Friday, November 30, 2007

Guest Lecture Notes and Various other things

Tonight was an awesome lecture! Darren Holmes came and lectured about being an Editor for both live-action films and animated ones. Not a whole lot of notes, he used a lot of visuals to illustrate his points. Overall, it came down to:

The editor is the voice of the storyteller, they convey the inflection, pacing, and diction of the film. As an editor you have to consider the different aspects of a sequence not just for yourself, but how an audience might respond to it.
There are two reasons to make a cut: Either for an emotional reason or for keeping the tempo consistent(rhythm or action as he used it).
The first and last 5 minutes of a film are your only two chances to grab your audience. If you don't grab an audiences attention in the beginning, they're lost for the rest of the film. Those last 5 minutes are what everyone will remember. He showed us an example for a grabbing opening, by playing Silverado.
Otherwise, he ended by saying, "Hollywood is a small town--animation is even smaller. As one animator at Disney put it, 'It's like high school, but with really expensive cars.' Don't burn bridges. The business is like the special forces because you'll be called upon different projects because of your specific talent. Be willing to start at the bottom(particularly when thinking of becoming an editor), When you have spare time--work toward what you want."

He showed a whole treasure trove of animatics and film clips to illustrate his lecture. These included a lot of rough animatics from Ratatouille(a couple are on the DVD featurette), Iron Giant, and Lilo & Stitch. All of them were extremely inspiring since I'm currently in the animatic stage and seeing the first passes on Iron Giant and then seeing the finished version was, to say the least, amazing. He went into detail as to how Brad Bird works(both on Iron Giant and on Ratatouille) and after each animatic played he would break it down and point out the changes that were later made for the final version. He also played a trailer Brad Bird made to try and promote Iron Giant when it was about to be released....if they had used THAT trailer, Iron Giant would have done much better in theatres...it was dramatic and comedic at the same time. Anyways, I'm very eager to get back to work on my animatic and really push my dramatic moments and help establish more contrast between the "calm" scenes and the climatic/dramatic ones.

As far as film updates: I finished re-boarding my film yesterday and spent the greater part of today compiling them in Final Cut, it's clocking in just shy of 90 seconds which is perfect! Just need to add more contrast and music. Then I'll be ready to share it again with teachers and friends. Here's a quick preview of one of my boards for my film:

Board 5 of 83. This one showcases my second character, Ollie who is Pilot's owner.

P.S. It's December tomorrow! When did that happen, November shot by. So much to do in the just a matter of days! 13 days and I'll be on a plane right now(night flight for me), it's just crazy how fast time has gone by and how much I've learned. Can't wait to see how next semester goes, by the time May rolls around I'll actually have a film in my hands!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Little Kid Poses


For traditional animation, had to design ourselves as kids(between 6-8 years old). This weekend is all about animating-both 2D and 3D. Very excited to get started.

Also this Friday another guest lecture has been announced: Darren Holmes is coming. According to IMDB he has been the editor on films like Iron Giant, Ratatouille, Lion King, Lilo & Stitch, etc. Should be very interesting.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Break Report

Had a fantastic time---definately great being back home, even if it was short. After arriving at the airport I stopped by my Mom's work and said hello to everyone. Then went back home for a bit to drop off luggage and of course to see if Annie remembered me. Around 3 I hopped in my car and drove over to visit with friends before coming back home to a delicious home-cooked meal! That night we watched Ratatouille since my Step-dad hadn't seen it yet. Even after seeing this film several times now, I still really enjoy it. Had Thanksgiving at our house, which was nice and relaxing. Next day was spent entirely at home, completely away from Black Friday madness(haha), and opted for storyboarding my homework assignment(65 panels! Not for my film), later my parents and I decided to watch Monster's Inc. Saturday was spent hanging out with friends and drawing at the mall(fantastic place to go for studying movement for my kid animation) and then we went and saw Enchanted. I enjoyed seeing 2D animation back on the big screen, overall it was a pretty good movie. Came home and worked on my film storyboards before watching Raising Arizona(recommended by Pixar people, and I now can see why). Packed up my stuff afterwards and at the bright and early time of 7 am I was flying over Southern Oregon. Safely landed at LAX around 9 am and reached CalArts/my cube about 10am where I've since been working on a couple leftover homework assignments. But I just have my animation homework and film left so I'm chillin' the rest of the night. Well, it was great seeing everyone again and I'll be back in town before you Oregon people know it!(18 days to be exact, haha...make that 18 crazy busy days.) Anyways, good to be back in my cube and of course a thank you to my CalArts buds for the warm welcome and airport pick-up. It was of course great seeing the CalArtians again. Everyone is starting to trickle in from their own vacations and tomorrow CalArts will return to its' old self. So anyways, here's how I spent part of my morning:

