Friday, December 18, 2009

Just in Time for Christmas

A BG painting from the film. Santa's workshop from the outside.

Rough Cut With Some Animation

The most recent rough cut of the film so far. Mostly layouts with really rough poses, with a few scenes rough animated. Some of the sound effects are out of sync as I haven't updated them in a while

Friday, December 04, 2009

Almost Final Character Designs

A bunch of designs for the background characters that will not be used in the film because they are too individual. I don't know why I didn't think of it at the time, but as slaves it would be more likely that they would all wear the same uniform. Duh. I might keep the faces though.

I tried a bunch of variations on the costumes, one that would ideally work for all the Elves. And ended up with something like this:So, here is the official uniform for Santa's little helpers. Note the addition of pants on the male version. He originally had red and white striped tights too, but it looked a little fruity.

And here's Mr Claus. He's less wide than the older version (posted a little while ago), and I think this one is a lot more animatable. There's also more of a hip connection than there used to be.

Animation Test for the Ol' Film

A little animation test I did before starting any animating on the actual film. This was done completely digitally in Digicel Flipbook. I was planning on doing my entire film in it, rough animation, clean up animation, colouring, etc, but after doing a cleanup test today I'm beginning to have doubts. The perfect laser line you get from cleaning up the flipbook way sounded good in theory, but it really drained the life out of the drawing. I'll give it another shot tomorrow, but if it doesn't look good I might be doing it all on paper after all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Layout/Pose Test Reel

This is the layout/pose test reel for the film. Layout (background drawing) was the part I was dreading the most, but it turned out to be somewhat less excruciating than I predicted. All the backgrounds are drawn now, however the character poses on this reel were pretty rushed. The actual animation pose tests will be a lot more refined. This was a good way to see how things work (or don't work) one step closer to the final film. There are a few things I'll have to adjust between now and the end, but this is more or less what it is going to be like.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Electropolis Online

Our 3rd year film from last year, "Electropolis" will be online from November 6th to Nov 15 for the Puchon international Student Animation Festival. Due to swine flu they decided to make the entire festival online, so that it can be accessed from the comfort of our own fallout shelters. You can check it out here .

EDIT: okay, it turns out you have to create an account on the PISAF website, and even then it doesn't seem to be working. I'll get back to you on that...

EDIT: okay, I'll be honest, I have no idea how that website is supposed to work. If I figure it out I'll keep you posted

EDIT: okay, it doesn't seem to work for me in Firefox, however, it does play in Internet Explorer (albeit not very well). So, if you want to see it, you can create an account and watch it in something other than Firefox.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Quote Unquote Final Leica Reel

Well, this is the quote unquote final leica reel that we had to hand in today. I will still probably tweak a few things, but this is more or less what its going to be. The screening will be on wednesday (at noon, I think) in the SCAET building. Personally I can't wait. I've only seen a few other's leica reels so far, so its going to be cool to see everyone elses.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mr Mittens' Big Day

This past sunday was the first annual Sheridan Animation 24hour Filmmakingathon. Basically, you come in at noon, they pick a theme from a hat, and either individually or in a group you make a very short film in 24 hours.
Me and Nathan partnered up. The theme was 'revenge.' And, our first idea ended in failure after about 12 hours. It was about a chef in a restaurant who gets pissed off when a picky customer keeps sending food back. It was bordering a minute and a half long, had 3 or 4 main characters, plus crowdshots. It was more complicated than most 4th year films. Oh, and after assembling a leica reel, we realized that it sucked horribly. So around midnight we started over with a completely different idea and went nuts with it.
All in all, I'm glad we were able to come up with a story and characters and animate the whole thing in just 12 hours. Actually, it was more like 10, cause we finished 2 hours early (if there is such a thing as finished).
So, enough with the excuses. here it is:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Leica The Third

This is the third leica reel so far, although only the second that I've posted. This is my favorite version so far. I'm going to show it to a couple teachers this week in the hopes of getting it torn apart

Saturday, October 03, 2009

In Living Colour

A couple quick colour studies

Also, you have no idea how weird your character designs are until you draw what their skeletons would look like

Thursday, October 01, 2009

11 Second Club September 09

I guess I didn't have enough to do this month, so I entered the 11 Second Club September 09 competition. They give you an 11 second long sound clip and then you have the month to animate to it. At the end of the month you submit it to the website and then everyone votes on the entries. Voting should be open for the next 5 days I think.

