Saturday, July 31, 2010

Animation Isolation: Day 3

Ok, I said I was going to get to work but part of (re)starting a blog was to use this as a motivational tool. Each day I'm going to log what I did to make sure I don't mess around too much.

Brief recap: I am living in Cologne, Germany for one month. I don't know anyone here which is the point; I have shit to do and I've been wanting to take some time off and do some new animation work for a long time.

Especially after the two week summer I was at in July at Gobelins in Paris, I am reeeeeally itching to make some new stuff.

It's day 4 in the apartment (thanks again Waldemar; your place is great). Here's where I am at:

Day 0: Got to the apartment at 9:30pm. Settled in and sent some things to Gobelins ftp site (my demo reel and a mostly abandoned short I spent a bunch of time on) where it will hopefully get feedback from their team of animation ninjas

Day 1: Booted up Maya and worked on the infamous "swing exercise", which was supposed to be a simple cycle and I turned into a "Ben Hur" length production (okay, 10 seconds). Finished for now; will probably polish a bit more later. Sent to Gobelins

Day 2: Got caught up working on a 3d model when I should be animating. Bad Ryan. Made stuff but not the right stuff.

Day 3: Had a mango, instant coffee and a bowl of cereal. Decided to finally start a blog again. Wrote an excessively long intro post while transfering some files I need to work. If all goes well, I will be working on the "severed head" assignment we got to celebrate Bastille Day. Backup plan is to watch a video on face rigging and get my old TF2 Demo girl model with a good face setup so I can start animating with her.

I considered running out to buy a bike at the used bike market but decided against it. There's one every weekend and in a week I'll have a better idea if I need a bike here. There's a grocery store next door and a bar across the street so I should be good.


Hi, my name is Ryan and I am an animation road warrior. I am a 32 year old American from Redmond, Washington (not DC). I play guitar, drink beer and abuse parenthesis when typing extended thoughts (you'll see!).

Do people even READ blogs any more? I don't know. But maybe I'll read this again some day. Or maybe some future employer will see my demo reel and be like "wow, that guy is cool!" and then they'll find this blog and be like "what a total jackoff!"

A brief Chronology of Ryan:

-1978: I was born, under a blood red full moon, swaddled in the pelt of a freshly skinned wolf
-1991(?) Our family got it's first computer, a Packard Bell 386sx20. I got my first animation software "Cartooners", which I used to make cute little animals swear and murder each other.
-1992: Drank my first beer.
-1997: Drank my first beer legally (Thanks Canada!)
-1999: Torn between becoming a mechanic and animator, with the help of a friend and his shitty 1978 Chevy van, I decided I hate other peoples cars and would rather make animation. I enrolled in the DigiPen Institute of Technology that year.
-2001: Graduated with a degree in 3d animation. Three weeks later, I was flown down to LA for an interview with a video game studio and shortly after, I moved to Los Angeles, California to work there as an animator.
-2004: I got my first passport and took a 5 week trip to Europe.
-2006: I moved to Amsterdam in the Netherlands (trust me Dutch folks who think I'm stating the obvious; I've talked to people who thought Amsterdam was in Germany).
-Late 2007: I moved to Austin, Texas
-Summer 2008: I moved to Finland.
-2009: my five year old passport was full and I had to go to the US Embassy in Helsinki to get more pages. This was a proud moment for me.
-March 2010: I completed my work contract and left Finland.

Since then I've been back in Redmond, San Francisco, Iceland, Paris, Amsterdam and at this moment I am sitting in Cologne, Germany where I'm spending the next month to crank out some new animations and put together a new demo reel, before seeking out my next animation gig.

The major moves were work related but in the interest of brevity, I'll talk about those another time, if at all.

ANYWAY apparently some people (including myself) think I should be documenting my life better than the occasional Facebook post about cute East German crosswalks or how cars should be taxed on how often they honk their horn, and they're probably right because my memory isn't exactly a steel trap. That's why I take a lot of pictures too... and never remember to upload them.

This is not my first blog ever. It's actually my third. My first was on Livejournal in 2004 and was started to document my first trip to Europe, where I've now been living for most of the last 4 years. It's fun but a little embarrassing to go back and read about myself exploring Europe for the first time, trying to make sense of things, comparing things that shouldn't be compared, etc. When I went back to California, where I lived at the time, it got lame and boring. I'm not going to post a link. If you're a real e-stalker, you can find it.

The second was on Myspace (remember Myspace?). The non-travel parts were less crappy as I made an effort to not be one of people who just uses the internet to be a whiny bitch, though when blogging I found the temptation is strong, even for a generally positive person. My last blog post on Myspace was when I lived in Texas in 2008. Texas was not a fantastic experience for me and it became case of not having anything nice to say. Then some stuff happened the week I moved to Finland and... well, 2008 was in general, was not a very good year for me. I stopped blogging.

In 2009 I was on a train in Japan, thinking about hipster white guys in Tokyo and I whipped out my trust Netbook and wrote a blog post about it. I don't know if I'll ever post it but it made me remember that blogging still exists. Well, that and the show blog for the occasional animation/games podcast I do with a couple of my friends from Austin here:

Now it's 2010. I've been freelancing for about a year now and worked with two great companies in two very different countries. I think my life is pretty cool at the moment and I'd like to keep better track of what I'm doing and what I've done so if you want, feel free to join on this magical journey.

I haven't figured out yet if this blog is going to be about animation, the games industry or travel but it's likely to be all three. I will try to be vigilant with labels so you worldly people can skip the animation talk and you people who like video games but don't know or care what country makes Swiss Army Knives can continue to not know or care.

Ok, that's enough time wasted. So much for brevity but hey, there's probably a fun drinking game to be had counting the number of parenthesis I used! I don't know if this thing will catch on with me or anyone else but I've got stuff to animate.