Friday, December 21, 2012

"Turbo" Teaser Trailer!

Fun to see this trailer finally released!  I left the production before seeing the crowd shots coming out of lighting - really impressed with the look they're going for here.  And all the data wrangling my crowd buddies are undertaking is impressive.  Not that you can tell in these shots, but any large guys or tall kids in the crowd are my cycles ;)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Animation Mentor - That's a Wrap!

Well, officially made it to the end of Animation Mentor.  It's been an adventurous 21 months.  Now, it's time to move onto my next great adventure...being a daddy.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Class 6 Week 12: The End



This is it - the last week of Animation Mentor!  Whew, it's been a crazy ride.  It's been worth it, and I'm loving the chance to animate all day long at DreamWorks - but that was a LONG 21 months though :)

I appreciate all the friends, family and co-workers who listened to my stories of no-sleep weekends and ditching all social activities for the last 2 years.  Most of all I appreciate my wife, who helped me keep the crazy in check, and was amazingly supportive and giving the entire time (even when I broke my leg).

Thanks everyone!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Class 6 Week 11: Revisiting Old Shots

This week went back to some old shots to touch them up.  I tossed in some actual characters, rather than just ol' Stewie and his button eyes.  Still have some touching up to do on them, but nice to see them come together again.

Hit a few last notes on Po too.  Hopefully when I put my full Reel up for the last week, I'll get a version of Po actually moving on this blog :)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Class 6 Week 10: Po Polish

On last pass on Po.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Class 6 Week 9: Refining Po

Spent this week really trying to nail down the face.  Reworked a lot of the lipsync and found some new expressions.  Also timing of a few beats around.  I was a bit too "on the nose" with a few of the actions/timing.  Also some some great feedback this week from Drew Adams at work - who besides being an Animation Mentor mentor, also worked with Po on Kung Fu Panda 2.  So, lots of notes to address between him and Sean.  I think it's really coming together, it just needs some passes adding in the details.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Now working on "Peabody & Sherman"

After a few quick weeks on Shadows I'm moving on to our big screen version of Peabody & Sherman.  I'm a huge fan of the old Jay Ward stuff so I'm excited to be on this one.  Also, it's a chance to work cross-site with all my ol' co-workers up at PDI.  Looks like it's gonna be a fun one!

Also, the movie is actually coming out Nov 8th, 2013.  They've moved up the release date since this promo image came out.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Class 6 Week 8: Face and Hands on Po

This weekend I was able to add the hands and face animation onto Po.  Also took him out of stepped mode - this is where the extensive (and tedious) new blocking method REALLY paid off.  I just cleaned up the curves a bit and the animation was fully functional - I didn't "lose" much like you often do transferring from stepped to spline.

The biggest change I made was to Po's arms.  I had them to turned out before, he looked like he was always posturing strangely, and didn't fit with the mood of the shot at all.  Referencing some Po stuff at work I was able to get a better idea of keeping the arms "on model" during this shot.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Class 6 Week 7: Po Blocking Begins

So, my first full blocking pass with Po.  Only got to the first half this week - and that was a long Saturday up at work!  My mentor suggested his workflow - which consists of keying every 2 frames to match the reference.  It's time consuming as hell, but I think it has great results and also makes sure that when you switch to spline mode everything gets preserved.  Just have to keep going on this one and get the second half done ASAP.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Switching to DreamWork's 2D/3D "Shadow" Movie!

I've officially wrapped up my time on "Turbo" - and now moving onto our awesome 2D/3D mashup movie "Me and My Shadow"

I'll be helping out Crowds to benchmark some different cycle concepts for a few weeks.  They've got some really fun ideas on this one, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Class 6 Week 6: Halfway Point

Well, it was a crazy week wrapping up a bunch of snail cycles on Turbo.  This left me only Saturday to go in and work on I decide to polish up the lipsync before moving on to full blocking.  It's really coming together, can't wait to finally get the rest of Po moving!

Also did one more pass on the Vampire shot.  Had some notes on a few little things that really end up making a big difference to the feel of the shot.  Funny how some of those things you're not aware of, but you miss it if it's not there.  Hopefully this is the last pass on the Vampire, and I'll move to another reel shot to polish this coming week.

