Tuesday, April 29, 2008

So, the list was posted....

The infamous Producer's Show list was posted tonight:

Didn't make it in. It's fine, not bummed out. Personally, I'm not surprised that it didn't get in, after Saturday I knew I wouldn't make it. Anyhow, I'll come back fighting next year. lol-- I saw a lot of fantastic films on Saturday and got a really good sense of what I should aim for in the upcoming year. I'm actually FAR from discouraged--more excited and pumped up for what I can accomplish next year. I learned a lot from my film and even though I didn't make it in, I certainly don't consider it a waste of time or anything. Every year there are plenty of films that don't make it into the Producer's Show. A lot of successful animators never had their films in the Producer's Show and still got jobs so it won't "make or break" your career. As my story teacher put it, "It's just an ego booster." Besides, I still get to go to the Producer's Show and not get all weird over having my film projected in the same theater as the Emmys! That'll be a nice feeling to just sit back and have the chance watch some of my personal favorite student films again.:)

Of course congrats are in order for the films that did make it in. Must have been very difficult to wittle the films down to the best(8 hours of films narrowed down to an hour and a half!) Be sure to stop by my YouTube favorites to check out the films from the Open Show that have surfaced online. A couple have been included in the Producer's Show: Hunter/Hunted, Dead Meet, Girly Pictures, and Rubber Woes. Anyways, congrats guys, way to go! :)

On a side note, my film was accepted into the "Donut Show" which is an on-campus event hosted by Leo Hobaica based on the films he felt should have gotten into the Producer's Show. That was interesting to find out.

Continuation for 3D eyes only

Finished an 8 page paper/take home exam for Animal Behavior so now I have a bit of free time. Portfolio is done except for burning DVDs and printing stuff--so that's going well. Should be hearing about Producer's Show tomorrow. Until then, more 3D stuff because you know you love it:

I'm continuing from my previous post which was focusing on the little wanna-be clown guy animation. I finished the animation over the weekend and playblasted along the way(everyone will probably get a little sick of seeing the same beginning actions)

Getting the weight/movement down for his next movement. Not worrying about his eyes at all and in this stage the ball never comes back down. Since his hands rely on the ball's speed I haven't blocked them in until I get the ball down, so they just fall to his sides. Also started working on his reaction to the off-screen surprise. :) I tried a different story path and in this experiment--the ball didn't come back down until the secondary character comes in. Then the ball whacks the "human" on the head. Ultimately didn't go with that. Didn't feel right and I kept hitting story walls.

Now I'm back onto my original story idea. Got the ball falling now, along with the catching action. Haven't blocked in his hands/ball when he reacts, but still continuing to move on with his frantic jump reaction to what's coming his way. Lots of bugs, what I do is create a list of "things to fix" and get back to them later--for now I'm just getting all the actions going and figuring out the timing for sure.

This one is a bit of a jump from the previous step. I got a little caught up in animating and didn't playblast as I went---opps. Anyways, now the ball is going, the hands are following, couple new actions added, and he has reached his final pose before the big surprise comes boundin' in.

Polishing the "human" guy--starting in on the facial animation, working on the any problems with the animation etc. This also introduces our secondary character. I started off slow, his final speed is MUCH faster and I did about 9-10 attempts on that movement, it was kind of tricky to keep all of his parts in check and ended up doing a mix between straight ahead and pose-to-pose to get the final result. Still not the prettiest run ever, but it works and contrasts the guy. Once the dog appears I focus on him, I have plans for the "human" but for now the main attention is on the dog so the "human" just dies after a bit.

Getting the dog up to speed. Problems with weight though. Some parts he really gets too floaty and it's a matter of how long his feet are on the ground and his main body timing--I was following the "delayed parts" rule where nobody moves all together. Right now too many parts moving at once(maybe 2 frame delay between main body and feet which isn't enough at this point). Feet and main body need a little more delay to get that weight back. Also starting to get his head movement going.

Still tweaking the dog, getting that weight under control, but wanted a break from the canine and moved onto the impact/fall of the "human". I did several passes on his fall, this one is the first fall, but it change quite a bit from this first pass. Still interesting to look back on though.

Another try at the fall, getting a little closer to the final result. First nailing down the body before I even touch his limbs. Dog is coming along, I don't think I was very focused on him at this point.

Now I have the dog's more subtle actions going, like his paws squashing a bit etc. The "humans" fall is now too slow at dog's impact, but his limbs are heading in the right direction. His hand developed the habit of "sliding" when he's shaking so had to go back and fix that at some point. Didn't have a proper stepped key in place.

Going to have to wait until the finished product to see how the dog and the "human's" animation came along. :) For now, I started to get the ball going again after the final return. Can't end on a down note! It's really supposed to be funny! Just blocking the ball in. Getting the arcs right using the graph editor, etc. Certainly not perfect though.

Now it's looking a bit better. Continued to tweak the ball's actions, the following reaction to said ball and remember that "things to fix" list? This is pretty much when I go back and start fixing every last issue with the animation. Things like hands going through knees, any 'pops' to his movements, keeping all elbow and knee controls in check, etc. Just thoroughly polishing the overall animation before winding up with this little 3D piece:

Now time to play with the lighting(though blogger butchers Maya lighting...), get the camera just right, and add some Marx brothers so I now have "Fetch":

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fight or Flight

Sorry for the wait, but here's my first year film! Starring the entertaining antics of Ollie and Pilot!

Again, a huge special thanks to everybody who contributed to the making of my first film! I know I listed everybody in the credits, but again thank you to all of my friends and teachers at CalArts! And of course a thank you to my friends and family back home(21 days Mom!) for all of their input and nonstop support. I'll be posting the animatic and some development work later in the week once papers are done and my portfolio is sent off...for now-Back to the gallery! Time for round 2!

Open Show

Just finished the first half of the big Character Animation Open Show. The second half starts at 10 and goes until at least 2 am. 8 tapes full of really fantastic stuff! The first 4 hours have left me feeling really pumped for next year. So far there have been some great films--my fellow freshmen have created some brilliant little films and it's really exhilarating seeing the storys/characters spring to life after months of seeing just tiny little glimpses. This goes for upperclassmen too, really gives me a good sense of how I want to approach my next film. My film went over just fine, it was odd seeing it on such a large scale and in front of so many people(at least 200 people). It was cool hearing the various reactions while it played. Hearing people gasp and then laugh on such a large scale was not something I was really expecting(especially the gasps). Then, before I knew it, my film had ended and moved onto another film. Anyways, off to go grab dinner and hang out with friends before heading back into the gallery for another round of animation! Pictures and a richer update to follow....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Unexpected story

Walking back to my dorm this morning and I hear the peeps of baby ducklings. Eager to see something cute and because I had my camera on me--I followed the peeps. Found the mom and saw one lonely little duckling despite the chorus of peeps. The mom was acting odd and was sitting down by this drain and I immediately put two-and-two together. Her ducklings were stuck, either they fell down between the openings or someone actually chased them down and stuck them in there(you could lift up the cement barrier thing)--which I'd hate to think someone would actually DO that. Anyways, I went over and reunited the ducklings with their mom.

It was after I took this picture that I realized something was wrong. See the drain? The ducklings were under that cement opening.


Running over to mommy.

And with that little happy ending I return to the world of Maya-roughly 95% done.:)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Crunch-Time Round 2

Remember the walk I was working on earlier? Well, here he is. Worked out a lot of issues concerning the little guy's head/tail movement. Yeah, look at him go! Probably hunting for his non-existent facial controls----

Here's a scary screenshot of the inner-workings of Mr. Dane:

I moved the floor out of the way so you can see his wire-frame. He's actually easier to work with than the other rig(the guy with the red ball that I posted previously). Lots of subtle control despite the lack of face stuff. His tail needs better handling---I seriously spent 3 hours ironing out that thing! Crazy! Before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was past midnight. haha.

