AAU

An Evening with Pixar

I'm sure many of you were disappointed that there wasn't a Pixar movie for 2014 but now they have a lot of movies in the works and planned. More work for us! As such, Pixar will be looking for new talent that they can train and hopefully integrate. To share with us the upcoming opportunities of internships and residencies, before everyone was off for the holidays, we got a visit from Kim Diaz, senior recruiter, Ryan Howe, university relations program lead, and Anika Holloway, human resources coordinator. There are different type of internships, classroom based and production based. Classroom based internships are structured actually like a class where you go in to learn and be mentored. Story, animation, and the Pixar Undergraduate Program (PUP) fall under classroom based and last 10 to 12 weeks during the summer. The other type is production based where you will get to work on actual shows in production. As such, the openings are based on production needs and typically last 12 to 18 weeks.

Residencies are also based on production needs are are for those who want to be technical directors or go into software engineer and research. They can last 6 months to a year.

The summer internships and a few residencies have already been posted on www.pixar.com/careers/Available-Internships so I hope you're prepared!

Speaking of being prepared, what exactly do you do and what is Pixar looking for? Apply online at the above link with your resume, cover letter, and a link to your online reel/portfolio. If your reel/portfolio is password protected, that's fine, just have the link and password included in your resume. Make sure to do all this by the deadline, March 1st 2015!

I probably already went over what goes into resumes, cover letters, and reels before but let's do a review. Limit your resume to one page and list any awards won, related classes, projects, and any events volunteering; show what you have done above and beyond a classroom setting. Make your cover letter stand out from others by having it being personalized and creative. Put your best work first on your demo reel and then followed by other best work (yes, only your BEST work goes on your reel) for a reel that is 1 to 3 minutes long; once you're finished, include a breakdown and always get others to review it.

The Art of Riot

A few nights ago Riot Games brought a bunch of our alumni and came to AAU to give a talk. There was Kenny Carvalho (art recruiter), Laura Deyoung (visual design director), Bo Lu (concept artist), Chengwei Pan (concept artist), Rory Alderton (senior animator), and Moby Francke (principal artist).

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For those who don't know of Riot Games as a company in general, Kenny Carvalho started the evening off sharing the culture. Riot Games is about focusing on the player experience and for gamers who take play seriously. Their mission statement is actually "to aspire to be the most player focused company in the world". As such, the artists working on LoL aren't just churning out artwork but are also all working together both in the pipeline and ingame as players to ensure that the world and characters that are being created are cohesive and appealing in multiple experiences (gameplay, visual, sound, etc.).

Now, to know more about the art we go into the presentations of the artists.

Laura Deyoung, the visual design director, has an extremely interesting story to tell. She wasn't specifically a 3D artist or an illustrator but rather in graphic and web design. She was good at what she did but did not see herself doing web for the rest of her life. Instead she really wanted to get into the games industry but felt doubtful of herself as she did not the background in 3D art. No worries, she got in later on as it turns out there is a department for people with her training and that is visual design, or sometimes labeled as UI/UX artist. It was small way back when but it has been steadily growing, and will only get bigger, and I often see posting for those positions all the time by game studios now. Laura stresses that visual design is a very complicated and specific field so that people with the certain skills need and should be hired for it instead of just asking a someone to make something up.

Next up was Chengwei Pan and Bo Lu to share their experience in creating illustrations and splash art for LoL The style of LoL can be described as exaggerated comic book style proportions and poses. On top of that they look for high polish rendering (super high fidelity that you can zoom in and still see all the detail), have dynamic lighting (show story, form, and point of interest), strong graphic shapes, and a strong understanding of color along with using a limited color palette. However, just having a pretty picture isn't enough; rather the art should echo the ingame visual and playstyle, show how badass the character is so that players want to be that champion ingame, and tell a story if doing promo art. The art that they put out is super daunting but as alumni they gave us some excellent recommendations for classes: Foundations, Figure Painting, Cloth Figure Drawing, Quick Study, Narrative Painting, and Drawing for Film. Narrative Painting and Drawing for Film were the two most highly recommended as those classes will teach you how to tell a story and how to design a painting. Lastly, while some others companies discourage this practice, Riot encourage aspiring Rioters to draw and paint their champions as what better way to show your passion and ability.

