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Had an incredible Q and A last night with Mark Pudleiner. He said some really inspiring things that any artist can relate to. How many creative things have you started that never were finished? When Mark asked us this generic question last night, I truthfully answered, “Probably about 90% of my stuff.” Basically what he was trying to show is that, every creative person, whether it be a writer, painter, animator, director, editor, all have these doubts in themselves, because we are out most critical eye. As artists, we are always trying to out-do ourselves and push our stuff to the limits to get the best results. He wanted us to realize that these doubts about the quality of our work is all very natural and normal. As an artist, it really does help to hear these things. Sometimes art can be a very lonely thing, even in such a collaborative field like animation. Luckily for me, I’ve got this incredible community of people who are all in the same place I am. Each one of the students at Animation Mentor have a passion to create this illusion of life, and every single one of them is on this same journey I am on trying to find out where we fit in this incredible expressive art form.

After such a great Q and A, I finally cracked open my copy of “The Illusion of Life” by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. I’ve been on this animation path for so long, I figured it’s about time I read the book that most people in the field consider to be the “bible” of the art form. The way they talk about animation is beautiful. After reading only one chapter, I’ve already got tons of pages in my notebook with quotes. I can’t wait to finish it.

On that note, I turned in my last version of my first shot for my Advanced Body Mechanics class. It definitely still needs a lot of work, but Mark told me in my eCritique that the shot made some incredible leaps and bounds from where it was, and according to him good progress like this is a great success, even if the shot isn’t perfect. So I wanted to share it with you all!

Last week, I also turned in some planning for my next shot. I haven’t started the blocking yet in Maya, but the last couple of days I’ve been studying my video reference and trying to do some extra sketching. I’m hoping this extra preparedness will help my shot start off nice a solid, so I won’t have to work backwards too much like I feel like I have done in most of my shots.

In other news, I finally downloaded the software for my printer/scanner! (Yay!) This means I’m going to be scanning in some fun old pictures (after I’m done with my AM assignments, of course!). I scanned one in earlier today for a test. Here it is, submitted for your approval!

Snap shot from my Totnastics days.

As you can see, I have always had balance and poise! haha

Happy Animating!

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Here I am, for yet another post of wonderfully inspiring things that I’ve come across since I last stopped in here. But first, AM update!!!

I am currently in Week 5 of Class 2, and have finished my first of three shots for this week! I’m pretty happy with it, although there are a few revisions that I’m planning on doing. Nevertheless, I will share it with you today! I’m pretty proud of how far my animation has come already, and I’ve only just begun! My mentor for this class is wonderful! He always brings some wonderful little clips to class for us to watch and totally geek out over, showing us how beautiful the arcs are and how much planning goes into shots. Next week, he wants us all to bring two questions with us to our Q and A since he says he won’t have any fun clips for us. I must start thinking of some things to ask him… Any ideas?

Anyway, here is the final shot that I turned in. (Although, like I said I will be doing a few updates on it!)

Next is some really exciting news that AM came out with while at SIGGRAPH. For those of you who do not know. SIGGRAPH is an annual convention for computer graphic people to totally geek out on awesome new and exciting things in the computer graphics world, including animation! AM announced an improved version of Bishop. Bishop is AM’s flagship character that has been used by students and alumni of AM since 2005, and now Bishop 2.0 is an even BETTER version of what AM has made. It can best be described in this video:

Pretty sweet huh? Oh, and if you don’t know what 71 tredecillion is, it’s this: 71 times 10 to the 43rd power, or 710,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Wow.

I let myself take a break the other day, and I actually just sat by the pool, read, and daydreamed. It was pretty magical. While I did this, I was thinking about one of my newest most favorite books, The Art of the Disney Princess. This is a book full of tons of interpretations of Disney princesses created by Disney artists. It’s amazing. There is one in there by Eli Trinh that I especially like. It’s a very graphic piece of just Princess Aurora’s hair. Thinking about this piece got me thinking of how nice all of the princesses’ hair dos are, and I though of how cool it would be to do a graphic installation of a representation of every princess hair do from Disney. Genius. The beginning is a very good place to start, so here is the first that I did:

Can you guess which Disney Princess this is?

I’m proud of her, but I am planning to do a revision or two, and I still have to do the other girls as well…

I have a few other things to share, but I don’t want to go all sensory overload. So, that’s all for now!

Happy Animating!

