Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shots 2-4

Hello everyone..Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. Its been about two weeks and in those two weeks i've been working on trying to push poses and push my shot into splined and work on the dialog. So far I'm pretty far with shots 2-4 and this week is going to be all about cleaning up those shots and finishing shot 1! Here is what i have so far...

We also had a few theme drawings. Here is my hybrid.. Its a kangabat, which is a hybrid of a kangaroo rat and a bat!


and here is mythical creatures in a mundane setting. Its yeti's making a turkey dinner.


Enjoy your week everyone and happy animating!

Monday, November 10, 2008

2 Character Dialog Shot

The past two weeks have been pretty exciting because I've just started my 2 character dialog shot. The sound clip I ended up picking is from Bruce Almighty and it's a more serious piece which is something I havent done yet and thought would be a great challenge. I started off the piece by acting out my scene with another person and recording it for reference. From that I took the parts that I liked and made them into thumbnails on an x-sheet (I know old Last week I was just focusing on the layout in 3d and this week was all about the first pass of blocking. Not looking at it for a full 24 hours, I was really able to see some things that I'm going to change and fix before I put in more keyframes, like when he takes off his hat. I'm going to make that more subtle and not have him slam it down. A huge thanks to everyone who made comments and suggestions. Here is my piece so far...

This last week we also had to do another facial pose here is mine.


and here is week 5s theme: The Pet of Horror. Its my character Rocko teh Red Panda and he's trying to eat Spike from AM.


Have a fantastic week everyone!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dialog shot Complete!!

This week is fantastic because I have final finished my dialog shot. I've had a lot of fun with this shot from planning, to blocking to finally reaching the finish line. I've learned so much from doing this one shot. But now its a new week and we are starting to plan for the next animation, which is a 2 character dialog shot. I've narrowed it down to 3 possible choices, 2 being more on the serious side and one being super funny where if I pick it I get to do the robot. In the past couple of weeks, since my last blog, I've had to do more facial poses with Bishop and polishing off my shot. Here is my final shot...

here is one of the face pose sets that I did


and here are the 3 sketches that I did for the weekly themes.

Theme: the king
Turtle King Sketches

Theme: Animation Ninja
2d Vs 3d Ninja

Theme: Little Red (I made her into a panda!!)

Have a great week!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Class 4!!

Hello everyone. Class 4 has just begun and we wasted no time jumping into it and starting on the facial part of our animations. This week is all about getting into it and blocking out the main shapes of the mouth. This term my mentor is Nicole Herr from Sony Imageworks. It is going to be a fun term with a lot of work ahead. After shooting some facial reference, i got right into it and here is my shot from last term with its first pass at facial animation.

I also started a thread in the forums at AM for weekly themed drawings and week one theme was alien pets. Here is my quick sketch of my alien pet that totally looks like he belongs in the lilo and stitch universe.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Progress Reel

Class 3 is finally at an end. My lip sync is on its way to being finished in the next class when we receive the full rig for Bishop. It was an exciting term with a lot of good friends and mentors. We learned an incredible amount about so many different things, from hand poses to eyes to weight. Here is my new progress reel for September 2008.

enjoy the break! See you in about a week.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Entertainment and Hands

The past two weeks have been all about the entertainment and the hands. Finding more interesting hand poses and find different and new ways to entertain have been key in our past lectures.. I took the past two weeks to split my piece in twos. For the first week, I only took the first 110 frames out of stepped mode and began splining it, so i could give all of my concentration to that half. Then in the next week I proceeded to spline the second half and fix up minor things in the first half. We've also got into taking hand poses and just focusing on those to help our shot. We have one week left to go on finishing off our body moves before starting next quarter and working on the facial features (since this rig has very limited facial controls) Here is the animation as of now, with some spiffy new cloths..

and here are the hand poses that I came up with. The first one being angry, then relaxed and finally surprised..




Tuesday, August 26, 2008


This weeks lecture was all about eye blinks with the awesome Jason Ryan as our guest speaker. He showed us a tone of ways on how to do eye blinks and when to use them. We also learned how different blinks show different emotions. After watching the lecture I got a critique from my mentor and applied what he said to the next stage of my blocking. This blocking has a few more frames and basic mouth movements (we only have the rig without facial features this term). Here is the second blocking pass of Museum.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Its been a couple of long crazy weeks since the last blog. I just got back from Siggraph in L.A and it was great. A big congrats to the winners of fjorg.. Awesome job.. Before I was of to Siggraph I finished up my pantomime piece, with the final cirtique on that. Here is the final rendered version..

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The follow weeks were the beginning of our dialogue piece. This piece had to be longer than 5 seconds but shorter than 10 seconds. The dialogue that I chose was from Night at the Museum. I started of by watching the weeks lecture by Delio Tramontozzi (ILM).He did a 2 part lecture on dialogue, that was awesome. After the lecture it was planning time. I took my sound clip and played it a billion times in order to remember it and then brought out the old digital camera for some reference footage.. From that footage I made an x sheet and some thumbnails. Here is what the first page of planning looks like.


Finally, its time for maya. At the end of this week this is what I have for the first pass of blocking..

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Now, its time to enjoy the rest of the night and start on my second blocking pass tomorrow.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Secondary Action

Another great week with fantastic lectures and more time to work on our pantomime pieces. This week started out with a great lecture from Jason Schleifer, who currently works at Dreamworks and has work on some amazing movies.. He jumped around the screen and got dirty in the grass to show great examples of secondary action and where to use it.
What is secondary action you ask..Secondary action is any action that supports the main action of the shot but doesnt take away from the main action.A nice example of secondary action is scratching your arm while your talking.

The next day, after I watched the lecture I got my week 4 E critique. Some of the notes that I got from the critique was to add a bit more overlap in the head area and to play around with the timing of the hand hitting the bucket.. After I watched the critique I tackled those areas and turned the second half of my animation into linear mode from splined mode. And then concentrated on workig on that section. I received awesome feedback on my piece and at the end of the week this is what the piece looks like...

I have one more week to go, to polish it up and really make it look nice.. Have a great week!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gestures and Body Language

Hello Everyone and welcome to week 3 ..This week was all about the gesture and with the new week comes a new guest speaker.. This time it was Andrew Gordon from Pixar Animation. And from watching the lecture you can see that Andrew was definitely a gesture kind of a guy, always using his hands while he talks. These are important things to look for when coming up with a personality for your character. He explains in the lecture, what a gesture is and how to look for them, which can be key for making a great animation rather than an ok one. And of course to stay away from cliche.

After watching this awesome lecture I got some feedback from my mentor about my shot.He gave me awesome pointers that would help sell my subtle animation a little better. So I took the critique from him and fellow AMers and put them into a second round of blocking. Then I took all my time for the week to concentrate on the first 125 frames of the animation rather than the whole thing. I wanted to polish the first part before moving onto the second half because I'll be easier for me to fix little things in sections rather than in a huge piece. This way works great for me, but there are so many ways to approach blocking, it all depends on the animator. I know several people who go through the whole thing and spline it rather than doing what I do and break it down into sections. And some people actually do a creative mix between the two where they have most of it in a blocking look and then do the transitions from one pose into the next in a spline form. Its very interesting and worth trying to see if it fits your personal style.

Here is the progress from the end of the week.. The first half is splined while the back half is still in blocking..

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A few little tips that I learned about animation is to go out there,, Have fun and observe. Do research. The more time you spend figuring out your shot in the beginning the better your shot will come out and you'll probably be spending a lot less time re-working everything out. Shoot lots of reference butdont be a slave to it. Reference is there to help and inspire you. And look for unique ways to do things. Have fun and happy animating!

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Week 2 at AM is all about the pantomime. What is pantomime? Basically, its expressing emotions without dialog. Like a mime. The assignment was to create an animation with one character, that did a personality change. This assignment was all about picking great poses and gestures in order to create a good story without any dialog to help push the performance. and of course try to not do anything cliche, which is one of the hardest things in animation to avoid. Naturally, your going to want to chose a pose that is familiar, making it cliche.
The week started with watching the lecture and then receiving my first e critique for the term. The idea was a go ahead with cation about the sand. Now, comes the fun stuff, blocking! At the end of the week, after many awesome suggestions and public reviews, I was finally able to turn in my assignment for the week. Here is the first blocking pass at Sand Castle.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

AM Class 3 Begins

Week one began and is now over of class 3, intro to acting. Last term was all about the body mechanics and now we take all that we learned from that and apply to acting. Each step that we have taken has built us up slowly to this part of our education. and for me this is the most exciting part. I love trying to bring characters to life and through planning, research and reference I hope to do so.

