Tag Archives: Animation

Universal Monsters / Aliens

26 Feb

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.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

18 Feb

(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!

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NECA Toys: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

20 Jun

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.

 

Twisted ToyFare Theater: Robot Edition

13 Mar

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.

Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! Episode #2

15 Jan

Woohoo, second episode! Created back in 2099 2009, this episode allowed me to become more familiar with animating M.O.D.O.K., who became kind of like the (gigantic, ugly) face of Marvel: What The–?!. A few ‘firsts’ in this episode: The first appearance of Deadpool in What The–?!,  AND our first celebrity guest voice: UFC fighter Matt Serra as Wolverine!

 

A lot of great bits in this episode, written by the What The–?! crew of Sean T. Collins, Jon Gutierrez, Peter Olson & Jesse Falcon. Deadpool and M.O.D.O.K.’s interaction is gold, Wolverine’s custom “Daredevil Origins: Wolverine” movie poster still cracks me up, and the musical finale was awesome, thanks to composer and fellow video editor Jason Harvey. While scripting this episode, I remember being involved in a brief discussion regarding the Cyclops/Emma Frost/Cable scene; whether it was more disgusting to imply that Emma was breastfeeding a fully-grown Cable or that she was still changing his diapers. After a vivid point was made by Jesse Falcon, we chose to go with breastfeeding.

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes peek from our “recording booth” at Marvel HQ when Jesse recorded his M.O.D.O.K., Deadpool and Wolverine lines for this episode. What you don’t see is the large group of employees from Marvel’s Brand Assurance department (with whom we shared the office space) peeking over the cubicle walls trying to figure out what the hell we were doing with all the yelling and weird noises.

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Calico Jack’s Pirate Raiders

13 Jan

Following the very fun MiniMates MAX project, Diamond Select ToysZach Oat and I collaborated again to bring another of DST’s original MiniMates lines to life: Calico Jack’s  Pirate Raiders!

 

I consider these shorts some of the best animation work I’ve done in the last few years. I tried to storyboard Zach’s action-packed script as cinematically as possible and I love how most of the elements turned out especially the swordfight, Capt. Deal’s hatchet-gun, when Calico runs off the ship’s balcony and how the ghost boats and zombie pirates look. Special thanks to Jon Gutierrez, Matt Davidson and my buddy Jesse for providing the voices of Captain Deal, Calico Jack and Captain Vanes, respectively, for the first episode.

The second episode was also a ton of fun to put together. I built a neat throne for Medusa out of real sea shells and her lair was an old fishtank accessory lit with some neon lights. A lot of time went into experimenting with 3D layers and cameras with After Effects for the opening shot where we delve into the sea bottom. I really love how Medusa (voiced by my then-girlfriend/now-wife Jen) ending up sounding after some fun audio editing. I made two tracks of the same sound clip, pitching one a bit down and one a bit up and sync’ed them back together for an eerie, supernatural sound.

 

Our third and final episode allowed for some cool action scenes involving the Nukpana character. It was originally intended to be the finale for the second episode but I wasn’t able to complete the entire animation in time so it had to be split up. Watching all three parts together again, I’m very proud of this series as a whole!

Marvel: What The–?! Iron Man 3

12 May

The 27th (yikes!) episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! was released last week to line up with the theatrical release of Iron Man 3. The talents of Todd Casey, Ben Morse and Jesse Falcon were joined by comedian and actor Colton Dunn who voiced War Machine for this episode!

 

I’m really proud of the facial expressions I got out of the James “Rhodey” Rhodes and Tony Stark figures in the first scene, but they only work so well in conjunction with such great voiceover talent. I originally wanted the final “forgiveness” scene to feature the characters’ maskless faces, just to make it feel more sentimental, but I ran out of time…. I also had a much more elaborate Hulk-smashing sequence in mind as Hulk slams War Machine into all those surrounding villains in different ways but, again, ran outta time…. Still a great episode in the end, though, I think!

I also loved Iron Man 3 but this scene from Iron Man 2 is still my all-time favorite scene from any Marvel movie: