Thursday, December 17, 2009

Semester 1, Year 2 in teh bag

Well 1st semester of year 2 ends tomorrow! All the projects are in, only reason I'll be at class is to get my exam back and head off to see Princess and the Frog with my fellow animators. Hoping the story works great, I don't doubt the animation will be good. If 2D is to survive in the feature film market they need to remember to do what 2D can do that 3D and live action can't. There's certain liberties that can be taken by 2D and still hold the all important suspension of disbelief. That's what will keep 2D around, like how painting managed to stick around after cameras showed up.

Anyways, finally got enough time to grab and upload some of my animations from this semester. I'm not showing the walk and run, cause I hope to fix it up a bit (though that won't happen over the holidays so it will probably have to wait till summer!). What I do have is the finished Weight Lift and Toss, as well as the final animation for this semester, the Expression change, which was produced mostly this week, hence lack of work-in-progress shown here.

Oh, and I've also put up the final version of my "I Can't Sleep" (aka: Magician vs Clownz) leica reel. Music is changed because we weren't allowed any video game music at all. The 'Tetris' theme does not count, since it is a Russian folk song that is well in public domain and Nintendo only holds copyrights over its use in games, not movies. Enjoy!

Weight Lift and Toss:

Expression Change:

Storyboard Leica:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Not the clown this time

Though this almost became another Easter Island thing, but last minute inspiriration changed that. Final painting assignment for this semester, in fact this may be the last traditional painting I will have to do for a long time, since next semester we start the digital painting course. Interesting enough that will be my first dedicated digital painting course.
Technically this was also supposed to be related to our final storyboard. The assignement sheet says it was to be a full background based on one of the layouts, based on the boards. However somewhere the schedule went all screwy so our teacher said we could basically do whatever we want, as long as it's not digital. I figured I'd at least somewhat conform to the intial plan, so this painting is based on the volcano eruption from my Easter Island boards, though this really wouldn't work as a background, since that cloud should be animated, meh. Also considered putting the Easter Island statues in, but then I remembered my semi-promise to myself to avoid Easter Island stuff. Anyways I felt what I had painted was good enough:

This was done in "acryla-gouache", the impossibly wonderful marriage of gouache paint and acrylic paint, so it can go down transparent like gouache but when it dries it's like acrylic in that it doesn't ever lift off again. Used this for all my other paintings (which you haven't seen, working at that) this semester and I'm really starting to like it. I'm feeling almost more comfy with it than with digital, mainly after an experimental painting during class.
And here's some digital stuff I did to get my brain flowing for the final. I was planning on painting the Easter Island one as the final but changed my mind this morning for reasons mentioned earlier:
Also I still didn't feel the contrast and composition were working right for this one.
I liked the water here but felt this was too far away and way to central in compostion. Also, if this is reminding you of the final paintings from this time last year it's no accident, I was in the mood for rehashing the idea.
This is me ripping off Homeworld on purpose. Close, still not quite right though. Hopefully I'll pick up a new brush technique or two in digital painting class proper. I can make things work but my digital stuff still feels a little more 'hazy' than I intend. I figure I need to be braver with more saturation and changing colours or something. Figure it out eventually. Till next time!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yep, more with the clown

What this project has made me realize is just how much you will be seeing your characters/story when you plan on making an animation of them. Might seem obvious, but actually doing it gives a proper understanding of the experience. Actually I can't even say that, this is a leica reel, it's not a complete animation either! But yeah from character design, to making the rough storyboards, then the good boards, and now the leica, I've seen this clown and his two magician buddies a lot over this past month.

Anyways, sound and music are all compiled, only reason this is not the final leica is because I still have to make the fixes to the images that were suggested. Luckily none of the boards actually needed to be removed, so I was able to work with the old boards for figuring out timing and music.

Sound effects come from all over the internet as well as the deep wells within my computer. I know you'll all recognize the first song, the 'climax' music is from Super Paper Mario, specifically from a similar giant clown battle, which is why it works so well thematically. Enjoy!

And at some point I really ought to put up things from other projects!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Why so Serious?

