2009 Can you smell the animation in the air?

Wooooowser! 2009 and it's an exciting time to be an animator! There are some really good lookin' movies coming out this year! I'm getting more and more excited about starting production on my short when I see this. I finally feel like I'm ready and confident enough to attempt it (as far as my animation skills are concerned)! I know it's going to be a massive challenge and a major struggle at some points, but that's how you learn and become better. I'm making good progress on my two person shot and feel like I'm going to have time to really polish it and put on my new demo reel.

Now, let's talk about some movies coming out this year that I'm getting excited for:
Pixar's new movie Up... the animators are saying that it's their best one yet... I know they always say that, but they seem to excel and get better and more defined each movie they make. Dreamworks has some fresh original animation coming out this year in Monsters Vs. Aliens, I'm really excited, I was starting to lose faith in their animation with all the Shrek sequels that weren't very entertaining, and then they totally redeemed themselves with Kung Fu Panda...
9 looks amazing, a unique world with an interesting style out of the ordinary! Another one I'm really excited for is Ice Age 3. The first one was great, the second one was nowhere close. I think I'm really excited to see this one because I actually know a bunch of people that worked on it. Students from Animation Mentor mostly, they took off from school to go and work on it. Lost and Found comes out this year... it's from a smaller studio called Studio AKA, a girl in my class from Brazil told me about it. It's a children's book, and like 9 the style is so magical and original, it looks like it really captures the essence of what you can do with 3D. I wish Maddon was older, because I would totally be going with him.

And last but not least is Planet 51. This one just looks like a fun movie, crazy interaction between aliens and humans on their planet! So overall it looks like a great year for animated movies! One that I don't know anything about and is an old children's book is Cloudy with Chance of Meatballs by Sony Animation. I'm looking forward to seeing some trailers on that one.

Till next time... keep on truckin'.


Finally.... the long wait is over.

I can watch movies they way they are intended! This has been years in the making. We finally got a new HDTV! We ended up going with the 50" plasma TV 720p. I didn't need or want the fancy 1080p TV so I went the less resolution and bigger picture, and it was a fantastic decision!So far I've watched: Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Cars, Bug's Life, Monster's Inc., The Incredibles and Horton Hears a Who! It's amazing how great the picture is! I did do some research and found out that plasma TVs are better if you watch a lot of movies. We definitely watch our share of movies, since we don't really go to movies anymore (because of the little guy)this was a wise purchase. I'm officially addicted to watching movies at home again!



So in the past year I've been completely enthralled in animation, learning it, doing it, watching it and studying it. I just have to say, lately it's completely blown my mind. I referring mostly to the movies that I've seen in the past year. The list is as follows: Bolt, Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, Horton Hears a Who, Igor and now Coraline. All the movies were totally entertaining and the stories in each movie was great and compelling. And of course the animation was completely awesome in every way. It really does inspire me to keep on learning and practicing more animation. First, let's talk about the one movie of the year that didn't impress me.

Recently, I saw Madagascar 2, although there were some really funny lines and a couple of cool scenes (like the plane crash), the story and concepts are completely played out and it was almost like they didn't take the extra time and focus on the story. Granted they did their research and went on a giant safari in Africa, that showed in the movie, but they should have spent a lot more time on story development. I think one of the major things that Pixar excels in over any other studio (especially Dreamworks) is their environments. Especially the Madagascar franchise. Their environments are too realistic. I'm not sure exactly how Pixar does it, but if you look at Cars for instance, they do such a great job in making a photo-realistic environment that is exaggerated just enough to make it cartoony and magical. The environment in Madagascar 2 was too realistic, in the special features they were showing comparison images, from what they captured from the safari and the 3D scene from the movie, it looked exactly the same. Where's the magic in that, recreating a completely realistic environment that's in a 3D movie... what's the point? My opinion in 3D is this: you have the ability to do whatever you want and make things look whatever way you want them to, total control. So why not make the trees have a little more exaggerated personality, or the rocks... enough about Madagascar. One last thing, the animation was awesome again! I love the style of the quick and snappiness of it, really cool looking and fun to watch... moving on.

Trying to list these in order from my best to worse is pretty hard, they all had such great qualities and in my opinion were awesome in their own way... but here goes: Bolt, Wall-E, Kung Fu Panda, Horton, Coraline and finally Igor. Igor was decent, it was a good story and overall the style was cool, but it was lacking something, I'm not sure if it's empathy for the characters or the lack of compassion you feel for the situations throughout the movie. The first four listed are truly amazing movies; I will own them all when they become available and watch them over and over.
If you haven't seen any of the ones listed above, go and check them out....

This is getting way too long, my intention was to talk about the movies I fancied (I guess I'll save that for a later time)... so I'm going to leave you with a trailer from Coraline, which is the first 3D movie with 3D glasses I've seen in over 20 years. I forgot how fun it is.... and soo cool! Oh, plus this is the studio my current mentor is working at.....


Finally completed....

Or at least as much completed as it's going to be, for now.... By that I mean there's always something that I see, or someone else sees and points out that can be tweaked. It's true what they say, an artists work is never done. This definitely holds true in animation. This is the monologue shot that I've been working on since November 08. I was looking back at some of the early stages of the shot and didn't realize how many changes are made to these shots. From my planning/video reference to the early blocking of animation. This piece really transformed and I like the direction that it took. I think the big thing was the feedback that I got. With animation I'm always trying to be original and entertaining with the shots that make, all while trying to learn. It's a tricky situation, but challenging none-the-less. I got tons of feedback from my peers and from 2 different mentors that have different background and styles. That really made a difference in the shot. I was noticing (as well as other) that the shot looked like it was stop-motion as soon as I added the lip sync. My mentor (Greg Kyle) was saying that I need to go through and smooth out those tangents. I was really struggling with that so I asked him if I could send him my Maya file for him to look 'under the hood' and term used in animation to see what's going on in the graph editor. He did, looked at it and gave some good feedback and then fixed a small portion of it to show me what he was talking about, and holy crap just the 12 frames that he fixed made the world of difference to the shot. He then sent me back the Maya file that he worked so I could see what he did to it. I think that has been my biggest break through thus far. So I'm going to post my first blocking pass and the final so you can see what I'm talking about. It's amazing how much you learn with these assignments and how the school really does work.

First pass.

Final pass (at least for now).