Sunday, January 27, 2013

What's Been Keeping Me Busy...

This post is sort of an I'm sorry to most of the people (especially relatives) who have been trying to get a hold of my by means other than Facebook or text messaging, since I've returned from my recent trip to Asia.  Since I've been back in the US, I've been working very long days helping my colleagues make this movie look extra awesome...
  


 
As soon as I can, I will try to return all phone calls and long emails and such, but until then, bear with me... oh, and tell people to see this in 3D!  ;)

Yo Joe.
 
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Another Brief Return to Asia

Once again, I amazingly found a way to briefly escape my life in Southern California take a nice trip overseas.  This time, I spent a week in my former home of sunny Singapore; where I reconnected with dear old friends, attended a really nice semi-traditional Chinese wedding and made concerted (but possibly futile) attempts at professional networking.  



Whenever returning to some place that you once lived, it's always so surreal. Lots of things are still the same, and barring the occasional minor memory lapse, you have no problem finding your way around. Also, it's not uncommon to feel a wonderfully strange comfort from hearing certain slang or accents, or detecting a random familiar scent in the air. However, when things are different, be them places, attitudes or people, it can be surprisingly mentally jarring, while adding just enough of an alien element to make an old stomping ground unfamiliar and possibly even a little adventurous once again. 



To add to the adventure aspect of this trip, I made the mistake of flying mostly on US air carriers. Anyone who knows me, knows that I sadly have a very low opinion of my own country's airlines; but in spite of that, there was a silver lining to my horrid choice of international airplane travel. Going each way, I made a friend on at least one of the flights.

Going one way, I met an very interesting salesman who was on his own adventure, which took him from a funeral in Japan to his next big steps in a future life of love and professional growth. Hearing even just the gist of his personal story was a great (almost spiritual) metaphor for growth and rebirth. Going the other way, I met a pretty young lady who (along with the help of Facebook conversations with another friend) has totally convinced me that my next big adventurous trip should be Hong Kong, which was already totally on my bucket list anyway.  ;)
  
...but sadly, Hong Kong or not, I don't know how and when my next Asian adventure is going to happen. So, until I figure that one out, here are some photos of Singapore:
  
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151213013173372.461950.585203371&type=1&l=678e331b68

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Adapting with Animation


Adapt and overcome is the mantra of perseverance and survival. For a long time now, I've been putting off the task of learning how to use the 3D software package known as Maya. Sure, I've taken frustrating little cracks at it here and there over the years, but never the solid effort it deserves, given that Maya has become pretty much the global industry standard for many of the creative jobs I would like to try at some point in my life. The following video represents my first 3 or so days of really dedicating concerted effort to understanding Maya 2012.


This video is basically a work-in-progress animation exercise that shows some of the results of teaching myself how to use the animation, rendering and IK rigging features in Maya. The first 4 seconds of the Ninja Turtle's animation are performance capture, recorded with a dual Microsoft Kinect setup. All of the rest of the animation seen here is hand keyed.
  
Disclaimer: I did NOT model either of these characters. The Spider-Man and Raphael models used in this animation are modified versions of models created by Ice-boy and Joequick (respectively) from the Daz/Poser community. Both characters are owned/copyright/trademark by their respective media corperations, no copyright infringement is intended.