Jan 20, 2015

Heading back home.....Sort of....

Over the last four years I have had the great pleasure of working with the many skilled artists and fine people at Dreamworks Animation in sunny Southern California.  I learned a great deal and made some life-long friends.  But, all jobs must eventually come to an end.  In recent days I've seen some less than favorable news about the immediate future for some of my friends at DW, and I wish everyone the best of luck!  This move is not a result of any of that stuff, but has been in the works for a while.

I have accepted a position at Vicarious Visions in upstate New York. I could not be more thrilled.  I'm looking forward to making new friends and working with another group of incredible artists.

My wonderful wife is also going to be working in the area as she too has accepted a nursing position at a local hospital.  We are looking forward to returning to the North East where most of our family reside.  A new adventure begins :-)

Dec 21, 2014

Some sketches.

Uploaded a bunch of sketches I used as demos for my class at Studio Arts, to my art station sketchbook here:

Nov 30, 2014

Penguins Designs.

A few months ago, I was able to work on Dreamworks' latest film, The Penguins of Madagascar for a very short time.  One of the things I worked on was designing and modeling these skeletons for the Shanghai Aquarium sequence.  it was fast paced, and I really enjoyed it.     None of these are offline rendered, all sculpted in Zbrush and shown in viewport 2.0 in Maya with temporary, procedural textures.

CTNX 2014

I Had a great time at CTNX 2014.  I sold a sketchbook for the first time, thanks to my friend and mentor Mike Defeo. If you don't know Mike's work, please, check here:  

 Here are some pics from the show:

My book, Fat Man, Little Pencil: Volume 1 (yeah, I went there, get your mind out of the gutter people! :-)

Blue Sky mini reunion part I: Lisa, Mike, and Myself

Signing a book for Mr. Joseph Drust

Cheesing for the camera

I got to meet a bunch of cool artists, like Leticia Reinaldo!  Check out her incredible skills on display here:

Giving a demo for Pixologic, trying to sculpt a Paul Gaboury caricature.  Check out some cool videos from Paul here:

Here with former Dreamworks cohort Melissa Encinas.  What a nice lady!  Check her art out here:

Here is my old boss, and a great friend and mentor, Mr. Sam Michlap.  He's an INSANE painter.  Check out his work here:

Blue Sky mini-reunion Pt. 2.  Mike, Steve Talkowski (AKA Sketchbot) and myself.  If you don't know Steve's work, check it out here:

Paul and Louie of Pixologic being the BEST SPORTS EVER!  My cheap caricatures could never capture the raw, animal magnetism these two gents generate.  Check Louie out here:  

One of my favorite moments of all of CTN.  AndrĂ© Inojosa (center) made some sculptures for me and Pedro Conti (left).  Oh yeah, they BOTH came all the way from BRAZIL to attend the event.   To see andre's work, check here:   To see Pedro's work, check here: What a great couple of guys!  

Some of the prints I sold at the show. 

The incredible Sean Hannon was kind enough to take a pic with me.  This man is one of the coolest, nicest, and most kind people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Speaking of amazing people, This is Vicki Sauls.  She is a super nice person, unless you are made of clay.  Then, she will kill you dead!  She's an incredible sculptor!  Check out what a shape assassin she is here:

I also got a chance to meet new friends, like Mr. Chase Conley, and see old friends, like BK's own Shihan Barbee.  Chase is in the middle, to see his work, check here.  Shi is on the right, check out his work here.

And finally, the highlight of the event for me was a very personal one, I got to meet Mr. LeSean Thomas.  Not only do I like his work a lot, we also found out we both came from the same block, same housing projects, same era, knew the same folks etc.  And, we both made it from the South Bronx in the 80s' to the animation field.  What a small world.  I don't think anyone else can truly understand what it means for us to have met each other 39 years from our birth (we were even born the same year), 3000 miles away from where we were raised, and both knee deep in art.  Salute my brother.   To check out his amazing work, look here:


Sep 12, 2014

Teaching sample: Polypainting

Every Thursday night, I teach a class over at Studio Arts here in Southern California.  I usually do recaps for major subjects, and did one last week for polypainting in Zbrush.  Here are some recap videos I did for the class, that I wanted to share with the world.

If you're ever in So-Cal and can take a class, great, but if you're not, I also teach classes online at Zbrushworkshops.com, so maybe I'll be lucky enough to meet you there one day virtually or in person!  Have a great day all, and Happy Zbrushing!!!

Part One, a timelapse of blocking in the bull man.  
The music is from the album The Philadelphia Experiment:

Part Two, some things to keep in mind when polypainting

Part Three, Polypainting demo

Here is the bust I created for the demo as a Zbrush project file (not a Ztool, so you have to open this with the file menu at the top of zbrush, not the load ztl button.  I did it this way to preserve the shaders on the subtools).
Download the bust HERE:
Here is a link to my Zbrush UI with instructions on how to load and use the UI. please read the "readMe" file :-)
Download the UI HERE:

Aug 11, 2014

ZBrush Summit. 2014

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be asked to present at the first annual Zbrush Summit.  It was an INCREDIBLE honor, and I saw, heard and learned a lot.  I think Pixologic will be uploading videos of the presentations, but in the meantime, someone recorded and uploaded these videos:

The Demo:

 The Post Demo Interview:

Jul 22, 2014

Zbrush Workshops class, summer 2014

Below is the character I created for my summer course at zbrushworkshops.com.  The goal of the course was to create a concept for a character, then a digital maquette, and finally a production friendly mesh with good UVs and topology.

This is the final character with effects and lighting in viewport 2.0.  All of the materials a standard Maya materials (lambert, blinn, phong) no DX11.

This is the T-posed, neutral character prior to rigging with UVs and textures in Maya.

 Here is a version of the costume in Zbrush.  This is all dynamesh/zremesh geo and no retopo or UVs. As you can see, the design continued to evolve into what you see above (no satchel or cape etc.).  I liked some aspects of this version of the character, but the overall silhouette still felt like it could be pushed  more.   

Here is a tutorial on the Dynamesh and Zremesh techniques I used in Zbrush.

Here is a breakdown of developing the ethereal flame on the sword.

Early stages.  This was the first pass of polypaint, after connecting all the skin pieces via dynamesh.

Here is what the rough, sculpted costume looked like.  I arrived at the costume by sketching over the nude character in photoshop and used lots of reference to help narrow my choices.

Next, I took a decimated version of the dynameshed skin in to Maya to see the sculpt through a conventional lense, and start to retopo.   I was experimenting with the hair, and it felt all wrong for this character.

After a retopo pass on the face, I took a stab at some very rough expressions to see how the topology held up.

Here are some shots at the first retopo pass.

Here is a WIP of the UVs for the costume....Zzzzz. :-)

Here are some shots of the texture process for the character.  This is on the lowres, re-topoed models with good UVs as polypaint.  No texture projection was used on these.  All the textures are hand painted or procedural.

More images coming soon! 

May 4, 2014

New Class, Character creation: Zbrush Photoshop Maya

I'm pleased to announce a new class with Ryan Kingslien and Zbrush Workshops.  Here is the first, preview webinar for the upcoming course.  CLICK HERE to learn more about the course!

Apr 7, 2014


In my previous post, I showed time-lapsed versions of the Tantor demo, but for the hardcore nerdy (meant in the most endearing way possible!) Here are some real-time recordings of the process.  No music, no time-lapse, just the raw recordings.  If you want to try the UI I'm using, check here: http://www.pointpusher.com/prefs

Apr 2, 2014

Tantor demo Timelpase

This is from a recent modeling demonstration.  Usually, I like to sculpt original designs, but this was done for a demonstration of modeling in Zbrush to an existing design. Tantor was designed (I believe) by Glen Keane and Sergio Pablos(If this is not the case, someone, please let me know).  If you want to try the UI I'm using, check here: http://www.pointpusher.com/prefs

In this first hour, I spend an hour blocking in all the parts.

In the second hour I try to get closer with silhouette, proportions, and plane changes.

In the Third hour, I try to nail down the shape more and block-in color.  The point of the exercise is to see if in a few hours we can get something worthy of showing an art director, character design lead, etc.

Nov 18, 2013

CTN 2013

This weekend I had the chance to attend CTN 2013 as a guest presenter for Pixologic and also as a presenter on the main stage.  I'll post the pixologic videos if they post them online, but below is a link to the interview and sketch session we did on the main stage.  It was scary but fun.  I also got to reacquaint with old friends and colleagues like Shihan Barbee, Walter de LeonSteve "Sketchbot" Talkowski, Punn Wiantrakoon, Joseph Drust, Kurt Papstein, Bobby Pontillas, Jake Parker, Katy Hargrove, Greg Couch, and many more!

I also got to meet the amazing Dominic QwekCory Loftis, and Marty Havran, and Sandro Cluezo.

So many cool and skilled people. A much needed dose of inspiration, and thoroughly humbling!

Sep 29, 2013

New character development..

Here are a bunch of development sketches I'm doing to create a new character for class... He is a cartoony hipster version of the creature from the black lagoon.

As I continue to develop the look, and narrow down the style, I'll keep updating this post.

First, some light research to get me thinking about "hipster" stereotypes...
Next I do a couple of paintings to learn how I might want the character to look, I like to start with the face.  

Next, I start doing some gestural sketches of the body to explore different proportions.

"paper doll" sketches for quick costume exploration...

After I have some ideas about the costume, I try to start thinking about the style.  These are the first steps toward finalizing the look of the character before moving on to creating a maquette and finishing the design in the round.