Meet the Artist: Jason Schleifer

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  06 June 2005
Thumbs up the Great Jason Schleifer!!

Hy Jason,

Is great to have you here in CGTalk Q&A, congrats to cgtalk team.
I have just a few questions:

1. What you would like to see in a Character Animator Portfolio?

2. You are "the man of the rigs", what is your secret, keep it simple?

3. In the future, what is your next challenge?

Thanks Jason,
keep your fine work, bye.
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason,

first time i know someone from the Q&A session (seen you on the extended edition)
my first question is, how many verticies has Gollum? and my second;
which time did you like more, the time from being a noob to a pro, or the time from being a pro to now?

i really admire your work, LOTR/Gollum drove me to do CG
My website

Last edited by Joblh : 06 June 2005 at 12:04 PM.
  06 June 2005
Hy, I really wasn't expecting you in this selection, but I'm very surprised, because you are my animation idol

1. Why did you choosed Animation, not modelling or other?
2. How old was you when you started animating?
  06 June 2005
Hi there Jason! ,

First of all: it's great to see you here in the 'Meet the Artist'-forum! I haven't thát much questions, because I know allot of the questions I cóuld ask, would already be answered, or do not have to be answered by you

He you go:
1) Do you have any advise for young people (like 16/17/18 years old) who are trying to find a holiday job (local) in computer graphics / animation? I'm desperately looking for sómewhere to do the simple things of (rotoscoping or so?!), instead of crawling trough a big apple-garden and looking for bad leaves ... Where would you try the best to find such a place, in your eyes?
2) Do you think that it would be good possible to find a prof-job in the Computer-Graphics sector, without education? I'm planning to do 'Industrial Design' (instead of animation or so), but maybe I'd in the future like to switch to the computer-graphics/film sector? What kind of education did you yourself have had, and did you think that were 'usefull years'?
3) What do you think to be the 'art of rigging', and what makes it so cool to do for you? I (and many others) see rigging as one of the 'not-cool-parts' of the process...! And what's the thing that makes a rig a góód rig? Could you maybe post a print-screen of a rig (of you ) that would be a very good one, in your opinion...?

Thanks for the time, you master , I hope to get anwers & Good luck at your further projects!

Greetz, Gijs

[edit: I edited some of the questions, as some of them where a bit dull ]
multidisciplinary creator of films and spaces
• design • image • film • music •

Last edited by Dutchman : 06 June 2005 at 10:38 AM.
  06 June 2005

hi jason..well i'm registerd to your website and i've alwayes asked everything i needed to know and you've answered kindly..and i remember the night which return of the king won 12 oscares and you came and said "we won alllll" i'm reza farsad there ..remember???

i have a new question which i prefer to ask here...

1-in the "Return of the king"extende edition on the 3d parts,they showed all the caracters with muscles..well it's expected to see golum or trolls in that form but when i saw Balrouge,i was somehow shocked and i asked myself:does it realy need muscles???i saw the movie again and i think it realy doesnt need muscles cause nothing is seen(and in many movies i saw things like this) is it because of the rigging prosses??doing a smiple muslce/influence job instead of "weight painting" all the model???and when the weight paint comes to hand parts,it's somehow hard to an influence object can make it more easier and faster..right???

2-which kind of caracter animates you like to do most??realstick movments (like gollum) or funny cartoony(like your blue baloon dog which i like alot)

3-for LOTR and MADAGASKAR caracter setups,did you always do an ultra super setup which there can be no limitations and wrong behaviores during the animate,or was there sometimes some problems wich you couldnt understand why(like knees doing a stupid movement....) and the animator had to animate that part(for that special move only)Frame by Frame???(just a fun Q)

4-when talking about gollum with many artists,they mostly talk about some revolutionary ultra hi tec. softwares and hardwares behind it true???i mean was there something more advanced about the technlogy behinde gollum than other cg caracters made by other big companies or was it more the artistic tallents behind it which made it so belivable??
i think i konw the answer but i want them to hear it from you...

5-and when can we see John and his dog??any dead line you put for yourself???
  06 June 2005

Have a good day mr.Jason!
Say that your work is what the 99% of people on cgtalk envying,is superfluous...
My first obvious question was if u Can recommend me at Weta or Dreamworks...but...Ok, Don't answer to this...
Now, my favourite (read obsession) work on 3d I ever seen is Gollum, and I think that it's not a news... What I (read we) search when I model, shade, rig and animate something in CG is to obtain the effect to make say:"Mmmmh....Nice photo". In films all is made with a lot of peoples, and money,and it look perfect. So, in the night that I spend at computer, I fight with myself for make ever better than me, and it's a long,eternal fight, because I'm lonely. Particularly in a reality like Italy where this work is not so simply to make, and i want to finish something to send at WETA,ILM etc... for realize the dream of my life.
Ok, the answer...
What is the secret of your work? For example...(Something was answered in a post, before) what are the technical information about Gollum? (his muscles are modelled one by one,I read somewhere) How was they animated? Are there blend shapes for every muscles? If I work on a personal project(that's what I do, but It's a too much long work...a short about Hiroshima and ) what is the best way for rig a model by myself if my time said that I Can't model 300 muscles for a short animation?
If u have tips about Gollum's skin shader or if u heard something about how they light the model in the scenes write it to me,please... It's so difficult to obtain professional results...
It was funny if professional special effect houses publish her's models in a low resolution for make as know secrets of works made by best peoples in cg...
Ah, another little little question: Why who work professionally in CG change often place of work,and company?
Ok, I truly finished...Sorry 4 my bad english...and for my shaking keyboard...
Thanks for your answer and for your ART....precioussss

Good work!

| my demoreel on cgtalk | |

...... O L D F U T U R E d i g i t a l ......

