Sunday, December 30, 2007

Changes

Hey guys,

I recieved my new laptop a few days ago. It's a really cool shiny new macBook Pro. I've never had a mac before so I'm pretty excited about it. Unfortunately I'm going to have to go without a few things though. First, I found out I can't use my 2d animation software since they aren't universal. Then I found out I can't install the driver for my tablet since it only supports mac os9. I guess it's a good time for an upgrade anyway. Lol, it's not like I have a wacom or anything though, just a simple aiptek tablet. A few minutes ago I realised I won't be able to update my website while I'm at SCAD because I created it using Frontpage. I bought office 2004 for the mac but frontpage didn't come with it. I'll check to see if there's a mac version of frontpage. Until then I'll have to go without updating my site. I will continue to update this blog though, so no worries. =D

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Extension

So, I heard from Disney today...they said they're still reviewing and they'll let us know the results after the holidays. Lol, I don't know how much more suspense I can take. XD

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's Coming

The moment of truth approaches...I'll find out the results for Disney's Talent Development Program reel review either tomorrow or Wednesday. I have to drive my grandmother to and from court tomorrow and I have to take my other grandmother to the eye doctor on Wednesday, but you can believe I will be checking my email every hour that I'm home until I hear something!

In other news, I'm not expecting to get very much if anything done on my Rosco shot at all this week. I have nine coloring book pages due by noon on Thursday and everyday this week has been/will be spent driving people around and/or doing menial tasks for them. It's pretty annoying how I was badgered and fussed at about getting a job and now that I finally have a project, no one will leave me alone long enough to get it done. I could see if I wanted just wanted to have fun with my friends all day, but it's quite the opposite. I haven't hung out with them at all since I've been back in November.

I just want to be able to sit and do my work for at least eight uninterrupted hours a day, just like the wonderful people who get to go to work all day. Is that too much to ask for? :\

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Next Pass

Hey guys,

Here's a look at the next pass I did on my shot. There are still a few kinks in the head and spine but for the most part every thing's as it should be.




As usual all comments and critiques are more than welcome and greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Progress

Hey guys,

I just wanted to let you know I haven't forgotten about the shot I was working on last week. I worked on refining the hips, spine and head today, and I'll post a playblast once that pass is complete. Things are just going slower than usual now that I have a freelance project to do. I'm not complaining though, it feels awesome to be getting paid to draw! I know getting paid to animate all day will be a million times better, lol.

Speaking of which, it seems Disney has started their review for entry into January's Talent Development Program. I'll be on pins and needles for the results from now till the 19th. I REALLY hope I get in this time!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

First Art Job!

Hey guys,

I'm very happy to announce I just received my first illustration freelance project! =D Unfortunately, that means I have less time to spend on my shot. I'm still going to try to work on it as much as possible, but my new project has to come first since it's an official job. I'm really excited about it! Hopefully this is the beginning of people actually accepting my proposals instead of ignoring them. XD

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shot Progression

Hey guys,


I thought it would be a fun idea to string together the different stages that my shot has and will go through up to completion and post them here. I usually refrain from showing the first spline pass of my work to people because it's usually pretty embarrassing. This version is no exception but it's not nearly as bad as it could be. in fact most of the glaring problems are the result of careless mistakes, such as forgetting to do the ik/fk switch on the arm over one frame and forgetting to use copied pairs for the hold around frame 162. Lol, both of those things should have been and usually are done during my blocking stage.


I'm trying a new workflow for this shot as well. I usually convert the animation to flat bit by bit. This time I did a very rough pass on everything for the whole shot. I'll then go back and start tweaking body parts throughout the length of the shot. I'm curious to see if this method is faster than my previous workflow. I think it is simply based on what the first refining pass looks like. I've never fleshed out a shot in the blocking stage as much as i have with this one and I end up having to reanimate a lot of stuff as the result. Since I've broken down the blocking so much, it looks like everything is essentially all there, if you can look past the awful arm spazzes and bits of floatyness.


I've learned something new already though. Previously, I would convert everything to flat and then go a genera smoothing pass on each translation and rotation attribute for every control individually. I did that for 98% of this shot as well. I was pretty tired by the time I reached the screen right arm, which was the last thing I worked on. For some reason I decided to hit plateau instead of flat and was pleasantly surprised. Now all of the tangents had nice flat holds with somewhat smooth areas between them. That's pretty much what I spent all day doing manually for everything else, lol. I feel rather dumb for just now finding that out. I could have spent today on the second refining pass instead of having to do it tomorrow. XD


Oh well, I'm glad I found that out though. Tomorrow I'm going to make a VERY long list of things to fix and will get started on what's usually a long process for me. We'll see how far I get by this time tomorrow night.



New Laptop...maybe

I found out what happened to my computer today. I was told the lcd display is no longer functioning, the motherboard is fried and the hard drive has crashed. Lol, it sounds like I worked my poor laptop to death. I'm supposed to be getting a macbookPro as a replacement but it and the software that I need come to a total of almost $5k. I've never had that much money in my life so my mother is going to try to apply for a credit card to finance the purchase. I hope the application goes through. If it doesn't I wont have a computer to return to school with.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Coming Soon

Hey guys,

I've finally returned to working on my Rosco the Bear shot that I started at SCAD. I'm giving myself two weeks to finish the whole thing since I really need to work on my speed. You guys can expect to see some animation pretty soon, so be on the look out for that. Once I finish this shot, I'll resume working on my short. I wanted to finish up my 2d shots from SCAD as well, but I really need to focus on my short film.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Waiting

I got an automated response from Bethesda Softworks yesterday saying they've received my reel and paperwork. I hope they like my work and choose to select me for their job opening. This freelance illustration thing isn't working out at all. It looks like clients would rather let their projects expire from guru than have me work with them. :\

I guess I'll have to start asking for insanely low prices for projects. I've tried the whole "one full color image will take about four hours so I'll charge $40 at $10 an hour" but I guess that's too high. My friend told me about that method since she said a lot of artists end up selling themselves short. It seems like that's what I'm going to have to do though if I expect to make any money at all.

In the mean time, I'll continue to watch this awesome Jason Schleifer lecture on animating dialogue and will resume work on the Rosco shot I started at SCAD.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good News

Hey guys,

I got my website to work properly now. Things seem to be looking up now. I'm going to see what's wrong with my computer in an hour. I hope it can be fixed, cause I feel pretty inspired to produce some animation. I just finished reading a thread from the AM grads working at Dreamworks. They were saying how awesome Monsters vs Aliens and How to Train Your Pet Dragon look. Both of these films sound incredibly fun and I really hope I'll get into their Outreach program this year so i can work on one of them. That would be fantastic! =D

Another One of Those Days

It seems like the last two weeks have been nothing but "those days" as far as computers, my website, and getting a job are concerned. I spent three days fighting with maya to light and render my shot from Scare Tactics. Two days were spent rendering my revamped second shot from The Vacation and trying to figure out why quicktime suddenly refused to open the rendered images. I tried dragging and dropping the frame individually, and the shot somehow ended up being two seconds longer than it's supposed to be.

I created a new contact image for my reel on my laptop only to have it suddenly stop working the following day. I've been told it sounds like my laptop has had a catastrophic hardware failure so now I have to find someone who can hopefully fix it. I can't afford to buy a new one, so if it can't be fixed it looks like I'll be returning to SCAD without a computer.

I just applied for the animator position at Bethesda Softworks and am uploading my new reel to my website for them to look at. For some reason, both of my animation pages refuse to link to the animation files properly. Instead, it keeps linking the files to the place where they're stored on my computer. I have no idea why this is happening since I've been uploading my work and webpages the same way without issue since I started my page.

To top things off, the internet isn't working downstairs so I've been running up and down the stairs to upload the new and hopefully correct webpage only to find out the links still aren't working and having to return to my computer in the basement to try to figure it out. At least I'm getting my exercise for today. :\

I think all of this is happening because I'm finally applying for a job. Prior to that everything was working nicely, but as soon as I need to get a job everything decides to wrong. =(

Oops Part 2

Here's the second post I accidentally put on the wrong blog...

I spent the other day rendering shots for my demo reel and making new title cards, since I'm going to apply to Bethesda Softworks to see if I can work there over the break. Yesterday my shots finished rendering so I went to turn on my laptop to add them to my reel. For some reason my laptop refuses to start. The power light is on, and the screen flashes once, and it makes it's electrical starting up sounds for a second but that's it. Fortunately, I have about 95% of my files saved onto my new external hard drive. I hope my computer can be fixed though, especially since it's the one I take back and forth with me to SCAD.

Oops

I just realized I had posted my last two entries in my AM gallery blog instead of this one. Sorry about that. Here's what the first one said...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I realized Taylor's mouth is glowing yesterday when I watched the new rendered version of my shot. I won't be home most of today so I'm not sure if I'll be able to fix it right now. I'll try to get to it tonight though, cause I think it's glaringly obvious. Other than that I like how the final gather version turned out. The previous GI version was way too dark, plus it made Taylor's skin look like plastic. I'm sure there's a way to fix that but I don't know anything about lighting, and textures/shaders.

Once that's done, I'll cut together a new version of my demo reel to include the rendered shot instead of the playblast. After that, I can finally resume animating. I want to finish the shot I started at SCAD with my bear rig that I created and then resume working on my short film.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

First Finished Shot

Hey guys!

I'm still alive, sorry for not posting. I've been really busy with finals at SCAD and driving home for winter break. I have something good to show though to make up for it. After literally fighting with Maya for the last three days, I finally have a shot from my AM short rendered! I had to manually render and save each frame myself since Maya refused to batch render it, but it's finally done. The lighting isn't as good as the image in my head, but it'll have to do since I suck at it. I hope it's not too dark though. Please let me know if any of you guys think there's too much shadow in Taylor's face or if the lighting makes the animation unclear.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From 3d to 2d

Hey guys,

I think I've finally made enough observations to make this claim I've been pondering over for some time. It looks like it's ok to have individual parts of the body move alone in 2d. While eating lunch, I watched a good five minutes worth of pencil tests from the Lion King 1/2 and The Emperor's New Groove and I've found multiple instances where the character's head or arm will move while the rest of the body remains stationary. Not only that, but the same drawing is held.

Now I've always wondered how Disney animators were so amazing with maintaining volume, especially when only a small part of the character moves. Now I see they just hold that drawing until the entire body needs to move again. I'm surprised by this since I've been taught no part of the body can move by itself. Even the slightest head turns would require some torso rotation which in turn requires hip and head counter rotation. I understand all of these minute rotations would be a major pain to do in 2d, but I'm surprised to see some less subtle gestures executed without any torso movement at all.

Another odd thing is I accept this and think it's great while watching a Disney film, but if I do it in my 2d work it immediately stands out as being wrong. Why is that? Is it because I've been working in 3d for so long that I'm used to the character moving to some degree during a hold? I really need to find out since I think this dilemma is slowing down my 2d workflow as I end up trying to add tiny rotations and translations to prevent things from becoming completely still. I've also stopped using a single held drawing for a hold. Instead I redraw the pose every two frame until the hold is over. If anyone knows the answer to my observation, please let me know! I don't need to waste my time trying to add small movements and redrawing held poses if it isn't necessary...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Saved!

Hey everyone,

Over the last couple of days I've been freaking out about how I'm going to be able to finish my two animation finals. I'm blocking my 3d shot out with the grease pencil tool and it's 524 frames so far. There's no way I'll be able to animate that in a week, especially when I have another scene to animate for my 2d class. I showed my blocking to my 3d teacher and she liked it. I asked her what I should do since it's so long and she said she'd allow me to animate a segment of the scene for the class. She told me about how some students expand the scene they did in her class to use as their senior projects. I was super glad to hear that!

I really like my Rosco and The Fan idea and I'd been wondering what I'd use for my senior project. I believe I've found my concept. The only bad thing is I'd have to reanimate the section I use for this class. We'll see how I feel about that in a couple of quarters when Concept class rolls around. Knowing myself I'll probably come up with another outlandishly long idea. XD

Keeping things short is definitely my weakness. I'm working on it though. It's just so hard to keep the shot short when there are so many nice character touches you can add, lol. Anyway, here's my 2d blocking so far. Unfortunately, I can't continue it in class since my tablet is at home. I'll start posing my 3d character for now and will finish the 2d blocking once I get back.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Test Render

During the layout stage I was messing around with some lighting for my scene. Here's a test render of what my 3d character set-up will look like. I think I should move the electrical outlet to the right some so it wont be a potential tangent issue.



Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that I won't be able to animate my seven shot scene. Instead I've picked shot 6 from the sequence and will use that for my assignment. I'd like to animate the whole thing one day, but I doubt that'll happen. I need to finish my AM short before I start any personal projects.

One of Those Days

I really hate "bad animation days". Its the second to last week of the quarter and I have two scenes to animate. One is seven shots long and the other is potentially four shots long. One is 2d and the other is 3d. I just got back from my 2d class where I discovered today is one of those days. I knew what I wanted to do in my head, but it refused to come out on paper. I felt really awful in class. I kept asking myself why I'm taking a 2d class when I can't even draw a gestural version of my character correctly. >_<

I had planned on working in 2d until 2pm or so and then switching to 3d. Now I can't see that happening. Instead I'll work in 3d first and hopefully the bad animation day will be specifically for 2d and not cross over to 3d as well. I can't afford to produce crap in both mediums on the same day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

=D

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hey There

Man, I haven't posted here in a good while. I've been busy working on my 2d character assignments, my rig and trying to be a good peer buddy over on the AM student site. I feel so behind in the things I want to do. None of my 2d assignments have been fully inbetweened so far and that really upsets me. I don't feel like they're finished and am ashamed of turning them in like that. I had hoped to inbetween all of my shots before the end of the quarter but it doesn't look like that'll be happening. I need to watch the new Jason Schleifer lecture on animating to dialogue at some point. Last, I have five books that I need to finish/start reading, lol. This quarter went by way too quickly.

There is some good news though. I've been accepted into both of the fantastic Gary Goldman classes next term! To make things even better, I just got some new info on what the 2d production class will entail. It sounds like Goldman and Bluth are working on a new short and we'll be given shots from it to animate! How awesome is that?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? I'm going to be extremely busy next quarter with that and Goldman's advanced 2d character animation class but it'll be worth it! =D

Oh yeah, here's the layout for one of the shots in my final 2d character project. I suck at drawing bushes.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Art Meme

A fun little art meme has been going around Deviantart for the last few weeks. I was tagged by my roommate last week and am just now getting around to making my version. It was fun. ^-^

Monday, October 08, 2007

New Showcase

Hey guys, the new AnimationMentor student showcase is out! Check out all the awesome work at http://www.animationmentor.com/quicktime/fallShowcase/

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Peer Buddy

Hey guys, I just found out I have access to the AM student site again! I'm a peer buddy now and I get to help everyone out with their work. It's awesome to be back on the student side, I really missed being able to see literally everyone's work. It's really inspiring. Plus there's a new lecture from Jason Schleifer on animating dialogue. I can't wait to watch it, I feel like a student again! =D

Friday, September 28, 2007

More Model Sheet Action

I had to redraw my previous model sheet since my prof. wanted it on animation bond and for him to be drawn larger. I've also drawn a few action poses for him as well. I guess I should give him a name at some point. :\

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More 2d

I wish there were more 2d feature animation studios in the US. I see wonderful trailers for films like Nocturna, Giacomo's Secret, and Mr. Collieu being produced and am disappointed that I won't be able to work on them since they're all the way out in Spain. I know there's July Films in California. I'm going to see if they'll take me as an intern over the summer. Project Firefly looks good as well, but they have a notice on their site saying they aren't accepting any reels right now. Hopefully they'll be hiring by the time I graduate. Lol, there's also the chance of getting hired at one of the major studios. I just wish they did 2d as well though. I hope things go well with the Frog Princess so Disney will continue to produce 2d films.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Animation Update

Hey guys, here's an update on my animation. I have pages of things to fix so far that I haven't gotten to since the first pass isn't finished yet. Unfortunately the assignment is due tomorrow. I'm going to continue to work on it this week since our next project is just a model sheet. Lol, not finishing by tomorrow won't be a problem though seeing as how the actual assignment was just a walk in perspective. I finished that part last Monday. I'm just ashamed of having to show unfinished work in class when the shot's supposed to have been completed. :(

Shot 1

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Squire

Hey everyone,

I've finally decided on the look of the squire for my 2d character animation projects. It's just as well since our next assignment is a character model sheet, lol.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Animation So Far

Hey guys,

Here's an update on my animation so far. I think I've been working ineffectively. Like I said I've been doing it pretty much straight ahead. I just realized that I was supposed to start drawing the character more on model after the rough blocking is finished. Instead I've just been animating completely and will have to go back and draw the character over my roughs. I don't know if I'll have time to do that since I still have to go back and make corrections once I finish this first pass.

I've learned my lesson though. I'll remember that for the next part of my project. Click on the image to watch the video.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rosco Update

Here's an update on Rosco, my character for the rigging class at SCAD. I changed his colors, added an eyebrow shape and a button nose. I'm debating whether or not I should go ahead and rig him now or wait until we get to that in class. Right now the class is still talking about modeling basics so I don't have anything to do. :\




I usually don't have problems with rigging until it's time to start skinning. Like I said earlier, I kept him broken up into sections to avoid having to skin anything. I'm afraid to show up to class with a finished rig before we even start since the teacher might say "Oh well, that just means you can make another one! ^-^". That would suck since I want to spend as much time on my animation projects as possible.

Animation So Far

Hey guys,

I was able to re-export my animation before class started. I still have a ways to go and there are plenty of things to fix. I'm not going to change anything yet though. I want to complete a whole pass of animation before going back and making changes. Here's the url, enjoy!

wip Pencil Test

Monday, September 17, 2007

Learning!

Hey guys,

I've got some fantastic news! Last night I finally learned how to use a traditional x-sheet for things other than dialogue! Lol, I felt like an idiot for not understanding how they worked. I'm glad I had the urge to open my Survival Kit and reread the section on x-sheets. Now I know how 2d animators figured out how to get the secondary actions to sync up with the main actions on a frame by frame basis. I was really worried about how much time I'd spend figuring out where my character's sword would be on what pose of his walk. Using an x-sheet made that MUCH simpler. In fact, all I have to do now it just draw, rather than trying to figure out how to coordinate everything while animating at the same time.

X-sheets have really sped up my workflow. Today I animated 62 frames in four and a half hours! Thats an unheard of amount of footage for me in 2d. I've also discovered that my workflow has changed since the last time I worked in 2d. I seem to work in a more straight ahead fashion instead of strictly pose to pose. I used to do this because I was still learning the principles of animation and pose to pose helped me make things easier. Now I know how the body moves/reacts and am able to work more straight ahead, focusing on the performance as if I were the character on the paper.

I wanted to post today's pencil test but I discovered only part of the file exported. I ended up duplicating some of my frames in Flipbook and for some reason, the program didn't take updated time line into account when it exported the video. I'll try to fix it tomorrow and post the video then.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

New Layout

Hey guys. Here's the new version of my layout. I actually made a perspective grid and did everything properly this time, lol. Drawing things in correct perspective takes longer, but the results look much better. =D

I'd like to color it but I need to start the actual assignment now, lol. XD


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Redo

After thinking about my layout I've decided to redo it. The horizon line is way too high and is causing more work than necessary. I was watching Mario Furmanczyk's work for inspiration and noticed he has two shots in Broken Toys in which the character runs back into space and forward in space. The horizon line in his shots were much lower, about a third of the way up on the page. From what I've seen, that's the usual set-up for layouts anyway. I'll redraw mine tomorrow. I just have to think of a way to stage things so there's enough room for the character to jump over the log, have space to act on screen right and enough space to show him coming forward on the left before the jump.

It sucks that I have to redraw everything, but I'm really glad I caught that before I started animating. Plus, I think the new layout will be even better. =D

Layout with Rough Characters

Here's my layout with some very rough (and unfortunately hard to see) character poses thrown over it. The point of this is to try to figure out where the character will be in space and how his size will change through perspective. I'm not sure I'm doing this properly, so I'm checking out the Disney films I brought with me for inspiration and guidance. I hope I'll get the end product that I see in my head.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Forest Layout

Hey guys,

Here's the layout for the first shot in my 2d character animation "short". Sadly, my scanner is smaller than the animation bond so the image has been cut off on all sides. The scanner also destroyed my atmospheric perspective. =(

Never fear though, the capture stations should pick it up nicely. I'll be sure to post a pencil test as soon as I have one. I've taken my video reference and will be creating more thumbnails based off of that in the morning. When that's done, I'll pick my favorite poses from the ref thumbs and the imaginary thumbs and combine them into the final performance. I plan on having my blocking finished by this time tomorrow. We'll see how everything goes.

Excellent!

I just received a fantastic phone call from AM about Disney!!!!!!!!!!! Calls from California are always awesome. The only way it could be better is if it was from Disney either accepting me into their internship program or offering me a job. =D Hopefully that will happen in a few weeks from now. Man, if I get into their program I'd explode with glee! That would be one of the best phone calls of my life! XD We'll see what happens. I just need to get my reel approved and then it'll be sent to Disney as quickly as possible. Lol, according to my Awaken the Giant Within book if you honestly believe it you can get whatever you want. I'm going to be believing myself into Disney everyday now!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Rosco the Bear

I "finished" my model of my character for class today. We were supposed to have the torso, arms, and legs done by Tuesday. I finished 90% of this during class so I guess I'll have little to no homework for rigging class next week. That's awesome since it'll allow me to focus 100% on my animation projects. =D

Anyway, as much as I would like a nice fully skinned character I know my rigging limits and how long I take to do things. It would take me much longer to skin this character and would reduce the time I have to spend on my animation as the result. Instead I'm using a body like Stewie and Norman where the torso and limbs are all made up of separate pieces.

Here's a picture of what I have so far. When we get to texturing, he'll have a lighter face mask, paw prints on the bottom of his feet and hands, and possibly stitches similar to those on a teddy bear. I haven't decided whether I'll use the stitches idea since I know it would look much better on a fully skinned character. He used to have nice plump arms, but I had to thin them out so he could lower them without half of the upper arm going into his body. =(

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pre-production

Hey everyone. I just thought I'd post some of my first assignments for this term at SCAD. Here's a model sheet for a character I'll be building in 3d Character Setup class. I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. Hopefully this character will be easy to skin since I always have problems with that part of the process. This isn't my main focus class (and I have no interest in rigging at all) so I want to make sure I can do the work as quickly as possible, allowing me to spend most of my time working on my animation projects.



Speaking of which, here are some thumbnails and exploratory sketches for my upcoming animation project. We have to do a walk in perspective, a model sheet, a turn and react exercise, a shot with a cut, and a final acting assignment for the class. I've decided to turn all of this into a very short story that incorporates all of the projects. It's about a brutish squire and a baby dragon. You'll have to wait to see what happens. =P

Unfortunately, the last three pages are cut off on all sides because my sketchbook is larger than my scanner.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Adding Appeal to My Short/Why It's Taking So Long To Finish

Lol, I don't know if I'll ever finish my short film! After I finish a shot I sit and brainstorm about the remaining shots I have left. During the session usually a pretty clear idea for a shot jumps out at me. I then imagine and scene and play through it in my mind. Asking questions like "how would a little boy act/react? How would a monster act/react? Whats the overall mood of the shot?" etc. Trouble comes along during this phase because the answers more often than not require more animation than I originally planned for. In fact, when I watch my animatic I see how lifeless my shots were. There wasn't any inspiration in there or any special sparks.

Anyway, the other night I got some inspiration for how to end shot 9 (watching a movie) which lead to how to set-up shot 11 (making faces in the bathroom mirror). Right now Taylor responds to Twitch's fear of the horror movie like -_O. He sighs and thinks "Wow, that's pretty sad...". The other night I asked myself is this really something a small child would do? The answer I received was no so I asked myself "How would someone Taylor's age respond?". I know he's a happy, out going, fun loving, and somewhat mischievous kid to contrast with Twitch's shyness, fear, and introvert personality. I decided Taylor would treat the whole training session like a game. He's helping Twitch while genuinely enjoying himself at the same time.

My current end for shot 9 doesn't convey this at all. I think my new idea does and is a much better choice even though it requires more animation (the shot is already a little over 300 frames long XD). Now Taylor will initially respond with -_O "eh?" but once he sees Twitch is genuinely afraid he'll become more sympathetic. Taylor will try to think of a different alternative, and instantly becomes excited when he arrives on the mirror idea. He grabs hold of Twitch and whisks him away to the bathroom. I have a very specific way that I want Taylor to carry Twitch too. I've seen little children pick up their puppy or cat this way and think it'll add a nice bit of charm to the shot.

Originally I had a tenth shot that would cut out to show Twitch hiding under the couch cushions in the family room scene. Back in class 6 I decided it was unnecessary and cut it out. The other night I imagined an alternative. I haven't decided if I'll use it yet though. I imagined the new shot 10 as a long shot of the hallway at night. You'd see Taylor's silhouette against the moonlight streaming through a window carrying Twitch across the hall to the bathroom. It's just a hook up shot so I don't really think it's necessary.

Next up is the new and improved shot 11. I'm ecstatic about this idea since previously I dreaded having to work on this shot because I lacked a clear idea for it, let alone something to make it stand out. Plus my new idea gave me a whole new bathroom layout. Before, I was struggling getting the shot to read as the audience looking at their reflection. I redid the entire bathroom and I think it's reading much better now. Anyway, we start with Taylor at the counter. He heaves Twitch up and sits him down on top. Originally I imagined Taylor standing behind the counter and going through his making faces routine. During the new layout phase, I discovered Taylor's too short for that, as the counter comes up to just below his shoulders.

Rather than changing the size of the set I thought about it for a moment. Little kids are short and it wouldn't be accurate for him to have the counter at his waist level like I originally imagined it. I tried putting Taylor on the counter to see how it would look and immediately liked the results. I also revised that a real little boy would probably climb onto the counter (knowing full well that he shouldn't). So now I have Taylor putting Twitch on the counter, climbing up himself, instructing Twitch to look in the mirror, and then launching into his face making frenzy. I've also come up with a few ways for twitch to react to Taylor's faces and actions. After his routine, Taylor will stop and tell Twitch it's his turn. Twitch, unsure of himself, will try to mimic Taylor, much to the boys amusement. Taylor starts laughing so hard he falls off the counter. Twitch watches Taylor crawl out of the room (still shaking w/ laughter) and then follows him off-screen.

While this idea is much much more appealing than my original shot 11 idea (if you can even call it that) it requires a lot more animation. I have no problem with that since I think the idea is fun and charming. It's bad news as far as finishing my short any time soon goes. It seems like every time I have a full idea for a shot it requires more animation than I originally planned for. Normally I'd just say no, I need to stick with the plan so I can finish it on time, but this is MY short film. I'll probably never have an opportunity for this again since I'll be working on other people's visions once I get a job. Plus I no longer have an academic deadline for completion, only my rough estimates of "get some new shots for my reel by Siggraph and the following spring". Rather than clipping/cutting performances simply for the sake of finishing faster I think I'll use my new ideas even though they're longer. I think the results will be/are (ex. the new shot 5 vs the original) much better and more sincere. What's the rush anyway? Once it's finished I'll be able to be even more proud of it since I'll know every shot was created lovingly and to the full extent of my abilities. =D

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

FJORG!

During my time at Siggraph I noticed a few people walking around wearing viking hats. I was wondering where they came from and now I know. Appearantly they were participants in an animation event called FJORG!. I had never heard of FJORG! until today and am sorely disappointed that I hadn't known about it. I watched a documentary from the event and it looked incredibly fun. I would like to return to Siggraph next year and now FJORG! is on the top of my list of things to do. Now all I have to do is find two team mates. I don't know if any of my friends from SCAD are going to Siggraph 08, but I know some of my AM buddies are convention regulars. Getting a team together shouldn't be too hard. I really look forward to going next year now! =D

Monday, September 03, 2007

Almost Time for 2d =D

I'm actually looking forward to returning to SCAD this time. Why? Because I'm taking 2d character animation. I haven't done any good old traditional animation in a while and am really looking forward to returning to it. Sure I can work in 2d at home using the computer, but there's nothing like the feel of a pencil on paper. I can't wait until I get the funds to buy my own animation disc. Unfortunately that will have to wait until I get a job and have gotten a sizable amount of money saved up. Anyway, I cant wait to get started. I feel like I've learned a lot by working in 3d and am eager to apply everything I've learned to 2d.

The only thing I don't look forward to is having volume issues. >_< I feel like I'm more prepared for them though. Before I was transfered to the alumni site, I was able to speak to a couple of animators from Disney's 2d days. They told me about their workflow and how they address volume issues. They also let me know when they start drawing the on model character instead of the rough version. Watching all of those Glen Keane videos has helped immensely and has provided a ton of inspiration for returning to 2d as well.

I hope to be able to produce at least one 2d shot to use on my demo reel. I'd love to be a part of Disney's new 2d division and work on their short films! I know having one 2d shot won't be enough but hopefully it and my 3d animation will be enough to get my foot in the door. Once I'm there I imagine I can hang around towards the end of the day and visit the 2d section or however they have it set up. =D

Midnight

Hey guys. I stopped working on my short/demo reel for a week to work on a commission from my stepmother. She wanted me to paint a picture of my father's akita before I left for SCAD. I enjoyed painting Midnight's fur but after coloring for a week, I'm ready to return to animation. I think I'm getting better at painting fur though. ^-^

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Shot Update

Hey guys. I've updated the shot from my short for my reel. I've changed the last pose, animated Taylor's hair, and adjusted the timing of his second look back. Next I want to try having the feet slip during the scrambling backwards.



Nooooooooo

I was checking out the release dates for some of my fav games (Zelda, Smash bros, Mario, Final Fantasy etc.) when I came to a sad conclusion. It seems like I'm going to have to get a PS3. =( Usually I get all of the new consoles and this is the first time I've gone without one of them. I feel like I had a legit reason seeing as how there aren't any games that I like on it right now. It would be sitting here collecting dust. Sadly, I just found out Ratchet and Clank, Assassin's Creed, and FFXIII are trying to get me to buy s PS3. I was told Assassin's Creed and FFXIII were also coming out on the 360. I thought that was weird for FF since most of their games have been on the playstation.

I think it's better to wait another year so that hopefully the price on the console will drop another $100. I don't have a lot of time for video games these days anyway. Plus I'll have three all time favorites to keep be busy from October through Dec. I already have Zelda: Phantom Hourglass reserved and I'm going to reserve Smash Bros Brawl before I leave for SCAD. Once I get to GA I'll reserve Mario Galaxy. Hopefully those will be enough to distract me from my PS3 woes. I can go without Ratchet and Clank and Assassin's Creed. Final Fantasy is another matter though. =(

Monday, August 27, 2007



I really suck at cel shading. The fact that I colored this while listening to tonights fantastic Transformers Q&A session probably didn't help, lol. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't show any cool behind the scenes videos though. Who else can tell I was tired of this picture by the time I got to doing the background? XD

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lack of Funds

I really need a source of income. I wanted apply to BlueSky's animator position but I can't afford to do so. When I move I need to have a contract/position that will last for more than a couple of months or be in an area where I can get to different studios without having to spend a bunch of money. I can barely afford to move once, since literally all of my money will be spent getting to whatever state the job is in and reserving an apartment. One of my friends said I should have at least $5k saved up to successfully move to Cali or New York, I don't even have half of that. Right now I'd have to go hungry for however many weeks it takes for me to get my first pay check since I wouldn't have any money for food or anything else.

I obviously need to find a source of income, so I wont have to continue to miss potential job opportunities. I've been on guru.com for a year now and haven't been able to get any projects. I was selected for one job but the employer never followed through and the project expired. I'll continue to bid on jobs there throughout the rest of this year. If I am unable to get accepted for an internship or apprenticeship this summer I'll come home and get a normal (>_<) summer job. I wanted to take summer classes at SCAD to push my graduation date up sooner, but having money is more important. Whats the point of graduating early if I still don't have enough money to move anywhere?

Anyway, once I get a source of income I'll be straight. I don't have a problem with saving money, lol. It's actually quite the opposite! I enjoy hoarding money away in the bank and refusing to spend it on things that I don't absolutely need. The reason why I have so little money is because I don't have a job. All the money I have now is the result of saving birthday, Christmas, and graduation presents for over five years. XD

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Unfortunate

Unfortunately, things have ground to a halt as far as working on short and reel goes. Every day this week has been/ will be taken up by family issues. Helping my stepfather load my sister's college stuff into his truck, taking my sister to work, transporting my grandparents around, driving my sister to the airport since my aunt hasn't left yet to drive her to college, helping my other aunt with computer issues, and more grandparent transportation. >_< I hope these set backs don't cost me a job opportunity. I know Disney was hiring at Siggraph but their CreativeHeads call for animators was posted way back in July. I hope they're still looking for animators since I REALLY want to start out there. Working with Glen Keane, Jason Ryan, Andreas Deja, Nik Raneri and all the other Disney masters is invaluable! Simply inbetweening for them will seriously boost my 2d skills.

It's not the end of the world though. If I've missed my chance, I'll just apply for their internship or apprenticeship program. Hopefully I'll be able to get in through there.

Fantastic!

We asked for it and we got it! We're having a Transformers Q&A on the AM alumni site next week!!!!!!!! I can't wait! I actually have questions this time, lol. I usually sit on the sidelines and listen/watch but this time I can participate. =D

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Shot from my Short

Hey guys. I finally finished a shot from my short to use for my demo reel. Please feel free to critique it as I'm sending it to the big studios in a couple of weeks. Thanks a bunch!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Dragon Sketch

I drew this during one of my 10 min rest breaks while working on my short. I really like it and would like to color it sometime. I wanted to jump right into Photoshop or Painter as soon as it was done and had a hard time returning to Maya, lol.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tweaking!

I just wanted to say I LOVE being anal about details. Whether its in a shot or in a drawing, adding details is just plain fun. There is a catch though. Adding details usually takes quite a bit of time and the fun is sucked out of it if you don't have the proper amount of time to get it right. Luckily, I have nothing but time right now. I'm going through and preparing a couple of shots for my demo reel. I got some awesome feedback from Bobby Beck at one of the AM events at Siggraph and am working on applying his suggested changes to my counseling shot and to some shots from my short. I'm being so anal that I have ten whole pages of nit-picky details to adjust for the two shots from my short, lol. I'm loving every moment of it though since I'm really trying to get into one of my dream studios this year.

I still don't feel good enough for Pixar yet, but I'm going to apply anyway. I'm really hoping to get into Disney since they'd started up their 2d department again. I love 2d animation and would jump at a chance to work under Glen Keane, Nik Ranieri, Andreas Deja, Jason Ryan or any of the other Disney masters. Simply watching them draw over their shoulder would be massively informative. Plus 2d Disney animation is what got me into this field anyway. I figure I can work there for a while to improve my 2d and 3d skills, then I can move on to PDI/DreamWorks and finally to Pixar. I also wouldn't mind spending a few years at James Baxter Animation Studios either. I'd have to go there after Disney though since he only works in 2d and right now my 2d animation isn't good enough to get me in. XD

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Graduation Pictures

Man, I got back to the hotel much later than I expected. Here are some of the pictures that were taken at the graduation and rooftop beach reception courtesy of my mother.





The reception was held at the super cool W hotel. I've never been to a hotel like the W and enjoyed every moment of it. I love contemporary furniture and the W was nothing but that. Every aspect of the hotel was beautiful and very stylish. I hope to some day have a house that looks like the interior of the W. Their rooftop beach area was really cool as well. I loved their hanging basket chairs and "bent up" umbrellas.

Yesterday I went to the Birds of a Feather meeting and met even more people there and afterwards. I dont think I'm allowed to talk about the new features on the AM site but I can say they're all amazing! After the recruiter's panel the founders raffeled away cool stuff. Signed copies of the Art of Ratatouillie, Shrek, Surfs Up, and Meet the Robinsons, Pixar t shirts and hats, Transformers t shirts and hats, a Cars iPod Nano cover, and a Remy action figure. I didn't win anything though. My number was 7026 and they called 7016 and 7036. XD I got to meet two recruiters so that made up for it. I met Robin Linn from Sony and Kim Mackey from Dreamworks. I was very pleasantly surprised that she remembered me and was glad to meet me in person, lol. Shawn Kelly remembered me too.

I had a nice time at Siggraph even though all I did was go to a few AM events. It was really fun to meet my classmates and legendary animators from some of the top studios. I look forward to attending the next Siggraph so I can hang out with my friends again. =D

Graduation/Siggraph

Hey guys,

The AM graduation was awesome! It was really nice to meet my classmates in person. I think I did alright as far as talking to people goes, despite my shyness lol. I met the founders, Bobby, Shawn and Carlos as well as my class two mentor Doug Dooley. At the finale Spike (AM's mascot) ran out and knocked a huge beach ball into the crowd. All of the graduates then grabbed their beach balls and had an awesome beach ball bashing party, lol. I'd like to send a huge congrats to the grads who won awards at the program. Congrats to Mario Pochat and John Slowsky for winning the Walk with the Most Personality award, Peter Devlin and Ryan Sluman for Best Dialogue Acting, Heath Pagram and Patricia Ross for Most EntertainingVideo Reference, Jace Bandalin and Arne Kaupang for Best Personality in a Live Q&A, Justin Weg and Eric Luhta for Forum Ninja, Jay Epperheart and Taylor Mahony for Most Supportive Student, Elaine Wu and Kate Forrest for Most Improved Student, Kira Lehtomaki, and Kenny Music for Best Silent Acting, and last but not least Jure Prek and Peter Devlin for the Mentor Choice Award! Congrats guys!

