Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sightings on My Way to San Francisco

Addam and I woke up early this morning to get ready for our 10 hour trip to San Francisco, California. I woke up at 5:30 am, and it was so tiring! The reason for this trip, since some of you might ask, is for the Animation Mentor BBQ on Sunday, August 1st!

After I was done getting ready, I woke Addam up at 6:30 am, and it was his turn. We finished packing, and headed towards downtown, to pick up Matt and Julia to join on the trip.

This is what happened after we picked them up, and hit highway I-5 South within a couple of minutes:

Such a cute couple =]

This was what Addam was doing, the whole time on the trip:

He was our responsible driver, and thank you Mom for loaning us the car!

So after a couple of hours, we stopped in Medford for gas, and a much needed munchie break. As we were refueling, and freshening up, I noticed a place that had a VERY interesting sign that said:

Addam had such a laugh just seeing it, and telling me:
"Back when I was in prison, they called me the Lube Express." (He was never in prison, just for the few who are taking this seriously - it's a joke.) And he sure enjoyed laughing a few more minutes trying to elaborate on the story.

After lunch at Burger King, we headed to Ashland to grab Julia a much needed treat of coffee from the Dutch Brothers, and a rare treat it was 'cause of their location in Portland.

Ashland, as we were passing by, was such a nice quaint little town, and it made me feel like I'd 'fit in' due to the illusion of the size of buildings, or perhaps everything was just that perfect size. Sort of like Goldilocks and the 3 bears! Which I am Goldilocks if course. Here's a brief photo of part of Ashland:

Here are a few pictures I took once we crossed over to California, and was 5 to 6 hours away from San Francisco.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Cheesecake Factory & Malibu Raceway Made the Day an Awesome One

Yesterday, July 29, 2010, Addam took me to hang out with some of his fellow co-workers at Hive-FX at the Cheesecake Factory. It was really pleasant, and everyone was so nice, packed full of personalities! After dinner, we sang happy birthday to Justin, and he had a very nice birthday cheesecake which he offered to everyone around the table.

Afterwards, we went to Malibu Raceway to have some awesome fun! Look! I got my very FIRST Malibu Raceway racing license!

Here are some pictures of all of us getting ready to race. I've been bumped several times from behind and from the side when the race got a little more interesting, and competitive. It was a good thing we didn't get any warnings or kicked out, but there were some cones that fell, and lawns that experienced some tires rolling over them, but it was the adrenaline, and fun that made it all worth it!

Overall, the day spending it with Addam and the Hive-FX crew was AWESOME!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AM Assignment 5: Anticipation, Squash & Stretch

Okay, so onto this weeks assignment which has many parts to it. I have my work cut out for me with doing 2 revisions from assignment 3 and 4, and doing this weeks assignment which is animation a ball through an obstacle course. To top it off, I'm also observing what people do when they are devastated, and sketching it out, and then using the 3D character provided by Animation Mentor Online, and posing the chosen sketch pose I've done.

Currently right now, I'm seeing if I'm completely satisfied with my planning for the obstacle course for the ball to interact with, and then revising my previous animation scenes. I have finished doing some sketches of devastation poses, which you can see below:

The one I've decided to do is circled in red. Here's what it looks like with the 3D character:

The character is devastated.

Right now, I am still working on the animation part, so more updates will be posted up soon.

**Note** 3D character provided by Animation Mentor Online.

AM Assignment 4: Timing & Spacing

For the fourth week at Animation Mentor Online, we were taking a closer look to study timing and spacing in further detail. My first bouncing ball assignment, originally, was lacking the full comprehension of spacing, and the timing was close, but no cigar quite yet. I was a little disappointed as I've stated in my earlier post, but hey, it's a learning experience. 

What I learned at Ai, a couple of years ago, just lacked that particular in-depth study (in the 3D aspect). In 2D, however, I came to appreciate the manual work of knowing the timing and spacing it took for each drawing to give the ball the correct bounce, weight as well as roll. I decided to go back, rewatched my eCritique online from Victor, and revised my single bouncing ball. I got into the rhythm, and got a little more comfortable with the assignment, and then started my next assignment, which was doing two bouncing ball: heavy ball versus a light ball.

I got confused at first on whether we had the option of choosing which heavy ball to compare with which light ball, but it was up to my preference. I originally went with a bowling ball versus a beach ball, and then freaked out when I saw that the i.e., said "ping-pong ball vs. bowling ball" or "beach ball vs. cannonball". But by now, I've decided to stick with the cannonball vs. the beach ball.

I sat down, and started my planning phase, so I'd have a clear idea of what it would look like visually before I physically animated the two balls in Maya, and here's the image of my planning phase:

Once I was satisfied, I spent a couple of days animating the two bouncing balls in Maya. I had a lot of fun, as well as frustrations from time to time, but it was all a wonderful learning experience. After all that, I finally finalized it to this animation:


**Note** After my eCritique on Sunday night from Victor, I know what I need to change and adjust, and I will post an updated version of my animation on this post soon.

Here's my latest update, Victor said just a tiny adjustment before both of the balls drop, I should watch out for the speed increase, so I will fix it.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

David Lobser is Awesome

I made this image more artistic =)

I was lucky to have met David Lobser on the last day of my internship on July 15, 2010. He's a very nice, down-to-Earth guy, who's from Colorado, but is currently living in New York (a city I'm afraid to visit- but would like to someday...). He came to Portland to add in his creative input as a director, and also on his spare time to hang out with friends and just have fun. And I'm still in awe that I got a chance to meet him!

Oh, before you read any further, check out his website to see his AMAZING work. I'm pretty sure many of you have seen this commercial on TV:

Love & Sockets: Frito-Lay Chips & Dips

Isn't it just, "wow"? I want some Frito-Lay chips and dips now...
Anyways, David was raving about how awesome Teddy was, and at first, I didn't know what he was talking about. I kept thinking, "teddy bear"? But it was a program that creates 3D polygon mesh from a sketching interface. Does anyone remember using the Paint program to just create simple art in the early days? (Image shown on the below)

Teddy is similar to this, but even more simplified. Every time you're done drawing, it creates a polygon that has triangulated mesh instead of being all quads (for those of you who are modelers, or understand the terms 3D artists use). It can be pretty painful to clean up if you want to put it into ZBrush, or any programs that require the mesh to be all quads, and other things such as rigging, and making a model perfectly smooth. 

I think David did a good job using Teddy partially and fully in some of his work, that you can find on his website. Again, I'm still in awe thinking about it. I downloaded the program (which is free, and small in size), and played around with it. I think it's absolutely fun to use, and I hope to implement it into some of my future side projects.

I got a chance to hang out with David for a couple of days, and it was a very fun journey. Getting a chance to do a one-day-internship, listening in to several groups of people having conversations about a book that was just published at Powell's Book Store, eating very interesting food, learning a brief history on witchcraft and zombi and weird drugs people took that did awful things, drinking carrot juice (and being grossed out that there are ginger juices you can get), and game night. VERY eventful.

This blog is to remind me that I met an awesome artist, name David Lobser, and to let him know, that he is awesome!

Some of David's work that you can find on his website.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Zoo Makes Me Depressed

Addam took me to the Oregon Zoo today, and I was amazed my experience this time was way different than what it was when I was a child. I remember being all excited about being able to see all these animals with my own eyes in real life, rather than staring at the television and listening to a voice narrating what was going on. I would be come so amazed at all the beauty and wonder that the zoo offered, and even the smell didn't bother me as much.

Now, coming back to visit, I just feel sad, that these animals are 'held captive' in an enclosed area, and put up for display to the public. That's not the kind of life any normal wild animal should have. But hey, it's probably better than what is going on with animals losing their homes and food, and are dying in large numbers because humans can't seem to care enough about their existence.

We were at the zoo late in the afternoon, so I was thankful there wasn't a large crowd of people, especially in the 90+ degrees we were having over the weekend. I told Addam that visiting the zoo was a nice way of getting some good vitamin D (since I've been animating all week, and barely cared to see the sun). I find that walking around the home, the store and tackling my dog to be very entertaining then burning my pale skin in the sun. All-in-all, a fun trip and sight to have to relax the muscles and mind.

Addam and I were lazy at taking tons of pictures that day, and the ones we did of animals, you can see, we like hippopotamus, a lot. They're just such interesting creatures, and I love how they 'dance' under water. Definitely more graceful than when they are on land.

My one favorite spot at the Oregon Zoo is visiting the lorikeets. They're such beautiful birds, and just fun to feed, pet and watch. I have a parrot at home for a pet (a white-face cockatiel), which I raised since she was 10 days old, and I named her Lu (she is definitely a female). Here are a couple of nice pictures I took of the lorikeets, which were several inches away from the camera:

I hope to visit the Oregon Zoo again, this time to sketch and have fun, artistically. Until then, I have to keep thinking that the animals are having an awesome life, living in the zoo, because all their needs are being met.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Shall Break The Curse of the Raven!

I payed a visit to Matthew Bickerstaff, (who was my boss while I was a student at The Art Institute of Portland, working as a lab monitor and technology service center tech (?)- and also an Ai classmate because he also attended school there for some time, and most importantly, an awesome friend!) He's so knowledgeable, and full of stories as well as opinions and ideas that help keep conversations very interesting as well as entertaining.

That's Matthew Bickerstaff. 
(One of many amazing people I know!)

I was heading to Ai to touch base with him with The Raven Short that he started a while back, and wants to finish so it can be entered into film festivals, and just having it done.

Here's a brief summary I've copied from the website, so you get the idea what the short is about:

Ravens is a short film written, directed and produced by Matthew Bickerstaff, that tells the story of a half-faerie college girl that opposes her controlling mother to lift a curse on her brother, while attempting to defend her mundane life at all costs. Part of a larger story written by Bickerstaff, Ravens focuses on the main character Julia Ravens as she returns from the police station with a closed police investigation to find the answer to her bother’s disappearance. Julia battles her overbearing mother to end the curse only to find that she scarifies more than she bargained for to free her brother.

We were talking about how it seems like the raven is a curse in itself, and whoever tries to contain, it's powers are too great for the handler, and they just vanish without a trace! (Okay, not so much that, but just the endless results that has occurred while the short was  trying to be completed.) I offered my assistance as the animator for the raven, and I can't wait to get started, and complete it! The raven's powers are no match for my own! At least in my world, the raven doesn't stand a chance, and it will cower to ME!

Well, we will be putting in our efforts and creativity to finish it once and for all, and do our little "happy raven dance" (right Matthew? - Right!) So for now, I will find the answer to break the curse! Until then, the battle continues...

I stalked some crows as they were trying to sneak away with some left-overs on the ground.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Charming, but is Lacking Something...

I went to go see "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" today with Addam at the 6pm showing at Lloyd Center Mall, and I could say it was enjoyable to watch, and some parts of the story got me giggling because it was just ridiculous! Such as getting trapped in an urn for 10 years! Or there are different magical items you have on that allows you to do sorcery. I'm not saying I don't like it, but to me, I just feel like there's just a lack of 'something' that is making this film a bit awkward from one moment to the next.

Overall, I felt uninterested in the story, it felt rushed in the climax and resolution. It gave me no kick of excitement because, we didn't have enough time to build-up empathy for the character, and the reasoning as to how or why the main character suddenly was able to achieve his goal, even though he's the 'chosen one'.

I'm not a real big fan of Nicolas Cage because I just felt like his acting from time to time just confuses me. Like his emotions, sometimes I just feel like he lacks that particular moment where the emotion is critical to capture the audience's heart, but somehow in this movie, I'd buy a majority of the emotions he was going through.

The visual effects sure gave a nice flavor to the movie. I loved the fire, the water, the sparks that fly, as well as the cool CG that's incorporated throughout the movie. The scene where the character Dave (the young apprentice - played by Jay Baruchel) uses magic to clean up his underground lab was fun to watch, and it's a nice reference to Walt Disney's Fantasia part, where Mickey abuses the use of magic, and got the naughty tsk, tsk from the sorcerer. Here's that part for your enjoyment:

Overall, it was nice knowing we had a friend, Nathan Arbuckle, that contributed to the film, so seeing his name in the credit was a nice touch. At the very end, we're left pondering, "will there be a sequel?" Because it seemed like it could be possible.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Queen Inspires Me

I know it might be lame to some people, if I told you that I just discovered who the band Queen is. I just got done researching their "history" over the past centuries. I read in depth on the band members and all the songs they've performed. Thanks to Glee, "Bohemian Rhapsody" got stuck in my head, and I kept listening to it OVER, and OVER again (for like the past 3 hours total this week). I realized that their songs got me into rhythm to do work, and it's very entertaining for me. Since I'm glued to the screen most of the time, I needed something to help me move.

"Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen

So for now, Queen is my inspiration to keep me in beat for animating, and their songs are doing a pretty good job! Oh, "The Miracle" is also very entertaining to watch - due to the way Freddie Mercury movies, and how well balanced he is, while performing, and these kids are just simply amazing!

"The Miracle" - Queen

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thank you Hinge Digital!

Today was my last day at Hinge Digital as their Look Development intern. I would like to give much thanks to the three wonderful founders at Hinge Digital: Roland Gauthier, Michael Kuehn, and Alex Tysowsky, for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to work with them, and learn through the whole process. These guys are so awesome! I also wanted to thank everyone else at work, for the excellent card and the thoughtful gifts, but I adore most what every 'Hingers' wrote.

To show how much I really care about Hinge Digital, I decided to do a temporary picture of me taken with the 3 founders (for now, until I drop by to visit for a much appropriate photo shoot, as well as some nice munchies!)

This was a scan from the going away card that I received (which was edited, and composited with the guy's head shots from their website - much thanks to Roland's advice). From LEFT to RIGHT: Michael, Alex and Roland (there's me in the center!)

Whoever took this picture did a great job, don't you think?

**Side note** Card was from American Greetings.

AM Assignment 3: First Pass of the Bouncing Ball *UPDATE*

After my Q&A with Victor Navone, and the rest of my (awesome!) class, I was all fired up! Since Monday, I have been doing some animation test in Maya, to get a feel of animation all over again. I've been away from animating in 3D for a while, and I need to get back in the groove. I was also getting more acquainted with the graph editor, and understanding it better. Mr. Dope Sheet and I are best friends!

So after the warm-ups from a couple of days, I have happily settle down, and gotten my planning phase done:

I have moved on to the blocking phase in Maya. Here's an initial video clip of my playblast of my bouncing ball assignment:

I am bouncing a soccer ball (that's not brand new).

The ball does penetrate through the geometry (because I was paying more attention to the timing - and will go back to fix it). Overall, I think it's a good initial start.

More to come later!

UPDATE - July 25, 2010

Wow, so it's been 10 days since I've last updated this particular post. I can't believe time just flew by so fast! The last I remembered, I was researching and planning out my animation, and then blocking it in Maya, and posting it up for critique, and here I am, posting up my next assignment online, revising this assignment and posting it up, and now going on to the next assignment. Ahhh! It's just so crazy! Crazy fun, that is.

Well, let see here. I left a video clip (found above) of my blocking stage, and I have finalized it, but the animation itself, wasn't very good. I felt slightly ashamed or maybe embarrassed after watching my online eCritique. Why? I did it wrong, or didn't grasp the concept of timing and spacing. I had the concept down, the right placements of the extremes, but my understanding of timing and spacing in a simple ball animation wasn't quite there yet.

So I did feel bad for about an hour, because I knew I could do better- and yes, I can, and I will. So after trial and error, I started with a fresh attitude, more determined, and just told myself, "I want to succeed, and I will seek help, and try my best to make sure I succeed." Being successful brings this sort of pride, and warm happiness that makes me feel all fuzzy inside. That's what I'm trying to aim for. And so I revised my scene.

I spent a majority of my time understanding the timing I had for the poses, and all the properties the ball should act if I were to make it believable. I then started to understand the graph editor more, and took it slow, enjoying the process. Overall, it definitely got me into the rhythm of things, and I was happy of the outcome, and here it is:

Revision of the bouncing ball. 
(Intended to be a soccer ball)

I know there are definitely rooms for improvements, and I'm happy to make it better, but from where I started, I am proud of this revision.

I've made some more revision, and here's my latest version. Victor told me it's almost close, but I just need to slow down the roll before it falls, so far so good =)


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cool Findings Number: 001

I've seen many cool things around me, and I thought it's time that I start sharing it on my blog for you (just for fun- so you'll have some facts, ideas or entertainment). Whatever you want to call it.

So, Addam decided to send me tons of links via IM, and the one he gave me, that I just can't help but play around with was this bald fellow:

No point in clicking on the image, I did a screen-capture, because on the original site, there's no way I could have embedded this for you to play with! It's totally a fun self-entertainment game. You just change the expression on the character, and WHA-LA! You've created the most interesting expressions that could be possible.

The character and expressions were created by Ian (which is what is shown on his deviant art page), the project was a small demo, to demonstrate the facial expression system as part of a Flash game project. Although the character is not aesthetically unique to look at, and rather generic, the programmed controls really make it worth while (in my opinion)

So, if you're bored, and can be entertained easily, I recommend you give it a few clicks here and there, and just have fun! Click HERE, to go to the website containing this fun demo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

AM Assignment 3: Research on The Bouncing Ball & Showing Excitement!

I'm doing some research in the different types of ball bounces, and seeing how fast each ball takes before they lose momentum in their bounce, and the weight of the different types of balls.

Observation is always key to understanding the concept of how living things as well as inanimate things move. After I collect as much observation for the bouncing ball, I will be off to observe the many 'excited' people there could possibly be all around me (minus those who are being affected by the economy- they will come in handy later).

Here are a couple of reference videos I've found:

This one is so excellent because you get to see a variety of balls bouncing.

Very excellent example of a basketball traveling while bouncing.

Here are some image studies of people showing "excitement":

Update: July 16. 2010

I have some sketches on how a person or people would demonstrate excitement:

I find excitement to be very cliche; easy to  draw out and pose, but difficult to impress someone since it's been overused. However, it doesn't mean that it adds a bit of kick to what's going on for the character that makes them extremely happy. Here's my 3D  pose of the character, from the chosen pose (that's circled in red):

Talk about World Cup 2010? I never watched it, but just hearing other people talk about it, I can get the idea - and congratulations to Spain for winning the 2010 World Cup (which is a soccer tournament for those of you who are clueless). Many of those who are fanatics about soccer, this is what happens when their favorite team wins!

**Side note** props are courtesy of Turbo Squid and 3D character from Animation Mentor.

AM Assignment 2: Observe and Recreate it

As I've mentioned earlier about the first assignment I had to do at Animation Mentor online school, which was to observe my surroundings of what people were doing in their daily lives, and sketch it out. Then I could choose from one of those sketches, and recreate the pose using the 3D character provided. I should be giving myself the big disappointed shake because I don't do that at all, or take it for granted. So, from now on, I'll be carrying a sketch pad with me, and just observe artisically than just visually. Capturing it makes you more in tuned with how the mechanics of things work.

It's very difficult to just draw a pose while it's in motion, because it doesn't always land in that exact position again, so it's cool to be able to do a quick sketch to capture the line of action and the placement of major parts in the body, such as the hips, shoulders, spines as well as the hands and feet. Facial expression is just the cherry on top of the icing, and usually distracts me away from what the pose is doing (in my opinion). But I try my best. Kids are the hardest, especially when they can run around. Babies however are quite easy to sketch, because I could always get them to stop what they're doing just by seeing how unbalanced they are trying to get from point A to point B (they're just too darn cute!)

Not the sexiest of sketches you'll ever see, but it helps me get the idea of what I've captured. Thanks to all the guys I'm currently working with at Hinge Digital, during my lunch break, and minor breaks, I was able to capture quick sketches of their poses (sometimes without their knowledge, and thanks guys for the inspiration!). The one I've chosen is the person being so focused on the monitor (sorry for lack of props in the sketches), I just loved how the body relaxes, yet tense in concentration.

Here's my result in posing that selected pose from the sketch to the 3D character:

(On the LEFT) is the character in the final beauty render, which was fully lit, and all propped out, and (on the RIGHT) is the character in silhouette without any props, so you can get a clear idea what the pose looks like. Originally, I had the feet tangent to each other so it spelled out the number "4", and the arms were doing the same thing and in silhouette, it wasn't easy to read, and created twinning. I received a lot of helpful critiques from my AM peers, and went back and experimented with eliminating the tangents, and twinning effects, as well as exaggerating some areas in the pose. I also played around with various camera placements and angles, but it changed the mood, as you can see with the 2 images below:

Overall, I tried to keep true to the original sketch, but with minor tweaks, I think it turned out pretty good, what do you think?

**SIDE NOTE** props used were courtesy of Turbo Squid & 3D character used belongs to Animation Mentor.

Monday, July 12, 2010

WOW! Has It Been 3 Weeks?!

I can't believe I'm on my 3rd week at Animation Mentor! Time sure flies by fast, and I'm enjoying every single second of it. If I knew about Animation Mentor when I graduated high school 4 years ago, I would have signed up, and wouldn't have had a headache through those long 4 years at the Art Institute of Portland. But the reward for going to the Art Institute of Portland were the many awesome individuals I befriended. Though the Art Institute of Portland's community in animation couldn't compare to Animation Mentor, they both have their charms, and I am grateful, and wouldn't change it for the world.

When I first logged into the student hub at Animation Mentor to get acquainted with it, I was just so amazed. Getting to know other people who were learning the same things as me was amazing. Those who were at the end of their journey, were sharing their experience and advices, and those who just started, shared the same excitement, fears, and anxiety as me, but that feeling really made me want to try my best.

It took me about an hour to figure out who my mentor was that faithful Monday on June 28, 2010. I was like, "How do I figure out who's my mentor? It stated in my email I won't know until Monday, and it's Monday...", but I eventually found out, and I was so excited! I got Victor Navone!!! He's currently a Pixar animator, and has been for a little over 10 years! He's well known for creating "Alien Song" that was popularly viewed on the internet in 1999. He taught himself character animation on his spare time while he was working at Presto Studio. Now that's dedication! Awesome guy.

The first week was getting to know my classmates, and other AM peers, and it's just unbelievable, all the personalities, and just how unique everyone was. Second week was when we started to do some work, using our observational skills on the what goes on around us, and sketching it out, and then recreating it with a 3D character. It was rather tough to get the character in just the right mood, and communicating the idea clearly to viewers, but I'm really satisfied with the process, and how much wonderful feedback I got from my peers, and my mentor. It only helps better myself.

Right now, we're on to our next assignment, and I get to animate! I GET TO ANIMATE!!! Yay!

More adventures coming soon, it's getting late, and I'm going to read my awesome book, "The Illusions of Life Disney Animation", which arrived in the mail today!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meeting Bill Plympton

Today, Addam and I went to Salem, Oregon  to attend Bill Plympton's showing of his  animated shorts he's done over the years, at the Salem Cinema (which were very kid-friendly because this was the first showing,  which started at 5pm). His second showing after that which started at 8pm, was called "Bill's Dirty Shorts" (hilarious title!), that showing aimed for the more mature, adult groups. This was my very first time meeting the Oscar-nominated animator, and it was such an honor too! I didn't know if I was allowed to bring my own camera to capture the event, so to be on the safe side, I left my camera at home. He talked a little bit about how he created each of his shorts, and how much fun he had doing it (and it was so inspiring to hear it from an animator who shares the same passion as many other animators, as well as myself). There were things he announced that are in the making, and I won't be telling until he officially announces it on his website. But it was so amazing to get that initial insight!

Addam, Bill Plympton and me! (Taken from my iPhone)

I must admit, I feel like I've been on this isolated island, where all the facts and events that were going on didn't occur to me, until I escaped and finally landed myself in the real world, where it opened up my mind to all of the new possibilities as well as rich, vibrant information. (That's just how I feel sometimes).  Before going to the first showing to see Bill Plympton, I got a little nervous to shake his hands and speak to him, because I haven't seen much of his work. I have seen "Santa, The Fascist Years" thanks to the local ASIFA Portland showing of amazing animated shorts. That short was just so unique and interesting, that I couldn't help but ponder Santa's motives. Hopefully Santa's not what Bill made him out to be, but I appreciate the different view point.

Here's the complete short of "Santa, The Fascist Years", (ignore the translation that's going on underneath):

Before leaving, Addam and I purchased 2 DVD shorts from him (Hair High: an animated gothic comedy & Bill Plympton's Dog Days: a collection of short films 2004-2008 - both were sighed!), along with "The Sleazy Cartoons of Bill Plympton". I just couldn't resist purchasing that book, and stumbling on this image I found online of him taking a bite out of it is priceless. (For those who have young kids at home that can possibly get to the book, I don't recommend on buying it, due to the mature, adult contents that lie within the book's covers).

In Bill Plympton's Dog Days DVD, I immediately fell in love with the short called, "The Fan and the Flower" (a story  written by Dan O'Shannon), done in 2005 and later going on to receive many awards for it. It was sentimental, and just wonderful (a good recommendation from Bill himself when I told him I loved tear-jerkers). The simplicity and style of the animation captured my heart, as well as my attention. You just have to see it in order to appreciate it yourself.

Here's a small portion of the short for you to see:

During his talk before each of the shorts that were being shown, he talked on what inspired him to make it, and how he was able to achieve it, and also on how you can make shorts, and be successful in it. He gave the audience 3 good points to follow to really be successful:

1. Keep your shorts under 5 minutes (though some of his are a little over 5 minutes, but hey, look at where he is today? But for beginners, keep that in mind.)

2. Keep it simple (if you noticed all his animated shorts, his characters are very simple, and it makes animating very simple, and less frustrating, it's the story, the idea you want to get across, and the appeal doesn't always do it.)

3.  Keep them Cheap (make it $1000 per minute, and make it funny!)

Excellent advice, don't you think? I sure think so. After hearing him say that, I just wanted to get up and animate right away, but what he finally mentioned near the end that got Addam and me all excited, was his plans on doing a "Guard Dog Global Jam", where animators from all over the world can participate in animating one of the 70 scenes from "Guard Dog", and then upon completion, all the scenes will come together as a whole, to be shown world wide! You can do it in any medium (stop-motion, CG animation, 2D animation, Flash etc.) You can't sign up just yet, because it doesn't officially start until September 1, 2010!!! I will definitely participate, and will be anticipating that initial starting entry date (all marked and ready to go in my calendar- all is left is to put my game face on!)

Here's part of "Guard Dog" so you can get an idea of the short:

Interested? Go to his website, and click to download a full list of rules and regulations as well as the shots you might be interested in animating. Then wait until that lucky day arrives, and sign up!

He's also going to be coming to Portland, Oregon (where I'm at now), in July 19th, 2010, to host an event at Dante's Cabaret, to show the release of his 2 famous films on DVD: "Guns on the Clackamas" (quote from his website: "shot in Portland, tells the story of a disastrous Western movie, with mockumentary interviews with the cast and crew that had to continue with the production after several on-set accidents.") Also "Hair High" (quote from his website: "an all-star voice cast, about a teenage couple, murdered on prom night, who return as zombies for revenge.") So come those who can, and enjoy Bill Plympton's work!

Pictures taken from the Statesman Journal newspaper

That's Addam and me watching Bill Plympton, mesmerized by his work, I love this photo!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Despicable Me: "Watch it, Love it, Crave it!"

Addam and I went out to go see "Despicable Me" today, (done by Illumination Entertainment), directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. I wasn't anticipating that it'd be really good (like Toy Story 3), but it was! It was good, and I found  the humor to be hilarious! (Check out the trailer).

I loooooved the part when the little girl, Agnes (voiced by Elsie Fisher) says, "It's so FLUFFY!" Very cute, and still makes me laugh, whenever I say it myself. (It's really the way it was said). Well, I was just amazed at how stylized, and how well the story was played out. It jerked my emotions around, making me feel happy, sad, then happy, then angry, then sad (you get my point). It also made me role my eyes at exaggerated situations, but it fits. In reality, some of the things that occurred would not be possible (without consequences, of course).

Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) was quite the character- you'd have to watch it to be a judge for yourself. I loved his little minions most, they were just so hilarious, and the animation done on them were just fabulous. My favorite parts were the moments where they just like to beat each other up, and how they talked. If I could have a minion for myself, I'd definitely get one of Gru's minions.

There is talk, that Despicable Me 2 that's currently in the making (and I'm curious to know what's the next story going to be like?!) You can read it all at Cinema Blend: Despicable Me 2 Already in the works, with minion shorts coming too!

This is one of many other animated movies I would definitely go see again this Summer, and it's worth every penny!