Monday, December 22, 2008

Fall 2008 End of the Semester Wrap-Up (Part 2)

What a fantastic semester. Not only have I seen my work improve, but I've also been fortunate to meet and work with a number of great animators throughout this semester. One of those great animators was my animation instructor, Rex Grignon. With his guidance, I learned so much and felt myself making breakthroughs each week. I learned how to properly shoot reference, block, refine, and polish my animation. I learned the finer points of lip sync, and subtleties of acting. I learned the importance of good mechanics. Rex was also able to give me and my classmates key advice on how to control curves once we passed the blocking stage. Even now during the winter holiday I'm still distilling a lot of the information I learned this semester. As per Rex's advice, I'm taking a week off, but I'll be back soon to get things ready for my reel. For now, here are my tests from the BFA class.

Object Interaction Test

Mechanics/Chair Test

Object/Phone Reaction Test

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fall 2008 End of the Semester Wrap-Up (Part 1)

My 3D animation class was chock full of animation tests, which was great in getting mileage. My instructor, Primo Navidad was super helpful in working one-on-one with me, and in helping me improve my tests along the way. We had a wide range of tests, all the way from a humble ball bounce to a dialogue test. Some are more finished than others, but I wanted to put them all up for display, the good, the bad, and the ugly. What I like about showing each test is that you can see different levels of finish in each test. Each test bears the scars of days and weeks of work, and while there's some I'd like to move on from and never see again, I'm proud of each of them in their own small ways. Eventually I'd like to take some of them to polish for my reel.

Dialogue Test

Expression Test

Mechanics Test

Walk Cycle

Sack Pantomime

Ball Bounce

Monday, October 06, 2008

Acting Test

In the senior class, we're so fortunate to be working with Rex Grignon, a world class senior animator from PDI/DreamWorks.  He has been nothing less than amazing and incredibly helpful.  Over the past few weeks he's given us a challenging test to take on.  In brief, we have a boss-type character who responds to some news on the phone.  At the same time, he reveals part of his character through idle action with an object.  The whole test must be 5 to 6 seconds in length.  Here's my take on it.  I can see that a lot of my motions are still looking mechanical rather than natural, so I need to figure out what's going on there.  After that, my next step is to start polishing and getting in the subtleties and details.  As usual I'm open to any advice or comments to help me improve this.

Biomechanics/Weight Test

We've been working on biomechanics in my 3D animation class, where the goal is to get a sense of weight with our character.  Here's what I've been working on this week.  It has a couple different elements to it, some of which I'm still working on.  I think the basics are there though.  Lately I've been working on getting my overall pacing and timing better by returning to my reference with an eye on more realistic timing.  Any comments/advice is always appreciated.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

3D Animation Class

This semester is really exciting for both the San Jose State and myself.  With an increased focus and commitment to improving the animation at San Jose State, the department has set up world class partnerships which brings us a world class education.  I just wanted to highlight a couple projects we're starting in those classes.

In order to get better at 3D animation, I'm taking a couple different classes.  The first is focused just on 3D mechanics and animation itself.  We're starting with basic tests but ramping up quickly.  We'll have the chance to go back and fix up the test to get them portfolio ready at the end of the semester which is great because our animation eye will be more tuned by then.

The first  job was the classic ball bounce:

I like how this turned out, but the staging makes it hard to see because I had to zoom out so far to see it all.

The second job was a sack pantomime.  We used a rig off of highend3D and it was pretty good for the most part once we removed the dynamics which tried to animate parts for us.  The knees bulge quite a bit and that's a product of poor knee controls, but the general feel is still there.  Here's my take on the sack pantomime:

There are a lot of funny shapes going on in the turn and the run which I need to address.  I've also gotten a critique on ACME ( about the weight shift being off so I will address that when I address the other issues.

That's all for now, I'll talk about the other class in the next post where we're working on a 5 week project.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Birthday E-Card Finished!

While the top secret project is still in the works, I wanted to share with you the E-Card that I've been working on for my flash class, and been posting about for the past few weeks.  Here's the finished work.  Enjoy!  (Music: "The Incredits" by Michael Giacchino)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

E-Card Update

I realized I haven't posted the backgrounds for my e-card yet, so here they are! I'm about halfway done with the animation and I'm really having fun with it so far. I'll try to post it up when I'm done. I also added a few more head shapes to the main character to help flesh out some animation.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fired Up

As the school year is about to end and I prepare myself for an awesome summer in Kansas City as a Hallmark intern, I can't help but get excited.

Of the many things I want to do before I head out there, seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is near the top of the list.  I've been watching the trilogy as finish up some school projects and and it's really getting me fired up.  My favorite one out of the three would have to be Last Crusade.  The writing is excellent and the on screen chemistry between all the characters, and especially Connery and Ford is amazing. The subtle expressions and dialog is perfect and do a great job convincing me that there's a father-son history behind all their interactions.

The sets are great too.  There are way too many to show, but I thought a Indiana's office was testament to great visual development.

I can't wait to see the newest one!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Animatable Andrew

This is part of a flash project in which we took a character design and broke it up into animatable parts (is animatable even word? it should be). This little guy is a self portrait which I'll use pretty soon in a birthday eCard project for class. I added some accessories that I might use:

Gibby Goat!

Flash cleanup of an older animation. It still needs work on some overlapping action. Then I plan on editing it together with the original sound and visual effects.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Personality and Character in Animation

I've been working on a 3D animation test involving and old man walking with a cane who reacts to an approaching figure. At the blocking stage I was relatively satisfied with the movements that I had, but I knew I was lacking all the personality and character that makes the figure on screen real. In other words I had motion, not emotion.

So I posted it up on The Acme Network and recieved feedback from two professionals (I'll keep them anonymous, but they are fantastic animators). One of the pros recommended I check out the lawyer character, George Hautecourt, from The Aristocats. Now I haven't gotten around to watching the whole movie, but I found this utterly amazing and mind-blowing scene that shows true character animation at its finest. I could instantly see what I was missing. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it (for instance, how did they reconcile his quick movements with his shaky movements and still keep it believable and convincing???!!!). I'd like to know who animated this character, but I have suspicions that it might be the great Milt Kahl himself, but if anyone knows for sure please let me know!

I don't know the legality of this clip, so it may not be up forever, but if you get the chance or have the movie itself, watch this scene! I promise you won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 17, 2008

With Respect

A concept piece for a short film idea. The short would be mostly dialogue-based with a fitting end.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Pascual is a tough little guy with a big heart. He's also French-Canadian and plays hockey, which is somewhat redundant. Every Saturday morning he's the first guy out on the ice ready to play the game he loves. What he lacks in skill and coordination he makes up for in moxie. He's always willing to give his team a piece of his heart and the other team a piece of his mind. Play on, Pascual, play on.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Character Concepts

So here are some character concepts for my film idea. I know you may not know the story yet, but to be honest, I'm not 100% on the story yet either.  Doing concept work is helping me hone it down though (I'm working somewhat backwards, but always keeping in mind the power of story).  The designs still need work, but I like the direction they're going.  I'd actually like any crits (in terms of design or "animatability") if you guys have time.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Film Concept Sketch

I had a film idea that I had planned to do for my Masters. The film would have been way too long as is, so recently I've been trying to rework it, although I may have to just start from scratch to keep it doable within the amount of time I have. I'm still very excited about the idea.

I'd like to keep the specifics secret for now so I can talk them over with some of my peers.