Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Type of "Crazy?!"



Here is my latest pass at this scene. I changed up a few things here and there. After taking another look at it, I was wasn't really happy with some of the acting choices. I never really liked the way his head swooped down near the table as he stood up. It always looked like he was about to bang his head. I felt if he stared straight ahead the whole time, it would help sell his "crazy"-ness. I also changed up the camera angle a bit to help the intensity.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I LOVE this commercial!



I have been in love with this commercial ever since the first time I saw it. I love the music! I love the animated characters! I love the interaction with the live action video. And now I finally found it online. It is done by a studio called CG Brains.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Resolutions - UPDATE

The year is almost up and it's time for a review. Here is my post from last December with a list of things I want to accomplish in 2010. Let's take a look and see what's happened.


Tighten up my demo reel. 
This is a work in progress. I have a few new scenes that I need to add to it. I've done a scene for the 11 Second Club competition. I've also done a parkour scene. Plus, I'm almost finished with Dana's scene. They've come a lot further than they were earlier this year. I do want to light and render a couple of the scenes before I ship it off.


Finish up work on the scene's for Dana's short film
Not quite complete but I'll check it off anyways. I'm almost done with two of the scenes and now I'm working on the one in the middle to bridge them together. The last one is pretty much complete. I need to resubmit it to her and get her final notes on it before we can mark it complete. The beginning one is a lot closer to completion. Just a few more notes here and there and it should be done. The one I'm working on now is the one in the middle. I'm having to start with the last pose of the first one and end with the first pose of the last one. It took a while but I was able to do it. The difficult part of this scene is bridging them together so it moves smoothly. In the beginning of the last scene there is a balloon that falls out of frame. In the second scene I am having to track the balloon movements and match up the speed and trajectory so there isn't a pop in the animation. It's coming along, just need to block out the character animation and we should be good to go.



Continue work on my Bowfinger scene. 
This is one I really need to work on. The difficult part is that the dialogue moves so fast that it's hard to sync up the mouth and make it look natural. What I also need to do is sketch out what I want one of the characters to do. I have it blocked out but I really need to find the right poses then work from there. I was never really sold on the acting choices I made when I first started working on this scene.


Compete in at least one of the 11 Second Club monthly competitions.
I entered the July competition and came in #59 out of 233. I had a rating of 5.14 stars out of a possible 11. Not bad, I think, for my first outing. I have since adjusted the layout and the lighting and plan to add it to my reel by the end of next week.


E-mail Robin Linn and the recruiters at Reel FX. 
I didn't end up e-mailing Robin but I did call the studio a few months ago. I went up to Fort Worth to visit some friends for the weekend. Since I was going to be in the neighborhood, I decided to call them and see if I could meet with someone there. Unfortunately, no one was going to be there on the weekend to handle requests like this. Also, the lady said it would be more welcomed if I came by next year when they start looking at submissions for the next apprenticeship program. The deadline is January 3, 2011. Hopefully they will be seeming me soon.

Keep checking the Animation Mentor job board. 
It's been a while since I've checked the board. A lot of what I've been seeing has been the same jobs that I already applied to once before. Plus, they said not to submit the same reel over and over. So, I need to finish up my reel with a few new shots before I can start submitting again.



Become more familiar with the Flipbook program. 
I have not become as familiar with it as I would have liked, but I did experiment with it a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to plan out a scene for another 11 Second Club competition. I didn't make it in time to submit, but I still want to finish the scene. It sounds like a lot of fun.


Purchase animation paper to experiment again with traditional 2D animation. 
No, still haven't purchased any animation paper. Funds have been a little tight throughout the year that I can't really afford this at the moment. However, I do have some regular 8" x 11" paper that I can add to some peg strips that I can use. It's a bit time consuming to get it done but I can make it work. I just need to straighten out the studio a bit, move the light table to the other side of the room, then I can get to work.


Well, looks like I'm at 50% so far. I still have another week before the year is up. I still have time. I'm also running out of time. The deadline for submissions is fast approaching. 

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" webisodes





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Wisdom Teeth" by Don Hertzfeldt

I'm not sure how I feel about this one. I'm a fan of Don's work. One of my favorite shorts is "Rejected". But this one really got me, especially at the end. That's all I have to say. You'll have to see what I mean. AND DON'T SKIP AHEAD!!



Here's my first introduction to Don Hertzfeldt. I remember years ago my uncle told me I had to see this short. Now, I'm quoting its lines all the time.



And then this one. It's kind of sick but for some reason I can't stop laughing!

Disney / Pixar on The South Bank Show

Some of the things I post here are not new discoveries. They are mostly stories and videos that I've come across on other websites. I mainly put them here so I have an easy way of tracking them down whenever I want to see them. Like this documentary, for instance:









Thank you to the site On Animation for posting these videos!!

"The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story"

I have been wanting to see "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story" for a while and I finally got my chance tonight from Netflix. It was an amazing story of the songwriting team that created so many memorable songs. These are the songs that stay with you for the rest of your life.

You hear them tell their story from when they were kids up to just a couple of years ago with the Broadway debut of Mary Poppins. They tell the stories of when Bob Sherman joined the Army during WWII and was injured in the line of duty. They didn't know if he was going to make it or not.

Also of the time when Richard Sherman was trying to decide what to major in in college. He went for a walk trying to figure it out when he started to hear music. He looked around and realized that the music was coming from his head. He rushed home and jumped on the piano and started to play what was in his head. His father Al Sherman heard this and told him right there and then that he was going to be a music major.



The one story that really blew me away was how they came up with the song "A Spoonful of Sugar Helps The Medicine Go Down" for Mary Poppins. Robert's son Jeff had just come home from school and had received an immunization shot. He found his father sitting in a dark room with all the shades drawn. His father asked him how his day went. He told him he got a shot at school. "Did it hurt?" "Well, yeah, but they put a sugar cube on a plastic spoon and then you take your medicine so it helps it go down." "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down?!" Robert called Richard and just said "A SPOONFUL OF SUGAR HELPS THE MEDICINE GO DOWN!!" I couldn't believe that some of the greatest songs are inspired by such simple situations.

It's times like that when a true genius can find the beauty and art in anything.





They even wrote the one song that seems to get stuck in everyone's head every single time



They also talk about the first time they met Walt Disney. It was amazing to see them to this day still get choked up when they talk about it.



The one thing that was unbelievable to watch was how different they were. To see these two men who through their songs have brought so many families together, they own families were so far apart. Their sons Gregg and Jeff directed the movie but hadn't seen each other in about 30 or 40 years because their dads kept them apart. They would say, "It's just easier that way."

I highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of these great and classic songs to go out and watch this movie right now!!

Click here to go to the official website for the film.

"I'm A Monster" by Headless Productions

Some very clever and well done 2D animation. Hope to see more from this studio!

I'm a monster from Headless Productions on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas

I have't really been in the Christmas spirit this holiday season. Not exactly sure what it is, though. So to help me spread the holiday cheer, I'll let other animators do it for me.







Monday, December 20, 2010

"Burning Safari" by Goeblins

Here is one short that had me laughing the whole way! The also included a few "making of" videos, as well. Very interesting to see how the shots were all put together.

Burning Safari from Florent de La Taille on Vimeo.


Making of Burning Safari from Florent de La Taille on Vimeo.


Making of Burning Safari, Florent de La Taille from Florent de La Taille on Vimeo.

Must See CG Shorts

In the recent issue of 3D World magazine, they have an article listing the 100 CG shorts you must see. Here are just a few from their list:

#91) "Pixels" (2010) by Patrick Jean


PIXELS by Patrick Jean from ONE MORE PRODUCTION on Vimeo.

#52) "Azureus Rising (2010) by David Weinstein ...and one of my personal favorites


AZUREUS RISING from David Weinstein on Vimeo.

#36) "Fallen Art" (2004) by Tomek Baginski


Fallen Art from short clips on Vimeo.
#24) "Alma" (2009) by Rodrigo Blaas - I heard recently that this short is being extended into a feature film project.


Alma from Rodrigo Blaas on Vimeo.

#61) "Oktapodi" (2007) by Gobelins L'Ecole de L'Image - In one of my classes at Animation Mentor, we analyzed this film practically frame by frame. It was quite interesting to really study a film like that.


Oktapodi from oscardodo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Day in the Life at WDAS

This is the type of place I'd love to work at!

"Today's work day has been postponed on account of we have to shoot a music video. Everyone must attend."

YES!!!



I did recognize a couple of faces. The great Glen Keane was singing along and I think I saw a fellow graduate from Animation Mentor that I met at graduation.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Conan get Animated



On one of the latest Conan shows, Conan got animated. His show is recorded on the Warner Bros. lot so he decided to visit the Warner Bros. Animation building just a few feet away. He starts off by talking to Peter Girardi, Head of Warner Bros. Animation. They discuss actual not-so-popular DC heroes and villains.

