Sunday, December 18, 2011

Inspirational Typography

I was searching the internet for some last inspiring videos for the end of the semester, and I stumbled upon this quirky, but really well-executed, music video. It's almost entirely made up of 3-D typography (some of which take from some rather famous introduction segments that you'll recognize) and goes through many different styles that could be used in the future projects. With so much going on in this video I think it's a very good example of how art repeats itself and how artists pull inspiration from their predecessors. The video is quite quirky but really visually motivating. Enjoy!

A Sushi Love Story

Lately a lot of us have been blogging about stop motion animation, so it was quite coincidental that one of our peers, and one of my very best friends, has recently found great success from one of his stop animation pieces. I'm sure many of you know him, Mike Blaney. Mike is currently a senior Cinema and Photography Major, and last year he took ACP Animation in the fall of 2010. For one of his projects he created a stop animation called "A Sushi Love Story". Mike entered it in a bunch of festivals after the class, I don't remember specifically which ones, but he was quite successful in the ones he entered. After one festival, a website for Korean Dramas asked Mike if they could spot his animation on their website. Of course Mike agreed and now his short has made its online debut. Every time someone goes to watch the video, an advertisement is played, and Mike even makes money each time it's watched. Unfortunately there was no embed code, but I do have the link to it. Everyone should check it out!!

Peter and the Wolf

When I was younger, one of my favorite things to watch was Disney's 1946 animated version of "Peter and the Wolf." It was a classic Disney animation and watching it now for the first time in years makes me very nostalgic. I especially love how different instruments and riffs go with different characters in the story. Here is the original cartoon:

I also stumbled across another version of "Peter and the Wolf." This version was made in 2006through the Polish animation studio SE-MA-FOR and produced by Hugh Welchman. The film won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2008. It uses stop motion animation to tell the classic story only this time, it takes place in an industrial wasteland. I found an interview on NPR with producer Hugh Welchman. He talks about the short film and how it was made. He also talks about why they decided to eliminate the narrator in this version. The interview is extremely interesting so I definitely recommend checking it out! Here is the animated version:

It is interesting to see both the Disney version and the stop motion version. They were made in such different time periods with completely different methods, yet both are captivating and tell a great story.

Final Post

Well, since it's the end of the semester, I thought I would follow the common theme and do one final post about what most of us have spent all semester working on, opening titles. It's pretty amazing the appreciation 4 months of AfterEffects can give you for the few minutes that come at the beginning of a television show or film. I think we all can agree that it's a lot more effort than we probably expected, and some films in particular have opening sequences that are not only done to perfection, but incredibly memorable.

The photo above shows some of the greatest opening sequences from today and years past, from Vertigo to Catch Me If You Can. A nice list of some of the best opening can be found here. I'm sure someone at one point or another has posted that website, but regardless it's always worth a second look!

This is my final "assignment" before I am officially done at Ithaca College, so I'd like to hope all of you the best of luck whether it's as a student next semester, working in the spring, and last but not least, being a professor at IC! I had a lot of fun.

End of the Semester

It was great seeing everyone's work screened at Cinemapolis. I didn't expect to see Fiction Field 2's project which were very well done. Being a part time student next semester I look forward to taking the knowledge I gained from this class to work on graphics for Thesis projects next semester. It is surprising to me how little knowledge I knew coming into this course about After Effects and the working grasp I achieved in just a couple of months.
I was looking to further my knowledge in this field so I searched for additional instructions. Though I have acquired information from tutorials I believe enrolling into a program specifically related to After Effects would be worth the cost for the additional tips and tricks learned. My search came across an "Adobe After Effects - Advanced Training Course offered from Ledet. The course is a $1400 3-day program offered in Washington DC. They also offer the course in other locations and Ledet is a pretty good reputation from some reviews that I have read. I will also be looking over break for literature related to the field. Possibly some of the books Arturo suggested. This course has added beneficial skills to my TV-R degree and I would highly recommend anyone with course space to enroll.

The Power of Tutorials

It is amazing how many tutorials there are out there on the internet for after effects! If you even find your self wondering how to do something you can almost always find a tutorial or message board that discusses and resolves that problem for you. Another useful thing about tutorials (As Arturo pointed out a few times) is that you can use them as a base off of which to build your own graphics or effects. Tutorials can set you up to create something really cool if you use the techniques presented in the tutorial, and add in your own materials, play with the effects and add or subtract new ones.

I wanted to show an example of this practice in motion. The link below entitled “Video Copilot Light Glow” will take you to the tutorial that I used to create some of my name project. The video below that is how my name project came out after I played around and changed the tutorial a little. Of course you can see the similarities in the two but I think I was able to change my piece to make it my own…not to mention Andrew (who creates the Video Copilot tutorials) gives a lot of little tips during in his tutorials that I have found to be very helpful! As a quick side not-I would have to say that video copilot is one of my favorite places to look for tutorials. Aside from the large variety of tutorials, they all seem very well done and it is fairly easy to follow along with them!

Final Name Project:

Top 5 Animation Myths

As we reach the end of the semester, I wanted to blog about something that would be able to tie everything we have done in class and with After Effects together. I thought that this article by Adrien-Luc Sanders did just that.

Myth #1: Animation is only for kids.
Loving animation doesn't make you child like, as we all know or mean you can only make children's movies. What about the opening credits we worked so hard on? Or video games?

Myth #2: Traditional animation is dead.
Many TV shows and movies are produced with traditional 2D animation effects.

Myth #3: You'll never get anywhere working in an animation studio.
This one confused me a little. But apparently it means that people often think you get stuck at the entry level position in studios where all you do is fix tiny mistakes and clean up pencil shavings. As with any department in the entertainment industry (or any job at all really) once you put in the hours at an entry level position and learn the tools to advance to higher job titles, you will do so!

Myth #4: Computer animation is of lower quality than traditional animation.
The problem is not with the computer, it is with the animators themselves. Too many people think that because certain aspects of animation are faster and easier on the computer, that they can cut corners and sacrifice good, quality work when animation is done on the computer. In order to put out good work, time and attention to detail must be there, computer or not.

Myth #5: You must be a master artist to be an animator.
All you need is a grasp on drawing and art in general. And by this he means you need to understand proportions, scale, anatomy, and other basic principles to be successful. You don't need to be the next artistic protege.

I think throughout the course of this class, we all learned that these myths aren't true in some way or another!

Friday, December 16, 2011


I've never been to Cinemapolis and I am very excited that our screening will be held there. So I did a bit a research on the theatre and this is what I found....

"The 7th Art Corporation of Ithaca is a not-for-profit 501C3 organization dedicated to providing a sophisticated community with the best in new international and independent cinema. Since its formation in 2000, The 7th Art Corporation has owned and operated Ithaca's downtown movie theaters, Cinemapolis and Fall Creek Pictures--and now, the new Cinemapolis."

For a list of Movies now playing, click here.

For other reviews, Cinemapolis is on Yelp!

More Downtown Ithaca info


Earlier in the week I had decided what I wanted to blog about but that went out the window because of a website I found using stumbleupon. This is probably the most excited I've been for a post all semester.

New York fashion photographer Jamie Beck teamed up with motion graphic artist Kevin Burg to create some really incredible cinemagraphs. Though they begin as photographs, Burg adds a subtle motion to one element in the picture, such as the subjects hair or leaves blowing in the background. I think what makes it so great is the way that only one element in the photo shows evidence of a breeze or whatever the effect may be.

The page I found is here. It's not in English, but you only need to see the graphics to be amazed.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Masking Tips

The concept of masking in photoshop is still difficult for a lot of us so I found some websites that have tips and show multiple ways to mask a photo.

This first site explains different tools one can use to make your selection in photoshop. The first technique is using the magic wand tool which can help you make selections of areas with a limited color range. It’s the tool to use when the object you want to isolate is cleanly defined against an unvarying background, such as the surface of a table or a cloudless sky." the second technique is using the lasso tool, which lets you create a selection by drawing a line around the object. And the third technique is using the brush tool, which you can use while in quick mask mode.

This next site explains a lot of the same techniques but also talks about using the magic eraser tool, which allows you to erase pixels that are all the same color (or are a similar color). For example, if you used the Magic Eraser tool at its strictest setting, and clicked on a part of the picture that was orange, every other pixel in the picture of that exact shade of orange would be erased.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Impossible Present

So this is it! Last post of the semester! Recently when I was on Motionographer I came across a short called the "Impossible Present" created by Royale, a company that has a main objective of merging production, animation and design to develop stories that come across on all mediums. Led by Brien Holman, Jayson Whitmore, Jen Lucero, Royale has created network promotions, advertizements and short films.

In the "Impossible Present" a little boy attempts to open a gift using any means possible. This includes an axe, and sticks of dynamite. So what was it that inspired this idea? According to an interview with Jayson Whitmore, the idea came from his inability to open a tightly sealed plastic bag. Whitmore said that he and fellow creator Brien Holman, wanted to go old school and were unafraid to let things literally blow up in the main character's face. The most difficult part of this project for the team was to produce this product during their normal work hours. This company believes artists need the time to rest before coming in and giving their work their all.

This video cannot be embedded but here it is on the Royale website!

Projects, Life, and Motion Graphics

Hey All,

I just wanted to use this last blog post to reflect upon the things in class. When thinking back to how much a didn't know before I took this class, I finally realize how much I've learned during this class. I came in with no knowledge of motion graphics and now I feel like I can basically get things done, on my own, with no assistance from google or other people. For me, that feels like an accomplishment. As a video production concentration, I feel like a more well-rounded student. This class has also inspired me to take on a few project on my own and in my own time. I'm going to be studying in London soon and what I hope to do is take my Nikon N80 film camera, a couple rolls of film, and just take photos. After I come back though, I want to develop the rolls of film myself and upload them online. I think it's kind of a personal/adventure/nostalgic project. I wish everyone luck in their future endeavors and projects!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Motion Graphics Reels

I was talking to my friend about reels today, and how fast-paced and stylized the animation, motion graphics, and special effects reels are. I decided to look for more and I came across this page that has compiled links to a bunch of freelance designers and studio designers who have reels on their sites.

One that I really enjoyed in particular was the second one on the list, Eclipse FX (their reel is here). Their reel was fun to watch and showed off what they could do at the same time by showing both finished products and clips as they went from basic modeling and roto to completely finished. It also surprised me how much they did- they don't just do spaceship modeling or explosions, they also did replacement and green screen effects that don't generally attract any attention in a clip. It was cool to see that they don't just specialize in explosions or fancy special effects- they also showcased their more subtle effects, like background replacement and adding in shadows to a clip.

I haven't watched all of the reels on the site, but I plan to, since I think they're just fun to watch. I also need to research other reels, like director's and production designer's reels, to see how they approach the whole reel concept.

Pans Labyrinth - Special Effects

Pans Labyrinth is a popular movie that came out in 2006. This movie is filled with special effects. I watched a few videos on how they made this movie and I found it very interesting. To create the different creatures they would combine using traditional makeup effects and digital effects. For example they would do some sort of crazy makeup up to a mans face to make it distorted but then after they shot it they would digitally edit the face on the computer using special effects to get exactly wanted they wanted.

They would also use green screens to get the effects they needed. For example, there is a creature that has different legs then human legs. They put a man in a costume but then to edit the legs they needed they would put green fabric around his legs. They could then later edit out his original legs and replace it with the new ones.

Guillermo Del Toro was the writer and director of this movie and I thought his vision of what these characters should look like came across very well. I posted a video below that gives a good description of what the special effects and makeup team had to do to make these different creatures in the film come to life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Holidays from After Effects!

Happy Holidays from After Effects!

Evolution of the Contour Bottle

I stumbled across this video that was created as a project for the Academy of Arts of San Francisco. They used an ink effect, water color theme to depict the way Coke bottles have changed in design over the years. Coming from a close-knit community like Ithaca, I think it's easy for all of us to forget that there are other students all over the world interested in learning the same things we are here.

I really liked the style of this project, and think that it would make a very interested advertisement for Coca Cola, to attract a different crowd. While they can appeal to anyone during Super Bowl time, this could interest a more "artsy" crowd, who would be affected more by pleasing aesthetics than a scene of people in jerseys cheering.

Motion Graphics inspiration

I found a site called, which provides a showcase of videos that you can look at to get inspiration. You can search the videos by category or date, and even click on the links that will send you to the creative site.

One of the sites I was led to is called Prologue. This company specializes in visual effects and design animation. They have done a bunch of animations for different commercials, films, and television series. You can search their site and see everything that they have been involved in, but even cooler, they show you graphics that essentially show a "storyboard" of their video. One of the ones they have is American Horror Story.

Check out these sites because they could be very helpful when looking for further inspiration in the future.

Senior Thesis Graphics

I have been busy this weekend creating the graphics for our senior project. This project is similar to Man Vs. Food. We have a host that takes on 3 competitors. One food challenge takes place at each of these locations- Rogan's Corner, Purity, and Glenwood Pines. The first challenge is a giant Bomber calzone made with enough dough for a Rogan's XL pizza. This is followed by a race to finish 4 burgers from Glenwood. It all wraps up with an 8 scoop desert challenge at Purity! So far I have two of the competitors graphics finished and also the show's title. I need to create lower thirds graphics and also implement some sort of digital clock. The digital clock I think may become a challenge due to the cuts between real time and sped up
eating clips.

Map Zoom and Some Other Fun

I have recently just bought an new "bible" for After Effects that is really great and I have been trying to become very fluent in this program because I know it's importance in the industry today. The book is called Motion Graphics with After Effects and is written by Trish and Chris Meyer. It is very detailed and comes with a DVD-rom that filled with unlimited chapters for and examples for each person to follow along with each lesson.
I also ran into a tutorial on Video Copilot that was not only very helpful, but it also was very cool. It is tutorial #40 on the website and it is the map zoom tutorial. I found this tutorial very effective for my current project for my future employer. I couldn't upload what I came up with or my other work for this demo unfortunately, but I encourage people to buy this book and with a combination of tutorials and the book, your knowledge of the program can increase rapidly.

I found for me that having the book is very helpful because it helps you understand not only the tools and abilities of After Effects, but it helps you understand how each tool works. This is beneficial because now you can understand how to figure out problems and how new shortcuts work and help same ample time.

100 years of inspiration

I was looking online for some new and upcoming movies, anything with special effects. Just trying to see where the industry was going when I stumbled upon this video.

