Monday, July 20, 2009

Fox Animation Contest 1

Well, Fox is hosting an animation contest. I don't want to give too much of my idea away, but this is currently occupying all of my free time. It's character animation, but it's 2D, not 3D, which I'm honestly surprised at myself for, since the option was mine. I spent a long time trying to come up with an idea that would be both new AND flexible enough to be attractive to the execs there for actual series material.

I'm doing all of my animation in Flash with my Wacom tablet, and it's pretty grueling. I find myself WAITING for the dialogue portions so I can stop drawing my characters frame by frame!

Anyway, I'll post more when it's closer to completion. Just wanted to get a post out before it went too far.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

11 Second Club - October Work In Progress

Well, after not performing up to my personal standards in the August contest, and then moping for a month, I've picked myself back up and am entering the contest again.

This month's character animation includes lip sync in English, which should make my life easier. I've also decided to use someone else's rig for a multitude of reasons. I want to get used to using assets created by other people, in case I'm ever called upon to work with files and not create everything from scratch. I can definitely imagine situations where my company would want to save time on the production turn around of a piece. The second reason I'm using a pre-made rig is because I'm using Maya, with which I'm less familiar than SoftImage or XSI. Maya's price tag is significantly lower than XSI, and it interfaces well with 3DS Max, so it's worth improving my fluency with the software.

Here's my work in progress for the contest:

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

11secondclub August Final Submission

Well, my final submission is up. Let's see how it does in the voting.
** keeping my fingers crossed **

Thursday, August 21, 2008

11 Second Club - August Work In Progress

I've been working this month on a submission for the 11 second club animation contest. This is my first time working on lip sync for a language that I don't speak! There are no expressions or head movements yet. I just wanted to get over the first technical hurdle before I bent my mind to the more creative tasks.

Please, feel free to make comments. I still have time to use them!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New Animation Idea

So I had an idea the other day. Actually it's about a week old now, but every time I try to think of the whole thing in my head, I get these weird tingles of anticipation and excitement. It's tied to animation, to creativity, to storytelling, to programming, to artistic design, to everything, really.

Here's my idea. In my spare time, I'm going to create a real, 3D world video game.

It sounds so much smaller than it is. But I have high hopes. Although I've always wanted to work on animation exclusively, I have a brain that seems to pick up programming languages easily. I have no problem wrapping my brain around the more abstract programming concepts. I have some ideas that haven't been tried yet. I think it could be a success.

And of course, it COULD be a miserable failure.

But at least it will give me a target to really move through the design process and add some art to my website, seeing as how there's been a distinct lack of it lately. Another hurdle is that my home system is completely dead right now. The motherboard gave me the finger, kicked my shin, and then quit.

But by far, the biggest obstacle is that I have never used a 3D game engine in conjunction with a programming language before. I'm evaluating my zero-budget options, so if anyone has any suggestions, I'd be grateful.

Anyway, I'll post concept art once I've made it. It'll be fun to follow the progress. All other projects have stopped in honor of this one.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Catching up on Past Events

So a few things have happened between posts. The most noteworthy, and scary, event was while driving my brother's SUV down the Mass Turnpike, headed west, to my niece's birthday party, an eastbound Ford Windstar managed to lose an entire rear wheel which bounced over the median to crash into our windshield. My brother, in the passenger seat, was covered with windshield glass, and stunned for about 5 to 10 minutes.

No one was injured and according to the rest of the people in the car, I handled the situation with ultra calm and emergency-worthy coolness. We were approached by an officer very quickly, but then were forced to wait over an hour for a tow truck to make it out to us. The windshield shattered, the top part of the frame was bent in, and the right luggage rack was completely torn off.

If you look closely in the last image, you can actually see the tire treads that were burned onto the windshield. FORD now stands for a few things. Flings Out Rubber Death and Flying Objects, Road Danger! are just a few of what we've come up with.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Flash Suit 1: Explanation of the project

I know it's been a few weeks since the last post. Here's my attempt to remedy the dry spell.

In my last post, I mentioned that I had started a new 3D project. Allow me to clarify that this is a PERSONAL project, and not a freelance piece from a paying client. With that said, I'm holding myself to a high level of performance on this. One of my favorite books that I've ever had the pleasure of reading is Orson Scott Card's classic sci-fi novel, Ender's Game.

For those of you have not read it, shame on you. Head to your local library and check out a copy now. Ender's Game, without giving out any plot details, involves teams of children competing in zero-gravity. They are organized into 'armies', each with their own distinctive artwork.

For this project, I've settled on the first battle between Dragon army and Rabbit army. I believe this battle will lend itself well to an animation form. The specifics of the battle, the battleroom layout, outcome, and strategy are all significantly independent from the story so as not to suffer without the additional context.

Why a battleroom game? I've been agonizing for a while over the decision: what to animate next. Wompa gave me enough of a nightmare of hair (rendering on a single cpu is painful at best. 270 million hair-frames later (hairs * frames) I'm ready to jump out the window). John suffered from needing a somewhat realistic environment, not to mention he's a slow moving individual to start.

I really wracked my brain. Surely other animators don't go through this kind of pain, just trying to think of a good subject to animate. I finally decided to look at my own weaknesses, and stamp them out once and for all.

I realized that I've never taken on an animation that involves lip-sync, or quick motion. After reading Ender's Shadow for a third time (haha 'third'!) I realized that I was staring at the perfect animation idea.

I immediately set to work designing what the flash suits would look like. Sketches moved from fun to painful quickly, as I realized I had one idea, and needed about 30. I'll post some of the sketches I threw down at some point after this, but for now, I can proudly say I've finished modeling Ender's face and helmet. I may still tweak his features between now and the final model, but this was more about designing a helmet that would accomplish its purpose, and still have the right aesthetic for the project.

Without further explanation, here are the first renders of the battleschooler's head.