Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Small update to my most recent animation, as suggested by John Fielding. It probab;y isn't very noticable but it does look better. The audio is shifted 2 frames to sync up a little better.

"Trust Me" - final from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Also I've added it to my reel. I put it up front because it'll be a nice attention grabber.

Demo Reel 2010 from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yeah, I'm still alive.


I finally got around to finishing the animation I was working on way back when. I had to render it out and ran into quite a few issues there (crashing on renders, losing progress on lighting, having to redo lighting multiple times, fixing animation after renders were done, etc.)

Anyway, here it is:

"Trust Me" - final from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Some notes: I didn't make all the fixes that were recommended to me. I really would have liked to, but my enthusiasm for this piece was dwindling, so I decided to get some small things fixed and call it done. There are things I really don't like about it, but at the same time, there are still little things that surprise me.

I've talked about the animation in previous posts, so I'll talk a bit about my rendering here.

First off, lighting. As mentioned above, I ran into issues, losing much progress. What I ended up using was a heavily modified physical sun and sky, plus 4 area lights (2 blue, pointing up, 2 orange-ish pointing down/sideways). I'm fairly certain I had the lighting much better at some point but lost my work. I'm satisfied enough with what I got.

Motion blur was crashing Maya, so I had to render without it. I added it in After Effects, so it's a bit shoddy in spots, especially on big motions. using a trick we used on the thesis, I made the occlusion layer blue-tinted to add color to shadows. I then placed an orange solid layer multiplied on top of everything to give a warmth to the colors. It came out a little dark on Vimeo, though. It looks good enough on the actual video.

While I'm making a blog post, I figure I'll throw up this little picture I made for the Progressive Metal music subreddit on Reddit:

See it in action!

I'll be making a Progressive Rock one too, sometime soon.

Aside from that I've been in a bit of a creative rut. I hope to fix that with the free time I'll be having when I head home next month for almost 3 weeks.

What I plan on working on is an animated music video for a friend, Bruce, and his band, Killbot Zero. It should be fun and quite the challenge. I've worked out some ideas of what I want to do:

- Bruce recommended something that looks like a video game.
- I'd like to do it in the style of a side-scrolling beat-em-up
- It would feature cartoon versions of Bruce and Chris (the two band members)
- Characters would look like sprite animations, but not pixel-art. i'd like them to be drawn and colored in Photoshop.
- I'd like it to be 2.5-D. My ideas were building a set in Maya, or After Effects. I think After Effects would be the less confusing option, but After Effects slows down big time handling sets like that. I still have to decide what to do there.

Just so you can see the kind of awesome music they've got, here's a taste:

They've written a song specifically for this video, and it's excellent. I'm pretty excited for it.

And as you may, but probably won't recall, Bruce was the guy who performed the drums on this song of mine this past Summer:

Direct Link (Right click, save as)

Hey, if I can't shamelessly self-promote on my blog, then what's this thing for?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fake Mustache

Fake Mustache from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

I'm calling it done (for now) aside from some possible camera adjustments, and I'm planning on rendering it out this week.

I just need this done and on my reel. If there's any glaring issues let me know but otherwise I'm gonna be done.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Need some critiques.

So I've gotten back to work a bit after not doing a whole lot over the weekend, but I think I need some outside input on this. Any critiques would be most welcome. There's still a fair amount of work that needs to be done, some of it should be obvious (fingers/face, some stuff at the very end, etc.)

New Lip Sync Practice: WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

I've been staring at this too long, I need ideas from someone else, so leave them below.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Work Work Work

Work is one of those words that seems really dumb the more you say it.

Anyway, I told myself I'd post something online today no matter what state this project is in.

Some notes before you check out the video:

-On both characters, fingers and faces are still step-keyed. Ignore that for now.
-Dan (on the right for those that don't know) has been largely untouched since putting plateau keys on the blocking.
-The first half of Gabe's actions are polished, up until Dan grabs him. I'll finish off the second half after Dan's first half is polished. I'm going to need to polish them together at that point.
-I haven't checked Gabe's arcs with motion trails yet.
-something funky happens at one point with Gabe's hand that I need to fix.
-I need to work out Gabe's reaction a little better at the start.

Things I'm finding out:

-I really wish there were an easier way to get from blocking to polish. I have to manually put holds in everywhere before I can put on the plateau keys and it's super-tedious.
-I think for my next thing I do I'm going to try working with full holds instead of the more floaty approach of keeping everything moving a tiny bit. It will have a more cartoony look to it as apposed to the fairly more realistic look I have going now. Not saying I want to permanently change my look but I'm gonna try it out.

So have a look.

New Lip Sync Practice: WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

I've been moving fairly slow with this piece, not because I'm actually working slow, but I only put in about 3 hours or so at a time, once or twice a day. I'm trying to get better at keeping myself focused for longer, but it's been a chore keeping my motivation up without having a job.

I'd very much like to be done with this so I can get it on my reel. I have been told to be applying without caring about making my reel "perfect," because it never will be, but I just need to replace the dialogue piece I have there now. It's about 2 years old and not that great, and I know I can do much better. Once I get this done, I'm gonna apply like crazy for a job.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unintended Sleep Deprivation

Well I was up until about 5am last night animating and watching stuff. It wasn't the most efficient work I've ever done, but I'm at least doing work. I have been falling back into old habits of forgetting meals and sleep while I'm working, which isn't so great, at least I'm keeping motivated.

Anyway, here's my progress.

New Lip Sync Practice: WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Blocking is done, blocking plus done on the mouth. I'm gonna be doing blocking plus on everything else starting today. I'm trying to aim to be done by the end of the week, but that's a loose deadline. I'm more concerned about polish than speed right now.

So concerns that need to be addressed:

-Lip sync is a bit wonky in places, especially the very first line. I think that might be in part an artifact of the step-keyed blocking causing an unreadability, but I'll see when I start smoothing things out.

-Camera movements are at a very preliminary stage. They may not match up properly with some actions right now so keep that in mind.

-I'm both excited for and dreading the end part where Dan grabs Gabe. I haven't worked a whole lot with characters physically interacting with each other, especially to this extent. Hand tracking is probably gonna be rough.

-The long hold on Gabe while Dan's talking is going to be fairly still. I need practice on keeping holds alive, so hopefully this will help. Dan's long hold on the other hand is going to be fidgety, so it will be good to practice with a bunch of smaller holds.

-the only controls I haven't touched so far are Gabe's hair, Dan's hat, and either character's cheeks. I'm waiting for the polish stage for the hat and hair for obvious reasons, but cheeks, I want to be mostly final on lips and eyes before I touch them.

I'll probably have a blocking plus, polish, and final update on this little project to show.

And in response to John's comment on my last post, I did partially use the muppet-mouthing technique. I did a jaw only pass first, but forgot about doing a pass on just the corners of the mouth, and just did a full-mouth pass. If anyone notices and specific points where the lip sync seems to be suffering from this let me know.

EDIT: Noticed something wonky with Gabe's eyes at the end, ignore that. He's gonna be looking around but i think a key got moved.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Animation Progress

First off here are the thumbnails I made for this thing:

Kinda sloppy so some of it's probably a bit confusing at the top, but I know what's going on so that's all that matters. Gabe's standing in for David, Dan for Michael (the first speaker). I'm gonna be pushing cartoonyness on Dan and Gabe will be much more reserved. Should be a nice little experiment.

Well here's what I have for Dan's lip sync blocking. I might have gone too far into it to start, seeing as it's almost done. I need to go and add holds, especially on m's v's and f's since throwing splines on this makes those look strange.

New Lip Sync practice: Sync Blocking Pt.1 from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Some of that looks like it doesn't hit right but I think it's vimeo's fault in some places. The .avi file looks better, but there do need to be some adjustments.

As I wasn't sure if I should do lip sync first or later, I'm going to be doing Gabe's sync after some blocking or blocking+ and get a feel for both ways.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Back to Animating

Well a combination of being a bit lazy, unmotivated and distracted by a whole lot of stuff caused me to not do any animation for a while. I decided the lipsync thing i was working on is a bit to involved for my attention span at the moment and just today I thought of doing this new piece. It's about 1/3 of the length of the other one, and a lot more active, so I'm kinda excited to do it. I'm gonna be doing some stuff this afternoon, and when I get back I'm gonna thumbnail out the sequence, which I already have worked out in my head.

It's a clip from the short-lived but awesome show "Stella." In reality there are 3 people talking (the "What's it?" guy is different from the Gary Meadows guy), but I'm consolidating it to 2. The first guy talking is gonna be way over-animated and excited. The second guy is a little stunned by the first guy's movements and is sorta just reacting to what's happening. The 1's gonna be in 2's face and grabbing his shoulders and shaking him around while he talks and stuff, just being generally intrusive, hyper, and weird. Anyway, I think I'm gonna go through this by blocking out lipsync first, because I was getting impatient putting that off until last on the other piece.

Hopefully thumbnails will be up tonight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"The post before this one: Part 2" - Part II: With a Vengence

Wait, what?

Anyway, finally finished this thing, took way too much time, but I'm relatively satisfied with the result. Minus some odd things here and there, but I won't mention them in hopes they won't jump out at you.

Here it be:Clicky Clicky

Also for a much larger version version, go here.

I finally got one of these Lunch Breaks DVD's together for myself, which I think look rather snazzy if I may say so myself. And I can. So I did. There.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The post before this one: Part 2

In progress on color.


First, about the gradient background: it's temporary. I may keep the blurry color look but it's gonna be hand-drawn. Tennant (middle) is done I think. The others just have basic colors. The method I'm using is very very tedious but it's precise and gives and interesting look I think. I have the solid colors on one layer, and the shading on one or more other layers. I mark off the approximate areas I want to work on for shading with the pen tool, and use a large soft brush to do it. That way I can get hard edges where I want (such as the hair and coat) and they fade out, looking gradated. Maybe there's a quicker way but whatever, I'm liking how it looks. Which is good, because normally at this stage I really start to hate my work.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I can't be bothered to come up with an awful Doctor pun. You're welcome.

So while watching some Doctor Who a few weeks back, I started doodling on a manila folder, which was at the time also my mousepad. I came up with a (rather poor) caricature of Matt Smith as the Doctor. I decided then to give a go at the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant Doctors, which turned out a fair bit better. I scanned them, drew over them to make fixes (completely redoing the Matt Smith one several times), and then went over the lines with the pen tool. Here's what I have so far:

(Clickify to embiggify)

I'm gonna do color tomorrow, which I'm hoping doesn't ruin it since I'm iffy with colors.

For those that Don't know Doctor Who, here's links to the IMDB pages of these actors, in order as they are in the image:

Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith

So I realized I never made any post about my moving to California so here's a small little summary:

Tim and I each drove out here, our cars basically jam-packed full of all of our crap. We were initially considering a u-haul trailer, but many times along the way were shown how much that would have sucked, especially through the mountains, and parking.

So the drive itself, while long and tedious, wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. About the time I was getting really bored with driving, we hit Colorado and there were at least interesting things to look at for basically the rest of the way. It was fairly uneventful, aside from one morning of Tim locking his keys in the car, a truck kicking something up at him and cracking his windshield, and battling traffic, the worst being by Chicago and all the way from Vegas to L.A. We didn't really expect the worst part about driving in the desert to be the traffic.

So after 4 long days of driving, we got here, and stayed with the guy running Tim's internship. That lasted 3 nights while we searched for apartments in a bit of a panic, as not to overstay our welcome. We were quite lucky to get a place with neither of us having real jobs at the moment, but we did have to fight for it.

