More Ink Blots

Usagi Yojimbo. Yeah, I don't know why I thought of that either.


So, I got to attend my first Analogue Thunderdome session on Friday. We drew on top of ink blots - it was loads of fun, and chock full of dirty jokes about what people saw in theirs...

What I started with:

Actually the 2nd drawing I started on, and gave up on quickly since it was boring - and went back to my other sketch. Crab:

Main drawing. The guy in the middle came first, and then the lions. The ships came much later...


Done for the "Magical Implements" Thunderdome topic. I decided to go with the good old fashion Magic of Science! This is looooooosely based on Jesse Sullivan - the man with the bionic arms. If those aren't "magical implements" I don't know what are.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, go see this
video or article.


Done for Moving Day topic on the Deadliest Sketch. This is a dramatization of how my entertainment center wouldn't ge through my front door and I had to give it away.

And here's that Thunderdome sketch with slightly different color. It'd be fun to go back in and do something more detailed, just save the composition.


This was done for a weekly sketch topic at work - we got to choose from a couple of different randomly generated phrases this week. This phrase is "an insane frog dodges a raptor (monochromic)."


I apologize for being lazy and not posting, but I just got internet in my apartment today! Woooo!


I haven't posted in a little bit, so here's what I've been up to:

Climb - WIP - making slowwww process on this one. Little tiny changes.

LASERS! This is FIRST PASS, so be kind. If anyone could give me a crit, I would totally appreciate it. (Yes, I know his transitions are awkward thus far - It's really just a question of the keys at this point.) Thanks!

3 Bros! This is for last week's Deadliest Sketch. Unfortunately, I think it looked a lot cooler as a thumbnail... Color is in progress and will follow.

Also, here are some cool links that Michelle found.
Process Enacted: by Jordan C Greenhalgh
Guinness new ad - A Short Film Called Hands


Pool Shark

Ok, so I did this pretty mediocre sketch for this week's "Deadliest Sketch" - and there are a bunch of problems with it - BUT, I'm posting it here so I have an excuse to pose this video. Watch the whole thing (but the best part's at 2:09)

So awesome.


Climb WIP - Character by Gwynne Olson-Wheeler

Finally getting back to this exercise. I had started it at the end of the school year and forgotten about it. It's still rough - but what I really want is a crit on the timing. I feel like it's sort of evenly paced and I'm not sure how to fix it.

*EDIT* Haha, whoops. I exported the wrong video and didn't bother checking it... Sorry about that.

I think the next one I do will be a parkour version of the same thing. :D


Just some cool artists I dug up when I went to the library the other day that I wanted to share, since I hadn't heard of them (except for Polacco).

Barbara Macdonald - found her in a little book called A Golden Age: Visions of Fantasy, Australia's Fantasy Illustrators: Their Lives and Works

Rentoul Outhwaite (same book)

Kay Nielsen from A Treasury of the Great Children's Book Illustrators

Patricia Polacco from The Art of Reading

Richard Egielski (from same book)
Animation test for N-Space

Boards were provided by N-Space and I had 4 business days (32 hours) to use whatever rig and program I wanted to animate it. It's not perfect, but considering the time limit, I think it turned out alright.



Beowulf Trailer

Sure, maybe it doesn't look like very much.. until you realize.. IT'S ALL CG.


For the "Birds of Prey" Deadliest Sketch theme.

I don't usually use ink, so this was just sort of an experiment - used some stuff that I've seen in a lot of Margeaux's drawings because I think it's cool when she does it. It gets a little weak when it comes to the vulture's body and the lines are a lot less sure.. and overall there's probably too much going on. Haha, also I had to edit in the eye in photoshop, since I'd drawn it without and then realized that the whole point of the piece was lost, since the vulture just looked really friendly... still doesn't look sinister enough though.


It's Great to be in Love Again

"If ever he had harboured a conscience in his tough narrow breast he had by now dug out and flung away the awkward thing - flung it so far away that were he ever to need it again he could never find it. High-shouldered to a degree little short of malformation, slender and adroit of limb and frame, his eyes close-set and the colour of dried blood, he is climbing the spiral staircase of the soul of Gormenghast, bound for some pinnacle of the itching fancy - some wild, invulnerable eyrie best known to himself; where he can watch the world spread out below him, and shake exultantly his clotted wings"

~ Description of Steerpike
From the Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake

I started reading the Gormenghast trilogy again the other day and I won't bother going on and on about how much I love it, but I wanted to make this post to point out that for the 50th year anniversary of the trilogy, Vintage Classics is re-releasing the 3 books and making them a little more available again (i.e., I was actually able to find the first book, Titus Groan, on sale at Barnes & Noble today). So, everyone should go check them out.

Also, check out the glitzy new covers:

(Hehe, the quote on the cover is "A gorgeous volcanic erruption... A work of extraordinary imagination." - The New Yorker)


Rock you Like a Hurricane...

Don't worry, there's a story behind this.


For the "Friendly Neighborhood Robot" theme on Deadliest Sketch.


*EDIT* need to make new playblasts of my run and jog. Will post later.

Also, I found this really awesome guy off of the Drawn! blog. Everything is written in Russian, but it's not like you have to be able to read it to appreciate it.


Inside the Happiness Factory. Thought this was kind of cool - particularly since it's nice to know that they chose to do a little more with all of those models. Psyop is amazing.


*EDIT* added explosion and softened his head movement in the last few frames.

MooM is awesome. This is pretty much done, but I need to tweak a few things. His landing still feels a little soft. Comments? I'm hoping to put it on my reel, so feedback would be awesome.

Also, check out this beautiful music video. "I Lived on the Moon" by Yannick Puig

And since I'm on the subject - this one's awesome too. "Fortress" by Pinback


I'm finally playing with MooM! This rig kicks so much ass. You can get him here: http://highend3d.com/maya/downloads/character_rigs/MooM-by-Ramtin-Ahmadi-4346.html
and thanks to Jim who let me know about him in the 1st place. I'll post some animation when I get a little farther.

Pretty damn eventful weekend - visited Gwynne in White Plains, NY with Hannah this weekend and it was awesome. Blue Sky seems really cool, and I rather enjoyed White Plains itself. Also, after spending 2 days in NY city, I think I'm finally starting to understand why people would actually want to live there - and perhaps feel that way myself. We all saw Rataouille on Sat, which, as I'm sure everyone reading this knows, was awesome. The best part was during the train ride back from the movie though, in which, while I was playing back the little bits of motion I could remember from the film, I had a lightbulb moment in which I realized I've been going about my process completely wrong - and it became crystal clear to me what I should be doing. So, that was pretty kickass. I'm starting a new animation now (hence Mr. MooM), so let see if I can put this seemingly perfect theory into practice (fingers crossed).

Will post more soon.



Done for the "fat supervillains" theme on "The Deadliest Sketch" sketchblog Hannah just made. So excited. I've always wanted to be a part of one of these things.

Here's to remembering that drawing can, in fact, be fun.


More Udvar-Hazy

I went ahead and shelled out the $12 to have more than an hour there today and I'm glad I did. I should never work with mechanical pencils. I always smudge the crap out of them.


Still working on that model. I decided I wanted to make an attempt at realism so I could do some more realistically styled animation. She's naked right now, but I figured I'd just do that first and then model some clothes after the fact. I really just wanted to see if I could do it, honestly. There are a lot of scary-looking CG "hot chick" models out there, so I wanted to see if I could make a successful one. She's still in progress, obviously, and maybe still a bit scary.

Look - I modeled toes for the first time!

Also, I discovered an hour-long window where you can get into the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum without paying. It's part of the Smithsonian, so the museum itself is free, but parking is $12 - which is sucky unless you bring a group of friends. Unfortunately, an hour isn't very long, but it's still something. I can't wait to go back and do more.


Wall-E teaser is up!

Also, there's a trailer up for I am Legend. After reading the wiki article I'm definitely skeptical, but I think I might give the book a try.

~ Cat


So, I'm FINALLY playing Shadow of the Colossus, and I'm really enjoying myself and thinking quite a bit about game criticism. Ever since my gaming class last semester I started flirting with the idea of possibly getting into serious gaming discussion someday, and now that I'm getting the time to sit down and play through some games, it's starting to sound like a really fun idea. For now, I'm just making notes as I go through - seeing what does and doesn't work for me personally, thinking about how I might fix the problems I find, etc. I think it'll be a lot of fun.

Anyway, I was thinking of putting together a list of games that I really ought to play, seeing as my gaming vocabulary is really quite small, and I thought I'd ask for some suggestions. Right now I only have a PS2, so I'm starting from there, and of course my comp (although.. it's not like I can rent games for my computer..). So, what are the best, must-play, or even just really interesting PS2 games you guys have come across? I'd really appreciate some suggestions.

~ Cat


Cycles -

Also, just to show that it's not all Star Wars and critical thought over here, I did a little more work on these guys and touched up my reel a bit. They're both still a bit rough, but definitely better.

