Costume Design (or) Theater People Are Weird

No response, Jun 04, 2010

So I’m taking a costume design class this term. The animation program is actually a major cobbled together by hacking classes off of other programs and smushing them all into one. As such, I think we can get major credit for classes out of at least 6 different programs, one of these being Theater and Media Arts. Costume design is a theater class.

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So here are some sketches of 2 characters from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”. One, the Duke Orsino, is a love-crazed duke who wants this countess who hates his guts. Viola is a shipwrecked foreigner (I have worked Ukrainian influences into her costume to denote her foreign-ness, so I guess she’s Ukrainian) who disguises herself as a boy and befriends Orsino and falls in love with him while she tries to help him court this other lady. Pretty Shakespearian. Sorry for the spoilers, but they get together in the end (hey, it’s one of Shakespeare’s comedies, so of course they do).

Anyway, its a weird class as I’m the only guy in it and the rest are theater girls who are very happy about stage and stuff. My teacher is also quite knowledgeable about clothing and costume. I guess it’s a theater prerequisite. It’s taken us the entire class to get to the part where we actually draw and design stuff, so here they are! I’ll be taking Viola through to a final render and I’ll have 4 or so more renders from a different show as that is the final. Enjoy!

Soe I Got An Internship…

4 responses, May 18, 2010

Clever puns aside, I was offered an internship this summer!

I applied to Sony Online Entertainment, a MMORPG developer in San Diego, a couple weeks ago. A friend of mine who had been talking with them about internships suggested I apply as he had been offered a position somewhere else, so I went ahead and applied. The day after I applied, the SOE hits started pouring in on my portfolio, and they continued into the next day. It’s always nice when a place you apply to actually looks at your application as several places I’ve applied to still haven’t bothered, so I counted myself lucky that they were even looking. The next day I got a call. In the middle of a 3-mile run.

I had a nice phone interview with Dave Brown, head character artist on the Everquest 2 team as I stood in the middle of a deserted, windy road in the middle of nowhere on the borders of Provo and Springville. I had to catch my breath between answers as I had just ran a mile and a half. Interviews with video game developers are always awesome because one of the questions posed is always “So, what video games have you been playing lately?” Then I get rattle off a bunch of titles to show that I do actually like playing games and am currently involved in playing games so that they know if they walk into my office and say things like “Ok, so this character, we want him to kind of have that Team Fortress 2 feel, but with a little more Starcraft style in there, but not too much Oblivion…” and I’ll know what they are talking about. At the very least, it’s a very powerful mental vindication for the gamer.

So the interview went well, and he said they were interested but he used the dreaded “Ambiguous Interview Wrap-up Language” and mentioned getting in touch with some other people and they’ll let me know etc. So I optimistically hung up and Paige and I continued running.

About 5 minutes later, Joe Shoopack called me up. Joe is a BYU Illustration alumni from 1985 or so, and is very active in trying to recruit BYU students and graduates. As he called, I ducked behind a parked car in some lone office parking lot to shield the conversation from the wind, and once again breathed behind my hand between comments. He clarified some things about housing out in San Diego, and then said that they liked me in the interview and said that they would hopefully be getting in touch with me in a day or two. I took the follow-up call 5 minutes after the interview as a good sign.

A few more days of waiting, and I was indeed contacted! I’ll be starting bright and early on June 14th at SOE San Diego, whose offices are not too far away from the San Diego Mormon Temple, where I will be working full-time for 10 weeks. I’m assuming since I was interviewed by their lead character artist that I’ll be working on characters, but I’m not sure. I at least know for sure that I’ll be on the Everquest 2 team. Everquest is one of the original massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games. The most well-known game in this awkwardly-worded genre is World of Warcraft. So tons of people all playing together acting as elves and knights and mages and the like killing monsters and running quests to level up and get more powerful stuff and all that kind of thing. From what I’ve heard, SOE internships are actual hands-on positions, that is I wont be stuck in some training program under the tutelage of a mentor, but I’ll actually be working on the actual game actually. This is more unusual than you’d think, so I’m excited to possibly get real game credit.

So that’s that! San Diego, here I come. Now just to find suitable lodgings and transportation, for one can hardly live in souther California without a car… Which brings us to the REAL point of this post:

Anyone have suitable lodgings and transportation in San Diego they want to rent out to me?

Mobile Pond

No response, May 12, 2010

Just a note, I installed a great WordPress Mobile plugin called WPtouch, so anyone visiting on their phone should get a much more readable version of The Pond. Enjoy!

Something interesting…

3 responses, Apr 21, 2010

So cramming this maquette for finals has brought something to my attention that I always kind of knew and experienced to a certain degree, but as of yet never as potent as on this project. This post is particularly for those who have artists or creative types in their lives and have some kind of desire to better understand the way they think.

The vast majority of the work on the Kangaroo was done after the hour of 10 o’clock at night. This was not planned or scheduled. For a couple days, I had other work to cobble together earlier in the night, but this has been my primary project for the past few days, but I always ended up really getting down to work once Paige and the animals were already asleep. I got to thinking about this really earlier today when Paige and I were planning on going running, but she called her mom “real quick” to talk about something “real quick” and ended up talking for over an hour. Someone with a math project or a paper due the next day, would probably have waited 10 or 15 minutes and then just started chiseling away at their work in the meantime, but looking back, I think all I did while waiting was general emailing, blog-checking, and the like. When Paige was done, I said, “Hey! Cool! Let’s do this, I got stuff to do later,” and she was all of a sudden concerned that she had wasted my time and asked whether or not I had been working that whole time. I told her that I hadn’t. I hadn’t been working on the maquette because I knew that at any moment, I would be interrupted.

