Digital VFX Artist

Latest VFX Reel (2017)

Rough first attempt

Hi again,

I have been going back over some of my lessons on matte painting, taught by someone from fxPhd, a few years ago.  I had previously needed to stop attending my online class because I realized I was totally lost when it came to using Photoshop.

Then, I bought an online remedial Photoshop training class that I never had time to finish all the way through.

About a year ago or so, I decided I wanted to do a projection of a sky using photos that I took of the sky near my house, then stitched together using PTGui. Then I brought it into Nuke and attached it to a sphere, to simulate the dome of a sky appearance. But I never put it into a scene, so that idea also had been put aside when I got busier at work.

Fast forward to now, where I do have some time off again. I have all these ambitious dreams of creating 5 really awesome, spectacular matte paintings so I finally got started today to resume my matte paint class.  I now feel like I am right back at square one again! I still can’t easily perform well in Photoshop so I will need to get back to that remedial PS class again, sigh.  It’s frustrating when you have ideas in your head, and know what you want to do, but the tools are not working for you.

Well, as with anything, you need to know the basics before advancing onto greater things!

I did at least go back today and try to finish that sky replacement piece I started in Nuke. That was going okay until I realized there is a technical issue with that technique as well, and needed to put that aside too.

Which leaves me to… my rough simple matte painting that I projected onto a card and then rotoscoped buildings and other objects over top of it. Voila … this is (sort of) my first attempt at a matte painting, put inside a moving sequence!  I am using the non-commercial license for Nuke so they won’t allow me to key anything so I rotoscoped everything in front – so time consuming.  It’s not perfect, but I wanted to demonstrate my simplest first step into matte painting. I will progress from here, for sure. I guess I also cannot submit the entire sequence I did, so I will post a few photos from it instead:

 

Here is a pic from the original footage:

MotorcycleGetaway_bg_v01.0023

It’s not spectacular, but at least I got something to show here on my progress so far. I was busy last week doing personal stuff and now I’m dedicating more time on advancing my skills.

Thanks for reading!

 

A Few of my recent Landscape Paintings

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Hey there,

I’m making a point of it to write here every day, at least every day that I am not working my long hours. Maybe this will become a habit and I’ll want to write every day anyway. Or at least a few days a week.

So, a few months ago (maybe it’s been a year already! Time sure does fly..!) I created 3 little landscape paintings and then I framed them and put them up on a wall inside my home. I have felt inspired for a while now, to fill up my blank walls with paintings that I made.

Today, I plan on continuing with my matte painting online class. Soon, I will have something to show here… always a work in progress!

Keep painting and creating!

 

Work In Progress

Hello there,

Working as a VFX artist tends to make me slink away for sections of time, due to work deadlines and such.  It really bothers me when I cannot keep up with all of the stuff I’d like to do, when crunch time happens. But, it’s my chosen field of work and I do love it very much!

Now that I’m on “funemployment” because the project I was previously working on just ended, I have so much I want to study and learn, to advance my work skills. I also want to just create art in general, which I will post here.  I will try to post daily progress, if I can. This way, it will hold me accountable to not get lazy or do all of my gazillion other house projects before taking a moment to post something here.

I decided to go back to my fxPhd class about Digital Matte Painting.  I signed up for this a few years ago, along with a couple of other digital paint/environments/compositing classes.  I found, at the time, that I could not keep up with this particular class, because I hardly knew how to use Photoshop.  I’ve since taken lots of online classes to teach me Photoshop and now as I go over the first fxPhd class again, I do have a much better understanding, phew!

Here is how far I got with my digital online training of Photoshop, so this was from a class and not an original:

Module6_ElephantWings.jpg

I did the elephant one several months ago, towards the end of 2016.  Lately, I have been sitting down with Photoshop and loading images from the internet and practicing layering them together, and manipulating it to create my first matte painting. This one, a work in progress, I did about a month ago:

MyFirstMattePainting.jpg

What I plan to do with this one is to add a nice beach on the right of the scene.  Also, blend that sailboat with the background a lot better. I’ll post this again once I have a finished product.

Here is another one I had been working on:

TEST_mattepaint.jpg

File format came out tiny, so I see that this is another one of my rookie errors. But what I did was remove cars and telephone poles, etc from the landscape, and added a house to the lower right. It is not yet blended in.

OK, so that is my very beginning stage of learning how to create matte paintings. I also would love to learn how to work in Environments, which means that I’d get to attach my matte paintings to some geometry that I created, as well as possibly my own lighting and camera work. But I will begin with learning the basics first. 🙂

 

Looking through one of my old sketchbooks

Hey there, hello again!

I have this sketchbook that I carry around with me from time to time, but sadly, I don’t draw in nearly as much as I’d like.  I realized yesterday that it is time to retire it as there are only like 2 blank pages left.

Not that those blank pages couldn’t be filled! I just got uninspired with the content from the last few years of drawing in it. Basically, I think my work was starting to suck over the past maybe 8 yrs or so?  What’s interesting though, is that there was a window of time documented in the sketchbook where I was having a really good run and making some interesting art.

This was circa 2006. I remember I was working at Sony Imageworks at the time, living in Venice, CA., and what I think inspired me greatly was that my friend and coworker Len was getting an artists’ group together on a weeknight every week, to draw and talk about art. I learned so much back then! I also began to use these little art pens that have one fine tip at one end and the other end is like a paintbrush. It began this path of mine that led me to just let my mind wander and doodle and then refine my doodles until it made an interesting picture.

At that time in my life, since I lived in Venice, I decided to spend my weekends riding my bicycle down the beach bike path, bringing my sketchbook with me. So I’d ride along, exploring, and then make stops where I would draw, and comment on what I was drawing, and take in the scenery and then move on again. I spent a whole summer, maybe two, doing this and it was great!!!

