 for a blender. Of course by that time the blender I wanted was gone and a better one appeared for $70. So I looked up a few stores online for a rice cooker and found a Ronson rice cooker for $40. I think it was either $40 or $45. Either way it was possible to buy it. So I did. I’m extremely happy with it. My old one was hard to clean, this one promised easy clean and it was true. I use a wet sponge. Wipe it out and it’s done. And the feature I adore the most about it is it’s steam water residue catcher. You open the lid, the water trickles down into a detachable compartment. No water on the outside any more. No more danger of water near a power cord. I can have my rice prewashed or unwashed and it never over boils. I love it’s pressure cooker style lid and little steam chimney! The lid is definitely one of my most favourite features. I burned myself many times on the cheap one. Even while using oven gloves and a tea towel, the pot, though in warm mode would still spit because of the liquid on the rim. The Ronson rice cooker has won my heart. It’s safe, it works and it does everything promised. And it keeps my rice warm instead of turning it into a crusty uneatable brick like my old cheap one.
Below are a few photo’s of my Ronson rice cooker. One photo is off the first wash of rice and all the starch that came off it. I read somewhere many people saying wash first but they didn’t know why they were just raised that it was important and then finally I read why from someone and it makes perfect sense. My mother always washed her rice after cooking to remove starch but I personally don’t believe cooking that starch into it and washing off residue last. I’d rather do what I can in the beginning.
This rice cooker is worth buying. I love it and use it nearly every night.
During this week I plan also to blog about what I am learning in 2D animation on my own. A lot of what I will do will be tradigital. Paperless frame by frame animation. And yes it will be hard but it will be worth it. I learned enough from youtube, the rest now is just practise and do. I will also share what I learn about certain programs as I go along as well as other animation techniques such as bone animation and cut out. Cut out I kind of hate the most since it confuses me with trying to set up the pegs. The main software that I will be using will be:
- Toon Boom Studio (Until I get money to upgrade)
- Flash CC
- After Effects CC
- Clip Paint Studio Pro (for backgrounds, parallaxes and texturing.)
Next update comes with some photo’s and what I learned about rice cookers and why I hate my cheap one. It’s a hazard to use it. And hopefully I will have my new rice cooker by then and maybe I can review it took while I am at it.
I’ve been a member on WordPress for 4 years now! That’s amazing. I’ve never kept a blog so long. Nor have I enjoyed a blogging website as much as WordPress. Every now and then I wander away and try other blogs but I continue to come back to WordPress. My blog has served me well here. I do everything from Art to 3D and tutorials to rambling about life and cooking. I think it’s official, WordPress is my home.
I’ve always enjoyed slow cooked anything but what lead me to using a slow cooker for soy milk was because my stove is awful. The element only heats on one side on all of them and it’s hard to cook things at an even temperature. My first milk batch was too raw. Second attempt had an under taste of burn. The bottom slightly burned. And since I can’t get a new oven I had to think of some other way to cook my homemade soy milk. I thought, why not the slow cooker? It wouldn’t over boil and foam wouldn’t rise so why not? First I googled if anyone had and I couldn’t find so much as a blog post so I went with what I knew and the results where beautiful. It made the perfect soy milk. It also doesn’t have a raw bean taste like my other milks had. I put in some vanilla bean this time for flavouring and slow cooked it on high for 2hrs. I’m going to be making my soy milk this way from now on.
Below a picture of my slow cooking soy milk. 1 cup of hydrated soy beans, 3 and a half cups of filtered water. 1inch vanilla bean.
I have to write this here so I don’t forget what I made. Last night I really felt like stew with a particular taste. Cloves and pepper. I wanted something very clovey with a slow pepper burn and I managed to achieve it.
- Beef stock
- Whole Cloves
- Bay leaves
- Mixed herbs
- 1 Onion
- 4 Carrots
- 1 and a half cup of celery, chopped
- 2 Large potatoes
- Beef or Veal
- Gravy, Steak and Pepper gravy. Gravox
This dish you need to taste test often. Depending on how much meat and veg you have, will depend on how much stock you need. I started out with 1 liter and by the time everything was added I ended up using 3 litres of stock and got quite a few serves out of it. First I brought 1 litre of Aldi beef stock to boil then turned it down to a very light bubbling simmer. Next I diced the onion and put it in first. Then I put two small pinches of cloves in. I love cloves so if you’re new to cloves or don’t like them only put in 4-6 whole cloves. Next I put in 6 nicely sized dried bay leaves. This really compliments the cloves and takes some of the edge away from the harshness cloves can cause.
Next I added the diced veggies, carrots, celery and potato. When the veggies were half to almost cooked I added a decent pinch of mixed herbs too add a touch of flavour. At this point I also added a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. I didn’t add a lot because the pepper from the meat and gravy would be added. Just before I added the meat I added a table spoon of garlic. You don’t have to use that much, only use enough to taste. Because I had 3 litres of stock the garlic was not very strongly tasted through my stew but it added to the flavour and nice flavouring to the meat.
I left it on a low simmer to slowly cook while I cut meat. I used veal chops since that’s what I had in the freezer. First cut off any and all fat. As much as you can. I used scissors since it was easier. Then dice the meat. Prepare a pan or electric fry pan and use a little bit of olive oil to grease the pan. The aim is to only seal in the meat with a little flavour. Put salt and pepper on the diced meat and lightly fry. The meat should still be pink inside and then added it to your slow cooking stew. Slow cook until done. Make sure to keep your pot lid on so you don’t loose your stew to evaporation. I checked how ready my stew was by cutting the meat to see if it was properly cooked through and how soft it was.
I have an awful oven too so I had to keep turning my stove top up and down depending on whether or not it would be simmering properly. Towards the end, add some gravy powder. You may have to bring the heat up to make it thicken properly. Add and cook in the gravy to the thickness desired. This would generally work a lot better in a proper slow cooker.
This stew is very tasty and very fully of flavour. It was a big hit in my house. Because it was slow cooked there was a lot of flavours mingling beautifully together with the spices and I was able to judge how it was going by it’s smell and taste. This isn’t the type of stew that would suit everyone though. If you’re not a fan of strong tastes then I wouldn’t recommend making this but like I said, I had to write it down for myself so I could remember how to make it again.