FX Animation from work.

Doing plenty of storyboards, character builds, and character animation as well, but that stuff is too specific to our NDA that I can’t share it. Here’s a smattering of VFX.

This is light falling over a highly reflective metal object. I based it off the sparkles and lens flares of the opening of the goofy 80’s action cartoon SILVERHAWKS.

It’s a combination of several masks, frame by frame lens flare sparkle loops in Adobe Animate, adn then some glows and blurs in After Effects

These are character intro’s based on button masher games like Street Fighter or Super Smash Bros. The lightning at the bottom interacted with the character’s names. Ligtning animated in Adobe Animate, with glows added in AE. The speed lines are based on a common AE tutorial.

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Some more FX work from work…

Here we have a small rocket blasting off, busting a hole in the ceiling, and debris raining down on the blast site. It’s a quick little shot but I was very happy with the energy, complexity, subtlety and depth I was able to get in here with Adobe Animate for the frame x frame + debris symbol animation and After Effects for some glow, and blur.

I’m experimenting a lot more with a animating on 1’s, 2’s, and even 3’s for the fx these days. Looking at a lot of anime and other references for limited animation pushed to the limit.

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Enjoying my recent opportunities to do some FX work.

Can’t take a ton of time on it, because the turn around time on the production is quick, but I’m using my position to get a hold of any chances I can to work on FX. Here’s a little rocket exhaust / contrail from an out of control character.

This is a pretty complicated (but imperfect) 2D flash build spinning in 3 dimensions, and the effect is one layer of smoke trail, an overlay layer of spiral smoke, and and underlay layer to complete the “rings of smoke” around the main trail. Then taken into AE for a glow and some shading fx to that main smoke trail, and then some motion blur to all of the fx. It’s gonna look really good once we have the moving background behind everything.

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New Job, New Stuff….

Can’t share a lot from my new job, big NDA in place. Full time Senior Animator (though I’m not sure the title encompasses what I’m actually doing). I’m in charge of a group of about 5 people, animation for YouTube.

But I did a little bit of FX animation that doesn’t reveal anything about my employer, so here it is.

A little “liquidy” electricity and powerful beam. 2 layers, animated in Flash, with glow fx added in After Effects.

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Pokemon Gym Leader – sona Meme.

Found some time this past weekend to make a late entry to the #gymleadersona meme. My Pokemon Gym leader would be a ghost / dark leader who prefers goofy spooks to serious paranormal presentation. The gym would be like a carnival haunted house and I would host a late night horror film comedy revue, like MST3K or Elvira.

I tried to get close to the line quality and coloring of the Sun and Moon anime, but I couldn’t help but pay homage to the cable access programming that inspired me.

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Some in class demos and other miscellany.

Caricature Painting Demo, Digital Illustration course.

A post shared by John Hill (@john.t.hill) on

 

My finished caricature and a couple other ones I was surprisingly gifted by friends @greaserdracula and @lilylilbee for my birthday.

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Daily life drawing. Days 1 through 3.

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Ruff Ruffman (Older Animation) Humble Media Genius

Here are a bunch of Ruff Ruffman shorts I animated over the past 2 or 3 years. I kind of forgot about them and then realized they’d been on youtube for quite a while. These were done with my good friends over at Flaming Medusa Studios.

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A bunch of random art.

You’ll have an easier time following me on tumblr or instagram, but here’s a big ole’ art dump just to stay current.

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I don’t post here all that often anymore.

Aside from steering people towards my demo reel, so here is a big backlog of loose artwork I’ve been doing outside of teaching and paid animation.

Random fan art, a CN collab entry, mucking about both traditionally and digitally, some Pokemon Gijinka Collab on twitter down at the bottom.

Inktober 2015

Animated gifs, 1 for fun, the others promotional for hipposterous

Character development for a reboot of an old, old, old, webcomic.

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Recent fun art and fan art.

 

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Fairies

To blow off steam while working on my thesis I’ve decided to do some fairies and fawns inspired by our first trip to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. Here’s the first one inspired by a fairy who was great in character while interacting with Jack.

Oh, and here is an Amethyst I drew real quick last week, my Gemsona, Witchsona, an old OC and a Semi-Transparent Mermaid.

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I still love you. Adorable Kitty for you.

I’m just busy working on my thesis. Here is a little Halloween craft I did tonight (after Halloween) to let off some stream with the fam.

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Doodles on the sign in sheet….

Week two of teaching this quarter. I did some doodles on the sign in sheet for Animation History as the students watched the cartoons I was lecturing about.IMG_20140724_171228_719
Senpai! In my reef?

I haven’t doodled in a long time.

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Influence Map!

I did a meme from the ancient past!JohnHill_Influence_Map
It was so hard to pick and choose!

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Happy Easter!

Or at least an enjoyable holiday weekend if it’s not your thing!easter_awesometania

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Several big updates over at Hipposterous….

12_1_JHill_005
my courses have shifted gears towards thesis work exclusively this semester, so I’m just reblogging here so those of you who have not yet followed along over at Hipposterous or the Hipposterous tumblr are aware that I’m still producing. Alive and kicking.

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Effects Week 10: Explosion


This could have a bit more flourish, some more emphasis on the initial “bang” and the ring of smoke that emits could curl downward and show a bit more interesting direction. Obviously, the next step would be to incorporate some character animation into it, but that’s beyond my time constraints at the moment.

I received an A.

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Effects Week 9: Splash


This is actually the first rough practice for some of the brief water effects that are going to be in my thesis film. General notes on this very rushed assignment was to spend more time on the follow through. A touch more hang time on the initial “bloom” of the water, and then just way more time on the follow through. Additionally, when it begins to “lace” and separate on the fall, don’t have it come apart so quickly, keep it together longer, which will make the secondary splashes easier to track / complete.

Personal observation is that I need to keep the forms larger, and simpler for the style of my thesis and for the time management situation of getting these SFX shots completed.

Received an A-.

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Effects Week 8: Vortex


I chose a whirlpool / tornado via magical transformation for this effect idea. General notes were to add a bit of a follow-up wisps, kind of plus up the end (that’s a common kind of note this semester, but I am just not doing the time management worth a crap), and to carry over the blue markup to every frame (again, time!).

Received an A.

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Effects Week 7: Lightning / Electricity


Major notes were that the held frame was too long, which is true. A suggestion that the lightning should arc straight to the figure, and not have that frame where it is half way there (I totally agree) and that the lightning could do more, especially if the held frame is going to last so long. I agree as well. Overall though, I was very pleased with how this turned out.

Received an A-.

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Effects Week 6: Billowing Smoke


General notes here were to simplify details and then to add a bit more design to the overall shape of the plume, so it is not so “straight funnel” shaped. In addition, as the lines would become simplified, there would be an element of shading and contrast, so to track forms and not lines. It was overall met with success. Recieved an A-.

