Archive for July, 2010

It’s been over a month since I have last posted on here. So much has happened, and I just haven’t taken the time to sit and reflect on what has happened, you know? I don’t like to do that, it makes me feel busy busy busy work work work, and I for one like to kick back relax, and enjoy the world around me.

Summer Sevens has been going on. I’ve only participated in 2 tournaments so far, one in Vegas, one in Santa Barbara. Vegas was a blast. Stayed in the Luxor, never done that. the pyramid is an odd one to stay in(and dangerous I would imagine.) We played in the Kings Bracket which is the second best bracket. We were matched against the runner up from last years Aces Bracket(the best bracket), Tempe Rugby Club. Sadly, we lost to them. We did well but they pulled away at half time. And unfortunately, do to the way the tournament worked, we could only make 9th place at best if we lost our first game. We pretty much blew out every other team we played, I think including 2 shutouts. I might be wrong. I had a couple good games, with some good runs, and of course put on a pie facing clinic(one of which lead to a very long try). In the end, we won the “losers” bracket which put us in 9th which sucks but is kind of nice. It wasn’t very close the rest of the day for us. Tempe lost in the Semi final I believe to eventual champions.

Santa Barbara is a tournament that I love playing. I’ve played there twice now, and It was the place where I scored my first ever try. Last year our team won the social side, and we aimed to do the same again this year. This time around we split up into two teams: Open Side, and Social Side. Open division is a more competitive division compared to Social. I played on the Open Division side. We were matched up with Last years national sevens championship team, Belmont Shore. Belmont is one hell of a team, and they pretty much whooped us. Next we played the Santa Barbara Grunions, and we mopped the floor with them. I myself managed to score 2 tries(I’ve just shattered my previous scoring records for sevens which was 1 try all season, twice) against the Grunions. One came from an interception(a move I’m well know for doing while playing touch rugby), and then another on a break to the outside complete with 2 pie faces met with much cheering from the boys.

We next found ourselves in a must win situation against Kern County. Kern County has some big boys, and they brought it. The match was really close going back and forth, the last play of the game came from an interception from Brad who ran it back for a bit before being caught by 2 Kern county players, but he managed to dish the ball out to me and I ran as fast I could scoring the game winning try.

In the playoffs, we found ourselves matched against, get this: Mexico’s Olympic Rugby/National Sevens Rugby Team. No joke, the Outlaws get their first international test against Mexico. Unfortunately, Mexico beat us. They are shifty and fast and like to run stunts and they won. I think eventually Belmont Shore won. Our Social side also made it to playoffs but lost in the semi finals as well, partly due to some of the worst officiating I have seen, but those are the breaks.

The next thing that happened was Libby and I went to Yosemite. Now, I have never been to Yosemite before, and let me tell you, if you haven’t been you gotta go. The Valley is beautiful. It’s so inspiring there. It’s just so nice. I will have to post some pictures soon. We went up on Thursday(7/15) to stay with my friends Justin, Sarah, and Gonzo at the Housekeeping camp right next to the river. It was a primo spot. Justin, Sarah, and Gonzo had hiked Half-Dome Thursday, and that had kind of wiped Gonzo and Sarah Out. Justin however was game for another hike, and because Half Dome requires permits on Fridays-Sundays, we decided to Hike the Upper Yosemite Falls trail(“It’s only like 3.6 miles”). The trail is pretty tough, maybe because I’m not much of a hiker, but it’s steep with probably a billion switchbacks. When you reach about the halfway point, you get an absolutely beautiful view of the falls. It’s really stunning. We eventually hiked to the top, which actually was kind of a let down visually, but now I can say I hiked to the top of the 6th tallest waterfall in the world.

After Yosemite I found out that my Grandmother had died, exactly 2 months after her Husband, Pumpy. It was very sad to hear of this, and crazy to think about how just over 2 months ago, I still had one whole set of grandparents alive, and now, I do not have any grandparents left. It’s very saddening. I don’t know too much of my Grandmother other than she was a sweet woman and quite the fighter. She developed alzhiemer’s in her late years, which made her life much tougher, but she was a tough woman. The last 2 years I would say have been riddled with problems. A cold that developed into pneumonia and other things, my parents had prepped me of her death for quite some time. At least 3 times since 2008 I was told she probably wouldn’t live to see tomorrow. I feel like that is why this news hasn’t hit me as hard as when Pumpy died. I loved them both very much, but I had done plenty of bracing for Grandma’s death which is what made Pumpy’s death so startling because he seemed to be just fine. I guess Pumpy just needed to go get everything ready up in heaven for Grandma, and it didn’t take him long to do it, so I guess I can take comfort in the fact that the two of them are reunited again. May you both rest in peace. I love you both so very much, and was so glad you both got to meet Alice before you had to go.

