Thursday, December 6, 2012

Creating Stereoscopic 3D Images!

For this assignment we created stereoscopic images. I had a lot of fun doing this assignment! I tried to do an image from a Maya scene too!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Recreating Lights and Camera in Maya

For this project we attempted to recreate a lighting setup in Maya, based on a photo. I don't think I was able to do very well on this, I wasn't able to really figure out the lighting tools, despite much effort. So I made two bad ones, to make up for it.


Maya Renders:

Photo 2:
Maya Renders:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Building a Scene in Maya

My initials modeled in Autocad's Maya
One Point lighting:
Two Point lighting:
Three Point lighting:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Outline for the Second Term Paper



-Physical law: Newton’s third law of Forces: Action/Reaction. For every force there is an opposing force in the opposite direction that is equal and simultaneous with the first.
-Thesis- Newton’s third law defines how people interact with objects or other people in a physically realistic world. However, film directors will frequently break this established law, to instill marvel and amazement in their audiences.

   Body Paragraphs:

1. Star Trek (2009): In the new Star Trek film, Kirk and Sulu fall from a platform hundreds of feet in the air. Without a parachute, Kirk desperately calls in to be “beamed up” to the ship before they are killed by the fall. Just in time, Chekov is able to teleport them back, but their momentum from falling was conserved during the teleportation, and they smashed onto the landing pad as they re-materialized. Although they began the fall on the planet’s surface, momentum was conserved for a very high fall; the force of falling should have killed them, but they survived.

2. Hero (2002): This Chinese film is full of beautiful choreography. One scene in particular features the popular wire-fu, where the actors appear to float in the air. Two enemies meet and they have a sword battle, walking on a lake and pushing off the water’s surface with minimum effort to glide up very high in the air.

3. Mulan (1998): The animated film Mulan, by Disney Studios, is about a Chinese woman who goes to war. During a pivotal battle, the General Shang is being swept off a cliff by an avalanche. Mulan saves Shang on her horse, but all three of them fall off the cliff. Mulan’s comrades save her by shooting a rope tied to an arrow, and they pull her up. Despite the incredible weight of a falling horse, a thin rope is able to hold all of them. Furthermore, one man is able to pull up the suspended weight of two people and a horse, as well as to life two others at the same time. This feat would never be humanly possible because the force exerted by the weight would be too much for one man to lift, no matter how strong.


-In these examples Newton’s third law was broken as the force exerted was at a disconnect with the reacting force.
-The ability to break physical laws is one of the most exciting things about movies. Filmmakers are constantly pushing physics to the limits and beyond, with exciting and entertaining results.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stop-Motion Character Animation

My short claymation. For better quality video you can watch this on youtube here:

This is the story of a young witch learning how to cast magic spells.

For this project, once I had finished with story, storyboards and character design, I began by sculpting my character  First I created a wire armature based on some designs that I had seen, and then I went about adding the clay to it. I used an oil based plastalina type clay and beads for the eyes so that they would be easily posable.

Once the character was sculpted  I rented some lights and went about creating a set for the scene. I tried several different lighting setups to see what would work. Lighting the scene was probably one of my favorite parts, because you can achieve so many interesting effects just by moving the light a little bit.

When I was ready to shoot, I began animating. There was a lot I learned about the difficulty of stop motion on this project. My set and character were quite small, and I kept bumping pieces of the set as I worked. The armature was not very flexible and in the more extreme poses it was difficult to work with. One trick that did help me was that because I was shooting with a digital camera, I could flip back and forth between the live view and the previous frame, just like in hand drawn animation.

 Once all my scenes were shot, I did a lot of paint fix, and I assembled the final edit in imovie and quicktime.

Music track is called "Find your Thing" and belongs to Kaiser Permanente.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Laws of Physics in an Animation Universe

In any film, animated or not, story is king. Nothing is more vital to the success of that film. However, that aside, every other department contributes to the story in its own way. Believable physics is, when you think about it, as essential as a strong story. If a studio were to neglect believable physics in their work, their audiences will be wrenched from the story, and they would have difficulty enjoying the film. Believable does not necessarily mean realistic, however, and it is amazing what some animators can get away with when it comes to pushing physics to the limits.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is the story of young Flint Lockwood, the oddball inventor of a small island town. Flint had always been a social outcast in the eyes of everyone except for his mother, who passed away when he was young. He is constantly working to seek the approval and adoration of his fellow townsfolk and his taciturn father by creating inventions that will “save the town.” At the beginning of the film he has just finished building an extraordinary machine designed to create food from water. This animated feature was produced by Sony Pictures Animation, and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. In the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, physics is pushed beyond the limits of the natural world, in order to create the fantastic and humorous universe of the story.

Let’s talk a little about Flint’s invention and how it works. After all, it is the catalyst for the whole film. The machine was invented by Flint in an effort to save his home town from eating the miserable sardines, a food which everyone hated. He named it the Flint Lockwood Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator. To shorten it, Flint calls the machine FLDSMDFR, a name that is comically difficult to pronounce. The basic concept of the FLDSMDFR is that it would gather water molecules from the air around it, and rearrange them using microwave radiation to form the molecules of any food you desired. According to Flint the machine operates on the principle of “hydro genetic mutation” (essentially a made up term). Using a great amount of power, Flint’s invention can rearrange molecules of water into molecules of various foods. The structure of molecules represented in the movie resemble the food that they make up; for instance, a single molecule that makes up bacon resembles a single strip of bacon created from atoms that are stacked neatly on top of one another. Obviously molecules would never look like this, and different foods are really made up of the same types of molecules; but the filmmakers chose this particular representation of molecules in an effort to make the story clearer and more visual for an audience who may not be familiar with the ins and outs of molecular geometry. When the FLDSMDFR becomes overworked, the molecules of food begin to Over-mutate (mutation in this world is essentially the breaking and reforming of molecular bonds); the structure becomes so unstable that the food eventually becomes sentient!

When the FLDSMDFR rocketed out of control, it flew all the way up into the stratosphere, and was able to remain suspended there over the town of Swallow Falls (despite the absence of high speed winds). Quite a lot of meteorological rules are bent or broken to keep the FLDSMDFR up and running in the stratosphere. Firstly and probably most importantly, there is very little to no water vapor contained in the stratosphere! Because of temperature inversions at the Tropopause, the vast majority of Earth’s water vapor (over 99%) is trapped in the Troposphere; which the machine would have difficulty accessing at the incredible height of the stratosphere. It is true that powerful thunderstorms are sometimes able to introduce moisture into the stratosphere. As the weather girl and love interest Sam Sparks hypothesizes, the machine might be able to depend on “the vapor of the cumulonimbus layer”; however, I feel that this is still a pretty big stretch as there would have to be a full scale hurricane during the entire movie in order for there to be a significant cumulonimbus layer in the lower stratosphere. Interestingly, although the food is derived from the water within clouds, quite frequently food is depicted raining from a blue sky, or a sky filled with puffy cumulus, the “fair weather cloud.” When things get out of control, the invention gains the ability to control the weather and draws clouds to it to meet increasing demands for food.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is one of the first films produced by Sony Pictures Animation; a shiny new studio started in 2002. Cloudy was both a financial and critical success, with a rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film is praised for its witty humor and clever characters, and it also boasts a pretty solid visual design. Being a cartoon, there are countless instances where physical action is pushed to its limits and beyond, in the name of entertainment! In particular, the characters display superhuman abilities and exaggerated paths of action.
A classic in the world of cartoon violence, Flint is severely electrocuted when he attempts to hook his invention to the cities electrical tower. Not only is he able to survive an electrical current that powers a city running through his body, but he is uninjured after an apparent subsequent fall of over 30 feet. This type of humor seems to certainly be influenced by Warner Bros Cartoons, who popularized this now classic slapstick.
Eventually Flint is able to overcome some of his awkwardness and he invites Sam on a date, where he brings her to see a giant mansion he has created out of Jello. In this Jello paradise, Sam and Flint are able to bounce to incredible heights, and their momentum is so well conserved they can bounce over and over and over after jumping only a single time! This is a clear example of highly stylized physics, which is enchanting to think about and exciting to watch. Once this Jello wonderland has been established however, the filmmakers quickly bring the heroes crashing down to reality. The force of her landing breaks the Jello beneath Sam’s feet (just like real Jello, which is not strong enough to support human weight), carrying her under the surface. Flint gets a surprise when his rebound off the Jello is suddenly not a rebound at all, and he belly flops onto the Jello. The force of Flint hitting the Jello is absorbed by the Jello itself, and he sticks to the Jello like a wet noodle.

There are several instances where a character’s falling path of action strikingly defies physical laws. The first is when Flint heroically dodges a giant radish that is flying straight for him, Mid-air! Flint’s parabolic arc clearly puts him right in the vegetables path, yet he is somehow able to change his trajectory without outside influence of any kind! This is in direct violation of Newton’s Law of Motion: that a body moving at a constant velocity and in a straight line will continue to do so unless acted upon by an outside force. Although gravity and air resistance are two examples of forces that were acting upon Flint at the time, these are not the types of forces that would allow him to gain vertical height in the middle of falling. The second instance that I will discuss occurs when our heroes are falling down the shaft of the Meat-eor. Sam and Flint Jump out of Flying Car 2 and begin to fall straight down the vertical shaft. Several seconds later, Baby Brent follows, jumping out of the car hatch. Somehow Brent is able to fall much more quickly than the pair of them, and he smashes into Sam and Flint, “falling” at least three or four times the speed that they are, despite having jumped out of the car much later. What’s more: although Brent falls straight down, when he hits them they are propelled down a side shaft, changing their path of action by almost 90 degrees! This all goes back to Newton’s Laws of motion, which are getting violated by these sequences for the sake of dramatic effect.

Perhaps the wildest and most outlandish path of action in the entire movie is the scene when Flint runs from the town square to his yard without ever touching foot on solid ground. After the out of control weather spawns a spaghetti and meatballs twister, Flint knows he must reach his lab if he ever wants to stop the FLDSMDFR. He runs directly in the tornado’s path, climbing over flying cars, playground equipment; and soon he even finds himself in the center of the tornado! This calm is short-lived however, and Flint is flung into the open air, where his fall is miraculously broken by an umbrella, a ladder and many other convenient objects. To his relief, Flint is able to frantically climb down to reach the relative safely of his own yard.

When Flint finally reaches his renegade invention, he is not at all surprised to learn that it has gained sentience. With a powerful desire to live and wreck vengeance, the FLDSMDFR creates giant foods with abilities that go beyond those of your standard meal. Roasted chickens larger than human beings are able to cling to the ceiling, crawling along like bats before dropping down to surround our heroes. The basketball sized marshmallow that Flint lights as a torch burns for an unbelievable amount of time. Because sugar is so flammable, even ordinary marshmallows can easily catch fire, but sugar also burns extremely quickly, quite unlike the mystery material depicted in the film. The toast that citizens construct into escape boats is able to float on water, while regular toast would quickly become saturated with water and sink or break apart. Finally and most dramatically are the FLDSMDFR’s pizzas, which pursue Flint in his Flying Car 2, and can also fly (in the manner that a rocket or jet would fly, but with no noticeable type of propulsion). Quite impossibly, when these pizzas crash, they produce a fiery explosion despite a severe lack of combustible fuel! All of these crazy food abilities were not a distraction for me, however. Rather, they enhanced the wacky, action-packed feeling of the film, and heightened the sense of climax by introducing elements of danger.

The first time I watched this movie, I didn’t come in with very high expectations. However, once I finished it, I was blown away! Not only was it great to look at, but the dexterous writing and fantastic dialogue kept me in the story and invested in the characters. This movie is immensely funny, and it is still one of my favorite films, even after the 9th viewing. Physical laws are intentionally broken throughout the film. This is a practice that is as old as the industry of animation itself. If you can film a movie with a camera, why animate it? Exaggeration and caricature are the cornerstones of what makes a successful animation. In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this type of deviation from reality pushes the story forward, makes the film more entertaining for the audience to watch, and is an interesting example of a world with physical laws different from our own.­­

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Term Paper Outline: Cloudy Analysis


A. Animated Feature Film:  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (90 min)
B. Thesis- In the Sony Animated Picture, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, physics is pushed beyond the limits of the natural world, in order to create the fantastic and humorous universe of the story.

Body Paragraphs

1. Superhuman and Exaggerated Paths of Action
-Earl, the policeman, does backflips through the air with every step he takes.
-In a giant house made of jello, Sam and Flint bounce wildly from wall to wall.
-Flint dodges a giant radish midair.
-Flint runs through the tornado, jumping from object to object and landing safely on the ground.
-The FLDSMDFR remains suspended in the sky (almost as if in orbit), despite the absence of high speed winds.

2. Water is transformed into food by the FLDSMDFR
-Using a great amount of power, Flint’s invention can rearrange molecules of water into molecules of various foods.
-The Invention can control the weather and draws clouds to it to meet increasing demands for food.

3. Giant Food Gains Supernatural Powers
­-Chickens Cling to the ceiling before dropping down to surround the Heroes
-A marshmallow torch lasts too long without burning out
-Toast used as boats do not sink
-A Giant Tortilla Chip breaks apart concrete
-Pizzas explode in a giant fireball.

-Physical laws are intentionally broken throughout the film.
-This deviation from reality pushes the story forward, makes the film more entertaining for the audience to watch, and is an interesting example of a world with physical laws different from our own.­­

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Stop Motion Animation of Falling

Stop Motion Video Process-

The making of this video was filled with technical and logistical difficulties. My idea was to create the motion of a liquid (milk) falling. I set up the materials on a low table and used a camera positioned at a high angle. Rice was used to imitate the milk. After I finished shooting, I stiched the stills together in Adobe Premeire. Then I attempted unsucessfully to stabilize the shot in Adobe After Effects. From this project I learned the importance of having the proper equipment.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Video Analysis of Path of Action

Analyzing the parabolic arcs of jumping.


5 Jumps Reference:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


          I have been going to San Jose State for three years, and my major is Animation/Illustration. I am currently in Ani114, Intro to Animation. I have taken several classes in painting and drawing, and I hope to work in Visual Development or Lighting once I graduate. I am very interested in science, and I began my college career at UC Santa Cruz, where I studied Marine Biology for two years. I was particularly interested in evolutionary biology and ichthyology, but I transferred to State before I completed my degree. I took intro courses in biology, chemistry and calculus, but I have never taken physics courses before, so I am really looking forward to this class. Here are some examples of my work from school:

 A Plein-air painting done at Natural Bridges Beach in Santa Cruz.

 This is a longer painting for Ani113a, my color rendering. This painting took about a week of painting to complete.

Here is a leafdrop animation for Art28, one of my first classes at State.