Sunday, September 28, 2008

Acting Reference - Flawless

I'm a big fan of heist movies, just like time travel and vampire movies. It doesn't really matter how bad they are, I still watch them. Fortunately "Flawless" wasn't that bad, but I wasn't blown away by it either. What was really cool though was the production design and camera work. Especially the opening of the movie had many shots which stood out in terms of composition and staging.

For instance Demi Moore's clear silhouette thanks to the brighter background.

These following shots stood because of the clear dividing lines, order, clear vanishing points, etc.









This sequence was also very cool because of all the straight vertical lines, highlighting and emphasizing the structure, order and rigidity of the bank by using both the set and the actors.





There's one shot in this sequence that made me really laugh. Demi Moore is oppressed by this male working environment, where her ideas are either unrecognized or exploited. So in this shot it establishes the geography of the scene. The boss screen left, her in the middle, and the advisors on the right. Already here she's surrounded by everybody, no escape, very prison like.

Line of action is established of course, he's talking to the right and she's talking to the left. He has enough room screen right in order to make the shot comfortable.

Same here, she has enough room screen left, so you think all is well.

Ah no. The vultures are right there, hugging the left screen border, making it look uncomfortable. The look on their faces is awesome as well. She's being scrutinized by those guys with no sign of escape.



This part I liked because of Michael Caine's walk and how he contorts his face (nice asymmetry). He's usually playing strong characters, so it was fun to see him act this way.










This next one I liked because of the detail. He's super nervous so obviously his hand is shaking. So what does he do? He uses his other hand to keep it steady. I know, super small thing, but I like stuff like that.










_______________________________________
Video clips are for educational purposes only
Copyright © 2008 Magnolia Pictures
All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What should I animate? - pt.1 demo reel



What should you animate? What is a unique and creative animation shot? What will be the next big piece that everybody talks about and which will get you a job? Tough questions. To be honest, I don't have a clear answer, but I have a few ideas.

An important aspect to me is that you really need to have FUN with it.

I know, that doesn't really tell you what to do, but it makes a huge difference. You can smell an exercise shot a mile away. But you can also tell when the animator just had fun, despite the "exercise" guidelines. So let's say you're into pantomime, superhero stuff, deep sad acting shots or crazy creature action, then go for it and have fun.

But wait, let's say you love robots, why would you spend weeks slaving away on a robot shot when "Robots" and "Wall-e" already came out and you're running the risk of being labeled "unoriginal" because of that? After all, you want your demo reel piece to be unique and creative?

Ah... but that to me is exactly the problem. Not every shot you animate has to be demo reel material. Wait, WHAT? Time is money, I can't waste either of it on a stupid exercise! Well, to me it's not a waste. First of all, practice makes perfect, so anything you animate is good for you. But think about it this way. Hopefully, while you're slaving away on a shot, you are learning tons. Even if the shot didn't turn out the way you wanted it to, you can still take everything you learned and apply it to your next shot. And because of all that knowledge it won't take you four weeks for a shot, but only two. And that one is a demo reel piece. Don't they say that you need to get 1000 crappy drawings out of your system in order to end up with one good one? I doubt it's that much different in animation.

Don't get overwhelmed by the looming graduation deadlines and/or fellow students who seem to be much more advanced than you. You're still working on a bouncing ball while someone else is doing complex acting shots? Who cares? Everybody has their own pace and rhythm. A waste of time for me is someone hurrying to get a shot done within the semester, looking left and right and trying to keep up with the other students and at the end of the day the shot is just okay. Yeah, he/she finished it, just like everybody else, but did it get all the love it needed? Was it a chore or was it fun?

Ok, you can counter this by saying: real life has deadlines, if you can't keep up with other people, then you're not the right person for the job. It's a competitive field, get used to it. And if "You don't like it, leave."

- Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross (Watch it, it's awesome! Explicit language though!)




True. But the reality is, you are a STUDENT, and with that comes the freedom of being able to make mistakes, to take your time and to focus on learning. That cut-throat mentality is a bit premature. Sure, keep an eye out and observe your fellow students and use their "superior" work as motivation, but don't get too worked up over it. And just because your semester is over, or you graduate, doesn't mean that your time is up and you have to stop working on your clips. Life is not over once you graduate. It keeps on going and so should you, keep animating.

But again, try to pick something that's going to be fun to animate, because you will be spending a lot of time on and putting a lot of effort into your clip.

I know, that still doesn't really tell you WHAT to animate though. This is obviously just my opinion and feel free to disagree, but consider the following guidelines:

- for what studio do you want to work for? Is it going to be cartoony or realistic? Feature or game? It could also be for medical companies, automotive companies, architecture, etc. etc. Be sure about the style, because you don't want to do crazy over the top cartoony stuff for a company that focuses on photoreal animation.

- is it an exercise or demo reel piece? I like to impose two different standards and work ethics depending on your choice. If you've never done a walk cycle before, chances are that your first clip might not be the best one you're really able to do. So take it on as an exercise, go through the mechanics, learn as much as you can. THEN do another one, but this time put everything you learned into it and make it a demo reel piece.

If you choose the exercise:

- don't worry too much about modifying your character, adding a set, detail work outside of the main character, story, composition, etc. I say "not too much", not "not at all". You should still think about it for future clips, keep learning, but if you're showing me a walk cycle in class and you're treating it as an exercise, then I won't torture you about adding a proper camera, set, story structure, all that good stuff that makes your shot look more like a piece out of a movie sequence as opposed to an exercise. If you need time to learn the mechanics, then focus on that and don't worry about the rest.

If you choose the demo reel piece:

- then it's the exact opposite of the above outline. Now you have to do a lot more homework.

- First of all, being a demo reel piece, it needs to stand out from the crowd in order to get noticed. But how do you get to know the crowd? Look at what the current crop of AAU animators are doing. Check who has online portfolios. Then check if they have links to other animator friends, check their portfolio. Go to the 11secondclub, study their work. Look at the Animation Mentor Showreel. That is your competition, that is the crowd. Take a week-end and study as many reels as you can. You'll get a feel of what a portfolio reviewer goes through. You'll also see which acting choices are being used over and over, what sound clips are overused, etc. basically you'll get a feeling of what NOT to do. For instance, my favorite: the lower eye twitch during a moment where a character freezes and realizes that something bad is going to happen. It's everywhere and really old.


(sidenote, yesterday I saw "Eagle Eye"
and even though it was very entertaining,
it featured THE overused action shot:
camera inside the car,
profile view of the driver or passenger
and the car gets t-boned by another vehicle,
but you're still inside the car during the crash,
kinda like this pic on the left
- first time I saw that in "Adaptation" it was awesome,
now it's overused).


No.

Lower.

Eye.

Twitch.


;)


Do the research so that you know what the level of competition and skill set is and you'll realize that you can't take Generi or default Norman and have him lift a box in an empty room. That unfortunately just doesn't cut it anymore.

- don't make your shot look like an exercise. That's what you do in school, that's what everybody does (for a good reason), but it gets repetitive and not everybody wants to see that on a reel. Make your shot look like it was taken out of a movie, out of a sequence. That means you really have to think about story and character motivation. Who is the character, where, what is the character doing, has he/she done it before? An actor (don't remember who it was) on "Inside the Actor's studio" mentioned something really interesting. The actual story is very likely totally different, I really don't remember, but the essence is:

There is a difference in behavior when you get ready to go to bed at home compared to doing the same thing in a hotel.

When you move around in your home, you know where what is, you've been there, you've done that routine many times. So when you open up the door to the bathroom in order to brush your teeth, you'll probably grab things without really looking at them because you've done it over and over. But when you do the same thing in a hotel, you don't know where things are located, so you are more focused, you will move differently, your behavior will change. Think about that when you animate your character. Where is he/she? Familiar or unfamiliar place? Why is he/she there? etc. All those answers will influence your acting choices. Refer to these acting reference posts for some ideas and suggestions (which include the "Illusionist", "Disturbia" and "Die Hard" clips that we went through in class).

Then think about composition, staging, camera. I'd have a widescreen aspect ratio, because that's what you have in feature movies (if that's what you're going for) and you want think in cinematic terms across the board.

- keep your shot short. Why? It's very time consuming to polish a long shot. Stay away from 15 to 20 second long shots. If, for whatever reason, your shot is that long, think about cutting it up into separate shots, make a sequence out of it. Look at Matt's Force Unleashed demo. When Palpatine grabs and throws the apprentice away, you could show all of this in one shot. But it's more exciting the way it's cut on Matt's reel (and you don't want to bore a recruiter looking at your reel). It also forces you to think about shot flow, animating across a cut, timing and contrast within a sequence, etc. things you need to be aware of when working professionally.

- pick the right audio clip. Refer to this post for all the guidelines. In short, pick clips that people won't recognize. You don't want people to think about the movie and actors while watching your clip. Your clip has to stand on its own, without any distracting associations.

Speaking of audio clips. I think a common misconception nowadays is the idea of a dialogue shot being the ultimate goal for a student. But I think that a good pantomime shot goes a long way. You're not bound to the audio, it's all about expressing feelings and thoughts through the body and the face without the help of sound.

Something else to think about when starting a shot is: what is my current skill set?

If you barely finished a bouncing ball, it might not be a good idea to dive right into a two person dialogue shot. So when you ask yourself "What should I animate?", also ask "What have I animated before?". Do you need more practice with mechanics or are you ready to start something more complex? I always like to point to Cameron Miyasaki's site, because it shows a great progression from bouncing ball to physical action, into pantomime and acting.

That's all I got right now, but the moment I can think of more, I'll add it to this post.

If you want to concentrate on just exercises, then read the post "What should I animate? - pt.2 exercises"

Cheers
Jean-Denis

- pic source

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quick Anim News

- Go to Matt Ornstein's site and watch his Force Unleashed Demo Reel, cool work!! (via CG-Char)

- CG-Char metions that SF based Wild Brain struck a deal with Paramount Pictures for a feature film. Head over there for more info. Job opportunities anyone?

- The TAG Blog has a great post about Framestore turning into a feature animation studio. Awesome (sad but true) quote:

"Every effects house bids against every other effects house for the live-action jobs, and the one that low balls the bid gets the work, and then makes nothing doing the work..."


- Victor Navone updated his "Animation Thumbnail" section (includes Cars & Ratatouille).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Extended "Bolt" Clip

Great new "Bolt" clip. Great animation and really funny moments. Watch it @ Yahoo via Animated-News

Friday, September 19, 2008

Animation DVD News


First, we got Open Season 2, coming out on January 27th, on DVD => Open Season 2 and Bluray => Open Season 2 [Blu-ray]. More details here.


Next up, Kung Fu Panda is coming out on November 9th. Of course on DVD Kung Fu Panda (Widescreen Edition)and Bluray Kung Fu Panda [Blu-ray]. But you'll also get the direct-to-video sequel as a bundle. More info about that here.


And then the super sweet Bluray version of Sleeping Beauty (Two-Disc Platinum Edition - plus a Bonus DVD of the movie) [Blu-ray]. Lots of stuff on it, check out the features here.

Coraline - Set images

Looking sweet! More images @ LAtimes via Cooked Art

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ninja Cat - awesome timing

Great timing, great poses. :)


The Ninja Cat - Watch more free videos

Critique - Bouncing Balls



(sorry for the non-quicktime post, but you know the drill)

Alright,

almost there, but you lost some of the realistic timing in terms of hangtime and fall. And it's mostly because of flat tangents. At the moment of the ball's impact, the curve needs to look like a V, yours for most of the time look like a U, with a curved bottom (might need to zoom in to see it).

Heavy one:

So check out x10, your ball goes up before it falls, that's just weird. Keep it flat, as if it rolls over an edge. Reduce the height of the bounce by 50% and screen right travel distance by 50%. It just feels too light and the ball bounces too far. And the end of the roll is too abrupt, ease into that. Pull a Jorge, just not as much. :)

Medium one:

You're starting the stretch a bit early, I'd wait until 2 or 3 frames before the hit. Your first bounce, one frame after, the ball is still in its squash position, at this point it needs to stretch.
If that adds a layer of confusion or frustration, I would take out the squash and stretch and focus on the timing first. Nail that down and then you can add the nice detail work (when you get back to that though, don't forget to add a little squash at the apex of the bounce).
Same with this ball, keep the moment of impact sharp. For instance, x120 is not needed, it softens the bounce too much. It gets especially funky during x128 and on. Keep the bounces sharp, don't travel as far and keep the bounces curves. Your arcs become more and more linear, where the bounces look more like a W, straight up and down. And finish with a smoother roll.

Light one:

Take the critique for the medium and apply those thoughts to this one. It starts off great, then it starts to feel more and more linear, both in terms of timing and spacing.

Keep going!
Cheers
JD

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Metal Gear Solid 4: Softimage XSI Case Study


There's a really interesting article @ Softimage (via Kotaku) about the production of the 4th Metal Gear installment, including animation. Very nerdy, but fascinating behind-the-scenes look of this game.

Do you take drugs when you animate?



Wait, WHAT?

Let me explain.

A friend of mine, who was working at a company which needed a high performance output from their employees, asked me once if animators take drugs in order to survive the harsh ours of crunch time. I was only able to laugh at that question because I never once thought that animators would and I've never heard of anybody doing such a thing. I still haven't and it just seems ridiculous. But today I realized something.

I do take "performance enhancers".

Wait, WHAT?

Let me explain.

Let's say you have a shot which is going through changes after changes and you almost reach the end, hearing the faint whisper of the word "Final.", but then you get even more changes. Your morale can take a hit. But you're a professional animator, you have to get over it and keep going. You need to approach every new version like it's the best shot you've ever done, making it look like the best shot in the world.

So what am I doing when working on difficult shots? I take drugs. And they are called:



...




Childhood memories.

Wait, WHAT?

Let me explain further.

I love movies. I grew up watching a lot of movies. And there are some that trigger a happy feeling within me. It doesn't matter how bad my mood is, if I start watching any of those, it puts a smile on my face. Now, I can't watch movies at work all day of course. I take my DVD and export just the mp3, so I can listen to it. It's awesome.

Right now I'm listening to Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan. In German. It's fantastic. :)

Other gems: Goonies, Ghostbusters, Tron, Abyss, Airplane 2, Moonraker, Star Trek 4&6, Back to the Future Trilogy, Indiana Jones Trilogy, old Star Wars Trilogy, Predator 1, John Carpenter's The Thing, Marooned, Stripes, Up the Creek, Porky's, Young Sherlock Holmes, Die Hard, First Blood (in French!), Andromeda Strain, Big Trouble in Little China, Aliens, Planet of the Apes (Charlton Heston version of course), Midnight Run, North by Northwest, Jaws, The Fugitive, etc. etc. etc. Of course there are newer ones like The Shawshank Redemption, Matrix 1, The Prestige and so many more that I can't remember right now.

I don't know if this post has a specific point. I just wanted to share what I do when animation feels more like a job then pleasure. Unfortunately those days happen, but not very often. And if they do, it's time for a childhood movie.

Btw. I'm done with Star Trek 2. Next up?

The Thing.

:)

Cheers
Jean-Denis

Monday, September 15, 2008

David Nethery's AAU blog

Gotta love the web with all those resources! One of them is David Nethery's "Academy of Art Animation Blog":

Notes and discussion on Traditional Hand-drawn Animation for Online Animation Students attending Academy of Art University.

Great posts, make sure to check them out. The latest one is about Hans Bacher's Blog, the author of Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation, which is a fantastic book. I'm almost done with it and can't recommend it enough. Again, head over there for more info.

"Bolt" - behind the scenes


Animated-News points to an article about the work of Disney's "Bolt".

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Rango" - ILM's first feature animation movie


Alright, so Variety broke the news. Gore Verbinski (director of the Pirates movies) will direct Industrial Light & Magic's first animated feature. Johnny Depp is involved as well.

Variety's first article mentions this:

Depp will voice the lead character, a household pet that goes on an adventure to discover its true self.


Sounds pretty generic, but knowing Gore and Depp (not personally :) ), it's going to be cool.

Now, the first and second Variety article are making it sound like this project will be Motion Capture, like Happy Feet and Monster House, but friends at ILM told us that this is not the case at all, the animation is all keyframed. No idea why the article is misinforming the public, but hey.

There you have it. We're all very excited (especially about the keyframe aspect) and I'll keep you guys updated the moment I know more (and am allowed to say anything).

Cheers
JD

Critique - Bouncing Balls



Very good! The only thing, you're really milking the end for every ball with those tiny endless drifts. :)
Apart from that, very cool!

Critique - Bouncing Balls



Alright, let's start with the heavy one:

- careful with the spacing as the ball gets over the edge. The spacing is pretty small until x10, but from 10 to 11 there's a much bigger move. I like the fall, but would prefer to see the ball finish its roll, so don't cut too early, let it roll out.

Medium one:

Looks good, but I would tone down the bounces a bit after x50 or so, they get very fast. Nothing major though, looks good.

Light one:

The first 3 bounces feel quite hard, after that they get very soft. Try to keep it consistent. The ball does feel light, but the first bounces kill the weight, so I'd add another pass of love, so it's more leaning towards a balloon type of thing.

All in all, good, you're almost there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Animation Mentor Newsletter - August/September 2008

Here's another round of the AM newsletter. As always, if you haven't subscribed, you should. :)

This time we get:

AM Student Showcase Summer 2008
AM at Siggraph 2008
Shortfilm: Dis-chord by Alex Zemke
Mentor: Jed Diffenderfer
Student: Anna Yeung
Geek Corner: 3 Years of Tips & Tricks and Thoughts on Mocap

And don't forget to check out the side links as well in the newsletter, like Bobby Beck's and especially Carlos Baena's blog and the Tips&Tricks blog.

Critique - Bouncing Balls



Alright, good start! Minor tweaks, you're almost done.

Let's start with the right ball:

this one needs the most work, but it's only a matter of speed. Right now it's just all too fast. Add a few frames to the roll over the edge and the fall and since it's more like a bowling ball, reduce the height of the bounces by half or so, see how that looks like and go from there.

The left ball looks good! You could add a TINY little bounce after x50 though.

The middle one feels light, but then the bounces are not big enough. Not in terms of speed, just the height. Overall the ball feels soft, it's almost a balloon, but not really, so I would push it to give it that balloon feel.

Almost there!
Cheers
JD

Critique - Dialogue & Run



The acting piece felt way too overacted. They are both really exaggerated and are acting out the words. When she says I killed him, don't have her gesture the killing moment. I would keep it subtle, have her do something sweet and delicate, so you add contrast between the words and the action.



The run looks really cool, nice work! Alright, let's be picky (since it's so good). :)

Let's start with the root. Even though the run looks great, overall it feels a bit poppy and stroby. I would give it another pass and really check the spacing. Let's check the up and down and I'm going to use the top of his helmet to trace the spacing.
So x1 to x2, there is no up and down, given how much the head goes down from x16 to x1, that's a sudden stop, so ease into that stop a bit more. The head goes up till x5 but then goes down on x6, which is too sharp. Give it more hang time. Even it's just one frame. You should also rotate the head up (his chin up), to add drag. Not much, don't make it floppy, just a little bit. Keep checking the spacing though. So, big movement down on x5 to 6, sudden small one from x6 to 7, after that it gets bigger and bigger, but then we get to the same point where the head just stays flat in Y from 9 to 10, etc.

Changing all of this will affect your hips and leg action, so adjust accordingly. But still look for the following:

side view:

look at the heel of his left foot at x6, now check the spacing from x5 to x6, then 6 to 7. It gets suddenly a lot bigger, but then smaller from x7 to 8, then bigger again to 9, then a lot smaller to 10. So long story short, the spacing is too uneven. When you look at it playing, it feels like once the feet get off the ground they move pretty fast so you're expecting to see fast strides and steps, but then the way the foot goes forward feels slow. If you look at the front view the guy feels very energetic, but that energy is missing in the sideview.
Frontview: check the arcs on your feet. From x1 to 3 you go screen right (looking at the screen left foot), but then from x4 to 6 it's all straight forward.

His hips: Now this might must be me, it's hard to see with everything being grey, but I think you could amp the hip Y rotation a bit more as the legs go forward and backwards. I'm stuck on x12 (sideview still btw.) and even though his right leg is stretched back and the other one ready to plant, the hips feel in default Y position.

Speaking of x12. If you look at his upper and lower torso in the front view, it's loose and moving, which is nice, so it would be cool to get that action working in the side view as well. The hip and lower body feels a bit stiff. Not that you have to add crazy stuff to it, just amp it up a bit more. So looking at x12, following the line of his back leg, you could rotate the hips counter clockwise a bit to follow that line, same with the lower body, then rotate the upper body back clockwise. During the steps you can reverse the spine a tad more. This will make it a lot more bouncy though in the head, so you'll have to adjust that.

Arms: there's a sudden drop from x5 to 6, which makes that swing a bit fast (and it's also accentuated by the sudden stop of the arms during frame 9, 10 and 11). Either ease out of that or at least drag his wrist to give it more overlap.
Frontview, screen right arm: keep your arcs clean. Going towards x5 you swing screen right to left, then you get that sudden drop straight in Y. Finish your arc. Same from x9 to 10. x15 to 16 the forward move is too straight, keep you arc going.

One more thing about the head. Looking at his visor (front view), that line stays horizontal pretty much all the time. You should add little sideways rotation, little dips whenever his foot lands, to accentuate the weight and give it a bit more complexity.

Hope that helps!
JD

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Maya 2009 Features - Animation Layers


A powerful new animation layering paradigm in Maya 2009 built on technology from Autodesk® MotionBuilder® software, gives you more flexibility as you non-destructively create and edit animation. In this movie we’ll show you how to take advantage of this time-saving featureset: focusing particularly on blending, merging, grouping and re-ordering of animation layers; plus we’ll show you how to override or add to preceding layers.


AWESOME! More info about Maya 2009 @ usa.autodesk.com

First day of class!

[btw. this is for my students who are enrolled at the Academy of Art University]

Alright! First day of class! Hopefully you guys and girls got a good overview of how this class works. I'm going to do whatever I can to give you what you need. Again, feel free to offer suggestions, feedback, critique, etc. Be pro-active!

Homework recap:
  • scan your school ID and email it to me
  • bouncing ball - yes, yes, get over it. It tells me a lot about each individual. Minimum requirement: heavy, medium and light ball, no textures, no set, just plain physics. But of course you can do more than that and I always encourage it. Show me the final polished version next week.
  • get acquainted with this site, how it's structured - a lot of the things you will hear this semester have already been covered in either my posts or someone else's, no harm in getting a head start
  • think about your goals for this semester, do a self assessment - what have I done, what do I need to do, what do I want to do, etc. I'm here for guidance of course, so if you have previous work, email it to me (as an attachment or a link) and we'll go through it and decide on an individual curriculum for this semester
As a rough guideline for your shots I would aim for this:

- first week: blocking
- second week: blocking plus
- third week: polish

Of course this can all change since you have the option of emailing me your progress during the week. I'll try my best to critique it in a timely fashion, but I can't promise it due to priorities with my family and my job. But if your blocking is done and approved, move on, no need to waste time. But try to give yourself deadlines. Of course I will torture you as well, but don't fall into the trap of spending 10 weeks on a shot.

That's it for now (I think).

I hope you guys will have fun and I'm looking forward to seeing your work!

Cheers
Jean-Denis

- pic source

Friday, September 5, 2008

More

I don't remember where I saw it for the first time, but this short was brought up at work and it's just really really good. Bernie, this one's for you. :)



And here a short making-of:



You can also go to happyproduct for more info and goodies.

Wallace & Gromit - The Right Trousers


Awesome link to the Wallace and Gromit photo shoot. Head over to Cartoon Brew for more info.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Parenting Objects


A fellow animator (thanks Anand!) mentioned a parenting script called "Parentmaster". I'm just going to paste what he wrote, since it says it all:

  • For referenced models, if you go to the reference file, open the parentmaster script ( a tiny window will pop up in the top left corner of your workspace). Then click on the contoller of the model that you need and then right click on the first button in the parentmaster window, it will say 'create parent groups', click on that and you are done. Now in the actual animation scene you can easily parent and unparent, by selecting both the controller and the object, and clicking on the parent button in the script window
  • The script creates an extra group on top of both the contoller and object and then parents them. In the outliner, if you select these extra groups, you can actually see a green key on the timeline, which is the parenting key. If you wanna shift the parenting in the timeline you will have to shift the keys for controller, object and these green keys too...otherwise weird stuff will happen.

Visit the link for video tutorials! Thanks Anand!

- pic source

Imagi as China's Pixar

Astroboy helps Imagi branch out to become China's Pixar

"We hired lots of our staff from the street. They were taxi drivers
and convenience store clerks," said Yan Chen, the lead CG supervisor,
who defected back to China after studying in the United States and
working for Dreamworks. "We trained them up here. The ones who were
talented took 10 days, but others took up to six months," he boasted.

"We have Asian work values. People actually care about their work and
it becomes a part of their life. Western workers go from nine to five."


Oh boy. Anybody doing crunch time from nine to five? Hello? Anybody? ... Strong words in this Telegraph.co.uk article, although some fact checking would have been good. Read on for more about Astroboy.

Disco Worms - New Trailer

Animation News

Sorry for the slow posting and lack of critiquing. We are STILL in full crunch time at work, but the end is near. :)

Here just a quick list of things I found that are pretty cool:


- "Skeleton Show" post on Michael Sporn's site. It's about a show called Animatus, held in Basel, Switzerland (a few hours away from my home town, woohoo!), by Hyungkoo Lee. Head over there for a lot more images.


- "French Roast" Production Blog. Cartoon Brew points to BIBO Films and their CG short French Roast by Fabrice O. Joubert.



- "No more wine!". Cool making of page for this render of Baby Davy. - found @ 3Dtotal

- "Pixar's Collective Genius". Interview with Ed Catmull, about risk taking, making mistakes and other issues.


- "Color in 101 Dalmations". Great post by Oswald Iten, it's huge and filled with awesome info.

- "Interview with Miyazaki Hayao by Robert Whiting". Always interesting to hear his thoughts.

- "Advice for Students 2008" by Mark Kennedy