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Surf's Up Props

OK, as requested, I'll post a few more, then I'll move on.Here are some prop designs I did for Surf's Up.

I play the ukulele, and so I took a specific interest in designing Big Zs uke to look as authentic as possible. Since penguins are smaller than people, I thought it would make sense to use a smaller object, such as a coconut shell as the body. Again, in keeping with our world, all the items for the uke were found items that you'd find on the seashore.

I tried to be as economical as posible with my props, so I was always trying to find ways to reuse a prop. In this case, the shells, bamboo and coconut were used over again quite a bit. Heheheh, this coconut was used so much, I kept getting teased about it.

I had also heard from our directors that Jeff Bridges (who also plays the uke) wanted to make a real one based on this design. I don't know if he ever did that, but it sure would be fun to see.

And here I've got the drawing for some of the wooden Tikis you see throughout our movie. These couldn't be regular Tikis, but instead they are based on bird designs. Look closely as you'll notice they are in keeping with Polynesian design, but they are made to look like birds.

The modelers also had a bit of fun with these too. They divided the assignments as per the Tikis that looked most like them.


Annie Award Results

This weekend the Annie Awards were held. Surf's Up had ten nominations, but it was Pixar's Ratatouille that ran off with the big cheese. Out of our ten Annie Award Nominations, we only received two Annie Awards under the Individual Achievement Categories.
Animated Effects
Winner: Deborah Carlson - "Surf's Up" - Sony Pictures Animation
Animation Production Artist
Winner: John Clark - "Surf's Up" - Sony Pictures Animation

Congratulations to both Deb and John, and to all the Annie Award recipients.

Here's a few more images from the project. I'll stop posting these and start posting something else.

This is a design I did for the fish piles in Shiverpool. I designed the igloos as being flat and squared, so as to compliment the cone-like shapes of the fish piles. I wanted it to look like a pile of fish, instead of a pile of lumber, so I designed the fish with a curve, so we could get the sense of the fish having weight.

And here is a portion of the ice walls I designed for the Antarctica scenes. There was a lot of effort in getting the canyon-like walls to look ideal, but yet still believable. If you look at the base, you can see the tiny Shiverpool island. I also made an effort to design the ice under the water as well too, as you can see from this image. There was another drawing that wrapped around this canyon, and started another canyon behind this one. That way we could use that as a backdrop to our canyon in order to create the silhouette against the sky.

This drawing, when combined with the other drawing, is pretty large. I would estimate it about three feet by four feet.


Annie Awards this Friday

The ASIFA-Hollywood Annie Awards are going to take place this Friday, so wish me luck. I'm up against some very talented individuals.

Now the award is by no means going to be as big and elaborate as this trophy (Lia) in Surfs' Up, but it is much more prestigious. (The character design was drawn by Annie Award Nominee, Sylvain Deboissy.) It's like the Oscars for animation.

The whole point of Surf's Up was that awards shouldn't overide the reason why you do something -- in their case, surfing. That is a good lesson to learn and know. When I worked on this movie, the Annie Awards were the farthest thing from my mind. Heck, I was too busy trying to stay on top of the schedule. However, now in hindsight, it's flattering to be recognized for my efforts by my peers within the industry.

However, this does give me a good reason to post some of my prop design!

The assignment was that we needed a trophy for the competition, so in order to minimize production costs for modeling and rendering, I tried to use as many existing items to construct the award. You'll note that the top of the trophy has a little Big Z figure carved out of wood. This is the same trinket being sold in the bazaar, and the same teaching tool that Big Z uses on the sand when coaching Cody. My good friend Armand Serrano created all the other versions of the trophy from this version by taking this one apart and putting it together in a different way each time. The trophy scene is perhaps one of the funniest moments in the film.



This was one of the designs for Geek's tree, it was based on a banyan tree. Our character Geek lived insided the roots -- his home was sort of like a burrow under a tree.

But, that alone isn't enough information to design the tree, so I created a series of documents to help explain the tree exterior. Here's another document from that design package that was created to describe the construction of the banyan tree to the modeling department. (My good friend Armand Serrano did an excellent cut-away view of the interior, I hope he posts that on his blog.)

Part of the trick is drawing and desgining any element, but in this business the other part is understanding it well enough that it can be communicated to the next department. In the end the tree turned out extremely well; we had some of the best modelers in the business working on our show.