Thursday, October 27, 2011

Graduates School - Little Tokyo

A few days ago, I went to Little Tokyo to have lunch. I had aimed to get a seat at a this shabu shabu restaurant I used to frequent in high school; It was closed for lunch. I walked across the street and found a curry shop in Weller court I hadn't tried before. I payed six dollars to receive the saddest curry plate I had ever eaten; The vegetables were microwaved warm from their  frozen state -fast food.
There was this great mural in one of the outdoor parking lots. I dubbed it Snail of the rising sun.
Waving: "Hi."

Graduate School - Visual Effects Video Shoot

Our animation production class met today for an effects shoot. We worked with various fun  vapors on black: dry ice, hot water vapor, and smoke. Here are a few snapshots of the group playing around.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Graduate School - LACMA Field Trip

This Saturday, I attended the LACMA museum field trip with the University of Southern California Cinema School. Visiting a museum is an annual event attached to the Art of Animation class required for masters students in their first year. This year, the professor mixed the undergraduates and graduate students together to visit the second the last Sunday of the Tim Burton Exhibition. The show was closing next weekend. The university chartered a bus to take us into Santa Monica to visit the museum.

Goofing off in the modern art exhibition.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Freewaves: Out the Window

The pixilation film I collaborated with Cecelia De Jesus is playing today on Metro city buses in Los Angeles with the Out The Window : Freewaves Festival.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Graduate School - John Waters Screens Pink Flamingos

John Waters came to USC to screen Pink Flamingos. He have a Q&A, selling books at the end of the event. I've seen only a few of his films; I was excited to see his most notorious.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Graduate School - Green Screen Studio

Linda Jewels and Daniel McWilson with Candice on the green screen mat.
Today, our class shot their student projects in the Zemeckis center at USC. Our production teachers, Mike and Candance set up the green screen stage before class.  I captured some amazing photographs from the different group projects. Here are a few of the images:

Brandon Blake lighting a stop motion set with and Lisa Chung
Video assist to while the two lit their puppet.
Xavier and Aims Ketch'm

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Graduate School - Hideo Kojima Visits USC

On Wednesday, October 5, 2011, I attended an Evening with Hideo Kojima put on by the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts. Hideo is a video game designer and Executive Vice President at Konami Digital Entertainment. His work is well established in the video game industry, including the Metal Gear Solid series and Zone of Enders. The event was moderated Geoff knightley, the host of GTTV, and a USC alumn who served as translator for Hideo.

The event started with an introduction of Hideo's early life growing up in Tokyo. His patents worked in the pharmaceutical industry. These positions were full time, leaving Hideo alone for a majority of the day. He developed a relationship with media, leaving televisions on in every room in the house. This life style, he asserted, brought him early exposure to the world abroad and thus broader perspective than his Japanese peers.

Hideo's interested in film and story started in his youth when he was invited to make a film with his friend and his friend's father. They used home movie equipment to create zombie horror films which they were screen at school and charged a small entry fee. From films he moved to writing fill length novels in high school. His first story, a survival battle, was based on the not to distant future cursed with rampant overpopulated. The premise of the story was to solve this overpopulation problem, one must fight to extend their life expectancy after the age of fourteen. This fascination with fatalistic social-horror themes, he attributed to several near death experiences he had as a kid.

After graduating High School he studied economics. When he turned in his thesis paper, he also included an related story he had written. Although the teachers did not seem to appreciate an auxiliary piece of work, he still graduated. His transition into games from a degree in economics was difficult. Games like Super Mario Brothers by Nintendo and Devious by Namco inspired to want to push the possibilities of digital interactive medium. As a creator, he asserted, one must institute change rather than conform to preset industry ideas.

He set out on a mission to create a more immersive gaming experience with a higher entertainment value than just passing time. Gamers could leave the experience enriched when their if the story contained a overlaying message. This is evident in his game, Metal Gear Solid, deal with topics of nuclear proliferation. A fear he inherited from his parent's generation who experienced World War 2.

The presentation went on to introduce an unreleased game creation program called the Fox Engine. Special footage of the engine showed an game editor in the process of creating a game environment. The technology allows dynamic game creation. An editor can to affect the game in real time with an advanced AI reacting and adjusting accordingly. An editor can affect the map within a simulate game-play. This allows the editors the accessibility to measure the difficulty level and balance the map within a real time game play setting. Hideo feels it is the responsibility of the industry to seek out talent. As a way of establishing a stronger relationship between Konami and outside talent,  plans to donate the Fox Engine to the USC.

A mock USC ID card reading KOJIMA HIDEO, Visitng Scholar.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Graduate School - Screening of the Annual Animation Show of Shows

On Wednesday evening, Ron Diamond screened a collection of animated works for this year’s Animation Show of Shows. Followed by Q&A session with the director of the Argentinian pixilation film, Luminaris. The program showcased films from a diversity of production techniques: scratch on film, 3D, steroescopic, hand drawn flash, pixilation, etc. Although the method was different between film, each piece in the collection had a strong emphasis on visual design.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Graduate School - Beach Bonfire

Photography by LaMar Ford.
I spent Saturday night at the beach with fellow USC animators. The location was just west of Los Angeles international airport sandwiched between a sewage treatment plant and the pacific ocean. The sun set around seven o'clock and we enjoyed rope tug a war and over roasted s'mores.

Photography by LaMar Ford.