Saturday, September 16, 2017

Heather's Pluralsight Course is Live

Yay for Heather!  She had a busy summer creating a stunning online course for Pluralsight.  There's seriously so much info packed into this well-crafted class.  I'm very proud of Heather.  You can check it out by following this LINK

Description from the site:

Learning how to you matte painting effectively and efficiently can elevate your work to the next level. In this course, Matte Painting Basics and the Static Camera Shot, you will begin by gaining a solid understanding of foundational techniques by learning about resolution, static grain, distorted plates, bit depth, and software settings. 
Next, you'll learn how matte paintings should be organized, what painting techniques will break your shot, and even small details like how to name your files and layers. Once you understand how to properly setup and build your file, you will learn how to match your plates perspective, and alter the perspective of some architecture to fit into your shot. During the blocking phase you'll also learn how to build your own personal reference library, and then how to extract and clean up your painting after you've finished blocking. You will then take your painting from photoshop to nuke to composite and add life and movement to your static shot. 
Finally, you'll learn a bit about how matte painting fits into a vfx pipeline, how to hand off your shots to another artist or department, and the process of revision in the visual effects world. By the end of this course, you'll have a beautiful shot and be more confident in setting up your own static matte paintings. Software required: Photoshop-CC-2015.5, NukeX-10.5v2.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

FLASHBACK: DreamWorks B.O.O.

I really wish DreamWorks B.O.O. had made it over the finish line.  DreamWorks killed the project, and that (along with the very recently also canned Monkeys of Mumbia) started a chain reaction that changed DreamWorks as I knew it.  Long the refuge for artists wanting stability, ownership, and believing in the studio (something in very short supply in the freelancing vfx world) - now DreamWorks would cut a third of it's Glendale studio, close the northern branch at PDI, and usher in an era of uncertainty that led many other artists (including myself) to leave on their own accord.  Eventually this leads to the company being sold to Universal and the shuttering or selling of the India and China branches as well.

But for a moment, I was animating on B.O.O.  I'm still credited for it on IMDB.  I initially did some under the table help with hand animating some midground characters that weren't holding up in crowds.  The Head of Anim and the Anim Supervisor were impressed with my work and wanted to start handing me full character shots.  So I was doing cycle work for Home during the day, but over lunch and staying a bit late I was handed some full shots.  In order to make the release date, the Anim Dept was going to have to ramp up and I was going to be brought out of Crowds and into Animation proper.  They were just waiting for one last screening to get the green light on the third act - but alas that screening didn't fare well (with even Spielberg rumored to have watched it and pondered it over the weekend).  Then word came that they were scrapping it.  Some folks had spent years on it and by some estimations over a third of it was already animated.

I ran across this Viz Dev reel by an artist from the studio Danny Williams - it's the best look out there at what the movie would have been like.

It was a really great concept, one that I personally loved involving amateur ghost hunters, a dad by Seth Rogen, a ghost cop by Melissa McCarthy and the big bad was none other than Bill Murray himself.  It seemed like a great setup and the production design was pretty wild.  You can google and find some of the toy concepts and tie ins that were going to launch with the film.

What could have been, both for the film and my tenure at DreamWorks.  Somewhere I still have my B.O.O Crew Patch....

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Highway Rat

I'm really excited to be helping out Triggerfish during their final push on The Highway Rat!

It's a holiday TV special that will air on the BBC.  It is produced by the same authors and production company that created The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom - which are staples in our house.  The production is very much like those shorts - charming and a fun almost stop-motion quality.

I can't wait for everyone to see the amazing work going into this short.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Work in New Mousetrappe Reel

Mousetrappe posted an updated reel called Shifting Perspectives today - and it features work from both Heather and I.  Which is really fun!  The second shot is mine and you get a few glimpses of the Racing Legends ride in action.  The shots of Happily Ever After features Heather's work on the Hunchback of Notre Dame sequences.  Really excited to see all the amazing work this company is creating!

Monday, August 28, 2017

New Semester + New Animation Lab + New Building!

There's a lot going on today!  It's the first day of class for the academic year, but more importantly it's our official start in the new Art + Design Building!  It's been a long time coming and it's been worth it - it's a damn fine looking building.  It's really exciting starting to see all the studio spaces get moved in, furniture in the hallways, and students starting to walk through.

What's been really exciting is in just the last several weeks, the decision was made to swap computer labs - so now the Animation Studio has the larger second floor room.  Lots of natural light, a large open space in the center of the room (for our mo-cap when it arrives), and tons of storage for all the fun animation tech we've been getting in all summer.


You can see it's a great space.  I love the setup.  Gone are projectors and instead students are clustered around HD TVs that will pick up the feed from the teachers station.  There's no bad seats, no one has to have their back to the screen.  There's still a lot to do with the room, and some more computers and tech we have to find homes for in the room.  But it's an amazing space and I'm very fortunate to get to teach in some an awesome space!

Friday, August 18, 2017

"Laughing Matters" Art Show

I'm excited to announce that this weekend my animation "Flexibly Indecisive" is going to be shown at the Studio Gallery at the 6th Street Playhouse as part of their 50th anniversary production of "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown."  The gallery show is called Laughing Matters and is with the Wine Country Arts Council.

What's fun is that the Charles M. Schulz Museum is in Santa Rosa (his hometown) and the Museum is helping celebrate with some special activities as well.  This includes an exhibit on the 50th anniversary that will also been shown in the Studio Gallery concurrently with the show.

This combines so many things I love - theater, comics, Charlie Brown, and art/animation - I'm very excited to be a part of it all!