Sometimes people think of animation for games as mainly a bunch of cycles but Rory Alderton shows how they Riot make it so that every champion feels alive and have their own individuality and characteristics. It's always about what the players can see on screen so there are a few interesting challenges that rise up in games versus films. There is the matter of a free camera, player actions, and various speed modifiers that will have to be taken into account. For the camera issue, unlike in film where artists only have to animate to camera, in games there is a full 3D space with a moving camera so champions have to look good from all angles. As in LoL, the camera is in a top down view which presents some interesting challenges with foreshortening and getting a clear silhouette.To solve that issue a lot of exaggeration needs to be done. The posses are exaggerated, sometimes to the point of joints being broken, to get a clear silhouette, and squash and stretch in the shoulders, hips, and spine, and impacts, are exaggerated to help sell the weight. Player actions is about how champions can change from different states at any time, such as running to a stop or casting skills. In order to have smooth gameplay, a layering system is used in the animation so that the actions can be blended together. Speed modifiers become interesting as it changes how fast a champion runs or is able to attack. In order to keep the aesthetic of the character and prevent animation from breaking, at higher speeds, animations are kept simpler. With Shen stacking attack speed items as an example, at top top instead of seeing all the inbetweens what is visible are only the poses so that the characteristic of the champion and the movement is still kept intact. Lastly, cycles can get a bit boring but Riot always tries to add a little bit of fun into it. Particularly with the newer champions, when idling players can see that they break up their actions a bit whereas older champions that haven't gotten revamp'd yet, such as Amumu, has a somewhat dull head bob cycle. It helps keep the characters alive and interesting.

To finish off the evening, Moby Francke talks about art clarity and creating art with a purpose.  To showcase his portion of the evening, Moby shows upcoming artwork to the update of Summoner's Rift! Clarity of art is the quality of visual elements to be easily understood. Clarity is so important because gameplay is kind and art is supplementary. Art is very important but it is in support of the gameplay. What the art should do is to ensure that everything is legible with contrast and strong silhouettes. What makes it somewhat challenging is that there are a whole range of champions from whimsy to dark which the environment has to be suitable for. In order to create the appropriate environment, the focus is put on primary, secondary, and tertiary form instead of detail. As such, the upcoming Summoner's Rift looks somewhat more stripped down, more painterly, and simplistic. While the environment may not as be as full and lush with foliage, it is very visually appealing with champions traveling and battling across it.

Borderlands 2 Shorts - Tales from the HQ

Back in the fall, 2K Games took a project, the Borderlands Cooperative, to the Academy of Art University where they not only had students pitch stories and their storyboards but then continue on to produce the three winning stories into shorts. Through the process of creating the short films, a documentary was made! It took awhile but the documentary and the three shorts were finally premiered back on Thursday, May 15th and now publicly on Youtube on http://www.youtube.com/user/machinima. Unfortunately the documentary primarily focuses on the story artists and the animators, leaving out all the rest of production so I was not in it. I had the privileged of working on the shorts as a texture artist. I was going to light a few shots but unfortunately whenever I went to ask for shots, nothing was ready yet so I decided to move on to other projects. Congratulations to all my other friends who have worked on this and it was extremely exciting to see my name out there and public. Apparently the livestream when the documentary and shorts premiered capped out at over four thousand viewers at a single time. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pamsKbpglg] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEFhaop5u2E] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ2coXaTM8Y]

I Just Won Spring Show 2014

Spring Show is kind of a big deal here at the Academy of Art University. It's the one time of year where students submit their work to be judged by a panel of instructors if it will be admitted into the show. The school rents out the Palace of Fine Arts here in San Francisco and displays all the students' work at a public event. More importantly, the school pays studios to send their recruiters to the event to look at all the work and interview selected individuals at career day to be hired. For the animation and visual effects department, we have an early screening of our work since it's video based and the awards for the winners and runner-ups were given out. My submission for Umbra place me first for feature lighting! I've been extremely busy working on multiple films directed by others so I didn't have time to work on anything personal so I was somewhat disappointed that I wouldn't have anything to submit to Spring Show this year. Especially since I saw all the amazing work last year and wanted to get in this year. It wasn't until a week before the deadline that I realized that I could submit the trailer that I lit for Umbra back in the fall semester! I was excited to start putting together a video that I could submit only to realize that the submission needs to be in 1080p while I rendered everything previously in 720p. I have less than 1 week to re-render everything at the higher resolution and there were shots that took up to 4 hours per frame.

