Bobby chiu

CTNx '13 - Meet All the People and My Haul (Part 3)

One of the perks to being a volunteer is that your ticket is free. You can walk around the exhibit halls and attend the panels. Since that is $130 that will be refunded back to me I decided that I can afford to splurge a little and buy some artwork from the amazing artists at CTN. I bought a bit more than I planned but there were just so many tigers. I'm a big fan of tigers and I just could not resist. When I got off volunteering on Friday, after hearing people talk about how amazing the exhibit hall was and all the interesting booths, my first step was to see the exhibit hall. As I stepped in I immediately saw a booth with many drawings of tigers. I made a beeline for the booth and met the artist Tori Davis. I didn't know it at the time, I just loved her instantly for all the tigers, but she is a visual development artist with an amazing CV of having worked on Disney's Frankenweenie, Blue Sky's Rio, vis dev for Sony, background artist for Nickelodeon, and etc. She is awesome. We talked about tigers and big cats. Completely jealous that she knows a person who has a big cat sanctuary so Tori got to go and actually study the beautiful animals up close. Good thing I brought my tiger hat, just in case if I had a bad hair day and I didn't want to deal with it, so I wore it on Saturday and I showed it to her which led to us taking a few selfies.


I'm sorry if a fanboy a little (ok, a lot) over him but Bobby Chiu is one of my biggest inspirations. He was the one that inspired me to get into the animation industry while I was studying art at University of Washington. I thought I would go into visual development and/or matte painting. I didn't buy any prints from him last year as while his works from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland were great I wanted one of his personal works that had a full composition and story. While his prints are a bit more expensive, I saw that he was selling Big Bad Bunny Eater and I just had to buy it. Big Bad Bunny Eater is one of my favorite works of him as it is so amusing and clever, and my other favorite is Early Bloom. I wish I got to talk to him some more but I didn't really know what to say other than the standard "thank you for continuously inspiring me" as I had already asked a lot of questions last year. I promise to be more prepared next time!


Over in the expanded tent area is where the new talent get to exhibit their works. Exhibiting this year is Cody Lyon and Finn from HOUND Illustration. Cody is an amazing artist, I love his drawings that he would post up on Facebook and the fun drawings that he would do while at Tea Time. I love Tigger from Winnie the Pooh so I just had to buy this drawing. If I can get him to do something Calvin and Hobbes I will be on that in a heartbeat.

by Hound Illustration

I had seen Gary Montablano's artwork at last year's CTN, most notably was that I saw large posters of tigers. This year I actually went up to greet him and we talked for awhile. It was great as he knew me by face as I had helped him for exhibitor check-ins. I loved the large black tiger as it sort of reminded me of the Great Sphinx of Giza and the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin. The other poster I got had two tigers on it and it reminded me of one of my favorite novels, Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck, that features a white and a black tiger.

by Gary Montablano

The Daily Zoo, by Chris Ayers, is one of those big names that I know of and have looked at a few times but was unfortunately ill prepared to meet. I've loved his artwork and his animals always bring a smile to my face so I had to stop by and buy a print of Content Kitty. I wish I could have spoken to him some more but I wasn't sure what to say.


Big fan of Andreas Deja. I was incredibly disappointed last year when I got cut off while waiting in line to talk to him and hopefully get a drawing as it was after an evening panel and it was getting to late into the night. Now back to the present, on Friday night my friend who was on closer relations with him introduced me to Andreas and even asked if he would do a drawing for me. Andreas was just walking out so he said that he would promise me a drawing the next day if I show up at the demo that he will be presenting. He remembered and was apparently looking for me during the demo. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make it to the demo and showed up near the end while he was answering questions. I went up and greeted him saying "Hi, sorry I missed your demo. Hopefully I can catch up with you later and talk with you some more and ask about how your film, Mushka, is doing." I was not expecting to get a drawing as I was too late and missed it, I just mainly wanted to greet and apologize. Instead, Andreas was like "I owe this guy a drawing. Can I draw something for him right now? I'm going to draw something for him right now." So amazing. I got a personal drawing of Scar. I was grinning like a fool as this completely made my day and all of CTN. While I love Scar, all things Lion King, as Andreas was finishing the drawing it dawned on me that instead of asking for Scar I should have asked him to draw me Mushka. Next year! I think I was trying to do a snarl/growl face in the picture but I was just smiling too much.


I stopped by the Nickelodeon booth to ask some questions about their studio and production as I had met another volunteer who works as a texture artist for Nickelodeon. This was confusing as what I knew was that back when Nickelodeon came to talk at AAU about their internship program, what I thought I learned was that they were more of a preproduction studio and they sent their production to other countries. Turns out they outsource the animation but still keep the other areas of production in house. This lets me keep my options a bit more open which is nice.

At the CTN@nite event on Saturday evening, I met Chris Erickson. He is the creator of Hewie in the Cold, which I saw at AAU's Spring Show and loved. I got to see his demo reel and what was really impressive is that he did most everything by himself, from pre vis all the way down to final comp, instead of going into the large collaborative approach. He has graduated from the Academy and is now at Disney Animation's apprenticeship program! Talking with him has inspired me to go back and do more personal work and create short 30 second clips. I would love to do a scene from my Supernova story, a fly-through of the house to see of Reo sitting down and then going supernova. I've also been wanting to take my tiger  character and create a 3D model of him. I don't have a story though as his style is too different to be used in place in Tiger Tails.

I knew his work and knew his art but I never had a face to attach to the artist so I had missed who exactly Chris Sanders is. Thankfully my friends told me to check him out especially since he also has tigers. His tigers are adorable and reminded me a lot of the characteristics of Lilo and Stitch. I love Stitch, one of my favorite characters, he is adorable. While I loved all his sketchbooks I ended up buying #2 (I would have liked to buy all 6 but I had already spent so much money) due to a specific page in the book of his tiger character in various poses. Particularly the one with the tiger reading a newspaper and a bunny with a cup. After talking with Chris Erickson the night prior, I had been thinking of what sort of story or event that I could write for my tiger that would be interesting, cute, and endearing while still showing a depth of technical challenges and abilities. The tiger and the bunny reminded me of the alternate story to Tiger Tails that I had created which was about a lonely tiger and his best friend bunny trying to set him up on various dates that do not work. Once I saw that I knew I had to buy this specific sketchbook so I can look at it daily for inspiration.

Chris Sanders Sketchbook 2

Attendees got a nice tote bag this year which was cool. Last year it was just a yellow plastic bag with the CTN logo printed on it. One of my favorite things to do is to go around collecting buttons for my lanyard. I've got Blue Sky, Women in Animation, two buttons from Disney's Get a Horse, and a tiger pin from Tori. The adorable chameleon pin is from Azadae to help promote their kickstarter. Azadae is an animated series that follows a young girl and her friends through the everyday life of a child growing up in Tanzania and seeks to help educate and entertain young children by teaching themes like colors, math, science, and animals while integrating Tanzanian culture and geography.


Unfortunately I didn't get to see Nick Pitera again this year. I expected as much since he had a concert in New York at the Carnegie Hall for a benefit to support Music for Hope on the Saturday of CTN. I wish I got a chance to meet the Bancroft brothers. Maybe I'll bring my Lion King DVD next year and ask them to sign it for me.

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NIKO and the Sword of Light

Bobby Chiu is one of the people I look to for inspiration and I have been excited about his new project. Working with Kei Acedera they have developed a comic book, NIKO and the Sword of Light. It's not just a comic book though, it is a fully animated comic book for tablets!

'A boy alone in a savage land, fighting the forces of darkness. His people are all but gone, his kingdom destroyed apart from one surviving relic: a magical sword of light that was forged by gods, which will help this lone hero return his land to freedom.'

The story is brought to life with 2D animation by Studio NX,voice acting by Lewis Macleod, and music by DJ Yoda which is quite exciting. Studio NX has some great work for various companies such as Nickelodeon, Bluezoo, and Random House while Lewis Macleod has voiced many EA games such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings.

They are looking for people to help back their project on Kickstarter and they have a lot of fancy goodies to offer! The comic book is already halfway through animating but they need help in funding the final parts of the project all the way through so the beautiful animation quality does not drop and completing the production and release of the app. Don't forget to follow the project on their Facebook page to keep up with the news.

Unfortunately the tablet app is currently only for the iPad but hopefully it will come to Android soon after.

Watch the Preview!

CTNX '12 - Day 2

The big day of CTN with so many exciting panels and demos to attend! I woke up at 6am to get ready so that I could stand in line for a fastpass, hoping to be able to get one for the Glen Keane talk. I was so close! I was 10 feet from the table when it was announced that the Glen Keane tickets were all out. So sad. People were apparently lining up since 5am for them. I instead got the fast pass for the Dreamworks talk on Rise of the Guardians.

The first panel to start off this second day was the talent behind Hotel Transylvania. One thing that I loved about the movie, and a topic that the director, Genndy Tartakovsky made a point of is the animation and the application of 2D and 3D. What Genndy wanted was a 2D animation style that really pushed poses with stretch and squash and talking with the riggers and animators, the answer wasn't "no" but rather "we'll try" and they did it. The style was achieved and really pushed the animation of the movie and made it really interesting. 2D is not dead, it is still applicable in the creation of stories that captures people.

I was unable to attend the animation lectures with Mike Makarwicz as I was at the demo with Bobby Chiu. On one side Andreas Deja was doing a demo of 2D animation with Lion King while Bobby Chiu was showing character design. While I love Lion King, the character design is what I came to see. It was amazing. I have read his various tutorials in the magazine ImagineFX but it was a whole new experience and I learned so much from watching him work.

I am so excited for next week when Rise of the Guardians come out. First, I've always liked Jack Frost but getting to hear about movie from a development perspective from the talent behind the movie has me hyped even more. Hamish Grieve, head of story, Gabe Hordos, head of character animation, and Takao Noguchi, character designer, talked.about the creation of each character and really developing the specificity for each so that they're unique in their own way, has a soul that is portrayed, and a core that could be grasped.

There was a sneak peek of Dreamworks' next new film, The Croods. I've been hesitant about this movie for awhile due to the trailers that I've seen portray a bunch of dirty, grimy people living in a cave located in a desolate world. It didn't look very appealing. However, that trailer does the movie no justice. There is a huge.additional part of the movie that takes place in a whole different set that is just fantastical, beautiful, and absolutely amazing.

Glen Keane. The line was ridiculous. People were waiting outside for at least two hours. It did not help that it started raining. Even worse was that about a hundred more VIPs than expected showed up so us people in the general line weren't even sure if we would get in. A lot of us didn't get inside the room but they were able to clear out the lobby and let us watch on the TVs outside. A bit of a disappointment but at least I got to see and hear the talk. The main point of Glen Keane's talk was to think like a child for children have the transparent innocence and imagination that drives each of us to be artists and do what we love.

During a bit of downtime earlier in the afternoon that I had in-between panels I finally broke down and bought a book. It was the wordless comic LOVE - le tigre by Federico Bertolucci and Frederic Brremaud. I've seen posters of the cover up around before and I love it with the tiger but I never seen the actual book until now. Finally getting my hands on the book I had to buy it. Not only is there a tiger but there are also many amazing drawings of other animals. Unfortunately I don't think they are at CTN or else I would have loved to have it autographed.

Coming tomorrow are the panels for Frankenweenie, Paperman, and Wreck-it-Ralph!

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CTNX '12 - Day 1

CTN is finally here and it is amazing being surrounded with so many awesome people with such great talent. I tried to go to bed at 11ish as I had to wake up at 1:30am to get ready and then head downtown to catch a bus at 4am. The ride was rough but we got here to the event location.

I started off the day with a kick off event lecture by Brenda Chapman, co-director of Brave. It was a great way to start off as her theme was passion, finding passion, applying passion, and just loving what you do.

Wandering around the artist panels I got to see a lot of amazing art, among those are Disney, Laika, and Riot, but the best part was that I was able to meet Bobby Chiu. Bobby Chou is a huge inspiration to me as it can be said that it was his work that got me started rolling down this path towards animation. His work was among those that made me love digital painting and creature design and made me think that I would like to go into visual development. While I have shifted towards texture painting and lighting, visual development and design is still something that I would like to develop a skillset for.

Next up on my amazing day was the appearance of Glen Keane doing a demo. Everyone was excited and when he came in it was this amazing sense of awe and respect. He animated Ariel swimming and drew and talked about designing Tarzan, Pocohontas, and the Beast. Glen Keane was awesome and hilarious. He started off saying that he hasn't done 2D animation in a long time and wasn't sure if was still able to do it. Clearly he can. He mentioned that Ariel's face and Tarzan's feet were based off his wife! Aoparently there was a lack of consensus on the size of Ariel's chest so Glen was able to tell who did what shots based on the size of the seashells. When asked what was the hardest character that he has to work on, Glen answered Pocohontas due to that she had a non-caucasian face, it was structured to be the opposite of the classic Disney face like Ariel, and that there were a lot of subtleties that would also be difficult to convey to other animators. I was so close to getting an autograph from him but unfortunately the crowd was too large and there was a character design lecture that I wanted to attend next.

Not to be outdone by Glen Keane, Andreas Deja gave a lecture on "the elements of charm and wonder". Andreas Deja is known for his villians such as Jafar and Scar. Even though the characters are the antagonists and you want to hate them, they have a charm that keeps you attracted and Andreas attributed a lot of this to the design and presence of the characters. A big surprise was hidden in the lecture that a surprise guest showed up. It was Lisa Davis, the voice actress of Anita from 101 Dalmations. She came and talked about her experience and afterwards I got a chance to talk to her and get an autograph! She is an awesome person who is extremely warm, kind, and approachable.

Things that I am looking forward to tomorrow include the talent behind Translyvania, creature design with Bobby Chiu, animation lecture with Mike Makarwicz, talent behind Rise of the Guardians, and the Glen Keane lecture. Big day tomorrow!

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