Monday, November 8, 2010

Attack of the Updates

Ok, so I've been slacking in putting my work up here, so I just spammed my own blog with a bunch of updates.

They're really nothing special ... in my class we're encouraged to keep our assignments super simple to make them the best we can, which I can agree with. I've seen more than a handful of people who try to make their bouncing ball assignments do things they shouldn't be just to fit some story. Of course there are people who have a little story and do the assignment great ... anyway, I'm keeping my assignments *mostly* simple per my mentor's request.

Other than that, not a whole lot to report. New assignments each week ... they seem like the simplest things but you wind up overthinking them and kinda wondering if what you have is right or wrong. We just did a pendulum which I'll update after my mentor tears it apart and I do a revision. I over complicated my idea last week and wound up scrapping it like Thursday night (That's like 4 days wasted for those counting at home) and doing something much simpler. It got pretty good feedback in my workspace but I'm not that optimistic.

This week is Tailor (or some big one legged ball thing) ... I already have an early jump on that one which is great.

Anyhoot, that's about it. AM is awesome. I love the almost nightly Q&A sessions with Alumni. Between that and the communication methods between other students (Skype, Ventrilo, AMConnect), it's almost like you're working in a lab at a school with a bunch of people, but instead of being in a hot computer lab at 2am, you're at home drinking beer without pants on.

Week 5 - Obstacle Course & Devastated Pose

This week was an Obstacle Course with a ball plus a Devastated Pose. I was up against a hard frame limit so once my ball gets in the bowl it seriously slows down. Frame limits are the devil.

Week 4 - Light & Heavy Ball Bounce

Ok, this week was light & heavy ball bounces .. beach ball & bowling in my case.

Week 3 - Ball Bounce & Excited Pose

This week was a simple ball bounce (basketball or soccer ball) and an Excited Pose. I personally really liked the dance pose.

Week 2 - Pose

So my first assignment was just a pose, here's what I came up with. All the sketching for this was done from life ... so in this case, this was a kiosk worker in the mall trying to get my attention.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sketchbook VIII

"People who can't draw in perspective ... shouldn't. This is what happens kids. This is how lives are ruined and you wind up on the street drawing tricks for crack. So put the three point perspective down and go play outside."

This has been a message from the council of "People who can't draw in perspective ... shouldn't."

P.S. - I have no idea what three point perspective is.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Timing and Spacing and Bears ... Oh My...

Week 4 of AM already, holy crap! So far we've been working on poses and bouncing balls. I'll try and get some of my work up here this weekend (ya ain't missing much so far).

The poses are going pretty well overall for me. It's all about starting with a strong line of action for me. Get the weight right, clear silhouette, express an attitude.

The technical work in a bouncing ball is almost absurd ... but I do have to say it has been good to do these. I'm sure I've done them at some point in the past, but I can't really remember taking this amount of time to just really try and knock them out of the park. All in the timing & spacing baby. My shot ideas are terribly boring, but that's how my mentor wants them, so I'm not trying to add a whole lot. Some other students are just going all out with crazy setups. I guess he has a point, these aren't going to be on any demo reels ... it's still fun to be a little creative if it isn't going to detract from the quality.

Anyway, just to wrap up this rambling ... AM so far is pretty damn cool. Biggest bonuses are 1. the community of friends you make, 2. being able to look at everyone's work and feedback, and 3. having alumni do nightly Q&A sessions where you can join and have a pro look at your work and give feedback. I dropped in on Travis Tohill this week just to watch. How many people get ILM animators to review their work in depth? Damn cool.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sketchbook VII

Here's this weeks AMSketchBlog entry. This week's theme. Worst Case Scenario.

Robot - Bear - Velociraptor Trap

This is pretty much my nightmare. The best I figure, the way to escape is use the Robot & Bear's natural mistrust of each other to my advantage. Perhaps I tell the bear the robot was showing around naked pictures of his wife. With the bear & robot occupied in a battle to the death the only thing left is the Velociraptor. The nice thing about that is I don't have to outrun the raptor, I only have to outrun you. (Always hike with a buddy!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bon Appetit

AM is in full gear so I had to kinda hurry this one to a close. Could be worse I guess but there are a few parts I'm not totally satisfied with. I didn't want to scrap it or pretend I'll finish it in 18 months so I'm happy to call it done. Now I can shift all focus to AM. Woot.

If you'd like to see a bigger version head over to my main website. Clicky clicky.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sketchbook VI

You may notice this sketchbook post is empty, there's a good reason for that.

Today I went down to the Denver Art Museum with two goals in mind. 1. See the King Tut exhibit and 2. sketch some people for life drawing practice. Seemed like a good plan, go to a cultural learning center full of interesting people and works of art to become a little cultured and do a little light practicing of my own art. WRONG!

Things started a little odd when I was stopped before entering the exhibit and was told my messenger bag was too big and I looked a little too much like a tomb robber. I was asked to check my bag in a locker back downstairs. Ooookay I can do that. I check my bag, grabbing just a pen & sketchbook. Run back upstairs and they let me in ... the first person I see is someone with a bag at least as big as mine. Oh well, I'm in, woohoo!

