Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cool Post About Workflow

Michele Meeker gave us this link during our Saturday QA. This is a goldmine for workflow in CG!

[click pic for link]

Friday, April 4, 2008

Exceeded Bandwidth for AM Reel

Well..looks like I exceeded my bandwidth limit and so my reel will be down until April 19. Please check back then. See, I made an awesome welcome video for the new CLass 1 folks and left it on all their pages. Well that killed my bandwidth limit. Ouch!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

First QA of Term 2 | Peer Buddy

our mentor, Pete Paquette, in his treehouse office

We had our first QA with Pete last night and it was AWESOME. The first QA is generally just an introduction of everyone in the class. Looks like I'm amongst some great company of students from various backgrounds. While Pete is pretty down to earth, he informed us he'll be quite the task master [could it be is former stint in The Marines????], but will learn a ton about animation through that "tough love"!

In other news, I'll also be helping out Term 1 students in the official capacity of an Animation Mentor PEER BUDDY. As a peer buddy, I'm responsible for providing feedback and encouragement to seven students assigned to me as well as keeping the community of AM alive and kicking with all students. This is both a great way to give back to the school along with making sure I really cemented what I learned last term.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My New Mentor

We started season 2 at Animation Mentor this week and I've got a brand spanking new mentor for this term. His name is Pete Paquette and he's an animator at Blue Sky studios. He's worked on such films as "Robots", "Ice Age The Meltdown" and the new "Horton Hears A Who".

We've got our first QA with him this evening. I'll let you know how it goes!!

Monday, March 31, 2008

3D Modeler: Arran Skinner

Wanted to give a shout out to my pal Arran Skinner and his mad modeling skills. Arran and I studied finer arts together at the New York Academy of Art. Arran is learning 3D modeling and is off to a fantastic start. He was kind enough to model some boxing gloves for me to use in my exhaustion pose assignment at Animation Mentor. The gloves look AWESOME and def enhanced the final still!

Arran now has a blog chronicling his journey. You can find him here:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Class 112: End of Term 1

So we wrapped up Term 1: Basic Foundations this week. After three months of 80 hour weeks I am trying to get away from animation for the week, but alas...I have been doing some revisions and putting together my progress reel. Next three animating!!! Need to recharge the batteries! We start Term 2: Body Mechanics on Monday.

Huge thanks to my mentor, Victor Navone, this term. He was instrumental in helping me to gain a better eye and sharpen my skills in this art form. Plus, he's just dang fun to have as a mentor and knows his stuff inside and out! An inspiration!

Also, a big thanks to Stephen Gregory. I was able to hit the ground running at AM because of him. I still owe him a drink too!

And of course, the biggest thanks of all to my wife. I could not have endured without her massive love, heaps of encouragement and bottomless patience...THANK YOU LOVE!

And now, for the work:

Class 111

coming soon.....

Class 110

coming soon.....

Class 109

coming soon.....

Class 108

coming soon.....

Class 107

coming soon.....

Class 106

coming soon.....

Class 105

coming soon.....

Class 104

coming soon.....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Testing Posting Content

YES...updates are coming! Just been slammed with work and school. Plus trying to find a way to host videos so they play at speed here. So, here goes a test:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


Man..working full time and doing AM full time prevents me from getting to the blog a lot. Stay tuned for more updates on the classes/work I've been doing at AM. It's a lot of work, but fun! So I just need to find some time to re-cap it all! Soon my fellow animatos...soon!!! =D

In the meantime, I want to know a little more about effective blogging an recently ran across this on an AM mentor's blog:

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

I don't care about making money from my blog, but would love to driver more traffic from the animation community so we can help each other grow!

For now, back to AM homework!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Were The Old Masters Animators?

Fellow New York Academy of Art alum and Disney animator Patricia Hannaway has a great article in the new issue of American Artist: Drawing. Patricia discusses the importance or line of action and gesture in figure drawing, something we're attacking in our work at Animation Mentor with our emotional sketches and 3D poses.

Check out here article here: Draw What The Model Is Doing

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Class 103: Ball Bounce Animation *Final* [?]

Here is the final ball bounce I turned in last week. Again, we were t get the weight of a basketball into our bouncing ball and keep it to 100 frames. The only crit on the ball was to add one in-between between frames 44-50 as the bounce up there seemed a tad too snappy/quick. I've done that in this revision below:

*Photobucket doesn't seem to play back the animation at proper speed. Anyone know how to host .mov files on Blogger? My web skills are somewhere on the bottom rung.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Class 103: Excited Pose Revised

So I got my critique back from Victor and he had some fantastic insight into my Stu pose I hadn't even thought of while producing it. The sketches I submitted were well received and Victor enjoyed the fact I had included some context for Stu's excitement along with the props in the final pose. Super glad I included those props and addressed a bit of the dressing in the scene as I got some great feedback on how to better use the props to support the story/emotion.

In a nutshell:

- Emphasize the paper the paper in the hand! Nothing at the moment suggests Stu is excited about the letter, he could just be someone who likes to destroy mailboxes!

- Twist chest more toward camera to help separate the shoulders a bit and to allow for the focal arm holding the paper to be posed a bit straighter and so we can get the paper in the air and call it out to the viewer.

