Action Analysis

Got around to uploading the Action Analysis. Originally decided to do a squirrel for the simple reason that i had a pre-rigged 3D model i intended to use. Turns out the rig did not run very well on all fours, couldn't hit a bunch of the poses i needed and the arms were to short to reach over his head. So, last minute i reverted back to 2D. I animated the whole thing in flash, greatly enjoyed doing a line-less style and not having to spend forever on clean-up and instead put more time towards the actual movement. The drop shadow and 2 tone were both done with some nifty After Effects tricks in compositing. Learned a heck of a lot on compositing and matting/masking which will make a huge difference in planning future scenes. Here are also a couple of quick concepts involved in the project, though i kinda shifted into a more graphic style when i decided to eliminate the line in the animation.

Little Bros

Been a while, I'll have to start posting again once this crazy semester is over! Wish i could spend X-Mass with my little bros... or in Brasil for that matter...


Time for some Horsees. Horsees are tough. To scribble. Especially when clip clopping and jumping about. Even after i learned Horsees are Human legs on the front and Ostrich legs on the back... still just as tough. To scribble. Oh horsees...

Third Year Life Drawing Portfolio #1

Here's the first portfolio for third year life drawing minus a couple drawings. I'm really digging pastels, probably because i love drawing dark... probably too dark at times, i've gotta work on having a lighter touch in certain areas. In general i find it harder to get some of the finer details with pastel. For the most part I think my brain thinks more creatively when tone is involved, or maybe i've just been using conte for too long...

Character Narrative Posing

Here are some character designs I put together. I used some of the great poses we got in life drawing as inspiration for these character poses. Trying to push for designs that suggest some kind of story to go along with them.

Joe Pesci

Lip Sync that was on hold for way too long due to tendonitis. Its part of a great little piece of dialogue with Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Still some things that could be tweaked but I learned a heck of a lot about lip-syncing and hitting accents on this one. For some reason on the internet the sound plays a bit faster than the image, this seems to get worse as the clip goes on... hopefully its just my slow internet. Anyways, happy to get back into drawing after the long stint!

Bark Bugs

Plant/Insect Hybrids. Sort of just happened while sketching. Go figure.

Healing is Slow, Cheetahs are Fast

Been a while again, had to take a break because of tendonitis (turns out its not carple tunnel!). Things are still iffy although generally feeling better. Who knows if my hands will last once the school load kicks in. Here are some cheetah sketches I did some days back. Freeze framed and drew a run cycle and then did a caricature.

Cannibald Records

Well its been a while since I posted something. Working on some things out of media rez studios. In the meantime an independant record label in Rome got in touch with me about using some bone drawings I did for their digital release. They gave me a little music in exchange and that was that.

2nd Year Life Drawing

Well I've been real lazy about posting life drawings on this blog so here goes. These are a sample of some of the better drawings I did this year. My hand thing made me miss a good chunk of the end of year stuff like the creature creation but i managed to get some final drawings in which turned out to be the best ones from the year.

These first two I did in the last life drawing sessions this year. Crazy how everything I learned this year sort of came together in these two drawings.

Ed as a Pirate! This costume session was so much fun!

These two anatomy studies were done purely from memory to study for the exam earlier this year.

Layout Test Collaboration

A little layout test I did with Gyimah Gariba (checkout his awesome blog here!)

Due to my hand problem I was helping others as a way of making up a mark for this assignment. We were just going to composite Gyimah's designs in After Effects but I got excited about finally being able to work on something and suggested I could make it 3D. So I pretty much kept myself busy modeling Gyimah's layout design in Maya then making some UV maps which I sent back to him. He coloured and textured all the UVs in photoshop. It mapped pretty well although I messed up the image resolution I sent him so its got an N64 feel to it :)

I made some lighting decisions that took the original colours in a new direction but it all worked out in the end with the greens and reds. Also got a little intro to some basic animation and played around with the Graph Editor.