Well, it's a rather serious clown now isn't it?
Got the line work for my storyboard done, which extends across a span of, 87 panels
There's a section near the beginning, the part where they make the flower vase dissappear and then the kid bring it back which might be cut for the sake of time constraints, but I hope to keep it in if I can since I feel it helps develop the relations better, and also shows that the kid asking for the wand and attempting the trick himself isn't just random. But boy does he screw it up!
My suggestion for viewing, right click and open each big image in a new window, maximize each window, then close them as you go along. Hope you likes!
There's gonna be a fade out to black at the very end.
So I need add shading/tone to ALL of these (well, if I don't cut panels 2-20) and make a colour version of one panel as well. Luckily making the colour version also takes care of about 15% of the next painting assignment (and layout is directly linked with this as well) so while there's lots to be done, at least I'm working on multiple projects with the same drawings.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Royal Winter 2009

It's that time of year again! We had our Royal Winter Fair trip last Friday, though this year we only needed two pages, one for gestures and one for some longer studies/better drawings, which was a relief compared to last years 6 pages. Also we spent a bit more time there, and because we got there later in the day it wasn't crazy packed like last year.
Anyways, here's what I've put together for Monday:

Last week was pretty crazy, lots of stuff that needed lots of work got done, namely a painting, rough work for storyboarding and a presentation for history class. For history we had to take a modern object and 're-invent' it in some previous era. Along with research on the era chosen we had to come up with some drawings of our new object. I choose to make a video game system in the gothic era, and well, this is how it turned out:
It's the 'Praystation 1300AD'! The giant disc at the back is the game disc, spun by a water wheel. Screen works by opening and closing shutters on millions of red, blue and green stained glass panels. The bishop seems to be playing Assassins Creed...
Yeah, that was a fun idea and my only regret is that I had to start drawing it at about 1am, but it got done and everything went fine so now I am getting my sleep back and everything is peachy. Yay.
For tomorrow I intend to get some animating done on the new walk-run project, maybe I'll finally upload the finished lift-and-toss too (cross fingers). See you then folks!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Consider yourself warned!
So onto the next storyboard project, really there's only 2 this semester it's just divided into beat-board and storyboard segments which forces us to develop our stories at a certain pace, which for the most part is good.
For this one the whole class had to base their story on the conflict "Can't sleep", but other than that the sky's the limit. First class we threw around character and setting ideas that we didn't have to use but was helpful to get us thinking.
So for my story I actually went with one of the characters mentioned, a magician. We needed two characters minimum so I went with a master magician and a kid student magician. First go at making the beat boards I was planning on the master magician being a stuck up sort of teacher, who then has his trick demonstration go horribly wrong (more on that later), but I found it would be simpler to have the master be the student's father, and the student is the one that messes up, then the father saves the day. So here's the first idea:
Lots of fun drawing the maniacal demon rabbit! Don't worry, MORE of that to come! Anyways, first beat he's shoving the rabbit into the hat for the ol' rabbit-out-of-the-hat trick (notice the skull-n-crossbones on the hat, clearly the wrong hat to use!), second beat the beast emerges, last beat kid is back safe at home but severely traumatized. If I had expanded this version the rabbit would go around destroying a town, and either be put back in the hat by the magician or escape into the wilderness, in which case the last beat would not be so safe-n-sound with the fear of the rabbit's return. Whether the rabbit is still loose or not, this kid won't be sleeping for a while. However, as mentioned I found that the relation between the magician and the student was more complicated than necessary. Also, as much as I love the demon-rabbit-spawn-thingy I recieved a much better idea for something else coming out of the hat that (I hope) also uncomplicates things. So here's the second version, and the purpose for the warning in this post's title:
So a few things, last beat is in fact the same piece of paper used for the 1st version, surprisingly little amount of tweaking was needed there! So I've decided the clown will be caught, but of course not before causing a good amount of mayhem. And again, this kid ain't sleeping. I was actually a little worried when I presented the original idea that I couldn't make the 'can't sleep' conflict be the ending like I have, but the teacher didn't seem to mind, I'm assuming because the story at least works. If I had to, simple re-arranging of last beat to first beat and the whole thing reads as a dream sequence, in which case the ending would be with the kid asleep after the 'dream clown' is caught. But I kinda prefer having this as an actual event. Advantages over the 1st version are that, again the motives for the father magician are easier to understand, the jester hat is easier to recognize and easier to undertsand why it would A) do something bad and B) spawn a hell-clown. Also, as I'm sure some of you are experiencing now, clowns can be a lot scarier.
Other ideas include having the father stop the kid from trying the trick and then flash back to when the father made the mistake, but I found it was too tricky to show a flashback is occuring, it would lean towards using dialogue which is a big no-no for this assignment.
And that's enough text for today, working on painting, should be putting up a few things that got handed in soon.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heavy Guy and a Frog

So over the weekend I put together pretty much the ENTIRE Weight Lift and Toss assignment, just finishing clean up now. I didn't test it at all while I was drawing it aside from flipping a pair of frames here and there (yes, right now I can only 'flip test' about 2 frames) so I had no idea if the whole thing overall worked, at all.
So rather nervously I did a shoot of it today at the school and for the most part, it works! Was a very happy moment, felt really blessed to put it precisely. So anyways, here's what was shot, working on again cleanup, but also a few minor fixes and when I shoot the final I'll get it up here eventually, but for now:

Also having fun in sound class. We had a practice assignment where we were given an animation and had to add in sound effects. I've had some previous experience mixing sounds back in the days when I would make my own units for Civilization 3, it was fun then but it's much more fun now especially since I know so much more about how animation and sound work together:

Sound library at the school is fairly good but navigating it can be a little tricky sometimes. I've been growing my own sound library (lots of great samples taken from games) as well so for future films I've got lots of options already. w00t!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Yes, more Easter Island Heads 2

SO scanning took a bit but I got my storyboard project all digitized and ready to hand in and put up here as well! There's 8 pages, 45 panels:

I had a lot of fun with the story for this one, at one point I honestly considered using it for a film later but we'll see what goes down over the next few years, likely will get a better idea. Anyways, I used a thick graphite stick, I think of 6B hardness to get the thick lines and put down tones really quick. I think if I had more time I might have actually gone overboard with the shading, it's easy to make unimportant things upstage what is important when you start diving into small details. Well glad this is done, happy with how it turned out, and now I think I need to ban myself from using Easter Island references of any kind for about a year, otherwise I'll probably start drawing Moai even when I'm trying to draw something completely different...

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Character design this year is a whole lot of fun, our instructor is Pete Emslie (his blog is heres:, over the past few weeks he's been making caricatures of us 2nd years, we haven't been disappointed to say the least, he did this one of me on Oct 13:

This is simply a fantastic balance of exaggeration and representation, I can't decide which part I like best, the eyebrows, the chin, nose, hair shape (gracious I need a haircut when it curls this much!) anyways, it's great and I'm totally hyped for the rest of this year's work in the class.

Meantime I have to make a weight lift-and-toss animation over a whole 7 days , because I just finished an admittedly overly-ambitious storyboard assignment, which still needs one tweak and lots of scanning (45-ish panels) before you'll see it up here. Amazingly, the correction required is to add in even MORE Easter Island heads. A painting also got done and hopefully I'll get it back next week, before reading week which for once will actually involve some reading...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

So a Wave, a Boat and a Flour Sac walk into a bar 2

Well it's quite dark and not perfectly aligned, but in essence this is my finished wave-boat-sac-splash animation. I shot it at home, and had to fiddle with the contrast to brighten it up, hence the lower production standard here. I'll get a better version up once I shoot it at the school, might scan it there (cause their scanners have built-in peg bars) for maximum quality, which is becoming quite an issue with this animation mainly because it's got 4 levels plus the background, so really that's 5, and so every speck of blank space that isn't perfectly white gets darkened 5 times, you get the idea. Just pretend you're seeing it through a periscope or something.

