Friday, March 29, 2013

HelixSnake - Game Glitches/Mods

This video features a mod from the video game, Grand Theft Auto IV, by the YouTube user, HelixSnake. The mod is that the player throws a cigarette, yet it functions like a grenade, blowing things up around it when thrown. HelixSnake also produces videos that exploit game glitches from games like Skate 3, Saints Row, and more. The first time I watched this, I laughed for a few minutes. I know silly videos exist on the internet, but this is ridiculous. I guess it's because I play too many video games. The games he modded are from the PC version, as they are easy to edit than their console counterparts. Check them out if you like!

Blender Guru

If you ever wanted to get started in 3D modeling, look no further than Andrew Price over at He offers high quality animation and 3D modeling tutorials that are great references for your own projects.

A lot of his tutorials are over 40 minutes long, each one detailing his progress and showing you step by step on how to achieve a desired effect. The Australian accent is a bonus. Here's the tutorial for the text image above:

Mad Men

I've been watching a lot of Mad Men lately and am really into the opening credits. I usually just skip opening credits after watching a show for so long, but I find my self watching the Mad Men opening because it's so short and snappy. My favorite part is the final sequence which transitions from the man falling into the man sitting smoking a cigarette. It's such a seamless transition you barely even notice how in depth it is. The opening credits do a great job at representing a major theme of the show too. Even though Don Draper is at the top of Madison Avenue, he is really all alone, and often spiraling out of control.

The Croods

DreamWorks recently came out with a new animated movie called The Croods. Although I haven’t seen it, it’s been leading the box office along with Olympus has fallen. The Croods is a 3D animated movie about a pre-historic family and the misadventures they get into. This movie took 80 million hours to render, and is said to have taken more compute cycles to create than any other movie they’ve made. Kind of ironic it’s about prehistoric era. Also there’s a pet sloth in the movie, so you know it’ll be good.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Old Spice | Questions

A series of commercials that I feel is very underrated in the sense of animation, are the old spice commercials.  Throughout the entire series of these commercials, there is a man who is constantly changing the scene which he is in and what he is doing.  When you think about it, these commercials and the animation that must go into them are quite impressive.  When analyzing it closer I can only imagine that there must be a lot of chroma keying on either green screens or blue screens.  The most intriguing aspect for me though is the water.  At times it is very hard to distinguish between animated water and real water (if they are even using either of the two).  The reason tat I find this soo amazing is because of my experiences with animated water before, most of which you can tell is fake.  Over all, these commercials really are fantastic and deserve recognition for what they are doing here.  

Olympics Promo

This week I saw a music video that a friend posted on Facebook. The music itself was pretty bad but the visuals were very unique. The studio that created the piece is called M-I-E a small studio based out of London. They have some big clients such as the BBC and CCTV. A project that stood out for me was an opening sequence made for the 2012 Olympic games. All of the characters were created in Cinema 4D so they could be easily manipulated by the camera. The characters were then converted into layers of particles. The Ad won awards at promaxbda and the Bassawards.

The original music video I saw is here

This is the video:

Here is how they made it:

Before Modern Graphics

Stop motion is a well known form of animation that is used today in many shorts and feature films.  The process involves taking still images of characters and moving them slightly between shots to give the illusion of movement.  There is a draw back however, since the image is taken while the object s still there is no motion blur, and things look unrealistic.   That had to be over come for the technique to be used in a very well known and technically advanced film, Star Wars.  They wanted to film the TaunTauns, but wanted them to have motion blur.  So a new technique was invented by Phil Tippett and ILM, Go Motion.  This involves hooking the puppets up to computer driven rods that will move the puppet as the picture is taken creating the motion blur necessary for a realistic shot.  The technique is incredibly complicated, difficult and is not really used now since adding motion blur in post is much easier.  Older technology like this is incredibly interesting and makes one appreciate how easy effects today truly are.  


Yes we all know and love Sterling Archer and every other scumbag at ISIS, but do we know what initially draws us in to spend our time such charming characters? Undoubtedly, the opening title sequence has a huge role in this. It pays tribute to classic animations from spy films and television shows made during, and prior to, the sixties. It also looks like something we ought to be able to handle at our own current stages of AE knowledge - it is what you make of it. Sorry, I could not embed this video so you'll have to click the outside link:

Archer Title Sequence

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Cool Behind the Scenes Pictures

I was browsing the Hollywood Reporter earlier today and found this photo gallery of a behind the scenes look at the special effects from Oz: The Great and Powerful. It is below:

Behind the Scenes of the Oz Special Effects

While the reviews on the movie have been mixed, there is no denying how tough the special effects were to complete on this film. I have not seen the movie but it looks like it is fantastic to watch from a visual standpoint, and some of the before/after shots in the album are really cool.

Bullet Hits

Cool video I found that deals with bullet hits in the ground. Pretty creative way to mix special effects and visual effects. Also the title is pretty cool too. This video proves that you don't always need some fancy effect to get what you want, and that creating something on your own can look a lot better and be much more satisfying.

Here's the video

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cool Behind the Scenes look at Skyfall

For my scene insertion I am doing the final poker scene from Casino Royale. While I was on the internet looking for the clip I came across this clip of a behind the scenes look at some of the effects from Skyfall:

The video starts out by showing the scene where Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem are running through London underground, followed by the scene where the train comes crashing through the ceiling. While they did film the actual crash, quite a lot had to be removed in post to make it look realistic. They also added in a driver in post, along with signing on the front of the train. Pretty cool stuff. 

Dorkly Animations

This sprite-animated video is one of many from the site, The site also features articles, pictures, and more. They are mostly known for their sprite-animated spoofs from popular video game series, such as Mario, Legend of Zelda, Banjo & Kazooie, and more. Dorkly also has a YouTube page featuring their videos. The sprite-animated videos are quite funny as they show usual ideas that happens in the video game universe. I enjoy their videos, except that some are quite vulgar, so beware of that before watching their videos.

avengers fx

so i was going around on videocopilot's cite and i found this quick video on the avengers effects. I knew that the avengers uses a lot of special effects but i still get surprised some times when i see just how much of a movie is great screen. t

the movie was shot all over from New Mexico to Pittsburg and since New York is hard to shot a huge movies like the avengers its understand able. It does make me feel a little disappointed but at the same time it is cool to see what people can do

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Russian vs. Snowman

I find this video very impressive.  Not only is the storyline ridiculous and funny, but there are some very good production qualities to it as well!  In fact, I’m not even sure if some of the things that I expect to be special effects, if they actually are or not.  The explosions in particular are soo realistic looking, that I am just beyond belief.  My first instinct is that these are special effects though, because many low budget productions like this wouldn’t actually use real explosions.  Along with that, I don’t know if a few of the explosions would actually behave as such in real life.  But in the even t that I am wrong and these are real guns and explosions, then all the more power to the production team!  This is a great video! 

Tree of Life Special Effects

The Tree of Life released in 2011 and was nominated for three academy awards: best picture, director, and cinematography. The first time I saw this film, it blew me away. It was a little too long, but other then that I thought it was fantastic. Other then the performances of the actors, the feature that really stood out to me was the special effects.  This film took thirty years to make, which sounds ridiculous but it shows. The special effects supervisor wasn’t a fan of CGI, so they created their special effects the old fashioned way. They took footage of smoke, liquid flowing through funnels, etc. to create the cosmos and space imagery. My favorite use of special effects was the scene with the dinosaur’s. They used real footage of a stream with rocks and added in the dinosaurs which made them look even more realistic. I highly recommend this film for anyone who loves experimental films since the plot isn’t linear. 

Red Vs. Blue

So since we are in an animation class I would like to talk about one of my favorite web shows: Red Vs. Blue.  For those who don't know Red Vs. Blue is a show where they record a whole scenario in Halo and have a anonymous viewer act as the camera man.  This type of film is called Machinima.

Red Vs. Blu is hilarious and really creative.  I can only imagine that the production cost is really low.  Instead of a camera alls you need is an xbox.  You don't need props or fake guns because they are all in the game.
Of course just like the video game, Red vs Blue gets better and better graphics and in the case of this scene actually used graphics and stuff like that.  It's amazing how far Rooster Teeth has developed Red vs. Blue.

Behind The Scenes: Life of Pi

While working on my chroma key project I decided to base this post off of the footage that I used from "Life of Pi." I found this really cool article that talks about some of the logistics used to create the studding effects in the Emmy winning movie. What I found interesting about the article is the role water played in the film. The ocean is featured in 3/5th of the film and posed several problems for the animation and production teams. For one the boat scenes were shot in a wave pool. This posed the issue of matching the practical waves to the animated ones. The animation team had to use motion tracking points on the edge of the pool as well as research gathered from the coast hard to make the animations look as lifelike as possible. Tracking was a major obstacle for the production team who used a crane to gather the bulk of the footage. Whenever there were overhead shots there were no motion points for the animation team to lock onto. To solve this problem two alternative cameras with matching time codes. All and all a cool article definitely worth checking out. 

