Tuesday, January 29, 2008



This is one of the first animated films I remember seeing on TV. I remember watching it when I was a kid and was just fascinated by the animation. They used to show it on HBO all the time. I have not seen it in a while, but I'm sure I will now be looking at it through the eyes of an animator.

This movie was great! It has the voice talents of Billy Crystal, Harry Shearer, and the late, great Gilda Radner. The scenes I remember are the fencing scene between the squirrel and the elephant. The crocodile decathalon athelete, who sounded a lot like Vinny Barbarino. He climed his way out of the sewer and made something of himself. His face was on a Wheaties box and everything! The ice hockey match between the bears and bulls, I think. And of course the marathon that was going on thru the whole movie. The main runners were a goat and a cheetah. I do remember that the goat was named Rene. Oh, and there was the canine skiier that was thought to be lost in the mountains and/or dead, but made a dramatic return at the end.

I loved this movie and now I need to find it on DVD!

Monday, January 28, 2008


The Wrong Trousers performing Video Killed the Radio Star by The Buggles

Week 3 Critique

Another success this week! WHEW! I was really stressing there for a while with this assignment. Chris had some very nice things to say about my work. "Really nice job." "Good job on paying attention to the arcs." That was one thing that was bugging me in the beginning. I have my Peer Buddies Alexiss Memmott and Aja Sorensen to thank for that. Alexiss provided me with a video critique and pointed out areas I needed to work on from my first pass.
The part I was concerned with was the bounce back at the end. I was working on that and TRYING to get it just right. Chris noticed it was a little off, too. He said it appears to get faster at the end. He also felt there could be one or two more little bounces before it rolled back.. He did like the little touch of having it fall back a bit.
As for my Stu pose, he said it was "looking really nice." In my sketches he liked that I have been paying attention to the lines of action and had gotten looser with the drawings. Also, as usual, commented on pushing the poses just a bit more. "What you have here is not bad at all."

Now in Week 4, we will be working with two bouncing balls of different weight. FUN!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Week 3 - Bouncing Ball - *FINAL*

Here's my final pass at the whole "bouncing ball" thing. This simple, little ball has been driving me crazy! I'm still learning Maya, and trying to get it to DO exactly what I WANT it to do is still taking some time to figure out. When I came to my final go-around, I think I moved one little thing a little to the left and it came together. When I went back to see what I did, I could not remember how or what I did. So here is my final answer:

The other part of the assignment was to sketch out poses of EXCITEMENT. I was not too worried about that. I was able to take care of that at the beginning of the week.

On to week 4!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bouncing Ball - Take 6

Here's my latest pass at the whole "bouncing ball" thing. I added in a few surprises. I wanted to spruce it up a bit. I got a lot of great feedback from the last one. I think it paid off. But what do I know.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


This is just for fun!

Bouncing Ball - Take 3

Here's my third attempt at the "bouncing ball" assignment. I went to Academy today and shot some video footage of a basketball bouncing around. I knew there were going to be a lot of bounces towards the end.
As I got further along in my animation, I began to tweak the hell out of it. The assignment called for a bouncing basketball, so that is what I have to do to the best of my ability. Every bounce has to be right. Every arc has to be right. The timing and spacing has to be just spot on. It was driving me a little batty, but the perfection side of my brain took over. Big time!
So here it is. I am awaiting feedback from my classmates before I proceed any further.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Week 3 - Sketchbook Assignment

For week three, our sketchbook assignment is to draw poses that best convey the emotion of EXCITEMENT. I did a few quick sketches at work and decided on a final pose. I came home and put it together in about an hour, with a few minor tweaks here and there. I think I got it.

So here are the sketches. The pose I selected is the one circled in red.

And here is Stu in the final rendered pose....

So that's done. Now I can concentrate on the main assignment of animating a bouncing ball with the weight of a basketball or a soccer ball. I have it near completion, just trying to get it just right. I'm running into a bit of problems. It's late so I think that's not helping right now. I may go to Academy tomorrow and do some research. I may look a bit peculiar staring at a bouncing ball for 20 minutes. Tis the life of an observant animator.

