Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Art of Brave

This is great! Every art-of book should have a short video like that where you can quickly see the content, so you can decide if it's worth it or not.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Marnie - new AnimSchool rig

Very cool looking rig, must be awesome to animate with. Head over here for more info!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Pod (trailer)

I was fortunate to see the full short and unfortunately I don't know when it is going to be released and what the festival details are, but if you have a chance to see, you should. I loved it.

The Christmas Elf Hater (Nissehaderen)

Cool look done in Maya!

Ernest et Célestine

That looks great. Love the chasing cops!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

SloPro - iPhone app for shooting Reference

If you have an iPhone, I recommend you check out SloPro. It's free to check out but you won't be able to save your movies. For $1.99 you get the full version with more options.

Here the official info list:

 - Toggle slow motion while recording!
- Trim and change slow motion afterwards if needed
- No rendering delay--watch slow motion immediately!
- Facebook upload
- YouTube upload
- Upgrade to email, export to camera roll, and export raw 60fps

 For non-iPhone 4S 60fps is only on the iPhone 4S. Other devices can still record, edit and share great slow motion videos at 30fps. 

The slow-mo sound is fun, especially when it makes your baby sound like a huge ogre beast. :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tennis Serve Reference

This is a very cool analysis of Roddick's serve and the slow mo footage is great reference!

AnimSchool Interview: Animator Aaron Gilman

Check out the full interview at the AnimSchool blog!

Uncomfortable reference - Joe Hockey

Good squirmy and uncomfortable reference. Thanks Mike for the tip!

Faceware Webinar Series - Facial Rigging Techniques with Josh Burton

Summer 2012 SOS Workshops open for sign-ups!

Now that the Spring Workshop is done I wanted to remind interested animators that the sign-up window for the Summer Workshop is closing in a month. Spots are filling up for a June 18th start, so if you're up for it, head over here for the sign-up procedure!

Summer blocks are shorter, 8 weeks in total, giving you 8 sessions for $400. Unless you want to work more and sign-up for the twice-a-week option (Monday and Thursday) for $800.

As always, if you got any questions, feel free to check out the FAQ.


Online Workshops: all-year sign-ups and new features

I've been doing this for a little bit now but haven't officially announced it via a post yet.

After doing the online workshops for a while I figured that it was a lot easier on animators who wanted to sign up if the schedule wasn't blocked out in the usual Spring, Summer and Fall fashion (which I carried over from the on-site workshops).

So from now on you can start at any time for the 16 week block! It's the usual $500 for 16 weeks, with all the details and options outlined in the SO FAQ.

I've also added the option of having animators sending me their Maya files so that I can illustrate certain points hands-on, if the written feedback is not clear enough. You can find one of those examples in this shot, where I concentrated the tweak on the hip:

(click image to play the movie)

Update as of 8/23/12:

There are some features missing in Scribbeo and the updates of the app are not as frequent as I would have hoped. So I'm going back to taking regular screen shots and drawing on top of them.

But I've also added video reviews to the mix. And so far the feedback has been very positive. 

I've also switched to Scribbeo (more on that app in a later post) for the majority of the feedback replies, which allows for a more structured breakdown of the notes.

 That's it so far!


Spring 2012 SOS Workshop is DONE!

Aaaaand another workshop is closing its doors and what a ride it was. Tons of fun as usual and this time pretty much all familiar faces. A very dynamic and fun group!! Thanks guys, once again I laughed three hours straight once a week, it never ceases to amaze me how much fun those sessions are!

Some of you I will see again for the Summer Workshop, for the rest of you, good luck with everything and take care of yourselves!

And don't forget to leave feedback here and/or on the Spungella Facebook page!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Cloverball - and the importance of having fun

After a brief start in 2008 where I blocked out the first 5 shots I have now finally finished this little sequence last week and I had a blast working on it! But there's a little story behind it.

Back when I was teaching at the AAU I had every class start with a bouncing ball assignment for the first week. It was a great way to see how people would react to it (did they feel like they were above it, were they excited, confused, etc.) and seeing the clips gave me a good idea how each person was attacking an assignment.

Would they do just the minimum (or less), would they think they mastered it yet didn't really, was there more to see than the bullet points were asking or did someone go above and beyond?

Since taking up any kind of animation school demands a lot of work and time behind each assignment and exercise, why wouldn't you try to have the most fun possible? That was always my approach, even if I didn't succeed all the time. Some teachers thought I was just an over achiever, which baffled me. I was just having tons of fun and trying to milk the assignment and push myself. But years later I realized that you have to make sure that your students focus on getting the basics done, and done really well, before they go off and take on crazy stuff.

In my first character animation class, taught by the awesome Lisa Mullins, I learned what "animation jerk off" was. It was this clip:

It was a "getting out of a chair" assignment, which was supposed to last 5 seconds max. I will never forget her reaction to that clip. After an initial compliment on how I seemed to have understood the basic principles of animation (to an extent), she proceeded to rip the clip apart and it was the best critique I've ever gotten and a huge eye opener. My clip was just about moving stuff, it was animation for animation's sake, or "animation jerk off", instead of exploring the character, acting choices and breathing life into a computer rig.

She was so right. At the same time it was also extremely rewarding to just let loose and animate the hell out of something. I still indulge in this to this day, but I try to keep the balance in favor of character instead of movement.

But every now and then, I just like to have fun. And this brings me back to the bouncing ball assignment. What I would explain to the students back then was my view on what constitutes an F, a D, a C and a B, which I've tried to illustrate in the clip below:

(click image to play grading video)

This is of course all subjective and feel free to chew me out ("What?! You think this is a F/D/C/B?!")

Unfortunately, I don't remember seeing anybody go for an all out A with the "go big or go home" attitude. Of course, it also all depended on their skill set, school schedule, etc. but still, I missed the "fun" part in most of the clips.

So what's an A in my distorted point of view? It's a clip where you can tell that someone just ran with an assignment. Of course this can lead to questions like "Do you have a problem with women?" when faced with my very first bouncing ball assignment:

 ... and no, I don't have a problem with women, I was just being stupid and added "bouncy" things to the assignment... and I completely understand the question... (hiding in shame...)

Anyway, as posted at the top of this entry, "Cloverball" was my idea of what a bouncing ball assignment could look like. :)
And here are the usual suspects of video formats: youtube, vimeo and quicktime.

A bit more information regarding the planning of this sequence:

The original idea of doing this over the top bouncing ball, as mentioned, came out of the AAU days and it got mixed with the additional knowledge that I gained regarding camera work (thanks to Star Trek) and after having seen Cloverfield (hence the name Cloverball).
But this was all in 2008 (at least that's what the time stamp said on the last file when I opened it), and I can't really remember all the details. I just knew that I wanted to have a fight between two balls, taking place in a city.
This is as far as I got in 2008:

It was a week-end blocking out affair and got reopened last Tuesday, for another 3 day stint. So all in all 5 days, following roughly the main idea outline. As I continued last week, I knew that the red balls should assemble another guy with two legs, and that they would then walk/run towards each other and fight Godzilla style, with the red guy pushing the blue guy into a building as an ending.
That ending felt too open though and I wanted a better ending shot. First I thought about the red guy running/jumping into the blue guy and ending with a wide shot of a big mushroom explosion/cloud shot, but eventually settled on the current last shot.
The blue guy firing lasers and the red guy jumping away plus firing up his defense shield ideas grew pretty much in a straight-ahead fashion. Since I set myself a deadline (Thursday night, so that I could present it on Friday for a talk at the AAU), I didn't sit down to thumbnail or storyboard everything out. But I was really excited about finishing this whole thing, so tons of idea just popped up and I ran with what I liked the most.

The rig that I used was from Mutiny Studios, which you can download here.

The render was a standard software render using the DOF Control script for the depth of field.


