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Look, it's a new animation reel!



Examples of animated content produced from 2005-2014. Mostly new footage, but there's a few old bits I just can't give up. :D

In all of the traditionally-animated sequences collected here I served as Key Animator, if not full Animator. Often that's included the choreography and layout of the action as well a drawing the frames. Scenes for The Awesomes were produced in Toonboom Harmony, all other sequences animated with Photoshop and composed in AfterEffects (sequences prior to 2007 produced with finely-ground minerals pressed into pulped and pressed wood shavings).

For Darksiders II I acted as the Cinematics Director, coordinating and guiding the production of animated story sequences. Sequences were animated by teams both internal as well as outsourced, domestic and international. Animation for these sequences were produced either by the dedicated crew at Plastic Wax Australia or the talented team at Vigil Games (circa 2012, now scattered).

Sequences were animated by keys (no mocap) in 3DS Max and imported to the engine, actively integrating live assets within the game to allow for custom appearances and seamless transitions from cinematic to gameplay. It's tricky stuff, man, buy me a drink sometime and I'll tell you all about it.


* * * :D * * *


Life continues to be interesting, and eventful. 2015 marks the start of many new adventures.
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:iconozzyopolis:
ozzyopolis Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ATHF? How did you not crack the F up while doing that? XD
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Just the commercial, and retake animation at that (basically taking existing work and polishing/improving/revising it to look better), I never got a shot at working on the actual show. But yeah, I did have a good laugh while working on it, Carl's ass-slap jiggle and that smearing action are high points for my career so far, and will likely remain on my reel for some time to come. :D
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:iconsykosan:
sykosan Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Professional Filmographer
Nice to see you're doing different stuff. I also wish you worked more on 2D action stuff. Would love seeing you do more of that  ;)
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner May 10, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
I'm still working on action scenes for Hulu's The Awesomes (now in Season 3), though more in storyboards this season rather than keys. Action animation is my favorite thing, so I'll always try and get more of that going whenever I can. :D
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:iconsoliton:
soliton Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2014  Professional General Artist
That Post Human (?) scene of that dude's head...getting blown away...WOW!
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Haha, yeah that was a new one for me. The client really wanted to go for that Heavy Metal feeling... They didn't just let us get gory and titillating, they insisted upon it.

I had enough pent-up aggression at the time to make it satisfying. :D
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:iconsoliton:
soliton Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2014  Professional General Artist
Well I, for one, am a happy camper that they insisted upon the extreme gore and that you were an angry person lol
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:iconmorpheus306:
Morpheus306 Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2014  Professional Filmographer
This looks great, I always admired your animations.  How was it working in a style such as The Awesomes?  I know that's not traditionally your style, was it hard to adjust?
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It took a bit of adjustment, but they had good models and the directors were good at explaining what needed to be done when I went off-model, so I adapted pretty well (I think). I think they mostly value me for my skills at layout and timing and a bit of choreography, so there were a lot of scene towards the end of the season where I did minimal cleanup, but I drew my keys pretty close together and in some cases (especially fast action) I end up drawing all or nearly all the frames. I owed a lot to the in-between crew for being able to clean up my keys and fill in the gaps on those scenes, they did amazing work.
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:iconthebellhop:
theBellhop Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2014  Student Filmographer
As always, impressed by your animation man. Was the transition from 2d to 3d difficult? Awkward? Strange?
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Edited Dec 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It's worth emphasizing ( I just edited the Journal to reflect this); I didn't animate anything other than the occasional camera in Darksiders II. Instead I directed the animators who worked on the cinematics. I reviewed, guided and approved the storyboard production from the script, and I then reviewed, guided and approved the animation produced from those storyboards. I almost never actually set keys to a timeline for anything.

That being said, directing 3D animation from a background of 2D was crazy awkward and strange on a lot of levels. It had the added complexity of being "live" 3D, in that all the cinematics utilize active assets driven by the engine. Everything involved loading your custom character and placing it in the same setting as the gameplay and then having it interact through keyframed animation sequences with other custom assets normally controlled by the game engine. We'd get all sorts of weird effects, like snapping cloth if a character is shifted around the stage (something a lot of 3D animators take for granted and which 2D animators treat only as a mental exercise), and there were particular challenges with staging and blocking because characters had to transition seamlessly into gameplay.

