Monday, 20 November 2017

Home For The Holidays

Ever since joining Titmouse I've had the wonderful opportunity to join the Home team!

Here's a Christmas special that I had the chance to work on! First scene after the establishing shot is mine. So cool to see it together! That's one off the animation bucket list: Work on a Christmas special.


Working on Home has been super cool and I appreciated it a lot to be put specifically on this show for my talents due to how cartoony it is! We can really put a lot of fun into the acting and have the freedom to push the poses as far as we can. Really glad to be on a show that doesn't rely on the storyboards entirely and gives the animators actual freedom to act beyond what is provided to us. I've learned a lot since being on the show and I am very grateful to be on it. Look forward to the Christmas special this December 1st on Netflix!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Cuphead is available now!!

Cuphead is available now! The game was my first animation gig and I had the wonderful opportunity to work on it briefly 2 years ago! Go buy it and play it! The team put a lot of passion and hard work and I hope you enjoy it for its challenging gameplay and wonderful art and animation.




Available on Xbox One, Windows 10 Store, Steam, Humble Bundle, and GoG!



Sunday, 3 September 2017

Dilemma

Here it is! My thesis film! The film that consumed my entire life for 8 months and I enjoyed every minute of it. I put a lot of work into the film and I I hope you enjoy it and take something away from it.
DILEMMA


Here are links to posts about the process and a concept art dump:

IDEA DEVELOPMENT

ART

Dilemma - Idea Development

I had the concept for the film at the end of first year/early second year. Just the look of it popped into my head: A round cartoon character juxtaposed with straight and edgy abstract shapes. That's what I wanted my film to look like. The image was there but the full idea wasn't. 

At the beginning of the second half of second year I quickly drew a concept drawing out since I didn't want the image I had in my head to go away. So here's that drawing from 2ish years ago!


Even that early on I already knew what I wanted in my thesis film. 5 things:

1 - Cartoon animation
     Because I love it and have fun doing it.
2 - Motion graphics and moving shapes  
     Because I love graphic design.
3 - Music based (specifically big band) 
     Because I like old music and big band fits with cartoon animation acting as sound effects.
4 - No layout 
     Because I'm not good at it.

That's it! I wanted my film to be about everything I enjoy and I wanted it to play to my strengths. I didn't want to spend time on things I didn't like and things I wasn't particularly good at. My thought was that if I spent time on something I'm not good at, that is time away from improving on something that I want to be better at. I also wanted it to be 1 minute since during industry day they only show 1 minute of our films during the screening. I wanted a whole product on the screen and I also didn't want to overwork myself. 1 minute was already a ton of work for this film and I would have ripped my hair out if I did it any longer.

I also wanted to incorporate a bit of fine art into it because in the end I have a huge passion for art. When I saw Michel Gagne's Sensology had imagery that resembled Wassily Kandinsky's work, I had a direction I wanted to take it to. Other works I referenced were iPod silhouette commercials, Day & Night by Pixar, Carnival of Animals from Fantasia 2000, The Dot and Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics by Chuck Jones, UPA, Fleischer Bros., Piet Mondrian, Picasso, Saul Bass, and more that I probably missed. 

Here are some stuff I made in 3rd year. Quick doodles that I made in order to get the idea across.


Although Kandinsky was my first idea, I experimented with boards and sketches with much more basic shapes. A lot of people suggested I simplify things and choose the basic shapes to make the workload a little easier for myself since I was already planning to fully animate characters for the total 1 minute. Which was a smart suggestion since in the end the workload I had was already enough and challenging for me. But I still think about how my film would have turned out with more elaborate Kandinsky style effects.



Here is the first image I made that incorporated the idea I had of using flat shapes to suggest perspective and only when placing the character in it would it give context. I created a rough storyboard sequence in 3rd year using this concept and my instructor suggested I take that idea further.