Last edited by neofg : 06 June 2005 at 07:26 AM.
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason first off congrats for your incredible work, and all WETA digital work done in LOTR, BTW. some question here.

1) We all know that Weta used also the great app Zbrush in the Maya pipeline. my question is was it used for detailing purposes via displacement and normal maps applied to objects or also as a maquette creator to biuld better meshes in Maya as if they were real 3D digitalized ones ? did this worked out well?
i remember to have read that some creature was done in that way . can u explain a bit ?

2) i'm also wondering if you guys or you in particular made studies about human or creature/animal realistic movements when walking and acting. if so did you used some references from reality?

3) as an animator, do you think it will be possible to obtain completely believable cg human beings ?

4) can you publish for us an example of a creture rigging, with an explaination of hierarchical controls both for TDs and final animators?

5) can u explain and publish for us some example of human motion captures and explain methods on how to adapt for example andy serkis movements and proportions to gollum ones ? since i know he's acting for King Kong motion capture too, i think some adaptation is always necessary.

6) what aspect of the acting of a creature u think is more important to obtain a stunning work as you did?

7) what kind of exercises you advice to a newbie in animation to enhance his skills for realistic and expressive animation?

ok i made a huge list !
thanx in advance for the replies!
Nemoid | Illustrator | 3D artist
.::Creating for you::.
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason,

Im currently a high-school student wanting to become an animator. What are companies like Dreamworks/Disney/Pixar looking for as far as educational background? Should I get a bachelor's degree is general arts first? masters? What are some of the best schools that you would recommend?
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason

Where do you feel the animation tools/workflow is moving too in the future in regards to technology and software applications?
  06 June 2005
Hey Jason!

One question.

Why isn't there one multi-disc - 'HOW TO BUILD A KILLER RIG' dvd?

The be all/end all to making the perfect rig. You could produce it yourself and sell it on your site!!!

You'd make millions, well you'd make money -- plenty.

I have found I have to work off of your 2 Alias DVDs and Gnomons Kinematics and Rigging to get all my rigging schooling, but I still yearn for a comprehensive DVD.

What say you?

Still learning in NJ.
"What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof"

Christopher Hitchens

Last edited by madmanmagic : 06 June 2005 at 02:27 PM.
  06 June 2005
am with kevin

hi jason. i dont even know where to start because am as green in 3d animations as they get. am just starting and like i said i dnt knw whr to strt........ push me along.

am interested on doing animation as a course. which online schls do u check as the best

b4 u completed your first animation how long did it take you?

thanks and cheers
  06 June 2005
First of all
Thank you!
You´re not only an amazing artist, you are also a great teacher, and you´re realy pushing the cg community forward. I read a lot of your articles, and watched the DVD. You suceed in transporting a clear image of the why´s and how´s.

There are a lot of good tools coming up for Character setup and CG in general, some of them automate nearly the whole setup process.
What I would like to know is

1) To wich degree do u use those existing tools, and how much of your pipeline do you build up on your own. What do you favor? Speed or control.

2) I suppose, that with a setup like Gollum, you won´t start immediatly at the software, but will do kind of a concept for your work first. If you do, what are your most important decision steps and criteria for your work, and how big is the amount of preproduction to production.

3) Suppose you are sitting in a bar or a restaurant, do you sometimes watch people and think about facial muscles?
Try hard fail hard,
no matter
Try again, fail again,
fail better

--Samuel Becket

-- --
  06 June 2005
Here are my questions, in no particular order:

  • How do you pronounce your last name?
  • What shots are you responsible for in "Madagascar"?
  • What was the hardest adjustment for you from full time rigger to full time animator?
Floyd Bishop

YouTube Channel
Char Maya Character Rig
  06 June 2005
Question time management...

I, like everyone else here, am amazed at everything you have accomplished and with your skill level. On top of that you still have time to help out around AM and on here and have time to do your own stuff and hang with your wife and dogs. My question as an AM student, someone learning flame* at work and at night, and trying to learn other cg related stuff at home, as well as a newly-wed is... how do you do it? What's the trick to managing your time so well? I have so many things that I want to learn, experiment with, and try, yet there are only so many hours in a day, and unfortunately one has to sleep at some point. How do you do it?
  06 June 2005
Hi Jason,

I was looking through your website blog/plog/jog/eggnog/bullfrog for Jonh and His Dog.
Last year, I finished production of my first animated short film and I was wondering what the benefit was to this pipeline you are creating.
It seems like an excessive amount of pre-prod work just to build the pipeline.

Also, in regards to character animation, do you remember the point in your career when the lightbulb went on in your head and you said to yourself, "A-ha! I get it!".
That point where how to properly use the principles of animation made sense.

So to simplify:

Question1 : What's the deal with creating a pipeline?

Question2 : When was your 'Eureka Moment' for character animation.



ps - really lookng forward to your film.
character animator
Watch my short film: Pen' Pals
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