It was a weird set of circumstances that placed a 2D animator in charge of a 3D production, but I benefited greatly from the opportunity and I believe I did a pretty good job. Leastwise, that's the last I heard on it. :D
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:iconthebellhop:
theBellhop Featured By Owner Edited Dec 28, 2014  Student Filmographer
Wow, that was really insightful! Congrats and keep on doing what you do!
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Every chance I get! :D

Thanks!
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:iconmon311:
Mon311 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
I'll never not be impressed by your work. Good luck on those new adventures in the future.
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:iconmonele:
Monele Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Dang, that's mind-blowing stuff! Heck, head-blowing in one case :)
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:iconviolentchihuahua:
violentchihuahua Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014  Hobbyist
Awesome stuff man!
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:icontatsujinedge:
TatsujinEdge Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
your work continues to astound :)
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:iconteuvoh:
TeuvoH Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
awemazing!
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:iconashigaru:
ashigaru Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Fluidity in motion and life is really apparent! Great work! (Loved the music choice, too.)
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks! Yeah, I don't think I can source that soundtrack a third time. :D
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:iconpartwulf:
partWULF Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Student General Artist
I aspire to have a demo reel like yours one day. Right now it's just floursack, bouncing ball and walk cycle pencil tests :(
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Keep practicing! Try to do the best you can with every opportunity you find, and in between those times practice doing the stuff you wish someone would pay you to do. The more you keep studying and practicing, the easier it should become. It does take a few years, but it get easier.
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:iconpartwulf:
partWULF Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Student General Artist
right on. i'm 29 now. been doing digital art for ....like one year. Use to freelance stuff done traditionally back in the day. times changed faster than I could keep up. Now I'm trying to pursue a career in Minneapolis as an animator. Hopefully I can make commission work. I feel like I'm good enough, but not recognized. 

thanks for the kind words. 
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It took me a couple years before I began to feel as comfortable with digital media as I did with traditional media. I was animating for 6 or 7 years on a proper old light table with paper and pencils before I was dragged kicking and screaming into tablets by necessity... now I never want to look back. But the transition time was rough, 'cause there's a real point there where it feels like NOTHING WORKS. It's kinda scary and very frustrating, but the good news is that it's also temporary.

If you really feel your problem is a lack of public/professional recognition, just keep producing content and getting it seen by whatever means you can achieve. Nothing like a short film done well to get a nice burst of publicity through social networks, which is often all you need to get a little attention and some knocking opportunities. Do good work, put it on Vimeo or Youtube, spread the links around, see what happens. Listen to feedback, and if you don't get the results you like, try again with something else.

 
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:iconpartwulf:
partWULF Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2014  Student General Artist
I appreciate your well thought out, concise answers to my remarks. Honestly I am amazed anyone is reaching out in any way shape or form as I do't get much response from anyone around me . 

Thank you- I will take what you say to heart and attempt to put more of my work out there and in more areas as well. It wasn't until a few weeks ago I actually started using my Deviant account based on a recommendation...hesitantly. My issue lies with my inability to NOT be extremely hard on myself (comparing it to others and feeling pretty bad about myself) as well as not hearing or getting positive feedback leading me to truly believe and feel like I am shit. 
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Hey man, sorry I took so long to get back to this.

I know how you feel about being alone as an artist... I started out before the Internet really took off, years before platforms like Youtube existed, and I lived in Tampa, FL... not a hotbed for creative production. And I get what you mean about being hard on yourself... it's pretty traditional to be our own worst critics, because we see and know all about what we do, whereas others can only see what you show them. We can fool all of the people some of the time, or some of the people all of the time, but it's hard to really fool yourself.

All I can say is that there's a few things to remember:

1) This stuff ain't easy, even though it kinda looks like it should be easy, so folks don't appreciate and you can't much expect them to. Don't be surprised if it takes years of steady practice to get any good... this is not much different than learning a sport, or a martial art, or a musical instrument. Nobody (normally) becomes a master musician in just a couple years, and nobody becomes a great illustrator or animator that fast either. And don't be surprised if only a few people understand how drawing pictures all day can be stressful or exhausting. It is, but unless they sit beside you all day they might never get it.

2) Separate your self-ego from your work. I consider this to be a good idea in general, but it's especially important if you wish to enter the commercial field.

Repeat it with me, "you are not your work. Your work is not you." Your work is a product, and it helps to think of yourself as a craftsman, someone who builds things. Instead of building a table or a cabinet, you build drawings.

So if you do bad work, it's not because you suck and will ever suck and should just die so you can give up sucking. Instead, it's because you made a mistake somewhere in the process. Mistakes can be identified, and fixed. Go back into the process and examine where you might have gone wrong, and then attack those problems straight-on. Take it one step at a time, one brick next to the other.

3) I know of nobody who is any good at anything who didn't have to work at it. Some of us work harder than others, and sometimes we find ourselves working hard on the wrong things, but still... we all work at getting better. Trust me, Yutaka Nakamura didn't emerge from the womb kicking ass. People gush for Miyazaki, but not very many people look into his work history... He humped the desk as an animator for over 15 years before directing a feature film at age 37, and it was over 20 years before he founded Ghibli with Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki. Yes, he's brilliant, but he didn't burst onto the stage that way.

Lastly, examine what you want from this craft. To be successful, I advise loving the process more than the results. Projects come and go, no matter how exciting they all end eventually. Goals are meant to be reached, and conquered. The craft changes, but it's ongoing, it never ends so long as you keep practicing it.