So I go through the line and get into the exhibit, the doors shut behind us. I wander around just looking for a minute, pen & sketchpad in hand. Soon a guard comes up to me and tells me that I'm not allowed to use a pen and asks if I have a pencil since I look like the type of person who would draw mustaches on priceless works of art (guilty as charged there). "Why yes, yes I do ... it's in the bag I just had to check though." Since I can't leave the exhibit now he gives me a stubby pencil used to keep score in golf. I'm allowed to keep my pen though. Again ... odd.

So there I was walking around with my stubby pencil and sketchpad and I turn a corner and see a wall graphic of an old photograph of an archeologist. He has an interesting pose so I decide to start my day by sketching him quickly. I draw a little circle for his head and am about to continue when another guard walks up to me and informs me that sketching is not allowed. I admit I was a bit dumbfounded here at this point. I just sorta look at him, look at my sketchbook, and look back at him. Really? I can't sketch? I can take notes, I can jot ideas, I can even write out a grocery shopping list, but I can't sketch. So in addition to being a tomb robber and a mustache drawer, I'm also a master forger who's going to make money passing off pencil drawings as centuries old Egyptian relics and artifacts on the black market.

At this point I resign myself to the fact that the very polite DAM folks were going to see to it that no unauthorized creativity took place while they were on duty. I gave up, turned over my pencil, unchecked my bag, went back to my car, paid my parking fee and drove home. Best part of the morning? Parking only cost me $1 buck since I was only in there about 27 minutes total.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sketchbook V

Here's this week's entry for this week's sketch blog. Figured if you have to do a theme around "too much cuteness" ... you may as well make the most of it and throw in one of the best movie deaths of all time. I present you Major Toht vs. The Double Rainbow Unicorn Bear! I could keep going on this but it's been a long week and I need to get animating.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feed me Seymour

Week 2 of Animation Mentor is underway and I've been getting and giving as much feedback as I can. I could spend hours browsing the site reading all the feedback and watching eCritiques. That's where the real gold of this program lies I think, all of the input on your work. Your input on others' work helps train your eye which in turn makes your work better. Gold Jerry!

Class-wise we got our first assignment relating to creating good poses. I have to say that finding interesting people to draw is hit 'n miss. If I may make a small recommendation: carry a cattle-prod along with your sketchbook in order to ... encourage ... people into more dynamic and interesting poses. Another tip: always sketch with a buddy who can help make your bail.

I'm glad for the hours I put in sketching this summer. You don't have to be an amazing draftsman to be an animator, but it sure doesn't hurt. Being able to sketch an interesting pose that has some sort of attitude to it, a great line of action, and show where the weight is really really helpful though. I'm going to continue to improve my skills by hitting up the Art Museum this weekend. On a related note, the book Simplified Drawing for Planning Animation is great by the way. As are Drawn to Life I & II.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sketchbook IV

Not much to say here. Quite frankly I apologize. This is for this week's AMSketchAquad with Iron Animator Ingredient: Villain.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

One down, 71 left ...

Alrighty, the first Q&A of the first class is done. A nice little meet & greet cocktail hour if you will. Chatted up the classmates for a bit until Scott Lemmer showed up to MC the event for us. Our class has people from California to New Jersey to Canada to Brazil and even all the way over to India & Thailand. Crazy we can all come together and do this thing.

Actually not much else to tell other than it was good meeting everyone and getting to know a little about them. So anyway ... Ben, Chris, Kolby, Marc, Paul, Ted, Boat, Bob, Josue, Lucas, Mayur, Laura, and of course Scott ... great meeting you all, should be an awesome time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh it's on ...

Today is the first day of the Fall 2010 and I am officially a student. My first class is Basic Foundations and my first mentor is Scott Lemmer.

Time to go surf the AM website and see what I can find.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sketchbook III

Not really a page from my sketchbook but I'm calling it anyway. A few of us from AM have got together and are having a weekly themed sketch contest. I'm not sure if contest is the best term ... perhaps sketch event. Anyway, vote on what we want to draw and then post it to our group blog over at AMSketchSquad Blog.

This week's theme was "Worst Superhero Ever". I found the idea of a Superman who falls asleep at bad times kinda funny. So here's my Narcoleptic Man.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Locked Out

So with one week left until Animation Mentor starts, we students find ourselves locked out while they work on the site. At least that's what I'm assuming they're doing. I suppose it could be a forced "mental health" break and they're just playing foosball instead.

Can't wait to find out who my mentor for Class 1 will be. The excitement is building up again. I guess I'm already animating (working on a new shot now), but being a part of the program should be fun.

