Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas from Oklahoma

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. This morning I got up and spent a little time talking to God which is one of my favorite things to do on this day. The weather here in Oklahoma is beautiful- at least when compared to my first abysmally cold Chicago winter. It's like 40's and 50's here. Yesterday, I went jogging in shorts which is a far cry from the bundling up I do just to walk the 75 some odd yards to my gym from my apartment up north. I flew into Oklahoma City Friday night for the week and am very much looking forward to the break. Last night, I went to the candle light service at my old home church which was as beautiful as always. The lighting of the first candle and the passing of the flame to the hundreds of unlit candles until the lights in the house are brought down and a sea of little flames lights the auditorium in flickering beauty. A single verse of Silent night is sung and the blowing out of our candles is our communal good bye. I am a sucker for Christmas carols; I love the old ones. I saw some old friends as well which is always a pleasant surprise. The son of a couple of my high school friend's cancer is in remission and that is wonderful news indeed. In other news though unrelated to Christmas, my buddy Jon just let me know that the book (who is using an image from The Potter on the cover) just went on presale on Amazon and it now has a thumbnail. On top of that bit of good news, as long as everything went in alright, there should be an article in February's issue of 3d World on The Potter. Very cool. Gonna have to jet, time for the annual pilgrimage to Dallas to see the rest of my family. That and my nephews need to be held upside down by their ankles. Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another lesson at Josh's expense...

Saturday night I wanted to finish off the left over tacos I had in the fridge, so I warmed up the meat. I had a funny feeling in my gut that maybe I was pushing the safe time table in which it was safe to eat said left overs. But I said, what the heck, and ate it anyway. I got a stomach of steel. About 10:00pm, I sensed things to be amiss. My new roommate wanted to play some Mario Kart, so we played for about forty five minutes or so and my stomach was starting to do some funny things. After that, it seemed like bed time was calling loud. I heeded the call and was looking forward to a long night's sleep. However, my gut was not happy with my choice for dinner and it was about to let me know just how much displeasure it had. It proceeded to do so just about every hour on the hour until 5:00am. Two words - violently ill. Fun times. This morning my new roommate was so kind as to go get me some saltines and gatorade and then some meds this afternoon. I'm grateful for him being such a good sport after only two days here. Lesson - When your gut tells you not to eat something and you ignore it, your gut just may make sure you get the message in the end.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The importance of correct power supplies...

Did you know that even though two power supplies may have the same connector for the back of your electronic gizmo, they may not work correctly when interchanged? In fact, the same shape connectors can have two very different voltage outputs. This was apparently something I had missed somewhere in my electronic pilgrimage. The last week or so, I've been clearing out my second bedroom to make room for a roommate and i had disconnected my wireless router and modem in that process. Well, last night, I went to hook the net back up and plugged in my modem and my router. The modem started up fine, however, I quickly noticed a peculiar smell- burning carbon and plastic. If you've never smelled this before, I assure you it is an unmistakable scent. I picked up the router and felt the bottom getting rather hot so I unplugged it as quickly as I could. However, the damage was done. That little piece of electronics had served me well the past 4 years and it wasn't going to be routing anything anymore. It was probably time for a new one anyway, I just wish it could have gone out more gracefully - perhaps as a donation rather than in the garbage can. Alas. Lesson - Label any unmarked power supplies when moving things in the future.

The things you love...

I'm reading this collection of John Eldredge. He's a great writer who happens to write in a style I can connect with. He's been talking about life, heart, desire for more than we find in our day to day lives. It speaks to me. In the reading I did today, he said to write down those things you love - the moments that make life amazing. I thought it would be a fun exercise.

