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Friday, December 18, 2015

A Short Cat Animation

Although I've animated some 4-legged animals in the past as a traditional animator, however, I don't think I did them that well back then.  Achieving subtle acting and performance in hand-drawn animation was, and still is very difficult. Not that it's any easier to do in CG,  but it is achievable and believable.

It's been a much-delayed interest of mine to at least try to animate quadrupeds in CG.  And so, I decided to take a realistic creature course at Animation A Team with Rob Hemmings, to learn some new approach and techniques of how to do this.

This is the thumbnail sketch for the story idea of "Gotcha!", ( originally called Cat Chase), which I consider my first successful attempt in animating a realistic quadruped animal as a 3d animator.

click to enlarge

So below are the final  results. Enjoy!


And here's the same animation with  fur render.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Animal Drawing - Final Week

To see previous weeks, click Week 1. Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5. Week 6, Week 7.

For week 8, the lectures were about prehistoric animals and some rendering.  Finally, I'll have my weekends back. It's been really challenging 8 weeks, because I didn't have much time to do more research and sketches to understand the process, with only the weekends to do it.  And yet, I still enjoyed doing these assignments.  The subject of drawing animals is really very broad, and for 8 weeks, it's just scratching the surface. There's just so many different kinds, types, species of animals one can learn about, that it's a lifetime's worth of study.

I also got sick this week, so I only managed to these.  Artrage 4 had been the program I've been using in doing all of my assignments.  Here's what I've done.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Animal Drawing - Week 7

To see previous weeks, click Week1, Week2, Week3, Week4, Week 5, Week 6.

Week 7 is all about birds. Understanding a bit of their anatomy, how their wings look, folded and in flight; and how to draw them using simple shapes.   But because I've been busy at work this week, including Saturday, I only get to finish 3 birds.

Here's what I've done. ( click to enlarge)

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Animal Drawing - Week 6

 To see previous weeks, click week1, week 2, week 3, week4 . week 5

For week 6, the lectures and assignments are about  drawing  unusual shaped- animals.  These are the fishes, and reptiles. It's also about how much or less details, textures are indicated so as not to kill the drawings.   This is something I plan to practice on even after this workshop is done.

Here's what I've done. ( click to enlarge)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Hotel Transylvania 2 Teaser Trailer

Here's the teaser trailer of Hotel Transylvania 2, the movie I'm currently working on.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Animal Drawing - Week 5

 To see previous weeks, click week 1, week 2, week 3, week 4

For week 5, the topic and assignment was about drawing the individual and not the generic.  This means learning the different family genus and species. Or their different ages.  I focused on 2 species, dogs and tigers, specifically the Labrador Retrievers and Siberian Tigers. I decided to draw them in their different ages and observe how their appearances change.

After learning how to draw animals through the process of  gesture, construction, and anatomy it's now time to complete the drawing with some rendering. There are many ways to go about it. but since I don't have the time to explore different techniques, like crosshatching, I decided to just simply do a wash technique for the shadow shapes and a few whites in some areas. 

Here's what I've done... (click to enlarge)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Animal Drawing - Week 4

To see previous weeks, click Week 1, Week 2, Week 3.

For week 4's topic, it's about active and passive muscles, and animals in action, and being able to draw animals from gesture, construction, and with muscles overlay.  For my assignment, I concentrated mostly on dogs and a cat. I chose photos where there's interaction between animals.

Here's what I've done. ( click to enlarge)


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Animal Drawing - Week 3

 To see previous weeks, click Week 1, and Week 2
Week 3's assignment had been very challenging. It's about determining the muscles of predatory and prey animals.  Even though all we need to learn as artists are the superficial and simplified muscle groups, I found it really hard. There's just not enough time to study them, and I only have the weekends to do it.  It took me hours to figure out the muscles of just one animal in one pose.  Not even sure it's all correct. This is one of those times a good teacher's feedback is necessary.

Here's what I've done. (click to enlarge)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Animal Drawing - Week 2

 To see Animal Drawing Week 1, click here.

This week's lesson was about animal skeleton and basic construction.  This was one of those times when I really struggled drawing.  I have not drawn animal skeletons before so this week's assignment had been difficult.  If I don't understand what I'm drawing, I won't be able to draw it well. So, I took out all of my animal drawing and anatomy books as references. I think after this course is over, I will revisit all the lessons again and do a lot of practice.

Here's what I've done. (click to enlarge)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Animal Drawing -Week 1

I'm at it again! I'm presently enrolled in another online drawing workshop. Art education has always been something I wanted to continue and thanks to all these online schools, I'm now able to do it at my own convenience.

This time, it's Animal Drawing at CGMA 2d Academy.  Being a 3d animator, it's easy to neglect sketching or drawing after a long day's work. So, this is my way of forcing myself out of laziness to start sketching and drawing again.

