Monday, December 03, 2007

To Arthur

A few days ago, Matt came home, and he told me some very sad news. One of our really good friends from college just passed away in a car accident. I still cannot believe the fact that he's dead. He was only 26, he was too young and it was too sudden. I still don't know how to deal with this. I feel like if we get together, he will be there. He was just there for our wedding, and we were just talking with him a few weeks ago. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye. I cannot believe that he is gone, even if we call his cell phone, he wouldn't pick it up.

I just wanted to let this out, it still hasn't really sunk in for me, and it just hasn't felt real to me. This is my blog, even though this is an art blog, I don't really care. I just needed to say how great Arthur Yeh was. Steve, Matt, Me, Ray, Robert, and Trey were all working together on a project. And it feels odd that Arthur is not there.

We went to visit his mom's house the other day, and the only words that stuck with me that she told us was "Enjoy your life."

I sometimes forget to appreciate my life. I tend to complain and ask for more. It reminded me how lucky I am to be here.

We miss him very much, and I wish he wasn't gone yet. But I guess I have to accept the fact that he is not with us anymore in this world. I will miss him very much.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Hi everyone, sorry for the delay of the posts....I have a good excuse...Matt and I had a wedding in Hawaii last week! We are husband and wife now! We were engaged for almost a year and half. Here are some of our engagement photos...(I know this is a art blog, but I loved the work our friend Matt Lin did! Thanks Matt!)

And after many plannings for a year and half, we had a wedding in Kauai, the beautiful island. We had 53 guests from Japan and main land, and it was so wonderful to see all my family and friends. We laughed, danced, cried, and it was one of the best moment. (Especially after all the stressful time!)

These are pictures of rehearsal dinner (we had Japanese kimono on that my mom made for us...)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

duck animation

It has been more than a month since I updated?! Even though I haven't updated, I am still learning a lot about animation everyday with a struggle:D

I was animating scene of ducks, and it was a whole other world of learning how birds move. I had never really drawn birds before, and the way they walk was a lot different from how we walk. First, I tried to study their anatomy as much as I can, like how their wings tuck in to their body ( this was most mysterious for me, because it is hard to see what their wings are doing since they have a white body) After that, I also watched the movie, "Babe" to watch how they walk, run, turn. I watched it frame by frame, and here are some studies I did at first, ( I had no idea what I was doing. I was just trying to draw how they move..)

Then, I animated it. Then, the duck looked like a toy duck. It didn't move like an actual duck! I showed it to Mike, and he taught me some important things that changed my drawings a whole a lot. He told me to find "where is the movable part in their body?" Also "how do their feet tuck into their body?" They were the very important questions to ask myself when I was studying from movement. So I did some more until I felt like I got it,

And I just animated one duck, and it looked a lot different! But then, they looked too realistic, I had to make it look believable, at the same time, it's still animated. Here is the final animation I did....

Another challenging part was the direction of the whole group. After animating 5 ducks, I had to pay more attention to the direction of the whole group. Even though they are doing different movements, the group has to feel like it's one unit. Also Mike wanted to show that there are many ducks everywhere, not only 6 ducks.

So here is a list of what I learned in how to animate animals from this scene....

1. Research Research Research!

2.Where is the movable part(the part that doesn't change, like the cranium, chest and pelvis)? And how those parts connects and move?

3.What is the skeleton? What is the structure underneath?

4. What is the skin like? How does it feel? Loose? Rigid? Rough? Feathered?

Lastly, one important thing was instead of analyzing movement too much, I had to take the role of a duck, be a duck, and animate that experience, not what a duck looks like. That's the wonderful thing about animation, you get to become anything, and share your experiences with others, and that's why I like to animate.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Here are some new sketches I have done recently... I realized that I really need to observe people and capture the feeling, not only the movement. And it is very hard...!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

New project

I am sure many people are wondering what I am doing now...( especially from friends from school) I am still animating and drawing everyday! I am actually interning at July Films, and I am very lucky enough that they asked me to work on one of their new projects as an animator. So... for the last few days, I have been doing some experimental animation for one of the characters! To me, it is my first experience just to see all the process from the concept art to story, character design, layout, and animation.... it's very inspiring to see other artists working together. There are some really talented artists, and everyday it's very inspiring to see all of their work. The problem is.....I get frustrated with myself.

