Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween Everyone!


This is one of the pumpkins Addam and I picked out at Kruger's farm a couple of weeks ago, and wha-la! He's all painted up to greet happy trick-or-treaters to our door.

Have a fun, safe Halloween, everyone!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Inception: I Wish My Dreams Were Awesome

Addam and I finally had the chance to go see Inception, at one of Regal's cheap theatres. The ones where they have shows that no longer play at regular theatres, and instead of paying for full price, it's only 3 bucks per person! This is at the Vancover Plaza (I believe).

I usually blog away on my laptop, but I'm so tired, and am lying in bed, comfy and warm, and my fingers itched to use the blogger app on my iPhone, to write down my amazing experience, while watching the movie today.

I must say, at first, I had to slowly watch it, to fully comprehend what was going on in the movie, and though the story seem complex, it played out pretty well. The whole dream world and reality, definitely gave me a treat.

Every character was amazing, and enjoyable to watch. I had some (or a lot) of moments where I wanted to know what happened? "It's not making sense, come on! Tell me!" But eventually the truth is told, and the individual pieces of the puzzles are finally put together.

The movie isn't always predictable, and I like that. Overall, like everyone said, it's a movie worth watching. I still wonder, is the ending a dream, or reality?


Further updates will be made to this post.

AM Assignment 5: Weight and Balance

It is that time again! Week 5 of Animation Mentor, and time sure flies by fast. This week, we're submitting our blocking stage from our pick-list number 2, and I decided to go with "stepping on sticky gum". I'm sure many of us has stepped on sticky gum before, and we might even hate it (if not annoyed). I usually think to myself, "@#&%! Why would someone just spit it anywhere?!" Then attempt to get it off my shoe (this time not caring if someone else steps on it, because it's not my problem - since I have to deal with that one person who irresponsibly spit it anywhere they felt like.)

I paid a lot of attention on armless STU's weight shifting, and keeping him balance as he moves, after stepping on some gum on the ground. I haven't rigged or done anything to the gum yet, because I feel like getting STU's animation done is more important than focusing on making the 'gum' look good.

Overall, I like it, but my frame limit has gotten me in a pickle... but I will be able to handle it.

video

Thursday, October 28, 2010

DreamWorks' The Guardians


Okay, so I know this is VERY old news compared to the Disney-Pixar's cancellation of Newt, but back in December 3, 2009, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc., announced that Leonardo DiCaprio will be making his animated feature film debut as Jack Frost in DreamWorks' November 2, 2012 release of The Guardians (which is currently a working title for now). The film will be directed by Peter Ramsey, and produced by Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein.

I'm not so much interested in the fact that it'll be Leonardo DiCaprio's first debut in an animated feature film, instead, I'm excited in what the animated film will be like once it's released in theaters. Or possibly a trailer. I've done some research on possible any possible concept art for the animated feature, but I haven't been able to come across any except for the Jack Frost character you see below:





DreamWorks Animation Co-President of Production, Bill Damaschke, commented, “We are thrilled that David Lindsay-Abaire is joining director Peter Ramsey and the rest of the all-star creative team at DreamWorks Animation to bring William Joyce’s spectacular stories to cinematic life when the film arrives in theaters on November 2, 2012.”


The story is based on "The Guardians of Childhood", which is a series of highly anticipated books by William JoycePublication of the book series is set to begin in 2011 and subsequent books will be published in yearly installments thereafter. In the animated feature, the story goes like this- there is an evil spirit called Pitch, who becomes bent upon taking over the world by inspiring fear in the hearts of kids everywhere. In order to stop Pitch, a group of beloved heroes to all of these kids everywhere, such as- Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, and Jack Frost, must band together for the first time, to stop Pitch's horrible plan in spreading his campaign of fear from all over the world. (Another superhero movie from DreamWorks, since Megamind is coming out next Friday). Can you tell that Jack Frost will be our main hero, versus the adorable Easter Bunny? Who says Santa can't steal the limelight? Even though he's... quite old, but I'm pretty sure he still has the looks for television!


Casts of voice actors/actresses for the animated feature:


Overall, it's still too soon to have any trailers to share with you all, but I am on the lookout for new updates on the feature. On a last note, I'm disappointed that William Joyce's book won't be made available this year, instead next year... oh woe!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

James Cameron: Avatar 2 & 3 for 2014 AND 2015!


There was a press released from Fox Filmed Entertainment, stating that Academy Award-winning filmmaker, James Cameron, has agreed to make AVATAR 2 and 3 as his next films, is targeted in being released in December 2014 and 2015.


"AVATAR is not only the highest grossing movie of all time, but also raised consciousness of people worldwide to some of the issues facing our planet... We have no higher priority, and can feel no joy, than enabling Jim to continue and expand his vision of the world of AVATAR. This is a great day in the history of our company, and we thank Jim, Jon Landau, Rae Sanchini and all of their team and all of our Fox colleagues throughout the world, who have made this possible." stated Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen, Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos.

AVATAR took in nearly $2.8 billion in worldwide box office, and is the top selling Blu-ray disc of all time. It also won Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Director, and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won Oscars for art direction, visual effects and cinematography. Now isn't that an eye popper?

James Cameron had written AVATAR from an idea he nurtured over a decade, and as technology became more advanced, he was able to create a fully immersed 3-D world with a cinematic experience for audiences to engage themselves in. Now, Cameron will collaborate with Twentieth Century Fox, and begin their next groundbreaking - or possibly, record-breaking triumph in the next two sequel to AVATAR. Production won't be taking place until later in 2011, but we do not know yet, if Cameron is choosing to shoot the films back-to-back after he completes the scripts.

Exciting news, but shame on me, because I haven't actually watched AVATAR... my homework assignment for this week (I will give to myself), is watch AVATAR. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews on AVATAR, such as, it's a very beautiful movie, but the story is just so dull and boring, or everything about it is EXCELLENT! Overall, I think watching it for myself should help me judge, whether or not the movie is truly a masterpiece.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

AM Assignment 4: Polishing & More Planning

Oh... how I feel like I am not getting it, in moments of doubt... this week has been quite frustrating for me in my personal side, nothing to do with my education. It's not very healthy and time efficient for me when I have to deal with it on my time, and unable to focus on my assignment. Hopefully that'll be over with soon, and I can be a hermit in my room for a couple of hours and days out of the week, and then I can be normal, and blend into society again.

I'm not happy with my polishing stage of my assignment this week. My overall timing is too fast, and I'm going to be revising it after I turn it in, but yeah, a lot of areas to improve, and a lot of areas to learn...

video

So the second animation assignment we have to do for the next 3 weeks (I think or assume.. I'm too lazy to go across my room to grab my assignment requirement sheet). Anyways, this week is our choice from pick-list 2, on what we want STU (a character I decided to pick for my animation). I've decided to do, "Step on sticky gum". I've had such a big problem with being able to export out my reference video into being a smaller file (can you believe for 5 minutes, the size is 16 GB?!). Anyways, I'll be uploading my reference video later, but here are my brainstorming concept of STU, stepping on sticky gum.


Yes, this week is not so great. Hopefully this upcoming week is awesome-R.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

3DPDX Hosts: a Little Taste of Bent Image Lab

It's pretty exciting that Fred Ruff, a CG supervisor/technical director, and Eric Scheur, a character animator from Bent Image Lab came to the Art Institute of Portland today, to talk about the importance of having a strong pipeline at Bent, and how their custom tools, developed in-house, helped speed up their production process in many of their well-known and excellent commercials, shown on TV.

I was getting ready at home, until my friend Gabby texted me earlier, that she needed a ride to the event. I've always had this issue that I HAVE to always be punctual (regardless if it's just a simple hang out with friends), and every single movement I make, has to be precisely calculated so that the movement is efficient to the amount of time it'll take me to complete certain tasks. 

I had offered my time to help out at this event, so I didn't want to be late. It's the second time now, since the first time was when Jeremy Collins was in town. Gabby and I, both made it on time, before a huge crowd of anxious individuals began to come in. Joe Myers and Ben Nicholas were awesome too, they provided us with supplies, info, food as well as personality, so our efforts to help out was easy, and fun. I had a lot of fun talking to a lot of professionals and students at the event, signing tickets for a raffle at the end for prizes, and filling out a name tag. (That's me cutting out the raffle tickets for people to fill out, and can you see everyone swarming around the table?)

Yum... food (and there were beer too).

Addam came in time after work to attend the lecture, and it was nice.


Once everyone took their seats, Fred and Eric began their stories about Bent Image Lab, and how the studio approached their projects, and how their pipeline helped out a lot through the process, and how it was always constantly changing, as well as finding out ways to better their workflow. Fred was very humorous when he says how proud he was after he creates a character, rigs it up and gives it to the animator, such as Eric to use and animate what the director wants, and when problems arises, he usually gets frustrated and tries to find solutions to the problem. A very smart, and technical guy. 

[ Brief info on FRED RUFF--When it comes to comes to computer generated graphics, Technical Director Fred Ruff wrote the book—or rather, the software! A leader in the field for over fifteen years, Ruff got his start in New York working for a post production facility, and has created graphics for Crystal Dynamics in San Mateo. Ruff worked as the Product Designer for Autodesk’s 3DStudio Max, one of the industry’s leading 3D modeling applications.] quoted from 3DPDX.com

Eric, who was also as equally humorous as Fred, says all he wants to do was animate away and make things come to life, and when something doesn't work, it's a road block, and he wants to just animate and not have to worry about that. Of course, everyone runs into problems, one way or another, or at some point in their lives, and they said that a pipeline they have in-house, really made the production manageable, and efficient to meet deadlines with clients, and push out awesome, or aim for the awesome, commercials.

[Brief info on ERIC SCHEUR-- Eric is an experienced character animator who has worked with the likes of Bent Image Lab, Laika/House and Fashionbuddha Studio on dozens of national commercial campaigns. Eric was trained in Advanced Character Animation Studies at AnimationMentor and is a contributing editor at 11SecondClub.com] quoted from 3DPDX.com

Eric Scheur: character animator and Fred Ruff: Technical Director


Here are a few of the commercials they've contributed at Bent Image Lab, that were shown at the event:





Fred then talked about how they approached the model for the clients when they come back and want new, and different things to do with their next commercial spot, and how the CG department would have to handle it. Overall, seeing the model and the file organization helped me better understand how helpful it was for yourself, as well as the studio (in which you are working for), to access the file, and know exactly what that file is specifically to your needs.


At the end, we ended it on watching some more great commercial spots, and questions being answered. Not to mention, we had the raffle drawing!!! Gabby and I didn't win anything, but Addam sure did. I was super jealous, but he obviously gave me his winning, of a cool Autodesk t-shirt! Which we ultimately gave to my dad because he thinks the shirt has a cool design, and my dad doesn't even know anything about CG stuff!

Ben has my poster that was given out, and it was well worth it (until then, I will sooner-or-later) retrieve it from Ben, and hang it on my wall.



These images that you see on my blog is in courtesy of Joe Myers, from 3DPDX.com

(Joe Myers: the guy looking down, focusing on the item in his hands).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Newt: a Disney-Pixar Animation Cancelled?


I know this is very old news for some of you, but I was doing some research on upcoming animated features that will be releasing in the next year or so, I came across Newt, a Disney-Pixar feature. They announced back in May, that Newt will no longer be in production, since it was already having trouble in February of this year. What a shame that it won't be coming to any theaters near us. After seeing the concept arts which was released for the public to see, I was a bit disappointed, because it looked so gorgeous!

But, as most of us know, if the story doesn't work, even the beauty of it won't help much. Pixar has not created any mediocre films, and they are not going to go down that path, so it's understandable that if there cannot be any resolution to a problem, it's probably easier to just abandon it, since there is a lot of money invested.

The story goes like this:
There are two of the last remaining blue-footed newts on the planet, one remaining male, name Newt, and one remaining female, name Brooke. They are forced together by science to save their species, but it's difficult when they both can't stand each other. They both embark on a perilous and unpredictable adventure, and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even if you only have one choice. (We all know the very easy prediction of this, right?) They eventually fall in love, and it turns out that it's true love, not science that brings them together.


Disney Legend and animation industry insider, Floyd Norman stated back in February with a web comment that, "Newt is dead." It was a suspicious statement for a lot of people, because they didn't know whether the rumor, that was quickly spreading around, was true, or someone else, posing as Floyd Norman, had posted the comment and made it out to be him on the Animation Guild Blog. But in the end, we all know that Newt is no more, since the film was originally scheduled to be released in the summer of 2011.

In September 2008, Pixar chief creative officer, John Lasseter announced at a Disney media event in Hollywood, that Cars 2 would be released in Summer 2011, and that Newt's release would be pushed back another year to Summer 2012. Then the announcement for Monsters, Inc. 2 was set for November 2012, pushing Brave (previously called, The Bear and the Bow) towards the Summer of 2012, and there was no mention on Newt's status or release date was given.

Quite a disappointing affair that Newt didn't get a chance this time with Pixar. After looking at the concept art, and knowing a little bit of the story, I was really looking forward on its release. Oh well, better luck next time?


Anyways, enjoy the concept art I've collected online, they are truly gorgeous!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Walking Dead: Series Premiere on Halloween 10.31.2010


I love reading the graphic novel, The Walking Dead, story by Robert Kirkman and art and cover by Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn. It's a truly amazing story about the world being ravaged by a zombie epidemic- (of course, not all zombie stories can be as amazing, where I can't get enough of the story, and can't wait to read the next book that comes out). 

It starts out with the main character name Rick Grimes, a County Sheriff, waking up in an empty hospital after being in a coma for weeks. He suddenly finds that he is alone, and finds the gruesome findings of dead corpse, and much more. The story then becomes an epic struggle for those who have not been affected by the zombie epidemic to survive, faced with drama of personal struggles and overwhelming realization that sometimes, those who survives, can be as equally dangerous as the walking dead.

Addam sent me some information months ago letting me know that the book series got a deal, and will be putting on a television series. To my surprise, I was happy and can't wait to see it, but I was a bit skeptical whether the TV show would do the books justice. There have been many stuff that either gets butchered, or was a good attempt at bringing to life what the book(s) have for many of its readers. 

So I did a little research, and I'm happy that, just less than 2 weeks now, The Walking Dead (written and executive produced by three-time Academy Award-nominee Frank Darabont), will be showing on Halloween night on AMC, with a 90 minute episode. Here's a trailer/preview of what the show will look like, and just a little teaser for some of us who can't wait to see it!





Characters
From left to right: Rick (Andrew Lincoln), Shane (Jon Bernthal), Carl (Chandler Riggs), Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), Andrea (Laurie Holden), Amy (Emma Bell), and Glenn (Steven Yeun).


Sunday, October 17, 2010

AM Assignment 3: From Blocking to Final

I can't believe it's the last day of week 3 already! There doesn't seem to be any time in this world to just be "spared". There's always something to do, and events that are going on, and I really wish I could just clone myself, so it'll make my use of time more efficient.

Well, after my eCritique online with my mentor, David Weatherly last week, I had to do some adjustments via blocking first before I can begin to smooth out my stepped tangents into smooth splines. His feedbacks were so helpful, which consisted of me reworking the hip rotations as Ballie is doing his little hesitation steps, and varying the weight in which he transfers it back and forth while trying to complete his task of taking one step forward and stop - make that, from a rested position, take a big step forward, and then stop.

Here's my smoothed out spline version:

video

I have much more to improve, and the final polishing piece is due this upcoming Sunday!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kruger's Farm: A Blissful Afternoon!

Addam and I went to Kruger's Farm today, to use our Living Social coupon I purchased for our weekend date. Thanks to the great deal of $16 bucks, we get 2 tickets to the corn maze, 2 roasted corn cobs, 2 caramel apples, and 2 pumpkins 20 lbs. or under. You can't beat that deal.

First stop: the CORN MAZE!
Exciting sighting during our journey through the maze was- a frog. I hope you can spot it in my series of scenic photos.


Now some couple pictures, and stalker shots of Addam and myself...


After a nice hour or so of exploring the corn maze, just for me to make Addam walk around with me and taking pictures, we decided to head on out, and get ourselves some delicious roasted corn cobs and caramel apples. The line was at least 30 minutes long (or it felt that long to me - maybe Addam too). Not to mention the candle line to get those apples dipped in caramel took equally as long, but hey, at least we had our corn to munch on while we waited. I did however spotted a perfect moment to capture a happy dog, spending time with its owner, and basking in the sunshine: 


Last but not least, our final destination before heading home - picking out our perfect 2 pumpkin (for this year). I don't think there will ever be a perfect pumpkin for me... I just like them all. It's like judging a pumpkin by the way it looks (come on people, give the poor thing a chance to be cut open, decorated with and be made pie out of!) It took us quite a while to pick our 2, but in the end, it was worth it. I haven't taken a final image of the last pumpkin we got, but I will once we decorate it for Halloween!!!


A day well spent, see you next year!