Gerry Mooney

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My current name is Gerry Mooney, and my occupation is Director of Motion Graphics for a litigation graphics firm in Westchester, New York.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
I designed slot machines for a tiny outfit in Charlotte, NC, for a year. It was moderately interesting, in that there is some amazingly sophisticated graphic and animation work being done for slots and their related displays these days, but the downside is that the gambling industry is not that interesting. So it was fun to do the work, but what you were selling was not very challenging.
In between my magazine illustrating days and animation, I did web design for a few years. One temp job I got was with a pretty major NY ad agency where the entire web staff had walked out the day before, so they were desperate for freelancers to jump in and take up the slack. I worked there for a month and the odd thing was that since everyone had walked out, I never knew for that whole month who exactly I was supposed to report to. I handed in my work to a guy across the hall, but he wasn’t my superior or manager, he was just a guy who was still there.  I’ve always managed to make my living as an artist though. I worked in a framing shop after college, assisted Joe Simon in his home studio back years ago, and did layout and pasteup for a physics journal, “The Physical Review” at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  I spent most of my professional career as a magazine illustrator for pubs like Forbes, Parents, The New Republic, Cruising World, Medical Economics, The NY Daily News, a Consumer Reports magazine for kids called Zillions, and American Express, clients like that. One of my favorites was doing a regular humor feature for Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, called “Mooney’s Modules”. That ran for three years and was the first place the Gravity Poster was seen by a large audience.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Certainly that Asimov’s gig would be at the top of the list. I would submit a bunch of sketches, and I’d be surprised at some of the ideas they signed off on. I wondered sometimes if they actually got the jokes or if they just didn’t want to appear that they didn’t.
I completed an animated music video last year where I was given complete creative control. It was for Shawn Letts, an American musician who lives and works in Singapore. It was a dream job! I was just told, “Call us when it’s done”. I really felt free to explore imagery and effects that I could just play around with, without having to “sell” a client on the concepts. And then of course there’s my graphic novel, “Sister Mary Dracula”, which is currently being shopped around to publishers. It originated as a Flash animation that I did in 2001 and put online. It got accepted as an entry in the San Diego Comicon’s Independent Film Festival in 2004, which motivated me to expand it into a graphic novel that took me four years to complete.  These are all one-man projects, not strictly speaking things that I was “a part of”; I WAS the projects!

How did you become interested in animation?
I’ve always been interested in animation and dabbled as a kid with both clay and cel animation, but Continue…

“Scarlett” by The Studio NYC

Scarlett is a short film depicting the inner struggle of a girl who lost a leg to Ewing Sarcoma, a bone cancer that occurs in mostly children. Amputation takes as much of an emotional toll as a physical one – especially for a child. We believe in the power of entertainment media to empower children through storytelling and role models. Visibility in media offers these children hope and a sense of belonging at a critical time where they may feel isolated by their medical condition.

A short film based on a true story that inspired a foundation.
scarlettcontraelcancer.com/give

Kyle Marshall

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What is your name and your current occupation?
Kyle Marshall -Director/Storyboard Artist/Character Designer.

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
During high school and the first couple college summers I worked on a bee farm in small town Saskatchewan. I got destroyed by the bees, and realized fast my future was not in the honey business, but it helped pay for school. I then planted trees for one summer living out of a tent for a few months in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan.

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Just finished Directing the pilot for Michael Rex’s Fangbone. Really cool series of books, and proud to be part of that pilot.

Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business? 
I grew up in Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada. Always wanted to get in film and TV growing up, and ended up in a small animation college. Originally planned to study animation and live action, but fell for animation, and now here we are.

Continue…

Character animation technique produces realistic looking bends at joints

Bending of an elbow or a knee is common in most computer animations of human or animal figures, but current techniques often result in unwanted pinching or bulging near the joints. Disney Research has found a way to eliminate those artifacts even when the animation algorithm is running in real-time.

Jessica Hodgins, vice president at Disney Research, and Binh Huy Le, a post-doctoral researcher, were able to pre-compute an optimized center of rotation for each vertex in the character model, so those centers of rotation could be the basis for calculating how the skin around each joint is deformed as it is bent.

“It’s a very simple idea,” Hodgins said. “The pre-computation enabled us to significantly reduce the joint distortions that often plague these animations, preserving the volume of the skin surface around the joint. And this method can be dropped into the standard animation pipeline.”

Hodgins and Le will present their skeletal skinning method July 24 at the ACM International Conference on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH) in Anaheim, Calif.

Computer animators will often use a virtual skeleton to control the pose of a character and then use a skinning algorithm to define the surface of the character. Two skinning methods, called linear blend skinning (LBS) and dual quaternion skinning (DQS), are widely used in computer game engines, virtual reality engines and in 3D animation software and have been the standard for more than ten years.

But both have difficulty with certain poses. When an elbow is flexed, for instance, LBS can cause a volume loss at the area around the joint, resulting in a crease resembling a bent cardboard tube. When the forearm is twisted, a similar volume loss results in an appearance similar to a twisted candy wrapper. DQS eliminates those problems of volume loss, but creates one of its own – a bulging of the joint.

Pre-computing the centers of rotation, by contrast, improves the ability to properly weight the influence of each bone in the joint on the skin deformation, Le said.

The result is that the volume losses of LBS and the bulging associated with DQS are minimized or eliminated.

The method uses the same setup as other skeletal-based skinning models, including LBS and DQS, so it can be seamlessly integrated into existing animation pipelines. The required inputs are just the rest pose model and the skinning weights that also are required by the existing algorithms. The method also can fully utilize current graphics hardware (GPUs).

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For more information and a video, visit the project web site at https://www.disneyresearch.com/publication/skinning-with-optimized-cors/.

About Disney Research

Disney Research is a network of research laboratories supporting The Walt Disney Company. Its purpose is to pursue scientific and technological innovation to advance the company’s broad media and entertainment efforts. Vice Presidents Jessica Hodgins and Markus Gross manage Disney Research facilities in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Zürich, and work closely with the Pixar and ILM research groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. Research topics include computer graphics, animation, video processing, computer vision, robotics, wireless & mobile computing, human-computer interaction, displays, behavioral economics, and machine learning.

Website: http://www.disneyresearch.com
Twitter: @DisneyResearch
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyResearch

Signe Baumane

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What is your name and your current occupation?
My name is Signe Baumane and I am an independent animator, which means I am a producer, writer, director, designer, animator and cleaning lady of my own films. (I am a woman, if my name doesn’t make that clear)

 

What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Wait. I got the crazy jobs AFTER I chose animation as my life and profession. To be able to stay in business I did some dog walking, applied for strip dancing jobs (was accepted but didn’t have guts to actually show up for the job), had to give bath to a 87 year old man, masturbate in front of 76 year old man, clean a few bathrooms, paint walls in restaurants, and make 30 paper mache sculptures for a Famous Italian fashion designer.

 

What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
From my own work I like “Tiny Shoes”, “Birth”, “Teat Beat of Sex”.

How did you become interested in animation?
I got interested in animation only AFTER Continue…