10 September 2013

MPC and the Guardians of the Galaxy

Heya folks!

Big news - I'm going to work as an Animator at MPC!

Sadly, I am moving out from TeamTO, way sooner than I had planned/expected. The studio is amazing and it is growing really fast - I'm sure it will be even bigger in just some months. They are currently working on 4 series and 1 feature film simultaneously! And all of them really cool projects. And the future projects, oh oh! They are brilliant, trust me! There's a LOT of talent, I've met countless good animators and made very good friends, that I hope to work again with in the future someday. It was hard to leave them as I was loving my life there, and it felt way too early.

So why leave only after a couple of months working there, if everything was going so great? Well, I had a really hard decision to make - This big studio contacted me to work on a feature film, a studio that I admire for a long time already now. That studio is MPC, London. A unique chance to be pat of such a big project, in such a talented and famous studio can't be denied! It will be a really big challenge and I will do my very best to be up to the standards. It will be a great chance to evolve as an animator - in fact, I'm going to be in the same studio as my class 5 mentor, Arslan Elver, who already helped me evolve a lot! That was nearly an year ago, and to know that we're about to be teammates is incredible.

MPC is a VFX Studio that does feature film and commercial work. It is based in London, Vancouver, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles and Bangalore (I will be in London). They are one of the top world studios in what they do, and I dare to say that I'm 100% sure that you were amazed by their work at least a dozen of times in your life, even if you didn't know it was them. Some projects they have worked on, just to mention a few, are: Harry Potter, The Life of Pi, Pirates of the Caribbean, X-Men, Wrath of the Titans, Man of Steel, The Chronicles of Narnia. You can also check their Filmography. Here's an example of their work:

I will be working on a feature film called Guardians of the Galaxy. It's a Marvel / Walt Disney Pictures film, directed by James Gunn. The Guardians are a group of super heroes, from the same universe as the Avengers. I'll let you do your own research if you are interested in learning more, I hate telling spoilers ;)

So to end this post, I just want to say that it's such a big honor to be part of this. I will give my 110%, and I look forward to learn from "the masters"!

Wish me luck, I will need it!

13 July 2013

TeamTO: My new studio in France!

So, big news! (and maybe old by now) - I got a job at TeamTO, an awesome studio in Valence, France,  that some really cool animated series for TV worldwide - it's one of the biggest studios of that kind in Europe. TeamTO is in Paris and Valence, but Valence is where all the animation is done. So in my point of view, it's the "cool" one! Valence is a nice and calm city in the southeast of France, between Lyon and Marseille. Here is a video that shows the studio, city and productions of TeamTO!

(As the video is not available anymore, you can check a cool interview about TeamTO here.)

The first week at the studio is over now, and I already was assigned to a project and started working on it. It's "Babar and the adventures of Badou", season 3. Babar is successful for years, I remember watching it in 2D when I was a kid (once I had a nightmare with Babar!) and it's awesome to work with this elephants! At the studio I have some friends from Animation Mentor that were hired at the same time as me, more or less. They are Timothée Billiet, Martijn van den Akker, Julien Reyes and Jordi Gaspar. Sadly, none of them was assigned to the same project as me :( But well I still get to see them everyday! And the studio is full of cool people, the ambient couldn't be better.

That's all for now I guess! Au revoir!

05 June 2013

11 Second Club: Bronze!

What a fun month it was, and really rewarding as well! I will do it again for sure, when the time is right.
So, my final place was 3rd. The competition was though and I was surprised I finished higher than some awesome entries. I'm really delighted that I made it to the podium, it is very meaningful to me, specially now when a confidence boost was much needed! It was cool that a Romano used the Roman theme ;) Happy that the lack of breathing in the guards wasn't very noticed, and that the 3rd Roman shield at then end had a render problem and got the colors switched... Two things that I have to change sooner or later.
Here's the shot, finished and rendered:

And here are the final standings:

30 May 2013

11 Second Club: Render Breakdown

Hey peeps!

It is finished! I have already submitted my entry to the 11SecondClub servers. Soon, everyone will be allowed to vote, and in a week from now or so, the final results will be published. I'll keep everyone updated here :)

I've decided to show a little sneak peak of how the shot will look, and explain you a bit the process with a image. I have to give credit to Leandro Martins and Tom Pinon, as they gave me huge rendering tips, and also my brother Gustavo Romano, who helped me by "painting" the backgrounds. Something between texturing and mattepainting, it went incredibly well!

Here is the breakdown:

Well that is it for now, expect news really soon!

23 May 2013

11 Second Club: Stop animating, to the render house!

Aaaaaand it's final. Not because I'm satisfied with it, but because i need to start with the rendering now if I want to have it looking pretty at the end, in TIMe! For the render, I'll take advantage of my brother's help, he'll do some mattepainting for the background. Myself, I will do the render of the characters, and supervise him of course! We're once again taking inspiration from Spartacus, and "cartoonyze" it a little bit. Here's the final animation playblast:

18 May 2013

11 Second Club: Not final, but close enough!

Hey worldwide fans! By fans, I mean Mom, Dad, the girl, and the stalker who is reading this right now!

Last week, as all the animation was going faster than expected, I relaxed a bit too much. I still need the promised holidays after AM, and never stopped! So, for a couple of days, I didn't dare to touch Maya. I was back at it yesterday, and because of all the pressure from everybody (by everybody I mean Tom Pinon) here's my latest update.

The new part is the last, it's far from finished, lot of weird stuff going on, but on the good way. This time I tried yet another workflow: Animating "straight-forward". That means that I had the initial pose only, and I started animatign with splines right off the bat, "feeling the flow" and with no real solid plan. Tomorrow, maybe after, it will be finished, and after some general polishing I'll hit the render button!

Here it is. Fans, please thank Tom Pinon personally for this update!

10 May 2013

11 Second Club: Gulp!

Gulp! One third of the month gone! Good part is, two thirds of the animation are close to final! I never thought it would go this fast, I was expecting having more trouble with time management... But well, truth is, without AM's weekly critiques everything goes much, much faster! Even without all the file problems I had - more recently, setting up the chains rig - I did this in a week worth of animation. So, I'm pretty happy with myself, I'm not as slow as I thought I was! Just a bit less ;)

Technical note: The chain rig is pretty simple: It's like an IK arm, with 10 elbows!

"Buuuuh, shush Fonz, just show us the video update"

Alright, alright, jeez, here it is:

07 May 2013

11 Second Club: It moves, it moves!

Hey señores and señoras. One thing I've been struggling is, the staging of the 1st shot. I know how bad it is to make camera changes in animation, but following the feedback of my awesome animator friends, I had a though decision to make. They said the Roman Soldier should be "bigger on cam", because he is a bit too far away, and the attention of the shot is on him. I experimented a little, and these are the options: (please ignore that the helmets are missing in one of them).


 which one should I choose? I think I'll use the original one (the 1st), but maybe you can change my mind... share your thoughts please! 

 Since last update, I have move forward in the 1st shot - haven't touched the others yet. The basic part of making him "move" is done, still a lot of work in small details, but well the main part is there. I have to animate the prisoner's legs, just keep them alive. That will be HARD! Luckily, Arslan Elver gave me awesome tips on how to keep things still but not dead, and will rely on those teachings in this particular part of the shot! here it is:


04 May 2013

11 Second Club: The Story, Camera Layout and Basic Lipsync

This blog post contains my work of 3-4 May. Sadly, I had a ton (and a ton means a lot!) of problems with my scene and Maya. The result of this is that I was fixing stuff for 80% of the time, and the only rest 20% on developing the Shot. I had to start all over at some point, and still have some things I need to catch up!

PROBLEMS (attention! technical talk):
I can't be too sure of why, but when I opened my scene the rigs wouldn't work, leaving the meshes behind, some of the objects and materials disappeared / went wireframe... It was ruined! I think all the problems appeared from mixing reference's materials, applying a texture to "lambert1", a stupid sword rig that always bugged, or something else. The way I solved it was.. starting over, NO references, and NO touchy touchy the lambert1. Everything seems fine, until now... I still haven't added a sword, but I will make my own, instead of risking it all with the buggy one.

