Saturday, November 19, 2005

Monday, October 31, 2005

AM BBQ


So this Sunday, some of the LA Animation Mentor students got together for a little BBQ get together down in Marina Del Rey. It was a beautiful after noon, nice and sunny and the temperture was perfect. Good food, and really great new freinds. In the picture from l-r
Tim, Jennifer, Lauren, Roland, my wife Kanani, Me, Albert Freddy, Christine, and Jennifer's friend Nick is taking the picture. Thanks Nick. We need to have more of these, and I hope I'll meet even more of all of you.

-Erik

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Roughing out Wk 10

Didn't get around to making a page on my website for my video clips. I was actually too busy roughing out my animation today. First in Flash to nail down the timing and the key poses and some breakdowns. Then transferred them over to Maya. It's coming out rather nicely. I'm a lot more organized with my Maya file than I was on the four emotions assignment.

-Erik

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Didn't get the video up


Ok, so I didn't figure out how to get a video up here of some of my work. I'll try and figure that out this week. I think I'll try and up load it to a page on my website, then link it to that. I think that will work. Now I just got to get around to it.

So this weeks assignment is to convey a simple idea in about 100 frames, roughly 4 seconds. So at first I was going to go for the pee pee dance after seeing a kid do a real funny one in a park here in Germany. But 4 seconds isn't really enough time for what I wanted to get across. So I went with another crotch-centric theme... getting hit in the nuts. I think that will come across nicely in 4 seconds. This should be a fun little piece to work on. Hopefully it won't become as messy as the last assignment did.
-Erik

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Week 9: Final 4 emotion animation

So it's the last week for our 4 emotion animation, and I have a lot to do. I just listened to Pete's E-Critique and he had a ton of great info. He liked a lot of the things I've been doing, like my head turn in the beginning as well as the double take. The big thing he didn't like was my overly cartoony whistle-in-mid-air animation. He said he didn't like it last week, but I wanted to try and make it work. Wrong! So, I'm going to go with what he suggested and keep the jump turn in there, but have him land and whistle. That will work much better, and makes much more since. Pete’s rationale for it is that because 3D is so much more realistically lit, it needs to be grounded more in reality with real life physics. You can bend the physics, but the real cartoony, Tex Avery type of animation doesn’t look right. I’d have to agree with that. I still wanted to try it though. J I’ve also decided to get rid of the bar wall covering his lower body, and just keep the counter in. I was kind of paying attention to his feet before, so it’s not that big a deal, but there are some parts that I’m going to have to go in and fix.

I’m going to try and post a video clip of my changes I’ve done tomorrow. It’ll be my first time up loading a video clip, so we’ll see how it goes. See ya tomorrow.

In memory of Joe Ranft

It's said to hear that Joe Ranft, story artist, writer, and voice artist for Disney, Skellington Studios and most recently PIXAR, died yesterday in and car accident at the age of 45. An outstanding artist and writer, he might be best well know as the voice of the loveable, if slightly overweight Heimlich from "A Bug's Life." Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

-Erik

Monday, August 15, 2005

One Month Tablet PC review

Tablet PC Review

So it’s been a month now and I’ve now had the chance to really start to use my new Toshiba Tecra Tablet PC, so I thought the time is about right to write up my review of my new toy.

So I bought my Tablet almost stock. I jazzed it up just a bit, putting in a gig of RAM and getting the best graphics card they offered, the nVidia GeForce 6600 TE with 128MB SDRAM, and left in the base 1.60 GHz Pentium M. All that for around $2500. Oh I got a leather carrying case for it, so that added to the price. That case paid for its self ten fold when my week old Tablet PC when cart wheeling down the full length of an escalator in the Frankfort airport. The only damage was a little chip of the paint in one corner. She’s a tough little gal.