Progress Reel

Here's my progress reel! I locked down my storyboards by end of September and started animating in October. Other classes got in the way so full on animating didn't start until January to very early March. Clean up took the whole month of March and colouring was a breeze on Toonboom which took 3 days. My original plan was to finish in March but I took into account delays and revisions. I still managed to finish several weeks early! I also never pulled any all nighters and only worked at school from 9am - 9pm and took weekends off! I had to come in on weekends a few times during clean up, but apart from that I had a very healthy lifestyle in fourth year compared to my other three years. I felt great!

A few of my friends kept asking about how I time manage well. Here's the secret: JUST WORK ON YOUR FILM. Don't get side tracked. Fourth year was deceiving with all the "free time" you have with less classes, I just spent most of that working but still took time to have fun. So to any upcoming fourth years working on their thesis films and are reading this: work on your film as much as you can. Lock down your boards as soon as possible. Aim for something manageable and to your strengths. And most importantly sleep. Don't work tired, it will just make the work you output worse. Good luck!




Dilemma - Concept Art Dump

Some art I made during the process of making the film! I'm just going to dump them all here:

Original Dilemma title design by my good friend Juan Munoz! Really great but I felt it was too serious and didn't convey the fun and energy of my film. I really liked the colour choices and the placement of shapes a lot though and wanted to keep that. The final title design is by me taking inspiration from old UPA cartoons whenever they used type in their films as well as old cartoon episode title cards. 



Some colour schemes and images that I referenced for them. I referenced a lot of Rothko's paintings for colour schemes. 


Some super early thumbnails playing around with colour and composition. The large orange and yellow one was an attempt to see the least number of colours to create a space, in this case a down shot of a room.



Colour Script

Making the colour script was difficult! Certain colours needed to seep into the next sequence but each sequence needed to have a different mood. There are 1 or 2 moments in the music and timing that allowed me to cheat and change the colours in an instant. I wanted primary colours at the end due to their abundant use in minimalist paintings but I didn't want one of the three colours to just appear out of nowhere in the end. So I decided to make the first four sequences focus on one primary colour and transition into the next. 


Here are some old in progress colour scripts:



Here's the only layout that I had to do and I needed to get it right. I looked into that Gobelin film, Stewpot Rhapsody as inspiration. I needed Art to fit into the world and also be a contrast to the clean flat painting in order for it to stand out. I ended up picking a the one with the least noise since I wanted to audience to focus more on Art and Dilemma. I was close to choosing the second but the frame took attention away from the characters.


I have posted a lot about the character design process of Art, but here's one of the (spoiler) second character that appears at the end. His name is Intrigue and rather than base it off a question mark ?, I wanted this character to be based off an exclamation point ! Even though he's there for a very short time I imagined his personality is that of genuine interest in contrast to Art who was curious. 

Animation Tests

Here are some animation tests I did very early on while I was still storyboarding. I wanted to make sure I was able to manipulate the characters and shapes in a way I imagined. I also made it as a means to test character timing and emoting basic shapes.


Intrigue

I needed a character that fit in with Art's design but still be different in order to contrast him. All Intrigue's shapes and gestures, from his arms to his feet, are based off thin triangles and circles to mimic the exclamation point. 





Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Dilemma Premiere!

I'll be making my film public very very soon! So soon you won't even believe it! Here's some boards and final screenshots of them to whet your appetite!









Cuphead @ Gamescom

Forgot to post this here! But here's some sweet new gameplay footage of Cuphead from Gamescom with an interview with Maja Moldenhauer! Some clean up work I did can be seen during the mermaid level, specifically the water fx around her waist and the coloured fish she holds to shoot projectiles! Super cool to see it put together!

Cuphead comes out September 29!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

My Big Sister

This will be more personal than usual but this is important to me. I'll make it brief.

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my sister, my best friend, my role model, and my inspiration. My older sister Marie had passed away unexpectedly while on vacation in Cuba late May. She was finally laid to rest yesterday.

My sister (who I called Ate [ah-teh]) was the one that inspired me to do art. When I was younger I was extremely jealous of her ability to draw and be creative. I wanted to be like her. She made interested in art and without her I wouldn't be the creative person I am today. I will always remember the times when we were younger and we would draw short comic strips together. 

I was lucky enough to watch the Family Day screenings of my year's thesis films with just her. I won't ever forget how happy, excited, and proud she was of me achieving my dream of becoming an animator after seeing my film. Her tears of joy meant a lot to me. I feel content knowing she had the opportunity to see what I've accomplished so far and be proud of me.






I'll be doing big things very soon and experiencing it without her will not be the same.

I'll make you even more proud Ate, you just wait.

Rest in peace and say hi to Mama for me.
Thanks for the wonderful memories, love, support, and overall being a great sister.
I will always love you. 

-Marco

Titmouse Inc.

I will be moving to Vancouver tomorrow to work at Titmouse as an animator! I'm super excited to start and move out for the first time to the other side of the country! This will be the start of an adventure! Wish me luck!


Saturday, 17 June 2017

Cuphead Release Date - September 29

This week during E3, Cuphead, the game that I worked on 2 summers ago, finally got a release date! YAAY! Super excited to play the final product! Worked on just a few of of the levels that are in this trailer and it's amazing to see some levels in the final stages that I saw only in early stages of development while I was there! 

Get excited! Pre - order it now on Xbox One and Windows 10. Also available on Steam!


I Graduated!

Sorry for the lack of posts that I said I would do, unfortunately something had unexpectedly come up that I'll be writing about soon.

Apart from that, last week on June 6th I had finally graduated from cartoon school! What a long journey it's been since I first attempted to get into the program in 2011 starting with Art Fundies at Sheridan. I can't believe that it's over and I can't believe I managed to get into my dream school since I was a kid and finish it off with a bang with my thesis film! It was a wonderful, life-changing experience and I'm glad to have worked and graduated alongside those in my year. They helped me get through these four years and I wouldn't have managed to do it without them.

Here's just a few pics, I don't want to overcrowd this post:




My brother and I :)

Time to update all my profiles now as a Sheridan Animation graduate!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Industry Day + Post Industry Day

PHEW!
It's been 3 weeks since Industry Day and only now does it feel like it's dying down. Let me sum up that day: IT WAS WILD. INSANE. I was super nervous before it but felt prepared, but as it was happening it was unexpected! I wasn't prepared as to what occurred that day and it was probably the highlight of my time in the animation program and one of the greatest days I've ever experienced. The hard work I put getting into the program as well as the hard work that I did during it really paid off, and it felt great that day to be recognized for it. 

Here's some pics and a rundown of what happened that day! I wish I took more but I was super overwhelmed!

Here are some pics of setting up with Sarah Kieley posing in the middle.



 My station and me standing awkwardly next to it!




So after setting up super early (I wanted to make sure nothing went wrong), it was a long wait until industry day reps would come to the floor. Waiting during the time they were watching our films was nerve wracking. You knew they were in the theatre, you knew they judging them, and you knew when it was going to finish. There were some industry reps already making the rounds before the films were even done! I couldn't stop fidgeting around with my business cards and anything that I had in hand.

After panicking for some time with my friends around me one by one industry reps started to swarm onto the floor. After that moment everything was one big blur. One after another an industry person would come to my booth and talk. I received so many compliments on my film and even from people who were in 3D companies or weren't recruiting for an animator. They would just drop by (or in the case of one person slowly inch towards my booth while watching my film on my monitor), and say how much they absolutely loved my film and the animation. Lots of people caught on to what I was going for in the film and it just felt really great to have people appreciate and understand what I was going for with it!

More and more people would come by booth, I had very little downtime during it all. I loved how some were so enthusiastic about my film, expressing so much interest in the film itself and pulling other people they knew towards my booth to check it out again. The recognition was too much and I did not anticipate it at all. It felt absolutely wonderful to have your skills validated by current professionals in the field. 

To any industry people that were there, went by my booth, and are reading this, thank you so much for expressing interest in me. It meant a lot.

