Those beady eyes, bless every one!

Hello people of earth!

I trust everyone is powered up on fruit mince pies and ready to party the rest of the year away? Woo! With it being summer down here in Australia we don't get the quintessential snowy vista outside on Xmas, most houses here don't even have fire places. Nope, for me that typical image of Christmas is a giant bowl of pink prawns with a hundred little beady eyes staring back at me. So I'd like to dedicate this post to all those little crustaceans that lose their life in the name of delicious cold treats! Ho ho ho!

As I'm on a break from AM for a few weeks, I haven't been getting a huge amount of animation done, instead of been focusing on pixels instead of graphs and getting down with mental Ray. You can check out 3 re-rendered shots that form the first half of my new, slightly shinier showreel:

So next week I'll be getting into my pantomime acting assignment! Hopefully I'll have my new Old man rigged by then (You *could* say that I'm procrastinating now :-P). In other news I've really been enjoying scribbling some heads while my lovely Fiance is watching DVDs:

Ahh end of 2009 only a few days away! I've had a really amazing year, it's going to be hard to top! Hope everyone loses loads of unwanted brain cells over new years!


Ye Pirate animation be finished yet ye skallywag?

Aye it is!

Check out the final polished anim here:


I had a splendid time exploring when and where to push the exaggeration with this one. Generally I tried to keep the motion somewhat realistic/believable, except for the extreme motions I tried to push and exaggerate more than is natural for stronger impact. I reckon they could have been pushed further but was fun playing around with that none the less :-D

So I'm officially half way through Animation mentor! (streamers fly in the air and those crackery things also go off which goes into a child's eyeball, but he wasn't very popular anyway). So next I'll be getting my tights on for some acting classes! (Tights aren't compulsory... but I was wearing them anyway). But I've got a few weeks off in the mean time to get some rendering done. I like Rays, they're totally mental.

Oh yes and here's a strange drawing I did:
There's a sketchbook jam thread in the Animation Mentor forums, last week's theme was "Undiscovered".



Some ugly faces and a decrepit old man

While my cannonball piece is simmering away on the back burner I thought I might share some other stuff I've been working on. Here's some sketches I've done recently, I just threw some tones over them for fun:

My favourite is that sad old man on the bottom right. Look how blobby he is! If I was antimating him I'd totally have him sitting on a couch giving a depressed sigh followed by several seconds of wobbly fat settling around his torso. Heh.
I've also been rigging a character that I'm preparing to start animating next year. Early days still - I decided to do a scared pose because the only eyebrow blend target I've got is up :-P. Been setting him up with the generously free advanced skeleton that the gentleman Mike Paech put me onto! Nice work! I'd totally recommend it if anyone's throwing together a rig, haven't started animated with it yet but it seems rock solid! Still have loads of work to do on this old fella but if anyone has any design concerns, I'd love to know :-).

I'll have my final pirate piece to show next week so stay tuned!


Blog update: Now with more filth!

Heya people!

I made a few updates for my blog (notice how this column is a little wider? Ahhhhh space to breath :-P ). This mostly involved dirtying up the BG a bit and integrating my blog into my website! So now if you ever want to find my blog, don't go to the unbearable complex and illogical http://www.kineticdan.blogspot.com, just simply go to: www.kineticdan.com. So:
Remember www.kineticdan.com
Remember www.kineticdan.com
Remember www.kineticdan.com
Remember tibet
Remember www.kineticdan.com

Also, with my lovely Fiance's new job (she's now a vet at Australia Zoo!) We've moved out to a bush cottage near Landsborough, north of Brisbane. Here's a photo from our back porch where I can enjoy a cool breeze and sunset view for my afternoon shift:

Great little office to animate from, and there's definitely no distractions. Nosireee! No neighbours except for the snakes and ants! hehe. Errr. Anyone who know's me should get my gmail-chat/MSN/Skype details as if I don't get enough human contact, I'm bound to end up like this:


Inspirational stuffing! Your head is like a turkey's bottom!

Well I thought I should break up all these assignment posts by filling a post with a whole bunch of inspirational links and stuff I've come across the past few months:

Here's a link my Mentor (Elliott Roberts) shared of Steven Spielberg talking about how directors should know what they want down to the last frame and how animators are forced to think about that by the nature of our art. Makes me giggle to see a young Steven Spielberg :-P. There's loads of great stuff on his blog and I especially like his examples of poses with good silhouette, but with overlapping elements (you don't always need to open up all the negative space and have all limbs coming out of the body like egyptian haieroglyphics :-P ), that page is here.

Here's two short doco's about Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox (and how he directed the animators by acting out the video reference himself!) and Bill Melendez (creator of Charlie Brown, interesting because he's a big influence on Wes!). I came across both of these on Ethan Hurd's Persistence of Vision blog.

Olivier Ladeuix has also come across some super spiffy concept art pages HERE and HERE.

Ah well, that's enough for now, I've got animating to do!!


Yahaarrrrrr..... *cough*

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! (I realize how geeky it is to say that, but I read treasure island not too long ago... and... well... if you don't like geekyness then LEAVE! :-P ).

Here's some work in Progress of my big cannonball piece! Everything from 200 onwards is the blocking for my next assignment so you can see how the thrilling crescendo comes to an angry climactic tantrum :-). Woah, that Pegleg keeps it challenging! I've rigged it so that the hips are controlled by the rotation of the pegleg whenever it's on the ground, I never thought I would miss just being able to grab a pair of hips and put move then whereever I like (ahem!!). Really means I have to plan so thoroughly and have no choice but to move everything according to how it would move in reality, jeepers!
I'm really enjoying working with the Norman rig, shame this will probably be the last one I do with him for quite a while :-/. I particularly like the simple bendable arms for creating subtle curvature (still need to abuse this some more) and being able to quickly hide the limbs which really helps for polishing the torso!

Man, I really can't help but push these assignments to mammoth sizes, hopefully it'll keep me much more in control next term when we only do 1.5 assignments per 3 months :-S. I just watched a lecture from Jason Ryan and he's so into his simple flipbook stick figure anims for planning, I miss things being simple, would love to throw some simple ideas around when I get the time and stay out of Maya :-P.


A pirate's life for me!

Heya guys!

I've just finished the blocking for my next AM assignment.! Check it out here:


I tried to layer together some challenging exercises, so here's my pirate with a peg leg-carrying a cannonball across a swaying ship. This is part 1 of 2 so there's a bit of a story which won't really be revealed until I block my next assignment a few weeks away. The set is all proxy at the moment, and eventually there'll be a nicely detailed ship wall with cannons and everything, but just for now you'll have to use your imagination :-P. The grey blob is just temporary until I model a smashed hole through the hull :-S.

Check out the planning here:

There's some pretty interesting stuff there at the end that I found on Youtube, would you believe I found someone who had bookmarked over 50 movies on youtube of people with peg-legs? Bizarro! I actually had to go and record some extra video reference after this batch, took me a while to lock down exactly how I wanted this to play out.

Some planning thumbnails:

I've also been updating my showreel, check out the latest version HERE. I've got some rendering issues to fix up on the first shot but I'd love to hear any feedback!



Motorbikeness, now with more frames!

Yoyo people!

Here's what I've submitted for my polished version of my motorbike assignment! This has been a really fun one and I'd love to keep tweaking it, hopefully I get some time soon! I really enjoyed the challenge of a character physically persevering through something almost encumbering. I learnt loads about timing and I'm starting to become more comfortable with moving things slowly (not everything has to snap!) and how it can be fun to keep some things more subtle which can actually help exaggeration by providing contrast for somewhere else. Those knees were proving to be a pain to lock down so I just went ahead and tweaked the rig to make it easier. The thigh actually stretches automatically so I can keep the knee down automatically, nobody has noticed yet (heh heh). Will be interesting to see how Elliott crits it!


Tune in over the next few weeks, I still have to render this sucker (it also looks much better bigger and at higher res :-P ).


Motorbike folly, blocking

Yo ho!

Here's some progress on my Am assignment! It's been pretty fun just working with a simple weighty scenario and It'll be interesting getting into splining and adding some trembles and stuff. Only 1.5 weeks left to finish all the polishing :-O.

I modeled the bike based off a Triumph Bonneville, classic bike :-D.



motorcycle folly, my next AM assignment

Yo pigs, cows, ticks and the rest!

Here you can find the planning packet for my next AM assignment! So it's plenty of lifting a heavy motorcycle for me for the next 3 weeks! Check out the sketches first and the Video reference should become fairly self explanatory!



Back to the action!

Howdy ho to all punks and greetings to the rest!

Well my six months of indulgent travels is over and I'm settling back in Australia getting ready to return to an unhealthy routine of spending too much time in front of the computer and obsessing over animation :-P. I'm back at Animation mentor now and starting Class 3 "Advanced body mechanics" with my new teacher Elliott Roberts. He has some Bluesky cred under his belt and worked on the recent Iron man too. Now he's working at possibly the coolest games company I can think of, Double fine, creators of Psychonaughts! Not to mention of got some ridiculously kick ass students in my class too, I'll learn heaps this term! Well I've got some animation to show too, so hopefully that'll make up for my lengthy absence!:

The new: Bob et Bobette compilation reel.

