Dear blog, it has been a while since we last spoke. I was intending to finish and upload the shots I did while attending AnimSquad but things went a bit crazy since last December ;-)
The last few month have been really busy with a secret project I can finally talk about.
I have been privileged to get involved with “Tofu Fury”, a launch game for Amazon’s Fire phone, a pretty cool mobile device that among many other features, can track the head of the user thanks to four additional cameras and simulate 3d in a manner that hasn’t been seen to that level of depth on a mobile device yet.
If you want to know more about the phone, The Verge got it all covered with several articles. The Mayday feature will be of a great help to my mom and dad who just don’t understand how to operate a smartphone.
I still can’t divulge too much about our game but it is coming very soon and it was awesome to have it demoed on stage by Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos himself when the device finally got announced two weeks ago. Funny enough, he called the game “Angry Tofu” because the idea delighted him and the title caught up with the press to the dismay of our producer and our studio owner.
Working on the game was a great challenge as on top of being the animator, I was also the Character TD and it was the first time I relied so much on Morph targets (blend shapes) in Unity (the game engine we used).
Since blend shapes are really new to the version of Unity we used and there were so many horror stories on the Unity forum, I tried everything I could to stay away from them and use bones and joints deformation instead but blend shapes were ultimately the best way to create the stylized deformations we were after.
As the main character is 100% animated with blend shapes, “Tofu Fury” is a testimony that blend shapes are perfectly reliable in Unity. I even went to the extent of using blend shapes for some of the bad guys and “non-playable-character’s” (NPC) skin deformation that are traditionally handled through joints and the result was visually more pleasing and less resource intensive, at least for the test we did we Martin, our programmer mostly involved with character animations.
Ok, I think that is all I can say for now so here is a video of Jeff Bezos demoing our game.
Ah, one more thing. Like most cool kids I just created an Instagram page for my Life drawings and sketches. If you are also an Instagram user, feel free to follow me at
What, wait! Three Ringling students made this?!?!! How the hell is this possible !
I just love it, especially the character design. Really good work guys! I want to see a sequel to this!
and here is a link to the artist’s blogs where you will find a great making of video:
While I am posting, here are some news for you. I am currently attending Nate Wragg’s “character design for production” class and it is awesome. I always manage to screw up and not respect the deadlines but the character I am working on is developing really nicely. I will be posting all my work when the class finishes but here is a little work in progress for you. We are not supposed to do any rendering but I felt I needed to shade this guy for this week’s turnaround.
I will probably share my Photoshop brushes at the end of the class. Here is that work in progress, the mouth is completely out of whack but I think it is a fun painting.
Francesco Giroldini, lighting tutorials
I would love to be paid to draw more and realized the best way to achieve that would be to put together a 2d portfolio and apply for 2d animation related jobs when they come up.
I am certainly not giving up on 3d animation don’t worry, I just live in a place where there are just as many 2d and 3d positions. Ultimately, 2d and 3d skills work hand in hand so cultivate one and you will get stronger in the other one.
I have been watching a lot of movies lately, hoping to find some great audio clips for my soon starting AnimSquad workshop.
Since I don’t like to feel I am wasting my time, I am also doodling in Paint Tool SAI, just to get better at it.
Drawing in SAI is a very relaxing activity, you should try, it will make you rediscover your Wacom tablet. In fact, I even stopped using my TabletPC and I don’t feel the need for a Cintiq.
Here is a drawing I did while watching Tombstone with my custom Tombow brushpen.
In order to broaden my range of skills and improve my employability I have started making comics. I think this could be a great training for storyboarding. My storyboarding teacher Steven MacLeod told us how much it helped him to clean up his boards so that should work for me too.
Here is the first story, well the first part. The first panels were drawn in Photoshop and the last one in PaintToolSAI. If you are a Twitter subscriber you have already seen some pictures I posted few weeks ago, that software is great.
Forgive the rudimentary colors and inking, I am really new to all of that and few month ago I couldn’t even draw with a wacom tablet. Things will get better with practice.
The second page will be uploaded tomorrow (I’d better finish it! ;-)). Enjoy
Today was a really hot day. 37C or 100 Farenheit… HOT!
Nothing like going to the café down the road and sketch some of the patrons by such temperature! I have also started using a new 0.1 Uni Pen. I was recommended a similar Staedler felt pen but they don’t do that brand at my local art store.
There is no messing around with such tool, you got to be have a clear idea where you are going as each line counts.
If you are wondering, we are in delayed pre-production at work which means no work … or income. It sucks so I’d better make the most of it and keep myself busy.
[update] Well well well… I was reading James Robertson’s blog this evening and said to myself. What about if I added some colours in Photoshop?! Learning watercolours is a big struggle for me and once you put the paints on the paper, it is too late for corrections.
Crazy I never thought about using digital paints! I was probably in the mindset that retouching sketches afterwards is cheating. At the end of the day, it is only about the final product isn’t it? And the learning obviously ;-)
And here is something I am working on if you are not following me on Vimeo
In week 06, Nate asked us to design an animal by focusing on its iconic features.
I went for my favourite animal, the elephant, and decided to give it a Ronald Searle treatment, just to show that I could draw in a different style. Character Design is not just about designing things in your own manner, in production you need to be able to adapt to other people’s style.
This little guy was done in Sketchbook pro with custom brushes on my poor man’s Cintiq aka Tablet PC (hence the small size). I tried real hard to obtain a nice line quality with my Intuos 3 but I feel it is not going to happen.