I just watched my critique from last week and my lecture for Week 4. There is always always always room for improvement. My work is seriously lacking in weight and timing. I need a LOT more practice. Ad all these animators on these lectures just make it seem so easy. Le sigh. I’ve just got to stay motivated and keep moving forward. All this talent comes from practice and experience, and really, I’m only about four months into my animation journey. These guys have been working for 10+ years. It won’t happen overnight. I just can’t get too frustrated. My first shot for this class is still going to be awesome.

My heart strings have been getting pulled more so than usual, especially in the area of Florida. Don’t ask me why. I guess after living there for five years, you sort of grow attached to a place without even realizing it. Right after waking up and having these thoughts, I realize that I’m actually going home to Orlando in just under three weeks! AND what’s even better is this article that Disney Blogs posted on Facebook right after this:

For the summer, they have NEW Mickey Key Lime Pie treats! YUMMMO!!! I can’t wait to get one of my own in a few weeks. I hope they are as yummy as they are cute! Of course this doesn’t help with me also obsessing over wanting to go back to the Florida Keys desperately…

Mickey Key Lime Pie!!

I’ve got tons of work to do this week. I’ve got to finish my first shot as well as start planning out my next shot. For now, I’m just gonna turn on some Glee and jam out whilst I get ready for work. And YOU can enjoy this terribly awesome article I found about Sharpie art!

Happy Tuesday everyone! 🙂

I’m aliiiiiiive! Hello all! I haven’t updated since right before I was going to see Toy Story 3. It was AMAZING, and I already went and saw it again. I cannot even handle how awesome Pixar is. Next I need to see Despicable Me and I very much would like to see Inception. I hear wonderful things about both.

Class 2 at Animation Mentor is already in full swing. The class is called Psychology of Body Mechanics and my mentor is Shaun Freeman from Austrailia, of the new animated TMNT movie fame. (I know, total geek out, eeeeeeeeeh!!) He is really awesome, and super helpful. He’s really great at explaining questions, he’s full of really good examples. I’m loving this class too, everyone in it is super talented. It’s a little intimidating, but it’s just making me want to put in the extra effort to get my stuff to look just as good. I’m already doing much better in getting my work done earlier so that I can get tons of critiques. And I’m trying my best to spend a lot of time giving other students critiques too. The way this class works is within the 12 weeks we do only three assignments, so each of the three shots that we do gets four weeks of attention. So I’m really hoping my stuff comes out really baller! I’m going to attach the video of my first assignment. Today was the Week 3 version, so the final version will be due next week. This means that’s it’s still a bit rough, but hopefully will be perfected soon.

This post was a bit thrown together, so I apologize. But I wanted to leave you with something truly inspirational. For those who have seen this, I’m sure you will enjoy it again.

Go out and get inspired! (Or stay in and watch inspiring/hysterical videos on the internet!) Happy animating!

You may or may not know that I am absolutely in love with all things Disney. So much so, that I even took a semester off from school in 2007 to do an “internship” there (aka Disney paid me next to nothing to work 30+ hours a week). That sounds crappy, you say? Hell to the no. These seven months were some of the best of my life! Working all day and then going into the parks at night to play with all your friends. Watching fireworks almost every night. Being amongst the last of the public to ride Back to the Future at Universal Studios. FINALLY celebrating my birthday in the happiest place on earth! Winning a “free” cruise to the Bahamas. Becoming best friends with a waiter at Friday’s and convincing his manager you were married to get free drinks. I made some of my most favorite memories while on the Disney College Program. I feel like everyone should do it. As miserable as it can be, the amazing experience that comes out of it far outweighs the drama and long hours of work.

Why am I so sickeningly reminiscent all of a sudden? Well, while on my program, I worked at the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I drove an oversized truck and gave tours of our African reserve. In the reserve were zebras, elephants, lions, cheetahs, and giraffes. We had a super tall male giraffe named Asante, which is Swahili for “thanks.” And today he passed away from a serious neck injury. So so so sad 😦

If you want to read more, here is the link: Giraffe dies with broken neck

So this got me thinking of all the wonderful times I had while on my program, and I wanted to share some of them with you!

Here I am with my ill-fitting khakis costume and my truck!

Jambo everybody! Are you ready for a safari?

Just hanging out on show in costume!

Breakfast at Ohana, Ohana means family

Bryly and Kitty ❤

My hubby and I with our friends from Fridays!

Blue Man Group with some of my favs, Ry Ry, Jaclyn and Erin!

Ry Ry, my bestest friend on the program, we did everything together!

We were the second to last group of guests to ride Back to the Future before it closed!

Ry Ry and I on our cruise to the Bahamas!

We even jumped on hotel beds! haha

With the girls at graduation!

Hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane with me. I wish I could go back every day and be with my friends again working at safaris, but I know, just like Walt said, we have to keep moving forward and learn new things. I have been so blessed to have so many incredible and life-changing experiences, and I can’t wait to have so many more!

Love to all my safari friends. Kwaherini Asante, you will be missed out on the savannah. See you in two weeks.

As promised here are a few of my animations. How exciting! These are just from my last two weeks. Once I get some revisions done on my others, I will post those as well! I know you are all sitting on the edge of your seats!

We just had our Q and A for this week. Tons of fun. We talked about that pesky little Tailor guy who you can see in my second video, about getting jobs in the industry, and about how crazy/tired we all were from working full time jobs plus spending every other waking moment in front of our computer watching balls bounce!

So in just a few short weeks I will finally be finished with Class 1! It went by so quickly! The assignment for the last week will be to put all of our work into one file, and once I’ve got that all put together I will definitely post this, so everyone can see all the work I’m doing whilst I shut everything else besides animation and coffee from my life!

Week 6 – The Pendulum (Overlapping Action)

This video is actually a revision from my first pass. I had gotten notes from my mentor and improved it a bit.

Week 7 – Tailor!

This is the first pass of the assignment, I’ve already gotten notes and will be doing a revision in the next couple of days!

And just for fun! Here is my thesis project from my last semester at school, for anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s just a silly little stop motion project that I did. Enjoy!

I’ve had quite a week. Busy busy busy. AM is going splendidly. I just finish Week 7 this past Sunday. I turned in my first assignment using the AM character Tailor! (He’s just a ball with a tail, and moves around a little bit like a squirrel) I had a fun time animating it. I PROMISE I will get these animations up this week, I should have some extra time. Anyway, Just as soon as I turned in my assignment about this cute little squirrel Sunday morning, I leave my house to go to work and what do I see? A real squirrel dead in the middle of the road. Reality sucks.

Good things have happened this week though as well. Finn’s featured song last week on Glee was Jesse’s Girl, and then Kurt did his own version of Rose’s Turn. It was such an awesome episode. Very touching too. Tonight Neil Patrick Harris is on Glee! So geeking out about this, but lucky me has to close again tonight at work, and then I have work early in the morning tomorrow so I won’t get to watch until tomorrow afternoon. Se la vie. Nail Patrick Harris is singing Dream On with Mr. Schu tonight, and Rachel is singing I Dreamed a Dream (one of my favorite shower songs) with Idina as well. Incredible.

I watched Kick Ass the other night. So awesome. Not exactly what I expected. It was way more violent than I thought it would be, but hilarious all the same. Is it wrong that I find blood and death funny? Although it was slightly predictable at parts, because it’s elementary uses of foreshadowing, it was still super enjoyable and I wouldn’t mind watching it again.

If there’s anything I like more than magic and musicals, it is the two thrown together with a dash of parody on the side. I came across this little gem after some stalking of a few friends on Facebook. A Very Potter Musical. It basically just a musical version of Harry Potter, and was written by a couple of dudes who love writing music and making parodies, and performed for free and posted on the internet for everyone to enjoy! (Done so mostly because they have no rights to any of the characters, but still pretty sweet!) It is HISTERICAL! And the music is surprisingly so well done! The references are genius and do not only pertain to Harry Potter. The guy who plays Harry is one of the writers of the show, and the guy who plays Voldemort is so talented and original (and very easy to look at, might I add!). So if you have any interest in musicals or Harry Potter, I would definitely recommend taking a little look-see.

The biggest most bestest news for this week, is that Disney has announced a NEW resort at Walt Disney World! And what’s even more exciting is that it’s going to be themed around animation!! It’s going to be another Value Resort, across the lake from Pop Century and will be called Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. So boss. They are building it where they were going to build the Legendary Years of Pop Century. (This is SO much cooler!) It’s going to feature wings in Cars, The Lion King, Finding Nemo AND The Little Mermaid (eek!!). It’s based around “families” so most of the rooms are going to be suites that can sleep 6 people!! Cannot wait until 2012. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the new Princess land in Magic Kingdom will be finished by then. I feel a very serious Disney vacation coming that year! Hooray!

Here is the statue of King Triton for "The Little Mermaid" wing. This thing is going to be 35 feet tall!

So those are all the exciting things that have been happening to me this week. Hope you weeks have gone equally as splendidly!

Let’s talk about my newest obsession: Fanny Brice. Last night, in a rare time when I’ve got some time to myself to do whatever I want, I methodically browsed through the movies you can watch instantly on Netflix, searching for just the right film to watch before bed. I came across Funny Girl, and thought, “I have seen a few snippets of this, but never the whole thing… let’s give Barbara a whirl.”

