Tuesday, December 21

Tag! Ready for Christmas

An entertaining little holiday tag from Elle.

Questions:
 
1. What's Your Favorite Holiday Movie? My favorite movie is a bit unconventional because they're ones we made. Each year on Christmas, our family would record our mornings together as we opened our presents. We started when my sisters and I were very young and it became a tradition to watch every Christmas video, in order, together as a family. Sadly, we don't do this anymore because the tapes went missing a few years ago and we have no idea what happened to them. I really wish we could find them because it would be so fun to watch them again this year.  

2. What's Your Favorite Christmas Color? Silver, gold, and white. I really do love the white lights at night when it's snowing! It's so picturesque and elegant. 

3. Do You Like To Stay in Your PJs Or Dress Up For Christmas? PJ's for Christmas Eve, and then we would change and get all pretty for Christmas morning because the camera was on!

4. If You Could Only Buy One Person a Present This Year Who Would It Be? That is such a tricky question, because I always get everyone in my immediate family a present. But if I had to choose, probably my significant other because he means the world to me.

5. Do You Open Your Present Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning? Never Christmas Eve, always Christmas morning. Some of the presents aren't even under the tree on Christmas Eve because Santa has to bring them, hee hee.

6. Have You Ever Built a Ginger Bread House? No! Now I need to! Can you make them sans dairy?

7. What Do You Like To Do On Your Christmas Break? Everything even remotely Christmas related: Parties, Shopping, Wrapping gifts, Eating & Drinking, Spending time with loved-ones, Counting Christmas lights that pass while traveling, Standing by the fireside, Listening to Christmas music, Playing in the Snow, Playing new video games, Reading Christmas stories on Christmas Eve, the list goes on and on...

8. Any Christmas Wishes? I wish to be home for the holidays and to see my new baby nephew for the very first time. I am very excited to finally meet him.

9. Favorite Christmas Smell? The Christmas tree is the best, because we would always get a real one. Typically a Blue Spruce because those trees are my father's favorite. Followed by the smell of all the wonderful yummies that we make this time of year and the intoxicating aroma of the fireplace. I love that.

10. Favorite Christmas Meal Or Treat? Peppermint candy canes. I have to have them! I remember when I was a little girl I would put a lot of them on the back of the Christmas tree so that I could sneak them later on without anyone noticing. That, and a variety of wonderful Christmas cookies and chocolates. Perhaps I can convince my little sister to make some organic ones without dairy.

Happy Holidays! I tag everyone, so please feel free to do this as well. 
Leave a link for me if you do! I would love to hear from you all.

Best,
~Claudia

Wednesday, December 15

Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light

Every time I hear that Akihiko Yoshida is working on a new title I get so excited. Being that he is a favorite artist of mine, I always try to play the games that he is a part of. Despite the fact that some of them might not be very good. If I really like the art, I will put up with it until the very end.

The 4 Heroes of Light unfortunately was one of those games. Earlier this year when I first heard about it, I was ecstatic. The art was fabulous and it was Final Fantasy, so I figured it would be fun. But when I played it at E3 this year the game didn't really hold my attention like I predicted it would. Perhaps it was just because I didn't want to get into the demo at the show. RPG's require a lot of time to connect with the characters and get use to the new battle systems. Besides, snuggling with my DS on a comfy couch with a hot cup of tea sounded much better. So I didn't think anything of it.

Then when the game was released, and I started playing, it happened again. I found the gameplay to be so frustrating or plain out boring. I guess this just wasn't the FF for me and sadly I didn't have anyone to play multiplayer with because nobody was interested. Maybe it would have been more fun if I would have done that.


So here are my thoughts about the game: 

Pros

- The art is stunning! Both the Yoshida illustrations and the Wind Waker meets FF Tactics in-game art style are truly enjoyable. I really like the vintage storybook feel and soft muted colors.

- Playing as animals is great fun. The designs are really cute and it's an amusing little break from the norm.

- There are a lot of good morals and messages in this game (even though they knocked you over the head with them), such as: the world is your playground, humanity is good despite sucking every once in a while, friendship for the win, etc.

- The crown system is really neat and I like the fact that your characters change their clothing depending on what you equip. Even if they looked silly sometimes because of mismatched gear.

- The Mysterious Towers are pretty fun. I got my party up to level 99 in those things but I never got to the top.


Cons

- This game is a grind! Grindy Grind-Grind! It feels very old-school JRPG. I found it boring, but necessary, to cap the character because the game is so difficult.

- Traveling at the beginning really sucked because you had to walk everywhere. Typically I don't have a problem with this, but the Overworld seemed a bit banal.

- I got stuck a lot because I did not know where to go next. (Sand Demon *cough cough*)

- Reusing assets got really old fast. Adding different bosses, enemies, and dungeons instead of revisiting them would have been great. 

- The bosses in this game are really difficult, which was not necessarily the problem. The problem is that you could get to them really fast and die because your party was under-leveled. The dungeons are not challenging enough. So you would have to go back, grind, and find equipment until your characters are thoroughly prepared.

- The music was recycled way too much for me to enjoy.

- Saving was a pain, especially for a hand held. I really wish the Adventurer and his fox partner (so cute by the way, his little yip-yip noises are adorable) were around more often.