  • The eureka moment after having spent hours on a problem
  • Sitting under the stars away from the city lights
  • Fishing on a quiet lake
  • Seeing my team excel in their gifts and accomplishing what we couldn't do alone
  • Hearing one of my friends say they've met Jesus
  • Sketching and sketching and sketching to finally meet that character you've been searching for
  • The fellowship of family and friends on a lazy Sunday afternoon
  • A baby's hand curling round my finger
  • Really great animation that lives and breathes
  • Eddy's Frozen Fruit Coconut Bars
  • Hearing God speak when I slow down enough to really listen
  • A great movie that takes you from laughter to tears and back again
  • Really great finger-licking BBQ from some place you've never heard of
  • Waking up to a fresh snow before the plow man has gone to work
  • Worshipping God in those rare services where God infuses the air like incense and, no matter how many or few people may be in the room with me, in that moment I am alone in the presence of my God
  • A roaring fire and a mug of hot chocolate
  • Holding a sleeping baby
  • Turning the last page of a great novel
  • An old friend with whom no span of years makes our friendship diminish
  • My mom's pasta
  • My aunt's homemade french fries
  • Seeing someone connect with one of my films or stories
  • Seeing little kids dance with reckless abandon to no more music than what plays in their little heads
  • Finding a new author who grants me a new perspective
  • Knowing that I am loved and accepted by the God of the universe
  • Rich Mullins wailing on the hammer dulcimer
  • Climbing a mountain and seeing the horizon laid out like a painting
By no means an exhaustive list, but it made me smile just to make it. Give it a shot.

Thursday, December 8, 2005

I'm a lousy neighbor...

This morning, my rental office called and said the neighbors below me complained that it sounded like I was throwing weights around or something. The truth of the matter is that I've been clearing out my 2nd bedroom all afternoon and was setting some books on the book case in my bedroom when the shelf in the case suddenly shifted. That can't be good, I thought. All of a sudden, two shelves of books came crashing down on top of me and it was all I could to to hold the rest of the bookcase up. What I should have done was empty the rest of the case and taken care of it in the morning. However, I was tired and grumpy at having had some rather heavy art books fall on me and so my first instinct was to fix it. So I did. Tearing up some cardboard, I wedged it under the front of the case so it would have a natural back tilt. I then grabbed my hammer and stud finder and resecured the bookcase to the wall with a Thud, Thud Thud. I suddenly heard a reply of Thump, thump, thump coming from the floor below me. I figured it was a neighbor irritated with my hammering. I thought, wonder what they're so uptight about as I turned and looked at the clock. Oh. I had been so busy with the work that I had completely lost track of time. It was just shy of midnight. I, of course, felt like an inconsiderate dufus. In the future, should a shelf of books fall on me, I will look at the clock before grabbing my hammer.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

To anonymous commenter...

Thank you for the comment. I'm glad you liked my work. On the rest, I definitely hear you. It's difficult to speak directly to your thoughts lacking knowledge of how you view the world. But I'll try. I agree that we accept a certain amount of risk and exposure when starting relationships - be they romantic or strictly friendship. Free will means that the choices of two people will probably not always conincide. With conflict comes many possibilities - rejection, reconcilliation, misunderstanding, growth. But to be afraid to take those chances would result in a life that wouldn't be really living. We can only truly be alone by choice. However, that stems from my belief that God is real and loves you and I unconditionally and there is no place I can go, no sense I can lose, no pain I can suffer that will change my faith in that. Even if you reject that notion, the fact that another person seems to be at the same crossroads you find yourself at at the same time surely must mean something. For everyone that is at this place of finding their hearts shattered, there is another that is ahead or behind us on the same trail. Life is a communal experience that way. I'm continually amazed when I read the words of some centuries-old mystic writing in a country that no longer exists crying out to God and their words could just as easily have been mine at that exact moment. It's as if their pen dipped in an inkwell so long ago was dipping into my very heart. If I understand your implications, I think healing is the most important step to take at this point. We do funny things when we're in pain, things that would normally repel us suddenly seem the only logical decision to be made. Time will change that, sharing life with others will heal that. Don't force life, let it come. You can chug a glass of wine but you ruin the flavor.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A broken mac and thoughts on life...

Last week I was writing some emails on my 7 month old Powerbook and, having finished, closed it up and sat it down. When I came back to use it, it was off and when booted only showed a gray screen of nothing. I searched the web for a while looking for answers and tried the reasonable ones (seriously, are there people that take a part lap tops themselves?). Nothing worked, so I took it to the Apple Store on Friday. The sent it off and I hope to get it back soon....I miss the little guy. That baseball bat to the face life threw at me a while ago is still stinging but I'm working through it. I’m a thinker. I want to understand it all, but I know that’s not possible. That’s where knowledge ends and faith begins. It might be nice to have more control in what happens to us, to be able to mulligan our mistakes, to not let the decisions of others shatter our realities, to choose only the things that make us happy to meet us on this road we tread - It might be nice, but it wouldn’t be life. Life is isn’t so much about what circumstances we find ourselves in, but who we become in those tempests.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

So windows can whistle...

This past weekend a good buddy of mine from my days in DC came to stay with me for the weekend. I've not seen him for almost 4 years but it was like I'd seen him last week. Friends like that are rare and far between and it was great to hang out again. Back to the point, Saturday night was a windy one here in the Windy City. Tonight is as well, which is what reminded me. So it seems that the windows of my apartment are so positioned that a heavy wind happens to interact with the sealing on my patio door to cause a high pitched whistle. I had the pleasure of being awakened at about 3:00 am to such a whistle- I'm sure you can imagine my happiness. I just heard it again...I'm sure this is the beginning of many a fun evening as Chicago's winter season settles in.

Savannah Film Festival and catching up...

Headed out a week ago Thursday for the Savannah Film Festival and had great time. The festival went out of it's way to make sure we were taken care of. Talking to some of the other festival hoppers, that is most definitely not always the case. I met some great film makers and saw some phenomenal pieces. I had a great time overall. I'm heading to California for Thanksgiving to hang with my brother and nephews which should be great times- nothing makes you smile like having a couple of pint size nephews jumping off your back. Also, my brother is getting an Xbox 360 which should mean some late night frag-a-thons. I saw Chicken Little last week in 3d which was a treat. I really enjoyed the film overall. The story wasn't as strong as I'd have liked but the animation of the main characters was outstanding overall. The fish was my favorite character- great attitude sans words. When I first started seeing stuff on the film, I was worried that Chicken Little's "pupil eyes" would have issues being as expressive as "real" eyes. However, I think they worked great. I wonder how it would work on a character without glasses as they are a good natural cheat. Yesterday, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I some vacation days I had to use before the end of the year- nothing like being ordered to take paid time off.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005


Life has a funny way of hitting you in the face with a baseball bat when you least suspect it. Well, I got a doozy. Things suck right now; that's all I'm gonna say for now. Back to pretending it's all good. In other news: • I'm heading to Savannah tomorrow for the Savannah Film Festival. The Potter is showing there and they were kind enough to invite me out. I'm really looking forward to getting away for a few days, see some old friends, and watch some animation. • I got a call from a publisher who wants to use an image from The Potter for a book cover which is very cool if that goes through alright. • Freelance work is going well and I have had a very interesting lead turn up that I'm very excited about. • My best friend recently had his first child...err, his wife did but I imagine he had something to do with it • There is a great collection of concept art - here Should be writing soon on the wonder world of Tivo and gonna have a ton of movies to talk about. How can a CG nut not be excited about movies in the next two months?!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Sweet, sweet Prevacid...

About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with Acid Reflux. Simply put, that means that if I look at food I get heartburn. My doc in Savannah got me on a sweet little drug called Prevacid which stops such heartburn. Since then, I've been heart burn free so long as I took my pill every morning. Miss it one day, and the burn is back. When I got to Chicago I was on another insurance plan for a month as my company was in a healthcare provider changeover. I ran out of Prevacid during that little changeover and tried to get a refill. The pharmacy said that my healthcare provider said that there was an age restriction. I thought maybe I was too young or something so I called them for clarification. They told me that I was not too young, I was too old. I said, "Too old? I'm 27, how old is too old?" "We only authorize it for infants." I stared blankly at the phone. "But it's a gel cap, does it come in other forms?" No answer to that question but, "We can offer you something else." So I went and got replacement A and proceeded to have terrible heart burn from that day on. I was popping extra strength tums like candy and swigging Malox at night. So that was my routine for a while. October came and I made an apointment with my new doc and had it this week. When I asked him about it, he smiled and said there was no reason for that restriction, but that insurance companies make deals with drug companies and put asanine restrictions on said drug company's competitors. Nice, everyone wins....right? Turns out my new provider has a deal with the makers of Prevacid and so I can go through the day now and not feel like my stomach acid is going to burn though my lungs. . . go healthcare!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My email postman has been a little lax...

Apparently my email isn't working quite right and I've missed two VERY important emails that only providence revealed to have been missed at all. So, until I get this figured out with my host, please email me at "j j b u r t o n @ g m a i l . c o m" (please remove spaces, added to stop stupid spam bots). If you've tried to reach me in the past week or two and I've not responded, please resend. I appologize for any inconvenience.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Great making of vid...

This is a great making of vid from Le Building which was a pretty spectacular looking toon shade film of the summer. Check it out... Here it is

Finally a sketch or two...

