Monthly Archives: December 2012

Good Bye Tilburg, Good Bye 2012

Max and I said good bye to The Netherlands Institute for Animated Film and arrived in Baltimore, USA. It was sad to leave the Netherlands but we left with lots of fun, art, friendship and experiences.

When we visited North Dakota University for a lecture back in November, the print master, Kim Fink, and I started a project of 4 lithograph prints. They are dogs that I stalked from the window in Tilburg, The Netherlands.
Thanks to Kim, I received these wonderful prints on the last day of the Netherlands. Phew, right on time!

Another animation resident, Frauke, was taking pictures of this man with two white dogs. He passed in front of our apartment about 4 times a day, rain or shine. So we started taking pictures of all the dogs that passed by us. Some have strict time schedule, some lose, some used as smoking break. These dogs brightened our days.
Yes, we were stalking. I am not sure if they know. I hope they don’t.

*Pictures are a bit blurry since I took them from 3rd floor looking down with zoom.

Since the summer, we stopped seeing the man with two white dogs. The dogs are still well but it’s his wife who takes the dogs for all the walks.We are not sure what happened to the man but one theory we have is that he is visiting his long-lost daughter in Australia for a few months since she gave a birth to his grand-child.

We will miss these dogs and all the lovely things in Tilburg.
Good bye Tilburg, good by 2012.
We hope 2013 will be as fun, exciting and productive as 2012.


In the Netherlands, they celebrate December 5th which is St.Nicolas’ birthday.
Children receive gifts and there are lots of fun activities. I was told that adults write rhymes to tease each other and I wanted to do it really badly last year. But I didn’t know everybody well enough to tease so I decided to wait until this year.
Of course I cannot write rhymes in Dutch so I decided to do a visual poetry to tease everybody.
Here is an example.

It is an inside joke but Ton, the director of Netherlands Institute for Animated Film, loves cookies so much. He will never say “no” when you offer cookies.
Yes, I made not-joke cards.

I hope nobody got offended because I only meant as a friendly tease.

Ring Pillow

My brother and his wife requested me to create a ring pillow for their wedding.
They’ve also asked us if they ccould become background characters in the upcoming film.
So that was the wedding gift for them. Baby seal ring pillow and citizenship in an animated film.

It all started in 2nd grade…

While in Japan at my parents house, I found a drawing I did in 2nd grade.
There was a bakery called “Morning Cloud” near by that I absolutely loved. It had a French Country style decoration and some clay miniature breads on walls and shelves. I just loved the atmosphere, smell and all the details.
Well, what a strange coincidence that we are making a film that takes place in an European bakery?
Or did I happen to do a concept art when I was 7 years old?

The Age of Internet

Max is living in Baltimore ( he’s a full-time animation professor at Maryland Institute College of Art) and I am still in the Netherlands working at NIAF
How do we work with a huge ocean in between us?

We’ve designed our production so that during the 4 months of being separated, everything could be done digitally. Max has been modeling & texturing the remaining characters, and he edits animated shots that I finish into the animatic. I’ve been animating characters in Cinema 4D (3D computer program).
There is no set building, stop-motion or compositing which requires both of us to be in the same studio.

Luckily, we live in a digital age where files can be shared easily via internet.
Here is a glimpse of how we organize making a film from separate places.

We use SKYPE and DROPBOX. You can share folders and files on dropbox so we basically upload everything we do there.
When there is 200 + shots, there are a lot of files to share. Project files, hardware render movies, edit movies, full-render files, updated animatic, etc.

This serves as a way to converse about each shot.
Max is blue and I am orange.
With each shot, a lot of back-and-forth comments are written. When I am done animating, I usually have some questions and Max will have some answers and also some fixes. Once the cut is in the edit, more likely there are additional fixes.

Most often, there are 5-10 shots in progress. Some in early stages and some in late stages for minor tweaks. It gets confusing with all the shot numbers. When the shot is completed then it’s deleted from the list, therefore there are only work-in-progress shots are listed on the “conversation”.

This is something we’ve used in every production.
Each shot is marked with the difficulty of the shot, schedule and stages of the production in color.
pink= current
orange= pending approval (from eachother)
purple =redo

Also, there’s a section to keep notes of the start and end frame numbers and things to remember for stop-mo or compositing like “keep the oven door open.”
When you have over 200 shots in a production, you do need to organize each shot clearly for everybody to understand immediately.

Organized by category and month. This changes often, but it’s good to know the deadline for each month and for the project. With a project that takes over 2 years, it’s easy to forget how important each day can be. Once you fall behind, the production can be delayed 3-6 months. Knowing the overall schedule, we are able to push ourselves to finish everything on the list.

This is simple, I upload all files for Max to review in “To Max” folder. He does the same in “To Ru” folder.
First thing in the morning, we check our folders and read “Conversation” to understand what the next step is for the day.

This system worked out much better than we thought.