~ Cat
Excerpt from Star Wars on Trial

"How often, anymore, do you see tales that portray society itself functioning, perhaps helping the protagonist, or suggesting solutions that arise from collaborative effort? Maybe even offering hope that hard work and goodwill might bring better days? Do cops ever come when called? Do institutions ever deliver or perform, even partially, in ways that help a little? Are the hero’s neighbors ever anything other than hapless sheep? Does scientific advancement ever – ever – come to the rescue, anymore, instead of simply causing more problems and provoking lectures about how “mankind shouldn’t meddle” in things we do not understand? Do big projects, or ambitious undertakings, or team efforts ever hold a candle to the boldness of the single, archetype hero, sticking it to every authority figure in sight?

"Are we being taught, gradually but inexorably, to turn away from the whole modernist agenda? The concept that science, society, citizenship and faith are things that go well together, contributing to the good of everybody? Or that it was once a good idea – to replace arbitrary leader-worship with democratic institutions that we can all hope to share? What about the notion that any of us regular people – not just the mutant chosen ones – can be the hero, if we’re ever called upon."

- David Brin
Star Wars on Trial

Think about it. I certainly did - in fact, I wrote a ridiculously long response to it which I had intended to include in this post, but I decided not to put it up since I'm pretty sure no one would want to read all the way through it. Plus, I'm sure you're all capable of thinking about the idea yourselves, so do it. Where's he right? Where's he wrong? It's ok if you don't care, I guess - but critical thought never hurt anyone. (hahahaa)

This is from a book I'm reading in which various sci-fi and fantasy authors debate certain aspects of the Star Wars universe in a mock trial (examples of charges brought against the series: "Women in Star Wars are portrayed as fundamentally weak" and "The politics of Star Wars are anti-democratic and elitist." Nerdy? Yes. A waste of time? Never. Sure, I'm reading a 384 page book on Star Wars when I could be working, or reading classical literature or something - but this is film criticism done in an interesting way. Thinking a little harder about the messages that are actually being conveyed in films can't possibly be a bad idea, particularly for those of us that are interested in creating films and games someday. (NOTE: This should DEFINITELY be applied to gaming as well. Maybe the debate is taking place on a super small scale.. but it really needs to be considered more in-depth - particularly since games involve our own participation, and as such probably convey messages to us a lot clearer than we realize.)

Anyway, Birn goes on to point out that, yes, indeed, those stories are told on occasion (he uses all of Spielberg’s work as an example) but argues that nearly all popular films nowadays do this – the Star Wars series being the main example. Again, think about it. It's fun.


Squirt gun - Process:

So, I've been jumping around a bit as far as what to work on (which is not at all uncommon when I find myself with a lot of confusing, unfamiliar free time) and I temporarily abandoned my "hot chick" model to do a super quick animation. It's obviously not done yet.. but I felt like posting something. I'd say it's somewhere in.. 1.5-2nd pass. No offsetting or anything yet.

In other news, my internet has been off and on since last Thurs, which is making job hunting even more frustrating that it inherently is. But then, complaining never got anyone anywhere, and I assume things will be all better tomorrow after the Internet Guy swoops by in his sexy van and saves me.

~ Cat


Cop/Mountie/Gang Member?

So when I started she had sort of a ninja/biker/gang member look… and somewhere along the way turned into a mountie/highway patrolman… but whatever, drawing is fun.

~ Cat


Just a start, but I thought I'd post to show that I'm still alive. The edgeloops are still pretty rough and her eyes aren't very defined - also I need to pull her more towards the concept sketch - but not bad for a day's work, I think.

It occured to me in all of my job hunting that my portfolio is well.. girly and cartoony. Not that modeling a girl makes it less girly... but I want to at least show that I'm capable of and interested in more realistic styles, so here's my start. (The plan with this one is to up the sex appeal, and in that way it will be less "girly"). I'll post more progress soon.

~ Cat


Cordyceps Fungus

Again, nothing to do with animation.. but ESandra just sent this to me and I had to share it with more people. This is insane.

(you need to watch it with sound or you won't know what's going on)



Thanks to the incredibly awesome Sarasota Film Festival I get to see this on Saturday! I'm excited. It's directed by Satoshi Kon, who also did Millenium Actress, Perfect Blue and Paranoia Agent (which are all worth checking out -partic. Perfect Blue) and is a master at messing with audience's heads, and making the medium of animation work for him - he takes advantage of the things specific to traditional animation in a way that I haven't seen anywhere else. His work is definitely worth checking out for those of you that aren't familiar with it.

