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First Q&A

Me looking at my past animations:

Sad face. Kind of E.T-ish

Sad face. Kind of E.T-ish

Me after my first Animation Mentor Live Q&A:

Happy face!

Happy face!

Yeee-ahh! Do you see those glamorous glasses? That fashionably chic hair – AKA a bun? That ultra-white Hollywood smile?

That’s right, my transformation is all because I had my first Q&A today with my mentor Anthony Wong! Or, as he allows me to call him – get ready – Anthony. YUP, first name basis with a Pixar animator. Next step, virtual high-five.

On top of that, I met some cool classmates! Most are in the US, making me one of the international students. WOAH. So that’s why I look like E.T in the first photo; I’m an illegal alien.

Can’t wait to start animating and hopefully when it’s good enough, I can share some of it with you guys! Happy face! AND GO QUEENSLAND MAROONS! 😀

3-Point Belt Review Vol.6: Bear With Me

Marky Mark learns a lesson.

Marky Mark learns a lesson.

Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012) *WARNING – TERRIBLE PUNS*

Guess Who's Back?

Ted’s ballin’. DON’T FORGET IT. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Ted himself is balllllllin’! That’s what the rapper 50 Cent would say. That bear is brilliantly composited into the shot. Then Fiddy would invite Mark Wahlberg to his Candy Shop to tell him –

2. “Yo Marky Mark, you’re bear-ly making eye contact”. Seriously Mark, haaaavveee you met Bob Hoskins? He could make “eye-contact” with a 2D Roger Rabbit, why can’t you make eye contact with Ted? I mean, he’s right next to you on the cou- what? Whadda ya mean Ted’s not really there? He’s a mo-capped CG character?! THAT’S IMPAWSIBLE!

3. Ok, not to have a grizzly view on everything, but the sound is tinny and the plot is bear-ly there. It’s one of those stories where you can’t totally identify the obstacles. You start losing focus and thinking about what’s for dessert. Pretty claw-ful right? If MacFarlane had just thought about building a paws-ible climax, I wouldn’t be stuffed from my distracting brownie dessert; I’d be all stitched up from paying attention to the jokes along the way.

“Hey Stephanie, hit us with one more terrible teddy bear pun.”

Ursus arctos middendorffi /kodiak bear/ Kodiakbär

Someone maul her. Make it stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fur sure. What to do you want to hear?

 

Pixar Mentor

Where do I begin grovelling?

Where do I begin grovelling?

Yes, that’s right. My first mentor from Animation Mentor (Anthony Wong) works at Pixar. As my best friend would say, it’s “AMAZEBALLS!”

I know what you’re thinking:

“Shut up Steph. Stop bragging about it and just go die in a hole. A hole of hell, where all you do is slave away, animating all day. Learning from someone who works at Pixar. Who totally worked on Ratatouille (Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, 2007)! Who is therefore AWESOME. So by association, some of his awesomeness rubs off on you. So you’re awesome. Go Steph!”

“But seriously, zip it, Zippy Longstockings.”

Awnnnhhh, thanks guys!

3-Point Belt Review Vol.3: Not So ‘Crood Awakening’

The Croods - Give Eep some angst by removing her mother.

The Croods – Give Eep some angst by removing her mother.

The Croods (Chris Sanders, 2013)

1.To the visual effects department: all the simulations were beautiful. The dust clouds were fluffy and the fur had a beautifully ‘sheepskin run’ quality about it.

Russian Rainbow Gathering. Nezhitino, August 2005

Deep, man, deep. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Character designs = wonderful! This includes fanciful takes on what prehistoric animals could have been, à la flying turtles and land whales. It’s actually a very clever ploy to suck in the audience so that our experience of a new world parallels that of the Croods so that we become Croods ourselves. Woah, analysis = deep.

3. It’s rare to see an animated family with the parents both intact (The Incredibles is one) and I think there’s a reason for it.

The crux of the movie revolves around a father-daughter struggle where the mother’s existence is superfluous. In fact, she hinders a potentially more angst-ridden relationship struggle for the daughter, like Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon or the poster child for angst, Harry Potter.

Original image description from the Deutsche F...

Now I can have a satisfying movie experience AND ignore Hitler! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can prove it – squint one eye, raise your thumb and whenever the mother – Ugga – comes on screen, cover her face and block your ears. Wow, the movie continues seamlessly! I honestly think she’s just a baby carrier. How insulting. And on another note, even though I was entertained while watching it, I would have much preferred The Croods to have been the Aardman claymation – Crood Awakening  – John Cleese set out for it to be. Hello, I’m a 90s kid, and I will watch anything reminiscent of the cavemen TV series Gogs!

Animation Mentor

Awnnnnnnhhhh yeah, I’m in!

After passing a wonderlic test and essay questions, I’ve been accepted into Animation Mentor, the online school of animation and VFX! The teachers are all working professionals from studios like Pixar, Moving Picture Company, Dreamworks, Industrial Light and Magic and all the amazing studios in between!

My course will be Animation Fundamentals, where over the course of a year, I’ll relearn what I know needs work with my animation (the basics). Classes are small and conducted completely online. It’s a pretty awesome opportunity. Big thanks to my stepfather John for this leg up in my life!

