Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Yes, the internet just might be a mind numbing ray of distraction.

So, lately I've been thinking that perhaps those studies that say the internet is rewiring us aren't as ridiculous as I used to think. I have no idea how much time I've lost checking email, new sites, or my favorite blogs. It's a lot. I don't even realize I'm doing it half the time. One moment I'm working away on something, the next I'm reading about the latest stupid thing Washington DC has cooked up and I'm not really sure how I got there. Lately, I'm realizing more and more how uncomfortable I've become with silence.

That makes me uncomfortable.

Thinking back, I just used to be much more content to sit and think. To work days on end without pandora blaring or some show I've seen uncounted times streaming on Netflix or Hulu to provide that noise my brain now apparently expects. In my early adult years, I was in the Marine Corps and I would stand post for hours at a time with nothing but my imagination to keep me company. If todays' me was stuck on post for an 8 hour shift I think I'd go nutty.

We have so many distractions at our finger tips - a world of knowledge in our pockets and we sit around watching the latest this or that or flinging birds at pigs, or tweeting #boredom. I am proud to say I've yet to tweet a peep (though my good buddy Bokser did open an account in my name and tweet as me for a bit at one point).

What would it be like to grow up with this? I think I'd have attention issues too. It makes me fear for kids today. Having none of my own yet and being as selfish as the next person, it makes me think of me.

I don't like that so much either. #narcissist

It's an especially hard thing as the internet provides access to so much knowledge and expertise. It's where I get my gig's from and how I communicate with clients, friends and the like.Maybe it's a matter of finding ways to sip it with a straw rather than sticking one's face under the deluge of Niagra Internet.

When you come to places in life where you don't like where you've been going, it's probably best to make some changes, and I'm making an conscious effort over the next month to unplug.

If nothing else, maybe Morpheus 2 will get done quicker.

p.s. If you missed it, I really don't know how to hashtag. I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Happy February

First up, here's a teaser for a film my friend Hugo is working on :

In other news, there some scary stuff going on right now with my pals in the vfx and film industries, been thinking about you all. The world is changing and it may well be harder for us to find a living doing this.

In some happier news, the new 9 old men flip book collection is awesome and Morpheus 2 progress is coming along great.

Also, the film my buddies Matt and Bokser have been making for the past several years is almost done and will be on the the festival circuit soon. Had the pleasure of doing layout and animating a chunk of it a few years back. So very exciting.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FAQ - I graduated, no job, now what?

So, it's about 6 months or so after some folks have graduated and I've gotten a few emails on the subject and actually a few asking this very thing as well at a users group meeting in Austin last week so....

Thought I'd just answer here.

A few thoughts in bullet point form as it seems easier for folks to follow:

  • Honestly look at your reel - There's a saying about doing a thousand bad drawings to get to good ones. It's the same in animation - you have to do a lot of bad footage to get good enough to be hirable. If your work isn't up to snuff and you really want to be an animator, that is what you should be spending every moment  you can spare on. Look at your time, are you spending hours a week watching your favorite shows or playing games? There's a chunk of time to be had.
  • There are SO MANY animators looking for work right now - Many studios have closed in the last few years so you're competing in a very saturated market. Animators with years of experience are looking for whatever jobs they can get in some cases. It's a competitive market. Compete or....
  • Are you sure you want to be an animator? If animation isn't your passion, better to figure it out sooner and get to work becoming an expert in another of the many many facets of the animation process. Modeling, Rigging, Pipeline, Lighting, Pre-vis, Layout, and on and on the areas go.

