Archive for the ‘Industry News’ Category

One of the more honest takes on animation in vfx.

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

I really like how the article/interview is conducted. Check it out. 

Green Lantern Trailer is upon us!!!!

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

 http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/greenlantern/

Marvel Super Hero Squad Commercial.

Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

Here is the latest commercial spot I was able to do with yU+co. It’s an interesting piece done with Turkish Telecom celebrating both the opening of a soccer stadium, Children’s day and Marvel’s superheroes.My contribution was the second to last shot with Iron Man landing within the stadium. I also helped with the kids being held by Hulk as he galloped towards and away camera and helped out with polish on the blocked out Hulk. It was a fun project and a mini reunion with the great Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle team from last summer, not to mention some new faces that were a fresh and welcome addition.

Trailer for the latest project I got to work on.

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Recently I had the great opportunity to work over at Method Studios with a great team to bring life to some robots for an upcoming short film entitled “I’m Here” from Spike Jonze.Here’s the trailer!I’ll do a more in depth post once the film becomes more public. It just made its debut at Sundance. I guess the film will make a world premiere at the film’s website in March. But you can see it if you happen to be at the Berlin film festival in Feb!

Interesting article about Glen Keane and Rapunzel on Cartoon Brew.

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

Link to Cartoon Brew article

I’m a bit on the fence on this topic because I know how it can feel like to be attached to a piece of work for such a long time. 7 years is pretty nuts to not have a film come outta story phase. I’m just glad that hes now the Animation Director. It just might be that age old problem with corporations.

One story that rings in my head was a nurse who had become a supervising nurse and enjoying the new salary bump and perks that go with the job. However she admitted to really missing just contact with the patients and how shes grown so far away from that now that she has management duties. Perhaps Keane can have a few shackles taken off his limbs and just concentrate on making this his artistic masterpiece. Look dev looks great, and I’m sure a legion of animators would follow him to the ends of the earth under his guidance.

Lasseter has employed the shakedown before. And its seemed to work. I mean thats the point of growth right? It ain’t pretty all the time, but sometimes the end result could be all worthwhile.

Speaking of Lasseter. Here is something I saw posted.. AGES ago. Here it is copied and pasted from an interview.

1. Never come up with just one idea. “Regardless of whether you want to write a book, design a piece of furniture or make an animated movie: At the beginning, don’t start with just one idea – it should be three.

“The reason is simple. If a producer comes to me with a proposal for a new project, then usually he has mulled over this particular idea for a very long time. That limits him. My answer always reads: ‘Come again when you have three ideas, and I don’t mean one good and two bad. I want three really good ideas, of which you cannot decide the best. You must be able to defend all three before me. Then we’ll decide which one you’ll realise.’

“The problem with creative people is that they often focus their whole attention on one idea. So, right at the beginning of a project, you unnecessarily limit your options. Every creative person should try that out. You will be surprised how this requirement suddenly forces you to think about things you hadn’t even considered before. Through this detachment, you suddenly gain new perspectives. And believe me, there are always three good ideas. At least.”

My comment: Being forced to produce at least three quality ideas allows a creator to detach from the first solution – and helps gain new perspectives and find additional solutions. When you work on any creative project, develop at least three good solutions. Leonardo da Vinci applied the same principle in his work, for example in his anatomical drawings, by sketching parts of the human body from at least three different perspectives. At Thinkergy, we’ve integrated this principle into our method, too. In Stage D (Development) of our X-IDEA Creative Process, every participant needs to develop at least three meaningful solutions. Only then can you start having choices.

2. Remember the first laugh. “A big problem in the creative process is related to the enhancement of your ideas,” cautions Mr Lasseter. “Revising, retouching, refining is very important, but it carries a danger.

“If you have a story, a joke, a thought, which you write down, it loses its effect over time. It wears itself out. When you hear a joke for the second time you still laugh heartily, on the third or fourth occasion already less so, and when you hear it the hundredth time, you hate it.

“I say to my authors: ‘Take notice of the first laugh, write it down if necessary.’ This may at times be bothersome, but it is important. Many times, good things got lost because people could not remember anymore how it felt when they heard the idea for the first time.”

My comment: In a brainstorming session, highlight an idea that makes you (and other brainstormers in your team) laugh spontaneously (e.g. by adding an asterisk behind the idea or by underlining it). Then, capture all the very funny ideas on a separate note that you keep handy for review in later stages of the creative process. As already noted by David Ogilvy, the “father of advertising”: “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

3. Quality is a great business plan. Period. “There is a crucial rule: no compromises. No compromises on quality – regardless of production constraints, cost constraints, or a deadline. If you get a better idea, and this means that you have to start again from scratch, then that’s what you have to do.

“In any creative industry, quality is the sole business plan that prevails in the long run. Many managers fail to understand that, but the spectators understand it. The process is only finished once the creative professional in charge says it’s finished. That does not mean that there isn’t to be any pressure – there’s pressure all the time anyway – but the individual creator always needs to have the last word.”