Fairly content with the result here, happy with the splash, there's about one frame of the boat that's a little wonky still and the sac moves around a bittoo much before the wave hits, but I'm very happy with the lift and drop after the wave. I felt I was exaggerating the drawings too much in that part at first, but the animation shows it's leaning towards not exaggerated enough. I feel it's close enough to the middle of these extremes to not need fixing, w00t.

Next up in animation is a crossover from character design... well actually the character project is the preparation for the 2nd animation. A character has to pick something up and toss it. Already got the character designed, just have to make the finished model sheet since our animation prof wants to see those for Monday's class. Otherwise I would've had till late Tuesday to complete that, but since for this weekend everyone decided to go nutzorz with the projectz I need to finish it tomorrow. Fun times.

And now, I needz sleep.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Scary rocks 2

Continuing the painting assignment, I've put together some digital color roughs (still have to paint more the old fashioned way, but this helps me visualize quickly):

If I wanted to fiddle more with these I'd make the sky brighter in the 2 monochromatic ones, which are literally the multi-color painting desaturated, then with a few mouse clicks set so the achromatic lights and darks translate into the lights and darks in monochromatic. No re-painting was done, as I said just trying to quickly visualize, since I need to repaint by hand anyways, why waste time?
I do quite like the multi-color and I'm hoping the final will mostly be an improvement on that. Also after a demo in last weeks class I'm considering switching back to acrylic, only this time using a transparent method. I've always painted super-opaque with acrylic, but transparent-style painting with the layering ability of acrylic (as opposed to gouache which often gets messed up when you paint over it again) is tickling my curiosity...

EDIT: Re-uploaded the monochromatics with new versions where I fiddled with the brightness/contrast setting to get rid of the murkiness.

Friday, September 25, 2009

So a Wave, a Boat and a Flour Sac walk into a bar...

Most of my fellow animation friends will be putting up their completed versions of this assignment, but since Group D's (my group within the year, D rules!) animation class is on Mondays, we missed the first week due to teh Labour Day, thus our due date is pushed back one week.

So Animation #1 for Year #2 brings us back to our old friend the flour sac. This time he is braving treacherous waters on a floatation device of choice (pirate ship, tea cup, Data etc.) Actually works well in conjunction with my first flour sac animation (recall Easter Island roasting action), he's either sailing towards the island or making his escape from the enraged Moai...As you can see I just got the wave down. There's actually 4 parts to this assignment, the wave, the boat, the flour sac and finally the splashing effects. The boat can be quite simple, pretty much trace a boat drawing and move around each frame appropriately. The sac will need to be fully animated of course, as does the splash, but the splash only occurs over a few frames near the end so that won't be too bad once I get to it. Plus it's really organic (water eh) so I can have some fun with it. I already have the movements for the boat and sac roughed out, should have at least the boat done soon.

And what you don't see in this wave is that half of the basic motion had to be completely reworked, and the texture of the water (foam-ish stuff) needed absolute reworking which involved a boat-load of erasing (see what I did there? yes I know it was awful). But I like it now, and suffice to say I don't really have time to rework the water AGAIN, so this is it.

Tune in next time to hear the punchline for the joke in the subject!

Next post may or may not include aforementioned punchline.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Yes, more Easter Island Heads

Probably at the addiction level now, this is the 3rd assignment I can think of that I used easter island statues for, but whatever. Storyboard! This is the 1st assignment, we needed to make storyboard beats for one of 2 poems we were given. Beats differ from boards in that, well first of all there should be a lot less beats than boards. Beats basically describe all the action of an entire scene with one image (picture worth a thousand words pretty much taken literally) as opposed to boards which go into much more detail as to how the action happens and how the viewer sees it.
However, as with everything in art, composition/viewpoint is still very important in beats to get the mood and/or message across even if, when moving from beats to boards, the composition changes completely.
So my interpretation of the poem goes like this: these two body-less heads feel like a bunch of nobodies, but when the see what they have in common they feel happy being what they are (especially since they can do a cool totem pole trick!). But, if the statues with bodies ('somebodies') catch them fooling around things would be bad. Still, whenever they can they enjoy their time together, and mock the somebodies who's proud demeanor seems dull to these fun loving nobodies.
And now to reduce what I just used 72 words to describe into 4 images:
Now that that's out of the way, it's time to work on some wave animations!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Scary rocks

