Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pond Dude Animatic

woooo-eee I'm all full of updates today! I have started my SESI mentor shot with David Davies from Sony last week. I pitched my story boards and have the ok to move forward with it so I did a quick animatic:

Some concept art for the dude's face:

Figure Drawing

Figure drawings from the Santa Monica YWCA figure drawing session:

Saturday, December 3, 2011


A little something for someone ;)

Friday, December 2, 2011


This is for my baby dragon bros:

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dragon Texture

Its been a while since I posted about the baby dragon project I started back in June. I finished the model and the texture a couple of months ago but the carver on a cliff project took precedence as I rushed to finish it for the pixar td residency deadline. Thats past and sent out and that project is nearing completion. As a part of my time at Side Effects I will be getting a mentor to help me through a quick effects shot in Houdini. I will be meeting my mentor on wednesday, he'll be from SPI so I'm pretty excited. I am planning on using the baby dragon project as my mentor shot. I have several ways of scaling it in order to keep it within scope of a ten week project. This is a viewport render of the texture I painted in Mudbox. Looking at it now I am not very happy with it. I was working with some serious hardware limitations on my box. I am hoping that I'll be able to sculpt and re-paint in 3D coat at SESI.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Figure Drawing

Nick and I went over to the Santa Monica figure drawing at the YWCA. Its been a while since I've gone to figure drawing and it was good to get back into it. I just need a bigger sketchbook that I can still fit in my bag.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

turtles on a cliff test render

Its always a sprint to the finish line...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So Many Projects!!!

I have somehow got myself involved in too many personal projects. I just keep getting excited about something new and beginning it. I have the Baby Dragon short animation, the Rowers of the Night dream comic, the 24 hour comic I began last week (and didn't quite finish... more about that later I suppose) and now I am full swing into a quick cloth and look development test animation. I have decided to focus on one project at a time until completion. First up is the cloth test. Its a short animation with very little story. I am going for round two on the Pixar simulation TD residency and wanted something to add to the reel since the last time they looked at it. Basically the short is a character in a hooded cloak trudging up a snowy hill. Right now its a 3 shot sequence. I have always been interested in incorporating painterly looks to animation and thought this was a perfect opportunity. This weekend I worked on two of the background paintings for the short. They are near completion but I am always open to critiques if you have them...

Friday, September 30, 2011

URBN Center Photomanipulation

About a year ago I did this photomanip for the dean of Drexel's College of Arts and Media Sciences. The couple are the Westphals, donors to the school. They wanted a fun picture that showcased their latest donation to the school to put in a rich person's yearbook (as far as I could follow anyway). I was lucky enough to have some friends (Simon, Nicole D, Sonia, and Dan Bode) pose for photographs for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dream Journal: Rowers of the Night 2

These two are the remaining characters of the Rowers dream journal:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dream Journal: Rowers of the Night

The other day I had a crazy dream involving all of the "House of Nick." (Nicklepuff?) I was thinking about doing a quick sketch like I've done for the last couple but this dream stuck with me a lot more than the last couple. I have tentative plans to expand this one into a full fledged production... a comic, an animation, or both. Preliminary sketches for for of the characters:

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dream Journal 4

I've been sitting on these lines for a while now.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dream Journal 3

Another dream journal I painted up for a wedding present for my friends Amin and Megan.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Iron Feather: Infinite Canvas Comic

Back in June I finished up the comic I had been working on for roughly six months. The idea was to create a comic that couldn't be translated to print and to present a story that pushed the boundaries storytelling. When I was developing the story for the project, my committee member Matt Kaufhold, a scriptwriter told me that my story needed a beginning, middle, and end. This advice got me thinking, what if I didn't have the three basic parts of a story? I made a comic that was structured as circles (thus defying normal page logic) There is no page, just an unlimited canvas. Obviously I was heavily influenced by Scott McCloud's writings on the future of comics. This unlimited space allowed the story to take on a format that moves a story in ways we are not used to. For example, the comic is technically linear but you can enter into the comic at any point. At several points the story branches in two directions, not in the way a choose your own adventure novel branches, the story actually continues both paths (regardless the path the reader chooses), the reader can choose which character he or she would like to follow. Since the essential story is circular, the reader will eventually come back to that point in the story and can choose the other direction to get a wider understanding of the story.

To drive the comic I used a flash based presentation software called Prezi. To use it you click on a piece of art and the screen will zoom and rotate to focus on what you selected. This software was what made the comic possible but, at the same time, makes the comic difficult to read. You have to have a lot of patience to work with Prezi on this scale. I pushed the app to its limits. I invite you to read the comic and feel free to comment on it. Does it make sense? What do you get out of it?

