Saturday, March 21, 2015

STOPMOTION IS HARD!!!!

Hey Guys!

   8th shot was just approved and I feel like its my best yet on Kubo.

 I feel very excited that my Next shot is not only my first REAL dialog piece. Its a  GREAT dialog piece....I get a good 5 second spot of the character rage filled and boiling before she lashes out.

EXCITING!!

and I feel like this could be the reel piece front runner I am looking for!! wish me luck!!

as for getting into a groove the last time we talked...

It has been Hard and the stress definitely has gotten the best of me more than once
...felt a few hints of a sore throat....and some lost sleep....but luckily i was able to fight the sick off fight my inner demons- and take some perspective that the sun will come up tomorrow and the world moves forward.

Stopmotion is already an obsessive field - tracking body parts in the search of perfectly smooth movement as well as the perfect performance can really mess with your head.

Every little imperfection can feel like the end of the world  -

when you are chasing the LAIKA standard - trying to make your Quota - as well as battling your own internal dialog one frame at a time. It can put you in an state where you could easily get a bit kooky.

  I have questioned my own abilities on this project many times.....but a few conversations with some of the sr. animators reassured me that they all go through the same thing.

They feel that after I get a few under my belt I will be able to move smoothly and a lot of the angst will go away.

I think its true and can even feel it starting to happen....

Stopmotion is HARD guys....really really hard.

....nothing comes easy.

   and......I love it!

         so....in sharing the process with you guys...


I thought I would clarify a few things with NEW shot Rigging set up for anyone interested.

 so....

When a new shot is analyzed before starting-

The rigging team looks at the shot and whats required - the puppet being used and access for the animator on the set. The main puppet will need support - Lots of falling rocks - The Main Rock Base and then pebbles and leaves

After Talking to the camera guy and animator they will usually build a rig that will get you through a rehearsal on 2's-

after the rehearsal is looked at in the Theater by every department head- Puppets -VFX - Lighting camera - sets - so on

The animator - VFX- will ask for any changes needed from lessons learned in the rehearsal.

Then you go into the real shot.

  That is how rigging works....and the rigging team at LAIKA is incredible. They pretty much take as much pain out of the shot as possible before we start the clicking.

              justin




Sunday, February 22, 2015

4th Shot - and Getting my feet under me.

Hey guys!

 I just finished my 4th shot which was { THE shot } I was thinking was going to be my very first moment on KUBO.

Due to scheduling changes....I ended up with 3 others before I got it.

It was not easy shot ...but ......-NOTHING IS EASY in stopmotion.

I am a guy who try's to prepare as much as I can for a shot I know is coming down the pipe....but time and time again.....until you are on set and in the real situation its not always that helpful.

Spacial - timing differences - camera staging - puppet limitations....its all problem solving.

But............I did the job-  I got it approved after a hard few days and I think when its all comped in and played in sequence it will do the job!

 So....

Moving forward....I am rehearsing my 5th shot and starting to feel the groove of making feature films again.

There is a hustle and bustle going from set to set  - shot to shot....

You finish a shot and you get directed for the next one - problem solving -new rigging puzzles -puppet needs and then meeting the expectations and quotas.

Alot going on....and each shot is an emotional journey.

I have definitely felt unsure more than once during the production of an animation......... but then when it gets approved and I know its going to be in the film and Up on that BIG SCREEN I get High as a kite.

Its a thrilling moment!!

    I am PROUD proud proud to be part of making this film....

            DREAM STUFF!!

                             jriggity

Friday, February 6, 2015

1rst Shot of KUBO approved !!

Hey Guys!

    Its Friday night after 4 weeks in the test unit.......and I just got my first shot approved and
 5 seconds of footage on the big screen for KUBO and the Two Strings.

Man oh man in the frying pan......I gota tell you....I fought for every single one of my 164 frames.

I did a rehearsal on Monday and that just did not go very well....I missed a few things that I wanted to do with the character and generally was just not pushing things far enough......  it was a bit stiff in some of the transitions....and I also was learning how to use the rig and puppet as I went ........

Learning how to use the rigging that is created for a shot can be tricky and I ran into a few issues that I figured out by the end....but.....the end is not typically when you want to learn....ohh well?

After getting feed back from the director you can be launched onto the real shot.....or....they can have you do another rehearsal if they want to see the changes they ask for...

 I was launched into the real shot.....
The changes they asked for....they felt I could handle by just going into the shot.......so.....with some understanding of the character, rigs and all the hopes in the world.....I begin!!

..............After grinding through my first couple of days of real shooting - a few new puzzles to solve  and a few cut backs to keep the quality as high as I could..... I reached that last frame on my x sheet.

deep breath.......whats next?

When you finish a shot on a film ....there is a period between having the shot published....and waiting
to see if it is approved?
You typically have a feeling of ..........yes.....no.....or maybe....... it will get approved??

Will the director or directors buy off on the shot? .......I had a very strong ---- MAYBE?

I addressed all of the notes from the rehearsal review which was great but I had one timing element
I wasn't sure the director would go for?

I felt sooo much relief when they told me it was Green lit!!!!

I literally was smiles for miles!!! I had been fantasizing about that moment for the last 5 weeks......my first GREEN LIT shot.....and there it is.

So...Its official-

I am a Feature animator on KUBO and the 2 strings....My second LAIKA film.

What an honor.....

I  walked down those long halls and look up 40 feet at the ceiling of the building and just feel like
I'm on the field playing at the superbowl....

Feel Like I am fighting at Madison Sqaure Gardens

Like I'm riding my BMX Bike at Hell Track!!


        this is the first of MANY shots to come guys.....I left Paranorman with almost 3 minutes of footage......I hope to have a big bunch of fun stuff to bring home with KUBO as well.

               more to come...

                                 justin


Monday, January 19, 2015

2 weeks in - Testing

Hey Guys!

   Here I am after surviving my first 2 weeks back at LAIKA.......It feels Amazing to be back in the building.....and I was Overwhelmed with all its Glory.

First Off .......KUBO is going to be cinematic Awesomeness!!! You guys are gona LOVE it!!

Laika continues to Push the boundaries of what stopmotion is capable of.....and it will be like nothing you have seen before On the Big Screen....Pure AMAZING...

So.....

My personal journey-

First days are pretty easy......-  read the story - watch the animatic and Feast my eyes on the characters........

This is incredibly exciting. You are both watching-thinking as a { FAN - audience member} but then your mechanical brain is thinking?? How the heck are we gona do that??

Then I find out what sequence I will be working on.....

......and I got a Doooozy....... My sequence is chock full of ?? How the heck are we gona do that??

This is where alot of the MAGIC lies in stop motion.....the problem solving.....the hidden wires....the slight of hand. I cant wait to see how it all works.

Then....its onto testing -


I get my first Puppets that will be my Focus for my time at LAIKA....

On Paranorman.....I mainly animated Norman and Alvin for 95% of the time I was there. So I spent my time testing them before I hit the stages.....although you do get other characters that you have not tested ......the majority of the time you will animate your expertise.

On KUBO ....I am specializing again in 2 characters....And spent the first 2 weeks just testing one of them.

Pushing the puppets to the extents - Finding and staying in character in all actions - and testing for situations that are coming down the pipe eventually.

This is a very fun time and also very good for building confidence moving forward.

I was very filled with anxiety coming back to LAIKA since they are soooooo freaking amazing in what the do.....and also because this last year I focused mainly on  my CG animation and was not practicing daily in stopmo which is all these guys do at the highest levels.

so in short - I felt I was going to be - Not up to Snuff.

Testing is a way for me to find my footing and confidence before I start shooting film....and also get used to working on 1's which is a whole different ball game that animation on 2's like most TV shows .
so....here I am headed into week 3....with a few good tests under my belt and nothing but PASSION to pour into this film....

I'll check in as soon as I get my first shot assigned in 2 weeks!!

           jriggity



Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year ----- New ADVENTURE

Hey guys,

    I am happy to say that I am re- joining LAIKA for another Amazing Film.

KUBO and the 2 Strings-

    2 days Driving and I just pulled into foggy wet Portland tonight. After unpacking and feeling the Head cold my son gave me take the last of my energy I sit to blog.

It was another BIG decision to join this project due to leaving family - LA and a great CG job....but It was time again to tackle a HUGE film and tell An EPIC story as only LAIKA can!!

My CG job is very rewarding but since I lead a team of animators I spend way more time organizing and directing than I ever get to animate. It can be very frustrating to my animator heart but that's why I try to keep animation balance at home when I don't animate at work.

I was also talking to LAIKA way before the project was announced so we knew the project was brewing and that they would like me to animate on it........me and shel had lots of time to consider and talk about the situation.

In the end Shel and Aedon were very excited again for me to join and be a part of the MAGIC!! And completely supported my return .

We have a very clear schedule of visits set and I am missing them already.

     so ..... as Monday-First Day-  approaches

 I am feeling TERRIFIED and THRILLED.....all together....Living LIFE.

       I will be working with the most talented Stopmo artists on the planet!! lucky me.....

                       more to come....

also....in preparation for coming back to LAIKA and getting some practice I created some animation with my Dirk Puppet....

I sculpted the puppet a while back after meeting a child hood animation Idle Don Bluth at CTN .
 Don Bluth was KEY to my entering the arts and animation specifically- In our talking I told him I was an animator and that he was a HUGE influence. I am sure that he heard that a million times over the weekend....and I was just another face to forget. I wanted to change that by sending him an animation of DIRK in stop motion.

