Archive for July, 2009

Here is the final I turned in for my first shot of the AnimJam. I am very pleased with it. It went well, I got it done, I did not feel rushed, kept getting good feedback and making those suggested changes.

Now we are into blocking the next shot. Looking forward to it. It’s coming a long. I think I’m about 60% done with it right now. Tonight I managed get my constraint system working properly thanks to some suggestions by Morgan in the Q&A tonight, and talking to Kai today. I should work on it some more, but I really am not feeling it right now, so I am going to just relax.

On a lighter note, I’m currently dominating air hockey at work. We’ve changed our scoring system to just be a single number(Getting a Win gives you 1 point, a loss -1 point). Currently, I am the only person in the positive. I’m at 15. Andy is second with like -1 or 0 and Kai is back a bit. We have this running gag where if you get skunked you gotta wear panties on the outside of your clothes. Since we think that will probably violate some HR policy, if you get skunked, you get your picture taken, panties photoshopped in and it gets up on the wall…needless to say, concern of getting Pantied is high. My personal goal is to just score 1 point every game. I love air hockey at work.

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Looky Looky what arrived in the Mail today!

Drawn to Life I & II

Drawn to life Volume 1 and 2. I am stoked. I’m taking them with me to work tomorrow, and I will be reading up on it in my spare time. I have a while to go as each book is over 360 Pages! Oy Vey!

Also, after riding Romero Canyon in Santa Barbara(on my bike) on Saturday(and getting my ass thoroughly kicked by that trail) it made me get up and get back to riding a bit more regularly. So today, I rode my bike after work, from work to CLU and Back which is about 30 miles. I don’t really know how long it took me as I don’t recall what time I left at, but it took me 30 minutes to get back from CLU. It took anywhere from 1 Hour 45 Minutes(doubtful) to 1 Hour 15 Minutes. Cool Cool Cool.

Have a good one everywhere!

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My sleeping pattern has been very odd lately. I cannot sleep in, and I usually wake up at 6AM-7AM and then every 15 minutes after. last night I had a very very weird dream. Here is what I can remember. Interpretations in Red

Somehow, we were in Los Angeles and lost. I don’t exactly recall who I was with. I think I was with some celebrity though. Anyway, first we were driving around lost. I turned down this road and took a left at a stop sign into a warehouse. When I pulled into the warehouse I saw Edward Barbanell from the movie The Ringer with Johnny Knoxville. (I saw him and Johnny on Fantasy Factory, and I thought He was a very nice funny guy. He was a very positive person, which I always respect and admire).

So, I looked to my Right and saw Edward. He pulled a lever, and it started my car on a rollercoaster in the warehouse. It was totally weird and random, but I have actually had that dream before(Or at least I feel like I have). Anyway, we ended back where we started and left the warehouse backwards.

Something happened and we found ourselves walking in a crappy part of LA. We saw the Stallionares Chance and Real drive by (I had seen the preview fora Real Chance of Love 2 that day I think). Then we walked by this old Caddilac, it was like maroonish/brown. It was some crack head muttering some shit at us and we just kept walking. We walked under this bridge which was a mistake as the Crackhead and a bunch of his friends jumped out to rob us. Somehow Chance and Real were in this shitstorm as well. I was standing on the slanting part of the the bridge like there is If you take Sanjon Road up towards Thompson in Ventura. Under the Bridgeand Train Tracks it’s slanted. I was standing on that, and there was this bald asian crackhead.

This guy was nuts. He was jumping around and shit and he pulled out a blade. He like Screamed something, and if I saw it in person, I would probably laugh my ass off. But he was quick! And he went around and began stabbing EVERYONE in the shoulderblade. But not like deep. He would stab them with like an inch of the blad and yell as he did it. But he stabbed like 8 people.

It was such a weird visual. The dream itself was rather startling but looking back on that part I laugh. It just is a funny visual. I woke up shortly after and then was stuck dreaming about fighting crackheads the rest of the morning before finally getting up for work.

I think I had 1 or 2 other dreams as well but they have been forgotten as most of my dreams are.

