About Millie

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I animate, therefore I am a teacher. I teach, therefore I illustrate. I illustrate, therefore I draw on my environment. In drawing on my environment, I am animated!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Films watched in Animation Studio 2 29/4/14

The 1st year class was  looking at Bouncing Balls
The basic principles of
  • Arc
  • Timing
  • Stretch and Squash
  • Pose to pose key frames
What is it made of? How heavy? How big?
What is it bouncing against?
Is there gravity?

Manipulation Daniel Greaves
 ‘Manipulation’ Daniel Greaves | Tandem

Laughing Moon  Kiyoshi Nishimoto

Rabbit Rabbit Daniel Greaves
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUK0KChCiLc  http://www.youtube.com/user/tandem

Little Wolf An Vrombaut

Rockin' and Rollin' Daniel Greaves  ‘Rockin’ & Rollin’ Daniel Greaves | Tandem

Luxor Jr John Lasseter

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Interview with Kompin Kemgumnird 25/2/14 (part 2) First jobs, Cal Arts and on to Disney!

contd from Interview with Kompin Kemgumnird 25/2/14 [Part1] 

After  Kompin Kemgumnird graduated from Silapakorn University he went to the medium sized company, the Studio Corporation they can claim they were the first company who bought computers in Thailand. They are still in operation today but no longer do CG but are working more on Television Production work, renting the stage for TV shows and all kinds of video production and editing suite and broadcast equipment. At that time they were expanding and the manager Khun Thitipat, wanted to be the first place to have a CG house in Thailand for the TV and Film Industry. So he had bought the first Silicon Graphics computers for the job with Matisse the cutting edge technology of the time into Thailand. At the time the equipment was extremely expensive at about 10,000,000 baht ($150-200,000)per machine. The company at that time wasn’t really the number one in the market but by bringing the computers, it brought about the fortune of the company. P’ Dtum (Khun Auchara) was the producer at Studio Corporation at that time and she interviewed Kompin by phone. She had already been abroad to study Animation in Rochester Intitute of Technology and then returned to Thailand to work initially for A and A Network and then for the Studio Corporation. She asked Kompin if he had background in computers or anything…he said "no…." and he told her that 
"I can learn fast, just teach me.” 
And at that time she didn’t have much choice there was few others in Thailand with the skills, and they would have had to study abroad to get the knowledge.
People in the industry in Thailand were being inspired from outside, foreign animation works. they were inspired by what they saw and tried to figure out what to do. The people who were working in the Thai animation industry were the super geeks. Like Ajarn Piyut director of Sudsakorn, the first Thai person who really dedicated himself to creating animation. He invented his own version of the Oxberry machine by himself. He didn't have the money to buy it so he would get like the regular cinematography camera and created a machine where he can pan and zoom and do all kinds of mechanical stuff by himself and his friend. In the mid to late 1980’s early 1990’s the animation industry in the UK was starting to boom. Channel Four began funding animation, The Arts Council and BBC2 were all commissioning works and screening them. Richard Williams made 'Who framed Roger Rabbit', 1988, TVC produced films like the Jimmy Murakami with Dianne Jackson 'the Snowman', 1982, which still get regular screening each year at Christmas  and 'When the Wind Blows' 1986. The industry was booming so there were animation degree courses popping up everywhere. All over the world there was a boom in animation productions and people studying animation Perhaps caused by an economical accessiblilty to the technology and the rise of the intel technology.
“I think that [attitude] is a good reflection on me; what we did was we tried to learn how other people tried to solve the problems outside of the country and then look around at what we have and kind of come up with the idea to do it ourselves”
In Thailand still today there are still outdoor traveling cinemas. Often put on by the Wat’s during special festivals. The projectors are the huge industrial sized 35mm projectors. They set up along the streets and screen old films.

As a child Kompin also experienced this.
“I loved that moment It comes on many occasions like new year especially in the temple, sometimes at funerals. So they have the big screens. And in remote [areas] they have people who travel to show the movie and they sell products, like medicines, they use the opportunity of getting whole village together as a chance to promote the drugs and offer health care opportunities. They get financial benefits from this, it is not altruistic the do it for profit!"
So when they came he would spend half the night there, each time they came he would ask his mum to go there. Sometimes I would fall asleep right in front for the projection.

Millie: So when you started working at Studio Corporation  what kind of jobs were you doing, what animation did you work on? 
" I started on 2D Animation. When I graduated I had done one animation project. It was 50% live action and 50% 2D animation. It’s about Vincent Van Gogh. A music video with music by Don Maclean."
The work was mainly commercials and adverts for television. After working for 3 years at Studio Corporation Kompin found he was struggling in the work. He couldn't produce better work, it was challenging but what we produce at the studio it’s recognisable that it comes from the studio corporation. There was a recognisable style, but it had something more to do what we did maybe right or a bit wrong, especially in a timing sense and Kompin thought that he really wanted to dig into it(the process) more and learn more how to do it better. So at that timeamny of the people, friends from the studio, decided to move on to Kantana Animation. Who were also starting to expand from TV Soap operas into CG special effects and  animation production. They begun producing computer animation and were also expanding in a visionary way including starting the Oriental Post  a post production facility in1998 .  They aimed to be a hub of post production in South east Asia.
But Kompin decided at that time he wanted to go and learn more and expand his own knowledge and experience and go on a journey to find something else… he didn’t know what but felt he needed something else.  So he learned about CalArts. Through a friend who had been there and studied in the Graphic department, he came back to Thailand, and they met through work and he suggested that if you really want to study animation, then that is the place to go! So he asked him to write a letter of recommendation, which he did. Kompin applied to only one school, cal Arts, he didn’t look for anything else. So if they hadn’t accepted him he may have given up. So after waiting a further two years to save money to be able to go, and 5 years working at Studio Corporation he sent his animation thesis on Van Gogh and a showreel of the commercials he had done for studio corporation. The commercials were crap [his words!] even though they had used expensive machines to produce it for some reason it lacked spirit when compared with the personal film. He was lucky. It was three years after the Lion King directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994 came out (famously the pivotal film in Disney’s 2D fortunes being the highest grossing 2d Animation feature film) and this had created a big boom in Hollywood animation, so that year he applied so many people applied around 3000 from all over the world and they accept only 70 people.  His professor from Cal Arts remembered him from his personal film, even though he couldn't remember Kompin’s name, he remembered the work that is really powerful.

