Monday, May 29, 2006

Chance Raspberry on "Simpsons"

The Animation Academy is very happy and proud to announce that Chance Raspberry, (that's his real name), long time student and assistant instructor with the school's Teen Program, has been offered and accepted a staff position as a Character Layout Artist on the 18th season of production for "The Simpsons" animated television series.

Here's a candid shot of Chance in action at a recent session of the Academy's Teen Program.

Chance Raspberry joins the ranks of many other students from the Academy who've successfully broken into the industry. He first studied with us a few years ago and established himself through his talent, dedication and enthusiasm for the art. While continuing his involvement with our school, he went on to complete his education by virtue of a Bachelor of the Arts Degree he'll be awarded from California State University in Northridge (CSUN) on Wednesday of this week.

Congratulations, Chance! Best wishes for your continued success and a happy and creative future from everyone here at the Academy.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Evan Burse innovation

Here's another good example of a student's artistic growth and progress. Evan Burse is enrolled in the Academy's Adult Program studying character design. Evan is a professional employed by a broadcast television network. He'll be developing new animated content for his company. The sketches below are from his most recent class session of the Character Design I class.

Notice the before sketch on the left. It's a good start with some potential. Evan was challenged to explore an alternative approach to his design and the results speak for themselves. The after sketches are more dynamic, unique and fun. All the more significant given that this improvement occured within the same class session. Looking forward to the future works of Evan Burse.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Hugo Martin - before and after

One of the most effective methods for portraying the artistic growth that our students experience is by comparing their work before and after the instruction they've received at the Academy. Hugo Martin is a working professional in the video game industry. He's enrolled at the Academy to further improve and develop his skills. Here's what Hugo created last evening during the Adult Session. On the left is a sketch he came up with on his own prior to class. On the right is his next attempt after some guidance.

There's a considerable difference between these two drawings. In the before sketch, the figure has many small problems that affect the overall quality of the image. Especially in the torso and legs. In the after sketch, the figure has much more appeal and artistic competance. She isn't affected by anatomical design flaws and as such, becomes believable and enjoyable to look at. Nicely done. Results like these in just one session are not unusual at the Academy.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Kelsey Mann from the archives

One of the most notable students we've ever had at The Animation Academy was Kelsey Mann. Kelsey came to us from Minnesota. He relocated to the Los Angeles area so he could pursue his ambition of breaking into the industry via a local studio. Kelsey already had artistic training and some professional experience, but when he enrolled in our classes he really took off.

This is something from the school's archives. Kelsey designed the character and rendered him in markers. He created this classic 5 pose rotation as an assignment from his days in Character Design I. Clicking on the art will give you a better view.

Kelsey studied other subjects of which we have samples of his assignments in our archives. He eventually became an instructor with us. We'll feature more of his work as the Academy's blog progresses.

It wasn't long before he realized his goal and got a break in the biz. He's been working at Cartoon Network for several years now and on certain projects, he functions as a director. Kelsey is a remarkable artist. You can see more of his work by visiting his blog.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Variations by Fernando Munoz

Here's a good example of design exploration based upon an established direction. Fernando Munoz studied at the Academy previously and has returned this semester to further enhance his character designs skills. The samples you see here are variations of a theme he's developing for his current class assignment.

Fernando displays solid drawing and good design as he works his way through the different approaches he has in mind for his character. In fact, he can develop several characters for his theme from the sketches he's done so far. There's enough variety to lend themselves to an assortment of individual characters in a array of slightly differing stylistic approaches. Looking forward to what's coming next from Fernando and his project.

Monday, May 15, 2006

A session with Seth Hippen

No matter where you are in the development of your skills, The Animation Academy is advantageous to beginners and experienced artists alike. Take for example this design by Seth Hippen. Seth is a professional 3D animator working at a major studio in the Los Angeles area, enrolled in Character Design I this semester. He got off to a strong start and created these sketches during the most recent session of our class last Tuesday.

Design A on the left is Seth's original sketch. Design B was created after some instructional input. Seth started with a good design in A, but notice how much more substantial, solid and appealing the character becomes in B. In A, the overall design tends to be boxy and a little flat. In B, Seth opted to taper the design, spent some additional time on the drawing and introduced more depth of field. The improvement after just one session is noticable, even for a student as advanced as Seth.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Arnold Doong interior

Here's something from the Academy archives which serves as an excellent educational example. This was a class assignment by Arnold Doong when he was enrolled in Background Design. The subject was creating a typical interior but in an unusual way. Arnold chose a dentist's office. On the left, his line drawing with the perspective and composition established. On the right, a copy of his line drawing which he used to define lighting and mood through tonal rendering with gray scale markers.

