27 October, 2009

Halo 3 - ODST / Assassin's Creed II: Live Action Trailers

We looked at both of these trailers of two video games we love the most. It was interesting to see both of these games interpreted in live action. Can anyone see a full length movie coming down the pipe? We could! Lots of fun entertaining the thought. Enjoy!

23 October, 2009

Amazing Transforming Bumblebee Costumes

Lots of blogposts this month. But I had to post to show my students on Monday. This is actually way cool, be sure you stick around for the transformation at the end. If you look carefully, he's got his headlights working too. Doesn't it look uncomfortable? Who cares, its still genius and cool.

And here's a litte kid with a smaller version that.

Where do we get one of these? Awesome!

Xing Tain: "Exotique" Conceptual Artist

Saw this artist today and felt it was important to spread the word about the way he works. Yu Chong Heng is a conceptual artist who is featured in all of the "Exotique" publications. He knows anatomy, lighting and an understanding of design that helps propel a story. The piece you see is of the mythical character Xing Tain.

Yu Chong Heng has created a short tutorial for you to gain insight into his work process. He shows his research, photoreference, and process. The most important thing I want you to see, after the initial research and sketch, is his use of the lighting systems in Photoshop, and simple models in Maya to enhance and make his piece believable. The tutorial is designed to be easily scanned, so you can get a quick hit of information. You can see his demo by clicking here >>

In this character, yes...he could have drawn the horns and bracelets by hand, but he used Maya instead to quickly solve for the form, lighting and detail. Using the tool in this way makes for a believable piece, and in sci-fi illustration, this is essential.


Fire it up. Keep drawing, painting and animating!

- Randolf

22 October, 2009

Dan Platt: Hard Surface and Organic Modeling

Dan Platt is a conceptual 3D artist who works in traditional sculpture but who also has some mad cg skills to boot. Dan is battletested! He's done work for films like, "The Cave", Disney's "Meet the Robinsons", and "Bolt". His work is nice, clean, balanced, exemplifies good form, is capable of creating a variety of forms and surfaces, and also has a nice storytelling aspect to his work. Many of my students marvel at the level of detail he puts in his pieces.

You can learn more about his work by visiting his website here:

Thanks Mike B. for the heads up.

Fire it up! Keep drawing, painting and animating.


21 October, 2009

Paul Debevec : Realistic Facial Animation

Paul Debevec is a pioneer in computer animation famous for his eyecatching breakthroughs in technology that were eventually used in films such as the Matrix, Superman Returns and Benjamin Button. In my animation classes, I show his animation called "Parthenon" as a good example of lighting, texturing and how animation is used to educate people in an interesting way. He has inspired me for many years. If you've never seen it before, click here, you'll like it and just maybe, you'll also be inspired too.

In the above lecture, Paul talks about the light array process called Photometrics used to capture realistic detail in a human face. The results, as you can see below are amazing (face only). He also shows how the information can be used with Imagemetrics to create a digital puppet of the actress named "Emily "that produces startling results. The image below says it all. Check out the lecture above and here from one of Computer Animation's greats.

20 October, 2009

Easykiss 123: Free Web Photo Galleries

In teaching my website design class for "non-webdesigners", the task of designing a "gallery" is by far the hardest thing to design. In it, artists usually showcase their drawings, paintings, conceptual designs and even photography, that gives the recruiter a better idea of the artist's drawing and painting skills, use of color, composition and design. Here is a collection of free web photo galleries that you can use to spice up your web portfolios.

It is difficult to design because students come with a large array of pieces, and so the student must find a way to narrow down his pieces to only the best, and in some cases, must group them so that a user can navigate through them easily. For example, all of the 3D renders could be grouped together, as well as all of the lifedrawings, paintings, photography, etc...

In the last year of teaching this class, the gallery of choice for many of my students is Lightbox. To make it easier to install this in someone's website, I've created a video tutorial that you can check out, and to see an example of it, click here. This usually eases the burden for the student to learn "code" as the tutorial explains things fairly easily and so far...no complaints. It actually makes me feel great when someone on their own, puts it together and tells me of their success.

But, if you are tired of Lightbox, be sure to check out the Easy Kiss 123 site. In it, you'll find many great examples of free photogalleries that are just plain sweet. But hold your horses....

There is a cost. The only cost to you is the learning curve. You have to spend time reading the instructions to learn the basics of how to put the gallery together. Its well worth the time and energy to find a nice gallery presentation for your precious drawings, paintings, designs and photographs.

If you have a favorite one, please let us know below so that other people can benefit as well. I like the Flash Photo Stack and Autoviewer

Thanks and Fire It Up!


19 October, 2009

Preparing for the Animation Industry: Animation Mentor

On the Animation Mentor - Tips and Tricks Blog, there is a posting about how to prepare for the animation industry. The blog post is informative and covers the following, but if you think about it, the advice crosses many disciplines. Visual Effects and Game Art and Design professionals would benefit from this advice as well. The blogpost includes:

  • Know the studio and the work they create, so you can tailor your reel.
  • Avoid putting work in your demo reel other than your own.
  • Keep in mind that you will be hired during crunchtime - so meet those deadlines.
  • Check your ego/attitude at the door.
The last one is interesting. Lots has to be said about being humble and open to critique. Having an attitude that prevents this stifles growth, and nobody will want to be with you because you will be deemed hard to work with.

Check out and bookmark the blogpost here >>.

Keep drawing, painting and animating.

Fire it Up!


18 October, 2009

Joshua Slice: Character Animation Demo Reel

Joshua Slice Demo Reel 2009 from joshua slice on Vimeo.

Hey Guys, here's a nice example of character animation. Pay close attention to his moving holds, his use of arcs and variety of timing. All of the these together make for seamless smooth movement as he transitions from one pose to the next. He's also got a kick butt last name. "Slice" it up.

Keep up the great work.


14 October, 2009

Cacure Animation: "Mouse"

Some more "animation fuel" (Hey! That's not a bad name for a cool animation blog). Paparalla is an animator and visual effects artist for Cacure Studios in Venezuela. Their work is muy bien.

Whatever those guys are drinking down there seems to be working...their animation work is superb. Check out the "Mouse" visual effects piece below as well as the "Making of" clip so you get an idea of the many passes and renders needed to compose the shot.

And the "making of Mouse Cacure"...

And oh yes, their work is also very cute. Check the bird piece below and pay attention to their lighting and texturing. The animation also features nice styling and clever music that I think you'll enjoy. Thanks Trevor for the heads up - this was lots of fun.

And while we are at it, we might as well check out their 2008 Demo Reel.

Fire it up! Keep drawing, painting and animating.

11 October, 2009

Making Games Fun: Unity 3D Engine

In this video, we explore gameplay within a simple environment created within the Unity 3D platform, in it, the designer talks about the various components needed to make an interesting game such as pacing, balance, the creation of a challenge and reward system and the amount of time needed to create this simple game. It took him about 4 weeks to make (this is great information if you've never made a game before). If you are interested in the subject and would like to one day create and design your own games, be sure to check out what this video talks about. I think you will find the information to be most beneficial.

Another reason to watch this piece is that our school will soon be switching over from the Unreal Tournament Game Engine, to the Unity 3D game engine. Watching the video will give you an idea of its capabilities. The video is another example of what Unity can do. Be sure to check out the Unity 3D site to get a feel for the variety Unity offers. Its pretty awesome.

Fire it up and enjoy!

07 October, 2009

How to Break Into the Animation Industry

Allow me to add some gasoline to your "animation fire". Clay Kaytis, blog host of the Animation Podcast, interviews professional animators working in the field and posts these interviews on his blog. His latest podcast is going to be of some interest to you if you are interested in breaking into the animation industry. In it, he interviews 4 animators currently working in industry at Disney, and they share many great tidbits of advice to help you improve and break into the animation industry.

Collectively, each animator talks about the following:

  • Going to college to study animation.
  • Continuing the practice of drawing.
  • How to tailor your portfolio?
  • Creating a voice and versatility in your work?
  • Importance of figure and gesture drawing?
  • Getting feedback on your work.
  • What is it like working in an animation studio...good and bad.
  • Importance of having "the drive".
  • Starting out, aiming high.
  • Having fun.
  • Getting out of a creative or professional rut.
  • The importance of working on your own projects...

Great advice! Are we crazy to want to be part of this industry? I think so.

The interview can be heard on the Animationmentor.com site, a great resource for learning how to animate from professionals in the industry.

Hopefully, these interviews inspire you. Keep drawing, keep painting and keep animating.

Fire it up!

- Randolf

01 October, 2009

2012 Visual Effects & Movie Premiere

The movie "2012", one of the first, main, visual fx loaded, blockbuster films of the season premieres Nov. 2009, that depicts the end of the world. The documentary below highlights the various theories that may cause many of the natural disasters depicted in the film, which in my opinion are artfully done. If you choose to check this movie out, I recommend you view it IMAX.

And, since we are on the same topic, here is a documentary about Notradamus' predictions about the end of the world in the 2012.