When you talk about your career, how do you frame it? Do you say, "I want to be an animator"? Or do you say, "I want to animate"?
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:iconpartwulf:
partWULF Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2014  Student General Artist
Thank you for your heartfelt responses. It definitely helps me to step back and examine prospects after reading this and using it as a type of filter when I when I beat myself up. soon I will be posting more of my work as my classes progress, but until then I will continue to work hard as I always do. 
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Oh! One more: Allow people people to like your work.

That is to say, if someone compliments it, just be thankful. Don't tell 'em about the mistakes you made... I don't know why I ever feel the need to do that, but I totally have, and sometimes still do (especially if I'm nervous). And then when I examine the conversation, I just want to slap the shit out of myself.

THEM:
Hey, this looks amazing!
ME: Oh, yeah, thanks! I messed up this and this and this over here, but I'm working hard to get better.
THEM: Oh, I would never have noticed that if you had not made a point of it.
(alternatively: Oh, I can't see that, so now I feel like I'm the fool for liking it).

This is especially bad when speaking to editors or art directors or really anyone who might help you move up in the world. They know where you're fucking up, they can see it... but if they trying to be polite, why would you disrupt that? If you really want the hard feedback, say "Thanks, do you really think so? I'm sure there's something I could work on" and let them lead the conversation. Be prepared to accept harsh criticism if you go there.

If you must beat yourself up, do so quietly. Keep it private, or amongst friends. NEVER do this in front of peers or strangers (i.e. the Internet). If you can't present confidently, just be quiet and smile. People take it for the same thing.

Keep at it! Everything you're describing is perfectly normal. :D
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(1 Reply)
:iconwazzer225:
Wazzer225 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Student Filmographer
Exactly the same as you mate xD
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:iconpadder:
Padder Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wow pretty diverse work!  Hand-drawn, cut-out, 3D.  Hell even Lupin?  And gross stuff.  Good job : )
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I have had a really crooked, meandering career path so far. :D

I don't, generally speaking, animate in 3D. But apparently I can direct it.

I might be one of the only Americans to have his Lupin animation personally approved by Monkey Punch. I only learned to work with rigged vector models in the past couple years. Though I do a lot of traditional drawing for The Awesomes, the rigs are used less often than one might think.

Gotta stay diversified to survive!
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:iconpadder:
Padder Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
Haha you're right!
*looks at himself : draws on paper. draws on tablet. draws on Cintiq . . .*
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:iconaszsephiroth:
ASZSephiroth Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
Best animator in the industry, as far as I'm concerned! :)
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
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:iconaszsephiroth:
ASZSephiroth Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
You're very welcome! xD
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:iconkasugokage88:
KasugoKage88 Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
Awesome!
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:iconbohvey:
Bohvey Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
Nicely done.  Always love your animations.  I regret not getting around to playing Darksiders 2, I enjoyed the first one.  I remember reading that Joe Madeureira was involved in giving the first game it's art style and such, was he around for the creation of the second game?
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks!

Joe was a major part of the development, everything sorta branched from his vision and he drove the visual style of the game. His office was about 30 feet from my desk. Good peoples.
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:iconbohvey:
Bohvey Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014
Very cool.  So I wonder with all of the work you do, have you developed your own "style" since you seem to constantly have to adopt the style of the project you're on?  Feels like an interview now, sorry about that.  Just curiosity I suppose.
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
S'allright, I don't mind.

You know, that's a tricky question. If a style is defined by consistent hooks in the visual aesthetic, then I'm not sure what "my" style looks like. There are some things that happen repeatedly when I let myself draw without guidelines (effectively drawing without a "style" in mind), but I'm always conscious of being able to vary them or adjust them based on what I want out of what I'm doing. There's points I like to hit often because I like them, but I never feel locked in when I'm drawing for my own stuff, so in that sense my style is always changeable.

I'd worry about this more if I didn't find comforting parallels between this and certain philosophies that I admire. Bruce Lee would tell you that his martial art, Jeet Kun Do, is the "Style of No Style". You must always be ready to adapt to the needs of the moment, and your goal is to try and be as strong, flexible, and knowledgeable as you can.

That being said, it's been a long time since I actively tried to produce much of anything without a comforting guideline in hand. I might just be hiding from the real challenge, stepping out and producing content with only my own strengths at play. It's scary to work without a net.
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:iconbohvey:
Bohvey Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2014
That's a very well thought out reply, thank you for taking the time to write it.  You're certainly one of the more employed... (I guess that's correct) artist that I follow on dA.  I've always been impressed how you can just pick up the style of the project you're on and this latest animation clip certainly displayed that.  So the question popped into my mind about what you would consider "your style".  Especially when I thought of Joe Mad and his style from Battle Chasers it really tugged at me... what is Ben's style????  Thanks for humoring me.  Keep up the good work.  Also the card in the "spokes" on the Bartkira is a fantastic touch, lol.
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:iconsquiffies:
Squiffies Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Nice music choice :)
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:iconinkthinker:
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It's a good soundtrack. :)
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:iconsatanasov:
satanasov Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014
Quite a rich spectrum of animation skills, mister :)
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December 2, 2014
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