Today’s screening at the savannah film festival was a success. Seeing it up on the big screen and hearing the reactions of the crowd was priceless.
Last nights opening reception was at the amazing SCAD museum of art. Wonderful space. Great music and an amazing VJ show by my good friend Kelly McClung.
Not to mention we got a pedi cab there driven by a guy in a Max costume from where the wild things are. We arrived in style!
So excited for this years festival! I’m not gonna lie-when I saw this I grinned from ear to ear.
Hope to see some of you at the screenings on Monday and Friday.
Ripening will be screening at the Savannah Film Festival on Monday Oct 31st and Friday Nov 4th at 2:30pm. check the link for details…
I’m very excited and honored to be part of this years line up! Come out and show your support to all the great film makers!!!
Really great piece. Excellent use of discourse to re-enforce the theme. Obviously inspired by Lotte Reiniger….
Well peeps – here are three shots from my next short film. These are bout 90% there in terms of what I’m looking for in the completed look. I’m extra special excited as this is the first time I’ve seen it all together and I got to say I’m pretty pleased – what do you all think?
Ripening Sample FYI – its HD rez and its bout a 13 meg movie
More film reviews by moi… check it out!!!
Hey everyone, check out the new review up on newyorkisboring.com by yours truly…
Here are some really sharp shorts I’ve come across in past two days – The first one is simply brilliant out of the box thinking its called Dictaphone.
The second is called Salesman Pete and the amazing stone – really enjoy the visual style. Every frame is a dynamic painting. Wonderful use of light.
Put this together as a class assignment. Wanted to re learn how to match to live action again with new software tools. I’m pretty happy with the second shot, but the track on the first shot is definitely off.
Sound is waaaaay scratch. The actor is Jim Reed and the DP was Arnold Lee.
Really nice piece here. by Mrzyck & Moriceau for the Record Makers promo. Just goes to show you that you don’t have to be all sexy with the camera work and editing to do a really stunning piece of work. Nice job guys. I love the simplicity of it!
Nuit Blannche is a touching short film piece. What it really does successfully is Visual FX – almost everything is done through CG and compositing. My VFX peeps out there should watch this one for sure. I really enjoy the music and the use of slow motion – very inspiring.
Line – Directed by
Laurianne PROUD’HON and Ludovic RAMISANDRAINA
Nice student piece. I especially like the little black figures throughout the piece. Their use of focus and the J.J. Abrams lens flare is well chosen. I do think the dusting of the orchid in the end is a bit over the top and feels forced. All in all really nice piece guys… can’t wait to see more from you!
Really very stunning piece of experimental CG animation. His sense of timing and editing are very top notch. It makes me strangely happy to watch this piece – which is refreshing. No one ever said that all experimental animation has to be grungy and dark and moody…
This film is absolutely stunning. Alex’s choice of camera composition and movement is sublime. Not to mention the simply stunning visuals – its hard to believe that this is NOT live action but CG. A really great film to study for lighting, composition and use of music. His choice of renderer… VRAY. Nice work Alex. I hope you take this to festivals and win some accolades. I’ve also included his compositing breakdown for you tech heads out there…
Here’s the film -
Here’s the breakdown -
With the upcoming winter quarter starting the much heated topic of grading has been stirring up in my mind. Grading is one of those things that with objective based things is pretty straight forward – but with art – well talk about a subjective area of study. Without going down the slippery slope of what defines art or makes art good I want to talk about my feelings on grading, how I approach it and finally a list of guidelines.
Grading in general I feel hampers the learning process and can in a lot of cases force students to develop strong senses of elitism or entitlement- the well I got a 4.0 so I deserve that nice cushy job. Society often looks at and praises this sense of achievement rather than the process or the knowledge that is exhibited or learned from mistakes. All that seems to matter to the student is achieving that “A” and not what was been learned or gained in the experimenting process. So we have hordes of students whom did well on their SATs but couldn’t problem solve their way out of a paper bag. Our sense of grading, I believe, is helping to support a cultural system that is teaching our children to be drones and not independent thinkers.
I believe in order to define an “A” student we must look at how we define failure. Dictionary.com defines failure in part as “The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment.” This part of the definition I believe is crucial to grading art. The key word here is experiment – all art is an experiment. Sure there are formal processes and techniques and sure just like any craft there are known dos and don’ts to achieve the desired recipe of art but what is missing here is the passion for experimentation in that process. When one is so focused on the end result, the grade, you often loose sight of the true learning and growth.
I often use this analogy in reference to being an animator verses a film maker. It is the same between a line cook and a chef. The line cook knows how to cook a very specific set of recipes, and a good one does it good every time. He follows the recipes and learns them by heart, he cooks and fast. He is about getting consistent good orders out every time on time or his customers will not return. Where as the chef (our film maker) he writes the recipes of his heart. Sure he can cook and often does but he is after something different. He experiments, he is not afraid of trying bizarre things, going off recipe because his gut tells him too. He enjoys the process of cooking, the creation of elements, the mixing, the blending, the smells. He will offer up things that are good, sometimes mediocre, but depending on the quality of the chef sometimes- life changing.
The pressure that the customers place on the line cook prevent him from this process of experimenting and thus it prevents him from growing outside of the proscribed recipes. Grades are the students customers, and as we all know the customer is always right – right?
Wrong. When trying to grade something as subjective as art you can break it down into two very vast areas for review – Craft and Idea. By looking at what the intent of the artist is/was you can then measure his/her use of craft against it. How well does it in fact communicate to the viewer? How strong were the technical aspects of his/her craft? etc. But wait isn’t the viewer subjective? My reaction to film is vastly different to my fathers or brothers reaction. And what if you don’t know the intent of the artist?
Well luckily when training artists, specifically animators, by setting up assignments and giving them specific goals and outcomes (what they need to communicate and how they need to communicate it) you can then begin to measure their progress- but even still this sense of quantification is risking formula. We must be careful to not fall into the trap of objectifying the art into something so much that it then ceases to be art. You have to allow for the “wow” factor. I have often heard my fellow professors say – man you know its an “A” when it makes you go wow. When you ask them how do you define “wow” their first reaction is point to existing imagery that instilled wow and say that. There is a natural sense of what works – the more engrossed, trained, aged the artist the more intrinsic this sense or feeling of what works or doesn’t work becomes. There is/was a reason for the mentor/apprentice system for artisans. Students lack this sense or have the inklings of it. Through repetition, experimentation, discussion and time it grows and strengthens.
By using rubrics and setting up specific goals to each assignment so that the student knows what he/she is supposed to be learning and experimenting with we help the student polish that inner sense. This allows for them to mature as artists and eventually launch into the stage of self evaluation where they begin to evaluate themselves as artists, and set up their goals for expression and success.
My mentor and good friend Edward Kinney shared with me about a year ago a list that he has been compiling and refining in his 20 years of teaching. I have added only one thing to it to make what I believe to be a very comprehensive top 10 list of what defines an “A” student.
Characteristics of an “A” Student
An “A” student never thinks of their grade as they work on projects. They are creating artwork.
An ”A” student never tells me how hard they worked on a project. They were unaware of how much time they spent on a project. For the “A” student the activity was not work…it was joy in the art making process.
An ”A” student never misses class…NEVER. Not because they are trying to please the teacher but because they enjoy the course content and the class dynamic. They would rather be in class than elsewhere.
An ”A” student is totally involved from the first class to the last. Their effort is even and steady and comes from a love for exploration, creating and learning.
An ”A” student never works to please the teacher but rather to explore and refine the expression of their artistic impulses.
An “A” student hands in work on time even when equipment fails.
An ”A” student knows of all the gods that affect our lives the art god is far more significant than the grade god.
An ”A” student is learning to welcome the Muses. Seeking an “A”, by comparison, is a trivial endeavor.
An “A” student is self-motivated and focused on problem solving.
An “A” student never whines, complains, or offers excuses.
Well animation fans – I liked it. Yep. Not only was it a Wes Anderson film but it was a stop-motion animated Wes Anderson film. Talk about a perfect merger of Anderson’s typical quirky, yet cathartic storytelling with the deliberately static, and jerky motion of stop motion. He could not have picked a better medium to do this film. It had all the things you would expect from a Wes Anderson film – the witty dialogue, off beat humor and complicated family dynamics that we all can relate too. I mean who doesn’t have a cousin that out shines them at one thing or another.
One of the things I most enjoyed with this film was Anderson’s choices regarding the camera and camera movement. There was A LOT of it. Particularly chase cameras. Several times the camera ended up behind the character as they moved through the scene – while in live action this is really a no brainer – pulling this off in stop motion is bloody hard and they made it look easy. They also played a lot with flattening out shots by taking a very platform gamesk style of shooting which made for nice sense of visual texture and contrast. They were very mindful of the quality of texture in this film, maybe not as much as coraline, but very very similar. They also did a surprising number of extreme close ups on faces and eyes, where the puppets were very still, but they appeared to deliberately by accident move small hairs here and there to keep it alive.
Over all I was extremely impressed by the production value, style choices, writing and quality of film making. It was definitely worth seeing in theater. While it might be too sophisticated of humor for some of the younger audience members, I do feel that even they will enjoy the dynamic theatrics and quirky character designs to make it worth taking them.
Way to go Mr. Anderson – and thank you for re-affirming to me why we make animated films. Because unlike Mr. Zemeckis’s Christmas carol, the Fantastic Mr. Fox truly brings life to the screen in a believable and inspiring way.
Here is the first major roto test for my next film The Ripening. The background is just placeholder and it is missing the 3D element. I animated it in 3D and then rotoscoped the 3D in Photoshop. It was taking me about 3 min a frame on my tiny tablet – hoping that the cintiq will speed this up a bit. Enjoy!
So I hit a technical snag which I have been diligently avoiding for some time now, how was I to move all the leaves on my tree for my next short. Well I couldn’t put it off any longer and with some help from two of my co-workers Ken and Brian I got her figured out. It is a combination of a mel script and an expression.
The mel script is run to put custom attrs on each leaf to get information of the current rotation values and to attach a unique seed number to each leaf – most of the leaves are instances so I was unable to zero out their transforms.
Here is the script – feel free to use what you can – along with avery simple movie. Looks easy right? HA… for a mel novice this was quite a challenge, but hey with a little manual reading, some internet searching, and some good ole friend power she works!
Script and Expression -
//Mel script to set up custom attribute and store rotations in vector
$lf = (“appleLeaf” +$i);
addAttr -ln “OrgRot” -at double3 $lf;
addAttr -ln “OrgRotX” -at double -p OrgRot $lf;
addAttr -ln “OrgRotY” -at double -p OrgRot $lf;
addAttr -ln “OrgRotZ” -at double -p OrgRot $lf;
addAttr -ln “seed” -at double -min 0 -max 10 -dv 1 $lf;
float $rx = `getAttr ($lf + “.rotateX”)`;
float $ry = `getAttr ($lf + “.rotateY”)`;
float $rz = `getAttr ($lf + “.rotateZ”)`;
setAttr -type double3 ($lf+”.OrgRot”) $rx $ry $rz;
setAttr -e-keyable true ($lf+”.OrgRot”);
setAttr -e-keyable true ($lf+”.OrgRotX”);
setAttr -e-keyable true ($lf+”.OrgRotY”);
setAttr -e-keyable true ($lf+”.OrgRotZ”);
$rand = rand(0,10);
setAttr ($lf+”.seed”) $rand;
setAttr -e-keyable true ($lf+”.seed”);
//Expression for querying attr and rand noise
$lf = (“appleLeaf” +$i);
float $sd = `getAttr ($lf + “.OrgRotX”)` + `getAttr ($lf + “.OrgRotZ”)`/ 30;
float $rx = `getAttr ($lf + “.OrgRotX”)`;
float $ry = `getAttr ($lf + “.OrgRotY”)`;
float $rz = `getAttr ($lf + “.OrgRotZ”)`;
float $seed = `getAttr ($lf + “.seed”)`;
rotate ($rx + $x) ($ry+$y) ($rz+$z);
Hey I thought I’d link you to David’s short but excellent post on the film making process – some great thoughts on making mistakes.
But he also shoots us a link to this amazing music video by Tiny Inventions for They Might Be Giants. I’ve embedded it for your connivence. I really enjoy the textural qualities and the overall just general happiness of this piece. It has a really great old school feel while utilizing new school tech. Really nice job guys!!
Here is a really stunning piece of work by artists in france called “Baidir”. They are currently seeking funding for a 26 episode tv run – each being 26 min. I hope they get the funding and we in the states get to see it. This piece really looks like it has some serious potential in the aesthetic realm – lets hope their story is as strong. Good luck guys!
One of my students shot me this link to this animation. Great way to explain what Google street view is doing! Really great production design and execution. Just a cute fun way to hide the fact that Google is stalking us all. : ) Enjoy!!!
Well technophobes and geeks out there – this guy has got it going on. I was really impressed with this process and really how simple it seems. Gonna give it a try in Maya soon… check it!