Finishing this perspective piece that I started before break:

Here's the colored version I did this morning and I'm turning in tomorrow:

Poor squirrel can't catch a break when it comes to hiding his acorn!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Early Thanksgiving Post

So because I can't fall asleep, how about another post?

In celebration of Thanksgiving here's some artwork featuring the increasingly popular creation---THE TURDUCKEN!



Just you wait, in the not too distant future there'll be farms just raising the genetically correct Turducken, not today's version of a chicken stuffed inside a duck, which is then stuffed inside a turkey. If they can breed strange dog breeds(like the Puggle) then the Turducken is the next step. So yes, Happy Thanksgiving. Anyways, I head off to the airport in 6 hours and I'll be landing in Oregon pretty much(assuming everything goes smoothly) 12 hours from now...excited doesn't even begin to sum up how I'm feeling right now! haha.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How about an art update?

Here are a few drawings from my newly started sketchbook....and a sneak peek at one of my film characters!


A little sketch I did in preparation for my perspective homework. I didn't get a chance to snap a shot of the final piece I turned in this morning. I'm pretty happy with it---can't go wrong with elephants.

For our next animation assignment we have to design ourselves as kids and then animate a single shot scene(this is due around Dec. 13th). It's our final project for the rest of the semester, anyways, here's a possible kid-me. And to counter the cute drawing, here's a not so cute one:

Heeeere's....PILOT! I've officially named both of my characters, anyways, here's one of them. Thought I might sneak another film concept drawing on here. Overall, the film is coming along nicely, I'm diving head-first into visual development while re-boarding many of the scenes to make the story that much richer. Can't wait to get animating on this!

Friday, November 16, 2007

A goofy review!

Just got back from the screening of Disney's new short "How to Hook up your Home Theater System" starring Goofy. It was fantastic, extremely refreshing to see that kind of 2D animation back on the silver screen! And from what the directors' said, there are many more 2D animation projects in the making! They even mentioned how they're roughly 4 shots away from finishing another 2D short, "The Ballad of Nessie" Anyways, here are some quick notes:

First here are the introductions:
Stevie Wermers-Skelton was a student at CalArts from 1992-1994 and has been at Disney ever since. And on a bit of a cool note, she's the first female at Disney to direct a cartoon.

Kevin Deters has been working at Disney since 1996. Also his first directorial debut.

History of the short:
When Pixar and Disney merged two years ago John Lassester and Ed Catmull made it a priority to bring back the short film division at Disney. With this short especially, they placed great importance on bringing back the classical Disney characters and of course traditional animation. The short is made with that mid-40's style(they really looked to the 1938-1942 era Goofy designs/animation)in mind. Throughout the making of the Goofy short, the team visited the Animation Research Lab and brought a lot of the original Goofy short artwork back, but with a digital retouch. During the presentation they showed photographs of the original cells from various Goofy shorts and then showed their own Goofy short stills to show how much influence the 40's era had on the new version.
Technical details:
The actual animation was divided pretty evenly between 6 animators(the big dogs! Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn, Dale Baer, etc.) and they alternated between actual paper animation(they showed some rough pencil paper animation that Mark Henn did for a particular sequence! It was mind-blowing, and then they said he did all of the animation on one-layer! Which stunned the crowd! When the short is actually released just look for that final dog-pile sequence after Goofy turns the TV on....ONE LAYER! AH! Also there are several classic Goofy references within that one scene as well, so I'm eager to go watch it frame-by-frame again whenever it's released.) So while some of the animators used paper and pencil animation, others animated using the Cintiq and the software titled, "Harmony" which was also used for clean-up. In the end, they composited the short digitally and at least for tonight, the short was shown on classic 35mm! We watched the short twice and it was very entertaining, wonderful animation! You could just tell the animators were exceedingly happy to be working in traditional animation again. Which worked beautifully with Goofy--part of the presentation included a DVD special that had interviews with all of the animators on the short, so as they put it, "Goofy is designed for maximum expression" and believe me, some of the poses Goofy pulled would have been impossible in CG! They used Photoshop to recreate a lot of the backgrounds and are really using the short film division to test out the best way of combining technological advances with traditional old-school animation techniques and hopefully, bring these into feature film projects(Like The Princess and the Frog). There are several shorts in the making and the directors ended the screening on this note, "It's a great time to be at Disney."

