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.


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


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.