This is a video that a fifth grader compiled of a 100 year tribute to special effects. I watched it and thought it was really interesting to see a progressive timeline of some of the industry’s most popular movies, which at one time or another were seen as special effects trend setters.

An Out of the Ordinary Car Commercial

As I was searching for unique animation styles I somehow stumbled upon a car commercial made by Kia for their new Picanto car. The car’s tagline is “All in smALL, ALL New Picanto” and apparently the advertisers where trying to channel that tagline when they came up with the commercial idea. This impressive commercial uses nail art to create and animate its message and I’m guessing it is probably the first commercial to employ this technique.

I was shocked to see a car commercial that wasn’t all about being big, tough, or manly and one that did not have half dressed women in it or talk about off-roading or driving fast. Oh and no loud obnoxious music either! It was weird…I actually enjoyed watching a car commercial for once! I was impressed that the advertisers for this car took a different and creative approach to advertising a car and I think the style really seemed to fit with the product…and they must have done something right because since its posting in July earlier this year the video has accumulated over 5 million views!

So how did they make it? This commercial took 25 full days to make and used up 1200 bottles of nail polish!—Phew imagine smelling nail polish all day everyday for 25 days straight! 900 fake fingernails were used as well each taking about 2 hours to paint. Some of the nails are pretty detailed and I imagine it is somewhat difficult to draw on something as small as a fake finger nail! I highly suggest watching the video below-aside from showing the animation there are also a few shots that show them working on it.

Jack Frost

I was watching ABC Family's 25 days of Christmas last night and the movie was Jack Frost, a modern take on Frosty the Snowman about a father who dies in a car accident but comes back to life through a snowman.

The Snowman, voiced and mannered by Michael Keaton, was an animatronic puppet. The snowman was brought to life at Jim Henson's creation shop in Los Angeles and at George Lucas's renowned Industrial Light and Magic shop. It took 22 weeks to create the snowman and devise the perfect features, incorporating expressive eyes and brows, and round cheeks. The resulting Jack Frost was a 5 1/2 foot tall animatronic snowman that could move, maneuver its arms, talk and express emotion.

The director wanted to make sure the puppet had Michael Keaton's characteristics, but still looked like it was made by a kid. The process of making the snowman started with making at 9 heads for the director to approve, and then the full body or "hero" as they refer to it was sculpted. The puppet was worn by a Denise Chesire for most of the film, so a body cast was need for the inside of the puppet. The form of the snowman was made out of foam and covered with clay, and then skin was generated by using a combination of foam rubber and silicone. Different variations of the snowman's head and body were created for specific scenes, and the Henson Creature Shop crew estimated at least 60 variations of the snowman were made for production.

Jeff Forbes supervised the vast network of technology needed to bring the snowman puppet alive. A lot of what the crew had to do was based on how the head was designed and the kind of lip-synch performance required for the film. There ended up being 10 servo-mechanisms just in the lips, which gave the puppeteer a lot of ability to do lip shapes. During production it took a team of five specialized puppeteers working in synchronization to generate a performance from Jack Frost.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"The Man Who Had Never Been to the Cinema"

Making your advertisement stand out among the clutter of others is becoming more and more of a difficult task in the advertising world today. I personally am surprised more companies haven't used animation to relay their message or promote their product. If done correctly, it can yield beautiful results that stand out from the crowd and really make its point to the viewers.
That is exactly what Telecine, a suite of cable movie channels in Brazil, did in their advertisement below.

By using five different directors (Eduardo Tosto, Greco Bernardi, Luiz Maggessi, Marcelo MourĂ£o,Papito, Victor Seabra, Filippo Johansson), who each brought their own technique to the project, Telecine and Beeld Motion express to their viewers the importance of watching movies, either by going to the movie theater or staying in to watch them with those that you love.

I think this is a beautiful piece that is very well constructed. The mixture of different techniques used in "The Man Who Had Never Been to the Cinema" was very effective and I definitely see the movies in a different light now.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I was looking into some programs that have more specific uses in the motion graphics world, and I came across a program called Realflow, which simulates the flowing of fluids for animations. It seemed pretty cool to me, and the price was pretty reasonable at a mere $3,995! More information can be found here.

Regardless of whether or not I'd ever be able to afford this program, I thought some of what it did looked pretty interesting. I saw this video where a guy used the program along with Cinema 4D to create his own short Nike commercial in his spare time. Programs like these are really amazing when you think about how perfectly they imitate something as complex, yet simple, as liquid flowing.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

'Once' title sequence

One of my favorite movies is the low-budget musical film 'Once' which is set in Dublin and follows a struggling street musician who falls in love with a Czech immigrant flower seller over the course of a week. This film is best known for the song "Falling Slowly" written and performed by the film's stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. When I was thinking about what to write about for my weekly blog post I ended up on and found out that there is a 'Once' musical transferring onto Broadway later this season! So yeah, needless to say I'm pretty psyched!

As I was on youtube looking at various film title sequences I came across a title sequence someone created for 'Once.' It's super simple and looks easy enough but now that I've created an opening title sequence I know that it is not easy to create at all.

Brickyard VFX

In ACP Animation, we watched this really cool demo reel made by a VFX company called Brickyard. They have locations in both Boston and Santa Monica, and in the reel, the showed clips from really high-end commercials that they've done recently. The reel was on DVD, but I think they still mention/show clips of the commercials at their site here. I recognized several of the things that they did, and all of them looked really cool. For example, they did a light-painting one to promote some sort of business technology, and showed people painting venn diagrams and such with their fingers and lines of glowing light.
We also watched their "making of" reel, which highlighted the light-painting one and a few others and went through a quick demo of what the raw footage was like, what it looked like as they added tracking data and composited it with other elements, and what it looked like at the end. The tracking data they had looked absolutely staggering, with thousands of points and arrows and just insanity everywhere. But their final product looked gorgeous, which I guess is why they're doing high-budget commercials for Volvo and other large companies.
Fun fact- there are 2 or 3 Ithaca alum working for them right now. I'm a little hesitant to work in NYC or LA (I know I'll end up there eventually, but I'd really like to look at what else is out there), so the fact that they have a location in Boston is really great. I think I'm going to see if I can contact one of the Ithaca alumni there and talk to them about what they do there and how they got there.

Top 50 Movie Special Effects Shots

I stumbled upon this page that had 50 of the top special effects scenes in movies. I definitely think there are some really awesome special effects scenes in movies that they are missing but this had some pretty cool ones. When you watch a movie you don't always realize all the special effects that go into it. I found some really interesting scenes on this site. I posted some of my favorites below but here is a link to the website.

The Road to Perdition - I thought this scene was cool because the special effects are very subtle. It really makes you feel like you are in Chicago in the 1930's

War of the Worlds - This movie is filled with special effects. This scene is a good example of some of the effects they used to create this movie.

Forrest Gump - I thought this scene was cool as well because you forget that they have to edit out the guys limbs.

These were just a few videos that I found interesting. There are more scenes from other movies like Jurassic Park, Alien, Star Trek, Star Wars, and many more.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stop Motion Software

I've been noticing a lot of people posting many stop motion videos lately so I tried looking up ways to go about making your own stop motion video and stumbled on this site called Stop Motion Pro. The site tells you how you can purchase the stop motion software and also gives you a free trial.

The site also showcases a gallery of student stop motion videos and even has tips for anyone wanting to create their own video. One article on the site explains step-by-step on how to create faces and change between showing different emotions for claymation:

Film 24 frames of the first emotion on your character.
Change the face gradually over 10 frames to the next emotion.
Hold the emotion for 18 frames, then change the emotion over 10 frames again.
Pause again for 18 frames, then finally end with one more 10 frame transition to another emotion. Capture another 24 frames at the end of the shot.

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Address is Approximate" - Stop Motion Short Film

A friend of mine showed me this short stop motion film the other day. It is about a toy robot who wants to explore the world and does so the only way he knows how, through a toy car and google maps. The concept is extremely creative. With today's technology the possibilities are endless when it comes to storytelling. This director took the technology from Google Maps and made a beautiful short film. This is just one example of how a little creativity can go a long way.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Project 2

Since the deadline for project two is quickly approaching, I thought I would post about my project this week and the progress I have made thus far.
I have completely finished the first 3/4 of my project (for those that remember I am doing Toy Story 2) and now I am working on sorting through the footage I took of my cousin playing with some of the Toy Story toys I bought so that I can use a small montage of it for the rest of the credits. I am however, still looking for a cool cartoon-like effect I can create in after effects to give the footage more of a cartoon look. I know I cannot completely animate the footage so that it looks like it belongs in a Pixar movie, however I want to edit it so that it looks as little like live-action footage as possible.
When looking for pictures to use in the last pan of Andy's room for the first chunk of my project, I came across this great website that has high-quality images of the characters of some of the Pixar films that can be used as source footage for future projects. It is actually Pixar's very own wikipedia page. So anyone that needs those types of pictures for a project should definitely check it out!

Finally, since it is the holiday season, I thought I would leave you with this holiday greeting from everyone's favorite toys (even though it is for Toy Story 3 not 2):

How to stay creative

I've been thinking about how difficult it is to create new and original material AND make it creative. The big time designers must have a secret. I did a little investigating of my own.


I also read this article which had a few tips and tricks. To be creative and stay creative, it is important to be multicultural, provide lots of free time to think, encourage risky behavior, writing it down, be flexible, and mixing up your people.

Here is a blog post talking about staying creative!
Helpful website!

The Adventures of TinTin

I was watching football this morning and I saw a preview for “The Adventures of TinTin” and thought the animation looked amazing. I did some research and read a lot of many people were looking forward to seeing the film because of the hype from said animation. I found this video about the behind the scenes making of the film, and it goes into some detail bout the technology used to create such amazing visuals. I thought the video was especially interesting because it gives a short background about how many people involved in the film were fans of the original animations of TinTin, and now with groundbreaking technology they are able to bring to live their childhood memory or TinTin.

"Brave" Pixar's First Female Hero

Pixar is coming out with it's 13th feature film, and it will be a lot different from the first 12. The feature film, Brave, holds a lot of firsts for Pixar: the first fairy tale, first female protagonist, first period piece, and the first extensive use of Scottish accents. Also, since Pixar is known for it's push to ever more realistic computer-animation textures in its films, this film appears to be extremely earthy with lots of mist, moss, and magic.

Brave is about an archer who defies her Scottish Highlands-based clan to make her own path in life, but wreaks havoc when she unleashes an ancient curse. The movie opens June 22, 2012. Below is the trailor.

Work in Progress

I thought I would use this blog post as an opportunity to give in update about my projects. I'm nearly done with my Scott Pilgrim vs. the World project, but it's not turning out exactly as I hoped it would. I was expecting it to be more flash, more fast paced but due to time constriction, I don't have time to fix all that. The main this is that I was able to incorporate the comic books into it. All I have to do and fine tune it and it'll be done. As for my "name" project, I don't have a lot done with it because I've been spending all my time on my other projects. In the end it'll probably be very short and very simple. Hopefully I'll have everything ready by the screening.

Rodrigo Blass' Alma

I found this short film, Alma, that is directed by Rodrigo Bass. After 10 years in the animation field, this is the first film that Bass has directed. The one thing that stands out in this short is the incredible attention to detail. In the beginning, the detail in the cobble stone alley is very realistic, with snow separating each stone with slightly varying color and shape. From all angles, we see individual hairs of our main character, Alma. The tiling of the floor is like a mosaic, with each piece a unique shape and size. I was very impressed with the detail in this short film and felt like Bass took the time to to make sure every element in this short was just right. A painstaking process? I should think so. Notice at the end of the short the number of people listed in the credits for this 5:25 length piece.

Rodrigo Blass (or Rodrigo Blass Nacle) has worked on various well known animation films including Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, WALL-E, The Incredibles, and Up.

Job Search

I started searching around my local area to find some possibilities for jobs when I graduate in May. I started with QVC as I have an interest in working with props and figured they have a large prop department/merchandise. Only a few jobs I could find would be in reach of an entry level position, one of which was a Lighting Assistant. Another position they had an opening for was a Designer for Program Guides: "Reporting to the Managing Designer, responsible for the design and production of graphics for a variety of QVC projects."

I furthered my search by taking a quick look at production assistant jobs out west. There are plenty listed but I also wouldn't mind starting with a show as a Runner. Access Hollywood has an opening for a production assistant/runner. The ability to be on set and also not be tied down in the office all day appeals to me. In my previous internship I would have to generate Runner requests and coordinate with Runners to acquire props needed for that weeks shoot. It would be necessary for the Runners to travel to unique locations and specialty shops all around the LA area. Another interesting listing I came across was for a 2nd assistant/runner. Based on the Job description this job would be worth taking for the contacts alone.

Job Description:

A-list Writer/Director/Producer seeks 2nd Assistant/Runner from prep through post-production on feature film. Candidates must be extremely organized; detail-oriented and thorough; highly efficient; able to multi-task. Must be extremely professional, trustworthy and discreet. Pleasant personality with a can-do attitude an absolute must. Duties will be both personal and professional. Must be willing to work long hours and some weekends.

Another listing I saw was a Job in LA for The Ant Farm. I was surprised to see a PA position with benefits. I was surprised reading through jobs with similar titles having very different duties and requirements to be considered for hire. Looks like there is some hope in the entertainment job market for those of us who are graduating relatively soon.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sticky Monster Lab

When I was on Motionographer I came across a post about a video created by Sticky Monster Lab, a Creative Studio in Korea. Sticky Monster Lab was founded in 2007 by three individuals from different realms of the creative process including motion graphics, illustration and festival management. Unlike other studios Sticky Monster Lab uses character building to create their videos. A complete solution of a 2D character becomes real through the addition of motion, and then ultimately into an actual figure character. Since the project is produced and preplanned prior to the start of the whole project, the final outcome of the character, animation and figure come together in their own individual format. The project demonstrates both the individuality and togetherness of the "Monsters" virtual world.

The most recent addition to the Sticky Monster Lab videos is "The Loner."

Below is the link to a video of the creators at Sticky Monster Lab speaking about their creative process:

Videohive Templates

I was browsing some football related animations, and I came across a Videohive After Effects template that was designed to be an easy download allowing anyone to update the text on the animation to personalize the animation to their specific needs. Videohive is a website that is powered by Envato, and they do a lot of templates like this for anyone interested in looking at their downloads.

This specific template I saw was created to be an animation used to introduce a high school foootball team. They used particles of grass blades flying up from the text falling down onto it on a football field, and it is a pretty impressive animation. It's easy to see why someone would want to download it instead of spending so much time creating something themselves, particularly if they were less After Effects-savvy.