If you want another review, here's one that was posted awhile ago that I absolutely agree with! 2D animation is back at Disney!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Have a Bear

video
Just posting my bear animation. I cut-out probably 60% of the animation I had intended to use, this part is the only part I thought worked best. I lost inspiration about mid-way through this and initially I thought it looked alright, but now that I'm watching it again.....I'm not very eager for the critique tonight.
Ever see an X-sheet? Yes, no...maybe so? How about an old version sheet from the bear animation(the actual animation is in the 80s as far as how many drawings I used just for the bear):

And the ever imposing stack of animation paper used for the bear, this includes the background, bear, piranhas, and water effects:


And in more entertaining news:
Disney is coming to CalArts tomorrow. According to the sign they're giving us a early screening of the 2d short "How to Hook-Up your Home Theater." The directors are scheduled to come and maybe some of the big animators might show up! Very excited to see this little return to 2D animation. Here's a pretty cool article on it. Anyways, I'll be sure to post something after tomorrow night.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

With a hip-hip and a hippity-hop

And I now present my 3D animation snowman....
video
Details: Just a stack of parented polygons animated. He wanted it to bounce across the stage and then melt. Everything else was up to us. So yeah, we now are going to work with a rig so this is here to compare with when I get my hands on a rigged snowman. This will probably be the last animation that I use the "S" key or autokey on....the teacher solely likes "right-click>key selected" details. He dissects it down to the last tangent so he caught my "cheat"....this new technique is supposedly really useful when working with very complicated rigs(he mentioned tonight how he's talked to Pixar animators and has structured the class based on their feedback. We might get to work with the super-complicated "Cal" Pixar rig at the end of the year. He's really pushing that graph editor and clean splines, etc.). Well, I still have my big ol' bear animation to work on for traditional animation and I'll be sure to post that on Thursday once I finish. It's off to a good start, some size issues, but the frantic movements and facial stuff are working nicely. Still have to add the piranhas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Happy Sunday!

So this weekend my Mom and Step-Dad visited and got a first hand look of CalArts in session. Got to hear the Friday lecture, see my fellow CalArtians, the Maya labs, that my "Fox Run" perspective assignment made it into the character animation hallway display case, my cube, dorm, etc. Loads of fun and it was great seeing them after many weeks of pure communication through just phone-calls and emails. Well today they took me off campus and we visited MOCA(Museum of Contemporary Art) and looked at the various featured artist galleries. While looking at the work on the walls, I also took in some people studies(drawing them later once back on campus). So now I present my last page in my sketchbook(it took me maybe 4 weeks to fill this 100 page thing!):



Two kinds of observers. One is more precise and mathematical(the kind that haunts every corner of an art gallery, or in this case a Jackson Pollock piece)...the other tends to observe the odder things of life(like pigeons hanging around in the middle of a busy intersection). I also tried something kind of new, coloring a caricature in Photoshop---interesting, but I still prefer my watercolors. :) Alright, time to really scrub the dorms down---inspections this week.

Dan Holland Lecture

Dan Holland gave an excellent lecture on design this past Friday night! It was VERY inspiring and filled my head with all kinds of possibilities when it comes to my film and work in general…so without further ado, here’s some lecture notes(pardon any grammatical errors, change of tenses, etc...):

In the beginning he discussed his background, he graduated from CalArts five years ago, initially as an animator at Pixar, but around a year later was promoted to a character designer (or a sketch artist as he said) and was responsible for a lot of the designs in the upcoming movie, Wall*E. He described character design as a language of symbols how a designer is basically taking things and translating them into a symbolic meaning. In the end, creating an entertaining personality just visually. The best designers design from the inside out meaning looking at the history, personality, experiences, etc. of a character and building a look around that.
He then shared a quote by Art Babbitt (I wrote a short-hand version of it, since I can’t write as fast as he talked.), “One thing you cannot be taught is how to get guts into your animation. It comes from yourself. You cannot stop studying from life. You must always keep your mind and senses open at all times.” He then went on to define these “guts” as, taking your passions and interests and bring them into your work. Passion brings freshness to one’s design and in the end, creates that special spark. Also, don’t be shy, stick up for what you believe in, however don’t limit yourself; continue to explore outside of your main interests. Broaden your inspiration, find new influences and thus you’re brining freshness to your work. He then used his experience on Wall*E as an example, a particular interest of his involves trains and when starting out on Wall*E he brought those trains into his designs. A really good quote came up then, he basically said, “Life is one giant library of inspiration. When drawing you’re looking at life through a microscope—extracting details to enrich your work.” He then discussed how when developing a story a vital key is looking at your interests and finding something you’re passionate about. “Passionate stories create freshness. Don’t look at blogs of UPA styles—go to life….this creates unique results, NOT copies of copies.
The next topic he talked about discussed the experience of school, how as students we need tot take advantage of the opportunity to draw what you want to draw. Let the teachers guide you, but still stay true to your mind. Don’t let others influence or steer your thinking. Don’t try to constantly please a teacher (or anyone for that matter), take feedback from them, but stay true. Once you graduate and have a job, you’re suddenly VERY limited on what you draw. You’re now being paid to draw someone else’s passion. However, to make this job interesting—research—find things. Find something to bring your interests into the project. He brought up another Wall*E example, while working on the film he went on a Disney cruise and also went to a space center—researching heavily and bringing his interests into the project so he could do his best and enjoy the work. “Research is the key to an exciting project.”
Next up, he discussed how there’s a myth about how it’s bad not to look at research, to strictly draw from your head. The example he used was, how if someone looked at your work and asked “Did you use a reference?” and you answer, “Yes” That somehow ruins your work. It’s not bad to use reference, just learn to see. Don’t get caught up with having to draw without research. Just keep in mind to drawn, From life—not from those art of books, etc. You become limited when looking at other’s work. Do your own thing. When you look to others, you get to experience the excitement of seeing a fresh piece of communication. Looking to others can be just as exciting as life sometimes. However this doesn’t mean you’re copying, you’re looking to others for inspiration. It’s also important to be sensitive when looking at a piece, sometimes you may only like one or two elements. As he said, very often he’ll see a piece that he doesn’t like, but within that work , there’s maybe a few things he likes about it and will bring it home with him, or keep in the back of his mind. The quote he used, “Don’t throw a baby out with the bathwater. No design is perfect. Take what’s good and move-on.”
He went on to describe the essential job of a character designer and animator: “Draw the way things FEEL, not look. Use symbols to communicate feeling. Endow the drawing with visual characteristics to compensate for lack of our other senses (taste, smell, etc.). He then broke the lecture up into sections, so I’ll just do the same:
First up, Economy—less is more. Clarity and simplicity is essential to design. Only design essentials to communicate clearly, where everything contributes to clear storytelling. Road signs for instance. He then brought Wall*E into this section, in the beginning of the movie Pixar had roughly five shots to establish the history of the world of Wall*E. With this tight space to convey so much information you MUST be clear. However this doesn’t mean very clean drawings, clarity doesn’t mean the number of lines you use. Just that all elements must contribute to the story—who the character is, the world, etc. Every mark and piece matters. Another example he showed was Mister Rogers—you know exactly who he is, what his personality is like, and what kind of world he lives in. You know and feel him. In the end, you can kind of guess what his next move will be. The elements that contribute to clarity/economy: silhouette, shape, line of action, and detail placement.
Silhouette: meaning negative shapes. A good practice is to fill in the character to see the clarity. Sometimes most 3D filmmakers don’t think about that final 2D product. How that 3D image is technically projected onto a 2D surface and in most instances the pose is hard to read. He used a couple examples from Bill Peet and how he’s able to convey a lot of information, but still able to retain a strong silhouette.
Shape: Shape reflects characters. A very easy example can be seen in characters like Sesame Street. How they have strong shapes are appealing and easy to read. Another example he used was Chuck Jones how he’s able to pick and choose the right amount of detail to lead your eye within an image with leads to…
Detail Placement: Don’t shove a bunch of unnecessary information on the page. You need to guide the viewer’s eye. Need clear communication since in the movie industry an image is only up for a very brief amount of time and an entire audience needs to absorb that information quickly before the shot moves on.
He moved onto how, when taking all of these elements into consideration, these can all lead to limitations within your work, however one must seek to embrace these limitations and how solving these problems really benefits you in the end. You’re forced to make creative choices. You learn how to make an appealing decision. A great example he used involved Legos—you’re limited to just blocks and also how the size of the blocks can create certain creative problems, yet the end results can be astounding.
Around this time he took a moment to discuss CalArts, he described CalArts as the MIT equivalent to the animation art form. As a student of CalArts we need to take advantage of the opportunities here. As he put it, “You don’t want to end up graduating and your sole job is cleaning up storyboards on things like, Pokemon….unless that really is your goal.” As students we want to drive the industry. It’s all about how much guts we have, to go to life directly and bring those experience back to into movies. The industry is very stale right now and hopefully when we graduate we’ll go out and push this industry in different directions. Otherwise, one would just end up cleaning up those storyboards and living in an industry that’s stuck on repeat. He also talked about how when he was a student, and even today this can applied, how sometimes we can learn more from each other as a group than from the teachers. How when living and working so closely with each other, we end up working off of each other and how important it is to run with this constant artistic inspiration.
He moved onto the topic of Focus and used a quote from Ralph Eggleston to describe the short film process, “Get in, say what you want to say, and then get out.” Which in many ways, can be applied to feature length movies as well. Start out on a project with a huge field of various interests and then narrow it down. Do a simple film and in the end it becomes awesome. Focus your efforts on simple things. I really enjoyed this bit because it helped set my mind at ease about my film. How these really are my major goals, “keeping it simple and focusing on making it awesome.” I only have 90 seconds, which isn’t much time…but the opportunities to create something unique and awesome are there.
He then went into defining the term, “PUSH IT!” when it comes to your first effort. Never be satisfied by it, Don’t stop until it works. No one cares how long it takes you, the audience only cares about that final result. However, at some point you do have to stop. What starting out, push your work really far. In the industry, you need to start out FAR because the “system” pulls you back. If you don’t give your work those extreme starting points, the corporations pull you back, hurting your work and as he bluntly put it, “you end up with something like Shrek.” Another point he mentioned is to sometimes push your work until it breaks.
Here he moved into the Method of Character Design. Simply put he summarized it as R.E.D. Or—“Research, Experimentation, and Decision.” However it doesn’t always have to be in that order. And how important it is to constantly keep pushing yourself, always working harder to keep drawing and honestly, as he put it, “You’ll lose it if you don’t use it.” Again, I’ll break this section up into pieces:
Research: This is the fun part, Doing this “homework” creates many possibilities. You need to gain insight into the subject and design. You need to do this even when two or more things are just remotely related. He used Wall*E again, how in the beginning he toured things like a robotics lab to even elephant seals!(he said to look for this in the movie, it’s an example of how even the remotest of things can be related.) Doing research in this manner avoids the issue of copying others. An example—Donald Duck. How a lot of people use that same drawing of a duck-bill without looking at an actual duck and developing their own style of constructing a duck-bill. Through research you develop your own method.
Experimentation: otherwise known as exploration. The next step is to take that research and experiment with it. Create various images based on this research. ANY medium too. Do everything and anything to communicate clearly. Keep anything open. Create fun and zany stuff. Make engaging images. Don’t rule-out certain mediums, use paper-cutouts, try pastels, Don’t just focus on the medium you’re making your film in. Staying open-minded is the best way to develop an idea. It’s the next step that you begin filtering…
Decision: He used Pixar’s method a lot in this part, how in this step you now make an image work in the 3D world. You now learn how to change your experimentations into film. This is the time to worry as you try to keep the integrity of your initial drawings. The overall goal at Pixar is to keep the work as cool as the initial experimentation, but make it work in 3D space. You can’t cheat with 3D as much as you can in 2D. During the Decision process you begin to bring order to your universe. He used a drawing of Glen Keane as an example how when it comes to rough animation, it’s at this step that you decide which line you’ll go with. He also quoted Ralph Eggleston again, “A lot of people can draw cool things, but only a few can translate it to the screen.” He said how it’s always a fight and how overall, you really learn how to make a creative decision. This then brought up a key topic:
Form vs. Function: Again, a cool looking drawing that still works in 3D space. Having this skill makes you a very valuable asset to any company. He used a couple examples to describe this topic, first up, Wall*E: There’s a character that is designed to use a floating chair. He discussed some problems they had and how in-depth certain meetings would go and how they needed to come up with creative ways of solving these problems. He also discussed animation problems during The Incredibles, “How in 3D space it’s hard to get a convincing straight line. So if a character is pressing their arm against a table, moving their weight to one side, etc. This would create a visual problem. During production they were able to figure out ways to cheat in 3D and create “lines” that only worked for that certain camera shot. He called this a “benbow”.
Next topic, “Model Packets”. This was specifically geared towards Pixar methods. How you need to draw through the character. NEVER include any 2D cheats in these model packets. All elements must translate to 3D; essentially you’re drawing a “2D puppet.” When starting out, it’s best to draw a ¾ down shot of the character. Begin with that ¾ view and then move onto a turnaround. The ¾ view is a good way to think about dimension and eliminate any potential 2D cheats.
Next up he described what it necessary to include in a portfolio for Pixar. Specifically, the character design department. I’ll just list what I wrote, Show process. Yes it’s great to show a final piece, but show steps. This tells volumes about an artist. It’s shows one’s abilities to solve creative problems. Also shows the ability to fluently communicate within the visual language. However, all drawings need to relate—need to feel as one style. NOT a “Jack-Of-All-Trades.”—“Look I can draw like Tex Avery, Look I can draw like Bill Peet, Look I can draw like…etc.” Need to show a common thread throughout work. In the end, show that your stuff has guts.
He then ended by showing us his portfolio—Moving from what he submitted TO Pixar to be initially hired and then showed us his current work. After that he went into a Q&A session which I’ll just write up some key points that interested me the most:

Someone asked if Pixar used one giant program to create all of their movies.
Answer: While Pixar does use some of their own software, for instance—rendering and animation. They use Maya for modeling and also programs like Photoshop, etc.
At some point this little bit came out and I found this VERY cool:
Anyone who works at Pixar can pitch at Pixar. Anyone can schedule that special 15 minutes to pitch an idea to the big guys(John Lassester, etc.) However, he basically said, “it’s very intimating because if they green-light it, you have 6 months for instance to produce a short-film! So if you ever do that, be VERY prepared. Only do something you’re passionate about.”
Other points included, “Everybody in the industry should have the ability to draw. Even when it comes down to 3D animation. With Pixar, we’ll teach you how to use 3D. Just first and foremost—know how to draw.”

And that’s pretty much it, REALLY inspiring lecture and I’m thrilled that not only was I able to be there, my Mom and Step-Dad were able to sit in and listen to him! It made for a great night and really an awesome weekend! Well this is long enough, so night ya’ll!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Go Pixar!

Bit of an Exciting Update

Another guest lecture has been announced! Two actually:
The first is a Pixar animator named Dan Holland whose credits include The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and the upcoming movie---Wall*E! Going to be GREAT! Super excited!

The other is a Flash guest lecture by the company that produces a lot of those animated TV commercials, like E*surance. I forgot the company name, but nonetheless outta be a blast!
So Friday is going to be packed, Flash lecture from 5-7 and then Dan Holland from 7-10! AND family is visiting this weekend! So in light of all of these upcoming events---have some fat bears:


For traditional animation this week we have to draw a fat character in 20(I have 21) poses and also do another version where it's all blacked-out to show silhoette. He also wanted us to use reference pictures so see if you can spot poses based on things like: Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp(Libertine, Jack Sparrow, Mort Rainey in particular), etc. oh and for Robert in particular---there's some more COWBELL in there. ;) Others I did straight from my head because they usually turn out much better then when I base a pose off of an image.

Some are a little more successful than others, and yes, whenever a silhouette assignment comes up an iPod rip-off with be done! haha.Well my Ratatouille DVD arrived in my mailbox today so I'm off to make some dinner and chill for a bit before conquering my Story questionnaire.