    That's what happened with me, I started out thinking I loved animation but that's not what it really was. What I'm passionate about is making characters so that's where all my free time goes to - making Morpheus' and Squirrelies and learning how to be a better TD so that I can make the stuff I want and animate efficiently when I need to.
  • Should you go back to school? Only you can answer that. I would say think long and hard about taking on more student debt, it stays with you a long....long....time. Once you have the basics, there's nothing to keep you from learning on your own, working on projects and growing as an artist. There are also workshops that some of the animation schools offer that might be helpful if you just want some more of that.
  • Other ways to get better - Practice in places like the 11 Second Club or work on a friend's short film... or your own. Coming out of Midway I did a ton of footage on my buddy's film to get more key frame footage for my reel. Caveat - don't work for free for people or projects you don't really care about. I know some folks have had good experience working spec (free) for projects, just not me.
  • Other options - If you're sure and can't get the job yet, look in other possibilities - smaller commercial studios even local ones if you're not in LA or NY or another hub. There are even some government contractors that need artists at times. Larger corporations often have staff artists too. If you have any connections (maybe a family friend with a business), see if you can get a freelance project.
The most important thing is to continue to keep growing as an artist. You have the rest of your life to perfect your craft. Hope this is helpful and have a great week, internets! Back to Morphy 2 :)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Morpheus Rig 2.0 Kickstarter...the game has begun!

We're live, internets! You have 30 days to make this project a go. So if you like Morpheus Rig or CG Monks and  wanna see more, now is your chance! Thank you for all your support.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Morpheus Rig 2.0 Kickstarter Teaser

 It's about time for an update, no? We're super excited to get this ball rolling.

Monday, August 20, 2012

CG Monks Tag Anim WIP

Been playng around with a tag animation for CG Monks. We're probably gonna do the fx in maya and do 2d characters for the tag. Gonna try go get it done this week. Hope everyone is well!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Morpheus 2.0 Kickstarter Preannouncement!

First off, thank you for all the great uses so many of you have put Morpheus (and Squirrely) to. You've pushed the rig in ways I hadn't anticipated and it's so exciting to see it.

This September, CG Monks will be starting a Morpheus 2.0 Kickstarter campaign to help fund the project. We have a lot of ideas and would love to get moving on the project but we want to try and find a way to fund development of rigs like Morpheus and Squirrely, tools, assets and other projects for the community we so loving being a part of. We reached out to many of our communities and a Kickstarter campaign was one of the common themes we kept hearing. So, we're gonna give it a shot.

What we're looking for now is quality versions of some of the great animations we've seen on the internet. So, if you've created a great animation with Morpheus and want to possibly be included on a best of video to be featured as a part of our campaign, please upload a good (hd is preferred) version of it to Vimeo and send me a link to the video - (no spaces) j j b u r t o n @ c g m o n k s . c o m. In your message, please list your name and an email or webpage if and as you want them specified.

I'll post again when we have a better idea of when the kickoff date will actually be.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Epic Mickey Work...

Well, it's finally up. At least a good chunk of it...

I had the pleasure of working on this project last fall and a chunk of this spring. Last fall I animated a segment (all of which is in this vid). The majority of my work on the project was rigging character faces, rigging other stuff and swapping in and out mesh updates on rigs. I wrote a good chunk of my blendshape transfer stuff during the project to make the workload manageable.

Specifically I animated from 3:58 - 4:36 except for the lightning storm exterior, doc at the window and Mickey in the tv at the end so the Gus working and Ortensia observing stuff. Gus was a lot of fun.

Crummy thing is I did another pollish pass on a bunch of my shots but they apparently didn't make it in the render pipe...the joys of production:)

Dang, it's been since last fall that I've animated full body stuff. Python has me in a death grip...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Morpheus Needs help...

Or rather I do in helping to plan next steps that involve ole'Morphy. If you're a fan, please take a moment to fill our a survey to assist or maniacal plan making:)


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

If you're not from the US, you can celebrate independence from Maya's frustrating attribute editing tools with our latest tool! Hope you enjoy and if you play with pop bottle rockets, after you light them remember to let go (as my grandfather laughingly told me after I neglected to do so)

In other news, I'm looking for some potential collaborators going forward on some of the cgMonks stuff. I'm fixing to start pushing through the modular rigger and there are some opportunities to make some new characters while we're at it. For example, a fish of some sort for the fish module, bird for the wing module, etc. etc. If you're interested, can model or are a talented designer who wants to get some free publicity, lemme know.

All the stuff on this site is 2000 - by Josh Burton...unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.