It would have come sooner, but in my move the power adapter for my scanner seems to have been misplaced. You'd think I could just call the company and order a new one for a reasonable amount of money.... You'd think that. Oh no, a new adapter was 2/3 the cost of a new scanner, so I plunked down my card and got a new scanner today. Sorry Epson, I won't be purchasing from you again. My new one even is powered through the USB cable, how cool is that? Here's some sketches from the past few weeks. I've been playing a lot with animals which may or may not having something to do with what's in my creative crockpot at the moment:). More to come.

Friday, September 9, 2005


I've struggled over what to say about this travesty. A few days before it hit, my uncle told me on the phone that it was a shame I hadn't been to visit New Orleans cause, well, it would be gone. I laughed that off thinking that the thought was improbable at best. Watching the TV and taking in the news though out the day via the web one breaks at work, I just couldn't understand and many thought raced through my mind Why did the people stay? Why weren't there supplies at the dome? Why didn't help get there faster? Then the blame game started. There is a time for everything under heaven, but this is the time to help, not to hinder. By all means, look at what went wrong, but not while people are still in need of rescue and shelter. I just don't get it. I hope we all help any way we can and pray for those ways we are not able.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Check those fluids...

You walk up to your car and start seeing little puddles of greenish fluid underneath. At first it's just a few drops here and there, however with time, it becomes substantial little patches. If you're a car mechanic genius like me, you just chalk it on the list of I'll take a look at that later. However, I'm here to testify that you let that go long enough and you'll have a morning like mine. I got up this morning, checked my email and on the back up restore of an old client's site who got hacked by some eastern European hacker group whose message was both incomprehensible due to complete lack of command of the english language and reprehensible due to a the graphic imagery of infanticide. I really don't understand hackers. However, back to the story. Got on the road at my normal time and headed towards work. I started noticing something funny was going on as my little civic was idling strange (jumping between 800 and 1500 rpms which even my mechanically challenged self knew wasn't right). It was sporadic and I thought I outa get that looked at sometime as well. About a third of the way to work I noticed smoke coming from the hood and took a peek at the temp gauge- it was pegged. Actually past pegged. Thinking it might be wise to pull off the road, I looked in the rear view mirror before changing lanes and saw that my car had a full Spy Hunter smokescreen in tow. Blinding the drivers following, I got off the road and shut 'er down. I thought I forgot my cell phone so didn't bother to look (how is it we know we've forgotten something without actually looking? But I knew). A cop showed up about 20 minutes later and said he'd call for a interstate help service to bring me some water for my radiator. I asked him if I could use a phone, but all he had was a personal one and I guess that's against regulations or something. I got back in the car to await some thirst quenching water for Sarah (my car's name, I've met enough people that do the same that I know longer thing I'm the oddball there). The guy finally showed up and poured water in and as fast as he poured it in it started pouring out. He said, "I don't think you should drive on that." I believed him. I thanked him and called the insurance company to arrange the tow. 'Bout an hour later, the driver showed up and had me pull the car up on the truck cause he couldn't work a stick. So Abdul from Palestine and I chatted it up all the way to the mechanic. My boss said I could just stay here as most of the day was spent but I got a meeting that my suggestions and requests were a major point in bringing about, so I gotta head in for a bit for that. That and so the rest of the guys can laugh at my story. In other news, my buddy Scott Englert from The Potter was up here last Friday for an interview and looks like he'll be starting in early October. So, grats to him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cool link of the week...

Came across this high-speed video site. Great reference for fx artists and animators and people who just wanna see someone's face jiggle as a fist impacts it at high speed. How do you get a guinea pig for that? "Hey, Jim, come ere', I wanna film your face for a sec..."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Festival Updates and a bit of the (other) Potter...