Other project files and templates by Videohive can be found here.

My Future Plans

Since we were talking about our career goals and plans for after we graduate I thought I would post and share some of my thoughts about my future plans. Dun dun dun….life in the real world! This is something I have been thinking about and worrying about a lot especially this past summer and semester! I think about it a lot. Where am I going to live, what kind of job and I’m going to find, what kind of job do I exactly want to find, what are my long term goals??? All of these questions run through my head and I’ve slowly been trying to work out answers to them. There are so many different scenarios and possibilities!

Since the Television/Radio major covers such a wide variety of topics and career options my first problem came with trying to figure out a specific area of focus to target my career plans toward. When I first started at Ithaca I really had no idea which aspect of TV/R I liked the best or even what all of the options were. I was able to narrow my ideas down thanks to all of the different production classes I’ve taken and through my internship experiences.

At my internship on the set of an independent film I got to see every department at work and an insight into how they operate. I was most closely associated with the production team and the art department. Since the film was low on funds and sometimes low on staff I got to delve into many different tasks from working on set as a PA, working in the production office, acting as locations manager, assisting the art department, etc. This internship was a lot of fun and helped me narrow down my career choices.

I have been trying to decide whether I want to live in NYC or LA. I have some contacts in LA from my internship that I have been keeping in contact with so it would probably be most practical to start there but just in case I want to try NYC instead I have signed up for a NYC Alumni networking night over winter break that will hopefully help me meet and talk to some Alumni from NY to get advice and hopefully some do networking.

After I decide where to live there is the difficult question of…what to look for in a first job and how to get it?? I really enjoyed working on production in LA and it seems like a good way to break into the business so I will most likely try to get an entry level production job as a Production Assistant for example. After that I will try to work my way up through the different production jobs. Eventually I think I want to maybe be a producer or something along those lines in the production team (but I’m open for suggestions-who knows where my experiences will lead me!). I also really enjoyed working in the Art Department on my internship so an Art Department Production Assistant would probably also be a good place to start.

Ahh I think about this all the time and I’m very nervous for when I graduate and it is time to try put these ideas in motion…and it doesn’t help that I am a very indecisive person! But at the same time sometimes when I think about it I get really excited…that’s a good thing right? I am not sure why I didn’t talk about this in class the other day…maybe I’m better at expressing myself through writing or maybe I was just really tired that day-both are highly likely!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

VH1 holiday card

Since we are getting more and more into the holiday season I though this was a cool piece done by VH1 using stop motion and candles.

I also found some behind the scenes photos of how it was done.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

920 pencils used to create stop-motion video

I found a stop-motion music video that I thought was very interesting. Jonathan Chong created this video an Australian group. He used 920 colored pencils and captured 5,125 frames of footage. Jonathan filmed this music video all by himself so he had to move every colored pencil and capture every single frame. Below you will see the actual video and a behind the scene video of how it was made.

Hudson - Against The Grain from Dropbear on Vimeo.

El Laberinto del Fauno

Talking about Guillermo del Toro in class today reminded me of one of my favorite films, El Laberinto del Fauno. If you haven't seen this film, I highly recommend it because visually, it is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. It also has a unique story that is propelled by the visual effects. The movie tells the story of a young girl who tries to escape Facist Spain through her imagination. She meets all sorts of different creatures and explores a fantasy world she has created. Guillermo del Toro is known for creating amazing worlds in his films that have a unique look.
He used the award-winning company CafeFX to help him create the world of El Laberinto del Fauno. CafeFX specializes in visual effects and has worked on many movies including Sin City, Alice in Wonderland, and 2012. El Laberinto del Fauno sticks out in my mind when I think of movies I have seen with great visual effects. I found an interesting article that talks about CafeFX involvement in the film. One thing that stuck out to me in the article is a quote from CafeFX Visual Effects Supervisor Everett Burrell about Guillermo del Toro's attitude towards the film. "When considering the fine line that production needed to take between realism, harsh imagery and child like fantasy, Burrell recounts that 'Guillermo always said this is a European film- we can do the whatever we want
, we ever have no MPAA, we don’t have to deal with that – so we just went for it. And he is a big horror fan and I have worked on every zombie movie you name it! Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead the remake…I have been through the horror gambit, he really respected that and I really respected that about him.'" It's interesting to think about censorship when it comes to visual effects but I will save that for another blog post.
The article also talks about one of the more graphic scenes of the movie and how it was created. The scene has a man tending to a large facial wound on his own face sewing it up. CafeFX added much of the wound later on in post-production. In my opinion it is very realistic and I'll admit, I had to turn away when watching it for the first time.

I also found a video that shows some of the visual effects in the film so you can get a better idea if you haven't seen it.

And here is a video that details the making fo the various creatures in the film.