Yesterday I met the famous Jason Schleifer on the way to dinner. I'm still extremely thankful for his help with finding someone to rig my short film character and was sure to let him know. Before leaving Jason gave me his super cool PDI/Dreamworks business card. =D I went to the AM Birds of a Feather meeting and met recruiters Kim Mackey and Robin Linn. Bobby, Shawn and Carlos gave away cool Pixar, Cars, Ratatoullie, Transformers, Meet the Robinsons, Shrek, and Surfs Up stuff. I didn't win anything though. XD

I've gotta go. I'm being fussed at to hurry up and get dressed, lol. There's much more to come later!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Tomorrow

The AnimationMentor graduation is tomorrow! =D Lol, with my luck (and lack of grace) I'll probably end up falling up the stairs to the stage to get my certificate. It's hard to believe I've finished AM and its also pretty disappointing. I wish I could be an AM student forever! I'm extremely thankful that I was able to go through their program. I owe everything I know to them and seriously feel like I'll be able to achieve my dream goal. I've still got a year and two quarters to go at SCAD though so I'll have to wait to see if I'm right or not.

In the meantime I've been hanging out in San Diego and working on my short. The weather here is really nice and the scenery is beautiful. I wasn't too thrilled about having to pay $26 to go to the zoo (the DC zoo is free) but I think it was worth it. I got to watch a very cool underwater show put on by the polar bears today. It's a shame I couldn't draw anything though. I went with my family and they didn't want to stand around while I took the time to draw things, lol. I enjoyed the trip anyway though. My mother and stepsisters wanted to go shopping yesterday and I ended up finding a really cool furniture store called Hold It Contemporary Home. I love contemporary furniture and am now really excited about when I move to Cali and get an apartment. Unfortunately I can't really see myself being able to afford that furniture though, especially after what I saw today. I checked out some nice condominiums and found out they were going for $200k. That's completely insane, thats how much my mother paid for our five bedroom house back home. Lol, I've pretty much accepted the fact that I'm going to have to live in a hole in the wall when I move out here.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

One Shot at a Time

Hey guys,

As promised, here's an up to date look at one of the shots in my short. I just "finished" it a few minutes ago and am pretty happy with the animation so far. It's not a money shot so it doesn't have a bunch of complex actions or emotion. It's just the simple opening shot of Taylor laying in bed asleep. The next thing I'd like to do is set up the bed and pillows so they're affected by his weight. I'd also like to redo Taylor's hair so its animate-able. There's a part in the shot where his fingers go through his hair as he rolls over. I want to be able to animate his hair so it reacts to the fingers during his turn. I've seen a few shots where students have added movable hair to Bishop. I'll have to ask them how they did that.

As usual, all comments and crits are greatly appreciated! =D

Siggraph is Coming

It's hard to believe I leave for San Diego on Saturday. I don't feel excited about Siggraph at all. I guess it's because most of the events I've heard about don't interest me, and that only reason why I'm going is for the AM graduation. I used to say I was going for the job fair as well, but that's no longer true. I've been advised against submitting my reel since I haven't graduated from SCAD. I called the studios I would have submitted my work to and asked if it was too early to apply for their summer 2008 programs and they said yes. Even if it wasn't, I like to think I'll have new work for my demo reel by the time spring rolls around. AM is having two demo reel critique sections. I'm not excited about those either since whatever I show them wont be the reel I send out for internships anyway.

I'll bring a few copies of my summer 2007 reel anyway, because I know I'd wish I had them if I don't bring any lol. I guess I'll burn 3-5 copies. I don't want to waste DVDs since I'm not expecting to give them to anyone right now. I'll save the mass DVD burning for the spring. XD

Anyway, I'll go to some of the AM events and will more than likely try to spend the rest of my time in San Diego working on my short. We'll see how that goes though since my stepfather has decided to turn my one day long stay in Cali into a week long vacation. -_- As far as my short goes, I've failed to reach my goal of finishing the animation by Siggraph. Now I see that it doesn't matter too much since I was told not to apply for any jobs yet anyway, lol. I have been working on it though and have two new shots that I like so far. ^-^ I'll post my progress one of these days. My laptop's wireless card has decided to freeze my comp each time the internet goes down (which is @ least once every 5-7 min) so I cant get online with my work computer. In a way that's a good thing since I can't be distracted by msn messenger and checking my email every time I get a new one, lol.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Overlap Video Tutorial

Hey guys. I just finished watching Jason Ryan's overlap video tutorial. I'm really looking forward to applying to his tutorial service. Everything is simple, clear, and easy to understand. The fact that he spends more time in the camera view than the graph editor is helpful too. It feels like he's animating almost exactly like he would in 2d, only he's rotating and translating controls instead of drawing. Jason really simplified the concept of overlap and gave a step by step walk through of four different overlap situations in just 12 minutes. I'm really glad I watched it since I know I'd probably have over complicated problems if I had to animate a wagging tail or a really cartoony stagger in 3d. Jason's video made me realise how much I tend to over think concepts and end up spending way more time on a shot than I should have to. I highly recommend everyone to check it out and subscribe to his newsletter.

Here's the video's url: http://www.screencast.com/users/JasonRyan/folders/freebies/media/e611cc3d-9759-47db-a1b5-bdec0b336276

You'll need the techsmith screen capture codec which can be downloaded here: http://www.techsmith.com/download/codecs.asp

Enjoy!

On a side note, I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last night. Rowling is in my opinion, one of the best authors in the world. I have never felt for a character in a book as much as I did with the characters in Deathy Hallows. That alone is an achievement since my friends always talk about my supposed lack of empathy for anything. All of the people who wont read the books and are watching for the movie are really missing out. There's no way the Deathly Hallows film will be as gripping as the book, unless they make it at least six hours long lol.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Platinum Edition

AM just launched their platinum membership for the alumni site. It sounds really awesome since we'll have access to lectures, guest speakers, special Q&A sessions, and will be able to view each other's critiques. In fact there's a Ratatouille Q&A coming up soon. The thing is platinum membership costs $100 a year. Normally that wouldn't be a problem but I just found out that my bank account has under $1k. Seeing as how I don't have a job and thus no real source of income it's not easy to get my finances back up again. Lol, I've never even had $2k in my account and I've been saving my money since summer of 2003. XD

I hate to have to turn to my parents (again) and ask them for money, but it seems I don't really have a choice. Luckily my birthday is on Saturday so I can just ask for the platinum membership for my birthday. What could be better than AM platinum membership and the release of the last Harry Potter book for a 21st birthday? Sadly, I will be in Ocean City this weekend and there isn't a Borders anywhere near there. I'll have to wait until I get back to find out what happens to Harry and crew. Until then, I will ban myself from the internet and my friends who will have already gotten/read the book so I dont end up running into any spoilers.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Finished

After a total of about 14 hours I've finally come to a stopping point on my painting. I've learned a TON about digital painting and painting period. I eagerly await the next time I get a chance to paint again. Lol, in fact I think I just found a new hobby. I still want to be able to render fur much more believably so I think my next exercise should be a painting from life. I'll find a picture of a paw or something and try to paint that. I think I'll learn a lot about rendering fur and more about the flow of fur over the animal's body. As far as this picture goes, I think some parts are more successful than others. I really like how I rendered his tongue and feel like that's the best part of the image. I think the weakest part (aside from the lack of background) is the gold earrings. I still suck at rendering metal. That's enough of that though. On to bed and then to animating in the morning! =D

Friday, July 13, 2007

Up date

I worked on my picture some more. I like how its coming out so far. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it today so I can get back to animating. To be honest I'm getting tired of painting right now and I feel like my eyes have blisters on them, lol.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Learning

Hey guys,

I decided to take a break from animating today and once again tried to teach myself how to paint. I don't practice digital painting very often now that I know a little bit about animation. I used to color my drawings in photoshop all the time back in high school. I remember looking up tutorials on how to make rain, fire, smoke etc. Needless to say I don't remember anything about making those things. Anyway, I got a copy of Painter IX a while ago and decided to try to learn how to use it as well. I really like the sketch I did of Fetch and figured I might as well take a stab at painting it. After spending about 10 hours doing a lot of Painter research and trail and error, this is what I came up with. It obviously isn't finished and I hope to complete it tomorrow. I need to find a tutorial on painting scales and metal. Lol, I tried to paint his nose ring without the aid of a tutorial and its obvious that I need help.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Being an Almost Graduate

I've been checking around the AM alumni site and looking at my classmate's demo reels and I've realized something. AM produces some seriously nice animators. I've seen a lot of really good work and its hard to believe most of the students were animating for the first time. I've watched my classmates grow and now get jobs/internships at Disney, Dreamworks, Blue Sky, Pixar, ILM, and Rhythm&Hues. I'm really glad to be a part of the AM community and to have had the chance to learn from some of the top animators from various studios. I wish the program was longer, as I still have so much to learn. I've watched people in my class grow from having never animated in their life to working at Disney and such, while I am still sitting here at home collecting rejection letters.

All I can do is tell myself these letters are a good thing since my parents want me to finish my time at SCAD. I don't think I'd feel bad if I got hired before I finished up there. Isn't the whole point in going to college is to learn and develop your skills so you can get a job? I'm going to a couple of events at Siggraph since my graduation from AM is being held there. I've never been there before but I've heard about how great it is. All I wanted to do was go to the animation theater and the job fair. Now I'm debating whether I should bother bringing my reel, since I still have five more quarters to take a SCAD. I'm still working on my short and am working on adding a few shots from it to my reel. We'll see if I'm fast enough to accomplish that by the end of the month.

I would really like to get an internship more so than a job right now because of the SCAD dilemma. That way I can get experience from a bunch of studios and continue to move towards finally being finished so I can apply for jobs for real. I think I should have taken summer classes to push my graduation date closer to the original time. I didn't find out about my acceptance and then rejection from R&H soon enough to apply for summer classes though. This time I'll try calling HR at all the studios I send a reel to when it gets close to registration time. Hopefully then I'll be able to find out whether or not I got in and then register for summer classes based on their answer.

Anyway, watching all of my peers get jobs where I hope to someday work makes me feel like a little kid trying to hang out with the big kids. AM gives us all this information about resumes, reels, interviews, contact info/connection with various studios and says "Now take this information and go get a job! =D". All of the AM grads shout "Yeah!!!!!" and they rush out to get hired at all these cool studios. I see myself trying to run out with them when a teacher grabs me by the shirt and says "Not so fast young lady! You've got to finish your schooling!". The teacher plops me down at a desk in an empty classroom and I sit there like -______- and =(. Then my classmates start streaming in excitedly telling the teacher where they've gotten a job. I get excited each time one of my classmates comes in with news of working at *insert dream studio here*, but a stern look from the omnipresent teacher forces me to sit back down at my desk.

Lol, maybe I could animate a scene like that. I have a really clear vision of how that would look in my head right now and I think it would be rather amusing. The only bad thing is the number of characters I'd have to use and the fact that I have to finish my short first, lol.

Fetch

I just finished Downfall by Jean Rabe and really wanted to try to draw one of the characters from the story. His name is Ilbreth aka Fetch and he's a kobold thief who is a part of Dhamon Grimwulf's party for most of the book. I tend to like the more creature/animal-like characters of fantasy stories more so than their human/elven/dwarven counterparts. Once I read a description of Fetch I was hooked on him for the rest of the book. Previously all of the descriptions I've read of kobolds presented them as being very lizard-like and I pictured then as being somewhat similar to a race in FFXII and FFTA called bangaa's.

Rabe decided to go another way and made kobolds much more appealing in my opinion. Fetch was described as having a rat like face and tail, bat ears to suggest his goblin ancestry, scale intermingled with his brown fur, small clawed hands and feet, and red beady eyes with small white horns above them. I instantly liked his design better and he quickly became my favorite character in the story. Sadly Rabe thought it would be best to kill him towards the second half of the book. =(

Monday, July 02, 2007

Zoo Sketches

I finally got around to going to the zoo on Friday. I wanted to get there once a week but things kept popping up and preventing me to do so. I hope I'll get to go again this week, as I had a lot of fun once I shook off the shyness of drawing in front of so many people. I stayed for about three hours and got five pages of sketches done. I think I did well with the elephant shrew and the degu. I seem to have gotten their body structure down nicely. I need to work on moneys and reptiles though. I'll probably return to the small mammal house the next time I go since monkeys are really fun.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Jason Ryan Animation

Hey guys. I just got my first newsletter from Jason Ryan Animation. I'm really excited about his new tutorial service. Jason is one of the original legendary AM mentors from when the program first started. There were tons of threads about him and his workflow in the forum. He also provided excellent animated demonstrations to help teach his classes. Sadly, Jason Ryan left AM before I could take a class with him. I was really disappointed since I had heard so much about him and have learned a lot from his videos. Plus Larry Lauria, my favorite animation teacher at SCAD taught Jason back before he got hired at Disney. He told me how enthusiastic Jason was and how quickly his work improved over his courses.

I really can't wait until Jason starts his services! The newsletter says he wants to keep everything affordable, so hopefully I'll be able to afford it. I am still pondering whether I should participate or not though. I really want to since I know I have so much more to learn about animation and don't want to let a great opportunity pass me by. At the same time, I've just gone through AnimationMentor so many people would argue I've already received a fantastic animation education. I agree with them, since AM is astounding and I owe pretty much everything I know to them. I guess I'm just afraid of missing out on some really valuable knowledge. Plus Jason is a 2d guy at heart and I know I have a ton of stuff to learn about 2d animation. I guess it all depends on how much his service will cost...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

All Good Things...

Sadly, my time at AnimationMentor is coming to an end. Tomorrow is the last day of my last term and I will roll over to the alumni website after the break on July 2nd. I'm really going to miss everyone on the main site. I hope the alumni site is just like the school. I keep hearing great things about it so thats encouraging. I also hear we'll be able to watch all of the new lectures AM comes up with in the future. I think that's really awesome! I know I have so much more to learn about animation and want to watch all the lectures I possibly can. I hear we'll still have the ability to get critiques from mentors as well. It sounds like I don't have anything to worry about, but it's still somewhat disappointing to have to leave. I'm going to miss everyone!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ratatouille(no spoilers) and My Thoughts

I just got back from the Ratatouille sneak peak and can't wait to see it again when its released officially! Everything was superbly done and extremely inspiring. I'd go right into animating if it wasn't after 11pm, lol. I can't wait to get started tomorrow though! Those of you who weren't able to get to one of the sneak peak theaters missed out on a real treat. I'm going to try to stop talking about the film since I don't want to give out any spoilers. On to my thoughts...

Ok, as I said Ratatouille was extremely inspiring. During the drive home I kept thinking "Man, I can't wait until I can animate characters with strong and well defined personalities like Anton Ego's!" He's my favorite character in the film since his personality is so distinctive. I can't wait until I get a job and get to work on characters like him! After saying that I thought for a while and realised I don't have to wait until I'm hired to be able to work on characters with different personalities. Sure I wont be able to work with characters who are defined over the course of a feature length story on my own, but I don't have the characters in my short to work with. I've lost track of how many times I've found myself imagining a scenario with characters from different movies and determining how they'd act/react based on their persona's in their own films.

I asked myself why I can't take that imagination and apply it to my short. Of course it seems like the obvious thing to do, but I don't think I had been doing it for some reason. I told myself I don't have to wait for a job to get the chance to animate fun, imaginary characters. I can do it right now with my short! I think this goes back to my previous post about being so focused on trying to get an internship and trying to hurry and finish my short. I've been so caught up with those things that I haven't really allowed myself to truly imagine what my characters are really like.

Sure I've come up with things for them to do but so far the process has been just that and lacks any creative/imaginative elements if that makes sense. I think that's a large reason why I'm so unhappy with the progress of my short and my work as a whole. I think that might be the spark of life that my work is lacking. I've been so caught up with the technical aspects of animation and trying to get things to look correct that I've forgotten to really imagine how my characters would act.


I went through the usual process of writing down qualities of my characters and using those as a guide when choosing what they'd do in every shot, but I didn't really imagine them doing those things. It was more or a list of things to do rather than an actual performance in my head. I hope all of this makes sense, by the way lol. I know I have the ability to imagine characters doing various things since I do it all the time with characters from other animated films. I just need to apply that to my own work. This seems like an obvious no brainer and I know I've known to do that in the back of my mind, I've just never actually done it. I think I might have lost touch with that element because I was learning how to animate in general...learning about the principles, how to apply them to my work, elements of acting, developing a workflow etc. I'm hoping I now know enough about animation in general to be able to use that knowledge to get the characters in my head on screen for everyone to see. We'll see how that goes. Lol, at this rate my short will never be finished though. I essentially end up redoing every shot I've revisited since blocking it out in the original class 6. I tell myself I can do better and end up changing what I had into something new.

Tomorrow I'll sit down and try to imagine my short as a whole. I'll imagine the character's actual performances, take notes and draw new thumbnails. Hopefully I'll end up with more genuine and lifelike acting and won't have to change my shots anymore after that.

Sneak Peak

I'm going to see a sneak peak of Ratatouille tonight!!!!!!!!!! =D I seriously can't wait! My friends at SCAD berate me for watching all of the Ratatouille clips online, claiming it'll spoil the movie. It might for them, but not for me. I'm even more excited about the film after watching all of those trailers and featurettes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Some Thoughts

I've been thinking of a few things over the last few months. A little while ago I read a blog entry about James Baxter that caught my attention. It said one of the reasons why he's so great is because he animates for himself. He doesn't start a shot thinking "I'm doing this so I can get a job at *insert studio here*". Instead he animates simply to make himself happy. I've been thinking of that ever since I read it.

I seem to have forgotten that aspect of animation. Ever since AM told us about what different kinds of studios look for in demo reels, I've been focusing on creating shots that Disney, DreamWorks, and Pixar would like. I've been so caught up with trying to hurry and finish my short film while doing my best on my SCAD assignments that I seem to have forgotten about how fun animation is. Rather than concentrating on getting a job, I should focus on bettering myself as an artist on a whole. I'm starting to think a truly happy animator doesn't really care where he or she works. To them, a job is pretty much just that, a job. A means of paying the bills. They don't animate simply to get into a certain studio. They animate because they love it. They're passionate about bringing characters to life and don't really care about where they do it.

I'm in the process of completely converting myself to that mindset. I've stopped worrying about getting a job or internship at one of my dream studios as much and I think I've become more productive. Now I'm just focusing on the thrill of animating my very own short film and trying to bring those characters to life as best as I can. I think my work overall will be much better once I achieve that state of mind...

I'm sorry if this rambles, it's kinda late and I'm pretty tired. I hope all of that makes sense.

Pixar

A super HUGE congrats goes out to Stephen Melagrano, the first AM student to get an internship at Pixar! Congrats man, your work is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You're an inspiration to us all! =D

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another Chance

Hey guys,

Now that I have another acting shot for my reel, I've decided to apply to BlueSky. They still have the position of animator in the now hiring section of their website, so hopefully they still need a few people. I'm preparing my materials now and will send off my reel in the morning. I hope I get in! =D

Summer Student Showcase

The Summer Student Showcase is coming! I think it will be out sometime after August and the submission deadline is July 6th. I wont be submitting anything this time. I don't have any new AM work worth submitting. My short has barely been creeping along. I think it was a bad idea to retake class 6 while I was at SCAD. It's too late now though. I'm going to spend the summer working on it. Hopefully I'll have everything animated by Siggraph.

I'm having some problems with the Twitch rig at the moment though. That's slowing me down somewhat. I've decided to just work on Taylor while I'm waiting for the Twitch rig to be fixed. I really look forward to watching all of the excellent animation that they'll feature on the new showcase though. I wish everyone who's submitting the best of luck!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Summer Status

It looks like there has been a change of plans. I lost my position in the Rhythm&Hues apprenticeship program since I haven't graduated from SCAD. I'm somewhat disappointed since my chance for industry exp is gone. On the other hand, I'll be able to work on my AM short full time again. Either way I'll be spending the summer animating. I feel bad for taking a slot that an actual graduate should have gotten. Sorry!

Animation II Final

Hey guys,

Here's my final project for animation II class. I still can't believe I actually finished a whole dialogue shot in just two weeks! I guess I'm finally starting to get faster...

Monday, May 28, 2007

More 2d

I'm in the process of polishing my 3d shot for my Animation II final and animating my 2d shot for my Studies in Motion final. I'm really glad to get back to 2d, but I'm also very unhappy with my assignment. I'm doing the animation in Mirage and it's a constant reminder of how much I dislike doing 2d animation in the computer. Having instant playback is a huge advantage but I just cant draw nearly as well with a tablet as I can with a pencil and paper. I really wish I had an animation disk so I could practice traditional animation at home. There's an animation light box at SCAD's school store that comes with a peg bar and a turnable plastic disc for $349.99. I wish I could buy it but I've been advised to save my money for any trouble I may run into once I arrive in Cali on Monday. That was good advice but I still regret not buying the disc.

I have 2d character animation next term at SCAD. Hopefully the disc will still be in stock. Speaking of 2d character, I am highly upset with SCAD. The original 2d character animation professor Phil Young, is leaving this term. He was the only Disney guy at SCAD and I never got a chance to take a class with him. I was so excited about finally being able to learn from him and now he's gone. To make things worse, I've been reading the blogs of a few CalArts students. They have a bunch of posts about Mark Henn and Glene Keanne lectures and how amazing they are. They also talk about how much their teachers help them by going over their work drawing by drawing. I wish there were teachers like that here. I don't think Glene Keanne has ever even been to SCAD, let alone lecture. I feel like I'm missing out on so much valuable information and its extremely frustrating. I really want to get better with 2d animation but I don't have anyone to help me.

I find myself wishing I had ignored my mother and gone to CalArts anyway. They have access to the best animators in the world and get to pick their brains on multiple occasions. SCAD doesn't have anything like that at all and I feel like I'm being cheated. Sure people say "well, you took AnimationMentor!" and I agree. AM is a fantastic program, and I owe everything I know to those guys. They've helped me improve my knowledge of animation and the 3d medium by leaps and bounds. I am extremely grateful for having the chance to learn from all of the excellent animators in the program. I still want to be able to animate in 2d though. AM has a few 2d animators but I need someone to physically be here to help me with that. I need someone who can draw over my drawings and show me in real time how to do things. I wish there was a way to transfer to CalArts. I'd go at the drop of a hat if it was possible. I hate to seem like I'm bashing SCAD but I really feel like I'm wasting my time here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pixar Just Responded

...and they said no, lol. I'm not surprised though. I didn't expect to make it there right off the bat and my expectations became even lower after being rejected from Disney and Dreamworks. If my work isn't good enough for them then there's no way its good enough for Pixar. I'll try again next year and see what happens.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Intern Badge


Does anyone know how to make a scanner stop producing the blue coloration around the edges of images?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Studies in Movement

Here's a very quickly done walk for my studies in movement class. There are a bunch of issues with it that I want to address but don't have time. I have two more shots to animate, a term paper to write and I need to continue working on my AM short. >_<

Kitten Walk Animation