Sunday, November 9, 2008

Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

I saw a commercial today which feature various celebrities reading from the following editorial . I believe it was supposed to make me shop at Macy's, or maybe it was supposed to remind me to go shopping on black Friday. What the commercial was for is irrelevant. I felt that the commercial had somehow cheapened the original spirit of the editorial. So I went digging up the original, in hopes of remembering how nice the message in this article is. Why, exactly, it is being used in a commercial over a hundred years after it first went to press. So, here's the editorial by Francis P. Church "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus", first published in The New York Sun in 1897. Enjoy. :)

We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:

Dear Editor—

I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

Virginia O’Hanlon

Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This is my assignment for the week, I'll write more tomorrow.

Monday, September 8, 2008

If life seems jolly rotten, there is something you've forgotten, and that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

Err, yes, I am clearly awesome at blogging... clearly. *sighs* I have no idea how long it's been since I updated. Oh well, I'm doing it now! Week eleven of class one already, AH! I can hardly believe it. We're on our last assignment for class one already, I can't believe how quickly this time has flown by.

So, in the time since I last updated I spent a week in Minnesota visiting my extended family, which was really fun, but it made it almost impossible to get work done. And in the first week of overlapping action too! Alas, it shows in my work. I need to learn to plan work better. It's really easy to fit it into my schedule when I'm home, but near impossible when on the road.

The week after Minnesota I went to Siggraph and Disneyland. Siggraph was a total blast, and I got to meet some of the truly awesome people from AM. AM's party was ridiculous (and I'm not just talking about the price of drinks! $10 for a Jack and Coke, what!?) so much fun, so many cool students and mentors, total blast! I enjoyed myself thoroughly at the convention and learned some things in the process! Awesome.

Then, I was finally home and in the middle of a move! Ah! Unfortunately rent on my old, totally fabulous, apartment reached too too high of a price, so I've moved in with a few friends. Which, on the one hand, is nice, because it forces me to be social. But, on the other hand, it forces me to be social!

So, anyway, yes, what have I been doing AM. Much much, I assure you. I think I will skip a viewing of my pendulum for now, as I am rather anxious to do some clean up on it as soon as I get the time.

So, yes, I believe the next thing was my Tailor hop, which reflects my fairly exhausted mood the week I working on him. (between siggraph and Disneyland how can I be expected to concentrate!?)

Then, the next week, we began work on our Vanilla walk and did a pose for "Physical Strength"

Which, again, still needs some revision.

And, here's my finished Vanilla walk (still need to work on the knees a bit, there's just not enough time in the week!)

And, my "concerned" pose

And, now, this last week! We did blocking for our character walks. I decided to do a sort of Jim Carry/Walking to the beat of a happy song walk. I think it looks better when you play zippity doo dah with it.

And lastly, my "exhausted" pose. Which, in retrospect, kind of looks like he's really full.

I fully expect both of these to need some revision, I was a little rushed. Thus the full look. Still waiting for my critique! Can't wait.

I seriously cannot believe class one will(effectively) be over at the end of this week! I can't believe I'm already on walks. It seem like yesterday I was freaking out because just installing Maya was intimidating! I've certainly come a ways!

So, yes, I will try to update soon. Sorry I fail at blogging!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

you leave me with my jaw on the floor

So, I have decided that I need to give myself a day to update this blog, or it will never get done! And, Monday seems like a lovely day, even if it is technically Tuesday now. :) So, I'm going to make an effort to update every Monday, no promises though! I just got back from a lovely night at the bars helping my friend celebrate/bemoan her first day of real work, so now seemed as good a time to update as any!

So, the last, wow, has it really been three weeks? Anyway, the last three weeks have been as fabulous as predicted. Paul Allen (my mentor) is really great about answering questions during Q&A and giving AMAZING e-critiques. Have a mentioned before how grateful I am to have stumbled on this school?

Anyway, here as the two poses I did for week 2 and 3 of AM.
Our first pose was supposed to be, well, anything! Just to go out and sketch poses from life. Davis, is unsurprisingly, very boring when it comes to poses.

This pose is supposed to convey "excitement", I can't even tell you how much trouble I had with it! I felt like every pose I came up with was really cliché. I also feel like there something really off about this pose, I'm working on it.

Week before last we did a basic bouncing ball. I decided not to tempt fate and just do a very simple bouncing ball. I did put rotation on the ball, but you really can't tell. I could of left the curve of the ball visible but didn't for a couple of reasons, a) I wasn't very happy with how the rotation was looking and b) I hate the way the nurbs curve looks around the ball!

Then, this last week, we did two bouncing balls of different weights. A lot of people changed the sizes/colours of their balls but, well, I'm a total maya wimp so left things alone. I haven't gotten my critique back for this, so I'm still a bit nervous about it!