- Extremely limited inventory was not fun at all. I never had enough things like torches on my person or having the correct weapon for a boss (but of course I had them all in the town storage).

- I would have liked to see more attention go into the story and character development. Voice acting would have been really great.

- Lastly, what is a Final Fantasy without at least one really great cutscene? Well there weren't any. They could have done some really amazing stuff for this game. Similar to how they redid III, IV or Tactics: The War of the Lions.


Perhaps some of you had a better experience with the game? If so, what did you like? Did anyone make it to the top of any of the Mysterious Towers? Does anyone know what the mythril was for? And did anyone play multiplayer mode?

Cheers and happy gaming,
~Claudia

Thursday, December 9

Stress!

Late last evening I watched a fascinating Natural Geographic documentary on Netflix called Stress: Portrait of a Killer. I think that this really ties in to "positive thinking" from a scientific viewpoint. Basically, stress can kill you. It physically deteriorates one's body. I have really really been trying to do better myself. :) Especially around the holiday season. Remember, just take a deep breath and let things be. (Easier said than done, Claudia!) Please feel free to share any tips & tricks. How do you deal with stress?

Here's a link to the video on YouTube, if Netflix is not an option:

 (A six part series) 

Happy movie watching.
~Claudia

Wednesday, December 8

The Story of Electronics

The Story of Stuff project recently posted a new video called the The Story of Electronics. I really, really enjoy these little videos. They're very informative and easy to understand. It's important to get the word out the about such serious matters and these videos do a great job in doing just that.


Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living!
~Claudia

Tuesday, December 7

Look of the Month :: Winter 2010 :: December

December is finally here and that means another year has come and gone. My, how time fly! I hope everyone has a lovely holiday season and without further ado, here is the last and final digital face chart for the year.

The current look is:
D E C E M B E R  2 0 1 0


Color trends for this month:
Black, white, ivory, gun metal, and gold

Current motivation for the look:
Holiday parties, haute couture, and snowfall at night


Previous Looks this Year:
  


Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Tuesday, November 23

Auditorium HD

Auditorium HD, developed by Cipher Prime, published by Zoo Publishing, Inc. is a brilliant new puzzle game that Alvin Muolic produced. Alvin also composes all of the original music for my YouTube videos, so his love and understanding of music really complements this particular product.

What is Auditorium? 

"Auditorium is an award-winning music puzzle game where players convert light to sound. A captivating game of discovery and play, Auditorium takes players on a visual and audio journey as they manipulate a constant stream of moving light and sound particles and guide their flow into Audio Containers to create harmony and unleash an orchestrated symphony."  - Auditoriumhd.com

The game is super cool and comes out TODAY for the PS3 via PSN. Which is nice, because one can play using the PlayStation Move Controller and it supports 3D HD Televisions as well, adding beautifully subtle 3D effects to the gameplay.


Additional Game Coverage and Interviews:






Cheers and happy gaming,
~Claudia

Monday, November 22

The Family Airplane

Flying with my family in Michigan.

 Photo by Carin Sutton. Photo editing and framing by me.
~Claudia

Friday, November 19

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1 is great, great, great! I absolutely loved it. (Even though I drank too much tea before hand and needed to go to the bathroom almost throughout the entire movie!)

The film was very long, and it had a distinctively Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring feel to it. The main characters were like running the whole time and there were plenty of beautiful wide shots to make the world feel very expansive. I also enjoyed the fact that this last story is divided into two parts, because then the filmmakers could focus on every little detail. There were a lot of brilliant new set pieces that really helped one get acquainted with some of the supporting characters. Other than that, the dark subject matter makes for some really lovely visual work. Especially the color palette. Staying monochromatic almost the entire time, only slightly playing with bright elements here and there to add contrast. Reminding the audience that the world is still beautiful, despite the tragic events and that perhaps there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

So now I get to count down the days until the last part. On July 15th, I'll be there bright and early.

Happy movie watching!
~Claudia

Tuesday, November 9

Look of the Month :: Fall 2010 :: November

Because of my current obsession with Bayonetta this month, I have decided to do the November digital face chart based on her makeup.

I used what I had in my kit just for a challenge, mixing and matching products to get the correct colors. If I were to do this professionally, buying new exact colors would be essential. Specifically the eye shadows. I would be a bit more picky, not only with color, but texture as well. All of her eye and face makeup is pretty matte. Of course her look wouldn't be complete without a killer pair of black glasses as well. I have some Chanel frames that fit the bill, so I would definitely sport those as well.


The current look is:
N O V E M B E R  2 0 1 0


Color inspiration:
Black, gun metal, blood red, white, and gold

Current motivation for the look:
Bayonetta


Previous Looks this Year:
  

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Monday, November 8

Bayonetta: Late to the Party

 "Let's rock, Baby!"

I finally got around to playing Bayonetta and beat it in like three days. This game is Love Love Love! It was so much fun that I played until 6am in the morning. Which is crazy for me, because sleep is a must!

I first played it when it debuted at E3 two years back and totally fell in love, which took me by surprise because I didn't know what to expect. The gameplay was really compelling and streamlined. (Extra points for the Sega's cosplayer as well) The only reason it took me so long to pick up was that I didn't want to buy the game for $60. I rarely do that, and luckily Cheap Ass Gamer advertised some recent deals that couldn't be overlooked.