Then around marker 4:50, he decides to get animated by an actual Warner Bros. animators. He sits down with none other than Bruce Timm. For those that don't recognize him, he is the creative talent behind some of the best WB animated TV series like "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Justice League".

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Merry Christmas from Simon's Cat

Disney's "Prep & Landing - Operation: Secret Santa"

Last year's "Prep & Landing" short was an amazing success. It was Disney's first new holiday special in year. Then I heard there was a new Prep & Landing for 2010! Oh, the joy!! Then I finished reading the article that said it was NOT a full length special but a 7 minute short instead. Boo. Oh well, animated shorts are better than no animated shorts at all. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"Waking Sleeping Beauty" on DVD





"Waking Sleeping Beauty" was finally released on DVD this past Tuesday. It tells the story of the Disney Animation Studio from 1984 to 1994. It starts off with the entrance of Michael Eisner and Jeffery Katzenberg into the Disney studio and the coming of the second Renaissance of Disney animation. It is so interesting to hear the story behind the story. From the outside, everything seemed so great and amazing. This finally reveals all the hard work that turmoil that went on behind closed doors. The long hours the animators put in, the early Sunday morning meetings, the hirings and firings that happened in an instant.

The great thing for me is to hear from the people themselves their love for animation. These artist worked day in and day out to create something wonderful. Unfortunately, there was a price they were paying. Many of them had to put their families and lives outside of the studio on hold in order to keep working. But they managed to make it all work, and for that I thank you.

This film is very special to me because it was during this time that I discovered I wanted to be an animator. I followed Disney animation before this but not an intently as I do now. I remember hearing about the title change of "Basil of Bakerstreet" to "The Great Mouse Detective." I remember wanting to see "The Rescuers Down Under" in the theaters, but never did. Didn't see "The Black Cauldron" in theaters but did see "The Care Bear Movie" and "An American Tail." (Not proud to admit that). It wasn't until I saw "The Little Mermaid" on VHS. I may have heard of it but don't recall wanting to go see it in the theaters. I was at home with my parents and a couple of friends and we sat down and watched "The Little Mermaid." I just remember  after watching it that THIS is what I want to do. I was completely blown away by it all. The story was amazing, the songs were incredible, and the animation was out of this world. From then on I started buying any and every book I could find on animation. I bought an auction catalog from a comic book store that had reprints of original art work from "The Little Mermaid." I filled my sketchbook with drawings of Ariel, Flounder and Sebastian. I bought the Preston Blair books on animation and built my first drawing table. From there I started making my own animated test of simple walk and run cycles. Several flipbooks, animation tests and hundreds of "art of" books later, I still have the same passion and enthusiasm for animation as I did right after watching "The Little Mermaid."

"Rio" Trailer 2



The new trailer for Blue Sky's "Rio" has been released and it looks amazing.

"Meet Buck" by Team Cerf


Meet Buck from TeamCerf on Vimeo.

This is an animated short by Team Cerf. It has a very interesting design and look, almost like a moving oil painting.

"Buck is an ordinary guy. Well...if you except the "deer head" thing. And today, Buck is gonna spend this cool Sunday afternoon with his girlfriend who's so happy to see him (she's pretty much always happy). But when Buck find out that her father is not the sympathic and tolerant guy he excpected, the Sunday afternoon turns really bad."


Here is another short from the same team.



Salesman Pete from Salesman Pete on Vimeo.

"Arthur Christmas" from Aardman

<a href="http://video.msn.com/?mkt=en-gb&brand=v5%5E544x306&from=sp&vid=78b0bed5-c9c2-43f0-a0b9-54a016bedd1a" target="_new" title="Exclusive Arthur Christmas trailer">Video: Exclusive Arthur Christmas trailer</a>

Monday, December 6, 2010

Disney "Tangled"


I cannot say enough about Disney's new animated feature "Tangled". It was nothing less than amazing and beautiful. The first thing I noticed about it was the character design. These characters don't look like your typical CG characters. They look like the characters of earlier Disney classics. Rapunzel looks a lot like Ariel and Belle. She has those big, beautiful eyes and profile like the others.

