Wednesday, December 26, 2012

That one walk cycle in Ponyo....

Author's note:
Before I nitpicking this one walk, I looked up the definition of nitpick. It is to be critical of inconsequential details. I feel this walk may only bother me. Ponyo is a beautiful movie that I truly do love. I understand Studio Ghibli has to work with a deadline and delegate shots as most important to least important. Also, I am dust compared to Ghibli's talented workers.

Ponyo or Ponyo on the Cliff is loosely based off The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. A human boy named Sōsuke finds a goldfish/human named Ponyo. She becomes personally attached to the little boy and uses magic to become human. Ponyo is a film I highly suggest watching at a theater. Please excuse the use of low quality gifs. I made these gifs to just convey the movement.

I watched this movie in 2009 when it came out in America.When you watch a movie, you are sort of in a trance. This one walk cycle took me out of the movie. I thought it was a bit strange this one walk cycle.

Sōsuke's Mom (Lisa) just bought a lot of groceries.
I have no problem with Sōsuke's walk. You can tell he is a young boy trying to catch up with his Mom while minding his ice cream. But, his Mom, Lisa, was the problem for me. Lisa is a powerful woman and seems to have huge strength. I have a feeling the animator wanted to show this but went a bit too far. I think if her stride was a foot length closer, it wouldn't give off this awkward feeling almost like she could fall over. I know such a slight fix seems like an unnecessary complaint. It just stands out when there are other carefully choreographed moments in this film.

The animator's decisions in this scene are amazing.
 I smile at the scene of Sōsuke being mindful while exiting the car. He slides out feet first and nudges the door with his elbow. When he walks away, his eyes are fixated on the bucket. I could definitely tell the animator was observant at the choices the character would make.

This is another example of a carefully choreographed scene. He shuffles his feet to prepare to enter the gap in the gate. His hair even brushes up against the background. You wouldn't believe how many movies don't easily line up the animation with the background or objects that characters are holding.

What I look like when I'm carrying a mug of hot cocoa.
The last example is looking at a walk cycle that works. Sōsuke still has a powerful stride that is similar to his Mom with the grocery bags. However, the distance between the stride is much more reasonable.

I would love to hear what other people think about Lisa's walk cycle and the other scenes mentioned in this post.

My next article will probably regard fun stuff I noticed while framing through Princess Mononoke.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stuff on my mind

I've been thinking about boosting my old blog.......yet again. I don't want to just wait until I have new art to post.

I have been mulling over whether to start posting about certain parts in movies I find interesting that others may not notice. I think it is very surprising and fun that a lot of my page views for this blog came from my Howl's Moving Castle analysis entry. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the comment section of that entry.

My next post will be acting and walking in two Miyazaki films, Ponyo and Princess Mononoke. I have to figure out to make gifs or just post multiple screenshots to further my point. This should be an adventure!

In other news...

I made a munny for The Plastic Experience at Next Gallery in Denver. The munny "They are out there." was decorated Woodland Scenics foliage, turf, and gravel. I made the house out of mat board. I wanted create a lonely abandoned house for the head, and crop circles for the body. Are the aliens partying in the little blue house? The world may never know.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Making of Sheep Days

I finally moved into a year long commitment with Burbank this summer. Four years at CalArts have move by so quickly. It seems just like yesterday when I was a nervous second time college freshman.

I wanted to share some pictures during the making of Sheep Days. The idea of a sewn film actually came from this animation of a running dog by Aubrey Longley-Cook, and my recent obsession over tambour beading. I did an initial test in Eric Dyer's Alternative animation class. It was a jumping sheep sewn on pillowcases. You can see some of the tests at the end of my stop-motion reel.

I mainly thought of only doing sewn animation as a test and not for my final film. My sheep test was such a big hit with faculty and peers that I was persuaded to give it a shot.
I originally planned a different story that was more epic and involved a wolf. Later, it was paired down to what you see now, the troubles of being a sewn sheep.

Each frame in my film was hand-sewn. I animated on paper first, then traced each frame on green fabric. The green fabric acted like a green screen for composting later.

Here is my desk during crunch time. It was not a pretty sight.

I used embroidery hoops to help keep the thread taut.

Before shooting, I ironed out the fabric to flatten the thread and reduce wrinkles that would mess up the green screen.

Sheep are getting run over everywhere!

I shot digital stills using the Oxberry and Dragon, which was a long life dream of mine. 
Then I composited the images in After Effects, which was actually the most stressful part for me.
I really enjoyed hand-sewn animation. It took me about an hour for each frame. My friend later told me that all of the textures in my film really took advantage of HD. I'm extremely glad that my film had a different texture. I have been striving for such a feeling for a long time. I also want to thank again my lovely hand model in the film Sara Quach and Amanda Candler for helping me out with sewing some scenes.

I hope you enjoy my film. It was a lot of fun to make!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Sheep Days

This is my fourth year film as a CalArts Character Animation student. The film is about the troubled life of a hand sewn sheep.
I was inspired by the dog embroidery animation of Aubrey-Long Cook. First, I animated on paper then traced the image on to fabric. I embroidered each frame on green fabric to be keyed out later. The footage was shot with Dragon on an Oxberry. Then, I composited the fabric backgrounds with the animation using After Effects.
I hope you enjoy the film. It was a lot of fun to make.

I'll post making of pictures soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Stop-motion Reel 2012

Please visit my portfolio blog too!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Downton gallery show

I participated in the Main Gallery Show this year. My friends decided to have a fanart wall so..... what better fanart than 1900's English drama.

Yes Downton Abbey! I really love the scandalous nature of this show. 
A server's coat has a tear in it? DRAMA!
Mr. Crawley won't let me put on his cuff links? DRAMA!

Most of this tribute art is for the first season. No spoilers for the second season. 

Mary, Edith, and Sybil

Carson the Butler

Mrs. Patmore and the very clueless Daisy 

Let Moseley dress you Matthew!

The infamous outfit...I swear Branson popped out of nowhere.

In addition to the fanart, I did artwork for my feelings towards winter. I kept the deckled edge for the last image for fun.

I did a little tribute to my guinea pig as well. He passed last November. I miss the little guy very much.

I hope you enjoy my art dump. I'm posting some of my stop motion test on Vimeo. You can tell I'm gearing up for portfolio day hehe.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've noticed many of my fellow classmates are posting work up like crazy every week. I feel I need to do the same. Maybe, this will help build up confidence in the coming months.

Above is a Hansel and Gretel sketch for my Visual Development class.

I'm going to scan in soon my Downton Abbey fanart from the gallery show this year. It was really popular, but I'm not sure many would get it unless you're a fan of the show.

Here is a sketch of my puppet I'm building right now for my stop-motion performance class. Right now, she is only wearing pants. It is to difficult to animate a walk with a skirt. I'm tempted to put a skirt on her anyway for her final look. My friend Sara wants to name her Potato Flower or Sweet Potato. Who knows? Introducing Sweet Potato and her ram Yam!

I will also try to put up my process into making an armature. A lot of books want you to twist the wire, but this weakens the wire. I haven't read one book yet that doesn't suggest this.

Here comes a lot of promises and hopefully results. I want this blog to be active again.

Friday, January 06, 2012

My trip to Prague! Part 1

Around June 2011, I got the chance to spend two weeks in Prague with a group of CalArts students. This was a joint mini exchange with FAMU (The Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague). It was an amazing experience and the first time I was in a foreign country.

Before I went I looked up more information on the whereabouts of Jiri Trnka puppets at this wonderful blog.
I never got a chance to see the Trade Fair Palace. (Another reason I need to visit Prague again :D) to make sure that they were there. I talked to Bretislav Pojar and he said most of his puppets and sets were in a private storage somewhere in an unknown place. It was quite disheartening to hear this, but I got to see Mr. Pojar's puppets up close to make up for it. 

Just a week after my school year ended, we headed to Prague. It took about 9 hours on the first flight to Amsterdam and then an hour to Prague. We stayed in FAMU's dormitory.
My FAMU dormitory
The gorgeous view from my window.

I really appreciated my stay there. It was about a 20 minute tram ride away from the main downtown of Prague. FAMU was in a nice historic building...mostly everything in the Czech Republic was in a beautiful building.

We had many lectures on Czech animation. It's amazing how much wonderful animation comes from this country. Here are a couple of animations that are available on youtube that really impressed me.

A Drop Too Much by Bretislav Pojar

Revolution in Toyland by Hermina Tyrlova

Duel by Pavel Koutsky

The Vanished World of Gloves by Jiri Barta  

We also had a chance to visit Jan Svankmajer's Studio Knoviz. Sadly, he wasn't there, but we got the chance to sneak around his studio. His studio kind of startled me because it was more like a mysterious attic with lost relics from his film. There were dark nooks and crannies that were illuminated by the natural light. If you watched his films before, his studio's look fits perfectly.

Studio Knoviz in the countryside.

Production notes for Surviving Life
Cut-out animation from Surviving Life

The flatbed where he edits his films.

I believe this is from his movie Faust.

The actual Little Otik!
I think these are mouth replacements for Little Otik. He's getting hungry.

His ceramic work

The two characters from Punch and Judy.

A plethora of film canisters!