So STILL not done that digital painting I've been going on about, but I do have this line work for the first actual painting assignment this year!
Really happy already with this, the rocks were originally going to be more jagged, crumbly and pointy but inspiration switched me towards the big precarious boulders like you see in the deserts and canyons in the US. One things for sure, that temple in the center would not be a safe place to be!
At the same time I'm about to start up my Wave-Boat-Sac animation, and the first phase of storyboarding project 1 might get up soon as well. Depends actually, I'm getting an urge to finish up that digital thingy and I might just fall on that. Tune in next time to find out!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Year 2

*dusts off blog*

cough, well just got my timetable for the 1st semester of the 2nd year, so things will be getting busy again around here in a few weeks. Hoping to put a little something up here I've been working at all summer before then though. Till then, Ill try and keep the cobwebs clear!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Island

This is it! Final animation of Year 1!

Which is of course the famous Flour sac animation, I'm pretty sure we have more flour sac assignments in year 2. Anyways, my object was an Easter Island statue. Naturally I had it shoot laser beams (and cannons as it were). I mean how would you feel if your pillow jumped in and woke you up from a one thousand year slumber? Hmm?

Anyways we had 12 seconds to do perform two jumps and some sort of interaction with the object of choice, besides that we had free reign. I actually went a half second over 12, but the part that's after the 12 second mark isn't 100% necessary, but I sure like it!

So without further ado, Mr. Flour Sac meets his end:

Yes, he taunts the statue after the first shot by waving his butt at it, bad idea buddy, bad idea.

So even though, like just about every other project I had to stay up till 4am on the last day to get it done, still happy with the results and it would be difficult to fix the issues that are there while keeping within the 12 second timeframe. This is of course because the only real issues are with the timing, the jumps come down maybe one frame too fast and a little more time for the transitions from action to action would help guide your eyes to the right places at the right time. But hey, we still get to see a flour sac get roasted by an elder statue of death, and that's all that matters right?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dog the Builder

Here's my final character design for year 1! We only had 2 character assignments this semester, weird but I'm not complaining, we were BUSY as it was.
So this assignment was basically a fusion of the last two from 1st semester, a pose sheet and an expression sheet, or all on one, either way we needed 8 of each. We had to hand it in digitally as well.
What I'm putting up is the scans I made at home. I REALLY wish I had handed these scans in, but alas I had to draw the last poses the day it was due at the school, so I had only the school scanners to use.
I thought the bad scans I got from those scanners was because I didn't really clean these up (the blue rough drawing is on the same paper) but the results I got from my scanner with the same images proves that the school scanners are in fact ridiculously dirty. I mean my scanner isn't new and it is certainly used often, and it's still so much better.
Sorry for the rant, but what are blogs for? Anyways, here's a very busy dog!

10 points for saying Precarious

Almost the end! Just one test and one digital animation to do! The animation will take all of a half hour, I'll see what other stuff from our Digital class I want to put up once I grab everything off the school network on Friday (cause they wipe everything after the end of the year).
Meantime, here's my last 2 painting projects! First up is the second half of the second-last project, the interior, you know the one 'based' on that copy of a painting I put up earlier. It's Dr. Jekyll's office/lab:
Finally, the final painting! We had to take our latest (also last) character from character design and put it in an environment. My character was a construction worker doggy, so I put him having lunch on a skyscraper. I was gonna have the skyscraper look a lot less finished, but time constraints said otherwise. That way his presence at the end of the seemingly random steel bar would make a bit more sense. Also, trying not to blatantly rip off Mirror's Edge here, but I really like that crisp blue skyscraper-cityscape.
Stay tuned, more final project uploads to come!

Monday, April 20, 2009

My workstation

Finishing up the final animation for this year. w00t!
Go figure it's now that I finally pull together a fully functional workstation at home. I know we get our own desks in 2nd year, but I like working at home, and anyways I don't think we can pencil test on Flipbook at our desks. And if we can, still I like working at home. It's homey.
I'll put up some rough work of my Flour Sac before the day is done (it has to be finished before the day is done!), but for now, behold my completed workstation arrangement:

My computer is less than a meter to the left of this desk, I can stand behind this setup with the keyboard on this desk or my chair, so I can hit the enter (capture) button, then just reach over, switch to the next drawing, capture, rinse and repeat.The lightbox is on when shooting to provide consistent and strong lighting, which is a problem with the stations at the school, they;re by the windows so the lighting condition can change while shooting. I have a line penciled on the wall showing where to tape the peg bar. Might just buy a 2nd peg bar and keep it taped there all the time.
Then to work on the drawings I just spin it around, take down the peg bar and re-stick it to the lightbox. If the webcam cord is in the way I can disconnect it on this end since it's on an extension, the webcam's original cord is very short.
Phone, speaker (I still have to get up to change songs gosh! but a few of my playlists last a few hours at least) and even my fridge are all within arm's reach. There's lots of space behind me so I can spin around and pile drawings there if the desk gets too crowded, which it always does!
So yeah at this rate I'll be like the people in Wall-E who can do everything they want without getting off their butts. Except I'm underweight, so that's at least a good place to start that habit, right?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Ant and the Dove

This is the final project for storyboarding class (or Mauryboarding as the 1st years call it), we needed to make a storyboard (surprise!) based off the Aesop fable of the Ant and the Dove, this is what I put together:
Instead of a gun the hunter is supposed to be threatening the bird with 'lime twigs' in the original fable, but hardly anyone knows what those are and even if you do, they're a REALLY boring plot device so the gun works so much better. Yes, the Dove makes an origami/papercraft sail boat to save the Ant.
Just 3 more projects and 3 tests left!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Interior Painting 1

I know, lack of posts for like a month and then BAM!

Anyways, working on our last major painting assignement. We have to paint a room interior based on a description given in a selection of book excerpts which we were provided. I chose the Jekyll and Hyde excerpt, but that's actually not the painting you'll be seeing in this post...

Cause the other part of the assignment was to find an artist whose style we wanted to emulate in some way and make a copy painting of one of their works. I really didn't have any specific artist in mind, to be honest I wouldn't be able to pin down one specific artist who drives me, but I certainly know a piece I want to emulate when I see one.

But again, I also need to find something that first off, wasn't going to be impossibly hard and secondly had close-to the same mood as the interior painting, which will be of Jekyll/Hyde's gloomy laboratory.

So I browsed around and found a piece I liked by Lou Romano, who works for Pixar, doing the voice of Alfredo in Ratatouille and is apparently the Art director for the upcoming 'Up!' (ignore the pun, it was unavoidable). I got the image from his blog here:

My version:

I used only gouache, he used acrylic and gouache. His was 11 3/4" x 23" in size where as mine is 5 3/4" x 11". Just FYI.

Next post will (hopefully) be my finished interior.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Today's in-class activity was Caricatures! No model, well we were the models, most people went up to be drawn twice, and since multiple people drew them each time there are now a LOT of portraits floating around.
I handed one in and gave one away, but in return I received two drawings of me (equivalent exchange!), one from our prof. with his signature (bet it'll fetch a pretty penny one day but totally won't sell it) and one by fellow classmate Eva, (can't seem to find her blog, not sure if she has one), both are quite excellent so thank you!
Anyways, for most of them I felt I made a good likeness, but that's just it, these ended up too much like regular portraits, exaggerate! Grrr!

^Ashley from Lame Art

^Danielle from Danie's Stuff

^Eva will never live this joke down.


^Kyle from KVMOWAT



^Vincent (Decepticons attack!)

And here's me by Eva:

And finally, me drawn by the Thurmanator (our prof Mark Thurman):
Yes, my lower half appears to have become a mannequin/pinocchio, obviously Mark was just having a little fun with this.