Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Just an update on the progress of Pepperland.

We are very close to being finished. Currently, 3 extremely talented sound designers from the USC Sound dept. have been busting their asses on the sound design. We are looking to do our final mix by the end of October. A huge thanks to Bethany Sparks, Gentry Smith and Amber Beard.

Also, I can't even begin were to explain where the breakdown occurred in tracking down the rights to use the Misfits song, Where Eagles Dare. Fortunately, one of the strongest composers I have ever met stepped in and said he would compose an original score that would far exceed anything the Misfits could produce. Thanks Igor Nemirovsky!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Title/credits design

The film is almost complete at this point and I have been working on the credits and title designs while sound design gets underway. This is a section from the credits.

This section of credits includes the skaters that are featured in the film: Paul McElroy, Tyler Tufty, Brian Tucci, Sam Wientzen, Bobby Worrest, Alex Henson, Greg Harris, Ronald Flores, Billy Roper and Dave Coyne.

Also, this section includes the Cinematographers that shot the skating footage: Mark Nicoles, Chris Brown and Andrew Kline. The B-roll Cinematographers: Ryan Lovelace, Robert Lovelace and James Harpold.

I am very happy with the look of the title/credits design but the painting effect takes a while to reveal information. I have sped up the animation for each slate but the credits will still run about a full minute when finished. This has been a hard pill to swallow seeing as the film itself is only about 7 minutes long. My concern is that the credits will feel long. But I believe I have come up with a solution to this problem so I'm not too concerned about it at this point.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


This shot was rotoed by another Roski student from USC by the name of Andrew Emmons. He brought a welcomed change of style to the film.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


As of right now, I estimate the rotoscoped sections of Pepperland to consist of over 3000 individually painted images. When the film was in it's early stages I was still experimenting with the look so the rotoscope process took considerably more time. As I began streamlining my workflow, I was able to complete a much greater volume of work in each sitting. But after about a year I began slowing down again due to the physical toll my body was taking from rotoscoping so many hours each and every day.

In January of 08 I decided to enlist some help in order to stay on schedule. I decided to recruit from the University of Southern California's Roski School of Fine Arts. Aside from staying on schedule, I was also interested in seeing what someone else would come up with if given a thorough explanation of how the process works, a limited amount of coaching and access to a wide variety of visual references.




The following shot was completely by an excellent artist named Clover. This is the second shot she has completed for the film and is currently working on a third. I wish I had found her sooner. You may find a link to her personal site in the sidebar section of this blog entitled, Links.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pepperland trailer

I think I might just go with this section of the film for the trailer for Pepperland. It would be nice to cut a really nice one but there are other areas of the film that need my attention.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I finished this shot some time ago but I don't believe I ever added it to the blog. I wasn't sure which frame to load up from this shot since I did a number of interesting things with the rotoscoping.

You can see that I played with the shapes within the rotoscoping to accentuate the momentum of the skater. Also, towards the end, I decided to throw the Washington DC flag on the underside of his board in red. Subtle, but that's what I wanted.


This is a great graf film. The interactions between the paintings and actual objects is great. Sound was really well done too.

skull head

This is a video of some pretty good stencil work I came across on youtube. It's worth taking a look at. Skull Head is pretty bad ass and the video includes a lot of his work. Plus the Adam Sandler song... you just can't go wrong with that.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I spent a considerable amount of time testing how paint actually moves when sprayed in excess for a particular shot in the film. Although I had never really paid much attention to the paths drips decided to travel, I assumed that drips would always go straight down.

But, that is definitely not always the case. Drips have a mind of their own. They travel in almost any direction they want.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

down time

Since I am waiting for a new computer to arrive I decided to do some painting. Tracking down music rights just wasn't filling the time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008



This was the last shot I worked on before the old machine gave up on me. It shows the overlap transitions that I mentioned in the post directly below. I began to work this type of transitioning in at other points of the film as well. But until the new machine arrives I am restricted to tracking down music rights.

This shot took approximately 2 months to complete and consists of over 450 hand drawn images.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

brian tucci and chris hall

There is a section of the film where Paul is talking about the OG guys that had a big impact on the scene in D.C. I added this shot to help put a face with the name.

Working on this shot also gave me a great idea on how to blend interview and skating sections. After some experimenting, I came up with a solid method of overlapping shots that really helps the flow of the film. I'll post examples soon.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

new looks

So I've been thinking of possible variations for the roto look in the film. Nothing that will break away from the stencil inspired look that helped get this film started though. And any changes made at this point need to add some sort of additional amount of depth in order to be worth doing. I'm not going to make any major changes just to "spice" it up. I finally came across something recently that I like and it also serves a purpose by separating the skate footage.

I made a long sequence from still frames of marble surfaces that I had given the black and white treatment to. I then used the black layer from the roto to act as a silhouette matt for the marble layer. I also adjusted the timing so that the marble images change at the same frame rate as the roto.

The following clip was the shot I as working on when I began using this look.

I think it looks good and will be a nice way of differentiating between footage shot at Pulaski and footage from other areas of the city.

I also re-rendered a shot I completed a while ago of Sam Weitzen down at Pulaski. I posted the shot when I finished it as 236x. I think the marble worked out well.



I'm going to look into other surfaces to use as textures for the skate footage that's shot in other areas of the city. Things like street lines and asphalt, brick, concrete, etc.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I finished the skating part of this shot a while ago. I'd love to go back and clean it up but I've got too many other shots still to do. That's the problem with animating like this. You never get to the look that you're truly happy with until most of the film is practically finished.

The second part of this shot was a beast to do because of the varying frame rates and motion tracking. I had to really finesse it to make it all look like it was running at 12 fps and at the same time because it's actually at 29.97. But I like the shot. I still need to make some minor adjustments to when the outlines of people start tracking to the wall but it's almost there.

This is definitely the finished look for the interviewee though. I've only done 2 other sections of interview so I might go back and redo those to look more like this section.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

technical difficulties

I don't trust Adobe Premiere at all. Never have. Never will. Today I loaded up my project and all of my footage (interview, skate and city) was unlinked. Basically that means the software thinks it's gone. I was able to manually relink the footage but it took a long time and was kind of a pain in the ass cause I had to go across all my hard drives and find the footage. Usually when footage gets unlinked you can find just one clip and Premiere will find the rest on it's own. Not this time. I had to do each one individually.

I also use a combination of Quicktime and AVI files. Now when I load up Premiere it tells me that it can not load some of the AVI files because the original clips no longer fit the same format, i.e. they no longer have sound. Which is bullshit because if you open the clips they play with sound in the Media Player.

This also meant the majority of my previews were gone so I had to re-render the entire film.

Life may now continue but I still don't trust Adobe Premiere.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


I went to the Red Cat the other night to see the best of the Platform show. It was pretty good. There was an amazing motion graphics film by Josh Raskin called I Met the Walrus. I highly recommend it. But this piece was outside in the lobby.

Since I don't drive anymore I've had a chance to survey my surroundings a little more closely. It's amazing how much stuff is all over the place in my neighborhood. I just never noticed it when I was driving.


So I finished another shot. I tried something new for this shot and I hope it wasn't a big waste of time. I've had a couple people suggest that I add some variation to the roto style. I've been ignoring those suggestions up until now because I chose the style that I have been using for a very specific reason (I'll write more about that reason later). I had to try it though because it's better to know something isn't going to work then to wonder what if. But as of right now I doubt I'm going to use this version of the shot.

Friday, October 19, 2007


In certain areas of the film I felt that it was better to create some sort of visual representation of what was being spoken about. In this shot I pan and zoom around the city as Paul talks about certain landmarks and their relationship to each other. The shot ends at Freedom Plaza to show just how close it is to everything else downtown.


This is the first shot of skating in the film. I did adjust the timing of the shot a little. Right now it looks somewhat jarring because it happens almost immediately. But I keep saying there is going to be an intro of sorts that brings the viewer into the city. An intro should give me enough time to establish looks and reveal some subtle visual trickery that I intend to do throughout the film. So by the time we get to this shot it should be old news.

The first line of dialogue also appears over top of this shot on the right side. I'm not completely happy with the roto job though. It was the first attempt at rotoing the interview footage so the style is pretty rough.