Monday, November 14, 2011

Another Short Film Update...

So, I've been hard at work trying to get stuff done on the short film. I'm really glad that I chose a simple story with only 1 character, lol! I think there are about 32 or so shots, including things that are as short as 30 frames (which could change, if things are needed, or if things need to be removed).

I'm currently on the 4th shot of the film. I've been animating sequentially. I don't have a technical reason for that, other than, those environments were ready to go already.. Back in school I organized all of my shots, all of the render layers etc, and it's really helping out on this one. I started everything off organized, so things don't get messy and confusing when it's time to put everything together. I am bouncing around a bit on content creation. I'll animate a few days, then I'll spend a few days just modeling and rigging assets, or working on the environments. A lot of back and forth! These aren't full days by the way.

Due to my work schedule, and choosing not to work at home when I get off from my job, I found that waking up around 4:30-5am is the best time for me to put in time on personal stuff. I only have a few hours before I have to get ready for work, and the personal work takes longer to get done, but it's a good balance for me. My girlfriend's asleep, I work better in the morning anyways, and I can officially wind down from the day when I get off of work in the evening...

As I started animating on this thing, and began looking at the shots over and over, the doubt fairy has started to rear it's ugly head. I think as animators and artists we are going to constantly go through this. You look at the work over and over to make it better, THEN... Start questioning yourself!

Is that acting choice unique enough?
Could I have thought of a better idea for the story?
Does that look right?
There's a lot of work that needs to be done. Should I invest my time to finish this thing?

So, I'm fighting with those thoughts as I spend days on this thing. But it really is a fun thing!. If you're going to make a short film, or take on any kind of long term project, really love what you're planning to do, and believe in it. See the finished product in your mind! Because there will be times where you just want to be done with it!

On another note, I've picked a still from one of the shots, and I'll be making a promo poster out of it. I'm working on other shots outside of the short, as well as cleaning stuff up on my reel. So, I'll post it as soon as I can. There's still some texturing and lighting that needs to be done for it as well.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

AnimSchool has released the Maya version of its Malcolm rig!!

It's really cool that they decided to release their rig for free! I understand why a school would want to keep it exclusive to their students also though... There aren't many Feature quality rigs out there, that are free. We need to be able to show our range, and show that we can handle a certain level of work! Besides, some of us aren't as technically inclined to rig stuff ourselves.

I've played with this rig for a few minutes at work, just to see the controls etc. Its really nice!! If you go to AM, as I did, you could easily use this guy with the AM rigs. They look like they belong in the same world. Of course you may have to do some scaling, so their sizes match up... I've spent most of my time playing with Malcolm's face. I thin it has some really nice control and flexibility, for cartoony animation. There are some things I like better in the Bishop rig though... Both are really nice rigs and have their own strengths and weaknesses though.

Enjoy! I can't wait to start animating with this guy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I recently received a few questions asking me about where I get my inspiration when it comes to animation. So I thought I'd share my thoughts on here...

I get inspired by just about everything around me, and every experience CAN be a source of inspiration, honestly. In a typical day I can see many things that will inspire an idea. That's why it's always good to be "present" in your life- there are so many things we can miss! But, to get more specific: I'm inspired by seeing really good acting, a great film, short films, a good music video, appealing character designs, watching people interact, watching animals, the list goes on...

As Animators and Filmmakers we draw from our experiences, to create things that are Honest and sincere.

I want to hear your thoughts! What inspires you, when it comes to animation, or whatever your field is?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Short Film Update...

I've finally finished my Animatic (at least until I get feedback on it). If the changes are minor, I may not revise the animatic. I'll probably just make the changes once I get into animation... I'm really excited though! I may have mentioned before, but my main character is modeled, textured, and rigged already. It was modeled by my friend, and past co-worker Vaughn Smith. I textured him in Bodypaint 3d, then rigged him using the Anzovin rigging tools, The Setup Machine, and The Face Machine.

I plan to do a promotional poster for the short, once I figure some things out (while doing some render tests of the model, I've come across some weird things happening). In the mean time I'll spend some time doing animation tests, to make sure the rig is in good shape. I'll probably do a walk cycle, run cycle, pantomime test, and a dialogue test. I'll post them as I complete them!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

House from "UP" now for sale in Utah

I posted a video on this house the first time I saw it and it wasn't done yet, but now it is and is on the market!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Real Life "UP" house!

This is pretty crazy. I'd love to see how the inside looks when it's finished!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tomb Raider Gameplay Demo at E3 today!

Some of my work is featured in the Gameplay Demo today. Here's a brief...

I animated the section where Lara falls on the Spike and has to pull it out of her side and get up. Everyone working on this game, has done a FANTASTIC job! I wish I could say and show more about it, but I have to hold off until something is released to the public.

Enjoy the Gameplay Demo!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Tomb Raider Trailer!!!

So, as some of you may know. I've been working on the new Tomb Raider game since last August. The trailer has finally made its way to the world via Spike TV...

Here's the trailer if you missed it! I'm very proud of what we've done as a team on the game. I can't wait for everyone to see it!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Michael Caine - Acting in film workshop

I watched this a while ago, and it was very insightful! As you already know, as animators, we are all still actors just putting our performances into a digital puppet. Check it out!

