3D Animation Cinema Tests

As I acclimatize myself to my new home/ studio, I am also continuing to explore the hybrid forms of animation I am attracted to. I’ve already completed one Stop Motion film for a prestigious client (more about that when I can) while I examine my methodology and art practice as a #nextgen cinema artist.


Here I am developing the look for a longer form web series (10 chapters x 10 minutes) that I want to make for 2017. Using IClone 6, voice actors from Chicagoland and a modicum of support from CCC, I am hopeful that I can bring this to fruition.


What’s exciting about this work is deciding the form it shall take once online, 2D or 3D, color or B/W? Create a full series and then bulk upload all episodes or time release on a weekly basis? My continued exploration of #onlinecinema and #motioncomics coupled with a healthy interest in designing limited animation formats while maintaining artistic control and narrative & visual cohesion drives me.


This is a world of limitless opportunities for me as I design and create stories I have the technical ability to tell married to the assets I develop, purchase and create. IClone and Google Warehouse plus their Content Marketplace allow me a plethora of tools – and my own filmmaking skillset allows me the ability to create films online that resonate.


New Home & New Art

This last month I have been swamped with moving to Miller Beach, IN. Seeking solace from Chicagoland, we moved to a picturesque beach community 30 miles outside Chicago – and I couldn’t be happier. It’s an easy commute to work (with a direct train dropping me off at the college) and a world of unexplored opportunities for us here.


I’ve got more than enough space in my basement studio to work on my CGI, StopMo and other animated work. My backyard is complete with a woodland scenicscape perfect for backgrounds for my new #ironwood project. It is here I can concentrate on the Brian Jacques inspired fantasy art that I have long  tempted to create.


This type of cinema (whether fully CG or a hybrid StopMo venture) will be the work at hand for the next little while.I want it to be non-verbal, visually dynamic and (hopefully) inspirational entertainment I can play at festivals and share online.

So, as I settle into my new home, I can look forward to my continued adventures, trials and tribulations creating my new worlds in my new home. #thankful.

New Video Projection Mapping Documentary

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 5.03.22 PMOn/Site 2016 is a large scale architectural projection event that showcases video art, experimental film and projection mapping. The program explores the potential of media interventions to shape our perception of the built environment and highlight the social context of architecture. The event will take place as part of the Big Walls urban mural festival and Manifest, a Columbia College street festival celebrating of Columbia College’s student work. This year’s screening will include work produced by Columbia College undergraduate, graduate, and faculty and will feature a selection of curated video art from the curators of Video Guerilla in Brazil.


918 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605

Watch the event here:

Toon Tests in Iclone 6

Using IC6, I’ve started work on anew look for some animated films as I pack up our apartment for our move in June. The goal is to develop another outlet building upon the skills I had developed already.

Color 1

I built a character in CC (and will continue to look and develop other characters) and popped her into a quick BG as I worked with the Toon render engine.

B/W Video Test 1

Based on this initial finding, I continued to expand my options using a combination of different lighting and color options. I like the look I am getting here and will have to do more advanced tests to nail hair and cloth movements.

What’s great about this is I can also consider an additional run using Akvis for a true hand-rendered feel and shall investigate an Image Sequence output and color correct in After Effects.

Light Test in B/W

The versatility of IC6 coupled with the toon engine (and additional textures I own) make it a natural for Sketchup integration. I even created a 4K(!) version for consideration – but noticed some lag in playback.

Color Test 1

The results are encouraging an, as always, I am grateful for this opportunity to continue ever onwards in my explorations.

Line Art & 2D

So, the experiments begin. Working in Toon Boom and with a limited animation toolset, I shall experiment with a wiggle-based Bill Plympton style I can design as my own. Here’s a simple head turn that shows the style and range I am beginning with.

Sample Animation

I’m able to see the value and benefit of my work as I look to subject matter and possible content for adoption. A speaking part, a monologue, a conversation? All are good tests.

Post CIMM   – With ❤️❤️❤️

Great double screening @ CIMMFEST this past weekend of Gloomy Sunday. A pleasure to be included in the Fringe Short Festival Showcase where I got to MC the Q&A after the screening. Lots of clever and beautiful work on display and I was honored to be included with such luminous peers. Thank you CIMMFEST. 

Hot footed it across town to Facets for the second screening opening for a feature that night. Informative and really well done Q&A with host and I’m thankful to programmer Charles Coleman for adding me to the bill that night. Thank you FACETS. 

Every years CIMM grows in leaps and bounds and it’s great to see this festival take flight and gain greater recognition worldwide. I attended the Awards Night to see who won and it truly reflected the international scope and diverse range of the winners. Check out the award winners at http://www.cimmfest.org. 

I’m on hiatus right now waiting to get back into my studio. Senior StopMo students at CCC needed space and I turned over my work area without hesitation. I’ve got a new picture bubbling in the background anyway – and, fingers crossed, I shall get it done before I’m finished for the semester and we begin the South Shore exodus. 

At our new home I shall have a dedicated studio space complete with a large animation/ model table downstairs. It’s a perfect set up for me and I’m anxious to get started. The move to Miller Beach in July is our exit out of Illinois and into Indiana. The train ride in is about an hour and it drops me at the college so it’s an easy commute. More on this soon. 

Hand Drawn vs 3D vs StopMo

This week I was able to steal an hour in the advanced Cintiq lab at school and get my hands on drawing digitally on a Cintiq monitor. Wow – where have you been all my life? What a wonderful experience! I’m still very much a novice when it comes to drawing online (or, heck, in analog form) but what was nice for me was that I no longer suffered from the disconnect between the Wacom tablet and the screen. Even as a typist, I still suffer from watching my fingers on the keys – and it’s true with drawing digitally as well. Now, with the Cintiq (or Pen-based monitor), I could track my work.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 5.18.53 PM

Using Harmony Pro, the big boy version of Toon Boom, I whipped off a quick pencil test and saw a much more fluid and stronger line in my work. Yes, smoothing took off some of the wobble and hesitancy – but it was encouraging to see a stronger ink line appear before me. What fun! Even my fledgling attempts at creating a Koala allowed me a recognizable and well shaped work. So, it’s all about those 10,000 hours. One down. Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine to go.

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 5.21.24 PM

As I continue to explore my work in the animated form, combining my 3d animation skill set with my newly grown StopMo skills, I figured why not continue my hands-on research and work with 2D as best I could. Develop a UPA inspired style for personal cinema or a more sketch-based avant-garde approach.

EZ Render 2.jpg

Yet the appeal of my 3d work is hard to beat. I’ve got four minutes done on the Erich Zahn film that awaits conclusion and the fidelity and ‘professional’ look of the finely rendered image is hard to beat. Yet, I adore hand drawn and am daring to give myself permission to try. To build my skill set even further and find my metier as I can.


As I lean in and work on building my animation chops, I can only get stronger. My drawing informs my 3d work. My Stopmo timing informs my 3D. In the end, it’s all animation and getting my timing down right. Slowing down for my best work. Finding my working methodology and best practice.