Wednesday, October 17, 2007

AM Fall 2007 Student Showcase...

I'm taking a break from mentoring at AM this quarter...first break in a couple years. It's good to see this and remember why I love being a part of it all in the first place.

Movie "Recrap"...

Been catching up on some flicks...some were ok...most were pure shite.

Here's the rundown:



crap...but with boobies and a "Bobbitt" for good measure

not crap...until the last 15 minutes. then mildly crap-esque.

definitely crap-free...unless you hate fun

Meet the Demo...

Andrew says he'll buy a beer for whoever can guess what he's saying under the beep...oh, and Jamaal rocks the block.


Funniest reviews...makes me feel like my daughter's "baby alive" doll...I want to giggle and pee myself.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

In Loving Memory...

Joe Riley died yesterday. For those of us lucky enough, blessed enough to have known him, worked with him, talked to him about all things nerdy, stupid and fun...Joe was a great person. Joe was one of those people you're always happy to see, always make time to talk to. One of the most talented artists I've ever known.

We miss you Joe.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No Mo...

In case any of you were wondering (and I know some of you are) there is no motion capture of any kind in TF2 (the game or the videos.) It's all hand crafted keyframe goodness.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Meet the Engineer!!! it, live it, love it. You're my hero Andrew are the wind beneath my wings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Meet the Soldier!!!

This is the newest class short for the TF2 crew. I love this one...Aaron Halifax is my hero. And for those that are curious....yes, there will be more. :D

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Purdy thangs to look at...

Every time I go to Sarah's site I'm always amazed at how great her work I like flying if I could just get one that has a missile launcher.

Fjorg ahead!!!

Siggraph 2007 once again had the thrill of competative animation with the "FJORG!!!"...I added the caps and exclamation points because it was pretty damn cool. From the Siggraph site...

"SIGGRAPH 2007 officials, along with DreamWorks Animation, HP, and AMD, announced the winners of the world's first international FJORG! Competition - an "iron animator" event in which 16 competing teams from around the world had 32 hours to create the most impressive character-driven animation of at least 15 seconds in length adhering to at least one of two themes and using at least one of 16 sound bites. Based on storytelling, animation talent, use of resources, creativity, and technical skills, the judges selected Team Mocap from Bowling Green State University for their animation "Switch" as the first place winners. The team consists of Jim Levasseur, Tomas Jech, and W. Jacob Gardner. Picture This, a team from Miami International University of Art & Design came in second place and Impulse, from The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg, won third place."

take a sec and look through these...there's some really fun stuff and some, er, really interesting stuff. But even the "interesting" stuff is cool considering all the constraints involved.

Can't wait till next year.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Your Number's Up...."

Not to long ago I finished reading Stephen King's book "Cell". That would have been the end of that except that's it's been a while since I've finished a book that wasn't either about animation/writing/film making or some kind of non-fiction ( I loves me some Sarah Vowel).

T.M.I. ALERT....

Most of my reading takes place in the brief time I'm either in the bathroom or before I fall asleep.

...end T.M.I. Alert

Anyway, so finding a book that held my attention long enough to set time aside to finish it was nice. Then I realized that none of my other blogging pals have posted book reviews...most just give their oppinions in the form of a single "witty" image (yeah, I'm calling you out Burkey Pants)...the closest other friends have gotten is to actually write and publish a book (so, yeah...a little envious of the talents of one Deanna Molinaro)...and others have had their artwork and stories published on some high falutin' compilation ( thanks for adding to my inferiority complex Sarah)...But I digress, despite all of these wonderful things that they have done I've yet to see a single book review (and if someone points me to a link of one that I've missed I will immediately close my eyes, stick my fingers in my ears and scream over and over "I'm not listening, I'm not listening.)

That being said, I've taken it upon myself to post my feedback on "Cell"by Stephen King....

I liked it and the ending didn't suck.