3-Point Belt Vol.2 – Clash of Actors?

Who knew pretending to be Greek could be so easy?

Who knew pretending to be Greek could be so easy?

Clash of the Titans (Louis Leterrier, 2010)

Clash of the Titans (2010 film)

Sexy kraken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. What went right: the seamless fusion of the wings to the Pegasi (my plural for Pegasus), the subtly convincing, venom veins (woo, alliteration!) on Perseus’ arm and the kraken. Kraken = money scene. Brilliantly designed creature.

2. What went wrong: unoriginality. A lot of reviews rip on the CG but I think it’s the writers’/director’s fault the plot makes any VFX flaws stick out like a sore thumb. However, I do have to say, why didn’t they design original effects? Why did they choose to pick Hades to materialise like a dementor? He could have entered in a much more evil Lindsay Lohan kind of way. And why is Medusa so humanoid? The design has been seen before, let’s think for ourselves people!

3. My remarks throughout the whole movie:

Lord Voldemort

Hades needs sex-ifying. Get Draco to slap some tan on him. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

‘Hey, isn’t that Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) playing Hades?’

‘Hey, isn’t that Mr Tough Danish Bond villain (Mads Mikkelsen) playing Mr Tough Greek captain guy?’

‘Hey, isn’t that the captain from 300 (Vincent Regan) playing a Greek king?’

‘Hey, isn’t that Dr Jekyll from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Jason Flemyng) playing Greek Dr Jekyll?’

The biggest problem I had (besides bad storyboarding and writing) is this jumble of characters ripped from other roles. It’s like they grabbed every actor who resembles one cast character in another movie, slapped fake tan and eyeliner on them and BOOM! – you’re Greek. Do we have no faith in choosing other actors for a role they haven’t played before?

English: Sam Worthington at the 2010 Toronto I...

Mate, I’m true-blue Greek, swear on Mum’s Vegemite pavlova. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And on a more important note, I loved the mismatching accents. I REFUSE to watch a tale about Greek mythology UNLESS it stars actors who keep their Downton Abbey English, their Taken Scottish and their rinky-dink Australian accents. True blue blokes.

3-Point Belt Review – Vol. 1

TPBVol1_eyes

Hey boys and girls! Strap in. It’s time for a movie review!

The 3-Point Belt Review will be my attempt at being sooper edumacated about what’s hot and what’s not in VFX. Basically, each film only gets 3 observed points. Only 3. Because I don’t like long movie reviews. I’m generation Y. Me need instant gratification NOW! [Slams fists down]. Let’s cut to the cheese people.

Independence Day (Roland Emmerich, 1996):

  1. Miniatures and kabooms (pyrotechnics) = awesome!
  2. Respectful use of CG where props can’t be used.
  3. Damn good writing. In the words of the South Park police: “Nice”.

Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

  1. The CG melts into the sets beautifully due to well-planned VFX.
  2. Set design and the props – perfetto! Fantastically whimsical and true to steampunk.
  3. You know those cupcakes that look really delicious with all that icing and sprinkles but taste like plastic headphones? That was the writing/editing/directing. TERRIBLE pacing, disjointed plot and characters lacked depth. Ugh.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988)

  1. Seamless integration between 2D elements impacting the real world.
  2. The most convincing interactions don’t occur physically but through EYE CONTACT WITH A CARTOON BUNNY.  I doff my hat to you Bob Hoskins.
  3. Campy but it has a clear plot and motivations, plus Doc from Back to the Future.

E.T (Steven Spielberg, 1982)

  1. Excellent mechanical puppetry and props (aha!) to Matthew DeMeritt for walking on his hands in the suit for some scenes.
  2. Fairly convincing green screen and spaceship, which is remarkable for its time.
  3. Confusing character motivations and acting at times. In other words, the Mum is really weird. Why are you so negligent? She needs Dr Phil to tell her to get real.

Ben-Hur …..errr, I mean Argo (Ben Affleck, 2012):

Ben-Hur (William Wyler, 1959) was a bit scratched and around the cool rowing scene, it became unwatchable. So we watched Argo instead, and –

  1. For whatever VFX is in there, it’s subtle and unnoticeable. The illustrated storyboard intro also immediately piqued my interest.
  2. Yes, it was AWESOME!
  3. No, it is not completely true to facts. Don’t cry about it. If you want a doco, go watch angry polar bears with Sir David Attenborough or something.

New Old Stuff and New Look!

Some pieces that won awards. 'Chivas' on the left won a regional award and 'Digital Autopsy' on the right was featured in the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane and toured Queensland as apart of the Creative Generations awards.

Pumbaa: It’s like my buddy Timon always says: you got to put your behind in your past.

Timon: No, no no. Amateur. Sit down before you hurt yourself. It’s “You got to put your past behind you.”

So that’s what I’ve done….kind of. I spruced up the website a little, put in some old stuff (like some artworks from high school, some past animations and some compositing exercises) and added a dash of new stuff (like the black background – WOW!). So yub-a-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, and enjoy!