This past fall, I had two super fun animation projects with Diamond Select Toys: Universal Monsters and Aliens!
Universal Monsters was my first time working with a 7″ scale toy line for Diamond Select and although I love the simple coolness and unique design of MiniMates, I really enjoyed being able to play with the texture and lighting on the detailed sculpts of this line’s toys. Not to mention, I’ve been a big Universal Monsters fan most of my life, so this whole project was one of the highlights of my year. I focused a lot on the set design as well, watching all the classic original films for reference. I’m pretty proud of the custom doors I built and painted in the opening shot, the Metaluna Mutant’s space-y/science-y living room and the expressions I got out of DST’s original UM figure, Van Helsing. I’m glad to hear from this month’s New York Toy Fair that this line is continuing with new toys!
And another highlight of 2014 would definitely be this Aliens short where I was able to play with MiniMate-d versions of the Xenomorphs from Aliens as they attack some unsuspecting soldiers and Paul Reiser. Super fun, and I hope maybe I can return to the Alien franchise someday for a longer video.
(or, in this case, Va-LATE-ntine’s Day)
In fact, I have a loooot of catching up to do on posting recent projects. And since it’s close enough to Valentine’s Day, how about a V-Day-related post? I just completed our most recent episode (Episode 40!!!) of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! in which Jessica Jones and Luke Cage interview an array of terrible applicants for their request for a babysitter.
Pretty cool to animate the Marvel Legends Thunderbolts Luke Cage for the first time, plus I put together a custom figure of Jessica Jones using a Sharon Carter head and Willow body from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode was shot and animated entirely within a one week period, I hope that it isn’t clearly evident in the final product… And it’s always weird when The Watcher shows up, he’s especially creepy in this episode. Enjoy!
And here is another Valentine’s Day episode from back in 2013. This was the very first episode written by our new head writer, Todd Casey, and I think the positive shift in humor and storytelling in What The–?! from this point on is clear. Todd, being a damn talented writer (and involved in things such as the new Thundercats series, Batman: Brave and the Bold, and Wander Over Yonder) brought What The–?! up to a higher level of comedic quality, I feel. The pacing is tighter and the visuals and animation cues that he works out with me have made the last 2 years of episodes the best ever. Yay Todd!
I also made a few Star Trek-related Valentine’s Day cards this year. I’ve been watching all the Star Trek series and movies for the first time in my life during the past 2 years or so and I’m pretty much obsessed with it now. I started with TNG and I’ve seen all the movies, now I’m halfway through the Original Series, DS9 and almost done with Enterprise. Still haven’t touched Voyager, hope it’s good!
Today was a pretty cool day! A few of the variant comic book covers I worked on that were previewed at this year’s San Diego Comic Con were released officially online here here and here!
The reaction was pretty much completely positive and I can’t wait to walk into the comic shops around town in October and see something that I had a hand in creating right there on the shelves.
I produced ten covers in all, photographing Hasbro’s action figures from their 6″ and 3 3/4″ lines and superimposing them into the positions featured on classic Marvel comic book covers. I had a lot of fun with each of them but my favorites are the Guardians of the Galaxy team cover, the X-Men #1 recreation and the one with Red Skull holding the Cosmic Cube.
Where to begin to describe how great NECA Toys is… Well, they excel in terms of intensely detailed sculpts, poseability, paint application… pretty much everything that I look for in a great toy. They’ve created some of the best cult movie toys around, including figures from American Psycho, Beetlejuice, Gremlins, Alien, Predator, Harry Potter, E.T., Robocop, The Nightmare Before Christmas….the list goes on and on and I’ve been a huge fan for years.
One of their newest toy lines is based on the upcoming film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and this line is no exception from NECA’s record of amazing releases. Many, many thanks to the awesome Daniel Pickett (of the great toy news website ActionFigureInsider.com) for giving me the opportunity to create a short stop-motion animated video using NECA’s new ape toys!
Dan also had some very kind words about the video as well as my previous work in his post on AFi here. Thank you, Dan, for the chance to work on such a fun video! And thank you, NECA, for continuing to create such inspiring and perfect toys.
How about some TTT for a #tbt? Here are two of my earliest professional stop-motion videos that I created for Wizard Entertainment in 2008.
I was never a Transformers fan. Didn’t watch the cartoon, didn’t own the toys, I couldn’t even name you more than 5 characters. But this one was still a ton of fun to animate because 1) It was funny 2) It was great to delve into a new franchise world after the CHiPS episode I made, and 3) I got to collaborate with a bunch of great folks from the writing and voice acting sides! Justin Aclin pulled double-duty as the couldn’t-have-been-more-perfect Optimus Prime AND Megatron. TJ Dietsch‘s Hot Rod still cracks me up and Anime Insider’s Todd Ciolek was hilarious as Ultra Magnus. Justin, Jon Gutierrez and Zach Oat wrote the bit and I’m still proud of how the video turned out, looking back. I put a lot of effort into the set and it was also when I began to focus on storyboarding these as best as I could as opposed to just setting up the toys and pointing the camera at them.
This one was neat because the GoBots strip this video was based on never made it to print in ToyFare. It was like bringing a deleted scene back from the grave. And as much as I didn’t know about Transformers, I knew even less about GoBots. Thankfully, the script tells the whole story of this franchise’s rise and fall in case you’ve never heard of them either. You can see that I used a bit of elementary greenscreen in this episode, which bugs me seeing it now. Final Cut Pro is not the greatest place to use greenscreen. I tried cutting out every single photograph to fix the rough edges in some shots, so I remember this being a time-consuming and tedious production at points. Major props to Adam Tracey for voicing the main character magnificently and Jon Gutierrez was also great as Joe Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera fame. Rachel Molino, Matt Powell, Dylan Brucie, Zach Oat and Karl Cramer also provided voices – We had the whole Wizard crew in on this one! It was awesome that people took the time to help out with the production of these.
The newest episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! was released this week and featured one of my favorite characters to animate: The Punisher!
We had a guest voice actor for this episode: Wrestler, comic fan and super-nice guy Christopher Daniels! Chris even put together his own video about his journey voice-acting for the part of The Punisher, in which I am briefly featured. It’s also an awesome behind-the-scenes look at our recording process for What The–?!:
This was a longer episode, clocking in at around 3 1/2 minutes so it was a pretty heavy production. I really wanted to have an epic battle-scene opening between Punisher and the AIM Agents, so I watched some Saving Private Ryan for inspiration. Like I said earlier, I love animating the Punisher because the figure’s face sculpt is so intense. It’s one of the more realistically-sculpted faces out of the early wave of Marvel Legends, I think, too. It was also great to have some substantial female roles in this episode: Elektra and Black Widow, voiced by Ashley Becerra and Leslie Read, respectively. I’m hoping they show up again in What The–?! soon.
Fun fact: I modeled Deadpool’s apartment after the most-terrible house I ever lived in for two months in North Versailles, PA a few years back.
This is way late to the Dexter party, popularity-wise, but here’s a quick video I edited to introduce American Psycho’s own serial killer Patrick Bateman into the Dexterverse.
I got the idea for this way back in Season One of Dexter, where he mentions that one of his aliases is Patrick Bateman. I’ve been meaning to edit this together for years, but it was placed on the back burner over and over until now. Which actually worked out for the best, since I’m more experienced in After Effects now and was able to superimpose Dexter into a few of the American Psycho movie scenes here. Hope you enjoy!