Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Polished Action Shots

As I finish off these last action shots I'm starting to define the finalized look at the climax of the action. Here are some shots in sequence to give you an idea of what the visual evolution has led to.

These are shots 102-104.

The first thing I'll point out is the subtle color palette transition. This plays out entirely through the climax moving transitioning from grayscale to this richer color palette. Along with the transition to color, the background tones move through a more yellow anxiety-filled hue when he gets swatted by the giant. This subtle color choice supports the tone of panic and as he takes on the offensive against the giant the background shifts to red. Red is very representational of the hero throughout the film so it only made sense to use it to this effect in the climax.

Another basic addition to the colors is the use of cel-shading to give better depth.

On the FX front the first thing I did was bring the hero animation into After Effects and placed a directional blur to simulate the motion blur you would see on film and video.

For the sonic blasts I continued work with the idea of ring waves and slight morphs as they pass over visual features. It's not as extensive an effect I was hoping for with this project but I believe it conveys what is necessary and perhaps any other visuals might have detracted from the action.

There's also quite a few little touches like using red-toned dark color for the line work on the hero, gradient fill on the giant, camera shake, etc. These little additions give the film a rich environment and really nice sheen to the overall presentation.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Set Backs and Steps Forward: The Score

As I mentioned before, our sound designer, Alan, has been working on sound design over the holiday week to try and knock out all the audio. On Sunday he sent me the mix and it was a rather different direction than what I was thinking.

And that's the key word: thinking.

Alan has been working more off than on with the sound for 1.5-2 years. We have talked on several occasions but it has been some time since we really laid it all out. I spoke with him the Friday before he went to work on it and though I offered I really should have insisted on a meeting going over the whole film again to clarify exactly what I wanted. In the end it doesn't matter what you're thinking as an artist but what you communicate and this includes how you communicate with other collaborators.

So, I made a lot of notes and sent him an email the next day outlining the issues I had with the design. I did this fully knowing that he was getting busier and busier on projects as well as a huge relocation. I laid it out as carefully as I could but I knew what his response would probably have to be.

He told me I would need to find someone else to work on the project.

I completely understand his position and it just is what it is. I strung him along far too much in this lengthy process and he has been fantastic throughout.

At this point my chest feels heavy and I feel the stress of panic begin to sink in. This is normal for most artists and while I've gotten very good at keeping calm in such situations it is still there even as I type. Panic helps nothing. What helps is figuring out how to moving forward.

So, what does this mean?

Alan gave me the logic files as well as FCPXML and AFF exports of the project. I also requested OMF which would be the easiest for me to work with but Logic no longer supports exporting OMF files. Moving forward I will be finishing the score utilizing a great deal of the work Alan has already put into it.

PROBLEM: I am having major difficulty working with the files as I am on PC. I cannot open the logic files as that program is made by Apple. The FCPXML files are having difficulty importing into Adobe Premiere...for some reason even though it should be able to. And AAF is the most universal audio project format that is not supported by anything as it would seem. Again, OMF would be perfect.

So, I'm gonna continue trying various avenues to work with the files Alan has given me. Mostly I'm trying to convert to OMF in any way I can. The worst case scenario is going back to him and asking if he can bounce each individual project track and send them which may be a lengthy and tedious task.

I really hope laying out these challenges and my approaches to rectify the situation is helpful to other artist and filmmakers. These are the SAME ISSUES that will arise in every project. You just have to take everything one step at a time.

I'm still grinding through the last of the animation throughout this crisis so there will be updates on
that front soon.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Upgrades, Updates, and Credits!


Last week I FINALLY upgraded my computer situation moving from my 5 year old HP Z200 Workstation to a NEWly refurbished HP Z230!

On top of the obvious advantages in the long run it means I've been in computer purgatory trying to get my working suite back up and running.

In other news I talked to Alan and he's hell bent on getting this audio DONE in the next week or so. So, hopefully we'll have some audio-related posts and I can breakdown the thought process for the film score and sound design.

Cranking up the progress on audio made me realize I needed to get the credits done so that we can figure out what that will look and sound like at the end of the picture. Here's the rough cut of the credits and, while it took a real effort to cut them down to a minute, I'm way too happy about:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shots 83-84 PART 1

I've been working on this shot the past few days and thought I'd run you through my process. At this point the shot(s) are not completed so this'll be a TWO PART!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Working in Magnificent TECHNICOLOR!

I've been working more and more on the climax shots of the film and navigating how color is worked into the fight sequence. When our hero is knocked out of the cathedral via the force of his bass the aesthetic shifts from rough/pencil animation to line art.

I like that this shifts him from a climactic surge of power and confidence with many rough strokes to simplified and somewhat hollow line work. This helps to play up his vulnerability as he's tossed around by the giant. When he formulates a plan and fights back I begin working in color and shading.

Up until this point very minimal color is used with particular attention to red. So I use a good deal of red in our character's color palette as well as the overall color script. I'm not as well versed in color theory as I'd like but I am trying to use it to help convey tone and particularly the shift of tone in the fight sequence.

Going back to my mood boards...

I'm particularly fond of the climax in the animated show FLCL. I like the use of intense reds, oranges, and yellows so I bringing that out a good deal. I'm also using somewhat adverse colors to fill out the giant and make him stand out as the antagonist.

This is the rough climax color script I'm working from:

I was initially gonna take these thumbnails and use the exact color in toonboom but I've found that I really gotta work with the color more as I animate to get the most out of the color choices. It doesn't help that the palette changes from shot to shot but I think the overall effect will be worth it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Animation Reel!

Most of what has changed are the storyboard and rough animation sections. Backgrounds and some animation have been added to the later parts but my main goal this go-around was to work on the prior sections and make them as visually different as possible to help illustrate the progression.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Have a Gif(t)

Thought I'd give you a look of the interior reveal with screen FX going. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What I'm Working on Right Now

So, updates haven't been quite as forth coming as they normally are and the reason is...complicated.

Mostly, I'm working on parts of the film that you've seen.

I brainstormed to figure out a solution to the aesthetic shift problem. My thesis committee pointed out that they didn't think it quite worked but that the shifts really shouldn't be eased from one aesthetic to the next. They wanted more blunt transitions. Some of the proposed changes were interesting like adding notes onto the storyboards, having the thumbnails move from one frame to the next with a little transition like taking a camera and literally moving it really quick to the next frame. The idea was also thrown around to have the camera stray from the animation in the roughs and show part of the computer interface. I tried a bunch of stuff and you can see some of it on this blog but I've come to one BIG conclusion:


Basically, the film needs laws with which to govern the look. To this extent, the film shows only what would be shown on-screen while making the film. This means rough timing of thumbnails, animatic, rough animation, clean-up animation, color animation, and full rendered animation. The film will not show the computer interface, character design sheets, movement that doesn't belong in the sequence, etc. Including this kind of tertiary material does not show the world or character evolving but may actually detract from it.

Somewhere in production I lost site of this. It happens. But I really feel the look is back on track to serving the narrative as it should and not just being different for the sake of being different.

I just finished redrawing a fair portion of the storyboards for that aesthetic sequence. I'm including basic shades and slightly more rendered drawings. This will cause a more noticeable shift from the thumbnails.

I'm also adding notes to the rough animation showing the keys, breakdowns, holds, etc. This technique is commonly used in roughs to keep track of elements when timing out and drawing in-betweens. With paper animation you'd see more detailed notes labeling the frame numbers and layer. This isn't the norm with digital animation because you've got a timeline and layer structure in front of you in the interface.

So yeah!

I'm working but not much to show you quite yet. BUT STAY TUNED cause I'm making a new animation reel with these changes and it'll be up soon!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Interior Master Environment FINISHED!

I cannot express how much of the look of this film is because of the work of Diego Abad. After two other interior environments he's gotten the look DOWN. I set up the perspective/blocking and he just WENT TO WORK. He pretty much hit it out of the park with just a little direction. Here's the few progress shots in sequence.

Stills below:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Back with a Bang!

I'm back from a much needed sabbatical and glued to my Cintiq screen. Thought I'd start off with a bang and do some cool explosions. Threw in some color gradients to see how it looks. More updates to come!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Thesis Paper

Here is a copy of the entire thesis paper I submitted for my MFA.

Self-Reflexivity in the "Wacky Delly" Episode of Rocko's Modern Life


This thesis uses Frank Burke's postmodern analysis of Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 as a theoretical
framework to deconstruct the self-reflexivity in the "Wacky Delly" episode of Rocko's Modern
Life. Through this analysis within the context of the show's creator, Joe Murray, "Wacky Delly"
eludes to tragic events which haunted Murray's work and contributed to his eventual diluted
involvement with the show. Studying this deeper level of self-reflexivity, I have set out in my
film, Heard, to reflect my own thoughts creative process and share the experience of creation
with my audience.

I'm going to be on a well-deserved vacation through Tuesday and then I'm right back working on this film!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Birthday! MFA! Animation Reel!!!

So, today is MY BIRTHDAY and it's hard to believe this 22 year old (not my real age) was blessed upon this world a mere 13 years ago (lost all concept of time).

Not only this but after an EXHAUSTING submission process my thesis was APPROVED meaning I have now officially earned my MFA in ANIMATION from SAVANNAH COLLEGE OF ART AND DESIGN - ATLANTA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, as a thank you to all my followers (hi ted!) here is the current animation reel for HEARD! There's still a great deal to do and one of the major critiques is that the aesthetic evolution just isn't working so I'm gonna be going back into the roughs but as far as a narrative it's pretty well all there. So, I will be finishing the animation with color and shading and then going back to the beginning to make sure the aesthetic play out as they should. Sorta finishing the end and working back to the beginning. Anyway I will be posting this on the story reel page as well so enjoy:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Shots, Shots, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS!

I've been working tirelessly to get on clean-up and thought I'd share one big bundle of the linework.

Here Ya Go:

(more after the jump)

Update A-Coming

I haven't slept since Friday morning.

There will be a MASSIVE post later today.

Get ready for an animation overload!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Updates and Screen Effects

I've been rather entrenched in editing a story reel with animation and some rough FX. I wish I had more I could show you but a lot of stuff in simply in the middle of the process with nothing really so show. I'm nearing the end of my MFA program and though it looks like the film will not be as complete as I would hope, I know we're on track with the overall film. Actually, one of my greatest stresses is having to continually postpone updating the reel for my Sound Guru to put his talents to use. He's already done a fair bit but there's little point in creating the whole sound design until all timing is finalized.

Given all this, I spent some time working on the screen FX with the new design by Elizabeth Brockman. It took a fair bit of compositing in After Effects but I think the overall result is really cool. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

What I'm Currently Wrapped Up In

So, these past few days I've been killing myself to get this paper edited and into 2nd Draft Mode. Just thought I'd give you a taste of my sleepless nights:

Around 25 pages plus citation, table of contents, etc.

FINALLY Clean-up Animation

I'm getting around to finally diving into linework and I decided to start with two of the more difficult and one of the easiest shots. I went back and forth on the line weight a bit but I think I'm at a comfortable spot with it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Storyboard Test

I've decided to divide the storyboard section of the film into two sections: Storyboards and Animatic. The animatic section is all digital and looks pretty much like it would as a animatic shown to directors, producers, etc. The storyboard section looks like digital storyboards, as they are created digitally, that have been printed out and shown to directors, producers, etc.

So, I did this test where I took the storyboards from ToonBoom Storyboard Pro where I draw all my boards and printed them out. I then wrote the notes I've gotten about the boards and changes on the printed out storyboard sheets. There's actually things I didn't change in the boards but wrote the notes down as what needed to change. I then scanned the pages back in and comp'd them back together using the animatic as a guide. I originally started sticking in the 1 frame transitions as I did in the thumbnail board test but given the faster edits in sections of the storyboards it just made everything too jarring visually to follow.

Overall I like the feel of it and I think within the context of the film it will really bridge the gap between the rough, hand drawn feel of the thumbnails and the more vector-digital animatic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Thumbnail Flip/Light Test

This is a brief test I did for the thumbnails adding a frame of transition between each drawing like panning the camera quickly to the next. I also added some slight light variation to give it a pseudo-stop-motion feel. Don't know if I like the transitions or not because it does add a bit of a strobing affect and I'm worried it will take away from the visuals.