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- Bayonetta is such an amazing character design, despite the odd proportions. All of the characters and enemies are really great. They inspire me to create!

- Love the campy and sexually overt dialog. It was too awesome and made me laugh.

- Witches (second to pirates) are an absolute favorite of mine. So thumb's up for the Art Direction.

- The music was really fun and memorable. Very Japanese and it reminded me of Katamari Damacy a little bit.

- The gameplay is epic! The Jeanne battles were by far the best. Super fast reflexes are a must for the last encounter, and even though I didn't beat her the first time, I was super proud when I did. I could feel my little heart pounding when I was done.

- I'm glad that one didn't have to do any RPG-like activities, like talking to towns people or other monotonous exploration that would feel tacked on. The game was a good length and didn't feel like it drug on for too long.

- There is a new game plus and all your goodies carry over.

- Love the art assets that one unlocks at the end, including the model viewer. The models are absolutely stunning and I spent a ton of time going through them all.

- Above all else, the game is FUN.


Cons

- The game is majorly Seizure-rific. My eyes hated me after playing this one. The fast motion and flashing lights in some sequences gave me a good headache.

- Some of the mini games were torture. Like the one at the end with the guns...BLAH and the arcade shooters.

- It seemed like some of the big bosses were a bit overused. Perhaps creating others, instead of having so many repeats would have been nice.

- The story was a bit confusing at times.

- I wasted my halos on weapon alts at the beginning of the game because I thought that they were totally new weapons. Perhaps that was my fault, but it wasn't clear to me. From then on, I felt a little under powered because I didn't have enough to spend on other cool things. Buying them could have been saved for later down the line or for new game plus.


The pros definitely out way the cons on this one. So go play Bayonetta, if not already. If you did play it, what  were some things that you liked or disliked?

Happy gaming,
~Claudia

Thursday, October 21

Look of the Month :: Fall 2010 :: October

“You will enjoy pleasures of life to the highest degree and will share them.” - Fortune Cookie

Isn’t that lovely? That was the fortune I received from my cookie yesterday when I went out for wonton soup and fried rice at one of my favorite Chinese food restaurant in the Bay Area. Strangely enough, I've been feeling that way recently. In a way, I've been trying to feel that way all of my life, never really thinking that I would get there. But I have, and most of the time I was looking in the wrong direction. I find that the more I just slow down, and enjoy the moment, I can really truly enjoy life.

That being said, I have been very inspired by fashion and makeup as of late and over the past year or so have been getting really involved in the art. It was always something that as a concept artist was very important to stay on top of. Being knowledgeable about fashion & makeup keeps one sharp from a design standpoint and helps to strengthen their work. Current and appealing trends always evolve, and if you are doing characters, sometimes they have to change with the times as well.

Makeup artistry, in all forms, has been a new creative outlet for me. I have been studying it all: Everything from beauty, glamour, runway, editorial, theatrical, and special effects. That being said, I'm going to start expressing myself more through this form of art here on the blog.

I have decided to create something called the Look of the Month in which I will do digital face charts of current makeup looks that reflect the recent trends rushing through the season. These looks are ever evolving and that is what's so brilliant about them.

The current look is:
O C T O B E R  2 0 1 0


Color trends for this month:
Navy, mauve, muted chartreuse, taupe, and silver

Current motivation for the look:
British style, California in the cold, and hanging out with loved ones

Please feel free to express yourself as well! Share links, tips, or any other suggestions in the comments. I would love to hear from you.

 xoxo,
~Claudia

Friday, October 15

Video Feature: Interview with Stephen Fry

I absolutely love this video and wanted to pass it on. It's incredibly moving and inspiring. Well done to Stephen and Peter.


Beautiful, isn't it.
~Claudia

Thursday, October 14

Link: Ocarina of Time

Best Game EVER!

I got sidetracked when I was replying to comments, and drew this with DeviantArt's Muro. It was just for fun, and I created it without reference. It doesn't surprise me that I know him so well.

Monday, October 11

This or That Tag


A cute tag from Elle.

This or That? Which one out of these categories would you pick?! Warning: EXTREMELY GIRLIE!
All answers are in BOLD.

Makeup:
blush or bronzer
lip gloss or lipstick
eye liner or mascara
foundation or concealer
neutral
or color eye shadow
pressed or loose eye shadows
brushes or sponges

Nails:
OPI or China Glaze
Long or short
Acrylic or natural
Brights
or darks
Flower or no flower

Body:
perfume or body splash
lotion or body butter
body wash or soap
lush or other bath company

Fashion:
jeans or sweat pants
long sleeve of short
dresses or skirts
stripes or plaid
flip flops or sandals
scarves or hats
studs or dangly earrings
necklaces or bracelets
heels or flats
cowboy boots or riding boots
jacket or hoodie
Forever 21 or Charlotte Russe
Abercombie or Hollister - Neither: H&M
Saks 5th or Nordstrom

Hair:
curly or straight - Neither: Wavy
bun or ponytail
bobby pins or butterfly clips
hair spray or gel
long or short
light or dark
side sweep bangs or full bangs
up or down

Random:
Rain or shine
Summer
or winter
Fall or spring
Chocolate or vanilla
East coast or west coast

Anyone that wants to do this, please go ahead. 
Leave a link for me if you do! I would love to see them all.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Tuesday, September 28

No Dairy = No Acne


Over the past 2 years or so I have been having some issues with breaking out more often than normal. Especially around the jawline. This was concerning because I had never had acne as a teen or even when I was living with high stress in college or working in-house at a studio.

