Archive for September, 2006

Here’s our latest. This is an interesting effect. Nothing you see here is real. Even the bricks were a small picture replicated and tweaked to make a whole wall. The pipes were all created by me as well. Then, we generated images of each and laid the images in planes. The planes are manipulated much like the multiplane camera Walt Disney created.

It lends itself to a surrealistic, pseudo-3D effect. Like a diorama created out of cardboard pictures of real pipes, bricks, boards, etc…

Fun stuff. But I still can’t wait to do stuff that looks REAL!

Please… read this post about Banned Books Week…

And go out and get yourself some banned books before it’s over! Censorship is mind control!

The Premise
There are some things that we think we are the only ones to experience, only to find out that everyone experiences them. There are others that we dare not mention, but would like to believe everyone experiences, when actually they don’t. I don’t know which category this one falls into.

The Preface
In our school, the men’s room is equipped with, from right to left, a sink, a divider, a urinal, and a full stall (walls, locking door, fixture). The main door has a traditional bathroom lock. However, given the setup inside, I didn’t lock the outer door during my first visit. It wasn’t going to be a sit down job, anyway. Someone walked in, reacted with total shock at the presence of another person, and made a hasty, humbled exit. I didn’t get it. This setup screamed “public toilet.” However, even if I’m just washing my hands, I have learned to lock the outer door. For the benefit of the women reading this, you need to know this: It is very important, once the men’s room etiquette has been established, never to mess with it. The men’s room is a far, far cry from the social environment we men believe the ladies’ room to be (do they really serve hors d’oeuvres in there???). Oh, and stop cringing at the topic, you’ll get wrinkle lines in your forehead!

The Power Trip
OK, so here’s the thing. It’s very common, given breaks schedules and such, that someone tries the handle while I’m in there, regardless of the duration of the visit. My initial reaction to the door handle is momentary panic and the thought, “AACK! Did I really remember to lock it?” The failure of the knob to turn changes that reaction to, “Aha!! I have control of this facility. And you, poor soul, are forced to wait until I feel good and ready to release that control! And that will not happen until my hands are thoroughly sanitized, rinsed, and dried! MUAHAHAHA!!

So, is everyone out there laughing in sympathy or secretly removing me from their RSS feeds?

Oh, and when I’m in there for an “extended stay” (aka – Starbuck’s moment), I have that outer door locked and the stall door closed and locked. I’ve thought about how silly this is, but I feel compelled in a public restroom to lock the stall door. How would you treat the inner stall door knowing the outer one is locked?

Dual purpose post here.

First, we finished second block on Friday at school. It ended one crazy week of single-parenthood with a two-part final on Friday (scores 98% for modelling, 92% for animating/rigging), and Michelle returning on Saturday evening. Normalcy restored!

Second, we started block three today. I couldn’t believe it when we had our first assignment at 8:30am, and it was due at 12:30pm! This guy’s serious! So, here you have it, my first composited video. Compositing is the art of compiling multiple pieces of footage into a single scene. The above video is comprised of:

  • a still photograph of the mountains (with a poorly defined sky)
  • computer generated clouds
  • a computer generated waving flag
  • a computer generated helicopter (not animated)

We took the four elements and combined them into the bit you see above. This was a lot of fun, but underscored that the people who make this software are artists, not interface design experts. These programs do anything you could think of. Just don’t expect the same set of button clicks in any two places.

Overall, I see lots of potential for fun this quarter (and immensely hard work). Putting the helicopters into the scene, I imagined them swarming in for an attack on Daryl Hannah (i.e. “Attack of the 50 Foot Woman”, modern version). So much to do, so much other stuff to do that I’ll never get to it!

Can anyone out there provide me with a logical reason why MSN blogs entries and photo albums randomly become "new" in the RSS feeds?  No other hosts’ items do!
What’s up wit’ dat?
(Yeah… I’m so unhip, I can’t even type like this and not generate laughter)


Some of you wanted to know what was wrong that needed to be fixed, and I thank you so much for your vote of confidence! :) I’m going to give you the opportunity to go back and forth between videos looking for corrections, but only if you’d like to.

  1. The background was overdone (can’t get away with reusing that desert scene too many times, I guess). :) Teacher suggested something simpler that would contrast with the subject without taking attention away from her.
  2. Hands still drifting from the handles. I spent a lot of time addressing this, as it seemed when you touched the hands, they were messed up for the rest of the ride, meaning a complete touch up of the whole zip-line part.
  3. Upon bar grab, she swung forward, but not backward enough.
  4. The jump from the stand to the bar was almost in slow motion. Speed it up, and the hands don’t line up with the bars again for the ride (see #2).
  5. At the end, she didn’t travel far enough after letting go.
  6. She goes up and flips and comes down. No “hang time” at the top. Had to stretch that out.
  7. Camera was panning too much. Teacher suggested leaving the camera still, and using two “shots”.

If you look SUPER carefully, you’ll see that for a frame or two, one of her hands still goes right through the handlebar upon the grab/hang sequence. But I ran out of time and had to get the kids.

So, I’m sure you can see differences in this one, but can you see the subtle nuances. I know it’s hard to tell in a flash video, but I expect some of them show. Truth is, even without training, if you watch these over and over, the problems become more apparent.

Thanks for all the nice comments and support!

Here’s where she stands today. One more day to go. Still not thrilled, but she’s getting there.

I came here to look at a couple of pictures since I was featured on Nicole’s blog, and I couldn’t find them.  So I logged in, and I couldn’t find them.  Where were the last year’s worth of photographs??
Well, apparently in the new "Live" format (named so because it’s not obvious the sites are live when you’re waiting for them to load), you can either have pictures or not.  You can’t have them on a separate tab waiting for guests with the time and interest to click through.  So, despite the load-time hit, I put the pictures module back on this page.  I was afraid the module would come up empty (PANIC!), but all the albums and pictures returned (calmness).
Enjoy the pics again, folks!  That is, if you can stand the wait.

The Ninja Chick

This is our latest assignment. It’s back to being due on Friday. This is a very preliminary render, so nothing is timed, nothing syncs up, and the end is cut short. But I’m posting it to give you an idea how a project progresses through its early stages.

As with the previous superhero in the poses, this one was given to us complete, but without any animation. I did not design or build the character. I simply got her to run, jump and (sort of) grab the bar. There’s a lot of potential in this one, but not much time to exploit it. I’ll keep you up to date on the progress.

This is my grade grid so far. I was especially happy with the “Nice Work” comment on the facial animation (the zombie head). I am personally doing the “YES!!!” pose commonly associated with the guy who just spiked a football in the endzone. Don’t get used to sports references… they’ll be EXTREMELY rare.

One (crazy, hectic, BUSY) week left in the quarter! Due to a compressed class schedule, we won’t be doing the demo reel project. Some of the others have not yet received a grade.

This one was due at end of class this past Friday. We were given the complete character and he was all set up for animation. We just had to do 10 defined poses and two of our own choosing. Any guesses as to which I chose and which were assigned?
By the way, I’m expecting to take a hit on “Hero – High Five”. He looks more like “Howdy Neighbor!” to me. He was a sacrifice in the name of getting this done on time.