Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Here's some cleanup from something I'm doing in my off time. Color coming soon.

Edit: Testing out some color and a quick comp of snowflakes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mathematical Excursion #1

It's been a while since I've posted anything at all, let alone something worthwhile, so I thought I'd do something a little different for once. Here's a little glimpse into some of the more technical things I've been having to use in my personal projects as of late- calculating where to move points in 3d so that they're not intersecting another object.

We'll start with the simplest case- a sphere! Below you'll find a simple diagram of what we want to accomplish. Given a sphere of radius r, and a point that lies within it's volume, we're trying to find the new position, at the perimeter of the sphere.

Going into a bit more detail, the next diagram displays all of the necessary components we need to consider in our calculation. Don't be too put off by this- I'm merely trying to illustrate that we're looking at similar triangles.

All we need to know is the position of the center of the sphere, its radius, and the position of the point in question (relative to the center of the sphere). With this we can determine the distance from the point to the center of the sphere.

d = sqrt((xo - xp)^2 + (yo - yp)^2 + (zo - zp)^2)

If this distance is less than the radius of the sphere, then we know for a fact that the point lies within its volume. Now we merely have to find a single component of the corresponding similar triangle above to be able to determine some ratio between all of the similar components (read that a couple times until it makes sense). The only component we are guaranteed to have is d'- the distance from the current point to where it ought to go. This is straight forward.

d' = r - d

Now we can solve for the remaining xp', yp', and zp' components, knowing that the ratio d/d' = xp/xp' = yp/yp' = zp/zp'.

xp' = d' * xp/d
yp' = d' * yp/d
zp' = d' * zp/d

Pretty simple huh? All it took were a couple simple algebra equations and now you're moving the point in the vector (xp',yp',zp').

Friday, November 09, 2007

Babies and bugs...

Did a little illustration for my niece's 1-yr birthday (it was a ladybug theme). I think what's funniest about this is how if the drawing were to be of what's about to happen 10 seconds from now, that bug would be in her mouth and the scour on her face would be fantastically hilarious. Aw.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Officially more official than ever

Yesterday I received word that I am to be a permanent employee of Pixar Animation Studios.

Even reading the words I just typed hasn't helped me to realize what has happened. I think that's mostly due to the fact that it was 10.5 months of insanity (in a good way) that led up to this point. I've had to make sacrifices along the way, and had I given any less than my all perhaps I'd be more fanatic about the news, but to be brutally honest the most prominent emotion at the moment is relief.

I can relax.

Kind of. Now we have a film to finish, and while my dedication isn't going to change, I think I'll be able to carry out my daily tasks with the certainty that I deserve to be here. My current contract ends in about 6 weeks, and then its back to NYU for my last semester, where I can take the classes I want to take, instead of those that will "help me get a job". It is going to be a fun time for sure, and when I finish, I'll have an amazing job waiting for me to come back to, on one of the most exciting projects out there!

Cheers to my buddies Jacob and Alex who also received word of their permanence. We're gonna rock this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Wall-E. What a crazy film.. I'm the last character TD that isn't cast to one of the main characters- which means I get to do everything else!! It's really quite remarkable, and an enormous amount of responsibility. I'm totally thankful for everyone who's put so much trust in me thus far, and hope they continue to do so as I try to trudge through my last few weeks on the show. I've been keeping up with my animation tests as well, but of course I can't share them, not until I request the legal department to approve the work. But that has had some huge payoffs as well. My animation abilities have rocketed skyward I feel, and I'm finally comfortable with spline-work.

I had my interview with all the Supervising Technical Directors almost two weeks ago now. The last hurrah to try and sell myself to them as deserving a permanent position at the studio beyond Wall-E. Of course I have to go back to NYU and finish up, but I'm hoping I might be given an offer for when I complete my degree in May. It'd be really nice to not have to think about work while I'm back in the classroom. I explained in my interview my philosophy of what makes a great Character TD great. You can have all the computer graphics training in the world- it wouldn't impress me all that much. In the end we feed the animators, they rely on us wholly, and to that end we have to always be considerate of their needs and listen to what would make something better. Some of the best Character TDs are excellent animators. Being able to see the shortcomings of your product before sending it out the door almost always puts you on the right level with whomever you're servicing (as long as you take the opportunity to fix it!). I've been asked why I animate- whether or not its something I'd rather be doing. I can't say one way or the other, but I know that regardless what position I held, I'd be seeking to comprehend the other to its fullest.

There are whisperings I may have some satisfaction coming my way in these regards. Till then I'm going to take every opportunity to get my fill of these characters before my time runs out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's weird!

Holy cow I have no idea what's going on!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

If I ever have a kid I want a girl.

I did this one on location at a music festival I was at a little while ago. Classical stuff- Mozart and whatnot. This little girl was so bored that she thought pretending to hang fully from the handrail until the blood rushed to her head would be more
entertaining. I happened to loved the pose.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Catching up and switching gears.

It's been a little while since my last post- things are getting pretty crazy over here at Pixar.. Many of the people on my team have moved on to our next show- UP, which means there is now a grand total of 5 Character TDs left on Wall-E (including myself). I'm pretty excited because there's still a great deal of work left to be done on the film, and I'll have my hand in most of it.

The bg character project I led is at its end, and I will be moving on to doing hair (something only a handful of people at the studio know, which will be a great opportunity to secure myself a permanent position here). I'm currently poking around some local schools to consider transferring to in the event that Pixar tells me that they want to keep me on, but that I have to finish school first. The potential game plan is that I could finish my degree here, and continue working part time so as to not lose my seat in the company. Ideally I would get an agreement letting me finish at NYU with a secured position waiting for me when I return, but this isn't a half-bad solution to have in your back pocket. I will be meeting with some people from the animation department at SFSU in the coming weeks to review my portfolio and determine where I fall in their program.

The summer interns are getting ready to leave, and the other night I went out to San Francisco with Victor Navone and a few other animators for some sushi to say our goodbyes to one of the animation interns. It'll be strange when they're gone- they've made coming in on weekends much more enjoyable.

Speaking of animation- I began doing a test with Helen Parr from The Incredibles. I'm hoping to have it done soon so I can include it in the materials I show to the schools around here. And I've also started doing a maquette for a project that a few of us Pixar-folk are collaborating on. Jerome Ranft and Greg Dykstra set us up with the appropriate materials. I'll post the finished sculpt and any helpful notes they gave me as they come. Till then~

Friday, July 06, 2007

The wheels are turning...

My computer has been acting up at work lately, so I've had time during reboots to actually draw some stuff. This was my favorite from earlier today, playing with an idea Andrew and I are working on..

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Last night I went to see Ratatouille at the Metreon in San Francisco. It marks my fifth time seeing the film since our Wrap party almost a month ago, and I have to say- it was one of the best movie-going experiences I've ever had. There's something lacking when you watch the movie with Pixarians only, most of whom have worked on it for the past 6 years.. but being able to ride the film (and it was a ride) with an audience who has NO idea whats going to happen is a rare treat. I had the most amazing woman sit infront of me who had absolutely no inhibitions when it came to expressing how much the film moved her. I highly suggest sitting near someone who looks like they might be one of those folk- so entertaining. When I arrived at the theatre an hour early there was already a line of about 60 people, and I half-hoped I wouldn't be able to get in, were it to sell out. We were ushered over to someone's apartment afterward for a large party where I had the pleasure of meeting some students from the Academy of Art, all of whom freaked out when they asked me where I work. I don't think I've ever felt like a celebrity before, but they sure treated me like one, and that was pretty neat. All in all I had a blast, and can't stress enough that if you enjoy movies, you'll absolutely love this film. So go! Now!

Friday, June 29, 2007

I'm hungry...

I think I have some soup at home. I should go home.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Finally back to animating!

Yep, I spent my whole weekend at Pixar, animating Remy. It was nice to have some fellow animators around for once too- makes going in and getting work done a lot more enjoyable. All the interns are doing Luxo tests to get their feet wet with our software. Now that Ratatouille is coming out in a week, I should be able to finally post the tests I did! I want to get cleared on that first though before I post anything (you probably haven't noticed but I took down the links to other animation I've done with Pixar characters, just to play it safe.. you know, now that I have a job to worry about and all).

