CTNx '14

Another overdue post! This one was primarily because I was putting off taking photos of all the artwork that I got.

I was almost not going to go to CTN this year just because I was so busy with projects and the inflated ticket prices. I ended up going due to wanting to see some people faces that I don't usually get to see so I e-mailed last minute and was able to still volunteer. I got to do the same job as last year, helping manage the exhibit floor, and was additionally selected as a lead! Not quite sure how good that is since other than being considered staff, and not just a volunteer, I was assigned more work hours and responsibilities but I still wasn't fed lunch which was somewhat disappointing as that meant I generally just didn't eat the whole day until dinner.

I didn't go to any panels this year. The main reason was that I didn't have the time. The other reason was that the whole volunteer and going to panels thing was a mess last year with 5 different people telling me 5 different answers. This year seems to have been just as confusing as I've had other volunteers say that they weren't even allowed to go to panels as volunteers and had to have a staff badge to be able to.

This is the first year that I actually brought my reel to show to people! I got some great feedback from Disney, BlueSky, and CineSite. Unfortunately due to the hours I was working I couldn't get to Sony, ReelFX, nor Nickelodeon.

Pixar actually had a table this year! They just had a small table in the outside tent but because they're Pixar, everyone was there and blocking the walkway which was kind of funny.

Last year I got a drawing of Scar from Andreas Deja only to realize halfway through while he was drawing I should have asked for Mushka, the tiger film that he is working on. He told me maybe next year so I was wondering if I would run into him and if he would possibly remember. I found him randomly signing posters of Mushka and was like "YES!". Even better is, of all the people I'm sure that Andreas meets, he actually remembered me from last year. There was a small line at the time and because of me the line suddenly grew to twice the size  Which was unfortunate for one guy because he always has those giant movie posters that he gets people to sign so he was waiting to be the last person.

My favorite exhibitor is Tori Davis, of ToriCat, and I met her last year. She is from the UK, awesome personality, amazing, and has awesome artwork. All them tigers and lions, but more importantly tigers! She knows people who owns a large cat sanctuary so she gets to go and play/draw with lions and tigers. Extremely jealous and hopefully I will get to do that one day. She didn't have any new artwork this year due to some health issues but when I asked if I could buy a board hanging in the back that she just had for decoration she said that I could have it at the end of the expo. The guy with us in the photo is Kirk Thatcher who worked on various muppet movies and is a judge of Jim Henson's Creature Shop show. He was just hanging out with Tori at her booth all CTN which was unexpected and awesome.

The one other person that I wish was at CTN this year was Chris Sanders. Other than being awesome and I love his work, I really wanted to purchase an Ogo plush and the Kiskaloo book. Hopefully next year?

When I buy artwork at CTN I limit myself to only things with tigers. Even so I bought way too much this year. There were two more pieces that I really wanted but since I had already spent so much and they were more on the expensive side, I couldn't really justify buying them. Buying all the artwork was worth it though. I like tigers...and supporting fellow artists. There were some additional artwork that I also would have liked, such as a piece from Brittney Lee, but there were no tigers so I had to stop myself.

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.

So You Want to be a Pixar Intern

Over the summer we had two fantastic animators, Nicole Ridgwell and Spectra Sani, get the Pixar animation internship and we got them to drop by Tea Time on November 14th to share their experiences and any tips on how others can structure their reels to match what Pixar would be looking for. Getting into Pixar means they're amazing right? Well just what did they do to be amazing? It's definitely not just sitting in front of a computer plowing through animation day in and day out all alone.  Nicole and Spectra recommended going to the labs to be able to socialize with others and be inspired by talented friends. Getting into the Pixar classes is great. If you feel that you're not getting the education that you need, try taking a class over at the Animation Collaborative. Take some drawing classes or workshops along with acting and story classes to get those creative juices flowing. Also, make sure to observe life and go to the movies to find inspiration.

Thinking that you're all ready to apply, let's take a look at your reel. Make sure you have your best shots and it's fine if your reel is simply short and simple as 2 shots can be enough to do it. Create believable  characters and only add sound if it adds to the shot. You don't need to have fancy final rendered shots and they can even be work in progress with blocking. Just make sure that your idea is clear and your animation is clean. Use a simple title card to introduce yourself and tailor your reel for the company as a company like Pixar probably doesn't want to see something super gorey with zombies ripping of people's heads and having blood spurt everywhere. When animating your shots though, don't just make the shot for the purpose of applying to the studio; make it personal and relatable, emote yourself through the character, and people will respond to it.

Your reel showcases your work but it's your resume and cover letter that is your face. Make them short and simple as no one wants to or has time to read through a novel but make sure you present yourself as interesting and not weird. It's vital to have good spelling and grammar. Always. If you have references, make sure that they like you so that they will be a good reference and it's not reluctant or even worse, negative. Also make sure that they know they are going to be a reference; surprises are only good for parties and gifts!

You were chosen? Great, now you must be wondering what to expect other than probably having to wear silly outfits, such as a bright pink jumpsuit. Each intern will be assigned a personal mentor and the rest of the Pixar animation internship is a lot like the Pixar classes where you will be doing assignments animating a Lifesaver, the Luxo Lamp, posing, walkcycles, pantomime, and 3 dialogues. Through these assignments you'll learn how to have a clean workflow, create appealing poses, owning confident ideas, making clear choices, and have clear blocking.

A quick note on pantomime, from Andrew Gordon, as visual storytelling is so important and greater than words. Before starting make sure you think about the objective of the characters and the progression of the shot, where the entertainment is, being true to the character, to push poses, and the analyze emotional beats. Got all that? Now when you're actually animating your shot make sure to have spark, solid poses and timing, clear reactions and staging, exaggeration, contrast, situational comedy, a gear change, specificity (avoid cliches), have a payoff at the end, a progression of reactions, and offset the action so things don't happen all at once.

Even if you weren't chosen, don't be discouraged and remember to keep in touch. Feel free to keep in touch every few months and at the end of projects to showcase your continual interest and growth, but don't be annoying. Social media is great but make sure you don't have a weird picture and before pressing that enter key read back on what you're saying and think if you need to censor yourself.

Pixar is great but it shouldn't be your only goal. There are tons of awesome opportunities out there so go and explore the world. Don't let your ego limit your choices. Don't get discouraged. Don't compare yourself to others. Be awesome, be yourself, and own it!

Maleficent Review

It was quite interesting leading up to this movie. First I was excited for it since it's one of Disney's most beloved villains but then I was disappointed since the reviews on it were the general consensus that Angelina Jolie played an amazing Maleficent but the rest of the movie didn't really live up to par. Seeing those reviews I had initially decided that I was going to pass or hold off on watching Maleficent in the theaters. However, my interests peaked back up again as even though the movie still stays at a 50%-60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is making well over two times in box office as compared to X-Men: Days of Future Past which holds a 92% rating. On top of the box office, having friends that I know who have actually went to see the movie all have come back with great reviews. Thanks to another invite by the VES, I got to go see a screening of Maleficient at Pixar last Saturday!

Some have said to go into movies with zero expectations so that you wouldn't be disappointed and can only be impressed. However, I think that's silly since if you don't have any expectations then why go see the movie at all?At that point you are just throwing money at a screen hoping for something that might entertain you for a fleeting hour and a half without any real interest. Having read and watched various reviews, I went in already knowing what to expect. That Jolie is going to be spectacular and that the story isn't truly "canon" to the original Disney version that everyone grew up loving. When I came out of the movie I had found that I enjoyed myself quite a lot.

The story follows as Maleficent is the guardian of a place called the Moor where all the fairyfolk live. She falls in love with Stefen who then betrays her due to greed and desire to be king. Maleficent seeks revenge and curses Sefen's daughter, Aurora. Herein lies the biggest issue that I have with the story. Maleficent is super passive aggressive when she shows up once again in front of Stefen. Stefen betrayed her and cut off her most prized wings. Even without her wings, Maleficent is still a force to be reckoned with as she still has all her magic. Instead of going on a raging warpath to seek revenge upon Stefen which is what she wanted, Maleficent instead decides to sit back and mope for at least almost a year until a baby is born.

Since I already knew that the story was going to be different, it's not just the same story told through a different perspective like Wicked, I knew that the ending was going to be different and I didn't mind the change. However I can see why some people were all up in an uproar over it initially. Part of the reason is that it is so unexpected because the movie was making little references here and there back to the Disney classic, such as only having three fairies come to bless Aurora (the original story had twelve fairies with the thirteenth being left out), the whole line about not being able to fly or use magic, and making a mess out of trying to take care of a human child. I did feel that the "true love's kiss" coming from Maleficent herself instead of Prince Philip was slightly corny and jumping on the bandwagon. It has been done twice already in the TV show Once Upon A Time, also owned by Disney, and Frozen has already established the whole "you don't need a man to save you". When the initial kiss failed and Maleficent came to kiss Aurora on the forehead I already knew what was going to happen and started to roll my eyes. While the not needing a man to whisk you away aspect isn't necessary, I wished the movie could have done something different than the same tropes that have been shown repeatedly.

One part that I did not really like in the movie was during the final battle, after getting her wings back, Maleficent changed into a strange skin tight leather looking outfit. It is plausible that she could be wearing that under her cloak/robes but that was never set up at all. One minute she is wearing her robed look, then shes hit, and then the next shot is of her without her robe on. Another factor that I disliked about it is that it ruins and changes Maleficent's silhouette as it's part of her signature look to make her look mysterious and imposing. The other factor that I disliked the skintight leather outfit was that it was completely out of left field compared to everything else that Maleficent had worn throughout the movie. If you look at Maleficent's wardrobe, all her clothes were seemingly made naturally, either from animal skin and feathers or from tree bark or other plants.

Angelina Jolie, as said, was magnificent. She had the look, stature, and personality of what we expected Maleficent to be. I particularly loved the eyes as they were truly captivating and always had a perfect specular highlight brightening them up. Unfortunately the other characters tend to fall short. No fault to the actors, I felt that the shortcomings tended to come more from the script. While Maleficent had rich and provocative lines to deliver, other characters seem to exist to move the story along. The characters seem to be created specifically to fill a certain role and we don't see any development, thought, or other sides to a character for them to be interesting and want to be connected with. The king is evil, the three fairies are incompetent, and Aurora is cute and pleasing as blessed to be.

I loved the CG elements in the movie, particularly all the creatures. My favorite being the water sprite/nymph things that are greenish blue with the red streamers trailing behind them as they dance across the water. They remind me kind of like a leafy sea dragon. I wish the movie would have been more specific with what the creatures are as they were only addressed in passing if at all. Mostly they were just referred to under an umbrella term of fairies. Although the three red, green, and blue flower fairies that came to bless Aurora were called pixies at one point but then never mentioned by that term again. Maleficent is also a fairy but clearly different from the others.

New Price Restructuring for RenderMan

RenderMan, developed by Pixar, used to be the top pinnacle of rendering engines for studios to use to create their movies. With the ever evolving progress of technology, other engines have grown, such as VRay, Arnold, Maxwell, Mantra, and studios are able to choose different engines to meet different needs and budgets. Undoubtedly though, RenderMan is still one of the top industry standards and is a great tool to learn for surfacing, shaderwriting, and lighting. Unfortunately, RenderMan used to be hard to get your hands a copy on if you're not a large studio or facility and are just learning or want to do some R&D. Recently Pixar just announced that RenderMan is having a price restructuring of $495 per license or free for non-commercial use (evaluations, personal learning, experimentation, research, and the development of tools and plug-ins for RenderMan)!

Given the continually falling price of computing, trends point to studios and individual artists needing more and more rendering capacity. Reducing the cost of RenderMan makes it more cost effective to expand capacity and generate higher quality pixels. Pixar has established a new price point to specifically encourage accessibility and remove barriers to growth.

Free non-commercial RenderMan will be availabe with the upcoming release of RenderMan scheduled in the timeframe of SIGGRAPH 2014. All you have to do is register for free and you will be notified when it becomes available.

41st Annie Awards

The Annie Awards are awards for accomplishments in animation. Animation across both animated and live action feature film, television/broadcast, shorts, and games. The 41st Annie Awards happened last night, Saturday, February 1st, and for those of us who couldn't be there in person, the awards ceremony was streamed live on their website www.annieawards.org.Congratulations to all the winners! I really wish that I could have watched the entire ceremony but unfortunately it started while I was still at school working in the labs and I had to leave part way through as it was getting late and I wanted to go home, especially since I hadn't even eaten dinner yet. I left partway through Phil Tippett's acceptance speech and did not get home until the end where I saw Frozen winning the category for best animated feature. PRODUCTION CATEGORIES Best Animated Feature Frozen – Walt Disney Animation Studios Best Animated Special Production Chipotle Scarecrow – Moonbot Studios Best Animated Short Subject Get A Horse! – Walt Disney Animation Studios Best Animated TV/Broadcast Commercial Despicable Me 2 – Cinemark – Universal Pictures Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production For Preschool Children Disney Sofia the First – Disney Television Animation Best Animated TV/Broadcast Production For Children’s Audience Adventure Time – Cartoon Network Studios Best General Audience Animated TV/Broadcast Production Futurama – 20th Century Fox Television Best Animated Video Game The Last of Us – Naughty Dog Best Student Film Wedding Cake – Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES Animated Effects in an Animated Production Jeff Budsberg, Andre Le Blanc, Louis Flores, Jason Mayer – The Croods – DreamWorks Animation Animated Effects in a Live Action Production Michael Balog, Ryan Hopkins, Patrick Conran, Florian Witzel – Pacific Rim – Industrial Light & Magic Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Kureha Yokoo – Toy Story OF TERROR! – Pixar Animation Studios Character Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production Jakob Jensen – The Croods – DreamWorks Animation Character Animation in a Live Action Production Jeff Capogreco, Jedrzej Wojtowicz, Kevin Estey, Alessandro Bonora, Gino Acevedo – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Gollum – Weta Digital Character Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Paul Rudish – Disney Mickey Mouse – Disney Television Animation Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Carter Goodrich, Takao Noguchi, Shane Prigmore – The Croods – DreamWorks Animation Directing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Angus MacLane – Toy Story OF TERROR! – Pixar Animation Studios Directing in an Animated Feature Production Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee – Frozen – Walt Disney Animation Studios Music in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Christopher Willis – Disney Mickey Mouse – Disney Television Animation Music in an Animated Feature Production Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, Christophe Beck – Frozen – Walt Disney Animation Studios Production Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Angela Sung, William Niu, Christine Bian, Emily Tetri, Frederic Stewart – The Legend of Korra – Nickelodeon Animation Studio Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Michael Giaimo, Lisa Keene, David Womersley – Frozen – Walt Disney Animation Studios Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Daniel Chong – Toy Story of TERROR! – Pixar Animation Studios Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Dean Kelly – Monsters University – Pixar Animation Studios Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Tom Kenny as the voice of Ice King – Adventure Time – Cartoon Network Studios Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Josh Gad as the voice of Olaf – Frozen
 – Walt Disney Animation Studios Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Lewis Morton – Futurama – 20th Century Fox Television Writing in an Animated Feature Production Miyazaki Hayao – The Wind Rises – The Walt Disney Studios Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Illya Owens – Disney Mickey Mouse – Disney Television Animation Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Greg Snyder, Gregory Amundson, Steve Bloom – Monsters University – Pixar Animation Studios

JURIED AWARDS Winsor McCay Award – Katsuhiro Otomo, Steven Spielberg, and Phil Tippett June Foray – Alice Davis Certificate of Merit – I Know That Voice Ub Iwerks —DZED Systems for Dragonframe stop-motion animation software Special Achievement Award — The CTN animation Expo

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.

WiASF - Monsters University at Pixar

That was a fun night. I missed my stop on BART and then I end up jumping on the wrong bus so I had to run as fast as I could to make it to Pixar in time for the event hosted by Women in Animation San Francisco. I had already missed a movie screening at Pixar once, Finding Nemo 3D, and I was determined to make it to this event even though I was 1.5 miles away with less than 15 minutes until the movie starts. I ended up 10 minutes late, sweating, out of breath, and cramping but they still let me in which is awesome. As I've already seen the movie once it wouldn't have been so bad if it was just that but I really wanted to see the wonderful panel of artist that were lined up to speak after the movie. I'm not quite sure why but I enjoyed the movie a lot more this second time around. The first time I saw it I had felt that the pacing of the plot was slow but I did not feel that at all and had a great time. I got to catch all the beautiful little tidbits that I missed the first time, I made sure to watch out for the Pizza Planet truck that Pixar likes to hide in each movie, and I found Davide Pesare's and Nick Pitera's names in the credits!

One thing that I wished that they did more though that I did catch this time is monsters with multiple sets of arms. One thing that I loved about Bug's Life was the extra set of arms that the grasshoppers had and how the additional sets would gesture and pose in response to the rest of the animation and dialogue. Randall didn't really have anything going on with his second set of arms and Terri Terry only had some but it didn't really have anything extravagant, mostly just being some secondary motion.

I had read about how Hardscrabble's wings were designed to have a tweed texture so it would blend in to her outfit while it is folded. I wish there was a clear shot of it so that I could see how the wings work. There were very few shots of her from the back and the few that did exist were all closely cropped.

I love Sully's roar. When he does the very big impressive roar, one at the finals of the Scare Games and the one when he scares the adults. They are amazing and I feel something catch in my chest when he does it. panel of Pixar artistsFrom left to right: Beth Albright, shading TD. Cathy Carmean, animation manager. Rosana Sullivan, story artist. Amy Allen, set dresser. Sylvia Wong, layout artist. Bret Parker, animator.

The panel was amazing. I got to hear about the backgrounds of each of the artist and how they have journeyed to be in the position that they are in today. All of them came from different backgrounds and it was a journey as they found themselves gravitation towards the animation industry. One great topic that came up were any challenges that they had to meet. Beth had to individually place hairs on Art and create precise collision meshes so that the hair would layer properly. Sylvia talked about how the layout team had to pick and choose from the large variety of monsters which ones go where and for what crowd to really shape compositions. Really interesting was that the movie took place in an entire school year so there was the change of seasons. While I noticed the lighting change, I actually missed the fact that season change of fall to winter then spring and summer so I will have to look for it if I watch the movie again. Amy talked about how they had to design trees and foliage to match the world of Monsters and that it has to look good throughout the four season.

While called Women in Animation, the organization is also open to all genders. Women in Animation is a professional, non-profit organization established in 1994 to foster the dignity, concerns and advancement of women who are involved in any and all aspects of the art and industry of animation. The SF chapter, who was the lovely host of the night, was recently started, led by Angelique Reisch, Mary Kate Dangoia, and Angela Entzminger. As a student and professional organization, WiA strives to encourage and enable women (and men) to become the best they can be in the industry. There are bimonthly meetings where members have the opportunity to meet others in the industry, learn more about how to survive and thrive in the industry and talk shop.

[gallery ids="1052,1048,1053,1051,1054,1049,1047,1050,1055"]

Best Pixar Movies Chosen by Children

Beginning with Disney's Snow White, animated films weren't originally meant to be solely aimed at amusing children which is something that I really like as it opens up stories to contain some very serious elements and topics. It was an unfortunate period in the history of animation, with the fall of the golden age, animation went to TV and people would sit their children in front of the TV and use it as a babysitter thus devaluing animation into mere cartoons to amuse children. I'm glad to see animation and vfx back on the rise with but sometimes there is still the "cartoons are for kids" mentality so it is interesting to see what children think of the movies in comparison to the critics. Graphed by Rotten Tomatoes, Forrest Wickman analyzes and writes about on Slate.com the differentiation between critics and children rating Pixar movies. It is fascinating to see while critics have been rating Pixar movies on a downward trend, children find it the opposite with the trend going up. It is also adorable to see what the children have to say about each movie, why the liked or didn't like it. For me, my favorite movies are Toy Story 3 and Ratatouille. I really liked the very first Toy Story when I first watched it as a child, albeit it Sid's room and the malformed toys were extremely creepy. I lived my childhood around that movie, playing imaginary games with all my stuffed animals as they go on adventures. I then proceeded to grow up along with Toy Story 2 and then 3. I was already in the junior year of college when Toy Story 3 came out and it was just amazing for me as there was a real connection between myself, Andy, and the character Andy. Ratatouille quickly became another strong favorite as the two other things that I enjoy in my life other than art is animals and cooking/baking. While rats may not be the cutest of animals, the characters were appealing  and I love Gustov's line "Anyone can cook".

I will say though that the Pixar Shorts that go before each movie is definitely on an upward trend, getting better and better. I remember my very first favorite was Geri's Game as I thought it was so amusing to see a person play a very heated game of chess with himself. While I liked Presto, Partly Cloudy, and Day and Night, my current favorite, while Blue Umbrella is amazing, is La Luna.