Extreme Detail Used in Movies

So a few of my friends were sending around this article that just put out. It's called "7 Movies That Put Insane Work Into Details You Didn't Notice"and it shows some rather nice work.

The first one they list is a movie that we talked about in class and actually had a chance to view the process of the title sequence: Se7en. We got to see a little more than what Cracked talks about, but the article does talk about how the creators wrote the journal entries, found and attached pictures, and actually bound the pages together.

Continuing on, talks about a beautiful animation that I have never even heard of. The Thief and the Cobbler, which inspired Disney's Aladdin, was written and directed by Richard Williams. It was about 30 years into the making, but was never finished. Animation World Network Magazine even had an article on it in 1997 talking about the work and background of the story.

Now even if you don't read the article, you should definitely watch this animation because the detail is really quite amazing. continues on the examine Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Stanley Kubrick's Filmography, The Matrix, Ghostbusters, and finally Akira Kurosawa's Entire Filmography. 

The article is a bit short and not as detailed as I would like it to be, but it definitely opened up my eyes a bit more to the detail that goes into these movies. I've watched Ghostbusters since I was a kid and while I knew that the terms they were using were real, reading the article really emphasized how each director, writer, designer, creator, and producer should really look into even the simplest details in order to make a production that much better. When creating something, no matter what your job is, the project will always come out better with a little more research. Not only will it make it more realistic, but sometimes it will even inspire you to create something else. Detail may seem futile or unnecessary, even out of the budget, but creating something with such depth can really pay off in the reception of the final product.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Production Company Logos

I was trying to figure out how to animate my logo, and I found this compilation video here of all the big-name production companies and their animated logos. I think you'll recognize most of them. There are maybe two I didn't recognize, and one I only recognized because we watched it in animation (it's the dark one with the man and the bird, and it's paint-on-glass animation, which looks really awesome- at least, I think so).

It was funny to see that a lot of the logos start either having their logo come in from behind the camera, zooming out of a close-up of their logo, or flying through a scene to get to their logo. I think the most unique ones are the man-bird one (Scott Free, I think?), the fish mobile one, Pixar's, and the tiger one, just because they did something completely different. I'm sure there are other ones that also do something unique, those four are just the ones that stand out for me. I also noticed that many of them use 3D animation, even the older ones (like the very basic Disney one that kind of looks unfinished, it has so little detail).

I'm trying to find a video that shows the animated logos for smaller production companies, animation studios, or freelance designers/editors, since that's the kind of logo I'm trying to make. Haven't had much luck so far, but I'll post if I find something cool.
I stumbled on this short film called "what's in the box" made by Tim Smit, a dutch student who recorded all the footage himself and edited it in his bedroom. He used after Effects and 3DS MAX for the special effects and only spent 150 euros for the entire production.

LEGO Animations

The holidays got me to thinking about what my favorite toys were growing up, and LEGOs came to mind. Not surprisingly, I wasn't the only person on the Internet looking to see informationa bout LEGO animations and how some could be done.

I actually got redirected to a Video Copilot forum in which some people were discussing different ways in which you could animate LEGOs, and most people came to the conclusion that you could either do very limited animation work using something like After Effects, or just use stop motion to animate. I'll give examples of both that I found on the forum.

This first example is one in which a guy put together a pretty basic video using some LEGOs and a green sheet in which he keyed in random desert images and changed the position of the LEGOs to give the pretty basic illusion of movement.

The stop motion versions of LEGO use are obviously more tedious but much more rewarding. The best example I found was this music video by The White Stripes:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cyber Monday Deals

With all the hype over Black Friday and Cyber Monday I thought I would see if there were any software deals. There are!

Check these out on Facebook.

Here is another site for After Effects coupon codes.

Or CS4 if you're interested!

Disney Animations

So I was researching the techniques of the old Christmas animation classics like Rudolf the Red nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and the Year Without a Santa Claus when I discovered a behind-the-scenes look at Disney's old animated classics.

The video above starts around the 2:00 minute mark but what really impressed me is that it took the animators and designers 4 years to draw, animate, and paint the scenes for Beauty and the Beast. The artists put pictures up on the wall of lions, gorillas, buffalo, and bears in order to inspire different parts of the Beast's image. They then created 3-D clay models in order to truly visualize the Beast in every dimension before drawing him in the 2-D frames. In the next video Don Hahn, the Producer of Beauty and The Beast, goes into detail of the hand-drawn animation process.

In order to make the filming of the hand drawn frames more dimensional, Walt Disney's MultiPlane camera was often used for the classics. But if we think of all the work that went into animating and then filming these Disney movies, the idea of creating a new animation with the computer graphics and animation techniques available is astounding. I often complain about how long it takes for an animation to render or how quickly time seems to go by when animating. But when I take a step back and look at the process of creating my favorite Disney Animated Movie, I realize that I would have started the project my Freshman year in college only to finish it during graduation.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast may have been taken from a long line of French folktales, but the animation process and finished product are something that I can't help but admire.