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leigh
08-09-2005, 08:28 AM
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Jeff Lew
Character Animator

Jeff Lew graduated college with an electrical engineering degree but decided to pursue a more creative career in computer animation. He learned animation by reading books and learning from websites and soon he landed his first studio job with KWCC working as a character animator on the Spiderman themepark ride for Universal Studios.

On his spare time, he would work on his animated short: Killer Bean 2, which took 3 years of spare time to finish. Steve Oedekerk saw some Killer Bean footage and contracted Jeff to pre-visualize and choreograph a fight scene between himself and a cow for his movie Kung Pow. Steve liked the previs so much he brought Jeff to LA to work on the movie. While in LA, Jeff also worked on X-Men.

Shortly after, Jeff completed Killer Bean 2 and released it on Ifilm. It became a huge hit, being viewed 1 million times in 6 months. The success of Killer Bean 2 lead to work on The Matrix Reloaded where Jeff animated Neo and many Agent Smiths. After 2 ½ long years, Jeff decided not to continue onto the third Matrix movie, but instead changed directions.
He went to work at Warner Brothers Feature Animation to supervise animation for an action scene in Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

After that project, Jeff decided to take a break from studio work to produce a training DVD that shares the knowledge he gained over the years. Currently, Jeff has changed directions again and is working to complete his third Killer Bean episode.

As a very special gift to CGTalk readers, Jeff has kindly offered a 10% discount on his DVD, Learning Character Animation with Jeff Lew, available from his website (link below). Please use the coupon code T3UPYJVA to qualify for this discount.

Related Links
http://www.jefflew.com/

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/1.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/2.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/3.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/4.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/5.jpg

Post your questions or request for critique

The "Meet the Artists" forum provides a conducive environment where CGTalk members can have the opportunity to speak to some of the finest digital art talents in the world! CGTalk members can post questions and artwork, and have them answered or critiqued by these master artists. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight from seasoned industry veterans!

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5. Note that the Artist is under no obligation to answer all questions or critique all work posted. It is at his/her sole discretion to answer questions or critique work.
6. If the Artist does not answer your question or critique your work, do not harass him/her.
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Terkonn
08-09-2005, 08:42 AM
What inspired you to head in an entirely different direction from your original studies? It's similar to where I'm at trying to decide whether I should persue a career in art or chemistry. You seemed to be picked up for a job so quickly. Did you have any kind of animation or art experience before you decided to do animation? Thanks for visiting, it is awesome to have you.

FabioMSilva
08-09-2005, 08:50 AM
hey i'm one the first ones :D

hi Jeff, love your dvd. Very good stuff there. About killerbean, my favorite part is when Beam is coming at his sport car, and there's this tough smoking and when he see's the car's light coming at him he makes that scared+surprised expression, which is a lot of fun.

Ok about some questions:

1- What do you find most difficult in character animation? And if u can shed us some light on how to overcome it(if u have patience ^_^;;)

2- How long did it take to animate all the shots u did in Matrix Reloaded?

3- Do u think footsteps generators are evil or a blessing and why?

4 - What is your favorite animated character?

5 - Ever heard of Final Fantasy Advent Children? If so what do you think about it?

6 - Are you going to release any more training Dvd's?

7- Killer Bean 3?

Ok, i think these are already a lot. Cheers!

lafnjack
08-09-2005, 09:02 AM
I purchased your DVD a few weeks ago. A fantastic resource! Many thanks for putting it together.

I did notice however, that it appeared for the demo on rotoscoping movement, that you used yourself to do the spinning kick. As a martial artist myself (Pentjak Silat), I'm curious if you have any martial arts experience and background,and if so, what style(s)?

Thanks,
John Simons

PS: I do hope you release more training materials in the future. Yours was definitely heads and tails above alot of stuff out there.

Charkins
08-09-2005, 09:07 AM
Greetings Mr. Lew!

I remember seeing your Killer Bean 1 animation, but it was actually your "Concussion" animation that led me to purchase A:M and begin this journey... If I remember correctly, you were pretty active on the Hash mailing list?

I have only one question... In your experience, what is more important? An MFA (or similar) in animation/visual effects, or an excellent demo reel/portfolio. The reason I ask is because I am currently looking at grad schools for animation/visual effects. I have found some schools with -great- student work but they are not accredited or don't offer anything substantial on paper. However, the schools that are accredited lack strong student work.

So I am wondering whether to go for the paper and continue teaching myself as I am now (Majoring in Digital Animation), or actually get a real education minus the credentials? How could that come into play in future years?

Thanks! Rock on.

AndyH
08-09-2005, 09:12 AM
Blimey - kudos to you!

I had no idea you worked on so many cool projects! When i hear the name jeff lew, i instantly think of killer bean. It mustve been great to get so much attention from that one animated short. You seem pretty ambitious too - most people would be content with a job in the hollywood movie industry and stay there as long as they can, but you just keep movin' on!

I dont really have any questions for you though - im more of a modeler than an animator.

Best of luck for the future!

JakeJK
08-09-2005, 09:35 AM
Hi Jeff Lew..


What an honor to say Hi to you. I will let you know what great inspiration you have been to me. I learned alot from your DVD. it is awesome!!

just a little off topic question. Where you at the danish 3d festival in 2004? I think I saw you where it was free to enter (what was it called? exposé, or something?).
I would say hi, but i dropped my jaw at the floor.. :)..

Best Regards Jakob Kousholt

DDS
08-09-2005, 09:40 AM
Seeing that you like to change so much from one industry to another, the only question that has really come to my head since I'm not an animator, would be if you are interested in working in the game industry, since it's becoming huge and it's very entertaining and productive, and even more for top notch guys like you :)

Gravedigger
08-09-2005, 10:35 AM
Hello Mr. Lew
it's nice to hear that you have your knowledge from self studying. at the moment i'm too young to join one of the schools so i have to learn these things by reading books and fighting through the internet too.

Did you ever want to join a school for cg?
what are your preperations before you begin to draw your characters? do you just try some shapes of beans or whatever or do you write down things that descripe the charakter like age, side(god, bad), stupid or intelligent, big or small?

Have a nice Day!
Thx Patrik Hadorn

ryusen
08-09-2005, 10:50 AM
Hi Jeff. Whoa, I was just wondering when you'll be featured in CGTalk. The Smith clones shots are really something man. I thought those guys used some sort of crowd simulation or something.

Anyway, is Nick Pugh your other name?

AJ
08-09-2005, 11:00 AM
How long have you been called Nick Pugh?

Hawke
08-09-2005, 11:03 AM
Hi Mr Lew, thats some impressive work you do :applause:

My questions is about the start of your career - how long would you say it took teaching yourself before you became proficient enough to go for your first job in animation?

3DChobo
08-09-2005, 11:09 AM
Hey Jeff :)

I truly love your work! I think you inspired all who have seen your work :)

My question is; roughly (if u can still remember) how many hours did you practice 3D modeling/animation in the very first year you started learning?

Because this could potentially give me an idea how much i have to push myself.

I purchased your awesome DVD about 4-6 months ago, i thought it was great!

I even purchased a lot of the books you recommended, including, "The Illusion of Life" and "The Animator's Survival kit"

lol, now i see i could have gotten 10% off your DVD, but i'm not that bothered really, because i think i get way more in return than what i payed for :_)

Thanks again for your great inspiration and the very high professional production level in animation, that makes me want to work very hard at this.

- Marcel. G.

Matellis
08-09-2005, 11:19 AM
Hey Jeff, like everyone else I love your work.
My question is this. I am very motivated to get a career in animation and I am planning on taking a 3 year course in 3d animation , but my problem is that I find I work better on my own , reading books and doing tutorials. And I was wondering if you went through the same problem deciding to go to school? What kind of advice could you give someone that would rather not want a $30,000 dollar loan but still be employable. Because I know a lot of people who attended animation school and still can't find work.

It's great having you here to help everyone out!

Lalecp
08-09-2005, 11:29 AM
Hi Mr. Lew, nice to see you on Q&A

I just saw your short "The Killer Bean" a couple days ago, great job.

I have one question for you, I'm only 14 so im trying to think of wut i might do in the future, since im interested in this field of work, so i wanted to know... does animating make any money, with all the film school, and training and stuff??

Thanks for being on Q&A Jeff Lew

The Real Mark
08-09-2005, 11:42 AM
Hey Jeff,

First of all I love all your work and I remember in the days of year 11 in highschool (yr2000) showing my class Killer bean 2... was a hightlight!

For my question, do you have any preferences on facial rigs? - using morphs or a skeletal system of bones? - I really want to get a quality to my animation with an easy of use and easy setup.

I guess kinda like Jason Osipa's stop staring method using morph targets (http://www.jasonosipa.com/) versus Tyson Ibele's (http://www.theonlyt.com)- bone setup tutorial (http://www.theonlyt.com/Main/Tutorials/Face/face.htm) he has on his site... which he said he developed from someone on the forums.

Thanks for taking the time to answer peoples questions!

-Mark Tavares

Kid-Mesh
08-09-2005, 12:27 PM
Jeff,

Just wanted to say that your DVD is by far the best animation DVD I've ever seen and it's a one of a kind gem. Good luck in your future endeavors and keep breaking those glass ceilings. BTW, consider releasing another animation DVD of some sort...I'll defintely buy that too!

Your work is inspiring man :thumbsup:

KidMesh

ARI-PANZER
08-09-2005, 12:27 PM
hi there ,when your reviewing your own shot or sequence do you have a checklist or something that you ask yourself to make sure you've covered all your bases?
thanks Ari

p.s

i was ofcourse reffering too the shot or sequence in the previous line of questioning in regards to the 'all your bases' comment

tevih
08-09-2005, 01:35 PM
Hi Jeff! :)

I also started in one direction and decided to get into animation. Do you feel that now that you've made the switch from engineering that you've found what you want? Do you find the Career aspect of animation to be just as tedious as engineering?

The spiderman ride is awesome! :applause:

Thanks for taking the time to do this! :)

SergeAstahov
08-09-2005, 01:39 PM
Hi there Jeff !!!

I'm very glad finally seeing you here on Q&A forum at CGtalk.

I just wanted to say that "Killer Bean 2" was one of my first short movies i'v seen when i only started learning CG and i liked it a lot. The moment when the bad bean falls/dies and at that time sees his all life, the moment when he sits on the toilet was so funny, great stuff.

I was wondering when the 3rd part would be out ? Are you constantly working on it or due to your real life work you're lacking spare time for it ?

I didn't know you were also involved in such project as "Matrix Realoded" and as i understand you were using AM for the animation but i thought that mostly Maya was used for the movie. If so did you have any problems working with the team using different applications ?

And the cow in the Kung Pow movie is absolutely hilarious.
Thanks Jeff for your time and good luck to you in every new direction you choose.

- Astahov Sergey

neofg
08-09-2005, 01:43 PM
Ho Ho! Jeff, you are! It's incredible... I remember when I'd seen Reloaded, the Burly Browl, when I think...."No one made a fighting like this since now"...And now you are here!!!
I must to say that there's a bit of frames where clothes look a bit strange, like when Neo jump over the Smiths near the end...But it's fantastic! Wow!
Just a little question... What is the approach with an animation work with so much elements...
I think that anyone work on singles objects and then they're joined... What is the setup of this, and on what processor a so complex scene is rendered...???
Thank artist, an go on so...Good luck...

lyppeter
08-09-2005, 01:46 PM
HI Jeff Lew ,i am your big fan:thumbsup: .are u chinese?what's your chinaese name?
now here is my question:
1.how to be a good fighting action animator.do u have systemic studied kongfu or sth else?i am working a shaolin kongfu project,imagenation or kongfu knowledge,which is more important.
Can u give me some resoure u usually referrence?thank you !

metroeast
08-09-2005, 03:11 PM
Jeff,

Love your stuff. Been following you for a while.


You are a self trained animator (I am too). I was wondering if you think you should have taken classes teaching you Maya or Softimage. Do you think it would have helped you out and if so, do you think that those who do have an advantage over those who study on their own?
What do you think of the state of the industry today? Are you concerned about jobs being done in the UK, India, and New Zealand?
Do you see the larger animation and effects studios downsizing to function more like the smaller boutique studios?
Thanks for taking time to answer our questions. A lot of us appreciate your time.

FloydBishop
08-09-2005, 03:11 PM
Hello Jeff,

What has been your toughest assignment in animation so far? Maybe not the most technical, but the one that gave you the most "trouble"?

Now that you've got so much animation behind you, what would you change, if anything, about the first "Killer Bean" film?

Keep the cool work coming!

abdulrhman
08-09-2005, 03:44 PM
hi mr jeff I really admire you and your work killer bean 2 and I saw this short 2 years ago. But in 2 years my level does not grow in 3d modeling and animation so can you tell me please what to do and what the important areas in the field that I have to master.

markovicd
08-09-2005, 03:45 PM
hi jeff... i am 18 years old and my name is Darko ;). I started doing 3d 1.5 year ago ... and now i am skipping mainly to animation , i wanna become character animator... but i don`t know where to start , what to do?
i have your DVD it is awsome...

couple of tips would be great... what do to at first ( i am animating balls at the moment )... , then what to do next and so on... thnx ;)

Romero
08-09-2005, 03:51 PM
Hi Jeff huge fan so hear goes


1) Since you have had great projects to work on both realistic and cartoon what are the major differences or obsticles you face when dealing with each of these styles?.

2) What is the most important advice you could give a junior character animator?

3) What movie or animated scene influenced you the most to become a character animator?

4) What is the most significant animated movie that revolutionized animation?

thanks Jeff
All the best

Benman
08-09-2005, 04:20 PM
Hey man!

Just to start off love your work dude your under my bookmark folder called "idols" :D

Anyway my question is, What advice would you give to a 15 year old animator wanting to get into the game or film industry when he has finshed school? I already animate for mods for half life 2 to build up my portfolio and i plan on going to uni. I just wondered what advice would you give me at this stage of my life.

Cheers man!

kmest
08-09-2005, 04:37 PM
uncurvyhi Jeff....
1-For movies like MAtrix reloaded or Xmen (i mean the Realstic movements),how many Frames per day do you animate??? (or what is the average time in Hollywood studios,if there are any)

2-For same Realistick Projects,do You animate all the caracters in a scene??? like what Pixar peoples do???and is this methode Diffrent in diffrent studioes???

3-what are the presures and stresses (if there are any) of Working on High Budjet Hollywood movies???

4-was there any deadlines for that CompleX shots on Matrix reloaded???i mean there are always some Unexpected problems....do they make U guys under some presures to finish them ontime or was The Quality more important for them???

5-again for realstic animates,,are The main animatores involved in the Setup/rigging part???or its done by other teams????

6-you more like to animate Cartooni style or realstick movements????

THANK YOU 4 ANSWERING

yeoj3d
08-09-2005, 05:10 PM
1. How is your progress going on KB3? I remember that break dancing test you made a while ago with KB doing a headspin on a table while shooting up the bad guys. Will you still use that scene in KB3?

2. Do u think that u will ever go back to working at studios? or do u want to just focus on personal stuff from now on like your training dvd and KB3, etc?

The KB forum that you used to have was the very first online forum i ever joined. Animation Master was the first 3d program i used back in 2000 when i first got started in CG. Both you and Victor Navone at that time pretty much put AM on the map, and you guys were my first big CG influences. I now work full time on video game cinematics, and i want to thank you for influencing me early on when i first saw KB2. I use maya at work, and I kinda miss using AM. I was wondering if u still prefer AM over other programs you've used? Oh, I also bought your dvd when you first released it on your website, back when u still had your forum. Great stuff, you animate so efficiently on that dvd. Alright, enough praise, I know yer sick of it by now, hehe....

StevenBHS
08-09-2005, 05:20 PM
Jeff,

I know you're skilled on many 3D programs, but which do you feel more comfortable with?

HellBoy
08-09-2005, 05:29 PM
Hiya Jeff

I haven't seen your animation but the job in Matrix is beyond superb, you must be very proud of yourself to reach this level.

one question Jeff

1) For the people who plan to take same path as you, how would you advice them, any warnings or stuff

well done Jeff :thumbsup:

Remi
08-09-2005, 05:38 PM
Hey Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time to answer some of our questions.


1. What/who inspires you?

2. How do you approach shots with multiple characters?

3. What's it like working with Steve O

4. Do you ever find yourself with a bunch of animaton ideas in your head and have a hard time starting a scene?

5. What do you plan to do in the future...what would you like to be working on?

Thanks again Jeff!!

Imagus
08-09-2005, 05:50 PM
Hey, Jeff. Thanks for taking the time to participate in Meet the Artist.

A few questions regarding regarding Killer Bean and self-produced CG endeavors:

1) Having worked with all aspects of creating a CG film, from concept to final render, what part of production would you say went the most smoothly?

2) What is/was the most problematic part of working on Killer Bean?

3) What kind of computing power have you had at your disposal for each episode of Killer Bean, and how has it affected your working methods?

4) As a self-taught CG animator, how long did it take you to learn what you needed to create the first Killer Bean short, and what was the toughest to learn?

5) What advice would you give to someone who is considering creating a short film of their own?

Grgeon
08-09-2005, 05:55 PM
Jeff Lew, long time no chat! What you been up to man?

Where are you working these days? Or are you fulltime on your short ?

I heard a rumor Steve O is working on Kung Pow 2, are you going to be involved in that project?

Good to know you're still alive man :thumbsup:

God Bless,
George

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 05:56 PM
Hi folks!

I'm glad to be a part of this! It will be a lot of fun. I'm going to try to answer everyone's questions. But by doing so, you may see some typos here and there. So if I'm incoherent, it's a typo (I haven't touched a drink in 3 months!)

Also, my replies will be in aqua blue for easier visibility.

Thanks! And see you guys soon!

Jeff

ilasolomon
08-09-2005, 06:01 PM
Hi Jeff, just this: when is killer bean 3? :)

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 06:07 PM
What inspired you to head in an entirely different direction from your original studies? It's similar to where I'm at trying to decide whether I should persue a career in art or chemistry. You seemed to be picked up for a job so quickly. Did you have any kind of animation or art experience before you decided to do animation? Thanks for visiting, it is awesome to have you.

Hi Joshua,

Well one thing for sure was that I sucked at engineering! Plus I really hated it. At the time of graduation, I wanted to be an actor. That didn't go so well, so I learned html really quick and got a web design job. Back then (1995), web design was really young so anybody who knew HTML and unix got a job real easy. It was there that my supervisor taught me Photoshop and Premiere. He was from the magazine/print background. From there I started learning 3d on my own, cause I wanted to give myself some lead roles for my acting credits. I figured if I can make an animated movie and act in it, then that's gotta be worth some credits, right? Well, I fell in love with 3D and the rest is history.

I also have to say, that I'm a storyteller at heart and I've always wanted to direct movies ever since high school. So that's also why you see so many changes in my career path.

Oh wait, I didn't really answer your question. No I didn't have any art background. I also knew how to sketch when I was a kid. No formal training though. But for animaiton, a lot of my martial arts experience really helped. Especially for digital stuntmen. I picked up animation pretty quick I guess. It still took me about 1-2 years of sell study before I got my KWCC job.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 06:19 PM
1- What do you find most difficult in character animation? And if u can shed us some light on how to overcome it(if u have patience ^_^;;)

Hi Fábio,

What's the most difficult? I would say visualizing the animation in your head. I think once you get past a couple years experience of animating, you can animating anything IF you can visualize it. I mean if it's not in your head, don't expect it to appear magically on screen. It has to be in your head first, then you can animate it out with your animation skills and fundamentals.


How long did it take to animate all the shots u did in Matrix Reloaded?

Hmm, that's a though question. The shots were almost always in various stages of development for about 2 years. The first year was spent figuring out how we were gonna do it and also getting the previs together with the mocap, camera moves and director's vision. The previs also changed dramatically about mid way through. It's really hard to put a specific time stamp on certain shots. But I can estimate that for Neo, some shots took maybe 2 days to a week, just for Neo alone. Then there's Smiths to animate. However, most of the background smiths are mocapped.

Do u think footsteps generators are evil or a blessing and why?

I've never actually used them. I think they would be helpful if it made really great walk and run cycles. But if the animation ends up looking bad, then you might as well animate from scratch. But hey, I'm all for making animations a lot easier!

What is your favorite animated character?

Killer Bean!

Ever heard of Final Fantasy Advent Children? If so what do you think about it?

Yes, I've heard of it. Is it out on DVD yet? I want to see it. I've been a fan of Final Fantasy 7 way back! I just love art by Square.

Are you going to release any more training Dvd's?

Well, I won't say never, but not currently at the moment.

Killer Bean 3?

It's gonna be good... :thumbsup:

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 06:27 PM
I purchased your DVD a few weeks ago. A fantastic resource! Many thanks for putting it together.

I did notice however, that it appeared for the demo on rotoscoping movement, that you used yourself to do the spinning kick. As a martial artist myself (Pentjak Silat), I'm curious if you have any martial arts experience and background,and if so, what style(s)?

Thanks,
John Simons

PS: I do hope you release more training materials in the future. Yours was definitely heads and tails above alot of stuff out there.

Hi John,

All of my martial arts experience I learned when I was in college. I took 4 years of Tae Kwon Do, a little Karate and a little Kung Fu. If I were to practice again, I would probably learn jujitsu or kempo.

Thanks about my DVD!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 06:41 PM
I remember seeing your Killer Bean 1 animation, but it was actually your "Concussion" animation that led me to purchase A:M and begin this journey... If I remember correctly, you were pretty active on the Hash mailing list?

I have only one question... In your experience, what is more important? An MFA (or similar) in animation/visual effects, or an excellent demo reel/portfolio. The reason I ask is because I am currently looking at grad schools for animation/visual effects. I have found some schools with -great- student work but they are not accredited or don't offer anything substantial on paper. However, the schools that are accredited lack strong student work.

So I am wondering whether to go for the paper and continue teaching myself as I am now (Majoring in Digital Animation), or actually get a real education minus the credentials? How could that come into play in future years?

Hi Chris,

Ah yes, Concussion. I just loved the name. I wish I finished it.

Man, your question is a tough one. I'm no lawyer, so don't take my advice as the law. I was a guest speaker at a college once and I was surprised to see the usual scrubs sitting in the back row not giving a damn what goes on in a class. Let me just say, a degree alone will not get you a job. The CG industry is very much like professional sports. It's what you can do that gets you the job, not credentials. When I was going through reels to hire people at ESC, I would always look for experienced and talented first. If I can't find those, i would look for talented. If I couldn't find those, I would look for people with potential. (people you can shape into becoming good CG employees.) Notice I said employees and not artists.

I think in either situation, you have to make the most of it. If you are going to a grad school, take full advantage of it. Don't just get by. Make sure you learn as much as you can before leaving. You will regret it if you don't.

If you are going the self taught route, it's the same scenario. Learn as much as you can. I mean like ALL of your spare time. Read all the tutorials you can, watch all the training DVD's you can. And most of all practice as much as you can.

To answer your question simply, I would say an excellent demo reel/portfolio wins every time. But again, I'm no lawyer.

Jeff

Animator305
08-09-2005, 06:44 PM
hello jeff , thanks for doing this :

1. Do you feel that the animation industry is headed more towards realism and creature work as opposed to the pixar cartoony believable style? not to be prejudice or anything but from what i see at least , most movies and projects are realistic or creature work and they focus on the full body mechanics and motions as opposed to the closeup acting and lipsyncs.. i see more work being done and more opportunities in realistic visual effects for character animators than the more cartoony stuff.

2. What do you look for in considering a candidate for a character animation reel? and how long do you think a reel should go for? 3 min max? 2 min max?

3. I have heard this from a few sources but do you believe that there are more opportunities for work ( for a character animator ) in video games as opposed to film?

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:06 PM
I had no idea you worked on so many cool projects! When i hear the name jeff lew, i instantly think of killer bean. It mustve been great to get so much attention from that one animated short. You seem pretty ambitious too - most people would be content with a job in the hollywood movie industry and stay there as long as they can, but you just keep movin' on!

Hi Andrew,

I like to keep moving, and when things get stagnant, I like to move on. I have a biological clock of 2 years for any one workplace. After 2 years, I go nuts.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:13 PM
just a little off topic question. Where you at the danish 3d festival in 2004? I think I saw you where it was free to enter (what was it called? exposé, or something?).
I would say hi, but i dropped my jaw at the floor.. :)..

Hi Jakob,

Nope, I wasn't there. I've actually never been to Europe. I hope to go someday! And if you see me, don't drop your jaw! I'm really no big deal. Just a guy trying to get by :)

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:17 PM
Seeing that you like to change so much from one industry to another, the only question that has really come to my head since I'm not an animator, would be if you are interested in working in the game industry, since it's becoming huge and it's very entertaining and productive, and even more for top notch guys like you :)

Hi Albert,

I've always wanted to take part in making a game since I was a little kid, but I much rather prefer to play games than make them now. And all the scary stories coming out about people working 100 hrs/week, doesn't sound like a fun thing. Although I bet video game employees get to play a lot of games at work. That sounds pretty fun.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:29 PM
Hello Mr. Lew
it's nice to hear that you have your knowledge from self studying. at the moment i'm too young to join one of the schools so i have to learn these things by reading books and fighting through the internet too.

Did you ever want to join a school for cg?
what are your preperations before you begin to draw your characters? do you just try some shapes of beans or whatever or do you write down things that descripe the charakter like age, side(god, bad), stupid or intelligent, big or small?

Hi Patrik,
When I first started working on the Spiderman themepark ride, almost all of my co-workers came from arts schools, so I felt a little out of place. I've always wanted to join an art school to learn the fundamentals of art like color theory, and composition and general anatomy and figure drawing. I always wanted to take a figure drawing class with naked women haha! But I'm just a dork.

I recently took Philip Straub's class on environment concepts right here on CG Workshops. He is an excellent teacher. I feel like I have the fundamentals now.

As for my original beans, I didn't really have any concept drawings for them. For my next Killer Bean, I subcontracted some character designers to help me out. Primarily Von Caberte, you may know him from the CG talk forums. He helped me design my newest main characters.

In terms of character profiles, yes I know them inside and out before they are even designed. If you know your characters well enough, then you never have to figure out what they will do in a certain scene. They will do it themself!

Jeff

girish0828
08-09-2005, 07:32 PM
hi jeff lew ,

its really aprreciable and i dnt even hav words of compliments to greet you for the marvelous work u have done ....u r the true enterprenuer in my eyes ....i love to see your work .....hey man you are one who is a inspiration to every guy in the animation field ....your work really deserves extrvagancy ....i am your great fan ...my name is girish n i have completed my btech(engineering) in information technology ..but i believe i can do a much lot in animation field ...also along with my engineering i hav done animation course ...i hav done soft like maya ,3dsmax,photoshop,after effects ,premiere,cool edit pro , corel draw .....n i still more desire to learn in this field ...as u are a great personality in this field so i wud like to have your words as advice from your past experiences ....wat wud u like to suggest me .....kindly guide me ...i need to go to the depth ...give me some tips as to how to succed in this field .....my email is girishpippal@hotmail.com .....thnxs

bye have a nice day













http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/header.JPG



Jeff Lew
Character Animator

Jeff Lew graduated college with an electrical engineering degree but decided to pursue a more creative career in computer animation. He learned animation by reading books and learning from websites and soon he landed his first studio job with KWCC working as a character animator on the Spiderman themepark ride for Universal Studios.

On his spare time, he would work on his animated short: Killer Bean 2, which took 3 years of spare time to finish. Steve Oedekerk saw some Killer Bean footage and contracted Jeff to pre-visualize and choreograph a fight scene between himself and a cow for his movie Kung Pow. Steve liked the previs so much he brought Jeff to LA to work on the movie. While in LA, Jeff also worked on X-Men.

Shortly after, Jeff completed Killer Bean 2 and released it on Ifilm. It became a huge hit, being viewed 1 million times in 6 months. The success of Killer Bean 2 lead to work on The Matrix Reloaded where Jeff animated Neo and many Agent Smiths. After 2 ½ long years, Jeff decided not to continue onto the third Matrix movie, but instead changed directions.
He went to work at Warner Brothers Feature Animation to supervise animation for an action scene in Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

After that project, Jeff decided to take a break from studio work to produce a training DVD that shares the knowledge he gained over the years. Currently, Jeff has changed directions again and is working to complete his third Killer Bean episode.

As a very special gift to CGTalk readers, Jeff has kindly offered a 10% discount on his DVD, Learning Character Animation with Jeff Lew, available from his website (link below). Please use the coupon code T3UPYJVA to qualify for this discount.

Related Links
http://www.jefflew.com/

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http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/3.jpg

http://www.cgnetworks.com/cgtalk/meettheartists/jeff_lew/4.jpg

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embodiedform
08-09-2005, 07:40 PM
Hey Jeff, love your stuff man and thanks for taking the time to be here!

Just wanted to know what your impressions were of Softmage's Face Robot from SIGGRAPH and also what kinds of technological advances you would like to see in the future in regards to animation.

What software have you used (Animanium, Motionbuilder, etc) and what are some of your favorite/ most used features?

Thanks!

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:44 PM
Hi Jeff. Whoa, I was just wondering when you'll be featured in CGTalk. The Smith clones shots are really something man. I thought those guys used some sort of crowd simulation or something.


Hi Dwida,

No simulation at all. All of the background smiths were mocaped, but various animators hand placed them in one at a time and made sure they didn't intersect. I didn't really do much of the background Smith guys.

Anyway, is Nick Pugh your other name?

That's the name I use on my credit card. Just kidding Nick.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:46 PM
How long have you been called Nick Pugh?

About 37 seconds.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 07:59 PM
My questions is about the start of your career - how long would you say it took teaching yourself before you became proficient enough to go for your first job in animation?

Hi Stuart,

I'd say it took me about 1-2 years. I started learning in 1995 and got my first job in 1997. But I did have my web job during that period too.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 08:06 PM
My question is; roughly (if u can still remember) how many hours did you practice 3D modeling/animation in the very first year you started learning?

Because this could potentially give me an idea how much i have to push myself.

Hi Marcel,

Hmmm, it's hard to remember. When I was serious about it, I reduced my web job to part time, so I worked 3 days a week and spent 2 full days each week learning 3D. I think I also spent maybe 2-3 hours a night on my work days too. Basically any spare time I got.

When I was making Killer Bean 2, I spent 3-4 hours a night after coming home from work.

Push yourself hard. It will give you strong discipline. The more you work at it on your own, the more knowledgible you will become.
Jeff

Talker
08-09-2005, 08:22 PM
OH my dear JEFF,forgive my poor english,but i have to speak this word loudness
you are so good man
you make me find the way of mine,(but can,t find your website)

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 08:24 PM
Hey Jeff, like everyone else I love your work.
My question is this. I am very motivated to get a career in animation and I am planning on taking a 3 year course in 3d animation , but my problem is that I find I work better on my own , reading books and doing tutorials. And I was wondering if you went through the same problem deciding to go to school? What kind of advice could you give someone that would rather not want a $30,000 dollar loan but still be employable. Because I know a lot of people who attended animation school and still can't find work.

Hi Matt,

When I finished engineering school, I decided I never wanted to go back to school again. I hate school! The real world is much better. I learned from books like Illusion of Life (must own) and message boards like CGChar. CGChar was really flourishing back then with lots of pros visiting. I think CGTalk has probably taken over in terms of where all the pros visit. The best resource you have is CGTalk probably. Having people see your work and critque it.

$30K is a lot to spend, and I have met many graduates who couldn't find work also. It's hard for me to give career advice, cause I don't want to ruin anyone's career, but I would say try it on your own for a year. There is so much learning material out there now. Try AnimationMentor.com or Gnomon materials. When I was learning, there was nothing like that at all. Just "Illusion of Life" and "Character Animation in Depth" If you are finding out that you just can't do it on your own, then you are only 1 year behind. CGTalk is also an incredible resource for information. A great demo reel always beats a degree on paper. What got me my first job was my Concussion trailer. Oh yeah, and luck always has something to do with it.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 08:31 PM
I have one question for you, I'm only 14 so im trying to think of wut i might do in the future, since im interested in this field of work, so i wanted to know... does animating make any money, with all the film school, and training and stuff??

Hi Lucien,

Yes animating does make money. Sometimes very good. Plus you have fun doing it. You should do what makes you happy. If you don't like animating, then you won't be happy even if you make money from it.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 08:42 PM
For my question, do you have any preferences on facial rigs? - using morphs or a skeletal system of bones? - I really want to get a quality to my animation with an easy of use and easy setup.

I guess kinda like Jason Osipa's stop staring method using morph targets (http://www.jasonosipa.com/) versus Tyson Ibele's (http://www.theonlyt.com/)- bone setup tutorial (http://www.theonlyt.com/Main/Tutorials/Face/face.htm) he has on his site... which he said he developed from someone on the forums.

Hi Mark,

I like Jason Osipa's setup. It looks very cool and flexible. I have his book too. For my own stuff, I bascially use blendshapes or morph targets. Nothing special. I've never tried using bones for the face yet. I should try it out to see if I like it.

On Matrix Reloaded, they used a type of photogrammetry to capture the actor's faces and motion. So I really didn't do any face animation for that.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 08:48 PM
Just wanted to say that your DVD is by far the best animation DVD I've ever seen and it's a one of a kind gem. Good luck in your future endeavors and keep breaking those glass ceilings. BTW, consider releasing another animation DVD of some sort...I'll defintely buy that too!

Hi Anthony,

Thanks! I'm not planning anymore DVD's currently. That last one I made was a doozey! Right now it's all about the Bean...

Jeff

Hexodam
08-09-2005, 09:28 PM
Hi Jeff,
Dont think I have any questions just want to thank you on your excellent dvd and after reading your reaplies so far I must say you are an inspiration for us all :)

DaddyMack
08-09-2005, 09:31 PM
Hi Anthony,

Thanks! I'm not planning anymore DVD's currently. That last one I made was a doozey! Right now it's all about the Bean...

Jeff

Great to see you here Jeff good sir... You are one of the main reasons I first got into animation back in 99, so thanks you legend! Congrats on the great anim dvd too mate:thumbsup:

The return of the almighty BEAN will undoubtedly herald a new wave of hype surrounding your skills and name... Good luck!

My only real question for you is - With all you've learned... What advice (Do's & Donts) would you give to artists developing their own shorts in 3d?

Thanks for everything Jeff:bowdown:

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 10:20 PM
hi there ,when your reviewing your own shot or sequence do you have a checklist or something that you ask yourself to make sure you've covered all your bases?
thanks Ari

p.s

i was ofcourse reffering too the shot or sequence in the previous line of questioning in regards to the 'all your bases' comment

Hi Ari,

I don't really have an actual checklist of things. When reviewing my own animations, I basically look to see if it looks real or fake to me, like "wait, that guy is too heavy to move like that" or "how the hell can he do that?" I don't really say, "oh that needs more anticipation"

But I will say that to animators that I'm supervising to clarify what I want them to do. I'll say things like, "on frame 58, arc his back even more, and then hold the pose a bit longer to make it more noticeable." or "move the head first then the body, to make him more attentive." I tend to think that giving direction to the animator is much clearer that way rather than saying hit him harder or something like that. You could say "hit him harder" 20 times and they still won't animate it correctly. That's directing for a result. Sometimes it's more efficient to give them animatable tasks. But that can backfire too, cause that takes them out of the moment. It's best to say what you are after and then suggestions on how to do it.

But for my own stuff, I just go with what I'm feeling.

Jeff

FabioMSilva
08-09-2005, 10:31 PM
hey thanx for awsering Jeff :)

just to awnser your question- FF7 Advent Children release is only 35 days ahead! stay tunned!:thumbsup:

and i'm looking forward to c Bean again.

cheers

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 10:37 PM
I also started in one direction and decided to get into animation. Do you feel that now that you've made the switch from engineering that you've found what you want? Do you find the Career aspect of animation to be just as tedious as engineering?

Hi Tevi,

Well, i've never actually worked as an engineer, and college and work don't really compare. But I can say animation or any CG job can be very tedious. If your job entails doing things like cleaning mocap or cleaning polygon meshes, or 2d rotoscoping, that's all very tedious stuff. But on the other hand it is also very rewarding, because you see your work and name on the big screen.

When I was early on in my career, I was pretty excited about it and had lots of energy. Later on, after some years, it's just a job really. You still need to take vacations to get away from it. And you still groan about waking up in the morning to go to work. But if you like what you are doing, it makes it that much easier.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-09-2005, 10:49 PM
I just wanted to say that "Killer Bean 2" was one of my first short movies i'v seen when i only started learning CG and i liked it a lot. The moment when the bad bean falls/dies and at that time sees his all life, the moment when he sits on the toilet was so funny, great stuff.

Hi Astahov,

I actually made the entire flashback scene so I can put a shot of him sitting on the toilet. The idea made me laugh so I put it in.

I was wondering when the 3rd part would be out ? Are you constantly working on it or due to your real life work you're lacking spare time for it ?

Yes, I'm constantly working on it. I have no completion date, but I do have my own deadline that I want to hit. Figuring out a schedule is very difficult. I can say out of all the months I've been working on it so far, I've only been on schedule for one month. The rest, I've always missed my mini deadlines.

I didn't know you were also involved in such project as "Matrix Realoded" and as i understand you were using AM for the animation but i thought that mostly Maya was used for the movie. If so did you have any problems working with the team using different applications ?

I've actually been using Maya since Beta 3 on the Spiderman ride. Before that I never used Maya, but the transition from AM to Maya was quite easy. Took me 2 weeks to learn how to animate in Maya. I've never used AM in any studio production. Animation tools are basically the same in most 3D packages. You just need to find where all the menu buttons are.

Jeff

dcmoutinho
08-09-2005, 11:44 PM
i loved the DVD, it's great !!!:thumbsup:

micrypt
08-10-2005, 12:12 AM
:bowdown: :bowdown: :applause: :applause: :bowdown: :bowdown: Love your work!!

Got your DVD, what other app has the most similar toolset with animation master?

markovicd
08-10-2005, 12:18 AM
why didn`t u answer my question ? :( ... i am just boy trying to becoome animator... :(

maxon
08-10-2005, 12:27 AM
Hello mr. Lew

My question is about backup. Mostly what comes to the personal material of the KB3.

I'm pretty sure you already have several gigabytes of work-in-progress-material of that film that you sure wouldn't remake if it all somehow gets lost by an accident. So what's your method of keeping it safe?

I remember the unfortunate accident that happened to our beloved Keith Lango, if you know what I'm talking about. Now none of his fans will ever see the masterful short film "The Secret Joys of Myopia" we all waited sooooo long for :sad: Make sure you don't do the same mistake with KB3, please. Make dozens and dozens of backup-DVDs. Hide them everyplace in your house and keep a couple of those in the trainstation's locker whynot. I mean, you wouldn't want to be responsible of dozens of suicides going around because of the death of another phenomenal source of inspiration would you?

Thanks and all the best,
Manu Järvinen

cabertevon
08-10-2005, 12:44 AM
As for my original beans, I didn't really have any concept drawings for them. For my next Killer Bean, I subcontracted some character designers to help me out. Primarily Von Caberte, you may know him from the CG talk forums. He helped me design my newest main characters.

Jeff


Hi Jeff.



I am very happy seeing you as current featured artist here on Q&A.



For me, it was such a great opportunity to design the newest KB3 main characters and KB’s new car. I really felt honored and privileged.



Since last year the name Killer Bean and Jeff Lew became domestically popular here, my two kids are asking that would there be a Killer Bean video game.



Again, thank you very much.



Good luck and God speed.



cabertevon

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 01:13 AM
Ho Ho! Jeff, you are! It's incredible... I remember when I'd seen Reloaded, the Burly Browl, when I think...."No one made a fighting like this since now"...And now you are here!!!
I must to say that there's a bit of frames where clothes look a bit strange, like when Neo jump over the Smiths near the end...But it's fantastic! Wow!
Just a little question... What is the approach with an animation work with so much elements...
I think that anyone work on singles objects and then they're joined... What is the setup of this, and on what processor a so complex scene is rendered...???

Hi Francesco,

Wow, that is a big question. Of course we had to develop a big pipeline early on in production. Before real production we did a proof of concept animation of the burly brawl. The choreography was different, I actually thought the choreography was better in the proof of concept. Anyways, we knew there would be about 100 Smiths in a single shot. And some shots were really long. The plan was to mocap groups of mocap actors (the max was 8 at a time) We had them do different things, like jumping over park benches, circling the action, running and stopping, pretending they got knocked over by a flying smith that Neo kicked. There was a huge library and we got many takes. Each take could then be grouped with other takes to make one massive take.

Anyways, I think Spectrum did the mocap clean up and they delivered it to us, where we cataloged and categorized them so we can pull from a library of moves later on to fill the shots.

The primary choreography with Neo was choreographed by Wu Ping (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) He choreographed a huge fight scene with his stunt team and then chopped it up so that it could be captured with 8 guys at a time. So then we used Filmbox to glue all the takes together (Neo + 7 smiths at a time.) With that, we prevised out the camera moves and the shots that the Wachowski's wanted. Plus we prevised out the smiths that were not captured and were to be done by hand.

So I think we spent 6 months prevising it out and then the Wachowski's wanted to change a lot of the fight. Man, that sucked. By then the Hong Kong stunt team was gone and we had to chop and stich pieces together that weren't meant to go together. That's where i came in to animate Neo where we didn't have anything for.

So anyways, when we got the new vis done, we first paid attention to all the Smiths who actually touched Neo. If they didn't touch him, we didn't care about them and left them out of the scene. We did what Gaeta and the Wachowski's wanted with the smiths and then after that, we finally populized the scene with background smiths.

Oh man, i just remembered that we had to clean a lot of the action, so that no smith actually penetrated with another, cause then the cloth sim wouldn't work. Anyways, what a pain. Once animation was checked on the high res models and approved, it was passed off to the cloth department to put clothes on them. I don't know much about what went of there. Then they were passed to color and lighting for image based lighting.

Oh yeah, we had a facial expression library to, to pick facial acting that fit the scene. It was all the photogrammetry stuff we recorded from the actors. Also, all the hands were animated, because we didn't mocap them.

That's basically the process. For computers, we all had Dell's. I had a dual Xeon 2.8 I think with 2 gigs ram. Not much different than home computers. And those scenes we worked on were dog slow!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 01:17 AM
Ho Ho! Jeff, you are! It's incredible... I remember when I'd seen Reloaded, the Burly Browl, when I think...."No one made a fighting like this since now"...And now you are here!!!
I must to say that there's a bit of frames where clothes look a bit strange, like when Neo jump over the Smiths near the end...But it's fantastic! Wow!
Just a little question... What is the approach with an animation work with so much elements...
I think that anyone work on singles objects and then they're joined... What is the setup of this, and on what processor a so complex scene is rendered...???

Hi Pingcg,

I think imagination is just as important if you want to be an action animator. Knowing martial arts really helps in animating the move correctly, but imagination helps when choreographing your scene.

