There’s So Many Layers!

And so, I’ve been doing what I can to divide up my time between working on the short as well as putting in time to work on my senior portfolio shots. As stated in my previous post on the matter, I have decided to go with the Chef in training idea. I’ve spent sometime and I’ve got some rough blocking now, but first allow me to introduce my characters!

Upgrading to Malcolm 2.0 (with very special thanks to AnimSchool) I was able to really customize my characters quite a great deal and with a lot more ease. My characters’ names are Troy and Abed, named after the characters from the show “Community” (where I got my dialogue from). Troy is the Chef in training cutting an onion, doing his best to impress his mentor (Abed) with his culinary skills. But being an inexperience Chef, he is not prepared for the dreaded Onion. Here they are:





Originally, the scene was actually only going to have Troy as a close up single character shot. The onion would be off screen and then there would be the reveal when he raised up the onion like my quick animatic showed.

However, after showing this initial version to my professor (the wonderful Raquel Coelho), she suggested that I pull the camera out a bit so that the onion is in the shot from the beginning and the gag would be the action and how he reacts to it. From there I introduced Abed so that there could be contrast between the two characters.┬áHere is where I currently am with my shot. It’s in the early blocking phase but I’m rather pleased with everything that I have in the shot.

I’m having a bunch of fun working on this shot and I can’t wait to continue working on it!

New Shot Ideas…

So while I would like to go back and re-animate my first shot for the year, I’ve decided that it would be best if I went ahead and started a new shot all together and took a bit of a break from that troublesome shot. SO! I’ve come up with a couple of new ideas for my next shot one idea is called “How’s the Hand?”, where I imagined that the scene would be between an overly enthusiastic doctor and a patient who has their arm still in a cast.

The other idea would be a bit of a gag shot, where the character would be cutting up onions and exclaim, “There’s so many layers!”. For this scene, I imagined that it would be a close up on a junior/chef-in-training.

After getting some critiques, I’ve decided that I am going to go ahead with the second idea with the junior/chef-in-training idea.

First Work Day


Well, its our first work day! I have to say I’m rather excited for this! We got everyone together in the art building in room 243 and gave everyone an overview of the short and what we would be attempting to accomplish in the next several months. I am happy to say that I am very proud of the crew that we managed to gather up, small as it might be. I was able to grab Ben Morgan and Charlie Ly as animators onto our short as well as Nicolle Castro as a temp animator. Originally I was going to have one more person to help us animate but unfortunately he couldn’t commit to the project after getting a separate contract from another company. However! The team that we have I am certain we will be able to pump out some good work. After the introductions, I assigned everyone shots to do and then we went on our way to work. Jon Mandel helped out by going around making sure that everyone was drawing the characters on model and helping out with critiquing animation. I also printed out several character sheets for our animators so that they could have a physical copy out in front of them while they were animating.

A pretty good first work day if I do say so myself!

Failed to Send Assets

So over the last couple days, I’ve been in the BFA lab coming up with color designs for our short and finalizing any other kind of asset that we may need, namely the capsules, the look of the large capsule dispenser, and how the tubes vanish. For color designs, I set out to look at colors that phones actually use for sender and receiver text messages. The colors available ended up being, a pale yellow, a light blue, green, and grey. From these colors I went to try to come up with a color that would work best for our outgoing pipes.


In the end we decided that we would go for the yellow pipe as the final color choice for our outgoing pipes. Also, here is how our pipes will be vanishing out of sight.

Also, because one of our shots was getting closer to being started that had the chair in it, I figured that I needed to also come up with the look for the chair as well as how the chair should look and operate.


We decided that we would go for the look of the top middle chair, with the green line going round the bottom of it.

And finally, I drew up how I wanted our large capsule dispensing tube to look like. For this design, I really tried to go for very angular shapes as well as go for a color that is the opposite of that of the outgoing tubes. That way we could still kind of get an idea that one tube brings the capsules in, the other sends them out.


Thus concludes a majority of the designs that we will need for our short.


Find Me a Hearty Crew

So I’ve been going around trying to recruit as many people as I can to help us animate our short film. Unfortunately, this semester is pretty busy for everyone in the major, so finding people that have enough time to donate to work on the film was a little tricky. I recruited a good amount through Facebook, and then Mikey and I came up with an open letter to all students in the department. Through this I was able to recruit animators: Charlie Ly, Benjamin Morgan, Michael Sardi (Cogswell), and Nicolle Castro. I also made time to go drop by and speak to the students in the Ani 114 and 115 classes. I’m hoping I’ll hear back from at least some of them, but it would appear that we are in relatively good shape for our short for now. Then again any kind of help is good help.

A Final Animatic

Finally! We have arrived at the moment where we have a final animatic for our short! Mikey Dillon and I split up the task of redrawing the boards by sequences, I took the first half, Mikey the second. I’ve been taking our animatic progress back and forth to Jeff Jackson for critiques, but overall we are quite happy with where its at. There may be some slight changes from here on out, but if there are any changes, they will be minimal changes at best, nothing too drastic. Check it out!

Designing “Failed to Send”

So with a new story underway, we had to take the time to come up with some more ideas of how our world should look, we all took a crack at coming up with new characters, but ultimately we decided that we would go with Jon Mandel’s designs for our characters “Small” and “Boofy”. Here they are:

Meanwhile, for assets, we were looking at different 90’s cartoons from all over the place to try to find the correct look that we wanted. We really liked the kind of stylized artistic minimalist approach to a lot of older cartoons where the outlines wouldn’t necessarily fit the fill color of the object, so you would end up with offset lines (as seen from the still from Littlest Petshop). However, we were also trying to go for a very angular kind of design, something similar to the PowerPuff Girls style.

I took a bit of a chance on designing some of the background assets with this in mind and ended up with some tests for capsules, and Jonathan Ly came up with some designs for the table and chairs.

Now that we had some of our asset ideas, we were set to start officially cleaning up our animatic and start coming up with ideas for how to approach coloring our world.

The Semester Awakens…

New semester has started and its my last semester here at SJSU. Well, there’s quite a few things that need to be talked about but I think I would rather split those posts up so that they are separate from this one. First off, quick updates. I made progress on my last shot with “Bruce”. There’s still work to be done of course but it’s definitely come a long way since the last time that I’ve shown it.

Am I going back to finish off this shot? Of course. But for now, it would be best if I put both my first and second shot more on the back burner for now. I am starting a new shot and more on that in an upcoming post.

During the break, I got the opportunity to talk to Larry Whitaker from Ghost Train Productions about my demo reel. I couldn’t have been luckier to receive the critiques that he gave me on my shots and I have very much taken what he said to me to heart. I still have a long way to go with my body mechanics, which I am practicing as often as I can. He pointed out to me that a lot of my shots have really awkward posing issues in them where the characters aren’t looking exactly correct and it’s affecting the readability of the shots.

And now for some larger updates on my Undergraduate Thesis project, “Failed to Send”. There’s quite a few new things that have been happening so I’m going to be breaking the post down into a few posts to make things a little easier for you to read.

Some New Boards

So over the break, and a little before it, we were in the process of attempting to figure out a better way to tell our story with our two characters (now named “Boofy” and “Small”). While I was at my adventure down at CTN, I was able to get a few pointers on story from the legendary Iain McCaig. Later, I was able to meet up with the amazing Jeff Jackson, who helped me figure out a way to better tell our story. From both of their advise, I was able to draw up the boards that you see in the animatic that was put together by Mikey Dillon.

Jeff Jackson has continued to help us out figuring out the story and polishing it to a where it is currently.

From these storyboards, we were much happier with where our story was going, it didn’t feel like it was falling flat on its face anymore at a certain point (a problem that we were encountering in our earlier versions of the story). In our previous iterations, our story would reach the climax, and kind of drift off or wouldn’t settle in a way that was desirable. Now however, we felt that our story had a nice pace throughout the short, and so we went in to cleaning up the boards as well as giving the green light to two of our group members (Jon Mandel and Jonathan Ly) to go ahead and start animating shots that would definitely be in the final version of the animatic.

At this point I would like to give a huge thanks to Iain McCaig and Jeff Jackson, without their help, I probably wouldn’t have been able to come up with a more concise version of our short. I would also like to give another big thanks to my teammates for sticking through the story process.

New Shot

So its been a while. I’ll be honest, I’ve been rather down for a little while but I’m starting to pick myself back up again. Rather excited to work on this new shot however! I decided that the best thing for me to do right now was to start and new shot but keep working on the old one, so chances are you’ll be seeing updates for both shots in the coming weeks. This time, I decided to do a more mechanical shot rather than a dialogue shot. Here, my character (“Bruce”) is practicing his swordsmanship when he is frightened by the appearance of one GIGANTIC fly.



In the way of the BFA Thesis, we’ve been making lots of progress over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been overall relatively pleased where we have been going with the short, however towards the end we keep getting to a point where there is so much build up and then the tempo of the story suddenly comes to a halt and slows way down. Still trying to fix it and hopefully I’ll be able to upload our new story boards soon.

Once again, sorry for not updating this as much as I have in the past. Though I will now be updating much more often now! Expect to see updates this week! See you soon!