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Effects Week 5; Whispy Smoke

Intro to Effects: Week 5 Whispy Smoke from John T Hill on Vimeo.

General feedback was that this was good, good shapes, very imaginative, but that another round of inbetweens for the whole lot would slow it down and make it a bit more smoke like. I may do that as an appended beginning for the next assignment: Billowing smoke. Or, maybe not.

This recieved an A-.

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Effects; Week 4 (Wave Principle)

Rather than do another flag or something similar, I wanted to challenge myself with a much more complex shape, but also push it as cartoony as I could. The whole time I was working on this I kept thinking “Totoro, Totoro, Totoro” because there is something really subtle, but really powerful with the way wind and tree branches are used in that film. I tried to create a less ambitious ambitious scene than the fire from the week before, but it still ended up being very challenging. It was a lot to keep track of, breaking the tree limb into three separate sections, with their own secondary action and follow through leaves.

Here was Kathleen’s reaction to it:

Nice work John. You picked an ambitious form to animate. A mass like this, today, would most likely be handed to the cg dept, but there might be some productions that would still want to see background elements fully animated ( for instance.. Totoro .. comes to mind.. http://vimeo.com/15165227 ) You did a good job.. with consideration of the Wave, and nice massing in of the large forms plus smaller details. I like that you varied the timing from slow to fast, and the cycle you worked out is not obvious. The strong wind gust that disturbs the mass of leaves .. maybe a bit too much for realistic effect. But the interpretation totally sells the concept of the ‘Wave Principle” Keep up the good work!

So, it was pretty gratifying that she picked up on my general reference and instantly had a clip that came to her mind. She’s right about it being a bit unrealistic for just wind, but I was really envisioning it as the tail wind from a fast moving object shooting by. Say, a flying pygmy hippo with a rocket shooting out it’s butt? Clip got an A-.

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Effects; Week 3 (Raging Fire).


It didn’t turn out as nicely as I had hoped, but it was a ton of work to try and get done in a single week (week translates into about 12 -16 hours tops, considering my other classes, tasks, Hipposterous, and teaching). I had a good plan, but I struggled with being more free form, with relying on the keys a bit too much. A couple of the pieces of fire that break off don’t dissipate fast enough, lingering in the air unrealistically, and the wind that cuts across to change the flame direction should roll across the body of the fire, rather than just suddenly effect it like that. These are all notes that I had a feeling about, but that Kathleen confirmed. She was still rather pleased with it, and recognized that it was a challenging undertaking in comparison to a much simpler, contemporary, and flat raging fire I could have attempted, so I was rewarded in that regard.

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Effects; Week 2

It’s always important to start with reference, regardless of what you’re animating. This is my sister, and I shot several takes on my phone. This footage has been compressed down a lot from the HD quality footage I looked at.

Taking this course is interesting, it’s my second time with Kathleen Quaife as an instructor, who also taught the history course way back in my first semester. In addition, she’s someone I’ve known for about a decade and have worked with professionally. She’s worlds more experienced than I am, a consummate effects artist and animation historian.

General notes here were to make the effect more dominant. It’s an effects course, so she wants more effects. I intentionally did as little work on the box and arms as I could, but I should have staged it differently to get the flame larger and closer to the viewer. I got an A- on the project, so it’s not like it wasn’t a good assignment. There’s just something remarkable about how obvious it is that my focus is characters and not effects by looking at this one simple assignment with fresh eyes. I thought I was focusing on the effect, but I  was really playing it safe.

She said I should have exaggerated the flame and initial sparks more. She called me out for playing it safe, and I was. I was afraid that the fire would look too “alive”, or too jagged, or too uniform. I stuck super closely to my video reference, which was initially a life saver, but I just never let go and swam on my own.

There’s a mixed bag of metaphors for you.

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The master and his craft…..

Big things on the horizon for this semester. However, being the first week, here’s a little throw away pencil test, assigned to test out our equipment so the instructor could feel confident we were all ready to move forward. This was great for me, as I have recently moved, and even more recently got my studio in some kind of working order. Here’s a little studio tour:


You can see I’ve highlighted my Rob Schrab originals and my signed Mike Mignola, John Kricfalusi, and Ralph Bakshi pieces. In addition there is a little peek at some of my thesis work (more on that very soon) and of course, my lit display cases.

Oh, and back to that assignment, I did a self-portrait. Enjoy!
fart
Reds are keys and breakdowns, blues are inbetweens.

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Daily third place?

Ha ha ha ha. How odd to have come full circle after more than a decade. While in college I was submitting short flash animations and winning third and fourth in the daily awards at Newgrounds, and now, after animating in Flash professionally for 7-8 years, and doing a flash short in grad-school, here I am, getting third in the dailies! So strange to have cartoons, separated by such a large amount of time, floating around on a site like that. Luckily those old cartoons are semi-anonymous at this point, one of them so old that it no longer has any award winning designation.

If you missed it earlier, here it is, the “award winning” short. Ha ha ha ha ha! Ridiculous.

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Don’t Invite Wolfman to Tea

Don’t Invite Wolfman to Tea from John T Hill on Vimeo.

For those of you who want to see a more retro / edited version. This was a final in a Flash class. Limited animation, limited assets.

If you like it, take some time to vote up the unaltered Newgrounds version.

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Submitted a recent final to Newgrounds.

An exercise in limited animation with limited assets, this is the final I did for a Flash course I just wrapped up this summer. All of these assets were created in Illustrator, so that was a learning experience and challenge. If you get a chance, bop over and vote for it, or whatever. I haven’t used Newgrounds in about a decade, so I’m not entirely sure what the scene is over there anymore.

DON’T INVITE WOLFMAN TO TEA

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Warewelf….


I started a tradition my first semester of trying to work a Dracula and a Wolfman into at least one assignment every semester. Sometimes, I’ve missed it, but I generally squeeze one or the other in somewhere.

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Summer Semester 2013: The New Hotness.

So, I’m taking a GLA (think Gen ED, but fancier) this semester, so not a lot of artwork coming out of there. I am also taking a Flash course (ANM 628 Fundamentals of Digital Animation), which is pretty weird, since I teach that, and that’s my job all the time, but whatevs.

Here are a couple of assignments, that I rendered out as .gifs
1.1_JHill
This one was “show me you understand the timeline, make a ball that looks alive, show me your animation skill quickly”.
3_1_JHill
This one was based on a really rough storyboard. Practicing our inking with the brush tool. Apparently we were supposed to pick one scenario and animate it, but the majority of the class thought we were supposed to ink the keys, extremes, and breakdowns. She asked us to go back and animate one of the scenarios at no penalty, so I chose the middle one. Here is the storyboard we got:
M3_S10_SB1 M3_S10_SB2 M3_S10_SB3

If anyone would like to go in and do the inbetweens for either (or both) of the other two scenarios, I’d be happy to give you the file, so long as you show me the work afterwards / share credit.

