Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Imps at the Museum

I thought it was time to add a little more comedy to my demo reel. The thing is, I couldn't find a dialogue piece funny enough and even if the dialogue was funny I was afraid it might overshadow the actual animation. So, creating a pantomime shot seemed like the best way to go. 

This was actually part of a bigger scene, which I had already started blocking out, but I thought it would be too long for one shot and so I decided to keep the "meat" of the whole idea and focus on that. It would also be a great opportunity to experiment with the Imps rigs which seemed so fun to animate (and they surely were!)

Also, the Morpheus rig was a pleasant and refreshing deviation from Bishop. I should also mention that Morpheus was created by Josh Burton and can be found on

There's always some room for improvement but for the time being, I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Playing with "The Swing" ( A Tribute to Disney)

It was fun seeing how this famous oil painting by Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard affected the last couple of fairytale Disney animated films.

At first, it was 2010's Tangled, the successful retelling of the "Rapunzel" tale. I believe the crew wanted to create a more painted look for their 3D feature and they used "The Swing" as reference for the desired look. One of the visual development artists, Lisa Keene, would even create a variation of the painting, replacing the girl with Rapunzel.

After seeing Keene's work, I thought it would be fun to take the picture of the painting and create my own Disney version of it as an assignment for my compositing class. So, I added a couple more characters (...and the space ship from "Treasure Planet") in there and tried to hide them in the background.

And finally, as some of you know, the painting was used again in the latest Disney film "Frozen, a retelling of "The Snow Queen" tale, when Anna, the protagonist, jumps in pose in front of the painting in a musical sequence near the beginning of the film.

Anyway, it was a fun little exercise at the time...

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Kent Mansley 2D Test

This was supposed to be an additional scene for my last class in Animation Mentor. However, after a while I chose to spend some more time in polishing my old shots instead of creating a new one. It does take some time to draw frames if you're not used to it and I also had some trouble creating new character designs for the scene.

So, my mentor at the time, Mark Oftedal, suggested I used existing modelsheets for the scene. The audio clip was a dialogue between a boy and a man, a father and son in the original material I borrowed it from. So, I thought the designs of Kent Mansley and Hogarth Hughes from "The Iron Giant" could function quite good for this one.

And this is the first animation test of the scene. Since, I don't have any experience with 2D animation, to make this I used pencils, an eraser, a handmade lightbox and photoshop.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Progression of a Scene

This is one of the scenes I worked on as an assignment for Animation Mentor. I did have a post about this one last year, but I decided to take it down because it has gone through some grave changes since then. While working on this scene I learned a very important thing that every animator keeps in mind : never get attached to your work and don't be afraid to rework it if that's going to make a stronger piece in the end.

So, the initial inspiration for this one came from the audio clip of course. After that, I decided to do some quick sketches that I would use as sort of a storyboard to organize the staging and the cuts of the scene.

After that, reference had to be shot and a layout test had to be done in order to show how the characters would move into the space and how the camera angls would work into the whole scene.


And into the animation! There were a number of things to keep in mind while animating. There had to be an interesting dynamic relationship between the two characters. I mostly wanted the female character to be believably snobbish and sassy but also a little insecure. Of course a big goal was to keep her femininity through the whole scene. Luckily, while creating this piece I had a female animator to mentor me through the term (Michelle Meeker). Something that proved to be very helpful while animating the girl.


And then, it was time to start shaping my first demo reel. The animator that mentored me at the time was Mark Oftedal and he had some interesting notes to give me about the composition and staging of the scene. So, I had to start from a fresh layout. The scene as I had it at the moment had three camera cuts which could be reduced to two and the camera angle had to be adjusted for the biggest part in order to support the conflicting relationship and the intimacy between the characters.


Finally comes the time when you start showing your work to professionals and studios full with pride for what you accomplished and hoping to get some reactions of excitement and praise for it! But that's not always the case. For this particular scene, I had the opportunity to show it to a couple of great animators like Clay Katis, Ethan Hurd (who I had the luck to get mentored by for some of my other shots) and Adam Green. Some salt and pepper had to be added to the scene. Mostly, timing adjustments and some reworking on the girl's performance towards the ending in order to strengthen her attitude.


And that concludes the journey of the animated scene. At least for now... It's a painful process but it is definetely rewarding when you see mere pictures of your imagination taking life and bring a little smile on the face of someone that sees it for the first time!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Yzma Doodles (from "Kingdom of the Sun")

These are some quick sketches I did of Yzma the villain of Disney's '"The Emperor's New Groove" voiced by actress Eartha Kitt. Actually, this is the design of Yzma that Andreas Deja created for an early version of the movie which at the time was called "Kingdom of the Sun". Eventually Dale Baer became the supervisor of the character in the final film. And he did some awesome work in creating one of the most entertaining villains for a Disney animated feature.

However, I always thought that it was a pity that we didn't get to see Deja's Yzma in action. Actually, you can check some of his early work on the character in his blog at the following links:

While playing with these poses, I was listening to some of Eartha's clips on Youtube to get into the mood of the character. I think it was a fun exercise trying to pose an already existing character and stay on model.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cruella De Vil Pencil Test

This is a pencil test I did for a couple of days while I didn't have access to a computer. Of course I had a model sheet of Cruella de Vil by my side while drawing the poses and I tried to stay as loyal as possible to the original design by Marc Davis, but I also wanted to make a pencil test and finish it as fast as I could. I was particularly inspired to do such an exercise after seeing some of the Glen Keane lectures on youtube where he makes short animation tests in a small time for educational purposes:


As reference I used a dance move taken from a video clip of the tv show "Glee":


Being used to working with a computer, I found this opportunity to make a hand drawn animation test very interesting and challenging! One of the most complicating things with this was the fur of course. It was really tricky trying to find the right way to put in all that follow through and drag of the cloth. Trying to stay on model was also frustrating. It is quite difficult to draw the same character from different sides. And then add to that the fact that the character you're drawing is created by one of the Nine Old Men of Disney.

Bottom line, yes the drawings are very rough and there could be some more inbetweens, the movement arcs could be more defined but at the end of the day this was a very enjoyable exercise while away of the computer.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood

Classic fairy tales like this one are a common subject for animated films. For these sketches I was heavily inspired by the short "Red Riding Hood" created at the Walt Disney Animation Studios in the talent development program last year. However, I often enjoy trying to research and sketch some of these very well known characters, like Red Riding Hood in this case, that haven't yet gotten an iconic depiction like Disney's Snow White or The Little Mermaid for example.

For Red, I tried to stay relatively loyal to the Disney princess design of a circular face with big, expressive eyes. Then I tried some alternative ways of how she could wear her hood around her head and upper body. Also, I tried to contrast the volumes a bit by giving her very thin legs and a big, puffy hood.

The Wolf, I thought would be more interesting if he had a slightly more realistic design. In the Disney short he was mostly depicted as a shadow in the shape of a wolf, which I thought worked pretty well! So, I mostly tried to draw him in a more animal like pose rather than turning him into a character with human like expressions and gestures. I think in this way, he seems more of a menace for Red.

To close this post, here's a little sketch of the first encounter of the two characters in color