We’ve arranged  to go back east to Upstate New York(apparently WAY upstate because most people I talk to from NYC have no clue where it is) to Pulaski which looks to be about 50-100 miles east of Toronto, for a Memorial for them with friends and family. Almost a Wake I guess it would be, just to look back and remember the couple who were so dedicated and in love with each other for over 65 years.

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Sorry, time has been a blur, and I’ve progressed quite a bit with the shot since last time, so I will try to recap a bit. I had hoped to get a bit of feedback from the one and only Dimos Varysellas, but Dimos is going through some medical troubles, so I want to wish him the best of health. He did actually give me a few notes between Part 2 and this. What some would probably call Blocking Plus, he gave me some input and I was happy to get it and so I treked on.  Thankfully, I still managed to get some feedback from peers on the Animation Mentor Alumni Website. So I took my blocking and kept working at it.

I for the most part was good about doing a new video file each time I started  new animation session. I say for the most part because apparently I do not seem to have an intermediate file between blocking and first going to spline. So I’m sorry for that, but it’s ok, because it all changes anyway.

So, if I remember correctly, this is me taking it out of blocking and converting to Spline. I’ve progressed much further in this shot and I look back on this and shudder a bit haha. So I believe I uploaded this on the AM website for some feedback when Jeffrey Star, a former classmate of mine gave me some good notes, including wanting to see the brows and eyes give the “Wait, what?!” a bit more pop. So I began refining things a bit. This would sort of be like when you get the green light, I guess. The story is being told through the poses, now it’s time to finesse it and make it look good.

So this video shows me bringing in some of the facial expressions while still refining the body mechanics of the shot. Some of the notes received from this shot were that people werent really feeling the emphasis of the “W” sound in both Wait, and What? as well as some of the leaning back looking/feeling stiff. So onward I kept pressing.

This next iteration was again, just more and more refinement. As I said, whenever I would start working on it I would change the render number and go at it. And the amount of time being worked varied so sometimes a lot of visual progress would be made, but other times you might not notice anything. However, you’ll notice the character is textured. I was just playing around with Bodypaint and got all of that in there. Maybe I am the only one, but I really think a well lit, textured scene helps your animation. I know, I know, I’ve heard the “You can’t polish a turd” speech, and I fully agree with it, I’m not saying They will hire you as an animator for your texturing abilities, but some places do appreciate the effort. And while, you cannot polish a turd, if you texture a turd to look more like corn on the cob, well, I bet you it would be a lot more pleasing on the eye than the other. Still a turd of course, but a step above a normal untexturered/unrendered turd, no? I think the jeans look great if I do say so myself, and one of my favorite movies/characters is on his chest. The one and only Walter Sobchek from The Big Lebowski with the phrase “You are entering a WORLD OF PAIN” on it. I relish the ability to do that right now because I know that if I’m at a studio I won’t have that freedom anymore, so enjoy it while you can!

Ok, so flash forward(really, it’s backwards now) to Saturday Morning the weekend before SIGGRAPH. It’s time to get my Demo Reel ready for Burning(an infuriating process to be discussed in the next post). So I decided to light the scene(as well as refine some other little bits) and texture the walls. I rendered the bad boy out and added it as the first shot in my reel. A risky move, but I liked it, I thought it was good, and I think it was the right decision(more on that in the next post). I figure I’m all said and done, but then I get some very good, detailed notes from another AM Alum and current Walt Disney Animator, Malcon Pierce. Just as I finished my DVD Burning I saw them. I thought I was done, but you know what? I think I agreed with everything he said, and am now still working on refining the shot, even with the damn thing on my reel now.

This profession is a learning process, and I am enjoying learning. So that will do it for part 3. At some point, there will be a part 4, and God willing, it will be the last part. And next time I do this on a new shot(and believe me I intend to) I will be a bit more dilligent about it.

I want to thank the people who gave me notes and feedback. They were Andy Runyon, Libby, Jeffrey Star, Stephen Orsini, Lauren Wells, Malcon Pierce, and Dimos Varysellas(Get better buddy!).

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