Also five weeks until my final animatic is due! I'm still fretting over story ideas because while I like my original story, I want to add more "heart" to it, but the more I try to add to the story, the more epic it becomes(which is BAD...you want simple according to all of my teachers)... granted I'm just happy to have an idea that works, I plan on doing another pass on the storyboards this coming week and do a second pass on my animatic...hopefully get some backgrounds roughed out too.....I'm getting really excited over my film, everyone is starting to dive into their projects and the teachers have officially shifted into student film mode and are incorporating film development into their lectures and showing some really inspiring work-- Well I'll be sure to write a post on all of the lectures ASAP until then, night!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Fox Run



For my perspective class tomorrow, supposed to do a box and an incline in perspective---the rest is up to us, so a fox raiding a chicken-coop was my first choice. =) Those vanishing points are too close, but otherwise it's working out. I enjoyed the fox and the bug-eyed chickens more than the actual incline or coop. Also, Happy Day-Light Savings! Yay one more hour to work on things!

Also, yay to big scanners! I thought maybe I'd post something that wasn't taken by my camera...the computers labs have several huge scanners so a large sheet of animation paper was no problem for them(to give you an idea of size, the fox can just barely fit in the palm of your hand). My little scanner can fit inside these scanners about 10 times over. haha.

Okay, back to Word---I have a 6 page paper to write!


Quick Edit: New Spline Doctors Podcast! Go have a listen----also check this audio interview out with John Lassester and Co. in particular, the part where he discusses 3D animation and how it's just like 2D. Both interviews are very inspiring.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Cal Arts' Halloween Bash

So from 7:30p.mish until 1:30a.m. I've been hanging out with the character animation gang and making the most of the Cal Arts' Halloween Party. It was quite the experience.....it started at the lodge, hanging out with upper-classmen and then around 10 we all went into the main building where the party was happening. My ears are still ringing, my feet hurt from wearing boots with heels(very stupid on my part)....and my lungs are probably going to need like a week before all the smoke clears my lungs(when walking outside it was basically a giant wall of smoke as about 60 people all smoked outside.) I'm not going to go into too much detail on the actual party...I remember everything(I stuck to water, personally. Some people didn't exactly restrain themselves---I'll just leave it at that), it's more of a "had to have been there" kind of night. It was fun. Quick summary:

Went as a pirate(of course...can't think outside the box on that one).
I saw costumes like: Cleopatra, robots, Freddy Kruger, Kiki, Totoro, a guy dressed AS YouTube, Ghostbusters, The Witch King(from LOTR), Sally(from Nightmare before Christmas), Snow White, Willy Wonka(x3), Jack Sparrow(x10---lots of guy pirates walking around), Edward Scissorhands(x1), Hobos, Kirk Fog(From Legends of the Hidden Temple*best 90's game show EVER!* PURPLE PARROTS!), LOTS of guys dressed as women(I lost count after Marlyn Monroe dropped his melon...),Superman(x3), etc. As the night wore on, things got a little weird and I won't say how skimpy some costumes got(or lack of costume at all)......
Couple teachers were rumored to have shown up, I did see my Monday night Story teacher on the dance floor. Which turned into one massive gangle of character animators all jumping up and down and rocking out to whatever music was playing...it was epic.
Got in a HUGE discussion about animation with a whole group of fellow character animators.(this was about 20 minutes before we all hit the dance floor). It was epic and GREAT! Where else can you get into an in-depth discussion of today's animation and how the industry needs a good jump-start all while a HUGE party was taking place around us???
Once the alchol took effect, things got a little loose with some people. It was easy to see who was drunk vs. not....tomorrow will be a ghost-town before 6pmish I'm sure.
Otherwise, here are some very quick doodles I drew when I got back to the quiet dorm room...all from my memory(no cameras allowed, sorry):

So here's Snow White......


And then several characters:

Yes that's a Totoro, it was a foam Totoro walking around...brilliant.
I did snap a picture of a blurry version of where all of the dancing took place in the main building.....kind of get a sense of how cool it was:

Well night, I plan on being back in the cube at like 10 a.m....it's going to be such a ghost-town tomorrow! haha.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Do the Stick-man Dance!

So after many battles...here he is:

video
No music or anything....that would have really complicated things so pick your own tune! I'm just happy he's resembling a dance.
And that's how I spent my Halloween! Though the big infamous CalArts' official Halloween bash is tomorrow night....it'll be an interesting experience I'm sure(oh the stories I've heard!)---the decorations are going up and they look pretty spooky. I'll try to sneak my camera in and see about snapping a few shots.

Wow, it's already November! 42 days until it's Winter Break.....my film is going alright, still reworking clarity issues and hoping to pitch my idea again to some teachers and friends HOPEFULLY before Thanksgiving break......until then a MOUND of homework awaits.