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Professional work update #900 billion….

Sometimes you work on things, and sometimes it takes forever for those things to be released. Anyway, about a year ago I was asked to direct some shorts for a Nickelodeon Apple App through THE LOCAL STUDIO here in Nashville; Magnetic Dreams. Magnetic was asked to match the style of the “in game” artwork, and I got to direct almost all of these cut scenes and the animation portions of the commercial for the app. The other (2 I think) cut scenes I supervised on while a former student of mine headed up the direction (boarding and animation) which was a neat highlight for me.

3 animators and 1 background artist, usually 1 – 2 animators per cut scene, a week to work on each one, 2 being worked on at a time (though that was spread out as the entire project was originally slated for 2 months of work).


All of the cut scenes, apparently. My personal faves are the Plankton and Mr. Krabs ones. Sandy Cheeks was the first one we completed.


Television and online commercial. Our original version had a lot of zip ins and takes and cartoony poses, but a lot of those died in revisions. I still like how it turned out. It’s always fun to see your work in an Ad.

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Gun Play Animatic (A live action storyboard for Advanced Storyboarding AAU, Grad School)

And here is the animatic version of the previous storyboard I posted. The synopsis is restated once more beneath the clip.

Notes were that a few sequences could use more time. When he gets on the bike and rides after the bus, and when the secondary shooter walks from the bus to the school entrance. I agree with these notes. Received an A.

Live Action Animatic from John T Hill on Vimeo.

We had to come up with a live action feature synopsis, and this is an idea that popped into my head during a faculty development seminar on safety, I have no names or anything, it’s a really rough undefined idea. The board represents the opening of the film. Animatic to follow grading.

Two kids plan uncoordinated school shootings at the same high school on the same day. The main character is the shooter who shows up second, and being rattled ends up killing the other shooter and is immediately mistakenly heralded as a hero.

That’s how the film begins. The real plot is more of a commentary on society and the media as this damaged kid has to reveal to his friends, family, and town that his original intention was to go on a killing spree and how they all deal with this revelation. The local police start figuring it out, and then the media, and just how everything is an incredible circus, and throughout it all, nobody is helping this kid get better. Kind of a maco-micro-cosym exploration of how we deal with tragedy, mental illness, and children in America.

Film ends with the kid committing suicide.

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Gun Play: A live action storyboard (Week 8-10)

We had to come up with a live action feature synopsis, and this is an idea that popped into my head during a faculty development seminar on safety, I have no names or anything, it’s a really rough undefined idea. The board represents the opening of the film. Animatic to follow grading.

Two kids plan uncoordinated school shootings at the same high school on the same day. The main character is the shooter who shows up second, and being rattled ends up killing the other shooter and is immediately mistakenly heralded as a hero. That’s how the film begins.

The real plot is more of a commentary on society and the media as this damaged kid has to reveal to his friends, family, and town that his original intention was to go on a killing spree and how they all deal with this revelation. The local police start figuring it out, and then the media, and just how everything is an incredible circus, and throughout it all, nobody is helping this kid get better. Kind of a maco-micro-cosym exploration of how we deal with tragedy, mental illness, and children in America.

Film ends with the kid committing suicide.

Gun Play by John Hill

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Week 9 and 10 Sketches

Gotta get back into swing. Finish strong in these last five weeks.

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Hot Fat Ninja Chick with Robot Arm.

Did you know that I was in a webcomic competition a long time ago? I was one of the sad saps suckered into the Daily Grind Webcomic Ironman Thingy Competition Thing. We were promised fame, fortune, and life long camaraderie. (We weren’t promised, nor did I receive any of those things). You can’t find any of my comics up anywhere anymore regardless, but at its peak I had ones, neigh tens of readers.

The longest running story-line I developed was about a space traveling gal with a big robotic arm. She was heavy set, knew martial arts, and liked to punch things. She was called Hot Fat Ninja Chick with Robot Arm. I decided to revisit the character in a recent storyboarding assignment, and you can watch my pitch or just read the boards if you also hate the sound of my own voice. Both options below. This assignment got an A.

HFNCwRA Scene Storyboard Pitch from John T Hill on Vimeo.

HFNCwRA by John Hill

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Gesture Studies: Week 5 to Week 8.

Sketching has slowed as more straight storyboarding has increased. However, here are the assigned sketches for

Week 5: Action analysis
My father in law hands a box to my nephew (we’re moving)
A drunken Minn Wild fan (also, coincidentally, a student of mine)
A scene from Scrubs season 1
Week 6: Crowd analysis
Parade onlookers at Irish Day, Erin, TN
Week 7: New medium
Brush Pen Gestures, online reference
Week 8: Free form
Easter Sunday Service, UMC Erin TN

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Classic film study: Maltese Falcon

Here is a scene from the classic film noir The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre. I chose the sequence where Sam Spade (Bogart) loses a young inexperienced heavy that has been clumsily following him. It’s Chapter 8 on the DVD: Losing a Shadow.

Maltese Falcon: Chapter 8 Losing a Shadow by John Hill

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Final revisions to the Harris Burdick storyboards.

I got all A’s on this mofo. Aaaawwww yeah.

Harris Burdick Storyboard Assignment Revision II by John Hill

Harris Burdick Storyboard Assignment Revision II w dialog by John Hill

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The divine magnet at work.

This past week my Preproduction assignment and my sketching for Advanced Storyboarding coincided. So here are some gestures taken from a hippo video I took @ the San Diego Zoo, some years back, and then a couple from my hippo reference youtube playlist. Afterwards, see some redesigns of the hippo character for my thesis. I am not quite working in earnest (which scares me) but I feel the engines rattling to life (which reassures).Gestures_Hippo_001

Gestures_Hippo_002

Gestures_Hippo_003

Gestures_Hippo_004

Thesis_Hippo_Redesigns_001

Thesis_Hippo_Redesigns_002

Thesis_Hippo_Redesigns_003

The ones with check marks and the ones towards the bottom are in the direction I am currently heading.

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Gesture Drawings week 3.

Another trip to Opry Mills.

Week03

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Gesture Drawings week 2.

I did these at the Preds vs Ducks game. Definitely my favorite of the first three weeks work.

Week02

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cont. Gesture Drawings week 1

And these are the ones I did at Centennial Park and Opry Mills.

Week01_02

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Gesture drawings from Week 1.

Five pages of “from life” gesture drawing is a welcome requirement in our Advanced Storyboarding course. My drawing skills had really started to atrophy. And even with a course like Character Design I found it really difficult to start drawing because I was out of practice. It’s like exercise. You have to do it, and the easiest way to get back in the shape of “wanting” to do it, is to start doing it! It’s just so hard when you stop, right?

