About the Artist


I know I can be windy, so here's the short of it: I'm an artist with a writing problem.

My spheres of experience tend to center around animation and the animation process, although I have a hefty side dose of coding and a penchant for the written word that I can't quite shake.

I started out my career as a creature animator, and still have quite a lot of passion for this area of expertise even though I rarely get to indulge it anymore. In my time as an animator I've also accumulated an understanding of acting. As any nerd who has attempted to learn it will tell you, this is an area I'll probably always be improving. I've spent quite a lot of time doing lip sync and make quick work of it now. For those saavy about such things, I champion the phonemes approach to lip sync and would highly reccommend the book Stop Staring.

From animation I moved up to the lovely mess that is rigging. Navigating a node network and deconstructing the knot someone else tied are both interesting challenges that appeal to my inner puzzler. A lot of animators-turned-riggers will complain of the technical side of such work, but I actually enjoy it. I blame it on a repeated coding habit throughout the years that has given me a sense for computer systems and their quirks. Give my little pet robo ball rig a spin sometime and see what you think. It's a perfect example of the puzzler in me having a field day.

As you'd imagine by this point, I also do tools programming with Python in Maya. It's hard to rig long before you start dreaming of automating the less creative tasks. I prefer pymel currently. I'd rather not write and maintain --the maintenance time is the real killer-- my own entire class library when pymel can already provide one. Although if need be, plain old mel and maya.cmds python are only a brief brain de-dusting away. I had to learn them on my path to discovering pymel's existence.

As a part of being a technical artist I also deal a lot with artistic lighting and shader set-ups, and I quite enjoy it. There's nothing quite as satisfying as looking at a final product where the color balance between light and shadow evokes a mood. I try to avoid plain-jane white light and black shadows, unless of course you're going for black-and-white stylized look. That's fun too. Have you ever played with coloring your occlusion layers? Try it sometime. You'll probably get hooked like me. Here's a good example of fun with lighting as well as blending 3D characters into a 2D background.

All the while I've been muddling my way to an artistic career, I've also been harboring a penchant for scripting. Perhaps it's that I like details and being able to control them, but coding is something I can't seem to let go of. Whether it's making a new web design with html and css, prototyping out some little game idea with javascript and php, peeking under the hood to mod my current leisure game of choice, or finding new ways to make my day job easier with Python, it doesn't seem to matter. It's rare that I go a month without doing some coding project or another for myself. The biggest such side-project I've ever done is a forum-based php vitual pet / genetics simulation game. The most popular side project I did was a horse coat color genetics interactive tool. That one has taken on a life of its own with breeders.

The other habit I can't seem to shake is writing. I enjoy playing with words and dreaming up tales. It's not surprising really, my love for story is probably what got me started in animation in the first place. My writing usually takes the form of overly long posts hounding one game's lore area or another, though I have also been known to write fiction from time to time.