Friday, August 3, 2012

New "Turbo" Image and Last Day on Show

Today's my last day on "Turbo" - appropriately enough I'm rushing to final one last snail cycle.  So that's a wrap on my first film as a full-time animator.  Now enjoy a new promotional image of Turbo that has made it's way online.  It gives just a sneak peak at the crazy crowds we're producing for this movie :)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Class 6 Week 5: Vampire Polish

Snail cycles at work were demanding my attention - so no time for Po this week I'm afraid.  However, that meant I was able to take one more polishing pass on my Vampire shot.  Literally went back to my original vidref and redid the core body movements.  Then started loosening up the animation and keeping it alive.  I had lots of joints that I had animated on just one axis, most noticeably on the head.  Still a few things I want to iron out on this, but I feel it was a good step forward this week

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Class 6 Week 4: Po LipSync

My next (and possibly last) shot here at AM is going to be unique.  My mentor, being a supervising animator at DreamWorks, encouraged me to try using one of the DW rigs this time round.  So, this week I started building the lipsync for Po.

It's a method our mentor suggested, to lay in the lipsync prior to animating all the big body/acting movements.  So far I'm a fan.  Unfortunately, I ran into some pipeline tech issues over the weekend and will have to iron those out before I take my 2nd pass on this shot.

Also thought I'd share the video clip I'm pulling this line from.  It's "Year One" - not a great movie, but great for Jack Black lines.  I needed something that had him overacting a decent bit (while not overdoing it Tenacious-D style).  I actually had about 8 great clips from this movie to choose from, and some that got throne out for being R-rated, but would have been hilarious.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Class 6 Week 3: Vampires and Reference

So, went back and started working on another project, needed some time off from the 2 char shot.  My wife had a great idea on how to spin this shot and give it some personality.  So he's now a vampire.  It was really fun to give this guy some specifics to his character/personality.  I also like that it's a little inside joke on the line, since a vampire puppet is a story point in the movie the line is from - Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Did spend a little time on the 2 char shot.  What you'll see is a new char design for the businessman.  Also some tighter camera work and framing.  Also starting to play around with a new idea for the last shot - something that feels a little less over-animated.

We also had to come up with dialog and reference for our next project this week.  Below are the audio clips and video reference for my ideas.  I'm going to be animating these to Po at work, so I'm really excited about that chance to play with a really really fun character.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Class 6 Week 2: Redo's

I felt like my approach on the big project last class just wasn't working.  A lot was trying to cram it it to fit the 3-shot/360-frames requirement.  With the sky the limit, I took a new pass on this with a new establishing shot and basically re-cutting and re-framing the entire piece.

I even went back and redid vid-ref for this project.  Hard to imagine I was putting on that coat to film about 2 months ago...I used this as a test to see how it would play breaking up my shots.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Class 6 Week 1: Polishing & Portfolio - Last Class!

So, this is it.  The final class at AM.  Should be a great time - I have a great mentor from DreamWorks, Sean Sexton, who looks like he's not going to pull any punches.  After having a week or two off, I'm excited to get back to my old shots and polish them up.

We now have to also complete at least one new project during this class.  Sean had some ideas on how we can take a unique pass at that...should be exciting :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Figure Drawing

I've been lucky to be able to do lunchtime figure drawing during lunch at work.  We're also lucky to have Karl Gnass instructing the classes.  It's great to get back to physically drawing on paper, and I've learned a lot from Karl so far.  Here's a post with a few of the drawings over the past year.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"The Croods" Work-in-Progress Screening

Had a chance to watch the work-in-progress screening of The Croods today.  It's amazing!!! I really can't wait to for everyone else to get to see the final film next spring!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Class 5 Week 12: Over and Out

Well, coming to that time again.  End of Class 5.  Great time with a great mentor, Boola, this class.  Here's the traditional end-of-class Progress Reel.

Now for a much needed and appreciated week off :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Class 5 Week 11: Last Hurrah!

So this is the last week for the mammoth 2 character dialog shot.  Gotta say, it was a lot of time to get to this point.  Adding it up, its touching 720 frames of animation each weekend.  Between this and animating cycles all day, I'm starting to see key frames in everyday life ;)

Pretty happy with how it turned out.  The last shot still needs some work, but I guess that's what the next class is for!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Madagascar 3 Opens in Theaters!

Well, opening day!  I spent slightly over a year working on this film.  I really like how it all turned out - probably the best one of the series.  It's always fun working with the PDI crew again!

They've been releasing a bunch of clips in the last week - so here's a short bit from the big car chase sequence that shows some of my work.  I animated all the crowd traffic - which was quiet a challenge with a giant SUV of zoo animals already careening down the road.  I also had the chance here to animate the driving cycles as well that went into the cars.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Class 5 Week 10: Refinements and Other Niceities

 Lots and lots of work into this week's assignment.  The goal is to have it final and ready to go - that way the next week (yikes! only one week left) can be just the final little polishing touches.