~ Cat


Senior Show Poster!
The theme this year is cheesy horror/sci fi flicks, and we all did a poster for our piece that is, in most cases, not actually related to the content of the pieces. The show is May 4th, 7:30PM at MCC Neel Auditorium (..as you can see on the poster) and it's open to the public this year.


Website Updated!

FINALLY made myself work on my site just a little more. I added an updated demo reel and.. if you look for it, you might just find my thesis..

It still needs A LOT of work, but I figure I need to get over my fear of showing it to people.
I decided to take a short break from working on my new lipsync this weekend and do some quick runs with Gwynne's character for my reel. The second one still needs work (it gets a little rough in parts) and I think I'm definitely going to be expansing it somewhat. Who knows, it might make an appearance in the Senior Show somehow.

Jog cycle

Scared run

~ Cat


This has nothing to do with animation:
The New Map of the Brain

...although, I guess if you want to get technical... it has a lot to do with understanding behavior, or at least the reasons behind the way we act... and seeing as animation is all about creating the illusion that there's something going on inside that shell of a 3D model, this is at least somewhat relevant, right? Whichever way, it's interesting.

Anyway, it's a main page that links to a collection of articles on where science is currently in understanding how the brain works. It's from Time, so it's written in layman's terms, which is great for me anyway. Enjoy!

~ Cat

PS - I turned in my THESIS last night, but I still have a bit to do before I start spreading it around the internet... Next I start my final project, and I will definitely be posting process as I go (this one'll be short, so I'm allowed to do that.) I should have something up around Thurs.


Everyone, go here. Learn about animation:
John K. Blog

Thanks to Cameron for posting this gem on the school forums.

~ Cat
I haven't bothered to google translate the page, but the understanding is that Ghibli has made a movie in oil paints. It's supposed to come out in Japan in May. It's beautiful.


***EDIT - it's not made by Ghibli, they're distributing it. Also I heard somwhere else that it's about 30min long.


Studies from Figure Anatomy

Honestly, they look pretty creepy layed out like that.. Just did some scans so I can put something other than gestures up on my website.

~ Cat


Rendahhhhhs -
Only say positive things, I'm out of time...

Haha, j/k. C&C would be appreciated, although any changes will probably have to be post -SIGGRAPH submission.

~ Cat


It's admittedly a bit late to be making big-ish changes like this.. but the textures I had before really weren't working with my characters. Hopefully this is working better.

~ Cat


Bad idea to bring political content into a "professional" blog, but I want to.

So there's this ongoing media frenzy about the report that the IPCC just issued. Many of you have heard of "the release of an authoritative and disturbingly grim scientific report in Paris that said global warming is "very likely" [90% certainty] caused by mankind and that climate change will continue for centuries even if heat-trapping gases are reduced. It was the strongest language ever used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose last report was issued in 2001." (ABC article )

But here's the thing about it. According to Junk Science.com, what the IPCC actually released was a summary of their report. The actual report will not be released for another 3 months, during which time it will be edited to make sure that it is consistent with the summary.

....Read that sentence again. Does that sound a little backward to anyone else? You may argue that we have no more reason to believe junkscience.com than the media... but all of the author's claims are directly cited... and he provides links to IPCC documentation concerning the process, whereas ABC.com doesn't really cite anything. Anyway, it's worth looking into. The fact that the Summary for Policymakers has been issued should mean that it has been approved - in which case a "detailed, line by line discussion and agreement" has been made, which sounds pretty good to me, and I'd like to the think that the IPCC isn't being irresponsible about their statements.. but it stills sounds questionable that the summary should be issued before a review of the actual reports has been completed... and that the individual reports will potentially be edited to suit the summary. (Sorry I keep reiterating.. it just sort of... blows my mind a little. Maybe there's something I'm not understanding completely.)

It's not to say I'm against us taking care of the environment, and I don't even necessarily think the media-frenzy over the issue is a bad thing. (Although I'm still not necessarily convinced that scientists have reached a consensus on industry's effect on the situation - see discussions on the effect of water vapor on global temperatures - I don't think setting regulations to limit our impact on the environment could possibly be a bad thing.) I'm just a little concerned about this incredibly backward-sounding move that the media is broadcasting in a somewhat misleading way, that's already having a gigantic impact on environmental policy worldwide.. that's all. Heck, junkscience could even be a hoax.. it's not like you can ever really expect to find the truth on the internet.

