Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Department M2

If you've come here by accident or here expecting to find a new post from me, you've come to the wrong place. I've been posting on a new blog which you can find at: Department M2

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Opening Title

Here's the Opening Title for my graduate thesis animation. I hand drew the type, which I had based off of BorisBlackBloxx.

You can download BorisBlackBloxx for free from: Dafont

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hermit Crab Character

So I started to rework how I was going to depict the crab characters during the ocean floor scene. At first I thought I was just going to use these plastic figurines I had photographed but I don't think they were meshing with the overall style of piece. This is what I've come up with instead, a construction/tissue paper crab. There is still some more work to be down to it, like give a bit more dimensionality to the claws and legs but this is basically it.
HermitCrabHere's the crab in a modified style frame. I think he fits in much better with the overall look of the piece.
Under the Sea


So I've started to add in some finished and not so finished art work into my animatic and am in the process of turning it into a storyreel.

Below the Surface(In progress story reel) from Mike Moreno on Vimeo.

Behind the Scenes

So I thought I would post a bunch of behind the scene photos of my production.
Behind the Scenes #7
Behind the Scenes #1, Model Boat BuildingMaking what is hopefully the one and only model boat that I will ever need to make. Above that is everything for my Hermit Crab character.

The following photos are all of my make shift photo studio that I had set up in my living room for a few days, much to the dismay of my girlfriend.
Behind the Scenes #2, Ghetto Photo Studio
Photographing the model boat.

Behind the Scenes #3, Ghetto Photo Studio
Photographing a plastic hermit crab figurine that I thought I might be able to use.

Behind the Scenes #4, Ghetto Photo StudioThat's 10lbs of sand right there that I was photographing to use in my ocean floor scene. It took just about a day to set it up, photograph it and clean it up. I ended up however using a scan of 180 grit sandpaper, which took me a minute to scan and retouch, for my ocean floor. Oh well.

Behind the Scenes #5, Ghetto Photo StudioI thought this was actually pretty clever. I needed some shots of plastic bags kind of blowing in the wind/floating in water. So I tied a plastic bag to a fan using fishing line and photographed it.

Behind the Scenes #6, Ghetto Photo StudioI had my girlfriend photograph me holding a fishing pole in this set up.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Updates coming soon

Check back tomorrow for a bunch of updates to my progress!!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Back on Board

Well, it's been awhile since I posted here and actually it's been awhile since I've even worked on my project at all. I think my faculty panel review at the end of the last semester kind of rattled me and frustrated me a bit. But school will be starting back up in a week and I need to get back on track with doing things for my project. According to my scheldule I had worked out I'm already a bit over a week behind! Today I'm starting to putt together the wooden model boat I have. I hate to say it but I think that might take me longer that I had thought.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stressing Out

It's been a few weeks since I last posted anything although there is a bunch of stuff that has been going on that I should of posted about. Hopefully in the next week or so I'll be able to update the blog. I've just been so stressed out with the amount of work that I have to do and the various things I have to figure out, that it's been kind of paralyzing in a way.

I'm doing my Gantt Chart right now and looking at all the stuff I'll need to accomplish by April 29th is kind of over whelming. I guess I'll just have to keep plugging along.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Model Boat

So a couple weeks ago I think I might of written that I went searching for model boats at hobby shops in NYC. Needless to say I didn't find any. Last week, I was searching online for model fishing boats and I found this great place HobbyLinc and they had all sorts of model fishing boats, just the kind I was looking for. So I quickly placed my order.

Well yesterday my model fishing boat came in the mail. Now I just need to put it together. If your wondering what the plan is, well here it is. I plan on putting the model fishing boat together and then photographing it. I will either print that photograph and then xerox the print and cut that out and scan that and use it for my final art. Or I will trace the photograph and make a nice line drawing of the boat. I would trace the resulting line drawing multiple times and scan them all in and do a traditional type of cell animation with them. I'm still up in the air as to which route I'm going to take. Either way I think it's important that I have this physical model boat as reference and not just photos of boats I found on the internet.

Task List

Well today I put together a task list of everything I need to do. After writing this even though there is alot of stuff on there and it's alot of work it some how made it seem more manageable and doable. So here is my task list.

Michael Moreno
Task List 11/9/08
All photos will be taken by me, unless noted.
All hand drawn elements will be be traditionally cell animated (drawn & scanned).