The link to the article is here: Life of Pi: a tiger’s tale

Here is some behind the scenes visuals: 

Machinima - Sonic For Hire

This video is the first of many from the series, Sonic For Hire, made by Machinima. Sonic For Hire is a sprite-animated series that follows Sonic and Tails, the hero and sidekick from the series, Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic is in a rut after being fired from the game company, SEGA, and will have to find some odd-jobs to pay his monthly rent. Throughout these odd-jobs, he meets game characters from other video games, such as Mario, Pac-Man, Dig-Dug, and more. It is currently one of Machinima's popular series, as it reached up to 6 seasons and is currently continuing. This is one series to check out if you enjoy loads of video game references.  

Catch Me If You Can


I absolutely love this title sequence for Steven Spielberg's "Catch Me If You Can" (2002). I think it does a fantastic job at setting the stage for this great cat and mouse crime thriller. It also does a great job at introducing the amazing score by John Williams. This might be a stretch, but the animation reminds me a little bit of the hand animations of Norman McLaren. The way in which the lines interact with the pacing of the music is a lot like the way objects interact with the music in McLaren films.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Free plug-ins

Found some free, nifty plug-ins that might save people some time. The one that caught my eye was towards the bottom of the list, called Gridiron Software X-Factor, which can speed up your rendering time. If you have enough RAM for it. They also have a few good noise generators and simple effects if you're too lazy to make it yourself. They're worth a read and maybe a download to check them out.

The link can be found here

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Hey everyone - so I recently saw Zeitgeist: Addendum for the first time. Some of the social and economical issues are a little conspiratorial in nature, and it's clearly not for everyone's taste. Despite this, some of the animations in the film are striking and produce powerful messages without a narrative. The ending of the film, in particular, is a great example of how animation can be used to deliver a clear, important statement on our culture. It uses rotoscoping and tracking techniques to impose green screen shots against animated backgrounds and to add videos of TV static over real backgrounds.

Super Bad - Intro Animation

Over break I spent a few days on the couch feeling kinda sick, but I managed to catch the extended version of Super Bad on FX and got really excited about the animation I had totally forgotten about in the opening credits.  It reminded me of what we've been doing in class with green screens & rotoscoping.  Here's the actual animation and a neat behind the scenes look at the set:

Friday, March 15, 2013

TomSka Animations - asdfmovie

YouTube user, TomSka, made a series of random shorts that could get you chuckling if you enjoy animated people doing silly things. The series I'm talking about is asdfmovie. The name is as odd as the 6 episodes he's produced so far. The episodes have been made in Flash, simple, yet it works.

Here's the first episode to check out:

Each video is around 1-2 minutes each and more crazier than the last. The ideas used in each episode shows what would happen if you think outside the box.

More Fun With Rotoscoping

So I was playing around in Mocha/After Effects once again with some rotoscoping for our latest project, and was finding myself forgetful on some of the basics when it comes to the craft. So I went to youtube and found this cool tutorial to get my mind back in the effects mode as Spring Break winds down:

I like some of the mattes/filters they apply throughout as well, and as always it helped to gather a bit more experience as this can be really tedious and tricky at times.

Film Riot

Film riot has a lot of cool ideas for easy ways to do special effects.  Here is one about how to put bullet holes in the dirt, alls you need is a green box, dirt and a air compressor:

Here's a way to make fake rain too:

Film riot has a ton of cool ideas.  You should check them out.

the mau5 sounds like this

This is a music video by electronic/dance artist deadmau5 for his single "Telemiscommunications." It has an awesome style to it in that it's different styles of animation to tell the story of a man stuck at an airport talking to someone on his cell phone. My favorite animation style is the 3D animated character at 2:53, his movements are so natural and fluid for a character of his style. Definitely something to check out.

Good stuff right there.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Forrest Gump Rotoscoping

Continuing with the theme of our current project, "Forrest Gump," provides a great example of the use of keying and rotoscoping in major motion pictures. The following three scenes represent how motion graphics can be used to further a story and provide comedy. There is no other way in which Tom Hanks could have been placed in scenes with such historical people like LBJ and John Lennon other than the use of green screens and rotoscoping. I believe the makers of the film used ADR as well to create three, nearly seamless sequences.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Real Life Speeder Bike

This video is fantastic!  Not only because if how well its made, but also because at the end they give you the behind the scenes video, how to, and project files!  Even though the bike they made isn’t all that impressive looking, the way that they pulled everything together in editing and after effects is very well done.  When I can find some time, I am going to try to replicate the effects that they did in this video as well.  I am very impressed with the level of professionalism from this college student.  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ultimate Animal

For those of you who haven't seen the Ricky Gervais show I highly recommend checking out some clips on youtube. It's essentially an adapted podcast in which they take segments from a radio show and animate them. I think the animated visuals really add to the humor. This clip is definitely one of my favorites. It's such absurd humor but Karl Pilkington is so ridiculous you have to laugh.


