Friday, November 7, 2014

More From Character Design

It's been a long trek with this character design. It's hard landing on a look that reflects this character and will work to tell this personal, and yet, universal story.

I don't even have the full character sheet yet but I really want to show you what I've toiled away on. we'll start back with Savannah's design:


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bass Detail Guide for Animators

Quick update-something you don't see often. This is an index sheet showing how much detail the animators should put into the bass guitar depending on its distance from the camera and prominence in the frame. This ensures that the animators don't waste time putting needless detail into elements that won't show up on-screen anyway.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Environment Design Progress

Susan Kang has been working hard on environments/concepting which is a unique situation for this project. The backgrounds begin as mere concept drawings in the forest and evolve with the overall aesthetic.

Thesis Paper Outline

Here's the thesis statement, abstract, and outline for my thesis paper as it currently stands before I go to write the thing:


Just as 8 1/2  mirrored the experiences and convictions of Federico Fellini, the "Wacky Delly" episode of Rocko's Modern Life uses self-reflection to comment on the process of animation and express a deeper sentiment of the show's creator, Joe Murray.


In my thesis film, Heard I explore self-reflection in animation to give voice to my thoughts and commentary as an artist. This approach mirrors the same self-reflective nature of the animated show Rocko's Modern Life, specifically in the vein of the two part episode "Wacky Delly". This particular episode presents an entire narrative built on self-reflection which comments on everything from the medium of animation to the industry which commercializes it. Self-reflection has long been used this way in filmmaking with particular emphasis to Federico Fellini's 8 1/2.  Just as 8 1/2  mirrored the experiences and convictions of Federico Fellini, the "Wacky Delly" episode of Rocko's Modern Life uses self-reflection to comment on the process of animation and express deeper sentiment of the show's creator, Joe Murray. These deeper sentiments not only provide commentary on Murray's experiences with Rocko's Modern Life but also elude to tragic events which haunted his work and contributed to his eventual diluted involvement with the show. Heard takes cues from the self-reflective approach of Fellini and Murray, depicting the shared struggle of growing artists as well as my own commentary on animation.  My film explores how the animation process unfolds as an artist journeys through creative development where drive, resolve, and experience help him on a mission to find his own voice. Using self-reflection similar to Federico Fellini allowed Joe Murray to express his private struggles as a commercial artist and has inspired me to depict my own journey through artistic growth.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bass Model Evolution

One of the interesting aspects of this production is the use of hybrid animation combining 3D elements into the 2D animation. To keep the bass guitar drawing "on-model" in the climax our resident modeler, Dennis McCoy, created a model in Maya to be brought into Toon Boom to be animated and rotoscoped.

We started with a model sheet:

It's bassed (PUNS!) on the 4000 series Rickenbacker Bass Guitar which has an iconic look and sound. A few modifications were made for ease in animation.

Dennis' first model was fantastic. In fact, it was TOO GOOD! All the detail and complexity was unnecessary and our team of animators might become confused as to which details need to be drawn.

With some adjustments, the model became more basic and animation-ready.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Here's Our Latest Animatic

So, basically we've tightened up the animatic as much as we can timing-wise. We're now starting to get into a new rough sound track and begin rough animation. We're in PRODUCTION MODE!

New Look and Intro Video

The Blog has taken on a few alterations to better display where we are with the film and who's working on what. I've also added a new intro video to catch people up to speed. Click the PLAY button on the title to see me rambling on in a somewhat wooden manner. I'm uncomfortable with the way I look on camera but it's all for you beautiful people!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

More Character Progress

It's been a bit slow-going this past month-working on other projects. But we've made some headway on the character design. Here's a couple of the sketches to show where we've been.

Still working on proportions and trying to make our hero a little less cartoony. The design is getting more and more in my court as we near the end of Savannah's design phase. Given that I'm the one who will draw him and instruct others to do so, The design will slowly change over my practice into the final animation character design.

This is a piece I did for HeroesCon with the current design.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Come Say Hi @ HeroesCon!

I will be tabling at HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC this weekend (20th-22nd) at booth AA-1928.


including Heard stuff!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Character Design: Third Pass

We're really getting somewhere now!

This is getting really close. Still needs work with the proportions. I told Savannah to basically combine these two along with some other things. Next stage is digital!

Color Script: First Pass

Here's my first attempt at figuring out how to color this thing.

Character Design: Second Pass

Second pass at our hero's design by Savannah.

I like the where the design is headed but the proportions are off. The large size of the head with the additional girth brought on by his hair gives the character cartoonish proportions of a much younger character. A little fine-tuning is also needed but like I said-I like the way the Savannah is developing his design. Overall, I liked aspects of 2 and 3.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

It Starts With Sketches: First Pass on Character Design

This is Savannah's first pass on our hero's character design.

I'm partial to the organic and weighty feel of #3. I also like some of the ideas presented in #1. Given my feedback, Savannah's gonna come back with 3 more combining ideas.

Additions to the Crew

I'd like to formally announce the addition of a few key people to our "Heard" team!

Alan OW Barnes is going to work some sound design magic. He is accustomed to telling stories through both sound and visuals. You should see his illustration work on "Big in Japan." Check out his stuff HERE!

Luigi Anderson will be contributing backgrounds/environments ranging from concept art to finished production work as the aesthetic evolves. He is currently working as colorist on Oni Press' comic, "The Auteur." Check out his stuff HERE!

Savannah Alexandra Mirabile is working on character design for our hero. Check out her stuff HERE!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Introducing My Thesis Committee!

One of the many aspects of this film and paper, as a thesis project, is the collaboration under a committee of professors. I like to think I've assembled an impressive group of creatives.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Updates: Animation Tests

Here are some rough animation tests showing 2D animation in a simulated 3D environment.

This first test took a good deal of planning. I keyed out the movement timing and used guide circles to get the proportions and trajectory right.

Updates: Character Evolution and Style Frames

Here is a character evolution chart and style frames depicting the aesthetic change in the film. Heard will begin as rough, thumbnail drawings and as the character grows in the narrative, the aesthetic will evolve, climaxing in full color animation.

Updates: Animatics

Hello! It's been a while since I updated so I'm gonna go ahead and make a couple posts showing my progress.

This first update shows the animatics starting with the most recent animatic reaching into last October. I'll be putting all of this progress in the PROGRESS page as well with everything in order from the earliest to the latest progress.