I'm changing servers...my site might be a little wonky for a few days.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Sunday, December 3, 2006
Saturday night, a buddy and I headed to Northern Chicago to see Andrew Peterson and friend's Behold the Lamb of God Concert. It was a amazing. Andrew has some talented friends who "accompanied" him for the concert - Derek Webb, Andy Gullahorn, Jill Phillips, Sandra McCracken, and Eric Peters. They're all a part of a consortium/collaboration/whatever of artists called Square Peg Alliance. The first half of the concert was a round robin of the group of talented friends taking turns singing a song from their individual albums accompanying eachother and telling funny stories between songs. It was the first time I'd really heard Eric Peters and I really liked his stuff. I was already a fan of the rest so it was nice to find another artist to listen to and I picked up one of his CD's at the intermission. After the break, they went straight into the Behold the Lamb of God set without any talk between songs- just one majestic anthem after another. They had some very talented other artists supporting them and, of course, one of my favorite instruments - hammer dulcimer baby! If you can catch him another time, I highly recommend it.
About a month ago I was talking to a friend about the moon and had a poetic moment... She walks across the azure field; Behind a vaporous veil she moves- Cycled grace tinting her shroud with light; Peering though a vapored veil, She breaks forth in glorious display- Pearl of the night, Watcher of day; She considers, she reflects Light not her own, She shines with glory rebounding- The light of fiery King of watchful space, Whose vivid rays trace earth’s rim to find her face and in love, un-dim.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Saturday, October 7, 2006
No art updates today, but just wanted to drop a note to say that I'm so thankful for this gift we're given called "life". A year ago about this time life sucked. There's no nice way to put it. There's probably some more descriptive non-G ways, but we'll just say it sucked. However, it's amazing the differences a year can bring. Andrew Peterson's words come to mind:
What's that on the ground? It's what's left of my heart Somebody named Jesus Broke it to pieces And planted the shards And they're coming up green They're coming in bloom I can hardly believe This is all coming true Just as I am and just as I was Just as I will be He loves me, He does He showed me the day that He shed His own blood He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does All of my life I've held on to this fear Its thistles and vines Ensnare and entwine What flowers appeared It's the fear that I'll fall One too many times It's the fear that His love Is no better than mine (but He says that) Just as I am and just as I was Just as I will be He loves me, He does He showed me the day that He shed His own blood He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does He loves me, oh, He loves me, He does It's time now to harvest What little that grew This man they call Jesus Who planted the seeds Has come for the fruit And the best that I've got Isn't nearly enough He's glad for the crop But it's me that He lovesThe seasons of life have changed a bit more slowly than those of the earth in the past year, but they're changing all the same. The winds are shifting, the leaves are changing, and I sense in the air that a time of harvest is near. We don't know how many trips around the merrigoround we're going to have. Life can seem so concrete in one moment then in the next as dust being blown by the wind sifting through our fingers as we try to hold on to just one more speck. In the words of a missionary who lost his life attempting to share his life, "Wherever you are, be all there." Life can be so wasted in deadend thoughts of wishing we were somewhere else, wanting to be someone else, doing something else. There is no one on earth nor has there been anyone quite like you. That is what my faith teaches. Our lives are gifts and each moment is precious. So, here I sit grateful at the life I've been given. It's not what I expected but it's an adventure all the same. In the vallies we crawl and grow. On the mountains we stand in awe. I've been coming out a long valley and climbing a tough road with more than a few helping hands along the way. The crest of this hill is in sight and I can't wait to see what lies ahead. Grateful for the journey- a trail marked out by wounded feet and a wounded hand on my shoulder to guide. Thankful for a God who gave His Son to adopt me as His own.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Why no updates? Well, there hasn't been a whole heck of a lot going on. However for my family's sake, I'll try and provide at least a rudimentary update.
- Beards - Some of the guys at work and I have decided to grow beards. I'm pretty sure Randy is gonna have the biggest. The fall is coming and might as well have a bit of fur on the face. I had a goatee for about 5 years and have been clean shaven for about a year now. After I shaved my goatee last fall I happened to be in California visiting my brother and his family for Thanksgiving. My nephew who had always known me with a goatee grabbed my face, rubbed my bare cheek, looked me in the eye and said, "I like you like this. You look like my dad." I think I'm heading back there for Turkey time this year again. I reckon I'll have shaved again by then - wouldn't wanna disappoint the nephew.
- Biking - I've been riding my bike a lot. I really dig the trails around my place. Been doing around 30 mile rides at least one day on the weekends on my trail bike. I don't think I'd wanna go much further off roading. The weather has been starting to cool off, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to ride during the cool mornings that will soon be more cold then cool. However, I'm looking forward to the spring when I think a road bike purchase might be in order for some long distance riding.
