Friday, November 24, 2006

Got a Job!

I know I said I was going to keep working on my film & be better about posting stuff up here, but shortly after that... I GOT A JOB!!!!!!!!!! Which in case you can't tell I'm SUPER excited about. I'm going to be working at Framestore CFC here in London through August as an ANIMATOR!!!! WOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's really by far the best thing I could think of to happen just out of school. I am going to keep working on my short film. I really like the idea & I like where i was getting with it. But it's going to be back burner for a while. I think I am going to go in & re-think a lot of it. Really try to make it what I originally wanted in all aspects. We'll see. Anyhow, probably won't update here for while.

There are a few shots from my short in my latest demo reel on my website www.fiercefire.com if you want to check them out. But it's mostly stuff that you've seen before.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Back to work....

Wow, I can't believe a month has already passed.... Time goes by SO quickly.

Well, nothing totally new to show quite yet, but lots of things in the works. I spent some time re-working the dad's face so he can have a bit more facial expression, which is good. I'm still not totally happy with it, but it is at least good enough for me to keep moving forwards. I've been cleaning up bits & pieces of things to get them ready for a new demo reel that I'm going to send out in some form or another later this week.

I still feel like this is not the film that I had in mind originally, but I'm working pro-actively to change that. I'll post more here are it all comes together, which hopefully will be soon.

So, mostly this is just an update to say hello & that yes I am still working on this. I think I am going to try to get back to posting here once at the end of the week with progress, maybe that will help me keep a bit more focused.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Well, the last week has come & gone. I'm offically graduated & finished with school. My film, as you can see below, is no where near done.... oh well. Like I posted last week there was a lot of learning going on & sometimes that slows you down.

Anyways, I made a lot of major changes this past couple of weeks to the film, tightened the editing a bit, changed some of the camera angles and some of the acting choices. I still have so much that I want to do on it, but I feel like I am at least closer now than I was before. I think spending some time to re-work the facial controls on the dad will help a lot. Right now his facial controls are very limited, so there's no way to do subtle facial animation on him. I'm going to take about a week or so to work on a few other pieces for my reel, and then come back to this fresh. I'll keep posting stuff here as I get it done.

It's funny sometimes how stepping away from something can make you more interested in it. As I've been away from my short for a few days I've had tons of ideas about how I want to handle the lighting, modeling, additional shots, re-editing, etc...

So here's what I turned in as my final for AM:

Monday, September 11, 2006

Why I'm not finished...

First sorry about not posting last week. These past 2 weeks have been busy & I just forgot.

Second here's the whole thing in a more refined state, although you'll probably notice some shots have not been touched in a long, long, LONG time. I will get to those this next week. I did however re-do the ending pretty much completely, swapping Bishop in for the little girl, because that model had a facial setup & the other didn't. There are still bits I want to change/add in the ending, but those will probably have to wait a tiny bit longer.

Now on to the main show... I woke up this morning to the following comment in my workspace from a fellow student:

" it became a very nice movie. flows well. why its not finished???"

I love AM.... it's one of the few schools where this is a totally acceptable thing to leave as a comment. It's not meant to be snipey or anything, it's just an honest question, and here was my reply:

"HA! Good question....

The short answer is "I learned something big & learning takes time & slows you down."

The long answer:
It's not finished for a number of reasons.... Mainly because about 2 weeks ago I started looking at the film as a whole & realized it wasn't up to the standard that I wanted. The acting wasn't strong enough, the emotions weren't reading, I didn't have enough breakdowns to adequately start moving to splined, etc... etc... Also, because there is so much physicality in this piece, so much running & jumping & such I had started to let that take over the performance.

I made a decision then that I could take one of 2 paths. I could push ahead with what I had, try to take everything to splined & get it all to some stage of "finished" regardless of how much the final film matched my original ideas and desires, and how much I felt like it didn't work OR I could step back & really re-do the parts that weren't working & make them work, even though this would cause me to have a more unfinished film at the end. I chose the second path.

I got a really interesting and enlightening comment from a recruiter this past Siggraph when she saw my reel (up in my Progress Reel section right now if you are interested). She said that it was all technically good. I obviously new about anticipation & follow-through & all that. BUT only one of the 4 shots (the first one) showed that I brought anything to the table idea-wise.

It was a comment that really made me sit back & think about my work so far, how much I was pushing myself & a lot of other things. I think I had gotten so caught up in the technical side of animation that I had forgot why I wanted to do animation in the first place, to create characters!! Not just to move things around prettily on the screen.... Even more importantly I realized my short film had been all about just moving things around prettily on the screen, and I had lost the character & the emotion which I really wanted to be at the core of this piece. SO..... that's the long answer.

There's also a lot of other things I could fall back on, like I rigged my own characters (bad decision), I choose a piece with just about all the complex full body shots I could think of (bad decision), I didn't & still don't have a full facial rig for the main character (see first bad decision) etc... etc... But mostly it's the learning thing.... :)

*end of answer*

There's been a lot of discussion on the AM site about graduation, what you need to graduate & taking an optional additional term. Basically most of the school isn't finished with their shorts. I think we all underestimated the time that it would take us to finish these and we're paying the price now. So AM has graciously given us all the option, this one time only, to re-take the 6th term with a new mentor & finish our films. I thought about it long & hard, but I don't think I am going to take it. Now, that may change if I get an email from my mentor saying I should, but that's my thinking right now. I feel like I do have a lot still to do on my short, BUT I also feel like the place where I really need the majority of mentor feedback is at the acting choice stage, and I'm getting that now. I feel like I could take this forward on my own, with a few additional critiques from AM (once we graduate you can get a crit for a fee service) and get something that I'm pretty happy with. I also feel like I need to move forward & start looking for work. I've been in school, freelancing or moving cities/countries for a long time now. It would be great to settle down into a day to day animation job again.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

First Third Refined

So I got most of the first third refined this past week. Not as much as I would have liked, but my carpel tunnel was acting up. :/

From now on I'm going to just keep posting the whole film instead of bits & pieces. The parts with a red time-code are the most recent. There's a few shots in red this week where he's still on splined, but hopefully I'll have those worked out very soon.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Whole Shee-bang!

Ok, here it is.... The whole film is finally blocked. The whole thing is supposed to be on second blocking by now, but that second pass got a bit sporadic due to Siggraph & being sick, etc, etc...

I'm realively happy with how it's going. There's a few scenes that I'm not happy with at all & a few things I know I'm going to totally re-do after AM is finished, but I think the bones of it all is there. I think I could make the performances stronger in places, especially when he's in the cab, running in the middle and when he's outside of the little girl's (Rose, I finally named her) room. I am VERY unhappy with all of the expressions I can get with her face. Her facial rig is extrememly limited & honestly really bad at the moment. I am going to pull that out and totally re-rig her after the term is done & re-do her facial animation. I will probably do the same with the dad, but his facial problems, while still very much there, are a little less than hers. Anyways... enough complaining... My focus right now is to get everything I can done here in the next 3 weeks and just see how it goes.

I took almost all of this weekend off, went outside, hung out with friends and played some Zelda. I feel worlds better for it and totally ready to dive into this week and plow forwards. So... without further ado.....

Monday, August 14, 2006

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming....

I've been a bad blogger, not posting for a few weeks, but I claim immunity for being away in Boston. And it was all worth it because.... Siggraph was awesome!!! Really, really amazing. Got to meet a ton of people in person that I've only ever seen online before, and got to take a much needed few days off at the cape afterwards. And most importantly I got inspired again to come back & work on my short & not hate it. I was getting a little burnt out before we went, not liking my story, not liking my acting choices, etc... but I'm feeling much better about things now. I still feel like I could push the whole thing a bunch farther, but I'm going to keep trying to work that in as I go.

I didn't totally stop working on my film while I was away, I have a laptop that goes with me, but the work was substantially less than it is when I am home. I did the second pass at blocking the first third while on the road, which really shows as I only got to touch a few of the shots. I got the first pass at the final third done before I left, I'm very unhappy with it. This upcoming week is all about re-doing that final third, with actual working models & all that happiness.

In the mean-time here's an update on what I got so far for your viewing pleasure :)