Within these same years I made a lot of life changes; improving my diet, exercising more, and trying to live a bit more stress free overall. Unfortunately, all of these wonderful changes did not really seem to be helping my cosmetic problem. I started getting frustrated, because I didn't understand why it was happening to me. I considered myself very healthy for the most part.

So I started to study about the topic, reading and watching everything I could get my hands on. I learned a great deal about it, but everything that was suggested didn't really work out for me.

The one thing that I kept ignoring was the fact that dairy products can trigger acne outbreaks. Dairy has natural animal hormones in them that are meant for their young, not for us. Therefore causing major health problems for many teens and adults that can be sensitive to them.

That's basically all of us. We are not meant to drink another species' breast milk. If you dwell on that thought, it's kinda weird to think about. Yummy! Another interesting fact is that early Caucasian people only started consuming dairy as a vitamin D supplement. Northern Europeans weren't getting enough sunlight because of where they lived. Most of us obviously don't have this issue because we get plenty of sun.

But stopping still bothered me, because I love my cheese! And I already gave up milk, substituting it for almond milk. I really didn't want to stop because I thought it would be too hard.

I finally gave into my curiosity because it was just too overwhelming. That, and I didn't want to live with acne any longer. I gave up all dairy, including cheese and butter. Substituting my butter with a really tasty organic vegetable spread called Earth Balance was easy. I can't even tell the difference with the taste. Giving up cheese was not as easy. I tried a soy cheese product first, but after looking closely at the ingredients found that it still had lactose (dairy) in it. So I just don't eat cheese at all anymore.

After a few weeks I noticed the difference! I just wasn't breaking out as often and after about a month of not eating dairy there was about a 80-90% improvement. I was very impressed and really couldn't believe that I had finally found the light at the end of the tunnel. It felt like a huge weight was lifted of my shoulders. Plus, it wasn't even that hard to change. I don't really miss it and I feel better because of it.

If you have similar problems, I highly recommend trying to cut the diary out. It help me immensely and I hope that it will do the same for you.

Other reasons to cut back or stop eating dairy:

Weight lose or other health issues - Dairy is fattening and contributes to obesity and other diseases. Ironically, it's linked to Osteoporosis despite all the advertising about "strong bones."

Animal cruelty - Most dairy cows owned by large factories are artificially inseminated, pumped with hormones, live on corn diets (not grass), and stay chained to their stalls. There are so many levels of "wrong" about treating animals like a product. I highly encourage you to do research about the farms you buy your animal products from.

Expensive - If you're not spending money on dairy, of course there will be a difference in the weekly grocery bill. But the real expenses come from the doctors/dermatologist visits and all the acne medicine you drop over the years. I have spent hundreds on the latter so far.  

Give it a try!

Worst case scenario if you give up dairy for a month:
Giving up dairy doesn't help in the least and you would be without some of the foods you enjoy.

Best case scenario if you give up dairy:
Acne and other health issue might be a thing of the past.

Cheers and happy living.
~Claudia

Tuesday, September 21

25 Questions Tag

 A cool tag from Jenny.


1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, and find line 4.
"Peter wanted an idea of the"
(from The Lord of the Rings: The Art of The Fellowship of the Ring)

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can.
My home studio curtains!

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
I don’t have any TV stations, but the last TV show I watched was Leverage on Netflix.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is:
11:45am

5. Now look at the clock. What is the actual time?
12:04pm, Not bad.

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
The fountains outside, and the Wii menu downstairs.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
Took three big boxes to the recycle bin last night. Fun right!?

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?
My YouTube subscriptions. I like this channel: DermTVdotcom

9. What are you wearing?
An olive green V-neck shirt, bright red American Eagle pants, and warm black socks. :o I’m comfy!

10. Did you dream last night?
I’m sure I did, but I don’t remember. Sadness, I love remembering my dreams.

11. When did you last laugh?
Last night, when I was sitting on my cough, wrapped in my comforter, and had 3 throw pillows piled on my lap to prop up the iPad. It was pure silliness.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Nothing, I’m a minimalism.

13. Seen anything weird lately?
No, nothing comes to mind.

14. What do you think of this quiz?
Quiz? I didn’t know I was being tested! xD

15. What is the last film you saw?
In theaters, was Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
I don’t really buy a lot of things, (again the whole minimalist thing) but I would travel A LOT.

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
I walk everywhere when I can. It’s peaceful and good exercise.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
I want pollution and excessive consumerism to go away.

19. Do you like to dance?
Yes, very much so! But I never go.

20. George Bush:
is…is…oh my…

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
I don’t want children. But I would probably name her after my Mother.

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
NO KIDS for me thank you!

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?
No, probably not, because my home is here. But I want to travel all over for very long periods of time.

24. What do you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
“Did you know you’re a Vampire and can live forever? Go back to where you came.”