He went into CalArts into the first year of another Bachelor degree, not masters, because he wanted to do character animation and Cal Arts only has one department that has a master’s degree and that is experiemental. So he had to restudy everything over again. He could have asked to skip to the second or third year, but he didn't want to, he wanted to learn all the basics again. Except one class where he went to the class and he wasn't happy, Perspective, which he has been taught at Silapakorn University who taught him really great perspective and this class was less intensive. He was able to transfer all his critical study classes. So he was able to just choose that classes he really wanted. Even the English classes, whereas other schools have compulsory English classes for foreign students and they need to pass ESL tests he was able to bypass and just choose the classes he really wanted and he feels he learned his English better that way, by need rather than by force.
In the end he only had enough money to go to CalArts for one year. It’s so expensive, especially for international students, and his sponsor was his Aunt who lives in Seattle and he felt he could only accept for one year’s support. So he went to school for one year and then he planned to look for a job.  So he focussed really hard in school to get better and to get picked by the studio, especially Disney. 
But after one year he found out that Disney are not interested to look at the first year students work. They only look at the work of 3rd and 4th year students and he couldn’t afford to stay until the fourth year as a student to show them his portefolio. So he had to shift his focus to somewhere else to get work where, as a foreigner you have to have a lawyer help you to get the greencard (work permit)and a company not only have to like you they have to prove they need you (over and above an American). So that means your work has to be really outstanding from other people. So he really focussed himself to do the best in his first year project. So he put his work out there and got about 20 offers for interview from showing is portefolio at the jobfair that CalArts hosts for their students. 
Unfortunatley all turned him down, because he was international and the green card was an issue. There was one small company that said we can do the paperwork for you but they could not pay - so it would be an internship… which is a good idea, but who couldn't afford to do that., to live in Hollywood with no income! 
Luckily after he finished his first year film, Kompin's hard work paid off because there were three big companies that id eventually called him back to interview him Disney, Blue Sky Studio and ILM. During the job fair they had refused to look at the work as he was a first year student. But his film was chosen to feature in the producer show screening which is an hour and half programme of the pick of the best of the year selected by the instructors from the 8 hour long screening of all the year’s work! The selected films are shown in down town LA and Cal Arts invite all the producers to come along. From that event two studio’s selected his work, Disney and Blue Sky were really interested and asked for his portefolio. Disney accepted him onto their training programme and they wanted him to help work on the film, Hercules(1997). But after a short while he was brought into the office and told they couldn't keep him because of union regulations. Which was annoying at the time as Blue Sky had also made an offer which he'd turned down after he had checked whether they would be a problem, which they ahd said there wasn't. For Blue Sky at that time it would have been easier as the US were specifically offering visa help to skilled workers especially in Computer technology. So in the end Disney asked if he was willing to go back to school and they would give him a full scholarship. So that was a great solution! He told them he would need two more years to finish the degree. That way after the two years they could apply for the practical training visa, which was a better solution for all. The school also supported him financially so he was able to stay without spending any more.
So he spent another two years at Cal Arts and produced two more films. And finally joined Disney to work on Tarzan (1999) as the inbetween artist on the character Kala.

Working at Disney Studios was like working with the all stars!
‘There are the most amazing artists there. I learned a lot from observing them, not so much from the work I was doing, which was as a clean up artist producing the final drawings for the screens. There are a lot of people who do that and are really good. And I was really good at that too, but my heart was really more that I wanted to do the animation. Like the rough animation, or planning the action. I’m not too much of the drawing geek, I can do it good enough, and to be good in your job you have to be really good but if you are really good they really want you to stay in that position and grow up, and you never become the animator. So I try to find my way to another department by doing rough animation, I took some tests but it’s really hard to get to do that. They also provide mentoring [in Disney] like one guy his name is Oliver Thomas, he’s not like a superstar yet, but he’s really good. He’s from Canada. They put me under his wing, by my visa was being attached to him, so as another foreigner he has an O1 visa and I had an O2 visa, and so I became Oliver’s assistant for some reason. And when he saw my work he volunteered to help me to get better at animation. So I would visit him every week. Show my stuff, and get better. And I also like the work of Andreas Deja (http://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/), he’s really really really good, another graduate from CalArts. He was the lead animator for Jaffar in Aladdin and Scar in The Lion King. Before I get to know him well he moved to Orlando in Florida to work on the lead character, Lilo from Lilo and Stitch. But I got to show him my portefolio and he really liked it, but too bad that he then had to go far away. There were a lot of people there like Glen Keane. While I was working on Tarzan he wasn’t there, he was in France, but after that project finished he moved back and was working on the Treasure Planet. So I got to see him a couple of times. And another person who stood out was Nancy Beiman, she was classmates with Glen Keane.http://www.skwigly.co.uk/an-interview-with-nancy-beiman/  

 © Nancy Beiman 2010 from her book “Animated Performance”

Right now she’s in Canada, teaching Storyboarding to students at Sheridan College.