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Legendary Animator Don Bluth’s Youtube Channel
Don’s website where you can buy some DVDs of his
This was posted on the AM forums and has some interesting videos[it's how I found the Don Bluth videos]. Glen Keane Video, and Kung Fu Panda Opening Dream Sequence animator James Baxtor


On a separate note air hockey at work has grown. Blood has been drawn, and much fun has been had. The puck can barely stay on the table for 10 seconds before flying off and normally hitting someone. Excellent!

I just recently purchased Volumes 1 and 2 of Drawn to Life, they arrive Monday. Apparently they are like 400 pages, each filled with Animation goodness, much like how Twix are filled with deliciousness. Give em a gander at the links below.

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You know, I’ve worked at MAXON for about 2.5 years total now(Fall ’05-Jan ’07, June 08′-Present), and there’s always been some sort of game to help us unwind. During the majority of my first stint, it was Foosball. Rick and Scott would often have some epic battles. But Scott Left, the Foosball table was replaced with a Air Hockey Table. I never really played either, but I remember Jon Ware and Steve would around the time I left.

When I came back to MAXON after graduation, Air hockey was still there, but seldom used as anything other than a table for people using the Printer. Andy Runyon joined this past June and suddenly, there was someone pretty amped to play some Air Hockey, and so he and I began playing regularly. We had a good First to 10 Wins series that culminated to I believe a 14 game July 2nd Afternoon. For the record, I won that Tournament but Andy made a VERY good effort to pulling out the upset as I was up I believe 6 wins to 2, and it ended 10-8.

Since then, a few others have popped in to get in on some of the action Andy and I have been playing. Kai has begun playing, and now, when it hits 5PM, we head to the Table. 3 Games were played today as is pretty normal. First, Andy and I played which I believe I won 5-2(we play first to 5) or 5-3. He and I have gotten into a habit of trading wins, although he may have fueled me with a Free Taco from Taco Bell. Then Kai and Andy faced off with Kai pulling out the victory, which led to me vs. Kai…Enter Air Hockey Glory…

Kai and I had a good match, trading points until we got to a tied game at game point, 4-4. As is customary in our games, the Puck often will fly off the table. We’ve all been hit, sometimes fingers, sometimes faces. On game point the puck went sailing off the table towards Kai, which meant it was his puck. He set the puck down and was focusing on tapping it thinking about his plan of attack. I saw an opportunity to try and just knock the puck into the right corner of the goal(that is, my right). With a very dicey move, I decided to throw the mallet to go for the win. If it did not go in I would be left wide open for a game winning shot.

Kai was not looking at me, instead he was planning his shot. With a swift throw(which with office rules is legal), I hit the puck, with a force that knocked the mallet out of Kai’s hand, but it did not go in. Instead, it bounced against his mallet, against mine, then the of the table before gingerly tapping his mallet and going into the goal for the victory and glory in what has been described as one of the best moves pulled in MAXON Office Air Hockey History. Below is my 3D Model reinactment of the epic scene which will forever be etched in the MAXON Air Hockey History Books.

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You know, I don’t like that I only get to update this blog once a week. I wish I had more to discuss, but I instead just build it all up and burp it all out in one evening. Tonight, will likely be no different. :)

Let us begin with with My Animation Mentor Assignment. So I turned in my blocking assignment, and got some feedback from Morgan. He had some suggestions about fixing some of the composition of the shot as well as pointing out some of my poor silhouettes. Week 3′s assignment was to go beyond blocking. Out of stepped mode, more breakdowns, and to bring in other principles(like Overlap, secondary motion, Squash and stretch[but if you ask me your blocking should have this stuff but i digress]). Below is what I turned in.

I have gotten some feedback on it via my eCritique. Morgan is interesting, because he reminds me of myself a bit. He very much seems like an ideas man. He had some ideas for my shot but showed restraint due to the fact that we’re too far in for any drastic changes to the shot. But I just found it interesting that I can be very much the same way, and hearing him suggest some ideas makes me think of some of my own.

The one downer for this term, is that I turn in the assignment Sunday, get my eCritique Tuesday Evening(which doesn’t leave for much work). Then I have my Q&A on Wednesday Evening. So it basically gives me a couple hours before Q&A on Wednesday, and then I have to finish all of my work on Thurs-Sat. It just makes me feel a little bit rushed, but I am going pull through.