25. 4 people who must also do this meme in THEIR journal:
Anyone that wants to do this, please go ahead. Leave a link for me if you do! I would love to see them all.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Friday, September 10

The Kinnaree's Love


A commissioned work for Tiffany Namwong entitled:
“The Kinnaree's Love”

All characters property of Tiffany Namwong.
This image copyright © 2010 Claudia Sutton.
Please do not reproduce without permission.

Tuesday, September 7

FFXIV - Getting Started & Character Creation

So I have spent a few days now playing the FFXIV open beta and I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions of it thus far.

Getting everything set up was a big headache. Not only setting up the game, but having the space and the specs to even play. I did not have the best experience and I can see a lot of people really having a hard time with this. Without my knowledge for games and computers, (Or my partner's help for that matter) I don't think I would have figured it out. I guess Square Enix just assumed that the average consumer would be fine. Nope. 

Then trying to get into the beta was crazy. The website was always busy or down. I couldn't even play until the second day. Continuously trying around the clock to get a key. The experience was terrible. Hopefully this will help them improve in time for the real game.

After I was in, my opinions changed of course. I started playing with the character creator and I forgot about most of those previous hassles.

It was so much fun! I spent two days straight making characters and taking screenshots. I made sooooo many. As most of you might know, Akihiko Yoshida is the art director and I absolutely love his work. So playing with this diverse character creator was really fun and impressive. A character concept artist's dream!

So after hours of playing with creation, I settled on a character roughly based on my looks, or at least as close as I could get it with the assets provided.


Check out the screenshot of my character


Here are my stats:

Claarin Bunansa - Elezen - Wildwood female
Gridania - Rabanastre

Archer - 12th Sun of the 5th Astral Moon
Guardian - Nophica, the Matron


Overall, I'm having a blast and plan on playing as much as I can before it closes. After I experience a bit more of the game I'll write again. Until then, happy gaming, and let me know if you are playing!

Cheers,
~Claudia

Wednesday, September 1

Final Fantasy XIV

I'm very excited because I can finally check out this beta in a few minutes. Unfortunately, I couldn't do it any sooner because they wouldn't let people in games play the closed one. So I didn't even try.

Is anyone else going to be playing? If so, let me know what you think, and if you will be playing it when it comes out in a few weeks.

The only downside is that I'm scared to see how my PC handles the game. It's suppose to be a beast and I don't feel like upgrading any parts at the time being.


Anyway, go check it out if you haven't already. It will be fun!

xoxo
~Claudia

Monday, August 30

The Story of Cosmetics

For years now I have been trying to buy cosmetic products that don't have any harmful ingredients in them, but it is very hard because so many of them do!

Here's a behind the scenes look at cosmetics:


Yes, reading all of the labels on everything you buy is very important. Not only that, but learning, researching, and memorizing ingredients is very helpful. So that you know what you're buying and potentially exposing yourself to.

Check out your products here:
I use it EVERY time I want to buy a product. It's simple and easy to use before you purchase an item. Unfortunately, it does not cover a lot of department store brands but you can always use it to reference individual ingredients.

Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living!
~Claudia

Thursday, August 26

New Fair Trade Clothing Line

I found this article today on People Tree and wanted to share. I love this collection and she is doing such a great thing. 

"I don't know how to impress upon people the importance of Fair Trade. It is so hard to get people to care and to realize what a huge difference Fair Trade can make to someone's life. If, when buying an item, whatever it may be, people have the choice to buy Fair Trade or non Fair Trade, they should buy the Fair Trade item. It really does make all the difference."  - Emma Watson


I purchase fair trade items when I can, such as soups, shave gels, and other products because I love that they have natural and organic ingredients in them. I had no idea that purchasing them helped so many people. I will definitely be on the look out for more!

Do you buy anything fair trade? If so, do you have any suggestions? Perhaps you have some
 favorite products or advice on where to find them. I would love to hear about it.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Saturday, August 21

Homemade Juice for Healthy Skin

Claudia's Corner videos are dedicated to topics
outside the realm of digital art.

Homemade Juice for Healthy Skin

For more information, please read the YouTube info box.


Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Saturday, August 14

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World FTW

So I just got back from the movie theater. I went to see Scott Pilgrim and it was awesome! Full of win and definitely something that any video game fan should go to check out. The art was amazing, as well as the score, and then of course the script was great too. I laughed a lot, so that's always nice. (Overall it reminded me a little of No More Heroes, just switch the exes with assassins.)

Now of course I have to read the graphic novel, which are all just waiting for me on the shelf. I always watch movies first and then read the books. I'm just weird like that! I guess movie art and actors always seem to pull me in first and then, after I've seen the film, makes me more curious to read the books.

Happy movie watching!
~Claudia

Monday, August 9

Earthlings


So a few days ago when I was looking up some info on natural remedies online, I stumbled across a person talking about a documentary called Earthlings. I was very interested and watched the trailer, but decided right then and there that I probably did not want to see or hear about the disturbing subject matter of the film.

Unfortunately, I couldn't shake the need to be more informed about these types of things. Almost like it was a responsibly to watch it, learn, and make better life choices.

And that's exactly what happened. I'm very sad now, but I wanted to pass it on. The movie came out in 2005, so I'm sure some of you have seen it.