NOW I had a clear reason to finish the fabrication. Shel foamed and painted the puppet and we both made some simple wire armatures to get them moving.

here are some of the tests-
Grab and slam-
Grab and Slam WIRE from jriggity on Vimeo.
Sword Fight test-
Sword Fight1 test from jriggity on Vimeo.
Here a Noise-
NOise Test from jriggity on Vimeo.
Walk-
Walk Strutsm from jriggity on Vimeo.
Run-
Run Test from jriggity on Vimeo.

Now that I feel comfortable with the puppet I am ready to create the counterpart which will blow peoples minds  over the next few months as a side project.

    I will post the progress here

                talk soon.

                           justin
         


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I am Back!!

Hey Guys,

It has been a Looong time since I Have posted......and I am here to let anyone who finds it know...  I'm back.

We took a long break after Finishing Dogonaut's to just relax and enjoy the aftermath of our Huge marathon film making adventure. Dogonaut's has played all over the world and was received very well.

We do plan on Releasing the DVD with special features in 2015 as it ends its Festival Tour.....So I will be announcing that here when the time comes.

This last years News-

 I did not just lay around guys......there was plenty of Art-animation that was going on....I just was doing most of it  on the computer....

1. I shipped a new video game.


I was lucky also enough to work A Bunch on the New {SPONGEBOB - Sponge out of Water} Feature Film releasing in Feb.......Super very excited to take my grandma and little cousins to go see it.

I was lucky to do a few shots on the NEW Christmas {ELF} Special for NBC.....!!  Check it out!!

I also had the chance to work a good amount on an awesome NEW kids show from Amazon Studios called TumbleLeaf....

The show is for very young kids but it is chock full of charm and I enjoyed all my time working on it.

I have also been doing alot of CG work for a short film that I am collaborating with a group of Feature CG guys......I cant share anything from this yet.....but its gona be very fun to Share when the time comes and I hope the project allows me to pump up my Feature CG reel some more.

so.....that's the Update guys....and kickoff post ....

        I have HUGE news coming up in the next few weeks....and I will be posting regularly for the next adventure.....so

        talk soon!

                      justin

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The PREMIERE

Hey Guys!

It happened-

 We had our Premiere of ---- DOGONAUT'S ----ENEMY LINE---- this last weekend and it went great.

We had about 200 guests....friends and family for the showing of 7 animated films ending with our own latest.

We had a nice little push leading up to the day.....Me and shel getting the Videos ready - models ready - cleaning up broke down puppets and ships.....lots to do in Prep...

After getting all the details in order we packed up the car and were on our way the the Theater.


On arriving to the theater we met our Long time Art assistant Bridget Dash for some help setting up the tables and testing the projector playing all our films before the show began....



We have not see Bridget for a few years....she left to go work at WETA in New Zealand on the Hobbit...
so cool!!

      After Set up lots of folks started rollin in and we talked to as many folks as we could....
I really wanted to connect with everyone but it quickly became a Busy Situation and I unfortunately had to be quick in my saying hello.








People who came in got to see up close and personal the puppets -ships and props from the film....People were afraid to touch but everywhere I could I told them to reach out and squeeze them puppets....feel them ships.


Its one of the coolest parts of our medium.....you get to not only watch characters come to life....

you get to feel them -smell them and sit right down into the little worlds we create for them.

....One of the most common questions we got from the crowds were?? Are these the same puppets that are in the film?

 YES--- The very exact ones!!


...... We kicked off the show with a small talk about the making of our film.....the many years and sleepless night to get to this point of finally sharing the film with all of our friends.

One of the MAIN Points I wanted to get across is that .....it wasn't just this one moment-FINISHING-

.....it was The entire Journey of the film. All of the things we learned - the new friends we have made - the many moments creating art with our family - the GROWTH we both have made as film makers and artist's.

It was all about the Ride !! So much work and soo much Fun!!

We started the films.

All of the films played great and when DOGONAUT'S came up - the crowd greeted our film with Huge applause......it was sooo kind and love filled.

 The film played and was shared ---DEEP BREATH ---I was so happy to see the audience clearly understood our story and got all the beats we applied in  our film.

 We finished with a short Q and A ......
which was nice and and then talked to many more friends as we made our way out of the theater.

After making our way out of the theater we had a GREAT lunch with Shel's folks and our family.

We then proceeded to come home and Take a Much deserved NAP.....a 4 YEAR NAP...


   we have a lot of catch up to do!!!

              SO in closing!!!!

We are now excited to take our film on another festival Tour in the next year....visit our sisters and grandma's......Travel to some fun new places and Watch some good films.

 I am happy to announce we were accepted into our Very First film Festival

- The Austin Film Fest -

and we will be traveling there in mid November.

                 talk soon!!  and thanks for all the support guys!!

                          justin