Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lunch Doodles...

Slow day...and I need to practice:)

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Particularly" Blessed...

Had a few minutes, so I sketched up a little self expression. This about sums up how I feel today. And no, it isn't because the new flavor in the company slushy machine is Pina Colada... ...though that is pretty tasty...:)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another Weekend

Another weekend finds me with a list of things to complete and little desire to do so. I'd rather sit and read a book, work on some animation or be having an engaging conversation with a "particular friend." Could be awhile... High on the priority list was a revision of my syllabus again. There was just still too little animation and I'd rather my students have some nice animation for their reels than a rudimentary rigged character and little animation to show. I'm still gonna teach facial rigging, but a basic leg rig and stretchy spine can be done following any multitude of tutorials to be found online. It also happens to be something I've been able to specialize in, so might as well let them learn from the mistakes I've made and learned from. The course is a "lil" different than the syllabus I was handed, but I'm still hitting all the "core competencies." All I really care about is getting my students to a point of having work that might get them a second look at a studio when they graduate. If deviation is an issue, I've got a day job. I finally got a hold of a buddy yesterday who's been dodging my calls (yeah, I know you've been avoiding me, Keith;). He's a fantastic animator and an instructor at Ringling which consistently puts out excellent story tellers. Anyway, he told me to do another check on Keith Lango who's been doing some pretty honest sharing about the animation industry. He's going on my daily blog stop list. Great tutorials and thoughts there as well. It was a balmy seven degrees this morning as I walked over to hit the elliptical at the clubhouse. Prolly hovering in the negatives with the wind chill. It was kinda nice. Not that I have any pretense of desire to stay for long periods of time out in temperatures like that, but for a brief moment it's nice to have the chill nip at your ears and nose, to feel the wind bite and feel very much alive. If I was having to live in it, I think my tune would change rather quickly. Watch "The Little Match Girl"... I've got some serious thoughts on a couple of books I've been reading but don't have time to delve into them at present. You'd be surprised how much in similarity there is to be found between the insights of a scholar of sociology and the last meditations of a priest who served in India. One of my buddy's websites I was transferring this weekend is down, back to it...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Little Match Girl...

Disney recently did a traditional piece of animation. YAY! This short is titled "The Little Match Girl". It is beautiful both visually, musically and well...I don't wanna ruin it so I'll leave it at that.Today's world isn't very far removed from the one represented and it does us good to remember that every now and then. ...I was fixing to post a link to it, but it looks like Disney told to pull it. If it pops up again, I'll post it. But if you get a chance to see it, do. Update - You can find the short on The Little Mermaid DVD (most recent release)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What I'm working on at work...

Here's the latest trailer for the game I'm working on - Stranglehold. Shows off some new schtuff.

Disclaimer: The implied policy of solving problems with guns is not necessarily endorsed by the author of this site:)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Shmoo kitty...

Today I had a few minutes between tasks with nothing to do, so I decided to doodle a little. I recently met someone who has a cat named "Shmoo," so...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

When Traffic is a Blessing...

This morning I wanted to get into work early because I had some stuff for my class tonight I wanted to take care of. With a typical departure time of 9:00am and an average ETA of 10:00am (+/- 10 minutes), I did a little mathematics in my head...

