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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The B-Movie Celebration 2011 | Call for Volunteers

Indiana is a really great place to be.

Every fall for the last 5 years a little known festival to most Hoosiers has been making large ripples in the B-Movie market worldwide. The B-Movie Celebration in Franklin Indiana hosts thousands of fans of the B-movie genre and the producers, directors, writers, actors, blood curdling screaming actresses, visual effects artists, and world renowned sound artists that make them.

Some famous B-Movies are Krull (1983), Killer Clowns from Outer Space (1989), and one of my recent guilty pleasures Sharktopus (2010).

What is a B-Movie?

According to Wiki- "In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature. Although the U.S. production of movies intended as second features largely ceased by the end of the 1950s, the term B movie continued to be used in the broader sense it maintains today. In its post–Golden Age usage, there is ambiguity on both sides of the definition: on the one hand, many B movies display a high degree of craft and aesthetic ingenuity; on the other, the primary interest of many inexpensive exploitation films is prurient. In some cases, both are true."

What is the B-Movie Celebration?

"For the past five years, fans of the often misunderstood genre of B-Movies gather in Franklin, Indiana – not just to watch classic films, but to, as the name implies, celebrate them!

What is the difference?

"Perhaps it is joy of seeing the films on the big screen of a cinema, or perhaps it is the camaraderie of viewing them with other fans. It may also be the rebellious feel of enjoying films that usually come from outside the mainstream Hollywood system. Whatever it is, it is real and the fans who journey through the cornfields of central Indiana to attend the celebration know it."

The B-Movie Celebration takes place for 3 days and 2 nights from Friday, September 23rd through Sunday, September 25th.

Volunteers are needed. You will have the chance to make great VFX contacts, compete in the Zombie Walk Nation, the possibility to drive a B-Movie heavyweights around for a day, and of course, watch B-Movies! Examples of volunteer positions can be found here.

If you are interested in volunteering and are looking for some great opportunities to network with in-state and out-of-state professionals email Founder Bill Dever @ devers03@netzero.net

As a volunteer you will receive:

Free popcorn and soda during your shifts at the B Movie Celebration
Boxed dinner when you work Opening Night (slots available for returning volunteers only)

Volunteering has its benefits — What do you get?

2-4 hours gets you a festival day pass
5-8 hours gets you a festival pass (films only)
9+ hours gets you a full festival pass (films AND parties)

"Friendly, Kind, Hardworking Personalities Required"
Volunteer, represent the state and the excitement for networking and B-Movie awesomeness!

Again, If you are interested in volunteering and are looking for some great opportunities to network with in-state and out-of-state professionals email Founder Bill Dever @ devers03@netzero.net

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Siggraph 2011 | Vancouver

This year's SIGGRAPH had a lot of firsts for a lot of people. It was the first summer that SIGGRAPH was in another country (now we have SIGGRAPH Asia in the Winter[this year [Hong Kong]) Vancouver played host city to a very eager crowd! (Well done Vancouver!!! My first demo was this year. Many of my students had their first trip to another country, their first SIGGRAPH, and most of my students had their first missed flight! My fiance' attended her first SIGGRAPH for 1 day to check out my presentation, it happened to be her first time seeing me speak as well! And as always, I made many new friends and didn't get to see enough of old ones.

I was lucky enough to speak along with about a dozen other individuals throughout the week in the Studio under the 'Digital Artistry Workshops' led by Stephen Burns of Chrome Allusion. My topic was Creating Camera Rigs in Maya. A cheap way to minimize 'roller coaster' rides, and maximize 'Michael Bay' types of camera movements in a 3D program. The techniques are mostly just intimidating for many, but very simple to adopt with a little technical experimentation. It was a great experience, I was nervous for the the first time in a long while and spent much of the first days of conference fretting over small details. When Wednesday came the crowd seemed to like the content well enough. Most rewarding, I had several artists asking me to follow up with them and to stay in touch! I love SIGGRAPH.

Indiana and the Art Institute had a strong showing in the Studio this year. Demian Moon Stevens a friend and acquaintance of Stephen Burns helped get so many of us out there.

The Indiana Line up was often called the Art Institute of Indiana 'Dream Team' because myself and two previous students were presenters.

Brian Phillips of the Basement Motion + Design
Topic - 3D Motion Graphics with Photoshop and After Effects

David Ortel
Topic - Digital Abstract Art w/Real Flow and Maya

Demian Moon Stevens
Topic - Cross-Platform Concept Illustration
Topic - Zbrush Life Sculpting and Portraiture

and myself with Real World Camera Rig Creation in Maya

I plan on posting a detailed write-up for Camera Rigging and the techniques about it all in a few weeks.

The greatest part of the talks was that we had the opportunity to represent Indiana and its growing industry in front of so many people in Vancouver. Brian and I even pitched the 49hour Film Contest as well as IndianaUploaded. Both get huge support, hopefully we inspire other areas to do similar projects!

Great work to all the S.V.'s and Indiana's own Josh Grow and Eddie Pohill for another kick ass Electronic Theatre and Animation Festival!!! I can't wait for next year's SIGGRAPH and what happens in between. Hopefully we all get to see more of past friends and colleagues in L.A.

Stay thirsty my friends.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:Part 2

I am a fantasy geek. I grew up arguing with my brother about which Star Wars Film to watch before lunch. After lunch we would fight tooth and nail about which to watch next. Nine times out of ten, we watched all three. My mom, to her annoyance I'm sure can quote nearly every line of Return of the Jedi. Thanks mom...

My whole family geek-ed out on Star Trek and every version of the t.v. series for the better part of my pre-college days.

Each Lord of the Rings, Avatar, and Tron Legacy have all been released on or close to my birthday, in which my friends and family have embarked on a theater takeover for the better part of a decade.

I am a fantasy geek.

The Harry Potter series came late to me, the films began to release the year I graduated high school, I was a late follower. I saw the 1st 4 films before I read any of the books. I read all the books with exception to Deathly Hallows instantly after I saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book #4). You could say, "I came late to Harry's party." I didn't grow up with Harry like many of my younger cousins did, but I can relate. I caught the late albeit short bus.

Many friends and colleagues dismiss Harry Potter. I truly feel sorry for their loss of not being a part of J.K. Rowling's world, our experiencing of it, and dare I say it, the sadness that it has come to an end. It feels odd to put myself in the arena, but I would call myself a 'fanboy'. Purely on its film making and entertainment value, the first few movies were far from stimulating. I think it was because many older generations had a hard time relating to the children that drove the story. The acting was bad, the effects lackluster, [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone released 2001, my high school graduation year)]and most importantly there was little risk for any of the characters early on in the series.

Fast forward through the last 7 years. I became a huge midnight-movie-fan after the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). The effects continued to improve, the kids grew up, and the 'bad guy' began to show himself...

Its sad its all over, its even more sad that some will not be able to experience the final show in the way I know many have this past week. Imagine growing up alongside these characters on and off the screen; experiencing teenage angst, bullying, and first loves along side some of your favorite on screen characters! I didn't get to, I was too old, but I got to watch the movies with an audience who identified their childhood's with this series. I was a part of the unique movie-going experience, the excitement and the defeat, 14 years in the making (the first book was released my 8th grade year, 1997).

I sat in the theater last Thursday night for only 4 hours and finally began to understand it. Many had waited (in theater) 8 hours or more, playing ninja and tag. More touching, I overheard several people, young and old, talking about the first time they cried for a character, or their favorite memory of a moment in the series. This was much more than just a movie for these people. It had become much more than a fantasy film for me.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 pulls no punches, it savored every loss and victory the book did, it allowed the audience to feel each characters' defining moment and many characters' last flickers of life. The storytellers allowed an audience that hated Voldermort for 10 years to finally feel pity for him. I truly felt more and more sorry for the bastard. The movie let people cry...it even gave them time to cry. It let us cheer for unlikely heroes, and emotionally prepare for the final battle during Hogwart's defense. It gave us a moments glance into so many friendships, yet told much more. It says so many things many of us are afraid to say to each other. It is so much more than a movie. It was an experience.

Harry Pottter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 is one hell of a ride. Especially in IMAX 3D. It is one of a few films that is enhanced by the venue. I truly appreciate the filmmakers respect for the readers, the actors performance and dedication to the series, and of course, J.K. Rowling for delivering such a beautiful ending.

If you haven't been on the bandwagon, jump on, watch all of the previous films, read all the books, finish on a high note. It is never too late to start. I can't wait to share this series with my kids (and I don't even have any). Be warned though, I will cast the killing curse at any person that shows one of these films to my kids before I do.

After all, I am a fantasy geek.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The 49Hour Experience

A few weeks ago, [still seems like yesterday] I and 4 other team mates

Pat Howk | Instructor and Animation Mentor Alumn
Jason Smith | Owner of Vizdio | Creative Media Designer
Vance Vaden | Contractor
Ryan Wing | Motion Designer

participated in the first ever *49 hour/animation/Indiana only competition sponsored by MG Collective; a group of professionals and students in central Indiana that meet up once a month to share experiences, knowledge, and passions for Motion Graphics and 3D animation.

A total of 5 professional teams, and 21 student teams from Indiana competed. Teams were allowed a maximum of 5 persons, some only had one. The Art Institute of Indianapolis, Ball State, IUPUI, and Huntington college were all represented with student competitors! This event was a great time. Check out the 49Hour facebook Event shenanigans that happened through the event and for some no sleep! It is quite funny!

The videos haven't shown yet, and our group 'The Whambulance' plans on premiering in a few festivals, we had such a great experience! 49 hours is not a lot of time, but we pulled off a very ambitious project that trumped "TheRedKite" that most of us had worked on for nearly 2 and a half years. Its not that TheRedKite wasn't a great experience, we just had a lot to learn.

With a similar team from TheRedKite, a whole lot of energy drinks, cliff bars, as well as some enthusiastic students working on their competition submissions, we succeeded in a story that we are very proud of! Until we reach the movie premiers, check out some of the pictures from the event!

Happy animating!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Inspires...

I am pretty damn lucky.

I get to instruct, inspire, and motivate students day to day in a field [animation, storytelling, entertainment] that happens to be one of the most yearned for in the last 95 years and has grown in the most exciting ways in the last 20. Yet it isn't the medium that makes us lucky, it is what drives creatives in general.

Often times I'm confronted by friends and family and asked about "what I've been working on." This question is always bitter-sweet because they ask and because they know some of my 'work' weighs heavy on me always.

I had a conversation with a dear friend tonight about how my work can hardly be called such. Often my biggest struggle with what I do outside my job is that it takes so much of my love, energy, and time away from those whom I love. Worse, I sometimes fear that those I love don't understand that what I spend so much time on is in fact far from work.

Inside the classroom and outside the classroom I get to both create and show how to create things that I hope will change people's lives. That's why I do what I do, and it can hardly be called work.

Back to the point.

I think I'm pretty damn lucky to even get to know what I want to do in my life so early. I aim to infect passion and inspiration in people. All too often both inside the classroom and out, inside industry and outside industry, I see my students, friends, and peers struggle to find their way in life, their passion; to find something that matters.

My message is to just move forward, don't stagnate.

My hopes is that they and you (through your passion) can help others do the same.

I encourage everyone especially my students to use what they are learning to inspire others. Its what I think is the greatest way to use art in any medium. I also believe art is the last great way to inspire change without criticism of agenda.

We have the technology and creativity to inspire what I see as an uninspired generation. To share our passions and inspire thousands with a single click. I see our biggest fight(s) actually being the act of beginning, of ever trying, and the fear of failure. Its so natural, but its important to realize some of the greatest moments in history and art were at moments of great risk. I assure anyone who is afraid; that by starting, that by your attempt and refusal of failure you will only fuel your own fire. With any luck you will also fuel the fire and passions of others to do what they love.

That is my hope. It could make the world and our little slice of it Indiana so much better.

Here are some dear friends, students, and colleagues that I know share some of my viewpoints and that I see using their passions to help others find inspiration. They are leading by example in their own ways, in their own interests, by their own perfect passion. And yes they inspire me, please keep doing what you do guys.