If not, please check it out:

We can be better than this,
~Claudia

Thursday, August 5

Blog Feature: Encouraging Ideas

Hello Everyone! So I wanted to tell you all about my younger sister's wonderful new blog called:

Encouraging Ideas


Carla is a great writer and I find myself continuously visiting her page for advice on all sorts of things like stress relief and other positive thinking techniques. 

Because the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Carla and I have similar views & opinions on how to make life a good one. So I view her posts as a constant reminder to keep living life to the fullest and enjoy every second of it! I am sure that most people want the same thing.

So go check it out. I highly recommend it.
Tell her that Claudia sent ya! I'm sure that it will brighten her day.

xoxo
~Claudia

Wednesday, August 4

Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

I always win.

Soooo... I started playing Borderlands again yesterday, and oh do I love the art direction. I forgot about how beautiful this game is! It's inspiring to me... But that's not why I'm writing.

Mad Moxxi is kicking my ass, and I need help because I'm not doing very well at all. Staying alive for 20 waves is extremely challenging.

I was wondering if any of you have played it, and can offer any personal advice? Maybe any helpful tips and tricks if you have completed the Underdome content. I haven't caped my Mordecai yet, but I don't think that matters because the AI always generate around your level.

So yup! I'm enjoying the arena, but I'm totally stuck.
Help me! Help me! Help me!
~Claudia

Wednesday, July 14

Careless


A quick sketch roughly inspired by Edward and Bella. Painted in Photoshop in 2 hours.

Claudia's favorite round brush screenshot.

"Careless" - Painting Demo
Level: Advanced


Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Wednesday, June 30

Photoshop Basics: The File Menu

In this Photoshop Basics video learn how to master the tricky File Menu.

Photoshop Basics: The File Menu
Level: Über Beginner


Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

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Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Cheers!

Friday, June 25

My E3 2010

How ever am I going to compress this experience into a post… hum. I have faith.

E3 this year was fun! I was really looking forward to it because of all the new titles and accessories coming out later this year and early 2011. That, and the fact that it seemed much bigger this time around. Maybe there were more people, or more booths? Not sure.

So as always, we stayed at the Westin Bonaventure (Yes, the True Lies hotel). It always seems to be brimming with video game developers, and of course, that’s fun. I’m a sucker for the glass elevators and the fountains. They're just so pretty!

The day before the show started I had the opportunity to go to Universal City again. It’s been awhile so a lot of the sites seemed new to me. Not only that, but the hike was awesome because the CityWalk is on top of a giant hill. We had tons of fun getting lost together and we got our day’s worth of exercise getting to the top.

On top of the World.

CityWalk at twilight.

Then of course the 1st day of the show came and it’s all history from there. I snuck a few pictures of the crowds before the show floor was opened to the people. I stayed there until the guards let everyone in. It was like a flood gate being opened and a fun sight to witness indeed.

I enjoyed seeing/playing all of the games. I went to a bunch of showings, like the MK one with Ed Boon and the Pirates of the Caribbean demo. I’m going to like that game. (And yes, I’m legendary all the way!)

I was kinda sad about Zelda: Skyward Sword though. I’m not totally sold on the art direction yet, but you know me, I’ll still play it. The illustrations were really cool (Very Paint Daubs in PS, if you know what I mean) but the overall in-game experience felt a little too juvenile. The Angry Video Game Nerd describes it best in this video.

Go see for yourself: 

(And no, I did not stand in that insane 3-4 hour line to see the Nintendo 3DS but I’m still excited about it.)

Lastly, here’s a list of the games & hardware I’m looking forward to and of course pictures!

South Hall | Half a Honda! | Halo Sculptures
 
 Marvel vs. Capcom 3 | MK Awesomeness | Larry Trotter

 Dead Space Dude | The Miz's Arse | RB3 Guitar | OMG Cylon

 Live Lucha Libres! | Dance Central | Badass-ness

Pirates | Boys Proving Their Manliness | Tron Movie Bike

 Nintendo Booth | Zelda: Skyward Sword | Disney Corner

Zelda | Zelda | Zelda

I has gun! | Ringwraith | Alma | Homefront

Microsoft Booth | Bang Bang Bang | Square Enix Booth

E3 was fun, see you all next year!
~Claudia

Wednesday, June 23

Denver


 


Photography from my wonderful trip to Denver.

Dedicated to Carla, Robert, and their new son Ivan.
Ivan Callahan - Born June 17, 2010

Tuesday, June 1

Fanime 2010

So I just got back from Fanime and I'm already packing my bags to go to the airport for another vacation in a few hours.

San Jose finally had some nice weather, unlike the previous years that I remember. It always seemed a little chilly and overcast, so I was really happy to see the sun. As usual, hanging out with friends and loved ones aside from the costumes are the main reasons I go to Fanime. I love seeing cosplayers and talking to them about their work. The artist just comes out in me and I can't help but to talk shop with them. I'm just so curious!




Here are some of the costumes that I enjoyed.
(As you can see I really like the video game one.)

