Reallusion TV

Featured Developer - Boyer Animation

Michael V. Boyer

Boyer Animation Studios LLC is licensed as an operational business in the City of Turlock, California and is also registered as a private Limited Liability Company with the State of California. The company is a family owned and operated, small business enterprise.

Michael V. Boyer is the President and CEO of Boyer Animation Studios LLC. He is also the creator, writer, illustrator, animator, and producer of the upcoming Crossblood series and other animated stories.

Opening the Door to Animation Imagination

Q: Hello Michael, and welcome to the Reallusion Feature Stories. Please tell us a bit about your background and Boyer Animation Studios.

Hi, my name is Michael Boyer and I'm the founder of Boyer Animation Studios LLC. This is a new start-up company that I recently formed within this past year. I have been an iClone user since version 3 and CrazyTalk since version 2 (upgrading with every current version and also adding CrazyTalk Animator to the mix), but only as a hobbyist. It wasn't until this past year that I decided to take my hobby more seriously and start doing something professionally with it.

I have always had a fascination with art, comic books and animation since I was a young boy I grew up watching Disney animation and the Saturday morning Looney Tunes cartoons, as well as reading and collecting over 5,000 comics as a kid. Working in that field was something I had been dreaming about my whole life.

My mother even saved cartoon strips and drawings that I drew as far back as in the second grade and all the way through my high school years where I created original art for the school newspaper. Art, cartooning and animation were a big part of my life but I couldn't afford to go to art school after I graduated from high school, so I joined the U.S. Air Force to earn college money.

After I received my honorable discharge from the USAF, I came back home and went to college to earn a degree in Art. I was also able to get a job at the local newspaper working as a graphic artist and part-time political cartoonist. It was a fun job, but unfortunately due to the economy at the time, I was laid off. Soon after, I landed a part-time job for a small chemical company working as a graphic artist creating the company's product labels, packaging, ads, and so forth. I did so well at it that within a couple months the owner promoted me to a full-time position.

Over the next ten years, I eventually worked my way up to the promotion of Director of Marketing and Creative Development. I was very successful at that job and in 2002 I even earned a national U.S. recognition for being one of the "Top 40 under 40 (years old)" in my industry.

Unfortunately, that same year the company got bought out by a bigger corporation and moved to the East coast. I was soon out of a job again. This lay off was also a few months after the events of 9-11-2001, and at that time, I decided to re-enlist in the Army reserves to help fight the war on terror, working in the military intelligence field.

Thankfully during my long time at the chemical company, I had also put myself through the night-time Police Academy and became a Reserve Deputy Sheriff-Coroner for the local Sheriff's office, working part time for them on evenings and weekends. Since I was now out of work in a creative capacity once again, and had a wife and family to care for, this law enforcement academy certification and practical experience helped me land a full-time job as a police officer, which I did in conjunction with my military reservist duties. I missed being in a creative career, but the police officer and military jobs paid the bills.

However, despite working in very different kinds of fields, I was still able to use my talents in other capacities such as helping to create publications and videos (some using animation) to promote child safety programs and other positive public relations messages for the police department. I also found ways to utilize my graphics talents for the Army National Guard as well, some involving the use of animation for military briefings and professional presentations.

While I enjoyed being a police officer, (I really liked helping people- especially underprivileged children in the Housing Authority projects where I was assigned) I did miss working in a creative field. So during my tenure, I used all my creative skills to develop two community programs that helped at-risk youth to stay out of gangs and drugs, and in turn, it also helped to promote education and good life skills.

By the time I left, I had mentored over 500 boys and girls ages 9 to 16, some of them earning scholarships to universities or joining the military - which helped lift them out of their crime-ridden impoverished neighborhoods. Believe it or not, I actually used some Reallusion animation in the context of these programs, mostly for custom presentations to teach kids about topics like staying safe from strangers and drug prevention.

In 2011, I received the honor of Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the Civitan Club International of Stanislaus County and in 2012 I also received my department's Distinguished Service Medal. That year, I also graduated magna cum laude from Saint Leo University with my Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.

Unfortunately however, also at the end of 2011, I was injured in the line-of-duty while arresting a combative 6'5"-290 lb. suspect who had just attacked two paramedics. The result of my injuries involved several surgical operations over the last few years (the latest as of this past summer) and led to my mandatory medical retirement from the police force in 2014 due to my disability status.

During my recovery from the various surgeries, I began to write and draw comic books and kid's stories (and work on some animation) to pass the time as a hobby. After completing some of my creative work, my wife Rosie (who I've happily been with for nearly 25 years) suggested that I should make a business out of this hobby because I enjoyed doing it so much.

Being that I had also used the recovery time to complete my MBA degree online and now had the knowledge to start my own business, I agreed with her. I formed and licensed my new company Boyer Animation Studios in December 2014 and incorporated it as an LLC this past spring (2015).

Owning my own business and becoming a comic book writer, artist and animator has been my dream for a long time... and it is now unfolding, in part, thanks to Reallusion's affordable creative software that has become the essential tools of my new trade.

Q: What kind of content does Boyer Animation Studios create? And how many members do you work with?

My sons Samuel and Jesse, are also both very creative and are now helping me with all the productions. My wife has owned three small businesses over the past 25 years and she is helping me with the business end of things. This new company is now forming into a nice family business that we can hopefully grow and prosper strong enough so in the near future we can hire additional artists, writers, animators, musicians, etc.

For now, we have a community of young talent (mostly my son's college friends and other talented family members) that we are contracting as freelancers for some specific tasks on an as-needed basis.

One of my future goals is to create a resource for young talent trying to get ahead and make a name for their selves. As a young man (and starving artist in my early days) I tried to get my cartoons and art work published with many magazines and newspaper syndicates... only with minor success.

In fact, I had enough rejection slips to wallpaper a room, but I've never given up trying. This is one of the reasons why I created my own company and hopefully I'll be able to help others someday open their doors to success. This is why my company motto reads: "Opening the door to animation imagination..."

As far as content is concerned, we are offering a variety of genres including science-fiction/adventure stories as with the Crossblood and Jikan Senshi: Legends of the Time Warriors comic book series (+motion comics) for teens to adults, animated family-friendly cartoons such as The Webbs of Lousyana Parish Bayou Swamp , and the Three (not so little) Pigs, and animated children's storybooks such as Teegle the Beagleâ„¢ and Officer O'Smiley and his Safety Friends.

The first Teegle the Beagle animated book recently became available for viewing on YouTube on October 23, 2015 and is designed as a "read-along" narrated story created with the CTA 1 Pro and CTA 2 Pipeline. Although the credits at the end of the video display fast (so the viewers don't click off before getting to the promo message for the Teegle character merchandise), if you slow it down you can see that Reallusion was given credit for CTA software in the production.

My son and his friends are also currently creating a new manga/anime style comic which we plan on developing into a motion comic by summer 2016, using CrazyTalk 7 for the voice panels. Sam is taking full creative on this project and I think it will trend well.

Q: Tell us a bit about your latest comic book CROSSBLOOD.

In 2013, I copyrighted my story Crossblood and began to storyboard it for an animated production using iClone. While storyboarding the scenes, I realized the panel segments reminded me of a comic book. So I put the animation project on the back burner and focused on creating a comic book first with the hope of earning some revenue with it in order to pay for the future animation production.

However, I didn't want the animated scenes I had been working on to go to waste (and I wanted them to match up to the eventual 3D animated movie) so I used the stills from the animated scenes to create the comic book. From what I've seen, this hasn't been done before in a comic book and it was a great tool to speed up production of the art. However, knowing how critical comic book fans are of the artwork, I later decided to import the stills into a drawing program in which I could use my Wacom tablet and hand draw black line overlays to the models to give each panel that traditional comic book look and feel.

With my small budget and having to do most all the work myself, using iClone allows me to make quick changes to camera views and also add textures and colorizations to the art that would otherwise take a full production team in a traditional comic book production. With this new process in place, I was able to create Crossblood as both a static comic book and matching animated motion comic.

The first issue of Crossblood was launched as an e-book this past October 1, 2015 and made available for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble sites. A motion comic of the Crossblood character "origin stories" is forthcoming on my website ( ) and my YouTube channel in 2016.

Additionally, I used iClone 6 to create some of the animated sequences in the recent Crossblood Comic Book promotional video. Also, printed in the inside cover credits page, Reallusion is given credit for use of the 3D models and textures and includes the Reallusion logo.

Issue #2 (The Spear of Destiny - Part Two) of Crossblood is currently in the works and expected to be available this December. I plan to publish bi-monthly issues of this title and other titles going forward - all using iClone in the production process.

Q: You have used both iClone and CrazyTalk in your productions. What are the advantages of using these tools?

As I stated earlier, in Crossblood I originally used iClone for the development of a 3D animated movie. However, during the production process, I realized the storyboard stills I was creating in the process resembled a comic book and it gave me the idea to use iClone to create a unique looking comic book first. By doing so, I could easily match the character looks to both the comic book and eventual movie production down the road. Using iClone (especially now with the new Character Creator add-on program) I can quickly create original comic books and animated motion comics that are unique in artistic style from most comics currently in the market.

This brand differentiation (from the marketing perspective) in both the art style and story concept should help this title stand-out from the competition. By utilizing this process with iClone, I am able to also speed up the production time generally needed in creating a traditional comic book using separate pencillers, inkers, and colorists. Another advantage is the ability to quickly make changes to the panels (camera views/angles) without having to completely re-draw a page. It is a great tool for the small production company or individual artist to make professional content with limited resources, staff and budgets.

In using CrazyTalk and CrazyTalk Animator programs, I have also been able to create professional looking animations without a big staff or big budget. For my new children's storybook Teegle the Beagle, I used both CTA1 Pro and CTA2 Pipeline to quickly generate the animated pictures of the read-along book. This allowed me to create a video with the look and feel of a children's picture book, but with moving pictures to better help tell the story- reminiscent of the books in the Harry Potter films having magical moving photos.

With the "magic" of animation, my hope is to help youngsters who are so accustomed to simply watching cartoons to also take interest in reading. From what I've seen, only Disney and maybe a few others are using this technique for children's books. I'm hoping it will get a good response.

Now from a motion comic perspective, CT 7 and CTA type programs have been extensively used to animate comic books, including major titles by Marvel and DC Comics on their websites and YouTube channels. I own copies of most all the Reallusion products for use in my projects, including: iClone v6.21, CrazyTalk v7.32, CrazyTalk Animator Pro v1.2.2, CrazyTalk Animator Pipeline v2.14, 3DXchange Pro v.6.21, and Character Creator v1.21.

I also use Serif DrawPlus X6 (which I purchased through Reallusion) for creating original art in my CTA projects. I plan to also use all these tools for my motion comics, which will be forthcoming in the next few months... Stay tuned!

Q: What other projects can the community look forward from Boyer Animation Studios?

As I say in my little website catch phrase"...Stay tuned!" -I have many upcoming projects that will be released over the next few months. We are really just getting started and finding our production groove so it will be a little slow to start. However, with the introduction of the Crossblood comic book series this past month, we plan to continue publishing an ongoing saga of e-books (and some printed versions and accompanying motion comics) with this brand and many other comic book/manga/anime titles as well, such as the Jikan Senshi: Legends of the Time Warriors adventure series and a new "steampunk related" title called Doctor Jack Kyl: The Secret Hyde Chronicles -- both coming in 2016. My son is also working on a new anime/manga style motion comic project (TBA) which will also be completed by summer 2016.

My new animated children's storybook Teegle the Beagle was just introduced in mid-October and I plan to have a continuing series of new stories in that brand going forward. With my upcoming Officer O'Smiley and his Safety Friends series of animated children's books, we are exploring the use of live action kids "green-screened" talking to the animated characters in monthly episodes teaching safety information in an entertaining way.

Lastly, we are also currently working on a continual animated cartoon series entitled "The Webbs of Lousyana Parish Bayou Swamp" which parodies American reality shows, including all the swamp-based TV programming. Too many animated parodies in this day and age believe they have to be raunchy and edgy to be popular.

Unfortunately there is some truth to that in our modern societal values; however, my goal is to offer an alternative to these types of animation by creating funny parodies that parents aren't afraid to let their kids watch but are also entertaining to them. There are some lines we as producers must choose to not cross in order to help make a better society, even if it is not as profitable.

On the back burner, I've also copyrighted with the U.S. Library of Congress a full-length 3D animated movie script called "The Three (not so little) Pigs". This comedic animated fantasy-adventure will be done in the style similar to the movie "Shrek", but with a completely original story and art. We are still working on a lot of the pre-production for this project and plan to use iClone exclusively.

That project is expected to be completed sometime in 2017, with plans to make it available for sale on DVD/Blu-Ray and HD Digital Download. All of these projects are absolutely fun to work on and it is my hope is to be able to offer the public another brand of quality, original family-friendly entertainment with memorable characters and stories for years to come. This is my life-long dream that I'm turning into a reality-thanks in great part to Reallusion.

Photo credits: Rosie Boyer/Boyer Animation Studios LLC Logos and character images courtesy of: Boyer Animation Studios LLC ©2015. All rights reserved. ================================================================
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