Another quick sketch with Zbrush.
Arrhythmia – Particle Effects experimentation
Last week I had a bit of downtime at work one day so I decided to experiment with Trapcode Particular that was available there. This is what I came up with. The entire animation is made with particles with some additional colorization and post processing also done in AE.
3D illustration from still image
Look who’s back!
Wow, I think I reached a new level of laziness in blog keeping; I managed to skip an entire year. Hello and goodbye 2013!
I know… that intro feels a little weird for an entry made at the end of March but I actually started it at the beginning of January, just never got around to finish and publish it.
I have been very lucky to work on a variety of projects during 2013 with lots of different techniques, styles, genres and scopes, in fact I worked with so many different mediums and techniques in one year you might think I’m crazy, but this is what I have been striving to do and I feel very lucky to have had the chance, and hope to be able to do more of it. For one it keeps me and my work fresh and makes every new job a new challenge and an opportunity to learn new skills. I interned on some of these jobs, got hired on others, either way every single one of them have been a great experience, taught me a bunch of new skills, gave me a different perspective and got me to meet with cool new people. In retrospect, it is fascinating to realize how each one informed the next regardless of how different the type of work seems.
Last summer I worked at Starburns Industries, a stop-motion studio in Burbank,CA on Charlie Kaufman’s first animated Feature Film ‘Anomalisa’ as a set fabrication intern. I feel very lucky to have worked on a Kaufman film who has written or co-written some of my favorite movies including ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ a movie that I have watched countless times. It has also been an amazing and an humbling experience to work with artists that has previously worked on some of my favorite animated films. It has been a great, fun crew and I have learned a lot from them. As far as I know no footage or stills has been released yet, but when the movie is released I believe it will drop a lot of jaws.
Anomalisa wasn’t the only project that made Summer 2013 a great chapter in my life. I split my time between Starburns and my friend Sam Koji Hale’s new puppet film, ‘Monster of the Sky’ helping him with puppet fabrication, also learning a great deal in a different aspect of production and having a great time all at the same time. I’m currently working on Sam’s film as an animator, cleaning and refining the facial motion capture data, a technique that is being used for the first time in a puppet film. Check out the images below. And if you feel intrigued head out to film’s facebook page to learn more about it and to follow updates. https://www.facebook.com/MonsterOfTheSky
Another amazing project that I had a brief chance to help out on set is Kevin McTurk’s new puppet film ‘Mill at Calder’s End’. I already posted about his previous film Narrative of Victor Karloch before and this one is even bigger, scarier and looking even more gorgeous. Feel free to browse through the photos.
Both Sam and Kevin’s films are Kickstarter funded and to be released later this year and you should keep an eye out for them. They are both exceptional filmmakers that are taking part in, if not helming, the current revival of puppet films and I feel very lucky and honored to have had the chance to learn from and work with them.
It feels like this post is getting drawn-out so I will try to keep the rest of it short. Last year I have also worked on Beck’s, 360° performance of Bowie’s Sound and Vision as a Digital Artist. You can check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet http://www.hello-again.com/beck360/main/beck360.html. In addition, I worked on couple episodes of the TV Series ‘Nashville’ doing VFX work and on bunch of other smaller projects doing various VFX, CG and Animation work. I have also spent quite a few days in 72andSunny, working on AE doing motion graphics previs work for interactive experiences for clients like Google, Target and others. 72andSunny has been selected 2013 U.S. Agency of the Year by Adweek and 2013 Agency of the Year by Ad Age.
Last but definitely not the least I’m working for Ten Penny Studios, a start-up VFX company that is founded by one of my classmates at USC. We have already worked on a few projects and there are some more in the works. Head out to our webpage at: http://tenpennystudios.com/ to find out more about the company and the type of services we provide. And if you would like to work with us on your projects, you can either use the contact information there or can also contact me directly. We are a highly skilled, professional, dedicated and friendly group of artists that will help you realize your project the way you want it.
That is all for now. Expect more posts in the near future. I mean it this time! Well, I really mean it this time 🙂
Updates, new additions to the crew, announcements and other stuff
Hello everyone, It has been a long time since my last post so this is going to be a long one. If you are not interested in the news, updates and the announcements part but just want to see a sneak peek of the completed scene where this screenshot belongs, you can scroll down to the end of the post.
“Any fool can have bad luck; the art consists in knowing how to exploit it.” Frank Wedekind
So why has there has not been many updates in the past few months? People who are close to me know very well that this has been a very rough year for me; arguably the hardest 8-9 months of my entire life, the kind of bitter experience that makes one reconsider a lot of things about their life which causes brooding for hours day and night and which ended up rendering me unproductive for even a month at a time.
I often ended up doing nothing but watching a movie, a TV series, reading a novel or a comic book or playing a video game; pretty much every other form of escapism to wander my mind off from my own troubles to the ones of a distant character someplace else. And when I was done with any of these, picking up another one felt like the most logical thing to do. I drowned my sorrows the best and only way I knew: in stories. And when your work is in a creative field it is not as bad as it sounds, because everything you read, see, listen leaves something with you and becomes the fuel you will need eventually. Oh, and it definitely beats the alternative of being an alcoholic. What made it bad was, I was not producing any work. Film-making by itself is already a nerve racking experience and working on a happy fairy tale like story doesn’t really feel right or easy when you are not happy yourself… It sure didn’t for me.
If you are already wondering why I’m babbling about my personal problems when you already have your own and probably and rightfully don’t care, it is to remind that life can still happen during a production. Things might even get a little bit more tougher if the project you are working on is somewhat personal as well. Things will get even tougher if your wisdom teeth, in an attempt to make a cynical joke to go with its name, also conspire against you in the heat of production. The best way to survive is to take the punches (keep in mind the phrase ‘when it rains it pours’ it has something to it) and keep going no matter what. And when you carry on, in the end of it you look back and you will realize you not only survived a misfortune but also came out with something out of it and hopefully stronger. The following is how I worked with it, and don’t get me wrong it took many months to figure out, I hope this will help you too and perhaps make it a little easier for you if you ever feel the same or even a bit down during a production.
There has been two major things that brought me back up, most important one was my family and my good friends, those people you know will be there for you no matter what, the kind of people who can see past the sadness behind a smile and will try to understand and make it better. This is the most valuable thing. Embrace it and do return the favor when they need the same. They say you know who your real friends are in times of trouble, it is true and I am so lucky to be blessed with great friends and family who took more punches for me than they probably should.
The second one, which I would call the wake-up call, is something I came across a couple months back. It was a commencement speech made by one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. If you listen to it, which I would highly recommend you to do if you haven’t already, you will understand why. It is a speech directed at artists but I think it will benefit you no matter what profession you are in. The heart of the speech is ‘make good art’ for those of you who don’t have the time to watch the entire thing; although there are many more great advises here that trying to summarize it here won’t do it justice.
This reminded me that making animated films, telling the stories that I want to tell is something what I always wanted to do. This is the thing that I have enjoyed doing the most and I still do. And that I should not, and I would not let anything make me stop doing it. Needless to say the film is going full speed now with a slightly loose release date of late October/ early November this year, and who knows perhaps with a bit of good luck for a change, even earlier. So far I’m happy with how it looks and hopefully you will like it too.
And now to announcements: New additions to crew!
Christopher Obal, TD, Chris is not really a new addition to the crew as he has been on board since December 2011. He is responsible for rigging all the characters. He has worked on movies like Real Steel and Green Lantern as well as the upcoming Bryan Singer movie Jack the Giant Killer. He is not only incredibly talented but also probably one of the coolest guys you can work with.
Here’s an image of what one of the rigs look like. (Click to enlarge image)
Arliss Gammill, Lighting/ Rendering, Arliss is a classmate of mine and she is one of those rare breed of digital artists who has her background firmly rooted in traditional art and art history. Her sense of color and tone is thus flawless. She is responsible for lighting and rendering on CG characters, matching and enhancing the lighting to the photographs of the sets, therefore a huge part of the magic you see in the shots. You can and should check her blog linked in the side bar.
Peter Kolstad, Sound Design, Peter has years of experience working for HBO and NPR’s All Things Considered and is now the supervisor of USC SCA’s Post Production Student Help Desk where he is an audio mixer and picture colorist for students’ advanced project. He is working on the sound design for Waddle.
A grant from Turkish Ministry of Culture!
A few weeks ago I have learned that I have been awarded a grant to finish my film by the Turkish Ministry of Culture, which is a great help.
And that is not the only good news. An e-mail I received from a friend in Turkey reveals that in 2012 the grants towards animated films have increased by a stunning 1463%! Well, the figures might be a bit misleading here as the amount of support still does not total to that much as animation production has mostly been ignored for a long time in Turkey, and the issues of lacking animation education as well as a stable industry still remain but this certainly is a step in the right direction!
There might be more exciting news on the horizon which are still in the works and I will not disclose anything until everything is certain; but if it ever happens, I will announce it here first.
But for now finally, if you haven’t already fell a sleep reading, – yes, you are lucky if you skipped to this part; except you missed a lot of cool news- the promised 14 seconds from the film:
First one is a playblast from Maya.
Second and third videos shows what the final image looks like in those shots. There are still improvements to be made on the animation especially on the secondary movement but overall this is very close to what it’s going to be like in the film.
For those of you who are first time visitors to the blog. The background is photographed miniature sets handcrafted for the film. To match the animation and to receive the shadows in the final image a rough 3D model of the same set is built. To help with matching the lighting of the actual set and the CG composition, HDRI lighting techniques is used which consists of taking multiple exposures of a chrome ball placed in the sets, combining those images using Photoshop, and then using that information on Maya to get a general look of lighting.
Watch them in full screen.
Stop Motion Demo Reel
I cut together a new stop-motion reel that also has some background stuff from Waddle.
Sneak peek of sets
Hera are few stills from some of the sets. I’m really enjoying the set-building process and I want to write a detailed post about the whole process of how I made these, my findings, frustrations. failings and breakthroughs when I have time.
Meanwhile, hope you enjoy these sneak peek images. I hope you are getting as excited as I am about the project as these come along. If you want, you can also check the previous post about set schematics and try to guess which image belongs to which set. 🙂
Girl Duck model/texture
Duck model & texture!
Here’s the model and a textured sample render of Waddle, our hero, wonderfully modeled and textured by talented Aiman Akhtar. He did an amazing job transferring my designs into this CG model and getting the look that I wanted on the texture.
It’s currently being rigged.