Yes, I'm Chinese, but I forgot my Chinese name! I am so ashamed :( I'll have to ask my mom.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 01:27 AM
You are a self trained animator (I am too). I was wondering if you think you should have taken classes teaching you Maya or Softimage. Do you think it would have helped you out and if so, do you think that those who do have an advantage over those who study on their own?

Hi David,

Actually no. Learning Maya you can definitely do on your own from reading books and manuals. I don't think there's any great advantage from people learning Maya from a class and people who read books on Maya. Learning software is pretty straight forward. It's learning your craft that is the hard part, like animation, modeling, texturing, lighting, etc.

What do you think of the state of the industry today? Are you concerned about jobs being done in the UK, India, and New Zealand?

I think the industry is becoming saturated because there are so many more applicants now. I'm not really concerned about jobs being done over seas. Someone's gotta do em, right? I think it's great for the artists in those countries to finally start a career in CG in their own country and not have to move. I don't really think it will affect over here that much. Companies have to learn how to adapt to new markets.

Do you see the larger animation and effects studios downsizing to function more like the smaller boutique studios?

Well, it depends on who you are. Dreamworks and Pixar probably won't downsize, but grow bigger. But I see other studios probably adopt the short term contract deal with employees, so they can axe them after the project is done. I think people in the industry is used to that, especially in LA.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 01:43 AM
What has been your toughest assignment in animation so far? Maybe not the most technical, but the one that gave you the most "trouble"?

Hi Floyd,

It has to be the Neo pole fighting shots. Those were ridiculous. Man, where do I begin. First Keanu Reeves was mocapped performing those moves with the pole. His stunt double was also mocapped. We tried to use Keanu's motions as much as possible, but sometimes it wasn't possible. Also, the pole was mocapped. BUT, the hands and fingers were not for obvious reasons.

Now my job was to hand animate the parts that couldn't possibly be mocapped or looked like crap in the mocap session. Then I had to blend that with the rest of the mocap choreography. Then I had to make the pole actually fit inside the CG Neo's hands and also make sure the pole actually hit the smith. In the mocap sessions, of course they never actually hit each other.

The hardest shots were the ones where Neo twirled the pole all over and behind his back. I had to be able to go from mocapped pole to hand animated pole and back. I also had to worry about all the gimbal locking that went on in such a long shot. I think one shot, i animated like 5 different poles and drove one master pole by all 5. Also, the hands and fingers I think I keyframed every single frame on some shots, which is NOT the way you want to go when the director makes changes. But it had to be done in some cases. I hated that stuff.

Now that you've got so much animation behind you, what would you change, if anything, about the first "Killer Bean" film?

My first one? You mean the one where Killer Bean is a red jelly bean? I don't know if I would change anything really. When I call something finished, I like to move on and start something new. Or else, you would basically never finish anything. I actually like the classic, phong shaded, dopey voiced, 1 light render of it, haha. Plus leaving your old stuff as it is, you can better gauge your development as the years go by. It's nastalgic too.

Jeff

Gord-MacDonald
08-10-2005, 02:06 AM
Hi Jeff

First of all, thanks for developing your terriffic Animation DVD - the best course on cg animation out there (I have watched it many, many times - it is still informative and also totally entertaining,). I loved Killer Bean2 (I guess there are lots of people out there sharing my sentiments on both of these points).

Just a few questions:

1)

After the success of 'killer bean 2', how did you proceed - did the phone just start ringing off of the hook, or did you have to make the rounds? What type of process did you go through to assess opportunities which came your way? How did you prepare yourself for making deals with the big studios?


2)

what tools will you use for future personal projects, do you still use Animation Master at all?

Thank you for your time


Cheers
Gord

bawhabmw
08-10-2005, 02:20 AM
Jeff,

Just wanted to congratulate you on your past and continued success, not only in your career but with your great dvds as well. You are an inspiration and a great help to so many aspiring animators. Please keep it up and thanks for giving some of your time to critique works.

|Benno

southparx
08-10-2005, 03:19 AM
hi Jeff,

just wanna say Thank you so much for putting up the DVD, without it i wouldn't be able to get my final project done as well as it was... back then our class didn't get character animation taught well by the lecturer and your DVD opened my eyes to how the pro's animate...

anyways All the best to you Jeff, and hope to see more cool stuff coming :buttrock:

cookepuss
08-10-2005, 05:08 AM
Oops... Double Post. :p

cookepuss
08-10-2005, 05:14 AM
Hi Jeff.

Glad to see you here. I'll forego the requisite praise & kudos, as I'm sure you're soooo sick of it by now. (Yeah, right. ;)) Anyway, here are my Qs.

Q: We've all seen your work in such films as the Maxtrix Reloaded.. In many instances, we've analyzed, criticized, and otherwise torn apart each scene frame by frame. My question then becomes, "What animations would you redo if given the chance?" I'm pretty sure that the artist in you must slap his forehead every now and then and say, "If only I could've done 'x' instead of 'y'."

Q: Technology can be a good thing. It can actually further the creative process, as making a CG artist's life easier is never a bad thing. On the other hand, not only can upgrade-itis be perceived as potentially dangerous, annual upgrades can handily keep artists from mastering features already there. With SIGGRAPH 2K5 now history and nearly every major software developer announcing a new version, what's your position on software upgrades?

Q: This is sort of a two pronged question. I know that you're a strong believer in the power of short films and animation in general. Granted, with unlimited time & money, just about anything can be accomplished. What's your opinion on the Timothy Albee notion of a so-called "micro studio?" Is there some grain of wisdom to the notion of indie CG films can prosper/profit or is removing specialists from the pipeline ultimately impossible, if not unwise?

Q: Here's a nice fluff question to break the mood. Apart from your own work, what's your favorite CG short?

Q: This is a little tongue in cheek. Your DVD has been out for a while. Do you stand by the assertion that artists aren't necessarily expected to be smart? (I think you said something to that effect with regards to your discussion of Euler.) I'm sure that comment must've come back to haunt you at least once. :)

Q: CG on television has, by and large, failed to capture the hearts and weekly ratings of primetime viewers. Why is that? Is it the long production cycles, the money, or the fact that CG as an artform is still so young? Some combination of the three? Will we ever see the CG equivalent of the Simpsons, a TV show which has endured for nearly 2 decades?

Q: For every "Incredibles" or "Final Fantasy", there are three or four more "Monsters Inc"s or "Ice Age"s. We all know the technical reasons behind choosing talking fish over fully animated humans. Anthropomorphization. Good or Bad for the CG industry?

Q: Currently, there's a sort of stigma attached to CG and animation in general. The general consenus is that CG is used for either kiddy/family movies like Finding Nemo or whiz-bang effects in like in Star Wars. Are CG movies forever doomed to being "just cartoons" or is there a future for more mature, adult oriented CG presentations in the vein of "Akira" or even "The Family Guy"? Basically, are we as an industry locked into the Pixar/Disney way of telling a story on the big screen just because its a proven money maker?


I've got a dozen or so other questions floating in my noggin. I'll stop at these though.

~~Rob~~

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 05:26 AM
hi mr jeff I really admire you and your work killer bean 2 and I saw this short 2 years ago. But in 2 years my level does not grow in 3d modeling and animation so can you tell me please what to do and what the important areas in the field that I have to master.

Hi abdulrhman,

That's a big quesiton. To tell you what to do for modeling and animation, I would have to write a book here. A good place to start is really look around for free tutorials on the web. There are tons of good modeling tutorials on the web. As for animation, you can start by reading the key books, like "Illusion of Life" and "Animator's Survival Kit" Get to know the principles. Animation is a much different beast than modeling. If you want to focus on animation, practice with very simple models, like a ball or a squishy box. Don't try character animation right away. It'll be too complex.

There are many important areas to master. It depends on what you want to do. If you want to make your own animations, you would have to learn all aspects like modeling, lighting, animation, rendering, texturing. But if you want to work in studios then you can focus on one of those aspects and get really good at it.

Try posting examples of your work on CGtalk and ask for critique. People will try to help you out.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 05:46 AM
hi jeff... i am 18 years old and my name is Darko ;). I started doing 3d 1.5 year ago ... and now i am skipping mainly to animation , i wanna become character animator... but i don`t know where to start , what to do?
i have your DVD it is awsome...

Hi Darko,

Animating balls is a good place to start. You can practice many animation principles with a simple ball. Try going through the principles on my DVD by animating a simple ball. The point of using a ball is to understand the principle.

Other good things to do is really understand the graph editor. With a simple ball, try experimenting with the motion curve, like smooth it out, make it steeper, or make it flat and see what it does to the motion of the ball. Understanding how the graph editor works is pivotal in good character animation.

After going through excercises with a ball, try 3 balls in a chain. Try excercises like follow through. For this, it might be best to parent the 3 balls under 3 bones in a hierarchy, like a tail or spine. You can practice motions that are like the spine of a character or an arm or leg. After you get used to that, then move on to a full character!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 05:54 AM
1) Since you have had great projects to work on both realistic and cartoon what are the major differences or obsticles you face when dealing with each of these styles?.

Hi Jason,

I think the main difference between the two is that for cartoony you have to establish a style of animation. For realistic, you don't. It just has to look real. However realistic animation can be a lot harder to achieve than stylized because everyone will know when it doesn't look realistic.

2) What is the most important advice you could give a junior character animator?

No matter how good you think you are, never stop learning. Plain and simple.

3) What movie or animated scene influenced you the most to become a character animator?

I was really amazed by the T1000 in Terminator 2. Especially when he came out of the floor. And of course, who wasn't astounded by Jurassic Park?

4) What is the most significant animated movie that revolutionized animation?

Toy Story. Hands down.

Jeff

crbinu
08-10-2005, 08:26 AM
Could you pls tell, for how many years you 've been in animation field? which is your favourite 3d software.?

www.toonbird.com (http://www.toonbird.com)

Gangstashers
08-10-2005, 11:09 AM
Hey Jeff


How are you?!

You know that YOU are the one who actuly brought the intrest into me to go into the CG field?! All because of the Killer bean 2, but not only that also beacuse of your forum. Cauze in the i remember Getave, en alot of other people who realy helped newbies who got inspired by your animation to move on into CG direction. Man i miss those days!

I always wonderd when you would hit the CG talk Q & A.
Evrytime when people ask me ''Sher since when do you do CG?'' I said since i saw killer bean 2! It all began there if it wasen't for Killer Bean 2 and the forum, i wouldent be here at the moment.

So THX ALOT JEFF! Your my real HERO!

I had a few questions tough...

You wanted to become a Film Director, i also wanted to become a film director i started doing CG so i could put my own Visual Effects into my little shorts, but after a while i did so much CG i taught i wanted to become a CG artist like you.

But you realy have name now, since i don't know alot about the industry, is it not easy to actuly make your own script and stuff, and finde a good producer and direct your own movies?!

Do you still whant to become a Film director?!

And if not why?!

What do you think is the best way to become a film director? Or atleast make it in the buissnes?

Is it realy hard to get into the CG field? What is the best way to get a job for a comercial, i mean you did not just sit down on your pc and animate something and go to sleep, you prolly put some things on the internet like a mini demoreel or something?

And waay back i remember on the forum the Killer bean 3 Breakdance sequence! Is killer Bean going to come out soon?! Can you tell uss a bit about Killer bean 3?


Thanks alot Jeff i swear your the one who realy inspired me! If it wasent for Killer Bean 2 and the Forum, man i would have missed this!

Thank you for giving me this opertuinity! Even tough i'm thanking you after 2 years or such :scream:!



Sheherryar Javaid

ynvamsi
08-10-2005, 01:16 PM
Hi Jeff,

I have your DVD, It's awesome.I love your work. NO Questions for u.

I am enjoying u r answers.

MasterZap
08-10-2005, 01:24 PM
Fantastic job on animating the neo's and smith's in mx.reloaded, but, I must ask you; who did the rigging?

You see, I have a bit of an emotional problem with the neo/smith rigging on matrix:reloaded, especially shoulders. The animation is good, the rendering is fine, but the movement of where arms pivot around shoulders, and where heads pivot around necks, breaks the illusion for me. Do you agree?

Also on the Burly Brawl, how much is procedural anim, how much is hand-animated?

/Z

MrJames
08-10-2005, 02:03 PM
Hi Jeff,

First off I would like to say a big thank you for taking the time out to talk to us on the board. I've just watched the first of your DVD's and it was really informative, your work is really inspiring. I'm sure your a busy man so i'll keep it to two questions instead of a hundred ;).

Last October I started a degree in animation, although the degree focuses on Animation it doesn't neglect the other areas; modelling, rendering etc.

The problem I'm having at the moment is what area to go in and what a junior position will be looking for from a graduate? At the moment I've been learning a bit of everything and enjoy it all. I understand that the best way and the most effective way to learn is to specialise in one area, but I feel reluctant to do so since I want to progress in all areas. When I finish my degree in two years I'm sure I'll have a better idea of what I would like to specialise in but at the moment its a hard decision to make and I don't want to pigeon hole myself. I think, for me, the most important thing is getting into the industry as soon as I can once I finish university. So, as far as Junior positions go, do you think the industry is looking for all rounders or specialists in animation, modelling etc... I'm pretty confused :cry: any help would be great.

Also, what kind of standard to most companies expect a Junior showreel to be to have a seious chance of getting an interview if not the job.

Thanks in advance m8, and all the best in the future, oh and thanks for the DVD's :cool:

rafaelrubio
08-10-2005, 03:32 PM
Hi Jeff! how Are you!

First of all, thanks a lot for dedicating your time in help us in our questions. Second, congratulate for your excellent work, i'm excited waiting for the third part of Killer Bean.

Some of my question:

1. What do you think about the book: "The Illusion Of Life"?

2. In this section, Victor Navone, said: in Pixar, one animator, makes about 4 seconds of animation in a week, what do you think about? the same thing happens in other studios that you had worked in?

3. animating arms, what do you prefer, IK or FK? Or you select one in that case or in that else?

4. The work in Matrix, is fantastic, specially the fights between Neo and Agent Smith. Do you think that is the best digital fight seen in film?

5. What animated film isbest animated film for you? I'm asking about all animation film in Animation history.


Thanks a lot again, Jeff, and regards from spain friend! Thank you very much!:bounce:

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 06:38 PM
Anyway my question is, What advice would you give to a 15 year old animator wanting to get into the game or film industry when he has finshed school? I already animate for mods for half life 2 to build up my portfolio and i plan on going to uni. I just wondered what advice would you give me at this stage of my life.

Hi Ben,

Well, the good news is that you already figured out what you want to do as a career at such a young age. For the next 3 years before you graduate, I think you should really focus on making yourself special. What I mean by that is really focus on one aspect of CG (which it sounds like you already are: animation) First dabble in all aspects enough to get by on your own, and then really sit down and dig into animation.

There is a lot of competition out there. A lot of people know how to use software. A lot of people can be well rounded in many aspects. But to be special and stand out in a crowd, you need to be really good in one aspect. It doesn't matter if you want to specialize in animation, modeling, texturing, matte painting, concept design. If you become really good in one area, you will stand out in a crowd.

So for animation, start reading the foundation books like Illusion of Life. Learn how to animate in the software of your choice. Study the animated films out there. Learn how your body moves. Get into some acting. Then just really go at it. Practice makes perfect. Animation, like any other field in CG, is a skill and you really need to practice at it to be better.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 07:14 PM
1-For movies like MAtrix reloaded or Xmen (i mean the Realstic movements),how many Frames per day do you animate??? (or what is the average time in Hollywood studios,if there are any)

Hi Reza,

I think that's where working on visual FX and working on an animated film is different. For visual FX, I've never had to meet a certain quota of seconds per day. Usually they say you have x amount of time to animate this shot. If you finish early then great, you move on to another shot. But if you don't finish in time, some other animator will have to pick up one of your shots assigned to you, or you stay late to get it done. But in most cases, shots get reassigned. Plus if you go over a certain amount of time on a certain shot, producers will remeber that and not give you the cooler shots next time. They'll give you simple shots.

Also, each visual FX shot is different. Some shots are so complex that it may take a month to do. But some are easy enough to get done in 1 day or half a week.

The way it works is, for a studio to get a certain FX shot or project, they need to come up with a budget to bid to the movie studio. The way you come up with a budget is, a producer sits down and says, okay, I think I need 1 modeler, 2 animators, 1 lighter, and 1 compositor. They will usually bid high to pad any overtime, so say they bid $5,000 a week per person working on a shot. They will also ask the production leads how much time they think it will take for them to accomplish what the movie studio wants. An animator might say, it'll take me and my team 3 weeks to do this. Then you multiply $5K times the amount of people and amount of weeks to get your bidding budget. Now keep in mind, no animator is paid $5K a week. The VFX studio has to charge the animator's salary plus overhead to pay for the operating costs of the studio. Really tricky stuff. If you underbid to get the job, you lose money. If you overbid, you may not get the job.

Anyways, but yeah, so VFX studios usually budget for the amount of time it takes an animator to finish a shot.

2-For same Realistick Projects,do You animate all the caracters in a scene??? like what Pixar peoples do???and is this methode Diffrent in diffrent studioes???

I think it is different in different studios. On Matrix Reloaded, i took care of most Neo and primary Smith action. Other animators took care of background Smith action. It really depends on how many characters are in the shot. If there are a couple, then yes, usually animators will do the entire shot. But if there is a lot, then it gets divided up.

3-what are the presures and stresses (if there are any) of Working on High Budjet Hollywood movies???

I think most of the stress and pressure comes when you have to perform and get it right in a limited amount of time. Like when people are on set, they really have to perform well, because a lot of money is spent when you have the entire crew and cast there, and if people are waiting on you, money is burning.

But in post production, animators aren't usually stressed out, because they are usually in the front of the production pipeline. People at the end, like compositors and lighters may tend to get stressed cause they have to hit the deadline.

The only time I was stressed was when I had to do interactive previs with the VFX supervisor and the directors. The scene I was working on took like 15 mins to load and I had it all set up before the directors came. Then in the middle of the session, Maya crashed and I had to reload, and they were just looking at me like 'what the hell is going on?'. That was pretty stressful.

You're only stressed when things don't go the way you want them too.

4-was there any deadlines for that CompleX shots on Matrix reloaded???i mean there are always some Unexpected problems....do they make U guys under some presures to finish them ontime or was The Quality more important for them???

Quality was definitely important. But we had 2 years on a 2 minute CG sequence. Then Matrix Reloaded got pushed back for it's premiere date and we added 6 more months to our deadline. Animators don't usually get stressed toward the deadline, unless someone requests a change before the render goes out.

5-again for realstic animates,,are The main animatores involved in the Setup/rigging part???or its done by other teams????

Big studios usually have a seperate rigging department. But I like to get involved in the rigging, because I like to provide input in what I want in the rigs to make the animator's life easier. And on a shot per shot basis, I would add rigs ontop of the rigs they give us for certain situations. For example the Neo pole fighting shots, I added special rigs to help me do what the shot called for.

6-you more like to animate Cartooni style or realstick movements????

I like both.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 07:53 PM
1. How is your progress going on KB3? I remember that break dancing test you made a while ago with KB doing a headspin on a table while shooting up the bad guys. Will you still use that scene in KB3?

Hey joey3d! What's up dude!

Nope, everything I've shown for KB3 in the past is now trash. None of that will be used. I think I had like a 1 min sequence done too. But everything is rebuilt from the ground up. So far, I think it's been like 1 year and 9 months. I have a lot done. Script, previs, modeling, pipeline, voice acting is all done. I'm using professional actors now. Right now I get into the meat of production and really pound out the shots. Script and previs wise took longer than expected because I had to make a few story changes after some test screenings. And really, for big projects, you need to nail down the script and previs before doing any real production.

2. Do u think that u will ever go back to working at studios? or do u want to just focus on personal stuff from now on like your training dvd and KB3, etc?

Well, as you can see from my previous posts, studio work is absolutley grueling, epscially for big projects. Since I left, I haven't really missed it. I've been quite happy working on my own stuff. We'll see though. I never know what I'm doing 3 months from now.

The KB forum that you used to have was the very first online forum i ever joined. Animation Master was the first 3d program i used back in 2000 when i first got started in CG. Both you and Victor Navone at that time pretty much put AM on the map, and you guys were my first big CG influences. I now work full time on video game cinematics, and i want to thank you for influencing me early on when i first saw KB2. I use maya at work, and I kinda miss using AM. I was wondering if u still prefer AM over other programs you've used? Oh, I also bought your dvd when you first released it on your website, back when u still had your forum. Great stuff, you animate so efficiently on that dvd. Alright, enough praise, I know yer sick of it by now, hehe..

Wow, that's awesome you're working in game cinematics now! Sounds like a lot of fun. What game? Yeah, I usually hear Victor Navone's name and my name in the same sentence. Why is that? :) I actually got to meet him once a couple years ago. He seems like a great guy. Great animator.

I use Maya now for all my needs. I haven't used AM in a while.

Good to hear from you,
Jeff

Leeru
08-10-2005, 08:36 PM
Hi Jeff, I'm a big fan of your work. I have a quick question, I'm assuming you are animating Killer Bean 3 using Animation Master... What changes in the program from the version you used to make Killer Bean 2 to the current version have you found helpful or exciting?

Whoops - Sorry I just read that you are using Maya... How do you find Maya now compared to A:M back when you used it for Killer Bean 2 - It what ways does it make your job easier and/or more fun?

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 08:42 PM
Jeff,

I know you're skilled on many 3D programs, but which do you feel more comfortable with?

Hi Steven,

Currently I feel most comfortable with Maya. I've been using it for many years.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 09:06 PM
1) For the people who plan to take same path as you, how would you advice them, any warnings or stuff

Hi Warsame, M,

Hmm, man, I don't think my path was really planned out from the beginning. It's been riddled with luck and good timing. But I can tell you what I've learned from working my way up.

