August 2, 2006

No more updates for a while.

Like most people with a blog, I was really gung-ho at the beginning and now am really struggling to find the time for any sort of consistent updating. Don’t let this fool you into thinking that I’m not still gung-ho about animation! I love it. I watch it and I work on it every chance I get.

Kenny Again
Under the watchful gaze of Kenny Roy, who ruled pretty hard last time, I’m planning my short film, my final project for Animation Mentor, and with that complete this section of my site will cease to grow as my job hunt begins in earnest. I’m planning on posting most of the thought process and planning materials from the development of the film on here, but probably not until it’s mostly or completely done. By late December, look for a 30 second – 1 minute short that will hopefully keep you entertained for the total number of seconds that it ends up being. Until then, there probably won’t be much on here.

If you’re curious how things are going just send me an email at and I’ll be more than happy to give you an update.

Cheers, for now!

August 1, 2006

Class 4 wrap up megapost.

Once again I’ve gone through a whole project and not posted anything, so here is my latest in reverse chronological order. The assignment was to do a bit of dialogue, and I chose a little snippet from millions. So here is my most complete version (which is still a work in progress). The hands are not finished in the fingers and the facial still needs a bit of work. Please bring it on with crits and comments, even if it’s the same thing I just said.

Dialogue test, work-in-progress

And here, are the steps I took to get here:

Dialogue test, polishing

Dialogue test, polishing

Dialogue test, blocking plus

Dialogue test, blocking plus

Dialogue test, blocking plus

Dialogue test, blocking

And finally,

Dialogue test, layout

And of course, it’s not an Animation Mentor project without some planning, which was, as always, invaluable!

Dialogue Planning 01
Dialogue Planning 02
Dialogue Planning 01

Like I said, crits and comments are welcome.

April 23, 2006

Class 4 Session 3. Facial is done!

Here’s my final test with facial animation. I’m looking to put this on the reel, so please let me know what you think.

Final Facial Test

At Mike’s suggestion, I also broke up one of the poses toward then end. Still not sure how I like the change so please let me know if it’s helping or hurting.

Final Facial Test – Alternate

Thats it. New project gets rolling next week!

Mike Walling

My fourth mentor is Mike Walling. Here’s a photo as well as his brief bio:

Mike Walling
Mike got his first taste of animation at PDI where he worked as a production assistant on Antz and then as a render wrangler on Shrek. Using the rigs and software at PDI, Mike was able to put together an animation reel which landed him his first gig as an animator at DNA productions in Dallas Texas, animating on the Jimmy Neutron movie. Three years later he was off to Blue Sky Studios to work on the feature Robots. He is now a senior animator at Sony Imageworks.

He’s been great so far, and if you want to see some of his work, head over to his site:

April 16, 2006

Term 4 Underway

So now we’re adding facial expressions to the animation we did last semester. Heres my first two passes. I have a cool new mentor this term as well. Mike Walling. Look for some info on him soon.

Facial Expression and Lip-Sync Pass 1

Facial Expression and Lip-Sync Pass 2

Back soon!

March 29, 2006

Spring Megapost #2

Like most ametuer bloggers, it seems like my site is experiencing long periods of neglect. I’ll try to to better, but for now, I’ve just finished my second third term and Animation Mentor,
and I’m still happy with it. I ended up phoning it in for a couple of weeks (I moved and felt really lazy) but toward the end I put on the jets and am pretty happy with how my last assignment turned out. So without further ado, here are all iterations of my first lipsync assignment for AM.



Blocking Final Revision

Smoothing 01

Smoothing 02


And that’s that. I still have a couple of slight revisions to make, and if anyone sees anything, please let me know.

I’ll be back next quarter for the Acting 2 class!

February 20, 2006


Finishing up the last bit of business, here’s my final polished version of the gift animation. I will still listen to any comments, as I’m sure it can be improved before I stick it on the reel.

Present – Polished Final

Next: planning for the new project. The coming piece will be our first lip-sync animation. For this week we were required to find some audio clips that we would enjoy animating. Here are a few I ripped from 28 Days Later and In God We Trust, first two and second two respectively. Please let me know what you think. So far I can find things about each clip that I really enjoy.

Sound Clips

Just a note: the h.264 codec that we’re required to use for AM will crash a windows browser unless you have updated to Quicktime 7.0.4. Get it here:Quicktime Update

February 12, 2006

Polishing the Gift

Well, this last week it was pointed out that the head nods make it look like the character is talking, but they don’t really tell what he’s feeling with that. I was going for an excited “thank you” but it didn’t really come accross. I decided to add a kiss in the middle to really show how he feels about his new present. I also fixed a few minor things that we’re looking weird.

Present, Polished

There’s still more to work on, though. Look for a final revision next week, and please let me know anything that should be added.

February 8, 2006

Catching up megapost

So, I’ve been neglecting the AM log for too long, but it’s time to set things right again. So here, in chronological order are the things that I’ve been working on for my new assignment, involving a character going through a change in emotion.

Sketches. I did a few poses just because the ideas weren’t really flowing. I figured I’d start drawing and see what happened.
Random Poses
Some are better than others.

One idea I had involved stewie getting a present that turns out to suck.
Stewie gets a present

The other idea has a sneaky hunter getting caught in a bear trap.
Hunter in a beartrap

I remember that last semester one of my classmates had done a bear trap gag, so I decided to not use that. I wanted to be original. Kenny suggested that the gift scenario could be better. To obviously dislike a gift that was given to you right as you open it is kind of rude. If the character was going to have a big reaction, the ante had to be upped.

I decided to have the character receive a violin case. This way, even though it was a gift, he would know what it was. The twist comes when he opens it to find there’s no violin inside.
First pass blocking.

Next week we had to smooth it out. I decided to start more in the middle so the character wouldn’t be starting from nuetral, he’d be starting from an emotion. Also, the ending changed a bit to add some scratching at the end.
Refining pass.

The head nod didn’t really seem clear. I wasn’t sure if it read as a “thank you.” So I added a couple more nods. Also, I cut the ending. It was adding more than was really necessary. It didn’t help the scene so it was gone.
Second week of refining.

Note: AM just switched to one standard for all students to use for video compression. To watch this video, and all future videos, you will need a reasonably up-to-date version of quicktime, one that includes the h.264 codec.

This week we’re supposed to polish it off. I’ve gotten some feedback that the new nods read as conversation, but not clearly as a pantomimed thank you. This is my big fix for the week.

So that’s about 4 weeks of assignments that I’ve not posted. I’ll try to keep the breaks shorter.

January 11, 2006

New Term, New Mentor

After a nice long break it’s time for a new term. This also means I’m getting a new mentor: Kenny Roy. His AM profile had this to say:

Kenny from the webcam
Although Kenny started animating when he was 12 years old, he didn’t realize his calling until after a short stint at ILM on “Men In Black II.” Having completed numerous projects for TV networks, commercials, and short films, Kenny ventured back into the feature effects world in 2003 for “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed”, and later, “Garfield: The Movie” in 2004. Kenny just returned from a year-long foray into New Zealand, where he worked at Weta Digital, on Peter Jackson’s “King Kong”. Kenny can also do a backflip. Not every time though.

He gave us a link to something of his online, and my acute internet stalker syndrome kicked in and I ended up poking around the random files on his webspace. Check out the cool shirt he’s wearing in this one.
Kenny Roy - Chocolate Shop

Actually, during the Q&A I mentioned that I went to Purdue and we briefly discussed Harry’s. For anyone unfamiliar with Harry’s Chocolate Shop, it’s a bar and restaurant (mostly a bar) that caters to people in West Lafayette, IN. Purdue students, specifically.

Also during the Q&A I got the impression that he’s dedicated to helping us as much as possible. I’m definitely looking forward to the coming term.