So, last post I promised to tell you the story, and here it is:

The first thought that came to mind was... Russian Mafia. With that deep threathning voice, full of that Putin accent... Hard to think of something else! I didn't go with it for 2 reasons: First, first idea is always cliché. In this type of competition, you want to stand out, with your animation skills as well as your shot idea! And Second... Well my last shot was Mafia, wasn't it? Not a good idea to repeat it, reel wise!
After some thought, influenced by Spartacus, a TV series I watch with my brother (it's awesome by the way), i thought of the Roman and Gladiator world - something that was always appealing to me! I believe that many generations ago, my ancestors were proud citizens of the greatest Empire in History, Rome of course!
My first idea inside the Roman World, was to have a Roman Dominus (slave owner) speaking with his new slave. Checking on his background (you come from a family of thieves), he then would decide to make a Gladiator out of him, as punishment AND second chance (and now, as a guilty man, you will try to rewrite your history) - meaning that being a gladiator, he would make himself a better future with "arena honor" and be forgiven of his crimes.
For the scenario, I decided to have two huge brute soldiers alongside with the Roman slaver, and they would obstruct our vision to the "surprise", the thing that tells us that the slaver means Gladiator with his words. The dialogue is pretty intense, and I wanted to make sure that there was suspance and intimidation. But then the problem had risen... What could that be? My ideas were: a gladiator statue, with two of them fighting; a simple gladiator sword; a window view of the arena, etc... But all of them, either were too difficult to make (i should focus on animation anyway) or weren't clear enough to the audience. Then, I had another idea, much easier to represent, easier to understand as well! Instead of a slaver telling his slave he would become a gladiator... I would make a Roman General ask a prisoner to join his army. This image explains it by itself, doesn't it?

This was before the crash. Here's my "Director's opinion" on how to convey this story:
In the 1st shot, we should be intimidated by the Romans, so the cam is looking at them from down to up. Also, we can see the prisoner's chained leg with rags on, which tells us who he is.
For the 2nd shot, helped by that sound FX, I wanted to show how scared the prisoner is by the tone of the Roman and how the situation is looking. We do a pretty close shot of his very, very scared face.
And for the last, I wanted it to be more or less like the slaver's view. Staging wise, it would be great to leave space in the middle to reveal the Roman armor, behind the brutes, once they move. here's it:

I decided to take a friend's advice and try to get the (basic) lipsync out of the way before blocking, and then adjust it on the polishing phase. Hope it goes well! Here's the rough, basic, ugly looking lipsync:
(note: The chars are in T poses because I lost everything I had done in the other video and had to start over. I know how it will look now, so I'll redo that tomorrow before blocking

That's it for today, hope you ebjoyed it! :) ciaoo

02 May 2013

11 Second Club, the race begins!

As I've promised, I am entering this month's competition of 11 Second Club. For the ones who don't know the competition, "11SC" is a monthly animation competition, where animators from around the world participate, from absolute starters to industry professionals. Usually, around 300 people participate in it! The same 11 seconds of dialogue are used by every participant, which makes it really interesting, because we get to see how everyone interprets it, the stories that are created.
I will put my progress here as detailed and often as I have never have! I will try to make it daily.
I am really happy with this month's soundfile (hear it here), sometimes it's not as interesting as this month's! But, because of my availability, I HAD to participate in this month, so whatever came, I would animate it.
I have already come up with what the shot will be like. The characters are ready to animate, tonight I should have the cameras set-up ready too, as well as the scenario. Tomorrow (or tonight, if I can) I will do the detailed storyboard, with every action and movement on it, as well as record video reference - I won't rely too much on it this time tho.
So, I'll save some of the juice for other posts, and today, the only thing I'm going to reveal is... the characters! Hope you like them, even without knowing what they will do in the animation. (And yes, I know, 4 characters in one shot... but don't worry, I have it under control! ;)

And here's the dialogue I'll be animating:
"You come from a family of thieves. And now, like all guilty men, you try to rewrite your own history."

Oh, almost forgot! I have made a new render on the Mafia shot. Check it out! I didn't upload it in separate so this is the full reel.. but don't worry, i wont make you watch it again. It's the first shot in it!
See you tomorrow!