Okay, you all know the advice on how to get a job. It's been posted hundreds of times here on CGtalk. Here's some advice on advancing in the workplace. The first three months of when you start your job is the most critical. You need to prove your worth. You need to make a strong impression on your employers that you're worth what they are paying you. Know your stuff inside and out. But that doesn't mean to step on anyone's toes. Nobody likes a hot shot rookie. You will turn off almost every veteran worker in the company, and if you appear like a know it all, your name will float around to other studios. This industry is too small. CG artists are like spores, they spread from one company to another. Chances are you will work with ex coworkers time and time again.

So okay, for the first 3 months, work your ass off and prove that they made the right decision on hiring you. After that, then you can start suggesting ideas, whether it's workflow ideas or even story ideas. Never go off and do your own thing, unless you have already accomplished what your supervisor wants first. Then on your spare time at work, you can try out your new ideas and present them to your supervisor or director. They may like it, they may not. Don't get pissed if they don't like it. But the supervisors will take notice that you are resourceful and eager to add to the production.

Okay, so now after say about 1 year to 18 months later, you find yourself not doing what you want in the company. Say for 1 year you've been cleaning back plates or something and you want to get into real compositing. If your supervisors haven't suggest anything about you learning new things to move up in position, then ask them like, "hey, can I learn this after hours and maybe help you out" Or "do you have anything you want me to do, I feel pretty good in Shake right now" etc. If you've been doing good work so far, supervisors will usually feel confident enough that you can do more skill jobs. But if the man still wants to keep you down and make you do all the crap work, I say F him and move on. Start looking for a new job. You got the credit and experience now. You're worth more now. Adios Muchachos!

Keep in mind, this will only work well where there are plenty of studios to jump around in, like LA or the San Francisco area. If your stuck somewhere where you're working at the only studio in the state, you might be screwed. But then you have to make life decisions to relocate across the country or to a new country. It all depends on what's important to you.

To make a long story short, there will be times where you feel like you've hit a wall at your company or in your career. Sometimes it's best to take a risk and move on. But make sure you are comfortable with taking risks.

Jeff

young_927
08-10-2005, 09:23 PM
Hello Mr. Lew

Killer Bean 2 was one of the best animated short I have seen~
it was really funny~ :)

one question I have is, are you making KB3 on your own? I mean, its everything coming out of your pocket?
Or were you able to find some people to invest on your short?

thanks~

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 09:37 PM
1. What/who inspires you?

Hi Ryan,

Music really inspires me and stories of personal triumph inspire me. It could be a completely fictional story too. But it's weird, music inspires me in weird ways. It's mostly movie scores that inspire me. When I hear a cool track by Hans Zimmer or Thomas Newman, it creates visions in my head of just random sequences that would fit really well with the song. It's crazy but music really ignites my imagination. Oh yeah, and really boring lectures inspire me, or should I say I tend to day dream the best when sitting in some really boring talk or something. Some of my best ideas come from day dreams.

2. How do you approach shots with multiple characters?

Whether it's a fight scene or dialogue scene, I animate the controlling character first and then I animate the characters who react to that character second. So say a character is punching, animate him first, then animate the guy getting hit second. It's like acting. Good actors listen to the other actor. You can see them listen. So when you animate multiple characters, you have to animate the guy they're "listening" to first or else you won't know how they'll really react.

3. What's it like working with Steve O

It was really fun. He is a really funny guy. I think the best thing about working with Steve O is that he gives you so much creative freedom. When I was working for him on Kung Pow, his mentality was that if you hire people you trust to do good work, and if you let them have the freedom to be creative, then they will do the best work for you and they will be happy doing it. Steve trusted me enough to do what I wanted with the cow choreography and I did the best I possibly could for him. Seems to work.

4. Do you ever find yourself with a bunch of animaton ideas in your head and have a hard time starting a scene?

Starting a new scene is always hard. Especially when working on a short film. It's like you just finished animating one shot to your satisfaction and then you start new one, it just seems like a huge hurdle you have to jump again. But once you get rolling and animating, you start to flow again.

5. What do you plan to do in the future...what would you like to be working on?

Well, first and foremost is to finish KB3. Then I'll see where that goes. What would I like to be working on? I dunno. My own stuff mainly. I have a lot of ideas in my head that I want to get out.

Jeff

maxon
08-10-2005, 09:42 PM
(about KB3)... So far, I think it's been like 1 year and 9 months. I have a lot done. Script, previs, modeling, pipeline, voice acting is all done. I'm using professional actors now.

Damn, this is threateningly looking like the KB3 is going to be a commercial release.

Are we going to be able to download the KB3 from your site like we could do with the KB2?

Thanks.

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 10:02 PM
1) Having worked with all aspects of creating a CG film, from concept to final render, what part of production would you say went the most smoothly?

Hi Ed,

I would have to say the final render and final edit. Because at that point everything has already been figured out. Everything before that you really have to figure out what to do and how to accomplish that.

2) What is/was the most problematic part of working on Killer Bean?

Getting it done and finding the time to do it. Probably the biggest problem for anyone who is making their on animation.

3) What kind of computing power have you had at your disposal for each episode of Killer Bean, and how has it affected your working methods?

For Killer Bean 1, I had a Pentium 90 with 32 megs ram. For KB2, I had an Athlon 750 and a Pentium II 400 with like 128 megs ram I think. For KB3, I just upgraded to an Athlon 64 X2 with 4 gigs ram. Plus I have a small farm of 3 computers for rendering. My working methods are a lot more organized now. But that's not because of the computers. It's mainly due to the software and my experience in the field.

4) As a self-taught CG animator, how long did it take you to learn what you needed to create the first Killer Bean short, and what was the toughest to learn?

Well, the first Killer Bean short was really my learning short. I learned everyday from making that short. That one took about 5 months. The toughest to learn was how to animate.

5) What advice would you give to someone who is considering creating a short film of their own?

Preproduction, Preproduction, Preproduction. You must spend the time for good preproduction. If you don't nail out a script that you like and a good previs and concepts, you will lose time and money when you go into actual CG production. Ideally you don't want to change anything about your story when you enter actual production.

For KB2, I had no preproduction. That's why it took 3 years. KB2 was very organic. I animated everything sequentially. I had no idea how i wanted it to end or where KB was going. But back then, I didn't know much about the values of preproduction.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 10:11 PM
Jeff Lew, long time no chat! What you been up to man?

Where are you working these days? Or are you fulltime on your short ?

I heard a rumor Steve O is working on Kung Pow 2, are you going to be involved in that project?

Hey George! Another blast from the past!

Currently, I'm working on KB3. Fulltime? I guess I can say fulltime. I have to pick up odds and ends jobs to support myself though.

I read about Kung Pow 2 a while ago. I don't know if he's actually in production for it. Nope, not involved, although it would be fun.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 10:17 PM
Hi Jeff, just this: when is killer bean 3? :)

Hi Ila,

I have no set release date yet. I do have my own personal deadline, but it will be a while from now.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-10-2005, 10:34 PM
1. Do you feel that the animation industry is headed more towards realism and creature work as opposed to the pixar cartoony believable style? not to be prejudice or anything but from what i see at least , most movies and projects are realistic or creature work and they focus on the full body mechanics and motions as opposed to the closeup acting and lipsyncs.. i see more work being done and more opportunities in realistic visual effects for character animators than the more cartoony stuff.

Hi Julian,

Well, I dunno. I don't think the animation industry is really headed to one direction or the other. I think it's still going to do what it's doing right now and branch off into all areas. The VFX industry is cyclical. Right now we're coming off the Lord of the Rings wave. About 10 years ago, it was the Independance Day wave, meaning a lot of other similar movies came out to try to capture the success of those big movies. But right now animated features are booming. I don't know how long that will last, but there's sure to be plenty of demand for animators for animated features.

2. What do you look for in considering a candidate for a character animation reel? and how long do you think a reel should go for? 3 min max? 2 min max?

3 min is a good length. I think 5 min should be complete max. If you want to put 15 mins of stuff, don't. Less than 2 min might be on the short side. It may make the recruiter think that you don't have enough credits to fill your reel.

And of course, like everyone says, best stuff first. Make sure you describe on paper what you did in the shots you have on your reel. Don't just put the Jurassic Park T-Rex on there. Recruiters won't know exactly what you did on the shot.

For good candidates in VFX, I look for experience and talent first. Why experience? Well someone may be extemely talented but totally mess up our directory system or not work well with the production team. Studios like people from other studios. Sometimes they steal them.

After experience and talent, I look for raw talent. After talent, I look for potential. Meaning, does the person have what it takes to get better and become an asset to the studio.

3. I have heard this from a few sources but do you believe that there are more opportunities for work ( for a character animator ) in video games as opposed to film?

I'm not sure. I don't know much about the gaming industry. But I have to say, not every movie needs a character animator. So sometimes you will have trouble finding a job.

Jeff

Manta
08-11-2005, 12:15 AM
Hi Jeff, thank you so much for your answers.

-Beside the 'Killer Bean' series, which are your prefered animated shorfilms?
-Are you still using Animation Master in the KB3 production?

Remi
08-11-2005, 01:11 AM
Hey...thanks for answering my questions:)

jeffbm
08-11-2005, 03:28 AM
Hi Jeff,

I'm a newbie. I stumbled upon A:M in January '05. No prior CG experience. Now, I'm posessed with ideas to turn into shorts. I got your DVD and Anzovin's Quickstart... very helpful... thanks!

My question is: Since I am using A:M to tackle shorts, are there any other programs that I should put on my grocery list? Hash claims that A:M is an all in one. How true?

Best Wishes,
Jeffrey B. Muhammad

LuckyDevil
08-11-2005, 03:39 AM
Hi Jeff, Wow, you are the reson why im trying to get in the industry....ever since i saw killerbean 2 at a anime convention, since then ive been really working hard into getting in the industry. anyway most of the questions that i planed on askin have already been asked, so i just got one question

What do you do whenever you get stomped or have a brainfart on something(cause it happens to me alot) just wondering on any advice to have when this happens.

thx for taking time and doing this man...i know everyon here appriciates it so much.

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 04:26 AM
its really aprreciable and i dnt even hav words of compliments to greet you for the marvelous work u have done ....u r the true enterprenuer in my eyes ....i love to see your work .....hey man you are one who is a inspiration to every guy in the animation field ....your work really deserves extrvagancy ....i am your great fan ...my name is girish n i have completed my btech(engineering) in information technology ..but i believe i can do a much lot in animation field ...also along with my engineering i hav done animation course ...i hav done soft like maya ,3dsmax,photoshop,after effects ,premiere,cool edit pro , corel draw .....n i still more desire to learn in this field ...as u are a great personality in this field so i wud like to have your words as advice from your past experiences ....wat wud u like to suggest me .....kindly guide me ...i need to go to the depth ...give me some tips as to how to succed in this field ....

Hi Girish,

To succeed in the animation field, hmm, let's see. First you need discipline. Don't expect to get good overnight. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, a lot of practice and a lot of learning. Start with the fundamentals and principles. Start small, animate a bouncing ball. Learn how your body moves, learn how to act. All of what I'm telling you is just your first step in learning the art.

Now to succeed, you need to know when to take risks. You need to make the right decisions in your career path. What should you sacrifice? What should you do less of to make more time for learning animation? You need to eat, drink, and breathe animation.

Never stop learning and never think you are good enough. Stay on top of art and technology.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 04:38 AM
Just wanted to know what your impressions were of Softmage's Face Robot from SIGGRAPH and also what kinds of technological advances you would like to see in the future in regards to animation.

What software have you used (Animanium, Motionbuilder, etc) and what are some of your favorite/ most used features?

Hi Jeff,

I just saw the footage that was on softimage's website. It looks pretty nice, although I would have to see its workflow to really get a sense of how much it will help out. I really liked the new rigid body dynamics engine they put it. Looks like fun!

I've never tried Animanium or Motionbuilder. I tried Filmbox a long time ago, but never actually animated anything in it. I'm really looking forward to using full body IK in Maya 7 to see how well and easy it works. If it works well, that should speed up animating.

What I'd like to see in the future is more automation. I know a lot of hardcore animators will probably kill me for saying that, but yeah, I want to do things quicker now. I want to animate at the speed of playing a video game. I want to be able to animate a character then switch him to totally ragdoll physics, then switch him back to be animatable. I think things like Massive and full body IK are steps in the right direction. Animation is a very slow process, and when you want to tell a story or make a movie, it's a very big bottleneck.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 04:40 AM
OH my dear JEFF,forgive my poor english,but i have to speak this word loudness
you are so good man
you make me find the way of mine,(but can,t find your website)

Hi XiouyuanYI,

Here is my website: http://www.jefflew.com

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 04:42 AM
Hi Jeff,
Dont think I have any questions just want to thank you on your excellent dvd and after reading your reaplies so far I must say you are an inspiration for us all :)

Thanks Elvar!

Jeff

kylepro88
08-11-2005, 04:43 AM
What would you suggest as far as getting a mentor goes? I really need someone who can help me through the tough stuff and has experience. Any ideas as so who to ask or where?

BTW, awesome films, congradulations.

Can you estimate how long it will take for KB3 to be released?

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 04:59 AM
My only real question for you is - With all you've learned... What advice (Do's & Donts) would you give to artists developing their own shorts in 3d?

Hi Robert,

Let's see...

DO's: finalize your script before starting, economize how much you need to model, meaning if you can script everything to take place on 1 location, that is much better than 5 locations (less modeling), but don't let it affect your story quality,
make a previs (better than animatic or storyboards) of your short, test screen your previs and get advice from people, plan a good pipeline (your work flow), test a single shot in your pipeline to make sure it works from modeling and character setup to final composition, make an organized directory structure, back up weekly offline.

THEN: start your real animation. you can work linearly or non-linearly, but try to work on full scenes at a time. Treat scenes like mini shorts, edit your shots together often (it will motivate you to finish and it will let you know if you need to change anything right then), take a few days off and step back and look at your work with fresh eyes

DON'T ever give up. If you need to sacrifice quality in order to finish, then do it. As long as the story remains intact. I always tell myself a "done" project is still better than a great unfinished project.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 05:02 AM
hey thanx for awsering Jeff :)

just to awnser your question- FF7 Advent Children release is only 35 days ahead! stay tunned!:thumbsup:

and i'm looking forward to c Bean again.

Cool, the trailer looks awesome for it.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 05:21 AM
i loved the DVD, it's great !!!:thumbsup:

Thanks Daniel. I hope it helped you out!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 05:32 AM
:bowdown: :bowdown: :applause: :applause: :bowdown: :bowdown: Love your work!!

Got your DVD, what other app has the most similar toolset with animation master?

Hi Seyi,

Hmmmmmmmm.... Almost all character animation tools are the same in every 3D app, but I find Maya is quite close. Bones are a lot better in Animation Master. They're just better designed.

I haven't used Motion Builder or XSI, so I don't know about those.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 05:39 AM
why didn`t u answer my question ? :( ... i am just boy trying to becoome animator... :(

Hi Darko,

Haha, I answered your question a while back. I answer questions in order, so if I didn't answer your question, i haven't gotten to it yet.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 05:50 AM
My question is about backup. Mostly what comes to the personal material of the KB3.

I'm pretty sure you already have several gigabytes of work-in-progress-material of that film that you sure wouldn't remake if it all somehow gets lost by an accident. So what's your method of keeping it safe?

I remember the unfortunate accident that happened to our beloved Keith Lango, if you know what I'm talking about. Now none of his fans will ever see the masterful short film "The Secret Joys of Myopia" we all waited sooooo long for :sad: Make sure you don't do the same mistake with KB3, please. Make dozens and dozens of backup-DVDs. Hide them everyplace in your house and keep a couple of those in the trainstation's locker whynot. I mean, you wouldn't want to be responsible of dozens of suicides going around because of the death of another phenomenal source of inspiration would you?

Hi Manu,

I really wanted to see Keith's "The Secret Joys of Myopia" too. That was a great tragedy that it was lost. I worry everyday if I have enough backups. I try to backup every Sunday. If I do a lot of work in one day, i back up at the end of that day. I absolutely hate losing work, even if it's just an hour's worth of work. I just hate it. I hate going backwards. Everything must move forward.

I backup on DVD and I also make rar archives and spread them out on all my computers. On my new computer, (my Athlon 64 X2, ahem! :D) I don't have that connected to the internet. It is totally isolated all by itself. I need to keep that thing clean. It is purely for working on KB3.

Jeff

myfish
08-11-2005, 08:24 AM
Jeff:

I was inspired by KB2 as where countless others.

You are producing KB3, but what happens after ?

The bean must go on, it was, is a milestone in CG via the internet.
What about making the KB project open source ?
Let others animate the bean, so as to produce a series.

I've showed that KB2 short to dozens of people, and they all loved it.
I'm not detracting from your other work, but man, KB is "Jeff Lew".

Ninjamonk
08-11-2005, 09:21 AM
Hi Jeff,

Do you think 30 is to old to become an animator? I am currently in web development and have hit the wall and have been playing with 3d on and off for the last couple of years and would love a more creative job.

also have you ever considered writing a book for the computer animator like the animation survial kit? would be priceless.

Kind regards

Darren

yeoj3d
08-11-2005, 09:46 AM
Wow, that's awesome you're working in game cinematics now! Sounds like a lot of fun. What game? Yeah, I usually hear Victor Navone's name and my name in the same sentence. Why is that? :) I actually got to meet him once a couple years ago. He seems like a great guy. Great animator.

I'm not allowed to talk about the game at all until after it comes out. It's the second project i've worked on at Brain Zoo Studios (http://www.brainzoostudios.com/) They're in Van Nuys. About u & victor being mentioned together a lot, i think its because KB2 & Alien Song both came out around the same time and they both were made with Animation Master. Not to mention that Hash used KB2 & Alien Song sooooooo much to promote their AM software..... Hash Inc. should give u two guys free stock in their company for what u both did for their software, hehe:deal: I'm just kidding of course......wait, no im not!

ok, heres a couple other questions:

1. How did your meeting with Victor go?

2. Will u ever remake or finish concussion?

3. Will u ever put your demo reel on your website?

3. After u release KB3, with all the attention and praise it will get, do u think that could breath some life into a possible KB video game? U must have thought about it when u made those KB game test animations. After KB3 gets huge, u should definitley pitch that idea around to publishers and developers. That is, if u actually want to.

FantaBurky
08-11-2005, 12:56 PM
Hey Jeff,

This is just incredible to have such a talented artist present! I cant explain how much your work and training DVD has taught me :) , not to mention inspired me to keep going!

I've been working with 3D (using Cinema 4D) in about 1,5 years now I believe, and its just amazing what can be made with a bit of imagination. I've done three big jobs allready thanks to your work which has inspired me when it was really rough. So I'd like to take this opportunity to ask you a few questions:

1. I'm going to learn Softimage XSI as its connection to AVID is great, and I'd like to know, how difficult would you say it is to learn the process of VFX? (could you suggest a few excercises?)

2. Do you think its wise to jump right away at creating a little short with humans if I have not that much experience in animating? Last time I did, it was more about modelling, texturing and lighting then animation, and it ended shortly after. But I had learnt a great deal about the three stuff I had to do, lighting espesially.

3. If the program you're using doesnt support muscle deformations like Hash Animator, how would you go about rigging it (like in the arm section)?

4. Could you suggest a few websites/dvds/books which are great and worth buying? (especially concerning VFX and character modelling/texturing)

Thanks in advanced! Very nice to have you appear in CGTalk! :)

buffmanly
08-11-2005, 01:52 PM
Hey there, love your stuff, masterful work!

I got a question for u:

I'm starting out with 3d modelling and though i love it to bits, i find it hard to maintain the focus i require.. You're obviously really dedicated to your craft, especially seeing as how you're running your own project (Killer Bean 3) and I was just wondering how you deal with outside influences that might detract from your focus ie. mates wanting you to go out drinking, girlfriends, video games etc.

Cheers,

Dan

xsenos
08-11-2005, 01:57 PM
Hi, Jeff, this might sound as an inappropriate question but I think it's really not:
From your DVD and photos I've noticed you as a good looking, stylish dressed person, very well verbaly expressing yourself (not a compliment, merely a fact) - do you think this has anything to do with your luck in getting ahead? I mean, from your work experience, how much do you think the industry we are talking here about actually recognises hard working talents over good looking ones? Is it more difficult to get ahead without looking good and having a personal charisma in CG career?

Thanks for your time, the knowledge you've already shared is really usefull and fun to read!

DaddyMack
08-11-2005, 02:51 PM
Hi Robert,

Let's see...

DO's: finalize your script before starting, economize how much you need to model, meaning if you can script everything to take place on 1 location, that is much better than 5 locations (less modeling), but don't let it affect your story quality,
make a previs (better than animatic or storyboards) of your short, test screen your previs and get advice from people, plan a good pipeline (your work flow), test a single shot in your pipeline to make sure it works from modeling and character setup to final composition, make an organized directory structure, back up weekly offline.

THEN: start your real animation. you can work linearly or non-linearly, but try to work on full scenes at a time. Treat scenes like mini shorts, edit your shots together often (it will motivate you to finish and it will let you know if you need to change anything right then), take a few days off and step back and look at your work with fresh eyes

DON'T ever give up. If you need to sacrifice quality in order to finish, then do it. As long as the story remains intact. I always tell myself a "done" project is still better than a great unfinished project.

Jeff

Humble thanks Jeff:wise:, for your time and most useful, sound advice... much appreciated

Good luck with KB3 man:thumbsup:

adooo
08-11-2005, 03:04 PM
Hi Jeff
I have an other Q~
What is your dream~~Do you have a new plan.

HellBoy
08-11-2005, 03:10 PM
Thanks Jeff, I really apriciate ur time


wish ya the very best of luck :thumbsup:

Fahrija
08-11-2005, 04:51 PM
Hi Jeff,

great to see you here in the Q&A Section.

I recognized you took part in Phil Straubs Environment Painting class this summer. Is there any chance to see one of your artworks somewhere? In your opinion how important are drawing skills for your daily work?


How difficult was it to handle tasks wich are not related to the animation part during the production of KB2. (e.g. sound/effects, developing the story, storyboards).



kind regards
fahrija

Jeff Lew
08-11-2005, 05:04 PM
I am very happy seeing you as current featured artist here on Q&A.

For me, it was such a great opportunity to design the newest KB3 main characters and KB’s new car. I really felt honored and privileged.

Since last year the name Killer Bean and Jeff Lew became domestically popular here, my two kids are asking that would there be a Killer Bean video game.

Hi Von! Great to hear from you! You do great work. I absolutely love your car concept design. I've modeled all the main characters already and they look great in 3D.

If anyone is looking for a very good concept artist for any type of work, check out Von Caberte:

http://www.cabertevon.com/

He is very good and very fast.

Thanks for your work Von!

Jeff

RoninCGT
08-11-2005, 07:04 PM
Jeff,

Thank you for taking the time to hang out on the fourm.I have no questions on animation,your dvd sent me to right places.Looking forward for Killer bean 3.

Rylan Wright.

wildekyote
08-11-2005, 07:24 PM
Jeff, no questions here since most I've had have already been asked. I did, however, want to tell you that your early work with KB are what inspired me to delve deeper into this world of 3D. I used to contantly replay the trailers and so on when I get stuck. You work inspired me and for that I thank you. Thank you for taking the time for answering questions. Look forward to future works. :thumbsup:

neofg
08-11-2005, 09:00 PM
What best answer I Could want? U'r fantastic! And so with hard scenes your computer was slow too... It's not only my impression...:scream:

Thanks v.much! I hope u will make this art for our eye's marvel for long long hundreds of years...
Good Art!

Francesco

csDevil
08-11-2005, 09:31 PM
Hello Jeff. nice to have you here!

- As an animator I suppose you already had some experiments like "lets take it to the limit" (like stretching and squashing to the limit or braking joints were for animation history, for example). Do you remember anything in special that had a really cool effect? even if that was not new to the world, but simply something really cool.

- Do you like working on other aspects of CG that not animation? Would you spend the same amount of time (or even more) with any one of these aspects as you spend animating?

- Have you ever heard about brazilian CG (besides, of course, Krishnamurti Costa, aka Antropus)? If yes, what do you think about brazilian CG?

Thanx for your time anda answers =)
Daniel

Grakus
08-11-2005, 11:38 PM
Hi Jeff
Did you work on MATRIX 1?
If you didn't i have a question since time when i saw your KILLER BEEN. I think that MATRIX bullet time effects and another nice effects from MATRIX are yours, arent?
Was it in MATRIX some inspiration from KILLER BEEN?

Thanks for answers
(sorry for my english)

Jiri

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 12:21 AM
Hi Jeff

First of all, thanks for developing your terriffic Animation DVD - the best course on cg animation out there (I have watched it many, many times - it is still informative and also totally entertaining,). I loved Killer Bean2 (I guess there are lots of people out there sharing my sentiments on both of these points).

Just a few questions:

1)

After the success of 'killer bean 2', how did you proceed - did the phone just start ringing off of the hook, or did you have to make the rounds? What type of process did you go through to assess opportunities which came your way? How did you prepare yourself for making deals with the big studios?

Hi Gord,

Oh man, I was sucked up in a whirlwind of limelight in Hollywood for about 1 week. When KB2 premiered on Ifilm, I got 2 calls from 2 different agencies. They were both young and up-and-coming. One fought harder for me than the other, so I joined them. They mostly represented writers, but also represent a few film directors. I was their first CG guy. For what happened next, I was completely unprepared. I mean I was so green that anyone could tell. Seemed like Killer Bean 2 was buzzing around in Hollywood. I took a trip to LA and they sent me on a week long tour of visiting executives at different production studios. I got to talk to executives from MTV, Nickeledeon, Miramax, Scott Rudin Productions, Adam Sandler's Production co, Sandra Bulluck's production co, Tarantino's production co, and execs from Ifilm and Atomfilms. It was crazy, and I was really excited.

One thing that really surprised me was that all the exec's were really young. I pictured Hollywood exec's to be in their 50's, but these guys were all in their 30's and some were younger than me. To my surprise, almost no one was interested in expanding on Killer Bean (except for Ifilm and Atomfilms). Everyone was interested in what I was doing next. And for that, I had no answer. Because I just joined Manex to start work on Matrix Reloaded, I didn't have any time to create new content. But all the studios told me they were pretty much looking for the same thing. They were looking for the next "Ghostbusters". For the longest time, no movie could reproduce the success of Ghostbusters and every studio wanted that.

Nickelodeon was different. They showed me a children's book that was very short, but they wanted to somehow adapt that to a movie script. So they gave me the assignment of conceptualizing ideas of how you can turn the book into a feature film. Anyways, to make a long story short, i didn't get the job.

Miramax actually had a script that they green lit to make into a movie and were looking for a young director to attach to it. The script was kind of like "American Pie" for teenage waiters in a suburban restaurant like TGIF's or something like that. They sent me the script to read and they wanted me to pitch ideas to an exec at Miramax. Man, I was so green. I had no idea what I was doing, and I think it really showed.

Anyways, I was also in talks with Ifilm and Atomfilms to create a monthly web series of Killer Bean. They both asked me to come up with a budget for 3-4 min episodes that would air each month. But creating a 3-4 min animaiton each month is extremely hard and I had to make a budget to hire more people. Which ended up being too much for both of them. This was in 2000, when the web bubble was about to go up in smoke. My agents told me that if I came out with Killer Bean 2 a year earlier, I would've been a millionaire, but who knew, right?

So anyways, they say in Hollywood that if you can't sell something in 24 hours, chances of selling it become pretty bad. After that 1 week in LA, I went back to work on Matrix Reloaded and life went back to normal. But I did gain an insight of how things work and what people are looking for.

Anyways, that was like 5 years ago, and Hollywood is very "what have you done for me lately." And what have I done lately? Absolutely nothing! Nada. So life is quite quiet right now, heheh. I think I've ridden the Killer Bean 2 wave for as long as I possibly could. Now I gotta get my ass to finishing what comes next.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 12:23 AM
Just wanted to congratulate you on your past and continued success, not only in your career but with your great dvds as well. You are an inspiration and a great help to so many aspiring animators. Please keep it up and thanks for giving some of your time to critique works.

Hey Benjamin,

What's up dude? Are you graduated yet? :)

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 12:30 AM
just wanna say Thank you so much for putting up the DVD, without it i wouldn't be able to get my final project done as well as it was... back then our class didn't get character animation taught well by the lecturer and your DVD opened my eyes to how the pro's animate...

anyways All the best to you Jeff, and hope to see more cool stuff coming :buttrock:

Hey thanks, Lie,

I'm glad my DVD helped you out.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 01:08 AM
Hi Rob,

I love your questions! Really fun.

Q: We've all seen your work in such films as the Maxtrix Reloaded.. In many instances, we've analyzed, criticized, and otherwise torn apart each scene frame by frame. My question then becomes, "What animations would you redo if given the chance?" I'm pretty sure that the artist in you must slap his forehead every now and then and say, "If only I could've done 'x' instead of 'y'."

Ewwww... Man, there are some shots I can't bare to watch, but I also don't want to go back to fix them because they are so hard to work with. At no time I say I could've done this instead of that, because the direction I choose for a shot is the direction I want to go in. But getting there is the hard part. So there' really no simple way to go back and fix things easily. Of course, watching things with fresh eyes, you see the art side of things easier and you do say, man I should've added more here, or here is way too slow, but you also tend to forget how technically difficult it was to actually get that shot to where it is.

Q: Technology can be a good thing. It can actually further the creative process, as making a CG artist's life easier is never a bad thing. On the other hand, not only can upgrade-itis be perceived as potentially dangerous, annual upgrades can handily keep artists from mastering features already there. With SIGGRAPH 2K5 now history and nearly every major software developer announcing a new version, what's your position on software upgrades?

Man, I love technology and I love software upgrades. Buyers usually have the choice to upgrade or not. I mean, I was working with Maya 5 for a while. I skipped 6 and 6.5 and just upgraded to 7. But I really believe that no CG artist should build his or her career on software alone. You should build your career on your artistic abilities. Software can always be learned and I'm all for better-faster-cheaper.

Q: This is sort of a two pronged question. I know that you're a strong believer in the power of short films and animation in general. Granted, with unlimited time & money, just about anything can be accomplished. What's your opinion on the Timothy Albee notion of a so-called "micro studio?" Is there some grain of wisdom to the notion of indie CG films can prosper/profit or is removing specialists from the pipeline ultimately impossible, if not unwise?

Man, I love his notion of the micro studio. I'm trying to do the same thing. I follow his work and I also follow Terrence Walker's work. Those are two guys who say, "Forget the studio system! I gonna make my movie right here and right now. I don't need no funding!" I think that's great. Those guys are truly free.

I think indie CG films can prosper. You just need the right person, the right attitude, the right skill and the right story to tell.

Q: Here's a nice fluff question to break the mood. Apart from your own work, what's your favorite CG short?

CG short? Does Red vs. Blue count? haha, well recently I think "Ryan" is flat out amazing. I really liked it. And for non-cg, I like Ninjai.

Q: This is a little tongue in cheek. Your DVD has been out for a while. Do you stand by the assertion that artists aren't necessarily expected to be smart? (I think you said something to that effect with regards to your discussion of Euler.) I'm sure that comment must've come back to haunt you at least once. :)

Haha, no it was a joke. At Manex, on dailies once, there was an animator who asked someone to explain something again, cause he said he was "an animator". He was joking though.

Q: CG on television has, by and large, failed to capture the hearts and weekly ratings of primetime viewers. Why is that? Is it the long production cycles, the money, or the fact that CG as an artform is still so young? Some combination of the three? Will we ever see the CG equivalent of the Simpsons, a TV show which has endured for nearly 2 decades?

I think it's cause the stories sucked. The writers on the Simpsons are simply brilliant. Production cycles on CG TV shows can be quite quick. I think i read that Mainframe was pumping out 1 episode of Reboot every 2 weeks by using digital libraries. BTW, Reboot was my favorite.

Q: For every "Incredibles" or "Final Fantasy", there are three or four more "Monsters Inc"s or "Ice Age"s. We all know the technical reasons behind choosing talking fish over fully animated humans. Anthropomorphization. Good or Bad for the CG industry?

I think it's great. With animation you can do anything you imagine. It lets you take your audience to worlds never seen before. And if your world has lots of talking fish, well then there you go. I for one don't always want to tell human stories.

Q: Currently, there's a sort of stigma attached to CG and animation in general. The general consenus is that CG is used for either kiddy/family movies like Finding Nemo or whiz-bang effects in like in Star Wars. Are CG movies forever doomed to being "just cartoons" or is there a future for more mature, adult oriented CG presentations in the vein of "Akira" or even "The Family Guy"? Basically, are we as an industry locked into the Pixar/Disney way of telling a story on the big screen just because its a proven money maker?

Until someone makes a cheap CG movie that is profitable, everyone will start making those. Look at horror movies. Very cheap and very profitable. And that's definitely not for kids. The hard part is making a cheap CG movie that will do well. Right now, parents like to spend money on their kids, so we see lots of kid movies. Cause you know they'll make money.

Great questions! But I need a break now. :D

Jeff

Gord-MacDonald
08-12-2005, 01:39 AM
Hi Gord,

Oh man, I was sucked up in a whirlwind of limelight in Hollywood for about 1 week.

...

I think I've ridden the Killer Bean 2 wave for as long as I possibly could. Now I gotta get my ass to finishing what comes next.

Jeff

Jeff

Thanks for taking the time. There have gotta be alot of us 'out there' looking forward to seeing the results of your future endevours. Good luck!

Gord

maxflame
08-12-2005, 02:16 AM
Jeff i bet you never knew how many people's lives you touched, well i'm one of em :) .I love your work :thumbsup: ,KB brought me to the world of animation and matrix reloaded sealed it.Your DVD is ace and thanks to it i have no technical animation questions to bother you with.I also think ninjai is cool.Can we please get a sneak peek on KB 3? PLEASEEEE! Well at least stills on the new characters and stuff.Hope you don't mind me being a 3ds max user?

It has been a honour and to me you are a big deal. :applause:

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 06:00 AM
Could you pls tell, for how many years you 've been in animation field? which is your favourite 3d software.?

Hi C. R. Binu,

I've been in animation professionally since 1997. I think I start learning in 1995. My favorite 3D software? I don't think I have a favorite. When you use a software all day long for so many years, it becomes a love-hate relationship. And love & hate cancels each other out. So I have no favorite.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 06:10 AM
You wanted to become a Film Director, i also wanted to become a film director i started doing CG so i could put my own Visual Effects into my little shorts, but after a while i did so much CG i taught i wanted to become a CG artist like you.

But you realy have name now, since i don't know alot about the industry, is it not easy to actuly make your own script and stuff, and finde a good producer and direct your own movies?!

Hey Gangstashers!

How's it going? I remember all you guys from my forum. That was pretty cool eh? I remember your crazy light saber video.

To answer your question, well, you may think I have a name, but to producers in Hollywood, I'm nobody. I'm just some dude who worked on a couple movies. CG people are very unappreciated in Hollywood. We're just people who push buttons and gets the work done. We're not the guys who control the work. So before anyone lets you direct your own movie, you have to prove to them that you can control a production and lead it. They don't want to lose money and face if they decide to back you up. It could be their ass on the line then.

Do you still whant to become a Film director?!

Someday, but I'm quite happy making my own animations for a while.

Oh wait, I gotta go. I'll answer the rest of your questions when I get back. Sorry about that.

Jeff

mindovermatter
08-12-2005, 08:38 AM
Hey Jeff,

You're one of the few animated short makers that I've followed since around 2001.

I like the fact that you focused on making a really entertaining short rather then technical aspects (keeping things simple and entertaining, rather then extensive and dull).

My question is: have you found that your personal projects are profitable enough to survive on? or do you have to throw in freelance work to get by?

If not yet, do you believe your micro studio could setup (working on personal projects) could be profitable enough to live on eventually? or do you see yourself always doing freelance/studio work to make ends meet?

I hope that made sense. Thanks for your great contributions.

mindovermatter
Cory

Tughan
08-12-2005, 12:59 PM
Dear Jeff,

You inspired so many people and made them to get into CG Animation world. I'm happy to be among one of them. In fact, I credited you in my first - Private Detective (http://www.tughan.com/anims/AJ_640x480_divx5.avi) - Short Animation (in 2003) as "Special Thanks" section. :D You may remember it.

I've got a few questions for you my friend...

When you decided to make Killer Bean shortfilm, it's obvious that you're pretty much inspired by the Hong-Kong Action Movies. Especially John Woo movies like Killer and Hard Boiled, which is you did an awesome job to make that cool stylish gunfight choreography into Killer Bean animation. I wonder, did you ever think about writing or co-directing a real action movie with John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat? Or Tsui Hark perhaps? Show them Killer Bean? You know it'll be awesome! :)
Do you play Video Games often? Recently, I noticed that classic "Duke Nukem" style big muscled machine-gunner action hero type is replaced by charismatic, cool, hard-boiled melancholic Cop (or Criminal) that uses dual-pistols, (Desert Eagle) and probably got a cover image that points the berrel (http://xbox.game-special.com/cover/true-crime.jpg) of the gun towards the zoomed camera... :P You know, games like Max Payne, Dead to Rights, True Crime, and Driv3r. All those games are trying to share the same aspects that we love about Killer Bean, and stylish gunfights, slow-motion, A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Face Off, etc.... Do you think this'll be over-used in near future and soon we'll be sick of seeing those things that once inspired us most? Like "bullet-time" effect that we've seen even comedy sitcoms hehe. Also, do you play any of those games? Like Max Payne, Dead to Rights, Driver 3, and True Crime. What do you think about them? (I especially loved the CG intro of Dead to Rights 2)
I've asked this to Victor Navone's Q&A session, and I'd like to ask it to you too. Do you Procrastinate when working on your projects? If so, do you find a way to deal with it? Especially if you're your own boss, and no real preassure involved, I often find myself Procrastinating and pushing my own deadlines further and further. Do I have to electro-shock myself for a self punishment if I past my deadlines? Heheh.
Thank you very much for awesome answers, and inspiring us. Not just because you're a kick-ass animator, because also being a very kind, honest, and sincere guy. :) Keep up the good work my friend.:thumbsup:

Chris Bacon
08-12-2005, 04:41 PM
Hi Jeff

My questions have already been answerd in the previous posts....but I would just like to say.....WOW...I LOVE your work....simply AMAZING.....and its SO COOL to be able to say this and read your views and experiances........

Take care

Chris....

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 04:48 PM
What do you think is the best way to become a film director? Or atleast make it in the buissnes?

Hi Gangstashers, I'm back.

Hmmm, I don't really know, so I'm taking a guess. I think the best way is to make a great film and have the right people see it. I doubt you can work your way up from the bottom of a movie studio and eventually become a director. It just doesn't happen. You need something to show first.

Check out Shane Acker. The right people saw his short, and you know what happened to him. BTW, CGTalk should get him on "Meet the Artist". I got some questions for him! :)

Is it realy hard to get into the CG field? What is the best way to get a job for a comercial, i mean you did not just sit down on your pc and animate something and go to sleep, you prolly put some things on the internet like a mini demoreel or something?

Make a good demoreel and start sending it out. I don't know how many employers are searching on the internet. They rather have people come to them.

And waay back i remember on the forum the Killer bean 3 Breakdance sequence! Is killer Bean going to come out soon?! Can you tell uss a bit about Killer bean 3?

Nope, not coming out soon. KB3 will take place right after KB2 happens. Like right after the party. We find out who Killer Bean is and why he was there. That's all I'm telling you guys about the story. Tech-wise, it's gonna be in HD. I know I can accomplish 720P, but my real goal is 1080P. It will be in 5.1 surround sound. It will be longer than KB2 and use real voice actors. Hmm, what else... that's it for now.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 04:50 PM
Hi Jeff,

I have your DVD, It's awesome.I love your work. NO Questions for u.

I am enjoying u r answers.

Thanks Yarlagadda!

I hope it helped you out.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 04:59 PM
Fantastic job on animating the neo's and smith's in mx.reloaded, but, I must ask you; who did the rigging?

You see, I have a bit of an emotional problem with the neo/smith rigging on matrix:reloaded, especially shoulders. The animation is good, the rendering is fine, but the movement of where arms pivot around shoulders, and where heads pivot around necks, breaks the illusion for me. Do you agree?

Hi Håkan,

All the body rigging was done by ESC's rigging department. Yes, there was much concern about the head and neck area. Originally the plan was to have the R&D department develop a "bio rig" which was supposed to be a super anatomically correct muscle rig of a human. Unfortunately, that never materialized. So we used a basic bone rig.

Also on the Burly Brawl, how much is procedural anim, how much is hand-animated?

There was no procedural animation, but we used mocap. I say 50-50. But for background smiths, I say 90% was mocap.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 05:21 PM
The problem I'm having at the moment is what area to go in and what a junior position will be looking for from a graduate? At the moment I've been learning a bit of everything and enjoy it all. I understand that the best way and the most effective way to learn is to specialise in one area, but I feel reluctant to do so since I want to progress in all areas. When I finish my degree in two years I'm sure I'll have a better idea of what I would like to specialise in but at the moment its a hard decision to make and I don't want to pigeon hole myself. I think, for me, the most important thing is getting into the industry as soon as I can once I finish university. So, as far as Junior positions go, do you think the industry is looking for all rounders or specialists in animation, modelling etc... I'm pretty confused :cry: any help would be great.

Also, what kind of standard to most companies expect a Junior showreel to be to have a seious chance of getting an interview if not the job.

Hi James,

Hmmmm, you're treading dangers waters by aiming for a junior position. Say you're rounded, but not quite well rounded yet. An employer might look at your reel and say, "well, he's not great in animation, modeling, texturing, etc, but he looks pretty comfortable with getting around in 3D. So maybe we could use him to clean polygons or layout uv's"

Do you know what I'm saying? They might not even consider you for anything better than that. And you could be stuck doing crap work for a while. And when you do crap work for a while, employers don't see potential for you to do anything else, so they don't consider you to move up. They'll just hire more skilled people to do the better jobs.

Never make a showreel that is tailored for a junior position. If you want to show that you're well rounded, you can, but be sure you're leaning to one side of CG, like animation, modeling, etc. and then apply for the bigger positions. People may see your reel and say, "well, he's not the lead we want, but he has potential, he understands his craft." Well, they may not say exactly that, but you know what I mean. They may hire you for a junior position in that field, knowing that that's what you eventually want to move up in. The leads will then show you new things and may even take you under their wing.

So aim high. You will always start low. But if you aim low, you may stay low. There's always time to learn other aspects after you get the job. For example, I learned dynamics after I got my animation job.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 05:45 PM
1. What do you think about the book: "The Illusion Of Life"?

Hi Rafael,

It's the best book on animation you can buy. (but not the best DVD :D:scream: )
But seriously, if you don't own that book yet, you should get it.

2. In this section, Victor Navone, said: in Pixar, one animator, makes about 4 seconds of animation in a week, what do you think about? the same thing happens in other studios that you had worked in?

Well, like I said in my other post, vfx animators don't have a set quota of seconds they need to reach each week. We are given a specific amount of time to animate a shot.

Now 4 secs a week may sound slow, but you have to look at the quality they are achieving at Pixar, which is probably the best quality. I'm assuming 4 secs is 4 final secs of animation and not 4 rough secs. There's also quality control and director feedback that they have to go through, so 4 secs/week makes sense.

3. animating arms, what do you prefer, IK or FK? Or you select one in that case or in that else?

I usually use FK unless the character is climbing walls or doing anything where his hands have to stick.

4. The work in Matrix, is fantastic, specially the fights between Neo and Agent Smith. Do you think that is the best digital fight seen in film?

Well, I would be biased to say, but there have been some great digital fights in other movies. I liked the Hulk vs. the hulk dogs fight. That was cool.

5. What animated film isbest animated film for you? I'm asking about all animation film in Animation history.

I would say Toy Story. It was really groundbreaking for me. I really like Spirited Away too. I just saw this other Miyazaki film about racoons waging a war on humans. That was just awesome!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 06:03 PM
Hi Jeff, I'm a big fan of your work. I have a quick question, I'm assuming you are animating Killer Bean 3 using Animation Master... What changes in the program from the version you used to make Killer Bean 2 to the current version have you found helpful or exciting?

Whoops - Sorry I just read that you are using Maya... How do you find Maya now compared to A:M back when you used it for Killer Bean 2 - It what ways does it make your job easier and/or more fun?

Man, your question sounds like a PR question from a software company. But it really doesn't matter to me what software I use. I could be using XSI, 3DS Max, or LW just the same. What matters to me is the end result. Try to think of software as a tool, just like a painter uses a paint brush. One paint brush might be easier to use than another. But later down the road, a new paint brush might come out and make painting even better. Then I would use that paint brush. But I doubt it will make your paintings better or worse. The artwork is up to the artist in the end, not the tool.

The funny thing I find in the CG community is that people like to label artists as an X software guy or a Y software guy. Would you ever label a painter as an X paint brush guy? That would sound ridiculous.

But to answer your questions, Maya is very flexible. That's why I use it.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 06:15 PM
one question I have is, are you making KB3 on your own? I mean, its everything coming out of your pocket?
Or were you able to find some people to invest on your short?

Hi Young,

Yes, I am completely funding KB3 production myself. Nope, no investors. I wouldn't want investors/sponsers anyway, because I don't want anyone telling me how to make KB3 or what to do with it when it's done. I need to be free baby! Free!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-12-2005, 06:20 PM
Damn, this is threateningly looking like the KB3 is going to be a commercial release.

Are we going to be able to download the KB3 from your site like we could do with the KB2?

Hi Manu,

I'm going to put it through a festival run first to see what happens with it. We'll see from there.

Jeff

ashutoshnaik
08-12-2005, 07:27 PM
Hi Jeff
I am from india. Like you.. i am an engineer but am seeking a career in 3d animation field.
As you have already proved that you dont need to be a art student to get in to animation and thats what helps me see a light somewhere...along:). But i think 3d animations(realistic) is more of physics and math than art.

I donno if anybody has asked these questions before as i have missed the previous sessions.
Well my questions to you are

1. How many years did it take for you before you got in to the animation industry
2. What are the difficulties that you faced in the beginning of your career
3. What would you say to someone like me who has a very little experience in animation and no arts background
4. Is there a magic formula?? :)

Thanks and Regards
Ashutosh

rafaelrubio
08-12-2005, 07:38 PM
Hi again, Jeff.

thank you very much for your replys. thanks a lot!.

And, yes, now i know that "illusion of life" is best animation book, but... i knew Who is the best dvd of animation, i have your dvds too. Excellent animation material, they are excellent, very understandable and clear. I only can say thanks again.


I'm very happy with opportunity to talk with you. And, regards again from Spain friend! :thumbsup:

pauljs75
08-13-2005, 06:14 AM
Great stuff and great animation. I remember some bits of the first killer bean and the whole sequence with the Agent Smiths was just phenomenal...

Anyhow I might have missed it in an earlier posting (if that's the case just link back)... What's the trick to getting your foot in the door?

And the other question... Is it just me, or is the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millenium Park in Chicago a tempting piece of material for a joke in the Killer Bean series. (Mecha Bean anyone?)

smartart
08-13-2005, 01:08 PM
Hi Mr Jeff
i want to tell u that even here in palestine, with all the actions happend , there is a time to see the Killer Bean, and My little student watch it too and like it so much.(u get the CD on the Martin Body). V Cool.

ok the Question. while using the graph editor and Trax editor (what advice for smothing the character movment)?

Best Regards.

Kalasfixaren
08-13-2005, 07:47 PM
Hi Jeff :)

You probably don't remember me but my name was Sten on the KB-forums.

I just wanted to say that.... ummm... I don't know... say hi? And thank you for the DVD. I found some hidden button in it too, with some bloopers and stuff, that was just gold :)

I gotta tell you, just reading your answers to people's questions inspires and motivates me in strange ways, haha. You're just a big pile of motivation.

cgnetworks_le
08-13-2005, 08:19 PM
Hi, Jeff,

I have got yr DVD too? It is just awesome and absolutely educational. Good job, Jeff!
I have a few questions for you.

1. Does it mean much, or does it change much for you moving from one studio to another, in terms of production, people, facilities, and maybe studio's reputation? Do you have to brainstorm a lot when choosing a studio to join? If you do, then what is your criteria and why?

2. What can you say about the future of VFX and animation, because a lot of them are damn invisible and storytelling by now.

Thanks, Jeff, Hope to work with you oneday.

wlau
08-13-2005, 09:31 PM
Hi Jeff,

Looking forward to KB3. Thanks for answering questions. I just have one question for you:

1. You mentioned that the CG industry is quite small and from what I've seen, many CG people go from studio to studio. In your experience, do many CG artists have to relocate much from job to job? Or is it possible to stay with one studio for a long time? I imagine there are many studios around the bay area, is it reasonable to say that some artists there can stay in one location and find a sufficient number of opportunities there without having to relocate?

Thanks again.

Wayne

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 10:30 PM
-Beside the 'Killer Bean' series, which are your prefered animated shorfilms?

Hi Jose,

Recently I really liked "Ryan". It was really captivating. I liked the Fishman series. Really funny. The Ninjai series is great too.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 10:35 PM
My question is: Since I am using A:M to tackle shorts, are there any other programs that I should put on my grocery list? Hash claims that A:M is an all in one. How true?

Hi Jeffrey,

Yes, there are a few programs that you need no matter what 3D program you are using: a video editor like Premiere or Vegas Video. An image editor like Photoshop. Maybe a compositor if you need one like After Effects or DFX. A sound program like Audition or Sound Forge and a music program like Acid or Gigastudio or similar. But out of all of those, you probably need the video editor the most.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 10:46 PM
What do you do whenever you get stomped or have a brainfart on something(cause it happens to me alot) just wondering on any advice to have when this happens.

Hi LuckyDevil,

It depends if your problem is a techincal stump or a creative stump. I approach those differently. When I'm stumped technically, i usually do searches for similar problems on the web and on CGTalk. I also check tutorials for similar things and also the software manual. I don't want to waste too much time doing research, so if I can't find an answer in half a day, then I think of another way to do something. Like a way to cheat it visibly. If it's some kind of effect that is not very important to the story, then I usually cheat it.

For creative stumps, I often have to sit back and think or do something mindless like wash dishes or sit on the toilet. You can let your ideas flow in your head. Sometimes i think about the animation while lying in bed at night. They say you often figure out problems when you are sleeping at night, because your brain can focus on your thoughts and no have to worry about moving muscles and stuff like that. It may be BS, but I do a lot of my planning before I sleep. You just have to remember what it was in the morning. If it's a really good idea, I usually get up to write it down somewhere. But mindless tasks work too. It lets your mind wander and also focus.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 10:50 PM
What would you suggest as far as getting a mentor goes? I really need someone who can help me through the tough stuff and has experience. Any ideas as so who to ask or where?

Hi Kyle,

Sounds like a job for AnimationMentor.com. You should check those guys out. I'm sure they can help you.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 11:01 PM
You are producing KB3, but what happens after ?

Hi myfish,

I enter the festival circuit and see what happens. I really have no plans after that. I do have more project ideas to start, but that really depends if KB3 is successful.

The bean must go on, it was, is a milestone in CG via the internet.
What about making the KB project open source ?
Let others animate the bean, so as to produce a series.

I never thought of that, but I don't think i could do that. I forsee too many problems.

I've showed that KB2 short to dozens of people, and they all loved it.
I'm not detracting from your other work, but man, KB is "Jeff Lew".

Haha, thanks! That's funny. I have a new actor playing KB in KB3. He's very good. He almost plays KB how I would play him, but his voice and acting is way better than mine.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 11:11 PM
Do you think 30 is to old to become an animator? I am currently in web development and have hit the wall and have been playing with 3d on and off for the last couple of years and would love a more creative job.

Hi Darren,

I don't think 30 is too old. I think you would be fine to enter the CG industry, however, the industry is not family friendly, unless you join a company who has a strict policy to be family friendly. What I mean by that is job security is pretty low. Be prepared to be laid off between jobs, and sometimes with very short notice. Be prepared to work long hours (at least 50 hrs/week) and be prepared to relocate if you have too. If you don't have a family to support, you will find it easier to do what the industry asks of you.

Your success depends on your drive. If you want it bad enough and work hard enough, you will become good at it.

also have you ever considered writing a book for the computer animator like the animation survial kit? would be priceless.

Wow. I never thought of that. As hard as it was for me to make my DVD, I think writing a book would be harder. I'm not a fast reader, so proof reading it for errors would be tough. :)

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 11:31 PM
I'm not allowed to talk about the game at all until after it comes out. It's the second project i've worked on at Brain Zoo Studios (http://www.brainzoostudios.com/) They're in Van Nuys.

Hey joey3d,

Brain Zoo Studios looks like a fun place to work! Congrats!

Not to mention that Hash used KB2 & Alien Song sooooooo much to promote their AM software..... Hash Inc. should give u two guys free stock in their company for what u both did for their software, hehe:deal: I'm just kidding of course......wait, no im not!

I don't want free company stock. Cash will do just fine, hahahahaha.

Will u ever remake or finish concussion?

No way. I would've liked to finish it though, but that was done in AM v4, which is like 10 years old now. I really liked that character. Who knows though. I do want to make more human characters and stories after KB though.

Will u ever put your demo reel on your website?

I never thought of that either, but I probably won't. I want to save the bandwidth for my original animations.

After u release KB3, with all the attention and praise it will get, do u think that could breath some life into a possible KB video game? U must have thought about it when u made those KB game test animations. After KB3 gets huge, u should definitley pitch that idea around to publishers and developers. That is, if u actually want to.

I had ideas of a cool online fps where you play a bean and it's like a death match type of game. Then all the stats are logged each week on a main server and whoever has the most kill to death ratio gets to become Killer Bean. Then that player has to defend his title and all the other beans are gunning for him. But Killer Bean would have a bunch of more moves and abilities that he can use to stay on top.

I always liked the competition feeling of Unreal Tournament. Like you are competing for rank. But I don't know if I want to make a game after KB3. I don't know much about game production. I may be out of my element.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-13-2005, 11:51 PM
This is just incredible to have such a talented artist present! I cant explain how much your work and training DVD has taught me :) , not to mention inspired me to keep going!

I've been working with 3D (using Cinema 4D) in about 1,5 years now I believe, and its just amazing what can be made with a bit of imagination. I've done three big jobs allready thanks to your work which has inspired me when it was really rough. So I'd like to take this opportunity to ask you a few questions:

1. I'm going to learn Softimage XSI as its connection to AVID is great, and I'd like to know, how difficult would you say it is to learn the process of VFX? (could you suggest a few excercises?)

Thanks Pvt. Jackson!

The process of VFX is really a very broad subject. It really depends on the type of VFX you want to do. Most VFX people are compositors, who blend fake elements with real elements to make them look seemless. Other VFX is like particle work and other dynamics work like buildings blowing up and people getting shot and swords piercing bodys like in Last Samurai. Then you have VFX where you create creatures or characters to be in the movie like Jurassic Park or Star Wars.

I really don't know if suggesting a few excercises with help. For FX like compositing, you should practice working with green screen and doing tricks in compositing. For particle work, learn dynamics in packages like XSI. Since XSI has that new dynamics core, you should try to learn that pretty well. Learn dynamic constraints, fields, forces, etc. Learn how to render the dynamics in mental ray. Learn how to composite those dynamics.

And then for the creature/character work, you'll need to focus on animation or modeling or lighting or texture work, etc.

2. Do you think its wise to jump right away at creating a little short with humans if I have not that much experience in animating? Last time I did, it was more about modelling, texturing and lighting then animation, and it ended shortly after. But I had learnt a great deal about the three stuff I had to do, lighting espesially.

No way. Human characters are very hard to animate and model. I would start simpler. Heck, I started with a bean with 2 guns, that's very simple. Try a very simple character with simple controls. Or else you will get too bogged down with the technical side of production.

3. If the program you're using doesnt support muscle deformations like Hash Animator, how would you go about rigging it (like in the arm section)?

All professional level 3d software can do muscle deformations. They just have different ways of doing them. XSI should be fully capable of doing what AM does. I don't know XSI at all, so I wouldn't know how to rig it in XSI. Check out www.softimage.com (http://www.softimage.com). I think they have rigging tutorials on there.

4. Could you suggest a few websites/dvds/books which are great and worth buying? (especially concerning VFX and character modelling/texturing)

Hmmmm... concerning VFX, maybe check out Pixel Corps. I think they do what you are looking for. For modelling, there are tons of free web tutorials. There are some free modeling videos too, like at Kurv Studios. Check the softimage website. I think they have their own line of DVD training too.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-14-2005, 12:12 AM
I'm starting out with 3d modelling and though i love it to bits, i find it hard to maintain the focus i require.. You're obviously really dedicated to your craft, especially seeing as how you're running your own project (Killer Bean 3) and I was just wondering how you deal with outside influences that might detract from your focus ie. mates wanting you to go out drinking, girlfriends, video games etc.

Hi Dan,

Oh man, distractions are very difficult to deal with. You just have to set ground rules for yourself. I haven't touched a drink in 3 months. I haven't played a video game in 2 years! The last game I played was Unreal 2. I have a wife that keeps telling me to work on KB, so that is good. She is incredibly supportive in what I do. The BIGGEST distraction is the dang internet!! Sometimes I unplug my internet router so I can't surf the web. It's very difficult.

What do I do to remain focused? I listen to music while I work. That helps a lot. I curse at myself when I waste half a day doing random things. A couple times I literally slapped myself in the face!

I find that competition is a great motivator. When I see all these other animators getting movie deals, it gets me going to finish my project. But it is all still very hard to stay focused and disciplined. And football season is about to start, so that doesn't help!

Hey, speaking of competition, maybe you should join a weekly modelling challenge or something like that? That might get you going.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-14-2005, 12:31 AM
Hi, Jeff, this might sound as an inappropriate question but I think it's really not:
From your DVD and photos I've noticed you as a good looking, stylish dressed person, very well verbaly expressing yourself (not a compliment, merely a fact) - do you think this has anything to do with your luck in getting ahead? I mean, from your work experience, how much do you think the industry we are talking here about actually recognises hard working talents over good looking ones? Is it more difficult to get ahead without looking good and having a personal charisma in CG career?

Hi Dagnis,

Hahhahaha, that's a funny question! No, I don't think you should ever think like that. We're ALL geeks sitting in front of a computer all day long. If you tell any person in the street what you do or I do all day, they would call you a geek. I'm a big geek. I go to overclockers.com and newegg.com everyday. (pricewatch.com used to be my favorite website)

Looks have nothing to do with the CG industry. As i said before, the CG industry is a lot like sports. It's what you can do that gets you anywhere. Always believe that. It's what you can do, not who you are, what you look like or how much you weigh or how much you can bench press.

Now, when we're talking about any type of lead or supervisor position, communication and people skills come into play. But when you are in that position, you don't really do a lot fo CG work, you do a lot more managing.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-14-2005, 12:39 AM
Hi Jeff
I have an other Q~
What is your dream~~Do you have a new plan.

Hi adooo,

My dream is to be able to live anywhere in the world and make a living making independant animations. Kind of like what Robert Rodriguez does.

Jeff

Joscoon
08-14-2005, 02:00 AM
Hey Jeff,
I was wondering if you ever did any 2D animation and if not, whether you would ever consider doing 2D? It just struck me as all your work I've seen is 3D and your DVD is geared specifically towards "3D character animation". I have dabbled with both and there seems to be certain advantages to each type. With 3D I think it's easier to make and tweak ease ins, outs, and overlaps... but it's hard to deal with rotations in 3axes, when you are trying for a perfect arc... in 2D however you can establish a pose as quick as you can draw it, without having to rotate multiple joints....Do you think you would be as comfortable working in a 2D format? And if you do prefer the 3D way of animating to 2D, why is that?

projectk
08-14-2005, 09:40 AM
Hi Jeff,

1)Behind the technical aspects of the hardware and software we all just want to push things creatively. What are your thoughts on the creative aspect of 3D and animation? (I realise that's a pretty open ended question, just curious i guess)

2) Has working in animation as a profession killed part of the wow factor for you? Often now, i'm watching a movie with other people and they're quite excited by the effects and i think "oh they just did xyz." I am scared i'm going to kill my enthusiasm for movies/motion in general.

3) Do you ever forget how to do things with your software since you've been doing it so long?

I really appreciate the chance to ask the questions. :)

ErikSvensson
08-14-2005, 11:23 AM
Hey there Jeff Lew.

I just had to drop by and say that you're an amazing artist and I really love your animation DVD and your movies. Kicking stuff!

Take care.

Erik

Ninjamonk
08-14-2005, 07:58 PM
Thanks for answering my questions Jeff :D


You have to admit "The Computer Animators Survival kit by Jeff Lew" does have a catching ring to it :P
Cheers

skull_leader
08-14-2005, 11:47 PM
Hi Jeff

I am REALLY impressed with the sound effects and especially the music in Killer Bean 2 when I first saw it. I am just wondering whether you have any musical background? Did that phase during the production took you a while to finish?

Do you have any advices for people who have no musical background in how to go about creating the music they want in their animation?

One last question, from your experience, do you know where can I can find or buy good sound effect for my own animations? (I usually get most of my sound from sound dog).

Thank-you for your help and time... I really appreciated.

shenmue
08-15-2005, 02:29 AM
Hi jeff
I didn´t know that there was an artist´s invitation seccion.It´s an exenlent idea.It´s like normal people talking to kings face to face...any way,this might looklike a selfish question but it´s not:
I am from spain, and in 2 years I´ll become an architect.The thing is that since i was a kid ,I´ve always draw comics.And now i am modeling and animating in 3d,and i really really like it,and I spend a lot of time on that stuff.So, i was wondering if you could tell me by your experience if it posible to do both things.Because i guess that if you go to an animation studio and you tell your boss "yea,i´ll work for you but only since 15:00 to 22:000 o clock because in the morning I am working in architecture",they will kick you out so fast that you just couldn´t notice what happend...(maybe inside out teletransportation???).
Thank you.

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:12 AM
I recognized you took part in Phil Straubs Environment Painting class this summer. Is there any chance to see one of your artworks somewhere?

Hi Fahrija,

Oh man, I am completely embarassed to show any of my drawings. Compared to all the excellent artwork that everyone keeps posting on CGTalk. Man, maybe i'll wait till I'm a little better. :)

In your opinion how important are drawing skills for your daily work?

Hmm, I don't know. I don't really use any drawing skills at home or at work. To me, they're not that important, but I just work in 3D.

How difficult was it to handle tasks wich are not related to the animation part during the production of KB2. (e.g. sound/effects, developing the story, storyboards).

Story and boards were really easy, because the story itself is very simple. It's basically an action scene. Sound effects were pretty easy too, but I had a lot to learn from the sound in KB2. My audio levels were all over the place. All of my sounds effects were from Sound Dogs. Music was easy too. I spent 3 years doing the animation and 2 days doing the music. I used Acid Pro and loop based music.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:13 AM
Thank you for taking the time to hang out on the fourm.I have no questions on animation,your dvd sent me to right places.Looking forward for Killer bean 3.

Rylan Wright.

Thanks Rylan!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:16 AM
Jeff, no questions here since most I've had have already been asked. I did, however, want to tell you that your early work with KB are what inspired me to delve deeper into this world of 3D. I used to contantly replay the trailers and so on when I get stuck. You work inspired me and for that I thank you. Thank you for taking the time for answering questions. Look forward to future works. :thumbsup:

Thanks Keith,

Man! I totally forgot about the trailers!! I totally forgot what they even looked like. I'll have to dig them up again!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:25 AM
- As an animator I suppose you already had some experiments like "lets take it to the limit" (like stretching and squashing to the limit or braking joints were for animation history, for example). Do you remember anything in special that had a really cool effect? even if that was not new to the world, but simply something really cool.

Hi Daniel,

To tell you the truth, I rarely use squash and stretch for the animations I did for feature films. For KB, I did use it slightly. I think there was a cool effect I wanted to emulate from the Marvel Super Hereos arcade game (the one with the Hulk, Cyclops, Wovlerine) It had a really cool jitter or virabting effect whenever a character got hit with a strong blow. I tried to copy that vibrating effect with squash and stretch. But that was about it.

- Do you like working on other aspects of CG that not animation? Would you spend the same amount of time (or even more) with any one of these aspects as you spend animating?