Animation is so deep, it shows so much...when I get frustrated, Mike says that he can see my frustration through the animation. Before the test animation I am now working on, I was working on this test for a few weeks, and I had a very hard time animating it. I did the scene over and over and over and over.......and it still didn't have enough energy. I finally finished....and there are still many things that have to be improved, but for now, I think this is done.

I guess I realized that I need to enjoy every step I take as I grow and appreciate the struggle. Why is life is so hard sometimes......?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Panda ko panda

Last night, I watched one of the wonderful TV show, "Panda ko Panda." The show was created by Hayao Miyazaki a while back before he created Totoro. The story was about a girl who doesn't have parents will meet Panda family, and they decided to be family together and start living together. It's very silly, but it made me feel how wonderful and simple life is. I wish there are many TV shows like this today. I couldn't find long clip of it, but here is a really short clip of the animation. If you can find a whole TV show, I will recommend to watch it! The little panda looks like a little totoro ;)

Friday, June 08, 2007


Finally, everything is done! ( almost...) My mom was visiting from Japan, and I finally graduated last month! Although, I have one more class to take during the summer, now I feel more relaxed and feel much better. Hooray to all the graduates!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Timing Timing Timing

Wow, I haven't post in a month.....

It's been a very stressful time for me, with graduation on the horizon and everything. I was getting depressed and angry like a hungry and tired kid. It also caused my animation to suffer. When I was depressed, my art was also reflected it. I was working on my dialog test at that time, and I could see that I just lost it. I lost the motivation to even work on it, and the animation also stopped shining, it became dead. I wasn't sure if I even should put this up, but I thought you can see how lifeless this is.

After i was done with this, I critiqued myself. The part that I should work on the most right now is, the force. I can see on this test that I was forcing her to move a certain way, instead of bringing her to life. The force was so unnatural. I was ignoring the natural force, and I was making up the force I wanted and made her move my way, and it showed how lifeless she is. I was forcing her to move where I wanted and the result was a puppet.

So all this was said, I am feeling better. And I am still not fully okay. I am still scared. But I realized it is okay to be scared. It is okay to curl up one day and not do anything. It's okay that I am not okay. And I felt much better.

After the dialog test, I was doing some inbetweens for Mike's short animation. It was my first time to do only inbetweens, and I was so scared to mess that up. The point I learned most from the experience was timing. How he put the timing, or how he timed it just amazed me. My eyes cannot really see it yet, but I could feel the difference.

I am frustrated with timing right now. My timing tends to be so even, or my eyes just cannot see it! I felt like "well, my eyes cannot see it! So I might not even be able to an animator ever!!" Because I know there are some people, who is just so good at timing (like Matt) They naturally just get the timing right away. And I am so opposite. I don't get it right away.

I am working on a just simple action test. I did this one straight ahead, and I shot it with my timing, but it didn't look right. It didn't look like there is life. It still looked so forced.

And I tried every other timing, like putting ones' two's, ( that's what I thought), and I asked Mike for feedback, and he just changed a few timings and it looked much better, (he must have a magic hand) it looked much better, and I was so amazed. I wasn't sure if my drawings or poses were wrong, but it was more about timing.

This is not finished yet, I fixed his right leg, shifted more forward so he doesn't look like he is falling forward as he reaches the ball, and I am doing tie downs to show his cloth or show the shapes to reinforce the force. ( That's what mike said, but I am not really sure how to do that yet, but I will learn hopefully...) Action is hard for me. I cannot think, even though I act it out, I cannot analyze it and I get confused, it's frustrating! I guess everything is frustrating in animation. But Mike said that frustration is the growing part, artists never take no for an answer. So I will not say to myself, " no, I can't do it," but say yes, " I will get it someday." I just have to be a little bit more patient to myself....

Saturday, April 07, 2007


It has been a very difficult time for me lately. After the gallery opening, my car broke down, and all the pressure to graduate and getting a job actually started to get to me. I'm sure every college student goes through this time, the fear of going into the real world.

The stress and pressure actually got worse when I couldn't go to my internship. I felt like I wasn't learning, going forward. Then I realized that I just have to keep going, and keep working hard. Here is a character for a dialog test that I am working on right now. I was inspired by this cute little girl's voice, and I made a character named Zoe,

Matt and I are also visiting his family in Northern CA. He has a 7 month old nephew, Luke, and he also gave me many inspirations. Here are pictures of me observing him....