Made some decently big changes in the timing, giving the Sign Guy's first take to have another beat to breath.  Also kept motions, such as turns or looks, moving across the cuts.  Cutting on the action really helped it feel like one continuous action again.  

Other touches are adding in weight to the props, overlap/drifting on holds, refining the mouth shapes, and not for nothing - the Briefcase Guy was always missing ears previously :)

Still not sold on the Briefcase Guy's final pose/action.  I feel that I've done the "timid jump" too many times to repeat it again...planning to experiment with him holding more still.  I'll try to sell that pose with his expression, or possibly have him drop the suitcase....

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Class 5 Week 9: 3rd Shot Redux

Due to the rig breaking, had to start from scratch on the 3rd shot.  Decent start :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

DreamWorks Animation Day!

A month back or so we had an Animation Day at DreamWorks.  It was the first time all the animators from both campuses were in one place at one time.  It was a fascinating day - we grouped up and made short films in the morning, then had Jeffery Tambor lead an acting master class, which was then followed (of course) with drinks.  Crazy day!  They just released the "Animation Class" photo :)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Class 5 Week 8: Two Steps Forward One Step Back

Made some great progress with my first two shots in this sequence.  Having some fun starting to bring these characters to life.  Unfortunately, my last shot ran into some technical issues that I'll have to suss out over next week. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Class 5 Week 7: ReBlocking and Simplifying

Took several passes on each of these shots...each time going back and trying to get the shots down to their essence.  Also a lot of effort on trading the focus back and forth between the characters.  Started to think of it like a tennis match, each line lobbing the ball back to the other side of the net.

I still have a pool of actor "portraits" to keep pulling from for the expression assignments.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Class 5 Week 6: 3 Shots + 2 Chars Each = No Sleep

Really liking some of the moments starting to come out of this.  Especially adding the expressions in helps punch up those moments.  Also - this is officially the halfway point of the class!

Another expression this week...gotta love character actors for having great personality.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Class 5 Week 5: Layout Pass and Video Ref

Fun but busy week.  Had to come up with character outfits and props, have the set in place, get a first pass on layout of cameras and char placement...and act both parts of my scene out with myself!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Class 5 Week 4: Final Shot Options

So, we had to find some new dialoug for our next (and last) big scene here at AM.  I had a lot of fun listening to movies and ended up with about 15 clips to choose from.  We had to keep it between 12-15 seconds and have 2 characters speaking.  The first and second clips ended up being my favorite ones so far.  We'll take a few days away from it and see which one to start animating for next week!

And, of course, another expression assignment.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Class 5 Week 3: Final LipSync Pass

Some final polishing touches on this shot.  At this point its getting into the little details and having hands/fingers settling into place, punching the shoulders up a bit more (a common note I hear at work), some adjustments to the mouth shapes.  One suggestion from the mentor that really helped was to take out/down the eyedarts in the first bit of the shot - leaving his focus steady on the other person.  Only when he realizes it's getting awkward does the eye start to nervously dart around.

And more expression one-offs as well.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Class 5 Week 2: Refining LipSync

The second pass at the lipsync shot.  Changed some of the mouth movements that were a bit "swimmy" and finally got the tongue animation in there - which made all the difference hitting the second half of the the "murder" shapes.  A few other little changes here and there, and added a new frown close to the end.   From feedback I also have the character looking offscreen the whole time (rather than practically right at camera), so now it feels like he's talking to someone else rather than talking to us.

Our other assignment was to find some photos of expressions and then recreate those poses with our character.  Had a lot of fun with these!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Class 5 Week 1: I'm Back Baby!

Yup, I'm back!  After a nice 3 month "sabbatical" (ie: broke my ankle) - I'm back at Animation Mentor.  Jumping right into lip-sync animation the first week.  We're taking our previous assignment as a starting point.  Lots of fun and lots to learn.  Below you'll find my video reference of myself (with a cameo in the background of my dear pet Roxie) and my planning thumbnails thinking about the mouth shapes. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Turbo" Cycle Animator!

The big news is that today I started on a new show -  I'll be a Cycle Animator on the upcoming film Turbo, coming out June 7th, 2013

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Leave of Absence

Well, an eventful weekend.  I fractured my ankle trying to lure our dog away from a possum, and in a feat of great agility and grace - tripped over myself.  So, this helped sway me to take a 3 month leave of absence from Animation Mentor (my animation computer is upstairs in our loft...yeah...)

Another factor is that crunch time is beginning at work now on Mad3, so I have a feeling it's going to be a busy winter...