Here are some nudes from the internet that I did the first week to just get warmed up for doing the five pages required.

Week01_01

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Harris Burdick Advanced Storyboarding Assignment: Revision 1

The instructor gave me some specific notes, but in general this pass was just punching up some additional background details, clarifying some backgrounds and actions during the fight, and then I also elaborated the fight a bit more, to add some additional drama / time. Enjoy.

Harris Burdick Storyboard Assignment Revision 1 by John Hill

Harris Burdick Storyboard Assignment Revision 1 w dialog by John Hill

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Harris Burdick Advanced Storyboarding Assignment: Rough V1

Our assignment for the next three weeks is to storyboard a short sequence from a longer story of our own creation. The story we are creating hinges on the Chris Van Allsburg Illustration book “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”. If you are unfamiliar, I heartily advise you to check it out.

We were to pick one of the illustrations and captions and then develop a story around it, and then storyboard a portion of that story. I decided to develop my story as events that took place before a particular illustration. Here are my first pass boards, ending on the illustration, without and with dialog.

Harris Burdick Storyboard Assignment by John Hill

Harris Burdick Storyboard Assignment w Dialog by John Hill

I got an A on this pass, and the instructor gave me a great little video critique, which I am also sharing. I’ll be addressing his issues, and punching up the excitement of the fight sequence in general on this week’s pass. You may find the video a little uninteresting, but he actually reveals that they’re using some of my previous work as an example in one of the animation courses, which is obviously the highest honor you could wish for as a current student.

The animation he’s referencing is this piece a did in Traditional Animation 1:

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Grad School Semester Six: Semester Harder!

I’m taking two courses this time: Preproduction, which is a course that prepares us for our thesis pitch. They call the thesis pitch “Midpoint Review”, which is just a fancy way of saying “convince us you have an idea for a thesis”. It’s starting out really slowly (not what I wanted) so I have very little to show for that. I’m also taking Advanced Storyboarding, and this is the first semester it’s been offered. It’s with the same instructor for my previous storyboarding course, and I’m really enjoying it so far.

For the first assignment, he gave us a week to do a quick board based on the prompt: A Character Finds a Box

GradSchool Advanced Storyboarding: Assignment 1: A Character Finds a Box by John Hill

If there are any vague gestures you didn’t get (one section got comments from the instructor), feel free to follow along with brief notes and dialog!

GradSchool Advanced Storyboarding: Assignment 1: A Character Finds a Box Dialog visible version. by John Hill

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Summer Semester, final update.

With just a few days left before the Winter Semester begins, I’m going to just throw out these remaining drawings that constituted my final in character design. I got a B on the final assignment.14_1_JHill_Turn

14_1_JHill_Turn_Const15_1_JHill_Turn_Const_Rev15_1_JHill_Turn_Ink14_1_JHill_Expressions15_1_JHill_Expressions_Color

I was greatly disappointed to receive a B in this course, as I had been looking forward to it for many semesters. I also ended up with a B in the layout course, which was a bit of a surprise. I think I must have lapsed in my “participation” grade towards the end, as I was both fatigued of the whole situation, and perplexed on how to solve the issues in the character design course.

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Grad School Fall 2012 wrap up: Post 3.

15_1_JHill_Tonal
Here was the final assignment in Layout. The final visual assignment. There were some “animated” camera moves over previous layouts we did (Not going to post those, though they were good and got high marks, but are boring and bandwidth heavy, and will all end up in the thesis wash eventually) and a research paper too, but this was the last drawing. It looked better on paper, and this scan was doctored in photoshop to get closer to what was on paper. It turned out okay, and I got a good grade on it. (B+, I think). But I wanted something a bit more. At this point I was slamming myself against the problems I had in Character Design, so I just didn’t have “it” to fix it.

Luckily, the instructor gave me a great edit of it as a critique. (Below) Did I mention he did the layouts for Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Incredibles? Guy was a total bad ass, and nothing but class the whole time as well.
15_1_JHill_Tonal_crit

He knew exactly where to push the contrast more, you could tell from the .psd it took him maybe five minutes, but bam! That definitely speaks to experience, but the guy is obviously so talented. It was a treat to get his critiques.

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Grad School Fall 2012 wrap up: Post 1.

Week 13 of the 15 Week semester, and as far as I’m concerned, kind of where the wheels fell off. This is the first in a short series of posts (3 probably) documenting the last few assignments of last semester.

JHILL_13_1_webversion
Multiple color options. The instructor and I could never get on the same page during this assignment. I was obviously misunderstanding her critique, and she was misunderstanding my responses. It was a situation that had been creeping more and more to the forefront the entire semester, but it really came to a head on this and the final project. I still received a B on the assignment, though I am now no closer to figuring out the colors or wing design for this character, though I am leaning towards the blue purple, but with the much more simplified wings of the top options, in both design and color. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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I’m ready for this semester to be over.

Different style concepts for Character Design course, all of my detective character, Fred Farroway. In a Mignola, Madureira, and Juanjo Guarnido. Instructor gave me a B+ on the colored version. Heralded my clothes and proportions, etc, but said she couldn’t figure out what kind of an animal he was, or what his expression was.  I think the sketched version is better than the color one, in terms of expression clarity. I got too caught up in the color pattern and should have err’d on the side of readability.

One of my students said it looked like he was a Sparrow when I was coloring it. It is a song sparrow. The expression is one of angry indifference.

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Grad School: Fan Art addition.

This week’s assignment was to pick three artist or style genres (out of like, nine possible) and to design some characters emulating their style. A lot of students created a different character for each style, whereas I picked a character from my past (in this case, Hot Fat Ninja Chick with Robot Arm from the second most popular unpopular webcomic I authored way back when I was a part of the Daily Grind), and changed their design to match the styles of the three I selected. Trying to research and emulate a single artist’s style in a week is difficult enough, but parsing 9 and then trying to capture three is particularly hard. Especially when you know that you’re only going to get graded on the revisions to one of those attempts. I chose Claire Wendling, Shane Glines, and Modern Cartoony, and did research sketches of the two artist. The third one I just did on a whim, but based a bit off Stephen Silver, and a bit off Dexter’s laboratory.

It took me a minute to get warmed up with the Wendling sketches, and her style is so diverse that I could have easily been doing studies of Frazetta, Mignola, and Barbucci at the same time as hers. The Glines studies went much easier, but I’ve studied him before and I already emulate him a bit. (A tiny bit.)

Naturally, of these three, the instructor preferred the Modern Cartoon one. I actually think it looks like ass, regardless of whether or not it was successful. She felt like the Glines girl could be more dynamic, and she didn’t like the “twinning” of the arms. I felt like it was a strong personality pose, and that Glines girls are usually pretty pin-upish, and not action oriented (though he draws great action too) and so I didn’t exactly agree with this note, but I took the critiques of all three to heart and created a new pose of the Glines fake as my final.

 

The final received an A-, which is pretty good considering I’ve been averaging B+’s on almost every other assignment (and that this instructor grades very professionally). Major comments there were to simplify or remove the folds on the leg warmers, push the straights and curves on the legs even more, and the thicks and thins of the linework, and give her some more Glines-like shoes.

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Grad School Week 10: Character Design, Non-stereotypical hero.

B+ here as well, but there were no drawover notes. The major criticism is that this version of Fred Farroway (the retired super hero turned detective from the Graphic Novel my wife and I think we’re writing) is that he looks too frail and too nervous to match his character description. I tend to agree as well, but this is pretty divergent from the designs I had worked up for him in general, and I went in this direction as a gamble. I was running short on time and instead of drawing what I wanted to, I drew what I thought the instructor would approve of. And I was fundamentally correct. I should have just not included the character description. Ha!

She gave me good praise on the anatomy, pose, and general design, so I can’t complain too much. My final version, I tweaked the eyes on, as they were just a bit too large and too Rebecca Sugar, who I was referencing but just wasn’t getting right.

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Grad School Week 9: Layout, Take Concept to layout.

B+ on this one. Major notes were on the drawover below, good notes as well. Obviously, everything is seperated into layers for depth, organization, etc. All in a big .psd. Based on the concept from the previous week.

 

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Grad School Week 8: Layout, Develop a Concept, Jungle


We were given 8 or so simple prompts to inspire us for a small 5FLD concept sketch. That’s a pretty small layout drawing, which was good, because concepts should be small. We did thumbs and then larger thumbs and then a value study. I started out thumbing for the prompt “sky garden”. And I had some idea of a fantastical Moebius like landscape, with water and floating platforms and a giant airborne palatial garden flying over the heads of these workers who are tending to smaller gardens on floating rocks above the water. Luckily my wife showed up and in seeing my frustrations, read over the prompts and said “Why are you doing the hardest one?” So I switched over to “jungle”. These concepts were ungraded, but were used to do a layout the following week.

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Hippo.

 

This is probably (barring any unforeseen calamity) one of the two primary characters in my thesis project. She’ll have wings, and she’s actually quite tiny, smaller than a real pygmy hippo, for that project, but I just wanted to work on getting a good Hippo design first and foremost.  Got a B+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I definitely got some great feedback on this one, from initial rough to final version, and the drawover (given after the grade) was especially helpful on this one as well. I’ll definitely rethink the pupil and tongue construction and her clarity on the back front leg was enlightening. I will also lighten everything up as hers, I have a hard time with that, for some reason things are always off, contrast wise, on my older Cintiq. I won’t make the pink as prominent. I like that better on mine.

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Double Wattled Cassowary Greaser…

Week 8 was all about animal caricatures. We could pick from dogs (and I guess cats, cause some students did cats, though they weren’t on the list), aquatic animals (of any kind apparently), flying animals, small rodents, and reptiles. I have drawn and sculpted the Double Wattled Cassowary several times, so I fell back on familiar territory. (As evidenced by many of the sketches and sculpture you see sprinkled to the left and right of this However, on the first version, I got in a bit of a common trap, of just trying to squeeze the details of any animal into a human scenario.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It never works out, and though I had some good references, the pose isn’t readable enough, and the personality isn’t clear enough. There’s not enough caricature, and I didn’t put the time and effort into figuring things out. I just crapped out the drawing. The teacher said as much of course, and though some of the students saw what I was attempting, I have to agree with the teacher’s general assessment.

So I did this other version, and I picked some specific things I wanted to caricature, and I really pushed the pose and action line, and really tried to amp up the personality. It took me a while to get the silhouette just right, and I had to abandon some of my previous ideas and goals, but that’s what the sketching process does. It clarifies things for you.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
It was much better received. I got a B+ on the revision, which is exactly what I was hoping for. She did do a draw over, and though I appreciated her final critique, her changes really alter what I was trying to do with both style and humor. She makes a great point about trying to incorporate the third toe on both feet, so it’s clear that the bird has three toes, but some of her other changes just aren’t for me. That’s okay, she gets to give me a B+, and I get to decide that though her input was incredibly valuable, and I couldn’t have gotten from the shitty drawing to the one I liked without it, I don’t have to agree with every design decision she suggests either. That’s going to happen in every student / teacher, work environment like relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

Hi John,

I agree with Luke’s comments above. It’s a much clearer pose the second time around, though there are still some areas that don’t read right away. As he mentioned, where the hands meet the jacket (it would also be nice if the fingers looked like feathers), and the pants are very tight around the knees. Cassowary birds have hugely thick, knobby knees, so it would be good to emphasize those. It would also help to have an indication of the third toes on each foot. The eyes that you’ve given him seem to be a nod to pulp underground comics of the 1960’s and 70’s. It’s a fun idea, but again, they don’t read right away (see draw over). Also, his wattle is looking more like testicles than the flat flaps of skin that they are, so that may need a bit of altering as well. It’s a great color palette and a strong presentation. Nice job!

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Character Design: Week 6 and Week 7.

Week 6 we drew portraits. Well, head studies I guess, but when you only draw one or two heads and you shade them and focus on likenesses it’s a portrait to me. I was really down on this assignment. Didn’t want to do it, struggled with it, general displeasure. But that’s life. You have to draw all sorts of things you don’t want to in order to have a career drawing
stuff.

Here you see my second attempt at a charcoal version (why did a I bother) and a digital revision of that charcoal version. She graded the standard charcoal version (her drawover also included), said it was better, and though she didn’t say it, I think it was because she was unsure if I might have traced on the digital one. She caught a lot of students tracing, which I found to be really hilarious in a MFA level course. Got a B.

This week we did caricatures, here is my rough practice, and my two finals.

Again, there is a bit of an unspoken insistence that everyone render their things out with beautiful gradient shadows in this course, which is steadily killing my verve for participation. I’m sure it’ll all pay off when we get to coloring and rendering our designs though. Anyway, I switched to standard 2B pencil on this assignment, and then touched up the contrast in Photoshop, much better results to me.

 

 

 

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Happy Halloween 2012.

Here are some layout thumbnails, practicing different design principles. I self imposed a Halloween / Universal Monsters theme on mine, because otherwise I was a little too bored to come up with anything I wanted to draw. Here you’ll see some of my many small rough thumbs, and then two larger thumbs (the two that counted for the assignment) for each design principle.

 

Grades pending.

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Character Design, Week 5.

As much as I appreciate life drawing, and it’s importance, I expected to get into “character design” a bit earlier in my graduate school level character design course. Week 4’s assignment felt like we were on that track, and week 5’s is kind of on that track, but the assignment I’m working on today? Meh.

Anyway, week 5 was a challenging one, taking a model’s pose, and then gathering different references to turn it into some kind of specific alternative drawing. The real effort was in trying to get the folds of the clothing correct. It required a lot of reliance on general fold drawing knowledge, but also in not getting wrapped up in the model’s wardrobe. Below you’ll find the models, the rough sketches, and the final submission. The prompts were to draw a vagabond (or tramp / hobo for those unfamiliar with the term), 12-13th century knight (no full suit of armor), or an early 1900’s woman / “Gibson Girl”. 

I was really eager to do the Knight, but I was going to make it female, just to add interest. However, when I started gathering my resources, I found myself drawn more to the hobo. By the time I was done with the rough sketches, I wanted to draw the Gibson Girl the most. The instructor picked from my roughs for me. Here is what she had to say at that point:

“I think that the first sketch has the most potential, but all three have random wobbly lines and “squashed” areas where they should be straight or clearer and more defined. Really think about the fabric thickness, weight, if it’s hanging, pulled, folded, rolled, draped, etc. How does the body and pose effect the clothing? There’s an extra tutorial on our class blog, and please check out as many examples by J. C. Leyendecker as you can.”

This also marks the first time I’ve broken through the glass ceiling in this course. Five weeks in, that’s about average for me and the more “illustrator” bent courses. Here’s what the teacher had to say during the final critique:

“A- Nice work John! The coat is getting a bit “busy” with too many folds and too much volume on the left of the page (being held back by his hand), but the rest of the costuming works quite well! You’ve captured fabric weight, keeping the anatomy underneath defined without overdoing it, and the clothing is reacting appropriately to the pose. The economy of line in the folds is also well controlled. Nicely done!”

She’s certainly right about the pipe folds on his right hand side. They’re just too many, too complicated, but you can’t win them all.

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Grad School: Layout “Old West Town”

Most of the course (we’re in week 5 now) has been spent going over technical skills, like creating graticules and field guides from scratch, producing technical and free hand perspective grids, etc. This is our first real layout assignment, and I think it was more to just test our general perspective drawing skills. Grades have not been submitted yet, but the classmates seemed to think it was good. Here are my composition sketches, my final over-head plan, my working files with some (not all) of my measurements and plotting, and of course, the final two drawings.

We were given two weeks to gather references, do sketches, come up with our compositions, and then do the final two drawings. The idea is it’s the same set but from two different opposite angles. It took me a long time to get out of the compositional sketching stage, I had to keep reminding myself that this wasn’t an illustration, but something that needed to accommodate some animation. Therefore, I did not get to spend nearly as much time as I wanted sketching and referencing props, etc. I only spent about two days on the final two drawings, and I feel like they are a bit bare because of that lack of prop study. I wanted to spend some more time studying some other artists so I could also add a stronger element of “style” to it as well (Doug TenNapel was the artist I wanted to reference the most).

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Character Design Week 4.

Meh. I don’t know. I felt good about this assignment, because I enjoy the idea of this kind of assignment.We were required to stay very close to the original shapes, which is interesting, but I really wanted to go more in the direction of a website like Cup O’ Doodle. Don’t know about the grade yet. The one I submitted was the alien with the stupid big gun. (We only submit one).

 

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Something witty, something you like….

Week 3 of Grad School is upon me, in that it just finished, and I’m starting week 4. I also have teaching starting again tomorrow morning, and I’m still in the middle of that never ending job I can’t talk about! Wwwwwoooooo! Hopefully that job will end this week (probably not) but I’m confident it will next week. (I’ve been wrong so many times on this one!)

Here is some of the work I’ve done these first three weeks: Character Design
So far, I’ve gotten all B’s in this course, which is fine, because I’m 10 weeks rusty on sketching (haven’t drawn anything besides minor notes for students since the semester before last). I can feel myself coming out of the slump though.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This assignment was just a series of 2 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute sketches. We turned in our best 10 minute sketches. B-.

 

 

 

 

This assignment was very similar, did a bunch of warm up drawings, but then did several 10-15 min sketches with the intention of exaggerating some of the features to highlight any unique physical characteristics or anything special in the pose. B+

 

 

 

 

This last one was just recently submitted, and I got a B on it. The purpose was to take a photographic reference, and then turn it into something else. Something from your imagination. In addition, we were supposed to analyze our artistic “crutch” and try to produce a drawing that didn’t rely on our crutch. I had a hard time nailing that down. Lately, my major crutch has been an absolute lack of interest in drawing. That’s not really a crutch, so much as it is a huge problem. I draw a lot of dinosaurs, a lot of sexy ladies, and a lot of big crazy monster things. I also draw a lot of cartoony stuff. A lot of cartoony animals and creatures. Cute things. I draw a lot of crazy stuff. My major crutch is probably not using reference enough, and half-assing a lot of details because I get bored, or because I’m lazy. So my crutch was wonky. I decided to draw something that I’ve never drawn, but that I’m also terrified of. I’m super scared of cockroaches. Always have been. It’s weird, I’m putting this on a blog, but I have that weird middle school fear that someone is now going to run up and throw a bug on me because they’ve found out that cockroaches freak me out. (I’m not afraid of any other bugs, jerks).

Anyway, the pose I referenced inspired me to draw someone really sketchy, so I thought, hey, it looks like a flasher on the street to me. And so I drew a giant terrifying cockroach, that is also flashing people in his trenchcoat. I don’t think the flasher angle read well enough to the instructor, or I might have squeezed out an A.

Below is a gallery of all the quick gesture sketches and other attempts at assignments I have done over the past three weeks.

 

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Good bye Neil…

So Neil Armstrong died today. There will come a time, in the not so distant future, where no one alive on our planet will have ever made it out of low orbit. It will be as if we never went to the moon, because nobody who went there will be alive to talk about it. In a Biblical sense, this must be what it was like for the Jews after the death of Moses. There would be no more direct conversations with God, no more wrestling with him in the desert, nothing but lesser prophets and lesser miracles. Nothing but the old stories and a faint hope that one day someone else might touch heaven in a real and practical way.

I don’t know how much more hyperbolic I can be, but I want to make it clear that this should be a week long time of national mourning. One of our old gods has vanished, and we have none to take his place.

My heart, is broken.

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A little bit of an update….

Guys, I’m currently leading up a decently sized project (3+team members, client: NickDigital (Nickelodeon), tablet game cinematics) while still teaching full time and grad-schoolin’ full time. I’m pretty spent and it’s keeping me from being much more update-y.

Here are some clips from recent things I’ve worked on professionally though.

None of this clip shows anything I did, but there is an entire sequence that is primarily Flash animated, and I did that entire sequence. I’m a bad man like that.

Here are some Todd Parr designed clips from the latest season that I animated.


Last semester in Grad School was a 20th Century Art and Philosophy course, and an Acting course. The acting course provided some content I could upload, but some of it is pretty inappropriate (dressed in drag, half dressed in drag, actory stuff) considering students and potential employers read this stuff. Plus, that’s the kind of “magicians’ trick” element to animation that people don’t usually get to see anyway. I’ll be in Character Design and Layout (September 6th!?) next semester, so the updates will flow then, I promise.

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A visit from an old friend.

Internet. I’m taking a 20th Century Philosophy and Art course, and an Acting course, so I’m not drawing in grad school now. Do you want to see videos of a fat guy acting poorly? What, youtube? Okay, then you don’t need anymore of that. Here is a stray work doodle. It has special meanings, and special powers, but they are only known to a select few.

When I was a child, there were amoebas. One of them was amazing.

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Traditional Animation 2 Final: Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam.

I had been waiting on a final, thorough review of this before I posted it, but I haven’t yet received it. I have gotten a grade (A), and I can tell you some of the ongoing notes the instructor and the classmates shared.

Sam’s free hand could be a bit stronger. It could emphasize the dialog better. Daffy’s opening poses are a little too “up on his toes” a little too long and so we don’t spend enough time with a good typical on-model Daffy. They could both be stronger while the other one speaks.

These are some sketches I did while planning. When working on this, I found myself dreading Daffy, I was very intimidated by his bill, and I did not think I could keep him on model. As it turns out, I am really comfortable drawing him, it was Sam’s mouth, mustache, and hat that were the real problems. I specifically went for a Freleng style Sam and a Clampett style Daffy, but some Jones Daffy creeps in for sure.

In general I am really pleased with this, but I would also like to do the entire thing over again. I’m so used to drawing them now, that if I had felt so practiced when I started, I’m sure I could have made every pose stronger.

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Grad School Break Time Waster: Rebecca Dart Edition.

One of my favorite online artist / professional animation artist and comic book people is Rebecca Dart. I’m really into her most recent project: Battle Kittens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like I unconsciously channeled my inner Chris Sanders. My son and I stayed up late last night watching Lilo and Stitch, one of our favorites.

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Grad School Break Time Waster: Avengers Edition 2

Here is the final. I could keep messing with it, and really flesh out the background, etc. But I feel like I accomplished what I wanted to get out of my head, so there’s no need to linger iordinately on a puff piece like this. I sure do like painting digitally though. I wish I enjoyed for real painting more.

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Grad School Break Time Waster: Avengers Edition


There were two sketches for this idea, but I’m only uploading the final one. You’ll see in the painting WIP that I elongated the Hulk’s torso a bit. I’ll upload the color version once I’m done monkey-ing with a rough background.

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A tale of pygmy flying hippos…

or a storyboard final based loosely on the loose idea I have kicking around for a thesis. Character designs not finalized. Below you have my rough presentation sketches, presentation board pitches, presentation board revisions with color, production board first pitch and revised pitch based on my instructor’s feedback. Some of the changes to the production board I wasn’t in total agreement with, but I think there is a happy medium where I could combine shots from both the first pass and revisions, plus some new stuff, and get what I have in the myst of my brains. This is just the first few shots, the film would be much much longer past this point.

 

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Work Doodles 5_22_12

Trying to jump-start the creative juices so I can do something during the month of break between grad school. Having a hard time doing it though. Have a naked chick, with a skull on her face.

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The Drug Deal: A live action storyboard exercise.

I’m notoriously bad about marking up my storyboards with dialog, shot descriptions, and notes. Notorious in that I don’t ever do it. So the script we were provided is below:

FADE IN:
INT. SUBWAY TUNNEL — NIGHT
ZIPPY, 22, leans against the wall looking around nervously. He holds a crumpled paper bag in his hand.
He straightens up when he sees JOSHUA, 25 come around the corner. Joshua walks up to Zippy and they shake hands. Joshua motions to the paper bag?

JOSHUA

That it?

ZIPPY

Yeah, this is it, you got the money or what?

JOSHUA

Of course.

Joshua reaches into his pocket and pulls out an envelope. Zippy eyeballs Joshua but doesn’t make a move.


JOSHUA

Well, you gonna give it to me.

ZIPPY

There’s been a change in plans. We got another offer, the price has gone up five hundred.

Joshua’s hands crunch into fists and he gets a wild look in his eye. Zippy takes a couple of steps backwards. Joshua calms himself.

JOSHUA

Well, if you got a better offer, than maybe you should take it.

Zippy looks dumbfounded.

ZIPPY
I’d really rather work with you.

JOSHUA

In that case, the price has gone down five hundred.

Joshua reaches into the envelope, pulls out a gun and aims it at Zippy.


ZIPPY

Aw, come on man…

Joshua snatches the bag from Zippy and slowly walks backward, still pointing the gun at Zippy.


Zippy suddenly pulls out a gun. Gunfire is exchanged and both

Zippy and Joshua lie dead.

A subway rushes by, a mass of people exit the subway and pay no attention to the two dead drug dealers.

FADE OUT:

This is a revised version, I was given an A on both the initial and revision.

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Some more work sketch…

In the ancient past I used to do the webcomics. This is a reimagining of Skanky Sally, lead singer of the band The Skankettes, and love interest of Dinosaur, from Alien and Dinosaur Rock Out, one of several unpopular titles I did.

Ah, the halcyon days of my early twenties. Her hair is based off of Scarlett Johanssononenons from the Avengers, since my tumblr dash is full of people’s drawings of her. Originally Sally had a mullet because I couldn’t draw hair and didn’t realize you could just get reference. Ha.

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More work sketches.

taken by my cell phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When my Hulk is out, he goes commando, cause I don’t believe in purple shorts.

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Sometimes you’ve got to force

yourself to sketch for fun. To sketch at work. Whatever. I’m always so burnt out by my grad school work that I don’t sketch for myself at all anymore. So, I forced myself to break all my normal rules today. Just sketch whatever came out of my head today, and to just finish it, even though I didn’t warm up or correct the anatomy or really figure out a good composition. Sometimes it’s important to just shit out some garbage to break down that wall.

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Yes, dear God yes, Buzz Aldrin.

Of all the weeks, of all the days, today I would truly like to yell at the moon with you.

I have to be careful now, or this could quickly turn into a real blog.

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Final Batman Storyboard

Here is the final version of the Batman storyboards. I got an A on this revised version.
Feel free to let me know which versions you like best.

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Dunna-Dunna-Dunna-Dunna-Dunna-

…Batman storyboards! Way back when I was in highschool, or in college getting my BFA, this was kind of a dream job for me. A lot of other people were into “teh animes” and Toonami and all that, but I was really into Batman The Animated Series. The opening was fantastic and in general the episodes were fast, well paced, and the animation was real consistent (if not always great). I got a B on this first pass. I’ll be uploading the second pass in just a second.


