Robot Unicorn Attack Championship at Blue Sky

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It’s things like this that are a good reminder of just how cool it is to work in the animation industry, and at Blue Sky specifically.

I’m happy to report that after a 3 month battle I scraped my way to the very top and am this year’s Robot Unicorn champion!

Here’s a short mockumentary following the journey of the tournament.

http://vimeo.com/jeffgabor/bssrobotunicorn

 

 

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Epic Ending

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Well, it’s been a great ride the last 2 years working on Epic. I’m definitely proud of the work everybody is doing at the studio, and really can’t wait to see the final product.

Most of us here in the animation dept. are wrapping up our last shot, and I’m sad to have to say goodbye to my lovely character, Mary Katherine.

On another note our Robot Unicorn Tournament ends this Friday, and I’ll be sharing a behind-the-scenes on my vimeo account to accompany the fun. Stay tuned for that!

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Epic Trailer 2

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We’re all having a great Thanksgiving over here at Blue Sky, and hope you’re doing the same. We’ve fully recovered from Sandy and are rushing to finish up Epic.

Speaking of, here’s a link to a brand new trailer!

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/fox/epic/

Since this blog allows me to talk about myself, tee hee, I’ll go ahead and post images of the 4 shots I have in the current trailer (although 2 of the 4 are just snippets of the complete shots). Also, you can clearly see that MK has two different hair styles in these set of images. I’m happy we moved to the hairstyle with the bangs. Too bad we didn’t get the new hairstyle completely updated in time for this trailer, but we’ll iron out all those kinks in time for the movie in May:

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Sandy Vs. Blue Sky

I was pretty fortunate in terms of how I personally fared through hurricane Sandy, but sadly I can’t say the same for many co-workers and friends. Many are without power, and some are homeless with little information as to when they can return home. It took a few days but its slowly starting to sink in as to how large the devastation really is in the Tri-State area that Blue Sky calls home.
We’ve been without power at work since the storm, and most of have turned to watching hours of news coverage of the storm’s aftermath. So many stories are heartbreaking and you can’t but help to feel for the thousands of people that are struggling to get there lives back in order.
Although I can’t share the picture, a friend of mine managed to take a picture of a school of fish swimming in what use to be his mail room in Hoboken, NJ! Absolutely crazy. The amazing pictures and stories just continue to roll in.
And although it’s far from as devastating, Blue Sky’s team is anxiously waiting to know when we can return back to work to finish up Epic. A little crunch time animating a cartoon would be a welcome change for many of us here on the east coast.

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Good Days at Blue Sky

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Some days just seem to be chock full of good news.

Today we learned Blue Sky will be animating a Peanuts movie. Holy cow! I have no idea to what capacity I’ll be helping out but I’m both insanely nervous, excited, and anxious for the challenge of tackling Snoopy, Charlie and all the Peanut characters.

With an expanding, passionate crew, fun events like a Robot Unicorn Attack tournament, and the exciting news that Ice Age 4 has become the most successful international animated movie of all time… well it’s hard to envision a better place to be than Blue Sky right now.

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Ice Age: Continental Drift!!! OPEN!!!

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This will be the first Blue Sky movie to come out in recent years that I sadly didn’t have much of a hand in. Kinda surreal to be honest, but I went to the wrap party a few days ago and thoroughly enjoyed the film, and am super proud of the team/work family. The movie hits it’s demographic hard, and I just can’t see kids not completely enjoying themselves.

 

Here’s a great review that actually understands what we at Blue Sky were going for in this film:

 
 

“Like its predecessors, the newest installment does not dig as deeply as Pixar aims to do, nor is it as ambitious visually as the most recent films from Dreamworks Animation. (And, in general, the big-budget studio projects all play it safer than animation originating in other parts of the world.)

Yet Blue Sky Studios has established its own niche: modest, well-executed, and colorful tales that honor their primary desire to delight young children without troubling them unduly or insulting the intelligence of their parents. That’s more than a business model; it’s the result of creative choice.”
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Behind the Scenes of Horton Hears a Who

Horton was one of the damn toughest projects I ever worked on, but I have to quickly come back by saying it was the most fun and memorable films as well. The crew we assembled could only be described as magical.
We were the closest of friends in and out of work and for most of us remain quite bonded. I always thought this behind-the-scenes video was a nice tribute to that team even though it doesn’t scratch the surface in terms of honoring each animator. Its a shame the video was hidden deep on the special edition of the dvd. Thank goodness for youtube 😉

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Epic Trailer

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Well here it! Our first trailer for Epic. I’m personally super excited to see what the chatter is about the look and feel. It’s a big leap forward for Blue Sky and I really hope its received well.

Some additional behind-the-scenes info: Most of this stuff is still super in-progress, especially in terms of final lighting and even some design stuff. The look will only get better from what you see here.

And on a personal note, I’m shocked to see I have several shots in the trailer. I did the over-the-shoulder shot of the Boggan (ugly creature) shooting an arrow at the leafman running on the branch, including the following shot of him jumping in the air towards the camera. Also, I did last couple shots of the girl, Mary Katherine, when she’s talking about how she thought it was a dream including the “aww, man” shot.

EPIC TRAILER

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The Annie Reel

I was extremely humbled, and still feel incredibly lucky to have won the Annie for Outstanding Character Animation in a Feature Production for my work on Rio. So what did it take to get the Annie that year? Here is exactly what Blue Sky and I submitted to ASIFA. This reel was then voted on by all registered ASIFA members. I was up against 6 other people. Mark Henn, Andreas Deja, Patrik Puhala (also for his work on Rio), Olivier Staphylas, Dan Wagner, and Pierre Perifel. Each of us were restricted to a 1 minute reel of our work.

From what I understand, the top 3 choices from all the ASIFA member then moved on to a final voting round that consisted of pre-selected judges to ultimately decide the winner.

Like I said, I still can’t believe I won, especially considering the competition. Their reels were phenomenal… especially Patrik’s work on Rio. Really beautiful stuff.

All in all it was a great achievement for Blue Sky since this was our first win for character animation. The team was extremely proud and we all celebrated together in the win. Really can’t say enough thanks and can’t really fully express my pride in our team. Congrats to us all.

Here is that 1 minute reel that got Blue Sky it’s Annie. ANNIE REEL

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AnimSchool Teaching

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Okay, maybe the headline is a little misleading. I’m not taking on any classes at AnimSchool, but I am happy to announce I’ll being doing weekly critique sessions for AnimSchool students this summer. It’ll be on a first come first served basis, and students will pop in for a general review of there work. I really hope to help some aspiring animators out, while also helping myself gain additional experience critiquing and pushing other animators’ work. Maybe one day these skills will come in handy should I ever move up to supervising a team.

So help me, help you, so I can help me. Haha. Hope to see some of you there starting in July. Check out the school at animschool.com

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