For week 1, here's what I've done.... (click to enlarge)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Animsquad Shot # 3

    ( To see shot 1 & 2, click here)

    The third and final shot I started during the 2014 Animsquad Winter Term Workshop with Malcon Pierce.  It's the longest shot I've done so far. I must have been crazy to have chosen to animate a shot this long - 615 frames.  I haven't animated any shot this long in my professional career......yet.

    One of the difficulies in animating this long shot is how to sustain my interest and energy in doing it long after the workshop was finished.  But  I just kept at it and finally, it's done!  I was trying to remember all the stuff I've learned from Malcon during the workshop, while I was animating this outside of the workshop on my own now.  My sincerest thanks to my Animsquad tutor, Malcon Pierce.  Fantastic tutor!!!

    It's been an exhausting, 14 weeks of animating.  But it's all worth it. 

    Here it is.... Enjoy!  


Friday, April 11, 2014

My Animsquad Shots

     Even after many years of being an animator, there's always something new to learn and strive for. Animating in TV productions, where the schedule is really tight and fast, I never really had much opportunity to think about original story and performance ideas for characters. Usually, these had already been decided by other people before the scenes are handed over to the animators. 

     Now that I'm presently unemployed again, I decided to enroll in another online workshop, to improve my acting performance choices and learn how to polish the scene well.  It's also an excuse to do some personal animation work for my demoreel.

     So for the last 12 weeks and still ongoing, I've been really busy animating  2 out of 3 shots for Animsquad 2014 Winter Term  Expert Acting Workshop, with Malcon Pierce as my tutor.  

       It's been really fun animating with their really appealing rigs Jack and Jill. And being tutored by the Disney animator./supervisor, Malcon, who really understands how to make the scenes appealing and entertaining, is simply awesome. It's almost like I'm animating at Disney!!!   

     The search for the right audio clips, story ideas, sets and props had been an enjoyable process as well. The sets and props I've used here were free rigs I've downloaded from Turbosquid. I made some modification with the rigs to suit my purposes.

      So here's what I've done, so far.....Enjoy!

Shot 1 - Women


Shot 2 - Not Mine


Shot 3 - I'd Love To

           Still in progress....Coming soon!  
              click here!!!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bunny Rabbit Now Animated!!!

      This is a long overdue idea. Now that I have the time, finally made this.

      Starting with just one digital painting of Bunny Rabbit done in Photoshop, I made a 10-drawing animation cycle by re-using and revising the same artwork to create the dancing movement.  Took me the whole day....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Final Wk Digital Painting - St George & The Dragon

    In this 8th week, after doing thumbnails and brainstorming about the composition, character designs, poses, and color for the St.George Slays the Dragon painting, and arriving at a consensus with my instructor on which of those studies I should go for, I've decided to start the painting in greyscale and deal with the colors much later after I resolve the design and poses of the characters first. Understanding colors is still a challenge and difficulty for me.  So I need to approach this painting in a slow and methodical way.  

     Focusing first on the main characters, I started sketching and painting the horse, which I've decided would be white. Gathering references for the horse was quite a challenge, since it is an original design, and it was difficult to find an exact pose like that of my horse design. So I just relied on what I know and looked at different photo references and hopefully, it looks believable. Here is the initial stage of the painting of the horse in greyscale. (click to enlarge)

     Then St. George was next, I haven't resolved his design and costume yet, so his look evolved as I went on. Same with the design and colors of the dragon. This is how I am, ideas doesn't come to me quickly enough. I seem to get ideas as I go, thus making my painting process quite slow, and time consuming.  Here's the initial design for St.George...

     After a good night's sleep and fresh eyes, I looked again at my design of St. George and now disliked it. So I spent another day changing his look, pose and costume completely. I have to gather some photos of good-looking Hollywood actors as reference, and I got inspired by the idea of a superhero. So.... my St. George kinda look like the Man of Steel. Haha. I revised his costume to be more a black sculpted armour with a cross in the middle of his chest. And of course... a cape.  He's not wearing any helmet, so we can see his face more. I know.... he's more vulnerable against the dragon's fire, but who wants a hero you can't see the face of. I digress.... So here's the new design of St. George with a cape now. I also started sketching the dragon in a bit more detail...

 Then I started blocking the dragon roughly and revised George's cape to be flowing more upward. 


    The following day, I found the dragon's wings seem lacking in terms of design so I revised it to look like it's tattered. I also added some horns on his head to make him look more fierce and scary.   He's the bad guy in this piece representing evil, so the uglier and bad he looks, the better.... At this stage, I'm quite satisfied with the designs of the characters that it's now time to add colors.

