Monday, November 15, 2010


Yes, the video for "Keanuville" is finished and uploaded to the internets! As Rain said, our original plans for the animated sequence changed a lot over the course of our project. She and I had originally planned much more goofy and outrageous adventures for our heroine and her man, but, well, there wasn't enough time in the video for it, and the video went in a more serious tone. But I think that it was for the best; I would have enjoyed animating Keanu Reeves on a unicorn, but I think that the final product turned out very nice.

Here is a write-up of the video's premiere at American Songwriter.

While my contribution to the project was very minimum, I greatly enjoyed working with Rain and all of the other people involved. It was great fun.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Backgrounds/Color Palette for Keanuville

Micah Van Hove, the director for Keanuville, used a very specific color palette for the live-action video: dark reds, purples, maroons, blues. A melancholy and almost- sinister?- color scheme. The challenge with the animated scene is: how do I remain consistent with the look he has achieved, and yet, lighten it up a bit? Because, after all, it is a fantasy sequence.

First of all, I spent an afternoon using Google Image search to find an assortment of high-res colored/artist paper type of images that seemed good for the color scheme that I was going for. I had them all saved in a folder when it dawned on me... am I allowed to do this? That is, am I legally allowed to use other people's images in my own project under Fair Use and etc.? I'm just using other people's scanned images of textured paper as animation backgrounds... it seems pretty harmless. I am still unclear what the answer is. [If any artist types out there have any insight to this, I would love to hear from you.] Well, I decided to avoid both legal ramifications as well as the accidental pilfering of another artist's work by just making my own backgrounds. I was slightly freaking out, though, because the deadline for the video is tomorrow, and here I am, watercoloring small sheets of paper and throwing salt on the paint. (The salt absorbs the paint in random areas and adds a bit more texture to the way the paint looks.)

Also, the new Call of Duty: Black Ops game came out today, and I am waiting until this project is done before I go out and pick up a copy. MUST FOCUS.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My Eyes Can't Unsee This

Rain sent all of us working on the Keanuville project a link to a YouTube video this morning. She wrote: "Okay, Keanuville team, lest you think I might be exaggerating this phenomenon..." She is referring, of course, to the stalker-like obsession that millions of women (and men) have for Keanu Reeves, which she writes about in her song.

BONUS: this fantasy video is set to an extra schmaltzy Celine Dion soundtrack.
BONUS #2: Sasha followed up Rain's email by mentioning that a second video by the girl who made the above may be "even more unsettling."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Keanu Reeves: A Face Too Pretty To F Up

I am having a fun time cartoon-izing Sasha, the actress who will be in the "Keanuville" video. She is one of us- you know, a normal person. On the other hand, I am being frustrated by my attempts to make a cartoon Keanu. Because he is not one of us. He is one of the Beautiful People. As I start stripping away some of the details from his face (so that I can then animate and redraw him over and over quickly), he starts to lose a lot of his Keanu-ness, and just looks like Regular Handsome Guy. I had to do a lot of different versions before I settled on this one. Rain is less worried about how closely he looks to his real-life counterpart than I am, so I guess we'll leave it at that. Her only other suggestion is that we change Sasha's hair to a lighter, blonde color, since I am animating a fantasy/dream sequence, and she would imagine herself to be younger.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Initial Tracings for Characters

Started using Flash today to do some tracings of both the actress and Keanu's faces. I basically do some simplified tracings over actual photos of the 2 people, in order to learn how their faces are constructed, and to start to strip away some of the details. Also, in the case of Keanu, it's to figure out which of the many looks of Keanu we want to go with. Rain thinks we should go with the "Something's Gotta Give" era.

Not sure why I made him look like a monkey in some of these drawings. He is not simian looking at all in real life.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Character Design for "Keanuville"

Originally, Rain (the singer/songwriter for "Keanuville") was going to be featured in her own video as the main protagonist. She's the client, so whatever she wants, she gets. Still, it made me kind of nervous. I'm not crazy about the idea of making a cartoony caricature of my client, since it may not be, eh, that flattering. Even my own personal caricature in "Southern Exposure" made me look like a chubby dwarf. But it was decided this week that an actress (whom I have never met) would be cast in the role of the Keanu-obsessed fan, instead, and I was rather relieved.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Whoa. I guess I haven't posted for awhile! That's mainly due to my complete lack of activity on the animation front. I've kept myself busy all spring and summer with this ridiculous new habit of running (exercise? bah!), playing with the nephew at the beach, reading, and just hanging out with friends. But I'm excited to get back to animating and being artsy fartsy! I was contacted this week by singer-songwriter Rain Perry, and asked to help her with a music video that she is currently trying to put together. It sounds like I'll essentially be responsible for a 20-second, animated dream sequence in the video. About Keanu Reeves. Rain has a great sense of humor, and didn't immediately fire me from the project when I suggested unicorns in our early email exchanges. I hope that this will be a lot of fun for both of us.

(*Sadly, I cannot claim credit for this Photoshop job. I found it on the internets, and am unsure who to actually credit it to.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Lurve Day

For Valentine's Day, I thought that it'd be fun to make a little handmade card for my friends Heather and Trav. The card is about the friendship between a chihuahua, Jonah, and his whale pillow. The dog is actually real, and I read about him on a letter from the MSPCA that was seeking donations. Heather, Trav and I had a whole discussion about Jonah over breakfast one day.

(Aaaw, geesh... in looking up the link for this post, I found out that the poor little dog passed away. Wah! Sad face.)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Best of Anim. Block Party" in L.A. this month!

So, the nice people over at Animation Block Party asked me a little while ago if I'd like to be included in their "Best of" program when it travels to L.A. this week. They're including my DP, "Southern Exposure." Yay! It'll be screened on Thursday, Feb. 18.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"Herskovits: At the Heart of Blackness" on PBS!

Hmm... I feel like there's some kind of massive multimedia event going on tonight. On this Sunday. At around 6:30 pm. Hmmmm... Well, anyway, for the 2 people in the U.S. who won't be watching the Superbowl, why not catch tonight's PBS airing of "Independent Lens"? The program will feature the documentary that some of my MassArt friends and I worked on. Check your local PBS station for scheduling! Woot!