Monday, July 13, 2009

Spring Break! (which was at the end of April...)

So, what did I do!? First thing, I went to a cool lunch with people from the term below me. Mario and Paolo had an Italian costinata. It was great! I got to know the people in that class a little better and got to eat delicious Italian food.

Later in the week, I went up to Grouse Mountain for a hike. It was pretty difficult for me (since I haven't done cardio exercise in a long time) AND not all of the snow melted yet, so I could have died several times... (Dont worry mom, i didnt die). But I did take some great pictures.

We played frisbee several times at English Bay. It was a good time. We decided to go on a trip to Vancouver Island (10 of us) to stay at a place called Tofino for 3 days. Ill tell you about that in the next post.

...Continued from previous post

So, at my presentation, I presented the original story idea and animatic, since I put so much work into all of that. I did tell everyone after that I changed my idea. They seemed ok with it, so I was feeling good. After the presentation I talked to Sarah about what sort of guidelines I should follow for creating an exercise based demo reel, and she said she would tell me everything at the start of term 4. Great!

So, fast-forward one week, Cecilia had a party at her apartment for our last day of term 3. At about 12:00 am or so, all of the animators in the class recieved an email from Sarah saying that she is leaving VFS temporarily to work as a lead animator on some project. You can imagine how we all felt. This woman had seen all of our projects and was supposed to be our animation teacher for the next 3 terms. Wow! Dont forget, I have no idea what to do with my project........

Huh, so, I tried to enjoy my break. Luckily, I did.

What did I do during spring break!?!??!
(to be continued...)

Wow, im bad at this recently...

So the last post I made, which was in April but actually published today, was waaaay back in term 3. So much has changed regarding my presentation and stuff since that post.

Before, I wrote that in term 3, we create ideas for our final project and speak to our mentors to get help and suggestions. I wrote that I was nervous about the presentation I had in the next few days. Well, I was actually extremely stressed. I was struggling with my story idea and basically anything to do with my final project. I created a cool little character (which I will post here when I get to school tomorrow), but I still felt that I was getting nowhere with everything. I spoke to my mentor, Sarah, about my story and she gave me suggestions. Basically she was pulling ideas out of nowhere. SOoo, I quickly went to work overhauling my story, only to have another mentor tell me that what I had before this was better. I struggled some more and decided to make a decision and start creating a 3D animatic.

I spent about a week creating the animatic for a meeting with George, then another half of a week recreating/changing it. One stress-filled evening when I was feeling hopeless and angry, (two days before our final presentation and a week before the end of term) I frantically e-mailed Sarah (the animation mentor) to tell her I was going to ditch my idea. So imagine that, something I spent 2 months + creating and braingstorming for, tossed out...

Let me explain why I did this. Prior to my decision we had a animator guest speaker from Rythem & Hues (a vfx company) come to speak to us about work. We are all so focused on our demo reels here and he pointed out that for an animator, all they look for there is simple exercises that really showcase your skills as an animator, not a story teller. They dont give a shit about the story, sound, visual look, or anything like that. They just want to see straight up animation.

After this presentation, I started looking into other companies I wouldnt mind working for, and they are all basically requesting the same thing in a demo reel. So I looked at my "story" and animatic, and found I had barely any animation at all. There was lots of button pushing and lever pulling, which to me is not only boring, but doesn't display my skills as an animator. I finally decided that I would do a reel based solely on a variety of exercises. At that point, 2 days before the presentation, I felt like a huge weight was lifted, and I could finally relax.

I shall continue this in another post to keep it easier to read.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Whats new?

So, I thought I should update, since I haven't really updated in a while. Well, I'll briefly explain what I have been doing. This term has been intense. This is the term when we take our seedling ideas, and nurture them with the help from our instructors and the visiting mentors from the industry. They help us take our ideas and turn them into something not only doable, but will get us a job. I would like to create an animated short. I came up with the idea about 2 months ago. I have been struggling with it for the entire term. Ive been trying to get the details right, so I have been asking anyone and everyone for advice. This has led to several changes. I finally created an animatic (an animatic is like a story board, but it is 'animated' to show timing and sound), and presented it to my mentor George today. He told me some ways to fix it and some ideas for the ending which I will implement. I have 2 days to finish it (as well as a presentation) for Friday. I'm sort of stressed, but this should turn out well. I will post the entire presentation after it is finished (probably Thursday).

Also, I spoke with some students in the term below me who are Italian, but realized I have difficulty understanding them. They speak so fast and I have such a confused face, that they switch to English. I feel kind of slow. The Japanese feels a bit rusty too...

Saturday, April 11, 2009


3 followers to my awesome blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Short break

So I finished my second term at VFS on this past wednesday. It went by fairly quickly. I got used to being at school all day everyday, so when they officially lock the school and kick us out, I felt like I didn't know what to do with myself! The next term starts tomorrow. I had a 5 day break basically. I suppose that is better than nothing.

In the meantime, I have been preparing for my third term. It is basically 2 months of pre-production work for our final demo reels. I am going to go into animation and although a story is completely unnecessary for a demo reel, it was suggested that having a narrative will give your characters a reason for doing the animations you are trying to show off. It might also help the desire for a more polished, complete look.

Right now, I have a very general concept that I would like to try and make into a short story/animation. I emailed a mentor here at school and discussed my idea. She said to try and pitch it in a sentence. Our goal for a final animation is 1:00 (she suggested closer to 50 seconds actually). It sounds extremely short, but remember, I have until October to finish an animation as best I can. That means I have to create a story, do all the pre-production work, model characters in 3D, texture these characters, create an environment (which will also have to be textured/shaded), set up lighting, ANIMATE, render, composite, and edit everything by myself. Thats a lot of work. I am excited though. So anyway, I need to have two ideas to pitch to the mentors when I see them next week. I will be working on the stories/treatments and character designs today. I'll post some stuff once it is ready.

Here is that Conquistador finished more or less. I kind of effed up one of his eyes, but I don't feel like re-rendering it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Term 2!!

So my second term has just finished (well almost). We had our presentations this past monday. Our presentations are a way for us to compile all of the "best" work from the term to show to all of our teachers at the same time. The whole class goes into a room with a projector and we watch everyone's twice. On the second run, each teacher gives critiques and makes comments about every little thing within the presentation. Its actually pretty cool, but getting everything ready for the presentation is extremely stressful. So, it would seem like a load is off of my shoulders, but, we still had three assignments to complete after the presentation, due monday, tuesday, and wednesday. I finished them all, but cant seem to properly render my model. You'll see in the video a model of a nude male which we had to complete in a bout a month or so. After that, we had one week to model an entire Conquistador in full armor... Its kind of insane.

Here is a picture of the Conquistador:
One shitty thing is, we had to model the pistol that you can barely see in a weekend. Its extremely detailed, but, you wouldnt be able to see that from it being hidden in its holster. You can see the full thing in the presentation though. This stupid conquistador is irritating me because I cant seem to render out a rotation of it. It renders 1 frame of 250, then crashes... Huhh, oh well.

So here's the presentation: Extra points for those who know the title screen reference!!!

Ok, well, Tell me what you think of everything.

- Michael