So I worked on this for a few hours here and there throughout the month. It was my first time entering, and it was pretty fun. I wasn't planning on entering the October competition, what with the film and all, but the sound clip is too good to pass up. We'll see if I can do it in time.

As for this one, there really isn't much going on story wise. I didn't plan it out much. It was mostly just a test in paperless animating. It was done entirely in Digicel Flipbook using the Cintiq Tablets at school. This is how I plan on animating for my film, so it was good practice.

Turns out it placed 11th out of 141 entries. A lot higher than I was expecting. Thanks to everyone who voted and commented. Although I doubt I'll be revisiting this piece, its all good advice that I can be sure to be wary of next time

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Film Stuff

So, 4th year is underway, and so is preproduction on the ol' film. For those that don't know, it's tentatively titled: "Carol of the Elves," and its about the Elves revolting against Santa Claus. Here is the Pitch Package from this past week:

I also have a rough preliminary leica reel I did a couple weeks ago. I'm making a new one as we speak with a lot of refinements and more exploration. The first pass was basically just to get the idea down. Now I know what you're thinking: 'why would you put your leica reel up so early? Don't you want your story to be a surprise?' Well, the thing I learned about film making from last year was that if you try to keep your story a surprise, the only surprise is going to be how bad the film turns out in the end. Only after showing people and getting harsh critiques did we learn what worked and what didn't (and there was a lot that didn't). So yeah, I would encourage viewers to critique the hell outta this thing if you have the time. Constructive criticism is always welcome. Or, if you want the story to be a surprise, then you don't have to watch it.

So behold, Carol of the Elves version 1.0
(p.s. its REALLY rough so hopefully you can at least understand whats going on :P)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Animation Test

Didn't have much to do today so I did my first animation test for my film. Just an elf running. It took a few tries to get it to look like a run, it's been a while since I did one of those. It is kind of on the fast side, though, could use a few more drawings.... This was done entirely in Flash. I'm planning on doing my whole film tradigitally (that is, drawn frame by frame, but on the computer). As much as I like the tactile feel of drawing on paper, this way is a lot more efficient. Immediate feedback without having to waste time at a line tester, not to mention not having to scan anything. I'll probably do it in Flipbook rather than Flash as it has a pretty good pencil tool. It's a good thing I'm getting all this practice drawing with a tablet at my co-op.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

4th Year Film

I figure its about time I updated this blog o' mine and what better way to do that then with my concept for my 4th year film. I've had 20 something ideas over the past few years including a few in just the past couple months (actually, I had another one today too), and I'm finding that sticking to one is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But I've gotta settle, so I'm pretty sure this is the one I'm going to do:

The Elves, right, they're fed up. They've spent decades enslaved in Santa's sweatshop making toys for greedy little children, while Santa goes out and gets all the credit, all the glory, not to mention all the milk and cookies. So they've had it. A few elf revolutionaries stand up to their evil oppressor and fight to free their race once and for all. But Santa isn't going to take that sitting down.

It's basically an action movie with a familiarly lighthearted setting, but told with a serious overtone. Sweet, sweet contrast. No dialog, it will be set to an awesome rock version of a classic Christmas melody (not unlike the work of Trans Siberian Orchestra), and will probably have three main characters, the Leader (who may be female, to keep it interesting), the tech expert (a dork of course), and a crazy warrior/fighter elf guy. And Santa is going to be a beast. Think the incredible Hulk with a beard.

I don't really have much yet, I've been extremely lazy this summer, aside from animating all day at co-op. But I hope to have at least one first pass on a leica reel before school starts. I think I may also create a new blog to chronicle the process of making this thing, so as not to weigh this one down with tons of rough ideas and crappy leica reels. I'll keep you posted.

Here's a quick poster thingy I threw together. As you can tell, I put a lot of effort into the background :P

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bloor Cinema Screening

Mark Mayerson, the second year animation teacher has been awesome enough to organize a screening of some of the Sheridan College student films at the Bloor Cinema in Toronto. About an hour and a half of films from the 3rd and 4rth year of the BAA Animation program, as well as some from the Computer Animation program will be shown. And, Electropolis is among them, along with several other awesome films from our year (including a couple of my personal favorites; Higher Education and Hog Wild).

