Almost there

Saturday, April 23, 2011 0 comments
This is most likely going to be my final version of the two bouncing balls assignment for this week.

I got some great feedback including a review of my animation with a mentor this morning.

Here it is, let me know what you think.

The final stretch of week 4

Friday, April 22, 2011 0 comments
I am now just polishing my animation assignment for this week. Two different bouncing balls with different weights. Basketball and bowling ball.

Let me know what you think!

Two are better than one

Wednesday, April 20, 2011 1 comments
This week's assignment is to show two balls bouncing that have different weights.

Here is my first rough version.

Comments are welcome.

I have discovered a new Law of Physics

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 2 comments
All balls, regardless of composition, bounce the same height!

This week we are to animate two different balls of similar size but of different weight (i.e. basketball and bowling ball) to demonstrate how weight is conveyed to an audience.

I decided to go out and get some different balls to do my own reference shots this week. I found two balls of similar size but very different weight. First, a tennis ball; lightweight and large bounce. Second, a lacrosse ball; heavier and ... large bounce. In fact, they bounce almost the identical height. My animation will be pretty easy ;)

So, if anybody needs to identical bounces with different weight balls, then there is your solution!

PS I have now confirmed West's 1st Law of bouncing balls. I found an old rubber ball that is about the same size as the other two. It's weight was also different than the other two. And...wait for it...they all bounce the exact same height and pattern.

Any universities or academic societies wishing me to come speak, please contact me for my rates.

Bouncing back

Monday, April 18, 2011 0 comments
Sorry for the lack of updates last week. Our assignment to animate a bouncing ball (soccer or basketball) as well as create a new pose for Stu that showed excitement, took a lot more time than I anticipated.

Since I am sure everyone has been holding their breath waiting to see the results (and who wouldn't?), here is my final animation and pose that I turned in yesterday.

First revision of Stu looking excited

Friday, April 15, 2011 0 comments
Please leave feedback here or internally at AM.

Thank you all for taking a look!

It's time to be a poser!

Thursday, April 14, 2011 0 comments
Ok gang. These are my sketches for this week's assignment to create a pose that shows excitement.

Please leave me comments on which of these (or maybe a combination of some) read as excitement for you. Any comments on the sketches themselves are welcome as well.

PS AM folks all of this is up on my Public Review so feel free to comment either place.

Whoa ... where has the week gone?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011 1 comments
Somehow, it is already Wednesday and I am just coming up to breathe. Last week's assignment went well and I got my critique. My mentor offered some really good suggestions and it was no surprise that my sketches need some work.

This week the new pose is to show excitement. This should be fun on a character with no face! I have been practicing sketching every day and I am playing with several different pose ideas (examples to come later).

The second assignment is our first animation! The quintessential bouncing ball that is part of any animator's foundation.

I used a video reference of a basketball bouncing off of YouTube (gotta love YouTube). Most of yesterday's animation work was analyzing and planning my bounce sequence. I am probably being way too meticulous as I measured and timed every keyframe (height of bounces and hits) and matched those to frame numbers.

Here is my first pass at the animation so it still needs work.

Animated short worth checking out

Monday, April 11, 2011 1 comments
This is a 9 minute short in 2D that I found mesmerizing. From YouTube:

Official animated movie of Tim Minchin's 9-minute beat poem Storm.

Cool Cars 2 Poster

Sunday, April 10, 2011 1 comments
Awesome retro poster for Cars 2.

This image comes from a post at 2719 Hyperion.

And I'm done!

Saturday, April 9, 2011 2 comments
Here is the final pose and the sketch that I am turning in for my week 2 assignment.

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to give me great feedback and support. This is a huge improvement over my first versions early on. Here is the first pose for comparison.

Nearing final version of the Stu slouch

Friday, April 8, 2011 3 comments
I made a couple of adjustments so that his shoulders match the slouch (thanks Roy!). I'm dropping out all background elements to keep it as simple as possible.

Let me know what you think. I am about ready to freeze any further work to prevent me from dabbling to the point I start to screw things up (thanks Jeff).

Stu slouching version 3

Thursday, April 7, 2011 3 comments
In the time since I posted the alternate version of Stu slouching on couch, I have tried to read up more on line of action and also using the silhouette to check how well the pose reads. With that in mind I offer a new version that I would really appreciate feedback on. This is the pose I want to turn in for my assignment and would like to tighten things up as much as I can within reason.

One other note, after our Q&A this week I decided to revert back to only the default light for this shot, which is why it looks darker. I might play around with some techniques to change, but the shot and pose are what counts. (Click images for larger versions)

And for comparison here is the previous shot:

The laptop goes flying

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 4 comments
I started wondering how I might make Stu's pose on the couch into something more dynamic so I just through this together for fun and to keep practicing using Stu's rig and getting faster and more comfortable with how to get him into the pose I want (IK/FK).

"Cars 2" viral ad campaign has started

Check out this article on "Cars 2" first viral ad:

You can go directly to the ad on YouTube by going to

UPDATE: At 57 secs into the video the link that is revealed is where you are redirected to a cool video with new footage from "Cars 2."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Stu slouching alternate pose

Monday, April 4, 2011 9 comments
I took some of the feedback and altered Stu's pose slightly. His right hand is now closer to his side and is in a relaxed fist (which I noticed is how I do that when sitting). His legs have changed with the left leg more outstretched and the right at more of angle. Finally I lengthened his neck slightly.

Thanks for all the suggestions and feedback. Let me know how this one works.

PS I changed the color of the couch so I can quickly keep track of which version is which. So you can call this the blue version and the other the red version.

Side view of Stu slouching (by request)

A lot of you wanted to see the pose from a different angle. Here is a side view.

A comparison sketch

So this is probably more of an attempt to regain a shred of dignity after posting my fast sketches. The sketch I did here (ignore the random images around it) was done just last month. This is by no means a great sketch, but it is more of what I want my pose sketches to look like, but I am not sure if this kind of sketch would be good for our assignments. I guess the difference is that this sketch took my probably 10-15 mins. The other ones in the previous post where less than a minute.

I got some great critical feedback from my fellow AM students, and I would love to see more. I think part of my issue is I am not sure what drawings or styles are best for thumbnails or these pose sketches yet. I did get some good suggestions, including to sketch people exercising or children playing. I'll continue to practice sketching and as the week progresses I will continue to practice posing Stu as well. So I am not sure yet what my final pose and sketches will be that I turn in this week. But I do know that the feedback is great and this is good practice for me to get used to putting my stuff out there whether it is good or bad.

Sketches that go with the pose (WIP - first attempt at fast sketching)

My sketches are truly a work of art (for a 2 year old). These are my attempts at fast sketching. Got lots of room for improvement.

PS Sorry for the blurry image - I was at the coffee shop and just snapped a quick shot with my phone.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

My first attempt at a pose (WIP)

Sunday, April 3, 2011 7 comments
This is based on a couple of sketches I did this weekend. Let me know what you think.

Week One: My leap into a new world is off to a great start

In 15 minutes, week one will officially come to a close (12PM PST). Turning back to look at my life just one year ago, I was miserable. I had a "great" career some would say. I was one of three executives running a software company that was growing so fast that investors paid a lot of attention to us. And we had business pouring in faster than we could handle. But my life changed and here I am a student in 3D character animation. I made the right choice.

Week one was pretty fun, we didn't have any real assignments, but we had our first Q&A time with our mentor and I got to meet my other 15 classmates. AM gave the first class students a scavenger hunt, with some unknown prize, that turned out to be pretty fun. It really made sure you had explored all the site has to offer (which is a lot).

At this point I want to note that I will not be sharing a lot of details or any of the material covered in the lectures. This is part of our student agreement and a way to protect AM's intellectual property. I am completely onboard with that, so my postings will offer you glimpses into what I produced and my impressions of my own progress and experiences.

This week gave me an opportunity to explore some of the things we will be doing with Maya and I got to play with my first rigged character. That was harder than I expected, but after trying 2 or 3 poses over a couple of days, I feel a little more confident, but not quick. A lot of it has to do with knowing how to control something in IK and something in FK without being able to switch back and forth.

It is fun. And I am more excited to get into the next lesson in just a little while.

My next entry will cover the dilemma I faced after I was accepted about whether or not to take Maya Springboard (a semester long class on intro to Maya) or start in class 1. I chose to start in class 1.
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