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Mac Guff tour

Posted on September 25, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | 1 Comment

Ever been to Mac Guff? Me neither but here is something that might interest you! A visit of the studio that made Despicable Me (thanks Karim for the heads up)

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Sketching with Jason Seiler

Posted on September 25, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Drawings, Painting | Leave a Comment

The jury is still out there on the importance of being good at drawing for CG animation but to me, being able to quickly convey my ideas through rough sketches or a series of thumbnails is one more tool to a CG animator toolset therefore acquiring drawing skills should be one of our goals. It is also a great party trick! ;-)

I lived in West Africa for a while and there were many circumstances where I couldn’t pull out my camera but no one minded when I fired up my pens and pencils. My skills weren’t that amazing at that time but once I have a bit more experience with watercolours or maybe gouache, I am hoping to travel again for a month and fill up an entire sketchbook.

This brings me to great video I just found on Schoolism.com:
“Sketching with Jason Seiler”.

There are thousands of free sketching videos on Youtube but they are always too short or not exactly what I am looking for so $25 for looking over Jason’s shoulder and listening to his process is a bargain. It is also a great introduction to the great training Schoolism is offering.

The video is a bit less that 2 hours long and you see him sketching in the street and at his desk, demonstrating the importance of breaking down the subject into simpler forms and shapes, thumbnailling, crosshatching, digitally painting on a TabletPC, ballpoint sketching and applying watercolours.

On a minor note, each artist has their own style and I prefer cleaner lines to the more fiddly Jason uses when sketching, in the watercolours section he didn’t really explain his thought process and how he selected his colours however, I would still highly recommend watching those videos if you are trying to develop your sketching abilities.

You will probably need to register to access the website but don’t worry it is really quick.

Related posts:
My drawing category

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The Lost Thing

Posted on September 23, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | 3 Comments

Look what I just found on the “Lines and colors” website.

There is only a trailer at the moment but check out that that gorgeous looking short film with a very appealing painterly rendering. You will also find some nice pastel colorscript thumbnails. I thought it was a StudioAKA production at first but it is not.

http://www.thelostthing.com/

Related post:
Applying painterly concepts in a CG Film – Bolt

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ESMA

Posted on September 23, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | 5 Comments

For the past few years some new animation schools have emerged in France and competing with worldwide famous Gobelins and Supinfocom. Among them is the ESMA, a school based in the south of France.

Here is a shortfilm you probably missed last year: Oedipe. Ok it is a student film and the animation is not quite in par with Dreamworks or Pixar but the production values are very, very impressive and unlike other french student short films it is not just about wild chases, there is also a fair amount of acting so it is interesting they still felt the need to make fun of Gobelin’s 2009 Oscar nominated Oktapodi in one of the shot. It was quite unnecessary but well, this probably tells about the fierce competition between the different french schools.

http://www.oedipe-le-film.com/


Oedipe
Uploaded by Esma-Movie. – Watch feature films and entire TV shows.

You can find more shorts from last year at the following address:
http://productions.esma-montpellier.com/ and you might recognise Hugh, Tong and Exit but keep your eyes open for this years ESMA best short film http://www.mytho-logique.com/

Related post:
You want to be a rigger huh!

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“Design outside the box”

Posted on September 22, 2010 
Filed Under Game design, Life hack | 1 Comment

Probably the best 30 minutes of procrastination you will spend this week.

Very interesting talk by quirky Carnegie Mellon University Professor, Jesse Schell on the unexpected success of Facebook and other products. What about getting an Xbox achievement brushing your teeth or being on time at work? With comedic timing, Jesse Schell demonstrate the power of External Rewards.

and on the same topic, check the official EpicMix website and the related Kotaku article.
Level up and unlock achievements pins by skiing in Colorado

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Salesman Pete” is out

Posted on September 20, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | Leave a Comment

Related posts:
Salesman Pete
Salesman Pete trailer

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Last day at EA Brightlight

Posted on September 20, 2010 
Filed Under EA, Video Games | 1 Comment

Friday was my last day at EA Brightlight and I received some really really cool presents! One of them was a Moleskine sketchbook with an 8 Bit version of me on the cover, an original “Spare Parts” drawing by Ross our concept artist extraordinaire and nice words from my teammates inside. My time at EA had been really good.

After a great experience in Angouleme and 2minutes last year, I wasn’t too keen on coming back to the UK and the insane cost of housing but working on “Spare Parts” and moving to Guildford was one of the best things that could have happened to me. I have met some incredible artists and improved my skills tremendously.

Working on a downloadable game with such a small team allowed me to understand the intricacy of how a game gets done and this was a very challenging but enjoyable experience. Unlike my experience at Rare, I was entirely involved in the whole process and tackled in-game cycle, marketing videos and cutscenes (those look amazing by the way). I really want to make my own game now! ;-)

“Spare Parts” comes out this winter and you should definitely keep an eye on it, at around $10 it is one of those must buy games for the whole family to enjoy. Thanks you EA Brightlight and my team for such an awesome experience!

Related posts:
“Spare Parts” gameplay
“EA” blog category

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“Listen Philbin”

Posted on September 18, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Animation Mentor, Portfolio | Leave a Comment

While polishing the spine of Bishop in that shot I realised that I had completely lost the original acting idea and I would probably be better off restarting from scratch but I still think it is still worth posting it.

