Thursday, August 30, 2007

Final Fantasy Retrospective (FFVII, FFVIII, FFIX)

Well, work talk aside, lets come back with some game-related video relaxation. haha..
Final Fantasy!! My favourite games of all time!
Man, I miss FFVIII so so much!!! It's my Favourite No.1 in FF series. I wish I could have the time to re-play once more and re-catch the sentimental moment with the lovely story. I LOVE Rinoa too!!! She's the cutest character in all FF series! hahaaa....

Square-Enix (SquareSoft formerly) ROCKS !!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Lots of Retake!!! Why! I'm tired!

After client saw most of my animations, he told my boss that the robots punching and action stuff doesn't look like the old Votoms style. To them now it looks like Gundam style. According to them, one of the difference is, Gundam usually uses one hand handling the long warrior gun, whereas Votoms usually use both hands carrying, etc etc....

Sigh~ They should have told and explained well to my boss before passing the storyboard to me for animation. And I have trusted fully my boss about the details of the characters. Now that I have to redo most of the animations based on the reference video client just gave us.
I put so much sweat and sleepless hours last week, and now my repay is some should-have-been-avoidable Retakes! Arrrh ~
If I capable to converse fluently in Jap, I would have directly gathered information by myself from the clients, like I did in my former jobs back in Singapore. Sigh ~
Well, anyway, looking at the bright side again, lucky I haven't finished all, especially the main fighting scenes. If not, I sure spill blood on this blog to let you see! (-_-)"

Even the humans emotion scenes also got retake, almost all got retakes..... I remember I asked clearly in the first day about the characteristics of the girl, and my boss told me she's weak and soft person. She looks sad n stuff. Ok, I got all the information I need into my head and started animate. Finished, and now client told him that she should be having cool & strong characteristics. WHAT?! So big different leh! I said that loud inside my head of course, with a reluctant smile with one side drowning.

Looks like my boss also not very sure or even didn't do much study about this Votoms before passing to me on the first day. Sigh.. it's part of my fault also actually. I should have asked them for video reference from the start instead of just asking my boss.
Sigh.. never mind lor... redo lor.... even with my half-closed eyes.... .... i will do this.... for TGS.... just for TGS, I "Ren"! I "Tahan"! I "Endure"! ..............................

........... I "Pengsan"! (faint) * POMP!!!
Someone come and collect my skull ashes next week ~ ......


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tired & Stress

Today I worked until 11pm. I wasn't suppose to, but I just wanted to finish as much as I could. Man, even camera animation also kills me sometimes. To gain perfect camera movement animations and match with the music tempo is not totally as easy as I always thought. Ease-in/out, fast and slow motion matching with character emotion & movement + music tempo... killing time and also killing me. I changed the camera motions thousands times to get it right. So much offset to be done in Graph Editor to make things look right. Now I respect those who did so much camera animations....

Well, it's pain, but eventually I gained. As in able to finish with satisfaction. hahaa.. So tired now, but once I got home, switch on my PC, I tend to not want to go to bed early. I think I'm just crazy. I should be in bed by now. *Yawwnnn.....~ (-_-)q

Oh oh, by the way, today I asked my boss again. Seems like Bandai is working on the Votoms game and we are helping them to develop the opening sequence. Looks like it has nothing to do with the TV anime series. Sorry for the wrong assumption last time. haha.. I guess I need to brush up my Japanese more to avoid more assumptions and misunderstanding... hahaa..

To be precise, our company is doing 2 versions of the game opening for Bandai right now. The one that I'm working on now is for promotional purpose, as in to show in Tokyo Game Show next month. Whereas the other one which eventually will be used for the real game opening in the console, is already almost done, and now is under compositing development by my boss.
Why they need 2 versions? Well, as for this question, I have yet asked my boss. hahaa.. My best guess is that, my boss proposed a new storyboard to them comparing to the original one from years ago. And Bandai accepted the proposal and agreed to have 2 different versions. Hahaa... Well, don't take my words, I will check with my boss again when I have time. Most importantly, my animation will be shown in public. haha.. Well, I may be paranoid, but hopefully Bandai won't reject the new proposal (the one I'm working on) and take the old one for promotional display in TGS at last minute. If not my sleepless effort will worth for nothing in the end.. well, who knows, something might go wrong in the end... but I will pray harder. hahaa. =P

Anyway, here's an article link regarding Bandai's coming PS2 Votoms' in-game:

Tomorrow Bandai people will come to our office in the morning and check our progress. Hopefully everything will go well.

Ok guys, I'm really collapsing soon. Really start to feel the tiredness already.
"Finger-Off" now. Ja-na! Nitez! Wan-An! (-_-) ~zzZZ


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Current Work Will Be Shown @ Tokyo Game Show (^0^)v

Yesterday I talked to my boss about the deadline for the Votoms project I'm working on, and he told me it's best to finish by end of this month, coz the opening animation sequence will be played in the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) next month! (@0@)
When I heard about this news I was so excited! hahaaa... It may be just simple opening animation, but I still very happy that the work that I did is gonna be shown in public in Japan! And it's in TGS somemore! hahahaa...

Of course I won't expect my name will be shown, (since the opening sequence is part of the Votoms series that belonged to the original company, as we are just outsourced company.), but it's still excited to tell my family n friends that I worked on that piece of animations. hahaha... Sorry, a bit thick face. haahaha...
I can't wait to see how it turns out on the big screen next month. Can't wait can't wait! Well, that means I have to stress for this week and next. But I guess it's worth the effort. I will do my best! hahaa...

Next month would be my first visit to TGS, the pre-excitement has already filled up to my head since months ago. And now, even more extra stuff added to my full-tank excitement! You have no idea how excited I am now! hahahaa...

Well, I'm a very easily pleased kinda person if you know me well. I'm just like a big kid, seeing my work on public screen and I will just go: "Hey! Look! Look! That's my work! I did that! I did that! " hahahaha.... ~ XD
It may sound childish, or may not seem a big deal to a lot of people, but it's a big deal to me since I'm still considered newbie in this industry. So you can't blame my young heart and "childish-ness"... muahahaha... XD

Sorry.. I'm talking rubbish again... forgive me. =P
Ok guys, thanks for being a good listener (or viewer) so far. Hope I could record video or something next month in TGS and share with you guys the animation that I did. hehehe... =P

Cheer for me!!! kekekee.....
p/s: It turns out that it's not too bad at all to move on from my last job. hahaha.... Thank God! Amen! =D


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Quick Evolution in my CG Job in Tokyo

Hahaa... from the title, it means I'm now working in a 3rd company now. I guess a lot of people might think "what is wrong with you, Kent? It's not even close to a year yet, and you have started a 3rd job?". Well, you could say that, but there's always insight story that never been told. Anyway, the true story will only be told at the good timing. At this moment, lets just keep it as it is, or rather as it looks like. hahaa...

Well, first job was supposed to be a year, but ended up with early termination. Actually legally it was 6 months contract on legal paper. One year was based on verbal.

Second job was supposed to last me till October this year, but early termination was upon me again due to some reason. The reason that given to me was that I wasn't competent as compared to another colleague of mine, which by the way, there were only 2 hired CG artists in the office, including me. The reasons which were conveyed to me seemed unfair to me, but I didn't fight for it. I was calm and I guess i'm mature enough to discuss with them with my own opinion, and even apologised for my so-called incompetence.

Well, what is over is over. I'm still glad to work there before and learned something new. And I really learned a lot from my colleague. He's really a good CG artist. Very pro indeed. Compare to him who has 4-5 years of CG experience, I admit defeat.
Well, I think I'm not gonna further discuss this on this blog, since it's already over and I'm now happy with my new job. To me, without getting out a cave, you never know there might be better new cave. Hope this new cave could last me some time. hahaaa... Praying Hard! =D

Anyway, it's really an eye opener and great experience for going to several interviews in Japan. I have tonnes of experience in interviews when I was working in Singapore. None of them ever worried me before, but this time, it's totally different situation due to the japanese environment and atmosphere, i was totally almost worry to death. (sorry, over-exagerrated, haha...) XD

I was so worried about my conversation problem. Though I improved little bit ever since I first came here, I think I wasn't ready for the speedy conversation of the Japanese. Most of the time they were so fast until I couldn't possibly have 1 second to process the previous or next line that they said. In other words, they spoke 3 sentences in 1.5 seconds, and by the time I finished understanding the first 2 sentences, I missed the next, or vice versa. hahaa...

Well, that was what I was worrying about. So I prepared myself by learning more official japanese words or vocabulary few days before the interviews commence. And they did really help much during the interviews. At least when I heard the key words that I've learned, I understand more quickly and process other sentences faster. hahaaa... Though, I still didn't quite understand most part of their conversation, but I was still able to understand their questions and answered them with my lousiest broken japanese, including with some obvious hand-action gestures. muahahaha.... XD

It was really an experience. Something new that I explored my own, with my own strength.
I applied for few job agencies before I looked up my own. But obviously none of them could help much, so I decided to do it on my own by sending resume and demoreel manually to their company postbox. It was my first experience to write japanese resume, and their format here is a bit different from what I've known back in our own countries. They have a standard type of way to write resume, and you could easily buy the template in any of the stationary stores or convenient stores. Since I don't have a printer (and I also couldn't afford one), I write my own with pen. And I heard from my friends that writing resume manually by pen shows more sincerity in their working culture. And from the handwritings, they could somehow roughly justify your personality or some kind. hahaa.. I was surprised when I heard that. Really can justify? The only personality that I can tell from the handwriting is that whether or not the person is lazy or sleepy head when he's writing the words. hahaa...

Well, long story short, thank God, I finally found this job, whose the boss is kind enough to give me the chance to try it out although he knows there might be little communication problems during work. And my current boss is a fun person though he's around 40s or near 50s. He himself is an artist if not mistaken. He's a kind and good person. Very well respected and approachable by everyone in the office. When comes to animations acting, he looks energetic especially when he explained to me what he wanted. And he's clear what he wants, that's the boss that I respect.

This company consists of 20 over cg artists. Totally japanese environment. No more english speaking this time. Seriously japanese commando training now. hahaha...
Current company working on few different projects. Mainly TV anime currently. There were other commercials or opening sequences were done by them in the past too. Depending on projects subbed by other big companies, they use different 3D platforms, namely Maya, Max & XSI. But for sure, this company doesn't use Mo-Cap. hahahaa... coz the boss like key-framed animations, and when we talked about pixar animations during the first interview with him, he was excited telling me that there's a line saying "No Motion Capture is used" during the ending credits. haha.. He's fun person indeed. =)

I'm currently assigned to work on a piece of 3D opening theme sequence for Votoms. Not sure if any of you guys still remember this old anime in the past. haha.. I guess the major company is working on the 3D version and gonna release on DVD on Oct this year. I guess they outsourced to our company to do certain part of the animation, which is now I'm working on the opening song sequence.

It's been a week now since my first day in this company. So far I worked almost 11 hours a day.
Almost everyone knocked off after 10pm. I wonder if their homes are so near that they don't have to worry about traveling. haha.. but for me, I need to leave little early (though still late) since I need to travel 1 hour back home. It's tiring.

I started work from 10am, and most of the time knocked off around 9pm or 10pm, depending how fast I finished my work. There's no limit of frames or seconds for me to animate per day, but seems like I'm expected to animate as much as I could each day. The opening sequence is around 1 minute in total. I guess I might need to finish all animations within the next 1-2 weeks time. Well, despite the long hours with little stress, I think I still enjoy animating the characters. So far I've been animating 2 humans (1 guy 1 girl) and 2 fighting robots namely AT-Scope Dog (the green robot from the picture above). More fighting scenes to come next week. hahaa.. It's gonna be fun, but I guess might feel a bit stress also. hahaaa... anyway, I will try to balance it out and keep my heart relax. Lately my body is getting weak. I think it's time to be health-conscious.

Ok guys, thanks for reading my boring story again. hahaa... Thanks to those who concerned about me. Just to let you know, I'm fine now. No matter what happens to me, I won't give up easily.
And I also want to apologise to some of you that I didn't tell you guys about my situation earlier. May be I felt that I didn't want to invite more questions when I was busy preparing and looking for new job, though I know I would receive kind concerns from you guys. May be I just wanted to concentrate without thinking much other things. I knew I would find a way. And I'm glad I did. hahaa...
Well, nothing is impossible. If you have the will, God will place you a way.
Have faith! p(^-^)q
Have a nice weekend! \(^0^)/

p/s: I'm gonna watch Ratatouille 2nd time with my friends tomorrow (sunday). Woohoo...


One of the Best CG Modeling Demoreel - A Summoner

Wow! When I first saw this, I was WOW-ed, then I WOW-ed, and I'm still WOW-ing.
The background, the lighting, the atmosphere, the mood, the models , are all so WOW-ing, except that the little animation within is not very convincing to me, since this is just a modeling reel, so who cares. The rest are just beautiful! The babe, the Dragon! Especially the dragon, I like the design very much! I'm a big fan of dragons! muahahaa... any cool design of dragons will make me happy & excited. .hahahaa...

Really great modeling reel, whoever did this, GREAT JOB, man! And the music of this modeling reel works very well indeed! Wonderful job again! Congrats to Aasa Ooraikul, congrats to VFS!

p/s: Though the girl and small snake-shape dragon looks very World of Warcraft's The Burning Crusade alike. May be he got the inspiration from the trailer. haha.. Anyway, it's still distinctive and nice. Really well done.

Hi-Resolution Download Link (recommended): http://student.vfs.com/~3d63aasa/movie/New_Summoner_h264.mov


Watch the small/unclear youtube version (try to download above link to see more quality details, it's worth to keep.) :


Another Nice Animation - Down On The Farm

Another fun animation work. This is real good. Check it out.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Meet The Great Animations - The Glumpers

Found this from another forum SimpleCG. The following 3 pieces of good animations are produced by a company named MAKE. One of the co-director + co-animators is Tyson Ibele, one of the greatest Animators/CG Artists. I've never doubted his talent and it's always inspiring to see his works. They are just GREAT! And here are the 3 new works that he involved. Check them out.





Monday, August 06, 2007

Michael Bay's Transformer - My Personal Review

Before I watched Michael Bay's Transformer. I watched many times of the trailers and even pre-reviews to the trailers. From the first day I saw their design, I was upset. Then I told my friends that I will still watch it and bringing 10% hope to the theater. And hoping something would revive my hope (at least hoping the story would surprise and impress me). I promised myself, since it's not gonna be the "cartoon story", so be it, lets treat it as a new cool Robot Transforming movie with humans. However, I also can't ignore the fact that this movie is related to Autobots and Decepticons since they are revealing Optimus Prime & Megatron. Therefore, my review to this movie, has no reason to walk away without relating it to the 80's original cartoon, yet considering logical reasons behind the changes too. Another words, I try not to be biased and being fair to all. haha.. =)
What I'm about to say is totally came out from my heart and also from my brain which influenced by the nature of the CG and my profession. haha... =P

Well well well.. here we go.

Point No 1.

Overall Feeling. Well, to be honest, it didn't actually "blow me away" as what I've been expecting after hearing so many good comments from my friends and forums. I just feel that my heart didn't hit any Climax throughout the movie. It's like What I See (from trailer) Is What I Get. No doubt, I'm impressed by the transformation, and all sorts of special effects. I'm not trying to compare with other CG animations , to be honest, my overall feeling, despite of good animation of robot fightings and great transformation & effects, I didn't see anything that can make it memorable for an audience like me. Am I expecting too high? No no no... I'm a very easily-pleased kinda guy. A good movie is always carrying a good timing of climax to raise audiences hearts to the top of their heads and make them feel "WOOOAAAH!!!! ..... ".

Unfortunately, I couldn't get any of that Woaahh thingy in my heart or any part of my body. If it's a good story telling or overall good movie, my reaction would be something like what I felt when I watched Ratatouille. I'm not trying to compare, I know both genres are different. But the concept of appreciating a good movie is about the same. Of course, it depends what things "Woaah " you during the movie. If some audiences just carry the heart of wanting to see just special effects from the movie, then I'm pretty sure that audience will eventually gain the super "Woaah". I'm just trying to be fair to everyone. But for me, the "Woaah" wasn't with me coz I was expecting something else. I was looking for good story tellling, I was also looking for some technical and non-technical things that left behind my old knowledge of this movie. Lets share all these so-called knowledge together in the next point, shall we? =)

Point No. 2

First of all, to be fair to Michael Bay, I totally understand his plot which trying to make this movie as real world and not cartoony type. To be honest, I like the blending of their mechanics (robots) with the real world environment. CG Technical speaking, this movie works perfectly nice. And I'm very impressed by all the technical aspects. Lets just forget about Transformers from 80s, shall we? Take a moment to forget the old cartoons for few seconds. Come back to this photo-realistic robot fighting scenes in the movie. My personal 2nd view is that, there were too many humans (in the city streets) distracting the excitement of the fighting action scenes.

Camera views and movements are not my favorites too. Well, some are good, but mostly not. Camera positioning are sometimes too distracting, for example, suddenly change to inner view of a coffee house, suddenly change to a POV (point of view) of certain unimportant humans in the scenes. Not that those camera views are bad itself, I'm opposing this methods coz most of the time it looks like it's cheating a lot of animations from the fighting scenes. From the moment they start fighting angrily during the last quarter of the movie till the moment where Megatron was defeated, I couldn't feel much of the excitement from the actions. Part of it is because of the camera movement and changes position too much. And also because most of the action fighting time, Michael Bay uses a lot of close ups. It totally turn me off coz I feel like it's a cheat to me. (*My personal view and analysis).

I really honestly frankly don't feel much climax of the impact from the actions, either because of the above reasons that I mentioned, or it's because the killing of the Megatron is too simple and fast. Ok, I'm a bit greedy, I was actually expecting a lot of cool fighting between Optimus & Megatron. I was hoping at least the final boss-fighting could impress me more. Unfortunately, it didn't. However, I need to emphasize again, the fighting sequences a.k.a. 3D animations are super great! But the plot of the fighting was weak. Hope you guys can differentiate what I'm trying to say. =)

Point No 3.

The plot of the story makes the whole movie is about Human. The main focus has somehow diverted to humans by the confusing story plot. My first impression till the end of the story, is that, this movie is about US Military Goverment having a new evolved war with outer space so-called aliens. This impression very quickly reminded me of the old movies "Independence Day". Only difference this time is that, some of the aliens are good and protecting humans. Old transfomers has the same similarity, but at least the cartoon makes very clean and clear picture to the audience that THEY (transformers) are the main characters and focus. But this movie makes otherwise. As an audience, I couldn't feel the "power of the existence" of Autobots and Decepticons in this movie. I just couldn't. It made me sad.

Like I said, the movie plot goes too much on detecting the "aliens" and too much on lovey dovey human scenes. I know Michael were trying to balance with the "Hollywood Action Movie style nature". But I guess it's not going quite well into this Robot movie. It was just a turn off. And this reminded me very quickly of another movie - "Titanic", which apparently whole story is not about Titanic the ship, but 70% was about lovey dovey Jack & Rose's You Jump I Jump story. Well, frankly Titanic - the love story was heart touching, and made everyone forget about commenting the irrelevant of the story with the ship itself. However, it wouldn't work this time for this Transformer robot movie. It just wouldn't work, at least for me.

Point No 4.

This is not much of a big point, but I just want to mention about this small little matter that I observed from the movie. When Megatron awakes from the frozen sleep, why did he say "I Am Megatron" as his first words? This type of "self-intro" usually appeals in cartoon. If Michael Bay was trying to copy that style from the old Transformer style, then I gotta say, it's not working for me. It's just sounding ridiculous after he makes everything photo-realistic. This question mark is still wandering around in my head and makes me laugh until now. Why Megatron said that like? I know it's just a small matter to a lot of audience, but it just somehow bothers me and gave me little turn off after realizing partial was same from 80s original cartoon, but main partials were not. Kinda confusing. Was Michael Bay expecting all the audience to watch it as a brand new title or should the audience still can relate it back to the original? Man, it's making me having hard time. May be just me. haha....

Point No 5.

Why why why? During the ending credit, they still wan to mention so much about human? They were interviewing those people for real or what? Well, no matter real or not, it's still making people think that this movie is totally about US Military Secret Forces or US government. They were over mentioning too much about government thingy and make the whole movie (even until the ending credit) look like non-transformer. I was so so disappointed to see what I saw during the ending credit "interview" thingy. They didn't even mention about Autobots or Decepticons. Isn't Transformer is about Autobots & Decepticons? Isn't Earth is just a secondary "assets" to this original story? Why this movie is making it otherwise so much? I'm not being stone-headed, but ffrankly, if they want to change whole transformer story into brand new story with not much relevance, they should have named this new movie as some other names like Robot Attack, or Evolution Crisis, or Independence Day II.

I'm sorry if I offended anyone who loves this movie very much. I was trying to like it but I just couldn't. I'm just trying to be myself and being honest to myself. I can't force myself to like the movie even though 99% of the Eartians like this movie. hahaaa... Well, at least I shared my reasons here with some logical points. hahaa.. but of course, different people may have different opinions and thinking. Therefore, some of you may not agree with me. But it's sometimes good to conflict, so that this world is colorful. Otherwise this world will be just one color if everyone thinks everything the same. Don't you think so? hahahahaa..... ok lar.. i pen off now. Thanks for reading till this point. I know it must be tiring for you now. hahahaa... Thanks again, and stay tuned. I will share more stuff in near future. Tata! Take care my friends! =)


Wonderful 2D Animation - Mimos & The Egg

Haven't seen such good 2D animations for ages. This is really a great one. Much more appealing than so many 3D works. Though now is 3D world, 2D animation is still as cool as forever. =)

Check this out!