Had a chance to do some quick sketching of ballet recently. Man do I love to study ballet, it is as if it was made to be studied by animators. Or, perhaps animators were made to study ballet. Who knows?
I can remember being home sick as a kid and watching/studying ballet on video tape with our jog huttle VCR. I would obviously have a sketchbook in hand but I would also sit there with a china marker marking the screen up. I would either trace a pose and then the next major pose to see how they related or I would frame by frame say the hips to discover the spacing of the ups and downs. Drawing ballet has always been akin to figure drawing for me. I am never satisfied with what I have drawn while in the moment. It takes me being seperarted by a day or two too appreciate any success I may have had. God has truly created a marvel in the human body... it is sublime beauty and unattainable. I look forward to animating ballet some day!
We just did our first public screening of Adam and Dog and it was such a wonderful experience to be able to share this labor of love with a little broader audience. I am adding this little post because I am well aware ther has been a lack of information on the film after the trailer debuted and it won the Annie. The film is still running the festival circuit and cannot be posted online until it has completed its festival run. At that time I am will have more to share about it. I may be able to post some pencil tests and other things before that time but for now I have this cool poster above. And below I have a picture of the happiest crew in the world!
(left to right: Mario Furmanczyk, Jennifer Hager, Minkyu Lee, Myself, Glen Keane, and Ethan Metzger)
The ol' updated reel. Just to keep the blog alive. Yep, as yeh can see I have delved into the CG world. A necessary thing these days I am affraid. Fortunately I am blessed to be doing both 2D and CG at work, so gotta be thankful for that!
It is my great great pleasure to share the trailer of a short film I am so proud to have been apart of: Adam and Dog. The film was directed and concieved by the extremely talented Minkyu Lee. It is up for an Annie Nomination for best short film. This film, to me, is what I got into the film industry to do and quite honestly I haven't worked on anything anywhere near this good. In the future I plan to post more about it but consider this a teaser post for now :) Enjoy, and vote for Adam and Dog!
So I can finally show some animation I did at on this short! This short was a real pleasure to work on, partly due to the generosity of Mr. Ken Duncan giving me a lot of control over these characters. I wasn't a lead but I kinda felt like one in terms of having ownership and a definite opinion about the characters. It was good casting for me. Plus I only focused on the Wu sisters, which was fine by me because before we started I wanted to do those characters anyway! Unfortunately in terms of the story the characters aren't terrible textured or dimensional. But that left it up to us to try and add as much as we could with what we had to work with.
My general idea about them was to base them on ballet dancers. I had other acting ideas about them but there was really no where to put the ideas in the context of this story. The director wanted something slightly sexy as well, and being cats I could see how that would fit. But mostly I saw them as really graceful beings. But I wanted a flip side and stark contrast in that when they fought all of the sofistication and poise you once saw was gone and they became more primal. They're eyes changed to cat slit eyes and they're general graphic shape changed as well.
These aren't all of the shots I did but it is most of them. Quite a few of these got cut from the film unfortunately. I was slated to do a lot more acting but I got so front loaded with the action stuff that there was no way for me to get it all done in time. Fortunately the talented Mr. Jared Beckstrand did a lot of the acting shots as well as Mr. Ken Duncan.
Hope you enjoy these. It was a real pleasure to work on!
I've been lovin' me some Wolverine! Not much, just a reason to post something on the blog. When all you do is work on things you can't show it can be tough to keep a blog alive. Been having fun with this though, no great ambitions with it. Just having fun, trying to get better at drawing. These drawings are only a few days old, so if the disappear suddenly it's because they turned to crap overnight. Which tends to happen ;) I hope all 3 of you enjoy!
This drawing is my absolute most favorite drawing I have ever done. Hands down... this drawing means more to me then anything else I've ever created. This is my oldest daughter at age 1 1/2, and drew in on a scrap piece of paper from out of the garbage on the floor next to her. The thing I take pride in most is that it feels like her, my precious daughter.
Have been drawing a lot of dogs lately for a short film I am working on with some of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Our lives are too precious and too short to not be working on things with true personal meaning to us.
