Monday, June 30, 2008


So, After 3 weeks of hard work, I finally had the crappy night I knew was coming. Tonight, instead of focusing on getting some work done, I got side tracked with research into copyright laws. The big problem is that I want to use Israel's "Somewhere over the Rainbow" song at the end of the short. I am making this short with NO intentions of making money on it. Which would make the use of this song ok. However, I do want to submit this film to film festivals/competitions. While I don't want a single penny for this film, I do want exposure. I want people to know that I can put a film together. Anyway, as far as I can tell, festivals wont accept the film unless I have the rights to use the song. Getting these rights seems to be extremely hard. Especially for a scrub like myself.
This is exactly the sort of thing I shouldn't be thinking about right now. So, tomorrows all about getting back on track. I need to get back to animating. I finished my first complete scene renders this weekend. The render times were sick, but im in no hurry =)


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Work in progress animation

Class Picture

Another Shot from the short

Happy Happy joy Joy

Man, I can't express how amazingly well this project is going so far. Ive tackled animated shorts a few times in the past. All of them have failed within a few weeks. Its always a combination of feeling that I'm in over my head, hitting to many bumps in the road, and loosing inspiration.
I know that the bumps will eventually come. If I can get far enough along, hopefully the bumps wont stop me.

This time, I'm confident I will finish it. I feel like my experience is finally catching up with my ideas. Everything I've have tried so far (look development, rain, animation, rigging, etc etc) has gone wonderfully.
Im rendering My first finished scene right now. I haven't really decided what I will put here on the blog, but there will be screen grabs for sure.

As things stand right now....
Story (narrated poem) is complete.
3 of 4 environments are complete. The forth is modeled and about 75% textured.
The toughest environment is final. (a classroom picture that includes 6 different characters)
All characters are modeled (3 total). The main character is textured and rigged.

3 of about 15 sequences are complete.

Rendering/Compositing work flow is final (the look basically).


Another early shot of a ukulele.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

First shots

Here are some of the first shots of the film. Im very far from finalyzing the look, but these give you an idea of what im going for.

Note to self

This is not meant as advice for others. Everyone has their own ideas and ways of doing things. This is simply meant to help myself. I feel like I need a little pep talk when things slow down, when something doesn't work, when a scene crashes. This is that pep talk.

Target Audience:
Know your audience - Kids, Sentimental Adults, Israel fans.
Animation: Your not an animator! Focus on story and look, thats what you do best. I know that most people will say this is crazy. And it absolutely is. But, the point is, the animation is only going to look decent. I'll do my best, but im not an animator, im a digital artist. Im just hoping that the look and feel of the short will help people look past the average (at best) animation.
With that Said, know that this isn't going to look like a pixar film. This is a project being down by one person with no budget. I dont have a render farm with 3000 computers, I have 1 computer.
Skip corners were you can: See above...
Have faith in your idea: Not everyone is going to like this idea. Not everyone is going to like the characters, the story, the look. Take criticism seriously, but don't become discouraged. The only way your going to get this done is if you 100% believe in it.
Focus on one thing at a time: this has killed your ideas in the past. Dont scatter yourself all over the place. You need to see results and the only way that will happen is by finishing sequences one at a time.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Story of Brother Iz'ole

The idea came while the little lady and I were choosing a song for our upcoming wedding (scary =). We both agreed on Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". There is just something about his version "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", that never fails to make me emotional. I can't get through the entire song without tearing up. There, I said it =)
Anyway, this led me to read more about Israel (Brother Iz) and his fascinating life.. My first thought was, "man if I ever become a director, this is the animated feature I want to make". A fantastical version of his life in Hawaii, complete with fat jokes and of course Hawaiian spirits.
After thinking a bit more (obsessing), I began to think of ways to get this story across in 3-5 minutes and still make it my own.
The task won't be an easy one, as I plan on doing everything myself (rigging, animation, ack!). But, I am up for the challenge. As of writing this, I have completed the story (a narrated poem), 2 of the 3 environments (this includes modeling, texturing, and lighting), the main character (a young Israel, who is textured and 90% rigged), as well as many compositing and fx test.
I figured a blog of my progress (whether anyone reads it or not), would be a great way to keep me motivated to finish this bad boy.