Monday, January 29, 2007

Rough Blocking Pass

Alright everyone. It's time to post an updated version of my short! We're working on the short in thirds so I will upload an update each time I finish a pass on final third. That will pretty much be every three weeks. This is the rough blocking pass. I wanted to include more information, but I needed to focus on spending time on each shot. As usual all comments/critiques are greatly appreciated!

Rough Blocking Pass

Twitch will be converted to 3d once the new version of his rig is ready. Oh, I am having an issue with the soundtrack. I put it together in Premiere and saved the music/sound effects separately since it always give me an error when I try to export the entire video. Everything plays properly and is in sync in Premiere. When I put everything together in Quicktime Twitch's first growls come in late. I have no clue why that's happening since it doesn't do that in Premiere. I have the audio starting at the same time as the video so that shouldn't even occur. It's even stranger because none of the other sound effects are off...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Random Sketches

Random sketches from today... My attempts at drawing people always amuse me. Someday they'll stop sucking so much.

I'll post the rough blocking version of my short tomorrow. It's getting late and I need to go to bed.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Washington Auto Show

Hey guys. I decided to have a life today and went to the Washington Auto Show with a friend. I saw a bunch of awesome cars that I'd love to have but know I'll never be able to afford. I thought I'd share them with you all...

Dodge Viper

Chrysler Nassau

Audi R8

Lincoln MkR (I never thought I'd ever have a Lincoln on my list of insanely cool cars)

Chevy Volt (sorry about the missing front and interior views)

Lamborghini LP640

Chevy Camaro

Pontiac Solstice

Jaguar XJ or XK?

Lotus Exige

Out of all of these beautiful cars, my top favorites are the Audi R8, the Lotus, the Chevy Volt and the Chrysler Nassau in that order. I'm just really sorry that I don't have more pictures of the Volt, it's truly an extraordinary car.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Awesome Short

Hey guys. I found this along with other fantastic bits of student animation last night and thought I'd share it. You all have probably seen this already since I found it in the May 2006 section of the Spline Doctors blog. It's new to me though and I was blown away by it. I think Creampuff Con is one of the best student projects ever. It really looks like something that Pixar would do. I'm not surprised though since it was created in the Pixar 3 class at AAU. All of the people in the Pixar classes are so lucky! I wish I could join them somehow. I guess I'll have to settle for studying their work intensely, lol.

Monday, January 22, 2007


The weird background comes as the result of me not going to bed when I should have. I wish I had time to try to color it. I'd really like to learn how to do digital paintings and such. All of that will have to wait though. I need to concentrate on making my animation good enough to get a job in feature first.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Does anyone know if Dreamworks/PDI actually offers an animation internship?????? I just finished sending personal messages to all of the AM mentors who work there asking about them. Last year I wanted to apply for an internship at Dreamworks but wasn't able to find any information on them. I spoke to a few animators who worked there and asked about it on the AM forum. It seemed like the general answer was no, so i didn't send anything in. Last week I was talking to Jason Schleifer and mentioned the fact that I wanted to intern at Dreamworks. He told me that they finished an internship session not too long ago. Does this mean that Dreamworks now offers animation internships? I checked the website and found the same information about their Outreach program, but still nothing on how to apply....

I'm working as hard as possible to make my short good enough to get me an internship at one of the major feature studios this coming summer. Dreamworks is definitely on my list of places to get into, I just wish I knew whether or not they have an animation program and how to apply for it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate fellow AM student, Deter Brown for getting hired at Dreamworks!!!!! He definitely deserves it! Please take a moment to stop by his blog and look at his outstanding work:

Really Cool

On Sunday the fantastic Jason Schleifer posted my cry for help on his blog. Yesterday I was contacted by a TD at Laika and he offered to fix my character for me. How cool is that? I just want to send a HUGE thank you to Jason and to Chris, the TD! Thanks a ton guys, you both have saved my short!

Friday, January 12, 2007

First Day of Issues

I spent all day working on the 3d blocking for the first 3rd of my short. I finished converting all of Taylor's poses and spent the evening/night working on Twitch. I didn't have any problems getting Taylor to match the poses in my drawings, Twitch on the other hand is another story. After spending way too many hours on the same shot (and I'm still not happy with it), I think I can effectively say that I really dislike my 3d version of Twitch. I should have made the model much skinner. That way it would be easier to get the nice "c" curves that his 2d version has in his spine. The current model is giving me lots of grief and refuses to make c curves that aren't broken in some way, shape or form.

I really wish I had more time and more resources. if I did I'd remodel Twitch with a skinner body and with a thinner tail. That way there wouldn't be nearly as many weighting and flexibility issues, since most of the problems are coming from his fat hip area. I also wanted to have fat arms that taper towards his hands, like the 2d version does. I tried it and failed there too. The arms now twist badly if they're rotated a certain way. His legs also break rather than simply straightening out if his feet are moved too far forward/back. I really love the "bent leg" design that Twitch's 2d version has. I saw the characters in Over the Hedge had successfully translated that design factor into 3d so I figured it would be possible for my character to have the same thing. Apparently I was wrong. I should have given him the usual skinny, straight 3d legs that a lot of characters used to have.

This really sucks since the proxy version of Twitch doesn't have these problems. Because of that and because my rigger knows what he's doing, I think all of these issues lie in the model. Plus the fact that I modeled him makes my reasoning even more logical. I'm really wishing that I could have done my short in 2d right about now.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

New Stuff

Hey guys. Since its time for me to move on to 3d blocking I figured I might as well post the 2d version now...

2d Blocking

A huge thank you goes out to my classmates Freddy Burgos and Danny Southard for telling me about the AAC compressor for my soundtrack. It's taken my file from 17mb to 3mb!

I really want to redo Taylor's animation in shot nine and sixteen. It's very rough and I know it can be much better/simpler. I may not get to that for a little while now that class has started. I'll probably have to wait and fix them when I get to the third that they belong in since I have to start the 3d blocking as well. The huge pause between shot 13 and 14 is where a fade out and a fade in will be. I don't know how to add them in premiere and I don't have aftereffects. I normally add them in Windows Movie Maker, but that program has been acting up lately. I didn't want to lose time fiddling with fades so I just left them out for now.

Some shots are rougher than others. Ideally I would have all of the shots broken down to the same level of blocking before moving on to the 3d part. I'd like to spend the first few days of the week adjusting/breaking down the 2d blocking and then the rest of the week creating its 3d counterpart. I figure that will force me to really think about every frame and will push me to break the rig's more to get that "2d feel". We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Best School Ever

I now have more evidence to prove that AnimationMentor is the best school on the planet. I just found out that my class's graduation ceremony will be held at Siggraph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm super excited about that, especially since I've never been there before. If I'm lucky someone from HR will come up to me and say something like "congrats from graduating from AM, here's a job at Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/BlueSky!".

In other news, the new quarter at Am has started. My new mentor is Matthew Russel, former DNA animator who now works at Valve! I'm really excited since it turns out he's an extremely tough grader. To him an A student is ready to be working right now, so I'm going to do everything I possibly can to get an A from him. Plus I've gotten A's from all of the other tough mentors that I've had, there's no reason to stop now! :D

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Can't Wait!

I can not wait until Pan's Labyrinth( comes out! I adore fantasy films and this movie looks extremely promising. I haven't been this excited about a movie since The Incredibles came out. Sadly, I have to wait until Jan. 12th to see the film since I don't live in New York or California. Seeing movies early will simply be another perk for when I move to LA once I get hired. I'm still afraid of my apartment being destroyed in an earthquake though...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

My Absence

Sorry for my lack of posts recently. To be completely honest, I haven't worked on my short at all this week. To make a long and complicated story short, lets just say that an atomic bomb has been dropped on an extremely important aspect of my life. Half of my future plans have been wiped out and a major source of happiness for me is gone. I am still recovering from the event and hope to be able to work again very soon. I know that it will happen again with a different person, as this is the seventh time I've been put in this situation (the others weren't nearly as huge though) so I hope to be able to find a way to work successfully regardless of my emotional state. As important as this aspect of my life is, I can not let it interfere with the development of my career...