Steven Brown | Current Student\work-o-holic | 1 Awesome Artwork a Day
Atomic Big Wheel | Motion Graphic Artist Infecting Media into Indiana.
Ickydime | Indie game developer | Pushed me far in so short a time.
Joshua Corken | Local Life Lover\Designer that Inspires countless.
MG Collective| Indiana's Hungry Media Artist Professionals and Students
IndianaUploaded | Indiana's Hungry Future Movers & Shakers
John King | Little Round Mirrors | Over 500 DVD's contemplated A-Z.
rickyleepotts.com | Opinionated Realist
Chris Perkins | Guttamind | 2D animator

This is but a short list of people that are doing extraordinary things in the local area and state. If you know of anymore, please message or email me, I'd be happy to do more of these in the future!!!

Keep working hard! In the near future IndianaUploaded and new Short project developments will be my way to keep people motivated!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Return to the ring.

Hey all,

I've been way out of touch. This post marks a promise of one post per week minimum, soon this blog will be much improved and forwarded to one of the snazzy WordPress Video oozing websites at zebwood.com/ pretty excited for that!

Here I am going to post some past student work over the last quarter! Its important to showcase truly hard work, the work that spent much more time than was required, and for that I am proud and eager to see what each of these students will put out in the future.

Rigging: Our Intermediate 3D Animation course is actually all rigging. We don't use scripts although some add them to the machinery portion of the assignments to get automated rotation and chains. Anyway students are to by quarter's end to have a fully functional Organic [creature/human] and a mechanical rig [robot/weapon/vehicle]. The entire rigging process is covered with exception to Motion Capture data integration. Hopefully we can squeeze that in down the road.

As always here are the best in no particular order:

Character Modeling: This has to be one of the most stressful classes for students to take. They are introduced to character modeling and edge-loop modeling, unwrapping, Zbrush, and normal/displacement mapping in this class and asked to create a fully realistic character that is rig-able as well. Our pipeline is Maya-Zbrush-Maya and we are getting some really great work. I'm taking a traditional sculpture class in hopes to increase my vocabulary and instruction in the ways of Gesture and Proportion. Thanks Jacob Dobson for allowing me to join in the class.

As always here are a few of the best form the class in no particular order:

Finally, I'm proud to show one of our graduates first solo-shorts that in my opinion is the first totally complete capstone. This includes pre-production, production, and post production artwork audio. Brit Baue is now employed full time at Ganett. Congrats Brit.

Britt Baue Capstone:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best of Spring 2010

The Spring Semester was my first full time experience at the Art Institute of Indianapolis AND THE STUDENTS WERE GREAT! My Special Topics course MMA 311 turned out some really awesome work, it quickly became one of my favorite courses. We also had a Character Modeling class, a VFX course (particles, cloth, hair, fluids, dynamics), and the the first half of capstone shorts.

Below are some of the best of each class in no particular order! The capstones will be kept quiet until the next quarter. :) Keep up the great work guys!

MMA 306 - Character Modeling

The students were charged with learning Maya's modeling tools towards organic modeling. Their final was to develop a low resolution skin, and then take it into Zbrush 3.5 for high detail sculpting and painting. The output is back in Maya some applied Displacements as well.

MMA 311 - Special Topics

Jason Roll studied in depth Environmental and object Unwrapping and texturing for low polygon environments. He used only Maya's unwrapping tools, something I stray away from in most cases! You can reach Jason @ his website, he does many commissions for Matte and Environment Paintings already.

Christopher Perkins decided to study both Maya and After Effects and how he could integrate 3D and Camera movements into After Effects. Chris is working on many independent projects. Chris is a great 2D animator and has his own 2D animation series currently. Check out his website Guttamind.com

Cuong Tran decided to jump into Maya Cloth and NCloth Dynamics systems for his topic of research. The students were charged to create something both Technically Difficult but Artistically Beautiful. I think Cuong did just that. Check out Cuong's website kiareri.com

Finally, Ian Dillingham decided to research that art of Fur in Maya for his upcoming short. Ian successfully applied Fur onto a Horse model, and will also be adding fur to another model for his short. Ian can be contacted @ ibdillingham@gmail.com

MMA 405 - VFX

Visual Effects class was a interesting experience because we were switching topics every few weeks. (Particles, Fluids, Cloth, Rigid/Soft Dynamics, and Hair) For their Final the students were required to render a short amount of frames revisiting a favorite topic, or to combine several effects for one shot.

It went very well. Stay tuned for a compilation. the videos are so different, I'm trying to figure out the best way to present them.