- Buffoons - Sorry, wanted to keep the "B" motif:) This one is actually on The Office which is barnone the best comedy on television right now. The humor is a little dark and episodes can be squirmingly uncomfortable, but that's what makes it great. I picked up season two on DVD last week and thoroughly enjoyed the deleted scenes and commentaries in prep of the season opener tonight. Tonight's episode was expectedly unexpected. SPOILER ALERT......SPOILER ALERT....Jim took a stand at the end of last season and now the results are being reaped. Pam called off the wedding. Who'd have thunk she'd have had the courage for that. Roy wants to win her back (I actually felt a bit of compassion for Roy tonight for the first time in the series as he's pretty much just been a tool for for the past two seasons). His DUI photo was pathetic. He seems to actually have some genuine idea of what he's lost and wants a second chance. Michael came through this episode with remarkably inept leadership which, of course, inadvertently led to much hilarity. Buffoonery at it's pinacle.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
By some cruel twist of fate, I was never properly aquainted with Mr. Charles Dickens in my high school reading. This is strange because while back home recently I discovered a list from my high school senior english class and "A Tale of Two Cities" is smack on the list. I don't remember a word of it. I wanna say that we never got to it, but anyone who knows me knows that my memory isn't my best feature and it's highly possible that the book simply took no hold on me at the time. Regardless, it's back on my list. I finished Oliver Twist last night and it was excellent. It's a bitter sweet tale of loss and bliss at the same time. From the stupid introduction I learned that it's one of his earliest books and not thought to be one of his best. It also annoyingly revealed a major plot point which then caused me to cease reading said intro. Lesson - Don't read the introductions to classics before reading the book. I read some Jane Austin last spring and enjoyed it immensely, however Dickens paints the victorian world in decidedly different hues. I don't know enough of the era to know all of the facts, but I don't think I'd have wanted to have been a pauper in those days. He is a master of illuminating description even in this early work; I can't wait to see what he does in his later ones. Here's one of my more favorite passages in which someone is calling to his mind faces from the past:
He wandered over them again. He had called them into view and it was not easy to replace the shroud that had so long concealed them. There were the faces of friends, and foes, and of many that had been almost strangers peering intrusively from the crowd; there were the faces of young and blooming girls that were now old women; there were faces that the grave had changed and closed upon, but which the mind, superior to its power, still dressed in their old freshness and beauty, calling back the lustre of the eyes, the brightness of the smile, and beaming of the soul through its mask of clay, and whispering of beauty beyond the tomb, changed but to be heightened, and taken from the earth only to be set up as a light, to shed a soft and gentle glow upon the path to Heaven.Beautiful. Writing like this reminds me why I love books so much.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Currently Reading - Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens Friday, I headed down to the heated plains of Oklahoma City. Dadgum, it's hot down there. Friday, I think it was 106. That's not heat index, my Chicago friends who think 92 is unbearable, but actual temp. I'm not even sure what the heat index was. The day was pretty good, my step dad picked up from the airport and I went and picked up some burgers at Johnnies (you must get a burger there if you are ever in town) and took them over to my uncle and grandmother for a visit. That evening it turned out that my cousin was coming in town to visit his girlfriend at OU and so I went out to get a bite to eat with them for dinner. We wanted to hit Zeo's (which is a pretty good Italian place I hear), but didn't have time for the wait so headed next door for some soup and sandwiches from Panera Bread. So, it's been 10 years since I graduated high school. That just seems nuts to me, but they had this reunion thing this weekend and lots of people from my class showed up so I guess it's true. Friday night, we met at a bar in downtown OKC - Bricktown as it's called now and is pretty sweet. It started a little slow, but more folk mingled in as time went on. It's funny how little some people changed and how much others did. Interesting, eyes don't seem to change much at all and most people I could recognize without too much difficulty and some of them I hadn't seen since graduation. Saturday, we had a little picnic where there was rather low attendance due to the hell-on-earth heat. However, many of those that did come brought their kids which was cool to see. More than a few kids coming out of the class of '96 so far, but I imagine the 20 year will show an even more plentiful bounty. That night, we had the banquet which was pretty cool. I snagged a table with some old friends and had a good time chatting the night away with all kind of folk. Some people I really wanted to see didn't make it - Amanda, Russell and Trevor from art and Rusty (though I'm told he prefers Russ now). Overall, it was a lot of fun - hearing where everyone had been and what they'd done. I'm glad everyone is so well. Good times.
Monday, August 14, 2006
In the year 1914, Thomas Edison's "invention factory" (as he called it) burned to the ground. Of that disaster, he is quoted as saying, "All of our mistakes have been destroyed. In a new factory we can start our experiments with a clean slate." Several years ago, I had a hard drive die and I lost a good bit of work for a horrific few weeks. However, I had a good backup and at most lost a month of work. I've actually thought that my back up system I've been following for years now has been pretty sound. I usually have two back up drives backing up my main work drive. That seemed like a pretty good method. Well, after I finished school I let one of my back ups go and only had one. I thought that would still be plenty. Two months ago, I had a hard drive fail. My main work drive that is. I worked about a week on the main drive trying to get it back and it just wouldn't respond. I tried absolutely every diagnostic app I could find (windows or bootable) to no avail. I was in the middle of my freelance gig and didn't have time to mess with it, so put it aside thinking I'd get backup drive and be up and running when I had some time. So, when the project was done, I tried that. Come to find out, the back up drive didn't seem to wanna respond either. I figured I'd be able to fix em...prolly just a bad sector or something. This past weekend, I finally got a replacement drive and installed it and took a hard look at my backup. I ran some diagnostics and.... Dead as a doornail. Uh oh. So, it appears that I've lost the past 6 years of freelance, reference, school and personal work. The only things I have are my most recent project, The Potter and an assortment of 3d projects. Where this mainly sucks is that I've lost all the source files for all of the websites I've done. So, the next update to my site other than the blog is going to be a complete redesign. That's not such a bad thing, it's been a while. However, I did lose a few things I'd have rather not have. Now, I could pay some outlandish $1k or more to try and have a company recover the data, but I'm not gonna do that. It's just stuff and that's a lot of moola. So, like Edison (and pretty much only in this way as he was an absolute genius), I've got a clean slate. Not really all that bad of a place to be when you really think about it.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
His hat is pretty close to done (sans texturing). I've been staying late at work late the past week cause my carpool friend has had to be around. It's been good time to focus on Olaf here. Next, I think I'm gonna start blocking out his body. However, this weekend, I've gotta do another promotional thing with Tiko. For that, a Hawaiian shirt is in order...Aloha. Other than that, this weekend will be comprised of getting ready for a trip to OKC next week and my cousin and his girlfriend are coming over for dinner on Sunday. For that, I'm making some of my creamy pesto pasta and some home made ice cream. Should be fun. Out.
