Monday, May 16, 2011

BYU's animation Program

I graduated from BYU's animation program some years ago. And while the work that came out of that program in the years that followed my departure from the university was good, it wasn't spectacular. Like almost all student films, a bit of the stitching was always showing. Despite this fact, the program has had amazing success with every senior film garnering a student emmy.

Recently, my old faculty mentor sent me a stack of dvds of the various films that BYU has completed in recent years. I watched them in order looking to see the progression of the program. Each film had it's strengths and weakness, but as I said before, lots of "seams." Then I reached "Dream Giver." The film was astonishing. It was cg/2d hybrid short that was expertly crafted. I would have never guessed it was student film. Everything about it felt professional. It was incredibly inspirational. It made me want to go back to school to be able to make something just for the enjoyment and art of it. I tip my hat to the students and faculty responsible for "Dream Giver."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

L.A. Noire

WOW! Let me begin by saying, every time a game is touted as having ground breaking graphics approaching reality, I typically find myself let down by the end product. This idea that game technology is approaching what the vfx/animation world is doing is always a bit laughable to me. While games are progressing so are vfx and animation. And while I have seen impressive games before, the statement of its achievement is always accompanied by, "For a game." While L.A. Noire still looks like a game, there is some technology in it that is incredible and requires no "for a game" excuse. The facial expression captured in the cinematics rivals even avatar and surpasses Tron's C.L.U. and that is saying something. While the rest of it looks like a computer game it is impressive for a computer game. Great game lighting, environments, animation. But the facial expressions... amazing! I will extend that even to the character animation in the cinematics as well. Typically they contain the less than life tells of motion capture, always feeling floaty and ungrounded. L.A. Noire however everything feels anchored, has weight and the best part... can I say it again... amazing facial expressions! This is the new standard for facial capture, period, no genre card attached.

While the game is obviously violent and fairly graphic (usually a deterrent for my consideration of purchasing a game title), I find myself extremely excited to participate in game play to see just how far they took it. The idea that the game play is about problem solving and deduction in a way that is virtually never present in an action/shooter game is amazing. The environments and game play look amazing. I must say, thus far I am impressed.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Bill Nighy, Alfred Molina and masters of the silver screen, Ned Beatty and Harry Dean Stanton. As if this isn't enough, directed by Gore Verbinski, of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" fame. Now... add the talent of the power house ILM (if you don't know who that is I am not sure how you got to my blog) and it being their first feature film. I just wet my pants! I have watched this trailer a hundred times, if not more. I have a feeling we are about to see the new hi bar for feature animation, both visually and thematically.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An oldie but goodie

One Rat Short from Charlex on Vimeo.

I first saw this short at Sun Dance 2007. I loved it then and I love it now.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A diagram to understand cost, time, and quality

A friend of mine sent me this. He and I have worked together on various projects and have discussed this paradigm on numerous occasions. I don't know who the author of this image is but I tip my hat to them because they nailed it. This is the simplest explanation of cost vs. time vs. quality conundrum that we face in film (and in any industry really).