All in all much was learned doing this little test. You always learn more when you take on something you are clueless about and research how to make it happen. When it comes to software, don't just stick to what you know how to do because then the software is controlling you rather than vice versa!

EDIT: Haha I reposted the video. Gyimah added a quick title sequence and music to the layout test and now it totally feels like a final boss from Zelda!

Influence and Originality

in all my injured boredom I end up doing random things like this. Here's a list of some of my primary influences (that I'm aware of). Its healthy to acknowledge your influences because they are there whether you like it or not. No point being pretentious about some kind of false sense of originality. Originality never happened in a vacuum anyway. I beleive the key to originality is not in the WHAT but the HOW. Storytellers know this best: We've been telling very similar stories for thousands of years yet we are always engaged when it is told through a new perspective.

hmm... I've probably missed some important ones like M.C. Escher...

Compositions in The Last Emperor

I've been sitting around a lot doing things mostly on a computer now that I have an ergonomic keyboard for my hands. It gets pretty boring not being able to draw and work on stuff so here's something I put together just for kicks.

I watched The Last Emperor the other night and i was quite blown away, especially by Vittorio Storaro's cinematography. I'm a bit of a cinematographer nerd and often go looking for work by some of the ones i like best. While i do appreciate the crisp and sleek look achieved by cinematographers like Wally Pfister, I find there are very few who are quite as playful and ingenious as Storaro when it comes to lighting a scene. Here are some samples of images with some notes:

Of course, any good film composition is much more than the still image because it adds movement into the equation. Many compositions in The Last Emperor are re-arranged through movement to create new and intriguing patterns of light and shadow within the same shot. Storaro is a fan of experimenting with many coloured gels and his images always exhibit a definitive colour choice. This particular film uses colour loaded with symbolism much of which is routed in their associations in Chinese culture. The most predominant colour choice seems to be red and green that play off each other in the same shot or between shots. In Pu Ye's later life, green is used to signify healing, harmony and growing, which is paralleled in his occupation as a gardener and the cricket in the final scene. While red appears throughout the film as a symbol for China, it is also the colour of marriage in Chinese culture and appears strongest in the bedroom scene in which Pu Yi unveils and looks upon his wife for the first time. The deep blue scenes are associated with female betrayal while yellow is reserved for Pu Yi, the emperor.

There is something to be said about this film in terms of its intended audience. It is a film about China made by Europeans in English. I would argue that one of the goals of this film is to bring Eastern Culture to the Americas and interestingly it was put together by Europeans who happen to be geologically between both extremes. What Storaro does with his distinctly European sensibility is perfectly bridge the traditional eastern and western compositional approaches. Let me explain. I have a theory (which many others have probably already pointed out) about the key difference that makes the composition of an image distinctly Eastern or Western. It all boils down to the idea of the "Centre of Interest". Traditional Western composition focuses on one primary part of the image, having the rest of the image contribute and guide the eye to this one area. Compositional unity is achieved through tension. Traditional Eastern composition is mostly concerned with a general flow. The eye moves through the entire composition but does not resolve in one area. Compositional unity is achieved through balance. These compositional tendencies are reflections of the basic philosophical differences in Eastern and Western culture: The Western goal-oriented opposition in contrast to the Eastern internal integration. The Last Emperor is for me a perfect balance between these two traditional compositional tendencies. Of course these distinctions are less apparent these days, since most people have been exposed and influenced to both the East and West.

Miyazaki's films also sit at about the midpoint between Eastern and Western composition. Even though he is Japanese, he draws a lot of influence from Europe.

And Then There Was Carpal Tunnel...

Yup, just like many others this year I now have the "artist's worst nightmare". I've been itching to draw for more than a half hour without feeling pain. I guess thats what happens when you draw/use the computer 24/7. For now its gonna be me and my two braces that make my arms feel bulky like machine guns. Luckily, computer related stuff like modeling in Maya is still feasible. Ironic that I happened to be modeling a hand when i started feeling the pains. This may be a bit premature but I think I may be falling for the 3D medium. The more i learn about it the more excited i get about the potential of the medium and just how many artistic choices can be made with it. Boggling.


I need to cut mine or I'm gonna go crazy dammit!
There are so many kinds of hair...

Poster Design

Something I spent the past couple of days putting together. Poster for an upcoming event organized by my Brazilian mother unit. Hope I can make it to this, just love Brazilian music!


Well, I got lazy on the posts for a while there. Finally got around to reshooting some of my animation with my HD webcam, so here are the past assignments. Currently finishing up the next one and then starting on yet another.

Lip Sync of Young Frankenstein Dialogue

Expression Change

Character Interaction

Business Monkey

Leica from last storyboard assignment in semester 1. The story conflict our class decided on was "It Keeps Happening" and the resolution was either "It Keeps Happning" or "It Stops Happening".

Beat Boards:

Some Things I Looked At

These are a few environment sketches done on my trip to Brasil.

Marcelo's house in the middle of nowhere on top of a hill. When it rains the mud road up the hill gets so muddy you may just not get up (especially in his 40 year old Volkswagen Beatles) , in which case, you walk. Great place. Great view.

This is the beach in Ubatuba my family and I stayed at. The beach bar had some great classic Brasilian nibbles I'd been craving for some time...

Carts with more nibbles and fresh cut coconut juice (second best selling juice in Brasil after orange juice).

A nearby beach, only accessible by boat or trail.

Thick As A Brick: A Record Revelation (For Me)

Thick As A Brick, an album by Jethro Tull released in 1972, has been my favorite album since I came across it about 6 years ago. After releasing Aqualung, Jethro Tull was surprised to find that people thought of it as a progressive rock concept album. This prompted the making of Thick As A Brick which was intended as a spoof on the progressive rock concept album. Although very musically sophisticated in its composition and execution, it is probably the only concept album that does not take itself seriously, which is in and of itself refreshing. The album is one continuous song stopped only by the need to flip the LP for the second part. It features instruments as diverse as harpsichord, xylophone, timpani, violin, lute, trumpet, as well as the regular drums, guitars, bass, organ and Ian Anderson's flute. The album art is possibly some of the best there ever was. It is a small town newspaper called the St. Cleveland Chronicle written in a rather amateurish style for comic effect. The fictional newspaper contains an article about a boy by the name of Gerald Milton who supposedly wrote the poem "Thick As A Brick" for a poetry contest but was disqualified due to his age. There are a number of other hilarious articles as well as posted sales on the back cover, such as stuffed penguins or the services of a dwarf.

All this to say that while I was in Brasil I finally came across an LP of Thick As A Brick, which I'd been trying to find for some years now. Turns out my aunt also had a copy of it at her house. It is not as fantastic as the original release of the LP which folds out into a full newspaper (image above) but it will have to do for now. Anyways, I managed to listen to it on my aunt's record player and it genuinely knocked me out. I've always been a bit skeptical about people who told me records sounded "so much better" than CDs, but this really did. I've heard Thick As A Brick hundreds of times on all kinds of speakers and headphones and the LP played sounds I'd never heard before. The sound felt really different, in the best way possible.

The real test would be to compare LPs to new CD Remasters such as the recent ones of the Beatles. From what I've read, it seems that CD releases of LPs often re-adjusted the levels (usually more vocals and more bass to suit the modern taste in music) and destroyed some of the original nuance, which may also contribute to the superiority many people notice in the LP sound. I'll have to check out Bob Dylan next who, from what I hear, had some of the worst transfers to CD.

Fireworks In Brasil

Went down to Avenida Paulista in Sao Paulo for midnight on New Year's. Something between 1 and 2 million people crammed together.
Consisted mostly of: Fireworks, Confetti, Smoke, Beer, White Clothes, Loud Noises, and General Happiness.

Waldo is not here.