Meet the Artist: Jeff Lew

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Old 08 August 2005   #31
Jeff,

I know you're skilled on many 3D programs, but which do you feel more comfortable with?
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Old 08 August 2005   #32
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
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Old 08 August 2005   #33
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!!
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Old 08 August 2005   #34
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?
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Old 08 August 2005   #35
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

God Bless,
George
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Old 08 August 2005   #36
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
 
Old 08 August 2005   #37
Hi Jeff, just this: when is killer bean 3?
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Old 08 August 2005   #38
Quote: 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


 
Old 08 August 2005   #39
Quote: 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.



Quote: 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.

Quote: 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!

Quote: What is your favorite animated character?


Killer Bean!

Quote: 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.

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


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

Quote: Killer Bean 3?


It's gonna be good...

Jeff
 
Old 08 August 2005   #40
Quote: 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
 
Old 08 August 2005   #41
Quote: 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
 
Old 08 August 2005   #42
Hi Jeff i gotta couple for you

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?
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Old 08 August 2005   #43
Quote: 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
 
Old 08 August 2005   #44
Quote: 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
 
Old 08 August 2005   #45
Quote: 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
 
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