Not Going to be a Dinosaur Anymore.

dinosaur

Work is getting more and more scarce as a roto/paint artist living in Los Angeles these days. It’s kind of scary, with all the competition from using outsourced and subsidized work that really is cheaper and faster, and now it is also better quality. Why not pay a cheaper price for your rotoscoping and 2D paint, when you are running a business? I can understand that decision.

So… my job is becoming obsolete. It doesn’t matter that I really love it, or that I know things from experience that I can do by hand, that cannot be done procedurally. I’ve made the decision to finally move up into compositing for a living. I would hope that I am a valuable asset if I can do my own roto/paint work. I am already performing at a junior compositor level now, why not take on the challenge of being one of the compositors that are responsible for bringing the shots to the screen?

I think I have been intimidated all along, with all the things you need to know how to do. But when I think about it, I already know so much already! I already have a fantastic foundation. And I also want to be able to have more creative input with my shots instead of just with absolute results. I’m ready to expand now. Well, I’m kind of forced to, because I need to bring in some income!

OK. So for the past month or so I’ve been studying keying and creating my own composites. I also want to expand this website so that I can have a page dedicated to my portfolio and works in progress.

Here is an example of a lovely green park scene that I changed into a winter scene. It is still a WIP but so far, so good! I will make sure I keep on posting more and more examples of any fun projects I’m doing, as always. But now that I’ve got a fire under my ass (and more free time) I will continue to learn and grow, and post what I’m doing here. This is what I’ve been wanting to do with this blog all along anyway!

In this example, I had to find a dark cloudy background, then graded it down, and keyed the tree tops, and then created a bump map so that the tree leaves get “snow” on them, and then added a thicker layer of snow on the surfaces. Then I had to punch through the tree trunks and parts of the bench. I still would like to keep working on the edges, but I think this is a good WIP for now.

before:
GreenTrees_2snowyPark_v02<img

It’s Spring Already!

Hi there,

I see that the last time I’ve written anything here was at the beginning of the year.
If you are a VFX artist living in Los Angeles, working in roto/paint primarily, the work tends to come in waves. The latest project I finished working on was “Avengers: Infinity War” which comes out later this week!

Now that I have some time off I’ve been doing some spring cleaning and going through old files. I found some fun drawings that some coworkers at ILM and I collaborated on over time on our office whiteboard. Really fun stuff, and I’m glad I found it. I’ll have to share something here. We all just got as silly and absurd as we could, and kept changing stuff until it made us laugh. What a fun time that was, I loved working there.

I’m also back to CrossFit more regularly… if anyone reading this can understand, it’s really addicting and feels so good for you, once you get over the hump of being completely sore from head to toe every day LOL. I discovered last year that I really must find work that lets me have time to go to these classes in the morning. VFX work really takes its toll on the employees, with the crazy long hours and sitting all day long, into the night. I gained some weight on my last gig, doing 70+ hr work weeks on average. It’s a struggle, especially when you are in your late 40s…

I’ve also discovered that if you live in the Los Angeles area, and have a LA County Library card, you can log on to Lynda.com and learn all you can there for free! Such a wonderful gift that I am so grateful for. I’ve been getting through the Steve Wright compositing videos lately. There’s just SO MUCH to learn, and I love learning so this is right up my alley.

Take good care of yourselves, everyone! Keep on creating!
Whiteboard_Drawings_ILM

Updated my VFX demo reel for 2017…

Hey there!

I finally took the time out to update my reel.  It’s a new-and-improved version of my past reel, basically.

Working in the vfx industry, we are not allowed to show current footage of work we did that is not yet released on DVD so it is always a little behind the times.

Mine’s pretty far behind the times even more so, because I wanted to show all my *best* work and not some stuff that I thought was just okay or not relevant enough.  For example, I worked on “Deadpool” and rotoscoped Deadpool on a few shots (boring) and when it came to paintwork, I only worked on fixing paint that came in to our studio from outsource, that looked wrong.  I want to showcase work that is more challenging to me and paint is more interesting, in my opinion anyway…

So I am very proud of all the work I did on “Black Sails” season 3, “Pixels”, “Her”, “Gone Girl”, “Furious 7”, some very cool and challenging commercials, all for Digital Domain, and then “Cowboys & Aliens” for ILM. I love what I do for a living, and have been doing this for 20 years now.

I’ve been thinking about putting together a reel that showcases all of my best work over the 20 year span. Maybe sometime I’ll do this when I retire..? Well, that’s a long way away so I have time to think about it anyway.

OK- here is my latest reel for 2017:

Diligence

Hey there,

At one point a few posts ago, I said I will be writing a new blog every day. Wow, I do admire those who stick to that task!  Some blog writers admit that they have nothing to say when they sit down to write sometimes, and some how the words just flow eventually.

I read a book about 20 yrs ago called, “If You Can Talk, You Can Write” and I still believe in the philosophy.  The book said, that you should just sit and write whatever is on your mind and would illustrate the following: “blah, blah, blah, blah… Gold!”  Meaning, eventually you will meander to an interesting story and then just focus upon that, and write about it.

What I have basically learned is, a writer is a storyteller. That’s all, nothing intimidating about that. What’s really intimidating (at least, to me) is that what you write and publish, is there forever in print. So you start thinking more seriously on what it is you want to share… thinking of your audience.  I like to do this for myself, to see my own progress but I have to admit that if you have anyone else reading you start to feel accountable and set goals to put something out there, consistently.

Which I think is a good thing, if you want to see any progress. So in other words, I do see the benefit in sticking with this blog- writing.

I thought about also including some stories about my past adventures, just for fun. Just to get them out there.  My rule for myself is that they have to be interesting or funny stories. That’s all.

Alright, with that said, I’m going back to my main theme of posting artistic and creative progress.

Here, I have a clip from the movie “Her”, where I was told to remove all of the Chinese writing on the buildings, since they shot this particular scene in Shanghai.  I asked if I could replace the sign on the left with the words “Rose”. I was given permission to do this, to my excitement. My usual job in visual effects is to remove things that the filmmaker doesn’t want shown, such as removing wires from stuntmen’s bodies, etc., and someone else replaces it if necessary to the shot.  I was thrilled I had a chance to replace it with something I created! “ROSE” is mine, yay!! The visual effects supervisor had me add the extra flair to the plain block letters I originally created.

I was working at Digital Domain and then, the facility was about to move from the Venice location to Playa Vista, CA. I thought “Rose” was fitting because it was located on Rose Ave. at that time.