After the whole gigantic swarm of industry reps going to people's booths and talking business, then came the awards! And I was lucky enough to receive 2 of them that night! Another thing I did not expect! The first award I received was the Mercury Filmworks: Triple Thread Award for Story, Design, and Best Overall Animation presented by Jerry Popowich of Mercury Filmworks. I took a screenshot of my friend snapchatting it haha:



And the second award I received was the HP People's Choice Award! In which the industry people voted on their favourite film! I had a ton of people coming by my booth saying they loved my film and voted for it but I was amazed when this happened! There were a ton of other amazing films from my year and I was surprised! Nonetheless I am very very grateful of receiving this award and thankful to all those that voted for my film. Again, if any of you are reading this, thank you.


And here's a pic stolen from Ali Kellner of a selfie we took with Jim Caswell! One of the coolest teachers I've ever had!


And that was just DAY 1 of industry day. That night I couldn't sleep, I was floating and walking on air. As happy as I was that night I was nervous about the following day. That night they made a lists for people who were scheduled to have interviews the next day. Usually that interview day is for studios that aren't local to conduct interviews for students at the school. After that reception from industry day, I had a feeling I'd be listed a few times. What I didn't anticipate was that I was scheduled to have 8 interviews that day. From morning to late afternoon all I had were interviews. I think I had only an hour break at one point. It was a lot to take in and it was such a great learning experience. 

Throughout industry day and interview day, I met so many amazing people. Everyone was super nice and super cool! It was such fun to get to speak with so many of them and I managed to make some friends during that day! It was a wonderful one of a kind experience. 4 years culminated into those 2 days and I'd say it was worth it, personally. I can't speak for everyone else but my experience that day was a great success. 

***
This is a tad personal but putting it on this blog anyway!
After my last interview I literally had animation prom right after! I had a short 1 hour break between my last interview and prom. It was a fun party that some of my peers put together. It was a great night and a wonderful last party I got to spend with the greatest, nicest, and friendliest people I had the opportunity to spend 4 years with. The thing I loved the most about my program was the people in it. My year in particular got along with each other so well, I could jump between friend groups and still feel welcome. I'm glad I got to experience animation with this lovely bunch, I couldn't have asked for a better group of friends.Thanks for the 4 years :)






A quick Kaleidoscope Studios photobooth reunion:


***
I will be posting details of what I'll be up to within the next few days! Maybe tomorrow? I'll see. But big news so stay tuned! I'll also be posting Dilemma related content soon! I've got tons of artwork I made in pre production to still post! 



Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dilemma Film Poster!

Here's my film poster! AND tomorrow is the class screening!! Super nervous and excited. 8 months of hard work and finally seeing it finished on the big screen is exciting. Can't wait to see everyone else's films too! Then after that it's industry day prep at the end of the month!


***
Here's some of the posters I did along the way towards my final design in the order in which I did them:


Originally I started with the most minimal style I could go for, which was just putting the painting in my film as the poster. A friend of mine was unimpressed with what I was doing and said I should go a little more with it. He was right. He suggested to throw in more shapes so...


I came up with this one quickly. The colours were not intended to be final. He seemed to like it along with some other people but I didn't like how random the shapes were. There was just no reason for those shapes to be there the way they are so I started to just move away from it.


Started making something along the lines of old title cards, Looney Tunes designs, and 60's design. I abandoned it fairly quickly.


Rothko's paintings were one of the main inspirations for my film in terms of composition and colour. So I decided to do the painting of Dilemma in the style of Rothko. I was digging it as I was doing it until someone pointed out that it did not whatsoever convey the feeling of my film. She was right, it looks more gloomy and gritty which is the complete opposite of my film!


So then I went back to my original idea but looked into french new wave posters as well as Saul Bass stuff. I liked this general composition and worked more with it afterwards. I broke shapes into smaller ones like french new wave posters and at one point even incorporated some key poses into the shapes. It ended up looking too busy with Art in many shapes and sometimes it was even distracting. I looked more into old cartoon posters, I liked the minimal use of colour in them, and Saul Bass then decided to go with a The Man With The Golden Arm style poster with Art featured on it. 
The broken up shapes gives it an organized chaotic look and the spaces give it a maze-like feel which captures the feeling of confusion in which Art goes through in the film. The shapes can be interpreted as other paintings on a wall or anything that the viewer thinks of which is the main theme of my film: interpretation!