Yes the right forearm intersects with the body and the left hand is still really rough, I have never said it was finished! ;-)

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Spare Parts Gameplay

Posted on September 16, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, EA, Portfolio, Video Games | Leave a Comment

so we have a new gameplay trailer, a poster and a Facebook page!

ah I wish you could see the cutscenes…..

Related posts:
Spare parts” interview
Spare Parts E3 2010 teaser
WIP showreel

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Going deeper into Despicable Me

Posted on September 15, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Business of animation | Leave a Comment

AWN published a short but very interesting article on the partnership between Chris Meledandri and french animation studio Mac Guff and the technical and financial challenges of making an independent animated feature. Check this out

http://www.awn.com/articles/3d/going-deeper-despicable-me

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“Tangled” new official trailer

Posted on September 15, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | 1 Comment

Just to make things even more complicated, Disney just posted a new “Tangled” official trailer.

I am not a big fan of Princesses stories but the action packed sequences and gorgeous animation are making me very excited! The arcs are a bit overstylised in places but no one will notice.

Great character design, lighting, rendering, animation, that movie surely will be a hit and I can’t wait to see it!

Use Keepvid.com to download the trailer in .mp4 HD format

[edit]
Well here is an other cut….. soooo confusing…

Related post:
Applying painterly concepts in a CG film – Bolt

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Applying painterly concepts in a CG film – Bolt

Posted on September 13, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 1 Comment

Bolt painterly effect

I was doing some research on rigging and more specifically Pose Space Deformation (PSD) when I came across a bunch of really cool papers published on the Disney Animation website.

Among them was a very abstract paper I was looking for but also a much more appealing one for the artist and keen painter in me.
Applying painterly concepts in a CG Film – Bolt

In that paper, the authors discuss the shortfalls of traditional CG Renders and how they applied the traditional painting concepts of Edges and Massing .

I now understand why the various trailers and teasers from “Rapunzel/Tangled” look so appealing. If only I knew how to apply this in Maya….

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Josh Burton’s Morphy rig

Posted on September 12, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 2 Comments

Animation Mentor students got a very sweet surprise this summer with the release of Bishop 2.0 but if you are not part of those privileged animators don’t despair! Squirrely Rig’s creator, Josh Burton, is working on a very very promising character, Morphy, Josh Burton’s morpheus rig.

If you have never heard about it, let me embed some very impressive videos that will certainly make your mouth salivate!


This is seriously impressive I must say and it is amazing how much the rigs keeps its appeal despite the crazy amount of transformation.

I did a very quick test as a tribute to my friends who just wrapped Megamind and I am very pleased with what I was able to achieve in only few minutes.

Great job Josh!


Related post:

Animation Mentor 2010 showcase

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World orient Head and shoulders

Posted on September 12, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 3 Comments

Nope, that’s not an advert for cosmetics, I just wanted to draw people to two great rig features I can’t live without nowadays: World orient Head and shoulders.

To tell you everything, I also use a complete world orient spine but I will post about this an other time.

In the past I didn’t mind spending countless hours redoing my animation while in polish or even counter-animating things but after few years of production experience, I have adopted some new workflows that are necessary in that type of environments.

Being able to layer finer levels of polish on every part of the body (spine included) at a very late stage, without destroying a head or arm motion is such a helper.

Word orient attributes (Align on the abAutorig) have now become my best friends and if you still don’t know what they are, let me show you an example using Norman

World orient with Norman

The good thing about that feature is that the curves always make sense in my graph editor. Everything is completely independent from any hierarchy.


With Josh Burton’s Morpheus rig, you would need to set the m_neck_IK__anim parent attribute to m_neck_FK_Cntrl and Follow to all_anim

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Megamind third trailer

Posted on September 11, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | Leave a Comment

so Metroman wasn’t dead? ohhhhh, Dreamworks is playing with us!!! ;-)

The new Megamind trailer just came out and looking really sweet!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOGoyNEIJQw

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Michael the Turtle

Posted on September 6, 2010 
Filed Under Animation | 2 Comments

Before I got into the industry, I was religiously attending every single Autodesk roadshow and in 2006, got to see “Michael the Turtle”, a highly paced music video by french commercial studio “Chez Eddy”, featuring a wacky cartoony turtle, animated in a very Warner brother kind of way, few years before Chicken Little and Madagascar hit the cinemas.

I had been trying to find that video for a long time and eventually found it today on the ….. on the “Chez Eddy” website ;-)

The animation might be a bit too much for some but I still love the character and set design, lighting, compositing and the broad animation style. Here it is!

Related post:
Kaelou

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abAutorig part I Pyro tutorial

Posted on September 5, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Education | 13 Comments

If some of you are still struggling to use Supercrumbly’s awesome abAutorig auto-rigging script, or have no clue on how to rig/skin, here is something for you!

The video is real time and has now, me, commenting on the different steps involved. If you double click on the video this will sent you to Vimeo where you can save the Quicktime file in HD!

Let me know what you think!






Related post:
abAutorig Part II and III, Pyro tutorial

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Animation Mentor 2010 showcase

Posted on September 1, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Animation Mentor, Friends | Leave a Comment

Well it’s out! Some really really nice work from my fellow graduates and ex coworkers.

http://www.animationmentor.com/showcase2010/

Some of them have already landed top animation jobs and others will very soon.

And while we are at it, let me introduce you Bishop 2.0, the latest version of my favourite Animation Mentor rig. I haven’t had a chance to test it yet but this looks very promising and I have to mention that my friend the awesome Keith Ribbons helped out with the facial rigging.

Related post:
Dan Carey “Shower Power” short film

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