This is the first laptop I’ve ever owned, and the first really that I’ve used for more than 5 minutes, so a few things took some getting use to, like that touch pad and a slightly different keyboard configuration. The “alt” key is not right next to the space bar, its one key over, and in its place is the “~” key. That’s not such a big deal at first, but using Maya, you use the “alt” key all the time to move around in your view windows. But that’s pretty minor.

Now for how it works… It works AWESOME!!!! It is really fast and there isn’t too much trouble working in Maya with it. I can view all the windows in the shaded mode and it doesn’t bog down. I take that back, it has a bit of a lag when using the drop down menus, but that’s it.

I’ve really fallen in love with the Tablet feature. It does take a little while to build up the nerve to press hard on the screen, trust me though, you won’t scratch it. Once you get over that fear though, drawing on it is amazing. I’ve been doing all my AM thumbnails with it, and there’s no difference between those and the one’s I do in my sketchbook. The drawings are god awful either way. :p There is some slight lag, about equal to what I’ve seen on Wacom’s Cintque, and that’s not bad considering you’re on a laptop running on batteries. The faster you move the greater the lag, which is fine for me cause I draw so damn slow. Drawing with Alias’ Sketchbook Pro is so cool. You know that feeling you sometimes get when you’re drawing and without thinking you reach for the “undo” button? Well now you can! You can draw on layers, hid them, lock them, what ever. You can draw with different brushes, pencils, ballpoint pens, highlighters, what ever. It even has pressure sensitivity so you can draw thick and thin lines, or sketch lightly then go darker. It’s bitmap based so it has a really nice feel to the line quality, unlike drawing in say Flash. I haven’t fully explored Sketchbook, the Tablet comes with the demo, and I’m waiting for my full version.

The handwriting recognition soft wear it comes with is truly amazing. You don’t have to write out the alphabet in the beginning, you can just start writing and it’ll convert your chicken scratch to type. It even knows the difference between zeros and ohs. Now that’s pretty cool.

I do wish you could program the buttons more when it’s in Tablet mode. I’d like to set one of the buttons to be an “undo” button. Maybe it can, and I just haven’t figured it out yet. Guess I should finish reading the manual huh?

Also they have a weird setting for the right click on the stylus. Instead of being able to set it just so you can right click with the switch button, you have to hold the switch down, touch the screen with the nib, then release the switch and lift up for it to work. That seems a little awkward to me, but I’m getting used to it.

I also wish the batteries lasted longer. You can work for about four hours before they die out, but that is about the going rate for battery life. Besides, I’m not gonna hold up a four pound Tablet for 6 -8 hours and sketch. That thing gets heavy and hot!

All in all, I am super excited with my Tablet. I love it! Everyone should get one. I haven’t tried animating with it in Tablet mode, but I just downloaded Plastic Animation Paper, and I’m going to try roughing out some animation with that, and I’ll let you all know how that goes. Now go out and buy one. :P

-Erik

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Oh what a hellish couple of days it’s been. So yeah, I’m in Germany on my new Tablet PC. Come to find out I can’t seem to get my Wacom tablet to work with my Tablet PC. I’m thinking the Tablet PC drivers are over-ridding the Wacom drivers. The problem is that the Wacom works, but I can only left click, all other functions don’t work, and since Maya need three buttons to work, that ain’t helping. So I had to use a mouse for the end of this weeks heavy push assignment. Problem is, I’ve never used the mouse with Maya so it was like starting from scratch.

Speaking of starting from scratch… My Maya license still hasn’t been transferred yet, not that I was expecting them to do it over the weekend. So I had to use the PLE version and start the heavy push assignment from scratch. It’s always fun trying to cram three weeks worth of work into a day and a half. Whoooo hoooo! Oh and one more thing, they keyboard is laid out a little weird. The Alt key isn’t next to the space bar. Instead there’s the “~” key. So navigating Maya takes a little more effort. Blaaa.

Hopefully, I’ll get my license transferred early next week and that will solve some of my problems.

Gonna go try and solve the Wacom issues.

-Erik