Anyway.  I thought I’d share some of the best sketchbook entries from this time period. I thought it was fun to read some of the comments I’d made about people-watching and general observations on things at that time frame. (for instance, I had a crush on a guy at work that wasn’t panning out to what I wished it would be… if I only knew that only 4 years later I’d marry a wonderful guy that I hadn’t met yet!)  Also, it was REALLY fun to just scribble something down and then elaborate my artwork to whatever seemed fun to go with, as you will see in some of the color scans I’d made. It was fun to look at this stuff so I thought it might make a good inspirational post to want to create more art.

At some point after that, however, I just stopped drawing and creating as much interesting stuff, so when I returned to this sketchbook and drew anything, it discouraged me because it wasn’t coming out to be so interesting or even very good. So for years since, I drew in it from time to time but it wasn’t making me feel great about the content. That sucks! I resolve to start a new sketchbook and draw in it nearly every day that I can. Maybe even the stuff that sucks is okay. Just as long as I’m drawing/doodling/making art.

Okay, here goes… I’m posting many scans I just made tonight of my old sketchbook, for inspiration!

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists

I stumbled upon this YouTube video when I was researching tutorials on how to create matte paintings. I found it to be interesting, and I like what the Blender people are doing with making videos to help artists.

We are the creators and dreamers of the world, and if we just sit and do nothing, we don’t contribute anything.  If we just wish for spare time in our busy lives, in order to create original artwork, or music, or stories, or crafts, etc etc etc, we will most likely go to our graves feeling regret for not having accomplished anything we wished for.

I know I am speaking for myself, for sure!! But, I know that others are the same as me.

Anyway, here is the link to the video “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Artists”:

goals

We have to have goals. Something to look forward to, so we can grow as human beings.

I have some goals for the upcoming year, to accomplish in 2017.  Here they are:

  • in one year’s time, I will have 5 original matte paintings to show in a portfolio/reel/website
  • in one year’s time, I will apply for a digital matte painting position at a large studio that has a great, healthy working environment and inspiring projects to work on
  • I will lose another 30 lbs and be in my best physical shape that I’ve ever been in.
  • I will be ready to run a half marathon in a year from now.
  • I will have a new and improved reel (and show it right here!) within 3 months’ time.

I look forward to posting new illustrations, paintings, and drawings in the coming year! Right here, yay!

I’ve decided that my good health, my best relationships, and my career goals are my top priority. Taking care of myself first, then branching outward to help others is the best way.

Much love and joy!

Happy New Year!

Hey there!! It’s been 5 years since my last post.

I actually forgot about this and instantly when I looked at everything and was able to access this again, I want to write again!

I want to continue to share updates with artwork, latest vfx reels, as well as future ideas for projects and also some stories.  I want to write about some past adventures I’ve had, any present ones and also about all the things I’ve learned in the last 5 yrs or so.  Let’s see how this evolves, and maybe it will just be me writing a journal to myself. That’s fine, too.

This is great!!  I am very blessed.  What a great start to the new year, 2017!!!

The picture below is a photo I took in 2005 at the Brewery artwalk open house.

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Purging

I decided that I want to get back into traditional painting as well as learning how to use Photoshop to create purty pictures.

As I stare at my stacks of unfinished paintings on my drawing table, I realize that I am just leaving clutter and I’ll never really get back to ‘fixing’ these half-assed works.  I’m cutting the cord and throwing them out.  They’re junky and clunky.

I scanned a couple of them, to keep images of the parts that I do like about the paintings.  But now that I’ve done this, I am chucking them.  Kind of a relief, really.

I wanted to post the parts that I scanned.

  

Oh and I started working on another piece in Photoshop- a nice landscape.  I’ll post again when I’ve finished.

 

My first portrait done in Photoshop

   I’ve been learning how to use Photoshop lately, and on the side I decided to work on stuff that I choose to do as well.  I used a photo as a reference but painted this all myself, to practice using the tools and brushes.  I think I like it a lot.  It’s like painting in oils but not messy!!

More to follow.  I may attempt to go ahead and try doing a matte painting tutorial and get some practice and hopefully have some stuff ready for my portfolio.  I’ll post those as I go along and learn.  It’s fun being a student again!

Having fun learning Photoshop

OK, so I’ve been taking advantage of my time off by learning Photoshop.  I have the “Digital Classroom” book and going along with the lessons.  I have a feeling that this is really a valuable thing that I’m doing.  I also decided to paint some portraits in Photoshop just to get used to using their brushes and other tools.  I’m having fun with it so far!!!!

I’m posting a silly picture that I did in a lesson about resizing and layers and file formats.  The one of the barn.  And I’m also posting a work-in-progress I’m doing for fun, the portrait of an Indian that I’m copying freestyle from a National Geographic pic I found.

Finding my passion… and becoming a student again.

My husband has been asking me ever since we started dating, why don’t I paint anymore?  When will I paint something on my own time??

I’ve been trying to come up with an answer ever since.  Am I afraid of failure?  Afraid of success?  What’s going on?  Why don’t I create more, have I become complacent?

I think that after I started working professionally as an artist, and putting in very long hours working for someone else, somehow I lost my drive to do my own work.  I’ve been unemployed for 4 months now, and I am finally getting my drive back.  Why have I let myself get so distracted?  I love making art, it IS one of my passions, but I haven’t been doing anything about it.  I haven’t been advancing my talent and skills in a long while.  Sure, I try to draw in my sketchbook and would go to life drawing classes when I worked at Sony and ILM (where they offered it for free for employees).  But where’s the fire?  I feel my passion growing again.  I feel the fire being rekindled.  This is a blessing, to be laid off from work at this point in my life.