Throw exercise blocking 01. Winter Animation Collaborative 2018

Here is a blocking animation for my throw exercise, incorporating instructor notes! Angry throw! The idea is that the guy gets so frustrated with his computer screwing up that he goes into a fit of rage and throws his laptop, without having time to even consider such a dumb move. Still making some edits to some timing and posing, but here is the latest!

Jump Excercise, finished. Animation Collaborative 2018

Here is a jump exercise I did for Winter Animation Collaborative 2018. I haven't aniamted any heavyweight characters before so I decided to give myself a challenge. Man, I learned a LOT on this exercise! I did a good bit of drawing in Maya with Blue Pencil to help me reign in arcs, revise spacing and timing, and general ideation. Let me know what you think! 

New After Effects project. The trials and tribulations of baking Gluten Free!

I've decided to work on a few short animated clips for the funny successes and flat out failures of gluten free baking. I may make just 1 big video, or split these into shorter sections and find more areas for jokes. I want to animate this in After Effects, using a flat, modern color palette, simple designs and particles, and play with transitions. As a Celiac baker, the scenarios here are my triumphs and my losses, hehe! This is version 1 animatic


Subtle Sadness exploration Work In Progress

I like this song, and when I hear it I've been seeing this moment in my head, so I wanted to explore it in animation, explore how subtle I can get, and what I can say with less. Still a work in progress!

Finished one exciting freelance gig in August!

I recently finished 2D Flash animation work on a commercial project for a pretty well known event with an extremely well know animator as director! I'll be posting my work and an explantation of what it was for soon. This began at the end of June, and just closed in mid August 2015. I learned a good bit from working on this project, and it really boosted my self esteem with regards to my 2D skills. Cannot wait to share! Stay tuned, hopefully, only another 3-4 weeks out.

Revisions almost done! Polish approaches! Coffee Burns Animation for Animsquad Intermediate class 2015

In this version, I have completed all revisions I wanted to make to the main animation of the woman, and have dug into adding better timing and animation to the guy. It's been a lot of hard work, redoing work, for the sake of better acting and animation, and I think the effort is paying off! Next steps are to finish animation on the guy, and then polish, polish, polish everything to completion!

Making final edits and tweaks before polish pass on Coffee Burns animation

Made some of the last big edits I will make to this animation, as I head towards the polish pass. I did some retiming tweaks, adjusted the spine throughout, did a facial animation appeal pass, and a variety of adjustments and pose pushing. I have a few small timing beat tweaks I want to make, but at this point, it is sliding round the keys that are there as I won't want to make any more bigger edits unless it's a great idea to push the idea of this animation.

Continuing WIP on spline revision, timing and specificity in curves for Coffee Burns animation

Here is what I presented in my Spring 2015 Animsquad Intermediate class tonight. The focus was on Jill, taking the splined animation that I made and refining those curves, getting more specific, adding more overlapping action, some retiming and facial adjustments. Perhaps one of the biggest changes I made one posting earlier was to change the camera! Wow, the difference is glaring. I had simply used the default 35mm camera in maya and the deformations in this medium close shot are just too weird. It definitely affected how I was animating and now that I have adjusted this camera to a 65mm lens, the framing and everything just feels so much better. 

Revisions to come will include continued timing adjustments, adding more fluid, organic overlap and connection in the spine and the rest of the body, some facial tweaking in eyes and mouth, and a new bit of looking around after the burn, to help sell that Jill is concerned briefly with people watching her. I'll re-film some reference for this and go from there. New revision post in a few days!

Progress on my first Animsquad assignment - Coffee Burns, a pantomime

Started something fun for the Spring 2015 Animsquad Intermediate class. In my first assignment, I decided to do a pantomime, involving 2 friends at a cafe, when the one gets burned.

I am learning a ton in this new class, and I am already learning new workflow methods and can feel a difference in my skills in Maya already. Posted below is the blocking pass, in stepped mode, fully fleshed out. I am not crazy about the guy's laugh, but it is in there as placeholder to give more info about the shot.

A New Year

It's been a while since the last blog posting, since Halloween roughly of last year, the day I was laid off, with many others, from Disney Interactive. That surely took a bit of time to get over, and in the mean time, I was immediately employed in a contract gig for a small indie studio making a really fun iOS game ( To be announced in a month, with my work posted!). SO I have been busy with that contract until this very week, with the contract having been finished. 

So what am I doing now? Well, I am moving forward full steam in my learning efforts to become a really good 3D character animator. I have signed up for a 3 month, online intermediate animation course with AnimSquad that started March 2nd. In preparation for that, I will do a few small exercise animations using the new rigs! When I am done with the course, I will create a brand new reel and start sending it out to feature film studios and pull all the strings I can.

Outside of animation, I plan to study photography, and get out of the house and shoot. I plan to cook a lot more, and definitely exercise more!

As for the Time Machine animation WIP that I was posting about, I have decided not to finish that, at least for now, but instead focus on the new rigs that I have as they are more appealing. Stay tuned for some new animation updates.

And Happy New Year!

WIP 10/27/2014 Time Machine

Being laid off required some focusing my attention elsewhere today, on things that make me feel good, so i spent some time today working on this animation, going through methodically and making revisions. Here is what has happened since last update:

  • Modeled space ship toy, and a room set for the animation
  • tweaked small amounts of timing throughout
  • Worked methodically through spine, then shoulders, then neck, then head, then arms, then hands and legs, adding overlap and making sure whole body felt more organic and have movement. Copied my best splines to accomplish this.
  • Re-aimed eyes just a bit after the arms position varied some from the above work.
  • gave hands and fingers more life
  • adjusted a little bit of timing on the hand picking up spaceship, tweaked some more finger animation
  • Adjusted colors on shirt, added lights

I am calling this the end of the intermediate animation stage. next steps, LIP SYNC! And then, polish phase. This animation WILL be done before November's end.

Last day at Disney Interactive

Well today is my last day of work at Disney Interactive. It has been quite a ride, and a long 4 and a half years at the wildly fluctuating Playdom that was acquired by Disney in 2010. I saw so many big shifts in top executives and studio bosses my head spun. So many games started and stopped for no reason it still makes no sense. But through all that wild chaos working for Playdom, I got to do some really COOL stuff for Disney/Pixar/Imagineering on 2 separate games, one of which shipped ( Disney Solitaire for Microsoft Surface devices). I learned so much, learned new technologies like Unity and Toon Boom Animate and refreshed my knowledge in Maya! I got to interact with top dogs at Disney feature and Pixar! And I grew as a leader and mentor, having lots of opportunities to lead as an animator, and later, as a new manager! Professionally, I grew so much in these roles in such stormy waters, and I am better for it. Also, I grew as a person. I moved to San francisco from South Carolina as a nervous fella, not knowing if I would even like California or be able to do the job requested of me, but I did it. I took a chance and succeeded. And I grew and matured and flourished here. I FOUND myself here, learned to love myself more, and learned how to be ME, to the world. SO many things were discovered here, and so much lerned, that it is hard to really talk about it all. Suffice it to say, it was a time of great learning and experience and knowledge and fun here, the likes of which is rare, and cannot be reproduced. I will miss those times, and reflect on them. But that chapter is finished, and I turn the page today, trying to peak around the corner for what is next!

WIP 10/24/14 Time machine

In the following WIP, I revised and added the following:

  • added more spine and shoulder movement and overlap throughout scene
  • adjusted eye aim throughout
  • added some subtle head movements in both CU's of character
  • softened head motions.
  • revised and fixed arm/hand poses and animation in wide shot where character places spaceship on track. I like this much better now as it feels more natural
  • added track lever and trigger button geometry and animation
  • revised some motion timing in final CU
  • decreased amount of brow emphasis at end CU
  • assorted small tweaks to mouth, brows, eyelids and knees

WIP 10/17/2014 Time Machine

For today's WIP, I made the following changes:

  • repositioned the arm holding the spaceship so the elbow stuck out more, away from body, for a more natural holding pose, thanks Charlie!
  • Re-aimed the eyes throughout
  • adjusted some brow squish and timing in first CU
  • Adjusted the overall happy face to be a little less crazed happy, toned it down, so it feels better with the dialogue
  • adjusted arm/hand animation placing ship on track and moving to leg
  • added weight shift and  in wide shot
  • went through whole animation and added in the x-axis movement of the head to all spines and neck, and overlapped the action to bring the rest of the body to life and soften the anim
  • added some shoulder motion
  • adjusted head/neck turn timing at end CU
  • Lots of little timing adjustments, but no rekeying anything. 

So I think this animation is feeling less stiff now and really starting to get there. I am thankful to my friends who game me some excellent critique, much of which found it's way into these small revisions. I feel I am surely past the halfway point, and will from here on out just continue filling in the breakdown animation. I can see lip sync in the far horizon! That will be fun to get to!

WIP 10/16/14 Time machine

For this short WIP, I did the following:

  • revised the end CU movements to happen after the character speaks the word "again"I like him not moving right on the word for this last part of the animation
  • slowed down the expression change form happy to thoughtful in wide shot
  • revised brow expressions timing and shape across the board
  • added some finger animation to the CU first shot and in the CU short where character studies ship. Revised hold in CU character shot
  • adjusted some head movements and eye darts and eyelid movements
  • Adjusted camera zooms slightly

I may or may not try to have the character move at the last bit of the word"again" in that ending close up shot, so he moves on the word just a bit, and we can see him speak a bit more. I dunno. I'll leave it like this for now. Perhaps when i add ruff lip sync I might change my mind, but the timing of the motion I like, so that will stay. Next WIP should have more hand/arm revision and maybe some more finger animation.

WIP 10/15/14 Time machine

OK, in this WIP, I:

  • Tweaked all facial eye and brow animation in the first CU
  • Reworked his arms placing the spaceship on the trackfor the wide shot and tweaked timing of movements. This is still definitely in progress, but getting there.
  • Added a new CU for the end shot to get closer to the emotion, thanks Julia!
  • Added some camera slow push in in both the wide shot and the last CU shot. My boyfriend had some great feedback regarding the last pose, so be on the lookout for that revision as well. Overall I think this is working better, especially with that camera. 

At this point I am no longer doing layered keys, but rather animating and revising what is here. Unless I get some stellar feedback for a critical acting change, or I have an epiphany of my own, I think the basis of this entire animation is now pretty much set and I am just going to move forward with what I have. Gotta keep in mind not overacting, or moving the character all the time on a word or a line. Rookie acting mistakes which are easy to do, and it is always more interesting to not do that, to see how motions can play with dialogue. I'm continuing to look for ways to keep this more natural, add more subtlety. I'm loving working on this, feedback welcome!

WIP 10/14/14 Time Machine

I received some fantastic feedback from my art director, one Julia Lundman, regarding the animation. She suggested I edit the camera to get in close again for the more serious part of the animation after he plays with his toy, as the character ponders the ache that is nostalgia. After a few positions I think I really like this revision, thanks Julia! I also tweaked facial animation, and added some new layered keys to better pose and time the acting. I am feeling satisfied so far with the progress of this animation and I hope you all are enjoying watching it come together as well. I think the next thing I will do is go back and fix the hand and arm keys and start posing those in my next updates. I also want to go back and re-aim the eyes a bit, and revise just a little some of his main kneeling keys. As always, I'd love your feedback! I think the commenting feature for this is on just under the video :)