Work is going well, but busy. It's hard to find time to update the sites. However, I did update The Potter site last night with the latest in festivals and the team page as well. I found out about 3 festivals in the past week which is pretty darn cool. It's a finalist in the Stash DVD GSAA comp so it'll be in one of those issues and Animation Magazine's Student Competition so there might be an image in that. I also found out that it was accepted to the Savannah Film Festival so I'll be heading back to Savannah in November. Thankfully it's then, and the hot humid days they're going through now will be long gone. Speaking of, some of the guys here are complaining that it's hot and the radio is making it sound like "Black August" or something. After living in the soup that is summer in Savannah, it feels just fine to me....reminds me of Oklahoma. I've gotta get caught up on blogs. I read an article last week in Time that I've been wanting to harp on a bit about Harry Potter in which the author feels a need to bash C.S. Lewis the whole time. I'm a huge fan of J.K. but I'd rather not have to read her praises juxtaposed against a poorly researched caricature of Lewis...reminds me of why I don't read the paper much any more. I'll get to it. I read the latest Potter book in a day and it was very, very good. I'm taking it piece meal now on my second time through. I'll wait a bit to write on that to give people plenty of time to read it without getting a spoiler from me. The 3rd is still my favorite...ah, well.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005

I'm a commuter...

For the past four years, my commute has consisted in getting up, walking 30 feet and sitting at my computer too start my freelancing day. Dress was "house casual" and lunch breaks were sitting and eating while watching a bit of TV. No more. I've joined the hustle and bustle of brake lights and 5 mph on the interstate and have to say that though it takes some getting used to, it's not that bad. Driving my 5 speed is much more enjoyable in traffic than my automatic for no other reason than it gives me the opportunity to keep my mind on something else and coast at times. My game of the week has been to see how long I can go in bumper to bumper standstill traffic without stopping. Nothing dangerous, just giving enough buffer room between me and the car in front of me that I don't have to slam on my brakes every time they touch theirs. I really don't understand how some people follow as closely as they do in this traffic. ANYTHING happens and you have a 20 car pile up in no time. The truck drivers leave a big buffer and they're on the road all the time, so I'm gonna follow their lead. Life in the big city. There must be some speciality of science to understand traffic patterns, cause I just don't get it. My drive time can be as short as 40 minutes to as long 2 hours. I haven't found any rhyme or reason to it. I can leave at the same time 3 days in a row and have completely different drive times. Forget about weather forecasts, I want traffic forecasts....

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Another week, entry

It was a good week-nothing crazy good or bad. Picked up another freelance gig which should be fun. A little cg add-on ladybug for a live action movie that filmed here in Savannah. My buddy Jon and I are gonna handle that. He's heading off to Europe for one last quarter before letting go of his school days, so hopefully we can get his match move knocked out early in the week. Made some good progress on a spot I'm doing for a little studio up in New York. I'm pumped to get to play with Tiko again. I'm grateful for the chance to work on some freelance gigs that involve some animation instead of just design. Good stuff, but gonna be a busy few weeks. I've been trying to decide what to spend my gift certificate money (grad gift from my brother and his wife, though the fact that its for a game store leads me to think my brother was making the call on that one...thanks, Mike!). I've been fighting the call of Azeroth for a long, long it time to give in.....? I gotta say Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has to be my new favorite cartoon. The get so much antic, squash and stretch and just fun-to-watch animation in the simple style, that you just gotta love it. That and, Bloo is selfishly awesome...he cracks me up. Had a good phone interview with a company and heard from some others. One is flying me out this week which I'm excited about. All of my packages have arrived at the studios I sent them out to, so I guess I'm in the waiting game to see if I get any responses there. All the responses so far have still been from posting on the web, so I guess that's a good way to go to get some response for my fellow job seekers.

Friday, June 3, 2005

Good news all around...

This morning, I read the blog (see "I got a rock") of a friend of mine who has been having some major bad luck. Things have been a bit wonky (spell check might not thing that's a word, but we know better) round here so I was hoping that I wasn't gonna start a streak of that myself. I worked a bit today on figuring out how to podcast for a clients site and found a great little how-to if anyone is interested and it worked like a charm. This afternoon brought nothing but good news in the form of a couple of freelance animation gigs. One of which I've been waiting for months to see if the funding was gonna be in place on their end for me to start and it is. Tiko will fly again... The other project I can't say much about yet, but I'm excited to see what comes of it. I should know more next week. How much I'll be able to divulge is another question entirely. Great way to start a weekend!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Whoah, boy!

