explorations in oil painting!

Hello humans and/or centaurs!  (Gotta cover all bases, never sure whose reading!?)

A few weeks ago I finished the "Foundations of painting" course at http://synstudio.ca/ here in Montreal, taught by Heidi Taillefer.  Was a great course and I particularly enjoyed getting off the computer and learning how to illustrate with paint and pigments as opposed to pixels in RGB.  It's funny after using CGI so much in my life, there's so much magic in getting back to traditional techniques and forming something "real".  When I first got into CG in the late 90's, there was so much novelty to the growing world of computer art.  Now we're saturated with so much CG, the traditional stuff has become a novelty!

But there really is something that feels fundamentally mechanical about computers.  I can't put my finger on it specifically, but it's like my brain goes into problem solving mode when playing with these giant calculators.  Tradition materials just leaves me focusing so much more on the mood and emotions instead of the technical challenges involved.  Anyone else feel this?

Keep arting everybody!


"Whom the god's wish to destroy...

....they give unlimited resources." -Twyla Tharp
Got some more gesture life drawings to share!  I'm really enjoying these sessions- so much fun learning how to simplify and exaggerate to create an appealing image within economic constraints.  It's interesting how a colleague was doing the gesture classes with me and commented "I'm sick of these short poses - All you do is get the form down and never get the time to be creative." - which is a totally legitimate feeling but the opposite to how I feel.  Under the constraint of limited time you don't have the luxary of getting every muscle down and getting destracted with detailing, it's up to you to decide which simple shapes and lines will best describe much more complex groups and still communicate the idea.  To me this lends itself to much playfulness to be had with shape and line.  Having the shorter timeline also pushes me to make bolder more readable design choices.  I seem to accidentally come up with some interesting styles that I've never seen myself do before too :-P.  I'm having more and more respect for stylized and cartoon work that can communicate so much with so little!So here's a couple I cleaned up and added some shading:



Some gesture drawings!

Hello strange people staring at this blog!

Woah, I've been quiet for quite a while - just been enjoying Vancouver.  Working away, snow boarding, swing dancing and lots of gesture drawing :-D.  Thought I might share some of my recent gesture drawings as I'm really happy with my progress lately:
5 min

 5 min
variety of 2-3 min.

Recently I attended a live half day workshop by Louis Gonzales hosted by schoolism.com.  Was a really inspiring eye opener - I love how that guys has such a focus on the idea and what you're trying to express.  So many artists I know get so preoccupied with technique that ideas actually seemed to get forgotten.  Funny that, because a drawing is nothing but technical or decorative without ideas :-P.  One quote I've come away with from him is "Exaggeration is emphasis".  We shouldn't be exaggerating just because it's appealing or funny, it should be to draw focus and emphasize a character trait or story element.  Exaggeration is nothing without "normal" stuff around it!

Adios playas!  Keep create'n :-D


Some Grey matter for "A Grey Matter"!


Notice anything different with this post?  Maybe when you dispose of this window it'll flush into the ether clockwise instead of the usual anti-clockwise?  Yes that's right, I've switched hemispheres!  Smell the maple syrup on my breath?  That's right, i'm in Canada!  Yesiree, arrived in Vancouver a week ago :-).  I've always wanted to do a stint in Canada, so here I am, exciting stuff!  Between freelance work and a job hunt my short film will still roll along.  Check out some new prop action I've been working on:

You should totally view this full screen, it'll really - expand - your - mind! Badaboom!  :-P

So here's some development on a very important prop - a rather large brain in a jar!  It's not called a grey matter for nothing :-).  I had a lot of fun designing this fella, playing with little bit of a symbolic maze type look with the tendrils over his surface.  Also designing in hard(ish) edges on a primarily round object was also an interesting challenge and fine line to tread.  So not quite final yet but feel pretty good about the progress thus far!

This brain is also my first ever Mudbox model!  Really like using Mudbox, would love to do more sculpting just for fun.  Was an obvious choice to bring this guy into Mudbox, modelling all those tendrils would have been a nightmare!  Getting a technique for rendering liquid in my style has also been a really big challenge - a fancy sim seems like the obvious option but keeping things simple and hand made is the name of the game, so this technique (literally using two bits of geo Booleaned) seems to work much more.  Gotta bring out that top surface a little more and then I'll be laughing (at the moment I'm only giggling in a restrained fashion, much like a japanese schoolgirl).

A massive thanks to Daniel Phillis who helped out with some of the water effects using his Houdini magic.  What a champ!



Long time between posts is forgiven with the presence of a monkey.

Howdy ho dude meisters!

D'oh it's been a while since my last post!  Only one way to remedy this, behold my friends - a fresh steamy update!

Progress on my short is trundling along slowly but surely!  Check out blocking on a new shot here:

Jeepers this frog is really fun to animate, getting into the skin of  a cheery simpleton seems eerily comfortable to me :-P.  So I hope this piece is pretty clear - he's noticing himself in the mirror for the first time, confusion then playfulness eventuate :-D.  All the hard work on this rig is definitely paying off!  I'm open to crits if anything catches anyone's eye!

Here's a little project I got sidetracked with:

I gave myself a bunch of restrictions to try and keep a simple efficient design style.  So the rules were:  1 - No editing CV's/Vertices, everything to be made from deformed primitives 2) No UV's required - all materials are procedural (just ended up using Fresnel effects and a little bit of Sub Surface Scattering.) 3) Keep the render time low (this frame took 7 seconds at 720P).  Pretty happy with the result, although I do reckon this design could be improved with a little bit of extra geometrical complexity, surprised how good it turned out through!  Spent about two and half hours on it from concept to completion.

Also, check out a TVC I worked on recently:


I animated a bunch of the characters in the middle shots.  Really enjoyed picking up some simple characters and throwing them around.  Some good lessons in simplicity of design, nice contrast to the complex monstrosity that is my own short!  :-P.

Cheerio fellas/ladies!


Schoolism caricature and a short film sample

Heya people of the interwebs!

Check out a sample of my short film "A Grey Matter":

Things are rolling along well and It's great to finally get the look locked down!

I thought I might also share one of my assignments from Jason Seiler's Schoolism course, here's my caricature of Forest Whitaker:

And the original reference photo:

I learnt some really great lessons here about colour.  He introduced me to the "complimentary split" colour scheme which is pretty much a simple pattern to follow on the colour wheel which limits your range and generally gives harmonious results.  Learnt some rad new Photoshop techniques too with basing all my tones on my bottom layer, and adding colours on a layer above with the "colour" blending mode - great way to separate your thinking and breakdown tones from colour.

If anyone out there is considering a Schoolism course, you can get bit of a discount with this promo code:  c8z7w

Cheerio playas!



A frog, a pheonix and a large nose.

Howdy ho world!

Here's some progress on my short film "A Grey Matter":

This is the second character in my short film "A Grey Matter", a simpleminded but relentlessly happy little frog :-).  So I'm still experimenting away with shaders and the final look but I'm honing in on something that I'm really happy with :-D.

In other news, here's a TVC I recently animated on:

I animated several of the shots featuring the large red pheonix :-D.  It was actually a really fun TVC to work on and if you check out the making of:  (http://cirkus.co.nz/blog/2012/03/giadinh-bank/)  you can see how much of the set was actually physically built out of paper.  Blends well I think!

In even more news, here's a recent assignment I submitted for Jason Seiler's Caricature class at Schoolism:

So here he's getting us to focus on values and restricted us to a monochromatic painting.  I'm really honing my eye to see finer details which is great and challenging.  The source photo was a "civilian" which is actually one of Jason's friends :-D.

Remember you can get a discount at Schoolism with this promo code!:  c8z7w

Spread the positivity folks!