Sunday, May 01, 2016

Brad Bird - Playful Cinema (By Royal Ocean Film Society)

Here's a fantastic analysis of some of Brad Bird's cinematic choices, and a good reminder for those of us telling stories, of focusing on the story!  This same thought process can be applied to animation by making choices based on story, character, and entertainment rather than purely by style, or because it moves with satisfying visual design.  Squash/stretch, contrasting poses, and rhythm are important, and part of visual art, but are more powerful when we use them to serve the story of the character (and just as importantly don't use them when it distracts from it!)

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Angry Birds International Trailer!

Hey people!  Not sure who all stumbles upon my blog anymore, but here's a new trailer for The Angry Birds Movie!  I worked on this at Sony for the bulk of last year, and it was pretty fun work.  Lots of great anim, fun characters, and opportunity to focus on acting choices and humor as the foundation of each shot, so I was happy about that.  Here it is!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Demo Reel Update! -- Big Hero 6

I've added a few of my shots from Big Hero 6 to my demo reel!  I plan on making a "Big Hero 6" only reel with all my shots from the film as well, but for now, here's the update!

Demo Reel 2015 from Kyle Mohr on Vimeo.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Minor Demo Reel Update, Thoughts on performance

Hello!  I added a few shots from Radiator Springs 500 1/2 to my demo reel (at the end).  These three shots were a fun challenge, because we wanted to try to get as much character differentiation in the four baja racers as we could, but these shots were all we had for their introduction.  They didn't need to be extremely deep characters for this short, more like different character roles in this gang, (the leader, the dumb one, the mysterious one, the hyperactive one).  With the cars, they are pretty much eyes and mouths, and by default their eyes are basically identical in their rigs.  It was fun to look at the character design sheets, and try to get the personality of their eyes back into the character.

For the opening of this short, the directors, Scott Morse and Rob Gibbs, took inspiration from the old westerns like "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", which they suggested I look at before animating.  I noticed these actors barely moved in the duel scene, and always looked out of the corner of their eyes in their stillness.  It's tense.  It's highly stylized acting, but not in the broad way we animators often think in terms of stylization.

Up until this point in my career, I usually had the goal of making the animation as stretchy or broad as I was allowed to.  The Cars world, however, is often more hard and "real", in terms of materials, and this restraint forced me, (sometimes frustratingly), to focus on acting and nuance of performance, which I also wanted to achieve.  The cars themselves provide an obvious challenge as well.  How do you communicate meaningful expression, with a severely restrained head?  It's not just about facial expressions, but gestures, angles, and timing that communicate how we feel.  In animation, it's very tempting to animate a character's movements to match the rhythm of the dialogue, and the cars make this temptation stronger since you have so little to work with.  Animating any type of character this way makes a performance passable, and appear to deliver the words, but does it achieve the full amount of expression possible?

These shots, while far from meeting the restraint in "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly", challenged me to not move the characters very much, to support the parody and genre we were going for.  I animated these in the order that they appear, and I feel like I can see my comfort improve with each one.  Having three similar shots in a row can start to feel a little repetative by the end, but it gave me the opportunity to practice, which I am grateful for now.  The lesson I learned is not that subtle is always better than broad, it's choosing what's appropriate for the moment, and hopefully learning more about how to create more expressive, sincere performances either way.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Radiator Springs 500 1/2

**UPDATE 10/03/14**The full short can now be viewed on the Disney video website, so you don't have to create an account on Disney Movies Anywhere to view it.  Also, just watch it here, embedded below!

Radiator Springs 500 1/2

Hey all!  Just wanted to post that "Radiator Springs 500 1/2" was recently released on Disney Movies Anywhere, Disney's streaming website.  It's free to watch, but does require creating an account (also free).  RS500 was the second to last short we produced at Pixar Canada, and I think showcases how much all departments in the Vancouver studio grew over three years, specifically in the "Cars" world.  The next one I believe we were even more fluent in that world, and it will always be a question as to how much better we would have gotten.  As I'm sure anyone would tell you, we grew a lot, but of course had more to learn.  I see that in my own work already.

Still, with the distance I have now, I'm proud of the end result, and the care that really brought it to life.

Which leads me to a quote that I think is appropriate for ending this post.  It's a lesson that was really a big take-away from the whole Pixar Canada experience.  I'd experienced it before, but perhaps appreciate it more maturely now.  I was reading The Illusion of Life today for inspiration, (some of it, it's long!), and the third paragraph of the Preface says something that I think is often forgotten when trying to produce "great" work, or when creative people are afraid of making a good impression, or demanding it from others, or themselves:

"It is, perhaps, misleading to credit specific artists with the drawings we show in the book, since this might imply that both the idea and style came from one person; for this was seldom the case."

It truly is the caring, generous, and forgiving team, or people, who help us reach for our goals.  Take pride in your accomplishments, yes, but take comfort in this good news.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Geeks, Restarted!

I've been redeveloping my old characters and comic on my off time, have some new ideas, hopefully I will have time to draw them!  Same general idea, just took time to develop the cast further, and refine and contrast the designs more.  Since there were only two completed comics before, figured I could just restart, and tell how these characters meet, and why they stick around each other.  Even if I don't get many completed now, which is likely, it's been really fun!  I hope to come back to it when I can!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Demo Reel Updated

Check out my new reel, featuring much of my work from Pixar Canada!