Full TRON: Uprising Pilot

Found via Cartoon Brew

Crayon Dragon by Toniko Pantoja

Very nice!

Crayon Dragon from Toniko Pantoja on Vimeo.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gabriele Pennacchioli 2D Animation

Gabriele Pennacchioli 2D Animation from Jamaal Bradley on Vimeo.

 Love pencil tests!
- found via @JamaalBradley

Flipbook - iPad animation app

I have a few different apps and they all have their strengths and weaknesses and so far I'm partial to Animation Creator because of its real time scrubbing and audio support and clean interface. The layer function is good too.

Animation Desk feels a bit cluttered at the beginning interface wise but has awesome features as well. For instance you can move around a piece of cloth around the drawing area which serves as a wrist resting area. That way you can place your hand on the screen and it won't recognize it as a drawing command.

I wish both had an easier layer/BG tool though, where you can easily create a BGs and stretch it out over a certain length of time without duplicating each frame. Also, when in frame edit mode, it's a merged view of all the layers/BGs and it would be cool have a broken up view for each layer.

But "Flipbook" for the iPad looks very promising as well (trying it out now). Check out the video tutorial:

Inside Pixar

Thanks Le Roy for the tip! The stereoscopic part was neat to see!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

AnimSchool Interview: Animator Cameron Fielding

Head over to the animschoolblog and check out the interview with the awesome Cameron Fielding!!

Always leave the office on time

So true.

- found via twitter

FiLMiC Pro for iPhone

Listening to the Jeff Gabor Webcast he mentions the app FiLMiC for the iPhone, which lets you shoot in a 24fps mode, which is great for shooting reference. If you got an iPhone, head over here for the app.

AnimSchool Webcast: Jeff Gabor

Great insight into his process. The raw reference footage is great to see and pointing out what doesn't work, plus the smear frame section was really interesting. Definitely not an area that we explore at work due to the style.

The Story of Animation

Never got around to posting this. Love how the exces form one big blob. :)

850 METERS, the making-of : #4 Rigging and Animation

Remember the teaser for "850 Meters"? Here's some more info and a look at the Rigging and Animation aspects of it.

The Chase by Philippe Gamer

Hahaha, the car destruction work after the 1min30s mark cracked me up. Go big or go home! The ending was nice too!

Bringing The Pirates! Characters to Life

Such a shame that the movie didn't do well box office wise. Such a bummer.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Three Point Landings

The lower eye lid twitch of landing poses. It's so overdone!! This supercut says it all.  

- found @ Gizmodo

Real life squash and stretch

Holy moly, look at that face! Thanks Matthew for the tip!

- Full article here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Marco Bucci

Love that green monster he posting every now and then. Great work, check it out at

Photoshop Character Animation Tutorial

Sally the dog by Willem Lagerwaard


Noisia - Could this be

Neat look.

Animation reel by Barnev Pavel


Rae - Free Rig

Finally got back to updating the Animation Buffet site. More to come!

Dragon’s Flight School

Very cool! Sumida will discuss his collaboration with Simon Otto and other animators at DreamWorks as they developed the real-life references for the flight of dragons in “How to Train Your Dragon”

will (director's cut) by Eusong Lee

How sad!

Salvador Dali - Destino. Walt Disney

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Moment by MrFogg

Animated in flash and painted in photoshop frames by frames. Thanks Raoul for the link!

Endless Reference

Check out this youtube channel, which has a lot of body mechanic reference clips!

Star Trek Final Frontier

Looking at the new cool animated Tron trailer, it would have been cool to see a new animated Star Trek series.

Head over here for more concept artwork, story and character outlines, etc.

Paperman Poster

Very intrigued by this.

New Tron: Uprising Trailer

That looks very cool!

Wife of a Farmer by Amanda Winterstein


Calarts First Year Film - Mafuta by Kyler Spears

Calarts First Year Film - Mafuta from Kyler Spears on Vimeo.

Absolutely AWESOME!!!!!! (Thanks Louaye for the tip!)