27 February, 2011

Inception: Best VFX 2011

"Inception" wins the 2011 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. If you haven't seen it, the movie is mindbending, be sure you watch it on Blu Ray or on a large screen. This video showcases some of the inner workings of one of the more memorable shots of the film. The movie is rich visually, and if you are wondering about the story, just do your best to pay attention, you could get lost.

24 February, 2011

Hello Kitty & Probe Droid Killer

 This was the demo for today's Background & Layout Digital Paint class. In this demo, we learned how to separate our background into different layers for depth illusion, atmospheric perspective (mist), quick techniques for fire, rock texture, silhouette detail and adding glows to objects that are giving off light (HK's heart and eyes).

The illustration turned out better for me when I added the blade gun to Hello Kitty, it made her look badass!

23 February, 2011

Artbeats: Video Reference Site

Ever need video reference to help you animate a baseball pitch, various animal walks, or people doing various activities, be sure to check out Artbeats.com. They have lots of royalty free video footage to help you with your animations.

Visit Artbeats.com by clicking here >>

To view/download a low rez quicktime file, find and click the link on the right hand column, to download your video.

Happy animating!

Fire it up!


22 February, 2011

Animation Layers in Maya

This video demonstrates setup and basic tools for using animation layers in Maya . It can be quite useful if you wanted to edit an animation, while still maintaining the original keyframes. Think of it like layers in Photoshop. Layers help us add more detail and complexity to a piece, Animation Layers in Maya work in the same way.

Below are my notes from the video for future reference.

Animation Layers INTRO:
Used to edit animation without making huge changes. This comes in handy when we have to reuse an animation, or if there is a change in the environment. Example shown in video is of a Character jumping over a barrier. Make changes and edits without messing up the animation.

Using Animation Layers: SETUP

  1. Turn on animation radio button (top of layer window).
  2. Make a new layer after grabbing the control (blue ball icon).
  3. Name this layer. You should now have two identical animations on two layers.
  4. Make your changes and set a keyframe on your new animation layer.

Adjusting the small details: 

  1. Grab foot controls or whatever.
  2. Make new animation layer.
  3. Move foot
  4. Right Click >  add selected to layer, do this to anything you want to be added to this layer.

Fixing: Offset (You will see the entire animation changed. You can offset or merge the layers into one another).

  1. Slide the Weight slider at the bottom of layer stack. - OR
  2. Click 0 offset key (upper left hand corner of the animation layer stack). Pressing 0
  3. blends the layers together.

If you want the original movement and if you want to toggle the visibility of your new animation layer. Grab new layer and press third button from left to turn off new animation and view original.

MERGE LAYERS to composite into one, when you are finished.

Adjusting Curves: In graph editor, "bake" is dense curves, not manageable.

  1. Turn on Merge Layer Options
  2. Turn OFF Delete Baked Layers
  3. Turn ON Smart Bake
  4. Merge

This is cleaner as it maintains key structure.


19 February, 2011

Backwater Gospel

This week, we came upon an incredible unique animation called Backwater Gospel. The look and feel is a mix between CG and 2D animation, but what made it incredible for me was the art direction responsible for achieving the gritty dirty and dusty look, that helped convey the story... add a dark murky cowboy western soundtrack, cutting edge variety in editing and compelling storyline, and what you got is something well worth while. Great job guys!

We are lucky, below are a few "making of" clips, character design tests and Bo Mathorne's design reel. Let's fire it up! Eve and Josh, thanks for the heads up, this animation was amazing.

His 2009 showreel shows the texturing process that helped to achieve the Backwater Gospel look and feel.

11 February, 2011

Super Bowl VW Beetle Commercial on Youtube

In viewing last week's Super Bowl commercials in class, we noticed that the number 3 commercial on my Top 10 Super Bowl commercials list, the "Black VW Beetle" ad, wasn't playing. So we went to Youtube to check it out and found this...


It totally took us off guard and we found it extremely fun to watch. Let me know know whatcha think!

07 February, 2011

My Top 10 Superbowl XLV TV Ads 2011

Here are my Top 10 Superbowl XLV ads for 2011. I chose these based on shear giggle value, and if it had an animation / visual effects flavor to it. Enjoy!

NUMBER 10.... Kinda gross, but oh so funny...but that's why its funny, because it's oh so gross!

NUMBER 9.... I wasn't ready for this, but it blew my mind. Gotta be better than Transformers 2. Nice surprise.

NUMBER 8.... This scored high on my "Cute" scale. If you do a quick search, this is the number one commercial for Superbowl XLV.

NUMBER 7.... While we are on the Transformers tip, this commercial had me fooled.

NUMBER 6.... Very subtle, see if you can find all of the NFL logos throughout. Some of the composite work is outstanding.

NUMBER 5.... Ever feel like a "Kid in a Candy Store", or a .......

NUMBER 4.... Bud Light Hack Job - Pure silliness. Why so serious.

NUMBER 3.... Vokswagen Beetle - Great idea.

NUMBER 2.... Coca Cola Siege. Cool character designs. Epic and sweet!

NUMBER 1.... Kia Epic Ride - This is outstanding. Can they put anything else in here? Its got it all...so hang on!

Hope you enjoyed the game. Are we missing any others?

Nature By Numbers

In many of my classes, design and composition becomes a main point of discussion primarily because many students, especially animation students, never consider it. It impacts your work in how it is percieved by making the work tighter and more comfortable for the viewer, and it also makes you look more mature. This video uses animation to convey the many processes by which design is found in nature, some of which we can use in our work.

When you watch this, pay attention to the following:

  • Composition and layout
  • Camera ease in ease out.
  • Animation of concepts
  • Compositing (layer complexity)
  • Color harmony
  • Animated glows
  • Animated transitions
  • Camera focal length for depth


01 February, 2011

Surfriders PSA : Rise Above Plastics

I saw this animated public service announcement by the Surfrider's Association, and realized that I had to post it. Its a good message propelled by great animation. Enjoy!

Go green. Recycle.


My Top 10 Superbowl Ads from 2010

Here are my Top 10 Superbowl commercials 2010. I chose them based out on shear entertainment / giggle value... the ones I keep watching over and over again. Seriously, just watch these so you can be the educated one at the water tank at work. It'll be a great 10 minute investment of time to get you prepared for the day. Once again, the Bud Light ads score on the top of the list, and to my students, be prepared for a pop quiz in the morning.

Here we go....Let's start things off right...at number 10...

- - -

"Asteroid" - Bud Light: Very clever, great idea and funny.

"Casual Fridays" - Careerbuilder.com: This is borderline gross! I love it.

"Sleepwalker" - Coke: Traditionally, they rank high on the list... hmm, not this year though. Of the two ads (the other starring "The Simpsons"), I like this Coke ad the best. Well executed and thoughtful. Here's to "Open Happiness".

"Honda Accord" : This made it on the list for its visual presentation, and its unique use of CG.

"Dove for Men" - Dove: Great idea. Well executed, timed right and funny. To all the Daddys out there, this commercial is spot on and dedicated to you.

"You're Not You When You're Hungry" - Snickers:

"Stranded" - Bud Light: I think this is genius. Let's see if we can keep "Lost" going, even though I got "lost" after Season 2.

"Voice Box" - Bud Light: Very reminiscent of the "Wazzap" ads from back in the day. Anyone remember how many versions they created. Superfriends anyone? Anyone? This is going to be a classic folks.

"Bridge" - Budweiser: Simple, well executed and elegant. Thanks Bud and Bud Ad Agency for making such an outstanding award winning piece. I will enjoy this for many generations to come.

So which commercials make up your Top 10 for 2010?

Thanks for reading. Open Happiness to Everyone!


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Related Posts:
Superbowl Ads 2009.

Shaolin Pepsi