Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Red Dead Redemption Video: "Introduction"

This week, the new video for Red Dead Redemption went online. Called simply "Introduction," its structure is very different than the flashy trailers you might be used to seeing to advertise video games. Instead, this video approaches the game from a History Channel/Documentary approach, going into four minutes of detail on how the game's ambient world works, and what you as John Marston can expect to encounter on your travels throughout the game's vast world. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New official trailer for Red Dead Redemption: "My Name is John Marston"

My current game, the Western-themed open world Red Dead Redemption, has a new trailer out. Called "My Name is John Marston," it takes a closer look at the world and characters of RDR, including the main character John Marston. The link below is to the full version (language NSFW) and has no watermark:

Television commercials have now started airing as well. As always, you can find the complete selection of videos and screenshots at the official Red Dead Redemption website. The game's release date is April 27th, 2010, so get your preorder in!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

From the Vault: 2000

I want to get in the habit of posting at least once a week on here. Unfortunately, it's been a busy week. Tonight I've been scanning older pieces to post when there's nothing current to show. Here are a couple selections from back in 2000 at the Evergreen State College:

Tricky, 2000, mixed media, 11"x14"

You can see the word "Tricky" spelled out in the folds of his right armpit. It didn't show up in the scan, but I put "Lange 00" on top of the lizard tattoo.

Kevin Spacey, 2000, pen and ink, 8"x8"

I think this was from an Entertainment Tonight magazine. No grids were used on either piece, though.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Iron Giant Project submission: Class of '66

This week my side project has been a piece for the excellent fan art blog The Iron Giant Project. I'm titling my piece "Class of '66," since it is an imagining of Hogarth's high school graduation in Rockwell, ME.

The original idea was of Hogarth walking along the lake where he swam in the movie and holding the Polaroid photo first taken of the Iron Giant. It evolved to a piece that contained the two other main characters, as well as the Iron Giant statue, which is showing some signs of age by this point (notably in the form of "visits" from birds). In the sky is the recycled glowing star of when the Giant exploded with the nuclear missle at the end of the movie. I thought about framing the piece as a Polaroid picture at first, but I wanted the full Iron Giant statue with the glowing star, and the aspect ratio was too rectangular this way. The background started with screenshots I took of paused YouTube clips, combined with a lot of Photoshop painting to establish the trees and grassy hill.

Here are my "model sheets" for the reconceptualized characters, which were made by digitally painting over the existing ones from the movie (thanks to the amazing Ultimate Iron Giant site):
It was very enjoyable making the clothing and style choices for the reimagined Annie, Dean, and Hogarth characters, and I did a lot of research into 60s clothing to help the accuracy. Dean's look was heavily inspired by the Beatles, who I think he would be listening to in '66--jean jacket, bell bottoms, round John Lennon glasses, and shaggier hair that's greying at the temples. Annie has a Jackie Onassis haircut and a fairly straightforward bright '60s outfit with a color palette similar to the waitress uniform she wore early on in the movie. Hogarth is in his high school graduation cap and gown--his ears remain big, but his jawline was reworked to be a bit more square like Dean's. Line quality is always crucial to making animated drawings like this successful, and it was tricky to accomplish it on a tablet.

Big thanks to Dan at the Iron Giant Project for continuing to allow submissions after the original deadline.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Wow, what a film! This movie was so rich and packed with bright, detailed scenes that the 3D glasses were almost unnecessary. The producers picked a great story, and the filmmakers did a great job. I loved the humor, the snappy timing of the animation, and how the scenes just kept growing in scale and excitement without losing their heart or sense of pace.
Up and Monsters vs. Aliens were examples of great animated movies that came out this year, and CWACOM took the medium in another great direction. With so many great 3D movies coming out, there's more reason than ever to go out to the movies. Tina and I decided that when this comes to DVD, we'll make sure to have some burgers, pancakes, ice cream, and gummi bears to eat while they're featured on screen (taste-o-vision?).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jack O' Lanterns of Years Past

It's almost Halloween, and although I normally don't dress up for it these days, I've started to enjoy carving pumpkins. Since I might not have time to carve one this year, I thought I'd post some pics of the ones I've done recently. Hope you enjoy them.


