Monthly Archives: July 2008

Russian Cars

Slowly but surely we are working on our independent film, “something left, something taken.”
I just made a series of Russian Dolls, I mean cars.
Also known in the animation term, a prop for wide shot, medium shot, close up shot.

Pretty cute, aren’t they?

Making three identical cars required a complex math skill….(!?)

4 cars for some wide shots. Their tires actually roll. I am debating if I need to make more, but I don’t want it to be my next addiction so I decided to move onto other props/background for now.

Davy Crockett in Outer Space—-Making of…

We just completed a brand new music video for They Might Be Giants and Playhouse Disney.

Making this video was a lot of fun and we got to work with a very talented illustrator, David Cowles.

Here is some production art from the video.

A model sheet for Davy Crockett. I don’t think we ever showed him from behind.

Portion of the storyboards.

This is the final animatic with some rough animation.
You might notice that the beginning is slightly different.

chalkboard/ character animation

Here is the super high-tech super model that we used for video reference.

Yes, I made a paper rocket.

Then we imported and rotoscoped the video footage in flash.

And here comes the most exciting part.

We projected the flash file to the chalkboard and traced it.

It’s actually a lot more difficult than just “tracing” because you have to maneuver your body so that you don’t block the light from the projector.

Then each time we photographed, max covered up the projector with a huge piece of foam board!


My favorite part was creating the theater ! I felt like I was decorating a pre-k classroom.
Crafted puppets were photographed and composited in After Effects.


For the fight scene, we created the smallest green screen ever.

cleaning up

Our studio was covered with chalk. And we coughed for the next few days.
It took almost full day to clean everything. To be honest, that was actually MY favorite part of the process. (Max didn’t help.)
Enjoy the video!

Museum of the Moving Image

I have been teaching the Summer Intensive Animation course at Parsons Pre-college Academy for the past 3 weeks.
On Wednesday, I took my students to Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria Queens.
I’ve been there a few years ago when I used to live nearby but not so much since I moved to Brooklyn.

I thought that the museum can offer a brief history of animation and film making and since it’s an interactive museum, students will enjoy being there. (And not fall asleep)
The tour guide, Melanie, was simply the best. She was energetic, fun and very knowledgeable.

One of the most amazing information I got from Melanie is what “Nickelodeon” means.
When we hear it, we automatically think of the network, but the term originates from back in the days when a “movie theater” was just series of photographs that was sequenced in a box that only one person can look into. It was 5 cents to view, and the admission guys were called “nickelodeons”.
When I looked into this magical box, it was this hunky guy flexing his muscles. Worth 5 cents.

Students really enjoyed the sound booth where you can do voice acting and the machine automatically dubs your voice on top of scenes from “Babe.” Also many of them enjoyed blue/green screen booth where they had different backgrounds and acted out.

I’d like to go back there again!

WALL-E by Pixar

When I met Mr. Don Crum in SF, (Here is the post) he proudly told Max and I how beautiful WALL-E is, and how exciting it is to be part of the production.
I finally had a chance to go see this movie on Tues! It sure was beautiful.
It felt like a live-action movie. Lighting, texture, camera moves, backgrounds were very realistic and simply BEAUTIFUL.
To pull off such a great character animation with such limited body parts and no dialogue is impressive. How do they do that?

What a great timing to have a feature film that talks about environmental issues!

When I stepped out of the movie theater, the first thing I saw was a trashcan that looked like WALL-E.
It was like a mailbox with solar power on the top and lights that tells you how much trash is in the bin. When a man put some trash inside, it started making a sound. Possibly compressing the trash like WALL-E? I need to find out what exactly this trashcan is doing.

Murakami Show @ Brooklyn Museum

We’ve been wanting to go check out Takami Murakami’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.
A few days ago, I discovered that the show is ending this weekend so we made a quick trip there.
The exhibition was a lot bigger than I thought, and I got to see some art work that I’ve never seen before.

I remember watching Louis Vuitton commercial and bags with Murakami’s designs patched up, and thinking “wow, high fashion and japanese comic art merged…this is unbelievable!”
Now, he had a huge exhibition at the brooklyn museum!
He definitely closed the gap between commercial art and fine art, and also japanese cartoon and fine art.

I’m glad I didn’t miss the show! It was worth the trip and time!