Q
Hey, I'm an animation student in montreal and was browsing through calarts (as always, and daydream about going) and came across your "When the time is ripe" film. I'm absolutely in love with it, (I'm also jewish so I found it hilarious), but I also got super inspired by it. our next project here at Concordia U is a "whatever-you-want" animation, but the theme is Food. so, thinking back to your film, I would love to actually animate food, but how did you do it? and draw the eyes and lip-sync?
A

Hi!  Thank you!  I’m really glad you liked it (and weren’t offended by it).  That warms my heart.

Speaking of warm, to the matter at hand: animating with food.  I discovered early on that if you use real food, the hot lights that have to be on your set all day tend to do smelly things to your characters.  So what I did was I got replica steaks made from resin, which I ordered from a theater prop company.  If you do a google search for “replica food” you’ll be surprised to see how much weird stuff is out there.

The reason it’s essential to use fake food (other than the lights) is that you want to be able to have several identical models in order to fulfill your needs for different types of shots.  For example, most of the time the puppet for Miles the pear had a handle sticking out the bottom for control.  But in the one shot where he runs out of the dining room, I had a separate puppet that had different manipulation points.

I don’t know if you plan to animate via stop-motion technique, or what the requirements are for your program, but the character bodies were actually just puppeted by hand and shot on 24fps HD.  There were holes in the bottom of the sets and the characters were being puppeted from below.  So that is also a consideration, and why I chose to restrict the setting to a family dinner where the table can hide a bunch of stuff.

What I actually shot was the steaks and pear with no faces on them, but a mark for where they would go.  I used a sharpie to get a high contrast, just one small dot does fine.  You may want to use two (I’ll explain why).

The animation was done in flash, to lipsync.  The same audio track was playing during the puppeting of the “bodies” in order to get the desired acting.  There’s no need to animate anything but the facial expressions and lipsync for the “face” animation.  I composited that using PNGs with transparency, and brought the footage and the animated floating faces into Adobe AfterEffects. 

In AfterEffects, I used to motion tracker tool to create keyframes from tracking the dots I’d drawn on the bodies, and I parented the faces to those track points.  And then you’re (half) done!  The puppets should have animated faces on their bodies.  The arms were a less precise effort.  I kind of used the same principle, kind of had to go back and forth in Flash and fudge it a bit more.

I hope that helps, good luck on your film!  Send it to me when it’s done!

It’s kind of hard to see but here’s the setup, and the puppets without the faces, versus the final product.

set

http://vimeo.com/11790948


Sad!

caseydonahue:

THIS IS TERRIBLE NEWS! King Kong, Ghostbusters, Back To The Future and now Jaws are all going to not exist. Next up is E.T. for sure, then there will be no reason for me to go to this park at all.
I’m a Disney World man anyway, we all know this.
thedailywhat:

End Of An Era of the Day: Universal Studios Florida announced yesterday on its Facebook page that it will be shuttering its iconic Jaws-themed attraction to make room for something else. 
Jaws: The Ride was one of the park’s first attractions upon opening in 1990. The entire Amity set will be removed as well as part of the renovation. 
“Jaws has been an amazing attraction and an important part of our history,” said Universal spokesman Tom Schroder. “We know that Jaws holds a special place in the hearts of our guests, but we always have to look to the future and dedicate ourselves to providing new, innovative entertainment experiences for our guests.”
Universal Studio’s track record is less than stellar when it comes to “modernizing” iconic attractions. 
In 2002, it did away with its “King Kong Kongfrontation” to make room for a Revenge of the Mummy-themed roller coaster. In 1996, it installed a Twister “experience” over a Ghostbusters stage show. 
However, word on the street is Universal Studios has something magical in store for Jaws’ old watering hole. It’s no secret that Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park has been doing significantly better since it opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year.
[sentinel.]

Sad!

caseydonahue:

THIS IS TERRIBLE NEWS! King Kong, Ghostbusters, Back To The Future and now Jaws are all going to not exist. Next up is E.T. for sure, then there will be no reason for me to go to this park at all.

I’m a Disney World man anyway, we all know this.

thedailywhat:

End Of An Era of the Day: Universal Studios Florida announced yesterday on its Facebook page that it will be shuttering its iconic Jaws-themed attraction to make room for something else.

Jaws: The Ride was one of the park’s first attractions upon opening in 1990. The entire Amity set will be removed as well as part of the renovation.

“Jaws has been an amazing attraction and an important part of our history,” said Universal spokesman Tom Schroder. “We know that Jaws holds a special place in the hearts of our guests, but we always have to look to the future and dedicate ourselves to providing new, innovative entertainment experiences for our guests.”

Universal Studio’s track record is less than stellar when it comes to “modernizing” iconic attractions.

In 2002, it did away with its “King Kong Kongfrontation” to make room for a Revenge of the Mummy-themed roller coaster. In 1996, it installed a Twister “experience” over a Ghostbusters stage show.

However, word on the street is Universal Studios has something magical in store for Jaws’ old watering hole. It’s no secret that Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park has been doing significantly better since it opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year.

[sentinel.]

(via caseydonahue)


On set with James McAndrew (November 15, 2011)

On set with James McAndrew (November 15, 2011)


Shooting a western.

Principle photography of Sweetpea begins tomorrow.  The crew is all assembled, the cameras are here, the weather looks good.  Now, nothing left to do but get a good night’s sleep.

The town.  (Barstow, CA.)

the bus station.

the motel.

the director.

the props.

the gun.


iwdrm:

“The Precogs are never wrong. But occasionally, they do disagree.”
Minority Report (2002)

if we don’t, remember me is a blog of “living movie stills” from the history of cinema.

iwdrm:

“The Precogs are never wrong. But occasionally, they do disagree.”

Minority Report (2002)

if we don’t, remember me is a blog of “living movie stills” from the history of cinema.


Here’s a piece I did for a Japan Benefit Auction yesterday at the California Art Institute in Santa Monica, along with fellow Pixar artists  Chris Sasaki and Scott Morse.  I still have to figure out what I’m doing for our own art show.  Deadlines sure do sneak up on you!

Here’s a piece I did for a Japan Benefit Auction yesterday at the California Art Institute in Santa Monica, along with fellow Pixar artists Chris Sasaki and Scott Morse.  I still have to figure out what I’m doing for our own art show.  Deadlines sure do sneak up on you!


the sweet smell of success

I recently finished reading “On Filmmaking” by Alexander Mackendrick.  Not only is the book filled with really great information about every process involved in making films, it’s written in a really concise, simple way that is easy to understand.  It doesn’t fuss over analysis by breaking everything down into weird archetypes like STORY by McKee, but distills the necessary information down to a point.  Plus, Mackendrick’s statements are given added weight by the fact that he actually directed many well-respected films.  Sorry, McKee.

I got The Sweet Smell of Success from criterion as a result, and boy can he back his sh*t up!  Great film.  Sometimes I’m sad that films don’t get made in black-and-white anymore, because they look great in the hands of the right people.  Props also to James Wong Howe.  The criterion Blu-ray is packed with interviews and docs on Mackendrick and even a cinematography tutorial by Howe.  The most striking thing is that Mackendrick is as perfectly concise and articulate in his speech as he is in his writing.

Anyway here are a few studies from the film.  Damn delicious black-and-white.




Sketch, pen and ink.
Borderlands Cafe, SF.

Sketch, pen and ink.

Borderlands Cafe, SF.


Some sketches from Spain


Ayup… a predictable turn of events.

So I knew I wasn’t going to use this blog if I restricted myself to “quality posts”.  And that’s no fun!  So I’m going to start dumping more stuff onto this one to beef it up.  Here’s something originally posted on my old blog, dead sea blog.

Biker girls continued…

So I started doing a half-assed comic as of late, and it’s been pretty fun. Drawing comics is a whole different way of thinking than storyboarding. I really had a hard time before, with panel layout and page composition, but recently I think I’ve gotten a better grip on it. That’s kind of the part where storyboarding doesn’t help you, when you’re trying to direct someone’s eye across a page from composition to composition. When I started thinking of the page as one whole image, it helped.

However! There are other comic conventions that I’m not too familiar with, either, such as inking and “spotting the blacks.” In laymen’s terms (which is the only way I understand it) spotting blacks is when you lay down ink in solid shapes to indicate form, or to strongly direct the viewer’s eye to one area of your image. It’s that bold, high contrast that zaps your eyeline right to the page. Because there is no greater contrast than black and white, this can be very effective. But if used poorly, it can have a gajillion times the opposite of the desired effect of visual clarity. It can turn stuff into a mess.

I’m trying to figure out how to simplify these shapes and shadows in a way that’s visually appealing, easy to parse, but still makes sense and evokes some kind of lighting effect… I have to say, this is hard. Are there any books on this stuff? Anyway, I doodled another biker chick, and tried out two different approaches. One is definitely more bold and dramatic, but could be distractingly so. The other is flatter, and lacks a little oomph. I’ll have to keep experimenting. If anyone has any suggestions they’d be welcome!

The attempt at inking…

an attempt at inking  The original… the original