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Pixar “Brave” new pictures before trailer release

Posted on November 14, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design | 1 Comment

A new “Brave” trailer should be hitting the theatres and our computer screens tomorrow. In the meantime, here is a series of shots from the movie.

Hit the following links for higher resolution pictures:

via Empire online
Via Bleeding cool

On a side note, I wasn’t too far off with my modeling and the hair on Lord Macintosh is looking really fun.

Related posts:
Low polygon modeling
Pixar “Brave” D23 concept art part 2
Pixar “Brave” D23 concept art part 1
“Brave” Concept art and teaser

Bobby Chiu new free painting tutorial

Posted on November 2, 2011 
Filed Under Character design, Drawings, Education, Painting | 2 Comments

Bobby Chiu is a very good artist, a very good businessman and still a very generous guy.

I hadn’t followed him for a year or two and while looking for Photoshop painting tutorials for a friend I found that “new” video he posted well … last year.

Unlike his old painting videos, in that 190 minutes long tutorial (9 parts video) he explains his whole painting process from the original scanned sketch to fully rendered. This is probably similar to the paid videos you can get when attending his online art school

Since this is a free video, I am also posting my notes, feel free to add comments to these.

Water creature fishing

1. Bring the scanned sketch onto a layer in multiply mode, Bobby work at 33% of the final res
2. Open a second window not the navigator in a corner at about 12% to get an overview
3. Create a backgrond layer in dark grey
4. Add a new layer inbetween sketch and background and work on the tonal values of the character, we establish the base tone.
5. We create a new layer for the cast shadows
6. We create a new layer for the Colors in Color mode

Part 4 Lets bring the lights in:
1. We have been roughing out until now but it is time to zoom in, to add more detail in normal mode
2. Upmost layer in Normal mode we add the light so the sketch disappears

Part 7 Adding a secondary rim light

Part 8 Make an overal Levels change to make the painting much lighter. I would actually do the exact opposite so the dark area would have more details rather than creating flat dark areas… strange workflow

Ah and while I was getting ready to post this….. I just received a notification that Bobby Chiu posted an other AWESOME video interview with Pixar story artist Alex Woo. Alex was Tom Gately’s substitute teacher at AnimC last week and the class had a really fun time with him. Alex is a gesture drawing teacher in San Francisco and his class is usually sold out month in advance, he also holds a very popular class at Bobby Chiu’s Schoolism

As a side note, using the 75qs0 promo code when registering on the Schoolism website, you should get a nice discount and it will also help to fund my Philz coffee addiction ;-)

Related posts:
Dice Tsutsumi interview
Bobby Chiu interview

Aardman “Pythagasaurus”

Posted on October 26, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design | Leave a Comment

Check out that great and probably new Aardman CG shortfilm, it is so funny! Great visuals, funny quirky dialogues and sounds (cavemen with zippers, who would have thought!). I hope they do more like that one.

“Outside a volcano has happened!”

This reminds me a bit of an old but great shorfilm by an other British studio “Studio AKA”, for the Natwest campaign.

I can’t stand Flash websites…. how am I supposed to embed anything?

Here is a link then… very sexy…:

Marc Craste’s “Mr Lucky”

Related posts:
Studio AKA keyword search

Spare parts cute designs

Posted on October 15, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, EA | Leave a Comment

My ex-coworker Ross Burt posted some of the character designs he created for Spare Parts.

The cute robots weren’t selected for the final game but I really loved them. We did model one of them and I got lucky to animate the green one with spray can nozzle head on the far right. Those who know me will rightaway understand why I fell in love with that little fellow ;-)

Spare Parts Heroes and Villains

Related posts:
BAFTA Young game designers
EA (category)

Pixar Brave, more concept art

Posted on August 30, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design | 3 Comments

Some more concept and visual development work for next year’s Pixar Brave has been shown to the public at Disney D23 last week.

I would have liked to see some Lord Macintosh designs just to finish the model I started a while back :-( The Wise woman is looking really cool.

Related post:
Brave concept art and teaser

Brave concept art and teaser

Posted on June 29, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Modeling | 9 Comments

Pixar just released a teaser for next years feature Brave (previously titled The Bear and the Bow) along with some character designs.