My comment: Don’t rush an innovation project toward premature implementation or final closure. Great creative work follows its own time. Trust the intuitive judgment of the creative team member in charge of the creative task. If the solution does not feel right, don’t implement or launch it yet. The right solution needs to be beautiful, as Richard Buckminster Fuller advocates: “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”

In two weeks’ time, we will continue this article with the remaining four creative principles of Pixar. Then, John Lasseter will share with you the secrets of his successful creative leadership approach and talk about innovation-friendly cultural factors at Pixar.

4. It’s the team, stupid. “One of the most popular questions is always whether groups are more creative than individuals. My answer: In most cases, it’s the team – provided you follow certain rules”, says Mr Lasseter. “As a manager, it is my task to abolish hierarchies. It doesn’t matter at all who has the idea; that’s a very important rule for us. The group must be honest, direct, and endeavour to sincerely help the creative individual. But in the end, nothing that the group says is binding”.

My comment: Make sure that everyone in your company understands that innovation is a team sport. Complement your most creative brains with a complementing team of pragmatic implementers, and encourage creatives to push through a controversial idea if it intuitively feels right. “I’ve learned to trust our gut. If it feels right, we just go with it,” notes Mr Lasseter.

5. Fun invokes creativity, not competition. “There is this idea that you put two people, who cannot stand each other, into a room, hoping that all this negative energy leads to a creative result. I disagree. Co-operation, confidence and fun – that is the way”, says Mr Lasseter. He emphasises the complex managerial challenge to successfully motivate creative employees, and to create a climate conducive for creativity. “Creative people must believe that all others support them in making a great movie. They need to believe that all people involved understand what they talk about. Creative people are easily bored, moody, a bit difficult to handle. You have to make it fun for them, care for them. Creative people only produce really good work if you creatively challenge them. They have to like what they’re working on. They have to be damn proud of the fact that they’re a part of a particular project. That is again the task of the manager. Each time, you have to give them creative challenges. That’s difficult, but nobody said it is easy to lead creative people.”

My comment: An innovation-friendly culture is at the heart of the world’s leading innovation firms such as Pixar, Google, Apple, and so on. Among other cultural dimensions, organisational factors such as trust and mutual care, a playful and relaxing work environment, and challenging creative work projects drive these companies to innovation success and excellence. Countless studies have investigated the connection between motivation and creativity, and they all arrived at the same conclusion: Creative professionals are motivated intrinsically, not extrinsically. This means that managers cannot simply use financial incentives or similar extrinsic motivators to “bribe” creative people into producing great creative achievements. The popular shortcut of the extrinsic carrot-or-stick approach does not work with creative employees. Creative professionals only produce awesome creations if you provide them with creative challenges that they perceive as inspiring, enthusing, meaningful and rather difficult to achieve.

6. Creative output always reflects the person on top. “Poor managers harm the creative process,” as John Lasseter knows from personal experience. After landing his dream job as animator at the Disney Animation Studios in the late seventies, his outspoken individuality and creative extravaganzas quickly made him enemies among mediocre middle managers at Disney. Within a few years, Mr Lasseter became a victim of internal politics and got fired.

Committed to go his own way, Mr Lasseter became one of the founders of Pixar in 1986. Twenty years later, following Pixar’s acquisition by The Walt Disney Company, Mr Lasseter returned in triumph as chief creative officer of both animation studios.

“Laughter, being crazy, freaking out, behaving in ridiculous manner are hard work. A manager who spreads his bad mood and who forbids his employees to have fun impairs their creativity, and thus harms the enterprise. I would fire him. Animated movies are not least a bang-hard business. I cannot risk so much money, only because a manager indulging in his bad mood harms my business.”

My comment: A fish always rots from the head, as they say. A creative team or an innovation project should be led by a creative leader who is visionary, participative, action-oriented, positive, inspirational and leads by giving example.

7. Surround yourself with creative people whom you trust. Being an accomplished creative leader, John Lasseter gives some direct advice to junior creative leaders in progress. “Bring only those new members into your creative team, whom you consider to be at least as talented as you. If they also have a pleasant and nice character – even better.

Most managers don’t follow this approach, as they are insecure. Insecurity and creativity do not get along with each other well. Most managers surround themselves with yes-men, and in result, the audiences get bad films to see,” explains Mr Lasseter.

My comment: Put an authentic creative leader to spearhead a creative team or innovation effort. How can you identify such a person? Authentic creative leaders such as John Lasseter or his role model Walt Disney lead by example. They walk their talk. Their subordinates trust and respect them because they can demonstrate their skills and abilities.

Creative people intuitively feel if the track record and experience of their leader is genuine – or is just a facade. Truly authentic creative leaders hire only the best people into their team. They dislike yes-men and want creative talents who challenge the existing process, the other team members and – most importantly – themselves. In that way, they ensure that their team, the organisation and their own personality continue to grow.

Enjoy!

