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Wrapping up 2012

Since I returned from my San Francisco trip 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.

In addition to working full-time, 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.

Thanks to LabJovem, an Azorean festival which awarded my film best in their film category, I have been awarded a training scholarship and I’m extremely excited with my choice of school. So the thing I’m counting down the days for is my move this January to San Francisco for four months to take courses from the Animation Collaborative, a school recently founded by Pixar teachers last summer! In fact it is taught across from the building, so they can teach conveniently right after work.

Actually it’s quite cool how I discovered it in a series of events. After I met with Carlos Baena, I noticed on his blog that he personally recommended this school and after a bit of research I was sold! Although I was accepted in September with short notice, it made more sense to settle details beforehand and go in the Winter semester. Also, it’s been great to be in contact with current and future students to see the quality of work they are producing so I know that not only will I be mentored by superb teachers but be in class among very motivated/talented people!

In the meantime I’ve been working on several animation exercises, a Pixar Lamp and ball one dedicated to both Steve Jobs and Pixar, part of an animation exercises forum I’ve joined.

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Back to the Drawing Board

This month I’ve spent much time drawing, painting and planning. Here is an example of one page of my sketchbook, this day I was studying the sketch style of one of my major inspirations, illustrator, concept designer, filmmaker, screenwriter, (former animator!) Iain McCaig.

Below is a painting I created in acrylic to study one of the promotional photos of a favourite film The Secret of Kells, I was lucky to attend the filmmaker’s presentation of behind the scenes of the film at a Siggraph Vancouver event a couple years ago before the film got an Academy Award nomination. This is a film I recommend to all my friends as it is quite the gem in terms of story, characters and visual style but still isn’t that widely known.

Inspired by this style I went on to create my own design as a 11″x15″ watercolour utilizing a similar painting texture. Here is the progress from the initial sketch, the outline in ink, the application of watercolour resist for the flowers etc., painting in sections of similar colour and the final product.

In the next update I hope to share an animation exercise in addition to really exciting news! Trying my best to have patience and to prepare for what is to come :)

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Decisions, Decisions

This is the week of big decisions for me! In the meantime, thought I would post a few photos.

Life drawing from last night, I wanted to try out a different style – it was difficult to drawing only in pen as there was no room for mistakes! Took about 15 min:

Another quicker drawing, 5 min. pose:

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