ntt (normal travel time) = 1 hour 9am + ntt = 10am Nice and easy, so ... 8am + ntt = 9am
So as I rolled into work at 10:00am having left at 8:00am wondering what had happened to my ironclad calculations I realized something - I had forgotten a few hidden variables...
(8am + ntt) * (inclimate weather quotient + the accident caused by the guy drinking coffee, talking on the phone, lighting a cigarrette and checking out the girl in the next car) = you'll get there when you get there
I didn't get in as early as I wanted to but commuting isn't all that bad. I believe the time we're given here is a gift so if my Maker has ordained things that I should be sitting in my little Civic a couple hours a day, might as well make the most of it. It gives you time to stop and think before the day begins, to laugh at the guy next to you going ballistic because someone cut them off while we're doing 2mph and laugh at yourself when "that guy" is you, to step outside of the narcisim of our imediate gratification lives we Americans live so well. By default most of us are insufferably selfish though we don't want to admit it. It's a good thing for us to not always get what we want when we want it - to reminds us that the world doesn't revolve around us. Sometimes it's nice to turn off the music and just let your thoughts wander. This morning was crisp and cold with a light dusting of snow tinting the urban sprawl. The sky was cloudless for the most part save a solid band of purple clouds low on the horizon that towered over the flatlands like mountains. I love the mountains; I miss them. I hope to live near them some day. That got me thinking back to a trip to Montana with my grandparents I took as a kid where my grandfather taught me to fish for salmon with corn, how a good place for finding worms is in cow paddies, and countless other things that grandfathers teach their grandsons. It was a glorious summer. I'm glad I was able to slow down enough today to remember. Traffic can be a good thing when it slows us down. Not our cars, mind you, but we who sit behind the wheel. ...however, I could stand to shave a few miles off my commute:)

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Weekends Rock...

It's been a good week and weekend for the most part...

  • Moms are awesome - It usually goes without saying that when I go home, I end up forgetting something. This time it was my extra camera battery and charger. So, she sent it in the mail and happened to pack some Reeses Peanut Butter Cups in there with a little note. My mom is awesome.
My awesome mom and I
  • Finished my Syllabus - I finally got a good handle on my syllabus for this semester. There wasn't quite enough animation exercises in it initially for my liking so I added a few more exercises. My goal is to get the students doing as much animation as possible. I don't remember what animator it was who said, "You've got 10,000 bad drawings in you, so you might was well get through them as fast as you can." It applies in 3d as well, we learn by making mistakes and the more work we do, the more we'll grow. I'm gonna do my darndest to do all the exercises with my students cause, frankly, I don't get to do a whole lot of full body keyframe animation at work and I miss it. It'll be a good reason to finish Olaf as well (I'm trying Cory!)
  • "The Brothers Karamazov" - The beast is completed. I started this behemoth of a book about six months ago and have been struggling through it since. It was an absolutely fantastic read though a bit verbose. You could easily split it into a trilogy and still have three complete books. The book follows a very screwed up family of a dysfunctional hedonistic father and his three sons. There's a murder, and fantastic trial and more insanity than one would think could be crammed into a novel...yet crammed it is.
  • My Cousin's Improv Show - Thursday night, I went to an improv show's opening night that my cousin is spearheading with another improv friend of his. There were four improv troupes for two hours of comedy for the low low price of $5. It was a lot of fun. If you live in Chitown and want good comedy for not a lot of money, check it out. It meets in a little arts center at Western and North, but you can check the site for more info. There going to have different groups each week so it won't be the same show if you wanna try it a couple of times.
  • "The Office" is Back - There was a new episode of The Office this week show makes me cringe one moment and then roll over laughing the next like this one.
  • New Year Resolutions - So, I need to make some resolutions, so here they are:
    • Visit the following:
      • My best friend Ryan in Oregon to do some fly fishing
      • My uncle in Colorado for some horseback riding, hiking and, frankly, cause I don't see him enough
      • My brother and ragamuffinephews cause I don't see them nearly enough
    • Come up with another Short film and get it AT LEAST through the story board phase
    • To finish Olaf
    • To do at least 30 seconds of reel worthy full body hand key animation
    • To get more involved in volunteering somewhere
    • To kick the snot out of my student loans
That is all.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Free Rig Call!

So, I'm going to be teaching Advanced Animation at an art college in town starting next week. I've been working on prep for a while now and one of those things I'm doing is looking for good free rigs I can glean through to point my students to. Here's my current list, if you've got more, please send em my way. Thanks! Rigs


Monday, January 1, 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...

