Adventures of Mr Rat - Episode 1: "Frack"

Mr. Rat is a little guy who gets into a bit of trouble. The idea behind this animation is a quick and loose style that is fast and fun. Thanks to Jeremy Engleman for helping out with some nice music. I originally released this animation around 4 years ago, but this is a new HD version of the animation.

Glass City Miniature

I started working on a new miniature of the glass city from Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. The building are being built out of laser cut white acrylic. My nice neat stacks of parts got tumbled together in my car. Let’s see if I can sort them all out.

Chicken Knight

Sometimes you just get bizarre ideas in your head and have to draw them!...

Nearing Completion

I’m just about done with Episode 2 of The Adventures of Mr. Rat. I finished the last shot, and now I just have to wrap up the titles, and send it off to Jeremy to compose the music.

Flip Animated

Here’s a little demo GIF of the animated Flip. He’ll be part of a bigger shot, but this was the first test of my new process. Edit: I should also mention that the noise on the coloring is from the GIF compression. I just did it this way so that it would be easy to embed online. It won’t be like that in the finished piece.

Flip from Little Nemo

I’m starting to try out some animation on paper. It’s not nearly as quick as working on the computer, but the precision and line quality is phenomenally better. I’m hoping this process will work out for me. If it does I’ll do a post showing off my mobile animation rig. Flip is a character from the Winsor McCay comic strip “Little Nemo”. He’s going to be featured in my next animation after I finish episode 2 of Mr. Rat. He’s poking his head out from a hole in a wall in this shot. I haven’t made the background for the shot...

Mr. Rat - Ep. 2 Shot Breakdown

I’m getting close to finishing up episode 2 of The Adventures of Mr. Rat. Here’s a quick breakdown of how I put my shots together. You’ll notice that I changed some motion between the storyboards and the actual animation due to some on-the-fly decisions while I was animating (for better or worse).

Animation Backdrop of Mushroom Forest

Here is an actual shot of what I want to do with the 3d CG mushrooms I posted before. After I finish this next episode of Mr. Rat I’m planning on doing another 30 second to 1 minute long hand drawn animation. The 3d mushrooms will be used as a bunch of the backdrops. I’m trying to go for more of a painterly feel with the style.

Trio of Oz Progress and Rename

My animation is moving along nicely now. I have 50 seconds of shots completed. If any of my readers have done any animation, they will know that that’s some good progress. The way I decided to structure this animation was to have hand-built miniatures with CG characters animated on top of still images. This technique lets me crank out my shots pretty quickly. In other news I’m going to rename my animation. I discovered that the Trio of Oz is a new jazz group. I was never really satisfied with the name. I started researching some new options for a name,...

Rat Animation

This is the first shot to an animation I’m playing around with. Photoshop for the backdrop, then flash for the animated rat, and then everything was composited in After Effects. It’s about 50 drawings of the rat for that little bit of animation. Quadped walk cycles are kind of interesting. Surprisingly the front and back feet aren’t in phase so it adds a bit of complexity to setting everything up.

Left Shark Ramp Soft Opening

We had a soft opening for the left ramp on the shark exhibit. We just switched over to the other side to start painting and getting that side ready. I can’t wait until we get the rest of the graphics and exhibit items installed in the ramps. This is exciting! Oh and also I’ve been working on finishing the fiberglass casts of sharks. I ordered unfinished cast blanks that I have to sand, fill in, and paint myself.Oh a postcard… for me?!Oh look a shark. Time to sand down and finish that puppy. I’ll post some more photos once I get...

Miniatures!

I forgot to post these. I’ve been working on my Trio of Oz miniature set. I’ve actually made more progress than this, but I’ll probably hold off posting any more until I finish. I’m hoping to be done by next week so I can start photographing it for real. I’ve also been re-working the storyboards. I’m adding a few things and tightening up some shots. It seems like when I do that it just gets longer and longer.

Poor Tiktok

Poor TikTok! Was tweaking Smasher’s rig and I decided to do a quick render. I’m really liking the way these rigs have turned out. Smasher’s hands now stay put on the hammer, and I have 2 goals that I move around to adjust the hammer rig. The hands stay rotated and fixed on it, and the arms move separate. Woot! I still need to UV texture Smasher.

Trees for the Miniature

I’m nearly done with all the models for my animation so I’ve started working on getting the miniature I’m animating on up to par. I decided that the clockworld was too bare and needed some nice little foliage to give it some depth. Here are some trees that I’m working on for it. Floral wire wrapped around in the shape of a tree. Then I coated the wire with a bunch of latex caulk. I bought the squeezable bottles for easy application. It took about 1 bottle for 2 of these trees. And then I painted them a brown barkish color. The lighting in...

The Trio of Oz Schedule

I’m getting really excited. I’m getting close to finishing up all the characters for my first scene. I think I will be animating by this summer! I started up this project in 2006 crazy enough. I’ve not been actively working on it all of that time of course. It had fallen by the wayside but in January I really started spending a lot more time getting everything going on my animation. I of course got married, and got a full-time job as a graphic designer between 2006 and now, so a lot has gone on. After I finish up all of my...

Scarecrow Explained

I had a few people asking me about my scarecrow character so I figured I would make a post about him. Scarecrow in the books was always the one with the brains who could figure things out. He also briefly ruled the Land of Oz until Ozma took over. He’s afraid of fire, and water makes him soggy. In my animation he’s going to be more of a trickster. He’s smart, but also a little tricky and devious. He’s going to be fairly clumsy and all over the place. Expect lots of bent backward joints. Hopefully I’ll get a render fairly...

The Animation Survival Kit

As I am working on all of the collateral for The Trio of Oz I’m doing my research. I am currently reading The Animation Survival Kit by Richard Williams (Animation Director of Roger Rabbit). It’s amazing how reading some text is so enlightening. The animation on The Tin Woodsman was extremely elementary. I got the shots done, and that’s it. I’m hoping with some new studies I will create much more realistic and exciting animation. I’m really starting to think in motion, not just dimension and value. I would recommend this to anyone interested in learning more about the art of...