I really like writing and camera work. I really like editing too. I think I would spend the most time writing and coming up with ideas.

- Have you ever heard about brazilian CG (besides, of course, Krishnamurti Costa, aka Antropus)? If yes, what do you think about brazilian CG?

Actually I don't know much about Brazilian CG. (I know a lot about Brazilian Ultimate Fighting Champions! Great fighters!) But sorry to say, I don't know much about the CG side.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:28 AM
Did you work on MATRIX 1?

Hi Jiri,

Nope.

If you didn't i have a question since time when i saw your KILLER BEEN. I think that MATRIX bullet time effects and another nice effects from MATRIX are yours, arent?
Was it in MATRIX some inspiration from KILLER BEEN?

Yes, it was a big inspiration. When I saw the trailer for the first Matrix, I just knew I had to do something like that in KB. The first Matrix was so cool.

Jeff

Nubs
08-15-2005, 06:31 AM
Hey,

Just watched Kill Bean 2.1 and it was awesome. I don't have any questions, just wanted to say congrats on your success and keep up the amazing work!

Naveed

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:31 AM
Jeff i bet you never knew how many people's lives you touched, well i'm one of em :) .I love your work :thumbsup: ,KB brought me to the world of animation and matrix reloaded sealed it.Your DVD is ace and thanks to it i have no technical animation questions to bother you with.I also think ninjai is cool.Can we please get a sneak peek on KB 3? PLEASEEEE! Well at least stills on the new characters and stuff.

Thanks Jerry,

Sorry, I can't show anything just yet. It's way too early.

Hope you don't mind me being a 3ds max user?

I don't mind at all! Anyone is free to use anything! :scream:

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:40 AM
My question is: have you found that your personal projects are profitable enough to survive on? or do you have to throw in freelance work to get by?

Hi Cory,

Right now, it's difficult to be profitable. It's a huge risk. It's very hard to make money from a short, so I do have to pick up side jobs every now and then. But I have a few ideas and a few angles I want to try.

If not yet, do you believe your micro studio could setup (working on personal projects) could be profitable enough to live on eventually? or do you see yourself always doing freelance/studio work to make ends meet?

Yes, that is the plan. I believe Bill Plympton does exactly that. If I fail then I'll go back to studio work, but you have to give it a shot first. Or else there will be regrets later.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 06:58 AM
You inspired so many people and made them to get into CG Animation world. I'm happy to be among one of them. In fact, I credited you in my first - Private Detective (http://www.tughan.com/anims/AJ_640x480_divx5.avi) - Short Animation (in 2003) as "Special Thanks" section. :D You may remember it.

Hi Tughan,

Yes, I remember seeing your short a long time ago. It is very cool! Thank you for the credit!






When you decided to make Killer Bean shortfilm, it's obvious that you're pretty much inspired by the Hong-Kong Action Movies. Especially John Woo movies like Killer and Hard Boiled, which is you did an awesome job to make that cool stylish gunfight choreography into Killer Bean animation. I wonder, did you ever think about writing or co-directing a real action movie with John Woo and Chow Yun-Fat? Or Tsui Hark perhaps? Show them Killer Bean? You know it'll be awesome! :)
Man, that would be a dream come true, but I doubt that will ever happen. I'm looking forward to "Stranglehold" though. I can't wait for some 2 gun action!

Do you play Video Games often? Recently, I noticed that classic "Duke Nukem" style big muscled machine-gunner action hero type is replaced by charismatic, cool, hard-boiled melancholic Cop (or Criminal) that uses dual-pistols, (Desert Eagle) and probably got a cover image that points the berrel (http://xbox.game-special.com/cover/true-crime.jpg) of the gun towards the zoomed camera... :P You know, games like Max Payne, Dead to Rights, True Crime, and Driv3r. All those games are trying to share the same aspects that we love about Killer Bean, and stylish gunfights, slow-motion, A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Face Off, etc.... Do you think this'll be over-used in near future and soon we'll be sick of seeing those things that once inspired us most? Like "bullet-time" effect that we've seen even comedy sitcoms hehe. Also, do you play any of those games? Like Max Payne, Dead to Rights, Driver 3, and True Crime. What do you think about them? (I especially loved the CG intro of Dead to Rights 2)

I've played Max Payne 1 & 2. I like the first Max Payne a lot. I thought Max Payne 2 was a little short. I thought they pulled off the slow motion effect really well. I loved using it. I haven't played True Crime. I've played the original Driver on PS1. That game is really cool too.

The bullet time effect is probably overused in entertainment these days. But it's dying out slowly. I think it is just a phase like break dancing.

I've asked this to Victor Navone's Q&A session, and I'd like to ask it to you too. Do you Procrastinate when working on your projects? If so, do you find a way to deal with it? Especially if you're your own boss, and no real preassure involved, I often find myself Procrastinating and pushing my own deadlines further and further. Do I have to electro-shock myself for a self punishment if I past my deadlines? Heheh.

I'm procractinating right now! I procrastinate a lot at work too. The internet is to blame for everything!

Self deadlines are extremely hard to meet. I almost never finish on time for personal work. But then again, I have unrealistic deadlines. Studio deadlines are more realistic so it's easier to pace yourself.

To me, if I feel like I had a productive day, then I am happy. If I feel like I got no work done, I really get down on myself. But it usually doesn't last long :) You just have to keep at it. I think seeing the results of your work helps push you along. You get more motivated when you can see bits of the final product.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-15-2005, 07:00 AM
My questions have already been answerd in the previous posts....but I would just like to say.....WOW...I LOVE your work....simply AMAZING.....and its SO COOL to be able to say this and read your views and experiances........

Thanks Chris!

Jeff

PhuongDPh
08-15-2005, 11:03 AM
Sir, I am a big fan of "The Matrix" http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif
Sir, I have a important question for you about "Matrix Revolution" http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif
- At the end of the film, when Neo are fighting with Smith, It's raining.
- I can see the rain drops and rain drops' shape is capsule ( or similar ) not sphere
- I think the rain drop shape must be sphere.http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif
- I have lost the VCDs so that I can't post illustration imageshttp://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif
- Sorry, for my poor English !http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif
- Thanks for your time.

AkaKico
08-15-2005, 07:26 PM
Hey Jeff!

Crazy awesome that you're doing the Q&A. I remember when I first signed up for Environmental Design I recognized you name, funny enough I knew you only from the Killer Beans and the Spiderman themepark ride. I had not known about your movie work! Mad props and all that jazz. :thumbsup:

Oh man, I am completely embarassed to show any of my drawings. Compared to all the excellent artwork that everyone keeps posting on CGTalk. Man, maybe i'll wait till I'm a little better. :)

Haha, I've got some of your pics saved from class. I can hold them ransom!
No, I was really glad to have you in that class, as another 3D guy trying out the 2D thing. I'm almost glad I hadn't realized about your post Killer Bean work, it would have been intimidating then!

I think everyone has covered any questions I might have had. Just wanted to say hi and thanks for your time in the Q&A!

(James) Chris

joshin42
08-15-2005, 10:00 PM
Jeff!

Man... I remember waaaay back... Watching your killer bean short was a real inspiration for me when I was starting to dive into training myself on Maya. Taking such fundamentally characters and doing something AWESOME with them was a revelation for me. It's great to see you on CGtalk and I hope to see some of your work here!

Cheers!~

ivanisavich
08-15-2005, 11:12 PM
Hey FLS_L(R),

I think I can answer that question for you....the idea was to emulate the look of code raining down a computer screen through the rain in that sequence. There are some indoor shots, where if you look at the windows you can see how the rain outside looks almost exactly like the trademark matrix-raining-code sequences shown throughout the movies. That's why the drops were especially elongated to my knowledge. But either way, in real life raindrops definitely don't come down spherical...they are elongated :)

Hey Jeff....you're an inspiration to many of us as you already know. I "grew up" watching the killer bean, and to this day they still play it to the tech classes at my old highschool (and give the kids the old "you should be able to make something like this by the end of the semester!" speech just to scare them ;))

Anyways...no questions from me....I'm just very much looking forward to the KB3!

Leonardo Vega
08-15-2005, 11:43 PM
Mr. Killer Bean! :D

To this day I still show all my friends Killer Bean 2 Episode #2 and it never fails to amaze them and crack them up!

Quick questions:

1) I once read you used Maya for work, but prefered Animation Master for personal projects, is this still true today or has another program grabbed your atention?

2) If there was one reference material you would pick as being most influencial in your life, what would it be?

3) Do you feel like you are able to balance your life with your work/hobbies or does 3D suck up all your time? :)

Thanks for your time! It's great that you are here and helping us out with your answers and insight. True inspiration. Can't wait for KB3!

Take care,
Leo

Sontaran
08-16-2005, 02:08 AM
Hi Jeff,

Thank you very much for your time and knowledge. Like many people here have already mentioned, you truely are an inspirational person. Congratulations on your amazing work. I've spent the morning reading the entire thread and it has answered many questions. It's great to get the views of experienced and accomplished profesionals. I've bought and watched your training DVD, so it is a priveledge to be able to chat and ask a few questions.

I'm a 3D CG student working towards my demo reel and had a few questions in regards to the kind of things I should focus my learning and efforts on. I really enjoy many aspects of 3D but I particularly want to specialise in character animation and story telling.

1. When you look at a potential employees' demo reel, are there particular kinds of animation that you would expect to see in a good reel? (ie: on Aardman's website they specify that you should put in a few different walk cycles showing difference in character).

2. You've mentioned the merit of learning through animating a bouncing ball, an exercise I am working on and enjoying : ) . Is this the kind of thing that if done well should go into a reel? There is some internet legend that Cameron Miyasaki got a job at Pixar based on such a simple but well made bouncing ball animation.

3. I read in an earlier post that you don't use a great deal of squash and stretch in your work. Which of the animation principles (such as those that are taught in Illusion of Life) are the most useful in every day professional work?

4. If done to a reasonable degree of technical and artistic competence, will a short animated film (in addition to a demo reel) increase my value as an employee in the flim/animation industry? ie: increase my chances of getting a job?

Thank you again. Looking forward to KB3!! Long live the Bean!!

P.S. Will KB3 be a short short, or a 15-20 min short?

Daniel

Jeff Lew
08-16-2005, 06:12 AM
How many years did it take for you before you got in to the animation industry

Hi Ashutosh,

It was about 2 years of self study and practice.

What are the difficulties that you faced in the beginning of your career

Probably the whole relocation thing. The first studio I worked at (KWCC) was about 3 hrs away from where I lived at the time (Boston). Every Monday, I would get up at 6 am and drive 3 hrs to KWCC and I stayed there till Friday evening and drove 3 hours back. That was the hardest part, especially when it snowed. It took me 6 hours to drive back one time. Thinking back, I probably shouldn't have driven that time.

What would you say to someone like me who has a very little experience in animation and no arts background

Better start learning! It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, so you better start soon!

Is there a magic formula?? :)

Hard Work + Practice + never giving up

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-16-2005, 06:18 AM
Anyhow I might have missed it in an earlier posting (if that's the case just link back)... What's the trick to getting your foot in the door?

Hi pauljs75,

The only trick really is a great demo reel. For my first job, I saw an ad in the paper and I sent them my demo reel. To my surprise they emailed me back! It all started from there.

And the other question... Is it just me, or is the Cloud Gate sculpture at Millenium Park in Chicago a tempting piece of material for a joke in the Killer Bean series. (Mecha Bean anyone?)

Haven't seen the Cloud Gate scuplture. But I was going to make fun of the dancing baby a long time ago, but people probably forgot about the whole dancing baby fad.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-16-2005, 06:23 AM
Hi Mr Jeff
i want to tell u that even here in palestine, with all the actions happend , there is a time to see the Killer Bean, and My little student watch it too and like it so much.(u get the CD on the Martin Body). V Cool.

ok the Question. while using the graph editor and Trax editor (what advice for smothing the character movment)?

Hi smartart,

Great to hear it. For smoothing character motion, I do that in the graph editor, not the trax editor. The first bet is to not keyframe on every frame. That will cause choppy motion. Try to keep your keyframes around 3-5 frames apart depending on the speed of your animation. Also look for any wrinkles in your motion curve. That is usually caused by abnormal tangets on your keyframe. You can get them back to the default smoothness by selecting the keyframe in the graph editor and then hit the normal tangents button or the flat tangent button.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-16-2005, 06:27 AM
You probably don't remember me but my name was Sten on the KB-forums.

I just wanted to say that.... ummm... I don't know... say hi? And thank you for the DVD. I found some hidden button in it too, with some bloopers and stuff, that was just gold :)

I gotta tell you, just reading your answers to people's questions inspires and motivates me in strange ways, haha. You're just a big pile of motivation.

Hey Sten! Yes I remember you! Your modeling skills advanced quite quickly from the models you posted in the KB forums. It's great to hear from all the KB forum dudes again!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-16-2005, 06:36 AM
I have got yr DVD too? It is just awesome and absolutely educational. Good job, Jeff!
I have a few questions for you.

1. Does it mean much, or does it change much for you moving from one studio to another, in terms of production, people, facilities, and maybe studio's reputation? Do you have to brainstorm a lot when choosing a studio to join? If you do, then what is your criteria and why?

Hi Richard,

Going from studio to studio doesn't really mean much. The hardest part about it is the relocation if it's far away. Things like finding a new apartment or getting your car there somehow. Finding your way around the new neighborhood is hard at first too. But studio life is relatively the same from studio to studio. You just need to learn the new production structure, like how to post to dailies and how to set renders off on the farm. Most studios have their own custom tools for that stuff.

Usually, I don't choose the studio to work at. Well, you don't really get to choose anything. The studio chooses you. But I apply because of the project. If a project is really interesting OR if I'll be doing something interesting on a project, like supervise or something like that. I don't care where I work, it's what I work on that counts the most.

2. What can you say about the future of VFX and animation, because a lot of them are damn invisible and storytelling by now.

I really don't know the future of VFX. But I hope to see more independant animations come out!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-16-2005, 06:40 AM
You mentioned that the CG industry is quite small and from what I've seen, many CG people go from studio to studio. In your experience, do many CG artists have to relocate much from job to job? Or is it possible to stay with one studio for a long time? I imagine there are many studios around the bay area, is it reasonable to say that some artists there can stay in one location and find a sufficient number of opportunities there without having to relocate?

Hi Wayne,

Yes, most CG artists in LA or the bay area don't have to look far for their next job. There are lots of studios and lots of work in those 2 areas. But for people who are not in those 2 areas, you'll probably have to relocate a lot. Almost every CG person in the industry goes through it a couple times or at least once. It's bound to happen.

Jeff

Jimstein
08-16-2005, 12:15 PM
I am a long time admirer of your Killer Bean 2! Great things take time,,, but 3 years?! At least you are honest and don’t brag about how fast you did this or that ;)

Could you please share your experience about frame rates? To what frame rate have you been animating? In Illusion of Life I got the impression that Disney used in generally12 frames per second that then they double exposed up to 24 frames (in there traditionally made movies). Would you recommend animators to do it like this in 3d animation? Or do you think it is better to down sample 30 frames of animation to 24?

I also wonder, BECOUSE im working a short character movie, what methodology you personally would recommend for rendering among this:

1. anti-aliasing at rendertime
2. anti-aliasing after postproduction
3. render at double resolution (no anti-aliasing) and then down sample to half resolution

obs i ask in aspect to character animation and rendering moving characters

(I am not native English so I hope my questions were not confusing you)

Darknon
08-16-2005, 01:18 PM
Hi Jeff

Love your work and your dvd, it rocks... And KB was actually one of the main reasons I wanted to start animating, good stuff for sure. Can't wait to see the 3rd one :)

I was wondering, when you do slow motion in a KB scene. Do you actually animate the slowmo by hand, or do you let the render do it for ya, I mean do you animate the scene in realtime, and just let the render stretch out those few frames that need slowmo? ... I mean, it's hard to animate slowmo by hand, especially if there's particles in the scene.

I'm doing this d-day short (if you remember), and it's a pretty big project... I wanna know about your story boarding, how detailed is it? I mostly use story board for camera placement only, or if there's some special Ideérs I want to see (something like that). I dont storyboard how I need the soldiers to fly through the air. I'm kind of improvising when I'm working with my scenes. I place the explosion, and then I just go with the feeling of how he will fly and land... It works fine to me, it makes things feel alot more random I think... Something tells me that it's a bad thing... Tell me, do you ever in your KB shorts let the scene, like animate itself, and just go with the flow?

Thanks alot for taking your time with this :) Very cool...

PhuongDPh
08-16-2005, 03:36 PM
And, Maybe don't need to harass Mr Lew http://forums.cgsociety.org/images/icons/icon10.gif

snwbrdn7
08-16-2005, 08:04 PM
Jeff,

I love your short, I have watched it many times and my wife and I think it's helarious. Great animation especially the bad guy who wiggles his butt up in the air. I love that shot because they show it again during his life flashback.

I read alot of th comments made by others and I noticed that you have done some web development. I think that's really cool because as I have been doing 3D for the last 2 years I have been supporting myself through Designing and developing websites. It's cool to hear that someone else has a somewhat similar background. Of course I do hope to be done with web development aside from person projects in the near future. I'm soo sick of it.

Thanks for your inspiration animation,

Corey:thumbsup:

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 05:49 AM
Hey Jeff,
I was wondering if you ever did any 2D animation and if not, whether you would ever consider doing 2D? It just struck me as all your work I've seen is 3D and your DVD is geared specifically towards "3D character animation". I have dabbled with both and there seems to be certain advantages to each type. With 3D I think it's easier to make and tweak ease ins, outs, and overlaps... but it's hard to deal with rotations in 3axes, when you are trying for a perfect arc... in 2D however you can establish a pose as quick as you can draw it, without having to rotate multiple joints....Do you think you would be as comfortable working in a 2D format? And if you do prefer the 3D way of animating to 2D, why is that?

Hi Joscoon,

I never tried 2D animation. I think I would be pretty bad at it because I can't draw very well. Plus I am very used to the computer assisting in making in between keys, so I would be really slow at 2D. 3D is definitely my preferred method.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 05:58 AM
1)Behind the technical aspects of the hardware and software we all just want to push things creatively. What are your thoughts on the creative aspect of 3D and animation? (I realise that's a pretty open ended question, just curious i guess)

Hi projectk,

I think the best thing about 3D is that if you can imagine it, you can create it. There are no boundaires to your imagination. However, overcoming technical hurdles can be a bit tricky. Sometimes, getting through the technical aspects can really dampen your creativity. It's a good idea to mix up tasks. If you are doing a big techincal task one day, try to do something more creative the next. It will keep you fresh.

2) Has working in animation as a profession killed part of the wow factor for you? Often now, i'm watching a movie with other people and they're quite excited by the effects and i think "oh they just did xyz." I am scared i'm going to kill my enthusiasm for movies/motion in general.

Well, yes it has killed the wow factor in a way, but not in terms of movie going excitement. Sometimes I look at the effects in a movie and I say, "DAMN, that is a lot of work" and I groan for all the people who worked on it. Some effects just don't look fun to work on. But really, I see movies mainly for the story. I don't really care for big effects movies these days. My favorite movie of the summer was Batman Begins. Awesome movie and story.

3) Do you ever forget how to do things with your software since you've been doing it so long?

Yeah, it happens a lot, especially if you take long breaks from using software, like for 2 months or so. It doesn't take long to get back into form though. Also, you could be using software everyday, but you may forget one aspect that you haven't used in a while, like dynamics. All it takes is a refresher though.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 05:58 AM
Hey there Jeff Lew.

I just had to drop by and say that you're an amazing artist and I really love your animation DVD and your movies. Kicking stuff!

Take care.

Erik

Thanks Erik!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:00 AM
Thanks for answering my questions Jeff :D


You have to admit "The Computer Animators Survival kit by Jeff Lew" does have a catching ring to it :P
Cheers

Not if I have to write it! :)

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:05 AM
I am REALLY impressed with the sound effects and especially the music in Killer Bean 2 when I first saw it. I am just wondering whether you have any musical background? Did that phase during the production took you a while to finish?

Hi skull_leader,

Nope, no musical background at all. All the music was done in Acid Pro with loop libraries. I just simply mixed loops together. All the music for KB2 took me 2 days to complete.

Do you have any advices for people who have no musical background in how to go about creating the music they want in their animation?

Check out Acid Pro or a similar loop based sequencer. It's really easy to use. You can change tempo without changing pitch. There are tons of music libraries available too. I have no musical talent, but I know what I like to hear, so I go by that.

One last question, from your experience, do you know where can I can find or buy good sound effect for my own animations? (I usually get most of my sound from sound dog).

Yes, I use Sound Dogs too. I like them a lot, but the bill can add up. I haven't tried any other place though.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:12 AM
I am from spain, and in 2 years I´ll become an architect.The thing is that since i was a kid ,I´ve always draw comics.And now i am modeling and animating in 3d,and i really really like it,and I spend a lot of time on that stuff.So, i was wondering if you could tell me by your experience if it posible to do both things.Because i guess that if you go to an animation studio and you tell your boss "yea,i´ll work for you but only since 15:00 to 22:000 o clock because in the morning I am working in architecture",they will kick you out so fast that you just couldn´t notice what happend...(maybe inside out teletransportation???).

Hi shenmue,

I did something similar to that on a couple jobs. For example when I had my web job, I really wanted more free time to learn 3D. I asked to work 3 10-hour days a week instead of 5 8-hour days. The boss agreed. As long as I still got the work done, they didn't care. But before you ask something like this, be sure you have no problems if they fire you. I was never scared of being unemployed, so if they wanted to fire me, I had no problems with that. If you want to gamble to win, you got to be prepared to lose :)

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:13 AM
Just watched Kill Bean 2.1 and it was awesome. I don't have any questions, just wanted to say congrats on your success and keep up the amazing work!