CGMA Character Design Week 05
This is part 03. I started to use a more classic Photoshop brush, I am still not sure which one looks best, not that I am fluent with any of them though ;-)
This is the second panel, you read it from left to right.
You saw it here first ! ;-)
Just so you don’t get mistaken, this is a short film I am working on. Well, I am only interested in telling stories those days so it might just stay in the state of boards.
This is the first time I use Photoshop for storyboarding so bare with me if it looks a bit rough. I will probably do a clean up version afterwards anyway. I have few more sheets coming in the next few days and you can expect the character design and the drawing style to change a bit as we go along. Let me know what you think!
This week, we were asked to design two characters interacting on a park bench. The designs were supposed to support a storytelling moment.
Here is what I came up with. I felt the need for a title as I wasn’t too sure people would understand what this is about…
CGMA Character Design Week 04
I think he said he regularly fills up one sketchbook per week., granted they are only 100 pages, but still…
Anonymous asked: How big are the sketchbooks that you fill weekly? and like what kind of paper?
I use either a “Strathmore Sketchbook (green book) 100 sheets, 9×12 inches” or “Strathmore Windpower Sketch (blue book) 70 sheets, 9×12 inches.” The sketchbooks contain recycled sketch paper (fine tooth surface) (
In term of hours, he said that’s about 4 to 7 hours a day ;-)
I never believed in talent so this only confirmed what I always thought. Success comes with dedication and drive. The more you want something, the more likely you are to reach it.
For the little story, the guy is only 17 years old, he already interned at Disney and is now heading for a summer internship at Pixar with my friend Pris and Richie…
Since I attended Animation Collaborative with a bunch of crazy artists (I will post about it as soon as I can), I have also started carrying a sketchbook and mechanical pencil in my hands at all time. As soon as I find myself waiting or idling, I open the sketchbook and start drawing. This is a great way to improve and also to remember situations and events.
Here are two of my latest sketches drawn while waiting for my friend Sebastien and an other one on the Ferry between France and England. I was really surprised to see that guy on the second drawing with a pen in his hand, I thought he was also sketching but he seemed to be composing some music. Nothing like pen and paper I am telling you! ;-)
This week we had to design the head of three librairians. I finally got around to create a Photoshop brush I am happy with. Not too clean and not too rough. I did a quick colour pass just for the sake of it. Nate showed us his painting technique this week so that is what I will be using in the future.
Till the very end of the week I wasn’t happy about the roughs I came up with. Only few days later I finally saw how I could make those designs more appealing and more cartoony. They still lack some acting Nate will probably say, let’s see.
Here is this week’s assignment. Nate asked us to create a line up with three pirates with contrasting shapes and proportions.
As usual I had a lot of fun exploring different shapes and silhouettes. Clean up was the most difficult part as usual. I had started with the Wacom tablet and fancy line work like Nate but I ended up reverting to pen and paper as I wasn’t getting anywhere.
If Photoshop wasn’t the industry standard for portfolios, I think I would stick to pen and paper. Mind you, I just saw some of Carter Goodrich’s sketches from Brave and he doesn’t seem to be bothered with modern design pipelines.
Anyway, here is what I did this week. Here is the final line up, a rough personality sketch and my research. The final cleanup was eventually done on the poor man’s Cintiq and Photoshop. Great progress compared to last week but still a long way to go before I can reach Nate’s great line work.
CGMA Character design week 01
This is my assignment for the CGMA Character Design workshop. We were to design a monster based on a basic circle, triangle or square shape. It is a similar exercise to what we did at the Animation Collaborative. Those three shapes are the basic foundations, the building blocks of strong character design.
Here is what I came up with. The line work and painting job are a bit poor for the moment. Nate will help us with those in the next few weeks so expect a new version soon. The bottom picture are explorations that I first did with pen and paper then cleaned up in Sketchbook pro.
Last week I went to the beach to capture some surfin action, a bit of BMX and attended an art fair where friends were exhibiting.
Sometimes you don’t even need to travel to find interesting models, I was very lucky to have some carpenters on the roof opposite my house exhibiting … their naked flesh ;-)
Alright I cheated a bit this week. The poses were supposed to be 1 minutes which I respected BUT I spent some additional time cleaning up the poses and fixing proportions. Without a very good understanding of anatomy and proportions, it is really really hard to draw a pose in less than a minute, especially when you have to turn the model around so the silhouette reads clearer. It must be possible with experience but I am not quite there yet. Give me few more weeks ;-)
I haven’t had much time for Schoolism this week so I only managed to do the video lecture assignment which involved drawing the same pose in two passes. In the first pass we were asked to only concentrate on the shape for 30 seconds then concentrate on the line work for 30 seconds again. Pretty hardcore I must say, this will require a lot of training!!!!
Here is my work for this week, click to zoom in.
Schoolism Gesture Drawing Week 01
Sorry for those waiting to hear from “Pick my Brain” but I am pretty busy with other things at the moment.
One of those is the fact that I enrolled to the Alex Woo and Louis Gonzales Schoolism Gesture drawing class.
It is only the first week so I am not too sure how the class works yet or even who my classsmates are (except my buddy Maciek)
Our first week we were asked to focus on the line of action,. For the sketches I couldn’t find a spot with people showing interesting line of action so I did some regular sketches instead. Here are my assignments: