Spline Hygiene

Pixar animator, Victor Navone has posted a great two part tutorial on keeping your splines nice and clean. I dare say you can’t animate in 3D without this type of info, so if you’re new to the graph editor take a look and see what sort of things you need to look out for.

Splinophilia Part 1

Splinophilia Part 2

Ratatouille Featurette

My excitement level is peeking. I really shouldn’t be spoiling this movie for myself by watching every little bit of teaser footage, but I can’t help it. I never thought 3D would get this close to the appeal of hand drawn animation so soon. This is looking De-licious!

And another featurette on Disney.com about how they made the cooking believable.

Chop Socky O’Chooks

In time for the St. Pat’s Day weekend there’s going to be a sneak peak airing of the first episode of CSC on Teletoon today at 5pm. (That’s in Canada, only. For everyone else it will eventually be on Cartoon Network, but I don’t know when) So if you happen to be sitting at home for some reason, flip on the tube and see what I’m talking about. I believe the show’s regular spot is 4pm on Sundays, starting this Sunday so if you miss it today, I’ll forgive you. For the most part I only worked on the even numbered episodes, but No.1 is one of the best. Good job by that team.

For anyone who won’t be seeing it this weekend there’s a little promo video up on Decode’s website: HERE

Some people got all the brains

These guys always mystified me in school and they just keep getting better and better. Here are a couple of brilliant tools created by folks I know from my SAU days.
(click on the images for links to the tools)

by Michael Hutchinson
Automated “toony” rigging

by Zach Gray and others
Utility for “mirroring” poses (so you can mirror your walk cycle poses, for example) that works on any character, and on any user defined plane (not just across a default world axis).

Not too shabby for a book that isn’t even real

You know those Walt Stanchfield drawing notes over at animationmeat.com? Well somebody has compiled the first sixty PDFs into an unofficial book (called Gesture Drawing for Animation) to help make it all a bit more understandable. He’s organized the notes into loggical chapters and put them in a logical order. The original, “untainted” notes are still at animationmeat, but for those who want to look at them all as a whole this seems like a great alternative.

Secret of the Cave

A huge congratulations! to the School of Visual Art and Design at Southern Adventist University for completing their film, Secret of the Cave, and for winning the Crystal Heart Award at the 2006 Heartland Film Festival where it premiered last October. There’s info on the film’s website and an interview with the Director and the DP (both professors at the school) for the film. There’s also a review of the film from Entertainment Magazine and another one from Independent Critics.

The year that I graduated from Southern they had just released their first film, made mostly by students, and I think I remember hearing that this would be their next film. I had no idea that my animation professor, Zach Gray, was going to be the director. Looks like he did a pretty fantastic job. (no surprise, though it is his first time directing a feature-length, live-action film)

I’m looking forward to seeing the whole movie. I don’t know if it was in theatres at all, but I’m sure a DVD is planned.

SVAD has made enormous progress in the last 7 or 8 years and it’s really good to see that they continue to up the ante with each new undertaking. Here’s hoping that this is their next project.

From Kung Fu Chickens to Swashbuckling Vegetables

My last real post was way back in November and a lot has happened since then. By the end of that month, my time on Chop Socky Chooks had come to a close. I only got to work on about five episodes, but it was really fun while it lasted. I’m certainly not sorry to be moving on to my next assignment, though. Some of you may recognize these guys:

The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything originally debuted as characters in a “Silly Song,” but now they’re being promoted to big-screen status. The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie is the second VT theatrical release after Jonah back in 2002.

Many people don’t know that shortly after the Jonah movie Big Idea Productions went bankrupt and the creative properties were sold to Classic Media. The Big Idea animation studio was closed and since then all production has be out-sourced (in-sourced?) to our studio in Toronto, Canada. Though it was unfortunate that so many people had to go through those hard times we are lucky that the VT franchise has survived and the videos are still as good as ever. The original creators (who are also the voice actors) have reached an agreement that allows them to still write and direct the new videos and we’re all glad for that. You can get the whole story from the horse’s mouth over at PhilVischer.com

A lot of really fantastic animators came from the studio that Larry and Bob built. People like Keith Lango, Aaron Hartline, Mark Behm, Michael Comet, and Justin Barret, inspired me through school and continue inspiring me as they have continued sharing their work over the internet. Those are some big shoes to fill and I don’t really feel worthy of a feature animation credit, but I’ll take it!

So we started layout in December and finished last week. This week I officially started animating. Finally, I can tell people what I’m working on and they will actually remember it 2 mins later. My first shot was the very first shot after the opening credits. Keep your eyes peeled ’cause it’s only 30 frames long.

It’s Been a Long Time…

…but I have finally updated this blog.

I made the switch to the new Blogger format which means that everything looks pretty much the same, (just with new colours) but I had to do a bit of fiddling to make it that way. I added a few more links on the right for those who might want to start learning to animate but don’t have any software. There is also a link to subscribe to this blog for those who use aggregators. It’s not something I’m very familiar with, but it sounds swell. I’ll use the next few posts to play a bit of catch-up and then, hopefully, I’ll post something at least once a week.

Joslin’s Results

For all the people who were wondering (okay, both of the people wondering) I didn’t do so well at the tournament. I was definitely out of my league, but it was still a great experience and lots of fun. I lost my gi match by armbar in about 90 seconds without scoring a single point and was rather disappointed with myself. I didn’t even have a chance to get tired!

Knowing then that I was not likely to win any matches I went into my no-gi fight determined to at least be the aggressor and score some points before I was defeated and that’s what I did. I went all out right from the word “go” and took the fight to my opponent. I scored the first points with a take down, but couldn’t break past his guard and ended up submitting to another armbar. After the fight my opponent said “good fight, I was totally gassed” which felt good because that means he had a hard time beating me, even if it didn’t last the full 5 mins.

I don’t have any pictures from the day because we only had a video camera. My brother has the tape and if he ever figures out how to digitized it I’ll post what I can. The first fight wasn’t so good so I might just post the second. Either way, the video will be depressingly short.