Zelda & Dark Link | Viera Archer | Oerba Dia Vanille
(If this is you, let me know and I'll link to your website)

Selvaria | Prince of Persia vs. Hayabusa | Steampunk Girl
(If this is you, let me know and I'll link to your website)

Velvet & Mercedes | The Legend of Zelda Group | Lightning
(If this is you, let me know and I'll link to your website)

Unfortunately, during the trip I had a major allergic reaction to some of the plants (I'm guessing) around the area. Saturday I was just sneezing my brains out and had to stay in most of the afternoon. I couldn't even stay for the whole Cosplay Masquerade because I was tearing up so badly. It was awful. So I'll have to YouTube anything past Skit #26. Sad Claudia.

Lastly, I got to meet and talk with Jo Chen about art, the industry, and other related topics. That definitely was a highlight of my experience. (Jo, it was great to meet you) I also went to some cool panels. (Thanks to all of the DA people that I met on Sunday) Then on Monday, I went to a Resin & Plastic Molding workshop and learned a great deal about the subject. Julia, the teacher, was awesome and I left very inspired. Maybe in the near future I'll have to try some of the techniques out.

So until next time, have a good one.
~Claudia

PS. Did anyone go this year? If so, how was your experience?

Friday, May 28

One and One and One and One...



Myself, Claudia, as the White Queen from Alice in Wonderland.

Wow, first off, this painting took so long to complete. 20+ hours using Photoshop, and I had a lot of fun with it (I would absolutely love to wear something like this; the costume, wig, makeup, contact lens, etc.).

I wanted to do something completely original. So I redesigned the entire look of the Queen, but stayed true to her eccentric personally. Sadistically plucking petals off her roses was just the thing to contrast her beautiful appearance. Alas, everyone is mad in Wonderland. So I played with that concept, giving her a feral stare with her yellow eyes and an overtly theatrical pose.

I hope that you enjoy my take on the character and if anyone gets the title, you are awesome!

Friday, April 30

Photoshop Basics: Creating a Canvas

Learn how to create a canvas in Photoshop, so that your beautiful masterpieces can come to life.

Photoshop Basics: Creating a Canvas
Level: Über Beginner



Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

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Please let me know what you think and if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Cheers!

Sunday, April 25

My Beautiful Little Palm

I got another plant this week in honor of Earth Day and I am sooo happy! It's a Kentia Palm (also commonly known as the Thatch Palm). The tree is only native to Lord Howe Island (Oh how I would love to go there), which is off the east coast of Australia. So, obviously I had to name it appropriately. I chose Kiah (K-EYE-UH), an Australian name meaning: "from the beautiful place."

Kiah's already so big. About 4' or so, but because of our high ceiling, I'm hoping that it has plenty of room to grow nice and tall. It will be like an Oasis in the bedroom. Hurray for that.



If any of you have any advice on how to care for this type of palm, definitely leave a comment and let me know. I want to do my best to keep it healthy and happy.

Cheers,
~Claudia

Saturday, April 17

Stuff!

Yes, stuff... I know this video isn't new, but I only stumbled upon it yesterday and wanted to pass on the word. It's about consumerism and how it is destroying our world.

Well, I love the earth and if any of you know me personally, you know that I strongly believe in helping out. I like to call myself a minimalist, in which I really try to only buy what I fundamental need.

Watch the Story of Stuff:

 

Let's all do our part and buy less stuff.
~Claudia

Thursday, April 8

The 4-Hour Workweek

This is a great book! I highly recommend it to everyone. Basically the book is about how to be successful in life, not only monetarily, but living better all round.

Again, go read this book.
It has really changed the way I think about work:

The 4-Hour Workweek

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, 
it is time to pause and reflect."
-Mark Twain, quoted from The 4-Hour Workweek.

Cheers and happy living.
~Claudia

Tuesday, April 6

WonderCon 2010

WonderCon was fun this year, as usual. I always get a kick out of meeting talented people and seeing old friends.

This year was no exception, with the Peter S. Beagle panel being the highlight of my experience. I really loved hearing him speak. He is such a great storyteller and truly a gifted person! His words made me smile ear to ear and I could listen to his wonderful stories all day long.

After the panel, I spoke with him and he kindly signed my The Last Unicorn book. I told him about how his work has inspired me and that I was only 4 years old when I started becoming obsessed with The Last Unicorn film. Or at least I hope that is the message I delivered, because I still get a bit nervous when I meet people that I really admire.  He was nice to me though and told me that he has never met or signed a book for a Claudia, and that he really liked my name.  I will NEVER forget that. Again, thanks Peter. If you ever read this, it was wonderful meeting you.


Let’s see, I also got to meet some snazzy R2D2s. They were so adorable and apparently the creator told me it took 7 year to construct! They were truly amazing because they lite up, could speak (beepbupbeadup) and were remote controlled so they could roll around all cute. I just wanted to hug them all day long.


Also!! I got to finally meet Dan the creator of Mr. Toast and he was awesome! As some of you might know, I have a Toast. And he is the nicest Toast in all the land. Charles, a good friend of mine, (and Mr. Toast animator) gave him to me and Toast has been loved ever since. So yes,
it was very cool to meet Dan.


See you next year!
~Claudia

Monday, March 29

It's All Over - Final Fantasy XIII Review

Final Fantasy XIII was probably the most disappointing game I have played in a long time. Not because it flat out sucked, but because I had really high hopes for it.

So when FFXIII images & footage started leaking a few years back, I remember not really caring about it. That should have told me something right there. The art just wasn’t that appealing to me. It looked a bit generic and I really had to see a lot of it to start caring. Even the footage Square Enix showed at E3 last year wasn’t enough to really get me excited. Only a few weeks before the title shipped was when it started sinking in, “Hurray Final Fantasy is coming out.”

I went to the midnight launch, got my game, played a few hours and realized, “Wow, this makes me sad, but I’ll still finish it.”


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- From a technical art standpoint, this game was brilliant. It looked really good on the PS3.

- The concept design for the main cast, eidolons, and fal’Cie were great.

- The music was wonderfully original and memorable.

-The skin textures/shaders were just gorgeous for the main characters. If the person was really fair (like Vanille) you could see the veins under her translucent skin. They even put some freckles and light age spots on them. I really love little details like that, but I wish the developers would have pushed it a bit more because they still seemed a bit too perfect.

- I really liked Fang and Vanille’s Pulsian (Australian) accents. I get a kick out of small things like that.

- The UI design was alright. I loved how streamlined it was and how the characters animated when you were on their stat page. The interface was not consistent though. Some menus, like the bestiary section, were a bit chaotic.

- The environments were both technically and conceptually amazing. It made me want to go outside and adventure on my own!


Cons

- There was not enough character development and I did not really care or relate to the main cast.

- The writing and voice acting was atrocious. Especially anything coming out of Snow’s mouth.

-The storyline was terribly convoluted.

- For the most part, the creature and architecture design was generic and uninspiring. I was really hoping for more.

- Some of the secondary characters were just downright ugly, and not in a good “we meant to do this” type of way. I would have loved to see some more gritty and diverse characters because of how realistic the art direction was.

- Some of the girl’s proportions really bugged me in this game. Serah and Vanille specifically were both 5’5” but had the legs of a 7’ tall supermodel. They were disgustingly skinny as well. The same thing goes for Lightning. If she was a soldier, I would think she would have been a bit more toned. Again, I know Nomura is known for drawing thin girls, but this was gross.

-The 25 hour tutorial was enough to bore me to tears and the battle system, even after you were done with all that, was still tedious. It seemed really slow and chaotic.

-Finally, the Pope was a lame enemy!


So yup, Final Fantasy XIII probably goes on the bottom of the FF list for me. Let me know your thoughts. Maybe you liked it better than me?

Cheers and happy gaming,
~Claudia

Tuesday, March 9

Finally: Final Fantasy XIII

Kitty is so happy!

So I went to the midnight launch for FFXIII last night and got my copy of the game. Yes, PS3 for the win. I'm going to play the crap out of this... BUT...

Why did this game have to come out on the same week that I'm busy with GDC. Oh the chaos!

Game Developers Conference in San Francisco

See ya there, and happy gaming!
~Claudia

Friday, March 5

Tim’s Alice


“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
- My favorite line from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Well this movie was fun, but I wish I hadn’t seen it in 3D. After watching Avatar, nothing else really compares. So I’m not going to see a 3D film unless the movie was made for it.

First off, the art was specular. It was everything I hoped a Tim Burton Alice in Wonderful would be. Full of color when needed, but overall it still had that dark edgy beauty that Burton films are so famous for.

Another thing that I noticed quite often and was continuously impressed with was the awesome compositions. The shots were very thought-out and fun to look at. Truly inspiring.

Then there was the acting. Which was wonderful as well and I really enjoyed all of the performances. Particularly Anne Hathaway’s White Queen (apparently her performance was based on Debbie Harry from Blondie). Every time she floated around the screen being all dreamy it made me giggle. I could just imagine someone acting like that in real life. It would be very entertaining and kinda reminded me of Giselle from Enchanted and how she was so out of place.

The only thing that I was nervous about going into the theater was if the story was going to suck. Which it didn’t to my surprise or at least it was entertaining enough for me. My rose tinted glasses probably helped the situation. I was just so happy to see Alice on the big screen again (especially the Cheshire Cat because he is my favorite character), so that was enough for me.

Oh! The one thing I definitely could have lived without was the
thudderwack dance. I’m pretending that didn’t happen.

Happy movie watching!
~Claudia

PS. Go watch this, it's too funny:
Tim Burton's Secret Formula

Thursday, February 18

I'm Going to Live Until I'm 200!

Hi everyone! So I just got done watching something really fascinating and I wanted to share it with you. It's a show called Horizon - "A series exploring topical scientific issues and their effects for the future."

Here's a link:
BBC - Horizon

The specific episode I want to discuss was the one about aging called "Don't Grow Old." Sounds interesting right? Well it is and definitely worth the time. The show basically reveals how good genes and positive thinking/being happy are the most powerful tools to have in your arsenal. Now, I know that not everyone's born with awesome genes, but the positive thinking thing? Why not right? Some of the subjects even showed signs of age reversal, like improved vision and hearing.

What was even more intriguing was that because these studies conducted in the show are very recent, a lot of things that we thought helped aging are not relevant; like antioxidants. New experiments are relieving that they just don't make a difference like we thought they did. But that is not going to stop the billion-dollar heath/beauty industries from promoting them.

Watch the show. Learning is fun! I promise. And let me know if you have any thoughts about the topic or cool links/videos that relate. I would love to hear from you all.

Cheers and happy living!
~Claudia

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