Friday, April 09, 2010

Latest Drawing...

Well, there is a free figure painting workshop here at work on Tuesday nights from 6-10. Pixar is nice enough to feed us and after ingesting the free food, a small group of artists metriculate accros the street to see what this week's next model has in store for us. My office mate Ernesto ususally is the first one over to set up his paints- and he normally tackles the duty of staging and lighting the model.  I can't say enough good things about Ernesto- he's a fantastic painter and even better person. They are lucky to have him here.

I started about a year ago going to these little sessions- and wanted to just work on my drawing skills since it had been since 2001 when I *really* sat down and did any kind of figure drawing. Needless to say, some weeks had been pretty embarrassing- many, MANY drawings ended in the trash- well- (okay, all but one) but this one that I did last tuesday night came out okay. I used to draw 40-60 hours a week- and after you don't keep up that pace- you do get rusty. If I continue to do somewhat descent work, I will switch papers to a canson, rather to just newsprint. I knew it would take me about a nine months to get back up to speed when I was only devoting one night a week to this. My next goal is to start my little paint sketches that I used to do. If any of you are looking to start painting, just do little completed sketches- you grow sooooooo fast- and after you feel more comfortable doing them- challenge yourself by setting a timer and see if you can get it completed by then. 

will chat later....

Friday, March 19, 2010

The other love of my life....

I took time off this week- and besides spending it with a friend who is about to go off to Scotland for 3 years for a PhD- have just been puttering around the house organizing. Most importantly, been going thru old digital files of work- and found pictures of my other hobby- floral and event design. When I was going thru Art Center, I was fortunate enough to work for a catering company. I found that I love putting together an environment for special occasions. So the next photographs are of a friend's 40th birthday party in Palm Desert. He was gracious enough to allow me to make all the floral arrangements (orchids & succulents) as well as the main table center piece. Don's main requirement was that the decor add to the place, not overpower it. It was a tough request, since the place was a rental and the first time I saw the venue was the morning of the party when me and my friend showed up to decorate. We were very ecstatic that we picked a theme that would complement the simple design of the home- clean and elegant. Since the party started when it was still light- the decor had to transition as well- thus the submersible waterproof flora lites at the base of all the cylinder vases. They are amazing. They last for up to 48 hours and only take two watch batteries. I am BUMMED because the low light photography did not come out well (guess who took the pictures!)  the place was truly magical that night. Don and Frankie- Thank you!!!!! I miss you guys!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

ode to the roomba....

'the first successful low light picture I've done so far.... my living room- yea!'

If you're trying to figure out what the correlation between a cleaning machine is to the photo posted above, well, there is one. Friday one of my famous OCD friends came into town and made me go to Bed, Bath & Beyond to purchase a mid priced Roomba- with coupons of course. She took one look at the tumbleweeds of dust bunnies on my wood floors and that was it. The tumbleweeds that I had so fondly started giving individual names to, were now a thing of the past. So, now after acquainting myself with the machine that is known to dawdle when it cleans- I'm a believer. It does a pretty descent job. My silk and wool area rugs are much more happier, and the machine does not get tied up in the fringe as the worry wart that I am so thought. Purging had been a huge goal of mine this past year- and I met it with success. Now the only thing left is to organize and purge out one last room. The rest- closets, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, dining room, living room, are all ORGANIZED. 

Now the next hobbies to attack are low light photography and floral design and getting back to weekly sunday night dinner parties with friends. I figure that if I spend a year on these I should be at a new place in life. The above arrangement is from a florist down in Los Angeles called Mark's Garden. It's an English basket- and it's my favorite arrangement. I had two brought up Friday so I could disassemble one (and figure out how it's put together- so I can recreate it here for me) and the other one is for me to enjoy. And the photo of the arrangement? it's actually just another lazy Sunday night here at my new abode- complete with a roaring fireplace, creek running thru the back yard, and deer nibbling at my little trees. I like to kick back on Sundays and spend time with new friends just chatting away... and dusting off the old cooking skills that I learned as a teenager.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Good Grief, these kids think I'm a rockstar...

I recently accepted a 'job' on sundays teaching the 4 year old kids- it's called Primary. Frankly, it's free daycare for the parents- they get two blissfilled hours of no kiddies- and someone else (me) gets to take over and bribe these critters with food just to have them sit up in a chair. But, I on the other hand, have figured out that if you give them a gluestick, paper, crayons and a lot of cleaning wipes, there are MANY wonderful and unexpectant things that can happen.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

When Obsessive Compulsive Friends come to visit...

I think that I am one of the few that loves friends that are obsessive compulsive...  especially when they pay a visit. Having friends that are organizational wizards really make your life much easier when you struggle to just keep your daily routine intact. When my friends show up- blinds get installed, paperwork is purged, furniture gets rearranged, donations to the goodwill fill my car, not to mention curtains are mysteriously made and a brand new Hoover vacuum is somehow purchased for under $40. (sale item combined with coupons) OCD individuals can make a penny bleed in my humble opinion. And that is a good thing.  So, that being said- I have gone thru and downloaded some of the things I have collected at my years at Disney.... this is the pared down version of the Mulan Style Guide put together by Hans Bacher. Hans is an AMAZING production designer- organized, detail oriented, and a fantastic designer. For those of you who are not familiar with his work, he has a book out now- called Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation.  But located below is some of his work on the Mulan Style packet that the crew used. So, enjoy.....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lessons of the past...

Figure sketching is a rare treat for me these days. I remember going to Vern Wilson's Saturday morning Eagle Rock workshop classes and seeing a young artist there by the Steve Huston sketching away. That was many, many years ago. Way back when a woman's bangs of hair were dyed, fried and pushed to the side.... (the 80's).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Black hefty garbage bags for drapes.... *sigh*

30 more boxes to unpack- I think. Moving is stressful- but also cleansing. You get a chance to go thru everything and see if it is a must keep, want to keep, or just toss it. I have over 15 bags of garbage sitting out on my deck ready for the garbage man- not to mention the 10 boxes of stuff to donate to the goodwill. The down side to moving, it's soooooooo expensive to set up a household. Which is why I still have 5 extra large black Hefty garbage sacks acting as my window shades in the living room. But to get back to the benefits of moving- I did manage to find these digital paintings- I honestly thought I had lost them. They are from the soon to be released TinkerBelle movie.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I haven't forgotten.... but I did forget my log in name!

Okay- it's been so long that I've checked my blog, that I forgot my log in name!

I've had a huge change of 'life' plans lately. My best friend and I had decided to start our own business in an area unrelated to animation- when this fantastic job opportunity came out of the blue. I accepted a job with an animation company in the Bay area, and will be moving there in a few days. When things are unpacked, I'll post more work regarding my animation work--- certainly have enough of it by now. It's just all in a box that is labeled 'studio' at the present time.

But I'm looking forward to this new and exciting phase of my life. It will be fun to start a job and live in a city where you don't know a single soul.  I feel like I am going off to college...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

more Style Sheets...

David Krentz, Josh Rivera and I were assigned to make these style sheets for the production of Rogue Agent. The executive producer asked that we visually communicate to the crew a 'how to not screw up the environment you are asked to build". So, we stripped down the Ken Adams style- which was the style template, and dumbed down the instructions so that there would be no excuses to not design well. This is the result.

Friday, December 28, 2007

The 18lb. cat.....

Why is it that my cat HAS to sit on the keyboard whenever I am busy typing???? I have never understood why animals- particularly cats are able to sense what is the most important thing in your life at that moment- like reading a book, writing in your journal- updating your blog... and then they SIT there on that object facing you- and are very perturbed when you shoo them away. My little cat is a measly 18lbs... so it's quite a struggle sometimes to get him off of things. But I love the fur ball. He's very dashing. All salt 'n peppered.

So, I'm going to post some quick environment designs that I did when working over at Sony on the Jackie Chan Saturday morning cartoon show. I had just come from Disney feature, and will admit that I had a HUGE chip on my shoulder about how good I thought I was... Well, I got my bum kicked. There were some incredible people on our small bg design crew- Andy Chung, ( a designer on League of Extraordinary Gentleman being one of them.

At Sony, we started out with 10 roughs that had to be approved weekly and ended the show with about 40 roughs per week/per person. It was a six month gig that I learned to suck it up and start working hard again. I admit- when I left Disney- I was very burnt out and never wanted to see another pencil or layout desk again- but at Sony- it revived my love for what I did- (drawing) and even though these drawings were done in a couple of hours- they are pretty solid. Still not as good as Andy's though.... heeheeheee!

blogger is being a bit buggy- I'll have to upload more when it will allow me to!
Stay tuned!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Crazy Busy.... but that is normal!

So, here are a few surviving tonals from a couple of Disney Feature 2D projects- and I say surviving because most are shelved in the studio archives somewhere collecting acid free dust. I did clean up layout (lighting tonals essentially) for 3 years on Pocahontas- then Ed Ghertner graciously allowed me to transfer over to Hunchback, where I really learned how to draw in perspective. I'll post more when I have time- I'm swamped with production work as we speak- :o)

Atlantis layouts were finalized in marker and white gouache- it was fast, fun and a more graphic style.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Style Sheets for Production

What are these? They are known as 'Style Guides' and they are the bible of any animated film -these little puppies are the 'how to' in any visual medium.

Normally the art director/production designer are the ones that create these pages that explain to the crew how to easily (hah!) follow his design vision. I was graciously given this assignment from Sam Michlap- As art director, he was swamped with work and told me to 'Go for it .... I have complete trust in your abilities on this.' I have to admit- I LOVED this assignment. My one rule of thumb is that if the viewer can't understand it in 1/2 of a second what I am trying to explain- then I haven't done my job correctly. I guess it comes from growing up with a bunch of future engineers, physicians and attorneys- sometimes you have to dumb things down to get your point across (they being the dense ones, not me- LOL!).