Here is a picture which made me laugh....I guess they both are reading together,

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I'd like to thank everyone who made it to Matt and my gallery! We had a great time and I hope everyone enjoyed our work. Here are some pictures that we took,

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Truth in animation

It has been almost two months since I began interning at July Films, and I am very grateful that I have this opportunity to learn more and more. It is not just about learning animation techniques from Mike, but what sort of artist I am and want to become, I am learning a lot from him. He doesn't force me to be any one way, he's very encouraging in getting me to develop my skills in a way that will bring my individuality into my art.

These few weeks have been a little bit busy, since my chemistry class started (awww...) and Matt and I are having a gallery opening this coming weekend... we are trying to put together, and trying to finish some more animation by then....hopefully, we are going to have some flip books on display...

The last few weeks, I have been working on one scene, which has been teaching me a lot about animation. At first, I realized how I have been watching a lot of cartoons and animation, but not many live action or photos. I was forgetting to observe life more, which is so important in animation. I realized observing life is so basic in animation. When we animate, we need to see if the animation is truth, real, and believable. Erick Larson once said that "How you do, what you do reflects who you are." Glen Keane mentioned that "it can be from photos, newspaper, look at life. Look what the face does." Dan Hofstedt said "Act it out! Discover what humans do in real life. Find out the truth about the moment" Many young animators and I still do a lot of overacting animation. I realized that the basic point to avoid overacting is to observe life, and not just make things up in my mind. I need to really listen the character's thinking and motivation.

I got permission to put up some scenes I have done at July film, so here are two different versions of my animation.

This was a scene, the boys were throwing the leaves, excited and celebrating. I had to think about what the leaf feels like, how excited they are, the energy they have... And this was straight ahead animation. At first, I animated all the characters, trying to think about delays of body, what is leading the action etc... and I showed them to Mike.

And he said it needs the breathing part in animation when they open the arms. I didn't get what the "breathing" meant at first. I experimented different ways to see how it looks. And one day, I was re-animating the middle boy, and it worked! Instead of making them stop in the end, it needed many slow in and slow out. But it was all depended on the action. When I tried the same thing to other boy, it didn't work. It looked too soft. So I had to try several different ways to make it look just right for each action. And here is what I have right now...

This is not finished yet. I still see the hair popping etc....but the experiment of animation for this scene was a great learning experience. I just had to be more careful with each action. What is the truth in the moment? It has to look believable. Now I have to animate all the leafs...the effects animation! I will post more when I learn about effects animation!

Reminder! Matt's and my gallery opens this weekend, Saturday 17th, at 6pm. I hope everyone can make it and enjoy our art and food!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Straight-ahead or pose-to-pose

I just finished my second week at July Films, and each day, I learn so much! I also started animating this week!! Hooray! My first animation at July Films!

I animated a very short simple scene for their film. It was a scene of four kids watching a soccer game sitting on a tree limb, and they basically just turn their head. It was simple, but at the same time, I have learned much from the simple scene.

First, how do we make a group scene? Each of them should move differently from one another while at the same time, the group should have their own composition. The group should work as a whole, but you don't want them to all do the exact same thing.

I also tried to do a straight ahead animation. I usually do pose to pose animation, and it made more sense to me. But Mike did an animation demonstration for straight ahead animation, and it was very appealing to me, too.

Mike said that action is usually animated straight ahead, and acting like a dialog test will be pose to pose. Here is the process how he animates an action scene in straight ahead...

-First, he acted it out few times. "How strong the force is?" and remember the sensation you felt when you acted it out.

-Then, he started the animation. He doesn't use the back light, because it is hard to see the form with multiple drawings showing through. He just keeps animating one after the other while constantly flipping. "Don't spend too much time on the drawing: you need to be in MOTION when you are animating!"

-After he animated the whole thing, he shot the scene with even timing ( like shot it all on 2's or 4's) to know the spacing between the drawings. Then looked at the timing and figured out how many frames to hold each drawing, and adds inbetweens if needed.

-After all the timing is right, he will tie down the drawings (still keep flipping!) and finish the scene!

His animation has so much life in it after all. It is loose and the character is more alive.

After finishing my scene, I did a little test of a fox's tail swooshing back and forth to practice the overlap and timing of the soft material. Right now, I am trying to pay more attention to negative space, delay the timing of parts of the animation, and overlap! Hope this week go well, too!

UPDATE: THE COCONUTS AND CHICKEN FEATHERS GALLERY HAS BEEN MOVED!!! That's right, the gallery was double booked, and the gallery opening date is now Saturday March 17th at 6pm. So please let people know if they don't check my blog regularly.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


First of all, I want to thank God so much for what I have right now. My internship at July film started from last week, and it's the greatest learning opportunity I have ever had.

Mike Nguyen, the director and owner of the studio, has been teaching another intern from Calarts and I about animation. Mike has been giving us animation presentations, they're not about how to animate nor techniques or anything like that, but it's more about animation theory, and the thought process.

One thing that really hit me was animation is simple. Animation occurs from forces, which can be a physical force such as gravity, or internal forces. Internal forces come from our inside body, and depend on our emotion and motivation.

When I was at school, I felt like I was caring about techniques too much, like about all the 12 principles, timing, secondary action, and acting, etc... But it shouldn't be acting. It should be real feeling, and it's from inside of us. And like everyone is different, every animator has different ways to animate, and it creates different unique animation, which makes us artist. When we put all of ourselves into the animation, the animation will shine to audiences. The 12 principles are important, but to bring it to the next level, we need to think of why we use them, and there's no rule for how to apply them. It all depends on the scene, and experimentation is required if we want to become something other than good draftsmen. We shouldn't try to copy the work of other animators, each animator has his or her own life experiences, so we should develop our own animation based on our personal observations and experiences.

So, that's some of the things I've learned from Mike's teaching. From now on, every week, Mike is giving us an animation presentation, so I will try to share it in here, too.

At the same time, I am relearning how to draw. Until now I was drawing from drawings by other artists, and I didn't draw enough from real life, so my poses have become cliche'. Mike has also suggested I try drawing with a different line quality to keep the energy in the drawing and to communicate the force in the pose. So now I'm trying to adjust my way with his, and keep working on it until it clicks. I have been drawing over and over the characters from their film. I am having so much trouble and I have been frustrated. But I can see the improvement in just one week since I started. Hopefully, I am going to begin animating this week...

The second thing beside the internship, Matt and I are having a gallery! The opening reception will on Saturday Feb. 17th, from 6pm at Cal state Fullerton, Exit gallery. Everyone is always welcome to our gallery. It's also going to be open from the 19th to 22nd. It's going to be about animation, drawings, sketches, some actual filmed animation, and maybe some flipbooks. Matt 's style is a bit more cartoony than mine, and he's also working on 3D animation. It should be a lot of fun, and we'll have food there.

Anyway, I hope everyone can make it to our gallery!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Long vacation...

It has been a loooong time since I updated...awwww! I was also traveling to a few places during the winter break. In the beginning of December, I traveled to Indonesia for my friend's wedding.

It was very great experience and gave a big impact in my life. It was my first time to visit a third world country, and I was able to buy practically anything I wanted ( because everything was very cheep!) but at the same time, there were so many poor people. If you go outside, kids are on the street everywhere. Every time I saw them, it hurt my heart. Some of them would begin to dance or sing then beg for money. And here I am post holiday-feasts, complaining how I am fat and want to lose weight.

After the trip to Indonesia, I went back to Japan for three weeks, spent time with my family for Christmas and New Years. And then returned home only to fly off the next day to a new location with my fiance and his family, we went to Hawaii for vacation, and we did some wedding planning there... And I am back now! With all the jet lag, I was really tired, but now I am adjusted to this crazy weather in California.

And it was a little bit crazy before leaving to Indonesia with all the finals and internship interviews, I didn't have time to put up my final dialog now here's the final result....

One more very very exciting thing! I got an internship at July Films! I went to visit their studio a month ago, and met Mike Nguyen and the artists at the studio. It was very inspiring. All the beautifully watercolored paintings are on the walls, maquettes in cases, color keys on boards, animation desks everywhere, and people were so nice. They reviewed my portfolio and reel ( I was very nervous...! ) and they accepted to have me as an intern. I am very excited and at the same time very nervous. I am starting from next week! Wish me luck!!! Also check out their website and the trailer for their film,