Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Last work day of year

I like this guy.

Tomorrow I take off for a short holiday vacation.  The month & a half just flew by man.  So far, all of my time here has been spent working on my animation test for training, and the schedule has been pretty chill. So I'm lookin' forward to coming back in the new year and eventually beginning some production shots!  Oh man. 

Also, tons of snow last weekend in NY !  Here's a pic of a huge snowball fight in Times Square.

It's an early start for me tommorow, I'm waking up at 5AM to take a train from White Plains to Grand Central Station, and shuttle from there to JFK.  And then its off , back home to Seattle!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Greenwich, CT

The view from the window I sit nowhere near.  William's reflection animating something awesome.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Manhattan by Irene Suchocki

Christmas at the Rock by Tasayu Tasnaphun

Saturday, December 12, 2009

One month down

Last week marked my first month in NY! Some things that happened last week;  I showed blocking on my first animation test to Bruno, who gave some detailed, encouraging  critique & feedback.  Got a new cube-mate, Joe, who is awesome, we get along really well. I asked them to take the wall down between us.  Had some drinks & pasta at the company Christmas party. Attended a lecture on bird intelligence & behavior.  Met Peter De Seve.  Watched Princess & the Frog at lunchtime w/ some of the other animators, was great to see 2D on the big screen again.  Took the train from White Plains down into  NYC to Sandeep's, finally met a few artists outside of the animation team.  First time on the subway!

On the 23rd, I fly back to Seattle for Christmas and New Years!  Excited to see friends and family again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blue Sky blip

Friday, December 4, 2009


Today in animation sweatbox, I introduced myself to the director of our film. Cool dude!  Lots of energy.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Breaking bad habits

I don't know if many people do this, but If I see something that inspires me, and I dont know how they did it, more often than not,  I'll shoot the artist an email, pay them their props, and ask them how they did it!  Or I'll see him or her in the hallway and ask about it.

Well as you can imagine, that's already happened a lot here.  And luckily for me, people are more than willing to help me out.

When I had a few weeks off inbetween jobs, I went back and took a good hard look at my reel.  I studied what I thought was weak about it, and I made a list of all the things I could work on, in the hopes that I'd start to find it in people's work here.  I've watched a lot of training videos here, and talked to a lot of people and realized how differently everyone works.  Bottom line is, these folks are way better than me and I want to be on their level.

So during this first animation test, I'm trying to break all of my bad habits.  Which is just doing things the way that I'm not used to.  And so far that includes blocking a different way, taking more notes and doing more thumbnail sketches, even shooting video reference differently ! 

Specifically, I know that my work tends to get a floaty & mushy really quick!  I tend to block out main keys and go ahead into splines.  So after shooting a message to one animator here who's test I came across and was blown away by, I was lucky enough to get a response:

Hey Bobby,

Thanks for the kind words, I'm glad the test was inspiring.  I did shoot reference for the shot.  I actually tried to get really sad that day and just act out what felt natural, then build on that.  I often block out the animation pretty tight, sometimes every 2-3 frames.  I like seeing as much as I can before I hit the spline button.  

When I start splining I often push things/poses more, add some more subtle stuff, or offset things,  but all the keys are usually there.  Anyway,  if you wanted to talk more about it just stop on by.  Here is a path to my last blocking pass,  if you look at the spline version next to this, you'll see where I pushed some of the head motions,squash poses,subtle stuff etc.

Look forward to working with you man.

 Hope this helps anyone else who thinks their work is feeling a little on the floaty side, and I know a lot of peeps have trouble with the dreaded transition from stepped to spline, hopefully this helps you too!  In my case, the best way to break out of the progression stagnation is to break outside of my comfort zone, and shake up my workflow a little bit.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dude Challenge 2009

Here are some of the dudes I work with.

Friday, November 27, 2009



Monday, November 23, 2009

Training mentor

To familiarize new hires with the studio's tools , each animator is assigned a mentor to help with training, answer any questions, and walk us through the studio's pipeline.  Here is mine.

Ladies and gentlemen, Stewart Shaw.  A real American hero.

Blue Sky Studios Beard Challenge

Friday, November 20, 2009

First week...

...In the bag!  The week flew by really.  I spent my time learning the animation tools, familiarizing myself with the film's characters, sitting in reviews with the director, being blown away by several animation tests, and meeting the members of the animation team little by little.  I sorta have a knack for remembering names, so I think I've got 'em all.   

Next week I should be starting on my first animation test!  I spent all day today prepping for it.  Listening to dialogue clips, jotting notes, scribbling ideas, thumbnailing poses.  Monday I'll begin to shoot some video ref. It's like I'm at Animation Mentor all over again! 

Just a few misc. pics from my first week.  This is White Plains from my morning coffee stop.

Fridays are filled with Donuts.

Scott Farrell's Tiki Cube.

Lunchtime basketball tournament.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dude I'm scared

I just came out of my first animation review meeting today with the director and the rest of the animation team. 

The tests were just flat-out amazing.  Its crazy to see how far these already talented animators are pushing the limits of what they can do.  It's inspiring but very, VERY intimidating.

 I'm gonna go ball up into a corner and cry now see ya later!

Monday, November 16, 2009

First Day

Beautiful day to start a new job!

I cant say much, but the team here is awesome and I'm extremely excited about the project!!

Road Trip

Here are a couple of pics from the trip over.  Due to weather conditions we ended up taking a more southern route than the one posted below.  I ended up driving from Bremerton, down to Portland, through Idaho, Utah,Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and finally New York.  We left sunday evening and got to NY thursday night.

Somewhere in Utah

Pitstop in Nebraska

HAD to stop by Chicago...

...for Art and Pizza!


Approaching NY....

Finally here!


My apartment in White Plains.

Goodbye WA

Sayin goodbye to the kids.

Friday, November 6, 2009

How I got in

I've had a few peers ask to see the demo reel that got my foot in the door. So here's a link to my reel that I sent to Blue Sky.

Bobby Pontillas Demo Reel 2009 from Bobby Pontillas on Vimeo.

I followed it up immediately with my short film:

Better Off Undead ! from Bobby Pontillas on Vimeo.

2 Things !
First, although I did eventually get the gig, the feedback wasn't all praise! =)  While they liked my ideas, the biggest comment was that I needed to work on my polish.  Really working out in finer detail the mechanics and bringing things to a more refined level.  Also that I needed to work on my acting.  Haha, so I've still got a long way to go. 

Second, I think it's worth mentioning that this wasn't a one-shot deal.  That is, I've been sending away demo reels to film studios for years now.  And I've been turned down by them ALL at some point or another!  You name 'em, I've been passed by them.  Shoot, some of them several times in a year!

Anyway, I guess my (hopefully non-preachy) point is, if you're really trying to break into the biz, be it games, film, etc.  Keep at it, man.  You'll start to feel discouraged for sure, and thats fine.  Embrace it.  Spend a day or two being bummed out or whatever. But soon you'll get sick of feeling like crap, so pick yourself back up and try again. I've seen/ heard of folks straight out of school break into a studio, but sh*t that wasn't me.  I was rejected lots and lots and lots of times before I even got my foot into my first gig in games,  and then went through it again when I was trying to break into films.  The only reason I kept going was because I became obsessed.

En route

This sunday I'll be making my way over to White Plains.  Google Maps says 2,920 miles!

Where I'll be living

My apartment will be in White Plains , NY.  Blue Sky Studios is just a few miles away in Greenwich, CT .  A few Blue Sky folks that live in NYC tell me that the studio is only about a 40-minute commute from the city!

I kind-of , arbitrarily picked White Plains because I stayed there for the interview, but I'd like to experience living in the city at some point.  So I opted for just a 6-month lease.

Where I Work

On November 16th, I'll be starting as an animator at Blue Sky Studios, working on their next film, Rio
Rio will be my first feature film!  Right now it's slated to release April 8, 2011.  Make sure to check it out!

The only visual of it I've seen online is at the bottom of this Ice Age 3 banner, which was in an issue of Variety.