The screening will be on June 9th at 7:00pm, and again on June 10th at 9:30pm. Admission is $5. So if you're in the Toronto area and have nothing better to do on a tuesday or wednesday night, come check it out.

Assuming it was recieved in time they will be showing an updated version of Electropolis that we've been working on since school ended. This one is a lot tighter with a few scenes redone, some continuity and flow issues fixed, and an overall much more solid feel to the whole thing. So come and see it on the big screen. Until then, see some screenshots on the small screen:

These are some of the scenes that I had a hand in. Some of them just rough animation, some of them all the animation, and only in one scene did I do everything myself. Originally I was supposed to do four scenes but ended up contributing to ten or eleven or so. Them's the breaks. But so did alot of my other group members. It was very collaborative.

Anyway, check out Electropolis at the Bloor Cinema in a couple weeks. For full details check Mark Mayerson's blog here. You might have to scroll down a bit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Eyes so glad I have them

So, I was walking from work to the train station today and couldn't help but notice along the way that there was this guy welding something to the back of his truck, and he wasn't wearing safety glasses. Now, my father is a carpenter and I've worked in a couple factories, so I know that using a blowtorch without wearing eye protection is stupid. And I assumed that anyone that actually did welding for their job would know that. As I was thinking about how that guy was an idiot, I boarded the train back home and opened a book I haven't touched since last summer. Its this collection of Leonardo DaVinci's notebooks containing his observations on life, nature, art, the universe, pretty much anything, it's pretty neat. Anyway, I opened it up to where I left off some 8 or 9 months ago and by some strange coincidence the page I was on was talking about eyes. Although he goes into detail for several pages about how eyes work, it was more his introduction that, how should I say it... caught my eye?

"The eye which is the window of the soul is the chief organ whereby the understanding can have the most complete and magnificent view of the infinite works of nature.

"Now do you not see that the eye embraces the beauty of the whole world? . . . It counsels and corrects all the arts of mankind . . . it is the prince of mathematics, and the sciences founded on it are absolutely certain. It has measured the distances and sizes of the stars; it has discovered the elements and their location . . . it has given birth to architecture and to perspective and to the divine art of painting.

"O excellent thing, superior to all others created by God! What praises can do justice to your nobility? What peoples, what tongues will fully describe your function? The eye is the window of the human body through which it feels its way and enjoys the beauty of the world. Owing to the eye the soul is content to stay in its bodily prison, for without it such bodily prison is torture.

"O marvellous, O stupendous necessity, thou with supreme reason compellest all effects to be the direct result of their causes; and by a supreme and irrevocable law every natural action obeys thee by the shortest possible process. Who would believe that so small a space could contain the images of all the universe? O mighty process! What talent can avail to penetrate a nature such as these? What tongue will it be that can unfold so great a wonder? Verily none! This it is that guides the human discourse to the considering of divine things. Here the forms, here the colours, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point. What point is so marvellous? O wonderful, O stupendous necessity - by thy law thou constrainest every effect to be the direct result of its cause by the shortest path. These are miracles . . . forms already lost, mingled together in so small a space it can recreate and recompose by expansion. Describe in thy anatomy what proportion there is between the diameters of all the lenses (spetie) in the eye and the distance from these to the crystalline lens.

"The eye whereby the beauty of the world is reflected is of such excellence that whoso consents to its loss deprives himself of the representation of all the works of nature. The soul is content to stay imprisoned in the human body because thanks to our eyes we can see these things; for through the eyes all the various things of nature are represented to the soul. Whoso loses his eyes leaves his soul in a dark prison without hope of ever again seeing the sun, light of all the world; How many there are to whom the darkness of night is hateful though it is of but short duration; what would they do if such darkness were to be their companion for life?"

From: Leonardo DaVinci Notebooks, Oxford University Press. pg 105-106

Quite the introduction. He didn't even get to the scientific part yet. But man, I never realised how great eyes are. It's like, we've always had them so its so easy to take them for granted, but man, eyes are freaking awesome! All the images of every part of the universe contracted to a point. That welder is probably going to be blind soon and he has no idea how big a mistake that would be. It makes me feel sorry for people that are blind, because they are really missing out on what is whithout question the greatest of the five senses. It was a grey, cloudy day in Oakville today, and I was glad to be able to see it.

EDIT: what's with these non-art posts? My blog is tuning into...a blog (shivers)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Third Year Retrospective

Well, 3rd year of BAA Animation here at Sheridan is done, and since I have nothing else to do for the first time in 8 months I guess I'll offer my thoughts about the year to anyone who might be interested.

Overall, man, what a ride. It was probably my favorite year to date, and although the workload was substantially higher than anything I've ever experienced, I still loved it. From the beginning we were really lucky to have a great concept to start from (thanks to Dan), and even more lucky to have a great group that was willing to work their hardest to make it work.

Our class in particular had it kind of weird from the start, because although all the other classes (there are 5 classes per year) stayed the same and had all the same people in it from previous years, people from our class (group E) were mixed around with people from another class (group D). I don't really know why they did that, cause they still had the same number of people in each class. And then after that, some people chose to switch between the classes throughout the first week. In the end, we ended up having more people from group D in our class then from group E. So a lot of us didn't know each other very well, and some of us had never even met. I don't know why all this happened to just our two classes, but I'm glad it did because somehow we ended up with some of the most talented and hardworking people I've ever had the privilege of knowing.

Our group consisted of: Adam Trout, Allison Neil, Amanda Stocker, Dan Seddon, Dawnson Chen, Debbie Yu, Giorgio Mavrigianakis, Jason Walmsley, Kevin McCullough, Ki Eun Suh, Hank Choi, Dimas Mohammad, and myself. Not only did we work really well together, but we genuinely enjoyed eachother's company. We hung out a lot outside of school, and we even had a group spaghetti night. I think it is key that in order for groups to work really well together that they have to enjoy working well together. But at the same time, you can't be afraid to challenge people and tell them your opinions on their work. And they have to be willing to accept all criticism and try to improve it for the good of the film. One of Kevin's shots where there are around seven people dancing on screen and this one character slides in and does the robot, I mean, he redid that like ten times. Because he would do it, it wouldn't be good enough, we would tell him, then he would fix it without complaining. That happenened many many times, and it ended up being one of the best shots in the film. We all have to be willing to accept any criticism and know that it isn't a personal attack, but that it is only to make the film better.

Story wise, we had our work cut out for us. We had an amazing concept (a walking signal from a traffic light wants to be a dancer), and we did everything we could not to screw it up. We explored our story to a redonculous extent. We had one version where there was this city of electronic entities that lived behind the traffic light and he got banished to the 'recycle bin' and he met this handicapped sybol guy and they had to save the world, etc. We had this other version where he had a family that lived with him in the traffic light and he went out into the real world and walked around and his absense caused traffic accidents. We had another version that was extremely dark, where he was a slave along with all the other walking signals and there was this traffic enforcer guy that was basically a traffic light with a cape...anyway, sorry for rambling but my point is, we didn't dwell on anything. We tried so many different options and directions, and each of these verions (as well as several more) were not just ideas, but were brought to full storyboard states, or even leica reels. Hank, our story supervisor would have an idea that the rest of us might be a little unsure about, so he would make an entire leica reel from scratch in one night just to prove a point. We were relentless in our attempts to make sure that the story worked well and did the concept justice.

Technically speaking, our film is certainly not the most cohesive or consistent. There are significant differences from shot to shot in the way the characters look, the way the backgrounds were painted, and the animation style. We noticed the 3rd year films last year often had problems like that and we tried so hard to not let that happen, but man, it was tough. We had over 15 characters so mastering them all in such a short time was next to impossible, and because crowd shots and dancing animation were a lot harder than we anticipated, we had to struggle just to get it all done, let alone done well.

But in the end, we're pretty pleased with how it turned out. We think. We're not really sure how good it is because we've been working on it for so long, but it recieved some good reviews at the screenings and it won an award for what the judges thought was the best 3rd year film of the year (although since B1's 'The Auction" was shut out of the top three, it leads me to question the value of the judges opinions). Now we're just going to touch it up a bit over the next couple of weeks to prepare it for festivals and stuff (and for that reason the film will not be put on the internet for a while because that would disqualify it).

So, uh, yeah, sorry to bore you with words (although technically this is what blogging is supposed to be), and I guess I'll just leave any 1st or 2nd years (or anyone interested in getting into animation at Sheridan) some pre 3rd year advice:

-Make sure when you pick your story at the beginning of the year, to pick something interesting. Something unique and different. Something that no one has ever seen before, though something with enough familliarity that people will be able to relate to it. If you are lucky enough to have something like that to choose from.

