Monday, December 2, 2013

tongue test

I know. 
This looks really weird. And kind of suggestive. 
But with some help from my new friend Sam, I was able to get Iana's face model retopologized and get some jaw and tongue joints in there. Now I've got to work on some blendshapes and controls. Long way to go, but I thought I'd share my latest weirdness.

Monday, October 14, 2013

undiagnosed ADD

Gooooooooood lorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrd.
For the life of me, I can't focus on anything right now. I'm just trying to finish one rig, but I keep getting distracted by the thought of veggies going bad in the fridge. Delicious veggies, here I come to cook you!
Then I'll have to take the compost out to the garden, obviously. While I'm out there, I should probably do a little weeding so my neighbor doesn't get irritated and push weeds under the fence again. Oh, and I can do some laundry. And I should sweep the stairs. Maybe I should go on Pinterest. Then I'll take Zoe for a walk. Do yoga. Make some tea. Oh look! It's dinner time! Let's go cook some more veggies. And so it continues.
I finally sit down to rig and now I'm looking at my notes and finding three different ways to make IK/FK switches and I'm totally paralyzed trying to figure out which one I want to use. URG. Clearly that means it's time to write a semi-sane blog post. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Back from Brazil!

I made it back from Brazil unscathed! Except for losing my camera in a cab and getting the most mosquito bites I've ever had in my life. Those Amazonian bugs aren't kidding around. They bite you THROUGH your clothes. And layers of DEET. The little bastards.
So thanks to my absetmindedness, I now have no pictures of the lightning storms over the Amazon, the piranhas we caught, the tree climb over the Rio Negro, the streets of Salvador, the surfers and the crabs in Itacare or the big Jesus in Rio.
But I did get a pretty sweet pair of neon Havaianas while I was there.

Unfortunately, while I was gone Zoe was staying with my parents and she had some abandonment issues, which led her to start biting her back leg. To get her to leave it alone, we've instituted the cone of shame. But to give her a break from smashing the cone into all the walls, I fashioned her a sumo wrestler diaper out of a t-shirt. So this is currently what my dog looks like:

Now that I'm back, I finally got a chance to go to the drop-in life drawing class at the Mission Cultural Center last night. It was strange, but fun. The "teacher" (maybe she was just the facilitator?) didn't even acknowledge people as they came in and the music she put on was some bluesy song about not eating yellow snow... um... sure. It's only $8 for two hours of drawing a live model. Hopefully I'll start going more often. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

what I've been up to lately

Still working on the spider rig and about to start a full biped rig, but at the moment, I'm focused on facial rigging. I got this great head model from my friend Iana and I've been modifying it to be able to create some facial expressions and controls. Little did I know that it would be such a long process... I had to retopologize a bit because the export from Mudbox was a pretty dense mesh. I think I was able to keep it pretty true to the original model. Then I had to add teeth, a tongue and eyes.
Here's what I came up with:

Weird, right? Not too bad for my first try at modeling mouth parts... at least in my opinion. Although, now it's time for the real test -- to see if they look really crazy when I try to make her smile or open her mouth. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sketching on the plane

I was drawing some lions in my sketchbook on the flight into Frankfurt and a family with two little girls was sitting next to me. The older girl on my left didn't say a word to me, but kept looking intently at my drawings, then finally looked up at me. I smiled and she pointed at my notebook. When I handed my pen over and asked if she wanted to draw something, she carefully drew a heart on the page. From then on, we were immediate friends. She told me her name was Emma, she's 5, her parents are 41 and 44 and all about her pet chickens and her old dog. At one point her parents had to tell her to stop trying to use me as a pillow and to stop trying to speak to me in German. So adorable.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

spider rig

This is my latest rigging project. It still needs some tweaking but I thought I'd put up the little animation test I did. I tried a new way of skinning this rig and a different way of painting weights by selecting vertices and flooding them to individual joints, which actually was more successful than my last project. 
Ideally, I'd also like to still tweak some of the weight painting on the verts, put in some deformations, add more flexibility in the leg joints, more controls for the body (which you can't see in this video) and texture the little critter... In progress! 

Sunday, June 30, 2013


So I've been drawing hands lately. Not sure why... but thought I'd share since I haven't posted in a while

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

escape plan

Or maybe lack of a plan... This is my final for my screenprinting class. I was thinking about the idea of "climbing the ladder" in terms of building a career and making money, and really, how going to art school is kind of climbing down that ladder for me. More like a fire escape than a ladder. Not to say that engineering is like a burning building that I need to flee, but... well, maybe it is. Or maybe art school is just a better fit? 
OR I'm going to end up penniless and homeless. Who knows?!? It's just all so exciting thinking about all of my bleak prospects!

