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

Another book recommendation

Howdy!
I just finished reading “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy and it is truly inspiring and motivating. So much so, that I wanted to share it here. I am going to read it again, just to reinforce anything that I may have missed.

The idea is that if you are determined to change your habits and behavior, or improve your skills, or want to get physically fit or see any kind of improvement in your life, you need to be consistent. That’s all. Just keep making that effort to improve and stay consistent, and when you hit a plateau, just push the effort a little harder, and you will become that dream person you’ve always wanted to be!

You can reduce your own bad habits with this method, too. If you decide to, every day, cut your calorie intake by 250 cal., after a year you will see a significant change! It’s the effect that compounding brings. I’ve heard of this idea when it comes to finance and investing, but never really thought of the concept of how it can apply to every day life.

Just like that video I shared here, probably a year ago, that I found to be so inspiring. The guy said that he would draw every day. It didn’t have to be a good drawing, and to get himself started on the days he didn’t feel like drawing he would tell himself to just draw one line, but he did it every day. At the end of the video, his drawing improved by so much!! Can you imagine the improvement over a year, or 5 years, or 20 years?? It’s the compound effect of working at something consistently.

Anyway, this is the book, hope you feel inspired to read it too:

Clean Slate, and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone!!

Here we are, now it’s 2018. Hopefully you are all feeling inspired to get some creative ideas out there on paper, canvas, computer, on a recording, or any other creative expression!

I believe that we, as humans, are meant to create things. We are supposed to create. Do you believe this too? It makes sense, if you look at all the different forms of life here on Earth. So, why aren’t you creating something now??? And if you already are doing something, are you working to make it better and better?

I only ask this, because I struggle with this question for myself all the time. And still, I procrastinate getting anything done. The only way to get really good at something is to just do it, and get some practice, so what does it matter that it is shitty? (this is exactly what I struggle with myself. Of course, I want everything I create to be perfect right off the bat, LOL)

I keep looking at a blank wall in our kitchen at home and every time I see it, I am reminded that I haven’t done anything to begin my ‘great work of art’ to go on that wall. The thing is, whenever I go to places like Urban Home I see wall coverings that to me, looks like I can do it, but better. And I can personalize it too! But I still procrastinate and put it low in my priority list. But, why? If I know I can do this, why don’t I do it??? I’m hoping I’m not alone with this. Sigh.

So, today, on Jan. 2, 2018, I have finally begun to paint a large canvas that hopefully will be good enough to go on our kitchen wall. I’ve been researching feng shui ideas for the position in our kitchen (southwest = yellow, orange, red… like fire) and since I’m fascinated with doing more landscapes, I am attempting to do a Fall scene. Doesn’t matter if I fail at this point. Why not just do it, and learn from any mistakes???

So, here I go!!

I hope that any of this has resonated with you, whether you are an artist or writer, or just venturing out into your desire, whatever it may be.

Happy New Year, I sincerely mean it!!!

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.

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!