Barack O'Lantern (Yes We

Heath Ledger's Joker from The Dark Knight:

Pale Man monster from Pan's Labyrinth:

If I end up having time, I'd probably stay with my "movie I've enjoyed that year" theme and do a pumpkin of Dr. Cockroach from Monsters vs. Aliens:

Hm, that was easy. Maybe I'll just Photoshop pumpkins from now on...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thom Yorke: Analyse (WIP)

Thom Yorke: Analyse (work in progress). 2009. Oil on canvas. 20"x24".

This weekend I painted the portrait portion of the next piece in my "Illustrated Music" series. The series will continue to explore the idea I had for painting how I visualize the sounds in of some of my favorite songs, which was first entertained in the Bjork: Bachelorette piece I did back in 1999. Much more information on the concept behind the series can be found in that blog post.

Photoshop was used to tone down some of the shadows that showed up when I took the flash photograph. Right now this canvas is sitting in front of a fan set on full power in order to speed up the drying process. When I tried painting the colored shapes over the black and white portrait of Bjork, some of the underlying paint mixed with the song layer, which desaturated the colors a bit. Hopefully that won't happen this time when I come back to this once it has dried.

This is the third time I've worked on a piece with Thom Yorke's image, the previous two being the Weezer vs. Radiohead piece in 2002 and the graphite portrait in 1999. For this new painting, I'll be painting the sounds and shapes that come to mind for the Thom Yorke song "Analyse," off his 2006 album The Eraser. It's a very haunting and melancholy song, and so the lines and shapes for the song will reflect that when they are later painted in the vacant areas around his head and shoulders. For now though, I thought I'd post the portrait part of the piece to give some background into the next painting in the Illustrated Music series.

I'll be painting The Eraser's LP version of "Analyse." The song starts at 4:55 in the video below:

Friday, August 7, 2009

Camus Drawing/Photoshop retouch

Albert Camus. 2005 (touched up 2009). Graphite on paper with Digital Touchup. 7"x8.5"

One of my wife's favorite writers is existential philosopher Albert Camus. I drew the cover of her copy of Notebooks and touched it up in Photoshop. Normally I just draw and scan, but lately I like to add some selective gaussian blurring, and for this I also copied/pasted/rubberstamped certain areas to get his overall proportions a bit closer to the cover of the book (like pushing the volume of his hair more and matching the tones of his face better). Here's the original picture so you can judge for yourself:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Red Dead Redemption

Red Dead Redemption Screenshot
Although Red Dead Redemption is Rockstar San Diego's follow-up to 2004's Red Dead Revolver, it has new characters and a new story. It is my current project, and contains an enormous world full of dangerous situations for your character John Marston. It will be on the Xbox 360 and the PS3, but currently doesn't have an official release date. You can read more about it on other websites, and here is the debut trailer:
I'll follow up with more videos and news about RDR as they come out. The official website is here:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Midnight Club: Los Angeles/South Central

Midnight Club: Los Angeles (2008)

I was the Lead Cutscene Animator for MC:LA. This put me in charge of coordinating cutscene assembly, mocap editing, laying down and polishing camera shots, importing and tweaking facial animations (the original files were from Image Metrics), placing/animating pedestrians in cutscenes, and script editing files associated with the cutscenes. The "What'you here for? Race some cars, man" shots were part of the first cutscene. In the beginning of the project I also animated and polished driving animation sets for some of the vehicles. The game was a 2008 Video Game Award nominee for "Best Racing Game."

Midnight Club: South Central Downloadable Content (2009)

For MC:SC, I was in charge of the new vehicle animation sets as well as setting up the character animations and cutscenes for the new "hangouts" and the new garage.