The main thing that really had me looking forward to this film was that Glen Keane was originally directing it. I remember listening to him talk about this on a podcast a couple of years ago. He was talking about the painterly effect they were going for. That's exactly what they did. This CG picture has the same look and warmth of Disney's traditional 2D animated features. And with Glen Keane on board, I knew the animation was going to be nothing short of the best. Watching Glen's animation work on Tarzan, you can definitely see his touch in many of the scenes. The subtle hand poses, the expressions in the faces of all the characters, and especially Rapunzel's feet. I know it sounds weird, but Glen did some amazing work with just the feet and hands of Tarzan and the Beast.

The thing that really surprised me when I saw the film was that it was a musical. I knew there were going to be songs involved, but I didn't expect the characters to break out into song and dance. That was a nice surprise. I didn't walk out of the theater humming any of the songs, but they were great none the less. I'm pretty sure if, and when, I see it again the songs will stick a bit more.

The one thing I can say over and over again is that this is an amazing movie and I can't wait to see what comes next!

New Layout

I got quite a bit of constructive criticism for my 11 Second Club July entry.



The one thing many people commented on was that they felt the emotion of the scene would have been more effective if she was sitting on the couch instead of behind it. I thought since she was alone and wanted to get away from the world, she would want to hide away in a little corner or something and the best she could do was hiding behind her couch. So I moved her around and came up with a new layout.



Now I just need to adjust the animation to fit the new scene. I also changed up the lighting a bit. I read up on it and made it a lot more convincing that the shotty job I did the first time. The first one just looks bland in a very bad way. The new one seems to have more of a mood lighting effect.

My 11SC November Entry

I came up with some ideas and sketches for last month's 11 Second Club competition. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to get much work done. However, I really like the dialog clip and my idea and would still like to get it done so I can add it to my reel.

My idea was to have a devil character wearing a halo. An angel appears next to him and accuses him of stealing it. Here's what I have so far:







I really wanted to push the over-the-top antics and expressions. I also felt the key would be the subtle facial animation on the more quiet moments.

I checked the website this morning, and as you can see from my previous post the winner's entry is really good. So I keep looking at the top 10 and what do I see at the #10 spot?



An angel and a devil wearing a halo! HOLY CRAP! Someone else had a very similar idea to mine AND THEY CAME IN 10TH PLACE! I'm not saying that mine would have been better but now I at least have to try.

11 Second Club November Winner


This is the winning entry for the 11 Second Club competition for November.

"Thought of You" by Ryan Woodward

This is an amazing piece of work that has been making the round on facebook. I had to post it.


Thought of You from Ryan Woodward on Vimeo.

And here is a behind-the-scenes look at the making of it.


Thought of You - Behind the Scenes Preview - ROUGH CUT from Cambell Christensen on Vimeo.


Thought of You - Making Of from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.


And here is Ryan Woodward's website. I've seen some of his work and it is just amazing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Pooh

Not too sure how I feel about this. It seems like Disney is taking a step backwards with traditional hand drawn animation. Instead of going for something new and daring, they're going for something that already seemed to have worked before.



I've been reading a lot of different comments about this new trailer. Most of it negative. Yes, it is nice to see Winnie the Pooh back up on the big screen for a whole new generation. But, THIS is the best the Disney company can produce?! I know John Lassetter has been pushing for a resurgence of hand drawn animation at Disney. I'm all for it. But instead of going for something new, they go with something old. The Princess and the Frog is a great and beautiful movie. The new CG movie Tangled looks amazing. I would have loved to have seen it as a traditional hand drawn feature. (more on that to come later). But they keep going for the "safe" story lines and themes. Singing princesses and dancing animals. While PIXAR is going for the more daring and innovative story lines. THEY are the ones taking risks (Ratatouille, Wall-E, The Incredibles) and they are paying off big time!

I, of all people, am so happy to see a resurgence of hand drawn animation return to Disney. It's great to see new work from some of the animators that have inspired me over the years like Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg and Mark Henn. Hopefully, their talents will not be wasted on material that could have been completed by a TV animation studio.

ZOMBIGOTCHI!!

Zombigotchi! from Michael Please on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New book released today...


If you know me at all, you know that I am not political at all. But last night as I was putting out the new releases at work, I couldn't help but see the humorous implications of the two newest titles being released today: Decision Points by George Bush and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The results are in...

...and my entry came in #59 out of 233 entries! Not bad for my first time. It received 5.14 starts out of 11 total.  These are some of the comments I received:

"I don't get the sense that she is actually leaning against the couch. Different lighting might help there."

"maybe if the dog put his head down ears up on her leg and rested it there with a sigh that would keep him alive for a little longer. good work though"

"I really like her posing with this dog. Sitting behind the couch instead of on it. Makes the framing interesting. Nice work"

"It seems weird that she doesn't move her eyes when her dog turns back to look at her.. She looks like she looks through the dog, and not at the dog"

"Nice use of dog tail to explain the light thud occurring in the first half the dialogue! Along with, of course, the inclusion of the dog in general; it was a very natural touch and fit well with the context.
The only thing that felt out of place with the rest of her acting was the crossing of her heart with her palms; doing so felt more like a spiritual motion versus bonding her pet, as she had for the rest of it, but that was about it. That could be a personal opinion though.
Good job!
"
 
"Nice, I think the dog perking up on "Hmm?" would have been a better accent than him perking up when he does now.."
 
"The entire animation matches the tone of the voice extremely well. I like how the dog reacts."

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the response. I also uploaded the scene to my profile page on YouAnimator.com. It's a new site that showcases animators from all around the world. I uploaded it last night and today they posted it on their home page as "Today's Highlight."  It was even posted on their facebook profile! It's really given me a boost of momentum to get started on more scenes. I'm thinking of ideas for this month's selection. I also have a few other things on the back burners that I want to work on.

Didi is sending me ideas for her movie that she is writing. I'm helping her with ideas, but mainly I want to help with visual development, storyboards, layout, and possibly animatics. They way she describes a scene, I instantly visualize it in my head. The trick is getting that picture in my head down on paper or on the computer.

As far as my studio work goes, it can get pretty busy. I have so many irons in the fire that it's difficult to decide which one to pull out and work on. The good thing is that it will never get dull. There is always something to do.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

"I'm Alone" - FINAL

video
I finally did it. I finally entered one of the 11 Second Club competitions! I still believe this scene still needs some work, but for this competition it is done. Over the next week or so I do plan on going back and touching up a few things.

This was also an experiment in lighting. I've only done it once before but that was pretty basic. The lighting was very bright with several shadows. This time I had to try and create a mood for this scene. I used three different lights, changed their intensity, changed the color, and changed their decay. I'd really like to learn more about lighting. It's all about creating the right environment that best reflects the mood of the scene. Something more to learn that could be very beneficial in the long run. 

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Demo Reel June 2010

video

As promised, here is my current demo reel as of June 2010. It has a new parkour shot that I did a few weeks ago. It took me about five hours to block out the whole thing and get it near completion. I received some helpful feedback from a couple of my AM buddies. I also worked on "Crazy", the second dialogue scene. After watching several demo reels on YouAnimator.com and other blogs, I realized I have a lot of work to do on both scenes. So I think I may work on the first scene a bit. I now see several areas that need to be touched up.

I am also working on another dialogue scene. This one is from the movie "Down with Love" with Ewan McGregor and Renee Zellweger. I'm still blocking that one out so it will be a while before I post anything. I'm still trying to figure out how to play the whole scene. I'm thinking of adding a quick, smaller scene to set up the line, but I don't want to make it too big that I don't get it done in two months.

I have noticed that as I go throughout my day at work that I am observing the people more and more lately. I'm noticing different types of walks, small gestures, standing poses, etc. I am trying to figure out the pose and keep it in my internal databanks for a later time. What I need to do is quickly sketch down what I see. I have started carrying a post-it pad with me. However, I've been so busy at work lately that I haven't had time to stop and sketch anything down. It's very frustrating for an artist when he isn't able to think freely. Oh, well. It pays the bills for now. Well, most of them.

I applied but did not get into the summer internship program for Reel FX in Dallas. After seeing my reel several times lately, I can see why. I did see that they will be taking applications again in September for their internship to begin in February 2011. So I have a little under two months to get things in order. I need to finish up another dialogue scene and get my scenes for Dana completed. I am more determined more than ever to get these done. I have been spending just about every waking moment in the studio. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of my workday when I know I can come home and really get into the work I truly love. Two plus hours working on two seconds of animation? Yeah, I love it!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

** MENTAL REMINDER **

It's been so long since my last post. I need to make a mental note to update this site later today. There's so much I want to post.

- new demo reel
- blogs of animators and artists I've come across
- sketches and drawings from my latest work
- my thoughts and reviews of the latest animated features

Okay, so I have a rough idea of what I want to post. Now I just need to get my thoughts together so it doesn't come out all jumbled.