     For the colors, I wanted the setting to be dark, maybe around dawn before the sun rises.  And yes, the cape is red.  Then I clumsily tried to figure out the lighting scenario of this piece and this is what I came up with.

  Not quite sure how I'm doing in terms of colors, I asked a friend who have more experience in digital painting to have a look at this. He kindly gave me some suggestions and I love what he did that I almost followed everything he suggested. Thanks to my animator friend, Chan Ghee Leow, for giving me some useful tips.  Here's an improved version.  The lighting is more intense and dramatic. The dragon seem to want to burst into flames in demonic anger. Hahaha..

I further added some background details and improved on the dragon details. Darkening the scene a bit more. 

 I further revised the pose and design details of the dragon and clarifying a bit more it's details. There's a subtle secondary light coming from above that I wanted to include which signifies God.

      Playing around with the colors and lighting further, I finally settled on this one where the colors are a bit purple-ish and the scene a bit more darker.   After an incredibly exhausting 8 weeks, here, finally, is my first concept digital painting of St George Slays the Dragon.

     I still have so much to learn in terms of colors and light, aside from digital painting techniques, composition, and character designs.  And I think it would take me some more time and experience to be able to judge objectively the quality of my own work. But for now, I consider this an accomplishment, and a start. Prior to undertaking this course, I always find digital painting intimidating.  Now that I've taken these first steps, it doesn't seem that unachievable for me anymore.

      To see previous weeks, click here : Week 1, Week2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Wk 7 Digital Painting - Redesigning A Myth

       After weeks of getting used to digital painting using Photoshop, it is now a chance for me to put what I've learned into creating my own digital artwork.   Last week, I playfully designed my own dragon, something that's not a particular interest of mine, but I enjoyed the process just the same.  Using the moodboards and research I've already started last week, I decided to continue this subject and will now try to redesign "St George Slays The Dragon" painting. 

       So week 7 is all about thumbnails and brainstorming. Quick and dirty, just laying out ideas about what the story will focus on, and how it would look like.  Here's the rough thumbnails I've came up with... ( click to enlarge)

     I haven't decided on how the dragon would look like at this stage, but just playing around with composition.  I've decided St. George to use arrows to fight the huge dragon, riding his white horse.  He needs to be able to get away from the dragon fast if he needs to.  I'm also adding light as a symbolic element, to represent God or Grace to help him win over the dragon which is the symbol of evil.  

     So the first two panels, the dragon would have wings, and the lower two panels, the dragon would be huge but wingless. I'm focusing on the main characters in the scene first, and on how to stage the story.  The background at this stage isn't clearly defined yet.  

      The first panel is a direct face-to-face confrontation. The second (top right) is the ending where the dragon is already killed, and St. George gratefully looks up in prayer.  The third (lower left) is another version of the confrontation, where the dragon is bigger, but wingless, and St.George using the horse's speed, tries to outrun it while aiming his arrow for a shot.  The last panel ( bottom right), St. George, with a torch in his hand trying to lure the huge dragon, also wingless, to chase after him, probably to a trap. 

     After this, I decided to add some colors to these and see what I can come up with...

     Adding colors can be fun and intimidating at the same time.  It's a very unfamiliar territory for me, since I've never done any original painting before. So this is a real exploration and experiment.  My choices here are probably very amateurish at this point and only time and experience will tell me later, whether these choices are any good or not. And I suspect, I'll probably cringe in embarrassment, of how terrible my choices had been. Haha...

     My color choices at this point relies heavily on what that color feels to me.  So I'm keen to learn more about color theory. I'll probably read up on that subject later on.   

   After submitting these,  the consensus was to focus on the first panel, where the height of tension and action is the main story.  I got some feedbacks regarding the size of the panel and it was suggested that I can still lengthen it horizontally, more like a cinematic 16:9  camera ratio.  I like that idea, and will definitely do that on the actual painting.

    Another note given was to create more studies on different poses for the horse and the dragon. I focused on the St. G and the horse first and came up with these.....

     On this first set of thumbnails, I was trying to convey movement and fear on the horse, so I had it facing away from the dragon, trying to get away, while St. G is aiming his arrow to the dragon. The feedback I got for these said that the horse seem weak.

 And so, I made another set of thumbnails. This time, I had the horse facing the dragon more and less body twisting.  I got favorable feedback for horse 10,11,13,and 14.

     Next was the dragon. Here's 4 different dragon poses, then using the 4 selected St G and horse poses, I mixed and matched them to these dragon poses.  Here they are....

      At this point, I still haven't decided which one I will go for.  The final look and design of the characters will be decided upon as I go. The background would be secondary and it would be designed around these characters.  Things can still evolve later on. Then finally the colors.  That would be all done next week....I hope.

       To see previous weeks, click here : Week 1, Week2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6,





Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wk 6 Digital Painting - Mood boards & Making Dragons

     This week, for the first part of the assignment, we were to take a subject we don't like, then redesign it, by creating moodboards- a collection of images where we can show the concepts we have in mind, in re-envisioning the subject we chose. For the Mastering Animals part of the assignment, we were to design a dragon.

    While researching for this, I came across some paintings of Saint George Slays the Dragon, typically depicted like this....A knight riding a white horse, about to slay a dark-colored dragon, with a spear or a sword, while a princess looks on from a distance. The dragon represents evil, while the princess represents different virtues

     I'm not much into dragon fantasy, so I'll consider this as my Not My Favorite part of the assignment. I thought this concept would fulfill both parts of the assignment. While collecting costume, look and style references for St George and the dragon, I envisioned St George as a hero archetype, well-built, good-looking, in dynamic poses, inspired by Frazetta's paintings. And I thought a bigger dragon would be more menacing and and dangerous.  I also thought of changing the typical staging, into a more cinematic and dynamic composition.

      Quite an ambitious task. Not sure if there'd be enough time. So I decided to just focus on designing the dragon, and see how I go.  So here's a few sketches I did, using reptiles like crocodiles, iguana, komodo dragon and other reptiles as the basis, which is similar to the story, but I haven't decided if  it would have wings or not.

     Halfway through my research, where the typical dragon I see were the big, ferocious, fire-breathing monster kind. I felt overwhelmed, so I changed my mind about the whole concept and decided that instead of scary-looking, ferocious, flesh-eating monster, I'll go for a pet dragon instead, much smaller and cute.  So I started to play around with this new idea and came up with two designs and a little character personality and descriptions:

     Still maintaining the bat wings, the first one is a combo of Camel/Llama, with Lion body and Tiger stripes, plus serpent tail, lined with spikes.  This dragon is a small one. Not very strong due to his small size.  Doesn't spit fire but spit a lot of foul-smelling saliva.  Haha.   Can fly very fast. Smart and funny, and talks about a lot of good knowledge but also a lot of nonsense.  Pretty much a good pet and friend to any young wizard-in-training. Eats a lot of fruit, particularly berries. I haven't decided the colors yet. Will play around as I go.


     The second one is a Hippo Dragon, a combo of Hippo head, and a  fat puppy -like body, covered with reptile spots. and has reptile tail. Also lined with spikes. His feet have claws. Also have bat-wings but too tiny to really help him fly. He can glide though if he jumps-off from a high place then sort of glides down. and flies more like a chicken. Really pathetic. That's why he's sad-looking.    But a real darling and puppy-like.  A good pet too.  But don't get fooled for his real power lies in his strong ability to let out a big yawn with fire, that easily disintegrates anyone who mistakenly cross his master. Ha!

     So... I find myself developing these pet dragons further, and now enjoying it. I refined the drawings a bit more. and also realized that my original Hippo Dragon sketch, didn't actually look like a Hippo, but more like a Rhino, So I revised it to look more like a Hippo now.  I started to do a grey scale study of it. And played around with some colors, but haven't decided with a final one.
     The thing I like with starting in grey scale, I can play around with colors.  And so I did.  Here's what I came up so far.  Since Hippo Dragon is more of a pet than a menace, I decided to give him some bluish colors with touches of pinks. His spikes are translucent. His personality is more on the quiet, timid, shy type, but he can be dangerous when angry. Remember, he's got a deadly big yawn with fire, that disintegrates any enemy.

     His wings are very thin and small for his size. It's more a remnant from his dragon ancestry.  It doesn't really help him to fly but do help him to glide down when jumping off from a high place. He doesn't fly that high, more like how a chicken fly. His ancestors were powerful dragons and they all spit fire, but since his great, great, great grandfather had been captured by a powerful wizard and made into a pet, the succeeding generation of dragons had been very docile and their powers unused, their flying skills undeveloped.  Thus gradually became almost useless.  Except for the spit-fire power.  It never went away, but would now require him to be really, really, really angry for that to happen.

     It's quite a challenge, since his personality doesn't lend him to get angry easily. But one thing that does, is if anyone harms his master. A true loyal and protective pet, he is. Definitely a good companion for any young wizard-in-training.

Here's Hippo Dragon in color.... (click to enlarge)

     So, I started the week, not quite sure if I would enjoy this assignment. Having to do a subject we don't like and turn it into something we like.  I think I succeeded. I like this dragon. Although he may undergo some more changes if I develop him further.

     And what about St. George Slays The Dragon concept?  Hmmm...  I'm not abandoning that concept quite yet.

     To see previous weeks, click here : Week 1, Week2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5