Best. Decision. Ever.

For those of you who are not familiar with the movie, it’s the story of Fanny Brice (Barbara Streisand) a girl from the Jewish slums of New York who, despite her very unconventional looks, makes a big name for herself on the New York stage, all while trying to find her place in her marriage with a faithful and debonair gambler, Nick Arnstein.

Anyway, Fanny Brice is  one of the most incredible female characters I’ve ever seen in a movie. She’s got such a confidence, even with her deviated nose, that she will be a star, because that is her dream and what she’s always wanted from life. Her attitude gets her exactly what she wants, but at the same time, she never strays from her true beliefs and goals. Amazing.

And her outfits were incredible too. It made me want to try to pull off sequence again!

How awesome is this dress?!

In other news, it was beautiful out today AND I had the day off! Hooray! I cleaned my bathroom AND I got to sit out in the sun for a couple of hours! Hooray! Plans for the rest of the day? Working out, cleaning my room and GLEE tonight!! Olivia Newton-John is guest-starring on Glee tonight, and I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Xanadu reference! Although, I’m not really sure if that will do any good. Oh well, either way it’s going to be a GREAT episode! I’m totally stoked for it.

It’s Week 6 at Animation Mentor! We’re learning overlapping action! Faaaaaaaaancy! I’m hoping I get to watch the lecture tonight so I can get started on my swinging pendulum tomorrow! Last week we had to pose Stu in a way to show DEVASTATION. I wasn’t too happy with what I ended up with. But I will post anyway…

My "Devastated" pose, that is kind of just devastating to look at...

Lots of things to talk about. First off, a public service announcement. If you haven’t see How to Train Your Dragon, please proceed to drop EVERYTHING and go to the theatre, right now, and go see it! It was so incredible. By far, Dreamwork’s best film yet! The art direction was amazing; the story was heartwarming, funny, and had a great lesson; the animation was inspiring.

The dragons were done so well, especially Toothless. He was like a cross between a cat and a dog with a little bit of horse in him. I LOVE animated characters that don’t talk. It really just shows what animation is all about. Be able to tell a story and convey feeling and meaning without words is what all art is, so it’s really amazing seeing that in real life, especially in the medium I’ve chosen and hope to one day work in. Anyway, even if you aren’t geeking out over the animation of the dragons, or the way the water splashed up against the rocks, or the fabulous hair/fur on the vikings, this movie was still the BOMB and needs to be seen by everyone.

Next order of business: I got my first eCritique back from Thea. She liked my sketches, but she really didn’t like my pose. I’m glad she had things to say about it though. It’s how I learn. And I’ve been learning a lot from other people’s eCritiques too. I’m LOVING Animation Mentor. I am learning SO MUCH, and it’s so exciting.

Week 3 is almost done. We had to animate a bouncing ball and also sketch out a few poses showing EXCITEMENT. The bouncing ball isn’t so bad, we’re starting out very simple. The excitement poses proved a lot more difficult than you would think. Everything just seems so cliche with excitement. I will be posting all my sketches and the bouncing ball once it’s all finished, probably tomorrow.

Lastly, I am upset with Autodesk. Autodesk is the company that makes Maya which is the software that I use for AM. They have not stayed on top of their game with the new Mac OS update, and Maya doesn’t like to cooperate with Mac OS 10.6.3, but of course, I have a new awesome super computer that updates on it’s own, so now Maya is not cooperating with my computer. Bummer. If I had my CDs, I could do a completely new install (luckily there is a way for me to do this without losing the files on my computer), but my CDs are no where to be found, at least they won’t be found in the next day and a half before my next assignment is due. So, I am going to have to put Maya on my sister’s computer and do the assignment on her computer. Hence my aggravation with Autodesk right now.

I think I’ve rambled long enough, and I should probably hit the sack since I have to open in the morning (major bummer). Why are all the little sayings that mean go to bed have to do with hitting? So violent. Anyway, good night and happy animating!

I finally got around to watching Project Runway from last week. They kicked off Anthony. Le sigh. Now, Anthony didn’t necessarily create anything spectacular, but he just made me very happy. Now, I know why I love him so much! When he got kicked off, there was no over the top boo-hooing. He simply said,

“I got eliminated today, but I still have breath in my body to change my tomorrow, so don’t cry for Anthony hunny, matter of fact toss one back for me. I still think that greatness awaits.”

Great words to pick yourself up again. Love him. Love this show. Thank you Anthony!

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