Tag Archives: Stop motion

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.

 

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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.

daredevilwolverineposter

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:

Minimates MAX

16 Apr

A little more than a year ago, I became involved with Diamond Select Toys thanks to their Marketing Supervisor and my former ToyFare colleague, Zach Oat. The task: Bring their line of block-styled 2″ tall Minimates to life in stop-motion animated shorts! I think the work I’ve done with Zach and DST has been some of my best-looking stuff in terms of set design, action scenes, lighting and visual effects. Here are two of the first shorts, both written by Zach, that I animated based on the Minimates MAX toy line. Insider easter egg: Episode 2’s Mount Purdin was named after DC Comics Associate Editor and solid dude, Rickey Purdin!

 

Marvel: What The–?! Age of Ultron

8 Apr

Here is the newest episode of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! featuring a standoff between the Avengers and the robotic menace, Ultron!

 

Everyone involved brought their A-game to this one and I’m really proud of how it turned out. Todd Casey’s script was fantastic and funny and Jesse Falcon’s voicework had perfect comedic timing and energy (He voiced every character except for the female computer voice, provided by Lisa Shields.) Ben Morse, aside from producing the episode and putting it all out there on Marvel.com had the great idea to use an old-school dial-up noise for Ultron’s upgrading which was a fan-fave gag on YouTube. Additionally, I feel like the character animation was a lot tighter and more lively than usual. I especially like how the Mjolnir-throwing sequence and Ultron’s glowing mouth and eyes portion looked in the end.

I also animated two figures in this episode that I never have before: The Heroic Age Iron Man figure and Ultron from Marvel Select. I liked the Heroic Age Iron Man because the design is very much like the Marvel Studios Iron Man suit from the movies. But the Marvel Select Ultron figure was awesome to work with: The reflective, metallic paint looked great under the right lighting and the ball-joined torso, arms and hips really helped me bring out the humor in his body language, especially for that shot where Ultron has that defeated, slumped-over sighing position. His hands are also sculpted in such a great, maniacal-threat-spouting gesture that really helped give Ultron a more theatrical feel in this, I think.

Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?!

21 Mar

I just checked the dates and it’s been just over four years since Marvel.com first released an animated short of Marvel Super Heroes: What The–?! BaZONKers!

 

In February, 2009, I had been working at Marvel Entertainment as an assistant video editor for a few months when the call went out for new video content ideas for Marvel.com. My coworkers were aware of my previous animation work from my ToyFare days, and when actor Christian Bale had his infamous on-set blowup, it sparked the perfect idea to use the oddest Marvel character we had – M.O.D.O.K. – in a stop-motion animated Marvelized parody video of poor Bale. I quickly learned an intense amount of video production and animation tips and tricks during this one small project. My fellow Marvel.com video editors Jason Harvey and Ramon Olivo introduced me to the wonders of After Effects and how to use green-screen correctly. I owe them both many, many thanks for taking the time to teach me about visual effects, working with hi-resolution video, audio tweaking, and so much more.

When we got the greenlight to begin production on more What The–?! episodes I suggested that Jon Gutierrez and Sean Collins, two former Wizard colleagues, be brought on to help write and pitch gags like we did together for Twisted ToyFare Theater. Jon G. gets credit for suggesting we call our web-series “What The–?!” which is a reference to the classic “Marvel: What The–?!” comics that were published in the past. They were just full of ridiculous Marvel parodies and, I think, the birthplace of Spider-Ham. Also on board at the start of What The–?! were two Marvel employees who performed improv comedy at Upright Citizen’s Brigade and the Magnet Theater in NYC: Peter Olson and Jesse Falcon.

When I had my first recording session with Jesse (who voices about 90% of the characters in What The–?!) I had no idea what to expect. I was told that apart from his job as Director of Product Development at Marvel, he was a voice actor and comedian but I was blown away by the awesomely insane, screechy, nasally voice that Jesse screamed into the microphone as we recorded in Joe Quesada’s empty office. And so were the Marvel employees in the surrounding vicinity. When Jesse had finished yelling his lines, we opened the door to reveal Tom Brevoort and Nick Lowe with baseball bats in hand, ready to defend themselves against whatever creature was surely to emerge from our “recording booth.” Thus our M.O.D.O.K. was born.

Over the course of the last four years the What The–?! crew, including John Cerilli, Ryan Penagos, writers Mark Basso, Josh Sky, Justin Aclin, Alejandro Arbona, and Tom Brennan, worked on over 50 shorts. Early on, Marvel.com Editor Ben Morse took on a bigger role as Producer of What The–?! and continues to do a darn fine job of it to this day. Most recently, writer Todd Casey (of ThunderCats fame) has become largely involved in the writing of What The–?! and I think we have some of our greatest episodes ahead of us, waiting to be shared with the Internet.

If you want to check out more about the history of What The–?! the awesome Caleb Goellner of ComicsAlliance interviewed Ben Morse, Jesse Falcon and me in a 3-part article here:      Part 1          Part 2: Jesse Falcon          Part 3: Ben Morse 

I’ll slowly be posting recaps of older What The–?! episodes with as much neat, behind-the-scenes info like audio outtakes, storyboards, and in-progress footage that I can scrounge up. Hope you enjoy!