DC Shoes presents Ken Block’s Gymkhana Five: Ultimate Urban Playground, San Francisco

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
DIRECTOR: Ben Conrad

Ken Block’s annual stunt ride through Americana landscapes brings this 5th edition of Gymkhana to the streets of San Francisco. A Bay Area native myself, this one rings true to my roots. Plus, it blows my mind that they were able to achieve all this crazy driving in a city that’s not all that driver friendly.

The short film is presented by Block’s own DC Shoes, and directed by Logan’s Ben Conrad. All the driving is entirely in camera, with no effects added.

However, that didn’t mean I had nothing to do. There were obvious goals that couldn’t be achieved on location, such as the checkered starting line painted on the Bay Bridge, or the absence of all people and background vehicles. Surprising, on that latter not, production managed to film S.F. as ghost town for many shots. But there were a few that needed spectator removals.

Also, I had to add or take away Go-Pro cameras mounted in the car’s interior, due to continuity issues. Sometimes cameras came loose, or they were placed in different locations to achieve the given shot. But most importantly, the cameras always needed to be present to show that what was occurring was real.

Lastly, there was quite a bit of grading and balancing of levels to get the various footage to feel consistent.

Lego: “CL!CK”

ROLE: Senior Flame Artist / VFX Compositor
AGENCY: Pereira & O’Dell
DIRECTOR: Leigh Marling

Lego commissioned this short film to not only promote the long-standing product of Legos, but the lofty and necessary qualities of creativity, ingenuity, and invention, as well.

The story involves a flustered Inventor, who through the power of Legos, overcomes his creative block to solve the mystery of flight. He does so through using Legos to construct a miniature factory on his workbench, which in itself, utilizes Legos to manufacture more ideas.

Reminiscent of animator/filmmaker Jan Svankmajer, the visual style evokes a stop-motion vintage quality, featuring choreographed jerky skip-frame movement, desaturated colors, and random warpiness to the frame edges.

I contributed to a handful of shots: comping the CG Lego light bulb into the World Peace atrium, adding CG Legos to corridor shots, grading of paper elements on illustrated shots, and aiding to design the rocket boot exhaust and finale take-off.

Groove Street

ROLE: Director | Flint Artist | Alias Power Animator Artists
VENDER: Academy of Art College

-Groove Street” goes all the way back to the late-90s, being my first all CG project that ended up playing in a brief art installation. Named after a misprint on a business card, intended to say Grove Street (my former residence), it ultimately became a stream-of-conscious visual meditation on my thoughts towards music – which in my case, carried vast significance, since I used to be a music journalist for a half a dozen years.

It goes without saying that “Groove Street” is more than a little rough around the edges. There’s quite a bit of amateur stuff in there. Bad animation. Bad texturing. Bad mattes. Etc. But to this day, I still remain fond of it, with nostalgia running high. Plus, there’s some wickedly strong wacked-out ideas floating around in there, just waiting to be executed with the knowledge I possess today. If only I had the free time …

Why include it? It’s a reminder of where I started. And that’s something I don’t want to forget.

All CG was done in Alias PowerAnimator and composited in Discreet Flint on Silicon Graphics O2’s and Indigo’s (for those that remember, those were the purple toasters and rectangular boxes).

Included is a 3 minute excerpt.