Undergraduate Thesis – Finals & the End of the Semester Screening

05 20

Although my group was unable to finish our film by finals, we are still aiming to finish by the end of the semester screening. The good news is that by now all animation is pretty much done and all that’s left to do is to clean up the remaining shots that are still in the rough phase and then color them, which should be the easy part. All the clean up shots have been assigned and the goal is to get it all cleaned up this weekend. In the meantime, our vis dev team is also slowly getting the backgrounds in, and from what I’ve seen so far, they’re turning out great.

Senior Portfolio – Finals


Here’s all the shots I’ve done for my BFA senior portfolio. I’ve been having issues rendering the second shot where Kayla’s eyebrows go back to default position, but I think I figured out how to fix that so I’ll have an updated one up soon. Also for some reason Maya crashes every time I attempt to render the last one, even on different computers, so I may end up having to go back into an older file and import the animation into it.

Website, Gallery & Finals

It’s been awhile since I last posted on here, and a lot has happened since then, so here’s a quick update.

A couple of weeks ago, I dedicated a few hours to my website to make it more related to my business cards in color scheme and overall look since it had previously looked very sloppy and quickly put together, so here’s a link to my new and improved website:


Business card design (they came out a bit darker than this)


For the gallery submissions, I chose these three prints to put up. The first two are for my group’s thesis entitled “Cat’s Inner Circle”. the third one is a character design page from my ANI 115 film entitled “Adoption Day”.

My group also submitted this trailer for our film:

As for my own animation, I submitted the first, second and last shots from my reel on my website.

For finals, my group is going to do a big push to finish our film by May 25th for the end of the semester screening, and I also have to finish up my second portfolio shot with the little girl and her mom, as well the my latest shot, which is of a depressed guy coming home after work and being greeted by his happy dog.

Undergraduate Thesis – Moving Ahead

For the past couple of weeks, we had to unfortunately put production on hold because we were still having issues with our animatic. But because of it, I am now happy to say that we have finally come up with a final animatic! We are also now working with Allegra Colston, who has agreed to help us write a narration script for our film.


Our Production Workflow Sheet has also been updated with all of the new shots from this animatic. Luckily, the majority of the animation we had already done has been saved with this version, and anything we had started that we aren’t using anymore was still in the super early stages of planning anyway.


As far as clean up goes, we have decided to do it in Photoshop since we will have a much better control on the line and also because it looks better than it does in Flash.

Lauren did a line boils test in Photoshop to see how we will deal with holds, and I think it turned out really nice! She is currently in process of cleaning up my animation for the very last shot in our film, and I got to see a little test of it yesterday and so far it’s looking really good, so that’s exciting.


Here is a test beauty frame I did for the second shot in our film all colored in with shadows and highlights.

Originally the plan for all of the groups in my class was to complete our entire films/projects by early April in time for the BFA gallery, but I was very relieved to find out yesterday that we now only have to have a few sequences completed by then to submit and have our finished projects by finals instead. I was very worried before about whether or not this would actually get this done in time, but now that we have until finals, I feel so much better knowing that we will be able to get a better quality result that has not been rushed through.

Thought Process Animation – Planning and Blocking

For my third portfolio piece, I decided that I want to work on an animation with a focus on facial expressions and conveying the thought process of the character.
Over winter break, I chose from some audio clips I had gathered and blocked out two different ideas using the Mathilda Rig:

For the first idea, I was thinking of one of two possible scenarios:
1) The character is a nonchalant job applicant in an interview -or-
2 The character is on a first date in a diner (although that might be too cliche)
For my second idea, I struggled to come up with a scenario, but I was thinking along the lines of someone who had just finished taking someone on a tour of their hometown.
Although it is a bit lengthy, I think I am leaning more towards the first idea with my first scenario option.

Undergraduate Thesis – Production

Our most recent animatic.


We have finally started production as of early January! I have started rough animating four shots, and have even begun clean up on one of them:

I wasn’t originally going to start clean up until a bit later, but Raquel wants to see a cleaned up version of on Friday since my roughs are, well, really rough. This version is completely done in flash, although we may end up coloring in Photoshop instead.


Our VisDev leads, Jessica Lin and Vanessa Corrales, have come up with this as a first pass design for the setting of our film. Our idea is that this will be cat’s place, and it is essentially an old greenhouse that cat has discovered an made her own. It is filled with some of the things she loves: plants, books, and small places to hide.

I have also created a very simplistic Maya scene with some basic elements to help solidify our layouts. Free cat and dog models courtesy of tf3dm.com.

Undergraduate Thesis – Finals

A couple of weeks back, my group met up to try and edit down our film. We took a lot of things out, but it was for the best. The animatic my group showed for finals ended up rounding out to be about a little over 2 minutes, which is a big improvement. Here it is:

There may be a few more changes we will make to the animatic, but I think we’re headed in the right direction.

We had been having trouble visualizing our characters in 3D space for the turnarounds, so I created these 3D sculpts to help us out:



From there, Lauren fixed up the turnarounds and created a few model sheets as well:



catface_model cathead_reference  catbody_modelcat_paws



I also drew poses for both characters:


As for beauty frames, we originally had these as our first passes:




01_04_beautyframe_BlueishPurple_Butterfly ending_beautyframe



The main note I had on mine was to change up the linework since it was a bit too harsh:

01_04_beautyframe_12-04 05_09_beautyframe_12-04

After fixing the lines and getting the characters more on model, I then was told to simply the character colors by making it more paint bucket-like and less painterly for finals:

01_04_beautyframe 05_09_beautyframe

Besides the fact that the cat will be more orange than I have her here, this is more or less what we will be going for in terms of the final look of our film.

Now we can finally finish up the layouts and start animating, which is the the fun part!

Two Character Dialogue – Animatic, Blocking & Finals

Here’s the animatic I came up with for my second shot:

From there, I took it into Maya and came up with these for my first passes at blocking:

The ending wasn’t reading very well, so I decided to add an acting moment by having the little girl jump up to sit on a bench:

After a couple of passes working on this, I realized that the timing was very slow. Unfortunately, after adjusting the timing, I found that the having the characters walking proved to be too distracting from the acting, and therefore decided to try coming up with a solution that didn’t involve them walking anymore:

While it did help to keep the focus on the girl, some of the acting choices didn’t really fit anymore and the characters felt too stuck in place. With those notes in mind, I continued to make fixes and add lip sync so that I had this work in progress Maya Software render for finals:

I also had playblasted a version of the girl without the bear in case it read better, but was told to keep it in.

I still have a lot of polishing to do, especially when it comes to smoothing out the bear. I also plan to have the girl have a bigger expression change (from sorry to upset), but overall I’m happy with the progress I made. Here is a render test of what it will look like in mental ray:


This is definitely the most difficult shot I have ever worked on before, but I am also learning a lot from doing it.

Animal/Creature Animation – Rendered

This has been done for a few weeks, but I thought I’d make a blog post about it.

Here’s my dog animation shot completely rendered with sound:

A couple weeks back, I included this shot in my reel and got feedback from Andy Beall when he visited from Pixar and the main note he gave me for my reel in general was to focus more on holds and key poses. He also said to not think about animating in 3D and animating in 2D as two separate things, since he said that I had a good sense of poses and timing in 2D, whereas in 3D my animation tends to be a bit more mushy and harder to pick out the key poses since my characters seem to always be constantly moving. I found this to be very helpful and I will definitely be returning to this shot later and apply this note to my future shots as well.

Undergraduate Thesis – Animatic Process and Character Designs

We got a lot of notes on our animatic since the last time I posted about our story, so instead of listing all the fixes we addressed week by week, I will just show our process through our weekly passes and go over what we are working on now.

Here’s the animatic that we showed the faculty for our official story pitch on October 16th:

10/30 update:

11/06 update:

And here’s what I did for the beginning part for today (11/13) mostly just attempting to work out better camera angles :

We have some more camera issues and and a few acting beats to clarify, but our next focus will be on creating beauty frames for our film showing all characters, background, line work, shadows, etc. just the way we want it to look in our final piece.

Also, last week Stephanie gave us some updated character designs:

Stephanie_CatDesigns Stephanie_DogDesigns

We liked the slender body/tiny feet of the bottom left cat and the eyes of the top middle cat, and for the dog we liked the bent ears of left middle dog and the bigger paws/legs of the three left most dogs. Since Stephanie was pretty busy with her own homework, Lauren took over and came up with these for now:


We like the dog, but we are going to play around with the cat design a little more; mostly we just need to adjust her head to make it not so big and round in comparison to her body.

Lauren also tested out some pattern and color ideas.

Dog patterns:


Dog colors:

Dog colors with scarf:dogs_scarfCat colors:Cats01

She didn’t have time to do cat patterns, but it’s a great start. The patterns for both characters will most likely be kept pretty simple, and as for color, we are probably going to contrast dog and cat by having one of them be a darker tone and one being a lighter tone (so far we think the dog will be the lighter one and the cat will be the darker one). In general, I like the muted colors more than the more saturated ones. We are hoping to have the designs solidified by next Friday.