Sunday, December 31, 2006

UGH, I can almost TASTE it!

Christmas was wonderful, the best part was it gave me something else to look forward to other then AM starting. I was distracted with my mindstorms enough to keep my calm for the most part.

I got a couple im's from some other new students on the 23rd saying they had gotten their log in info. I was green with envy! I didn't know were mine was, and just before I was going to try to email them, I checked my spam and there it was! It had been setting there since the 22nd.

Oh well. I am all signed up now. I have read all there is to read and watched all there is to watch. There isn't much there yet, just orientation stuff. I was hoping to get to view the Maya training videos I have heard so much about, but it seems I have to wait till class starts on the 8th for access to all that. For what it is worth, I have my avatar up there and somewhat of a bio, but they might be revised again before I get too far into the class. I choose billy for my avatar, I figure he is a good choice.

This is going to be the slowest week ever!

Friday, December 01, 2006

getting closer!

I just put my enrollment packet in the mail. I requested my college transcript to be sent over a few weeks ago but haven't heard from AM if they ever got it. I guess they may be waiting for the check. It should be there soon!

Also, The Illusion of Life finally came! I ordered it early in October and it was delayed a couple months. I should count my blessings, as I have talked to others who have been waiting much longer.

This book is intimidating, it is so HUGE! I don't know where to begin. I forgot how big it is. It is different then the copy I remember from my childhood. This has the same wrap around image of Pinocchio, but the one I remember had like a full color background with a cell-like transparent sheet over it with the Pinocchio character on it (like an animation cell). I wish I still had that one, it is probably worth something. Oh well, I got it for the information, not for the cool cover design.

I love the image on page 10, opposite of the Acknowledgments page. It is from Snow White where she is presenting the box with the heart clasp on it. There is something 'Pandora's box' about it, and it seems appropriate for the secrets to be revealed in the pages to follow. But, that's as interpretive as I want to get or else I risk sounding pretentious.

Just one month to go!

Friday, November 03, 2006

the best story i have seen so far in the AM final shorts

I have been on a bit of a quest lately to see what these cool AM students are working on as they wrap up their studies. Today, I came across the coolest storyline. Check it out for your self. The story applies to anyone who has worked hard to attain their dreams, because of this I think it will speak to many animation students who are doing just that.

I am really excited to see the finished product of this one. Check out the rest of the blog, there is an animated segment up there now.

another inspiring AM blog

Anyone interested in animation needs to check out this guy's blog. He is finishing up his final short for AM, but if you think it not being done kept him from getting a kick-*** gig with a major studio, you are mistaken. Apparently he has the chops to impress the powers that be over at Dreamworks!

I wish I had found this blog sooner, his stuff is amazing, I love the sushi bit.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

this just in

My enrollment packet! Just came in, now to get my check in the mail...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Open Season, fitting title

As far as studio premiers go, I think Open Season was a really great one for Sony Pictures Animation. It may prove to be 'open season' for studios other then Pixar and Dreamworks to be able to turn out some quality entertainment. Yea, the story is the same old "animals on an odyssey" we've seen in just about every other animated feature, but it wasn't terrible. There were some one-liners that gave me a chuckle

- Yeah, we'll need your nuts!
- And your acorns, too!

Yes, the story was acceptable, but the animation was amazing. Here is where I think the previews fell short. The fur on the bear was beautiful. The poses and extremes were top-notch. There is some classic stuff here.

That's enough from me, go see it!

fipper book madness

I was reading about the history of animation in the 'kit, and he calls them 'flipPER books' and I think that sounds cool, so that is what I am going to be calling them from now on. Any whooo, check out what happens when you work too long on one.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

a day in the life of Rick O'Connor

So, I needed a break today. Work has been crazy. This 20 hour/week contract I have been working on has been more like 50 hours a week for the past few weeks. It is all good because with AM starting in a couple of months, I need all the 'ka-ching' I can gather. And, since I am not in classes this quarter, I have some extra time for the work.

In search of my latest AM fix, I check out the thread over at cgsociety. Nothing really new there. My next stop was a tab I had open from last night. It was on AM's site, were I had discovered their free articles. This particular article was very interesting. Written by Rick O'Conner, a lead animator over at ILM, walks you through a typical day. It was very interesting to read about the 'Willy Wonka' -like atmosphere of his workplace, as well as the ins and outs of his day.

After a full day of reference footage, storyboarding, and a long lunch of McDonald's and "Deadwood" on HBO, he heads off home around 7 to the arms of his four year old.

My chinese just arrived, enjoy the article!

Monday, October 23, 2006

i am IN!

I got the Congrats email from AM today, welcoming me. The email from AM said the next step was compete the registration process on Nov. 30. Nothing about the deposit that I knew needed to be in by Oct. 25, so I called. It took a few hours, but I finally got someone who said the deposit email was going out in a few minutes. I wish the email had said something like that. I got voice mail every time I tried to call, so I am guessing they were busy with others when the same question.

Enough of that, I got the link, paid my $$ and now I am all set for Nov. 20!!!

This is a dream come true for me. I have wanted this for so long, and now I am so very close! I can't wait 'till I get in and see who my mentor is!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

still waiting (on EVERYTHING)

So, it's been a little more then a week since I took 'the test' and I still haven't heard anything about if I got in or not. I and emailed them soon after to ask if I would hear back in time to make the deposit by the 25 of Oct, but I've gotten nothing back.

Also, still waiting on the books from Amazon. The Animator's Survival Kit said it was in stock, so I emailed about the hold up. They were nice enough to bump up the shipping to standard and I should get it by tuesday! I am very excited. I've been working with djo and jonas with some basics in Maya and they both (as well as many others) talk up this book. I can't wait to test it out!

I've added a new blog (there are SO many good ones out there). Please check out Rebecca's Blog. She seems to be a very helpful presence over at cgtalk, and has some great examples of work out of AM. Anything to get my AM fix.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

new AM blog added

There are a LOT of AM blogs out there, it's hard to check them all out. As I am working my way back through the huge AM thread over at cgtalk, I see some posters more frequently then others. One calls himself "My Fault"

I checked out his blog where he talks about his ideas for his upcoming short. As an added bonus, he also a Venture Brothers fan! Check out his blog here, or in the links to the side of the page.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

new links area / AM test

I've started a new links area here for portfolios and blogs. I might split it up in the future, see how long it gets. Might also get rid of those other links, idunno.

In other news, I got my email about the test for AM! I did what I could in the 8 minutes they allowed. I got to answer 24 or 25 before it quit on me. I've heard the total is 30 but not everyone finishes. I should hear back with in 2 weeks. I emailed AM because 2 weeks would be 26, a day late for the Oct. 25 deadline for deposits to get this years rate. Oh well, I can only hope!

I've already met some cool guys that are waiting to start AM with me. Jonas and Joost who are from Germany and the Netherlands, respectively. It will be quite the international event once we get started!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

google gets youtube

I pulled up cgsociety today and saw an interesting article on the front page. Apparently, google has purchased youtube. I wonder how this will affect users like me who have content on both? I don't have much of a preference personally, though youtube seems to be more popular and have more interesting content. I started with google, because I like the idea of keeping all my content together. Google has my email, calendar, photos, timelogs, etc, why not my video? The only reason I started using youtube to host my videos is because google started having a 10 sec. minim for uploaded videos and some of my stuff was being rejected because it was too short. For instance, my bird flapping. Yea, it looks silly because it is so sort, but it is supposed to loop. Perhaps google getting youtube will allow both to combine into something better. Perhaps they will have new features, like looping!!!

Anyway, we will have to wait and see, i guess.

Monday, October 09, 2006

applied to animation mentor

after about a year of debating, at 10:08pm last night i submitted my application to Animation Mentor. i spent about a week working on the essay part of my application. i am waiting to see if i get accepted, but everyone i have talked to (or read) over at cgsociety as said not to worry. apparently, no one has ever heard of anyone not getting accepted. i still have my fingers crossed that i hear back in time to get my deposit in for the oct. 25 cut-off for this year's rate.

also wanna say hello to D. Jonas Manke, he is also going to be starting at AM this jan. Check out his blog here.

another cool AM blog I came across is found here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

new blog backend - labels!

I was going to update my blog, and was presented with a new blog editor that is in beta. I'm always a sucker for the new and barely tested (it's a wonder I still have all my appendages) so I am giving it a whirl. Brought to you by the brilliant minds at Google, the new blog features labels.

I wanted this blog to be about my work, and the work that I feel is done and presentable. There was no place for news, WIP's or just plain experimentation. The result was several unfinished pieces and some tests were cluttering up my blog. Now, everything can be filtered. Click on the label 'portfolio' to see my finished work and everything else will be filtered out.

"IIIIIIIIIIIIII love technologyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy"

Monday, October 02, 2006

another old maya render


This was to be my entry for the 'journey' challange over at 3dsociety. I was going to have a guy at work for his first day. It was when I first started with Maya. I was trying to force myself to learn it. In the end, I just ran out of time. I wish I had just done it with blender.

unfinished venice scene

This was from the Maya class that took last year. It fulfilled the requirements (and then some) but I wanted to go back to it and finish it. But, I got more and more involved in Blender and never went back to it. I am posting it here because it is one of the few projects I have done that I found a sketch and reference picture for. As you can see, I sketch almost as well as I model :)

introducing billy

If you checked out my 10secondclub entry below, you billy, my little star. OK, he's not yet. But he wants to be and I am supportive.

But seriously, I am proud of billy. He is my first original character. He isn't perfect (his hands just have 3 bones in them) but I think he turned out nice for a first try. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and make him more sophisticated as I am working on a couple other new characters. But, I did what to take a few minutes to show more of his character. The 10secondclub thing was a great test, but I don't want billy typecast as a dark figure. So, here he is, flashing you his pearly-whites. Well, he doesn't have teeth really, but if he did, they would be white. As an added bonus, he works well as my avatar.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

new blogger home

So, I really wanted to make my own blog work, but it became too much work to moderate comments. It was crazy how many spam comments I would get. I wouldn't check it for a few days, and when I came back there were actually hundreds of messages about enlarging your who-who, among other things.

So, I leave it to people better then me. Blogger has been doing this forever, so I'll deffer to them about how to handle the random comment from "asian beaver pornnxb" (what the hell does nxb mean anyway?)

Now I can focus on why I started this blog: to track my progress as an aspiring character animator and 3d modeler.

I hope you find something interesting. If you do, please comment!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

'the ultimate evil' lyp-sync demo for

Here is an entry I did for, based on what I learned in the tutorial I finished earlier.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New Character Animation

It's been a while since I have been able to update this blog. A lot has happened in the world of Blender. A few months ago, Elephants Dream was released. This is an open source short developed in Blender. In developing Elephants Dream, the creators made lots of improvements to Blender and with Blender's latest release, there is a heap of new features. Additionally, there is all this new documentation coming out of Blender's Summer of Documentation that blows the existing stuff out of the water. I've learned a great deal from the existing wiki (noob to pro, etc.) but one of these new tutorials seemed to double my skill set in character design and rigging (not that I had much skill in this area yet anyway).

Check it out

Anyway, here is what I got out of it:

Thanks, Ryan Dale, you rock!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Room fly-through, Maya

This is a fly through of the room I did. It is compressed for the web, and the frame rate is crap because I rendered it with raytracing (the refelectons in the windows) and that takes FOR EVER. This took about 6 hours to render.

Stereo Test - Maya

This is a little test I did. I tried to make a stereogram. The idea is if you cross your eyes and make the two images one, you should see some depth.

It doesn't work as well as it could. I don't have much range of depth in this composition. I will try again in the future.

Project 1 (Animation II) - Maya

Back to school! I was trying to get a head start on Maya before classes started. This quarter I finally get to take a class that deals with 3d Modeling! Animation II is the class I have been waiting for since I transferred to UC.

This is our first project, it wasn't even graded. It was just to get our feet wet. The assignment didn't even ask for a render, it was just to place some primitives. I decided to make the project into an exercise in glass textures.

The preview image shows how I composited two renders together. The only way I could get the colored shadows was to make the material clear. With them clear, you can't see the HDRI reflection. As far as I know right now, I didn't see any other way to have both.

Let me know what you think, thats what the comments are for!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bird flying - Maya

This is also from that same book, "The Learning Maya 6 Handbook."

It's supposed to loop, but, youtube, whatchagonnado?

Lucky Cat - Blender, Fireworks

I've used Blender off and on for years, never did anything that great with it. This was me playing at school with Blender (gotta love that easy install, you can run it anywhere! Permissions, be gone!) I found it easier to use since I had been teaching myself Maya.

It didn't start out as a lucky cat, just sorta ended up that way. The minimal detail is sort of japonisme, so I finished it of by relearning UV Texture Mapping.

I'm most proud that this is an original of mine. No tutorial.

Room, Night - Maya

This is my first full project in Maya. From start to finish, I used "The Learning Maya 6 Handbook."