Yet another great upcoming event!

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

Visit my website! I just uploaded a clip from AVPR that I had the pleasure to animate. Hydraulx was the primary vendor for AVPR and it was cool to work with such iconic characters of cinema history. The character I animated was the facehugger in ” stasis” that springs forth to the screen.

www.longhaipham.com

Also here is my ball planning for this weeks AM assignment. One light ball and one heavy ball falling and bouncing.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 12th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation, “Drawing on the Future: Mentorship in Animation,” on Friday, May 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The evening will feature an onstage panel discussion moderated by animation critic Charles Solomon. Honored guests James Baxter, Andreas Deja, Pete Docter and Eric Goldberg will spotlight the mentors who fostered their professional development as well as provide insights into their individual approaches to their art. The celebration will include clips from the masters’ work that inspired each of the panelists, and from the panelists’ work reflecting that inspiration.

Baxter oversaw “star” performances as the supervising animator for Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991), Quasimodo in THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1996), and Spirit in SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON (2002), as well as the animation sequences in ENCHANTED (2007).

Deja brought to life characters as diverse as Gaston in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991), Scar in THE LION KING (1994), and Lilo in LILO & STITCH (2002).

Docter earned Oscar nominations for Original Screenplay for TOY STORY (1995), Best Animated Feature Film for MONSTERS, INC. (2001), and Best Animated Short Film for MIKE’S NEW CAR (2002).

Goldberg served as the character designer and supervising animator for Genie in ALADDIN (1992), and co-directed POCAHONTAS (1995) with Mike Gabriel, and directed the “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Carnival of the Animals” segments in FANTASIA 2000 (2000).

Tickets for the Academy’s 12th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. They may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, in person at the Academy box office or by mail. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. All seating is unreserved. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.

Screening of Dumbo with John Lasseter

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

THE MOVIE THAT INSPIRED ME

Often imitated but never duplicated, The Movie That Inspired Me is an occasional series in which leading directors, actors, writers and other filmmakers present films that have influenced their life and art. The Archive’s Honorary Chairman and series curator Curtis Hanson hosts.

Tonight’s guest is John Lasseter, the Academy Award-winning director of Toy Story (1995) and Cars (2006). A pioneer in computer animation, Lasseter is now the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation. Under his supervision as Chief Creative Officer at Pixar Studios, Finding Nemo (2003) won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film and became the highest grossing animated feature of all time. Additionally, Lasseter has written and directed a number of highly regarded short films including Tin Toy (1988), which became the first computer animated film to win an Oscar.

Lasseter has selected Dumbo (1941) and a special program of animated shorts for the evening.

Monday April 21 2008, 7:30PM ( Buy Ticket )

DUMBO
(1941) Directed by Ben Sharpsteen
Befriended by a mouse with a flare for showmanship after being separated from his mother, Dumbo the Elephant, with his outsized ears, overcomes the barbs of a callous world and learns to soar. Walt Disney’s fourth animated feature, this timeless classic finds the studio’s artists working at the height of their powers. Though dated in parts, it continues to delight audiences young and old.

Preceded by: A Lasseter selection of animated shorts.
In person: John Lasseter, Curtis Hanson

Disney. Screenwriter: Joe Grant, Dick Huemer. Cast: Ed Brophy, Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards. 35mm, 64 min.

http://www.cinema.ucla.edu/screenings/screenings.html

The event was great. We were treated to three warner bros shorts and the entirety of Dumbo. I ‘ve loved that movie since i was a kid. I think I almost fried the VHS that it was on because I viewed it so often. Lasseter was very motivational. In a nutshell, a very determined, knowledgeable, ” out of the box” thinker. The way he speaks of animation shows his true passion for the art and you can’t help but be inspired as well. I particularly liked his little inside notes on his experiences at Cal Arts, early Disney days, the nine old men, and being in the ” war room” concocting stories for films.

Week three!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Had another Q and A tonight. Some great tips for our next assignment, the ball bounce. And some good intro and tips on layering, pose to pose and straight ahead. Stay tuned for some planning for the ball bounce and another Stu pose.

Here are some cool links on story. I have to admit, as much as I love animation, theres something crazy appealing about pitching story, doing boards, and helping everyone create a world.

Gag Session

Continuity

Boards

Second Q and A with Martin Hopkins done

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Pretty awesome Q and A last night. Mostly discussing the principles of animation and seeing how Martin prefers to work. Which of course makes one think about their own animation workflow. Good ways to start, good ways to keep animation clean and readable, good keys/poses, good arcs, exaggeration, inner feelings, empathy and many many more just pile into my head. Lots to think about! But hopefully via AM, I’ll be able to sort out the mess.

Disney’s Movie Slate

Interesting! I’m particularly interested in Up, The Bear and the Bow, and Newt. Up, mostly because its from my favorite Pixar director, Pete Doctor ( Monsters Inc)!

Cool article on feature animation.

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Studios pushing for more animated feature films.