Monday, January 21, 2008


So my first e-critique went great. My mentor, Chris Chua, had a lot of positive things to say about my sketches and poses. He really liked the looseness in my sketches and said they were "fantastic." This is what I do. When I get a chance, say at work, I'll just sit and sketch out different poses. What do you know, it finally paid off. I have been doing something right. He said they have a "good sense of movement" and show "nice personalities." I just need to push some of the poses just a bit more for full effect. A common suggestion to the class was to lay a sheet of paper over our sketches and see where we can push the pose even more. As for my final pose, he said liked the silhouette and it had a "nice line of action." I just need to add more of a curve to the body to make the chest pop out. All in all, it was a great way to start off the the class.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

That's my final answer...I think

So here is the pose I chose to turn in for this week's assignment.

Here is the second runner up.

And here are a few more.

Friday, January 18, 2008

STU Poses - Part 1

Stu posing very seductively. I got this pose from some model posing in her lingere.

Stu jamming on the rock guitar! Thank you, Kieran.


Stu's not too happy and he's going after somebody!

Stu's in love.

These last two were fun! I never really did any sketches for these. I just started posing Stu right on the spot. Same pose, different angles My fellow classmate asked me to help him out with the chair. I hope he does not mind that I used it. Thank you, Bruno!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Here's the latest from AM week 2

This week's assignment is to observe life and do some sketching. We are to sketch different poses. It's funny because this is what I do from time to time. I'll be on break at work, grab my sketchbook or a piece of paper, and just start sketching out poses. We then have to pose the character Stu into one of these poses. Not sure which one I'm going to do. Future sketchbook assignments deal with certain emotions. I think I will save poses 4 and 9 for those.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I'm doing much better now

I am doing much better now because my cat, da Cheat, is back from the vet hospital. I took him to the emergency vet Sunday. They said he was running a bit of a temperature and had tapeworms. They gave him a pill for that and some antibiotics to take home. I then took him to his regular vet on Monday. They did lab work on him and everything came back fine. He did squirm a bit when the vet felt around his pancreas. Plus, he had not been eating or drinking for the past few days. That got me really concerned. So they kept him until today. They were giving him IV fluids and other meds. When I picked him up, he seemed to be back to his normal, active self. So now that I don't have to worry so much about him anymore, I can fully concentrate on Animation Mentor!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

First Live Q&A

That was pretty amazing. It's one thing to be chatting with someone on-line. To me, they are just words on a screen. But when you actually get to see them live on the screen, that's a whole other thing. Here we all were together in one place. A friend told me about a book that described something just like this. The world is flattening out thru the power of the internet. How else could 16 people, literally all over the world, meet at the same time in the comfort of our own homes. I was just blown away by the possiblility.

Well, the Q&A was just an introduction, putting faces with the names. Next week we get our first assignment. FUN!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Today was the first day of Animation Mentor!! The day has finally arrived!

The first day was your typical first day, orientation. There are quite a lot of videos to watch. A LOT! Videos on the Maya program, vids on the school, vids on uploading, on downloading, on sideloading. I was getting over loaded.

My mentor is Chris Chua (IMDB.com profile) and he currently works for Pixar. I also got to meet my classmates from literally all over the world. I was talking to one guy from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I have classmates in London, France, Yugoslavia, Spain, Poland, India, Iceland, and a few others from the good, ol' U-S-of-A! This is going to be very interesting.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, January 8) I have my first live Q&A with my mentor. It is set for 10:00 pm Central time and is scheduled for an hour. Luckily, so far, my work schedule is working out well for me.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

11 Second Club for January

The 11 Second Club has posted its clip for January. It is from another of my favorite Bill Murray movies "Groundhog Day." (which I almost bought today at Best Buy. I am going back to get it tomorrow. I have a gift card!) They use the last bit from this clip except for Ned's little growl at the end. I think it is the first time they have used a clip with three characters. They have had a few with two, but I think this is a first.

Update 2008

Ok, everything has been moving pretty fast and I never got around to updating my blog. So here's a quick round up:

I got in to Animation Mentor and I start in less than a week!!!

That was the quick, quick version.

I got my loan check in! The school got their disbursement payment! I ordered and got all the software I needed. I purchased a new webcam. I already have the books they require. As you have already seen, I've been practicing with the Maya PLE. I now have the full (student) version and am ready to start practicing with that one.

I am really excited and ready for this chapter of my life to begin. I was looking at some of the handbooks they e-mailed me and I suddenly realized it is going to be a very intense 18 months. There does not appear to be any breaks between "semesters." I am really looking forward to this!


And now a clip from one of my favorite Christmas movie: