Archive for the “Animation Mentor” Category

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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Tonight was the final class of mine at Animation Mentor, which means I’ve completed 18 months of schooling at Animation Mentor. 18 Months, holy cow that’s a long time. It’s both very long and short. So much time has gone into this and a lot has been put on hold while I work on learning.

Around class 3, I had to really start devoting the necessary amount of time to AM and making my work better. So I had to stop things like Painting, Printmaking, and Video Games. Evenings were lost working diligently on homework(Between 2-10 hours in a single evening).

Well, now that it’s all done, there’s so much more possibilities. Painting is hard because I can only do it when I go home, but you bet your ass I am going to…and I already did :D . I whipped up a little gift for my Girlfriend. She has a thing for those Paintings that look like an Image with the Threshold cranked up in Photoshop. This was a good one to start with because it required only one color and very little decision making. Below is what I came up with after 2 hours of work. It’s based off of a photo at Conejo Valley Days, Worked in Photoshop, Smoothed a bit in Illustrator, Printed on a transparency,  projected, traced, then painted in(cheating I know, but deal with it).


It’s kind of funny. Since I’ve turned in my homework last weekend, I’ve had a few days with no homework or anything and I find myself not knowing what to do. So I hope to do some more drawing, sketching etc. I will take a little breather for a week or so. Work on things for The Ottoman, and a personal rig for a character I have thanks to Patrick Goski. I also will be purchasing Red Dead Revolver. Then this weekend, I will venture to Vegas for the Midnight 7′s Tournament with the Outlaws, and then immediately after I will cruise up to R-Ranch for a nice little vacation with my family. It will be the first time my Niece and Nephew will go.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the following people: My Mentors-Joe Mandia, Shaun Freeman, Morgan Kelly, Ray Chase, Randy Haycock, and Kenny Roy. You all helped shape me, and get me started in this path. You all were helpful in many ways. Dimos for being like a mentor to me and offering tips if I asked for them. MAXON, namely Paul and Kai, for helping either financially or just allowing me to work on my homework in my free time and off days and just being a solid place to work. Libby for being understanding when I you wanted to cuddle and I had to work on homework and just for being super supportive and awesome.

Now that I’m done it’s time to relax, catch my breath, and get back to doing some more animations.

…But I think I will spoil myself with Red Dead Redemption tomorrow to occupy my time during this break. :)

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…That’s what I would have said had I posted this 7 days ago. So a quick update on life in the 9 minutes I have waiting for a download before going to Rugby Practice.

Started Class 5 at AM, which means A year ago at this time(I believe it was the 4th…) I just started AM. It’s hard to realize that I’ve been at AM for a whole year, with 6 months still to go.

My mentor this class is Randy Haycock who if you grew up in the 90′s you probably loved every film he worked on. Aladdin, Lion King, Tarzan, total Animation Badass. I hope to learn a lot from him. He seems like he will be a tough grader, but hopefully it just drives me to do better.

Rugby has restarted and we have our first match This saturday in San Pedro. Then, my birthday is Sunday, as well as my niece Alice. That should lead to a fun weekend.

The connection in here is not the best, otherwise I would show you where I’m at so far with my shot, which is a continuation of last class’ final shot, but focusing a bit more on the lipsync and facial animation for the acting bits. I showed Kai today and he thought it was looking pretty good(and we’re only supposed to be blocking). So hopefully, I will show you tomorrow or something.

Stay Frosty,

PS-I have still been looking into the Rigging DVD, but school comes first for now, but It’s definitely been on my mind. Still looking for ideas on what to cover.

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Hey there. It’s almost been 10 days. I gotta update this bad boy a bit more. Let’s see what is new…I have been working on Previs for the Ottoman, or I did last weekend. I did not this weekend. This weekend was spent cleaning/vaccumming my room which was desparately needed, College Football, Rugby Practice, and Football.

Speaking of Rugby, I have been moved to a new position now which is kind of exciting. Normally, I played prop, which for those of you who do not know is in the front row of the scrum. Now, being 6’3″ 240 pounds, I’m not really suited to be a prop. Props are usually shorter stalkier power players. So I have been moved to play Lock, which is the 2nd row of the scrum. Locks are usually taller. It should be interesting to see how it goes. I would like to maybe play Flanker and 8 man some day. We have some tall guys so we have plenty of Locks, so if I can get my endurance up I might be able to play those positions. Somehow playing on Sunday REALLY made me tired all day.

Also this week I bought Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. I loved the first Uncharted. It was a great game, and I was REALLY looking forward to this game. I bought it, and it was a dicey situation because in order to do well at A.M. I have to really focus on what I’m doing you know? That’s pretty much why I have stopped painting. So I tried to just squeeze in some time where I could. I’ve managed to beat the game already. It was good. I liked it. They could be movies(both Uncharted Games).

So today, since it’s Sunday and AM assignments are done on Sunday and you can’t really do too much until you get your feedback, It’s like free day to work on some Painting or video games or anything you know? So I beat uncharted 2 today, watched some football and managed to squeeze in a quick painting. Here it is:


And lastly, here’s where I am at with my AM assignment. I have next week to get it ready for it’s final the following week.

Ray is good at getting feedback quick. I have my critique already. His main suggestions were to get some more curve in the spine in a couple of places, simplify the end and get it ready for polishing. Gonna put some serious work in this week.

Also, be on the look out on Cineversity for some new tutorials from me including A No-Flip Knee rig, and a Bendy Leg Rig

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So I’ve been working for Mike and the Ottoman doing a lot of Previs Stuff. We’ve managed to finish Act 1 save for some minor tweaks here and there. I enjoy doing the work because I get to do it at home, and I get paid. Freelancing is great, and Mike is very easy to work with so our business relationship is very pleasant and I really dig that. Mike has shown me a rough cut of the first Act. When He posts it for the Ottoman Group I’ll see if I can post it here.

On top of that, my life has been consisting of work. Work this week flew by due to things I’m not allowed to talk about. Also, I think that soon I will be getting back to some more rigging related tutorials on Cineversity since we have sort of run the table with R11.5 stuff.  Hopefully I will get working on some of that next week.

I’ve also managed to win another Weekly League title in Air Hockey. I think I hold the record for most League titles and Championships w00t w00t. In fact, today I managed to make another amazingly kickass throw. This one wasn’t quite as good as the one before, because the game wasn’t on the line, but it ROCKETED into the goal. It was beautiful. I love playing Air Hockey at work haha.

Lastly, we’ve OFFICIALLY began practices for the Ventura County Rugby Club. We had like 45 people on the first day and about 32 today. It was fun. If you’re interested in playing, check out The Ventura County Rugby Club Website for more information. I’m almost in shape! Yay!

Back to work on my homework I go!

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Hey everyone. Sorry it has been so long since I have posted on here(2 weeks whaaaaat?). So I am finished with Class 3 of AM and last night I had my first Q&A for Class 4. My mentor is Ray Chase. You can check out his website here: He is a very nice guy. I look forward to this term. It’s interesting that we will only doing two assignments this term. That means I have to make it something that will keep my interest for more than 3 weeks now :) .

I’ve joined a Rugby Club. Its the Ventura County Rugby Club. It’s fun. If you live in Ventura County,  come check it out. We practice at the Thousand Oaks Recreation Fields, which are behind Thousand Oaks High School. Go ahead and check out There are directions and such if you need them.

Lastly, check this bad boy out. There was this cool JavaScript tool that you could take your rendered scenes and make rotatable interactive things on your website. Because I am not commericial, I can post it below. It’s a Burger you can rotate! I think it’s awesome. Check out


Also, Check out CINEVERSITY Live. It can be found at we are doing them bi-Monthly. So there’s one going on right now! Check it out. I’ll be in there sort of moderating. I’ve had about 7 tutorials go live in the last 2 weeks. I should lighten up, aye? haha. Cheers everyone.

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So what’s new. My Dad had shoulder surgery. That seems to have gone well. It sucks for him. He can’t really do anything. It’s really grounded him. That has left a lot of chores to be done at home which I must do. It means I get 10 bucks an hour, but quite frankly, I hate gardening, but then again I need the money so oh well. Which reminds me, I’m looking to maybe get into some Freelance 3D work on the side for some extra income. If any of you reading this have some work, let me know. That would be awesome.

Sorry for the cheap plug. Anyway, why was today a good end to an otherwise dull day? Well, I got my final eCritique for the term. Tomorrow is my last Q&A. I got great feedback from my Mentor, Morgan. I think my last shot was the best, so does Andy, so does Morgan, so it’s very nice to feel lke you are progressing forward. There were very few crits for the shot, really mostly suggestions which is actually pretty sweet because I didn’t have to do much between last week and this week. I got it to a nearly finished piece a week early, yayyy. It’s also rewarding to see people chuckling when they see the shot, it means I’ve probably done my job. When you have your Mentor critiquing a piece of your work, and then he let’s it finish playng and he laughs, even when he’s seen it a few times, that’s a good thing.

I’ve also managed to get my best GPA out of all 3 Classes this class, which is funny because I started out so poorly. This class also had my lowest grade this far(a C), so it’s interesting to see my grades go back up when I made the decision to REALLY focus on AM only and stop doing painting and art for the time being. Anyway, so now I need to go back and tidy up a few things on the AnimJam, particularly in the first 2 shots to make them seemless. Below is the rough cut of my AnimJam for Class 3:

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Man, epic fail on my part. I had posted something about not liking the fact that I go for long periods of time without updating this bad boy. Now this is the first post of August and it’s the 12th, Ugh! Sorry about that folks.

So what’s new. Umm, I popped 2 tires on my bike ending my dream of riding 20 miles a couple weeks ago. Shit happens. Tires are fixed, but I have not ridden since. I just need to put my bike back in my car and make sure to not leave my ipod at work.

SIGGRAPH 2009 happened. Didn’t get to go. LA is next year, hope to get to go then, but I heard the show wasn’t so good which is to be expected in this shitconomy and being in Nawlins.

August 8th(which reminds me of the NOFX song) my friend Jordan Darby, who I met through my brother(and they are much better friends) got married to his girlfriend, of I don’t even know how long, Lindsay. The wedding was a blast, which was surprising when you consider no alcohol was served and there was no dancing whatsoever, yet it was very fun as I got to hang out with some people I have not seen in close to four years.

The best part was they had a photobooth for the wedding. You’d take 4 pics, it would print 2 vertical strips, you can then cut out one, glue it in a scrap book for Joran and Lindsay and write stuff for them and keep the other for yourself. Truly a great idea. Below are the pics I took.


I love the sheer sleeziness I achieve with a mustache, smirk, and removeal of shirt. Anyway, that was a great wedding. In those images are my friends Little Brett, Vanessa, and Veronica.

Animation Mentor is going pretty well. This week(due Sunday) my second shot is due. It is coming along. I got my critique last week and I got full credit for all parts which I think might be a first(at the very least a first for class 3).  It felt very good to get such good remarks. I feel like I am finally getting the hang of this Animation thing! I will post what I come up with when it’s finished.

Life is Good. I buzzed my hair. Since doing that, life has been better. Go figure :P . Going to Vegas on the 21st…should be wild. That is all for now.

…Oh I’m also trying to learn Python Scripting. It’s kind of a pain in the ass but thanks to some tips from Charles Wardlaw, I’m situated and ready to move forward.

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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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