Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sprocket's

Here's a logo that I did for Sprocket's mechanics of Montvale, NJ, a while back.  The place to go for body or bike work in north Jersey/southern NY. 

Sprocket may not be able to catch a gear, but he can twist in the air.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

There's a new master in town

Just days after I finished my Master's degree, my best pal Amy finished her's too. 

I got you this Amy:

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Cuddly Finished Thesis, THREADBARE

After spending most of the year working on it, I have finished my thesis animation, receiving honors from the thesis panel.  I pretty happy with it, and after a few nips and tucks based on suggestions from the panel (and my own unforgiving eyes) I plan to submit it to a few festivals.  I will post it online after that, but in the mean time here are some final stills and the pre-production and production documentation.





Saturday, November 19, 2011

Red Hook, Then & Now (off topic)

There are blogs, websites and articles that bemoan the changing landscape of beloved cities and landmarks (Lost City being a favorite of mine since it often features my long-time former neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn).  As people continue to move back into cities and rediscover the convenient joys urbania (beer for sale 24 hours a day, never having to drive yourself, an endless supply of people to call "asshole"), developers continue to put money into raising the old, and enticing home buyers with something new and usually bigger, which largely misses the point of most peoples' rediscovered fondness for brownstones and cozy, accoutrement-less brick apartment buildings.

Over the years the Then & Now book series has documented the changing faces of urban centers by recreating, from the same spot on the street (or closest thing to it, if the street is no longer there), archival photos from one-hundred years prior.  The first one I saw was Madison: Now & Then, and even though little has changed to Wisconsin's capital city's modest downtown center, the time capsules on each page told a rich story - one which continues, the book is probably only 10 years old and already the "Now" photos are out of date.

However, Madison, WI, has some great history and charming streets, but its evolution simply can't compare to the kinds of changes that, not just New York City, but a single small neighborhood in Brooklyn has gone through over the past 100 years.  The public engineering projects of probably the most polarizing person in NYC's history, Robert Moses, barely fit into one book.  Thanks to his great ambition for the city, and incredible hubris, several neighborhoods in the outer boroughs were completely leveled to make way for commuter highways (or "parkways") thanks to families leaving cities for Westchester, Long Island and New Jersey.  Today these highways are essential for the city to function, but the neighborhoods that met the wrecking ball continue to feel like half a neighborhood with ghosts around every corner.  (Ironically, today many such neighborhoods in Brooklyn are being repopulated by the children of those who fled the city decades ago and helped make those commuter highways necessary that leveled chunks of the outer boroughs.)

One such neighborhood is Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Once a self-sustaining appendage of Carroll Gardens, full of dock workers and seamen, it was completely cut off from its surrounding neighborhoods at Hamilton Ave by the Battery Tunnel and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in the mid-20th century.  After many families were displaced, others moved on due to the difficulty of simply getting to and from the neighborhood (a problem that still exists today).  Apartment buildings were torn down (or burned down for the insurance - it wasn't just the Bronx that was burning) and mostly replaced with warehouses and bus garages, likely due to Red Hook's proximity to the Battery Tunnel and the BQE, rather than to any docks.  Eventually the massive Red Hook Houses* projects were built, completely changing the face of the neighborhood, which saw a sharp decline with a well-known crack problem (which can still be seen occasionally today - a Methadone Clinic is a popular neighbor to Red Hookers).

* Thanks to its transient population of dock workers, Red Hook was never as prosperous as other neighborhoods in South Brooklyn - The Red Hook Houses sit on the site of the shack city known as "Hooverville".

Walking around the neighborhood today is like walking around Roman ruins - you'll find a beautiful, 100 year old brick 4-family apartment building wedged between an active bus garage on one side, and an empty lot teaming with feral cats on the other.  However, every so often you can find evidence of Red Hook's heyday if you look close enough.  

