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Great Start for 2015!

Well it looks like it’s time for my yearly blog update! Yes.. I do need to update this more! :) Things have been quite busy and a lot has happened since my last update. Over the past year I have finished off my contract work with Mark Soo on the “Koons on Ice” project, worked on couple projects with my friend Simon’s company Sideview Studios, first on a team project setting up a display floor in 3D of the upcoming Westbank “Vancouver House” project, creating the models and textures for the render and secondly animated the rabbit mascot for an Italian Train company “Italo Treno”, in which I brushed up on my 3D Max knowledge for.

Here’s a photo of our group Vancouver House render:

The exciting project I am currently working on since November is for Disney on the fourth season of the T.V. series “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” at Bardel Entertainment, a company I had my eye on for quite awhile. I started off in the Production side which has given me the opportunity to see the entire creative process of producing a television show of such complexity in a short time frame. From the team leads discussing the Leicas we receive, to the organization of a huge team of 80+ artists to the discussions with the client, there is a lot probem-solving needed and continuous process improvement due to the inherent nature of this type of work. Currently this month I am very pleased to have started a CG Animation and Rendering role. Even though the show is primarily created as a Toon Boom Harmony 2D Animated show there’s still a lot of elements which are rendered in Maya with a Toon Shader to match the look, from the pirate ships to the vehicles to complex characters and machinery. I find it interesting how this project ties into the style my film short, which combined 2D elements of animation and backgrounds in a similar way to the 3D. Looking forward to this upcoming year of work, working on a project that, I must say, looks fantastic so far and with a phenomenal group of talented people!

Just came back from Victoria, where I was interviewed about my film “Oriana” by my some students from my old high school Reynolds Secondary as part of their media program which is organised by my musical theatre teacher John Gray. Looking forward to see it air on Shaw TV in the upcoming week.

In other news, I have just updated my website KaraDesigns.ca with projects added to the 3D Projects, Sketches and Graphics sections. Included in this update is a design for my sister’s upcoming baby shower – trying out the paper cutout look using the pen tool and layer masks in Photoshop, working with a Woodland theme.

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Fall 2013 Update

Wrapped up work with PulseLearning a few months ago and in the meantime I have been working with visual artist Mark Soo, whom I previously worked with years ago on an art installation film project “Several Circles”. This new project has been a learning curve as I have delved into photo-realistic modeling and rendering of a glass sculpture. This has entailed learning the ins and outs of Maya’s mental ray engine, shaders, caustics, photons, ambient occlusion, global illumination, final gathering, HDRI maps and creation of them in HDR Light Studio, cloth simulations and various compositing techniques. I will post a screenshot of the project soon.

In addition to planning a new demo reel I have been playing around with with this new app called FlipaClip, which works well with my Galaxy Note. Here’s a little animation I created, worked on it mostly while on the bus/waiting for flamenco classes to start. My pen wasn’t calibrated properly throughout most of it – but it was fun to keep things a bit loose and work with the energy of the line boil technique.

Flamenco Sway from Kara Miranda Lawrence on Vimeo.

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Wrapping up 2012

Since I returned from my San Francisco trip (which felt way too short!), I have been kept quite busy working at PulseLearning as a 3D Animator, Media Specialist. They are partnered with NGRAIN, and hired many of their employees after NGRAIN decided to shift focus from working on projects in-house to primarily obtaining clients/focusing on their proprietary software Producer. It has been a great experience working with the team, but projects from clients are completing with no new projects foreseen in the near future, so I am currently focused on updating my demo reel and looking for new opportunities as I wrap up the final project stages.

In addition to working full-time (with many overtime hours), I have been involved with a couple contract jobs on the side. One was a project for Marina Bychkova, a successful internationally acclaimed artist who creates luxury hand-made porcelain dolls http://www.enchanteddoll.com. She has the idea of printing off larger than-life size versions of her dolls using the new 3D printing technology to be used in future doll exhibitions. After she 3D scanned the exterior of her doll parts, it was my job to model correctly placed holes and an inside consistent thickness in Maya so that it can be printed separately and pieced together with the armature to be completely pose-able. It was quite a challenge to work with such high polys, but I was quick to develop a workflow to meet the time constraints and discovered helpful modeling tools in Maya that I had never before used. Though it may be awhile as Marina has been jet-setting around the world these days having shows, selling her new resin line and new book, I can’t wait to see the final printed out doll!

Directly following this opportunity, another great one popped up – this time working on an augmented reality children’s colouring iPad app “Paint My Cat“. The company founder/programmer Alex Ferrier utilized the technology in a way that hasn’t been explored thus far. He created the capability of not only having the player coloured drawings on the iPad come to life as 3D objects, but also their printed coloured drawings with the cat appearing in their room in front of them. My work was primarily on the prop models and living room as well as all of the colouring line art. Along with another 3D/UI artist we had roughly a month (of our evenings) to produce all the assets. Due to the independent budget and time constraints, the cat was already purchased modeled, textured and rigged along with all the animations. So far there have been several mostly positive reviews including an article in the Canada Huffington Post not to mention great “user-test reviews” on kids, it has reached Top 50 overall in Canada, has been a featured app on the Canada app store and has won a couple awards in Seattle and Vancouver in the short time it has been released. Hopefully it will continue to do well so the cool planned updates will be implemented! Below are a few screenshots of my work on the app. (All of the outlines I also 3D modeled, with the exception of the cat).

In other news, I was pleasantly surprised to recently hear from two elementary school instructors from Portugal (who separately wrote to me within the past week), one from the Lamego city, the other from Mafra who would like to show the film “Oriana” in their class as a teaching aid. It’s cool that after so many years things with my film “Oriana” still show up! Otherwise, I’m happy to finally have some time to work on side projects and new animations this month.

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Back in Vancouver

I’m back in Vancouver from a great experience in San Francisco studying at the Animation Collaborative. My website Kara Designs http://www.karadesigns.ca has been updated with a brand new design, plus an updated demo reel and blog post about my studies will follow soon. In the meantime, here is a photo taken inside the Pixar Studios.

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