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The Needy Animator | An Animators Guide to more than your Usual Resources

42nd Annual Annie Awards 2015 – ASIFA Hollywood Winners Results

Every year there is the Superbowl, Oscars Award, and plenty of different prestigious Award Shows on the road. For Animation, one of the most esteemed of these award ceremony is the Annie Awards held by ASIFA-Hollywood recognizing achievements in the animation field- both in animated shorts/ animation TV production/ and features. Personally, I was rooting for The Lego Movie, Song of the Sea, Damkeeper, Feast, Over the Garden Wall, and ARCHER. Who did you cheer for? The results are in this year and the winners of each categories are: CURRENT Results from the 42nd Annie Awards Best Animated Feature  How to Train Your Dragon 2 – DreamWorks Animation SKG JURIED AWARDS June Foray Award Charles Solomon Ub Iwerks Award Dreamworks Animation’s Apollo Software Winsor McCay Award Didier Brunner, Don Lusk and Lee Mendelson Special Achievement Awards Walt Disney Family Museum   Production Categories Best Student Film  “My Big Brother” by Jason Rayner (Savannah College of Art & Design-SCAD) Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Joaquim Dos Santos – Legend of Korra – Nickelodeon Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Truong “Tron” Son Mai – How to Train Your Dragon 2
 – DreamWorks Animation SKG Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Illya Owens – Disney Mickey Mouse
 – Disney Television Animation Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Feature ProductionJohn K. Carr – How to Train Your Dragon 2 – DreamWorks Animation SKG Best Animated Video Game Valiant Hearts: The Great War – Ubisoft Montpellier Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Benjamin Balistreri – Wander Over Yonder 
-  Disney Television Animation Outstanding Achievement, Character...

Animating on the Go: So you want to shoot a live stop-motion

While a lot of animation is done sitting down either in a dedicated studio space or at home, there are also times, especially for stop motion animators, that you might have to step out into the physical world to capture raw footage or animate on location. Such was the case with animation and Animation Chair and seasoned film festival veteran Matthew Maloney and motion media specialist and professor Christina Maloney of Savannah of College and Art and Design-Atlanta. (Their other beautifully crafted stop motion animation “The Anchorite” premiered at Cannes in 2009.) While in theory, this may seem as simple as grabbing a camera and running outside to start shooting, the physical world deals with weather conditions, unexpected passerby reactions, and uncontrollable variables. This past winter break, they were in Hong Kong with their puppets shooting live in the mountains, on the beach, the metro of Kowloon, and on the streets in the bustling crowd of passerby for their new animation Loon. With this, they came up with some tips for those that might be interested not just in stop motion but perhaps even live action sequences that requires shooting on the streets. 1. Secure Your Equipment Not just stop motion pieces or props are probe to damage or being stolen but expensive equipment used for the shoot such as cameras, laptop, tripod are susceptible during a mobile shoot. While shooting on the street, the Maloneys created a laptop cage by repurposing an old shoe rack he bought for around $3 and locked it to the ground and then locked the tripod to it. Now it’s safer from being stolen or being bumped into during...

The Bigger Picture: Daisy and Chris’ Next Big Move

As it so happens one lazy afternoon as I was browsing my inbox, I was surprised to see an email from Daisy Jacobs and Chris Wilder telling me they’ve read my blog. For those of you who are not familiar with their work, you probably wouldn’t rationalize with my excitement of running around the living room in my pajamas doing this… As an avid stop motion fan, the first time I saw  the well deserved Oscar-nominated animated short “The Bigger Picture”, I was captured by the unique technique of blending live size 2.5D and 3D elements. Currently, Daisy and Chris are now in the process of campaigning for their next upcoming larger-than-life animation. As it is, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge and commend the efforts of independent artists. As an artist, I know fully well the efforts that goes into creating your own original pieces. It is a labor of passion and one that is a time investment often with cost involved. While there is still the idea that if art is passion, it should be free but the reality is artists also have to eat, pay rent, and function in the world as any other field of occupation. So to artists that are doing their own thing to carry out their creative vision is always a refreshing site to see and has my support and admiration. Their Next Project Now not much has been revealed about the upcoming animation Daisy and Chris has planned for yet but here are some sneak previews of images and animated gif that is sure to thrill and delight. Just looking at the lovely...

Working on PIXAR LAVA Animated Short: A Graphics Software Engineer’s Point of View

After seeing the Disney Pixar short, LAVA, there was no doubt in my mind that the environment that was showcased was gorgeous and the graphics was looking really defined. While many things were very interesting about the short, what drew me in particular was the technology behind the graphics. As luck would have it, my friend Brandon who is a Graphics Software Engineer worked on the short and kindly help me shed some light about his role in LAVA and the difference between coding for a feature and a short in his experience. PIXAR LAVA Trailer Clip Link 1. What was your role in the short? I wrote some shiny new code that allows for “deformable vector displacement,” to help create ridges on the volcanoes in the short. Displacement is a common Computer Graphics technique to add geometric complexity by “displacing” the geometry using a texture. This texture, usually a height map (black for low, white for high), allows the shading TD to control some of the more fine-grained look of the asset, and allows for details that normally require many polygons. Vector displacement is a specific flavor of displacement that allows for surface deformations in more directions than “out” and “in.” The “vector” part of “vector displacement” means that you can really displace the surface by a 3D vector. This is less common than a scalar displacement, as it requires more math, is slower, has artifacts if not handled correctly, and has weird edge cases. Deformable vector displacement means that the vector displacement authored on the asset moves with the geometry. For Lava, the ridges on the volcano...

The Animator’s Prayer: A Poem by Andrew Goh

With this being the last week of finals, we posted up a beautiful poem of a prayer to keep all the animators. Today’s feature is a bit different from the rest but a close friend of mine and a crazy brilliant and ridiculously fast and versatile animator, Andrew Goh wrote a prayer for animators that are still facing their final countdown before deadlines.   Andrew Goh ©2015 with minor graphic tweaks from Shir Wen Sun The Animator’s Prayer by Andrew Goh Our artist, who roughs in extremes, Hallowed be thy keys, Thy breakdowns come, Thy in-betweens done, On Pegs, as it is in Autodesk Maya ©2015 Give us this day our dailies And Forgive us our rotoscopes, as we forgive those who mo-cap, And lead us not into procrastination but deliver us from crunch-time, That’s a...

INTERNS TALK Pt 1: What the Interns and Newly Hired at Blue Sky Studio and LAIKA HOUSE are saying

With the amount of competition today in the animation and film field, one of the great ways to break into established feature film companies or TV production studios is through internships. But even the competition for internships are extremely high, so how do you stand out from everyone that has applied? How do the few that do succeed get to where they are now? Here are a few words of wisdom from some of my animator friends that have interned and/or are newly hired addition to animation studios such as Blue Sky Studio, LAIKA HOUSE, MPC, and Adult Swim. Lastly, I’ve also included my own experience at Floyd County Productions working as an illustration/production intern with the illustration department of Archer.   Studio: Blue Sky Studio JEN HURLER Location: Greenwich, Connecticut Affiliations: School of Visual Arts (SVA) Position: Production Assistant (Full Time) Portfolio: www. jenhurler.com THE STUDIO Blue Sky Studio is best know for their 3D animation franchise features Ice Age and RIO. Other well-known animations produced include Epic, ROBOTS, and coming soon to the big screen is PEANUTS:The Movie, a remake of the classic Snoopy franchise comic in CG 3D. THE HOW Just to clarify–this isn’t an internship, but rather a full-time job that I was offered. In this position, I aid the fur department in the day-to-day grind. I schedule and help run everything from inter-departmental rounds, to art critiques with the film directors. There’s a lot to learn regarding the BSS pipeline and different software used, but it’s a learning curve I enjoy. The HOW I actually got this job thanks in large to SIGGRAPH and...

10 Short Animations to Watch of 2014 and 2015

WINNER OF THE FEAST POSTER ANNOUNCEMENT: Congratulations to Win Leerasanthanah for winning this official feast collectible lithograph poster. We will be contacting you soon.  Results are generated through the http://www.miniwebtool.com/random-name-picker * For a chance to win a collectible commemorative lithograph copy of The Feast Animated Short poster, scroll to the end of this article.   There are times I really love my school for all the extracurricular activities they bring that I feel help to broaden my scope as an animator. Every year, we are encouraged to go to the Animation’s Show of Show featuring a handful of amazing animated shorts selected from over thousands around the world curated by Ron Diamond and hosted at the new SCAD-Atlanta SCAD SHOW theatre. A quick brief for those that don’t know what the Animation Show of Show is, it’s a pretty big deal if you are in the animation field. Ron Diamond,founder and executive producer of Acme filmworks , has traveled across different states since 1998 to screen his top selected animation shorts (a lot of which has ended up as Oscar nominees or winners) at schools and major animation studios including PIXAR, Dreamworks, and more. The Show of Show is free and runs every year so catch it at your nearest location and book yourself a seat by going to their website and checking out the details. This year I found the particular selections to be a bit different from the past two years and there are three animated shorts from big name studios that the audiences were looking forward to including Disney’s Feast (Set to be out with Big Hero 6 Feature Animation), Pixar’s...

Submitting to Animation Festivals pt2: What They Don’t Tell you

Animation Festivals Submissions Tips/ Tricks This article is a part 2 continuation from the article Submitting to Animation Festival pt1: Avoiding Rookie Mistakes. In the last article, we wrote about rookie mistakes to avoid when submitting to an animation festival, this article is focused more on other aspects you might not be aware of that may bog down or help your submission too that goes into a bit more details. Today’s guest post are tips to understanding Animation Film Festival submissions adapted from an interview with our very own talented animator Allyssa Lewis at Floyd County Productions working on Emmy Nominated Best Animated Series and Critics Choice Award Winner 2014 Archer and current Vice President of ASIFA-Atlanta.  *Different Festivals may have different ways of judging and criterias.   IF YOUR FILM HAS DIALOGUES…YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO HARDCODE YOUR SUBTITLES While most short animation may avoid the second level of animation complexity by avoiding talking characters or lip syncing altogether, there may be a time you will have to venture into the zone of having text to help out your story or dialogues. In this case, subtitles are very important to how far your animation may go. The two basic languages you should at least have for your animation is at least english and french subtitles. These subtitles should also be at a professional level, otherwise you should not embed them straight onto the animation. Instead, choose to have a transcript or have it closed captioned instead of hard-coded into the animation. This way, if a festival likes your film or wants to send it off to other films, they have the choice to use/not use it....

Submitting to Animation Festival pt1: Avoiding Rookie Mistakes

Animation Festivals Submissions Tips/ Tricks As an animator, there comes a point in your career you might want to consider submitting your work to Film/Animation Festivals but where to begin? While your animation might have top-notched quality animation aesthetics and story, there are many reasons that could stop it from being chosen. Knowing about the rookie mistakes and some tidbits behind how the animated short selection process works from one of the jurors working directly behind the scenes might help you understand better how your film can have a better chance at being picked and give you an advantage over other submissions. Today’s guest post are tips to understanding Animation Film Festival submissions adapted from an interview with our very own talented animator Allyssa Lewis at Floyd County Productions working on Emmy Nominated Best Animated Series and Critics Choice Award Winner 2014 Archer and current Vice President of ASIFA-Atlanta.   RESEARCH/ KNOW YOUR SUBMISSION CATEGORY As with most things in life, research is crucial to how successful your submission might be. If you have a film you are submitting to within a category, make sure it’s under the right one. While a film can be more than one thing, try to aim for what it mostly is. A documentary or live-action with a little bouncing animated ball as an additional animation element probably wouldn’t really be considered very strong in an animation category. If it isn’t under the right category, don’t always bank that the person watching your film will help you put it under a more fitting one…they might just find it easier to nix it altogether. Which also leads...

Things I’ve Learned from Winning the Global Game Jam

GLOBAL GAME JAME: WINNING AGAINST TIME When it comes to a tight time-restriction as a main component such as the Global Game Jam where you only have 48 hours to execute and create a game prototype, I’ve learned from experience that there are certain things you can do to put yourself at an advantage. As much as competing against others as you think you might be, you are also competing mainly with time. The priorities are different and these are just some tips/tricks I’ve learned during my experience that I believe are adaptable traits that were helpful in helping us place first not only in the Global Game Jam-Atlanta 2014, but other timed competitions such as the ASIFA-Atlanta 12N12 Competition 2012, and the SCAD Generate Competition: Animation Category 2012.   DO YOUR BASIC RESEARCH It is at least a fundamental to know what kind of competition you are competing in before enlisting yourself. As an animator, I was a bit wary at first joining the GGJ as it was a gaming competition and I did not know if I would have the sufficient skills to be able to pull the project off so I looked up the scope of previous projects, read the briefs, and talked to past competitors and organizers about what they would suggest having as skills in joining the competition. Sometimes all it really takes is a quick 20 mins of google search to do a brief research on previous winning projects and make a mental note on what you think was the strength or weakness as different types of skills may be needed and you want...

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