Anyways, thanks to the wonderful collection of photos at BrooklynPix.com (as you can see from the water mark, I don't own any of these photos, but you can find more at their website and even buy a couple), and Google Maps, I did some "Then & Now" comparisons myself.  Basically, I needed to take a break from my thesis.

NE corner of Van Brunt & Beard
 [REVISION, 11/25/2011]
I had this one wrong initially.  When I first saw the photo, I thought it was the NE corner of the street, since there are still a few houses that look like these buildings still standing.  BrooklynPix.com, however, listed this as the NW corner (3rd image).  I figured the corners had similar architecture, but a friend who lives in one of the buildings confirmed it was the NE corner, which makes more sense that the trolley tracks go E towards the former dry dock.

































Van Brunt St at Delavan, west side of the street
Much of the commerce on the west side of Red Hook is on Van Brunt St., but every other street seems to have the following scene: an old apartment buildings brushing up against warehouses.  It's great that the 3 apartment buildings have survived, and interesting to see that empty lots aren't a new thing.























Hamilton Ave, looking south east
Here's a great view of what changed Red Hook - beyond those trees in today's view lies the Battery Tunnel.  While the trolley and the businesses look inviting, it is hard to imagine NYC traffic without the popular commuter artery.  Recently Red Hook has looked into reinstating a trolley on Van Brunt or Richards St., however, with the massive amount of bus and trucking traffic, I don't see how that would be possible.
























Hamilton Ave, facing west
I really had to make sure I was reading BrooklynPix.com's location label for this pic, it's hard to believe that what is now a container unloading center used to look like this.  But, apparently Hamilton's Ferry used to sit at the end of Hamilton Ave (makes sense, you can see its silhouette at the end of the street).  Commuters would take the trolley to Hamilton Ferry to get to Manhattan, or visa versa for shoppers venturing to a popular cheap Swedish furniture store.  No wait, that's happening today.



Hamilton Ferry







































Richards St at Sullivan
That's right, Richards St had a trolley, too.  Many cities have fallen in love with trolleys all over again as a cheap and economic (and relatively green) form of transportation, and it's amazing to see them on every block of Brooklyn in photos from the early 20th century.  Light rail is great for downtown districts like Denver and Seattle, but I can only imagine they would clutter a quiet street like Richards, pushing parking and car traffic to the sides.



Richards St and Wolcott, looking west
A block from my apartment there was once a bar.  Since there is a bar across the street from me now, and the former bar pictured below is now a school, I'm not too broken up about it.  Still, the storefronts that once graced Richards St are kind of an interesting "what if" as the neighborhood continues to grow with large warehouse stores like Fairway and Ikea.



Richards & Wolcott, looking east
I get sandwiches (and late-night Doritos) from that bodega these days.  Although after dark, it's through a through bullet-proof glass window.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Night of the Hunter

In between waiting for files to render on the balooning animation I am working on, I decided to catch up on some illustrating.  Here's my take on The Night of the Hunter.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thesis Screen Shots

So I have been working furiously on my thesis project and each shot keeps getting longer and longer than the neat and tidy animatic I created last spring. This is good, I think. The slow pacing is coming together and hopefully building tension rather than boredom. Hopefully it doesn't get so long that I can't finish it in time. Anyways, here are some screen shots.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

There's a Hanger Inside of me...for Nachos!

Before I return to working on my thesis for the semester, I got one more quick animation in. I've been watching a lot of Beavis & Butthead lately while eating nachos which brought a quick animation test full circle.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Damn have I missed football

Lock-out drama aside, it's been a quiet off season for the NFL players since the Green Bay Packers won their 13th NFL title last February. After that amazing season, one of the most satisfying of any I may ever see (nicely chronicled at Little Earthquake), I am looking very much forward to seeing something other than double plays lace espn's plays-of-the-week. Go Pack, Go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Superman's Best Friend

After a few summer vacations I figured it was time to get back to work. I decided to play around with Flash and do some 'hand drawn' animations. Here is Superman and his best friend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Au Revoir!