Wow...lots to catch up on, here we go. It's been a busy couple of weeks... A week ago Friday, my Chicago transplant comedian cousin, Jon, and I climbed in my car at 7:30pm to drive home for the holidays. Jon seemed to think the drive was gonna take somewhere between 16 and 20 hours. I thought he was nuts. Google said 12 and I put my chip in the Google column. I took the first shift and we headed on south on interstate 55 through the black abyss of a barren Illinois landscape. Our conversation covered a wide variety of topics through the night and the wackiness of said topics seemed to increase with the the steady march of the hours. Some examples of our memorable topics include the craziness of women (some, not all mind you), why both the democrats and republicans suck at present, and concluding with if ghosts are possibly simply temporal displacements run amok. At that point it was 2:30 in the morning and Jon needed some sleep to prep for his last leg of the drive. So, I put an audio book on and let my headache grow from a soft tap to a nice solid pounding sensation by the time my shift was complete. At 4:30 or so I passed the baton and got some much needed rest. 7:30 found us pulling into my mom's driveway grateful to get out of the car. Jon got some hot chocolate and headed on down to Dallas to see his fam and I went to sleep and didn't wake up till 4:30 in the afternoon. Sunday, I met an old friend for coffee before church and then headed over to the church I spent the first 17 years of my life attending. It's a bit more traditional than I prefer nowadays, but it was a good to be there all the same. After that, I picked up some food at Johnnies Charcoal Grill and took it over to my uncle and grandmother. After visiting a little while I started feeling pretty crappy and laid on the couch for the next 3 hours hoping my head would just explode rather than continue to pound incessantly. When I finally mustered the strength to leave, I got back to my mom's and went to bed (sadly having to skip the Candlelight Service which is one of my favorites, ah well) The next day, we headed down to Dallas for the big fam shindig and I pounded as much Advil and vitamins as possible. Christmas dinner was great eats as always and my sickness was kept at bay for the most part. After dinner, some cousins and I decided to catch a movie and went to see Casino Royale which was absolutely fantastic. I had had serious reservations about seeing it from the trailers and a James Bond who looked nothing like the ones in the past. However, he was great and the action was non stop. Highly recommended. On Tuesday, my brother showed up with my nephews and we had a family breakfast (eggs cooked in bacon grease, good bacon and sausage, biscuits, fresh fruit, juice...the works). One of my cousins downed 7 eggs...nutso. I spent the rest of the day nursing my headache and hanging with my bro and the nephews. At the end of the day we headed back to Oklahoma and I was feeling crummy enough to decided to try to find a doctor the next day.

One of my nephews, my brother, and I
And so I did. I went in, he told me to open my mouth and say "Ah" and two seconds later diagnosed me with Strep throat and prescribed some antibiotics. A couple of days later I was feeling much, much better. Spent the rest of my time in OK hanging with my family and eating way too much chex mix and candy. However, it's the holidays so we let that slide. Saturday, I climbed back in the car for the solo drive back to Chitown (my cousin had already gotten a plane ticket cause I wasn't sure when I was coming back). For being solo, it really wasn't that bad. I had filled up my iPod with some talks of one of my favorite authors who happens to pastor a church up in Michigan. So, it was a nice 12 hours of introspection and some seriously challenging thinking. The message on Christianity and America was especially stretching. It added some substance to a lot of what I've been personally thinking about as to how Christians might be "missing it." I've got a lot more stewing to do on it, but it was a much needed kickstart in some new avenues of thought. Oh, and my computer died again. One thing's for certain, I've learned the art of detachment when it comes to technology:) I also learned another lesson. When you pay 12.95 for a hair cut, you really shouldn't get too upset when you say trim the top and you end up with a semi buzz cut. May be time for a new barber shop. Ah,'ll grow back. I've got some thoughts for the New Year, but no time to write. I'll get around to it. Lata.

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