Dec 27, 2013

A Family Christmas Gift

Here's what I made for my family this Christmas:

I based it off of Norman Rockwell's piece Gossip

I really love the simply storytelling that it has— very clear and humorous, so I thought I'd try something like that with the members of my family. 
My dog Chanel is always farting now for some reason, and she never seems to care about it. 
So that kicked off the idea. 
I was tough caricaturing my family, but fun nonetheless. 
Here's the sketches before I took 'em into Photoshop. 


Dec 20, 2013

A Package for Otis (Process)

Here's the second short sequence I did for my ANI 128B Class. 

A Package for Otis (Short Sequence)

This was another sequence for which I was team leader.
The badasses who helped bring this to life are Mickie Vannier, Kendrra Thoms, Nicki Yee, 
Grace Lacuesta, Eddio Tseng, and Kim Mucha. 
It was also very nice to use the new free Stewart Rig from Animation Mentor. It's very appealing in design and really simple to use, especially for body mechanics. This definitely won't be last time I'll be using him. 

The Process:
My first 2D test. 

Looking back on this project, it's clear that it's come VERY far from where it began. 
We had an iteration of this that was all over the place, and it was very unclear when we first pitched it. Otis was always waiting for a package, but it was more of a montage of different ways he could wait, and then at the end of the day the package finally came and he jumped into it. He was doing things like eating food, playing with string, staring at a fan...all sorts of things. After getting a good beating and critique from our instructor, we reworked the story and clarified our idea.

Otis is a character who acts similar to that of a cat, 
so as a group we tried getting a little bit of that into our work. 
Painting by Nicki Yee 

Early iterations of Otis. 

Close to final version. 

November 6th
This was our first animatic after reworking the idea. 

November 18th
Eventually the blocking of the shots begins.

November 25th
And then another pass on top of that with a newer set and more up-to-date compositions.

Kim Mucha had built the original set, and then I went in and added some detail on top of that. 
Kendrra's shot had the blinds, so she built those herself. 
I lit the scenes as well (apart from Kendrra's exterior shot), and I go into the details of the render settings and lighting set up much more in my previous post.

First Pass Lighting Set up using Maya's Physical Sun and Sky and a few interior lights. 

This image is cool, but it took 9 minutes to render. 
So I had to find another method and lighting setup. 

New lighting pass using Image-Based Lighting and a few interior lights. 
Pretty close to final. 

Final Lighting. 

And lastly I have to put in my reference. 
My roommate Michael Begen's reaction to realizing I'm shooting reference 
is better than my actual reference.

The Hunt (Process & Making Of)

Here's a short sequence I made with two amazing gals: Grace Lacuesta and Nicki Yee.
This was made in ANI 128B over the course of a few weeks. 

The Hunt (Short Sequence)
 from Youri Dekker on Vimeo.

Grace Lacuesta did the first shot, Nicki Yee the second, and I did the third. I was appointed team leader and also responsible for building and lighting the sets. 
A couple people have already asked me how we went about making the shots in terms of sets and rendering, so I figured I'd describe the process in detail below....

The first step was finding the idea and the story.
The assignment was to have a character climbing, and that was it.
I wanted to try something in the jungle and so we began looking for inspirational images. 

This single image of Tarzan was a huge influence on where we took our story and setting. 
The scale of this piece was so epic and grand, and so from that I wanted to try 
and capture something along those lines. 

Grace and Nicki had also found a few images of other artwork and photos.

At the same time we were developing our character, Yara (which means butterfly). Classy name, I know. 
As you can see from the description above, we wanted to get a sense of contrast in the scale of the jungle in comparison to Yara and the butterfly.
She also had to have an intention to her climb, which is where the idea of chasing and hunting something came into play. Insert and cute little butterfly that wakes her up form a nap and you have your story. 

From all that I went ahead and made a 2D animatic, really trying to focus on getting a variety of shots to make the sequence more interesting. 

When the animatic was approved I began to build the set in Maya. While I was doing this I was also thinking about what the final lighting of the piece would look like. We established that dappled light would look pretty neat, so what I did was place a textured PNG image onto a plane so that when the light would go though it, certain areas of our set would be hit with light, the others with shadow. 
Later on I also added a light green plane on the bottom of the set to allow for some more bounce light to hit the branches and character. 