~ Cat

Lighting WIP. Still working on the time of day.. the bottom image is more what I'm going for - mid-morning-ish, although still not perfect, and the top two are what I had for our in-class crit yesterday, which look decidedly later in the day. Lots to do... Meret still just has a basic color map, and terrible UVs, and a lot of the environment textures aren't fully resolved. Let's see how much work I can get done in a week!

~ Cat


I'm sure everyone's posting this everywhere, but I thought I'd pass it along too.
Nocturna trailer

Wow, thinking about it, traditional animation works so much better for cats... Ah well.

~ Cat


Unfortunately, after only a couple of weeks of being back at school, I've grown tired of all music... or at least any of the music that I have access to (Pandora, radio, shared iTunes in the labs..) so today I started playing through some of online lectures that my Games and Society teacher linked and recommended to us, and most of it is really great stuff.

TED Talks
This is from an annual conference hosted by BMW which brings together the worlds leading experts on "ANY subject area offering something fresh and important." They all run about 15min, although I wish they were a bit longer, seeing as everyone is being forced to rush - but I guess it's more about a general survey of knowledge in multiple areas as opposed to anything too specialized.

The most worthwhile ones I've seen so far have been from Bjorn Lomborg (talks about priorities in dealing with the world's problems), Robert Wright (how the responsible persuit of one's own personal interests lead works in favor of humanity) and Wade Davis (National Geographic - speaks about the steady averaging out of world culture and language).

Also interesting is this talk by James P. Carse about finite and infinite games (as well as religion and unquestioning belief)

~ Cat

PS - if anyone wants to recommend any music to me, I would appreciate it. The problem is that I can't really work to anything slow (which is why Pandora and the radio are letting me down) and I'm tired of dance music..
I was poking around the internet today and discovered that my favorite series, the Gormenghast Novels by Mervyn Peake were made into a "fantasy opera" at some point. They were already made into a BBC miniseries in the early 90s, which I strongly recommend to people looking for something a little different and slightly uncomfortable, but I thought I'd put this out there (not that any of us will probably have the opportunity to ever see it..) Looking through the images and listening to some of the [sort of boring, typical-sounding] music (which you can listen to here) it seems like it could either be very interesting (as Peake definitely gave them enough to work with) or... not really worth anyone's time (like that production of Faust I saw last summer...) Not to give the impression that I'm much of a theatre person anyway.

But all of you should read the books. I discovered the site through an interesting path actually - I was reading about the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test which I'm now very curious about and saw the term hysterical realism, which sounded interesting, and read that Peake's work could be described as such. Also in there is a mention of Moby Dick, which I'm currently [slowly] reading - and I'd recently noted was similar in style to Gormenghast. Go me.

~ Cat


Pan's Labyrinth

One more since I'm thinking about it:
Pan's Labyrinth Interviews off of Rotten Tomatos

Nothing super-insightful if you're looking for some sort of in-depth talk about the film, just a couple of words from the director and a few actors. Interesting to see anyway. (Also, the guy in the Pan suit is going to be the Silver Surfer in the new Fantastic Four - when he's not CG. I don't know why they're making that movie.. but.. the Silver Surfer is pretty cool.)

~ Cat
Attempt to add content to my blog:

Also, since I seem to post in pairs, uhh, here's some more figure stuff if anyone cares. They're from last semester and awkwardly arranged in a doc I threw together to get my teacher's opinion on what to put in my portfolio.
If anyone hasn't noticed, Microsoft has a pretty cool advetising campaign going on for Zune. Here's a collection of commercials, all roughly based around the concept of sharing. (Play button when you mouse over is for video, eye is for stills)

While I'm at it, other really cool advertising sites to check out:

Of particular interest is Psyop's Propaganda section, in which they advertise for themselves. The Psyop Anthem, along with one of their other commercials were both in SIGGRAPH's electronic theater a couple of years ago (how I found out about them in the first place)

The Mill
The Mill is an effects house, so they have some film stuff and music videos as well. A list of their showreels is on the left menu set - under "showreel" (obviously). It seems they've changed the setup from overall reels (they used to have a CG one, NY, London, and overall) to reels of full commercials (arranged by.. director??). That really bugs me, actually... I prefer viewing colletions of bite-sized, awesome effects set to music... but I'm sue they had their reasons.

Also, illustrators - I'm stalking you all through the social network that is Blogspot. Keep up the posting - I love seeing your stuff, regardless of whether I actually know you or not. On the same note, I'm going to make an effort to start actually posting a bit more (we're getting into rendering, so I'll actually have something to show soon) even though I don't think anyone actually reads this thing.

~ Cat