Just got back from the wrap party for “How to Train Your Dragon” in Hollywood. At one point, a bunch of us animators were hanging out on the dance floor, and there was this line of people all taking photos of us at once. These two photos, by Jen Stern and Lilian Ku, must have been shot within a fraction of a second of each other. So I stitched them together into an animated gif. Check us out in 3D!
The Disposable Film Fest opening night was a fantastic show. From the very start you could tell that the curators had great taste. Every film had something unique about it: an inspiring use of cheap technology, a fresh visual idea, or just a really funny story. I found myself grinning and bouncing through most of the show. And it was wonderful to see our short film with a live audience, because it got an amazing reaction. (When even the title card got a laugh, I could tell that the crowd was ready to have some fun!) And the organizers couldn’t have been nicer people, with a fun, lighthearted approach to things that was reflected in every aspect of the event (like the message projected above before the show began). Here’s a small collection of some of my favorite films from the opening night event.
The festival is continuing throughout this weekend, with more short films and even features. I highly recommend checking it out!
An update on the Disposable Film Festival: apparently tickets for tonight’s 8pm screening at the Roxie are already sold out, so they’ve added a 10pm show! Tickets available here, and other info here.
Good news: our short film, How to Make a Baby, is heading for the silver screen! It will be in the competitive shorts program at the wonderfully named Disposable Film Festival. The big event is Thursday, March 4th at 8pm at San Francisco’s Roxie Theater. Sure, you’ve seen it on the internet. But the Roxie’s screen is, like, a million feet wide! How big is your screen? You can buy tickets in advance if you like, and there’s a party next door after the screening. Come hang out with us and all the other disposables!
The other day at the office I was talking with some friends about animation, art, code, math. You know, the usual stuff. The subject of beauty came up, and it occurred to me that beauty, in all of these different disciplines, is often associated with elegant solutions to problems. Beautiful math explains complex phenomena with simple formulas, while beautiful animation accomplishes rich and layered storytelling goals with seemingly simple actions.
A couple of days later I stumbled on Daniel White’s amazing 3D fractal images, via my friend Saschka. I’ve been a fan of fractals since reading Mandelbrot’s book in high school. The Mandelbrot set is this rare creature that’s beautiful both mathematically (an elegant formula) and visually (rewarding exploration with endless variety). Like everybody else, I wondered whether something as beautiful could exist in three dimensions (or more, for that matter!) Until recently, though, nothing had turned up. There were beautiful shapes made using complex formulas, and elegant formulas that made ho-hum images, but nothing as sublime as Mandelbrot’s set. This thing, though, looks very promising!
If you like math even a little bit, it’s really worth reading White’s account of how these images got made. The guy wrote his own renderer, for crying out loud!
Daniel White doesn’t seem convinced yet that this object is the “real” 3D Mandelbrot, and I’m inclined to agree: as stunning as it is visually, there’s something a bit unwieldy about the formula, with all its thetas and phis. But what’s wonderful is the way White and his colleagues are conducting their search. They’re not content with just one kind of beauty. It won’t be “real” to them unless it has both!
I guess there are two different trailers making the rounds. This one is the “international” trailer (which I think really means “not the USA or Canada”.) It’s interesting to see how they pitch the movie slightly differently to different audiences. The same warnings apply: watch this only if you don’t mind spoilers!
This is the movie I’ve been working on for the past year or so. I can’t say enough good about this film. By far the best one I’ve ever worked on, I can recommend it without hesitation. Yes, it’s that good!
The trailer is finally up, and it has a bunch of my shots in it! (The freeze frame you see below is one of them.) I have mixed feelings about posting the trailer here: on the one hand, compared to the previous teasers and leaked footage that’s been out there, this does a much better job at representing what the movie’s really like. But on the other hand, it takes a lot of sweet moments and shows them out of context, which could take away some of the surprise and enjoyment when you see it in the theater. So, if you don’t mind spoilers, watch the trailer below. But if you’d rather keep yourself pure and unsullied, just wait ’til March 26th and go see it on the big screen!
And here’s a link to the full-res trailer if you’d like to see it a bit bigger!
Last weekend I got to see a live interview with one of my all-time heroes, Hayao Miyazaki. He said, through a translator, all kinds of interesting things. When asked about computer animation, he had this to say: “One time we hired an expert to animate some scenes on the computer, but in the end we found that we could draw the scenes faster with a pencil.”
Now maybe this was his choice of words, and maybe it was the translator’s, but I found this response pretty revealing. It reflects a thought process about what animation is, in which drawing is central to everything. If what you’re trying to do is draw a scene, a pencil really is faster than a computer. But is that necessarily true? Is animation, at its heart, about drawing?
Continue reading On the Value of Drawing for CG Animators
On the last day of my trip, I made brunch for a group of wonderful friends of the family. There’s no such thing as “brunch” in Brazil, so I tried to be a good culinary ambassador and introduce the concept in the best possible light. Each item was adapted to the local scene: scrambled eggs with queijo de minas and fresh herbs from the front yard; coconut brioche French toast with a passionfruit-pear compote (and maple syrup straight from New York); and mimosas made with acerola juice. Nothing came out quite as I expected: the bread had a really strange texture, and the compote was more like a soup. But my hosts seemed to enjoy it all, and the mimosas were a definite hit!
The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais is famous for its cheese, and infamous for its cheese-loving citizens. A popular snack here is queijo de Minas with a slice of guava jelly. So when I saw this item on the menu, I had to try it. The cheese in question has a very light, subtle, slightly tangy flavor, so the result was somewhat reminiscent of a cold slice of cheesecake. Verdict: surprisingly delicious!