The teaser for the film I'm working on is out! Yay, Wall-E.. there's talk that I'm going to be given a chance to do some animation for the film, with the characters I've been building =) Let's hope!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tie it DOWN!

Just something to keep the juices flowing..

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fresh meat

Art, Animation, and Story interns started today at Pixar.. there's about 20 of them or so.. I'm super excited to be meeting 'em all! Maybe they'll give me the kick in the pants that I need to do more tests and stuff on my off-time.

Work is challenging, the pace ever-quickening, and everything else falls by the way-side. Sorry everyone that I haven't posted in a while- I've been under the weather.

This is just a little girl for the fun of it- I don't really know what it is that she's looking at, but I'm getting some really strong urges to make a children's book of some sort...

Friday, April 27, 2007


I was made an offer today. Pixar wants to keep me as a full-time Character Technical Director. I don't really know what else to say... word? Oh, yeah- obviously I'm going to take it, haha. Duh. =)

Can't sleep?

Pick up a pad and pencil.
Draw a girl from work.
Try putting your pillow at the foot of the bed.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I haven't died...

...but I have been placed in charge of all the background characters in the film I'm working on here at Pixar! Modeling, articulating- the works. I'll be presenting them to Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) fairly soon and so all of my time and energy has either gone into working on them, or resting to prepare for working on them. It's a big responsibility, but everyone at the studio I've spoken to about it seems jazzed about the work I'm doing. Such a thing is rare these days, and awfully encouraging! I'm being considered for a full-time position effective post-internship, so at the moment making sure that I do the best I can at the job I was brought here for has pushed aside many of my hobbies.. hopefully I'll have something cool for you folks soon. Don't stop visiting, please!

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Beautiful day to be animating.

This is what it's like walking to the front entrance of Pixar on a day like today... I wish my office was outside.
I'll be posting the progress I've made with my Remy test either tonight or tomorrow, I've at least got the blocking underway!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Trying to animate" and "animating" are very different things

I went in to work today (Saturday) to try animating my test with Remy... sometimes I wonder if I'm actually cut out for this.

Domestic Ratatouille Trailer

Bon apetite!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Remy Thumbs

I've been talking to a lot of animators here lately, all of whom have been really supportive of my attempts to keep doing my own tests during off-hours, and some even willing to help me out with critique to further my work. Needless to say it has been incredible. I'm putting off the Helen test for something a little more challenging- animating a short acting test with Remy, the main rat character from our upcoming feature Ratatouille. Here's my first pass at some thumbs. I intend to log the progress of this shot from blocking to polish so please keep visiting!

Monday, February 19, 2007

The obligatory atrium photo...

I've been getting a lot of people asking where I'm located exactly- now you know! That is all...

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Taking a break from work for a moment (yeah, I'm here on a Sunday...). Thought I'd talk about something that I think is interesting and I'm starting to notice:
For a long time I didn't have even a marginally decent grasp of line, but it is something that's finally starting to (sort of) make sense to me- that is, the mechanics of a line and how they work to carve out space and describe interrelations among forms that exist only in your mind. Now, my first point that I'm going to try and communicate with this is that a line cannot be judged solely on its angle, or thickness, or tangency, but in the manner with which these things change. When being viewed, a line is transformed into a temporal space, and becomes animated in its own right. Granted it is a still drawing, but it takes time for your eye to traverse the stroke, and it is over that time that there occurs a change of shape.
I've noticed this has been overlooked by many new students of animation and design... we're often told that our keys make or break a scene. Time spent getting those poses right is essential to communicating your idea. Yes, but. As many of you know its the manner in which you change those shapes IN A TEMPORAL CONTEXT that tells that idea in a nuanced/interesting/worthwhile/(believable?) manner. It isn't enough to have only the beginning and end of a line planned. WHEN does its angle/thickness/tangency change along your intended path? HOW LONG does that change take? Do all the elements change AT EQUAL RATES, or are you offsetting them? These are all things that are shared in both animation and design, and invariably give you a much much better chance of getting your drawings off the page. Thoughts?

Friday, February 09, 2007

1 out of 3 is... terrible.

Sorry I didn't live up to my promise... all I've got for you tonight is the audio I'll be animating to:

Edit: I changed the clip- this one has much more energy. When I have the means to do so I'll use a signal generator to beep out the swearing, but until then... DEAL.

During sculpture class I broke my armature. I'm going to have to start over, so no pics tonight... and I'm too bushed to have done any thumbs, but I'm going to have some extra time at work tomorrow- look for an update in the evening.

Oh yes, and we released this little gem today to promote Rat. Awesome. Notice how long ago it was done- this doesn't even hold a candle to the way the final film looks, I believe it was rendered with just plain white shader lights and before Emile was even being put through all of his paint passes. Just so you're aware... you have no idea. =)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Onward and Upward!

Welp, I've finished my Ratatouille test (all 24 frames of looping goodness haha). Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, I cannot share it with anyone outside the studio, so it will have to wait until after the movie is released. However! I took that as an opportunity to show it to some animators here, and get some extremely valuable feedback (very subtle spacing tweaks for the most part). They've agreed to look at all my future tests and help me move forward.

Speaking of which- I believe I'm ready to begin planning my next two self-assigned animation tests. Both will use characters from The Incredibles: an action shot (most likely using Bob) that will be something OTHER than a loop, I promise! and an acting piece with Helen. I already have some audio picked out for that from Holly Hunter's role in Broadcast News (I'll post tomorrow), but I want to take my time to fully explore my options before just diving in, so keep an eye out for thumbs and such as I log my thought processes.

By the way, these animation tests are being done outside of my time at Pixar- that is to say they aren't paying me to do them. What I'm actually doing there 12 hours a day I cannot say, but I like to get in a little extracurricular time here and there (sick, I know). Tomorrow I start an Animal Maquette Sculpture class through Pixar University, 8 weeks of sculpting an Amur Tiger- watch out!

Lets see, what else... Yesterday I had lunch with Andrew Jimenez and Mark Andrews, both super-talented artists who worked together on The Iron Giant as well as The Incredibles and co-directed One Man Band. That was a real treat and brought back some memories of Andrew's visit to NYU last spring.

Anyway, tomorrow evening I'll upload the audio for Helen and some preliminary thumbs, as well as something worth showing (if any) of the maquette. But for now, sleep!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Bonfires and Animation Tests!

Sorry folks, no pictures/vids this time around. I finished training at Pixar University this past Friday, and finally got to meet my manager and team leads. So tomorrow I finally begin working on a film (starting with some character modeling until I learn their proprietary rigging software) and I am sooo excited to actually get to do something for REAL! Last night we celebrated the end of training with a bonfire on Ocean Beach out in San Francisco, and today I spent my afternoon starting an animation test using a character from Ratatouille, which I definitely can't show anyone outside the studio so you'll have to wait until I do something from the Incredibles... probably within the next week or so? Anywho keep comin' back and I'll be sure to keep posting.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pay Day

I got my first paycheck from Pixar this afternoon... the mere fact that they're paying me to learn from them is just nuts, but I'm not complaining!

Today was full of techy stuff, but at the end of the day we got to see the last two weeks worth of Ratatouille weeklies- fully rendered/animated sequences that absolutely blew all our minds. Prepare yourself for this one, folks. I got so stoked from watching it that I immediately went back to my computer and decided to TRY animating something. Unfortunately YouTube cut it short, but nevertheless- what a way to end the week.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Catching up!

My apologies to everyone who has stopped reading- I've been without internet in our new apartment here in Emeryville for about two weeks. Since then I've started at Pixar Animation Studios, I'm on the character team for the upcoming film after Ratatouille... and that's all I'm allowed to say. Needless to say this has been a ridiculously amazing experience thus far, and I'll upload some pictures shortly. In the meantime, here's a little test I did with Luxo Jr. on my 3rd day at work to get a feel for some of their proprietary software. It isn't very good, but man... Pixar's tools for animation are far far superior than anything I've ever used before, so it was a pure joy to do. I'm going to continue doing tests on characters from their previous films on my free time during lunch and after work, so keep coming back for updates on that as well.