Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
Our 3rd release: no longer a myth!
You Kickstarted it.  We will finish it!
Our 3rd release: no longer a myth! You Kickstarted it. We will finish it!
Created by
3,284 backers pledged $223,136 to help bring this project to life.

Alive

219 likes

Greetings, Animusic 3 backers -- 

Wayne Lytle here. Generally, our (annoyingly rare) newsletters and updates have been written collectively by "The Animusic Team". Given that the team has recently shrunk, this one is primarily written by me. 

Departure

It has always seemed that Dave Crognale was significantly farther ahead with his parts of a given production than I was with mine. This would lead me to having conflicting desires at any given time: Do I to wear my “programmer” hat, wear my “musician” hat, or to put on my “director” hat and sync up with Dave on artwork? For Dave, his “artist” hat began to spend increasing amounts of time on the shelf while he wore “customer support” and “web guy” hats. Labels like "business" and "accounting" were hard to find on any hats around here.

This suboptimal load balancing caused a subtle strain that was ultimately unmaintainable. So we both felt it was time to let go of the familiar Wayne-and-Dave production unit of 16 years, and for each of us to move forward into the unknown. Frankly, financial constraints made it an absolute necessity. But even putting that factor aside, we knew it was right, we were in agreement, and both felt at peace with the decision. 

For Dave, this took the form of selling his house and driving his family across the country to California...on a professional and spiritual journey into the unknown. 

Flying Solo(-ish)

For me, it meant returning to being the only full-time Animusic person. My plate was already spilling over, even more so now; yet I'm quite excited about this new startup-like format. I'm enjoying working with all the fun instrument parts Dave modeled over the last few years (including some I hadn't even seen yet!). Also, I'm more comfortable making optimizations/changes to the production system without any concern about breaking someone else's workflow. So, that part feels good. 

What doesn’t feel so good is being farther behind on this project than I ever imagined possible. The stress I continue to experience personally, financially, and emotionally would be hard to overstate. Even so, despite the current state of things being so close to the ragged edge, I am very grateful that these challenges are all in the context of pursuing my dream. On some days it feels more like a nightmare, but it really isn’t. So many in the world are going through true difficulties, often at the hands of others. I only have myself to blame. 

So, let me share with you the status of things here, and what I anticipate unfolding (as best I can). 

For the sake of clarity, I should state that as founder/director of our tiny company, I'm the one ultimately responsible for all major Animusic undertakings, including Animusic 3. Getting stuff out to backers (including things still not finished yet) is on me. Several other people have and do help with various facets of Animusic (and continue to stick with me thru a less-than-thrilling period of my life). But I’m really the central factor in the timetable stretching to the breaking point. My bad. 

Initial (pre-Animusic 3) Rewards

At the writing of this update, we are shipping the final batch of the initial phase of the Kickstarter rewards: “So12” CDs and Animusic Kickstarter t-shirts to backers within the USA. 

Comparable packages for our international backers is next in the queue. 

But, what about...

...Animusic 3? That was the whole point of the Kickstarter effort. I wish the ancillary items hadn’t consumed so much time and shipping costs, but they did. I got so lost in the CD I couldn’t find my way out. I’m really sorry for that. There were, however, other unforeseeable factors that jammed up our gears (I’ll elaborate on below, for those of you who are interested). 

Now I really would have preferred to hold off on sending you this update -- until I could give you a real, tangible completion date. But since it was so overdue already, and some people were losing hope that Animusic 3 would ever see completion, it was important to send an update now. 

Is it ever going to be finished? I have asked myself that numerous times; Dave has too. Both of us hit some of the lowest points in our lives over the last couple of years, several unrelated to Animusic. 

If I’m living and breathing (barring some cataclysmic event)... YES, it will be finished. 

What I can say at this point is that hope in completing this project rests significantly on a new approach that for years I’d expected to try "sometime in the future". Well, the project dragged on for so long that...well, the future is here now! More on that below (in the “Unreal Engine” section, if you're interested). 

Multi-part rewards 

The poster? That (along with Animusic 3 itself) is the other incomplete item. While we obviously can’t ship what doesn’t exist yet, a reasonable question is: Why don’t we just send multiple partial shipments? Frankly, finances are so tight right now that postage is actually a factor. I’d be the first to say: That’s hardly fair to people who kicked in for certain more expensive packages. I don’t feel good about it at all. For that matter, I don’t feel good about not answering people’s communications either. Especially if they’re in Crayon and include “top secret” drawings of suggested future music animation ideas! 

Hey! A Little Respect? (for you) 

I had a mini-revelation a while back, as I was pondering the flavor of some people’s expression of disappointment (and various other dis- words). Imagining myself in their shoes I couldn’t quite relate to the bite that some of it had. I couldn’t picture myself reacting in a similar way...I wouldn’t care much about updates or whatever, I’d just want the DVD....Then it hit me...not everyone thinks the same, and some people are more “people person’s” or other personality type who considers lack of communication to be blatant disrespect! 

Whoa...I’m so sorry!...to any and everyone who may have felt like I disrespected you or that I didn’t care (or even had some nefarious intent). I shouldn’t have assumed you’d just know I was glued to the workstation, and pulling more all-nighters than I ever did in college or grad school. How would you know? I just wish I had more to show for it. Thanks so much for understanding. 

  • Now I certainly don’t expect everyone to want more info than the essential status, so thank you for reading this far!
  • And for sticking with us during this challenging time. 
  • The remainder of this update reveals some unusual details of the backstory. 
  • Not required reading. 
  • No, it won't be on the test.

Animusic History 

Backing up a bit, for anyone interested in the bigger picture... 

I founded Animusic in the mid-90's, and with funds from our first paying job was able to hire Dave for a period of time. Over the years he's worked part-time, full-time, sometimes returning to a previous job for a while then jumping back in at Animusic when my needs for 3-D modeling and fancy artwork coincided with the availability of funding. Even back then, “The Wayne and Dave Team” was not exactly load balanced -- Dave's work queue would run dry before I could adequately fill it. Over the years I felt the stress of that in an increasing way, while Dave was underutilized. (There is only so much re-checking of UV coordinates on our 350-ish 3D model parts he could do before giving in to the temptation to gold plate the PVC piping for what I refuse to call "Pipe Dream 3: Solid Gold".) 

At the very peak of production for Animusic 2, Dave and I worked full-time and for a brief while there we had another half-time person working remotely from California. So the extent of the production team at its largest was 2 1/2 people, and its smallest, one (yours truly). 

But a business obviously needs someone to cover non-production areas, such as order fulfillment, inventory, and the exciting world of bookkeeping. During the Animusic 2 timeframe, we had a couple of people working remotely (only one full-time), and an additional person helping with business development. He also worked remotely from CA, being paid a fraction of what he's worth, often working gratis. (Being a caring friend, he's still helping and advising today.) So headcount on the biz side also peaked at 2 1/2, decreased to just Dave splitting his time up to include non-art activities (e.g. customer support, stuffing envelopes), then as of a few weeks ago...0. 

Well, my lovely, patient, and persevering wife stepped in a while ago to ensure the "shipping department" continues to fill mail bins with outgoing packages. Some of these have gone to you all, and some are in the hopper. One of Dave's non-artistic responsibilities was maintaining a "database" (read: Excel spreadsheets) of each Kickstarter tier. Being a detail-oriented artist, Dave is meticulous in all he organizes, so our Kickstarter data is suitable for framing. Not a pixel out of place. But really not the most fulfilling artistic undertaking, nor best use of a talented artist... 

Animusic Today 

So where are we today? It's me on production, my wife handling shipping, and my dad applying his years of experience with small businesses needing help with database stuff (and my mom applying her years of experience working with my dad). My dad (with my mom’s help) preps a batch remotely, sends Pat the data, and she stuffs CD's and T-shirts. I'll be completely transparent with you all (despite it being more than a little embarrassing): there have been times when we have had to hold off sending out a batch until we could afford the postage. 

Struggles & Challenges 

Chronic Fatigue, ADHD, Bell’s palsy,...

Until now, I've chosen not to directly address some of the personal struggles I've had, because (1) I didn't want them to sound like a bunch of excuses, and (2) I didn't want family, friends, or relatives to be broadsided by sharing with you all what they may not have been aware of. At this point, that's no longer much of an issue. 

Over the last few years, I have had periods of severe fatigue with no apparent explanation (some have suggested Lyme's Disease, which isn't out of the question in our area). Several years ago I was diagnosed with ADHD and pretty severe depression. I'm actually not entirely sure I believe that, and I neither embrace it nor see myself as a victim. On the other hand, I can't deny that I struggle mentally sometimes in ways I don't immediately see in anyone else. Yet as some will point out, I seem to be able to do things most others can't as well. So, I'm unique. We're all unique in wonderful ways. 

It gets weirder. The day after we shot the Kickstarter video I was eating breakfast and telling my wife my left eye felt dry. She was noticing that the left half of my face was not keeping up with the rest of me, and I was slightly slurring my speech. Nope, not a stroke (but good guess). Cranial Nerve #7 on the Left side apparent decided it had had enough Left eye blinking, smiling, frowning, and pronouncing the Left side of words. Less than 12 hours after the Kickstarter video shoot, no less.

It's called Bell's Palsy, and is often just temporary (gradually subsiding over a few weeks). I optimistically assumed I’d be fine in 2 weeks, but a year later, the Left half of my face had only improved about 40% (where it leveled out). At this point, my Left Eye closes far enough that I usually don't have to consciously blink or put in drops. But on some days it's completely blurry, and I effectively work with one good eye. If I'm really lucky, I will sometimes see 3 separate images of the screen, which I would have sworn was impossible with just 2 eyes. It's not. 

RSI

But the most challenging (and least favorite) health issue for me is, unfortunately, all too common these days: RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Apparently I'm pretty intense at my workstation, and lock my mouse-hand (Right) in very strained positions (there’s actually a name for it...”the claw”), especially when precisely click-dragging animation or MIDI key frames. Too many 14-hour days of mouse-wrestling -- I can no longer use a normal mouse. I tried a vertical mouse (initially great, eventually worse), but finally settled on to a Wacom tablet and pen I had in the closet from years ago. But it's hard to break the habit of over gripping. During the final stages of mixing the So12 CD I would wake up in the morning with a slightly swollen hand and red knuckles. 

Frustratingly, Right-hand finger #2 (middle) now involuntarily curls under when I type on a computer keyboard, while finger #3 (ring) is beginning to sympathize with the rebellion. More troubling: on a synth (or piano) keyboard, finger #2 curls under so finger #3 tries to cover for both (but it’s weak and slow). No more Rick Wakeman riffs for me, and the semi hunt-and-peck typing really obstructs the flow. I need to be more consistent about using the voice dictation headset (case in point: just realized I'd forgot it was on, had reverted to typing, and now finger #3 and the tendons above the Metacarpal really ache). 

So I've explored trackpads, Midi knobs, X-keys, launchpad, voice recognition, iPad remote, LeapPad, Spaceball, Joystick and XBox 360 controllers. (No, not all at the same time). Some help more than others (winners: X-keys, voice, XBox controller). And I can tell you that obstruction by unfamiliar controllers is pretty distracting.

Hope for the Future 

There is one very concrete element that is expected to propel the completion of this project in a significant and tangible way. Years ago I would dream about this magical “some day” thing.... 

Real-time Rendering, meaning that instead of each frame taking 20+ minutes to compute one single frame (30 frames per second of animation), we could see the results at the same speed they’d be viewed by the audience. Back then it was assumed to mearly be daydreaming. 

Unreal Engine 4

Enter Unreal Engine, originally a video-game creation platform (with associated compromises in render quality), has evolved to become what is now increasingly used outside the gaming industry for pre-rendered video projects in areas from scientific visualization to entertainment. Videos that can be choreographed in real-time (or near-real-time) and rendered far, far, far faster than with the old render farm approach (with racks of servers running all night).

UE4 is very deep, and I'm still ramping up into what is probably the solution we've wanted all along. I’m also using Python more to shuttle data between AnimusicStudio, Luxology Modo, and UE4. I feel like I'm finally looking at a production pipeline that is actually right for us, and that I have reason to hope. That may sound like a Hallmark card, but it's not. It simply reflects my conscious decision to shift my focus from past failures and setbacks (the voices of gloom and doom) to hope in the future, unfolding now. 

Single Focus 

Although it’s been suggested by more than one doctor as well as family members that I really need to ease up and take a break, I don’t see that as a viable possibility any time soon. The commitment to finish Animusic 3 is at the forefront of my mind every waking moment. 

:-(

Perhaps some people are motivated by disparaging comments, slanderous accusations, and even threats, but I’m not one of them. What motivates me is not doubt, suspicion, guilt, or shame, but encouragement and understanding. 

Do you wonder if I feel bad? Oh, man...you have no idea. No idea. If I thought it would help get Animusic 3 done, I'd hang my head and mope around for years. That sure hasn't helped thus far. So...

Onward

With that said, I do want to again thank all of you for being with us along this much-longer-than-anticipated journey. I do not take your support lightly! I wish the production had progressed way more quickly, yet here we are. Disappointing people is not something I enjoy! At all. 

I truly believe that God created me and put me here on earth to bring joy to people...through music in general, Animusic most specifically. That’s my mission, and that’s what I will do. 

Wayne 

Arlene Bishop, Jared Brayshaw, and 217 more people like this update.

Comments

Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. David Green on

      Aww, man! I missed the three-year anniversary of this update by three days. Nothing to say other than that, just an observation.

    2. Trevor Watson on

      I am hopeful but the truth is I don;t think we will ever see a return on our investment or a refund but that is the risk in Kickstarting something.

    3. Missing avatar

      John Boyer on

      I too am anxious regarding wayne's health and am sympathetic to the daily travails that accompany ill health. Most of us are concerned. But please don't be swayed from the fact that this was a business venture, coupled with numerous promises of completion, and more promises of timely updates. Even the most discouraged businessman will eventually admit defeat and attempt to make things right with an explanation. I dont agree with those who believe that time is all thats needed for this project to show fruition. Its a bust and now silence is all we will get. This comment section urges us to be respectful and considerate. We as donors should be afforded the same consideration.

    4. Missing avatar

      Da Hoot on

      Where are you seeking A3 finished? The company HQ was sold in August 2017.

    5. Missing avatar

      Jeffrey Casey on

      Wayne - Do you participate any more? I am a $70 pledger, not a lot but after six years it be nice for some kind of news or your side of the deal. Seeing as you did finish and publish Animusic 3, it is online and for sale. You are making money!

    6. Missing avatar

      ICountFrom0 on

      Maybe another affirmation that you are alive, please?

    7. Richard Cowand on

      Party on Wayne! If it's worth doing right, it's worth waiting for!

    8. Richard Cowand on

      Party on Wayne! If it's worth doing right, it's worth waiting for!

    9. Barb Wood on

      Checking in...read your entire update. I wish you renewed strength and optimism for this project!
      Being semi-retired, and living in the Buffalo area, and a true fan of Animusic, if there is anything I can do to help, I would love to volunteer. Blessings, Barb W.

    10. Missing avatar

      Jeffrey Casey on

      Wayne,
      I quote Stan Moore on AUG 23 2016 "Please choose your health over the Project, but know I applaud your "tenacity" none the less. Looking forward to receiving Animusic #3 whenever that occurs! I just can't say any better. If you even had the time to read the comments, my last one mentioned my health and due to it, i haven't read or even thought Kickstarter for two years. God bless, onward and most important enjoy your journey!!! Jeffrey OCT 26 2017

    11. Missing avatar

      Da Hoot on

      The money is gone. There will be no refunds.

    12. James Van Daele on

      Well, if you were really sorry about ignoring the people who thought that is was prudent to keep people updated, then why have there been no updates at all in over a year? If you are not going to finish the project, please issue refunds.

    13. Missing avatar

      Robert Walker on

      I love the idea f Animusic and haven't given up on it or on you. Had Bells Palsy and I know it is scary. I know what it is to not reach a goal, the only suggestion I could make is to explore the possibility of working with a large established company with all the resources you might need in exchange for shared copy rights. Just a thought, I wold love to see you succeed. Bob W

    14. Missing avatar

      jhaverkate on

      I am waiting for years now and haven't seen anything. No T-shirt, no CD, no DVD nothing. I also could have dropped the money into the trash ��

    15. Missing avatar

      Michelle Vann on

      I wonder if Amazon or Google or even Disney could help finish Animusic3?

    16. fugitivealien on

      I hope all is well, would love to see Animusic 3 complete, but hoping more so that everything is ok with you all.

    17. Kevin Wang on

      Hope you're still taking care of yourself, Wayne! Hope this project isn't continuing to stress you out too much.

    18. Missing avatar

      Evan Ritchie on

      Please update!!!!!!!!!!!!

    19. Timothy Toler
      Superbacker
      on

      It's been over a year since last communication, please update.

    20. Iñaqui Sandí Suárez on

      Wayne any updates? I tend to agree with Richard Keller... money's lost and A 3 will never come to life.. But a good statement from the creators would be at least nice to set right expectations.

    21. Missing avatar

      Richard Keller on

      For whatever reasons, they may be good, bad, couldn't be helped, etc. our money went down a toilet and we will never see Animusic 3. A quarter of a million dollars was donated to see this thing through. I think the folks at Animusic have moved on with life and the money has been spent.

    22. Missing avatar

      Jose G. Fernandez on

      Hi people!
      Does anybody live nearby to see if life is still moving in A3 labs? ...or if the worst, that is anything left there?
      Concerned...

    23. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      All I can say is if he is able to finish it than that's good. If he is unable than that's fine. At this point I don't mind the silence. He is going through a lot, and probably still has some personal issues he is dealing with now. No point in badgering him in hurrying up...it's practically a one-person company now. Point is, no use being upset and aggressive. I haven't given up, yet he can take another 5 years if that's how long it takes. I am living fine without worrying about animusic....just checking up on it every once in a while.

      BTW anyone try that number yet?

    24. Jim Whitfield on

      Well, this post was a year ago.
      I do hope you are healthy. I do also hope that you are working on A3, and do hope you know we would welcome an update. It would be nice to have some hope that we will see the results of your labor.

    25. Missing avatar

      Stan Moore on

      Been a while since I've taken the time to catch up on the Updates, but I believe I'm up to speed now. I'm glad to hear Animusic #3 is still being worked on. I'm NOT glad to hear the "personal cost" the Project is taking upon it's Creators!
      Please choose your health over the Project, but know I applaud your "tenacity" none the less.
      Looking forward to receiving Animusic #3 whenever that occurs!

    26. Missing avatar

      Da Hoot on

      Here we are a year from the last update...

      A3 will be released Nevruary 32nd!

    27. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      Hmm....decided to do a little searching of my own...apparently chamberofcommerce.com says animusic specializes in oils, pastels, canvas.....also says it has a big sales volume...probably accounts for merch and not just dvds...and lists a phone number...anyone want to give it a try?

    28. Missing avatar

      John Dean on

      Prem, I seriously doubt he's in his office piecing together anything into completed Animusic pieces. Were that the case, he probably would say something just to alleviate the psychic pain of the bad thoughts being sent his way for several years now...

    29. Prem Subrahmanyam Sr. on

      I did a search for 'Wayne Lytle animusic news', and Google offered a popular related search of 'Wayne Lytle obituary' -- I guess more than one person has wondered if Wayne had passed on and left animusic behind here on God's green earth.

      Fortunately, none of the obits matches his state of residence (NY) or mentions Animusic, so we can assume Wayne is still alive, holed up in his office piecing together interesting animation bits to weave into completed Animusic pieces -- we can hope...

    30. Missing avatar

      John Dean on

      And still nothing but crickets chirping....

    31. Missing avatar

      Peter Kenney on

      This update makes total sense. I will wait and when A3 is done I will be glad I waited.

    32. Ronald Simental on

      Dear Wayne, Your personal health is the most important element. We all love your music and I personally don't have a problem with the delay. Yes it would be exciting to get the music sooner rather than later, but not at the risk of worse health. So just relax and try to enjoy the journey to the finish line of the new CD. Your "true" supporters are there with you for the ride.

    33. Phil Carter on

      Hi Wayne! Please do post an update on your health and what's been going on. We don't need long updates, just a couple dozen words would do. :) We're still pulling for you!

    34. Missing avatar

      Jeff Loether on

      Please do post an update. Show some interest....

    35. Missing avatar

      Faith Schuetz on

      Hi - Just re-read your trials and tribulations. Wow - the creative process is difficult enough, without all of that going on. I pray that things are improving, and that with spring comes renewed hope!

    36. Missing avatar

      Brett E Baker on

      It would be good to hear an update.

    37. Fred Goodfellow on

      What i would like to know is did any one receive anything from this "project"? I backed for more than the minimun and still haven't received even the t-shirt+ CD yet. Is it a cross boarder thing? I do live in Canada.
      This whole project has left a bad taste in my mouth. and no confidence in Kickstarter projects in general.
      Just a little reminder, people have been successfully prosecuted for scamming on Kickstarter.

    38. Brian DeBusschere on

      Perhaps Monthly Updates is too much to ask, but at minimum a quick note quarterly to let us know you are still alive is not too much to ask...

    39. Missing avatar

      John Dean on

      And still nothing but crickets chirping....

    40. Daniel E. Gray on

      Hmmm Aug 21st 2015, and here it is almost Feb of 2016 and STILL no monthly update as you claimed you would do.

      Have you EVER told the truth in your life about this project or are you still trying to blow smoke up our nether regions to keep us from filing theft charges against you??

    41. Missing avatar

      Brad Fortin on

      Thanks, Wayne, for the work you've already put into this and for all the work you'll continue putting into it. I've already waited many years for Animusic 3, and I'll wait many more if I need to. I've loved your work before and I have no reason to start doubting you now. I eagerly await your next update. �

    42. James Van Daele on

      Hi Wayne, I hope you are doing well, I wish I could help with your work, but I lack the technical skills needed, I do however think that more could be done to bring in money from the products you already have, in such a way as to leave you free to do some of the work out of house, if you would like to brainstorm with me on the business front of things (marketing and distribution tactics) I could help. Keep up the hard work, and remember that there are people willing to help out with all sorts of things if needed, just reach out for help and people will be there for you, if not always on your terms.

    43. Missing avatar

      ted.reed on

      I agree with some of the suggestions below. Do another kickstarter to cover your living expense or just provide a place to send donations. I am willing to donate and I am sure many other would be also.

    44. fugitivealien on

      Just wanted to post well wishes, hope you're making whatever progress you can!

    45. Rick Parent on

      Thanks Wayne. With all you've been through of late, the delay is understandable. Just remember there are many more supporters here than detractors. When you start to see "light at the end of the tunnel" with UE4, perhaps an additional campaign here would be in order. More than a few of us would be happy to make additional contributions, I'm sure. First of all though, your health & well being as well as that of your family has to be top of the list. We all need to be able to look forward to Animusic 4, 5, and 6....... ;>) Be well......

    46. Missing avatar

      Phil Hampsten on

      Thanks Wayne. I hadn't checked back in some time. Still looking forward to the DVD, and continuous updates when you can. Take care of yourself and family....that is always first.

    47. Carl Spira on

      I'll second Sarah C Harlan's suggestion. Companies it do it all the time.

    48. Missing avatar

      Sarah C Harlan on

      Wayne, here is encouragement and understanding!!! We love you and your work, and want to continue to love a LIVE AND WELL Wayne Lytle, so although we understand your drive to finish Animusic 3, both it and you are well worth waiting for! Real-time rendering - UE4 - may be the clue to helping you finish. Yes, we also believe that God put you here to bring joy to people, as you have done with Animusic 1 and 2, and will also do with Animusic 3. How about starting another Kickstarter campaign? I and others who have already contributed (and commented below) would be HAPPY to contribute more to Animusic 3 - there's nothing like it anywhere and we are proud to be investors. Let us be proud some more! Sarah Harlan, Oregon

    49. Missing avatar

      Frances Jane Weeks on

      Oh my! What a nightmare you've been going through! My first thought, like so many of the comments here, is that nothing is worth damaging your health; but I can understand, with a gift like yours how you might feel driven. The many lovely and supportive comments on here don't leave much I can add, but I'll put my five eggs in anyway: The way I see the Kickstarter thing is that it's not like buying a 'product', it's an investment in something you want to see succeed for it's own sake. I too would be happy to add to my original small stake, just because...
      Best wishes, take your time and be well. Above all be well.
      Jane, England.