Seriously, I have been listening to so much Andrew W.K., and aside from making kick ass songs about just going wild and partying(which to him doesn’t necessarily mean getting hammered), he is easily one of the most positive people I have ever heard of. The guy is just pure energy and between that, and getting back a bit to Church(so obviously I would attribute most of this to reconnecting to God spiritually), I have just in a seriously good mood(except when I wake up in the morning).

I haven’t really been doing anything exciting either. I literally just work, go to the gym(Mondays), or Rugby Practice(Tues and Thurs), before coming home and working on my AM homework. Literally nothing exciting, but I am finding myself quite content in this solitude as I gotta find the time an energy to put all of my effort into Animation. Art is sadly on the backburner, but I know it’s good because Art is therapy too. And I know I can always go back to it and once I am done with AM, I will find a renewed Vigor for it as well!

This past weekend there was a Rugby 7′s Tournament in Santa Barbara. It was an ordeal. See, in 7′s you play 7 men on the field and 7 minute halfs. You would probably want…10-12 people on a team. I got to Elings Park in Santa Barbara for the Grunions Rugby Tournament just after 9AM. Apparently, CALibU(that’s what I call our combination Cal Lu and Malibu players) Rugby was up first! We didn’t have enough people so they pushed it back for us. by 10AM, we had probably 19 players! Enough for 2 full teams each with 2-3 subs! So we took full advantage of the rolling subs. We played the Grunion Rugby Club first and they beat us by 2 points(damn missed conversions!). That coupled with a clusterfuck for a substition system on our part was the reason why we lost. We sat down and got our stuff together for our second match which, due to a no show by the OC Ravens, meant we got to play the Grunions again. Revengeance!

We managed to beat them by about a try or 2 if memory serves, putting us at 1-1. We had time to kill before they seeded the tournament. I guess you play a few games, which gives you a ranking, then there’s the actual tournament time. There was an Open Side(for some of the better ranked teams like Santa Monic, and Belmont Shores) and then a Social Side. We were in the social side.

I think we were seeded as 4th place, maybe 5th. Anywho, our first match was against Pasadena Rugby Club. Details are hazy, but we won. We made it to the Semi-Finals where we would face the OC Whittier combo(I guess it might’ve been a combination of the OC Ravens with Whittier people as both teams didn’t have enough separately I think). We killed them. It was like 5 tries to 0. I believe I scored a try this game(I believe it was here and not against Pasadena). We had a free kick about 5 meters off the try line. Andrew took it dished it to me and I ran between the posts, gave 2 dudes a stiff forearm as I drove in and touched the ball down to score a try.

As I said, we won, which put us into the finals which I think was new territory for both clubs as I think we normally had a best of reaching the Semi-Finals. We played a team called, I believe Olympic Club. They had a team in the Open side as well as this social side which seemed to just be the subs  from the Open side. We had our work cut out for us.

We started the match and did not do particularly well. We had a crappy ref(who would eventually be the reason why we won later on) and we just got our ass kicked in the first half. By halftime it was 14-0 in favor of Olympic. With some halftime adjustments, we went in and scored a try, but missed the kick. Another breakaway from a penalty call(I believe hitting the kicker after he kicked the ball) we scored a try, but again a missed conversion. So with about 2 minutes left it was 10-14 Olympic.

Nick Dettorre was the one who scored I think, he was out of gas, he looked at me, and I could see he needed a sub, so we swapped out. It was a real good teamwork moment there and good substitions when it mattered. We kicked off, I believe they knocked the kickoff so it was our ball. They drove us back a bit, then someone passed the ball to Shawn who dished it to…me. What followed was my favorite part of the tournament which also began our final drive…

I grabbed the ball and began running. I think I shoved away someone, then I see this guy comin up to me. Normally I’d stiffarm or forearm them out of my way and keep trucking till Im about to go down. But for some reason, the angle I was running and this guy was pursuing, I decided I was going to pieface this guy. For those of you who do not know, a Pieface is when you take you open hand, as if you were holding a pie, and just put it in their face and push them away(as if you were trying to smash a pie on their face). For some reason, I knowingly decided to pieface this guy. I did and put him down to the ground I think hahahahaha. It was my favorite part of the tournament.

Anyway, somehow from that, I got tackled and we got some kind of penalty. We drove forward and got some unholy advantage time that took us all the way down to about 5 meters from the try. With a free kick, Pete took the tap and go and ran it in for the try on the last play of the game. Final score 15-14 CALibU. Simply Epic.