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

Part 6:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Connecting with your work

I've had a tough time over the past few years choosing what to spend time working on. I've gone through a bunch of shots that never made it past my computer. They've been marked as simply "Practice" shots, which it really is if you think about it. I'm sure there are many animators, or artists out there who go through this. Which made me want to write about this...

I think finding a connection with you and your work is the BEST thing to do to get some kind of worth out of it. Even if no one ever sees it! Instead of just picking something to do to practice principles of animation, take some time and think about something that you can connect with, and put a bit of who you are into it. Studios notice those things, plus your work will get better and better the more you do that, trust me! Of course there are things that simply look fun to animate, with no deep emotional connection, and I think those are good things to do as well, because we should always have fun with what we're doing! I think it shows when someone has really had a good time animating something!

I'm gonna go through the current shots in my reel and talk about why I chose to do them, and what, from myself I've put into them. Of course in the future this won't match up because my reel will be different, but readers can still get the idea of it.


Shot 1: "I need help"
I chose to do this one, because I wanted to explore how this person felt trying fight something that kept coming back, and just trying to get over his drug addiction. My dad had a drug addiction problem, and that had a lot to do with what drew me to this as well. He passed away when I was five, and I was picturing him saying this if were alive, and became clean... It was tough acting this out because I didn't know how to feel, but I watched a lot of interviews with recovering addicts, and got an overall feel for how a lot of them felt, and how honest they've become with themselves about needing help, because they didn't feel that they had the power to do it alone.

Shot 2: "Never enough"
I chose to do this shot because I felt a connection with the dialogue, in that, in the animation industry, I was feeling like I wasn't enough to make it, when I was seeing a lot of people I knew getting work, etc. I had a rough time looking for a job and spent over a year unemployed. I was practicing, sending out reels, and was getting a lot of rejection. Although I experienced this 2 years ago, I could easily go back to how I felt during that time, so when I saw this film I knew I wanted to do that clip.

Shot 3: "Bad people"
I went with this shot because I really liked the contrast in the dialogue and I felt the connection with the secondary character realizing the harsh truths about how some people really are, and how corrupt some things really are. Aside from that, it just seemed like a fun clip to animate! A good chance to hold back in areas, and focus on the acting.

Shot 4: "Dr. King"
Who wouldn't want to animate an audio clip like this? This shot just seemed really fun to me! I loved the contrast in characters and how crazy this old man was! It makes you wonder if his story was really true! This is one of the examples of shots where it just seems fun to animate. While working on it, I was remembering older people at church when I was younger, and the stories they would tell, or people I would encounter on the bus in SF while in school, over-hearing their conversations and stories, and seeing the listeners faces looking like they knew that the storyteller was full of it.

I hope that this helps someone out there struggling with finding what to work on. I still suffer from this from time to time, and it probably won't end. Just remember to show yourself in your work; tap into your different emotions and let yourself be vulnerable so you can get a sincere performance.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Getting into character!

I'm working on a pretty long shot right now on my own time, and I just wanted to talk a bit about getting into character, and how important it's been for me lately. I've seen people who don't use reference and tend to struggle with what's going on in their shots, so I thought I'd share some thoughts.

I've found that getting into character can really cut down the amount of time you spend actually animating. I know it may sound weird, or hard to believe, but think about this...

When you shoot reference for a shot you're animating, and try to get in all the character details in your performance, you'll have all the information in front of you to go off of! Of course you'll still find areas to play with timing, and maybe add some secondary action you didn't think of before, as well as spending some time polishing details you didn't even see in your reference etc. But, you can explore several different choices when you're planning your shot with reference, and seeing the action in front of you, in context. In the end, you basically see how your shot's going to look (for the most part, lol). If it doesn't match up with what you see in your head, do it again, and again, and again, until it's RIGHT.

When I shoot reference for things, I try to leave my own gestures, and my own feelings aside. It's REALLY hard not to resort to typical things I would do. But that's the fun of it. Think about who that character is, why he/she/it is in the situation they're in, and how they'd actually feel and react in that situation.

Acting stuff out is a lot quicker than animating different ideas!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Making another Short Film!!!

I'm excited to say, I'll be working on my next short film. As some people know, I wasn't too happy with my first one. I was going through some stuff at home, and couldn't get the amount of time I needed to push this thing. But I had to wrap it up.

I was at least able to render it though, since I took care of the lighting, textures, and all of that stuff before beginning production on it in class (I thought it'd save time later to just be able to hit render when I was done, lol)

Back to the new film... I just finished timing out my boards for an animatic. I have some minor tweaks to make in the timing, but I think after getting some feedback it will be solid. A friend of mine did my character model, and I plan on texturing him soon, and getting him rigged up using Anzovin's The Setup Machine, and The Face Machine .

I've been working out the story off and on for about 6 months, and it's something that I've put my own experience into, so hopefully that shows through. I'm not sure if I'll post it yet. Maybe some work in progress stuff, like images, animation tests, etc. Nothing with the story playing in it's entirety though.

I have some other acting tests that I'm working on at the same time as the pre-production stuff for this short, but as soon as these tests are done, I'm going in all the way. I work about 50 hours a week at Crystal, so I won't have a HUGE amount of time to work on this, but I can't wait!!!