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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Finding a "Happy Place"

Mid-2012 I got call to develop an animated childrens' show based on the New York Times bestselling book 7 Habits for Happy Kids by Sean Covey and Stacy Curtis for Kaleidoscope Pictures.

I was already familiar with Stacy's great watercolor and ink illustrations. He's got amazing sensitivity and humor in his characters - the challenge to mimic his style made me excited about the project. I contacted Stacy to get his blessing and ask if I could use him as a consultant. Here are a few of his personal sketches I love.

My director wanted to remain as faithful to Stacy's style as possible, but ensure that assets could be used effectively in a 2.5D AfterEffects pipeline. After brief experimentation we arrived at a combination of vector drawn linework with high res digital watercolor textures like those at the top of the page. To clarify the character's silhouette against the background we reduced the grain in  the linework - but secretly that's one thing I loved about Stacy's original artwork.

For each of the main characters I created a 6 point turnaround with hand, head and expression variations. Ira Baker created some truly dynamic AE rigs for them.
I also created some art and rigs for secondary characters like this bee. I focused on getting a broad expression range that could also aid in the speech phoneme shapes 

Up next : Establishing an environment, prop and FX library. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon - Dragon Adventures work

How often do you get animate dragons, paint vikings, and animate explosions? Yeah, I know! That's why I jumped at the chance to join React Games in making How To Train Your Dragon : Dragons Adventure.

I posted a bit about this on my animation blog, but I wanted to share some other pieces I did here. My first assignment was to paint 25 achievements icons (that became 54 by the end!). To connect achievement categories and speed workflow, I create wood, stone, bronze, iron, and gold templates. Here are a few examples.
 Perhaps my favorite piece is a 2D cracking sprite that animated over a 3D animating egg to hatch dragon eggs (we couldn't afford full texture swaps or broken up egg model). This is only the 2D sprite section:

 Beyond animation and concept art, I did a fair amount of UI / UX design for the game. Achievements, Hatchery, Login process and settings ( The frame was already established; I designed the interior flow and pieces). Here are a couple screens.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Twinkle Twinkle

There must be some lingering Christmas Spirit. This Mary and infant pic was really fun to draw, I had a fun time making up most of the figures and all the clothing.

I've been in awe at our own little boy, 1.5 years old almost! Imagine all the nights Mary held the infant King and wondered what laid ahead of him. Happy New Year to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vanilla flavored exercise

Today I started and finished this little walk-cycle at the request of some friends. I compared it to the work I was doing for Animation Mentor as was really proud of the growth. In a few months I hope that this animation makes me sick, even for a quick one day exercise.

There will always be room for improvement, always be things I can learn, always new perspectives to challenges. Also, I will never grow without pushing my own boundaries for quality and effectiveness. Let's get pushing!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Demo Reel Updated

Hey amigos, while I can't post up any of the great television or freelance animation work I've been involved in, I thought I'd share some "Reel" reworking and refining in my latest demoreel. Keep learning, keep creating. A higher res version is available at http://vimeo.com/user6176990/davidwilsondemoreel2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Game Attack Animation - making it better!

Aloha compadres! This post epitomizes what I love about working in the entertainment industry - constant development and an environment that thrives on giving and receiving criticism. Refining toward clarity and appeal. I had done a quick animation exercise a while back and was pretty happy with the results. It's a quick video game style animation that can pose blend at either end.

With all animation I was trying to keep in mind clear posing, anticipation, overlapping action, weight, character, compressions, timing and spacing among a myriad of other things

Earlier version: (the videos are better on youtube since they don't crop the widescreen format)

After showing it to a few animator friends (Thanks Allen, Scott and Stephanie) it became apparent that although I had learned a lot creating the shot, there was still more I could be taught by revising the shot.
I revised the shot paying particular attention to spacing. Spacing is everything!!! Spacing imbues animation with weight in the relationships between 3 frames, every frame has to matter. Taking the time to learn again from the feedback led to more and more learning in a shot that I was satisfied with earlier. Growth isn't only making more of something, but realizing where correction is possible and applying it wherever needed (past, present and future).

I also took a stab at compositing the Maya renders with multiple layers of painted backgrounds to create a richer environment.

Here's to forever learning, forever growing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

 Gifted is a "mini short" I've had some fun on lately. How many of you have received a great gift like this little guy? What was it?

After doing sketches I filmed my son opening a mystery box. There were so many fun little things he did; I also learned that a 4yr old can't open a present in under 30 seconds but they can make a mess in less than 5.



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