Famous scenes changed

So in inspiration of our class project I decided to look up other examples where people inserted themselves into movie scenes. Here is one of them:

This is the red vs blue pill scene in The Matrix.  It's very hard to understand him but I think he did a pretty good job but there is one part that is not quite right.  When he sees himself in the reflection of Morpheus' glasses, Morpheus moves but he does not move.  Also there is like 1 frame where Neo is in it too.  Amateurly done, but still cool.

Here is a funny video about wearing green in front of green screens:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

RoosterTeeth Animated Adventures

This is from a series of videos called "Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures". This is one of many videos that tells a story from a member of the team. This video features one of the members, Gus, as he deals with a rat on the roof of his house.

For those that don't know, RoosterTeeth is a group of people who make videos of members playing video games, doing podcasts and much more. I enjoy these videos as they are funny and that they live pretty interesting lives.

The animations looks very simple, like it could be done in a matter of hours. Flash animation would be my guess. In my opinion, you should check them out. They play games such as Halo, Minecraft, Left 4 Dead, and much more. 

They even played a game called "Farming Simulator 2013", and they made it look hilarious.

LEGO Stop Motion

Stop motion is highly articulate and not for the easily distracted and less-than-dedicated artist. It requires a substantial amount of time, patience and visionary talent, which is essentially why I have so much respect for those who can pull it off successfully. The choice of medium (Legos) used in the following video struck me, because - well, who hasn't imagined their legos coming to life when they were younger? Also interesting was the choice to use story elements from the Call of Duty: Black Ops series. Preferably, I would have liked to see Metal Gear Solid re-imagined with legos, but that's just me.

Some trippy animation - Blockhead

A couple years ago on new years eve in high school, all my friends were passed out around 4 in the morning and I was still wide awake. We had adult swim on and they were showing some pretty weird videos. The program was titled “Off-Air” so they were all pretty random. One of the videos that was shown was this music video for the artist Blockhead. This animation blew my mind at the time, but I had no idea what it was. Finally with a lot of searching on google, I found the video. One thing I really admire about this video is the animation goes with the beat of the song. It really bothers me when music videos don’t follow the beat, it throws me off for some reason. Anthony Schepperd did a great job of doing this, with his use of a variety of colors and shapes. He did this video in under 5 months and only used Flash. He has other amazing animated videos, check out his vimeo if you’re interested! 

Leap Motion

This technology is very cool.  Supposedly it is 100 time more accurate than “Kinect” for Microsoft's game system, Xbox.  With this new technology, there is a system of cameras, sensors, and inferred light emitting diodes that all interact to make this possible.  Also unlike other existing systems, such as “Kinect,” Leap Motion can track up to ten fingers all at once in a three-dimensional area of about eight cubic feet!  The largest difference between this technology and others, is that this device is placed below that tracking area, whereas many others are placed in front of it, looking straight on.  It is compatible with Apple and PC and just plugs into the computer.  There are also countless applications for the technology including gaming, modeling and numerous others.  The product will me available in the market on May 13th, which makes things all the better!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Making of the Walking Dead

This is a really cool video into how they shoot the Walking Dead, do the zombie make up, and blood effects.

The part I found to be pretty funny was how everyone is so surprised in the comments that they fill condoms with blood for the blood splatters. I thought that was pretty common knowledge. And the fact that it took the make up people two hours to dress them as zombies is amazing. The zombie's always look really believable and disgusting. I also liked the directions he was giving the extras for how to be an effective zombie when they get shot so the special FX person had an easier time lining up the blood.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Stop Motion Animation

We have discussed stop motion as one of the many ways to create an animation and I have always loved the medium.  Films like Wallace and Gromit from Aardman Studios or Fantastic Mr. Fox have such a unique and charming aesthetic about them.  In fact, it almost seems to be growing in popularity with films like Coraline and ParaNorman.  Although I have always enjoyed stop motion I never actually attempted to make one of my own.  Over the weekend, I participated in the Stop Motion Animation mini-course (as did Josh) with Prof. Harrington and it was a great deal of fun.  The process of creating models/characters, constructing a set/world for them, and bringing them to life is an awesome experience...though definitely tedious and time consuming.  Below is a stop motion I came across that I particularly enjoyed and also a quick written tutorial with pictures for constructing your own stop-motion models:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Lego Story

This little animation is a homage to the story of Lego, how the bricks came about from a Danish toymaker and how they have impacted the world.

This little animation has a style that resembles stop motion clay characters, and has a vast amount of interesting transitions and styles of lighting and texturing. The 3D animation is perfect for this kind of story because the bricks themselves can be molded to create any object in real life 3-dimensional space; to make a 2d animation about 3d bricks would be redundant.

This really shows that the style of animation has to fit the subject matter at hand. It must compliment, not take away from, the topic at hand. The animation itself should not be the focus; if you're audience is focused on the animation the whole time, then they haven't payed attention to what you were trying to say with the animation.

Food for thought.

Circular Motion in After Effects

image source
For my name project, I needed a way to constrain a point to the perimeter of a circle, so I searched for a good way to do it with expressions.  I found a couple of neat expressions that were very useful on Motion Graphics Exchange.  Here's what they posted:

The expression can be applied to anything in After Effects with a 'position' property to create a variety of effects. Here it's used with a light and Trapcode Particular.

For Circular:
radius=300 angle=time*200 x=radius*Math.cos(degreesToRadians(angle))
y=radius*Math.sin(degreesToRadians(angle)) z=0 centre=[640,360,0] add(centre,[x,y,z]) 

For Spiral:
shrink=time+1 radius=1000/shrink angle=time*200 x=radius*Math.cos(degreesToRadians(angle)) y=radius*Math.sin(degreesToRadians(angle))//z=0 // no depth z=time*time // with depth centre=[640,360,0]add(centre,[x,y,z])

These are very useful expressions that are really easy to use, because they are set up with variables that you can change to fit your specific circumstance.  Here's an example where they used the spiral expression, and by animating both the "z" position and the radius, they were able to get a neat animation of a christmas tree.

6 Days to Air: The Making of South Park

I recently watched this documentary on Netflix and at first, I was a little skeptical about it since not too long ago a different documentary about the making of South Park was released. However, this documentary is a little different because it focuses on the making of the 15h season’s episode “Humancentipad”, a spin-off of the disturbing human centipede movie. The cameras go behind the scenes with Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I’ve known before this documentary how the animation is usually made the night of the episode releasing, with cutouts and low-quality animation. However, they need to do this because they only have such a small amount of time since they write the episodes according to what happens in the news that day. This is not an easy task. The documentary shows how stressful this process is and how much dedication you need to do this. I have a lot more respect for South Park now, although I’ve always loved the show and their political commentary. 

The 2011 Oscars and how it relates to our next project

In the spirit of our latest project assignment, I recalled the opening to the 2011 Academy Awards. The show was hosted by Anne Hathaway and James Franco, and the opening to the show was a montage of movie clips from that year with the two hosts cut into the scenes for comedic effect. Not only was it pretty much exactly what we are doing now, but it is quite funny and incredibly well done. Check it out:

And for all we know, maybe they used Mocha as well :).

Puny God

I'm a big fan of all of The Avengers movies and my favorite character in the movie the Avenger is the Hulk.  The Hulk was my favorite in this movie because he is invincible.  I was always interested in how they they created him.  I found this:

and this:

I really like these videos because they show how complex and time consuming it was to make him.  They did a great job.  I didn't realize that they added body hair, but it was a great decision.  It makes him look that much more realistic.  Another reason why I love these videos is because they added my favorite line: "Puny Gods"

Ted on the Oscars

While watching the Oscars last weekend, viewers had the chance to see Mark Wahlberg and Ted interact on stage. At first I thought it was just a cool illusion like Tupac during Coachella. I researched the subject and  found the animation during the show was pre taped. This sparked my curiosity of how Ted was actually created. The basic animation is based off of Seth MacFarlane's performance on set. Seth wore a suit with motion tracking points off camera. While the actors perfumed he would say and act he lines of Ted. The graphics we later sent to Tippet studio for finer animation and texturing. 

There is a cool video of Seth using the suit found here:

If you want more info about Tippet Studio or the article on the Oscars the links can be found here.




The video shown below is created by YouTube user, TerminalMontage. He creates a series of videos called "NoPUNintendo", from the saying, "No Pun Intended". My guess is that these videos were animated with Flash. The videos include characters from different Nintendo games, such as Mario, Donkey Kong, and more. If you play a lot of video games, I'm sure you'll get the references in these puns. 

Here's one of the videos:

Most of his videos contain punny humor.

The pun of the video above was that the monster was supposed to "Bow, sir". The monster's name is Bowser. Princess Peach sighs in the background, knowing it was lame.

I enjoyed these videos and they're great to watch again and again.