No Twitch Tuesday

Looks like not too many people are getting much out of the live-stream sessions so they're on hiatus for a while. Should I work on something cool I wanna show you I may do another one but for the most part I'd rather put the time into showing you production you want to see. Be sure to help let me know what you wanna see via the survey on the side bar!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Late Post Today

So, I've been pushing myself to 12-hour days working on the paper and putting together this story reel. Right now I'm just getting through the conclusion on page 16 of the 1st draft so that will be around 20 pages with bibliography. It was tough laying down the basics of Postmodern theory but once I got to actually applying it the pages just came and went.

In the Story Reel department it has been a bit challenging. working with animation that relies so much on the sound syncing up has its definite drawbacks and dropped frames are becoming an issue but I'm slowly working through it and the meat of it all is there.

I had a Skype meeting with my thesis committee chair, Matt Maloney, and he gave me a really helpful set of notes. It was rather positive but positive or negative--he gave me critique that I can work with and play off which is far more important. He said that the final sequence for the climax really needs to slow down by around 30%. He also had some reeeaallly great feedback on making the thumbnails, storyboards, and rough animation really hit on mark and reflect that they represent these parts of the process within the film.

That said, I'm gonna be doing some tests this week-tossing around ideas to make these sequences really pop. Some of them will work and I expect some of them will not. Either way, I will be throwing them up this week and give you guys a look at the experimenting I get to do on this film. If something works then I'll explain why and if it doesn't then equally so. This is actually one of the more fun parts of this particular film because it's got just the right amount of experimentation while still adhering to a more structured narrative.

One truly fantastic bit of news to come out of this meeting was that I don't have to have an absolutely 100% completed film by August 27th. I still have to produce a mostly completed film but the fact that there's wiggle room is a HUGE LOAD OF STRESS OFF ME! I am still planning to work very hard right up until that deadline to get the bulk of this film done but the fact that my entire degree does not hinge on everything being pitch perfect makes my life much less stressful.

After this meeting I collapsed. It was nice. Thus the late post.

So, look for some interesting visual tests this week and thanks for sticking with me through this!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Twitch Tuesday is Back WITH A VENGENCE!

I will be live-stream animating once again Tuesday, July 28th 10pm EST on my channel HERE!


You can just watch below:

Watch live video from davidhfilms on www.twitch.tv

I will be demonstrating my ENTIRE PRODUCTION PIPELINE including the integration of 3d elements within the clean-up animation in ToonBoom Harmony.

I'll chat and field any questions you may have about my animation or the pipeline or life and the wondrous mysteries of the universe...

So come hang out and watch me do a lot of drawing!


The rough animation stage of the process is completed. There's still a slight bit to tweak here and there including the bulk of the FX animation but I'm calling it!

I'm currently piecing together a rough animation reel and while I see where a few shots need to be slightly re-timed to fit the rhythm of the my edits from the animatic I am hugely relieved to see that the overall cuts and timing works. This is a massive burden off my shoulders--the knowledge I don't have to go back in and figure out how to make everything work differently.

It's coming together however painfully slowly for my taste. FX animation is still stalled and more up in the air than I feel comfortable with but we're working on that.

Here's the last two major shots which I actually had to take out a shot in between and slow these shots down for it to be readable so I'm hoping the change helps.

Things are far from over with this film, in fact it's just ramping up and I wanna thank you all for sticking with us. Sharing the process of making an animated film is a big part of this project and that wouldn't be possible without people to share it with so again THANK YOU!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Getting Through Animation Roughs

It's been a rather lengthy and somewhat arduous journey making our way through the rough animation stage of production. Perhaps one of the more stressful parts of the process. I believe what makes roughs such a feat is essentially that you are creating animation where none had been before. Even in a rough form, it takes a good deal of thought and focus to plan out and execution the movements of lines on the screen. Essentially breathing life into what was lifeless.