"Return of the Digital Dead"

Why?....why, why, why???? Why do you do this to us Mr Zemeckis? Do you not like animators?...actors?...the general viewing public? Huh? You almost had me thinking their might be hope for "performance crapture" with the damn near brilliant Monster why go back to the land of Polar Depress. Seems that's just what Mr Zemechis has done with his latest offering, Beowulf. Personally I think Zack Snyder's approach with 300 would have been perfect for this. Don't give me the corpse of Anthony Hopkins spouting stiff dialog...give me the real thing spouting stiff dialog. Take all that time, money and effort and surround your world class actors with a believable world to tell a compelling story in. Ultimately it feels like the failings of a flawed and untrusting director. Not secure enough to commit to anything but wanting control over everything. Yeah, this technique gives him control over everything in the find that "sweet spot" we're told...I've yet to see that "sweet spot" in either Polar Express or any of this footage for Beowulf. And this isn't me knocking the process as a I said before, I LOVE Monster House. It's a shame that more exploration into stylizing his world and characters wasn't put into this project because this could have had tons of potential...tons. And on a side note...why the hell would I want to see a dead eyed Angelina Jolie when i can rent a handfull of films that show the real her.....naked.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Live Free or....

Die semi-hard...just this side of needing viagra. Loved Bruce Willis...hell, even the"Mac Guy" was ok...but this was about as generic a summer action film as it gets. Anyway, Timothy Olyphant better not screw up Hitman.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

tubed on the intermetsss...

Yeah, everyone else and their mom is posting this but, hey, funny is funny.

and besides, I likes me some prairie dogs.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Please oh please oh 2

Like I said in the prior post, the first images I saw for The Incredibles had me excited from the start. There was something different and unique. It was as close as Pixar had ever really come to something dark.....except for the opening 5 minutes of Nemo. Sweet Moses Malone, that opening made Bambi's mom taking a bullet look like something from a Precious Moments catalog. Anyway, The Incredibles was filled with aspects of that darkness, that "bad things can happen to good people and even good kids." There was real conflict between Helen and Bob. To me, it felt like Pixar was shooting for something different. Not all moody and brooding, but honest and accessible.

That potential looks like it might be there again with Wall-E. I have no idea if it is going to be dark or brooding or have marital arguments over the kids but from some of the rumors flying around it definitely sounds like Pixar is going for different and potentially ballsy. I hope this works out. I really want to be excited over the release of an animated film again. Between Wall-E and Horton Hears a Who, 2008 might be a very exciting year.

*see trailer HERE

Please oh please oh please.....

I'm intentionally avoiding everything I can about Ratataouille. The trailers look pretty unimpressive....but I thought the same about Monsters, Nemo and The Incre....ok, bull, I loved the Incredibles from the first moment I laid eyes on Bob Parr's round, spandex covered belly. But Nemo and Monsters were way iffy starting out. With both of those films I was soooo happy to go in not expecting perfection but getting it (or a close damn approximation of it) up on the screen anyway (I still love you Luxo.) I'm hoping that happens again with Rat.

Ok, off the crunch and on a roll....

Once again, I'm getting crap for not posting enough...even though I'm pretty sure there's still only like, maybe, four people who read this thing. Anyway, I should be able to get back to posting something worth reading now. I've got a couple folks I want you guys to meet...and if they're willing to answer my list-o-dumbass questions...I should have something up soon.


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Wild Life Abounds...

So the dogs were outside freaking out and I'm all like "what the...?" and the dogs are all like "bark, bark, bark"...and I'm all ticked because they know I don't speak dog that well, especially when they're talking all fast 'en stuff. Right about then the rest of the family bum rushes me to explain that the dogs were getting gang signs flashed at them by a passing deer...which is strange since deer don't really have the appendages for proper gang signage. Anyway, we have deer in them there hills. I love it here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

And the cool award goes to....

This is Kathy...she's a friend of mine who happens to be the most kickass HR person in the history of both HR and persons....oh, and she's cooooooooooooool.

luvs ya Kathy

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So now what do we do?

So I have a friend (surprise!) named Wade who (with another friend named Andrew...not that Andrew, a different one) made a book. It's an awesome book of sketches, drawings and all around mayhem.

Wade and Andrew's book is available for purchase HERE!

I love this book like mean people love kicking, a lot.

You will like this book...I garauntee it. I'm so sure you will like this book that if you buy it and don't like it I will personally call you a dumbass for having bad taste.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Busy and sick and busy again

Between crunch at Valve, the current quarter of Animation Mentor and buying and being in the process of moving into a new house...well, not a lot of time has been going into the old website. so in the mean time I leave you with... with my dumbass manchu and strange straw hat....your kung fu is good, but my kung fu has a dorky hat.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ron Burgundy would be proud....

Not Since Ron Burgundy has the jazz flute been this cool....ok, never in the history of anything has jazz flute been this cool.

Art am pretty....

I love this industry because you can't throw a stick without hitting an incredible artist...and believe me, I throw sticks all the time....big ones, with nails in them. So after my last round of stick wielding mayhem I came across a friend's website just chock-full-of arty beautifulness.

Andrea is one of the artists at Valve, and like all of them I hate them a little every day for being so damned talented and making the rest of us want to see them get hit in the head with a stick or something...deja vu?...I think not ( love ya Andrea.) Anyway, take a trip on over to Andrea's site and bask in her artistic brothy goodness. It'll make you a better person and earn you brownie points with god.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Hamish's word of the day....

Any of you that read my blog....all four of you...know that I'm lucky enough to call Hamish McKenzie my buddy, my pal, my dear old chum (becasue if you put him in the water, sharks come a swimmin'.) One of the many, many other things that I find so gosh darn swell about Hamish is his never ending ability to increase my vocabulary with the wonderfully discriptive vernacular of the Australian peoples.

Todays phrase: "That's the duck's nuts"

That just leaves a mental image that is both distrubing and freakin' hysterical all at the same time.

Remember, use it three times and an angle gets it's wings, then kills a kitten.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

9 to get feature treatment

Over at Ain't it Cool News they have a small write up on Shane Acker's dark and wonderfull short film "9". Seems like Tim Burton has taken a liking to it and is setting Shane up to direct a feature version full of big name star voice talent. I hope they keep the feel of the short. Will be interesting to see though since so much of the great vibe of the short comes from the fact that it's all in the body performances. Not a word needed to be spoken.

Anyway, here's the short...sorry for the quality. Youtube probably isn't the best venue to present this fine piece of work.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Caught like a rat in a trap...

Here's a nice over seas trailer for Pixar and Brad Bird's next flick. Kinda slow but still beautiful. I'm looking forward to Ratatouille. I wasn't a huge fan of Cars and I'm hoping this is a return to form for the house that Luxo built. Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it by any means. It's beautiful...BEAUTIFUL if every respect except story, which is why it was a disappointment. I know "they" say there are no original ideas left (which, for the most part is true according to the never ending flood of mediocrity spewing onto the movie screens) but Pixar's strength was taking that idea and making it their own and making it "their own" made it feel fresh and new...well to me at least. Cars didn't feel like that, it didn't feel like it was a story unique to the talents of the great story department in Emeryville. I'm not saying that every other Pixar film is perfect, but man, they're all damn entertaining and all in my top 20 animated films. Cars story felt, well, plain and predictable. I guess it's kinda hard to follow something like The Incredibles and maybe that has biased my opinion of, have I gone off on a tangent. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to Rata-ta-tat-tat-tatouille.

Heros in a Half Shell !!!

I loved TMNT when they came out in the original black and white comics. I loved TMNT when they came out with the animated series. Dear lord, I loved TMNT when the video game hit and sucked up countless quarters and I even loved all of the live action movies....yeah, even the one with Vanilla Ice in it. I was a little leery about the idea of a new Turtle movie. It just felt like all the other 80's merchandise that's making a comeback...but man, after seeing this last trailer/featurette I have to say that I am seriously excited about this. This is fun,'s not talking, fuzzy, smart ass animals trying to out smart the humans and live happily ever's talking, smart ass, genetically altered reptiles who eat pizza and kick ass....the only thing that would make this better would be if they fought hordes of the undead. They could be our only hope (since Zombies obviously don't eat turtles....d'uh!)...ok, I digress. This movie will own the monkey's heinie.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spline-ly Explained

The uber talented and damn good-lookin' Victor Navone has a new tutorial up about the mysteries of the spline. Part 1 of a 2 parter, Victor get's into the importance of good spline work as well as looking behind the curtain at what splines really are. A definite must read especially for those who would rather hide under the covers and whimper and cry than open up the graph editor.

The Animation Show on I-Tunes

Cartoon Brew posted that you can now find The Animation Show in nice bite sized chunks over at the i-tunes for $1.99 each.

A few years ago I loaded up the truck and headed down to Austin with some friends to catch this at the Alamo Draft house. Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt were there along with a million adoring fans...ok, closer to a couple hundred drunk animation geeks. It was tons of fun and ended with a 2am run to the I-Hop down the street from our hotel...all of us enjoyed the goodness of pankcakes, except for Gas. He was too busy being unconscious.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


We're back. The trip was a blast and I can't wait to get some pics up. Hamish took this picture of the ship....damn that thing was huge.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Purple and Brown....

I don't get to see Keith Lango get all soft inside about a lot of stuff so it was really fun reading his post about Ardman's "Purple and Brown " shorts. Stop by and read his post then hop on over to YouTube for all the fun. If you don't laugh at these then you're dead inside

Geri's Game Redux

Caught this over at Cartoon brew. Remember when they did a shot for shot remake of Psycho? took me a while to like a Vince Vaughn film again and, well, Gus Van Sant is dead to me. But this take on Geri's game feels like an homage to me and a definite labor of geek filled love.

News from the House of Mouse...

Got this, from of all places, Aint it cool news....

"Toy Story 3" is coming in 2009, but John Lasseter won't be the director.

In addition to confirming for the first time that a third "Toy Story" is in the works, most likely for 2009 release, Lasseter said Lee Unkrich will helm it. Unkrich co-directed "Toy Story 2," "Monsters, Inc." and "Finding Nemo" but has never before been sole helmer on a Pixar pic…

Michael Arndt, Oscar-nominated scribe of "Little Miss Sunshine," is penning the script.
Lasseter also revealed a behind-the-scenes shift at Walt Disney Feature Animation -- which is separate from Pixar but also under the control of Lasseter and Catmull -- by announcing that Chris Williams, a vet story artist at the Mouse, is now directing 2008 release "American Dog." Pic was developed and previously under the control of "Lilo & Stitch" helmer Chris Sanders, who recently left Disney.
Catmull denied speculation that Walt Disney Feature Animation may become a 2-D-only studio, with Pixar handling CGI, though he did confirm the Mouse will bring back hand-drawn pics.

"We're really excited about that and have brought back some great directors to work on that," he said, presumably referring to "The Frog Princess," a 2-D pic being developed by "Aladdin" and "Treasure Planet" helmers Ron Clements and John Musker, whom Lasseter brought back to Disney last year. That pic is believed to be on the fast track and may be the division's next release after "American Dog."

...I am excited about 2D coming back to the house of mouse (but most of us have known that for a bit) and I'm interested in seeing Lee Unkrich on his own but I'm not sure about "An American Dog" without Chris Sanders. And, honestly, TS2's ending...well, I wasn't a huge fan of the ending but it felt like a pretty good period at the end of that story. No one wanted to see it done by Disney sans Pixar and I'm really not sure I want to see it done by Pixar at this point. Wasn't it just a couple years ago that Jobs said they had more than enough original content, what's the point of doing sequels?....well Mr Lasseter, what's the point?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

In the coolest places...

Ok, so Ernesto Bottger is the coolest of cool. We worked together at DNA and now he's at ReelFX. Back in 2005 Ernesto's short film "Help" was selected to be in the Nicktoons Animation Festival. Well, last night I'm making my way through content on the old x-box live when what to my wandering eyes should appear but the Nicktoons filmfestival and Ernesto's short. If you're on x-box live just go to Video Marketplace/TV Shows/Networks/Nicktoons/2005-Nicktoons Animation Festival: Episode, that was a mouth full. If you don't have an x-box or x-box live you can still see the short here...but you won't be as cool, your friends will laugh at you and the terrorists will win.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Fog of War

Depending on which way you lean on the current state of our union this is a worthwhile flick. The saying "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it" came to mind during the second half.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


A subtle or not so subtle piece on the results of trying to attain the perfect images we see on tv.

A big "Bowl of Robinsons"

Disney's "Meet the Robinson's" super bowl ad. I really want this one to be good. Chicken Little had some really good moments in it but , story wise , wasn't much more than fluff.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Walling in da house.....

My buddy Mike Walling has a new version of his sight up and running. Pop on over and take a looksy wontcha? If you know Mike then you know he'll be good at keeping fresh stuff posted in his blog section as well as having some fun work of his own up. And be careful or you just might learn a thing or two...stay in school, don't do drugs.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ratatouille Test......back again

Not sure how long this will be up. Fun little bit of test animation. I'm looking forward to Pixar characters with arms and legs again. Enjoy.

UPDATE: Yup, it got yanked. Didn't think it would last long but it was more than enough to wet my appetite to see it when it hits theaters. So, in it's stead the Ratatouille German!

Auf Wiedersehen!!!

UPDATED UPDATE: yeah, it's back....enjoy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Weird news of the day....

I'm now an ordained minister with all the rights and obligations that that entails. Now Andrew and I are going to start our own ass kicking, evil fighting, gang of clergy and maybe start our own church...but definetly the evil fighting part for sure.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Chairman of the Board

I love this piece the same way I loved the old sand animations they would show on Sesame Street.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Thunder from down Under!!!

It sucks when you have to leave a studio you've been at for a while. And not because of the studio itself, but the people. We all know that the people you work with can make or break a job. So when you get the opportunity to work with some of those folks again at another place...well, it's just freakin' awesome!!! My pal Hamish McKenzie started at Valve yesterday! For those of you who don't know of the mighty McKenzie, he is the tool master of macaronikazoo fame. He's also on my cool people list even though he got me to eat vegemite....I don't know how many cat owners there are out there but, there' a product for cats called "petromalt". You give it to your cat to prevent hairball Australia they package it and sell it as a cracker spread and call it vegemite. Anyway, he and his wonderful family are if I can only get him to try mountain oysters.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Fairy nice to meet you....

Please, somebody stop me before I pun again. Anyway, here's the first trailer for Disney's direct to DVD Tinkerbell release.

Hellz yeah, yo...

Surprisingly, there are blogs not devoted to animation-n-such. is one of them. If you have kids (or just hear the voices in your's pretty much the same either way) then give her stuff a read. Sarcastic, irreverent and my new addiction (hey, Burke watches "America's Next Top Model...I've got, so back off.)

Spiders on Drugs....

Spiders on's like snakes on a plane or a house that eats people....just watch the damn video.

"Noel" time like the present...

I had the good fortune of watching "The Very First Noel". Some friends from the DNA days worked on it. All I can say is Wow! I won't ramble like I did with Monster House. Plain and simple, this thing is ten kinds of awesome. Unlike "Teletubbies Hanukka Sleepover" "The Very First Noel" really is an instant classic.

Monster House....

I've tried a few times to get through Polar Express. Beyond the creepiness of the zombie eyed, children of the damned expressions on all the kids, which was freaky enough on it's own ( as has been stated by a ba-jillion folks by now) I just couldn't get into the story. Bored me to tears. Anyway, that "burn me once, shame on you" mentality is why I've avoided "Monster House" since it opened last summer.

After some positive words from some of the folks at work ( I don't trust critics by nature, not because they suck or anything...they just creep me out is all, getting paid to sit in the dark, all alone doin' god knows what...just gives me the heebie-jeebies, the same way that I'm creeped out by clowns and mullets)....I digress. So I finally get up the nerve to put my eyes through what I was sure was going to be a visual beating of "Turkish Starwars" proportions and instead I'm greated by a damn good movie.

I would say that Monster House is better than it should be but that would just be a knee jerk reaction to the fact that I loath "performance crapture". I've heard folks compare it to films like Ghoonies (from back in my day....god, I feel old) and they're right. This wasn't a promotional tie in heavy, pop culture reference laden, furry forest critters taking on global warming/hunters/extinction/chlamydia extravaganza with bugs and a side of fries (no offense to anyone, I love fries.) It was three kids, the crazy old man across the street and a house that eats people....a freakin' house that eats people. I shouldn't have to say anything after's like saying "it's snakes....on a plane", that should be all you need.

It's a house....THAT EATS PEOPLE!!!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New year...blah, blah, blah...

As usual I'm a couple steps behind the rest of you fine folks. The new year was good...all my girls, the wonderful Karen Prell, a damn fine dinner and last but not least...hand puppets. What more could you ask for? I hope you and yours enjoyed the holidays (which ever ones you celebrate) and that you're ready for 2007.