Monday, February 28, 2011

Head House Week 8

Moving right along! Came to a stopping point on many of the shots in this sequence so it is time to begin a new one. (and also deal with that couch, after all these years it has gotten old and needs to be replaced)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Digital Domain's Tron

The movie was fun; imperfect but fun. But the amount of work put into the design and visual effects of the film is mind blowing. Especially considering how easy it is to forget that 95% of what you see is not real and was added later:

This also includes some of my favorite music from the movie. Congrats to everyone at Digital Domain who worked on this!

Head House dog side

Another week, more animation! This week I focused on the dog and improved his walk animation. I also tried something new and received critiques on an animation from another angle, this time from the side. Usually, you animate to a camera and as long as it looks good in that one camera then it really doesn't matter how you "cheated" to get it there (sometimes a character walking towards camera is actually taking 10 ft long steps just to get the right angles in the legs). The dog walk was throwing me for a loop from the front angle so I stepped to the side to see how well it looked from there... not bad! The bounce shot also went from blocking to splining this weekend (meaning there is animation between my poses from last week)

Dog walk
- rotated camera towards center
- Smoothed foot rolls so the feet take off at the last moment without floating the weight
- Smoothed head roll arc so it doesn't hit a "wall"
- added snout overlap
- smoothed ear arcs

Bounce Prep
- rotated camera towards center
- splined all controls, ironed out pops
- focused on bounces in body, head, and shoulder
- smoothed frisbee arcs
- did a finger pass on screen left hand

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Head House 2 - block

Starting a new shot on my "Head of the House" short. Blocking is now finished (meaning I have the major poses done and will start creating the inbetween frames):

Before I know it, the final polish will be uploaded and it will be time for a "progression post"!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Buccaneer Band logo

Before heading down the animation path, I studied graphic design in college. And occasionally, my friends would come across a project or two that needed the services of a graphic designer. Since many of my friends were musicians, during my college years our band program's fliers became far more interesting. After graduating I focused completely on animation and moved on from graphic design, but recently one of my longtime music friends (and now a head band director) called me up with a new project: all the departments in his school were to design logos which were then scaled and painted on the school's hallways. He gave me the band font, color scheme (I could only use black and the school's blue) and in return I sent him this:

A few weeks later he sent me the final image after it was painted:

I was impressed at how well the painters were able to recreate a 6 foot image on the wall, especially the negative-space-from-hell French Horn and the vanishing-point-parallelograms of the xylophone. Sadly the painting ended up only using one color, but even then it still works.

Yay! And now that I have the graphic design bug out of my system it is time to hit the animation splines again.

To buy or rent?

I came across a fun, informative, and interactive chart today at Trulia

The chart takes various factors, such as rent cost, purchase price, foreclosure rates, etc and uses an algorithm to determine if in the long term it is better to purchase or rent. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco is a "rent" suggestion, but I surprised my old stomping ground of Fort Worth was one position away from Los Angeles (although the cutoff from "buy" to "rent" occurs between those two positions.

As much as I love living in the Bay Area, sometimes I tempt/tease/depress myself by looking at other cities on charts like these and realize that what we pay in rent for a relatively small apartment could buy us an extravagant, large house in another metro area. *sigh*
Being the optimist, I like to think that if we ever do buy a place and then sell it and move out of state we will then live like royalty.

Until then, I will (ab)use my location in the Bay Area to the fullest and enjoy the multiple luxuries the area provides! Plus, animation studios are here! Woohoo!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Specks in the sky

I've been on an astronomy kick recently (not to be confused with an astrology kick, although I have some posts on that as well coming up). Every now and then I come across a photo which stuns me: some for the sheer colorful beauty of the heavens depicted, others for the ideas they represent. Today's primary photo falls in the latter category, but I'll include a little reminder of the former too.

Today's photo comes from the Herschel Space Observatory courtesy of Dr. Scott Chapman from the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge.

(click to zoom to get the full magnitude of the photo)

While this image may look like a bunch of static, what it represents is far more mind-blowing: Each non-black pixel in this relatively small infrared image depicts an entire galaxy. And, as previously discussed, a single galaxy contains over 100 billion stars (more than the amount of humans that have ever lived) each with the possibility of its own solar system with a possible earth-like planet. If each star was 1 square foot in size, there would be more stars represented in this picture than could cover the entirety of Earth.

That is a lot of galaxies, and billions of stars, especially for an image which is only a minuscule fraction of the total sky. If the amount of "space" out there doesn't inspire awe in you then maybe it hasn't "clicked" yet, because for me that hint of knowledge changes a seemingly boring photo of static into a masterpiece of possibilities and colors.

Plus, it helps to remember that each dot of "static" represents one of these:

To quote the great Keanu: "whoa"