It was a terrible day for me for the screening to happen though. I was starting to get sick earlier that week and it hit really hard that day. I was not pretty with my sore throat and stuffy nose and was pretty light headed throughout the screening.

Thanks to Cal Williams, the director and animator. Thanks to Aaron Wright, the texture artist. Thanks to Elaine Kubik, the dynamics artist.

To the teams that I had the pleasure of working with, congratulations to Snake and Fox team for winning runner-up in the 3d Short Film category and to the Crows team for winning runner-up in VFX Short Film! Congratulations to Ilgı Çandar and Patrick Bramley for winning Compositing Congratulations to Daniela Flamm Jackson for runner-up in Compositing Congratulations to Erik Fräki for runner-up in Motion Graphics Congratulations to Beibei Gu for winning 3D Texturing Congratulations to GunSic Kim for runner-up in Feature Lighting

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AAU Fall Festival - Fall Festival and ILM Industry Panel

The final day of Fall Festival is final here and over. I am done with this week; byeee. Starting two and a half weeks ago I have troubleshot, lit, and composited ten shots in order to create a trailer for today's Fall Festival. After that stressful period of time I have this week of running around going to all the events. I will have a little bit of breathing room before I run off to CTN next week! Fall Festival began with trailers of the various collaborative projects and the one that I was working on is called Umbra, by Cal Williams. A slightly rushed job but will only get better as we go further into production of the full short film! Another project that I am on is called Crows, a VFX music video by Ilgi Candar, where I worked on crystal shaders. Unfortunately the trailer for it isn't on the internet yet. [vimeo https://vimeo.com/78397577]

For the ILM panel, Nick Walker, layout artist and cinematographer, and Derrick Carlin, animator, showed and talked about their experience of working on Pacific Rim using the keynote that ILM showed at SIGGRAPH as a base. I actually have not seen the movie yet but now I want to as the giant monsters look really cool. Unfortunately the presentation was mainly visual so there's not a lot that I can share here. There was a lot of talk about layout and figuring out technical issues such as scale and speed. For scale there are issues such as how the textures for the giant monsters will look and also how rain and water will look in comparison. Water is tricky in that it doesn't scale well and using miniatures to simulate water can look incorrect when composited in together with the rest of a shot. With how large the monsters and robots move, speed is something to keep in mind to create believable action. A little secret that was mentioned is that ILM is working on a fairy movie that is a musical. Nick likes the giant robots and monsters genre and doesn't care for the movie but hearing musical and fairies has me extremely excited.

There was an exciting raffle whereupon I won a plush toy of Sully from Monsters Inc/University. Love it. While Randall may have been my favorite monster in terms of coolness, my favorite character is Sully, even more so since Monsters U since I felt a greater relation and similarity to him. I love plush toys, they're so cute and soft. Having gone to all the panels this week I had a lot of raffle tickets and so I also won a $25 gift card for art supplies. I actually had a third prize which I gave up since I already won two and it was slightly awkward since I was up on the stage helping the drawing of the raffle.

AAU Fall Festival - Disney Art Director Armand Serrano

Hosted by the visual development department of AAU, Armand Serrano, who has worked on films such as Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, Surf's Up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and Hotel Transylvania.armandArmand Serrano grew up in Manila, Philippines. While there are those people who tell stories of how they have loved animation since they were children, drawing everyday, and wanted to be in animation, Armand never actually intended to be in animation; he majored in civil engineering. Upon graduation, Armand needed a job and so he applied at the Hanna Barbera Philippines studio which was hiring character animators to train. He began as an inbetweener and worked on TV animation on shows such as Yogi Bear, Tom & Jerry, and Captain Planet. After leaving Fil-Cartoons, the Hanna Barbera affiliated studio, Armand went to become the layout supervisor of Marvel's Philippine based studio and worked on the Fantastic Four and X-Men TV shows. In 1996, Armand and his family moved to Los Angeles to further his career and then ended up in Disney's Florida based studio to work on four movies, one of which was Mulan. After the Florida studio closed down, Armand went to work at Sony. His is now currently back at Disney. He didn't work on Frozen as the movie was already wrapping up but he has worked on Big Hero 6 and is now working on Zootopia.

Armand describes visual development and design evolution as design is a process upon which the artist continuously builds and explores. To begin design, dynamic research is very important. Dynamic research is being active while researching, you are not just sitting in front of a computer scrolling through images on Google but rather are sketching and thinking while looking at reference. The purpose of thumbnails are to be simple and to get a point across, don't be intimidated by a studio setting and think that they have to all be detailed and refined. When designing, it is important to think about the needs and the wants. Wants are the things that are nice to have but are not necessary, however they should support the needs. The needs are what is necessary to have no matter what and are based on story and art direction.

Hotel Transylvania was a movie that went through development over a long period of time, long enough for the movie to go through five different drafts. During the first two drafts, Armand designed the hotel lobby. Without given a lot of direction at first, the first concept was that the hotel is carved from rock, out of the side of a mountain and everything inside is organic and symmetrical. The second concept was designed to be more of a castle and so there were a lot more asymmetrical and magical elements. It is important while designing to not hold back, push the design to the limit and then if it's too far then it can always be pulled back. Through the different drafts the story changes and thus the design also changes and evolves. While the final lobby is not the lobby that Armand initially designed it is not as if all his work was considered useless and done for naught. It is the build up and evolution that led the design to the final point. One cannot get to point C without going through point A and B first; the final design doesn't just appear. It is important to consider that your art is work being sold to the company and director so they have the choice of what to do with it.

When designing it is important to think outside of the box. Do something different than what others have done before, break out of the norm. Armand showed a painting that he did of vikings going to battle. Through his reference he saw that everyone painted such a scene to be dark so instead he painted a scene of vikings going to battle in bright sunshine. It is important when thinking of design to ask why and then why not.

Visual Development isn't just about designing a character or environment but also about designing a moment. Moments are a particular period of importance, influence, or significance in a shot that will then be used to define and establish a sequence and is used to show mood and tone. The important part of creating a moment is to put it in context and again to consider the needs vs wants in support of the story. To do so is to give the environment history and story. Without history and story, an environment is just an architectural drawing. When creating the history, nothing is wrong and nothing is right, it depends on the story that you want to tell. Adding characters may help establish the story and give the moment a different feeling and also consider the composition in terms of camera and shot framing as you are designing for film.

To end the night, Armand gives some tips to those of us who are seeking to enter the industry. There is not a clear cut that differentiates between professionals versus amateurs. It isn't so much about skill level but rather the differentiation is between experience and attitude. While working in a pipeline, it isn't so much about the individual but rather about the end product so instead of looking to hire genius artists, people would rather look for those who are a team player, have a good attitude, and are teachable. While you must have a certain amount of skill being a draftsman, being able to draw well isn't all it is about. Just going through the internet one can find plenty of people who are a good draftsman but what instead should be shown is content and originality. It is important to see what kind of ideas that you as a person can bring to the table.

AAU Fall Festival - Monster Mash with Glen McIntosh

A big hand to Tea Time Animation for bringing in the amazing Glen McIntosh, directing animator at ILM who has worked on movies such as Jurassic Park III, Star Wars I, II and III, Transformers, and Battleship, to come talk about his work and experiences. MC'd by Tea Time's professional outreach coordinator, Frank-Joseph Frelier, we got to hear Glen's inside stories about being in production and see some of his original artwork!

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Glen initially majored in film studies and then went on to study traditional animation at Sheridan College. He moved out to Ireland and started out at the Sullivan Bluth Studios as an inbetweener and fix animator with hand drawn animated movies such as Thumbelina and Anastasia. During his time while in Ireland was when Jurassic Park came out, which he fell in love with, and was inspired to traverse into the realm of 3D. He jumped from working on Anastasia, a 2D animated film, directly onto Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace which was interesting in that Glen mentioned he had no idea how to use a computer. He jumped right in and started learning all the new technical aspects from the ground up. Glen found his transition from 2D to 3D as an experience in that 3D animation could not be cheated as much as in 2D animation. While 2D animation allows additional stretch and squash to create motion blur and poses could hide certain elements of animation, a 3D rigged character, particularly for live action, is more similar to manipulating a puppet in 3D space and a pose has to look good from every angle. If poses are cheated, such as an arm intersecting to the inside of a body, while the pose may look fine from the view of the camera, it may cause issues further down the pipeline such as simulations where cloth dynamics keeps on falling off the character or lighting and various strange intersections and shadows show up.

As an animation supervisor, Glen got to go on set and work with the actors at times. We got to hear stories about how he was on set of Battleship and his interactions with Rihanna. One story that he had was how the stuntman for a shot was absent and so Glen got to step in. He was the stuntman for the villain and had on a helmet, a visor, and earplugs, and was expected to go through an exploding door where upon the other side were the actors who were crouching amid various debris. Glen couldn't hear nor see very well and if going through an exploding door wasn't already frightening enough, he was worried about tripping over Rihanna. He didn't and everything worked out well.

The next question asked about Glen's animation process. He talked about setting up a shot and then experimenting with a rig. It is important to find out what the rig can and can't do. Animators need rigs to do specific actions which the rigger may not always to take into account so by "doing your homework" first the rig can be kicked back to rigger and changed. The next step is blocking out the animation and while different people may have different definitions of what blocking means, it is important to show directors only the animation in which they will be critiquing. While it may look cool to turn on all the textures or use some cards to show splashes or explosions, it would be better to use simple geometry as placeholders for more straightforward evaluation. Pertaining to this, we got to hear some stories about working with Michael Bay. Directors know what they want but sometimes it doesn't always come through in the previs. However, the previs should still be matched first to show the director that it isn't working and then have a second version ready to show what the director actually wants.

Some suggestions that Glen has for animators is to not become pigeonholed into a single role. While working on animation, don't just become the robot person or the dinosaur person. To broaden the spectrum of your work, try to break it up into binaries such as male vs female, comedy vs dramatic, cartoony vs realistic, organic vs inorganic, and etc. It is important to study the world around you and see the little differences in it instead of assuming what you know and filling it in your mind. Glen told a story about an intensive figure drawing class where the model came in and he was missing a thumb but people were automatically filling it in their mind and drawing five fingers in their sketches. When looking at animal reference for creatures, notice how animals act differently than humans. Animals are reactionary, they don't stop first to think about their action; there are inconsistencies and fast jerks in their actions instead of smooth and steady arcs. Don't be afraid to act out reference and to feel the movement. Animators are actors so don't worry about your ego, instead think about how your acting helps you achieve the most desired end result.

A fun question to end the night with is Glen's three favorite movies that he would recommend everyone to watch. Jaws was the first movie that came to mind. While there were inconsistency issues from shot to shot due to being shot on the wide ocean but due to the acting and music the movie still comes across beautifully and conveys its purpose. The two other movies weren't any particular titles but Glen recommends anything from Stanley Kubrik, such as Full Metal Jacket, and Steven Spielburg, such as War of the Worlds, due to the beautiful photography and composition. Composition conveys meaning and Kubrik and Spielburg have such strong composition in their movies.

AAU Fall Festival - Pixar Panel

I'm back! After two long grueling weeks of being the sole lighter and compositor in trying to finish a trailer for a 3D animated short film I finally bring a new post.Welcome to the Academy of Art University's second annual Fall Festival. Starting the week we have a panel of four AAU alumni who are currently working at Pixar as animators and they talk about their work on the movie Monsters University.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onZe3gOhWkQ&w=560&h=315] Kevin Chesnos started out not knowing what he wanted to do. He took a wide array of classes and it wasn't until his first art class he took as an elective while majoring in business that he found his passion. From there, Kevin decided to pursue art and wanted to be an illustrator. However, there are always those in your classes that just draw better, faster, and easier than you and so while taking some animation and rotoscoping classes, Kevin found that he was also good at animation and thus he became an animator. His first feature film was Ice Age 2 and then he came back and was hired at Pixar starting on Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. Kevn's topic for tonight was Reference: A How to Gide for Animators. The definition of reference is to use source information to ascertain something. Having reference and good preparation is 60% of the work already done. The purpose of reference is to generate ideas. When shooting reference, some things to keep in mind are to know what you want and to keep in mind the camera composition. When viewing/reviewing reference important general observations to have are if the reference meet the needs, what is the thought process, what are the nuances, and to watch for those animation principles. Important physical observations are things such as the firing order of body parts, shape change, and contacts. When applying reference to animation it is important to exaggerate and minimize. Most importantly is to be an animator, not a rotoscoper! Animation is an art so differentiate your work so that it is given its own life and not just motion capture of a person moving around in a suit.

Simon Christen is from Switzerland and he started out with Photoshop graphics which gradually led him into learning 3D. He obtained the Pixar internship and was afterwards hired on as a fix animator. After the contract was up at Pixar, he left briefly to work on Bolt but then joined back up with Pixar again halfway through UP. Using one of the shots that he worked on, with Mike riding the pig mascot, Simon talked about technical preparation. It is important to think how to set up a shot in figuring out what is the best way to animate. Don't just jump in as having a good technical preparation saves time and liberates yourself to make changes. In the shot that Simon used as an example, he showed how he set up his test and initial constraints of Mike to the pig mascot and certain decisions that he made so that Mike follows the pig, receives the up and down translations of the bouncing so that he could focus on polishing animation and acting without having to go through and waste a lot of time doing things such as counter animation. As a spline animator, he makes sure that he goes through and does a pass to make sure he has strong poses.

Terry Song drew his inspiration from going to movies. He studied character animation at AAU and attributes much of his success to the support from friends and classmates as they are the people who are always around to encourage, support, and further your work. He received the Pixar internship and his first feature film was UP where he worked as a fix animator. He worked on more Pixar films as a fix animator and then a crowd animator and was finally given his first full shots in Monsters U. The shot that Terry got to animate on was the event of Mike and Johnny during the finals of the scare games. Terry talked about performance and acting and about the issues that he had with animating Johnny. Johnny had a troublesome character design in that he has tiny legs but with large arms, horns, and jaw. It was fine when Johnny was walking around normally on two legs, but the problem came in during this shot where it was suggested that Johnny runs on all fours. With Johnny's body proportions it was very hard to do and to get appealing poses and silhouettes. Terry started with gorillas as reference and then extrapolated the poses to Johnny's character to animate the shot that was finaled and what we all see now.

KC Roeyer has loved animation since he was young. He was drawing 2D animations and even doing stop motion with his Legos. Later on, he was inspired by Jurassic Park with all the dinosaurs running around. He obtained the Pixar internship with Simon Christen and worked as a fix animator on Ratatouille. Probably one of the most onerous shots, KC was given the shot right before Simon's where Mike and Sully crashes through a frat party that involves two monsters, each with two sets of arms, playing ping pong with multiple balls. Using this shot as an example, KC talked about the physicality of animation. As the shot was set in an extremely tight and crowded space with a large object in the middle of the room that needs to be broken, KC sought to use the environment to his advantage and used a lot of contact between the characters and the props. Let there be action and reaction. When Sully comes into the room, he isn't just running quickly straight in but rather he hooks his hand on the side of the door and swings himself around in. Using parkour and Casino Royale as reference, KC animated Sully hopping on top of the ping pong table, slightly sliding, and then crashing down. Just the end his shot beautifully with amazing compositional foresight, as Mike zips off screen to the left a hand flying behind, it is in fact pointing backwards towards the doorway to lead the audiences' eyes back in preparation for when Sully comes in.

Supernova

I was planning on writing a post about gamma correcting Mental Ray so it renders out in correct linear color space but that post would be more involved and I am currently swamped with lighting a full trailer by myself with the due date coming up fast. Thus, here is another story.After giving up on Tiger Tails, this was the story that I had decided on doing. Inspired by La Luna and Le Maison en Petits Cubes. One small environment, one main character and one sub character. While in the character design class, I took advantage of the assignments and refined my main character further and even ended up building a maquette. In the end I decided against doing my own project as I preferred to work on multiple collaboratives and as a texturing and lighting artist I would have long breaks inbetween as I wait for modeling, rigging, animation, and dynamics to be done. I still do love the story and maybe I can make this short film in the future.

The main character, Reo, is an old star miner who has lost his wife, Vera, and is now nearing the end of his own. Reo has a small house on a small planet where large geodes grow. His work consists of hitting his hammer at the geodes which forms stars and the impact causes the stars to fly off into space, thus shooting stars. As Reo comes home from his work he recalls his past with his wife. Before going in the house, Reo makes sure to wipe his boots on the doormat first to remove the stardust so as not to track it through the house. After Reo hangs up his vest, he wipes clean the stardust on the hairclip that he has attached to his vest, a present he had once given to Vera and she had worn on a daily basis. Reo makes his way to his chair and sits down to take a smoke. As he puffs away he recalls his last moments beside his wife as she laid on her bed with her last words of always being together in each others’ hearts. Reo gradually turns white and glows and goes supernova. As the particles of Reo float and swirl around in space, joining into a stream of other star particles, another series of particles twirls around Reo’s particles. They are Vera’s particles and as they gradually gain form, Reo and Vera gradually consolidate back into physical beings and once again land on a little planet with a little house. They take each others’ hands and walk towards their new life together again.

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Tiger Tails

As a graduate student at the Academy of Art I have to do a thesis project as part of degree. Starting back while I was taking a story development class at the University of Washington I began thinking some ideas and thought I finally hit one that I liked over the summer before I started at AAU. Unfortunately I this story has currently been abandoned since I found myself creating something that did not seem to be feasible to create and finish within my time at the Academy. I had way too many characters, a giant forest environment, and I wanted to have dynamic hair and fluid dynamics.  I drew character designs and even had "storyboards". Storyboard in quotes because they weren't really storyboards in the traditional sense. Around that time I was looking into how and why comic artist chose the shape and size of their panels and loved how it was specific to the composition that helps lead the readers' eyes through the pages. I tried trimming down my story and it became about how the tiger was good friends with a rabbit and the rabbit kept on trying to set the tiger up on blind dates but I just really wasn't loving it. Here is to share and document it and maybe one day I can come back to it.

Armature: Home is where your heart is and your heart is with your loved one.

[Once upon a time] There was a tiger that lived in a cave in a forest.  However, he wasn't happy with his living quarters. As he looks around his cave, all he sees is a cold and barren space. The cave was spacious with only a small pile of bones strewn on the side and a mat of leaves and sticks serving as his bed.

[Until] Later at night, while it was raining, and the tiger was lying down read to go to sleep, lightning flashed and there was a large crack of thunder which, shortly after, was accompanied by a large thud; looking up startled from the sudden sounds, the tiger saw that a portion of the ceiling of his cave had fallen in.  As there was nothing he could do about it currently as it was dark and raining, he laid back down exasperated and resolved to look for possible new quarter in the morning.

[And] When morning came and the tiger strode out of his cave, looking back as he had no real attachment to his bland cave, he shrugged and went off on his journey. The tiger wanted somewhere to belong to.  He searched high, up in a tree along with birds. (The chicks in a nearby nest started chirping frantically when they saw him up on the branch. This brought the mother bird flying speedily back to chase him away with repeated jabs and peckings on his head.) He did not belong there as it was difficult to stay on a branch and he quickly fell off and landed hard on the ground, dazed.

[And] He searched low, underground in burrows with the rabbits. (He stuck his head inside the burrow, surprising a family of rabbits inside. The rabbits quickly scampered out through the back leaving him alone with nothing but a face full of dirt.) He did not belong there as it was small and cramped and he could not fit inside. His head became stuck in the opening of the burrow and he had to struggle to free himself.

[And] (He searched in the river with the fishes. Unfortunately the fish all quickly swam away. He tried to catch up to them but he was not as fast. Soon he was out of breath and unable to continue staying under water. Coming out of the water and gasping for air, he dragged himself out of the river.)

[Until] Sunset came and the day was coming to an end but the tiger still had not found a new place that he could call home. Having no choice, disappointingly, he heads back to his original cave to stay another night. As he neared the entrance of his cave, he suddenly noticed something was different as there was a presence from within the cave. As he saw the tail of another tiger suddenly flick into sight, he leapt backwards and began growling and snarling at the intruder upon his territory. Another tiger appeared from the cave, and she was the most beautiful tiger he has ever seen, with fluttering lashes and exquisite stripes. He quickly snatched up a mouthful of flowers that have grown on the side and bounded over to the female tiger’s side, offering the flowers. The female tiger looked bashful but graciously accepted the flowers and gestured him to follow her inside the cave. Inside, while it was the same cave that he lived in previously, the tiger saw everything differently. The cave looked brighter and warmer. The fallen portion of the ceiling has become a flowering shrub that decorated the cave and the bed has become soft and fragrant, made from grass and thistles. It now felt like a home, and the tiger knew that this is where he belongs.

[Ever since] The two tigers lived together in the cave happily.

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