Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pajama Gladiator Post-Mortem

Nicktoons Network has Pajama Gladiator posted up for a day so people can vote on it. Hurry and watch it before they take it down.

Things I did on the short:
- pitched the original story---a bit different from how it turned out, but I still feel happy that it was the project people picked
- worked with Joe Olson to do the majority of the character and environment pre-production art
- modeled the horned guy (didn't do the acid-purple surfaces)
- did surfaces for the "Cyclops" character in Renderman
- animated a couple scenes, including the "Cyclops freaks out scene" at the end of the battle

Things I learned from doing the short:
- No matter how much you contribute during pre-production or production, the folks that really matter are the post-production guys. This short never would have been done without those guys and they deserve all the credit in the world.
- The timing you get in the story boards/animatic is probably not tight enough for the final renders and animation. This thing felt really good at first, but now all I notice are the awkward gaps in the timing.
-Don't suggest a freeze-frame action montage unless you're willing to back it up with an example of how it should look. This is the most awkward part of the short, by far.
- Don't complain about the rigs on a student project, no matter how bad they are. Either help design them so they get them right, or shut up so you don't get the all-powerful rigging guy mad at you.
- It's hard to get people to see eye-to-eye on a group student project. Period.

In spite of all these problems, I think it turned out pretty good for a student short and I'm proud of it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

There's Always Room for Jell-O

Maybe I was an impressionable kid, but old Jell-O commercials seem to stand out as one of the most successful celebrity marketing schemes, ever. For me, Bill Cosby is still synonymous with Jell-O, even more so than his iconic role in The Cosby Show. If the world was taken over by jiggling jell-O people, our oceans filled with jello pudding and our trees replaced by pudding pops, Bill Cosby would be the rightful emperor of it all.

I did this for a themed party we had at our house tonight, "A Tribute to Jell-O." We're not Jell-O fanatics, it was just a funny idea my wife had when talking with some friends. Everyone was supposed to prepare a tribute to Jell-O, and we had everything from folk songs about heaving gelatin to autocad representations of favorite Jell-O recipes. This was my entry: a tribute to a unique dessert, and the man who gave Jell-O an unforgettable face.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How practice makes. . .pretty good.

You'd think after designing characters professionally for years, things would start to come naturally, right? Well, you're. . .probably right, actually. But I'm too thick-headed to learn that fast.

I started with this great mental image of a warty-necked (pronounced nekk-ed) witch. I always expect that when I have a good mental picture, drawing it will be easy. Unfortunately, there's a disconnect between the picture my imagination thinks is cool and the drawing that my eyes have to reluctantly accept as the best I can do. I drew this character about 12 times before she started to look okay, at best.

A few positive lessons I learned, though:

- Drawing the same character over and over seems to always help

- I've created a brush that allows me to procrastinate design decisions until the image is nearly finished. There's nothing like reinforcing bad habits.

- Chicken scratch drawings can be forgiven if nobody ever knows they existed. Oh, whoops.

- Witch hats look stupid if they are blowing the opposite way of travel (maybe that's why my son drew his witch flying backward?) Apparently my kids already have a better grasp of physics than I do.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Which witch?

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday, not because of costumes or candy, but because of the excuse to draw pictures of witches, pumpkins, and other spooky things. I have fond memories of drawing halloween pictures with my brothers and sisters and taping them up all over the house. Because I had eight siblings the crayon drawings basically became our new wallpaper.
This year I felt the urge to draw a witch for old times' sake. As I worked my six-year-old son came over and watched, then went off and drew his own witch. His turned out better than mine, so I painted that one instead. I didn't get to polish it like I wanted, but I'll post it anyway. I want to encourage my kids so someday they'll wallpaper my own house with Halloween drawings.
A few things to notice in his drawing:
- She's either got one messed up broom, or she's showing off by riding backwards standing tiptoe.
- Loopy side shoelaces
- That face!
- Should she be lifting the lantern with telekinesis instead? Ring lanterns could tax the old phalanges over time.
- Ball hands!!!! My new goal is to design every character with ball hands and askew fingers.
- The blue light on the top of her hat (he insisted). I guess so other witches don't crash into her? What's the lantern for then?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday drawing

Yeah, nothing special today, but I haven't posted for almost a week. In other news, the other night I watched a show on the Discovery Channel called "Explosions Gone Wrong." I don't think that one even needs commentary.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Monkey collaboration

My 3-year-old drew this monkey, and described to me the anatomy ("Dose are his kneees, and dose are his feet." "What are those four circles?" "His eaows." "He has four ears?" "Yess.").

So, I just had to make it a reality. I had to take a couple liberties, but for the most part it's pretty true to the source material. I'm also going to paint up a witch my 5-year-old drew, maybe in a couple days.