*Update - Well, we're SUPPOSED to be locked out. As of this morning I can still access the site, which is cool. I reckon at some point this week our accounts will be switched over to the full student site, which is locked up.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sketchbook II

Here are a few more pages out of my sketchbook. I was on a road trip and picked up a couple martial arts magazines to draw from in the car. Couple pages of some stuff from the Art of How to Train Your Dragon book too. I'm not going for anything fancy with these. Just loose right now.





Two weeks from everywhere!

"Well ain't this place a geographical oddity..."

A'ight, two weeks from today AM will kick off. The initial buzz has worn off a bit (it has been 2 months afterall), and I'm 100% ready to get going. I've been sketching frequently and started a new animation here last week which I'll probably be working on through the first week or two of AM. Weekly Q&A's with Victoria at AM keeps us applicants in touch which is good. I also have been quizzing current students who stop by the AM Chat Room and have been learning interesting things about the classes and assignments. I'm looking forward to being able to put that AM Student logo on my website here on the 27th.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Demo Reel Update!

I figured I'd update my demo reel before heading into AM. This is almost entirely new material from my last reel back in January, only 1 shot is a repeat. I won't embed it here since it's about 4MB, but just head over to my main website to take a peak. Actually ... why not just put the vimeo version here. Head over to my website to get other viewing options like quicktime though.

Click here to view my new demo reel.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


"Hey! That's funny! It's spelled just like the word escape!"

Alrighty, here's an AM style armless parkour test I did. Took me a couple weeks night/weekend.

If you'd like to see a bigger version head over to my main website. Clicky clicky.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sketchbook I

Today I hit up the Denver Zoo for some sketching.

I actually didn't really sketch any animals (hell, they're all sleeping anyway), but I did get the people. I still suckeroo at this, but hey, practice ... anyway, what I like to do is find some place nice and shady to sit, sketch out the habitat, and then start adding whoever walks by. What I really need to work on is capturing the whole pose quickly in my head, and then getting it on paper. People don't stand still more than a few seconds (except old people I noticed...which is nice). Also I need to try to copy the pose less, but get the spirit of what is going on and work to bring that across, even if I fudge what's really happening a bit.

Anyhoot, here's a few pages from what I did today.





Saturday, August 7, 2010

Viking Walk

Here's a walk I did last week for a little weekly test with some friends.

Direct Link: Clicky Clicky

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Enrollment Agreement Signed

So I've signed my Enrollment Agreement (electronic pdf...fancy). They've got my cash and my proof of education. I should be all set to go for Sept 17th. I got myself a new webcam (Logitech Pro 9000 Turbo II Alpha ... or something). Probably all that I need now is to pick myself up a new sketchbook (my current one has about 4 pages left), and buy stock in Red Bull.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Open House

Yesterday AM opened up its office to students & family ... and us stalking webcam people. Pretty cool interacting with people as they mingled. Even got a tour of the place. Lots of people on the cam/chat knew lots of people touring. I really like this place so far. I so can't wait to start. Meanwhile today, I'm working on a fairly simple walkcycle for a weekly assignment between some friends.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fetch Animation

Fetch animation I did over the past week and a half.

If you'd like to see a bigger version head over to my main website. Clicky clicky.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Just paid for my 1st Class of Animation Mentor. 5 payments to go! (If anyone reads this and I die in some sort of awesome robot/bear fight before September 17th, try get a refund and buy yourself something nice).

There's not much left to do now but keep working on my own until class starts. I have a new animation that I've been working on the past week that's just about finished. Then I have until Friday to wait and see what next month's 11 sec club audio is ... and decide if I want to do that or keep going on my own. I have a number of books to read, keep trying to get my drawing skills back (it's a short trip back, let me be honest here), and a new 2D program to play with.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

First Pre-Class Q&A

Just had a Q&A session with my soon-to-be classmates. Class doesn't start for two months but AM does these sort of meet n' greet Q&A sessions with video & chat. I'll be honest and say I was a bit apprehensive when it started because the topic was "Inspiration" and I thought it was going to be like reading Mother's Day Hallmark Cards, and that's really not me. I don't get teary eyed looking at rainbows, wondering what it all means. BUT! I'm happy to say I had a great time in there. Just meeting and chatting with the people was fun. USA, Germany, Holland, India, and China all represented. Probably more too. I really look forward to getting to know everyone and making the most of my time at AM.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chaplin Animation

Here's a little Chaplin / Tramp animation I've been working on the past couple weeks.

If you'd like to see a bigger version head over to my main website. Clicky clicky.

Friday, July 16, 2010

And now the journey has begun ...

Congratulations! You've been accepted as a student at Animation Mentor.

Well that's great to see. I can stop checking my email every 5 minutes now. Time to go create my login info and see what's going on on the site.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ticking away ...

... the moments that make up a dull day.

Waiting for AM to get back to me and let me know if I'm accepted or not. Finishing up a fun little animation that will be on my main site by this weekend probably.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Got my email invite to the Wonderlic test. Here's hoping I can beat Vince Young's score.

Application Sent.

Last night I sent in my application to Animation Mentor for Fall 2010 term. We'll see if they accept me or if this blog will be really short lived.