Hollywood Reporter on The Mummy Previs

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to Ron Frankel and I about the work Proof did on The Mummy for the Zero-G sequence. Of course there was even more impressive work we did than just this sequence. I’d like to add that although the LA office kicked off the project, this was largely done by the talented Proof crew in the UK. This was an exciting project to be a part of. I saw the film in IMAX 3D and it’s a lot of fun! Read the full article here: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/mummy-behind-scenes-zero-g-stunt-1011921

“Night at the Museum 3” on Below the line

My friends at Proof and I were on this project for 10 months or so. This is a really nice article about it on Below the Line. Eric Benedict even got a nod. Nice work everyone. L.A.-based VFX visualization house Proof recently provided extensive previs and postvis services for Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb. The film was released by 21st Century Fox Studios on Dec. 19. “Proof started working on this film while we were still prepping,” said VFX supervisor Erik Nash. “While they weren’t the only previs company on this project, they did create many sequences and they stayed on through the end of postproduction as the sole postvis team. Proof brought a great deal of creativity to the table. So much of the movie depicts creatures that come to life – creatures that could only be presented digitally. They provided the first pass, which amounted to blocking the animation for the characters. In many cases, the animation for the characters didn’t change all that much when those sequences were later handed off to the VFX vendors.” Eric Benedict served as Proof’s previs supervisor on the film, working on the project for 10 months. Proof was […]

Fast and Furious 7 – Trailer

The first trailer for Fast and Furious 7 is out. I worked on this for about seven months in 2013. It was a highly creative project, and I got to create entire action sequences. This trailer features clips from several of them, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the final film. After Paul Walker passed on, I became involved in another project so I never had to deal with the challenges that would have followed. But I left it in very capable hands and I’m curious to see how everything was accomplished in the final product.

DSM Mobile App: Storyboard

Alongside the art direction for this product demo commercial, I was working on the storyboards. This turned out to be the fun part. I recently bought myself a secondhand Wacom Cintiq. It’s been on my wishlist for a decade, but they’ve been prohibitively expensive until recently. It’s also hard to justify a purchase of a grand or more for something you’re not sure you’ll use regularly. I’d walk up to them every time I saw one in person and doodle to see how good they’d gotten. Usually I was disappointed with the disconnect between the tip of the pen and the actual line being drawn.. i.e. the space between the surface and the screen, and the lag in the responsiveness. That hasn’t been entirely solved but it has gotten better as computers get faster and the screens get better. Recently tablets have become popular (finally!), and Wacom has made a stand alone tablet with their pen technology in it. This is essentially the device I’ve been dreaming of for my entire career (seriously? it took that long?), but still…. it’s too expensive. It has, however, had the effect of driving more second-hand units out on to the market. So for […]

DSM Mobile App: Commercial

I spent a few weeks working on this interesting project. On paper it could have been a potentially dry product demo/commercial, but actually the script had a little spark to it and the client had an interest in keeping things engaging. So with the same spirit I took to creating the visuals. It was supposed to be two minutes or less. But when I got the script at two and a half pages long, I had to challenge the length and see if we could trim it. But ultimately this was about conveying specific information, rather than abiding by any fixed time slot. So the video ended up being 25% longer than it was originally planned for. Take note… one page of script is roughly one page of screen time. Of course it can vary wildly depending on how it’s written and what the content is. But if you start there you’ve got a good guide. I’ve been on other projects where the producers didn’t know this and it’s come back to bite them in the butt later when, for a fixed bid, they’ve found themselves producing a lot more screen time than they anticipated… for free. So be careful […]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Trailer 3

The third trailer for Dawn of the planet of the Apes is out now, and it showcases a few shots I worked on, and many more I recognize. I worked on the film at MPC for a couple of months last year. It’s exciting to see it coming together. I’m still on the prowl for a big poster to take a picture alongside.

Divergent – Trailer shots

I worked on Divergent very briefly at Third Floor as a Shot Creator (or Previs Artist), and I’m stunned to discover that a couple of shots from my sequence made it into the trailer. They’ve probably been revised a million times since I touched them, so I won’t get too excited. That’s what happens when you’re not the last man standing on a project… plus of course they can always shoot it differently on the day. But still… I wasn’t paying attention in the cinema, then suddenly I realized I was looking at some very familiar shots. I almost dropped my popcorn!

Parkour for Layout and Previs

Some time ago I animated this Parkour piece as a one off exercise and it’s been in my animation reel for a while. You can read about it here. But as I was thinking about doing new pieces for my layout / previs reel I realized it would be a great piece to build on. Originally I kept the camera very plain so that the focus of the piece was the animation on the character. There were no cuts, as that could have been perceived as a way to hide cheats in the animation. But for this new piece that wasn’t important. So I could cut as often as I liked, explore angles and even use slow motion. It’s a work in progress and I intend to come back to it. I want to spend some time playing with the layout of the buildings, improve the textures, add motion blur, depth, focus, foreground elements passing the camera and possibly even light and render it. I had fun playing with Maya’s new Camera Sequencer to put this together which made speed changes very easy. It has a great tool for batch playblasting what ever shots you select in the sequence which […]

Storyboards and Animatics

I pulled together a collection of some of the storyboards I’ve done over the years that have made it online. It’s a curious mix of quick thumbnail storyboards and more carefully illustrated panels. Most of these projects I’ve essentially been the Director and primary artist so I could get away with what ever it took to get the point across and rarely had to take it further than that. Someday I’d love to get my hands on a Cintiq and some proper storyboard software to do something quicker and prettier, even better would be a tablet setup so I can create without being locked to a desk. So far most of my storyboarding tends to be in little boxes on standard paper (A4 or letter format), scanned in and arranged in Premiere to a temporary soundtrack.   For further details here’s a summary page about the projects I’ve storyboarded on over the years.

Portfolio Website Update

I’ve posted a number of website updates to include some recent work. I did a short stint in New York working on previs for commercials. It was a surprisingly quick job, but we generated a lot of content in that time. You can check it out here. In other news I’ve moved to Los Angeles and I’m looking forward to catching up with my west coast buddies. Devils, Angels and Dating picked up the Orson Welles Award, which I’ll be going to the California Film Awards ceremony to accept. It also passed a million views on YouTube over the Christmas break.

Updated Layout / Previs Demoreel

I’ve been doing a lot of spit and polish on my portfolio recently while hunting for work. Half of the shots in my Layout / Previs reel are new thanks to the release of Skylanders Giants.

The Layout Sandwich

I started my first full time job in animation and, along with another person starting the same day (later to become a close friend of mine), we found ourselves being taken into a large room with a cinema screen high up on one wall. We were sat down and told we’re about to see what we’re going to be making for the next six months. What we saw was (for its time) a very impressive action adventure role playing game filled with characters and cut-scenes (FMVs or cinematics as many prefer to refer to them). It was my first day at Rare, a 200 strong, growing company with a very strong pedigree working under Nintendo’s wing. My friend and I were given an outline of what we’d be expected to start working on. He was a software engineer so we weren’t going to be doing the same things but we were going to be working together a lot. I was fully prepared to be doing in-game cycles, when the Director turned to me and casually told me I’d be making the cutscenes. I forget now if it was verbal, but I know that in my mind I went “Wahoooooo!”. It was more […]