Arnold previously attended a local art college and already had some professional experience when he came to The Animation Academy. Like many of our students, he came to the Academy to challenge himself, build upon his fundamental skills, creatively diversify, fill out his portfolio and have some fun. Arnold wound up working at several local animation studios before settling in the San Francisco area. A very talented artist.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Everett Young in progress

Last evening during the Adult Session I thought I'd follow one of our students as he worked up his design concept for Visual Development. Everett Young has been with the Academy since last summer and has made substantial improvement in his artwork since. Here he attempts to render in blue pencil a clean line drawing he created. I caught Everett's progress on image A on the left, came back a little while later to see where he was in image B, then recorded his final version of the assignment in image C.

Everett began the rendering of his character design from the head and upper body area then worked out towards the appendages. It's a bit of an unconventional approach but he utilized the method well, paying attention to a defined light source and effectively using tone in helping to describe form. By the time the session was over, he had a nice drawing to showcase.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Recent demo

I thought I'd share this with our visitors to the Academy's blog. It's a class demonstration I drew on Saturday during the most recent session of the Teen Program.

The blue pencil sketch took a few minutes to complete and was intended as an example of some fundamentals I was attempting to underscore. Among them solid construction, building a good foundation for your composition, variations in line density, and tonal touch ups to help establish form. What makes this particular subject interesting is that the art of our teens influenced the final result of the demo stylistically.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Backgrounds by Ben Shupe

We've had many students from outside the Burbank area come to The Animation Academy over the years. One of them is Ben Shupe (pronounced "shoop"). Ben came here from Montana and brought some of his influences with him as can be seen in these fine samples of two background concepts he created as an assignment while attending our Background Design class.

Ben drew these exterior forest scenes in graphite. His composition and tonal rendering is notable as is his handling of atmospheric perspective, embellishing the illusion of depth and enhancing mood. Ben also developed a unique style in the creation of these scenes through his design of foliage, tree limbs, rocks and boulders along with line density surrounding gray scale values. Notice the soccer ball he discreetly included in the composition on the right. Clicking on the image will enlarge it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Two more from the Teens

We've been fortunate to have as ongoing students within the Academy's Teen Program both Katherine Soldevilla (pronounced soldeVEEya) and Joshua Pina (pronounced PEENya). Katherine and Joshua started with us at about the same time at the tender age of 11 years old. The minimum age level to the Teen Program is 13, yet on occasion we make exceptions for students who show a high degree of artistic maturity even though they may be younger than the age limit. Katherine and Joshua are currently 14 years old. Katherine's art is on the left and Joshua's on the right.

Katherine exhibits good basic drawing, design and compositional skills while experimenting with a variety of media including markers and pens. Joshua's strong drawing skills are backed by a vivid imagination and a unique creative vision to his subject.

Katherine and Joshua as well as other students of ours from within the Teen Program are approaching a professional level with their work years before their contemporaries. A testament to the quality of the Academy's training and to the exceptional disposition and dedication of our students.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Where we conduct our classes

Last evening The Animation Academy successfully launched the Adult Program for Semester 9.3, our 43rd consecutive semester since the founding of the school. I thought it would be a good idea to share with our friends and visitors to the blog these photos showing where we currently conduct our classes during this interim period the school is in.

On the left is the Hall of the Burbank Association of Realtors. This is where we hold classes for adults on Tuesday evenings. On the right is Wentworth Hall at Trinity Church, our neighbor at our previous location in Burbank. This is where we conduct classes for the Teen Program on Saturdays.

Until recently, the Academy occupied a building that served as our campus for six years. Here's a picture of our former campus.

The building was in an area designated as a redevelopment zone by the City of Burbank. In February of 2005, the City approved a plan for a new complex to be constructed in this zone. The developer has invited the Academy to return to the complex which is called the Burbank Media Center Project. We plan to occupy space within the Media Center Project once it is completed. Here's an artist's rendition of what the Media Center will look like.

The Media Center is a mixed use real estate development incorporating residential, light retail and restaurant facilities as well as the rebuilding of the Trinity Church and a child care pre-school facility for the church. We're looking forward to the day when we can move back to our old location and take advantage of the new facilities. In the meantime, the Realtors Hall and Wentworth Hall are working well for us as we continue to provide the community with excellence in art education through an animation oriented venue.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The one and only John Nevarez

Among the most celebrated students we've ever had here at The Animation Academy is John Nevarez. John was already a working professional when he enrolled in our Adult Program, yet he was undistinguished from many others in the field. He spent some time in our Concept Storysketch class under Philip J. Felix. It wasn't long before John started to seperate from the pack with artwork like this.

John created the drawing above with blue pencil and graphite while at the Academy. He eventually went on to become an instructor with us. He also works on staff when the school is contracted for production development. The most recent project involving John being the seventh Crash Bandicoot video game, "Crash Nitro Kart".

John is employed at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California and is among the most highly regarded storyboard artists in the animation industry. John is a remarkable individual. You can see more of his art by visiting his blog through this link.