Here you can find a compilation of my best sequences from the film "Luke and Lucy: The texas rangers" (In French"Bob et Bobette: Les Diables du Texas" In Flemish: "Suske en Wiske: De Texas Rakkers"). This was a truely awesome film to work on and was my first forray into the animated feature film. It's based off a popular series of Belgian comics by Willy Vandersteen who worked closely with the creator of TinTin. The director, Wim Bien did a fantastic job and I'm amazed how well the film turned out compared to the budgets of US features! Working at Luxanimation was great and living in Luxembourg was a pretty amazing adventure in itself! If I find the time, I'll make an updated version with subtitles :-S

Well I'm off to film some reference for my next assignment, Adios!


Eh you, WAKEUP!

In a desperate attempt to stop my blog falling asleep, I thought I might upload some average , poorly scanned drawings. I've enjoyed having some extra time here and there for drawing and I'll have to upload some more soon!



India flavoured pixels...

Yo yo!

With all this traveling it's been a bit tough finding time for artyness, but I thought I might upload some of the nicer photos I took while in India:Classic Taj. I love how the crowd recede into the perspectiv to the centre of the frame, a nice accident!
It's unusual how often in India you see old world ideas still being used along new technology, these two vehicles are a great example! I love how black and white photography really emphasizes the texture of surfaces
Here's Robyn looking very contemplative in the very spiritual jain temple of Ranakpur near Udaipur. This place was really amazing and to be honest, impressed me more than the classic Taj!

These crazy monkeys were everywhere. I've actually captured him here, split seconds before he made an impressive leap up to a branch hanging above. You can even kinda see him contemplating it here.

If I stayed still long enough, these Chipmunks just ignore me and I managed to get in some nice close ups. Plenty of photons from the strong desert sun helped plenty too!

Well Robyn and I have done all our preparations for our big Europe road trip and we're actually booked to take our car over to France on the very tomorrow. Exciting stuff!



Where in the world is Dan?


Please forgive my lack of posts over the coming weeks as I'm off being amazed/disgusted at the crazy part of the world where I'll be smelling incense one moment, sewage the next, then delicious curry, then something dead. I'll see how I go over the next few weeks but posts might be scarce until I land back in London and have some more time (beginning of May!)

Until then, keep checking ;-)


AM Class 2 Progress Reel

Heya guys!

Click the pic below to check out my shiny and rendered Progress Reel for this finished quarter of animation mentor!

Wow, what a term. It's really been great committing extra time to AM due to have a part-time job, it really makes the difference and gives you the opportunity to really challenge yourself with some bigger pieces. Overall I think the biggest things I've learned in this term is about how much better extra time spent planning will affect the quality of your animation. I've really enjoyed experimenting with blocking methods too and I particularly like the technique of straight ahead blocking your main poses (as long as you have a solid plan) to get more natural transitions. I'm really surprised at how much fun I've had animating such simple characters too, was really fun coming up with some pantomime acting and it was great practice telling a story in nice quick timescales.



It's finito!

Well, almost.

Here's what I've submitted for my third and final assignment for Class2 of AM. Woah, I really bit off more than I could chew with this one (I've gone %50 over the frame range, and it was just supposed to be one character described as "A simple dance move"). It's turned out OK, but I really felt the pressure to get it finished. There's a gag at the end that I never got time to get in and I feel like many of my choices could have benefited from some more exploration.


Ah well, now time to render it! (Still open to crits though).


The Marketing commences!

Heya guys!

Click the pic above to check out the new website from the film I worked on in Luxembourg! I'm not sure if they're definitely doing an English dub, but if they made an English website that's pretty promising! There's no trailer up yet and I can't say I'm directly responsible for anything there, but it's a pretty good sneak peek!




Heya guys!

Here's my blocking for my third assignment for Class2 AM! Still pretty early on, I've got 3 more weeks to finish it off! The brief for this was just to do a simple dance move, so I've probably gone pretty overboard with this one :-P.



I'm addicted to close ups!

Just love how having a small point of focus really draws the eye on a certain feature, I love it! Here's a bunch of recent photos (mostly close-ups!):
These 4 photos were taken on 7 miles beach just near Byron Bay. My only non close-up, the sea was throwing out some pretty crazy shapes as it crashed against the shore. I especially liked this one!
Love the way those little vines wrapped around the branches. Great colours on the leaves too!
There's a little crab hiding in amongst those sand balls, I imagine you might need to zoom in to see it!
That's a blue bottle, apparently has a very nasty sting on those hanging tentacles. My fiancee didn't seem to mind picking them up by their inflated heads though :-O.
These 3 photos were taken at the Mt Glorious national park just near Brisbane. I call this bug rupert. He prefers the name Tom. I repress Tom and still call him Rupert.
This skinky thing let me get surprising close to take this photo. I'm about 3 feet away!
Love the contrast I could get with this nice little new shoot!
This photo was taken at a party. I'm really enjoying photography in darker areas now that we have a camera that goes up to ISO 1600. A friend gave me the very good tip of switching to Black and white too as the extra grain and poor colours from High Iso actually add to the character of the shot.