-Make sure that your group enjoys hanging out with eachother. If there are problem members that insist on fighting with eachother, find some way to make it work. It will hurt your experience if you don't get along with your group.

-Show your progress, especially story progress, to a lot of people. Always show new versions to fresh eyes. Anyone that knows about your story ahead of time will not be able to give a genuine opinion.

-Be prepared to redo everything. Story, character designs, paintings, animations, everything. Nothing will ever be right on the first try. If you are not willing to accept criticism and redo your work, then you will not make it in this business (or any business for that matter).

-Prepare to finish early. Because everything, and I mean EVERYTHING takes longer than you think it will. If you schedule rough animation to be done by week 10, it will not be done until week 11. I gaurantee it. No matter what it is, no matter how much time you give yourselves it will always take longer. Someone (if not everyone) WILL always be late. That, I promise you. So plan to get everything done at least a week or two earlier than it has to be, that way it might get done on time.

-Be organised. We weren't. In fact we were probably the least organized group in our year. And as a result I was finding out the week before the film was due that some scenes had barely been started. I think there were 3 scenes that were done from scratch the day before the film was due because I didn't know until then that they hadn't been started. If we payed closer attention unwanted surprises like that would not have happened. And unwanted surprises are not fun (especcially the day before the film is due).

-Use all your time you have to your advantage. I think were were the only group that spent the majority of our Christmas vacation working on the film. Most people just chilled or worked on their internship portfolios, we worked on the film. As a result we had an extra month of story work that the other groups didn't take advantage of. The film would not be what it was if it weren't for that.

-Avoid crowdshots and dancing animation. Man those are difficult. And an audience isn't going to care how hard it is to do crowd shots cause they see crowd shots everyday in real life. I mean, if you have to do them then you don't have much of a choice, but be prepared to work your butts off.

-Have fun with it. It's just a cartoon.

Thanks to everyone that helped make the film happen, thanks to Alexis Marsh for composing the music from scratch in the last two weeks and for being awesome about taking criticism, and thanks to all the other groups in our year who I think raised the bar for 3rd years to come and for being a constant inspiration to us all.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Demoreel Take 2

2009 Animation Demoreel Revised from Adam Pockaj on Vimeo.

Version 2. Basically the same thing, just with different music (no lyrics this time) and the frame blending on the stop mo stuff fixed.

Also check out my online portfolio at:

Or the official Sheridan College Internship Portfolio Site at:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Film Stuff: The Discard Pile

No less that 2000 discarded storyboard panels, some of which are seen here, all of which were at some point an integral part of our story, none of which are there now. The story has changed substantially, almost every week for the past 3 or 4 months. Come to think of it, its been over a month without any major story changes. I guess that means we're almot satisfied. There's still some work to be done on the leica reel which I may or may not post at some point, and then we can start actually making the film.

I think my last film related post was about the pitch presentation. The only thing from that story that remains is the bare bones of it. It's still about a walking signal that wants to be a dancer, but that's about the only thing that has remained constant. It is much, much simpler now. We cut out the entire electropolis world and are focusing a lot more on the character and his effect on people who take life too seriously.

Check back in half a year and we may have the finished film up and running.


I've been taking this extra digital painting course at school, so been trying out a few techniques. I don't really know what this is supposed to be about, I just kinda started drawing and this is what came out. I kinda like this approach to art, not a whole lot of planning, just letting it tell you what it should be. Not really a suitable approach for draftsmanship though, just fun to do on the side.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Demo Reel 2009

Animation Demoreel 2009 from Adam Pockaj on Vimeo.

My 2009 Demo real as it is. There are some things I would have liked to have gone back and fixed, but time is short I'm afraid. Gotta keep moving forward...

A "Reel Breakdown" should be posted sometime within the next few days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dialogue in the 3rd dimention

3D Dialogue Animation from Adam Pockaj on Vimeo.

Semester Six is off and rolling. Having spent half of the Christmas break working on our beloved leica reel for our film, I have neglected to post recently. Here's something from last semester that I added a bit to during the break. A dialogue scene in 3D. It's still looking pretty mechanical and there's some weird lighting stuff going on near the end, but its probably as finished as its going to get for the time being.

"Andy Rig" by John Doublestein, One Eyed Green Guy rig by Mike Watters.

Audio, of course, from 'Dumb and Dumber'.