I started animating a lip sync on Friday in an attempt to get one to beef up my reel before sending it out this week. I took some video reference with my new iSight and got to cracking. I've not done a 3d lip sync in a LONG time and it was bit daunting getting back into it until I remembered that it's just keyframes like any other animation. I got most of my blocking done Friday and made it into my linear tangent phase when I heard from a friend of mine in the industry who gave me a very good critique. The clip I'm using has a definite build up in the intensity of the character. His critique said that I was overacting and not giving any room for the intensity of the action to build with that of the dialogue. Better to push too far and pull it back than never stretching the limits. At least I read something to that effect in The Illusion of Life. Here's where I stopped: Overacting So, with that, I threw my keys back to stepped and started redoing some of my major keys and breakdowns to try to get a real build in intensity of action. While waiting to hear back on some work, I went ahead an broke down the mouth shapes. They're not quite on yet. My main concern is getting the new actions down. Much more work needs to be done, but here's where I stopped for the night: Remix I'm hoping to finish the animation up today (it's 2:00 in the morning as I write this) or tomorrow. My compliments to PJ Leffelman and whomever else from The Art Academy worked on this rig. It's solid. I gotta figure out how they did this fk to ik match and vice versa. I think Lowman has it as well. Fantastico!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

My hats off to the Art Institute of Washington...

I attended the Art Institute of Washington in 2001 for a few quarters. Made some good friends but decided I wanted to go to a different school and so transferred to Savannah College of Art and Design. To get my transcripts released, I had to get as special loan to cover all unmet costs. I did so, got my transcripts and moved to Savannah. Fast forward 4 years. So, last fall, I get a call from a collections agency saying that AI had put me in collections for a balance I owed. I had never heard a peep from them since I left so, suffice it to say, this was a bit of a surprise. Over the next few months we went over the details of how I'd paid and they wouldn't have released my transcripts if I hadn't, etc. etc. Every month it seemed, I'd get a call, tell the agency the same thing, and they'd say okay, we'll get back to you. Yesterday, I got a call from them again and she tells me that most people pay and the contest it. To which I replied that that didn't make any sense because when they have my money, what do they care? So I asked if there was anyway to work through this, call someone etc. She said I could call AI. So call them I did and left a message on the voice mail of the woman whom I was supposed to talk to explaining the situation and asking what I could do. This morning, I got a call from the agency saying that AI had contacted them and credited my account and we were square. So, thank you Art Institute for taking care of this, I'm very happy to have that monkey off my back.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Treasure trove for animator sound clips...

I'm probably 5 years late and a dollar short on this, but I just came across this site. If you're not taking a clip from the 10 second club, it can be a pain to find a good clip to animate from. If you're in that boat, stop by here.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Rhinos running in my head...

I finally finished up animation on the rhino and finished. The guys aren't done adding all of their fx stuff, so I did a basic render with the animation. It was a challenging project. There are some strange mechanics with trying to get an character to catch a moving object. I wasn't able to just animate a cycle and move a global controller because the feet had to "stick" for Jon to add his dust and impact effects. That made it a bit more challenging but a better learning experience. One of the more challenging aspects was attempting to get the weight right. Speaking of weight, I've started running to get some off. It's amazing how far you can fall off that wagon. In my time in the Corps, I would run 6 miles at a time, no sweat and had better than average 3 mile time. Whew, a few years sitting a computer animating most of my time took me from that to barely being able to run a few blocks. I found me a training regime which has is supposed to get me back up to running 3 miles again. It's one of those run 3 minutes, walk 2, run 5, walk 3 kinda things. I'm about half way through the program, am running half of my about 40 minute cycle and I feel loads better. I just wish Savannah wasn't so blazingly hot every time I wanna run. Perhaps I should run at a better time of day...naw, that'd be too easy.

Monday, May 9, 2005

Congrats to my buddy, David Bokser...

David and I both were selected as finalists for region 2 for the Student Academy Awards. Dave for Le Vieil Homme et Les Poissons and me for The Potter. I found out today that David was selected to go on to nationals. I just wanted to give Dave his props. He's a talented film maker and a good friend. I can't wait to see the final results and I really can't wait to see his next piece.

Sunday, May 8, 2005

Animal reference...

Been getting good feedback on the Rhino animation. Still got a good bit to go. However, Reed on CG Char was kind enough to point out a new resource to me. A site for animal video reference. Phenomenal stuff. Check it out.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Murphy up to his old tricks...

So I released The Potter yesterday and was absolutely blown away by the response in the forums. However, right about the same time I released it, my personal server where I host my site and The Potter site died. Thankfully a member of CGTalk let me host some mirror pages with the important info about the film and the sites finally decided to come back on a couple hours ago. I received an email from the SCAD tech department saying saying that we'd passed 10,000 downloads sometime this morning. Let's see 10,000 x 63 meg = a lot more bandwidth then I got. So, naturally, I'm very grateful to be able to host it there. I'm just blown away... ...back to animating.

