Phoneme Mouth Chart

This is one of those days in which I can’t tell whether I’m working or just having fun. I guess it’s both, and I’m grateful for that. Today I get to animate a phone conversation, and will need to lip-sync to the voiceover. Should be fun.


222 is the magic number of shots that will be in Breaking In. I am done writing down shot descriptions along with notes on camera movements, photography, characters in each shot and required props. I also left room for Maya file names, start and end frame numbers, and estimated rendering times, which I’ll fill in over the next… months?

The boring part is over, on to more visual stuff!


Brave won four trophies at the Visual Effects Society’s VES Awards this week. The visual effects star of the film? Merida’s complex, flowing, bouncy, mane of red curls. Learn more about the innovations we made to animate Merida’s hair over at The New York Times.

Shot list…

Other than spending a few hours doing test lighting renders and getting a feel for render times in general, I’ve been spending hours writing the shot list. I counted 193 individual shots from the script, but I’m writing #77 and already added in 10 additional shots. At this rate I’m going to end up with about 220 shots -some are as short as one second, but they add up. I’m sure it will take a long time to set them all up.

Who had this idea about making an animated short anyway??

I’m Falling in Love with Rigging!

After spending a few hours following tutorials on how to rig a character I realized I had only scratched the surface before. Having a Computer Science background combined with learning about rigging techniques is opening my eyes to the possibilities. Yesterday I worked on the mouse’s eyes, adding a “pupil dilation” attribute (i.e. float variable), which can be set to any value from -1.0 (super small pupil) to 1.0 (huge pupil). I did this by scaling and keying the lofted circles that make up the iris, based on the value of the pupil dilation attribute. IT WAS AWESOME!! And that’s just to make the pupils big or small. Then I imagined it could be automated based on the amount of light in the scene, or in the character’s eyes, or every time he blinks.

Good times are ahead.

Soon after I finished modeling the mouse and tried to rig it with a skeleton I realized I know nothing about binding skins, painting weights, let alone rigging joint orientation constraints, shoulder/clavicle etc. etc. etc! So… it’s time to get trained!

After looking at most of their free rigging training, I’m convinced that DigitalTutors is the way to go to get up to speed in rigging techniques and be able to carry on with the short.

Motion Graphics Showreel 2009

I’m very intimidated by pro work like this. 


First look at “Mouse”. Geometry is done, now to figure out how to rig efficiently…