Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Geek-Out 'Thing'

All men have their 'thing'. Some a guys its easy to spot, sports. They enjoy sitting back with a beer and watching their favorite team. Knowing all the stats of each player, who was traded, the chances of them making the playoff, etc. Other guys love cars, working on their old beater each weekend, even buying magazines on it.

Mine? I love memoriablia. When I was younger I always dreamed of the day that I would be working on films for a living. I could just imagine the halls of my home would be lined with all the different movie posters that I worked on.

So, when a new poster is released of the film i'm working on, thats my 'thing'. I make sure I get all the signatures of the animators in the department (use to be the entire studio, but Pixar is over 1000 employed). Lastly, I find one artist that inspires me. On UP, that person was my good friend Daniel Lopez Munoz. I met Dan at Columbia College of Chicago back in '95, he was a student aid for the animation department and I was animation student. Dan took a 3D animation course the semester before and shared all his tips and tricks. From there we both worked at Big Idea (where we designed the show 321 Penguins) and BlueSky (where we worked on ROBOTS and ICEAGE2). Now we both work at Pixar, Dan designed the main villian in UP, Charles Muntz and I got to animate him.

Above is Dan's generous contribution to my poster. Thank You Dan!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Guide to Moving Your Home

One of my favorite things about Pixar is rather then getting a single shot, you get assigned a sequence of shots. This allows you to think of the movie as a whole and where your little piece fits into the larger picture.

Early on in production I was assigned a moment that takes place right after Carl makes peace with his past and embracing the present by accepting Russell. Just as this happens, Russell leaves Carl and heads right into harms way.

I wanted to convey that no matter how big the obstacle of moving a house is, that Carl would still try with all his might. I set up the camera in the park and in the backyard, pushing and pulling on anything I could get my hands on. I wasnt necessarily looking for poses, but just what it feels like to try your hardest to move a impossible object. What does your face do? Your body? How could I animate Carl moving his house if I havent tried moving mine as well. I wanted to put myself in his shoes.

Just a side note: Thats a Pixar chair I was throwing around there at the end. Being a new employee, I was nervous security might bust the new guy destroying company property. If caught, my defense wouldve been 'it wasnt me, it was Carl throwing the chair!'

Friday, January 15, 2010

Animation wraps on Toy Story 3

Today is my last day on Toy Story 3. By far, this has been the best film Ive worked on.

Im seriously going to miss Buzz, Woody and the gang - but I guess I have to let them go so the rest of the world can have their own time w them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Come on Kevin!

When I was 1st assigned this shot, I was a bit nervous. Action and pantomime is not my strong points when it comes to animation. Being overwelmed, I decided to focus on the smaller details 1st such as Muntz running off balance, Carl kicking his legs before he steps on the ladder and his slip as reached the top. Adding imperfections to a character makes it feel more grounded in realism and not so choregraphed. Also, it helps me when I get scared :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hey kid, I got something to show ya!

Now that UP is out there on DVD, I can start sharing with you what shots I did.

UP was my 1st film at Pixar. After 14 years of trying to get in the door - I was suddenly allowed in the gates, sat down at a desk, given a business card, and showing the Director my shots all within a few weeks. Needless to say, I was a bit in shock.

As I got the kickoff to these shots, I dont think I heard a word the director said to me. Instead all I kept thinking was 'dont blow this, dont blow this, thats Pete Docter talking to me, dont blow this, dont blow this......'

When I look at this sequence of shots now, they are a bit rough around the edges. Trying to learn the software and uphold Pixar's quality at the same time can be pretty nerve racking. Nevertheless, I feel really fortunate to be part of this sequence when Carl met the love of his life, Ellie.