I think everyone who has ever decided to keep a blog has had this post – the one that reads “Oh man, it’s been SO long since my last post.” I’ve certainly written one or two of those in past incarnations of my blogging career. This one is thankfully for good reason, and not just a lack of interest on my part. The last year, Fall of 2014 and Winter/Spring of 2015, has indeed been packed with good stuff that’s been keeping me away.
Last Fall I created the first installment in the “Wizards in my Machine” animated mini-series (or mini-animated series, or whatever) under the Crackerbox label. The idea was/is to roughly explain the inner workings of the personal computer through music, verse, and little animated wizard characters. It was the first time in a LONG time that I tasked myself with everything; music, story, design, modeling, rigging, animating, rendering, comping – even hair and cloth sim. Holy crap. Lots of late night re-education sessions, and a significant hardware collection upgrade to handle the render load. All in all I am really happy to say it turned out exactly as I had envisioned it, and I am really looking forward to using some spare time this coming Fall to continue on to the first character episode. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it.
I spent some time deep in a couple of freelance projects throughout November and December. But come January I was off to Greenwich Connecticut to work with the great crew at Blue Sky Studios on the upcoming “Peanuts” animated feature. What a dream to get to work on such iconic characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The animation leadership of Nick Bruno and Scott Carroll was such a joy. These guys, and their crew of character leads and staff animators, had developed such a thoughtful approach to the style of movement and posing. It is both totally true to the comic strip and the TV specials of the 70’s and 80’s, while also using the advantages that CG has to offer. It is a totally charming story and I can’t wait to see it in all it’s glory in the theaters. So proud to have been even a small part of it for the 5 months I got to hang around. Check out the latest trailer here! Or go check out their presentation at Siggraph!
Starting in a week or two, I will be joining the crew of the next Google Spotlight Series animated short “Pearl” directed by Patrick Osborne. I can’t wait to work with Patrick and the crew. The idea sounds so inspiring and intimate. Totally looking forward to contributing what I can to this new kind of storytelling. I’ll be sure to post my impressions when it’s all wrapped up. Check out one of the latest articles here if you are interested.
Lastly, I decided to take some time off from teaching over the spring and summer while I finished up on Peanuts. I have just recently set up my fall schedule of classes at iAnimate.net, and I am really looking forward to getting back in the saddle. I’ve missed the weekly sessions more than I had anticipated. If you are interested in taking one of the workshops, I will be teaching Feature Workshop 4 (Intro to Facial Animation) and Feature Workshop 6 (Sequence Work), along with a bunch of other really great instructors. Check out the school here.
My plan this Fall and Winter is to bust out one more “Wizards” short, as well as release another tutorial video. You can be sure I will get the word out on both!