Making it through this stage is crucial. Once the animation is drawn out and timed it only becomes a matter of tracing on top of the lines and making everything presentable. I'm very nearly done with rough animation. Working on the very last shot which is both the second to last shot in the film and the most challenging bit of animation in the entire film. It involves a floating camera, 360 degree spin and the hero jumping off the side of the giant to deal his final blow. I've planned out the movement and started the animation in one of the past live-stream sessions:

Once I've tackled the animation in this shot I'm going to construct an updated story reel. This task makes me more nervous than I thought it would. I worry that all the shots, once animated, won't work together rhythmically as the animatic does. This vital step will allow me and you to see the film as it has never been before--with animated characters. It is the closest I've come to bringing my vision to fruition. I'm not trying to wax philosophical or nostalgic, it's simply a lot of stuff happening so fast and yet not fast enough. Oh well, excuse my rambling XD

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Slow-motion is HARD!

I've been animating the shot where we first get to see the destructive effects of our hero's sonic blast and this guy right here full of smarts decided that it needed to be in slow-motion without thinking through just how long a process that is for hand-drawn animation.


It wasn't that bad. Didn't take me nearly as long as other shots that aren't nearly as cool to look at or fun to work on. This film has quickly become a laundry list of shots that would be really cool to TRY and now it's time to deliver. BUT IT LOOKS REALLY COOL AT LEAST:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Shot 80 - Deceptively Challenging

Thought I could just bust this out - NOPE. Good deal of overlapping and secondary animation. Not the best roughs but I can't look at it anymore and it looks good enough to clean up later. Enjoy!

Oh, added bonus here's the shot that comes right after:

Collaborating Musicians With New Album Demo

As you may have noticed, music plays a slight role in this film

Every so slight.

So, when we went to record the climax music I turned to my friend Jacob Hunt and his drummer Brett Clanton to help me figure out/fill out the sound. These fine musicians are members of the band playing that there rock'n'roll muzac called Tracer Metula and they've got a demo off the new album they've been working on!

So, feast your listening holes on these juicy tunes below or HERE

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Won't be live-stream animating tonight BUT NEXT WEEK I will be streaming my entire process from roughs through linework and demonstrating my incorporation of the 3D bass. SO, STAY TUNED!!!

Friday, July 17, 2015


I just had to post this because I can't stop laughing when he whips that bass around XD

Monday, July 13, 2015

Shot 91

This shot was far more complicated than I realized so I'm just glad to have made it through. Enjoy!


Last week wasn't bad (glowing review) SO WE'RE DOING IT AGAIN!!!

I'm gonna be live-streaming my animation TUESDAY @ 10PM!


I'm also going to be talking about the upcoming Patreon and what kind of rewards you are interested in.



I've also embedded the stream below....but you should really stop by the site and chat a bit!

Watch live video from davidhfilms on www.twitch.tv

Current Thoughts

I don't really write too many of these more personal updates but it felt like at this point in production it would be helpful to those following the process.

It is at this part of the process that I have a weird mix of emotions. Part of me is absolutely ecstatic to see work visible moving along. I'm getting through the animation one shot at a time as well as receiving the finished roughs from various animators on the team. I am literally seeing these drawings come to life and breathing said life into more drawings.

The closest I can come to an analogous feeling to this is how I feel as a director on-set. When I see other artists: cameramen, actors, etc, bringing my story and characters to life on film the only word that can properly describe my emotion is "giddy."

I share that elation at seeing the progress of this film after years of work and fine-tuning. I hope you're feeling at least a fraction of that "giddiness" in following this blog and seeing the progress alongside myself.

With this great feeling come a large helping of anxiety.

I worry.

I worry about everything being completed by the concrete August 27th deadline for my MFA more than anything. I am not as far along as I would like which should come as to no surprise as this is simply the way of things with animation. Animation ALWAYS takes longer than expected. No matter the planning I have come to realize this as fact. The key is planning for it to take longer. In many respects that's exactly what the summer months have been. Even within that contingency I'm later than I'd like.

I worry about other things as well like the reception of the film upon completion. That I'm not generating enough interest in the process. That the film does not resonate with others the way I want. That it will not affect people the way I want. It's a lot to bare for one guy and an animated short film but I can handle the weight.


That's where I'm at.

