Monday, May 18, 2009

Final Week!

This is now my final week at CalArts/Valencia, CA in general--on Friday I hop in my car and make the 12 hour drive back to Oregon. I've been up to several things since the last post--here's a quick summary:

On Thursday night the now annual Scavenger Hunt took place. Started at 10:30 at night until close to 2 in the morning. A pretty fun/epic night. Anyways, here's the main event--the release of the hundreds of bouncy balls onto the crowd below(took place in the Main Gallery for anyone who cares):

Video stopped because I needed to start collecting said bouncy balls. The team I was on collected about 106 of these.

The next day(Friday) was the 2009 CalArts' Graduation. My classmates and I attended to support our 4th year friends as they recieved their diplomas. Good luck class of 2009! I know I'll definately miss seeing you guys around the labs, cubes, and campus. And of course a huge Congratulations--you made it! Now get out there and rock the world! :)

Here's a shot of the courtyard where everyone gathered.

The weekend was spent packing up the cube and getting everything in order for the summer. My little cube is back to bare-walls/shelves...I know I'm going to really miss the whole "cube environment", but September is going to be here before I know it--and until then I have a ton of work to do like animating more, drawing more, and doing anything to address my weak-areas and improve(spacing, your day will come! haha)---oh yeah, and start brainstorming a whole new film idea.

Today(Monday), my friend Kristen and I headed on down to the La Brea Tar-pits to study the fossils. I've never been to the tar-pits before, so I was looking forward to the visit:

Statues of mammoths in one of the actual tar-pits(there are several tar-pits throughout the park). Apparently the mother mammoth is the one trapped in the asphalt as the baby and father watch on. There's a nice little museum just behind me where we spent the greater part of our trip. On a side-note: ever smelled the air around a road-construction site? The tar-pits smelled exactly like that--tar/asphalt.

HUUUUGE mammoth. Had to stand quite a ways back to get him entirely in the frame.

RAWR! Fear my saber-teeth! I don't think he flossed very much with those pearly-whites.

They had saber-tooth tigers all over the place. Some behind glass, others posed on pedestals. One of my favorite beasties.

A Short-faced bear. Really fascinating proportions--though definately creepy. These animals are larger than polar bears/grizzly bears! The following image gives you an idea of what this guy would look like with muscle/skin, etc.

I think the displays that really caught my attention were the ones that really gave you an idea of just how vast/rich the tarpits really are. Below are a couple of examples:

The Dire Wolf:

One of the posed skeletons on display. Right across from:

This. I took a picture of the sign--it'll do a better job describing the above image, than I can:

Next up, are Golden Eagles:

And of course, a picture of the sign next to the display:

Really fascinating. Apparently the archeologists recently uncovered more fossils buried in one of the pits(2006 or so)--a sign said that over the next 5 years about 3.5 million specimens will be unearthed! That's mind-blowing to me! They've already discovered a full mammoth buried within the tar...his name is "Zed" and should be fully complete within those 5 years.

An example of the station that the archeologists work at. Reminds me of the cubes with the only difference being more sun/fresh-air. haha

Of course after taking oodles of photos and geeking out about the various displays, Kristen and I dug out the sketchbooks and started drawing some of the skeletons. Here are just a couple---I took my time on these and before I knew it, it was 5pm and the museum was closing.

Anyways, had a great time and will be planning another drawing expedition for sure!

Monday, May 11, 2009

LA zoo trip

On Saturday, my friends and I visited to LA zoo to study the animals. I definately need to make this zoo a regular sketch-spot next are a couple of the sketches, not great by any standard, but I have to start somewhere:

Side-commentary: While drawing the ring-tailed lemurs(the gray ones with the black/white tails), I overheard a grand total of 5 or so references to Dreamwork's Madagascar from different families. King Julian is very popular with both the parents and kids.

In-between drawing I'd occasionally pull out my camera--I have more drawings than photos:

The baby giraffe that now lives in the zoo. Absolutely an adorable lil guy.

And a nice big ol' alligator grin to wrap up this post.

Friday, May 8, 2009

2009 Producer's Show!

Last night was the annual Producer's Show and it was quite the event! Arrived at the theater around 7:20, and got very nice seats with a group of my friends. The freshmen class this year had the task of of putting the show together and packing up all the equipment after the show and getting it back to CalArts---my class did this last year and it was kind of nice not having to do this(though the freshmen class did a great job this year!) By the time the lights dimmed, the place was packed! Lots of big names attended from all over---every studio I can think of was there...Mark Andrews from Pixar came wearing his kilt, and I sat just 2 rows away from James Baxter! The show kicked off at 8pm with the award ceremony---Eliza Ivanova won the "Woody Award" for her film, "Piece of Cake" and David Ochs won the Peer's Pick Award for his film, "Who's Hungry?" Then the rest of the films played. It was a really great show, lots of entertaining films--a particular favorite of mine was, "Los Estrandados" by Derek Evanick. Hopefully all the films will be posted online soon.
Around 10, the show concluded and everyone headed for the courtyard to eat, drink, and be merry. Time to socialize and really wrap up the year in style. Everyone mingled, got to catch up with classmates I hadn't seen for the past couple of weeks, say hello to the teachers who attended, and I also had a chance to talk with some people from both Disney and Pixar. Everyone seemed to have a great time---unfortunately, Pixar's Castaways party was canceled this year so around midnight, groups of us headed off to various locations to continue the partying. My group decided to make our way over to Timmy Nolan's Tavern right down the street. After some mis-adventures with directions and the correct spelling of the place, we arrived around 1 and met up with our crew. More mingling to be had, Pixar was also at the Tavern and between everyone we had overtaken the small place. At 2 the bar closed, but since the night was still young(haha, not really I was starting to get a little worn-out, but I couldn't miss hanging out with my buddies), the CalArts' group headed over the Bob's Big Boy restaurant. By 3:30 we were all tuckered out and ready to head on back to Valencia. Overall, it was an extremely fun night and a great way to wrap up my second year. Everyone agreed that it's so weird we're halfway done---it really feels like just 3 months ago I was starting my 2nd year. Certainly have learned a lot and can't imagine what the next couple of years are going to hold!

This weekend should be a real treat! Tonight we're having a lecture by wildlife artist Deborah Ross and then tomorrow(Saturday), she's hosting a animal drawing workshop at the LA zoo! Can't wait to get drawing--I've been pretty bad this past week, but hopefully tomorrow should get the gears spinning again!

What the theatre looked like around 7:30. By 8, every seat was filled.

This year's program. Sorry for the blurriness.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Milt Kahl Tribute

Inbetween the busy film/portfolio work there was a really special event that took place---The Milt Kahl Tribute. The night involved a panel discussion featuring both family, friends, and co-workers. In-between the discussions various clips were played---the first theme were animals animated by Milt Kahl and the second half were human characters. Another segment that was particularly eye-opening was a closer look at drawings done by the master himself---hosted by Andreas Deja, it was fascinating and I enjoyed it a lot. It's absolutely amazing how much influence Milt had. He would often go over other animator's drawings and help strengthen poses, designs, attitudes, etc. His range of talent is staggering--before the event, I didn't know exactly how much influence Milt Kahl had on just about everything at Disney, and by the end of Deja's lecture, I was floored. Anyways, I felt extremely lucky to have been able to attend the event. Here are a couple scenes that were shown:

These first 3 show Milt Kahl's ability to take the same animal(a tiger) and translate the animal in a variety of ways:

The tiger in this short. From 2:30 until about the 6 minute mark was all we watched.

We watched the segment from when Tigger first pounces on Pooh up until he scares himself under the table.

And of course, Shere Khan the tiger. His scene starts around 2:35.

An example of an animal that he helped flesh-out was Bambi:

Development sketches by Marc Davis.

To this design.

It would be a shame to not include some of the humans that Milt Kahl animated. Here are a couple other clips:

He helped drastically change Pinocchio's design from the original:

To the now well-known design that was officially used. One scene that has always stuck out to me is the part when Pinocchio starts turning into a donkey(from 3:08 until 3:20)--absolutely beautiful. And we were treated to seeing the drawings that Milt drew for this scene.

Naturally couldn't end without showing a Medusa clip. Another really amazing scene:

Watched from the beginning until 1:30. Andreas shared thumbnails, rejected drawings, and the rough animation before showing the final, colored version. Very eye-opening and these were among many other clips shared along with the very entertaining discussions between the panelists. Anyways, just want to post about this event before too long---now off to class!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Job Fair

So today was the infamous "Portfolios in Review" aka. Job Fair day. Went straight from "film crunch-time" to "portfolio crunch-time." Many battles with the printers, photoshop, and scanners---good times indeed. Today I was on campus shortly after 7am to help setup, check students in, and lay my portfolio out. Here are a couple of photos of the morning:

Everyone getting ready. Lots of very impressive portfolios, always incredibly inspiring to walk around and see the work. Great job to everyone!

My layout this year. I put my work online---right here.

Around 12:30 the lists for company callbacks were posted. This is when companies hold interviews with students they're interested in. I received one callback from Disney Feature Animation for 2D animation! I had an interview with them at 3:30 and it seemed to go pretty well--they provided me with a lot of helpful feedback and I now have a good idea of what sort of areas I should work on for next year. Anyways, that's how today went and now the school year is pretty much over with---Producer's Show is Thursday night, and while my film didn't make it in, it'll still be a very fun night. Well, time to get back to relaxing and taking it easy after the past extremely stressful couple of weeks---can't believe my second year is coming to an end! I just turned in my last critical studies paper of the year---Scary how fast time can fly.