Monday, May 2, 2005

The Potter is released...

After what seems like forever we're ready to release The Potter online. I'm looking for some hosting solutions that would allow me to release it full res, but I'm on metered bandwidth and can't take that chance of a fun over-your-limit bandwidth bill coming my way. So, without further ado.... • Quicktime - 480x270 (63 meg) Gotta get back to that rhino now...

Saturday, April 30, 2005 very, very quiet, I'm hunting...a job

So it turns out the job I thought I had lined up wasn't so lined up. It'll provide some freelance work still, but I gotta start paying back them loans before too long, so I'm back on the job hunt. I've been getting together a list of studios and companies I want to send stuff to and I gotta get a DVD demo reel together this week. I guess that entails designing the insert and finding cases too, so I best get crackin' on that. Been blocking out that Rhino animation a bit today and tomorrow Hunter tells me I will be able to pick up final sound for The Potter...yeah! ...back to the hunt...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Interview with Newtek went live...

William Vaughan of Newtek asked me to do a profile about "The Potter" after I showed him the piece. William is known as Proton on most of the boards online and is a huge asset to the Lightwave community in particular. He is also a guy that is free in sharing his knowledge and even his models at times. I'm very appreciative of his interest in the project. Here is the Profile.

Rhinos and Ads...

So, I'm animating a Rhino for a project for a couple of friends who worked on "The Potter." It's a match to live action project. Jon Campbell did the match move and Scott Spencer modeled the rhino and is doing the displacement maps for the big guy. They asked me if I'd animate the Rhino, and I said, "Sure." I've been working the last few days on getting the mechanics of the movement down in between my client work. Think I'm about done with the client stuff for a bit and will be able to really focus on this. I'll try and get some tests up soon. I also found out the school is doing an ad in Cinefex using a still from "The Potter." I got a hold of a pre press copy of the ad yesterday and thought it was pretty cool. This particular shot was animated by Ben Willis.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Business of Animation: A Commentary: Why Animated Films Are So Hard. Investing 101

The Business of Animation: A Commentary: Why Animated Films Are So Hard. Investing 101 Ran accross this today and thought it was a good read. A lot of my research lately has had to do with looking at what it takes for studios to get going, so this seemed to fit well. Good blogg altogether...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Very Candid Insights by Phil Vischer...

My buddy, Keith, just sent me a link for a painfully honest story of the fall of Big Idea. It's a long read, and a sad one, but for anyone thinking they may want to one day have their own company or run one, I think it's a must- Here it is.

Friday, April 22, 2005


So I grew up loving LucasArts games- Full Throttle, Sam and Max, Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango. So Tim Schafer, the guy behind many of those games, left LucasArts at some point and either started a little company called Double Fine Productions. I went and picked up my copy of Psychonauts last night and as soon as I got home, I threw it in the old XBox. The game just oozes style and I found my self laughing out loud more than once (every few minutes). I played for a few hours and thoroughly enjoyed it. The animating is actually very good for a game and the characters are all unique and entertaining just to look at. Raz especially has some nice little animation moments. A couple of times I just sat there in game listening to some of the characters yammer. Some of them would keep conversations going for a few minutes and were hysterical. One of the main premises of the game is that you go into other people's brains metaphysically. I've been in 3 so far and each was completely different both play mechanic wise and look wise. Right before calling it quits I got my ability to start fires. Being somewhat of a childhood pyro myself, I felt that was a good place to stop- before too much destruction ensued. If you're looking for a laugh and some funk in a game, check it out.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Frustrated New Mac Owner...

So I got my new mac laptop about a week ago. About a week later, Apple announced the upcoming release of Tiger. My friends who are mac owners told me I should get a discounted upgrade since I just bought the computer. Made sense to me. Most software publishers I've dealt with have had pretty generous upgrade grace periods- some as long as a few months. So I called up Apple and was surprised to discover that the cut off date for their "up-to-date" program that would have allowed the discount had a cut off of April 12. 3 days after my Mac shipped. I told the lady that seemed a little short for a grace period window and asked to speak to her supervisor. She transferred me directly and I asked her supervisor who frankly seemed to me more irked that her underling had transferred me than about my issue. She asked for the first girls name and I just said I didn't know because I didn't want to get her in trouble. She said she would transfer me to someone who would help which ended up to be a stupid phone message loop of, "Press 1, press 2, no, you can't talk to someone." So I hung up and emailed Apple my frustration. I've not heard back to any of my emails to them, so I'm not holding my breath. Lesson learned here- If you're thinking about purchasing a Mac and they're "close" to releasing a new OS. Wait till they announce the release date and you'll save yourself $120 bucks or so. Guess I'll wait a while to upgrade.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

This Week (so far)

You ever have one of those weeks where you can't seem to get any traction? Well, this is one of those for me. Lots been going on but not been getting a whole lot done. I got my first Mac ever - a little 12 inch power book. So, that's been taking some getting used to, but I really like it. I got it to journal on, think on and plan on. I guess we'll see how it goes. I found this sweet little app MacJournal It's just pretty slick and let's me have multiple journals for thinking and planning and story writing. Also, for you bloggers out there, it connects to your blogg. Migration is usually such a hassle. I was also pleased to find that my Thunderbird mail and settings was a piece of cake coming from the PC to the Mac. All you have to do is copy your profile folder on the PC, transfer those files to the mac and replace your profile data files with the ones from the PC and Whazaa! everything was there- rules, mail, blogg subscriptions. Great stuff. I found out this morning that The Potter got accepted to another festival which is very cool. This one is in Italy. My buddy Dave's film got accepted too which is double sweet. The festival is Cortoons. I was having a few issues with their website, so no promises there- I think it may be a Firefox thing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Some good thoughts from Brad Bird...

A new friend of mine (Dustin Ryland- get a site so I can link to ya man) sent me some great insights from one of the great ones. Brad Bird on the duties of an animation director… • Do we understand the characters? • Are their motivations believable? • Do we feel something? • Can we follow the plot? • Is anything dragging? • Do we clearly understand the spatial relationships when they are important? • What is the timing of an edit? • What is the composition of shots? • When does music come into play? What kind of music is necessary here? . . . These things take a tremendous amount of thought , but for me the bottom line is Storytelling is Storytelling. And you either get them to feel something, weather it be feeling, scared or laughing at something, or feeling sad. Or you don't. This is from the Incredibles DVD- at least my friends's quick notes.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Last Week...

Last week I went home to visit fam and friends as I'd not been home in about a year and a half. Hopefully, now that school is out, there won't be a repeat of that. One cool thing was that I discovered that a guy that had worked at my church growing up had in fact been in the industry for a long, long time and is now working at a studio he helped set up in Oklahoma City - Everytribe Entertainment. We sat down at a BBQ place that'd I'd not been to before that was slobber-like-a-fool good. If you're in OKC, look up Smedley's. His company is doing live action, but he had a lot of insight to offer on movie making in general. I was very appreciative of him letting me pick his brain for a few hours. I got the chance to visit a couple of studios last week in Dallas which was very slick indeedy. I was fortunate enough to visit DNA and ReelFX both. Headed over to DNA first and met up with a new acquaintance who was kind enough to offer to show me round. I took a little peek at their facilities and was gonna try and get some feedback on my reel, but my DVD wouldn't work on his box. I tested on Mac, tested on PC, but neglected to test on the little penguin that could. Oh well. A group of guys there went out to eat at a place called Red Robin which was very good- juicy burgers and tasty shakes. I had a great time chit chatting and even met a guy there who graduated from SCAD last year and found out we had a common friend in David Bokser as well...small world. From there I headed downtown into wonderful Dallas downtown noon traffic and drove around in circles till I found the hidden street sign signifying the road I was seeking. Namely, the one where ReelFX's new place was. Met up with a friend of a friend there and he showed me around. They've got a huge new facility. I met some nice people there and had a good time chatting with a couple of them. I finally met Keith Lango there which is cool cause I can finally put a face to a name as I'm a big fan of his tutorials. I also met Mark Behm at DNA which nice because I've been a fan of his stuff for a long while. All in all, last week was very cool all round.

Starting my Blog...

Well, seems like every cool person on the net bloggs. Maybe cool is an overstatement. I've seen some pretty cheezy ones. I'm also counting geek-chic in that assumption, so consider yourself warned. I've been using a pretty good app for news articles for it, but a blogg allows for the a bit more free thought- which is a good thing. This'll end up being a mosh-posh of thoughts collected from other places as well as a few of my own.

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