Friday, November 20, 2015

Glen Faught

A few weeks back, I was granted the opportunity to travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota for the College Broadcaster's Awards and Conference. While there, I attended a number of workshops on broadcast and media related expertise, animation being one of the many topics covered. Glen Faught, a freelance graphics artist and motion designer at Target (Minneapolis is the corporate headquarters for the brand), led one of these sessions where he walked students through the process in creating some of his latest projects using After Effects and Cinema 4D.

Below are examples of some of the work he has done for Target.

As simplistic as they seem, I find them to be quite eye-catching. Additionally, these are some examples of small projects he's done in his free time. 

Throughout his tutorials, Glen stressed the importance  of creating content simply to have on the web for people to see. He recommends keeping a blog. The number of reblogs you get on a post can potentially be the livelihood of your craft. He explained that a good deal of his freelance work comes from people on the internet who have some across his work and appreciated it enough to give him a call. I don't know what I imagined that path of an animation career might be, but I certainly never considered gif making to be the key in. Glen, however, would definitely disagree.

Find more of his cool work here (also run by Glen) has some great tutorial references as well. 

Brainstorm Digital

At my high school all the seniors were required to do either 40 hours of community service or do 80 hours at an internship. I chose the latter. I interned at Brainstorm Digital, a VFX house based in NYC that has worked on films such as Boardwalk Empire, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Wolf Of Wall Street. I learned more about the visual effects industry in the short time that I interned there than I had in my entire life up to that point.

Not only did I learn about the industry, but I also learned about what each shot took to make.

The program that they use there as their main compositor is something called Nuke, short for New Compositor. Nuke is node based, which means that it works as a series of inputs and outputs, as opposed to the traditional layers. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Oblivion: Sky Tower Practical Effects

Oblivion is one of those Love it/Hate it type of movies, meaning that there are things that you can really like/love about the movie, and then there are things that arent so great. To get it out of the way, the not so great thing was the story, as it came off as weak and confusing to me.

However the redeeming factor of this movie (in my opinion at least) is the visuals. Everything looked so practical and realistic, even the CG and visual effects were very photo real compared to other Hollywood movies out there.

When I watched this BTS featurette about how they accomplished the Sky Tower in the movie, I was amazed at how practical they made it. They really wanted the actors to feel like they were really in that moment, rather than trying to interact with it via Green Screen set. They accomplished this look by capturing footage of the sky and clouds that they filmed at the top of a really high volcano. And then they took that footage and front projected it onto High Res Screens on the set.

This truly was a cool and very practical thing to do. It looks more real, the light from the footage helps illuminate more light into the set, and best of all, it would save VFX artists the headache of having to deal with green screen spill in the set, because that green would bounce around everywhere I imagine, and would be a nightmare to have to key out and make as real and clean as possible.

To see the Oblivion Sky Tower Featurette, check the video out here: - ACCESSIBLE TO ALL OF US

So if you have not heard yet, is now accessible for FREE to all of us now. Go to your myHome and it is the last tab on the left hand side menu. is an online education company that offers thousands of courses and tutorials for softwares, creative applications, and business stuff. Basically, you can learn so much and there is so much to choose from. I know what I'm doing this break!

Check it out here:

There is also shorter versions of the courses available on YouTube. One of the ones that I recently saw was on cameras in After Effects. I think it's extremely useful.

Have a great break everyone!

Finding Dory

So everyone knows or knows of Finding Nemo. A story about a lost little fish who get captured by a fisherman and put into a fish tank at 42 wallaby way Sydney Australia. His dad Marlin, must go on an adventure to find and rescue Nemo. Along the way, Marlin meets and unlikely friend named Dory, a blue fish with a short term memory problem. She lost her memory into all of our hearts and was one of the most memorable characters in the film. And coming next year, there is finally a film to do her justice. Finding Dory is coming out in 2016 and I could not be more amped! Ellen Degeneres is going to reprise her role as the funny, and heart warming fish. The film is sure to be hilarious and touching and I am going to see it the minute it comes out.

3D Printing and Animation

This post relates more to how amazing 3D printing is and how it relates to stop motion animation. There is nothing I love more than miniaturized anythings. Whether it be a doll house or claymating characters, I think the intricate art of piecing together detailed aspects of characters/ houses/ any setting, just highlights the artistic talent and dexterity. Doing all of that handmade is a feat on it's own, however now that we have 3D printing, I think it's a step towards efficient and ground breaking animation. Please check out this amazing video on how the artists for Paranorman were able to capture an unrealistic amount of expressions by 3D printing every characters face!

Academy Announces 'The Short List' For Animated Shorts

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just announced the 10 animated short films that will advance in the voting process for the 88th Academy Awards, with Pixar, NFB, Hertzfeldt, and Richard Williams making the cut, There were originally sixty pictures that qualified for the category.

The top ten films that made the cut are listed below in alphabetical order.

1.) Bear Story (Historia De Un Oso), Gabriel Osorio, director, and Pato Escala, producer (Punkrobot Animation Studio)

2.)Carface (Autos Portraits), Claude Cloutier, director (National Film Board of Canada)

3.)If I Was God…, Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada)

4.)Love in the Time of March Madness, Melissa Johnson and Robertino Zambrano, directors (High Hip Productions and KAPWA Studioworks) 

5.)My Home, Phuong Mai Nguyen, director (Papy3D Productions)

6.)An Object at Rest, Seth Boyden, director (California Institute of the Arts)

7.)Prologue, Richard Williams, director, and Imogen Sutton, producer (Animation Masterclass)

8.)Sanjay’s Super Team, Sanjay Patel, director, and Nicole Grindle, producer (Pixar Animation Studios)

9.)We Can’t Live without Cosmos, Konstantin Bronzit, director (Melnitsa Animation Studio)

10.)World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt, director (Bitter Films)
There will be branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, London, New York and San Francisco in December.

The final nominations will be announced live on January 14th, 2016 at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. And the 88th Oscars will be held on February 28th, 2016 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Now You See Me Magic Tricks

I don't know about y'all but I really love magic, and with the trailer for the next Now You See movie it got me excited. So I decided to do some research to see how they did some of the magic tricks in the movies. What I found was the first two tricks in the four minute opening sequence. You can watch that here:
If you want to know how the card trick was done that Jesse Eisenberg did you can find that here:
And lastly if you want to see how Dave Franco did the bending of the spoon you can watch that here. The kid in it is pretty cute so you should watch also for that reason:

Monday, November 16, 2015

2D animation's recent resurgence

So if you're a well adjusted socially capable human being, unlike myself, you may not have known that 2D flash animation has recently made a rather remarkable comeback on the internet. What is Flash Animation? Oh how I envy the social status you have to allow you to be unaware of the wild and sometimes awful world that was the internet during the early 90's. But that's beside the point. Flash animation is, as the name implies, animation created by the program adobe flash. Back when the internet was still in it's relative infancy, these flash animations grew to enormous popularity as the file sizes were small enough to be sent through terrible dial up connections with relative ease. Soon sites that hosted and streamed these flashes like became some of the most trafficked youth online. However as the internet improved over the years and live action content was able to be hosted more reliably, this surge of animated content died down almost over night.

With the popularity of let's players on the rise this 2D animation has seen a wonderful resurgence. People with varying ranges of talent are taking to animating some of their favorite moments from different let's play series, and the results are actually fairly entertaining. I'll leave below a few of my favorites just to show you how there is some real talent connected to this endeavor. If you're ever looking for a quick shot of web popularity and don't mind putting in the time 2D flash animation is not a terrible way to go.

Multimedia Programming

I have been pretty interested in multimedia programming for a while now and I really like the idea of interactive animation. One of the most creative and innovative music videos I have ever seen is the Arcade Fire music video for The Wilderness Down.

It uses a lot of really interesting techniques. The personalization of providing an address is really creative and makes the experience feel like it is meant for you. I am distracted by the multiple pop-ups but I still think that it is really creative. It is also unfortunate that there are a lot of technical restrictions on what will work with this website because there are only certain attributes that HTML5 supports.

I think a lot of the Multimedia Programming course in the CS Department is a good segway between producing animations and coding them. I think that the potential interactivity of animation is the future of media!

After Effects Text Tutorials

I found some After Effects tutorials that describe how to use the Text tool. I thought they could be useful for those working on their Title assignments. Ranging through a number of different styles, the tutorials cover many different kinds of text effects.

For my title sequence, I'll probably end up using the jitter type or maybe the handwriting tutorials. I think either of them make the most sense for the good dinosaur.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Animating Pirates of the Caribbean

This weekend I decided to watch Pirates of the Caribbean in honour of Pirates Week back home. I was very interested in the visual effects and how they created everything. I have always wondered how they animated Davey Jones and his crew. 
The movements of a computer-generated character such as Davy would traditionally be recorded by an actor in a motion capture suit as he darts around a meticulously controlled studio environment. The filmmakers would shoot plates without the actor in the frame, and then the CGI beastie would be inserted into that blank space in post-production. 

These videos were very informative and interesting to watch. Enjoy!

How the Director of 'Peanuts' Created a 3D Charlie Brown

The new Peanuts  movie is definitely an animation classic as it brings an an age old blockbuster animation into the 21st century. The new animation is fantastic, particularly the animation of the main character, Charlie Brown. Creating Charlie Brown's head was one of the biggest challenges for the animators as they wanted his profiles to be different from the front view of his head. They eventually succeed as the front view of Charlie Brown has his hair in a loop, meanwhile, from the side view it was shaped more as a candy cane.

It was quite a time consuming process to create Charlie Brown's head, along with the other characters. One of the animators goes in detail about the process, as he said "We modeled them for each perspective [roughly six models per character, including the front and side views] and then wrote software to allow the animators to transition these separate models together to help them move. The style [of the classic animated cartoons] also is more akin to holding the pose and 'snapping' [to the next pose]."

Friday, November 13, 2015

This commercial by PARABELLA for "Twinings Tea" reminded me of "The Adventures of Tom Thumb". Not the little claymation of Tom but the actors whose movements almost seemed like they were claymated. After doing some research I found that PARABELLA was heavily inspired by the Golden Era of musicals and multi-plane animation techniques which was pioneered by Walt Disney back in the 30's. The animation blends CG with pointilism, and includes 100,000 tea bags and 50 different paper folding styles to bring vivid and intricate movement throughout the piece. The heroine was also shot frame by frame, and several 3D models were shot on layered planes to captivate an amazing sense of depth and perspective.

The lies of the media

Social media is a lie. Media is a lie. As students going into media, we need to be aware of this. We can sit here and say that we can make media better but we all know that's not true. But one famous Instagramer is trying to make a difference. Some of you may be aware that Australian Instagramer, Essena O'Neill recently quit all social media because it's not real life. She changed her account name to "Social Media Is Not Real Life" and changed several of the captions to what really happened when she was taking the photos. Some examples of them are below:

As you can see, she's just 16 and was trying to be something that she wasn't just to get attention and love. Nothing about the photos she post was real. Social media is not always real. We need to stop being so ignorant and start educating ourselves on what we read and see. It's not just with self esteem through images but with everything else as well. We just think if we saw it on the Internet it must be true. No, research it before you talk about it. Form your own opinions on the subject matter. If we are the future of the media. Though like I said earlier we probably won't do anything about it or change it, there's still that possibility. If people just stopped being someone else through the computer screen, maybe we can start to spark a change.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Green Screen Edit Tutorial

As most of us are doing our last project I thought it would be helpful to share a green screen tutorial. Here is one I thought was very helpful! Good luck with your editing and I hope this tutorial was helpful to you guys!

Advanced Keying Techniques

So seeing as everyone will be keying their footage over the next few weeks, I'd like to share this tutorial. I used it for my scene, and it makes a tremendous difference. Traditionally I've always boosted greens a tad through the Hue/Saturation effect, then applied Keylight. Asides from that though, I don't do much else with green screen footage.

However this tutorial from 8 Bit Digital TV, shows a way of keying which preserves the colour of your footage, while using the matte from Keylight. See, normally the Keylight effect will not only remove the green background, but also green tinge in the skin. While this is helpful, since it's trying to remove so much green, it can take too much away from the skin and make skin tones look off. Whereas in this tutorial, you'll learn a way of simply using the matte Keylight creates, then taking away the right amount of green tinge in skin.

Check out the full video for a more in depth explanation, I'd highly recommend it for this project.

Performance Capture

Performance capture is a type of acting involving body sensors that track movement. Cameras at different angles record the movement in order to create a three-dimensional position of the character. The data is mapped on a digital model in 3D software, like Maya for example, so that the digital character moves like the recorded actor.

Below is a video featuring James Cameron and the performance technology used in Avatar.

"We don't have to necessarily believe that they're 100% photo real and we don't necessarily have to believe that they actually exist--but we do have to believe them as emotional creatures," Cameron says on the Avatars in the film.

I find the head rig most interesting. It's a helmet like structure that fits comfortably on the head, along with a camera that captures the facial expression and performance.

Blue screen vs Green screen

As we are all working on our rotoscoping projects using green screen, I wanted to give a little more information on what blue screen and green screen do and what they differ in.

The obvious reason for choosing one or the other is the object or person in front. So if you are filming Kermit, you probably don't want to use green screen and if you are filming a Smurf (they're real), you probably don't want a blue screen,

i found this video below to be super helpful in further understanding the difference and learning more about why we should use one or the other and when.

Gravity BTS

Gravity is definitely one of the most Visually stunning films ever made. It's one of those movies where you feel like you are actually there in the moment and it just seems so real.

And yet 95% of the movie was CG. Almost everything you see was generated in post production using advance 3D software. The only things that were practically shot in production were the actors. But everything else from Space suits to ships to satellites and more were CG elements.

This behind the scenes look at Gravity explains the process of what it was like to make this movie, knowing that majority of it was going to be CG.

3D Shorts

One Day, I'd really like to make a 3D Short. Wether I have a great story or not, one day, i want to be a part of the creation of something like the video's below:
Some of them are funnier than others, but, I think any of them would have been a wonderful learning experience to gain an Understanding of Animation Workflow, Group Dynamics, and General Roles for creating Animated Stories.