Steroids in MMA
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“Gone In 16 Seconds” — An Animated Short by Chris Rini

By Chris Rini

I am dead tired.

My arm hurts, and my brain is nearly empty. After six months of thinking about nothing but a 16 second fight, it’s hard to envision tackling a new project. So instead of making more artwork, Cage Potato has given me the opportunity to tell you a bit about how I made this one.

Most of August was spent visualizing. While that may sound a bit new agey, if I can see something in my mind, it’s very likely that I’ll be able to create it.

The idea became real in September, when I visited a Chinatown lumber yard and had sheets of 1/2″ birch wood cut into multiple sizes to accommodate the frame sizes:

-Big 13 x 24″ panels that held 4 frames each created the opening shot of Ronda bouncing on her toes waiting for Yves Lavigne’s signal.

-More workable pieces of 11 x 17″ took up most of the animation, they were divided into grids of 9 frames to do the camera zoom, and later divided to only 4 frames per panel to provide more detail during the striking exchange where Rousey really hurts Davis and sets in motion the fight’s ending sequence.

After they landed on the ground, I started going broke and instead of getting new birch cut, I cobbled together all the off-cut pieces and castoffs in my studio and laid out the entire Kesa Gatame punching & ref stoppage sequence.

Drawing and burning the wood blocks is simultaneously the best and worst part of my artwork. It’s one of the more unique aspects but also physically grueling (I have an acupuncturist whose future children I will one day put through college due to our doctor / patient relationship). Midway through the process I consulted twitter as to whether Ronda should have the dual hair buns in the animation even though that isn’t exactly what happened at 175. The answer was a resounding yes, and even though I’d started the animation, I edited in the hairstyle midway through the project. That explains why she doesn’t have them in the intro shot. It took four months and three assistants to draw and burn in everything.

Once the actual frames were done, I worked with my editor to craft a narrative. That’s where the idea of ‘elite fighters blend together various martial arts to form the sport as we know it today’ took form. With the help of striking & technical analysts Patrick Wyman and Lawrence Kenshin, we deduced that Ronda Rousey transitions from boxing to muay thai to judo not only in seconds, but finishes the fight in that micro sequence.

To create the flying through the air effect during the Harai Goshi throw, we photographed his kitchen table which had a cheap wood veneer and panned it across the background of the fight image. Ronda is a fan of Pokemon and I wanted there to be some type of anime (or in my 36 year old mind, Voltron) or Japanese animation visual quality.

I’ve written more than a visual artist should be allowed to write so at this point, I’ll thank you for taking the time to watch Gone In 16 Seconds, and encourage you to visit my home page at https://www.patreon.com/chrisrini to get a look inside my art studio as I create new MMA artworks, animations and Hall of Fame plaques.

I hope this is the beginning of a new friendship with Cage Potato.

UFC 184: The Unstoppable Force Meets the Immovable Object

This Saturday at UFC 184, the most captivating and dominant WMMA champion steps into the Octagon to smash another challenger. The Vegas odds tell us that this will almost certainly happen. The analysts cannot envision a scenario where Zingano’s hand is raised in the end, but there is one clue that all is not lost for Cat.

I’m not hearing or reading a prediction about how the fight will end. No one is saying ‘armbar’ or ‘TKO’ quite as freely as they’ve done in past Rousey title defenses. It’s as though they’re sure Ronda will win, but the path is not crystal clear. One thing is certain, the deeper the fight goes the further the pendulum will swing towards a certain Colorado native. The more this becomes a dogfight, the more murky the crystal ball becomes.

Cat Zingano is more of a force than a fighter. There is a ferocity with which she dispatches opponents that while not as surgical as Rousey, is far more vicious. Her two UFC victories are Lauzonesque affairs. While Ronda has the ‘it’ factor, Zingano has the ‘X’ factor. You cannot count her out. She will not be stopped by conventional means and I’ll be glued to the screen as the fight unfolds.

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