29 December 2017

What I've been doing in the Visual Arts department

As a new faculty member at UNG, I'm still trying to figure things out here. Earlier this semester, I attended SIEGE, the Southern Interactive Entertainment Games Expo in Atlanta, GA. I made some contacts in the industry and found out what is happening in the area, in terms of games and animation development. I'm trying to get in with companies to be able to share opportunities with students and prepare them for the workplace. If I can do some work around here as well, that would help on many levels. 

After the conference, I was interviewed for the university's newspaper about opportunities in the area and what students need to know in order to prepare. The state of Georgia is growing with jobs in the entertainment industry, due mainly to incentives to get studios here for TV and movie production. At UNG, we offer classes designed to get students into these local industries and are working to provide even more. 

12 June 2017

Well, it's finally happened...

If any of you have been following along with my exploits, you should know that I've been applying for and trying to interview at colleges and universities across the country, looking for a permanent position. I enjoy teaching, but life as an adjunct instructor is not dependable. You may recall that a couple of years ago, I went to Arkansas to interview at Southern Arkansas University. That didn't quite work out. Last year, I interviewed at a community college in Tulsa. A bit ago, the SAU called me up and said they had a new opening and wondered if I wanted to be considered again. I said, sure.

I had been applying to many schools recently and got quite a few replies to interview online. Surprisingly, I got a prompt reply from the University of North Georgia, in addition to others I had applied to previously. I did a lot of online video interviews, made some video tutorials, and got a job offer from the UNG. I traveled to Georgia to meet everyone and see the campus. I then flew to Minnesota to interview at a college there. At the same time, a college in Iowa was trying to get me to come out and interview. Oddly enough, I got a call a few days ago from a school in Omaha that I had apparently applied to a while ago, wanting to interview me. These were all for openings to teach in the fall.

When it rains, it pours, right? I guess it's true. After all these years, all these possibilities were coming in at the same time. Well, I accepted the offer to teach at the University of North Georgia. I'll be moving out there with my family to start as a lecturer teaching digital art and animation this August. I'll also continue my freelance work as it comes in. Stay tuned to see what develops, y'all.

29 April 2017

My work on Rogue One

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was officially released for home video (is that still the term?) this month. It was great to finally watch it at home and I still have good memories of working at Industrial Light & Magic last fall at the end of production on this movie. As I recall, I worked on about 20 shots in total, but one of them ended up being cut from the final film. If you've followed the news on how this movie was made, you'll know that a lot of major scenes were filmed for trailers and promotional spots, but were dropped as the end of the storyline evolved into what we saw in theaters. Following are images from shots I worked on, to the best of my memory. Just so you know, my involvement was minor, as my job was rotoscoping and digital paint fix. But it's great to have been a part of this project.

06 January 2017

My illustration work from 2016

Well, it's that time again. The year is over and I look back at my work over the last 365 days. It seems like not that many jobs were completed in 2016, but for a couple months, I was employed at ILM and that took practically all my time. So my work during that time is all in Rogue One, spaced out in various increments all throughout the movie. However, it's hard to point out my work; rotoscoping and paint fix are truly an invisible art. If I do my job well, no one will ever know. Therefore, on to art that can be seen.

My first big piece of the year was more of the usual construction imagery that I've done many times. This one was a bit conceptual and built as a 3D scene using some models from previous jobs, as well as new geometry. The final render was painted in Photoshop to give it the final look and the background skyline was painted from scratch.

This illustration began as a 3D model I built in Cinema 4D. It was to depict work done on the Selim Bridge being built over the Bosporus Strait in Turkey. Since it wasn't completed, I had to work from construction site photos and previous animations. I did my best to make it look correct, but work like this usually requires very accurate measurements and all I could do was eyeball images and guess as best as I could. Hopefully, it looks somewhat correct. The final render was finished and painted in Photoshop. Later, as a personal project, I animated a camera going down the road with trains rushing past on the rails in the middle between the lanes of traffic.

This one may not look that exciting, and it really wasn't. Actually, it was based off of a a previous image I did years ago, and this was an updated version of new equipment. The trick here was to make it look nice, but not spend much time on it.

This was one of my major projects of the year: the usual calendar header illustration. I spent much longer on this than I had originally planned, but as you can see, it was quite detailed. Usually, I like to work from a detailed image, but I didn't have much this time. The main photo I was given was low resolution without much detail, and the view didn't show all the bridges I needed, so I had to combine a lot of images and fudge it a bit. But I like the end result.

The same image was actually longer to the left and needed to have an inset illustration of the bridge being worked on. Luckily, the end client took good photos of the job site, so I had my pick of good source material. It just needed a lot of detail.

This image was a redo of an image done by an earlier artist and it needed to look more impactful and realistic. I used some images from previous work I had done for the same client and did my best to jazz it up. The trick was to make it look realistic, but not to spend much time on it.

Yes, it's another version of the same image. But working with Photoshop's layers makes it fairly easy to make adjustments to technical illustrations like this. I also had to do measurements to make the various elements to scale.

Another quick one. An artist I work with did most of the work as a 3D scene and I finished it off in Photoshop to give it that final touch. It didn't take long.

This was for a magazine ad. For a view like this with complex imagery, it's easier to start in 3D. I used some pre-existing models from an earlier project, along with some models provided to me. The background and details were painted in. For some reason, my client thought it looked like an African savanna, but the top area ended up getting covered by content in the ad anyway.

Now this one was quite the challenge. The layout, design, and seemingly the purpose of the image kept changing during during the whole process. I think I made more comps and WIPs on this one than any other job. The primary elements were a 3D model provided by the end client, because that's what their product is. I then had to turn it into an image showing the various stages of design, rendering, construction, and final scene with some important dimensions shown.

I was pretty excited about this one. It was basically a matte painting project, starting with a  daytime photo. I had to add snow, turn it to a nighttime scene, and create Christmas lights. I later animated it with falling snow in After Effects for a holiday video used by the company.

My last big project was a long animation. I used some previous 3D scenes and animations, but I did have to build new parts for it. Much if it was animation in Cinema 4D and After Effects, so I try to implement a new technique for each job. This was a test render of drill bits to see if I could get their textures right.

Here is a final rendered frame from the final animation. The 3D elements were animated and rendered in Cinema 4D and composited with backgrounds I created in Photoshop and animated in After Effects to match the renders and combined in a 2D environment to depict a cutaway of the drilling process.

This was just a quick job to texture and render out a model provided to me. It was build in a CAD program to very exacting specs. When I finally got a file I could open, I had to do a good bit of work to organize all the many pieces for easier application of materials. I have illustrated machinery like this from scratch as 2D images in Photoshop, but if the client has 3D models available, why not use them?

Here is a different type of project. This is mainly a photo editing type of illustration. The idea was to turn the seedling into the client's logo and make it look like the leaves just grew that way. The glowing circle referenced the logo as well. Background elements had to be adjusted and changed to make the foreground plant really stand out. I got this job from a new client near the end of the year and was trying to get it done. Hopefully more jobs will come.

Looking back on it all, it doesn't seem like there were a lot of jobs completed during this year, but I did work on a lot of design and animation projects that aren't really illustrations. And let's not forget my time at ILM. I certainly won't.