Here's our first pass of blocking and setting up the layouts for the shots. 

And then another pass a few days following that. 
It's come a long way since then!

The Lighting and Rendering Process:

Here's some of Mental Ray's render settings we used. 
To render my work I use something called Image-Based Lighting. 
This is slightly similar to Maya's Physical Sun and Sky, but with IBL you have more control over the colors in your scene, and it doesn't give you that washed-out look that Physical Sun and Sky can sometimes do. 
Found under the Indirect Lighting tab, IBL creates a giant sphere around your scene. You then add an image  to that sphere (usually blurry with a gradation), turn on Final Gathering, and Maya will bounce light around your scene based off of the image place on that sphere, giving it immediate color.

Image-Based Lighting with no lights, just Final Gathering turned on. 

To simulate the sunlight I created a Directional Light. 
I ended up increasing the intensity quite a bit because the dappled light was blocking a lot 
of the highlights on the characters. 

At one point Nicki had the idea of creating light rays for our shots. 
Here was the set up for that. 

Spot Lights have a Light Fog effect you can place on them. One of the tricky parts here was tweaking the numbers in the attribute editor so that the rays weren't to prominent and distracting. 

Then the idea came up to have the light rays slightly move to simulate the leaves moving in the jungle canopy.
This was an earlier test I made where I translated the dappled light plane to see how it would effect the rays and objects in the scene. It was too much. 

In the end Nicki really toned down the intensity and movement of the rays in her shot. If you look closely you can kind of see it in her final piece; it's even more subtle than the image above. 

And that's that!
Put all that stuff together and you have the final render. 

Pretty cool right?
Yara seems to think so. 

Dec 16, 2013

ANI 128B Animation Reel

       Finally finished another hectic and crazy semester. Here's my final reel for ANI 128B, my last body mechanics class before heading into the world of facial acting and dialogue, for which I'm very excited about. Certain shots were part of larger sequences, so I'll post links for those soon.

Watch it in HD...I didn't do all that high quality rendering for nothing! =-)

Dec 15, 2013

Captain Johnson's Bearded Clam

       A couple months back I helped out on a music video for the incomparable and ferocious Nick Maksim.
It was released back in August but I had forgotten to post it, so I'm doing that now. Sorry Nick!

       He had approached me last winter about working on a few shots for his film, so I spent some time then and during the summer finishing a few seconds for him.
       Nick tackled this bad boy by himself over the course of three years; rigs, animation, lighting, and everything else you see. Pretty damn impressive.

Take a gander below....

It's already won an Award of Merit at the international film festival Indiefest, which is super cool. 

Here's one of the shots I worked on:

There's different colored objects that he's interacting with because I was having some technical issues with constraints so i was switching out objects as the shot was progressing. It was horrible. 
I don't want to talk about it. 
I also did the shot before this were he's clambering along the beach sand, and the nod after he sees the glimmer in the ocean. 

Head over to his blog to see the rest of the stuff he's done, including a little sketch he did of me. 
Congrats on the video's completion, Nick! This is just the beginning!

Dec 7, 2013

Jimmy Loves Juice (Trailer)

Here's a trailer I made for Jimmy Loves Juice, the newest short film to come out of SJSU's Animation/Illustration program, directed by the amazingly talented Dave Yee. 

Jimmy Loves Juice (Official Trailer)

Jimmy Loves Juice will premier at the End of the Semester Screening in San Jose State's University Theater on December 18th at 10 am.

Oct 22, 2013


I did some sketches the other day, then experimented quickly with textures and paint in Photoshop. 
This is the result:

Oct 20, 2013

Joe Weatherly Workshop

       This past Friday I had the opportunity to attend a zoo workshop with the amazing Joe Weatherly.
The first animal we drew that day was the giraffe. I've only drawn a giraffe once or twice before and I didn't really know what I was doing. Joe was able to do some sketches for me real quick, pointing out their structure and proportions.

Joe's drawings:

And then my drawing afterwords: