Saturday, March 29, 2008

That's a wrap on Class One!!

This was the last week for Class One of Animation Mentor. It sounds cliche but it has gone by so fast. I remember how excited I was the first day of class. I couldn't wait to start animating. I was so nervous on our first live Q&A. I introduced myself to the class and I still have no idea what I said.

It was a great three months. I feel I learned so much. As I told the class on our last Q&A, up until now I had been self-taught in animation. Everything I knew I learned from books, movies, and articles. I had hit a plateau. My knowledge was limited to 2D, traditional, hand drawn animation. I felt I would never be able to compete in today's field of CG animation. Then, late last year, I decided to go for it and see if I could get in to Animation Mentor. Those were some happy days, followed by nerve racking will-I-get-the-loan frustration. Then, would the school get the money in time?!

As we can now see, everything worked out in the end. I recently contacted the loan lady at AM and she assured me that I am good-to-go for the next session. Class 2 involves Body Mechanics. I glanced at some of the work from a few Class 2 students. Unlike Class 1, there is not a new assignment every week. Just like the last month of Class 1, we will be working on one project for several weeks. We will really be focusing on getting each project to look the best it can be.

And now, it is with great pleasure that I may present to you....

my Animation Mentor Class 1 Progress Reel!!!

I would like to thank my mentor Chris Chua. If you are ever to start out at Animation Mentor, he is the mentor to have. He was very involved in the critiques. He always kept the commentary rolling. There was never a lull in the conversation. I saw a few other e-critiques and the one thing that bothered me was that the mentor would be thinking things over internally! He would analyze the scene and then say, "Yeah, that looks nice." He never explained why it was nice or what made it work. Not Chris. He was always commenting on how to push a pose even further or adjusting a single frame to make the whole piece that much better. That was always so helpful. Thank you, Chris! It has been a pleasure. I can't wait to see your work in Wall-E. I'll be cheering as I see your name come up on the screen.

I would also like to thank all my classmates for their tremendous amounts of encouragement and feedback throughout the whole experience. It was great "meeting" people from all over the world. From Bjarki in Iceland with his amazing and always entertaining work to Bruno with his amazing stop-motion test shots. It has been a pleasure working with you and I hope to see everyone at graduation next year!

Monday, March 24, 2008

1st Quarter - DONE!

We are now into Week 12! This is the final week of the quarter. This week we are to put all our work together in one big movie file and upload it to our Public Review. This will be a nice way to show our progression throughout this quarter.
But for now, here's what I did for Week 11's assignments:

We had to take our character walk and add a 3/4 perspective view to it.

And here are the final poses I turned in for Stu.

As you seen from my sketches, I had a lot to choose from. I couldn't just do one pose. I only had time for two. I wanted to do a whole bunch more. Maybe later.

I do have one more page of sketches. The bottom render was taken from this page.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I got carried away

So last night before going to bed, I started doing some sketching for week 11's sketchbook assignment. This week the topic is "in balance." We have to show Stu "in balance." Well, I started off that way then went off on a movie tangent.

You'll see what I mean...

I was just bummed I couldn't think of anymore at the time.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Week 10 In The Can!

This week we had to do a walk with character, a personality walk. I had first decided to go with a traditional "sneak" but it did not come out the way I thought. Then, after seeing the teaser trailer for "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" I got an idea. In the trailer, you see Scratch walking against the blasting wind trying, as usual, to get to his nut. That got me thinking about my walk. So when I got home I started sketching out ideas. I was able to hammer out the whole thing in a few hours. I posted it in my Public Review on Animation Mentor and got some great feedback. I used their comments and think it turned out a whole lot better.

This week's sketchbook assignment was to show Stu "exhausted." I previously posted some early ideas, but here's my final choice:

I think he looks pretty tired. I was seriously thinking of using the one of him stretched out on the couch but opted for this one. Who knows, I may change it in the final hour.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sketches from work

Here are a few quick characatures I did at work.

I always keeps post-its in my pocket because you never know when you'll need one. As I go thru the day, I see hundreds of people. Some stick out more than others. That's when I grab the post-its and my pen and start sketching. These were done in a few seconds and if you asked me to do them again, I probably couldn't do it.

The NEW Wall-E Trailer!!!

The NEW Wall-E trailer is out!! It gives more of the story and shows Wall-E's love interest Eve. You can go to to view it or click here.

Week 10 Stu Poses

Our sketchbook assignment this week is "Exhausted." We need to show Stu as really exhausted. I got an early start on this and here is what I have so far:

I still have a few more ideas to work on so I am not done yet.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Week 9

Week 9 is in the can! Here's my polished up "vanilla" walk:

We also had a sketchbook assignment. This week we had to pose Stu to show "concern". How do you show concern?! Well, I tried.

Thursday, March 6, 2008


I added a bit more camera work and some basic movement to Stu. It's not polished at all but I just wanted to see what was possible.

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Here's something I just figured out. I was just messing around and was able to do this....

It's basically Stu posed in front of a plane that has the cloud picture projected on it. There's also a light source in front of Stu to his top left. I was also able to create a camera that panned from left to right.

It's a start!!!

Week 8 - Intro to Walks

This past week our assignment was an intro to a basic walk. Here we just blocked it out so it's going to look a little choppy. This week (Week 9) we finish it up and make it nice and pretty.

Here my piece:

We also had a sketchbook assignment as well. This week we had to pose Stu to convey "strength." We had to show that he was strong. I experimented with a few ideas. I had help from fellow AM student Justin Segal. He sent me the barbell file. I'm still trying to figure it out but I was able to make it work to my advantage. I also learned how to assign color to an object. It's amazing what I can find out in one of those many Maya books I keep buying. (I just never opened it until now.)

Here are my Stu "strength" poses:
(click on it to view larger image)

So this week was actually fun. I didn't think the assignment was THAT difficult for me. I've done a basic walk cycle before with pencil and paper. Here I was just able to tweak it without having to draw every single frame again and again. I can DEFINITELY see the advantage of 3D animation.

(I just saw my e-critique and it went well. I got an A- for the assignment. A few suggestions on the walk. Tilt the heel more on f3. Watch the spacing of the body between f15 and f18. Not bad. I'll take it! A few suggestions on the poses. Third pose, make the ball bigger and spread the legs for stability. Tilt the head back a bit more. Same with 1 and 2. Also try to show the back arm on first pose.)

I'm looking forward to the week after next. I'll be on vacation from work and I plan to delve more into these Maya books and learn more. It's such a great feeling when you learn something new!!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I had to post this!

The animation was done by Victor Navone. According to my AM Mentor, Chris Chua, it was done in about a month in order to be ready for the Super Bowl.