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!


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