Animation On Location is a two week course where students from The Columbus College of Art and Design, live, breathe, and eat the CG, 2D, and Stop-motion Animation scene in and around the Greater Los Angeles community. This includes, but is not limited to, Graduate Schools, Industry Houses, Research Facilities, and Museums. The second week focuses on the ACM international conference: SIGGRAPH. The evenings cap the experience with individual visits from alumni and friends of the school.
This blog is to serve as a visual reminder of our wonderful experience. Special thanks to those who volunteered their precious evenings to inspire the next generation of animators, directors, and film-makers.
And a BIG thank you to Ron Saks, the master-mind of this unique adventure and fervent supporter of young talent.
Our first full day in LA started out with a ride in our very own "short" bus.
First stop: The Museum of Jurassic Technology
David Wilson, director/co-founder, graciously opened the doors to us (the museum is routinely closed on mondays).
Ron and David
David's "guard" dogs
A quick lunch at a Californian institution
Then it was onto Warner Bros. Television Animation
Sam and Ty were thrilled!
Vera Morales spent over an hour with us, touring the campus and answering questions (we even saw Bruce Timm!)
Next, we visited Disney Feature Animation.
We were promptly "tagged" and released into the studio. No photos allowed, but we did bump into Chadd Fare and Mark Mitchel, both CCAD alumni. Patricia Beckmann-Wells, Manager of School and Outreach Relations hosted our visit.
We completed our evening with the always inspiring Saul Blinkoff, CCAD alumni.
After a hearty breakfast of angry fruit...
...we boarded the USC tram to Marina del Ray (30+ minute ride with our driver, Craig... and he was haulin' derriere).
The tram dropped us off at ICT (Institute for Creative Technologies) (affiliated with USC) but we then hopped onto the Number 1 Big Blue Bus, transfered to the Number 3 and ended-up at A52
We were very pleased to see Max Ulichney (CCAD alumni 2004) thriving and enjoying his career! (The spider on the main A52 page is Max's)
Annie Z. provided us with this group shot. She also had the best, one-word description of a time-intensive rendering process: "horrend-er-ous." Awesome.
We Blue Bused it back to ICT where Dr. Jackie Morie hosted us on a tour of the facilities.
Presentation by Andrew Jones on the gathering of mesh, texture, and lighting data.
Demonstration by Patrick Kenny of an Interactive Character Simulation.
After dinner, we were visited by Ed Verreaux. Ed started his presentation outside (as we were locked-out of our usual venue).
Then, we moved back to the hotel to look at past and current work (image from Monster House). Ed reiterated a sage piece of advice: "You learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes."
We started our day at Ron's Alma mater, UCLA
Doug Ward gave us a great tour of the Animation / Film Department. We watched some excellent student films! For the students on the trip: dot, dot, dash, space, dot, dash, dot, space... you know what I mean.
Joaquin Baldwin, CCAD Alumni, current UCLA Film Graduate Student (check out his newest film!)
Doug Ward and Joaquin on the UCLA film stage
Bouncing around the UCLA foley stage
"Foley, Oh YEAH!"
Next, we headed over to USC to learn more about their Graduate Animation Program. Daphine Sigismondi gave us information on the application and program process.
We saw the graduate labs (they were archiving old cels... it was a sex-ed film from the 50's!)
Mar Elepano hosted the tour
Walked past the Shrine Auditorium
... to the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts
Whoa! Check out this HD AVID lab!
The center is where they film Trojan Vision
After dinner, we were thrilled to host John Nelson! Lots of great stories!
Today we started at Blur (Tyler could barely contain his enthusiasm)
Tom Dillan gave the students great advice on student portfolios: "Does the student have an eye for design and the demonstration of patience (high detail in both models and textures)? We can teach them how to speed that process up on the job." He would rather see one or two really well executed pieces (than a whole bunch of moderate stuff).
We were allowed into Blur's Motion Capture studio (all kinds of fun props in here!)
Ron took one for the team!
We got to talk with Shaun McNally, CCAD Alumni, Blur Concept Artist
Next, it was on to Double D!
Inside the main building at Digital Domain (notice the Frank Gehry structure?)
Tim Enstice, Publicity Coordinator, gave the tour.
Phi and Kirk, CCAD Alumni, popped in to say hi!
Next, we had a late lunch, or early dinner at Pink's
Waiting in line at Pink's (took about 45 minutes at 4:00)
Enjoying our Pink's
In the evening, we were visited by Bert Poole, CCAD Alumni
Bert brought gifts! Doug scored a squishy Monsters vs. Aliens B.O.B. toy!
Best gift of all: Bert took the time to review student work. He emphasized this bit of truth: When it comes to color concept and design skills, don't let the computer toss all that knowledge away. Remember these analogue design tools and make the computer do what you visually want to do (not what the buttons and presets do by default).