Thursday, March 29, 2012

Trailer: Rise of the Guardians

Dreamworks released the trailer for their next film Rise of the Guardians (completely different from the owl movie). I'm 50/50 on it. Could be cool, or it could be really weird. I like the design of the tooth fairy though. Watch and decide for yourself. Excited? 50/50? Not excited at all?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Discovery

So, in an earlier blog post (read it here), I was complaining about how I wished there was a way to animate the fingers and arms separately on a biped rig in 3ds Max. Well, apparently there is a way! Another one of the animators at work discovered this and shared with me. All you have to do is go, in the motion tab, and under key framing tools, there is a little section called Separate FK Tracks. Its as easy as Checking and unchecking a box.

Though, I was warned that it can be quite buggy. So, even now, I may not use it that much. And you have to make sure you press it for each finger. The check box doesn't do it for every finger together.

So, there you go! A way to animate the fingers and arms separately!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quick Sketch: Little Debbie vs Twinkie the Kid

     Doing a favor for one of my sisters. She needed a pic of Little Debbie verses Hostess (which I used their character Twinkie the Kid). Did this up in a little less than an hour. There is definitely room for improvement. I think the Twinkie is my favorite part. Probably came out better cause it was a simpler character. Anyways. Something different, so I thought I'd share :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Some Character Designs

     Here is a character I created while in college. I was hoping to use him for my sculpture class, but never got the opportunity. Recently found him again so I decided to share. He doesn't have a name as of yet. He's just a smug victorian guy, thinks all the girls adore him. His front and back views only have one arm because I got lazy. And at the time I was doing it for a class and was running out of time. The other arm is implied. But here he is. Hopefully one day I can use him for something.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm Geekin' Out!

Lego Millennium Falcon Stop Motion Assembly 3d from Francisco Prieto on Vimeo.

So totally cool!! First, cause I love Star Wars. And Legos. I've actually been wanting to get this set. :) But this guy spent 3 years modeling all the pieces in 3D and then animated it and rendered it. SO COOL!! He should get hired by Lego. :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Oh How I Miss...

Today I realized how much I miss the character sets in Maya. Especially when dealing with 3dsMax's biped rig. With Maya, it was easy to animate something, like an arm for example, with the character set on. Do all your sweeping motions and what-not. Then when you were done, it was simple enough to get out of the character set and animated the fingers separately. With the biped rig in 3dsMax, if you want to go back and animate the fingers, you have to do it in a layer. Which, you may be thinking, why is that a bad thing? Well, it means that if I want to delete a key on a finger, I can't. If I do, it ends up deleting the animation for the entire arm. Which can become quite frustrating at times.

Granted, I am new to Max. And there might possibly be a solution to this problem. But at the moment, I have not come across it. Also, I don't know what it is like with rigs that aren't biped. It could be that if you made your own rig, it would be much easier. But I haven't gotten the chance to find that out yet.

Well, that is my little rant for the day. *Phew* I feel much better. :)

Notebook Doodles

So I keep a sketchbook/notebook with me with I work to take notes (at least thats the idea). But I obviously can't help but fill extra space with little doodles, usually drawn while waiting for something to load. Much more fun than watching a program load. Most of the time they take form in little animals. Though I do draw people sometimes too. Here is a page from one of my notebooks. The other side actually has notes on it (but who wants to see that). 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Cinematic Trailer

Found this over the weekend. I was quite impressed and so I decided to share. One thing I wish about games is that the graphics in-game matched the cinematic trailers. I would never stop playing! :)

...Not that I have actually played Mass Effect, but that is usually the case for games. The trailers are a different quality than the actual game (due to the fact that games can only be a certain size so there is no lag when you play)

Enjoy! :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cool X-Men/Aliens Mash-Up

WHAT IF: X-Men VS Alien by ~MrVisions on deviantART

Video: The Story of Animation

The Story of Animation from David Tart on Vimeo.
What is "The Story of Animation"?
The Story of Animation is an educational film about the process of animation. Although aimed primarily at potential animation clients, the film has something for everyone - animation students, animation artists, animation producers, and anyone who has ever wondered about how animation is made. Please see our website -

The Story
The film follows the journey of "You" (the main character), a 3rd-tier technical writer who dreams of one day being a product designer. Working after hours, he creates a fantastic new product. When he presents his product to his employers, they inform him that it's up to him to create an advertising campaign for the product - an advertising campaign that must be animated. This poses a problem for "you" - he knows very little about animation, and is instantly filled with doubts, and thus his future hangs in the balance. This is where our friendly narrator steps in, to guide "you" through the process of making an animated film. Step by step, our hero's anxiety and doubts are put to rest, and in the end, he is triumphant!

The Production
The Story of Animation came about as a solution to a problem: The Animation Workshop, an animation school in Viborg, Denmark, had been graduating a great number of incredibly qualified animators, animation producers, and CG artists over the past 10 years. These artists had been forming small companies and beginning to produce fantastic work. The problem was not with the studios, or the quality of work they were producing, but rather with the clients: Most of them seemed to believe that animation was a simple, uncomplicated process, and were often disappointed to learn that there were very specific stages in the animation process that required their participation (and finances). It's almost as if they believed that creating animation was as simple as pitching an idea, and then sitting back while a couple of animators with pencil and paper goofed off, told jokes, and drank copious amounts of coffee until "wallah"! the animation was finished! Furthermore, they seemed to think that there would be no difference in cost between an animated film created in flash, 2D, stop motion, cut-out, motion graphics, or fully rendered Pixar-style 3D animation! At the time Morten Thorning, Director of the Animation Workshop approached me with the idea for the film, I was experiencing similar problems with a client in Copenhagen. In fact, I'd just spent several days creating a presentation about the benefits of using animation for an environmental messaging campaign. I was tasked with convincing a panel of scientists, sociologists, environmental activists, and architects how animation could be used to create positive, engaging, and entertaining content for environmental action messaging - no small feat!

The Team
After talking things over with Morten, it was decided that I would write and direct the project, which would be produced by Claus Toksvig of The Animation Hub, and animated at Tumblehead Studios. Tumblehead, led by Magnus Moller, did an amazing job on the film, assembling a team of character designers, animators, storyboard artists, and background artists (all graduates or current students of the Animation Workshop). Tumblehead saw the entire process through, from concept to post-production. The narrator was voiced by the awesome Richard Spiegel, and the sound design and score created by Mark Menza, whose many credits include sound designer and composer for "The Jimmy Neutron Show". Additional support was provided by Thomas Ahlmark (a veteran of many Animation Workshop productions).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Film Animation vs Game Animation - Another Thought

     I realized I forgot to mention something that is a big difference between film and game animation. Something I'm not as fond of when it comes to game animation. With film, what you see in Maya or 3dsMax or whatever program you are using, is what its going to look like in the final edit. What you see is what you get. With game animation, because your animation is getting blended with other animations, a lot of the times it looks a lot different when you actually see in in the game and out of the program you are animating in. And sometimes the blending between the animations can cause popping and other weird things that you have to go in and investigate why its doing what its doing. So its a lot of animating and going in and checking to see if everything is looking right. One of my least favorite parts of animating for games.

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing to go into the game industry :)

If you haven't read the rest of my thoughts on the differences between film and game animation: Click Here

Friday, March 9, 2012 Artist Interview: Tom Bancroft recently interviewed former Disney supervising animator Tom Bancroft. He talks about his time at Disney and what he is doing now, and a bunch of other stuff. Enjoy!!

Check it out:

You can check out more of his work on his deviantart page here:

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Film Animation vs Game Animation

     Working at Timegate has given me my first real feel for game animation. Before I started work here, I had only worked on short films. I never realized how different the styles between the two differed. Gaming animation adds a whole new set of challenges to animation.

     For one thing, with films, you are working on a shot by shot basis. If it looks good from the camera angle, its fine. As soon as a character is off screen, they can be doing whatever they want. I have done this many of time. But with games, you have to be constantly aware of how it looks from every angle. characters in a game are going to be running around the player and you are going to be seeing them from every angle.

     Another big difference is that in film, from shot to shot, the characters have to remain in the general area for continuity. They don't have to be in the exact positions, but something close. Plus, every shot is one continuous animation. Nothing new until the scene cuts. For games, the movements are made of little short animations that are strung together with code depending on what the character is programed to do. So, a character may walk forward, turn left, and them pull out a weapon. So all of these actions are created separately and then are able to be put together with code. In order for these to look right when they blended together, they have to begin/end in the proper poses. Its a lot to have to think about when animating. Game animations require a lot of in game testing to make sure that everything is working together properly.

     I really enjoy film animation, but I've come to enjoy the challenges that animating for games bring as well. They are two entirely different challenges, but both a lot of fun. So, if you are an animator looking to get into the game industry and have no experience in games (like me!). That is just a little taste of the challenges it can bring. :)

I had a later thought to this. Read it Here.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Found this pretty cool. Its a project that started as a collaboration between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali. Disney 2D animation mixed with Dali's surrealism. They started working on this film in 1945, but it wasn't completed until 2003. Pretty interesting. Read up on it if you get the chance. And definitely check it out. Enjoy!

Friday, March 2, 2012

ACM T-shirts!

We got our Aliens: Colonial Marines T-shirts from the studio the other day. They are pretty cool. But whats cooler is that they glow in the dark! My first production shirt, yay!