Monday, November 25, 2019

3D Printing time in Digital 3D Class

In Digital 3D class we've spent all semester designing and building "Helper Bots" in Maya.  This week we started printing them out on the school's MakerBots.  After the tedious months of getting past modeling, textures/UVs, and rigging - it's really rewarding to see and hold these prints.  A tangible result and gratification after all that time just getting it into existence.

We also have a new larger MakerBot Replicator+  that makes awesomely bigger this guy in the photo below!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Heather Frozen II Interview

Heather was interviewed about her work on Frozen II (which comes out today!) for this press release from APSU.  Check out the full article HERE

What was your experience working on “Frozen II” with Disney?I worked at Disney years ago on “Big Hero 6,” a little bit of “Zootopia,” “Moana” and some other projects. After that, we moved to Clarksville. All my friends that are still there are really great artists and a really fun collaborative environment, so when I got the opportunity to go back for a couple months, I was like, “We can go to Disneyland all summer and work on a movie and hang out with my friends? Heck, yeah! I want to do that! That sounds great!”  The first big thing was going back to Disney and seeing how much things had changed. The whole building has transformed, the people are reinvigorated. Seeing the familiar faces was nice. But every team on every movie is different, but for me, getting to meet and work with the art directors is always thrilling. When you’re working remotely, it can be very isolating, you don’t have any colleagues to work with, you don’t have anybody to go have coffee with. So just getting to be around all these people is really exciting. Everybody there gets along incredibly well. Getting to see the movie ahead of time is always exciting because you don’t just see the movie, you’re seeing it as a work in progress. The versions of the movie I’ve gotten to see are part storyboard, part rough animatic, part completely finished. Even the last version I saw is not the last version of the movie. I can’t wait to see the final product because I’ve had the songs stuck in my head since June, but I can’t sing them out loud! Even if I’m humming a tune to myself, nobody’s going to know what’s going on. It’ll be nice for the rest of the world to see it. 
How is matte painting different when working on a live action film vs an animated film? Fundamentally they’re similar. With live action you always have a plate. You always have a reference to real life. The goal is to make it as photoreal as possible. That can be quite easy with all the photographic references. You know what that target is right away. With animated movies, the target is always different. The style changes on every movie and even on every sequence. While you want it to look real, it’s also very stylized. Everything has to fit the style of the world. You have to have very strong painting skills in addition to being able to do a bunch of generalist work. With animated movies, it’s trickier to fit matte painting into the schedule and find reference for what you’re making. 
Does there ever come a point where you can be picky about the projects you take on?Since I’ve moved here and decided to only freelance, I have been able to pick and choose whichever jobs I’m interested in. But more importantly than the jobs is that I get to pick my colleagues or the companies I work with. I choose the companies that are easiest to work with and the most friendly as opposed to working with another company with a cooler project. At this point in my career I have enough cool titles and shots that I’m not worried about building my reel. I’ve already led teams. I’ve helped companies build their departments. Now I just want to have a good working relationship with my colleagues. 
Is there a dream project for you?Not really. Everybody used to want to work on “Star Wars” or “Avatar” or “Harry Potter,” and I got a chance to work on all of those. Part of the problem is, if you love a franchise, working on it is like seeing behind the curtain. Then you have all these different memories that changes the movie for you. There’s not a whole lot I would choose over my family now. The whole reason we moved here was that we chose family over fame.  
What are you up to now?Now I’ve got my own office at home. I work on a lot of different projects. I don’t get as much feature film work now. I get a lot of commercials and game cinematics. I got to work on “Game of Thrones” and “Lemony Snicket’s” series on Netflix. I get to help companies train their matte painters. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work for a company that does all the park shows that use projections at Disney World. 
Are you teaching or doing any mentoring?I had been teaching online at CG Spectrum and a class through Pluralsight. I also taught electronic imaging here at Austin Peay when we first moved here. That was really fun. I was just really excited to teach people. I still have hundreds of students that I have taught in the past that keep in contact letting me know if that they got a job interview or asking to use me as a reference. It’s really exciting to see your students successful. 
What is your opinion on what the animation department is doing here at Austin Peay?I think it’s really exciting that students have a place to go that isn’t too far from home. I had to go five hours away when I was going to school to get something even close to what I wanted to do. But now students have so many opportunities so much earlier in life. With any education, it’s all about the effort you put in. If you put in the work, you can go anywhere and do whatever you want. Everything we do online is something that has been designed by artists. There’s so much to do out there. It would be very difficult to design some web pages without animation knowledge. What’s great about Austin Peay is how much students get to dabble in everything.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

New Animation Club

One of the new Animation + Visual Effects majors has decided to start a new Animation Club here at APSU!