See all Midnight Club Los Angeles/South Central Videos:
Official site:

Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis

Rockstar Games Presents: Table Tennis (2006)

RSTT was my first project with Rockstar San Diego. I was mainly doing mocap editing of shots and navigation, with a combination of keyframing certain shots as well as a few short between-point cutscenes. The game was a lot of fun to make and involved many real-life table tennis games between the developers (after all, animators have to know these moves inside and out). The game ended up being nominated for a 2006 Video Game Award for "Best Sports Game."

See more Rockstar Table Tennis Videos here:
Official site:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lady in the Water

Lady in the Water. 1998. Oil Pastel. 22"x28".

This piece was done on black paper with white oil pastel, and is a copy of a photograph from National Geographic magazine. It was of a statue that was just excavated, and it was bundled and lowered in a pool of water. This pastel drawing won a ribbon in a county fair art show.

Pope vs. Castro

Pope vs. Castro. 1999. Pen and Ink. 22"x17".

This was another piece taken from a National Geographic article and copied in pen and ink. If I could do it over again I would lighten up Castro's skin tone, since he's hard to recognize with the heavy hatchwork.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Kaiju Gaijin Kaijin

Kaiju Gaijin Kaijin. 2001. Maya.

Sony was a classmate of mine at the Vancouver Film School, and asked me to help out with the animation on the intro to his student reel, "Kaiju Gaijin Kaijin" (he handled everything else). It was fun to get more experience with Maya, since my reel was all done in Softimage.

Tao Feng: Lip Synchs

"I've been waiting for you, now let's dance."

"Forged by revenge and tempered by fire-the Phoenix will always burn bright!"

Lip Synch animations for Tao Feng were done using Lightwave visemes. These two videos show the Jade Dragon and Fiery Phoenix characters during a warmup and a victory cutscene scenario.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tao Feng: Throw Cleanup

Raw mocap.

Cleaned-up mocap.

In Game capture.

My first job after film school was working as a 3D Animator for Chicago developer Studio Gigante. Their first project was Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus, a fighting game exclusively for the Xbox. It was a great learning experience that gave me experience in areas like mocap refinement, cutscene animation, and lip synch/facial animation. This sequence of videos shows the raw motion capture progressing to cleanup, then to how it looks in game.

Robot & Pit Droid

Robot & Pit Droid. 2004. Maya.

Short segmented scenario using a couple borrowed models. I added a wet dog shake to the Robot as he reaches his master, the Pit Droid. I handled the Animation and Rigging.

LAISFF Commercial

LAISFF Commercial (Sci Fi Channel). 2001.

Along with Vancouver Film School classmates Ian Cumming (modeling, texturing) and Mark Driver (compositing), I worked on the storyboarding and animation for a promo and commercial for the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival. The festival flew Mark and I down to L.A. for the premiere and we got to hear David Hyde Pierce laugh from behind us during the promo.


Reference images of Obo-San character from comic "The Path." Art by Bart Sears.

Obo-San with battle gear. 2004. Maya.

I'd long enjoyed "The Path" and when I had some spare time to try out some modeling in Maya, I took some images of the main monk character in his armor and built him. The original idea was to make two other soldiers that he would fight in a short film, but my time was cut short before it came to rigging.

Bjork: Bachelorette

Bjork: Bachelorette. 1999. Oil on Canvas. 14"x30".
This is the first piece I painted with a synaesthesia motif, a phenomenon where music and text are assigned inherent colors. The condition exists for a small number of people, which I learned during my research on a paper in college. In making the Bjork painting, I would close my eyes, listen to her song again and again, and create shapes that represented each part of the song. After that, I would assign each shape a color that best represented the sound to me. The final piece is a straightforward portrait of the Icelandic singer Bjork surrounded by swirling colored shapes that each represent an instrument or sound effect in the song. Here is the key to each shape:

light blue line: vocals
orange lines: violins
green shapes: "scratchy" sound effect
red line: piano
purple shapes: bass
maroon dots: jingle bell

The shapes along the "song stream" were placed with respect to when they actually are heard during the song's timeline. It is my goal to do a series of paintings using this concept, through the lenses of different artists and songs.

I didn't have an easel or worktable in my college dorm, so I had to put the canvas on my bunkbed and paint it while standing. It makes me appreciate my current drafting table all the more.

To hear the song, click the link below. Try isolating each layer of sound in your mind as you listen, and see what shape and color appears for you:

Bachelorette (Family Tree Version) - Bjork

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

B-Boy Student Film

So here it is, my student film at the Vancouver Film School. The game he's playing at the beginning is Super Bomberman for the SNES and the song that he dances to is "Voodoo People" by The Prodigy. All of the elements (modeling, texturing, lighting, animation, etc) were done by me in Softimage.

"B-Boy." 2001. Softimage.

Storyboard page/Final Render Comparison for B-Boy. 2001.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Eddie Vedder Shirt

This is a shirt featuring an Eddie Vedder drawing I did in 1999. This is the final image, after some Photoshop love and the Eddie Vedder name and signature at the bottom. On the back by the neck, I also added an "Alive Man" image (for those PJ fans that know what that is).

Saturday, March 28, 2009

B-Boy Model Videos

For my demo reel at the Vancouver Film School, I chose to do a breakdancer playing video games and getting inspired to switch over to dancing after he sees his lava lamp start to dance to his stereo music. For this, I needed a character that could be flexible and expressive, and have an appearance that worked with the hip-hop style. I was inspired by the designs of artist Justin Bua, and used a character in his "Green Street" piece for the main head reference. These three turnaround videos display my b-boy model from different focuses:


Breakdancer Kids. 1999. Graphite on paper. 9"x11"

I got interested in breakdancing my senior year of high school. It wasn't until college that I actually started learning moves, but I always liked the fluidity of movement, control of power and balance, and general style that dancers worked into their moves. When I got more familiar with the dancing, I decided to incorporate it into my demo reel for film school, once I was accepted into the Vancouver Film School for August 2000.

TV Turnoff Week Promo

TV Turnoff Promo #2. 2002. Digital.

This image was originally done for the submission contest for their "TV Turnoff Week." As someone who liked the idea I submitted several styles, one of which was a person turning off the television and raising the blinds to let the bright sun fill his room. This was the one they chose to put in their magazine that year. My goal is to keep submitting each year, noticeably raising the bar on the images I put forward.

Cousins on beach

Cousins on beach. 2003. Oil on panel. 16"x20".

The fourth oil painting I did, this time of three of my cousins. The size comparision is between the finished piece and the 4"x6" (?) photograph I based it off. I gave it as a gift to my aunt, and had a great time painting it in my Chicago studio, where my workspace was a card table set up in my kitchen (it was also the dinner table, when it didn't have supplies on it).

Scratchboard: The Frisk

The Frisk. 1998. Scratchboard. 9"x11".

In high school we often had assignments of taking different mediums and creating a piece with them. Back then I was mainly interested in honing a realistic style, and so my projects would rarely be surreal or memory-based. For this piece, a National Geographic was used to show a police officer frisking a man against a university wall (it was a bank in the original picture). I used an X-acto knife to scrape off the thin layer of black plastic that covered the white scratchboard, and the texture that resulted somewhat resembled grass. The reference image's stark shadows helped the final scratchboard piece pop more, I think.

Draft Wes Clark Political Cartoon

Wes Clark Cartoon. 2003. Digital painting.

In 2003 I was recruited to do some political cartoons. This relay race handoff scenario signified the possibility of General Wesley Clark being drafted into the race that Governor Howard Dean was then leading. It angered some Howard Dean fans, but at the time Clark looked like the stronger candidate to many. Eventually Senator John Kerry won the primary race, and lost in the general re-election of George Bush (seen casually walking on the track in the background). I really enjoy doing political cartoons because of the way they challenge an artist to communicate complicated issues and ideas with simple and often funny imagery. I hope to do many more.

Weezer vs. Radiohead

Weezer versus Radiohead. 2002. Pencil with digital color pass. 11"x17"

This piece came from the random observation I had one day that the two bands had a high number of parallels between the appearances of their members. Both had slight-looking frontmen, lanky and shaggy haired guitar players, and drummers of similar shape. The rest I pushed where I could to make the similarities pop. Colin Greenwood was made a referee in the "fight" to balance out the number of people on each side, and song lists were made for both bands to fit in the background. The slogan "as commercial as alternative alternative as commercial gets" doesn't have much meaning to it, other than to summarize the parallel universe theme.


Goodness. 1999. Oil on canvas. 24"x24".

I think it's finally time to add a painting to the mix. Although I had made one other oil piece before this, I consider this portrait of the band Goodness to be the first real shot I took at oil paints. Before that I had done acrylic and watercolor, which dry much faster. I like how forgiving oils are and the length it takes to dry gives a lot of flexibility and room for error. Drawbacks are the ventilation that's needed and waiting three weeks for the piece to dry, however.

Ben Kenobi and Claude Monet

Ben Kenobi. 1995. Graphite on paper with digital color tint. 4"x7".

Claude Monet. 1995. Graphite on paper with digital color tint. 8.5"x11"

Portraits will always be a central aspect to my work. I started exploring abstract work in college, but before that I spent most of my time practicing realism and accurately replicating pictures in magazines and books without a grid (to better test proportions). These two came out pretty well for being somewhat quick, and the Monet got me a bit closer to getting fabric textures down. Although my portfolio doesn't have much diversity in it for these years in my life, I'm glad I focused on graphite and realism because of the solid foundation of 2D skills they gave me once I branched out to color and other mediums.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Life Drawings

Life drawings. 2000. Graphite and Conte on newsprint. 14"x20"

Hand Studies. 2000. Graphite on newsprint. 14"x20".

I've always enjoyed life drawing and like to jump in to whichever area looks good to explore with a pencil. Over the years my approach has become more comprehensive and methodical, taking into account proportion and value. Working as an animator forces yet another angle: the short gesture drawing, which demands fluidity and an extra bit of life. Conte and graphite on newsprint, 2000.

Mos Def: The New Danger

Mos Def: The New Danger. 2004. Graphite on vellum, 8"x12".

Mos Def: one of my favorite musicians and a good actor in his own right as well. This was from his "The New Danger" album cover art as a study in clothing textures as well as tones.

Greener Guy: Issue 1 Cover

Greener Guy: Issue 1. 2000 (colored 2009). Multimedia. 11"x17".

Time to add some color in this blog! This was done during my time at the Evergreen State College, a very liberal arts school that had its share of dreadlock'd folk. I loved the culture there, and did this as an homage to the conflicting nature of so many people I'd met: outraged and motivated on one hand, and hedonistic and free of responsibilities on the other. It originally debuted on the college newspaper's art page, and I revisited it years later with a digital color pass in Photoshop. As I colored it, I tried to convey the gray and desaturated campus (as it was most days).

Thom Yorke

Thom Yorke. 1998. Graphite on vellum. 7"x11".

This portrait of musician Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) was done a year before my previously-posted Stanley Kubrick piece. I was still trying to improve on the realistic style and fell short in areas like the coat texture/depth, the smoothness and value of the skin, and the "pop" the eyes lack.

Stanley Kubrick (and a hello)

Stanley Kubrick. 1999. Graphite on vellum. 11"x14".

For my first blog post, I'll start with my favorite high school piece; a reproduction portrait of film director Stanley Kubrick. To me it symbolized the first time I really got a hold on realistically rendering a figure. If you look closely, you can see my initials and the year it was done near the center of the camera he's holding. Kubrick remains one of my favorite directors, and the attention to detail he was known for was on my mind as I worked on it. This blog will serve to display the works I've done in the past, as well as works in progress, and I will include my thought process for each piece as well. I hope you enjoy it and become a Blogger follower by clicking in the Follow section on the right column.