So now we're all moved in, sleeping on air mattresses for at least a few weeks. I'm gonna hold off on pictures of the apartment until it's not an utter disaster. So that's where I'm at now, and would explain why there haven't been any posts in a while.

In terms of animation work, I'm putting the dialogue animation on hold, partially because it's a little on the huge side, and I want to focus on getting some basic things, like running/jumping exercises and the like. I'm working on one now, hopefully I'll have something showable in a few days.

Monday, June 14, 2010

New song, and a look at writing and recording it.

And so begins my super-blog-post about the song that was recorded last week. (See my previous post for some info on that)


Here's a direct link (Right click, Save As), might be easier for following along if you're gonna actually read this blog.

Direct Link

At the moment it is titled “Ocean Storm.”
My goal here is to go as much as I can into the different parts of the process of making this song (writing, recording, and everything after that) There’s gonna be a LOT of content here, so here’s a little index if you want to skip to parts.

1. Writing
2. Recording/mixing
3. Afterthoughts


The way I go about writing a song is about the same every time I do so. Being that I’m normally not writing with the intention of adding vocals, I don’t feel too pressured into keeping to the usual song structure of verses, refrains, blah blah blah. This is both good and bad for me. Good being that I’m more free to go where I want with a song and experiment, bad being that it’s more difficult to stick to a theme. Some of my songs have suffered from this, but this song in particular I feel benefitted because I was able to bring an earlier theme back in at the end. But more about that when I get to it.

To make this easier to discuss, I’ll break the song down into parts.
Part A – 0:00-0:33
Part B – 0:33-1:45
Part C – 1:45-2:35
Part D – 2:36-3:24
Part E – 3:24-4:54
Part F – 4:54-End

The order in which this song was written, just so you can see non-linearly I write songs, is A, D, E, C, B, F. It’s very unusual for me to start at the beginning, and then part A was written, it really wasn’t intended to start a song. D and E were sort of written together. I needed B and C to bridge the gap between the 2 fairly different sections. B was rewritten only very recently with the help of Tim Chimes, and I used that theme to write the ending.

This section is a specific analysis of each part, so it might get a bit technical.

Part A: My intention when writing this was to experiment with polymeter. The part is written in 5/4 time, which is what the rhythm guitar/bass plays. The lead guitar is repeating in 7/8. Kinda confusing, but basically every 3.5 beats it repeats. The drums (at least the bass and snare) are repeating every 3 beats. It makes for an unbalanced and sort of disorienting part, which was the intention, and contrasts nicely against the next part.

Part B: The part at the start of this was written by Tim. I took the part he gave me, adjusted it to fit the key, and added some things to make it work. When the distorted guitars come back in at 0:48, I used a rhythm similar to something that comes later. Let’s call “^” a note and “_” a rest, so they play ^^_^^^_ repeated. It gives them a feeling of being independent from the other parts, so there’s a nice impact at 1:06 when they start playing what the other guitars are playing. I wrote the transition part at 1:25 using a pattern of 2 measures of 6/8 and one of 4/8. Then a part playing with the panning at 1:42 which sorta unintentionally has one guitar playing in 6/8 feel and one in 3/4 feel, but it turned out cool.

Part C: Starting at 1:46 the new part brings back that ^^_^^^_ thing, but it’s playing over a part in 5/4 instead of 6/8. In the drums, the cymbal and bass play on the guitar’s notes and a snare on the rests. At 2:01, it goes back to 6/8, solid chords in the guitars (basically all M7 and sus2). The bass plays some neat arpeggios of those chords, and is sorta the highlight of that section. The part at 2:19 has a pattern in the guitars (say ^ are accents and - are unaccented notes) that is ^-^-- repeated on top of 6/4. The bass plays straight eighth note arpeggios.

Part D: Fairly straightforward, only part of the song in 4/4, but I love this chord progression and the build to the next part.

Part E: Using a slight alteration of the previous chord progression, back in 6/4. Written with an improvised solo section in mind.

Part F: I took Tim’s part from before and added a nice little rhythm guitar part over it. I figured this would be a nice point to do another improvised solo and fade out.

All of the drum writing that I did was just so I had something to play to. When writing this song I didn’t know I’d be recording it, so it was initially just for personal use.

All of my writing I did in Guitar Pro, a midi tabulature program. Here’s a sample of what I’m looking at when I do that:


For recording, I went to stay at Tim’s apartment in Bowling Green for a few days so we could record at BGSU. The plan was I would cover all the guitars, Tim the bass, and Tim’s friend Bruce Vermett on drums. The first night there, we went to Bruce’s to talk about the song (and watch some Check It Out, ya dungus). Not being a percussionist, I was pumped to have someone who actually plays go over the song. I know he wasn’t sure about using his own ideas in my song, but they were much better than what I was doing.

We figured out some logistics, and the next day Tim and I went into the studio to record guitars. It went a lot smoother than I had anticipated. When I record myself, I usually do way too many takes because of stupid mistakes, but that number was significantly less here. Although, I still made a lot of mistakes and relied on Tim’s Pro-Tools skills to fix it up later. We recorded 2 (sometimes 3) layers of distorted guitar, 2 of clean guitar, and 1 of acoustic. I played all of those parts, except for the clean guitar harmonies in part B and F, which Tim played.

Recording Studio

there are 6 mics on this amp, plus a direct line, recording 7 channels. Way overkill, but Tim took the opportunity to experiment with mics.

Closer shot

Tim recording.

The next day, Bruce recorded drums, and did a ridiculously awesome job (even though he still thinks I was just being nice in saying that, it really was awesome.), especially since he only heard the song 3 or so days prior and got most of the song in 1 or 2 takes. All of parts B and F were improvised, as were the solo section of E and parts of D. The rest was basically sight-reading and slight improvisations on what I had written. When he was done, we recorded the acoustic parts and my improvised solos.

All the drums stuff before being set up

Bruce at the drums. I was kinda sneaky, dunno if he saw me take this. Tim had (I think) 11 mics on the drums.

The next day, Tim recorded Bass and started mixing from his apartment. I don’t have much to say here since that was just him working on it, but he did quite a good job cleaning stuff up and making fixes I’d recommend. Aaaand that’s the end of that.


All in all, I’m really happy with the result. I learned some stuff in this process though. One thing being that I need to practice to become a cleaner and more accurate player, and a better improviser. I think the solo sections might sound alright to some people, but I’m critical of them. There are some mistakes I’m OK with, but I still notice. Other than that though, some of my solo parts actually turned out pretty good I think.

I had a revelation of sorts when I showed an early mix to my friend Alex Wright. One of his comments was “it's interesting. It's tranquil, but epic.” I kinda already knew this in the back of my mind, but that’s my goal usually in writing a song. I really like that Alex picked up on that and actually put it into words for me. Then later when talking to Tim, I pieced together for myself where that comes from. The bands Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation sort of fuel the “epic” side of my writing, while bands like Porcupine Tree and Riverside fuel the tranquil side. Each of these bands has both of these elements in their music though, and that’s what draws me to them I think. I like heavy and complex music (not that I only like heavy and complex), but it still needs to sound nice. I aim to mix technicality with melody, and hopefully that came out in this song.

I also learned that naming an instrumental song is extremely difficult. With no words to go to, you would think you could just go by how the song makes you feel or what imagery comes to mind. With how much I am involved at a technical level in writing this song, it’s difficult to come to that conclusion. So from there, I just started looking for random words or phrases that would work. The first idea was “Ocean of Storms.” I actually got this from the Colbert Report of all places. He was interviewing one of the astronauts who landed on the moon (Apollo 12 I think), and the place they landed was called the Ocean of Storms, which sounded awesome. It is kinda cheesy though as a song name, so I tried a whole bunch of things. For a short while, Tim and I were trying to randomly select phrases from our respective copies of the Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. We recently realized just calling it Ocean Storm would be better.

And that is that. It was quite awesome to get this made, so thanks to Tim and Bruce for the help, and hope you like the song.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Next week (Even more musics!)

My plans next week are to visit Tim in Bowling Green so we can do some music recording. Here's the song we're planning on doing, now that it's all written:

I posted this song before, but an older version with a terrible part I removed, and Tim helped me rewrite it. some of the drums and bass aren't written, but that's for Tim and Bruce to do what they want there. Also as a not there's two parts that seem to repeat maybe too much at the moment, but they're there for solos, and some bass and drum improv.

Anyway, I'm pretty pumped to actually make a legitimate recording that doesn't involve me sitting in my room with a crappy mic, recording in a video editing program.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Musics! (Not actually mine but sorta mine but not actually)

So way back in High School sometime, I participated in writing a song with my then-bandmates. Recently, one of the bandmates, a sir Timothy of Chimes recorded said song with his new band Owl, and featuring my other bandmate Sir David of Kiel on the vocalizations. Tim played guitar and bass (and keys?) and his bandmate Bruce played drums.

Well here it is:

This was back when we were still not very great at writing transitions between parts (but oh, were we getting better. Some of that old stuff...ugh). The last two sections of this song, starting at 3:12 to the end, were definitely my favorite (and if I recall correctly I think I wrote those parts). Dave's vocals on these parts turned out pretty epic.

Anywho, for publicity sake, here's a link to Tim's band's blog:

A plan is sorta in the works right now for me to visit him at Bowling Green for a day or two or three and record one of my songs I'm currently finishing up with Tim's assistance. Should be superawesome, and that song will go straight up here when it's done, as well as anything else we end up doing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I've done some work on the assignment I gave myself in my previous post. Mostly just in bits of an hour or so whenever I give myself time to do it.

I'm in blocking right now, not done yet. I'm making the first pass main body poses only, working fingers and face into it on the second pass. I think I've discovered this is one of my least favorite parts of the process. I get impatient and want to dig into the detailed stuff but I have to hold back. Also, especially for a piece this long, it takes forever to get a pass done, so after all thew time I've been working on this I still don't have a complete idea of what I'm making.

Anyway, here it is:

Practice Dialogue Animation from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Still not to the end yet, there's another couple seconds after this that I cut out. My plan for him at the end of this is to plop down in his chair and hang his head, it's basically crying/mumbling after this.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Work for the next few weeks

So I've given myself a lipsync assignment for the summer, it's a bit intense but it will hopefully help out my demo reel quite a bit. It's a 30-second sound clip, so it's gonna take a good couple weeks to do. I picked it out last night, and I've already gone and thumbnailed out most of it and set up a small set to use, even lit and did some basic shading to things. I'm gonna be using the Dan model from the thesis. Here's the clip:

It's from Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, which is a good movie if you haven't seen it. I figured it would have a good range of big and small movements and details to work with, should be fun.

When I get some progress and access to my scanner again I'll post a video and my thumbnails.

I'd also like to get a lipsync with Harold sometime, it's harder to find parts for a really fat guy like him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Muuuuuusics

So here's a little song I recorded last night at like 3 in the morning. Just sorta playing around with delay.

Nothing too special and there's quite a few mistakes. Mostly improvised.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh hey, I forgot about this thing.

So much for keeping this blog-deal consistent.


Anyway, I'm all done with my schooling aside from actually graduating, so I'll be taking the week to do some things for the thesis film so we can call it final and start submitting to festivals and such.

The big thing for me this week is going to be the DVD. Luckily, I have a good amount of the assets either in progress or done for it because I had a DVD authoring class this quarter. Here's a video to give the look of it:

Lunch Breaks DVD Menu WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

Here's a picture of what the sub-menus will look like (not with these links necessarily, the class required we had some things that we won't end up using) I have video transitions back and forth from the menus so this thing will look super sleek.


We had screenings yesterday, which went really really well. The theater was just packed with people; most of them left right after our screening and Q&A which caused an impromptu 5-minute break for screenings to give people time to migrate out, which was pretty amusing.

The majority of the comments were really positive, even from people like Malcolm and Howard (I think Howard, don't remember what he said). Of course, Stephanie Maxwell still didn't have anything good to say and she seemed really bitter. The only critique she could give was that she was "mislead" because she heard the boss saying "So you're gay?" instead of "So, you're Gabe?" Everyone just laughed at her and she looked really flustered by that which was fairly hilarious. The other outrageous comment we got was from Naomi (I think? I'm not sure who she is) who said she was offended by the joke of the wife yelling at the boss on the phone. Well, she didn't say offended, she was saying that it was cliche and other stuff, but it was glaringly obvious she just didn't like it. The very next comment from the crowd was a woman who said she thought it was hilarious, and other people said the same to us later.

The legitimate critiques were mostly about our dialogue. This was definitely not the fault of Kevin, as he did great work on the sound, and dealing with all of us and our vague demands. It was a result of us being up-in-the-air about the amount and extent of dialogue in our film for so long. Initially we didn't want any, but found we needed some at the end, and decided to have some at the end, we needed some at the start to establish that there is dialogue. A script was written so late in the game we had to settle for a lot of things. I think we all feel the actors were the right choices, but we just needed more time to work with them and get more takes. At least we can say we learned that we need to lock down a script way earlier in the process than we did.

We're hoping to make a few more fixes this week. We want to at the very least make a pass in after effects to tweak colors to fix inconsistencies, especially in the office scenes. We were also talking about making some clouds for outside windows so it adds to that empty blue space. We'll see.

So thanks to everyone who made it to screenings yesterday to support us, it was greatly appreciated. We're all really happy with the product we've created and we're glad that people enjoyed it so much. We hope we've also given the underclassmen something to strive for on beat in the future. Hopefully this will help break SoFA's concentration on independent films and open them up to accepting and encouraging group projects.

For those of you that missed it, we'll be in the Senior Show this weekend, or you can contact any one of the group members and we can likely show you somehow.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Muuuuuusic! Oh, and I have a website.

My website is now up, but still a work in progress.
Bio isn't there, the Other Work page is nonexistent, but hey it's something. Plus I'm gonna rethink text colors. But that all is for later.

I feel like putting some of my music up here for folks to have a listen. So I will.

All of this stuff was made in the last year or two, using my amp, a $20 mic plugged straight into my computer, and the program Reason for making drum/bass/keys parts. Most of these are recorded and mixed poorly, but I just make these for fun so no big deal there.

So a fairly simple one to start:

This was a sort of experiment recording clean guitar which i had issues with in the past. It also has a bit of acoustic guitar, and the not-too audible bass part is my acoustic pitched down an octave. I think the drums might be a bit overpowering, but I like to play along to this with distortion and it works quite well.

A quieter song:

Playing with recording acoustic guitar. All of this was written and recorded in like 20 minutes. The improv solo deal isn't too great though.

Something a bit heavier:

I wrote this song in sections over a good couple months in midi format, moved it into Reason about a year and a half ago, and recorded it last year. This is the best sound I got out of recording distorted guitar. I like this song for the way I played with time signatures and evolved the main riff. I'm not much of an improviser or big on solos so I focused on a melodic sort of rhythm.

A little bit of a song:

Just playing around with a piece of something I never put in a whole song. Distortion didn't record too well. I really have a thing for sus2 chords, and that is literally this entire piece. I also have a thing for 7/8 time signatures which it goes into at the end.

This is how the previous clip started out, before I added all the extra bits.

Most recent full song:

Really unhappy with the recording quality and mixing here, but I like the music. I wrote this in sections spread out over a few weeks this past summer. I played more with harmonies/multiple guitar parts than I usually do, which is nice. The piece goes a bit all over the place musically, but that's how a lot of my stuff turns out. I don't like to stay in one place too long. There's an improv solo bit at the end which is bleh, but whatever.

Here's a MIDI song (from Guitar Pro):

I really like this song because I played so much with polymeter, polyrhythm, and syncopation. Plus lots of sus2 chords make me happy. Never got around to actually recording this, next chance I have this will be what I work on. Also the part near the start where there are no drums, I kinda hate and never developed or replaced. Hopefully that will be fixed later.

And here's a song I wrote way back in late freshman year, in Reason (basically nicer sounding MIDI):

Not entirely finished but you get the idea. Starts out a lot mellower than my usual and picks up at the end. Don't have drums for the last bit, and mixing in that part is wonky. I'm rather fond of the strings part.

Not all of that is for everyone, I know, but it's how I like to spend some of my free time.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When you're a professional pirate, you don't have to wear a suit.

I'm waiting now for my website to get set up. Alex has all the basic coding done so all that needs to be done is for him to throw it on once hosting gets sorted out. (Refer to the first post for a look at the design) Just a matter of waiting now, but it should be up any day.

On a side note, I've been looking at this guy's work http://www.jefbertels.be/
It has a pretty awesome level of detail and is generally really weird. Kinda wish I could look at these images bigger though.

Click to view the whole thing, it won't let me resize so it's getting cut off.

He does the album artwork for the Ayreon albums:


And since I just realized I don't have a link to it anywhere, here's the Vimeo link to our progress reel for the thesis:

No Strings Attached - Work Reel from Group of Six on Vimeo.

Not the most recent version, some animation and a fair bit of music has changed since this version I do believe.

I'll be making a post with a fair amount of content once I get a working website most likely.

(And the title of this post is because I've had that song from Muppet Treasure Island stuck in my head for a few days now.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Adventures in Sleep Deprivation!

Well this week has been quite stressful, getting everything together for internship/job applications. Yesterday I sent out applications for Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky, and Insomniac Games because they were the most urgent.

I made snazzy little DVD boxes for my reels:With a copy of my resume on the back:
And finally learned what the LightScribe thing on my DVD drive does:

There's an updated version of my reel on Vimeo now (you can use the link in my last post)

And I made this for my friend Jeff's birthday in like 20 minutes earlier this week:
There is an actual story behind this.

Back in the dorms, I was playing Roller Coaster Tycoon and I made an prison island in the middle and filled it with about 100 of the "entertainer" employees that are dressed up as pandas. Every time the in-game date reached Jeff's birthday, I celebrated by gabbing one of the pandas and drowning him. (you know, that seems a little disturbing now that I think about it.) I think it may have started off as a way to bring Jeff down after getting so excited about his fake birthday, but it started a tradition. Since I didn't have Roller Coaster Tycoon this year, I decided to make a little drawing instead.

And one last thing, just a little animation I started work on about a week ago in what little free time I have. this is step-tangent blocking with plateau tangents thrown on to get a look at what's going on. This represents about 2 1/2 hours of work. A fluke crash stole about an hour of work where I blocked out part of Gabe's fall after the punch. I'm hoping to take that part fairly cartoony in the end.

Gabe and Dan Fight - WIP from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

And that's that for now. Back to work for me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blog sounds funny.

Well, everyone's doing it, and I figure it would be a good thing to have now that I'm working on my portfolio site, so I made myself one of these blog things. I can't guarantee I'll be keeping up too well with this but I'll try.

Anyway, how about I throw my WIP demo reel up here so I can get me some comments.

Demo Reel 2010 from Ryan Neff on Vimeo.

It's very much a WIP, I sort of put the clips in the order I'd want but haven't settled on anything. Also, sound is weird in places and non-existent in others. I'm looking for comments about what order to put the shots in and which ones I should possibly remove. And anything else really, I need this done very very soon.

Also, a quick look at my portfolio website design! Aren't you lucky!

Click it to embiggify.

My roommate Alex Wright shall be helping me with the coding part of it.
If you can't tell already, I'm sticking to blues and greens for all my stuff.

So that's that, hopefully I'll keep up with this thing to make it interesting.