Monday, August 7, 2006
But still got a good ways in. More importantly, I learned how to properly use Silo's topology brush...wow. Talk about sweet. Here's Olaf's template hat. I wanna get some feed back from Cory before I really get into details. Hopefully we can touch base later today (it's almost 1am now). Today was a pretty good day, I got up and went for a nice little 4 mile jog in some nasty humidity. After I worked out, I headed to church, then headed to Texas Roadhouse for lunch cause I felt like some steak. I used to eat at one in Savannah, and they just put one in about 3 blocks from my apartment complex, so I thought I'd give this one a shot to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was. After that I headed to the bike store cause my buddy said they were having a sale. We've been riding bikes together some and he'd been harping on me to get some real biker shorts. Now, as I was growing up, biker shorts just meant spandex. However, he told me that they have actual padding in the shorts (kinda like a mini pillow woven into the tight-tastic material). So, I picked up a pair and some shades on sale (half off, baby!) and headed to the grocery store. When I finally got home, I decided my new shorts needed a trial run and listened to that stupid little voice again for another 17 mile trek. The humidity was gone by then and it was actually a really nice ride. This evening has pretty much been hanging out with Olaf and my attempted "sewing" attempts for his hat. Much to do. But for now, it's bed time.
Sunday, August 6, 2006
After I got in this evening, I spent a bit of time relaxing, then got back to working on getting Olaf some bug protection for those speedy motorcycle rides. For the most part, I think they're there (but there's always room for improvements). Tomorrow...or later today rather....I'm gonna work on his hat so he doesn't get sunburned!
Saturday, August 5, 2006
Started off this mornin' with at 17 mile ride. I had no intention of going that far, that stupid little voice just kept saying, "Just a little bit further before you turn around....just a little more." Ah, well. Beautiful weather out. Did a few tweaks on Olaf this afternoon and did a quick planning concept from which to do his hat and goggles. I love this character, he's gonna be so much fun to animate. Gotta head out...
Friday, August 4, 2006
Thursday, August 3, 2006
So I ran across this little gem of an article today. Thankfully, this one isn't about politics. Looks like neither side is telling the truth. If I ran my finances like this, I'd be in bankruptcy court or collections...who exactly runs collections on the Feds? Makes it understandable why lots'a folk wanna just have a beer and sit in front of the tube and pretend everything is just dandy.
Labels: Politics are Stupid
Wednesday, August 2, 2006
I forgot about this. I had heard about this bus last year after I left school but never saw it. A buddy from college sent me this pic a few months ago and I just found it on my iconrific desktop. This should probably be the end of The Potter stuff...that is until "The Potter 2: Revenge of the clay!" Just kidding. We've been very blessed with how folk have taken to it. My continual thanks go to my good friends who helped bring it about - Scott Englert, Ben Willis, Scott Spencer, Jon Campbell, Will Atkin, David Bokser , Hunter Curra, and Matthew Parrot. You can see what everyone did here.
Labels: The Potter
Sunday, July 30, 2006
First things first, I started Olaf this weekend. I started off by installing Lightwave 9 since I hadn't had a chance to play with it while I was finishing the last gig (done in 8.5 and didn't wanna jinx things). I'm enjoying it. The new edge tools are great and I love the new 4+point sub-d's. Bout time. I think I'm still gonna pick up Silo which I've been playing with at work in my downtime. It's a great mix of Maya and Lightwave modeling to me and is hard to beat for $100. Anyways...so, on Saturday afternoon, I started by taking a hard look at Cory's drawings and trying to get a feel for what that would look like in 3d. Illustrators tend to not worry so much about staying "on model" when they do their illustrations. They're more concerned with the single image then a consistent moving one, so I tried to pick out the key facial landmarks I could. I did some of my own quick studies to try and get a hand on it, drew some quick modeling images and started up. I spent most of last night on starting to model while also refamiliarizing myself with modeling again. I've not really done any serious modeling in some time...especially character modeling. I looked at it this morning before heading to church and saw the utter crap that it was and decided to start over when I got home. After church, I picked up some modeling clay and spent a good bit of this afternoon experimenting with Olaf's head "in the round". When I was satisfied I had a better understanding (and convinced of the feableness of my sculpting abilities), I started again. The above image is where I'm at. LONG way to go, but can't wait to have this character ready to move around. He's gonna be a ball to animate. Many thanks again to Cory for letting me give him a CG breath of life:)
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Holy cheerios, Batman! I'm DONE with my freelance gig. I'm burning the DVD's for the client now. Whoo hoo! It'll be a bit till I can update my site cause well, that hard drive crash I had a few weeks back took out all of my web source work. So, now that this is done, I have to get another hard drive to start unpacking my backups onto to see if what I've lost forever, and what I've got sitting in an archive somewhere. Good times. As soon as the client get's the DVD ready for sale, I'll post a link cause I know you'll wanna help Tiko pay for his pear eating addiction;)
Friday, July 21, 2006
My friends over at Portland Studios have started a blog. They're a great bunch of phenomenally talented artists that I love to work with any chance I can. In fact, my next personal project is a collaboration with Cory to take one of his great characters into the THIRD DIMENSION MWAAA HAA HAAA... ...err...something like that;) Sorry for stealing the pic Cory;)
First, the sigh - My freelance gig is completely rendered, composited and template setup for the client. All I have to do now is a few promotional things for the DVD cover, advertising, behind the scenes, etc. Holy moly am I ready to be done. Now for the movie. Earlier this week, one of the guys invited us to see The Ant Bully at the IMAX. His girlfriend had a lead on getting premiere passes through her work. Very little arm twisting was necessary to get me on board. So, Tuesday after work we headed to the Navy Pier and got a bite to eat at healthy and wholesome McDonald's. A 10 pack of chicken nuggets, fries and a diet coke later I was lethargically rarin' to go. I don't eat fast food very often at all anymore. Something in my system decided a few years ago to punish me every time I surrendered to the greasy caloric gluttony. Punish me it does. We then headed to the movie and received our swank 3d shades...