When I tried to explain the idea behind this print in our critique, I was met with silence. Which made me feel like a gigantic Dumas. At the end of class, though, another girl who works for CalFire came up to me and said that when I was talking about the ladders and art and money, she felt the exact same way. So, either the silence was just weird art kids not understanding what I meant because they haven't yet experienced the world of personal finances, or the CalFire girl and I are both a couple of Dumases.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Senior Project

Here's my senior project. Another not quite finished piece, but I'm happy with the amount of work I did on it. I guess. Ha.
The title literally translates to "life" which sounds really pretentious, but I meant it more in the way I heard a lot of Russians say it. When something sad or really unlucky happened, they would let out a world weary sigh, shrug and say "Zhizn" as if resigned to living in an unfair world.
I know. It's still pretentious. But I'm in art school so bear with me.
...or I guess I'm not anymore!
I feel so lucky to have gone to school with so many talented and generous teachers and other students! I can't wait to see what all the CCA kids end up creating. And I'm so grateful for my family, friends and coworkers who have been there to support me in my crazy decision to go back to school.
I love you guys!

Friday, May 10, 2013

let me catch my breath

During my last two weeks of school, I finally found a chance to shoot my final piece with Charlie from last semester. I'm not totally happy with it. It could still use some more in-betweens and some of his faces aren't quite right, but it's pretty good for me!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


So I'd consider this my first real rigging project. The model of the "skywhale" was created by my classmate, Kevin Baker, who has some serious modeling skills. But the motion system and controls were created by me. Which means, I totally made that thing fly. 
I know it doesn't seem very artistic to just make joint chains and controls and put them in hierarchies, but it's strangely addicting... especially once you see them moving. I love it.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

my latest obsession

So I don't know if it's just because it's another nice distraction from working on my senior project, or if it's because it's something I can do when my hand (and/or brain) hurts from too much CG rigging, but I have completely fallen in love with screenprinting. The whole process is mesmerizing. Similar to rigging, I can be in the print studio for hours at a time working on a print and not realize how much time has gone by until my back starts hurting or my stomach tells me I better find some sustenance soon or perish.
On the last project, my teacher showed me how to print a gradient (or degrade, as they called it at her school in Canada). Here are some of my results.

The first is a print from a photograph of my great grandpa Lee on his farm. I scanned it into Photoshop and applied a halftone filter to it so I could create a stencil from it. The quote is from an e.e. cummings poem called dive for dreams.

Here's an example of another gradient before I applied the second layer.

And here's the rest of the print. It's a photo of Lee's brother, my great great uncle Burt after he crashed his car.

And here's the last print I just finished which used the most layers so far. Four different straight colors and a two color gradient. It was a challenge to get all five layers registered, but I did pretty well. Not perfect. Meh.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


So I'm taking a screenprinting class this semester and once again, I'm totally loving it!
I'm starting to think maybe I should've been a printmaking major. Except that they smell bad and always look disheveled and I don't understand half the prints I see around campus... Take my typewriter for example. Sadly, it has no deeper meaning behind it. I like typewriters and bright colors. It's something I wouldn't mind looking at on a wall. It's obsolete and antiquated and has some nostalgic appeal, but no real underlying message.
Whereas other kids in my class printed things like a naked man and woman shooting their heads off with blood splatter. Or phallic playstation controllers. Um... thanks, but no thanks. When it comes to conceptual art that represents the deeper philosophical underpinnings of something like "ink on paper" and what it can say about femininity or consumerism... I just don't think I'll ever really get it. >sigh< C'est la vie.
Anyway, here's my print! In all its Technicolor fabulousness!


An I even tried putting it on a t-shirt... with mixed results. It's harder than it seems.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

contour... blind contour

The other day in my senior project class for animation, we were waiting for the teacher to come around and talk to us individually about our projects and my friend David decided it would be fun to do some blind contours. A blind contour is when you draw something without looking at your paper or lifting your pen until the image is complete. It typically ends up looking like either your brain, your hand or maybe both are heavily medicated and have gone rogue on you. And it was a fantastic idea. We soon got tired of drawing each other, so we moved on to the interwebs, where we chose the theme of Bond actors. These are my results and I find them surprisingly entertaining. Enjoy.





Saturday, February 2, 2013


These are a few sketches for character designs for a project I want to work on outside of school.
I know I should be working on my school assignments, but this is how my brain works!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Drawing buildings

So this break hasn't quite been the powerhouse of production that I had planned it to be... but I got in some good quality time with friends and fam and that's the important stuff, right?
In the meantime, here are some drawings of buildings. Fascinating stuff, I know.



Sunday, January 6, 2013


My friend Heller was in town starring as George in a touring production of Of Mice and Men put on by The Acting Company so we tried to squeeze in some quality hang-out time while he was in California.
He liked the rotoscope piece I did and requested one for his fiance, Gisela.
Here's the finished product:
By the way, he was AMAZING in his performance. I know he's headed for some wonderful things in the future and I can't wait to see more of his acting!
Love you Heller and can't wait for the wedding!