Artists cannot stand this, and this is part of the disconnect that inevitably happens in traditional office situations between suits and creatives. The suits need to do suity-type things like have meetings. They love meetings. More than the actual meetings, though, they love to plan meetings, schedule them, give out assignments, and put them in their smartphones. Artists loathe meetings because artists literally never take anything away from them. You could have a 3-hour meeting and everyone in the company would leave pumped and/or informed and/or energized except for the artists unless they had drawn some really neat caricatures in their sketchbooks or something. Meetings are utterly lost on artists and we only attend because the suits hint at scary things happening if they don’t go.

What’s worse than actually attending meetings for artists, though, is scheduling them. If you employ any number of artists and you schedule a meeting for 11am, your artists will produce next to no work for an entire half of the day. They will arrive at work at 8 or 9 or whenever, and remember with disappointment that there is a meeting at 11. They will then open their art-programs, and check the emails, blogs, each other, and maybe organize some files or look at their recent work until the meeting time because there is no time between 9 and 11 to enter, engage with, and exit the creative process. The meeting will last an hour, and then the artists will all go to lunch together to discuss how stupid the meeting was as well as how awesome Looney Tunes are. They will then return to work at 1pm, and possibly get some work done. A 1-hour meeting destroys most of their work day. Suits do not understand this, and as soon as they hear about it, they start to resent and rail against it.

The mere idea that a distraction or interruption is coming is an interruption. Creative types have to engage in their work often times in very specific and personal ways, that it blocks out much of the world around them. Some need music to engage. Others need movies or shows to engage. Some need complete silence. Some engage better at home, others outside. Some cannot stand to create at a desk that is too tall, too short, too shallow or on computers with one too little monitors, too small of monitors, or not the right mouse or tablet. Some require active conversation to produce their best work. Others need OTHER PEOPLE engaging in active conversation around them to work best. Call it their “muse” if you want to be melodramatic, but if you, they, or someone else wants them to produce their own work, they MUST be allowed to construct around themselves the environment they NEED.

This is why many studios and developers allow their art teams to decorate their cubicles and workstations as they see fit. In most of the animation departments at Pixar, there are empty rooms where artists can go in and literally build whatever they want to work in. Houses, stone castles, tropical tiki bars, caves, whatever. Movies that win Oscars and made not by people in cube farms in shirts and ties, but by kids in shorts and t-shirts, working in blanket forts. This is why work dress codes make me laugh on the outside and weep on the inside. You are really going to force your creative team to wear ties when they will never ever interface with “customers” or clients simply because that’s what your 200-level business class told you was “professional”?

So Paige was only slightly baffled at my seeming time-wasting, but only a little as she kinda knows the drill by now, but it was a weird question to me. Why wasn’t I working? Because an hour isn’t long enough to engage in a project like this. An hour is long enough to doodle in a sketchbook, maybe. But to make effective and acceptable progress on a major project? Not even close. So the next time your artist-spouse pleads with you to take $90 and go see 3 movies at the theater with the kids, or make you jealous because while you’re at work all day, they’re at home with movies playing all day, remember that artists need what artists need, and nothing ever EVER. “just takes [them] 15 minutes” as so many deadbeat clients insist.

3-Day Maquette: Final Progress

1 response, Apr 21, 2010

Maquette that is due Wednesday, tomorrow.

Step 7: Detail shapes (ears, tail) and more texture.

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More, better photos will come tomorrow.

This was the first maquette I ever attempted. Its a kangaroo-based character, obviously, but with gorilla’s arms. There are also flavors of rabbit and kangaroo rat in there as well.

What I would do different: The armature needed a bit more work, and I should have definitely gotten a higher-guage wire for it. I used some low-guage “armature wire” from an art store, which was kind of stupid since I could’ve just gone to get some 12- or 14-guage wire from Home Depot for cheaper and it would’ve served better to keep limbs and things in the right places as I worked. Also, I should have spent more forethought with the aluminum and not tried so hard to replicate the shape of the subject, but just bulk up the armature. There were (are) a lot of places on him where the foil is either slightly visible or just barely under the sculpy. In fact, I bulked him up WAY too much under his right shoulder and I had to go in with wire cutters and hack through the armature so I could shrink his elephantitis. I also set out without a real vision of what I wanted the end result to be, so I used a printing block with some kind of linoleum or vinyl coating on it, so I’m not sure how the baking would go if I decided to do it.

He could definitely be worked over a bunch more: smoothed out and detailed more carefully, but deadlines are deadlines, so I’m calling him good for now. I love projects like this that force me to learn a whole bunch of different things about a whole bunch of different things, which as a student, is pretty much every project I immerse myself in.

3-Day Maquette: Progress 06

No response, Apr 21, 2010

Maquette that is due Wednesday, tomorrow.

Step 6: Flesh out head shapes and texture.

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3-Day Maquette: Progress 05

No response, Apr 21, 2010

Maquette that is due Wednesday, tomorrow.

Step 5: Begin right side in more detail.

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3-Day Maquette: Progress 04

No response, Apr 20, 2010

Maquette that is due Wednesday, 2 days from now.

Step 4: Begin fleshing out more detail.

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3-Day Maquette: Progress 03

No response, Apr 20, 2010

Maquette that is due Wednesday, 2 days from now.

Step 3: Cover the aluminum/wire armature with sculpy and continue blocking out general shapes.

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3-Day Maquette: Progress 02

No response, Apr 20, 2010

Maquette that is due Wednesday, 2 days from now.

Step 2: Aluminum foil around the wire armature to block out major masses.

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