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Short of it - Good writing, interesting characters, and exciting ride. Long of it - So, apparently this is a pretty well known book, eh?....;) I decided to see what all the hype was about. I actually started with Angels and Demons which was a great novel and was glad I did for some of the allusions to that story found in The Da Vinci Code. However, having finished the second and first books, I have to say that it seems pretty apparent that Mr. Brown has some major issues with the Catholic church. I'm not Catholic and didn't really take offense, but it's pretty blatent. That being said, he is a very talented author who weaves a pretty engaging fictional tale. I really enjoyed both books. There was quite an uproar right before the movie came out (I didn't see it cause I hadn't read the book) from some Christians who wanted the movie censored. As someone who tries to follow Jesus, I gotta say that I don't think that was a good way to go about it. Yes, there's some pretty wild claims put forth by Mr. Brown, but if someones faith can be rocked by a "historical" piece of fiction, they need it to be shaken so that they can figure out exactly what it is they believe. The "fact page" of the book really doesn't go so far as to claim (in as much as I can see) that Mr. Brown is purporting his theories as fact. The details of the "fact page" are intentionally narrow in scope. In particular,
All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.I imagine the descriptions are quite accurate. His interpretations and theories are very much open to debate- as is painfully obvious by the uproar:) I'm not gonna go into detail on why I disagree with certain theories. I don't know that I have a good enough memory nor the knowledge to write intelligently to that, but I've read many of "extra" gospels he refers to in the book. He doesnt' refer to all of them - there are quite a few and he does a fair bit of cherry-pickin'. In my early 20's I went through a phase of questioning my faith and I read a lot of texts that are beyond the "cannon" of the Protestent Bible and in doing so, it was painfully obvious why many of the texts didn't make the cut. However, the Catholics have a few more books that the protestants (namely, the Apocrypha), and the Eastern Orthodox others still. As far as I know, most of those have to do with the Old Testatment. In regards to the "lost gospels", if we suddenly found a document that claimed to be a testament of the life of Abraham Lincoln and it said that Abe in fact led an invasion of western China we might just pause a moment to compare that to what we already knew before just accepting it at face value. I'm comfortable with the idea the Bible I have is the one I have for a reason. I imagine that most people will believe what they want to believe as the character, Robert Landon, himself points out in the book. If you want to believe that Jesus was just a man and has no claim on your heart and are willing to accept fiction as fact, this book is a very entertaining way to get you there. If you want to find out actual facts, perhaps starting in the non-fiction aisle is a better place to begin.
Friday, July 14, 2006
- Never ending rendering - So my never ending project is about at an end. I really can't thank the client enough for being patient. Let's just say that rendering at HD res adds just a "wee" bit of render time AND Lightwave doesn't render the hypervoxels so fast at that res. I'm pretty tired of not having my main computer. That and losing a hard drive a few weeks back makes me ready to give my computer a little break. About 30 frames to go!
- Running after being sick - I was sick for about 3 weeks. Not too bad of sickness - tired all the time, headaches, etc. So for about that much time I didn't really jog. So last week, I tried to start up again. Wow did I lose a lot of my runnin' mojo. Before I got sick, I was running 6 miles most days and close to 10 every other weekend. This week, I started at completing 2 of my 4 mile circuit and after a week of it, I'm only barely back at 4. The funny thing is I lost nothing on the lifting front....strange.
- Pirates of the Caribbean - Saw this last weekend with some friends. To get ready for it, I watched the first one the night before. The movie was a fantastic popcorn flick...just a whole lot of fun. It was a little long, but not too bad. On the special effects front I just have to say, "Wow!" Davy Jones is the most amazing cg character I have yet seen on the screen. The greatness of Golum has been eclipsed and my mind is still reeling at the how's of it. It was a special effects smorgasborg and I can't wait to pick up the DVD to see the behind the scenes.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I have been under the weather for a few days and in and out of town with guests the last few weeks AND trying to get my gig rendered (should be done in the next week and a half or so!). I will try to get caught up soon:) In the meantime, here is a sweet little link with production art from one of the best animated shows currently on television.
Friday, June 9, 2006
This is a quickie. I had a great week last week and wanna jot down a bit about it when I get some time, but right now I'm a bit short on that commodity. However, I saw this pic and thought it was pretty darn sweet so wanted to pass it a long. Check the article!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
- Keith Lango is moving to Brazil! He's gonna set up shop so he can animate and help people too. I think that's just pretty awesome.
- God has been kind enough to give me some small windows of rainless time to run outside as He knows my disdain for treadmills....thanks, God:)
- I'm heading to Oklahoma City next week to see my mom and some of my fam AND my aspiring comedian cousin is moving to Chicago in two weeks so it'll be great having some family local as well. He's a very talented guy and I'm sure he'll do great.
- Stranglehold (my main project at work now) showed very well at E3 and is looking pretty amazing. I think it's gonna be a pretty sweet game when it's done.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Friday, May 5, 2006
Here's a test render of Tiko last night from my freelance gig that should (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, prays intensely) be done this month. This particular shot is being animated by my good friend Keith Osborn who was kind enough to help me out in getting this gig done. In other news:
- By buddy Keith (from above) started a new company - Lasso the Moon Animation. I can't wait to see what he does.
- My brother started a blog. He has a passion for writing as well and is a very talented guy.
- Started reading another by C.S. Lewis and am continually amazed at his ability to communicate the most complex of concepts in laymen's terms
- My workload at work for E3 has slowed down after the big push last week. I can't wait till this game is done. It's looking absolutely amazing. So, with some down time Scott and I are fixing to start on some R&D for facial rigging for a new game. Fun stuff. Scottie is a scripting genius though he doesn't like to admit it;)
- Vonage is rocking!
Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Someone did some pretty cool little comparison of animation reuse in Disney films. I didn't notice any but maybe one of these but had just chopped it up to perhaps to some Deja Vu'. This is prolly pretty uninteresting to any but a fellow animation nut. Reusing work seems to make pretty good sense to me. Good animation is good animation.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
So, yesterday was around 70 degrees in the Chicago metropolitan area. This morning I woke up hoping for an outside run when I checked the weather. Mid 30's and likely rain. Ug. So I headed to the gym and spent a bit of time with the treadmill. On the drive in to work, it went from rain to frozen rain to snow flakes in as I crawled through the morning commute. Wacky. So far, I'm really liking Vonage. The fact that it emails me when I have messages and I can listen to those message from anywhere I have net access is just sweet. It transferred my old number over just fine and so far the service has ben more than I'd hoped for. I think I can give it a probationary two thumbs up. Last week was misreable. If you don't have allergies, I don't know if you can quite understand. We allergic folk approach spring with mixed emotions. There is usually about at one or two week window whem lots of trees and flowers are filling the air with their watery-eyes, nose running, violent sneeze inducing pollen. Every year I think I'm over them, but every year they come back and hit me like a mack truck. I'm going to the doc tomorrow to get some meds. Thankfully, it looks like the botanical air party is about over and I can get back outdoors. Work has been a bit busy as of late with the march up to E3, but nothing too crazy. Other than that, Life is good. Very good:)
Saturday, April 8, 2006
I had the great pleasure this week of enlighting a friend to the amazing world of the Jackalope. Growing up in the midwest, I am, of course, aware of one of the great treasures of fly-over-country-America. Drive I-40 or I-35, and you're sure to find countless novelty shops and gas stations selling stuffed Jackalopes. Though I'm sad to see the little critters there and not bounding across the fruited plains like some miniature balls of antlered energy. They must be plentiful for them to be so readily available for purchase. Some people might claim that it's just a rabbit with antelope horns glued to it's head, but those folk just don't have a clue...I've not seen any zoological studies on the natural habitat of this imaginative little critter, but I'm sure it'll be published soon. Next time you're driving across the great plains, sure you might see some buffalo, antelope, prairie dogs and other such average creatures, but you make sure you keep an eye out for our beloved little Jackalopes... ...seriously, you'll puncture a tire on those horns if you're not paying attention. So it's been another week of fun at work and I've been spending a good deal of time on the phone talking to the great state of Pennsylvania. So much so that I picked up a Vonage this weekend. I'll post some thoughts when I've used it a bit. One of the coolest bits of news from the week is that Apple is making it so the new intel macs can dual boot to Apple's OS (a thing of simple elegance that I am coming more and more around to) and Windows XP (brute force that works...most of the time). My next computer purchase may just have to be....*gasp*....a mac workstation. My brother will be proud - he's a machead.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
Song of the day - "Even Rats" - The Slip I'm a bit tardy in wrapping up my L.A trip, though I don't imagine there's too many people waiting for the close (except maybe my mom, "Hey, Mom!":). For her sake I'll close it off. Monday, I went for another nice jog in the morning and took a dip to swim a few (very few) laps. Then I headed down to meet up with Dave and some old SCAD friends at their studio. I hung out for a bit and Tracy made me draw her a caricature to put next to Daves over her desk (Dave's was better). It's funny what a small world it is. I got to talking to another of the animators there and he was a good friend of my art director on the project I'm on at Midway. Go figure. We decided to go out for a bite and I had cuban for the first time. It was a awesome. I got the Vegetariono (awful spelling I'm sure) that had blackbeans over white rice, carmelized plaintains and some interesting (but tasty) potatoes. To close it off, I had a bit of mango cheesecake which was incredible. I LOVE cheescake. We split up on the way back and I headed back to the hotel and took a little rest - processed some pictures and wrote a couple of emails. My mentor came to get me and we headed to North Hollywood for the film festival part and got there early on my bad intel so decided to get a bite to eat at Pizza place across the road. There was a nice cold drizzle with a rather warm temp (compared to Chicago evenings). It felt nice - I actually like a little cool mist in the air every now and then. When we finished up the meal and chatting we headed back over and saw the festival. There were some amazing films. I especially enjoyed "Tycho's Nova" and "Love Letter" (whose site doesn't appear to be up quite yet). They only showed the first place winners, I'd have liked to have seen the rest. I'm gonna try and track em down on the web when I get some down time. Tuesday, I went for a walk on Sunset Blvd and picked up a couple more books. I was also able to snag an "In and Out" Burger which, though tasty, had nothing on a OKC Johnnie's burger. The flight out was great with a breathtaking view of sunset over eastern California mountains and the Mojave desert. The rest of the week at work was cool. Nothing too crazy. However, Friday the game team went out for some Whirlyball fun. Nothing special this weekend except some freelance and running (both errands and the physical type). Hopefully my brother and I can hook up some iSight video chat so I can see him and the muchkin nephews. Good times. (Disclaimer: Sentimental babbling follows) I had a hard conversation with a friend today. It was hard, but it was good one. A lot of things are like that. Life doesn't have a handbook that makes finding your way easy. Heck, God didn't even really provide one in the Bible - most of it is stories of people stumbing through life just like us, meeting God along the way, and finding what life is like after that. Life is meant to be hard, it's meant to make us who we're supposed to be. I imagine that an easy life wouldn't be that much fun - like playing a video game on easy mode or going back to reading See Spot Run after having worked through Shakespeare. Growth is implied in our existence - we see it in the world around us in plants, animals, even celestial bodies. There's times that God is silent to me and there's times He's as real as my own skin. He's been very real lately and that's a blessing, but I know a time will come when I'll cry to the heavens and only hear the answer of my own echoing voice. I've been there before and I'll be there again. Life seems to be less about stoically marching along some certain path than stumbling through it together - sometimes you lean on another and sometimes they lean on you. The time comes when you find yourself on the precipice again and you don't know exactly will happen if you take that step - will you be dashed against the rocks or plunge into the sea? Only one way to find out. But for now, I've gotta wait.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
What a great morning. I got up, spent some time reading the book of Matthew a bit and went out to enjoy the absolutely glorious weather. So, I threw on my running shoes and was out the door. I started off going north towards some small mountains hoping I could find a way up them. I jogged a couple of miles and found a promising road with about a 15 degree incline and started up it (half way up, my jog became a rather labored hike). The road ended, but I spied a nice deer trail so started up the mountain. When I got to the top of one of it’s forks I took a seat and enjoyed the early morning sun washing downtown Hollywood in a glowing haze. To the east a few small sky scrappers climbed through the mist. To the North rolling mountains progressively turning blue on their march towards the horizon. Glorious. Thanks for the view, God. At that point I was wishing I brought along my camera - that is until I started back down the mountain. I had hoped to find a road up top to take back town but found jack squat except private property security fences so I headed back down the way I came - almost tumbling down more times than I’d like to admit. But, it was an adventure:) The best part of running up hills is running back down them. I love running down hills being on that verge of going so fast you’re going to take a rather nasty spill but not quite there - you’re running faster than you could ever run on a flat stretch. Like I said yesterday, I’m a goob. I ran back past the hotel and decided to run down hollywood strip where all the theaters stand and the star’s stars checker the sidewalk. On the way, I made note of a couple to come back to and headed back to the hotel, worked out a little in the gym and hopped in the pool. I miss swimming. I gotta find a place to go in Chicago. Running around L.A., I’m struck by a few thoughts- 1) many women here seem to have a peculiar allergy to clothing which seems to be particularly heightened at night which presents itself as wearing as little as possible or as tight as possible. 2) men who are young dress to look older and chic and men who are old dress to look young and hip. It’s a city of facades - of wanting to be thought more than one is. However, these are just the thoughts of a midwestern boy who probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about. After I cleaned up, it was time to get out to try out the camera a bit more. So I took lots of photos of stuff - if something looked halfway interesting, I prolly took a picture of it.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
First things first, I got my kickin new camera AND my business cards yesterday which was quite the treat. So expect Lots - o - pictures. I started off the day to about 3 hours of sleep on account of scrambling to get some stuff together I had been counting on Kinkos to help me out with the previous evening. (Kinkos, I’m sorry, but we’re done) It would be ingenuous to place all of the blame squarely on their shoulders as I could have taken care of a lot of it earlier in the week, but I didn’t - I’m a goob. So I finished up everything about 3 am and got up at 6:15am or so sans alarm (the internal clock is still beating my digital one by about 40 minutes every day) and went and worked on on the mind numbing treadmill, got up and around and my roommate took me to the airport about 9:45. It’s awesome not traveling on the holidays, it took next to no time to get through security and to the boarding area. I hit the jackpot on my seat in the plane, I was in the first coach row after first class and my seat jutted out in the aisle a little so I had all the leg room I could possibly want (that is for my short little hobbit legs). It’s the mental comfort of knowing IF I was 6’ tall, I’d be just fine. My co-row passengers were a mom and daughter coming to Cali to decide if the daughter wanted to take a job here. They were nice folk and the mom was reading Captivating which was written by an author I really enjoy so we had something to chat about for a bit AND she gave me a stick of beef jerky and some big pretzel sticks so my meal-less fight wasn’t such a famine. When we were done chatting, I through on the IPod and enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes - reading. I finished one book and started another. The second was about a laugh a page for most of the remainder 4 1/2 hour flight. Donald Miller is an author that weaves insight and mirth into a fine tapestry of story that speaks to me in a way few authors do. He’s a bit like C.S. Lewis but more “everyman.” The shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel was entertaining. For one, I saw this:
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Song of the day - "This World" - Caedmon's Call - Self Titled Album Today was amazing outside and I was out most of the day to enjoy it. I headed downtown this morning to meet a friend to go to the St. Patrick's Day parade and spent almost the whole day out in the glorious weather. The parade was a little lack luster, however we did see them dye the river green which was pretty cool. It was a green as lime koolaid which is pretty impressive. It was a bit of a let down to see that they just dyed it with what looked like little cups of dye. I had hoped for giant leprauchan cauldrons spilling green goo into the water...but perhaps there were no cauldrons around:) It was a fun day. So I've decided that I'm not drawing enough, so I'm instituting a new rule - No blog entries without a pic or a sketch (we'll see how long it lasts - and hopefully they're better than this one). One of the guys at work was able to get together enough people to pay for a figure drawing class at work. That's gonna start this Tuesday. That should provide some opportunity to stretch the drawing muscles. Technology is a fickle mistress. I can't seem to get my ipod reformatted on my home machine. I keep getting these weird errors. My options are 1) see if it does the same thing on my work pc and or 2) take it in to be serviced. None of the stuff I've found googling the problem have worked. Ug... In general, I'm on a antitech bent right now (so you've been warned). Also, something appears to be very wrong with my computer. I can't seem to access the disk management utilities via the administrative tools and other such weirdness. I'd like to reformat and start from scratch but I think waiting till my current freelance gig is done is a better route to go. Photography has always interested me to some degree. I think a lot of it has to do with good photography's dependence on lighting. I'm something of a lighting nut (if that's not obvious in my cg work). Getting a good render out of the computer is a lot like painting with light. I'm thinking about splurging and getting a good digital SLR to pick up a new hobby and hopefully expand my understanding of composition, light, and quite possibly - candid shots of friends:) This week I discovered a few cool places on the net:
Wednesday, March 8, 2006
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
Song of the Day: "Leaving It Up To You" - Jill Phillips - Writing on the Wall Well, I thought I was gonna go to bed, but I just got my second wind. Funny how that works. I've been working a bit on animation this evening and talking to some friends via IM. I also decided I'd best get some more business cards for my trip to LA. My last batch seems to have been lost in the move from Savannah. So I updated my design a little and sent em off to the online press. I used these guys for the last batch and was very pleased. 500 cards - Full color both sides, glossy finish and rounded corners shipped for under $75. That's hard to beat. Last batch I got was a little more purple than blue on the front, but I changed the color a little so hopefully that'll fix it. If not, blue violet (while not my color of choice) isn't as bad as it could be;). Color space issues are not one that I'm nearly as versed in as I should be. If you don't know what I'm talking about, believe it or not, but the colors you see on your monitor may not actually be the colors that images actually are. Isn't that fun to know? Here's the designs: Front Back Since my second wind shows no sign of slowing, might as well get back to it...
Monday, March 6, 2006
Song of the Day: "Shiloh" - Andrew Peterson - Carried Along Album Good golly I dig Andrew Peterson's music. You'd think I'd be sick of it by now having listened to Carried Along most days in the car for the last 2 months. You'd might think that, but you'd be wrong.
It's that fun time of the year. Ah yes, taxes. I really don't have a problem with taxes, but they could make things a little easier to understand. It's one of the only times in life that you can have absolutely every good intention of being honest and doing the right thing and chances are, you're breaking some minutiae of law. A couple years back, I called the IRS cause I had a question. The guy answered it, then added the addendum that the IRS would not be held accountable for his answer and that if he told me the wrong thing to do, it was still my fault.
I've got a little render test from my current gig that doesn't really give anything away but is close to the final look. The lighting needs some tweaks and Tiko's gonna be sped up a few frames, but it's a good first step.
Suffice it to say, more happens after that. But for that, you'll have to order a DVD from Bitstream when it's done. Not only will you get to see it, but you'll be contributing directly to the "Josh-Burton-Gets-Out-of-College-Debt-Fund" as anything I get is going there. It's a good cause, trust me. That and Tiko needs to eat...;)
Time to throw Toy Story 2 on and get to animatin'!
Sunday, March 5, 2006
It's been a pretty good weekend overall. Yesterday, the weather was a bit warmer (low 40's) so I went for a nice long run. I even found some trails to start exploring. Yesterday in the 40's, today it's snowing again. Ah, well. I'd been struggling with some tech issues on my freelance gig - namely getting a good particle export into Lightwave using Point Oven. Mark who wrote the transfer app was kind enough to give me a hand and I was finally able to begin experimenting with the look of the effect in Lightwave. Here's a test. It still needs a little umph, but it's getting there. I got the Grease Pencil Script (look at the post two down) running and am using it to working through some animation issues on my gig. I must say it is indeed awesome. Thanks Jason! Let's see, what else is going on...
- We had our second friends-from-work-poker-night this week. We have a 5 dollar cash in for the night and only bet nickels, dimes and quarters so there's no big losses. I had a repeat performance of losing my cash...one more occupation to go on the list of things I could never do for a living - "Professional Poker Player". Check.
- Work is going well, I'm working on a pretty sweet project. Wish I could show something, but I'm afraid it'll be awhile.
- Next weekend I'm going to the St. Patrick's Day parade downtown with a new friend. I hear that they dye the river green. Looking foward to it.
- I'm heading to LA the 18th which I'm pumped about. Speaking of which, I need to get some stuff together for that...
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Saturday, February 25, 2006
My buddies told me about this script for Maya a while back and I'd forget. However, I saw a link for a video of the creator (Jason Schleifer) demoing and now I'm sold. Now, why is it called a Grease pencil script you might ask? Well, a lot of animators would draw their arcs and timing data on their crt monitors, then erase it and do it again shot by shot. I'm not sure what folk do with LCD's as I imagine they don't respond so well to heavy rubbing. Either way, Jason has solved that. VERY cool. Here's the vid. Why did I leave my Wacom at work!?
Saturday has come again and I have no idea where last week went. I think that Time's brakes are loosening up a bit- need to get that checked. Wonder who you see about that... It's been a pretty good week all in all. We have a almost daily game ritual at lunch at work of squeezing in a few minutes of Guitar Hero in. My buddy Mike is the greatest hero of our sorry bunch but I successfully completed my first song on expert on Friday - so yeah, I'm pretty much guitar soloist material here as long as you give me a guitar with 5 buttons that is preprogrammed with the songs we'll be jammin too. Maybe I should stick to my day job. I've discovered my new favorite cereal - Yogurt Burst Cheerios. I got Strawberry and they're mighty tasty. Of course that means that they'll discontinue them once I get to rely on them. Sorry, I stopped by Starbucks today to get a Frappuccino and was reminded again why I don't go there. They used to make the epitome of drinks that was the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino. This delectable beverage was a mocha frappuccino with a shot of Coconut Syrup and delicious toasted coconut shavings mixed in. However, they pulled the drink off their menu a few years ago. For a time they still had the syrup and would make a regular Mocha one with some coconut syrup but when their on hand syrup supply was gone, they ordered no more and my love affair with Starbucks came to a rapid halt. Today I walked in, looked at the menu and saw nothing that sounded appetizing. I looked at the geek chic cashier and asked if they had any coconut syrup and he gave me a glassy eyed look and shook his head and asked his manager if he remembered a time when they stocked it. I remember. Every six months or so, I stick my head in to check. Maybe this summer the time will be ripe for a reprise of that special summer drink I know and love. Eh...at least it gave me something frivolous to ramble about for a bit:)
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
A buddy and I were talking about God the other day - he believes there may be a God, he just isn't so sure he wants to have much to do with Him. Hearing his church experience, I can understand that. Churches are comprised of broken folk trying to allow God to work in them and through them. A lot of the time they either don't come across that way or sometimes they just actually aren't. Someone whose only experience of God is through a church of "happy plastic people", I can understand not exactly being enthusiastic about signing up. Heck, I've left them myself. That being said, it's hard trying to follow Jesus. As many times as He's proven Himself, as many times as He's lifted my head in the depths of the darkest night, I have a short memory. It's easy to get wrapped up in the day to day. Somedays I just don't want to do what's right; somedays the words of Andrew Peterson's song playing on my CD player say just what needs to be said.
It's taken me years in the race just to get this far Still there is no end in sight, There's no end in sight 'Cause I've carried my cross into dens of the wicked And you know I blended in just fine Well, I'm weak and I'm weary of breaking His heart With the cycle of my sin, of my sin Still He turns His face to me and I kiss it Just to betray Him once again Well, I've got oceans down inside of me I can feel the billows roll With the mercy that comes thundering O'er the waters of my soul So, Amen Come, Lord Jesus Amen Oh, Amen Come, Lord Jesus Amen
Saturday, February 11, 2006
When it rains, it pours:)
- I found out this past weekend that The Potter got first place in nontraditional animation in the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation College Television Awards. They're going to be so kind as to fly me to LA for the ceremony. It's gonna be a lot of fun. I've never actually spent any time in LA so I'm hoping to see a few things while I'm there. Sadly, I gotta rent myself a tux, but it's a small price to pay for something so cool.
- I also noticed the Animex 2006 awards list on Cg Society and took a peek and saw that The Potter got the "Animation Stills Prize".
- I've had numerous reports that the article is in the March issue of 3d World. I'm gonna go try to find a copy today.
Wow, things have been a little crazy round here, I've got a lot of catching up to do. A couple weeks back I went and saw Andrew Peterson in concert up in Rockford. It was excellent. However, I have to take issue with the state of Illinois having FIVE tolls over a span of 80 some odd miles. However, I then ended up sitting with a nice young couple from up north who had driven about five hours to be there. This put my measly toll paying in perspective. This past weekend, my cousin Jon and his girlfriend Tabitha came in to town and stayed with me till Thursday. They're moving up here in a few months with some friends to take a shot at Second City. Speaking of which, on Tuesday, Jon got us some tickets to go to the show. So, they picked me up after work and we headed downtown and had a great time looking for a parking spot for thirty minutes. Our wait was rewarded with a broken meter spot 50 yards from Second City. Score. When we got to the door, there was a sign on the door that said there was a panel discussion on "Censorship" going on with Dino Stamatopoulos and some guy from Cartoon Network who's name I can't recall. I remember Dino's name because Tabitha and Jon both were about as excited at seeing his name as I'd be to see Glen Keane giving a paneled discussion on character animation. We had some time to kill before Second City started, so we went to it. They started off by showing an episode of Moral Orel - Starmatopoulos' creation. This one hadn't made it to TV yet because they needed to ease the audience into ever increasing, what could be called, sacrilege. I could understand why they needed to wait. Jon and Tab had showed me an episode the night before which I tolerated rather than enjoyed so you may understand why I wasn't exactly excited about the discussion. However, I enjoyed it very much. I wish we could have stayed longer. After listening to Dino speak, I wasn't so much offended as sad at some of the honest commentaries buried (though rather deeply) in his extreme satire of the Christian faith - or more poinently, Americanized Christianity. One of the things he said was that Jesus would be appalled at the"f@#%$d up mess" Christians had turned Christianity into. On that point, I can't honestly disagree though I would probably phrase it a little differently:) Through all of Dino's gruffness, deep down I saw a frustrated guy who desperately wants to believe in God. I maybe wrong, but that was my impression. Sadly, about forty five minutes into it, we had to leave. All that being said, I wouldn't want any kids I was raising watching it. Definitely a satire for adults (though not this one). Second City was a sketch based 2 hour comedy show that was a fun ride. The humor was a little more blue state heavy then balanced, but this is Chicago. I'm looking forward to going back and seeing Jon and Tabitha up there one day soon. Things have been moving along slower than I'd like on my current freelance gig so I'm hoping to make up some time this weekend. Work has been a lot of fun this past week. Scott and I are developing our own facial rig and it's challenging work that is a lot of fun as well. It's a heck of a lot more enjoyable than cleaning up motion capture data:)
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Last week, I gave my uncle who's taking care of my grandmother a call to chat and it so happened my other uncle was in town as well. This uncle lives in Colorado and is a reporter and columnist. Over the course of the conversation he told me that his column was now online every Wednesday so this morning I got up and checked it out. If you'd like a laugh on the proper rules concerning the picking up of dog "presents" at the city park, give it a shot - here. edit- Apparently the column is only available on Wednesdays...
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
A friend of mine was in town this weekend and we had a great time hanging out and dreaming a bit about animation possibilities. Saturday we decided to do something special and headed down town to the Chicago Institute of the Art Museum. After locating some parking, slipping on the black ice in the parking lot and paying our entry fees, we stepped through the portal of the ordinary to that of the illuminating. I was unprepared for the breadth of the collection of the museum. I just had no idea they had so much amazing art. Apparently they have one of the largest collections of impressionism in the world here- how sweet is that? Here are a few pics that my friend was so kind enough to send. This is the first piece that really grabbed me. I don't recall the artist's name and I vaguely remember seeing it in one of my art books but the use of color is just passionately vibrant and I made my buddy take a picture of it. My friend admiring what I believe is a Rodin if I remember right. Yet another amazing Monet. This was my favorite of a series of studies of the same scene he did. His work feels so "soft" to me - if that be a usable descriptor. The palette sings the coming of dawn and the rising sun light bathes the ground in brushstrokes of warmth. Saving the best for last. Van Gogh is probably my favorite painter of all time. This was the first time I had ever seen one of his paintings in person (much less multiple ones). Everyone has their favorite artists, but Van Gogh, for me, paints in a way I don't see in other works. He paints not with pigment, but with colored passion etched on a canvas of deep reflection. Every brush stroke is alive with energy and the whole painting vibrates with purposeful gesture. This is a "still life" that is anything but still and is pregnant with life.
What a day.