General notes on this one: Cleaning up and revising some poses to be more dynamic, better silhouettes, better proportions etc. Nailing down some of the backgrounds, making sure there is some additional detail and perspective is clear. He had me add some shots, and change the angle of some of them. Some of these notes were obvious, but a couple of them I actually didn’t like because I felt like it looked less like the show, and more like a live action production. However, as you’ll see in the revised version, it is way more dynamic and interesting visually.

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Heavy Lifting…

Here is a project that was spread over three weeks, and was pretty hectic. There was a lot of action before, where the character walks in and sets up the scene. It was quickly eliminated because the instructor and I agreed it would take too long to accomplish. Even with that eliminated it was a nail biter. However, it’s quite successful, and I got the A, so I’m really happy with it. I have done lifting exercises before (academically and professionally) but never on paper with this much planning, finesse’ and pressure. At each point, (the first pass on the reaction to the object, the first pass on the impact of the weight and the inevitable fall, and the pivotal pass on the actual lifting) I had major revisions and the timing kept getting tighter and tighter. The initial version of the lift was pretty awful. There was too much stagger, and just not enough change. Now, the lift has a lot chopped out, and I’d like it a bit smoother, but visually it’s effective and the whole package works together.

Heavy Lifting from John T Hill on Vimeo.

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Quick little storyboard….

Another smaller storyboard exercise. We’ve finally started working from scripts, but this is from an assignment just before then. The premise was “Two characters are traveling down a road or path and something falls from the sky. You must use at least two sheets (12 drawings) to 4 sheets (24 drawings).” So everyone had drastically different boards. Mine was notably the darkest.

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The. Thick. Of. It.

So busy lately. Sleep deprivation. Mood swings. Exhaustion. Poor diet. I found myself weaping profusely at 2am one night, watching some rap video on youtube, scrawling grad school assignments that I’m dreadfully lucky are all seeming to work out. That’s not really luck though. I’ve always been perfectly comfortable letting myself fall apart, but the work is easy. Hopefully I’ll have some professional stuff to bandy about here soon-ish. Just wrapping up an interesting little thing that I’m excited to see out in the world. Till then, have a storyboard exercise: A


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently this is the kind of thing you do for clients when you’re making advertising boards. They’re called Production Boards, which I guess makes them a little similar to Color Scripts or Lighting boards in animation. We were encouraged (commanded?) to use photographic reference and to trace the photographs, but I had a real hard time doing that, and really had to be forced. Regardless, it all worked out in the end. This is a real ad campaign for some auto dealers. I’m not sure how or why this is used to sale cars though, since the cars are always secondary to these lame gags with the Monkey (Who is an ape, it should be called trunk ape. Morons.)

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Revisions and additions: Goose Sneak and Zip Out Edition

So this was two assignments combined, and will probably be the only one I do in color this semester. It’s too time consuming, and the benefits are nill when you have to rush the ink and color. Plus, I like working on paper more, it retains more life. Anyway, I addressed the notes on the Duck’s body and neck to make it more consistent, and then added a little take and a zip out to complete the scene.

The new note on the zip out was that I could make the hold a moving hold, have his legs churn a bit and the whole figure shift slowly to the right before FFFTTPPPTTTHHHH! Zip out. We agreed it works fine this way, but that change would definitely plus it.

It wasn’t originally planned, but since it’s already happening, I’m hoping to have some version of Dracula and the Wolf Man appear in something I do every semester.

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Standing from sit, walking from stand…

There are two versions of this, mainly just so I can show it to students as an example of coming up with something, not testing it appropriately, and then realizing when you’re done that it’s kind of garbagey. The first one is fine up until the walk out. The anticipation to begin the walk is adequate, but the walk is too bouncy and loose. It’s inapporpriate with all of the character set up before hand. It’s a kind of loose mediocre walk I can do in my sleep, and for some reason I chose to do it that way for this project.

Everything is cool and suede, and then he suddenly herpy-derps off screen. The thing is, I could tell that was going to happen while I was doing it, before I even shot any of it I knew. Why didn’t I stop myself? That’s a thing a lot of animators could work on.


This second one is much better. Everything about it feels better. The strides are longer, but not too fast. It’s important to recognize mistakes, and try to correct them when you have time.

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Storyboarding Exercise….

I know, this blog has become a real window to the soul huh?

This is an exercise I am definitely going to steal for my students. I’ve thought about a similar one before, if not for the simple exercise of forcing them to think about what they are seeing, then at least to force them to realize that you can’t tell even a simple story with 10 drawings. You need to break things down.



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Critique! Improvements! Animation! Joy!

I rushed back to the studio to add two frames, and a little tie follow through to my project before the deadline midnight tonight. The frames were suggested by the teacher, he totally agreed that the standing after the antic down needed just a bit more time added to it. Yay for Grad School!

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Hhhrrrmmpphhhffttt…

Week 1 in Traditional Animation II consisted of doing a character design and a five point turn. I got a B. I’m not entirely sure why, but that’s okay. It is definitely B work. You can see that I messed around with some of the feet and the hip / waist construction a bit between the first one of these and the last one. 

So this is actually a character from that graphic novel I’m sometimes hinting at. This is pretty close to his final design too. I did an illustration / more realistic version of the main characters in an assignment last quarter. But I do not want to do a big long comic with realistic figures. Too difficult, plus it doesn’t fit the story. I’m totally not working on it right now anyway.

Here is my week 2 assignment where I make him get out of a chair and stand. Pretty challenging really. I think the rise up is a tick too fast. Needs 2 – 4- maybe 6 more inbetweens. The Antics work fine to me though. Hopefully the teach agrees.

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Sometimes, I update…

and sometimes you read it.

So I’m in Storyboarding and Traditional Animation II this quarter in Grad School. It’s a little weird, because unbeknownst to everyone else involved, I am teaching a storyboarding course simultaneously. So far I am a little nonplussed. It’s not the instructor’s fault, he’s very direct and is an obviously stellar artist. But he is at odds with the syllabus material, which was prepared by someone else. Some of it is outdated and references a book that is out of print, and it also starts very slowly. Our first week’s assignment was to do a rough 20 panel or less personal story, with no instruction. The ole’ water tester. Just to see how poorly everyone in class actually draws and tells stories:

I got a B+. Which was weird, because there was no instruction, and therefore no foreseen expectations. The major note was that he was confused by shot choices in 7 – 11 because he could not figure out the layout of our house as depicted. However, he then produced an overhead layout of my home, exactly as it exist, which kind of proves he was the opposite of confused.

The second week’s assignment was to do some sketches. Just some sketches of people in public. Ya know, like animators should always try to do. This is fine, but it seemed a little elementary for an entire week’s assignment, in a grad school level class. Not even a first semester grad school class. So I went to a local mall. Grades pending on these:

Perhaps I shouldn’t look these “easier” assignments in the mouth, but their apparent simplicity and the nebulous directions and expectations have me worried.