Naveed

Thanks Naveed!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:16 AM
Sir, I am a big fan of "The Matrix" images/icons/icon10.gif
Sir, I have a important question for you about "Matrix Revolution" images/icons/icon10.gif
- At the end of the film, when Neo are fighting with Smith, It's raining.
- I can see the rain drops and rain drops' shape is capsule ( or similar ) not sphere
- I think the rain drop shape must be sphere.images/icons/icon10.gif
- I have lost the VCDs so that I can't post illustration imagesimages/icons/icon10.gif
- Sorry, for my poor English !images/icons/icon10.gif
- Thanks for your time.

Hi Phuong,

Yes, I think Tyson answered this one for you. I didn't work on Matrix Revolutions.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:22 AM
Hey Jeff!

Crazy awesome that you're doing the Q&A. I remember when I first signed up for Environmental Design I recognized you name, funny enough I knew you only from the Killer Beans and the Spiderman themepark ride. I had not known about your movie work! Mad props and all that jazz. :thumbsup:

Hey Chris! Wait, your name's Chris? Then who's James?

Haha, I've got some of your pics saved from class. I can hold them ransom!
No, I was really glad to have you in that class, as another 3D guy trying out the 2D thing. I'm almost glad I hadn't realized about your post Killer Bean work, it would have been intimidating then!

Pictures? What pictures? I didn't draw any pictures. :D Just kidding. Yeah, that was a really cool class. I just wish I had more time to really take part in it. Seemed like a lot of people were really getting as much as they could out of it. I felt like ultra newbie compared to everyone else! Great to hear from you!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:24 AM
Man... I remember waaaay back... Watching your killer bean short was a real inspiration for me when I was starting to dive into training myself on Maya. Taking such fundamentally characters and doing something AWESOME with them was a revelation for me. It's great to see you on CGtalk and I hope to see some of your work here!

Thanks Josh! I will show some in due time.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-17-2005, 06:27 AM
Hey FLS_L(R),

I think I can answer that question for you....the idea was to emulate the look of code raining down a computer screen through the rain in that sequence. There are some indoor shots, where if you look at the windows you can see how the rain outside looks almost exactly like the trademark matrix-raining-code sequences shown throughout the movies. That's why the drops were especially elongated to my knowledge. But either way, in real life raindrops definitely don't come down spherical...they are elongated :)

Hey Jeff....you're an inspiration to many of us as you already know. I "grew up" watching the killer bean, and to this day they still play it to the tech classes at my old highschool (and give the kids the old "you should be able to make something like this by the end of the semester!" speech just to scare them ;))

Anyways...no questions from me....I'm just very much looking forward to the KB3!

Thanks for answering this, Tyson. That's cool to hear about your class. By the end of the semester? hahaha. That's a tough school!

Jeff

cgnetworks_le
08-17-2005, 11:52 AM
Thanks for sharing yr thoughts, Jeff

my own short animation is now on the paper, and i can say yr DVD is a great guideline, both technically and artistically.

Hope to see more of that from u in the future

kuepper
08-17-2005, 06:34 PM
I hope I'm not to late to post here.

Hey Jeff!
Good to see you have lots of fans. I saw you first bean movie back when I was going to school trying to learn Softimage. What a waste of time and money. The only thing that saved me was they hired a young guy that had graduated from Vancouver film school for a couple of months. He went on to work on some big name video games. He still is critqing my so, so animating.
It seems to be a big question about going to school or not.

I was working with Maya for about 3 years and then we went on our own. We got Animation Master and really like it.
The downfall is that we want to start working on productions but have no AM users here.
I am trying to put together a production style course that is staight to the point with no fluff.

I guess the question I would like to ask you is, since you have been a AM user and now a Maya guy. Do you think it is worth the time and effort to train people and put together a prodution with AM?
I personally like AM, its very easy to use and powerful and we are not planning to be a big production house with high end effects. Just like to hear some input from someone thats been there and done that.

I got the third part of your dvd off of divx and its straight to the point. I will buy the dvd because the divx is so restricted.

You may have answered this one already but have you considered puting a dvd together on how to set up a animation set, scene, when to composite, render time tricks, final output and such?
a mini movie kind of thing.

Keep up the awesome work Jeff!!

Julez4001
08-17-2005, 10:04 PM
Hi Jeff
Your work is fantastic as well as you know because it definitely shows the years of work and
effort.


You mention that you use Maya now and not AM.

On your DVD, you tend to enjoy making poses ont he fly due to AM toolset.

1. How do you supplement missing AM tools in Maya.

2. What are your favorite tools in animating outside of the obvious dopesheet.
Like do you Maya's FK/IK blender or Jason Schleifer 's or someone elses.

3. Do you use any thirdparty tools, scripts to manage/help in animating in Maya?

Basically I would like to know what you do to get Maya streamlined for animating and not
in its usual, somewhat cluttered default mode.

-----------------------------------------


What do you think of the new product: http://www.pom.tv/
Principles of Motion reference DVDs

Djeldoran
08-17-2005, 11:53 PM
Hi Jeff,

I saw your trailer called "Concussion". I thought it was cool. With the title and the action, It looked like it was gonna be a rough movie. At least people have pain when the floor hit their face :twisted:

Are you planning on making a short out of it? It would be great especially with your current skills, that would be an awesome action packed short.

SuperHero
08-18-2005, 02:49 AM
hi jeff

i wonder how you made your works realistic and by using which programs you have achieved these nice works.
one more thing do you anything about maya? if yes then please tell me how can i make my picture more realistic and more interesting

xX_eXiGe_Xx
08-18-2005, 11:30 AM
Hi Jeff Lew!
First of all i want to say that your answers to all questions here are very inspiring.
I am 17 years old, and i began to learn the basics on "making game" tools 8 months ago. Right now in school i'm studuying to work within the paper industry (walk around machines to see if they are doing well). The job is extremly boring and i can't hold myself to not fall asleep on those boring paper classes. So my question for a proffesional 3D artist, should I quit school and work with 3D instead?

amannin
08-18-2005, 07:54 PM
Wow, I remember seeing killer bean 2 during my final years of high school, 2001/02 -- at that point I immediately started looking into 3D. I would have to say, your short animated film was a major impact in getting me started with animation. I love the idea of being able to create at the speed of thought. Thanks for being such a great inspiration so early on :applause:

cyclingteam2001
08-19-2005, 06:39 PM
my message is down

cyclingteam2001
08-19-2005, 06:48 PM
hi jeff
what problems have you met in the making of KB3?? Have you resoluted these problems?? in what year or season or month(if do you won't have any new problems) do you think the movie will be ready for the released?? i have read from sombody that KB3 will be a remake of the first......do you confirm? Thanks for the attemption and the time spent to read my post (and thank you from the world for have made KILLER BEAN...)
a fan...........................John

Charbax
08-20-2005, 03:09 AM
I've always wanted to take part in making a game since I was a little kid, but I much rather prefer to play games than make them now. And all the scary stories coming out about people working 100 hrs/week, doesn't sound like a fun thing. Although I bet video game employees get to play a lot of games at work. That sounds pretty fun.

Jeff


Could you please make Killer Bean videogame with Nintendo for the Revolution?

Don't worry, I'm sure it won't be 100hrs/week for you, you'll just be the boss together with Miyamoto designing original gameplay for your stylised Killer Bean character and its cool golden gun shooting world..

I think KB franchise would be perfect for a Nintendo exclusivity?

Has Nintendo ever approached you to discuss making a Killer Bean game for their console? Or for that matter have you considered with someone from the game industry to make a game out of it?

I am definately hoping KB3 will make it even more possible that a KB game be made someday.

Have you thought about the coincidence that the Tarantino movie Kill Bill has the same initials as your Killer Bean? Tarantino says he hates 3D graphics put into movies, cause it makes them look like videogames. Do you agree that 3D graphics should stay for videogames and animations and that films with real actors should stick with real scenes and real acting?Search google for this quote:

If i'd wanted all that computer game bullshit, I'd have gone home and stuck my d**k in my Nintendo

That is what Tarantino has said about CG in movies. Do you like Kill Bill?

If you were to do some acting, would you prefer to do comedy, action or dramatic romance?

dinodog-jr
08-20-2005, 04:55 PM
i am just like anybody else who likes ur Ultimate KB2.

So, how's life over der? Do u like to sleep alot than working in front of PC? I really liek to sleep man. I spent more time in sleeping than strive to learning anything in Art.

The max i can hold on is 5hours per day. Tell us bout ur daily life...hee.

Any deepest or unforgetable impacts in ur career so far?

Can't wait for the KB3!! Hope it can be a SHORT-MOVIE like under 1 hour!..
GAMBATEH!

\(>o<)/

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 07:47 PM
1) I once read you used Maya for work, but prefered Animation Master for personal projects, is this still true today or has another program grabbed your atention?

Hi Leo,

For work, I've always used Maya. For personal stuff, I'll use whatever is good and flexible. Currently I use Maya for my main 3D app now, but I'm looking to expand with more specialized 3D apps too for texturing, rendering, etc.

2) If there was one reference material you would pick as being most influencial in your life, what would it be?

One reference material? I don't really know. I would have to say just movies in general. You can learn a lot from good movies and a lot from bad movies. You can learn about motion, sound, cinematography, editing, acting. There's just so much there.

3) Do you feel like you are able to balance your life with your work/hobbies or does 3D suck up all your time? :)

Right now it's not balanced at all. 3D is everything right now. That's the bad side of CG. It takes so much of your time.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:01 PM
1. When you look at a potential employees' demo reel, are there particular kinds of animation that you would expect to see in a good reel? (ie: on Aardman's website they specify that you should put in a few different walk cycles showing difference in character).

Hi Daniel,

It really depends on the studio you're applying to. A place like Aardman will definitely want stuff that shows character. Most of the places I worked are VFX studios, so I would have to say that showing believability in weight and timing is very important. Showing that you are skilled technically can help also. For example, if you know some character rigging, show some examples of that. It shows that your are proficient in the software you use.

2. You've mentioned the merit of learning through animating a bouncing ball, an exercise I am working on and enjoying : ) . Is this the kind of thing that if done well should go into a reel? There is some internet legend that Cameron Miyasaki got a job at Pixar based on such a simple but well made bouncing ball animation.

That is very interesting. I never heard of that, but to tell you the truth, if I saw a bouncing ball on a demo reel, I wouldn't really consider it, because I would think you haven't passed that level of animation yet. I would think that you are still in the learning phase. But like I said, it really depends on the studio you are applying to. Places I've worked at are not looking for people to develop their skills. They're mainly looking for people to get the job done.

3. I read in an earlier post that you don't use a great deal of squash and stretch in your work. Which of the animation principles (such as those that are taught in Illusion of Life) are the most useful in every day professional work?

Weight, timing, posing, and follow through are all very important aspects I use everday.

4. If done to a reasonable degree of technical and artistic competence, will a short animated film (in addition to a demo reel) increase my value as an employee in the flim/animation industry? ie: increase my chances of getting a job?

It's quite risky to put a short on a demo reel, because it takes so much time to make a short. And if a person doesn't like a short, it might leave a bad impression about your reel. It would be better to pick the best seqments from your short and put them in your reel. I think shorts are best left for the web and film festivals and not on your reel.

P.S. Will KB3 be a short short, or a 15-20 min short?

Hmmm. It will be longer than 20 min.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:09 PM
Could you please share your experience about frame rates? To what frame rate have you been animating? In Illusion of Life I got the impression that Disney used in generally12 frames per second that then they double exposed up to 24 frames (in there traditionally made movies). Would you recommend animators to do it like this in 3d animation? Or do you think it is better to down sample 30 frames of animation to 24?

Hi Jimstein,

In the beginning of my career, I animated to 30 fps, but now I animate only to 24 fps, because all the projects I work on are at 24. There is a slight difference to animating at 30 and 24. When I first made the change going from 30 to 24, I found that all my animation looked slower, so I had to speed things up. It makes sense if you think about it.

Be careful about changing framerates mid way through your animation. If you start at 30 and switch to 24, I find that Maya will scale your keyframes accordingly, but it won't set your keyframes to whole integers. Keyframes will be in the decimal like 10.48 or 55.87. It's best to start at the framerate you will render in.

Also, I keyframe usually every 3-5 frames for all my keys. I don't usually go less or greater than that.

1. anti-aliasing at rendertime
2. anti-aliasing after postproduction
3. render at double resolution (no anti-aliasing) and then down sample to half resolution

Anti-alias at rendertime. That is the easiest.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:17 PM
I was wondering, when you do slow motion in a KB scene. Do you actually animate the slowmo by hand, or do you let the render do it for ya, I mean do you animate the scene in realtime, and just let the render stretch out those few frames that need slowmo? ... I mean, it's hard to animate slowmo by hand, especially if there's particles in the scene.

Hi Ronnie,

When I animate slow mo, I usually animate in realtime and then scale out the animation to whatever speed I need. I think that is easier. If you try to animate in slow mo, it's hard to make it look real.

I'm doing this d-day short (if you remember), and it's a pretty big project... I wanna know about your story boarding, how detailed is it? I mostly use story board for camera placement only, or if there's some special Ideérs I want to see (something like that). I dont storyboard how I need the soldiers to fly through the air. I'm kind of improvising when I'm working with my scenes. I place the explosion, and then I just go with the feeling of how he will fly and land... It works fine to me, it makes things feel alot more random I think... Something tells me that it's a bad thing... Tell me, do you ever in your KB shorts let the scene, like animate itself, and just go with the flow?

For KB2, I made very simple thumbnail boards. It was mostly to get the story and camera ideas down. Now I don't board at all and I go straight to previs. I find it much more useful in production, because you start to see things in motion and you can use the previs as a starting block for your scene files.

For KB2, there are a lot of scenes that I let it go with the flow, but I had no real planning stage for KB2. Now I don't do that, because I want to get my projects done in a specific amount of time. KB2, I had no real deadline.

BTW, I saw your D-Day short a while ago (or parts of it). It is very cool!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:26 PM
I read alot of th comments made by others and I noticed that you have done some web development. I think that's really cool because as I have been doing 3D for the last 2 years I have been supporting myself through Designing and developing websites. It's cool to hear that someone else has a somewhat similar background. Of course I do hope to be done with web development aside from person projects in the near future. I'm soo sick of it.

Hi Corey,

Usually that's the motivating factor to switch to different careers, when people get sick of what they're doing. My accountant said his friend is a doctor and now he is trying to switch to 3D. Man, talk about a big career change. When I was in web design, I basically decided to quit in order to learn 3D fulltime. But my boss agreed to a part-time schedule. Now, I don't recommend that everyone quits their job, but to learn 3D, you really do have to set aside large chunks of time for it. It's all about hard work and perseverance, and you will get there.

Good luck!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:29 PM
Thanks for sharing yr thoughts, Jeff

my own short animation is now on the paper, and i can say yr DVD is a great guideline, both technically and artistically.

Hope to see more of that from u in the future

Thanks Richard,

Good luck on your short!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:40 PM
I guess the question I would like to ask you is, since you have been a AM user and now a Maya guy. Do you think it is worth the time and effort to train people and put together a prodution with AM?
I personally like AM, its very easy to use and powerful and we are not planning to be a big production house with high end effects. Just like to hear some input from someone thats been there and done that.

Hi John,

Well, that is a tough question. If you are set on using AM and you can't find AM users, it might be best to look for people who know how to animate in other packages and then train them to use AM. They should be able to pick up AM just as easy as other packages. Most animation tools are the same in every software package. But I don't think you should be training people who never worked in a 3d app before. It would take too much time. Try to find people who know how to animate first. Learning a 3D app is easier than learning how to animate.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:52 PM
1. How do you supplement missing AM tools in Maya.

Hi Julian,

I find tools are about the same. I would expect that animation tools are the same in XSI too. The difference is how deep you want to go with your controls technically. But some people don't want to get too technical.

2. What are your favorite tools in animating outside of the obvious dopesheet.
Like do you Maya's FK/IK blender or Jason Schleifer 's or someone elses.

Actually, I haven't used that many tools beyond the basic tools for animation. I should check out Jason Schleifer's setup. His work on Gollum is amazing. I'm interested to seeing what full body IK brings to the table also.

3. Do you use any thirdparty tools, scripts to manage/help in animating in Maya?

Not really. I use a lot of third party tools for other things like FX, rendering, etc, but not for animation.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:56 PM
I saw your trailer called "Concussion". I thought it was cool. With the title and the action, It looked like it was gonna be a rough movie. At least people have pain when the floor hit their face :twisted:

Are you planning on making a short out of it? It would be great especially with your current skills, that would be an awesome action packed short.

Hi Olivier,

I was always into more human action packed animation, and I do plan to make a more "human" character piece after KB3 is done. But it won't be based on Concussion. It will be something more futuristic.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 08:59 PM
i wonder how you made your works realistic and by using which programs you have achieved these nice works.
one more thing do you anything about maya? if yes then please tell me how can i make my picture more realistic and more interesting

Hi Yasin,

For those images you see, I have nothing to do with the rendering of those images. Rendering was all done by other people in the studio. To make an image more realistic, you would need to use renders like mental ray or maxwell, etc. I can't really help you there.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 09:06 PM
Hi Jeff Lew!
First of all i want to say that your answers to all questions here are very inspiring.
I am 17 years old, and i began to learn the basics on "making game" tools 8 months ago. Right now in school i'm studuying to work within the paper industry (walk around machines to see if they are doing well). The job is extremly boring and i can't hold myself to not fall asleep on those boring paper classes. So my question for a proffesional 3D artist, should I quit school and work with 3D instead?

Hi xX_eXiGe_Xx,

I don't suggest that anyone quits school. Quitting your job is one thing, but quitting school is different. But maybe I don't understand the school system in Sweden. Do you specialize in learning for jobs in school already? I'm not really sure how your school system works.

But 3D is something you can learn on your own. Since you are only 17, you have plenty of time to learn 3D. Try learning and practicing on your own before quitting first. I didn't really know what I was going to be doing as a career until I was 22.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 09:09 PM
Wow, I remember seeing killer bean 2 during my final years of high school, 2001/02 -- at that point I immediately started looking into 3D. I would have to say, your short animated film was a major impact in getting me started with animation. I love the idea of being able to create at the speed of thought. Thanks for being such a great inspiration so early on :applause:

Thanks Alvin!

Good luck in 3D!

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 09:13 PM
hi jeff
what problems have you met in the making of KB3?? Have you resoluted these problems?? in what year or season or month(if do you won't have any new problems) do you think the movie will be ready for the released?? i have read from sombody that KB3 will be a remake of the first......do you confirm? Thanks for the attemption and the time spent to read my post (and thank you from the world for have made KILLER BEAN...)

Hi John,

There were lots of problems, and lots more problems to come. I would have to say story and production pipeline were 2 big problems early on. They both have been figured out. Now it's just finishing the thing. No, KB3 will not be a remake of the first. I was originally planning on doing that, but it's much bigger now.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 09:22 PM
Could you please make Killer Bean videogame with Nintendo for the Revolution?

Don't worry, I'm sure it won't be 100hrs/week for you, you'll just be the boss together with Miyamoto designing original gameplay for your stylised Killer Bean character and its cool golden gun shooting world..

Hi Nicolas,

That would be really cool. But I have to start small first!

Has Nintendo ever approached you to discuss making a Killer Bean game for their console? Or for that matter have you considered with someone from the game industry to make a game out of it?

I am definately hoping KB3 will make it even more possible that a KB game be made someday.

Nope, nobody big like that. A lot of game modders wanted to make a mod in the Half Life 2 engine, but I don't have enough time to participate in projects like that yet. Although it would be cool to play a KB game.

Have you thought about the coincidence that the Tarantino movie Kill Bill has the same initials as your Killer Bean? Tarantino says he hates 3D graphics put into movies, cause it makes them look like videogames. Do you agree that 3D graphics should stay for videogames and animations and that films with real actors should stick with real scenes and real acting?Search google for this quote:

Hmm, every movie is different. If your movies calls for big FX, then yes, of course you will need CG in it. But the movie should never be based on the FX alone.

If you were to do some acting, would you prefer to do comedy, action or dramatic romance?

I dunno. If I was serious at acting, I would like to do it all. But since I'm not serious, I'd probably try action first. That would be fun.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 09:27 PM
So, how's life over der? Do u like to sleep alot than working in front of PC? I really liek to sleep man. I spent more time in sleeping than strive to learning anything in Art.

Hi Tan,

I like to sleep too. It depends on the project. If I'm working in a normal job, then I like to sleep, but if I'm working on my own stuff, I tend to wake up early and go to bed late. I spend a lot of time working on my own stuff.

The max i can hold on is 5hours per day. Tell us bout ur daily life...hee.

Right now I spend about 10+ hrs a day on CG. I try to work out everyday too. It's hard to fit everything in.

Jeff

Jeff Lew
08-20-2005, 09:31 PM
Okay folks! I gotta split. My free time is back down to zero again. Thanks to everyone who participated and a big THANK YOU to Leigh for setting this whole thing up!

BYE!
Jeff

Tughan
08-20-2005, 11:23 PM
Thanks for your time and awesome answers my friend. Good luck on making Killer Bean 3. We all excited to watch it! :bounce:

FabioMSilva
08-21-2005, 12:36 AM
Thanks Jeff. 16 pages. Lots of info on these.


Make KB3 a good sequel!

leigh
08-21-2005, 07:42 AM
Thanks Jeff for your participation in this great Q&A session! It looks like everyone had a lot of fun and learned a lot - thanks again for giving so generously of your time.

:thumbsup: