Archive for August, 2010

It’s been about a week now since I posted the last post. I meant to get all caught up right away, but I didn’t. Whoops. Ok, let’s continue. So SIGGRAPH has come and gone. I was scheduled to go for 2 days. One day(Tuesday) was to be my day to go around, see the sights, pass my reel around, schmooze, etc. Wednesday would be my day as a MAXON employee at the MAXON booth.

So I set out on making some reels. I bought some DVD’s, DVD Cases, and Labels. This would become my nightmare. See, first of all, I was out of black ink. I bought that and then set out on making my DVD’s. Memorex has frustrated the hell out of me. See, first of all, they don’t have a Mac version of their software. And I’m not like a big Mac zealot or anything, I work on one, I like working on one, but I’m not in your face about it. Since Mac’s can just as easily burn DVD’s you’d think you’d want to provide a version for those people right? Well, no. Then, even when using it on a PC, the darn thing wouldn’t even print properly! ARRRRGH! I had I believe 30 labels, and I was looking to print 15. I wasted 15 of those #$(*@#$ labels. Now, I’ll attribute about 8 of those to me just being stupid, but still! I swear to you, I’m going Lightscribe next time for sure.

Ok, so I gotta say you can certainly tell there was a recession. The floor was much smaller, and so was the job fair, but I was still determined to have a good time. So with a backpack full of Demo Reels, I set off walking around. First, I went to the Pixar Booth because I remember last time I went, I saw all of these people walking around with these cardboard tubes. I eventually found out what and where but it was too late. So I went to Pixar, but you know what? EVERYONE goes to Pixar first. I thought, “Screw this”. So I left, and went off looking for Disney because they were doing Reel Reviews. It was a really good thing I did leave because they were nearly out of slots by the time I got to Disney. With my slot in check, I left to go back to the exhibition. Also, I thought Disney’s absence from the floor a bit weird but you know what? They had a nice quiet area almost all to themselves, and it was really nice. I went back to the exhibition and I walked to Pixar, right as they were finishing up posters, and I got one! Sweet! It’s a nice poster too. After that I checked in with Libby to see how she was doing at the booth. Turns out she loves working at trade shows haha. I walked around some more stopping at places like Blue Sky, Sony, Nickelodeon, and Rhythm and Hues. Talked with some people got some names, but nothing terribly promising sadly. I did drop off my reel to a few places though which felt good, and I had a reel review at Nickelodeon as well. It was kind of funny, I didn’t even know they were there and I was just puttering around the floor and I saw them and saw they were doing reel reviews for animators today. Jackpot! Sadly, they were filled by that time. But someone missed their review and the lady who’s name escapes me but is written down, said “Is anyone an animator?” I promptly raised my hand, and got a free review haha. Sadly, the two people who watched it were texture and shader artists, but hey, they laughed at the gags is good. One of their advices was to learn different styles like their animated shows, because people there often will switch and hop around on different shows, so it’s important to be able to do the style of Fanboy as well as The Penguins or Kung Fu Panda. I went to go to the Animation Mentor and Animation Magazine Blockbuster Breakdown panel, but by that time, the line was enormous. I must hate lines or something. Who knows. So I went back downstairs and walked around some more. Then I went back up and went in a little late. Sadly, I should have just waited in line I think. I missed all of Eric Goldberg’s talking! GRRR! I did come in time for Aaron Hartline breaking down the Mr. Tortilla head bit. Then Michael Makarewicz  did a breakdown of a very dramatic, piece from Up which he said was quite a challenge for him. Carlos was last and he broke down his animation of the Spanish Buzz Lightyear including some hilarious video reference. It’s was a blast to watch, but I wish I would have seen Eric Goldberg’s part.

So after that I puttered around some more before running out of things to do. You really gotta have a plan. I didn’t plan on what I wanted to see, so I was bored. I did manage to pass out a couple of reels cold turkey to Rhythm & Hues and Sony Imageworks. Pixar wasn’t taking reels because of the sheer volume there would be. Nickelodeon watched it but didn’t keep it.

So with nothing else to do, I donned a CINEMA 4D shirt and just hovered around the MAXON booth helping wherever I could. Now, I need to give Libby a lot of credit, she was pimping my name out to anyone who seemed remotely interested in animation or Character animation. A gentleman from Dreamworks came to the booth and Libby found this out, and immediately started telling him how her Boyfriend is a Character animatior. He told her to come get me, and she did. We talked briefly and he gave me his name and email(which is on a paper on my desk at work) and I gave him my reel. Life is funny like that.

Around 3, I went over to watch Kai’s presentation at the Pixar Renderman booth. It really was an interesting presentation about the Multicamera(I believe that’s what it called) where you could really help cut your render times a bit and also its usefulness for Stereo work. Renderman is a powerful beast. I want to learn Renderman, I really do. But I should learn how to light and make things look good. Ha!

. I did that for a little bit before I went to my reel review at Disney. I was fortunate enough to meet with Miyuki Kanno who would be reviewing my reel. She was such a nice person and she gave me some great feedback on my reel. She watched it once and laughed a few times(which is a good thing because it was when you’re supposed to laugh) and said it was really good. She said she could tell I knew how to animate. She said the first shot(which I have been documenting as I work on it) was really good, she liked his mouth shapes and told me that shot made he want to keep watching more. WHOO HOO! However, she was honest and told me that my next shot was not working very well. It felt kind of robotic and a little stiff, and didn’t really have the nice mouth shapes like the first shot. NOOOOOOO! I agree though, I should have kept it off, and, I also think I burned that one to 25 fps so it looks even worse than it normally does.  She thought the weight and feeling of Stewie felt right, and good, that it was nice. With my AnimJam shot, she felt the weight of him lifting the bucket was off, and that he was kind of overacting. The saw was good but then the sigh was a bit much. However, she said she really liked when he picked up the board and knocked the things over. She said it looked very natural and that I might want to cut it to start right at that point. She felt that the end was really good and funny. So right now it looks like I got my bookend shots in place, and even the midpoint shot. I just got to either fix my dialog or cut it, as well as trim my animjam. It was really great feedback. It was honest, but not brutal, you know? It made me feel warm and fuzzy when she said the first shot made her want to see more. Now I just need to keep the interest throughout the reel.

So I went back to the MAXON booth and helped out where I could. After the show, all of the MAXON people went to Magnolia down the road for dinner. I got a club sandwich(what I would get anywhere). Then we walked back to our car, and drove home.

I repeated the process of driving down in the morning through terrible LA traffic. Wednesday I was designated as a floater. I would work on an open station and answer any questions I could. If there’s no questions I would just work on various things. I practice a lot of python coding in CINEMA in my spare time. I really am going to bring a chair next time, I am not one to stand for long periods of time. Nothing eventful happened that I recall. We went bowling afterwards. I dazzled a few of the people with my ability to curve the ball, and bowl through my legs.

Now, the following Friday, Libby and I took a trip up to San Francisco for  the Animation Mentor graduation and BBQ. We stopped at Firestone in San Luis Obispo. Holy CRAP! That was a delicious Tri-Tip Sandwich. I HIGHLY recommend you check it out if you’re in the area. SO Good. We stayed at The Crescent. It was an interesting hotel. Very stylish.

We walked down through Chinatown down to the Wharf. I like that place. We ate at Wipeout which had a good club sandwich. Then we walked back home later that night, but not before eating some Delicious chocolate dipped marshmellows from Chocolate Heaven.

Now, on Saturday it was time for Graduation. The plan was for me to take a Bus to the place where Graduation was. I waited at the stop for my bus…but it kept passing me. 3 Buses passed me because they were PACKED. Kai said he’d give me a ride, so I tried to walk to his hotel, but I was very confused and lost. Eventually, Kai, Amanda, Libby, and myself all drove together. We missed rehearsal.

The ceremony was nice. It was longer than expected but it was good. Lee Unkrich was the commencement speaker. He told a very heartfelt story about his Grandmother and how he took that experience of her passing and applied it to Toy Story 3. The story really moved me since my grandma had died like 2 weeks before. We all did our thing congrats Class 15 and 16 for graduation. We Schmoozed a bit and then headed off to the Wharf with Kai and Amanda. We ate at the Sea Lion cafe, and then we went back to the hotel. That was pretty much it. Then the next day we went to the BBQ before heading back home. Oh, one thing I want to say, Shawn Kelly may very well be the nicest guy I’ve ever met. He’s just such a friendly person, and I bet he’s a blast to be around more haha.

So that’s it. I’m pretty much caught up now. Since all of this, I’ve just been working a lot on some side projects, scripting, and more. I’ve been working on The Ottoman, which is making a lot of progress. We’ve just finished the rig(I guess it would be a Beta) and now we’re just weighting the Clothing before rigging the other characters. I’ve also been working on a lot of Scripting to make my life easier. I need to get back to work though. More animation needs to be done.  Below are some pics from the last month or 2:

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