16 September, 2009

Let's Take a Tour of Pixar

The producers of Pixar give us a tour of their studio. In this presentation, you'll see lots great concept art that were used during the design process for many of their scenes and characters. If you watch the piece all the way through, you will even take a peek into one of the animation studios, that has a secret passage into a hidden room, where...perhaps lots of inspiration is exchanged.

Click here to check it out.

Enjoy and Fire It Up!


Autodesk Showreel: Starting Personal Projects to Enhance Your Demo Reels

I often encourage my animation students, on the side, to begin and work on personal projects. Its best if they are simple and short and can be as simple as a compositing exercise, 3 - 5 second character animation, acting or lip sync exercise. Be sure that the exercise is fun for you, because it has to sustain you and so that in the end, your payoff/satisfaction is well worth it.

Once this personal clip is completed. It will stand out as being one of the best pieces in your demo reel/ portfolio. Simply, these pieces will stand out because we can tell that you had fun working on it, and the presentation will be better than anything else because we can sense the level of care you put into the overall display.

I've attached the above clip for inspiration. In a very short time it will give you ideas and concepts to build from, just remember to shoot your own footage. Begin by watching the clip and making note of shots that attract you. Narrow these down to the one or two that would be the easiest for you to create, storyboard it out and get to work. Don't give yourself a time limit (although some might think it may be a good idea, depending on how you work), you don't want it to be stressful - just fun.

Keep those personal projects flying to stay sharp, engaged and to enhance your demo reel.

Fire it up!


12 September, 2009

Black Eyed Peas: Infectious Flash Mob Performance on Oprah's Season Premiere

This week, I saw this and felt that it was one of the most incredible things I have seen in a long time. I am a dude, and don't usually watch the Oprah Show, but if you're like me, your significant other is into Oprah. So, once in a while, you have to watch it. For the most part, her shows are positive and full of great helpful information that even a guy like me would like.

Oprah's season opener featured performances from popular groups, but there was one in particular that I though was very special. During the The Black Eyed Peas performance of the song "I Got a Feelin" there was an incredible Flash Mob performance. For those of you who don't know, a Flash Mob is a large scale choreographed performance involving hundreds, even thousands of people. The cool thing about this Flash Mob, is that I don't think anyone knew about it, including Oprah. When I saw it, I thought it was incredible, the energy was infectious and left me feeling really happy.

If anyone out there was part of that Oprah Flash Mob, and happened to stumble upon this blog, feel free to chime in and let us know what it was like. I'll bet that you'll never forget that day. I wish I was there, but in all honesty, the energy could be felt from far away - it was truly amazing. I could only imagine some of the bystanders who were attended but were not part of the originating group, I'm sure you couldn't help but join in either.

The Flash Mob portion of the clip begins at about :58, and after the performance, you'll see a segment about how the entire stunt was planned, organized and executed. The incredible thing is that the word got out through the use of Facebook and Twitter. Way to go guys on pulling off an incredible memorable event.

The original instance of the Flash Mob can be seen in this clip below, filmed in Antwerp Belgium approaching 11 million hits.

and more recently in Mexico, over 13,000 people perform Michael Jackson's Thriller, I think that's a new Guiness Book World Record.

Fire it Up!


10 September, 2009

Naldz Graphics: 3D Typoography

In my advanced animation classes, as everyone progresses towards the creation of their final demo reel, comes the subject of typography. No, we aren't graphic designers working with typographic layouts on a regular basis, nevertheless the subject is important. Its important because its directly related to marketing, and marketing is what you have to keep in mind when designing your portfolio, website and demo reel. As an animator, you may be called upon to create animated text via CG or After Effects and you definitely have to create animated text to spice up your demo reel.

Your animation demo reel will work fine without animated text, but since you are "the animator", you want to show that you can animate anything. Doing so, shows people that you pay attention to detail, the overall package, and it showcases another marketable skill that Art Directors might want to use.

Naldz Graphics is a site that showcases great examples of integrating CG text in design. When you look at these examples, pay attention to the camera angle, the diagonals create interesting compositions and if you are animator, take it a step further and ask yourself how these designs can be animated. One other benefit in creating text in CG is the ability to create materials, notice how the text in the example I've included has a shiny reflective plastic material. This ability also creates unique textures, gradients and values that unique only to CG.

So if you are a modeler, texturer or animator, use those CG skills to create interesting typographic compositions and spice up your portfolio. Have fun and fire it up!


04 September, 2009

Rising Sun Pictures: Visual Effects Coming From Down Under

Rising Sun Pictures is a visual effects company based out of Australia, and for most of you, are pretty familiar with their work, you just haven't heard about them. They've created some pretty impressive effects for some of the top movies which premiered this year such as Wolverine, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Terminator Salvation and Superman Returns. The reel below showcases the work they completed for the last Harry Potter film.


For my animation students, be sure to check the link to get a nice sampling of what's possible with the applications that we are learning. You'll see great examples of animation, compositing, lighting and texturing, motion tracking, digital matte painting, and moving animated textures. The reel is impressive and should get you inspired and pumped up for what we do.

Jerry - Thanks for the heads up and the link.

Fire it up and enjoy!


01 September, 2009

Dean Zulich: Photography Website

Today, we were visited by former Art Institute of Seattle graduate Dean Zulich. A native of Bosnia and Herzogovina, Dean is a commercial photographer focusing on conceptual fashion, advertisement and celebrity photography and is most famous for his success as the runner up on Vh1 reality television show "The Shot".

In a short amount of time, Dean garnered success from his engaging photography. His compositions and subject matter are interesting and thoughtful, and we were very fortunate to have him share his road to success with us. His talk was quite inspiring.

What struck me about his talk today, was his feeling on the importance of continuing personal projects. Doing this "keeps the fire alive" and its what keeps him going, and he said that, I realized how much I missed that feeling, and will be putting together a personal project soon. Doing personal projects is an easy way to enhance your demo reel and or digital portfolio. Viewers will be able to sense your enjoyment in personal projects and they usually get more attention.

To learn more about Dean, visit his website, http://www.deanzulich.com His website is nice and clean and features his different portfolios (books).

Hey Dean, thanks again for your visit, for sharing and for inspiring. Keep up the outstanding work and best of luck in all you do.

Fire it Up!