In honor of the new Peanuts Special coming out on DVD next Tuesday I thought I'd post some MetLife animation I did a year or so ago! Animating this stuff needs to be approached so differently than animating in the more "traditional" feature style way. Too much animation on these characters looks weird, so it's an exercise in simplicity. But simplicity without being boring... these were done for MetLife and I believe are being used on MegaTron screens at sporting events.
A long time ago when I was 14 and lived in Chicago I worked at an animation studio called Character Builders. Mostly just doing bit's and ends type work for films like Space Jam, Anastasia, Quest for Camelot. Sometimes I swept the floors, made coffee, and punched paper. Other times I animated my own tests, and on some occasions I would get a chance to do some actual production work. One of my very first production work experiences was on the short film called "The Indescribable Nth". I was given some rough inbetweens to do on some very short shots. I will never forget that time, I worked in the basement of an old house in downtown Wheaton IL. It was winter and FA- REEZING in that basement, but I didn't care, I was working with honest to goodness REAL animators. I am positive I was more of a nusance than a help to those guys but I am still very thankful to them to this day. Not many people would let a punk 14 year old kid screw up their shots for them :) So check out the link to the film above, it was a fun bit of nostalgia for me.
One of my great joys is to keep my sketchbooks alive. I used to keep up with it a lot more when I was much younger, or even before I had a family. Sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed with getting your footage done for the week, or getting everything done for the day so you can spend time with the family, whatever, but I have really been relearning old lessons recently of how important it is (to me at least) to keep a sketchbook alive. It keeps me watching and observing... and not just drawing, but really SEEING. Something I want to have in my animation is observed moments. Meaning, I want things to be observed and not just made up out of my head. Observed, then caricatured. How can I do that unless I am studying and observing? I think we all tend to get comfortable at times and develop bad habits of drawing things a certain way without considering other options. Or even something as simple as looking at what happens to the shape of the back when someone sits indian style as opposed to in a chair. There is something truthful about finding that uniqueness to every moment in life. Something that makes us go, "oh yeah, I've seen that!". It breaks down the barrier with our audience and helps to convince them that these are REAL characters. Because they are...
Back in April I worked at Ken Duncan's studio on the Lengend of the Boneknapper for the How to Train Your Dragon DVD. It was a very intense and fast project, but fun too! Got to work with a lot of old friends, and make some new ones as well. The short's, at least the 2D parts, were really fast paced and didn't allow for a lot of longer acting shots so most of what you'll see here are pretty quick shots (plus it's not every single shot I did). Ken and Sandro (our awesome animation supervisor) were really cool to give me what is probably the longest shot in the short (the shot directly below). I have to say too I was very impressed with the clean-up crew on this project! I have worked on films where, for whatever reason, you have no contact with clean-up folk and sometimes the results are less than desireable. On this project they sought the animators out to run stuff by us which I was found amazing, and I truly feel like my work actually ended up on screen. It's the way it should be but hardly ever is anymore.
We are all about to go back to start animating a 21 minute short film (ALL 2D) for the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD. I am really looking forward to this one!
This, for those who are not aware of it's legendary nature, is the Blaisedell Layout Pencil. Made famous by both John Lounsbury and Glen Keane. I can remember seeing pictures of Glen draw with this when I was a kid and searching high and low for these pencils. Unfortunately, there weren't many great art stores in the sub-burbs of Chicago growing up and these were nowhere to be found. Plus, I think they stopped producing them in 1990 due to the fact that the pencil contains actual lead and not graphite. Ya know, the cancer causing type!
But recently a colleague and friend of mine, the awesome Rick Farmiloe, super generously and graciously gave this pencil to me because he knew how much it meant to me. I know, it's just a stupid pencil but it kinda encapsulates so much of why I wanted to get into animation that it is priceless to be able to have one in my possession. Thanks Rick!!
So let's get on with the fun! Something about blogs that has always bothered (and that I have admittedly fallen into) is this sort of egocentrism of posting stuff for the entirely wrong reasons. Mainly, to get compliments and praise.