22 March 2013

The End of my Animation Mentor Journey

That's it folks, it is over! I will miss all of my classmates and mentors, specially the last two, Arslan and Sean, the ones I've learned the most from and helped me taking my animation skills a step further. I'm not at the skill level I want yet tho - neither is my reel. For the next weeks/couple of months I will be improving it as much as I can - and Sean told me to do a new shot or two, which I will do!

I'm starting to prepare for my next journey, the professional world. I've prepared my website, although the reel is not final, and my resume is not done yet. Check it out!


26 February 2013

Class 6: Multi-shot update, the VFX Industry and Afonso Salcedo

Hey peeps! So sorry for not updating for the last couple of weeks, but I just thought the progress wasn't enough for a new blog post. Better make a juicy one like this week's! The King is 99% finished animationwise, although there are some things needing to be fixed. The scenario's size is wrong (technical mistake of mine), among others. The poker dancer is dancing again, but now there's no table anymore (as my mentor didn't quite like that idea) and the hip/feet are improved in order to give more weight to it. And, for the Rat rat shot, everything is on wheels, still o long way unfortunately!

 VFX Industry - I don't know if you peeps are aware of what happened in the Oscars and with R&H's bankruptcy and DreamWorks' layoffs. I don't want to be to political here, but I just want to say that I support all the VFX artist in struggle and I'm sure wheels got moving and the industry will be a better place for all of us in a few years. It's time we are acknowledged as artists and not technicians. Green Screen power! :)

 And to end up, I'd like to share the pleasure of attending my first real high-end VFX live talk, with Afonso Salcedo (Pixar, DreamWorks) the most successful Portuguese VFX artist! His talk was very interesting and mostly inspiring. He analyzed some shots from the coolest movies, such as Up, Toy Story 3, Ratatouille, Wall-e, La Luna, etc. It was a shame that he had only an hour of stage time, but the Q&A session that followed was rad. Met some cool people and got to see again some old ones!
Afonso is now building his own studio, check it out here! Sutro Studios LLC

 That is all! Don't try this at home, kids!

Oh and by the way, meet the new family member, Bolt. This is when he first saw me (I was in Barcelona).


03 February 2013

Class 6: Rat Rat!

The creators of "The King", "Bad Luck", "Phantom Dance" etc, bring you "Rat Rat", the new shot starring Guido the mobster and his crime mastermind Lorenzo, godfather of the NY Mafia family.
So, the shot started. It's still early and it doesn't look great, but it will get there. My goal is to make my better shot to date! You know, the shot that gets me jobs. So I'm working on 300% on it! Also, The King has 'suffered' a couple of modifications, and the aspect ratio has changed. Now, it looks from a movie, not from a YouTube crappy video! It's finally over... NOT! Next week, we'll add motion blur, requested by my mentor :) But the animation is final. Enjoy!

20 January 2013

Class 6: The End continues

Hey mom and couple of other random blog readers! (I joke, I have hundreds and hundreds of loyal followers).

My mentor, Sean, picked up line n3 from last week! Which means I'll be doing a Italian Gangster shot for the next few weeks. Thank you Marcello Alvarez, friend and AM alumni, for helping me shooting videoref for it!

After making a rough layout for that, it was time to pimp up the King shot with some more adjustments and make it all fancy and pretty with the render. It might not be final yet, but it has never been any closer!

AND (busy week, had to take some breakfasts for champions this week) I still made the first adjustments on the "Bad Luck" shot, and started to do the missing part. I'll keep the video of that a secret until next week, I think there's not enough new stuff in there worth an upload! Ironically, that's the shot I wrote more for in the blog. Stupid Fonz!

Here it goes, all together:

13 January 2013

The End begins

Class 6! The end is near.
So I couldn't be more motivated right now. Week 1 and 2 are goners, and I think I've never had such a busy start of the term! My mentor is Sean Sexton (DreamWorks) and he's awesome! If animation was football, he would play for Barcelona or Real Madrid. In his critiques, he's awfully honest, which is exactly what I wished for class 6.
So the goal of this class is to put together our work, spice it up with one or two new shots, mix it all up and come out with the best showreel we can. My mission for the week was to improve "The King" shot, and start thinking on ideas for what Imma gonna do next! I've also built a new whole scenario for the King. Check it all out below. Ciao!