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.