The second wave of crunch-time is coming down, just when you think it's safe to relax after the film deadline. Mainly portfolio madness and final class papers. The next couple of weeks involve: Open Show on the 26th, Animal Behavior final paper/exam due the 30th(4 pages), Animation and the Body paper due May 1st(4-6pages), Pixar's internship deadline is May 2nd(yep, I've giving it a shot), Job Fair on May 6th, Producer's Show on May 8th, Disney's internship deadline is May 10th(also just giving it a shot), and whatever surprises will undoubtedly fall in my lap. Time is going to shoot by, it's still hard to believe that it's practically May! April shot by-basically a blurry series of events, and I know May is certainly aiming to break the sound barrier.

P.S. I noticed that I got 109 visits the other day so, Hello to you all! Judging by the dot size, I'm making a wild guess that Southern Oregonians are the culprits, though Southern California is coming up close. haha. :)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

For 3D eyes only

Today around 4:30 I dropped my film off! Saturday(April 26th) is the Open Show and Fight or Flight will have its' debut within the first 2 hours of the show! My only thoughts are: "I hope the resolution was right." "I hope the sound is right." "I hope the frame rate is right." etc. The butterflies are slowly gathering and will be wrecking havoc on my nerves come Saturday.
Yesterday I finally saw, "Frank and Ollie" and I encourage every animator out there to watch it. Very inspiring film and helped give me a much needed kick for my Maya work. One quote in particular really hit me and sums up my feelings perfectly whenever I watch my first year film,
"Once you see the film of your drawings, then you're hooked on animation, nothing can give you the same feelings--sculpture, painting, drawing, etching, anything. None of it can give that same feeling of life that you get out of seeing this dog-gone little character working around on the projector--projected up on the screen and you feel like a parent who has just sent his kid away to school you know? You don't really own this guy up on the screen anymore, you did for a while and you were very close to him for awhile, but now, all of a sudden here he is apparently making decisions on his own, doing quite well without you."---Frank Thomas

A common question nowadays is, "How do you feel about finishing your film?" The above quote by Frank Thomas really does sum up my thoughts in regard to that particular question. Both of my film characters were once very personal and on some days I couldn't get either of them out of my head whenever I wanted to draw something other than a zanny old man and a wicked cat. Since finishing my film, I really have moved away from everything involving my first year film. I've watched "Fight or Flight" hundreds of times---easily 500 odd times. Now, I can get a bit overly critical about the film, but I still remember how I felt the first time I watched Pilot or Ollie running around---it's weird watching the film and thinking, "I really drew all of that? I made these guys move!" 95 seconds of moving lines solely drawn by my right hand, while hunched over my animation disc flipping paper for weeks on end. And it is a completely different feeling than animating in Flash or even Maya. Now Pilot and Ollie are fending for themselves whenever I play the film, they do just move around on their own and don't feel like thousands of pencil lines wiggling around on the screen. And on Saturday I get the pleasure(though the second my film appears I'm going to want to sink into the floor.) of seeing it projected onto a HUGE screen, no longer on a tiny computer monitor, and not just my film, but the films of the entire character animation department. Going to be an exciting weekend!

Other than that, I've been working away in Maya and thought I'd do another in progress kind of post--there's Maya lingo ahead, so ye be warned:
I'm working with a new rig that I found online(this is all just for my own personal practice. This isn't an assigned piece). He has some interesting quirks and I don't plan on working with him on any future projects---too many restraints. His feet won't key properly and all of the controls are not very precise, especially in his hands and feet---where I WANT my precision too! Won't let me bend his toes and his finger controls are exceedingly messy to animate. Anyhow, still having fun with him and will finish this animation out. While working on this I realized something: When I animate with paper/pencil I tend to lean towards pose-to-pose. Draw my main poses, figure out the timing by holding a drawing for 20 frames, etc. and then in-between the drawings while considering my ease-ins and outs, anticipations, etc. The fastest most efficient way for me to work when it comes to 2D animation. With Maya, for the longest time I kept trying to animate this way: block the poses out using stepped keys. Then spline and break tangents to try and get the moves I want. This way was not yielding the best results(lots of redos once I would playblast and really see it move) and at least for me, takes a really long time. So on this animation I tried straight ahead animation(with a plan in mind. I knew what I wanted him to do, but didn't pose him out like I usually do) while alternating between spline/linear tangents with the occasional use of stepped keys.

On this first pass I was only focused on his legs/upper body so his hands die after awhile. I just started making him walk, moving his legs then followed by his body and tweaking the keys as I saw fit.

Starting in on his front arm. "OMG! My arm! It stretches! But I can't see because my eyes are in the back of my head!"

And look at how his arms should look! Also worked out other issues with his other sections. Tweaked head movements, etc. I know I was fiddling around in the graph editor by this pass. Definitely getting my "moving holds" in there.

Onto the next action of his while still refining the first bit. One huge tip I really learned in my 3D animation class last year and still use it every minute in Maya--do one thing at a time. I really apply this to the various actions a character does in a scene. First nail down Action A, then move onto Action B, and so on until he's done. So for example here I: Get him walking, then get him to stop and spin around, and now it's bend over and pick up the object of interest up.

Now with facial stuff and a very first pass on the object of interest. So this is where I am right now. What could possibly take place with that red sphere? Well I won't spoil what happens next---maybe since he doesn't have a nose:

Actually not, and gotta love the 2 minutes it took me to make the pose/light him! Scarier then Pennywise himself!

Alright, well time to make some dinner and get back to clowning around in Maya! Less than a month of school to go!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You know it's hot when...

On Sunday I was outside talking to my Grandma on my phone and I hear some ruckus in the trees above me---I see a squirrel run off in one direction before I notice this little guy:

The top drawing is what I saw. A squirrel completely sprawled out on its belly along a branch in the shade. The second drawing pretty much depicts the expression the squirrel would have made. It completely ignored the blue-jays that were bouncing around it and just kept a beady eye down on me before it fell asleep--the only way to spend a hot Sunday summer day.

In other news, I put some animation stuff on YouTube. Nothing that hasn't been seen before. Though I finally got some of my past Flash stuff online and working. My film will be up at the end of the month.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Never a dull moment...

So, bet you can't guess who was roaming the animation cubes tonight?
James Baxter himself! I had always heard that he occasionally visits the school to help out students and with 5 days to go---tonight was the night. I passed him twice around the cubes, but I was way too intimidated to even try to talk to him, and it definately appeared like he was there for certain students. The rest of us were peeking around corners with big eyes, acting like giddy school kids(I kid, not everybody was crawling the walls to see him.)--lol.

Aside from that, I spent the day dusting off Maya with a new rig I found online.

Whenever I could, I'd playblast a version just to kind of show the way I work. I have about 4 versions from the first pass to final, but didn't include them in this movie. With this guy I tried something different: linear tangents instead of my usual stepped/clamped keys then spline everything. This "first pass" isn't entirely my first pass, but certainly a very early step compared to the final version(like adding a floor, making him actually cycle, and squashy foot action). Lots of bugs with the first cycle, but I ironed the majority of them out by the final version(he still 'pops' and I'm aiming to fix that later, among foot issues). Only crashed Maya a grand total of 5 times---and it's not even a full second of animation. Amazing!
Fun little rig though, definately plan on doing some more lively pieces with the pooch. He doesn't have any facial controls though, so he's permanently stuck with that expression on his face.
Definitely need to dedicate this weekend to Maya...been too long since I really animated in it and I'm really feeling the rust. I do have about 3 personal, not assigned by any teacher, 3D W.I.P projects so hopefully can wrap up 1 or 2 this week and get back into my Maya groove.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Ollie Johnston

Just received news that Ollie Johnston, the last of the Nine Old Men at Disney, passed away today at the age of 95.

He was definately one of my favorite animators and he'll be greatly missed.

Part One of Three about Ollie Johnston:

He lived one full life though and created an amazing body of work that will continue to impact the animation industry.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What a year can do....

Hey SOU gang! Bet this character looks familiar:

Last year:

Within the past couple hours:

Comparing last year's drawings of this guy and what I've been doodling this evening has been an enlightening experience. Wow, what a year really can do....
Anyways, just revisiting a past character of mine for portfolio stuff. Really reworking my portfolio and this guy is making it in. I still have yet to name him, certainly been long enough....I'm going to rescan him tomorrow, for whatever reason my scanner went funny and the watercolors were butchered so these versions are not to be printed, just blogged. Believe me, the colors are much richer in person.
For you SOU people: I haven't had time to work on the 3D model of this guy....just you wait for the summer. I have every last file and plan on coming through on him.

Anyways, the past few days have been spent on portfolio prep., 3D animation fun, and helping a friend out by alpha channeling for them. Also, hello 90 degree weather-where did you suddenly come from? Please go back to spring weather---not ready for the heat, and with CalArts located in a desert area, so it's only going to get worse...

And, 8 days to go CalArts' buds! You guys can do it! I'm very pumped for the Open Show, going to be a blast seeing everybody's films finally finished!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Andreas Deja Lecture Notes

On Friday, April 4th, Andreas Deja came and gave a lecture at CalArts. Oddly enough, he and Glen Keane were some of the very first names I knew when it came to animation(just about 5 years ago). Chuck Jones, Richard Williams, The Nine Old Men, etc. quickly followed, along with CalArts and character animation being the career for me, but he definately helped set the idea in my head. So it was really something to meet Andreas Deja. His work has certainly had an impact on my childhood. So yeah, really fantastic lecture---not especially focused on the technical aspect of animating, but instead, he talked about Disney's Nine Old Men and shared some very inspirational work with us.
A little background on Andreas Deja: He has been at Disney since The Black Cauldron and has been a supervising animator on characters like, King Triton, Scar, Gaston, Jafar, Lilo, Hercules, and also worked on Roger Rabbit. He never gave up on 2D animation when the medium was declared "dead." He kept working on tiny projects and recently did a lot of animation on the new Goofy short, "How to Hook-Up your Home Theater." He's still very much at Disney and is currently working away on the villain for the upcoming 2D Disney film, The Princess and the Frog. Anyways, onto the notes:

The basic premise of Andreas' lecture was "What makes a scene stand-out." A key note he touched on was, "Make it personal, find a way to express yourself." Animation can't be purely technical, you've got to feel your characters out to give them life. An example he used was playing a violin. How one could just pick a violin up and strum away, mastering every last note, however, for a violinist to really stand-out, they put emotion behind the notes. Give them meaning. Animating requires the same thing. Can't always focus on the 12 principles of Animation, amazing draftsmanship, and in recent cases: perfect splines(I added that 3D reference)--an animator needs to put feeling behind a character.

He then kicked off the lecture by sharing some of his favorite Nine Old Men quotes. Here are a few that really stood out to me:

"Don't animate drawings, animate feelings."-Ollie Johnston. In reference to, "draftsmanship is secondary. The acting comes first."

"You need to be sincere in your work!"-Ollie Johnston. Further along in this post, look for Ollie's animation on Penny---that's a fantastic example of sincerity and really conveying a feeling.

"Why are you still studying my animation..Do your own thing!"-Milt Kahl. This references an event where Richard Williams was thoroughly studying Jungle Book and Milt Kahl's Shere Khan animation. While the Nine Old Men were flattered to have so many people study their work, they wanted the next generation of animators to do their own exploration. And a note that Andreas Deja brought up, "Not every animator works the same." Everybody has their own method. Andreas shared a lot of pencil animation from various Disney characters and it was very evident that each of the Nine Old Men had their own approach to a scene--whether technically or emotionally, even somewhere in between.
A similar quote was said by Walt Disney, "These films are here to inspire and be outdone!"

"Observation! Observation! Observation!" -Eric Larson. Emphasizing how important it is to pay attention to the world around you. Nowadays, what with so much technology in our faces(cellphones, iPods, etc.) it's especially important to put all of that away and just go out and just watch. Then draw. Look at various things to bring into your animation.
On that same note, here's a similar quote, "Learn so much about your subject. That you don't need the reference anymore." -Milt Kahl.
"It if doesn't look natural, it's no good!"-Milt Kahl
"You owe it to yourself and the medium."-Milt Kahl. Really referencing the importance of working hard and not settling for second best.

And finally, "Don't forget, this is supposed to be fun!"-Roy Disney

For a little while, the lecture focused on Staging Characters. Andreas showed lots of original artwork that really defined fantastic staging. Here are some sadly pixelated(thank you YouTube screenshots)examples of some of the work he showed:

Everything leads to that focal point of Kaa and Shere Khan.

A side note that came up: Look at Pinocchio's right hand as he searches for a wall--anything to distance himself from the horror in front of him. Great little gesture.

This one is interesting on a silhouette note. Normally, it'd be best to stage Robin Hood's finger/hand action AWAY from his body/face so the audience can read his little finger that's wiggling through the hole of his hat. However, this is not the case. Look carefully at how it's staged with clean-up in mind. The dark brown coloring of the finger against Robin Hood's white muzzle. Reads perfectly despite the unique setup.

All of these, and the several others he showed, looked so much better in person, and as rough drawings---no clean-up. Anyways, after discussing staging, Andreas showed a lot of material from the Nine Old Men. Lots and lots of gorgeous rough animation. Here are a few examples of some of the scenes he shared with us(that I can find on YouTube):

This segment from Sword in the Stone, was played from the very beginning of this clip actually, all the way until just after Madam Mim wilts the flower, twirls and bows. So much fun to watch:

Another bit of animation: The sequence of Penny and Medusa talking together(0:09-1:20). Ollie Johnston animated Penny(talk about sincerity and feeling) and Milt Kahl animated Medusa(those eyelashes!):

Later, the lecture shifted to Andreas' own work. He started by showing a reel of his own animation, primarily Jafar and Scar. Learned a lot about how Andreas approaches a character and animates a scene. He usually animates VERY roughly(shapes really) during his first pass at a scene. Often times straight ahead. Then starts working out his arcs and timing while cleaning-up a character on the 2nd or 3rd pass. So pretty often we'd see a scene with Jafar go from basic shapes that roughly defined Jafar, to a still rough, but beautifully animated 2nd or 3rd pass. I can't find a good example of Jafar animation on YouTube, but I found some Scar stuff. While Andreas Deja didn't show this actual clip, he showed a lot of Scar material from the "Stampede" scene. Anyways, here's a video I love to watch, despite the poorer quality:

The Scar Scenes in particular that he showed: The part where Scar says, "Mufasa! Quick! Stampede. In the gorge" Before it cuts to a different perspective(he might have animated the second half of that dialogue, but he didn't show it during the lecture) A story he shared with us while his reel played: He animated that entire line only to be told to animate it from a higher angle, so it's from Mufasa's view. The second bit of animation he showed was when Scar is walking along the cliff watching all of the action below.

After discussing the various Disney villains he's worked on, Andreas moved onto what it was like animating Lilo. While this clip wasn't actually shown, Andreas Deja shared some of his kid studies from when he went to Hawaii and sketched kids at a school. He picked up on the wild gestures they made and used such observations in this little scene with Lilo describing why she's wet/late:

He wrapped up his lecture with more original drawings showing the development of his own characters and then also Nine Old Men animation stills. It was now approaching 11:30 at night and pretty much ended the night on this quote, "Make it personal from now on!"

Really great lecture and really wish I could share everything he showed on Friday, I walked away with my head stuffed and spinning as I digested everything he talked about. Anyways, that was the lecture and now I need to get to bed.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Got my head up in the clouds...

2:15p.m. on April 6th, 2008---I officially called my first fully animated short film, "Fight or Flight" done and rendered that 95 second bad boy out! It's in the can, despite the shock on Friday I quickly regained ground and put Humpty Dumpty back together again! Not ONE all-nighter, I kept a clean record on that front--I think the latest I ever stayed up, while working on my film was like 2 in the morning. So it can be done all of you incoming fall '08 freshmen! I won't actually post the film until after the Open Show, but never fear---here are some silly critters that helped fuel one of my character's personality:

My little boogie buddy, Kiwi. Very appropriate to how I'm feeling now that my film is in the can. If I had Kiwi on me right now--this is exactly what he'd be doing. *Filmed this around Feb. of last year*

And of course, the second-slightly fatter and grayer influence:

"WHAT! You're DONE!"

"I am not amused, but....

a small wink of congratulations anyways."

Yet another quirk of Annie: She winks. I'll just look over at her at random and one of her eyes will be closed. It's so funny. Even better: it's a slow wink, so all the more entertainment. Sadly couldn't get this trait into my film cat, Pilot---but that "not amused" face definately made it in there. Anyways, I do have plenty of projects to keep me busy until May---Maya stuff, papers to write, I'm helping a few friends with their own films(more alpha channeling!), possibly more Annie drawings, and of course, job fair---for now though, time to actually write that animal behavior paper(bet you weren't expecting this activity after finishing my film)!

Friday, April 4, 2008

A note:

Dear Computer Servers of CalArts,

Mysteriously deleting my files isn't cool. However, I backed up 90% of it--don't do that again.


So I logged onto the lab computer and ta da! ALL of my scanned animation was gone. I had backed up stuff earlier, but not all of it. I lost a good chunk of my alpha channeled scenes, some stuff I scanned, etc. However, I rendered everything out before this happened so I still have a film---Thank God. So heed my warning both people on campus and off---back your stuff UP! Several times over if need be. I would be in a panic attack, in a corner somewhere had I not had a backup. I would have lost everything. Again, thankfully not. Anyways, not a good way to start any Friday, however my Friday ends with an evening spent in lectures involving Pixar and Andreas Deja.

Oh yeah, today the official sign-up for lab computers began(only like 50 computers, 4 of which have scanners. There's about 160 people in the department, so computer schedules are absolutely needed) We're in the final stretch!

P.S. I know this is a little late, but if you're coming to CalArts tomorrow for that Accepted Student Event feel free to let me know. I'll be hanging around and could give a tour or two. Just look for the curly hair. :) Otherwise, enjoy! You'll be living here soon enough!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

So, Disney

While I wait for my dinner to cook(yes Kristen, I have chicken going on my tiny George Foreman grill*which every college student should have btw---had it a week and LOVE it!*) I'll do a quick overview of my day down at Disney studios.

Overall, I'm glad I went. It was a good eye-opening experience. It wasn't just CalArts' students. Easily 100 people were there--all ranging from various art colleges around the area(Otis, Gnomon, and USC were the few I remember off hand.) They had a lot of guest lectures lined up all focused on the theme, "What inspires you?" So for exactly 30 minutes a Disney member would discuss what they do, occasionally the project they're working on, and what inspires them. The guests included people that ranged the entire pipeline of film making at Disney(both 3D and 2D). From a director to a production manager, animator, FX guys, etc. Anyways, Eric Goldberg's lecture was my favorite. He ran a lot of Disney clips that inspired him("Baby Mine" sequence from Dumbo, Cruella DeVille's entrance in 101 Dalmatians, Sher Khan interrogating Kaa in the Jungle Book, etc.) and then drew Mickey Mouse several times(with BIG. BLACK. permanent marker*and I thought I was bold with my little 08 micron...ha!*....it was really cool though.) to illustrate the point of, "You can't draw a character until you define WHO the character is." How line of action can dictate a character's mood. Another quote of his came back to what inspires him, "The blank piece of paper. How you start with nothing, but then create a character(or a set of characters) who never existed before. Characters that make you laugh or cry. Who are believable. The only limit is your imagination." Despite his lecture being a very brief and rushed 30 minutes---it was great. Definitely got the animation side of me all jazzed and eager to animate(really miss being in the heat of animating my film!). Anyways, it was cool. We weren't allowed in the main animation building(the one with the big hat in front of it pictured in my previous post), but we did get to pass through the old animation building and walk the same halls/underground tunnels that Walt Disney used in the olden days. After finishing up at the now retired animation building, they sent us on our way. So that's pretty much it...it was pretty informative, and it was just cool being on the lot and seeing some of the live-action sets they use for filming, etc. Well, I'll end with a short that Eric Goldberg shared with us. He only showed the section where Mickey is with the king, describing his Giant attack and it ended after Minnie finished kissing him. Anyways, Frank Thomas animated Mickey on that bit--so fun to watch. Limited character design(in terms of his eyes, and flat ears), yet he's so dimensional and expressive!

And as a bonus, Sher Khan and Kaa. Love Sher Khan's acting when Kaa describing his sinus prpblem: