Thursday, July 17, 2014


Shameless plug time! Three years ago, when I first made the move across-country to California, it was to start an internship animating on a short film. That film is finally coming out! It starts the festival circuit this week, and you should check it out if you have the opportunity.

The film is called MONSTRO! and it's written and directed by Christopher Romano as a part of a joint project with Side Effects Software (PSSST! That's the HOUDINI guys!). In premise, it's a comedic animated spoof of the classic Universal Monster movie, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, but there are plenty of surprises. It's quite silly and fun.

MONSTRO! ... TRAILER 01 from Chris Romano on Vimeo.

This project means a lot to me because it is really the first time I was working on a CG project outside of school, and the first time I actually got paid to animate, and play around in CG. The people behind the film put a lot of faith in me by offering me an internship when I was some 2700 miles away, since I was willing to do character animation in Houdini (That's right, pretty much everything except for modeling was done in Houdini for this project). That internship was a HUGE step in launching me on my career path, and I couldn't thank my friends and former coworkers enough for helping me make that happen.

But enough sentiment - for the film, I was brought in essentially for character animation. I was given a lot of freedom to experiment with different animation styles before the production started. I spent a lot of time with the first few characters, particularly these two:


I did a number of animation tests helping to define and develop their movement styles and personalities (which I may post soon, if I can dig them up). I believe the final film only has one short series of shots that are my final animation, but I ultimately ended up setting up a lot of the pipeline, and designed the face rigs, since there wasn't really any out-of-the-box or established ways to work with faces in Houdini (Most if not all the rigging specific tools, including the auto rigs, are very body-centric). So I learned a heck of a lot and had a lot of fun working on this project.

Anyway, keep your eye out for it. You can find the festival schedule here, so if it's in your area, you should go see it. Also you should be sure to 'like' and 'follow' it to help get the word out there!


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