Praise is a natural desire, but I don't feel it should be the focal point of any artist. Now switch gears real quick with me... how many of you are afraid of your sketchbook like me? I often put such unnecessary pressure on myself to make every page "perfect". Well, the more I do this stuff the more I realize that art is not about perfection, but about honesty. Honesty can seem like such a vague word, but in short it's about communicating your raw unadulterated feeling on whatever you are seeing, reading, absorbing from life around you and reinterpreting it in the way you feel/see it. Could I draw these better if I put another sheet on top and reworked them? Will there be folks who sees these and aren't impressed? Of course, but that's not the point! The point is motive, and the motive is honesty and sincerity.
I certainly won't argue that basic drawing isn't important to the communication of your feelings, but sometimes we get too concerned with the mastery of the visual presentation. Sometimes there is a raw feeling communicated in the most crude of drawings that I hardly if ever see in extremely refined drawings. So don't be afraid to make mistakes and show'em to people. Remember, they ain't perfect either... what matters is you communicating your feelings, even if that left arm is a little too long.
This was definitely the winner by vast majority, so turning stuff it is! Please be patient with me, I just started a new job and am getting comfortable. This tutorial will probably come in a few installments. Thanks for voting everyone, it's so helpful to know what information is lacking out there! Until the tutorial!
Please continue to you cast your votes in the post below! I will end the vote as of THIS Friday (the 25th), so if you have an opinion on the matter be sure to vote in time! Until then enjoy this ruff bit of experimental animation I did for my short film. Often when I have a design getting "close" to what I want it to FEEL like, I take it for a "test drive" which always reveals a lot of it's successes and flaws. In this particular case I animated this to ultimately be used for an eventual color test as well. I animated this in about a day, and in a fairly more ruff way than I typically do. Obviously the end is just posed out, however I do intend to finish it. Also, the beard and floppy bits of hair will be animated in After Effects once the ruff animation is complete. So, no, it won't look like a bit moppy beard in the final product. So enjoy this ruff rascal--
So from time to time I get e-mails and comments asking about continuing tutorials on this blog. While I would love to be able to continue to do the same volume of tutorials that i once did, I have to be realistic with myself. When I started this blog my time was much more free and open, now, not so much as I am sure all of you have noticed.
But, the initial purpose of this blog was to spread information that I have learned from either people I respect, or just figuring the stuff out so that others could have the same access to, specifically, 2D knowledge. I would love to strike a compromise, so here's the plan. Right now I am on some downtime, waiting for my next job to start and I'd love to do a simple tutorial. So I am going inquire for your vote as to what that tutorial will be about. here are some options:
- Overlap/Follow Through
- How to Turn stuff
- Posing and interesting Breakdowns
Just a few to suggest-- but do me a favor and place your vote in the comments section, I'll tally the votes and consider how much time I have to devote to the tutorial and then go from there. Sound good?
Was at the Burger King on Victory Blvd. yesterday meeting someone for work. Did you know that that is the same Burger King in the first Back To The Future when Marty realizes he's late for school and hitches a ride on a truck? I dunno, I love that stuff. Anyway, while I was waiting I was noticing how distinct some of the people there were. This gal had a sorta confident business type look but was totally dressed down. Kinda a muscular build too, like a swimmer. Anyway, it gave me an idea for a quick design so I scribbled it down when I got home on my Cintiq. Kept trying to tie this down but I just kept losing the energy and charm, so enjoy this fairly lose doodle!
I have to plug this new, GREAT blog by Jamaal Bradley (animator on "Surf's Up") called Pencil Test Depot. The idea of the blog is to gather an assortment of ONLY rough pencil tests from a variety of hand drawn animators. It's the only blog of it's kind to my knowledge that is devoted to cataloging pencil tests! So cool! Jamaal honored me with an invitation to put add some of my work, but the real reason you should go there is to see all the other incredible work from the likes of Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Glen Keane, Sergio Pablos, James Baxter and Pablo Navarro! I am sure as time goes on the catalog will grow and the amount of amazing reference will become staggering! So check out this wonderful new resource for animators of ALL types!
I went to the Skeet Range with my brother while he was in town this past week. Say some pretty hilarious people while I was there. This is Ling Ling-- from the moment she walked out onto the range she had this humongous smile on her face. It only melted off when she decided to kick some Skeet Shooting Butt! This girl hit everything man, EVERYTHING! And that's saying something for someone who's gun is bigger than they are! All in all, a pretty entertaining thing to behold...