Monday, December 17, 2007

Big Bad Voodoo Drawing

Last night, Eji and I went to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's holiday show at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center. The show was fantastic as usual, but my brother had somehow arranged with their client-relations person for me to meet the band personally before the show. Knowing this, I went ahead and drew a caricature of the original 7 band members, who will be celebrating their 15th year together in April 08, and gave them this picture before the show started. They seemed to dig it, so that's good! I totally worship these dudes, so I was pretty excited to meet them!

Me and the band, before the show. Look how cool their shoes are!

Joshua Levy (piano) and I. This guy is like, my musical hero basically.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Interviews and Prospects

Yes, it is time for yet another "Status" post. After applying to a myriad of different jobs over the past two weeks, three jobs finally got back to me, and two of them actually requested interviews. South Park interviewed me for a Technical Director position, while an independent studio in Glendale wanted me as a 3D generalist on a World War II documentary project they're working on for the History Channel. Meanwhile, Lucasfilm continues to look over my portfolio for a 3D Story Art position. With any luck, I'll hear some good news from one of these guys next week.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

TIAF07 Booklet

Yesterday I got a package from Taiwan in the mail, from their annual International Animation Festival. As you probably heard me blab about before, I was selected as an international exhibition piece. Anyway, they sent me back my Betacam copy of Herbie-Fun-Time, along with a beautiful 300+ page full-color book that covered the entire scope of the festival, kind of like half-program, half retrospective. The book itself is a gorgeous insight into the festival which apparently covered "Best of" reviews from Ottawa, Annecy, and Platform. The festival also showcased some of the biggest animated features of the year including Ratatouille. Skip to page 168 in the "Personification" section of the book, and here you will find:

There I am! Wonderfully translated into characters I only wish I could understand! This marks probably the biggest festival that Jungle Gym will ever be a part of. So glad to be part of an event that showcased such incredible works! Ok, enough boasting for now. Back to work!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Tracking Jobs

This week started out as a week to make head way on Job Track, my thesis, and has ended up being an unexpected job hunt. Through power of persuasion, suggestion, recommendations and surprising information, I ended up applying to about four jobs this week. Of course, I found out yesterday that the e-mail I used to apply to all these jobs has been spam-flagged and so none of my applications got delivered, so I re-applied yesterday and today to three of the four (one of the jobs I decided wasn't worth the effort). So, we'll see where it goes! In the meantime, hopefully it's back to the thesis!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thesis work

Hey y'all. My apologies for how silent I have been on this blog, I have recently been getting back to my thesis production again, so that means drawing lots and lots of boards like the one seen above. I imagine that I'll probably have close to 550-600 boards by the time I'm done with the whole thing, and I have 238 boards drawn so far. I hesitate to post them here, so just snippets of it will have to do for now. Below are a few other shots from the scene I recently completed.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Odd Couple

A friend of mine and I often joke about how these two arch rivals, away from the more serious-business world of StarFox, would continue their misadventures in a sit-com paradigm where Wolf is continuously trying to capture or trap Fox, but usually ends up punk'd or pranked by the StarFox team leader, usually to the hilarity of Fox and the chagrin of Wolf, as illustrated in this kind of faux-logo.

Monday, August 13, 2007

High Def Exploration

In preparation for some new film festivals I'm submitting to, and also in a continuous exploration for more effective and efficient rendering methods, I've been doing some new high definition renders for Jungle Gym. I chose to tackle scene 26 this time, aka "Determination shot", since it seems to be a popular image for film fests and poster images, and would be a good opportunity to fix some render errors and layer in some grain, lens vignette, ambient occlusion, and of course amp up the resolution considerably. Here you can see a before...

And after... (click to experience high-def goodness)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Suddenly, braaap!

This is a little piece that I made for my brilliant illustrator friend, Eji. She was telling me one night about how she has these surprise burps sometimes, and chose to describe it to me in ascii-language as follows:
( '3')
( 'O') !!!
( '~') ...
Which, basically demands to be drawn. So here was my chibi-interpretation! Click image to see full-size version.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Taiwan International Animation Festival

So I was recently informed that Jungle Gym has been given the honor of being exhibited as an international piece at the 2007 Taiwan International Animation Festival. It excites me to think of such a large audience having to watch 3 and a half minutes of hippo-mation, I just hope they enjoy it and don't start tomato-ing the screen! So anyway, Godspeed to the first overseas adventure of Herbie the Hippo, may he find many tasty treats to munch on in the world of Taiwan.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stand by...

It has been far too long since I've posted any new work, so I felt like I needed to post something here. For the past 2 months, I've been employed by the One Laptop Per Child organization as a designer and animator. We're doing a lot of interface design, but unfortunately I cannot talk about any specifics here, else I get fired I think. At any rate, it has been an exciting project but has also been monopolizing my time. I'm hoping soon to get some more sketches up in this space, so that the 2 people that read this blog (Hi James and Ashley) can have something to look at!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Celebrity Sketch

A friend of mine recently wanted me to create a one-page comic involving actress Ashley Peldon for a favor I owed him. And so, for a few days I was researching many headshots and photographs of this gal, and created many horribly executed caricatures of her. I thought I would post the only remotely successful one here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Basil Birthday Card

Last year, for a friend of mine's birthday, I decided to create this card for them. They're a big The Great Mouse Detective Fan needless to say, and they're in college, so this comic was the convergence of those two worlds I suppose. Click images for full size.
Learning how to draw Basil and Dawson quickly was a headache, and as you can see it wasn't a complete success, but it was a fun attempt nonetheless. The inside panel originally had the little mouse girl leaping out of the way of the falling table, but somehow it didn't seem right to involve her in a college drinking party. Anyhow I hope this doesn't ruin your taste for The Great Mouse Detective forever!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Early Dragon Concept....

This is a drawing I did of a character from an old comic series I used to write called "DavidWorld", mentioned in passing in this post. This character was "Mandy", and she was a powerful mage vixen-like character with a nice magenta-sheen. Her popular ability in the later comics was the ability to change forms, like this dragon-lizard-like form.
When I got into 3D animation in High School, one of the traditions I had started was to always try to model and rig this dragon form of Mandy every time I learned a new 3D software. Now that I've learned Maya pretty thoroughly, I've been planning on doing a rather robust model and rig of this new design. Her old design was something more non-anthro, and was kind of cute but I think this form lends itself better to 3D. We'll see if I ever get around to doing it.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Noode Doode

A progression of a life drawing I did in Glen Vilppu's life drawing course at UCLA last fall. Sketched on tablet PC, so all the joys of being able to draw in layers easily.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Random Fox n' Dragon

I've been meaning to put up some more random art, and so here are two sketchy things I did in the past few weeks.

Here is a random foxy dude that I sketched during a lecture in micron pen. I had been working exclusively with tablet PC for several months, so it was a nice moment to return to pen again and remember how much more control I can get.

And here is an in-progress concept sketch I did for a friend. This is his dragon character that he has been asking me to draw for quite some time. I told him I would do some practice drawings to warm me up to drawing a much better final pose. This was the first full-body I did of his character, done on the ol' tablet PC.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Shorttakes 2007

Last night, Jungle Gym grabbed the Best Animation award at the 14th Annual Shorttakes Festival at UCLA. This year's festival felt more like an animation festival than a general film festival, since approximately half of all entries were animation. As mentioned in an earlier post, they were basically all CalArts entries, and then Raul and I. Some really nice CalArts stuff, I particularly enjoyed Jose y Maria by Edward Juan, and Word Fisher's Secret Piano by Wenchung Lu. Of course, it was awesome to see Raul's Fly on the big screen again. His films always have such great character appeal, and seem to always have epic title sequences, which I adore. So anyhow, Jungle Gym wins it. Incredible. I guess there are people out there who still have love for the purple hippo!

P.S. Sorry this is another "informative" post. Stay tuned for artwork.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

ShortTakes Ahoy!

The official entries have been announced for the 14th annual UCLA Shorttakes Student Film Festival. The entire animation category for this years competition apparently consists of my film "Jungle Gym", my fellow colleague Raul Cardenas' film "Fly", and then a million entries from our friendly neighbor CalArts. I'm really interested in seeing it this year since I rarely get to see the films from the CalArts kids. I'm sure they're totally awesome, but Raul and I will be rooting of course for the home team underdogs!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Olde Timey

Lately I've been drawing a lot for my MFA thesis-in-progress, so I haven't had much time to produce any new original non-school related pieces. So thought instead I would dig way back into some ancient artwork of mine! I found this grade-school gem in an old black notebook I used to draw in that I brought back with me from my last trip to my hometown in Michigan.

This is a fancy looking image of a character "Troy" that was part of a game / comic series I drew when I was little called "Davidworld". When I was 12, I apparently thought not only was I such a good artist, but a well known artist that it was important I number my different drawing styles for my adoring public. I particularly love the crap-tacular tiled image whose pattern dies miserably as it approaches the right side of the page. Strangely enough, I even remember drawing this image at a hotel / restaurant called "The Virginia House" in Cape May, NJ. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this masterpiece from the past...erpiece.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Something Rotten in Westwood...

Today the School of Theater, Film and Television at UCLA released the nominees for the 2007 Directors Spotlight award. There were a lot of brilliant animation pieces submitted this year along with the live action pieces from the production program in our film school. However, for some reason this year, zero animations were accepted.

Normally I wouldn't be bothered by this result because I want to believe in fairness and I think it is possible that there was enough high-quality live-action pieces to drown out the inevitability of an animated nominee. However, two things bother me. One is that I know two of the pieces submitted this year have gone on to compete in the 2008 Student Oscars competition (congrats Michelle), and one of them has even made it to the national finals (congrats Brian and Robyn)! The other of course, is that Spotlight has a category for outstanding animated short!

So, none of this seems to add up. I've seen some of the pieces that win Spotlight, and my feeling is that any short that can make it to national finals for the Student Oscar, can easily get accepted to UCLA Spotlight. Something is fishy. Could tensions have ran high enough between the live action and animation programs that they decided to eliminate us from Spotlight altogether? Are there some new rules in place that the animation department has not been made aware of? Which live-action piece will end up winning the UCLA Spotlight award for animation I wonder? Well, at least there are still non-bias venues such as Slamdance, Austin, and apparently the Oscars for us bruin animators to submit to. I just hope future generations of the UCLA Animation Workshop will not have to suffer this crime.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Rhythm & Blues

I received my annual "we got your reel and we're checking it out" postcard from Rhythm & Hues today. I should start making a wall out of these things! And now I play the waiting game again. Animation gods have mercy!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Silly Sir Sketches

My friend James Suhr is currently at Nickelodeon as a storyboard artist on a show in development called "Making Fiends" created by our department's very own Amy Winfrey. He was hanging out in the UCLA animation department tonight, and visualized what I would look like were I transported into the bizzare world of Making Fiends.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Character Animation Exercise

This past week I completed a personal character animation exercise. It had been just a little bit over a year since I had animated anything, and decided it was time to get loose again. It also made for a nice additional dialogue piece to stick on my animation reel for Rhythm & Hues to look at. The final animation can be viewed here.

I had been reading about Keith Lango's Pop-Thru Animation technique for 3D animators and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out myself. Up until now I used either straight-ahead animation technique in 3D or a kind of linear-tween pose-to-pose method. I must say, both feel incredibly inferior and wasteful after using this alternate method. The feeling achieved through this pop-thru method feels very much like rolling or flipping in 2D animation and as Lango mentions in his article, is designed to bring the focus back to posing and timing.

I understand that most major studios employ this method as a way to get maximum efficiency out of their animation department since it allows animation supervisors to get a feel for what their animators are doing early in the week, and so changes can be made with minimal waste. If you check out some of the in-progress animation in the Ratatouille video podcast, you can see this method being used in some of their shots.