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Stuff!

Actually this stuff is old........ ! Isn't that how it always is when you are getting a blog up and running? Anyway- the work on this post is from the Video Game world- it's from EA's GoldenEye: Rogue Agent- and these are just the lighting passes.

The game environment artists blocked in the geo and then the vis dev artists would paint over the screenshot- do a quick photoshop pass on it- make sure that the level had a more consistant lighting plan. Video games were a new frontier to me-having *never* picked up a playstation 2 handheld controller- and then in my first meeting, was asked to 'walk around the environment in God mode....' Huh. In front of 20 people and comment on the old Bond style designed by Ken Adams? Sure, nooooooooooooooo problem... hahahahaha!!!!! Well- after that, I was ordered to play an hour a day (at work) ANY video game, as long as I figured out how to navigate the environment. My nephews were jealous that game playing was part of my normal job routine- and am proud to say I now own a PS2- but I only play guitar hero on it. I'm a HUGE fan of this game. When people asked me what I did for a living at the time- I told them that I was corrupting the youth of america.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Laundry and creating a blog at the same time...

is an effective way to get things done for the upcoming week ahead. This is new to me, so be a bit patient. But I would appreciate feedback if you have any . The following are some samples of some vis dev work I have done in the past. I have been working in Vis Dev for about 2 years now- it's a bit different than my other background which is layout.


•Matte Paintings• "Elf"- (New Line Cinema)

Here are some samples of my work in matte painting. I LOVED matte painting because it was so similar to my background in animation. The only difference is, you work with 'preshot plates' instead of composing/designing/camera work/writing the x-sheet out yourself and then handing it over to the animator. Also- the other difference is that matte painting for live action films is very desaturated in color- meaning alot of grey- no 'bright' colors. Animation- as seen above- is very saturated- because your target audience is kids- so, happy, fun, graphic and obnoxiously bright colors are normally used.

•My First 'Matte' Painting ever•

Well, as I was getting ready to leave my post at Disney in 2001- I sat down at the community computer on the 3rd floor and learned photoshop. An old ACCD classmate of mine convinced me that there was a brighter world out there and that with my background in Layout, it would be a natural transition over into matte painting. This lovely day to night shot- was done at 600dpi (because I didn't know what I was doing) and it's fairly successful- yet lacks the sublties of a true matte shot. Any good compositer will tell you that it needs reflections in the stream- and just small nuances that make it shine. Still- not bad- except it took me six weeks to do it, and in the real world, you are lucky to have just one week to complete a painting like this. FYI, most matte paintings are done at 72 dpi- and at 2K,4K or 6K, depending on how close the camera will get to the painting. Now with the HD- the logistics are a bit different-but the general rule of thumb is that if they tell you they want a 2K matte- to be safe, paint it at double the size (4K).

this was the second one that I did..... and I would comment on this one also- but I think that is not necessary at this point.

•Tileable SkyBox Matte Paintings• for EA games•

The following 2 paintings are for one of the James Bond games that I worked on. Below each picture is a diagram of how the skybox within an environment is put together regarding texture tiles. Personally- I thought this process was facinating. Each square was no bigger than 512Ksq., in the Fort Knox painting you only have 2 'hero' tiles (master tiles- only used once) and the rest are interchangable with each other. The Vegas painting is a bit different- because ALL the bottom tiles are 'hero' tiles because that skyline is so distinctive that one needs have your painting budget there- so the rest of the sky was a simple gradient that was interchangable with each other.

•Television Background Painting•

Remember me talking about those bright, obnoxious colors? Well- that is the hallmark of television animation. I worked on a warner brother's cartoon called 'Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island'- and had a blast. I think that I averaged 7 paintings per week- where you paint the 'keys' and the overseas studios paints up the rest of the bg's based on your 'keys' so that the sequence has a consistant look to it.

•Environment Design•

I had the good fortune to work with Sam Michlap and Dan St. Pierre again on a recent film- I designed one area of the world- and I did that by building a rough maya model, taking screen shots of the camera angles that I wanted, and then painted in black/white over it. I had planned to paint these all up in color- but the production got canceled midstream. So, now I have some lovely black and white story moments and location designs- which is fine. For the moment that is.....

•Tarzan• Master Bedroom Interior• Set Design

It took me 3 months to design this shot, partly because the look of the film had not been established yet. The directors wanted a more moody, darker and mysterious feel to the jungle area and they felt that this tonal of the treehouse interior really hit the mark. They wanted the humans to feel a bit unsettled in their new environment, and I used items that would have washed ashore from the shipwreck and boat paraphanellia coupled with jungle to resolve the issue. I gleaned from my extensive backpacking experience when I was younger on "what you want verses what you need" when out in the boonies..... needless to say, I refuse to backpack anymore. Unless of course, there is a five star hotel at the end of the trail waiting for me.

•Misc Stuff•
So, I'll go ahead on a nightly basis and keep uploading my work from the 'archives'- I have ALOT on hand...