Thank you all for taking this journey with me weather you're new to the site or have been following since the very beginning. I hope this gave you even further insight into the workings of an animated production. If anything else it helps me catalog how I feel right now so that I may one day look back upon it. I promise I won't do too many of this serious an update!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

All About That Bass

We've been working hard to get in all the rough animation to start cleanup around mid-July. Which means we're putting out resident 3D animator, Djamila Jean-Charles, to good use. She has been tasked with importing in out 3D bass model and animating the model to fit with the rough animation already in place. I go back in a tweak a few things but she does the bulk of the leg-work bringing this bass to life.

It's somewhat new territory bringing this 3D prop into the pipeline and adding a bit of an extra step to the process but I really can't imagine trying to animate that bass any other way. Here's a couple of the most recent shots with the bass added:

^^^This is actually a newer shot just finished by Jordan Eugene.^^^

These other shots I've shown before but it really adds something when you have the bass. Now we will take the rough animation with the model animation and trace clean lines on top of both for the final effect.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Okay. So, some of you may have seen my past live-animation streaming sessions on YouTube but I'd like to announce that we are MOVING TO TWITCH.TV!


Twitch is a live-streaming platform/website mostly based around gaming with a creative community as well.


I will be live-streaming animating on my very own Twitch channel HERE with our first session taking place THIS TUESDAY(that's tomorrow...July 7th) @ 10pm and we will probably go for 2 hours or so.

Gonna try and make this a weekly thing and see how it goes.



I've also embedded the stream below....but you should really stop by the site and chat a bit!

Watch live video from davidhfilms on www.twitch.tv

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Rough Shot Roughs

Just hurdled a couple of the more difficult shots in roughs.

Click below for videos

Monday, June 22, 2015


Had a blast.

Talked to awesome people.

Got to see awesome friends from all over.

Spread the word on Heard.

Drank adult beverages.

Good times.

This Environment Looks AWESOME!

I have fantastic environment/concept artists.

I can never say that enough.

This is an environment from Diego Abad and I just wanted to show you what a fantastic job he did!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ambient Sound

I'd like to take a moment to draw your attention to the sound design of the film. We don't get to post as much about the sound but as you can probably tell from the rest of the film, it's an important part of what we're doing.

One particular part is the ambient sound that plays under the film at all time shaping the tone of scenes. Our fantastic sound guru, Alan Barnes, has a great talent for stitching together sounds from all avenue of creation to paint a picturesque sound scape.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015



It's been about a year since I first uploaded an intro video into the banner for this site as a way of introducing you fine people to the project. A lot of fine work, has been accomplished in that time and the blog has evolved quite a bit so I decided the intro video needed a face lift and a lot less wooden acting by me.

I wanted this new video to fully showcase what is featured on the blog: the film! That being the case, this new video introduction shows a lot of what has been posted over the past year and features a good sampling of what can be found on this blog.

I hope you enjoy and get a sense of not only what is currently posted but all the cool stuff we will be posting in the future!

Rough Shot 75

Thought I'd share progress on one of the more challenging pieces of animation in the film where our hero miraculously lands a one-handed seated back hand-spring while holding a bass guitar, narrowly avoiding the giant's crushing foot.


Just another day working on Heard.

Unused Idea

So, thought it'd be interesting to show you one of the ideas I concepted out but just didn't work for the film.

This idea was particularly meant as an addition to the whispering voices / anxiety attack in the first act. I thought it might be good to back-up the themes with cords wrapping around and restraining the hero in his own negativity. Very BDSM!

These are just some rough concepts to illustrate the idea but they never got past this initial phase. I see value in the idea but it just doesn't work so we move on. C'est la vie.

Monday, June 15, 2015

I will be at HEROESCON this weekend!

You can find me HERE:

Generally walking around, talking to artists, and handing out the free promo mini-prints:

So, if you see me feel free to flag me down!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Poll Addition (revised)

So, I initially put this in a post but thought it was better suited for the sidebar.

Quick little Poll about what you guys wanna see on this blog moving forward. Thought I'd gauge your response and make sure I'm giving you the proper insight into the making of this film. Feel free to choose more than one answer.

And again, the poll is now on the sidebar and will keep going for as long as it is helpful. Go at it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

FX Tests

So, we've been working with out Lead Effects Animator, Colton Richardson (Twitch), to figure out the right look for effects in Heard. One particular effect somewhat crucial to the look of the film is the sonic bass blast. We started with some tests.

These first two were roughs on a few ideas to get feedback.

I gave some feedback and roughed out an idea for him to play off of.

After some time he came up with this new rough test.

I'm really loving how the effect is shaping out and though Twitch is working on cleaning up the test I just couldn't wait to show you how the effects are coming!

Thursday, May 21, 2015


So, having been a bit vacant from the blog I decided to hold another live-stream animation session Friday 5-21-15 (tomorrow) from 4-6pm @ HERE.

Come on out and see me attempt to draw mid-air tumbling anatomy and you can ask questions in the comments and I will answer and whatnot.

ALSO, last live-stream I did had trouble clearing music SO I've created a Pandora station HERE so you can play some tunes in the background of my animation rambling.

Also also, feel free to go ahead and throw questions at my Twitter which is @davidhfilms.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Big Move.


Many of you were probably not aware I just made a move...

...across the country...

...in the middle of production...


Yes, I JUST packed up my trusty U-haul and hightailed it from Atlanta, Georgia to NYC!!!

I am now in New York though Georgia will always be on my mind...as will most of my production crew! Luckily we have kept production rolling through the miraculous series of tubes!!!

Animation is a great medium for collaborating with many artists remotely and is actually how I've worked most of my jobs in the industry so this doesn't really affect much.

More updates will be coming to the site including some bits of sound and behind the scenes from our recording session. We will also be updating the intro video with something a little less wooden on my part.

In the meantime I am still unpacking and getting used to my new studio space so enjoy this photo of my krag of boxes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Story Reel!

New Reel:

Integrating more and more finished work as we go along and things are just ramping up!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Some Thoughts on Whispers

So, as we go through recording all the sound for the master score of the film I'm also recording stuff from the scratch track (or rough sound). This includes the barrage of negative inner thoughts whispered into our hero's head near the beginning of the film. When I initially sat down to script out what I'd be saying I had to thing hard about the most clear statements that cut straight to my own insecurities as an artist. At the same time I wanted what I was saying to hit a broad audience of artists and their fears. Though I'm sure you can't make out all of them in the film I'd like to share the list with you:

-You're never gonna be good enough

-All your work is derivative

-You're better off staying put

-You'll never achieve anything

-They're all so much better than you

-You're too far behind

-You'll never be as good as them

-Everything you do is unoriginal

-You don't have the connections to make it

-You gotta have money

-You're weak

-Don't even try

-You're not talented

-You're not worth it

-They'll never notice you

-You don't have a voice-you never will

-You're not strong enough

-You're not creative enough

-Stay where it's comfortable

-Stay where it's secure

-Don't take risks-they will never pay off

-Just go back

These aren't even all the things I could think of but 22 is more than enough for the sequence.

I wanted to share the same sentiments I've had and have seen loads of other artists say to themselves. This negativity is rampant in what we do as artists and I thought it was very important to include in the film as the road block for our hero. I actually originally conceived of these two shadow characters that represented and spout this negativity at key parts of the film but had to balance and focus the plot a bit so they got left on the cutting room floor. Though those characters didn't make it I really didn't want to downplay this factor in the artists' journey.

Artists today are exposed SO MUCH ART on the internet and it can be REALLY EASY to get discouraged. Top that with the anxieties a lot of artists already feel and the weight can be crippling. I have seen it. A lot.

That's why I feel it's a very important aspect to show in the film.

I hope that this film is able to communicate how the hero's resolve and determination help him through those anxieties. I reeeaaalllly hope this encourages artists of any medium to plow through that roadblock.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Look At Some Pretty Moving Pictures!

Thought it was about time for a good dump of the shots I've been rough animating on!

I've also included previously posted shots that I went back on. Mainly I've been using the pencil tool with some texture for the roughs as many animators do to simulate that rough feel for when they go back and do clean-up animation. This all of course harkens back to good ol' pencil an' paper!

I also did some semi-opaque shades to help differentiate the character from the environment. Normally this wouldn't be so with rough animation but I believe that it's a narrative choice for the sake of better readability and an overall better film.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Cathedral Time!

As a director I love gathering all kinds of inspiration from multiple places so when I was coming up with the cathedral idea I scoured the internet for resources.

Luckily, I took a little time during my most recent NYC trip to visit a couple cathedrals. My favortie for inspiration turning out to be St. John of the Divine and I highly suggest visiting this massive bohiemoth.

Though I took a lot of pictures for reference inside the cathedral I new I would have to really sell to my designers how huge the interior is which is when I discovered this VIRTUAL ONLINE TOUR!

It's from there I set about laying out the interior to define the scale for my concept artists to work with. I came up with this basic layout and blocking:

And in case you were counting--that's over 500 desks and workers!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Got some great concept work on the cathedral interior by Diego Abad.

First bit of concept
aaaannnd my notes

second bit of concept evolution
second bit of concept evolution
Currently we're figuring out the best to incorporate the ideas of a dilapidated Cathedral/Warehouse inspired by these images to get the general feel:

Continually adding Members to the Production Team

If you check the Production Team Page you'll see a lot of new, bright, shining faces.

Got A LOT of great people working on the film and even more fun stuff we're producing so STAY TUNED!

Monday, March 16, 2015

New Story Reel!

It's been a while and I actually skipped updating the last one but here is the latest Story Reel!

We've progressed far enough into the animation production that the Animatic really no longer is JUST an Animatic. Now is the time we begin piecing together the film--swapping boards for animation, backgrounds, effects and the like. So, the result is called a Story Reel.

There have a been multiple updates from rough animation to the first real glimpse of our finished antagonist. So, enjoy!

Monday, March 2, 2015



GANT CHART TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, yeah, not the most visually stunning but GANT Charts are very helpful when planning an animated production with a team of workers. This particular chart is blank and I'll give an updated one sometime later in production but basically you chart out who handles what parts of what shots when alllll in this one chart. I also included shot descriptions in case it gets a bit craaazzzyy!

At the bottom of both is a key explaining the color system coding difficulty of shots as well as abbreviation and priority. Gives you a good sense of how a director assesses production to help things run smoothly.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Giant Character Sheet

Here's a quick sheet for the Giant. No shading on this model as he is more of a landscape feature and so his shading will have more of that approach depending on lighting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I'm not dead...

Yes, I'm so not dead that I'm paraphrasing Monty Python.

Just got back from a Trip to NYC - just in time to begin work on a storyboarding job THAT I CAN'T TALK ABOUT BUT I REALLY WANT TO!!!

So, updates will be a updating....when I can. I'm gonna show some more technical stuff up here as we are moving into production and doling out shots.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

This is what it's all about.

I'd like to share this fantastic bit of interview with Ira Glass that really gets to the core of what I'm trying to do with this film.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hybrid Animation Test

I animated a quick test on top an older swinging test rotoscoping over a 3D model.

Basically, I took the 3D model of the bass guitar into Harmony and animated the model in a 3D space. Then, I drew the bass over-top the model and deleted the model-leaving a rotoscoped animation which keeps the bass on model at all times.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Live-Streaming Session


I'm gonna be live-streaming animating on "Heard" Thursday(tomorrow) 7pm EST and I will be available for questions or chat.

Tune in


 and get a behind-the-scenes look on the animation process of "Heard"!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Production Bible Content

So, right now I'm creating a Production Bible for the film to be used as a resource to other animators working on the film. The bible will include character reference, rules for drawing, and basically whatever is needed for animators to keep on model with a unified look and feel.

Here is some of the material I've been creating to help my artists.

Shots So Far...

Here's some pretty close to finished shots...and by that I mean they are rough keyframe animation....but that's what they're supposed to look like during this part of the film!

Concept Art by Susan Kang

Just thought I'd wrap up all of Susan's great work in a post. Particularly draw attention to the cathedral she designed and painted. So, below is a GIF of the progression from sketch to finished piece.

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Animatic!

Been a little inactive over the holiday but that's changing as we ramp up the production. I'm into the animation and hope to have more and more updates as we get into the nitty gritty.

Here's the latest Animatic: