20 December 2009

Animation Time

Still ironing out problems with the butter fly rig. The MEL script for the wing flutter is giving me headaches. The lizard rig is WIP as well. I'm working out some teeth and tongue issues, and the blendshapes are non-existent. I atleast want some basic emotion to work with. Right now the jaw opens and shuts... and that is about it. The body is okay. Thinking seriously about gutting this rig and starting over. The butterfly is so small, a few issues won't really matter (which is why it lacks a normal map and some of the other things 3d models normally have). But the lizard, my main squeeze for this sequence, needs some personality. I'm already planning my shots for this animation, and I'll likely post some of my planning.

17 December 2009

Butterfly screenshots

Posed the butterfly in some paint effects grass and branches in maya. Still trying to figure out the MEL script. Digging through the outliner, mostly, trying to make syntax jive. What a pain... may give up on it and do it the old fashioned way.

16 December 2009

Butterfly rig

Wanted a flying animal rig and finally broke down and made myself one. Decided on a butterfly over a bird mainly because of billows in the wings and advanced rig things that I'm not prepared to try yet. Modeled a lot of the mesh myself, but got some help on the legs and body tweaks from modeler Heather Berry. The texture I threw on there just for the visual. There is nothing special about it.
The rig is a modified advanced skeleton file. I used the quadruped setup and then added the extra legs, the antennae, the wings (there are four) and joints for the proboscis. The legs are separate pieces, as are the wings. Plan to use this in an animation soon. Looking to check out a MEL script I've found for wing flutter- hope it works out.

27 November 2009


Just some caricatures I'm doing for some surfer pals. They enjoy snowboarding, too, and met in the hospitality business, so that had to be a part of the drawing. It's an gift drawing. I intend to finish it in markers.

22 November 2009

The Future of American Animation

Tooling around at the CTN Animation Expo in Burbank this weekend really inspired me to look again at the way I draw, how I get ideas- everything about the conference was very well put together. Except how small the venue was. There was a lot of interest and it was very crowded. Artists from everywhere- insane. There were a couple of studio unions around the same time, which brought Don Bluth and Gary Goldman into town.
If you don't know who these people are and you are in animation, then shame on you. Criticize, if you feel like it, a few of their projects. The fact is, they learned from brilliant talent in animation, and they themselves are considered in my business to be living legends.
I stood around watching his tutorials and finally got to introduce myself. He's a living caricature- broad forehead and skinny little nose. I mentioned maybe that I adored The Secret of NIMH as a child, and we used to play NIMH all the time. We were the rats and we would hide in the "rose bush." He laughed. He asked if I was working, so I told him. He asked the question:

Do you think there is a future for 2D animation in America?

God, I hope so. But lets face it. American animation is in a crisis. What happened, I don't know. I think what happened mostly is that we all lost the connection with the characters we work with. We (animators) are not emotionally involved with them as we should be. Lately, it seems people remember the writing more than the art. The animation on a certain network seems to be incidental. It relies on clever writing and the animation is more of a visual guide for the audience- so hurry up and get it done. How sad. We threw away decades of discovery. There are a few older guys left, and they are desperately preaching the same things. Maybe it's time to listen: No more s***y animation.
So I got a critique on my 3d animation from a 2d legend, he looked over my life drawings, and I got some good insight on how I should think about my drawing and my acting, and some new inspirations for my new projects. Exciting weekend- glad I got to attend.

19 November 2009

Demo Reel

Not everything is redundant. There is some new material.

12 November 2009

Playing with rigs

Who knows. Maybe sheep do walk on their hands...

I changed a few things about these monsters before I started my scenes. Some eye control issues and strange scalers I couldn't figure out. What I learned, I think, from working with these rigs daily for the last several months is that you have to work with what you got and it is what it is. If you know enough about the rig and know what the limits are, you can get some pretty flexible action from the worst skeletal setup. Of course, it better have principles. The only way to really know what kind of action you're going to be able to get out of a rig is to make it do things you may never have to do in an actual scene. Then when you sit to plan, you know ahead of time what you're up against.

Good animation I think makes up for a bad rig. Really doesn't go the other way around. Bad animation makes the best art bad. That's the hard part about 3d. Got to love that kind of challenge if you're an animator.

06 November 2009

Early Rig Tests for STP

Here are about half of the rigs I've been dealing with the last few months. There is also a pillow (female), a toothbrush (male), a bookmark, a chart, and a stuffed sheep. There is a bear too. This is just a test where I have them move around and stand on a line, kind of like a lineup. I've hidden the visibility of the other characters until I can clean it up a little. Looks like I've got one more scene to do before my contract expires. About 910 frames.

03 November 2009

Vilppu's Class - In Layers

Some of the early images (like the gesture) may be a little difficult to see. I've been too heavy handed with some of my drawings- so I've lightened it up a little bit.
So I've worked through this drawing in layers so you can see how I think when I build up these drawings. This is an hour pose, begun in graphite, built in marker cool grays, and finished up in photoshop to lighten up some areas and the black is photoshop.
Kind of spooky!

02 November 2009

Two More weeks of Vilppu

Just to recap...

The top drawings are two minute poses completed on the first day of Vilppu's 2009 Life Drawing Class at The Animation Guild Office in Hollywood. People who have drawn with me know I like fast gestures (fifteen seconds and less). Sometimes I lack the patience to sit through the longer poses. The bottom drawings are the fourth class. The center drawing is a ten minute pose and the marker drawings are half hour. The ten minute pose and the two minute drawings aren't all that different- just a tad more built up. The goal is to have the initial gesture completed very loosely, very quickly- in about 10-15 seconds. Then you build using your shapes. You just keep building it like anything else. Then time runs out.

21 October 2009

Demo Reel

Needed a quick revision of my demo reel for the CTN Animation Expo in November. There is a speed recruiting event there, but you have to have your reel in before the 1 November. So, some pieces are in varying states of production. I really want a flying animal rig. Updated the website at the same time.

19 October 2009

Flour Sacks- Final

I might have spent 15-16 hours on this animation. Back in the day, it would have taken forever.
There are a couple of problems, but I may leave them to begin a new project.

18 October 2009

More Flour Sacks

I spent the evening doing this. May spend some time cleaning it up. May throw it away.

17 October 2009

Classic flour sac

I've been wanting to play with this rig for a while. Animated the body and feet, but I'm leaving the ears for last. I've done little hand drawn animations with a flour sac, but nothing in 3d. This rig is by a guy named Bill Ballout. I general, I'm pleased with how the flour sac moved; this is a great rig. However, he had some dynamics on it that drove me crazy. There was a jiggle on the body and a gravity effect on the ears. If you use this rig, just go into the hypergraph (connections) and delete that s***. Expressions and dynamics like that are fine for games, but they just screw up your senses if you're serious.

12 October 2009

Vilppu's Drawing Class Week 4

Vilppu was saying this week that no matter how you put the shapes together to make a form, what gives it realism is tonality. We looked at scores of drawings by Pontormo. He scanned some images into the computer and traced the shapes he used the show how the drawing was built. I like looking at drawings like that. It's like reading someone's thoughts momentarily. So I'm taking my spheres and boxes and learning how to more believably put them together. I got brave and broke out my markers for the figure. And I was pleased even though I had to work so fast it was hard to maintain even flow- and of course they aren't finished.

04 October 2009

Vilppu Week 3

So this is a ten minute drawing from Vilppu's life drawing class. He walks around and comments on our work as we draw (I should have signed up for the head drawing class). Anyway, he says from behind me that I moved the model- then comes out with this dry joke about how he's been watching the model and she hasn't moved. He asks if he can sit down, and then draws the torso from the pose on the corner of the page to show how he thought I moved the model in my drawing. I didn't think it was that extreme, but when I sat back down, I saw he was right.

Vilppu Week 2

Usually I draw in black, but I've been talked into another method (at least for now). The color isn't showing up as well, but you get the idea. Drawing women is harder (I think) than drawing men. Not sure why. These are from the second week. 5 minute drawings.

18 September 2009

Drawings from Vilppu's Class

These are some of my drawings from Vilppu's life drawing class in Burbank. I haven't drawn from a model since June, but they are still solid drawings. They are 2 minute poses. I'm curious to see how my drawing changes while taking these classes, so these are like the control drawings- just for reference.

Skin Diver and Mermaid

This apartment has poor lighting, and my webcam is not the best. Sorry. Need to invest in a scanner, but I use 14x17 paper for most things in my flat book, so right now, I'll have to deal with it. These pictures were done with markers.

15 September 2009

Drawing With Vilppu

Got up on Saturday morning and went to the guild office on Hollywood Way to draw with Glenn Vilppu. Hollywood from a distance sounds glamorous, and you mention Burbank on the street and immediately people connect with some mythical place, maybe liking it to Toon Town (Who Framed Roger Rabbit). It's very "brown" in Burbank. The place is rather dusty. It's a landscape combination of warehouses and older buildings set against the foothills. It was cool though, because when I got out of the car at the guild office, I looked down the street and could see the water tower at the classic entrance to the old Warner Bros cartoon studio. And since is was Saturday morning, there wasn't a lot of traffic. The new guild office actually has parking.
The class met and ten in a small drawing room in the back of the building. Vilppu met us at the door and welcomed up in. For the first hour or so, he talked about the method he wanted to teach us, mentioned how his drawing had changed since his trips abroad, and we did some warm up drawings. He draws in pen, and emptied his shirt pockets to showcase his pen collection. Some of the drawings he did for everyone he did on a tablet computer. After he talked for a while, he went around the room and looked at the way people were drawing as the model went through 2-3 minute poses. It was a new experience. I kept quiet and just watched. I guess the experience of getting to learn with the man who I've studied and emulated for the past few years made me a little nervous. I almost tripped over my horse when he hit the side of my arm and asked if he could sit down and show me something. The class time went by very quickly. He's easy to listen to, very well read, and he's very down to earth. Awesome. I can't wait for the next class.

I've been animating my life away. I've done a little of my own animation, but not enough to post yet. Some of the other stuff is protected right now and can't be released. Sorry. I would love to show you some of the animation I'm doing for ZOO FX, but you'll have to wait a little while. I have some drawings... may post those later.

06 August 2009

STP Prod at The Zoo

Met my new producers and post production supervisor at The Zoo FX this morning to check out their new project.
Any studio you go to will bring you a new experience (especially coming from Turner), but I think this one is going to be good for me, even if it is temporary.
This new project is a children's show, a mixture of live action and 3d cartoon. Green screen work, voice overs, modeling and rigging is already complete. Some of the test animation has been completed as well. I have some experience with compositing of this kind, so I feel confident that I'll be able to handle some of the more difficult scenes. The rigs look half-way decent. I'm pretty sure at this point I won't have to stop halfway through a scene and gut a rig. My first mission of course will be to tear open the script and search for all the business I'll need to plan my shots. The storyboard is kind of rough...oh well. Sometimes it's better that way. Gives you more room to make your own decisions.
And the best part... the people I'm working for are cool and easy going.
Got to get busy. My big computer is on the way, so I'll finally be ble to convert this blog back to the original format - less of my blah blah blah and more pictures/video. Cheers.

22 July 2009

My newest adventure

This is generally a video blog, but today I thought I would write a little bit about what I've been doing the past few weeks. 5 July, I quit my job (I was a bartender in a sloooooow restaurant) and the next morning, I left for Los Angeles with just my clothes, my computer, and my portfolio stuff to chase after these animator dreams. Sound cliche? This is one of the most difficult tasks I have ever undertaken. Seriously, it is not for the faint of heart. Leaving behind the comforts of my family and friends (not to mention the confidence of being a big fish at school) has been a challenge for me. The competition is insane, and it is very difficult to get your hand on the what's going on in this industry because it is very dynamic and continuously changing right now. So I've been doing lots of research, studying whenever I'm not researching, and drawing myself to sleep since I got here.

But the opportunities are there, and I'm starting to uncover them. And I'm excited because I'm taking life drawing classes from Glenn Vilppu (AWESOME!) in September. And I figured I'd join ASIFA and play with those people too (not as fun as drawing, but I'll deal with it).

I've got some things to post and some other animations in the planning stages. When I get my real computer setup and running, I'll bust it out and post it for yall. Until then, have a good one.

23 March 2009

28 February 2009

23 February 2009

17 February 2009

07 February 2009

06 February 2009

24 January 2009

Demo reel in progress

If you're looking for the rest of the dancing Trex,

you'll find it here.

Gross drink2 (WIP)

Andrew's idea: Do another with the character knowing it is gross.

Still working on this one

23 January 2009

22 January 2009