Not to be outdone, I had softball the next day. We have lost every game by probably an average of 12 runs(although one time we lost by 3 I think). We played the team that handed us probably our largest loss, and guess what…WE WON! Whaaaaaat?! I’m proud to say I went 3 for 3, with 1 Single, 1 Double, and a 2 run In the Park Home Run.

It was awesome. A Historic weekend for Sports for me. :)

Anyway, I think I’ve talked enough now. More updates to come hopefully a bit more frequently.

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Today’s Post Title Comes from the song I’m currently listening to, which is Your Rules by Andrew W.K. and it is from his Album, The Wolf, which is a good album. I don’t think he has a bad album, every album is just different, and The Wolf is an interesting Segway from I Get Wet to Close Calls with Brick Walls.

Anyway, new business. Work has been crazy. Thankfully, last week was slightly less busy. We’ve been working a lot of Top Secret Really Hush Hush stuff. If I mentioned anything it would compromise our agents in the fields. :P .

No but seriously, it’s been very busy for like the last…month or so. I haven’t been able to do any Cineversity Videos since all of my projects for work have been with this secret project. We’ve also had an intern who was doing a lot of re-recording of old R9.5 videos to get them updated to R11. So I couldn’t do anything during that time. I think I recorded 1 video, and quite frankly, I don’t much care for it. I may scrap the idea and just do it here on my website as a tip instead. I have a lot of other ideas for tutorials. I have a lot of tutorials on particular subjects, like IK/FK Arm setups and more. But I’m also working on trying to get a enormous project series going with the help of Patrick Goski who is a MAXON trainer and a fine drawer. The idea is to take a character sketch then model, texture, rig, and possibly animate him as well. If he’s interested, I might have him help me out with some development for a couple of Animated Shorts I have. I have 2 ideas that I have been sitting on for 3-4 years now. I want to eventually see them come to fruition.

Now that school has started up, My paintings(and overall creativity) has stopped. Ahhh to dream that some day, I will be able to paint much more frequently and with some greater passion, but unfortunately for me, it’s remaining just a hobby. I hate how much the world fascinates me sometimes. There’s so much I want to learn but I’m not finding enough time to master them :D .

Speaking of School, Class three has begun. I NEEEEEEEED to get more involved. I am just sliding through and I gotta focus on #1. Getting My Animation Chops built up. and #2. Communicating more with my Peers as these are the people that will also help me get jobs by being the foot in the door(and conversely I will be doing the same for them). So It’s kind of good that I am putting painting on hold a bit. It will always be there when I need a break from animating and to just relax. So Class three, my mentor is Morgan Kelly. He is an animator for Dreamworks and so far he’s been pretty cool. He’s been at AM for a while and also at Dreamworks for a while.

So the class has 2 paths to choose from. You can choose to do 3 separate topics(very much like Class 2) where each assignment goes for about 4 weeks, OR you could do what is called an AnimJam. It’s basically 3 Assignments but they are all tied together with a theme. Morgan showed us this awesome example of an Animjam where it was Stewie escaping from Jail. The first shot was him moving the bed and crawling through a hole. The second shot was him swinging across some pipes and into a window. The 3rd shot was him coming in the window and then trying to run away because he was spotted, but he got tazed.

I have decided to do the AnimJam. My idea is to have a construction site. Shot 1 will be Stewie Lifting his bucket of Tools and then grabbing a Saw and cutting through a plank like a 2″x8″.

Shot two will be him trying to lift up the board to put it to use. The board will be heavy and cumbersome so it should show some good body mechanics. When lifting the board. He will accidentally knock over his tools off the building.

The final shot will show another Stewie hammering something, then some tools will rain down on him. The last shot isn’t totally hammered out yet(nice pun!). I’m debating having him dodge them all, but get hit by the bucket so it lands on his head, or maybe him see a tool hit, look at it, then get hit in the head(but with a hardhat on). He takes off the hat and looks like he is lucky to be wearing it, and then get hit with another tool going unconscious.

Still trying to hammer it all out, but I have quite a bit of time before I begin the 3rd shot(almost 2 months). Anyway, here is the rough blocking for my first shot.

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