So, yeah, that's what's bee going on! My guess is that my mum is the only one who will read this (hi mum!) and maybe my sister (hi Dani!). But, if you do read, yay!

J'adore y'all mucho! (I like to mix up my languages sometimes =) )

PS I feel it's worth mentioning that the subject/title of my blogs are always song lyrics, just encase they seem super random to anyone. ♥

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Mon soleil c’était toi, Je suis perdue

So, I was just watching "The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics", possibly my favourite animated short ever (what can I say, both of my parents worked in computer engineering as I was growing up, I was doomed from the start to fate of utter geekdom) and it truly hit me how unbelievably amazing that short is. Because, let me tell you, could I possibly be more in love with the line if I tried? His attitude, his gestures, everything he does? But wait! How is this possible, how can I have almost the same affection for the line as I do for Mr. Darcy? (The line, of course, lacks Fitzwilliam Darcy's caustic wit, but we cannot all be perfect.) Honestly though, how amazing is the animation in that short that, literally, every line dot and squiggle has personality? Of course a large part of the charm does come from Robert Morley's superb narration of a superb script. I also have come to believe that Chuck Jones had animation directing super-powers. I think he must have come in contact with a radio-active flipbook or something at some point in his career, it's the only logical explanation I have!

My point is, watch this short. Seriously. I love the anticipation at about 5.27, when the line makes his second angle. There's a real sense of strength, it baffles me. Also, the ending always makes all verklempt! I can't help it. I love the dots attitude, and how she realizes how useless the squiggle is. (Much like Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice as a matter of fact...hmmmm) Anyway, enjoy. :)

to finish, I'd like to share a story a heard involving Chuck Jones. Lord alone knows the veracity of the story, but I like to think it's true. So there's a man, who somehow knows Chuck Jones (I know, I'm great with stories *sighs*) Anyway, his son is a huge Bugs Bunny fan and introduces his son to Chuck Jones as "the man who draws Bugs Bunny." And his son, slightly bewildered by the introduction, replies "No, he draws pictures of Bugs Bunny." Wouldn't be amazing, to create a character so life-like, that a child doesn't believe you when you say you created him/her? I think it's a great goal to have whenever you create something.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

et c'est la liste des choses que je veux faire avec toi

Oops, I guess I kind of fell down on updating about the last week of Maya Springboard. I was just so busy, I spent the week with my family in Disneyland for my younger sister's birthday and the proceeded to jump on a plane and head off to Norfolk Nebraska for the Great American Comedy Festival, so I've just now gotten time to sit back and relax. I just want to say now how much I really appreciated the springboard workshop. Not that week 1 of class 1 has started I can't even tell you how nice it is to already know people in my class. I think I would be overwhelmed if I had just jumped straight into class one. Not just because of the work-load but also because of fear of the unknown. Maya Springboard gave me a really good idea of what I was getting myself into.

I also just want to mention how awesome and amazing Brad Bradbury was to have as a mentor. As an Alumni he really knew what we were getting ourselves into, as a person he was pretty much all around awesome. :)

So, As long as I'm doing the 'Maya wrap-up' I'll put up some of the work I did.

This is from the first few weeks, where we went over very basic modelling/lighting etc.

The next week few weeks we went over tangents and, basically, moving stuff around. This included a floaty bouncing-ball thing and moving a ball in a circle (way harder than you think). Eventually though we got to move a robot arm, yay!

I totally neglected to make curves invisible when I did the playblast of this one... oops.

And then, last but not least, we had to make a one legged character take a step... it doesn't exactly look great but, at least he gets where he's going!

So, that's that for Maya Springboard. I really had a great time, I can't even tell you how much. This session looks like it's going to be just as great, if more work. A little work never hurt anyone, am I wrong? My mentor is Paul Allen (who used to work at DNA productions) and I'm really looking forward to having him help me learn about animation! Everyone in my class so far is super nice as well, so thus-far I have nothing but positive expectations and I don't expect to be disappointed.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

I'd still be here, year after year, because you're dear to me!

End of week five already!? I can't believe how quickly the last weeks have flown! Especially considering how badly the time seemed to drag while I was waiting for AM to start. This week we did a robot-arm assignment. We got this nifty little arm rig and had to make it pick up and move again. Like everything else in Maya it's more complicated than it should be. But! I now know how to constrain an object, so yay. I also know not to let the constraint be anything other than 1 or 0! Seriously, the can goes nuts. It would be funny if it weren't so irksome.

So, my sister's birthday is next week, she's going to be 14. Which, in my mind, is officially into the 'trouble making years'. I remember what I was like at that age! Not that I'm really worried about her getting up to mischief, honestly she's too smart for her own good sometimes. The reason I even bring it up is because her Birthday means I'm spending my next week with my family in Disneyland! I'm not sure I understand how but my mum got us sneak-speak of the new Toy Story ride, which should be fun. I'm a little worried about making final classes/getting things done.

It's going to be awesome though, so whatever.

♥ Bises!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day

Well, hello lovelies! I hope your memorial day weekend has been fantastic, I have to admit that mine as been pretty fantastic. Not much to say about AM, other than OMG I can't believe there's only two weeks left! Time has seriously flown, and I'm super excited to actually start. This week we've mostly been going over the graph editor and modifying tangents. I'm happy to say that the program I found beyond intimidating not that long ago I totally get now. Yay for learning things in class, right?

So, I know it's not really the purpose of this blog but my goodness this week was crazy! This weekend two of my friends and I drove up to Napa valley for some wine tasting. We went to the Mondavi winery, to honour the memory of Robert Mondavi who died a little over a week before we were there. I bought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon and a really yummy "Moscato D'oro" which is apparently a Mondavi specific dessert wine. (Anything I know about wine I learned from the movie Sideways, so don't quote me on any of this.) I plan on making a fresh blueberry pie to have with the dessert wine. I just need to remember to buy a ton of blueberries tomorrow at the Farmers Market. yum yum. Afterwords Mondavi we had lunch at a great restaurant called Brix, which had the biggest wine list I have seen in my entire life!

We then drove into the city where we shopped and met hot German pilots at an irish piano bar. So fun! We spent monday at the Museum of Modern Art, which was fun even though a large portion was closed to set up a Frida exhibit. Their Media Arts Collection seriously freaked me out. I momentarily felt like I was living in the video from The Ring. I'm easily freaked out. One artist who I am now completely in love with thanks to the trip is Marilyn Minter, whose photo-realistic style is beyond amazing. I can't find a good link to her work, sadly.

Then, Tuesday, I drove back to the city to see Flight of the Conchords which was amazing!! I bought a shirt, and a poster, and I fan-girled a lot. We were in the forth row! And they were funny, and cool, and generally awesome! Though, Bret? Is an insanely skinny little man.

So, last night I went and saw Maria Bamford she is one of the comedians of comedy and is supremely funny, you should totally go watch her show.

So, yes, that was my week! Thanks for reading all this rambling.

Bons baisers!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way

Greetings imaginary readers of my blog! So, I'm half way through week three of Maya Training and still having a great time. We've just finished doing some very basic modeling and lighting. I think the most interesting part of the process has been seeing all the different interpretations of the assignment. I've seen everything from an Alien at mission control to a guy in a bar. I think learning about lighting has been my favourite so far. It's amazing what a huge difference it makes to the feel of the scene. (not that I didn't know that before, it's just I've never really played with it myself. I mean, just turning up the intensity on an ambient light completely changes the mood.) However, none of this really matters as tomorrow we get to start animating!! Okay, not really, but we get to learn about the animation controls in Maya. I'm sure that whatever I produce will be more impressive than the flip books I used to draw in my text-books.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You and I, you and I, oh how happy we'll be!

Why hello everyone, and welcome to my blog! I have to be honest and admit that I'm really quite bad at talking about myself, but I'm so excited to be starting Animation Mentor that I'm just about ready to burst! I'm currently enrolled in "Maya Training". First time they've conducted this particular class. We're kind of guinea pigs, but that's fine. It's fun, everyone's super nice, and, to be perfectly honest, Maya is an incredibly intimidating program! Even installing it seemed like a difficult task (at the time). So far though Maya training has really helped ease my nerves, I'm actually starting to love Maya! How strange. Honestly the only thing that's bothered me so far about Maya training is the six weeks I had to wait for it to start!

Speaking of waiting! (Note how seamlessly I worked that segue in...) I am simply on the edge of my seat with anticipation waiting for Summer term to start! I cannot wait for AM proper to begin, especially considering how awesome the limited site we have access to with Maya training is. I can't wait to meet even more people who are complete animation geeks. I feel like I've finally found my people. Most of my college friends, while being totally awesome and some of my favourite people ever, just don't understand what I love about animation. What on earth was I doing at an agricultural college before this? Being miserable and misguided, that's what I was doing. It's amazing what a difference being excited about my subject makes. I actually want to do well at this, what a strange concept!

I think I've completely used up my exclamation point quota for the month in this blog entry, but I'm so fricken' excited I can barely contain myself.

So, thus ends my first blog entry! And my first real week of Maya training (though I've had access to the site for six weeks now). I was seriously ready to beg for work, which seems about opposite of how one is supposed to react to work. I just turned in, what I have personally termed, the ugliest 3D man ever. I love him big nose, little ears, and all.

TTFN: Ta ta for now