Sky: still photo
Clouds: Construction paper cutout, hand drawn, scan and animate.
Birds: hand drawn
Ocean/Waves: hand painted sections(water color), scanned in & assembled in photoshop, animate.
Pier: very rough model in maya to get perspective correct, then trace, scan & animate.
Garbage Can: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, color in with markers, scan.
Water Bottle: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, scan
Tug Boat & Garbage Barge: Still not sure all it will be depicted.
Fishing Boat: Assemble model(real actual model), Photograph & process it, print, xerox it, reduce to line drawing, scan and animate(cell animation).
Fishing Pole: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, color in with markers, scan.
Fishing Line: draw, scan & animate
Fishing Hook: Scan, print, xerox it, scan again
Arm & Hand: Photograph, use photo as reference for hand drawing & construction paper cutouts.
Caution Cone: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, color in with markers, scan.
Tire: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, color in with markers, scan.
Plastic Grocery Bags: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, scan.
Jellyfish: Construction paper cutout, hand drawn, scan and animated.
Various Discarded items: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, color in with markers, scan.
Worm: Construction paper cutout, hand drawn, scan and animated.
Ocean Floor: Purchase sand, set up lights & set, photographit, process & retouch.
Underwater Water: Blue construction paper scanned.
Bike: Photograph, process, retouch, print, xerox it, color in with markers, scan.
Crabs: Still figuring that out, but most likely will be some combination of construction paper cutouts and hand drawings.

Learn how to use fractal noise to create displacement maps and to create volumetric lighting for ocean and underwater scenes.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Visual Script

Started preparing my visual script.

Here it is: Visual Script

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Fishing Boat

Well I think I might of solved my fishing boat dilemma. I finally found a model fishing boat. Well, it's not actually in my hands just yet but I did order one online and it should be here sometime next week. Then I'll have to break out the model glue and glue that sucker together(with out gluing my fingers together). The plan is(so far) to put the model together and either use it as a reference to draw from and just have a black and white line drawing as my boat in the final piece or the other plan is to photograph the boat and try out the same treatment, ala Juno. Not sure what one will work the best, I guess I might have to try out both of them.

Friday, October 24, 2008


So I've been scouring the internet lately for some animation references, in regards to two particular points.

1. How to deal with blending the photographic elements with hand drawn elements.
2. How to depict the movement of the water and the feel of being underwater.

Well my searching has paid off somewhat. I've found a few really great reference animations. The first one is something that I should of automatically thought of but for some reason or another it just slipped my mind. Luckily, I somehow stumbled upon it again and I'm glad I did. I'm speaking of the title sequence for the movie Juno, done by Shadowplay Studios. It's almost exactly what I need to do.

Click here to view Juno's opening titles.

They had both photographic elements and hand drawn elements. The way they integrated the two was to photocopy the photographic elements until they got the feel they were going for and then they hand colored them using markers. So it still had a photographic quality to it but it also had a hand drawn quality to it too! I'm going to have to test this out. Check out their Flickr site for behind the scenes photos of how they accomplished this.

Just by coincidence when I was watching the movie Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden by Morgan Spurlock, just for pleasure and not for any research purposes. I was surprised to see an animated ocean sequence! Just my luck.

Sorry but I couldn't find a quick little movie anywhere on line to show you the animation, but this is what they basically did. The animations where all done using still photographs. For the animation of the ocean scene. It looks like they just broke up sections of the ocean into different planes and then animated them individually. Not sure if that's how I will end up doing that but it definitely gave me something to not only think about but try.

The last reference I recently found is one in regards to how to depict an underwater feeling. This one is from Buck and was done for the UK network Five.

Click here to view video.

This was good to watch because it gave me some ideas on how to create a general underwater atmosphere in regards to the underwater lighting and to include particles floating around in the water(just as like dust floating around in the air).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Too Linear?

Well I just showed my animatic to someone and not really sure they got it. The one comment/suggestion they did give me was that they thought it was to linear! This is a new one to me, since this was the first time someone has said this to me in regards to my animatic. They wanted to see some hint of the crabs earlier on in the animation. Not really sure I agree with them on this but it's something I'm going to have to bring up and get some feedback on. I thought I was doing good by building up the story by having the plastic bottle fall from the garbage can into the water, the garbage barge passing by and various elements of junk/trash floating in the water. I thought this was enough to get across the idea that something isn't quite right and that's why the fisherman is catching nothing but discarded items. Maybe, I can have a crab on top of a piece of junk that floats by? Definitely something to think about.

