Shot List

The following is an explanation of each shot in my 2011 Demo Reel, listed in the order they appear on the reel. All shots were produced between 2002 and 2010 at Dreamworks Animation and Blue Sky Studios. Click on the thumbnails to view a larger version of each frame.

1. Flaming Burp, Shrek the Third — Simulated, rendered and composited all fx elements including flames, smoke, embers and heat distortion. Flames and smoke were simulated using Maya fluids and rendered with a proprietary particle renderer. I wrote a number of custom particle shaders to facilitate rendering and compositing. I also produced dynamic GI area lights so the lighting department could illuminate the environment using the flame geometry.

2–4. Rocket Plume, Ice Age 3 — Simulated all rocket exhaust and other smoke elements. The exhaust consisted of large rotating particles rendered as smoke volumes with noise applied. I wrote custom emitters in Maya which enabled the shape of the smoke cloud to be interactively adjusted. I also wrote a particle system to convincingly simulate the motion of a billowing smoke plume in a controllable way.

5. Snow Powder, Ice Age 3 — Simulated the trailing snow powder elements using Maya fluids.

6. Burning Bra, Shrek the Third — Simulated, rendered and composited all flame elements. I also produced the burnt surfacing on the bra. Flame simulation was done with Maya fluids.

7. Grinder Sparks, Shrek the Third — Simulated, rendered and composited the grinder sparks and chunks of Shrek’s toenails. The sparks were a Maya particle simulation rendered using a proprietary particle renderer. I also developed an original shader to produce curved motion blur for particles which was subsequently used on many other shots in the film.

8–9. Flaming Kebabs, Shrek the Third — Simulated, rendered and composited the flames on the kebab skewers. The flames on the tapestry in the second shot were done by another animator with whom I worked closely to ensure that the motion and look of our flame elements blended seamlessly. I also wrote MEL scripts for these shots to allow reshaping the Maya fluid grids via a lattice deformation.

10. Sand and Dust, Ice Age 4 — Simulated sand and dust thrown up by the sphinx using Maya fluids. Rendered with Blue Sky’s proprietary volume renderer. I worked closely with lighting and compositing to integrate the elements.

11. Sand Simulation, Rio — Simulated the sand kicked up by the crashing hang glider. This sequence had a number of shots with characters interacting with the beach sand, so I wrote a Maya particle system used by all sequence artists to automatically generate sand based on the character motion. Also included a system to stick the sand to deforming beach geometry upon collision.

12. Torch Flames, Shrek the Third — Simulated, rendered and composited all flame elements. The main challenge with these moving torch shots was dealing with flames moving relatively quickly over a large area. I wrote a MEL script which localized the Maya fluid grid around the flame area to improve simulation times and also allow the motion of the torch to be selectively removed. About half of the torch shots I worked on are represented on my reel.

13. Dancing Lemur Crowd, Madagascar — Laid out and simulated all crowd characters in about half the shots in the lemur-rave sequence. Crowd simulation was done using Dreamworks’ proprietary crowd system. I helped modify the crowd system to handle very large crowds of furry characters. I also contributed to building the shader networks which create randomized surfacing for the lemurs and all the human crowds in the movie. In this particular shot the front seven lemurs were hand-animated by a character animator.

14. Panicking Lemur Crowd, Madagascar — Laid out and simulated all lemur characters with the exception of the front hero character.

15–16. Snow Powder, Ice Age 3 — Simulated the snow rooster tail element using Maya particles. The characters were moving so fast in these shots that it was difficult to get a smooth emission, even with drastic frame subsampling. So I wrote a system to subtract out the character motion before simulation and add it back in at render time, which made the simulation smoother and much more directable.

17–18. Dust and Wagon Debris Simulation, Over the Hedge — Simulated, rendered and composited the dust kicked up by the wagon as it bounces. I also animated the various boxes that fall off the wagon, as well as the motion of the cloth tarp covering the wagon.

19. Dust Simulation, Ice Age 3 — Simulated the dust trail using Maya particles. I did not light the dust in this shot.

20. Leaf Animation, Over the Hedge — Animated the motion of the leaves using a Maya particle simulation.

21. Fishing Line Animation, Over the Hedge — Animated the motion of the fishing line. In the second shot the fishing line motion was keyfrasmall entirely by hand, but I used a softbody simulation as reference.

22–23. Dust Simulation, Over the Hedge — Simulated, rendered and composited the dust kicked up by the bear’s collapse. The challenge in these shots was to make the dust subtle yet still readable in a very dark lighting situation.

24. Steam Vents, Ice Age 3 — Laid out and animated the background steam vents in a number of sequences in the film.

25. Zebra Spit, Madagascar — Simulated, rendered and composited the water spray and mist. This was a simple Maya particle simulation rendered as particles.

26. Grass Debris (note: pre-lighting render), Over the Hedge — Animated the grass debris using a Maya particle simulation. I have used my approved pre-lighting animation render on this reel because it is a lot easier to see the grass in this version than in the final lighting render. The grass is purposefully blown-out here so that it reads better.

27. Net Gun Simulation, Over the Hedge — Rigged and simulated the net bolt loading mechanism, based on an original rig by another animator. The net motion was created by attaching it to a simulated softbody in Maya.

28–29. Spore Bombs, Ice Age 3 — Simulated the spore clouds using Maya fluids, as well as a particulate element advected by the fluid. Reused my system for removing fast character motion (see shots 15–16, above).

30–32. Bubbles Simulation, Ice Age 3 — Animated the bubbles with Maya particles meshed together using an isosurface shader. I also wrote a custom curl noise field to move the particles in a fluid-like way, similar to the curl noise in Houdini.

33. Water Drops, Ice Age 3 — Animated the drips and splashes using Maya particles and a custom emitter.

34. Eyeball Crowd Simulation, Madagascar — Laid out and animated glowing lemur eyeballs peering from the foliage for an entire sequence of the film, totaling about 20 shots. The main challenge was coordinating with the lighting and layout departments to create sufficient shadowed areas in which to place lemur heads without them colliding with the foliage.

35–36. Lemur Crowd Simulation, Madagascar — Laid out and simulated the motion of all characters, with the exception of hero characters. Also see shot 13 for further explanation.