Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Buggy Update

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So I've been working on the bug a bit more and figured out a nice shape that I really like. You can tell I worked from the concept sketch. The antenna, feet and wings have been added in photoshop, but I just wanted to see how they would look. Fun!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


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Here’s a new character I made today. Sometimes I design a character on paper first, and build it after. But this time I sculpted it from my head. I think with a different part of my brain when I’m sculpting than when I’m drawing, so it gets different ideas out of me. I decided to document the creation of the character from (almost) the beginning to completion. Here it is.

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Burnt To Perfection

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I was baking some Sculpy clay to make some hard tortoise shells but didn’t have the heating directions with me. I figured I remembered and baked the clay at 475 degrees instead of 275. I burned them real bad, but they ended up burning to a color I liked so I decided to keep them that color instead of painting them. I love happy accidents.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

One Buggy Evening

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I’m going to show you this picture of my “fat-bug” prototype for the sole purpose of tying it in with what I really want to talk about. So, here it is, it’s too far from my original design, so I’m going to try to make it more like my drawing. Okay, glad that’s over. Anyway, moving on to what’s really important, most of you have been following my adventures of finding millipedes in my studio bathroom and stuff like that (for you newcomers; I just moved up to the mountains to animate and there are certain aspects of country-life that a San Franciscan like me just isn’t used to). So until yesterday I had only seen three millepedes up her (giant ones), two of which were in my studio bathroom. Yesterday night though, as I was walking home I saw four more, from large to baby-size. In one night I more than doubled my millipede count. Well, tonight there were two tiny baby ones on the studio wall, way smaller than the tiny babies I saw last night. Then, on my way home tonight I saw 12 more! They were all out and about having a grand ol’ time, they must like night walks like me. One of the twelve was distinctly different than the others, it was white with bubbly red stripes. Very pretty. I thought I saw a thirteenth one, but it was just a slug. Okay, before I go into the second half of my story, I would like to preface it with this: I am not afraid of bugs. I like bugs. I don’t get scared when yellow jackets attack me at a picnic, just annoyed, I’ve had ants crawl in my bed during the rainy season and have been too sleepy to care. Today I even walked through a swarm of mating stink bugs and didn’t flinch, but I am deathly afraid of spiders. My arachnophobia is pathetic. Well, tonight I got pretty shaken up when I met my first pair of wild scorpions. Scorpions have never bothered me because I’ve only ever seen them in captivity (pet shops, aquariums, etc.). But these two freaked the crap out of me. I debated stepping on them, but I thought I had heard that scorpions can sting you through your shoes, so I kept my distance. I couldn’t believe how shook up I was. My legs got really weak and I found the rest of my ten minute uphill walk home harder than usual. So needless to say, I have the heebie-jeebies, and I’m seriously rethinking this whole work until the middle of the night thing. Maybe I should start earlier so I can come home while it’s bright out. Anyway, now that you all think I’m so pathetic, I’ll say good night. Good night.

Replacement Heads Are Better Than One

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Here are some new characters I’m working on, I have to admit they seem a bit Henson-esq. Anyway, as you can see I am incorporating some replacement techniques in this project. I also have another character who will incorporate replacement animation. Replacement animation is a process in which you have different versions of the same thing at different sizes or shapes, so it looks like the character is morphing without actually morphing the character. What a horrible explanation. Check out Bruce Bickford’s work for some crazy replacement animation.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Brown Character Looks Upward

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Here’s a little fella I’ve been working on. There’s toothpicks in his ears, also, I used brown clay for his body.

La la la la

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Okay, I think I can officially post it now, that this next animation will feature a new song by Robbie Broadhurst, my retarded partner in crime. It’s probably been two years since we wrote “Love Is Funny” for Happiness, so it was fun to collaborate with him again. This song, however, will not be as humorous as our other musical endeavors (i.e. Hindenburg: The Musical). Also, the whole film will be animated to the song, so I guess you could call it a music video, though it’s not very similar to anything on MTV. The monstrous Bre Leary humbled us with her presence during the recording to add a little femininity to the song where it was needed. It's nice to see the song coming along after all the time we put into writing and recording it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Remember that orange blob with 2 eyes I posted a picture of a while back? Well, he's been fleshed out a bit.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Catch Up

Hey, hey! Sorry again for another long period without updates. But don't worry, I haven't been un-productive. I've been working on various aspects of the animation process, not all of it is sculpting and moving the characters around. In my next post I'll let you know what I spent most of the time on, but for now I'll share a couple more rough sketches. First is a bug concept design for my next piece. I really think this could be a fun one to animate.

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Next is an early character design concept for a short I may do after my current project. I know it's way down the road, but when you start to get ideas you need to put them down. I have a bazillion more sketches, but I don't want to give it all away right now.

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Anyway, I've also been preparing some sets, I'll be making trees, dirt, grass, flowers and all sorts of other things for the environments the characters will be in. I hope to be animating a week from today, so that will be a lot of set-up, lets hope I can do it. Okay, I'll be back soon with more about this current, un-named film.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Claymator's Block

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Today was a frustating day, I just had no drive. Yesterday was really boring, but I pulled through it, today I just couldn't. I was completely out of the zone. I doubt I even got in 6 hours of work today (I try to put in at least eight hours a work day). Anyway, today was one of those really unfocused days where I kinda bounced around from task to task, never really putting a lot of time into any of them. I'd work on one thing for a little while, get bored and then move on to something different. It's probably just coming off the high of animating Frog Family and watching my characters come to life in front of my eyes, and then having to start from scratch again and start building these new characters, who I have absolutley no emotional connection to at the moment. Building characters was always one of my favorite parts of the process, but right now it's just not doing anything for me. Oh well. Up above is a new character in the very very very early develpment stage. It's crazy to think that these simple shapes will eventually come alive and move around, have a soul. Below is a picture of my little heater which I keep next to me at all times whilst I animate to keep warm (it gets freezing up here). Since all the clay gets hard from being so cold, I also use the heater as a "Clay-softener." I just put a little tin foil on the top and lay the clay on that. The clay softens real fast, and if I'm not paying attention it gets all gooey and oozy. I started melting clay on the heater years ago when I was animating in my garage. Of course back then I didn't use tin foil so the heater got really messy. Now I use tin foil.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

Crude Sketches

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Usually when I come up with any type of character idea or visual design, I scribble it down really fast to get it out of my head, and then later I might flesh the ideas out more. Here's a couple of the really rough sketches I've drawn for this next project. By the way, I don't have a name for this animation yet. Does anyone have a suggestion? I know non of you know anything about the piece, but I'll take what I can get. There's no way in Hell I'm going with "Untitled." That's the stupidest crap ever.


I've spent alot of time up here in Cobb the last year and a half, and I've lived here for a month and a half and in that time I've only seen three millipedes. Two of which were in my studio bathroom. Of course, that has nothing to do with clay-animation. Today was a boring day, I was productive, but I have nothing exciting to report. Here's three more characters that are in the process of being built.

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Thursday, March 8, 2007

Nothing Much

Sorry there is nothing too interesting to report, i've been doing some pretty boring preproduction work. I hope to have something to show for it all soon. Until then, here's a little something; a character I'm working on for my next short.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Spring Break's Over, Time To Get Back To Work

Wow, sorry for almost two weeks of no posts. It has been a crazy week and a half. I flew to New York for my first Comic Convention ever where I got to meet with and talk to a lot of wonderful professionals, many of whom had a great influence on me growing up. Specifically Kevin Eastman (The creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and Jeff Smith (the Bone comics). I spent many of my early years drawing their characters over and over again, they’re work really shaped me into the artist I am today. I also got the chance to do some self-promotion while there. Overall it was a great experience. I was there for a week (While there I also went to the Met and some Broadway shows) and when I got back to California, some car trouble kept me from getting back to the mountains for another half a week. I made use of that time though, and did some artwork and visited San Francisco’s WonderCon. Now I’m back, though, and so ready to get back to work. I have a tiny bit of post-production work left to do on Frog Family, and I’m beginning pre-production on my next piece, so please stay tuned, as I’ll hopefully have much more updates on that soon. I’ll leave you with the color version of the promotional flyer I threw together for WonderCon.

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