- Bend lower arm more to puller in closer to the torso and point the fist more upward toward the paper helping to direct our eye back up to the focal area.

- Maybe have Stu leaping off the ground!

- Add some paper to the left side.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Class 103: Couple Stu Excitement Poses

Here are the first batch of Stu poses from my sketches. I'll try a couple more tomorrow before polishing/refining and choosing one to turn in.

*Can you tell which one is me getting accepted into AM??!!

AM Students ROCK HARD!

So I log in today to view my Public Review section of my AM page, a place where we can post our progress and get feedback from students and campus mentors. Today I got such an awesome piece of feedback that a fellow AMer, Alexiss Memmott, left for me. It's incredibly fantastic that she made a little video crit for me! That's just the coolest thing and what makes AM such an amazing place to study animation. Yes, it's a virtual school but we're so excited we really take the extra effort to put these kinds of things together for each other. I just had to share this one with ya!

Thanks Alexiss!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Clas 103: Ball Bounce Stage 1

This week we're to do a bouncing ball with the weight and feel of a basketball. Below is the first pass at this using the Layering Method. Here I've only dealt with the translateY to get the timing and spacing nailed before I move on and bounce it across the screen and throw in some rotation. I left the ball black to get a better look at any possible strobing.

Feedback welcome!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Class 103: Excitement Assignment

This week, one of our assignments is to sketch some excitement poses and then pick one to pose Stu into. Here is my first stab at this. Trying to think about the motivation for Stu to be excited. Want to try and come up with poses that aren't too cliche- kind of hard without fingers or facial features. =)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Class 102: E-Critique and Revised Pose

Had my first e-critique last night from Victor where he reviewed my sketches and final 3D pose. He really liked the sketches and said that overall the 3D pose was very dynamic and had an overall good Line of Action [LOA]. He did give me some notes, mainly:

1. Overall nice Line of Action [LOA]. But, line does tend to get broken and bumpy, especially where the thigh and knee are concerned. Simplify this LOA.

2. Pull back on the torso bend 10-20% as it looks like it hurts at the moment.

3. Reduce bump where shoulder meets the head.

4. Right now this leg looks like a short, straight leg. Put more bend in the knee! Will strengthen the silhouette.

5. Make this arm straighter for variety and to contrast the other arm. Arms look a little too long, though hard to have the model catch something above his head due to the large head.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Class 102: Assignment Completed

Below are some of the 3D poses I created using the Stu model we were provided. These poses are based on sketches done for the assignment. I decided to turn in pose 2C here at the top as the final pose, but I got a tremendous amount of feedback from my fellow classmates and they all fed into strengthening my poses. Of course, critiques here are welcome too as I think all of these can be pushed even more to make them as solid and dynamic as possible.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Class 102: More sketches

Animation Mentor Celebrates Graduates with Pete Docter

Last Saturday Pixar’s Pete Docter delivered the commencement address to the graduating class of Animation Mentor, “the online animation school by animators for animators”. Read more about it here: Animation Mentor Celebrates Graduates with Pete Docter

*note: I did attend the post-grad party on Saturday night and met a lot of REALLY cool grads and other AM students.

Class 102: Sketches

Our assignments for this week's class are to:

1. Sketch people from life: out in the park, walking in the street, playing sports, lounging, etc.
2. Take one sketch and pose our 3D character in that pose.

So here are some sketches so far [will probably ammend this page with a few more]:

As always, feedback is welcome! I will post the 3D pose in a couple of days so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Animation Mentor Open House

Thursday afternoon found me attending the AM Open House. Got to meet a ton of new students, staff as well as a bunch of upperclassmen and a lot of the graduates as there is a graduation ceremony happening in SF this weekend- so congrats to all the recent grads going out into the animation field.

After the open house most of us headed to Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe just catty corner from Pixar to mow down some grub and wash it down with drink. Gotta say that everyone ay AM is excited and are all awesome people! This is gonna be a great 18 months! Happy animating!

Monday, January 7, 2008

And So It Begins

The virtual doors to the Animation Mentor campus opened for us today and we got to go inside, try and find our lockers, our place at the lunch table and drool over the upper class' work. Oh yeah, and we also found out who our mentor is gonna be for the next 12 weeks. Well, I've been assigned the amazing Victor Navone, an animator from Pixar and a fellow who's blog I have been tuning into this year as I prepared myself for school. I'm just kind of still star struck that I get to learn under such great tutelage. Check out Victor's stuff here:

pic of Vic

What was really nice is that a good number of upper class students left us a bunch of warm welcome notes on our "lockers".

There are tons of videos I need to go watch and notes to take. I will be back after Wednessday post of first online Q+A with Victor. So stay tuned!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

3D World Magzaine Animation Article by Kyle Balda

In the Feb 2008 issue of 3D World Magazine, animator/director, Kyle Balda gives readers his 10 Principles of Classic Character Animation. Kyle worked at ILM, PDI and Pixar on such films as The Mask, Jumanji, Toy Story 2, Bug's Life and Monsters Inc. Not sure if it's on U.S> newstands yet, but my copy came in the post today.