50 mph wind gusts make for a heck of a night bike ride. When the power finally went out for good at EA, I thought about playing it safe and hitching a ride home with someone who drove. In retrospect, it probably wasn't a bad idea, but you've got to take advantage of a good tailwind when it presents itself. Riding through a pitch dark Playa Vista (as the rest of the power for the surrounding blocks had gone out), with only the headlights of the nearby congestion of cars illuminating the streets, was a pleasant start. Fire trucks screamed by to various locations to attend to the outages in the region. The Ballona Creek bike path was virtually deserted as I dodged downed branches, twigs and bushes while leaning into the crosswind twenty degrees to avoid being blown over and/or into the canal. It got a little dicey once I reached the Marina entrance as the cover from the surrounding brush and apartments disappeared. The repeated high pitched clinks of sailboat riggings could be heard in the distance as almost a constant whistle as I passed. After finally reaching the far side of Playa del Rey, the bright bike headlight and the rare passing car were the only sources of light and signs of life in the area. Through the darkened streets, I started towards the entrance to South Marine Avenue, a 2 mile straightaway along the beach. With southward gusting winds, my southward ride home was going to be a fun one. I hit 34.4 miles per hour along the flats in Dockweiler beach, and didn't even reach the highest gear. All the while, the masses of drifting beach sand in the wind made such a resounding hiss that not even the stormy ocean surf was audible. As I reached the water treatment plant, the dozens of street lamps in the parking lot clanked loudly as they swayed back and forth, deviating roughly a foot in either direction. The occasional flying flags I passed sounded as if they were going to be ripped right off their posts. As I reached the refinery further south, an entire section of chainlink, barbed wire fence surrounding the premises had been torn down by the wind as sand began to cover the bike path. I slowed my pace to avoid having my tires slip out from under me on one of the various patches of loose sand. I continued through to Manhattan Beach where the power fortunately remained and the sand cleared off the path, though large road signs had been overturned and the volleyball nets on the beach flapped rapidly, but in unison. I reached Hermosa beach at a good pace, where here, the power also remained. Shortly before reaching the pier, a sudden bluish flash erupted over the nearby beach houses to the Southeast. The surrounding buildings and street lamps quickly went dark as, evidently, a power line or transformer had gone up, leaving the few passing cars as the only source of light, once again. The pier retained power as I passed and made my way into Redondo Beach. As I neared the power station, the steel power lines that hung along the massive metal towers repeatedly smacked into each other and sent metallic reverberations in either direction. Fearing another potentially more dangerous blue flash, I sped past. I finally arrived at my apartment after a surreal, ever-so-slightly dangerous, though undoubtedly fun 12 mile ride home. Could I have played it safe? Sure. Would I have missed an unbelievable experience? You betcha. Some risks in life are just worth taking.
Yes, I took a bit of a hiatus from the blog upkeep, but I'm back yet again! Quite a lot has changed in the past few months and it's been pretty crazy. First of all, I successfully earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation from SCAD! I graduated Summa Cum Laude and earned an Outstanding Achievement Award in Animation! I'm really glad I was able to finish off strong and was able to stave off the dreaded "Senioritis" altogether.
Obviously (because I was able to graduate) that means I also managed to finish my senior film, Focus, on-time! Many an all-nighter was pulled to finish it up (including my last four days at SCAD) , but the people helping me out did not let me down in any way. I'm very satisfied with the results and am proud to say we did it. Focus is currently making the film festival circuit with the help of our fantastic "Festivals Office" at SCAD. As of this post, I have received great news that it will be screened at the Savannah Film Festival 2010! More updates about Focus will be posted as they are received and the film will be posted here as soon as possible.
Now with college over and done with, I was tossed into the whole "getting an industry job" portion of my life.... After getting back home and stressing out for about the first month, I'm fortunate enough to say that I was able to land an internship opportunity with Pendulum Studios in sunny San Diego as a Technical Animator! I've been here about a month, thus far, and have a couple more to go. It's definitely hard work, but I'm able to get my hands on many different roles, which I absolutely love. It's been a great first foray into the business and I've been able to work on some really great projects, thus far. San Diego is also an unbelievable city and an extremely beautiful place to live. I'm eager to see what the next two months will bring and where it will take me after that.
Of course, I wouldn't have been able to do any of this if it hadn't been for my friends and family who kept me going. A big hats off and a gracious "Thank You" to all of them for the encouragement. Many of my friends have gotten off to great starts in their careers and I'm very proud of all of them, and for those great talents that haven't gotten their big break yet, I'm sure it will soon come. Hang in there! For now, here's a production still from my senior film after final lighting, rendering and compositing. Until next time.......
LAIKA's commercial division released a fantastic commercial a few months ago, and I've recently become aware of it. This is just more proof that some fantastic animation and experience can go into commercial advertising. Plus, click on the link under the video and it'll bring you to a cool video/background integrated page on Vimeo. Fantastic work.
Alright, I understand. It's been a very.....very..........very long time since I've posted anything. Many things have been going on recently, mainly, Winter quarter at SCAD. It was way beyond brutal as I had senior film to attend to as well as a refreshing MEL scripting class that certainly taxed my brain cells. The senior film got a nice dose of the attention, but it's still not quite all there yet. There's still a good bit of lighting and rendering to be done and a good amount of animation fixes. It'll be posted as soon as its polished and ready to go. I'm now in Spring quarter, taking portfolio and post production for senior film classes, so I might have some work from there to post in a bit. On another note, I did get together a rigging reel recently, so that'll cover showing off the final Rupert rig as well as a MEL/Python scripting project I've got going, among a couple other rigs and animations (most animations are not mine). So for now, enjoy that, and I'll have another post shortly......I hope.
Alright, the quarter's finally over. By the far the most grueling I've had so far, and it's probably not going to get any easier from here on out, but I'm up for it. Now that I'm on break (hah! break, they call it) there's still plenty to be done. Rig fixes, texture fixes, animation fixes, portfolio fixes....the works. I'll have animation reel updates in a couple weeks hopefully, as well as some new animation and rig tests. I also want to cut together a rigging reel, just for kicks. On top of that, my car could use a little TLC, as well. Boy that's a lot to do. This time, I don't have any media to accompany the post, but I did come away from Fall quarter with a nice quote from Professor Charles daCosta: when someone or something gets you feeling inadequate......
Here's the finished model of my character for my senior film. I've finally decided on a name for him: Rupert. I modeled him myself and I think he translated nicely from the character designs I did. I also paid very close attention to edge flow as well as proportions. A few proportions were changed a bit from the character sheet, but only for appeal. He's already UV'ed but the textures still need to be painted. Next up for him is rigging. The rig is going to consist of stretchy/ bendy spine, arms, and legs, as well as a facial rig, probably driven mostly by joints and blendshapes, and maybe a few clusters for the mouth. Now I need to force myself to take a break from senior film for a couple days to work on some animation as I've been skimping a bit in that department. I guess I just really want to see the character I modeled moving..... Enjoy!