Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lisez Ceci Avant de Commencer a Utiliser Votre Outil Dremel

I bought a dremel well over a month ago and finally found a few hours this past Sunday to break out and see what that guy at Home Depot was talking about.

Unfortunately, all I had for eye protection were these.

Needless to say I wasn't able to get much done (apart from spend an hour or two pouring over the manual). Luckily, my landlord lent me a pair of safety glasses the following evening.

Rat's done, moving on to the Possum. I'm sure that'll make more sense in the future.

And yes, I'm wearing a robe I stole from a ryokan in Japan. Between that and the bandana, I look like some lame reject from a Tarantino flick.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Took a Trip to Another Land

Last week marked my fourth Ottawa Animation Festival and I have exactly 0 pictures to show for it. You'll just have to take me at my word that it just keeps getting better.

Last year was decidedly lackluster in the short film section but, thankfully Nina Paley's Sita Sings the Blues made up for the depressing showcase of talent. This year, the shorts stood out while the features took a back seat.

My personal favorites?

Git Gob

I had actually seen this already but catching it on the big screen made it even better. What's more, the filmmaker Philip Eddolls seemed to be the only interesting character at the Meet the Filmmakers the following morning. His process for coloring the film was refreshingly creative.

The Bellow's March

The best part about this film is knowing how Eric Dyer made it. Several folks were thinking stop-motion, others 3D. I geeked out when I heard the word 'cinetrope' mentioned followed by 'what's that?' and realized I knew exactly how he dunnit.

The Black Dog's Progress

Wonderfully thoughtout film using nice stark black and white imagery and a flipbook-like set-up that boggled a few audience members enough to ask the 'how-did-you' question the following morning. Great sound work too.

Dog In a Burning Building

Made by the very talented Krause brothers, this film oozes fun from the music to the torn textured paper to the 3D to the hand-puppets. And what better way to end it than with a omage to the Muppets? The great thing about this film is that it's obvious Fran and Will had a blast making it and it's nice (especially when working the 9-5 grind) to remember why we all decided to do this for a living.

Please Say Something

When the film first started up I was immediately concerned. I had seen a film once before staring a cat and mouse rendered simply in 3D and trust me, it didn't end well. After a few seconds it was obvious this was one of the strongest, emotionally driven films in competition and the crude-looking digital characters were only driving the message home more. In fact, for all the folks out there that think animators could take a tip or two from live-action films, here's one a few live-action should look to.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sock it to me, baby!

Hey, remember this?

For the last month or so, in between churning out web-ads and trying to get some semblance of sleep, I've been stitching up puppets. So far I've finished a grand total of one.

In my defense, I really made two. The first was kind of a 'test run'. In other words, I botched him up. I blame my supervisor...

His nose was too short, the quality of the sock was terrible and the stitch was shoddy at best. I was about halfway through sewing his ear up when I realized I hated the colors and needed to just go back to square-one.

After several long nights involving many movies and some musicals (much to my roommate's chagrin I'm sure), he finally started to take shape.

Like my Middle School art teacher, Mrs. Swanson, always told me, "If you have to do it over again, don't worry. It always comes out better the second time around."

I'd say she was right. His other forest friends will follow soon (I hope).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

We are the...

Today's post may seem somewhat random, but indulge me.

I came across these photos on Facebook. An English friend of mine had been tagged in one of the photos (the squid if I remember correctly) and it looked intriguing enough that I clicked over.

In Senior year of High School, I took a class called Portfolio which focused on getting a portfolio together (duh) for the students who planned on studying some form of art in their upcoming college years.

We also had to write a few variations of an 'artist statement'. At the time, I planned on studying animation but mostly because I had no idea where to go to study the things I really wanted to do (puppeteering, animatronics, matte painting, makeup effects, etc.). I even went to far as to make my final project for the Portfolio class a (rather crude) animatronic bat-like creature.

Unfortunately, it looked nothing like this. I can tell you it was similar in color, about a foot and a half long as oppose to eight and could manage to 'walk' along at a sloth-like clip.

Fortunately, I threw out all the slides that had images of the beast. Instead, you'll have to settle for this awesome robotic menagerie.

Too bad this exhibit is somewhere in London; I'd love to see it. Maybe the AMNH will surprise me this winter...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Now and forever...

Last April, Ron Tanner, a writer from Baltimore contacted me (through Facebook of all things) to work on a 'short' film based on a 'short' story he had written.

As usual, the 6 minute read through ballooned in to a 10 minute, traditionally animated project. For those reading who don't understand how this happened, try reading a paragraph straight-through, no intonation, no pausing for effect, etc. Then read again as if you were actually telling someone a story. Where'd that extra 30sec. come from?

But, my complaints on actually having to do work aside, I really like the way it's turning out and figured I should share some of the boards.

Ron wanted a loose line for the characters. It's not very apparent in the drawings here, but will definitely be applied when moving into animation.

Speaking of, once animation gets seriously underway, if any of you out there are or know of students looking for credit, let me know. I'll be the first to admit I've bitten more than I can chew and would love an extra set of hands.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day-Tripper Part II

Instead of going into why I haven't been keeping up with my blog or promising endlessly to never let it happen again, let's just jump right back in to it, okay?

So two weeks ago I posted a image heavy blog about my trip down to Philadelphia. I seem to recall promising a 'Part II' so, without further adieu...

Two days after my trip down south, I hopped a quick and rather pleasant flight to Boston. Richard at Asterisk had called me up the week before, starting the conversation with the unexpected question "Can you fly to Boston for a stop-motion shoot next Thursday?" The answer was an obvious 'Yes'.

He may not know this, but I've been eager to work with Asterisk for a while now. I like the type of work they do, the caliber at which it's produced and Richard and Brian know how run a fun while efficient studio.

Not to mention the fact that I was being flown. To Boston. To shoot stop-motion.

And while it did fall in the middle (the Thursday shoot turned into a Wednesday shoot) of a rather tumultuous week, it was wonderful being hired to do the kind of animation I love to do, the type of animation that made me want to take on this whole tiring profession in the first place.

To see the finished (but still rough) animation, head on over to Asterisk's blog.