Mid-Term Faculty Review

So this past week I had my mid-term faculty review in regards to my project thus far. Although it was short and sweet due to time constraints, I think it went pretty well. Overall everyone seems to think that I have a good concept and story
which I'm happy to hear because coming up with concepts and stories, I feel isn't my strong point. They just told me to be aware of depth and distance and to also make sure all my photographic elements and hand drawn elements blend well together. This last point is something I've been thinking alot about and am a bit worried that it might not blend well. I have to figure something out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clearing Something Up

People seem to think that my sky in my Style Frame is just a normal blue gradient. I just wanted to put it out there that that is an actual photo of a sky! A nice clear blue sky in fact, not a cloud to be seen. I took it from a photo I shot a little over a year ago. Here's the actual photo that I'm using the sky from.
Sky & Water
I just felt that I had to put it out there that I didn't just use a simple blue gradient but that I'm actually using a real shot of a nice blue sky. I do intend to put clouds into it so maybe that will quell the blue gradient feeling of it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Style Frame Version 2

Well, showed my style frame to my thesis partner and I got the feeling he didn't really like it. He said it was too stark and minimal. He wanted more stuff and texture to it. Although I didn't agree with him it did however make me take a new look at it and go and change some things, mostly being tightening up the composition so even though I didn't agree with his observations it still made me take a new look at it and rework it because if he didn't say anything I would of left it the way it was. I think this version came out much better.


Animatic Version 2

Well I meet with my thesis partner just so we could go over each others stuff before our big midterm review. He gave me a few good suggestions for my animatic so along with my thesis advisor's suggestions and his I made some changes to my animatic. Hopefully it flows alot better, I'm already starting to feel like I've seen it too much(the animatic) and can't be impartial to it so the outside view was appreciated. Anyway here it is.

Below the Surface Animatic Version 2 from Mike Moreno on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Looking for inspiration

So,lately I've been racking my brain about how I'm going to represent the crabs that are at the end of my animation, even though they're only in the whole piece for about 6seconds they still need to look cool. Well,I braved Times Square and went to the Toys-R-Us that's there figuring that I'd be able to find some type of inspiration crab related. Well it was a waste of time, nothing was to be found, I was really hoping I'd find some plastic crab toy that would spur something in my head or that I could actually use by photographing and then cutting up the photo and animating that. All that ended up happening was me being annoyed by the crowd of tourists.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vegging Out

I hate to admit it but the last day and a half I did absolutely nothing in regards to my thesis. I just needed to take a break from it. Between working and school work it's been a long week and I needed to just veg out, although I can't make a habit of doing that. I can't say I totally took a break I did go down to Petland in Union Square to look thru their aquarium supplies. I was hoping I'd find some underwater props I could use. What I was really crossing my fingers for finding was a crab prop. I'm still racking my brain trying to figure out how I'm going to deal with portraying the crabs. So needless to say I didn't find anything of value at Petland but I did get yelled at for taking photos of the aquariums. Maybe they thought I was trying to steal company secrets.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Very Very Rough Animatic

So, I stayed up till 3am this past Monday putting together this rough and I mean rough animatic, still needs work but it's good seeing things in motion and paced out. It showed me were a few weak spots and edits that just don't work. Hopefully this coming weekend I'll work on it some more and get the pacing and timing down a bit better. I have a nasty habit of having everything paced to slow.

Below the Surface Animatic from Mike Moreno on Vimeo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Style frame #1

Well I've made one style frame so far and I hope to get to the other two over this coming weekend. This one style frame went through about 4 iterations until I settled on this look. I would of posted the evolution of this style frame but I accidently trashed the alternate versions, Oppps!

I'm pretty happy with it, but now I just have to figure out how I'm going t handle the undulations of the ocean and waves. Plus, I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to represent the boat, either in a more photographic style or a more hand drawn style. I might try to find a model shop in the city and see if they have any models of boats that might work. I also have to figure out a final look for the clouds in the sky, I know that's probably a minor detail but I think those minor details will really give this a polished look. descisions, descisions, descisions!

Style Frame

Storyboards Version 3

Another round of storyboarding, this should be it or maybe not, one never really knows. Anyway here they are.

Click on images to view larger

Research Outline

I think I need an aspirin, the idea of having to do a research paper is giving me a splitting headache. I just don't get the idea of doing a research paper on a creative process. It makes no sense to me. Can someone explain it to me? Anyway since I have to do it I have to do it. I got started on the outline and I won't even bother posting it here just yet because when I hand it in tomorrow and get back the comments on it, I'm sure there will be alot of changes to it. So you'll just have to wait.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not enough time

This Friday thru Sunday I took on a freelancing photo assisting job, photographing a private collection of a bunch of personal and family photos of Frido Kahlo and Diego Rivera, some really cool shots and on top of that i feel like I'm getting sick. When you put those two together means I'm really not doing any work on my thesis at the moment which isn't good, Midterm review is coming up and have to hand in a lot of stuff this Tuesday. Not good, nope not good at all.