Those designs have definitely a Pixar feel to them as they immediately remind us of The Incredibles or Up. Some commentators compared Lord Macintosh to Muntz and the Wise Woman to a Carl Fredericksen in drag :-)

My favourite are actually Lord Macintosh and the Wise Woman as they are much more graphic than the other character. As a matter of fact I have decided to model those two in order to better understand the Pixar style and improve my modeling skills.

Updated version after the release of the movie

I modelled Lord Macintosh in Maya starting from a plane and using the edge extrusion technique in order to quickly create some edge loops then refined the base shape by cutting faces, merging and moving vertices around. Nothing too fancy. I have some experience with that type of modelling but I think I will try the Zbrush approach for the Wise Woman. My friend Richie just showed me the work of Tom Parker, an incredible Zbrush modeler that can knock out a piece in less than two hours.

Here is the timelapse, I only recorded the first few hours as the final “vertex cleaning/edge rerouting” pass is too tedious to watch. I hope you will find this interesting, the video is a sequence of automated screenshots hence the choppiness.


Related posts:
Lord Macintosh update
Modeling blog category

Smallriders is finally online

Posted on May 11, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Friends | 5 Comments

Few month ago I was telling you about a short film made by two of my Chico Chica Boumba uber talented coworkers.

Smallriders, Chloe Blocktaels and Joan Delmont’s short film is finally online and I am loving the final product.

The short was finished in Octobre and we have had to wait a loooong time but this was really well worth it. Joan is not interested in 3d anymore but I would love to see this as an animated feature or a TV series. The animation is really good and the character designs are very appealing. Ah I should also congratulate Benjamin Meyer who was in charge of the rendering or he will kick my butt ;-)

Really nice work guys, you can be really proud of it!

Related posts:
Smallriders, first teaser
Chico Chica Boumba pilot
Back from Angouleme

Kung Fu Panda 2, trailer 2

Posted on March 5, 2011 
Filed Under Animation, Character design, Modeling | 3 Comments


and something I just found. A top french modeler took one of Nico Marlet undone designs and modeled a nasty croco. Actually, judging by the colour scheme, it could be a good guy.

I have a fascination for cartoony crocos I have to say. We have a pretty cool one in the show I am working on (sorry can’t show) but his facial rig doesn’t allow for broad expressions. I will have to investigate how to rig cartoony beaks and long jaw one of those days. Ah for the story, Michel Guillemain is now at Dreamworks LA on … Kung Fu Panda 2 ;-)

ah some interesting links. Yes I have the bad feeling they only took the first story and put a 2 at the end, in the line of the Die Hard series, hopefully it is not just the overcoming of a new enemy.
on writing for Kung Fu Panda
Nicolas Marlet interview

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
“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

great Disney links

Posted on August 22, 2010 
Filed Under Animation, Character design | Leave a Comment

I was busy collecting some references for my shortfilm today and found some really good Disney links.

Animation Background. As the name implies, you will find a large collection of old classic Disney shorts/features and also more recent backgrounds. It is so cool to finally be able to take a close look at those beautiful watercolours.

The Art of Disney Animation
That one is mainly in french but you will find a lot of artwork from the house of the mouse, among them a larger collection of colour scripts from Toy Story 3 than was had been available in the past.

and 2 more links that have been around for a while but a lot of people don’t know about.

The Pixar blog

Upcoming Pixar

oops I was about to forget a great resources if you intend to do some research on old Disney short films
The encyclopedia of Disney Animation shorts. A great website if you want to track a Disney director or artist.

By the way, does anyone know who was the main character designer on Jungle Book, Sword in the stone, 101 dalmatians, Robin Hood and other features sharing the same angular look? With my colleague Karim we are not able to agree on this. I am aware Milt Kahl reluctantly became character designer but I am pretty sure he was only drawing in that very characteristicstyle. For some reason Ken Anderson keeps coming back to me but I can’t find any information about it. Any idea?

Related post:
Dice Tsutsumi on the Chiustream

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