I have spent a lot of time behind a desk at the NYU Department of French. Glad to have been a part of the team, but excited for more time to work on my stuff for a little while.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Another test

Here the latest test.  I am achieving the looped, painted texture effect, but I don't know how well it will jive with the angular design of the character - or how messy and noisy I want the texture to be.  I don't want this to be Dr Katz.  I keep going back to the character design and I like the angularity of it, perhaps the noise will be too distracting from the stillness of the piece?

The background is just a plate taken from Samurai Jack, which kind of what I want the background to look like, but there will be some secondary animation of the clouds and the grass blowing in the wind.

video

Monday, April 4, 2011

Motion test. This is only a test.

video
The puppet tool.  So obvious.  Now I just need to refine the texture and I should be able to manipulate the character models easily

Friday, April 1, 2011

Speaking of Flash...

...here's a quick test to see how it might look in Flash if I so choose.  Hopefully if I choose to illustrate it in Flash, I will put more care into the actually illustration.  This one is pretty chunky, I am not used to the brush in CS4.


More Concept Art for Thesis project

Here are 2 concept illustrations for my thesis project.  I haven't illustrated in photoshop in a long time, so it took me a while to get reacquainted with the brushes - these could be a lot better, but they are just sketches.

The plan at the moment is to create something kind of painterly, something with a little bit of noise to give it a hand-drawn touch, much like what is featured in these great The Giants animations.  But I also like the simplicity of solid shapes with painted backgrounds such as those in the highly underrated cartoon Samurai Jack (or this wonderful homage to it).  It would be nice to actually do some hand-drawn Flash animation for this project with gouache paintings, rather than all After Effects manipulations, I guess I will have to do some animation tests in the mean time to see how to marry the two styles.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Scarecrow concept art

I have a new project I am working on involving a scarecrow.  Here are some of the character concept art:






(some of) The Olympians

About 6 months ago I started a brief animation of the 12 Olympians.  I don't know if I will ever finish it, but here are some of the illustrated stills, to varying degree of polish:

 
Zeus with his lightning bolt.  I think this is the first one I did and this served as a style frame for the rest of the piece.

Hera was a tough one.  I didn't really know what to do with her: Aphrodite has her sexy body, Artemis can hunt, Athena has her owl, but Hera is just a stubborn, jealous queen.  She isn't that interesting.

 I don't think I did a very interesting take on Apollo.  I added sunspots and that was about it.

  Athena be all stoic and shit.

Ares looks a little more like he leaped off of a Greek amphora than any of the others.

Aphrodite has been illustrated more than any other greek god, so I didn't do anything revolutionary with her, but I am happy with how she turned out.  I wanted to make her sexy yet playful.

The Greek Gods are interesting because they are still archetypes that exist today, often petty and childish.  It was easier to give some of them a unique personality over others.

I have a print of Lou Romano's Poseidon hanging on my wall, which is what inspired this project in the first place.  I wanted to do something in the spirit of his work, but not necessarily in the style of it.

 Demeter is the most recent one I did, and her grains need some work, they are a little too clean.

I never really knew what to do with Hermes.  I wanted to animate him running, but to where? and why? and would his penis swing with each stride?
Actually, all of the characters were illustrated sans clothes (see examples below).  I wanted to emulate the epic, primitive innocence of the classic statues that they were cast in so long ago.  It was also a way to get the whole architecture of the character.  However, it just wasn't practical, especially when it came to their iconography, which got more detailed along the way.  Like the iconography, the clothes added personality and character to those I felt did not need clothes (Poseidon, Aphrodite) for practical purposes, thereby separating them from those who did (the virgin Artemis).  Plus, naked cartoons just looked kind of weird.  Originally the depictions were even more simple and flat, like the end credits to The Incredibles.  Maybe one day I will finish this, some of it is available in my demo reel.


Hera with some of the pointiest boobs.  I think I was going for a queen of diamonds look.

Um, Ares, that's a big shield, but you might need some more protection on the battlefield.