The project was the product of my Master's thesis at Drexel University. If you are so inclined, you can read my thesis document on Drexel library's website.

Dream Journal 2

The other day I had a dream that the general populace was being menaced by giant spiders. It wasn't all that scary of a dream but I remember we had to be very careful when opening up doors. I worked on this sketch during my lunch break in between rendering battleships.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Dream Journal 1

My good friend and long time college roommate, Chris Hendricks was married last weekend. I decided I wanted to give them something a little more personal so I decided I would make them a water color painting. Having some trouble coming up with an idea, I laid down to take a nap and had some vivid dreams. This rather crazy dream sequence ended in something like this:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Everglades Buttons

I designed some buttons a month or two ago for Everglades National Park's website. They are Here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Scooters are hilarious. I love the idea of them. When I used to ride bikes a lot (like wear spandex and and shave my legs a lot) I would go on rides with 5-10 other dudes wearing spandex. It was a blast, we would ride all in a line and draft off each other and go really really fast. Once we even caught a rather large fellow riding his scooter. The scooter was struggling a bit under the load. My bike ego was blowing up, it was great.

Another time I was riding with some of my bikey friends and this scooter pulls up next to us. The vehicle was carrying two dudes. The driver was completely ignoring us (but still making the decision to ride next to us?) His bro riding on the back, on the other hand was having the time of his life. The guy seriously looked like an extra in Mad Max, a minion of some type. He was looking at us and cackling with his his outrageously dentally impaired grin, all the while fist pumping as hard as he could. Once the duo got in pace with us, back-dude made a (no doubt) clever comment containing a double entendre that totally touché'd our sense of joie de vie. After heckling to his hearts content the duo sped out of my life... and into legend. (of my mind)

side note... Blogger always gives you examples of "labels for this post" and one of them is scooters. yessssssss

Monday, August 8, 2011

Things That I Want

As you may have gathered from a previous post (or, more likely, you know me) I have moved to LA. Currently homeless (but not floorless) and jobless I have had a lot of time to do things like work on personal projects, post on my blog, and check job forums at least 36 times an hour.

For some reason being jobless makes me think of things that I want to do when I have money. For example I really want to build my own computer, learn how to surf, and paint some paintings. Right now, at the top of my list of things I want is teleportation. What would I do with this ability, you may find yourself asking the computer at which you are looking at this blog post? I would teleport myself to the top of a beautiful mountain range far from any human habitation, a place that I could sit by myself and observe nature in all its grandiose-ness and grandeur-ness. I would teleport myself there with a toilet and go #2. It would be the best.

Actually, that would be my second order of business. The first would be to teleport to my girlfriend and give her a big ol' kiss. Who, judging by my artist rendition, stands around looking annoyed all the time holding papers.

But seriously, Things I Want: 1. Teleportation.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Baby Dragon Concept Art

Always back up your files... My Western Digital external hard drive failed two days ago. I lost most of my projects for the past year including what I had been working on for this baby dragon project. I was working on a concept painting that was almost finished but the .psd was wiped with the drive. I was posting wips on so I have a small version of the last work in progress.

EDIT: Some notes from bob on the model that I will be incorporating in the model redesign: i think it would make more sense and be more appealing if the eyes were more toward the front of the head me: and bigger bob: eyes are usually spaced out like that on prey, because they need to see if things are coming from a wide view predators usually have eyes frontward me: ah good point bob: and coincidentally, things look more appealing when eyes are more toward the front

Friday, August 5, 2011

Santa Monica

I have arrived. The cliff and the coast.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Its happened before, it'll happen again...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Color Concept: Baby Dragon

I wanted to put down some ideas for what the baby dragon would look like:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby Dragon

After my phone project went well enough I've been wanting to start another compositing project. Instead of a simple cg integration test, I wanted to do a a character animation piece. The idea is that someone has found a baby dragon and brought him home in a shoebox and left him in their room. The baby dragon figures out how to get out of the box and causes a bit of mischief. My inspiration is the millions of cat videos on the internet of some kitten doing something adorable. My concept art for the baby dragon:

Initial storyboards:

Friday, July 8, 2011


You can use Christmas ornaments for taking HDRIs! I read about someone using one instead of a mirror ball and had wanted to give it a whirl.

And I made this animation:

Dome Master Renders

I uploaded the dome master renders from the Dragon Dome project. Visually it doesn't make a lot of sense, you have to imagine that this is being projected onto a dome. The edges are between 6 and seven feet all around and the middle is straight up.

For more info on this project, check out my earlier post.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dragon Turntable

A turntable of the dragon I modeled, sculpted, and textured for the dome project. Click on the picture to see it!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dragon Dome

Judging by my post frequency lately, it looks like I haven't been doing anything lately. Its not true, I swear!

One of the projects I just finished up on was "Dragon Dome." DD was a project for my "Imersive World Building" class at Drexel, one of my very last classes there. The class needs a bit of an introduction to fully understand the project. The idea behind the class is to make an animation for a planetarium. If you've ever been to a science museum, they usually have some sort of astronomy show where they project some stars on a dome. The bulk of these types of shows and others like them show the main action as happening in front of the audience who is probably seated. Things come from behind to appear in front. The problem with the majority of the work is that it does not fully utilize the full screen area, an entire hemisphere.

My goal going into the class was to create something visually stunning that the audience would have to stand in the center of the auditorium to fully appreciate. Things would happen all around the audience who might, at times, have to turn their entire body to catch something happening.

I decided I wanted to feature dragons flying around, making the audience feel like they are dwarfed by giant flying reptiles.

There are some concerns and challenges that are different from the usual flat screen challenges. First of all, the only off screen is below the horizon. Really, the camera needed to be treated not as a camera or picture frame (like most productions) it needed to be thought of a space that the audience inhabits. This means that there couldn't be a floor in our environment, the camera couldn't move, depth of field doesn't make sense, and sizing things was a challenge.

Another interesting challenge was lighting. I am used to lighting things for a single camera. The lights needed to make sense but also illuminate everything, quite challenging in a 360 degree field of view. We found if it was lit too brightly, the light would bounce around the dome and wash everything out.

For the final animation, I teamed up with two of my classmates, Greg Ruane and Dan Bodenstein. The animation started with the two dragons flying right above the audience from the front to the back of the planetarium with two more dragons circling high above. For about 40 seconds dragons weave through tall mountain peaks that dwarf the audience. The animation ends with on hero dragon landing on a rock directly in front of the audience and letting out a huge roar. Audio was completed in an extremely short amount of time by John Avarese, (who, you will remember, completed audio for Big Catch). Unfortunately there is no possible way for me to upload the animation for others to see as, I am assuming, no one that reads this blog has access to a planetarium. Hopefully, it won't be lost to time, at least one more class of Drexel grad students will get to see it, even if I never do again.

For the project, I modeled, sculpted, and textured the dragon. (see previous posts) I textured the mountains and modeled the hero mountain. For the sky, I used nuke to create a star field. I created a noise and tweaked it into tiny, different sized specs and glowed the heck out of them and then overlayed a colorful milky way-esque texture. It turned out looking pretty good even if the planetarium guy caught my fake star field the moment he saw it. For the hero dragon, I did a cloth sim for the wings using Maya's nCloth.

Dan was the smoke and render TD for the project, in addition to making procedural mountaintops. Rendering this thing was a whole job in itself. We had to take 5 camera's (top, front, back, left, and right) and stitch them together into something that looks like a squished dome. From there they needed to be cut up to the 8 projectors to be projected onto the dome. Dan also figured out a way of getting depth information for the camera that would allow for distance falloff effects, something that was apparently a struggle for the entire dome industry (according to our professor). Dan was hilariously pissed when he found out it was a thesis worthy project, months too late for him to do anything about it.

Greg rigged the dragon and animated him. mmmmm motion paths.

This is a "glommed" image that would get projected onto the dome. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense in its current state (on a 2d plane, your monitor).

What you see in the middle of the image would be directly above the audience and what is on the edges would be just above eye level (what you would see if you looked straight ahead.

Some technical specs:
Software Used:
Renderman for Maya
Sky Skan

Monday, May 30, 2011



A couple of weeks ago I gave a lighting lecture to my class. The idea was to take a simple scene and light it three different ways. I almost always use spotlights exclusively in Maya. This is mainly due to the controls they have but also because I have been rendering primarily with Renderman and depth map shadows for the past year and a half. There are certainly instances where one might want to use other lights but for these demos I used all spotlights. The renders are a bit on the low quality side because you don't want to wait too long for the scene to render when doing a live demo. These are all rendered in Mental Ray for Maya.

The first scene is lit with one spotlight with an image mapped to the color to simulate the shapes you get from the glass of a light bulb and the flashlight.

The second is lit to look like a studio light setup.

And the third is supposed to be lit from a window. Again I mapped an image to the spotlight.