Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

It poured with rain on Saturday and as I didn't fancy getting wet, went for dinner with a good friend instead. Kimberly and I did don our costumes briefly last night to watch some local fireworks. I resurrected the mask I'd started a number of years ago, but never completed.

There was only a wire mesh support, which needed to be finished with papier mache and painted. My time was short as I didn't want to take too much time away from the short, but it was enough time to create a wearable mask. I would have liked to have attached the hair, but ran out of time. Perhaps next year I'll finish off the rest of the costume.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Animation has Begun!

Yes, we've finally started animating the short, with the first shot almost complete!  We still have quite a few background characters to rig and I'm still playing around with hair concepts. Here's a character modeled in Maya and Zbrush using the new FiberMesh for the hair. I'm liking the effects, but not quite satisfied with the final results yet.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Rigging a Pig

Tomorrow's a big day for the short. Louie Hinayo, one of the animators who will be contributing his talents, starts tomorrow.  He'll be doing some tests to run the character through its paces to see if the rigs will need tweaking. We should be done with the blendshapes this week, so the final rigs will follow shortly.

Music plays a big role in this film. We have a rough composition in the animatic, which has served us until now, but needs to be re-scored. Looking forward to hearing what the composer comes up with.

I had a few minutes, this afternoon, to mess around with the rig. Here's Chub singing and dancing up a storm.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Here is one of our secondary characters "Biff". We've broken down the facial expressions into small regions of the face and sculpted them digitally over the neutral face. These micro expressions are then sent to our rigger Devan Mussato who breaks these expressions into a left and right side and puts it into his rig so we have asymmetrical control over the face. We've sculpted 28 blendshapes for each of the seven characters. These poses were made by blending between just 12 of those symmetrical shapes. I'll post more work of the facial expressions as we get further into the rigging process.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Making this short would not be possible without the help of some really talented people. I have been very fortunate to find Adam Cable who has been so pivotal to this production. Here are a few of his concept sketches as well as some screen grabs of the set in progress.The criteria for the set was to create a posh environment, where only the wealthiest pigs would gather on a Friday night for beer and entertainment. Originally the short was to be a birthday card for my Father. I did the voice over work and the story evolved from that into something quite different. Once I figure out how to post the audio I will include some of my voice overs. In the mean time, please enjoy Adam's work for the short..........

And here is what the 3D set looks like so far. We're still modeling the props, but it's 90% done. We'll be adding sconces and then lighting it soon. We hope to begin animating within the next 3 weeks.

This week Adam and I have been busy modeling our blend shapes for 7 characters. We hope to get that completed for the beginning of next week. It's great to see these models finally come to life. I'll post some of the blend shapes in the next few days. Ciao for now....

Friday, July 6, 2012

So It's been a long time since I updated my blog. What have I been doing? Quite a lot actually. I'm really excited about what me and my crew have been up to.  Last year we animated a short 50 second piece. I was happy with what we'd accomplished, but decided to try something a bit more adventurous for our next project. It's a 4 minute short with some really fun characters. Over the course of the next few weeks I'll be updating you on our progress. I'd like to share some images with you now, but I recently had a flood and haven't been able to get the computers fired up yet. A flood is quite disruptive and has set me back, but I should be back up within the next week to 10 days. In the meantime, here are a couple of wip's of 2 of the characters.

Friday, June 29, 2012


A few people have been asking me about the types of clay I use. Whilst at Pixar we were using Chavant CM50. This is a hard styling clay that needs to be softened with heat. The clay does contain sulfur which can be annoying if you're bothered by the smell of rotten eggs. It does tend to stink up the room and the smell will permeate your clothes and skin, but the results are worth the discomfort. Your hands will smell even after washing thoroughly, so be forewarned. The surface of the clay once cooled can be really nicely finished and you can polish the surface to a dull shine using rubbing alcohol and paint brushes or cloth.

At Blue Sky we used Super Sculpey for our maquettes. This material has more of an agreeable odour as there is no sulfur. It can be smoothed done in much the same way as the Chavant clay, with isopropyl alcohol and paint brushes. Unlike Chavant, the sculpey can be put into an oven to cure, so it becomes rock hard. This makes the sculpt easier to make molds from with minimal clean up afterwards.

Some other clays I've used and recommend are:

Super Sculpey Firm... This is a better consistency for me to work with being firmer and gray in colour. Super Sculpey has a translucency to it that makes it a little more difficult to see surface imperfections. The gray super sculpey being opaque makes it easier to do a fine finish on the sculpture.

J-Mac... similar to Chavant, I like the dark brown colour to work with. It is a little stickier than the CM50.

NSP... also available from Chavant, it is non sulfurated for those who hate the smell of sulfur, but it tends to stick to your tools. It's available in several grades of firmness.

For a complete listing of chavant clays here's a link to their product line up:

Super Sculpey:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Minase Souya Comic Books

A very good Japanese friend of mine has been hard at work over the past few years creating several comic books. Minase Souya works as a character modeler during the day, but he's up to late hours working on these great books. If any of you know how he can get them published, please get in touch. Thanks.