Another term, another mentor. This term my mentor is Ryan Donoghue. He is an animator from Rhythm and Hues and also worked on futurama for 4 years. Our first lecture class with him was very laid back and fun. A part of the class was dedicated to showing clips from some of the movies that Ryan worked on. We even got to see some deleted scenes!!

For our first assignment we can do what ever we want!! With limitations of course. It has to show two beats of emotions. After hours of planning and throwing around ideas, i finally came up with an idea. A little kid at the beach. He is planning on building the best sand castle ever but things dont go according to plan and when his castle crumbles he changes from extremely happy to a childish temper, where he pouts and hits the bucket. There are so many challenges to address in this little 250 frame piece. Sand is possible the biggest challenge. I have to do research on how to make sand crumble. Another thing to look at is the age of the character. He is only around four and I am nowhere near that number. This is the great part of acting. I got to take a bucket and some friends and go play in the sand, with many people staring at me. It was very embarressing but so much fun to get into a character and play the part. Here is some of the reference footage that I shot.

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After I shot the reference, I then began to do my thumbnails. The first page was the concept page where I wrote out all of the main details of the piece. Like the setting, the age of the boy, what he was feeling, where he was before the main action took place, etc. Then after I established all of the background info I went through all of my reference for inspiration and took some of the best clips and translated it into thumbnail drawings. Here is the concept page and thumbnail page.

The animation for my first acting piece is going to be subtle but still challenging. This is going to be an exciting term with a lot of creative though. I cant thank everyone enough for how awesome they have been and all of the great help. Week 2 is all about the blocking and I'm looking forward to the first e critique and getting right into it. Have a fantastic week everyone.

Also, some exciting news, according to there is some talk that Wall-e may be nominated for best picture at the Oscars! The only animation ever to have been nominated was "Beauty and the Beast" in 1991. It's not offical, and more than unlikely because they have a category that is dedicated to animated films, but it is being talked about as a possibility, which I felt was very awesome. Here is the link to the article. Enjoy!,8599,1820824,00.html?imw=Y


Sunday, June 22, 2008

AM End of Term

AM has finally came to an end for this semester and we learned a massive amount of great information. The last week was all about recap and it was awesome to have a final lecture that went over all of the important tips of the term. For our final assignment we had to post our new progress reel. I had a blast in class 2 and I cant wait for class 3 to begin in a week. Enjoy the week.

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Sunday, June 8, 2008


It's week 11 at animation mentor and we are one week away from our final assignment being due and two weeks from the completion of our progress reels. Last week we had to polish our animations to almost completion, so that this week we can have one final go at it. Here is Stewie and the Pumpkin in plus blocking stage.

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Our lecture given for the week was all about advanced arcs and path of action and how we can see and apply them to almost all animation.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stewie's Day at the Park

Stewie's Day at the Park is an animation exercise that demonstrates post jumping. To help us get a more advanced look at the 12 principles we had amazing lectures that featured some of todays top animators such as Dave Mullins from Pixar Animation Studios. After all of the amazing comments from fellow students and my mentor here is the final piece.

Now lets take a few steps back and I'll show you how I got to this final, starting with shooting reference and then moving onto blocking.

Even though this is very embarrassing to show, it is an essential part. Before I even turn Maya on, I think of my idea and then film myself trying to do the action. Then I study the film and break it down to the best shots that I would want to use to help plan out my sketches. Here is the reference video.

After I've made my sketches I then open up Maya and begin. As you will be able to see from the video below, I originally had the camera in a different spot. But thanks to some great comments I got, I changes the angle to show the front rather than the back. Here is the original blocked animation.

Then, I received my weekly critiques from my mentor and created the final animation at the top of the blog. Thank you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ballie and the Chinchins

Ballie and the Chinchins!!! This is the final version of an exercise that showed a 180 turn.

Animation Mentors Demo Reel Class 1

Here is the demo reel from animation mentors class one.