Bink

Eric Miller Animation 2017 Year in Review!

Wow, what an exciting year it has been, and hard to believe the year is coming to an end.  Eric Miller Animation Studios is in its 3rd year it has been an amazing year! We would like to take this opportunity to look back on all we accomplished this year, so sit back in your chair with your hot cocoa and holiday cheer to take a trip down memory lane with us.  

 

Bink

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Bink has come a long way from his initial inception.  Our original plan was to create multiple 30 second shorts with a fun lovable creature to show potential clients.  After all the exciting work we did for Toys'R'Us we had a good amount of visual effects work to add to our portfolio.  The thing we were missing was some high quality 3D animation. 

In an effort to get more 3D animation work we started to work on Bink.  We soon realized he had a much bigger purpose, and his story began to take shape.  After the first 30 second teaser we realized we wanted to create a longer more complete short. 

Eric, and Jared White have spent this year really digging into who Bink is, why he has been captured, and what are these tests for.  We have been working on creating a fun, heartfelt story for our lovable little creature. 

This has taken us a lot longer then we expected for a couple reasons.  One is we want to make sure his story is great, and the other is we are not able to work on it full time.  As you will read below we have had a very busy year, and finding the time to work on Bink is often challenging.  We are committed to making 2018 Bink's big year, and plan to release the next short.  

 

Client Projects

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With our client work we often have to sign non-discloser agreements, so we can't always share the work we have done for them.  Sometimes we can't even share who the client was, but here is what we can share with you.  

This year we got to work on our first feature film when we did the visual effects to bring the creatures to life for Donkey Universe Films' horror movie "Island Zero". They are currently making the rounds in the film festivals, so if you get a chance to see it keep an eye out for our work.  We are holding on sharing the work on our website until the film has been sold.

We worked on a live-action pilot for a production company who is developing a TV series for Amazon that has talking animals.  We were brought on to make the farm animals talk.  This required taking the live action footage and animating a CG face over the animals.  Its actually a lot harder then it sounds.  We hope the project is picked up, and hope we get to continue working on it next year.

We got the opportunity to work with LoomAI on a project they are working on.  While we can't talk about the project we can say how great it was getting to work with some of our old friends.  We worked with a few of the LoomAI team at DreamWorks Animation before we all left to go our own ways.

Our biggest project of the year(in terms of the amount of work) was working with Operation Hope doing 2D animated explainer videos to educate people on how to start a business.  So far we have created around 20 animated videos for them each ranging from 2-6 minutes in length.  We hope to continue helping them with more animated videos in 2018. 

Just when we thought the year was over we were awarded two more projects which we are currently finishing up.  One is an animated logo for a production company, and the other is a visual effects project where we are creating a magical growing tree for a couple shots in a music video.  Once we are able to share these we will let you know.

 

IP Development

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One of the most exciting parts of the year has been working with a team of creative geniuses on developing our own animated shows.  We have a few ideas we are developing, and then pitch them to the networks and broadcasters.

Eric has been meeting with executives at Netflix, DreamWorks TV, Paramount, Jim Henson, and many other places to make the connections we will need.  When we have a few ideas ready we plan to pitch them sometime early in this coming year.

 

Moonward Studios

Another big announcement this year was the creation of Moonward Studios. We realized some of the work we have been doing, like the visual effect for a horror film, did not match the branding we want for Eric Miller Animation Studios(EMAS).  With EMAS the plan is to be an animation creation studio where we are creating our own original content. Our focus is establishing ourselves as a creative studio, and building fans.  Our main source of income, right now, is the service business where we function as a work-for-hire providing animation services to our clients. Our messaging on our website and social media needs to be talking more to those potential clients to win their trust and win new projects. 

It made sense to create a new division of the company with a different name, website, and social media channels which will speak more to our potential clients. Moonward Studios will handle our visual effects and VR/AR service work, and eventually take on all the animation service work.  This will allow EMAS to focus on original animation ideas we develop, and produce.  We have been working on a new website as well as building its own social media accounts to target our potential clients. We still have a lot of work to do, but you can check out our progress at www.moonwardstudios.com and let us know what you think.

 

Growing Team

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This year has been a year of growth, and we have been fortunate to work with some amazing people. Earlier this year we announced Ken Bielenberg would be serving as a member of our Board of Advisors.  Eric and Ken worked together at DreamWorks Animation. Ken was actually one of the people Eric needed to interview with when he was first trying to get the job at DWA. It has been great having Ken's expertise, and his advice has been invaluable.  We look forward to continue working with him in 2018 as we continue to grow the company.

Mary Lou started working with us in July as the Social Media and Marketing Coordinator.  She handles all the postings on our different social media channels, and has been writing most of the weekly blog posts. Ruby came on as an illustrator creating concept art for Firefly Woods, images for marketing, and the cute Bink illustrations.  We recently brought on another blog writer, David Gouldthorpe, to add even more great animation content to our weekly posts.

We also worked with a lot of project based freelancers who came on to help us with the different projects we have done this year.  This includes people like Joe Castillon, Rich Draper, Hayden Patterson, and many others.

Our goal this year was to grow our team, and find more amazing people to work with.  We have also been able to cultivate a great list of very talented artists, animators, voice actors, writers, directors, storyboard artists and talent with many other specialties who we look forward to working with on our future projects. If you are interested in getting on our list please create a profile on our Crew Portal.

 

Animation Events

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This year we have attended a good number of animation related events. At the beginning of the year Eric attended some of the award shows.  As a voting member of the Producers Guild and ASIFA he went to both the Producers Guild Awards, and the Annie Awards. This is a great opportunity to meet some of the best in the animation and entertainment industry, and also a lot of fun to get all dressed up.

He also went to learn more about the tech side of animation, gaming, VR, AR and computer graphics at SIGGRAPH.  Eric tries to make it to this event any year it is held in Los Angeles.

One of the most exciting events for us this year was CTNX because we had a table in the exhibition hall for the first time. This gave us a chance to get Eric Miller Animation Studios out in the animation community to meet talented artists we hope to work with in the future.

 

Networking

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The Creators Society celebrated our 2 year anniversary this year. If you don't know, The Creators Society is a networking group Eric started in 2015 to bring producers, artists, and others working in different areas of the animation industry together for networking.  The Creators Society has mixers every month in the Los Angeles area, and is a great way to meet other creative people.  If you are interested in coming to one of our events be sure to sign up on the website www.thecreatorssociety.org.

Eric has also been attending other networking events each month like the Producers Guild Thirsty Thursday, Woman In Animation Mixer, The Crux Social, and Ready Set Go.  We feel it is so important to be active in our community, and networking helps you make great connections.

 

Giving Back

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We know how difficult this industry is, and getting started in the industry is even harder.  Our animation industry is great at helping each other out, and this is one reason we love it so much.  We feel it is important for us to give back, and help those new to the industry when we can. 

Throughout the year Eric has phone calls and meetings with students looking for advice, guidance, or sometimes just encouragement.  Earlier this year he met with the animation students from The University of Utah who were visiting Los Angeles.  He also participated in the career day for his high school alma mater through a remote video chat, and attended events like the CalArts Portfolio Day and the CalArts Producers Show.

 

The Numbers

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For the fun of it here are some interested numbers for this year.

This blog post is our 52nd post for this year, so it seems we managed to write a blog post every week. Our website has had 12.4k visitors this year which is a 8.2% increase over last year, and 36.5k page views which is a 12% increase over last year. We have had visitors to our website from 128 different countries with the top 5 countries being The United States(70%), Canada(3%), India(3%), United Kingdom(3%), and the Republic of Korea(2%).

The highlights on our social media is we grew our Twitter followers by 3,283, and our Instagram by 1,869 followers.  

 

Looking forward to 2018

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We hope to continue to grow, and learn in the coming year. Thank you for making it to the end of our 2017 year in review, and for letting us share our excitement with you throughout the year.  Thank you for support and encouragement, and we can't wait to continue to share with all of you.

2018 is looking to be an exciting year for our industry. Click here to get a little taste of animations coming our way, and of course stay tuned with us on Eric Miller Animation Studio's social platforms for a daily dose of news in animation!

Eric Miller Speaks at Dreamworks Animation!

Eric Miller spoke about his journey as CEO of Eric Miller Animation Studios to a packed room at Dreamworks Animation Wednesday afternoon. His talk covered the learning curves of starting your own animation company, the triumphs he's had so far, as well as the specifics of major client successes. 

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Eric explained to the crowd how his first client project with Toys R Us came with ease thanks to a friend, and how at the time he believe landing client projects would be simple! He soon realized landing great client partnerships takes strategy and persistence. Since Toys R Us, Eric's team has also successfully partnered with The Future of Play on MagicMeeMees. Jared White, the Director of the MagicMeeMees webseries also spoke to the DWA crowd about his experience with the project. He explained that although the project had a tight budget, he believes that "creativity thrives on limitations" and felt they were still able to deliver.

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Eric also spoke to the crowd about the company’s own IP, Bink. With the help of Eric's hand selected team (some in attendance, and pictured below), Bink, our favorite little yellow creature took a year and half to create! And although Eric admitted that client projects typically take priority in his workflow, he hopes to release more videos of Bink soon!

L to R: Graham Cunningham, Linda Kurgpold, Jared White, Eric Miller, Violette Sacre, Valerio Fabbretti

L to R: Graham Cunningham, Linda Kurgpold, Jared White, Eric Miller, Violette Sacre, Valerio Fabbretti

During the Q&A, there were a lot of really great questions, and many of them were directed at Eric on starting and running his own company. Eric explained how the company is setup as a virtual studio meaning there is no actual studio location.  His entire team works remotely from their own homes using email, phone call, Skype, Dropbox, and Shotgun to perform dailies, and other reviews.  Eric also explained his current plan of bringing in more client projects to help pay for the creation of their own content like Bink.  Eric was very honored to be invited back to the DreamWorks Animation’s campus to be able to share what him and his team has been work on. 

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Have your Bink Fan Art featured on our Social Media!

Ever since we've released Bink to the public, we've loved seeing Bink fan art filter in! In fact, we want to keep it coming -- and even feature the work on our social channels! Send us your best Bink fan art and we may showcase you or your child's art on our growing Instagram and Twitter! We'll be sharing our favorite fan art picks on our social channels, and plan on creating a Bink Fan Art Galley on our website to show even more! Read below to see how you can get your work to shine, time to get those creative juices flowing!

Instagram:

  • Tag @milleranimation on your Bink fan art post
  • Include #BinkFanArt in your Bink fan art caption

Twitter

  • Include @milleranimation at the END of the body of your Tweet
  • Include #BinkFanArt to the Tweet

We'll be reposting and retweeting our favorite images, along with tagging back the artist on our posts. Need some inspiration? Check out some great fan art we've received from Joe Castillion and Amber Hollinger below!

 Created By Joe Castillon -  Website

 Created By Joe Castillon - Website

Created By Amber Hollinger -  Website

Created By Amber Hollinger - Website

Look forward too seeing your art!


Bink in 3D World Magazine... Again!

We are very excited to once again have Bink be featured in the 3D World Magazine.  In this article Bink's animator Scott Raymond shares 10 Animation Tips and Tricks to help us all become better animators.  We have been very humbled by all the attention Bink's first episode has received, and it is thanks to the very talented crew members like Scott.  

Scott Raymond

I had the privilege of first working with Scott at DreamWorks Animation on Madagascar 3. After 8 years at DreamWorks Animation Scott left, and started teaching and developing a new animation program at Austin Peay State University.  When I was looking for an animator to help with Bink I reached out to Scott, and he agreed to come on board.  Scott was recently featured as one of our Talent Spotlights, so to learn more about him check out the post here.

To read the Bink article click the image below or to read other great articles in the September issue of 3D World Magazine you can purchase issue 211 at the 3D World Magazine's website.

Click image to see the full article.

Click image to see the full article.

After reading the Tips and Tricks watch Bink to see Scott's advice put into action.

 
 

Best regards,

 

Bink has Arrived!

Our new favorite character Bink has been released online. We are excited to have worked on such an exciting project that has received so much love these last couple days. The crew is very proud of the work they did on Bink to bring him to life, and they hope everyone continues to support him. The best part of any animation is the spark, the idea, which can grow into so much more if nurtured. 

Our CEO Eric Miller hosted a Screening & Wrap party for the Crew and their invited guests the Sunday before Bink's release. He dedicated the party to the crew to celebrate the hard work everyone put into making Bink come back to life. We are all humble for the tremendous response we have received from our first Bink short. It was viewed and shared with animation enthusiasts all over the world. 

Bink: New Arrival Cast & Crew Screening & Wrap Party

Bink: New Arrival Cast & Crew Screening & Wrap Party

There is one response that has been very clear, you “want more Bink!.” We will continue to do our best to bring you more as soon as possible. We really want Bink to become a household name, but we can't do it without your help. Please share his story with your friends and get the word out there! Like, Comment, and Subscribe to our YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/c/Milleranimation 

We would love to hear your thoughts about Bink and speculate where his story will go next. So many unanswered questions, such as; Where did he come from? What kind of testing are they doing? Is Bink on the 'brink' of danger? Subscribe and find out! 

The University of Toledo Loves Bink!

Although Bink has yet to be released we have heard Eric Miller's alma mater, The University of Toledo is getting very excited about the yellow and blue furred creature.  

On April, 29th, 2016 The University of Toledo Alumni eMagazine did an article about Bink which ended up being the feature article for the April 2016 issue. This article was written by Vicki L. Knoll based on an interview she had with Eric earlier in the month.

UT Alumni eMagazine April 2016 Cover

UT Alumni eMagazine April 2016 Cover

On May 16th, 2016 The article was printed in the UT News paper as well as being posted on their online edition.   

UT News Paper May 16, 2016

UT News Paper May 16, 2016

We also just learned Bink has made The University of Toledo's Homepage.

University of Toledo's homepage on May 25th, 2016

University of Toledo's homepage on May 25th, 2016

We are very thankful for all the love from the University of Toledo, and we can't wait to share Bink with all of you when we release the first episode(In June!).  

Talent Spotlight: Introducing Graham Cunningham

This week, we were able to sit down with Graham Cunningham who has been helping us with the lighting, look development, compositing, and rendering of Bink!  He also did the surfacing for the lab environment where everything takes place.

Graham was always interested in visual effects and animation from an early age. He found himself interested in classic VFX movies like Jurassic Park. In high school, he’d gravitated towards art classes and came to realize that he wanted to pursue something artistic professionally. Graham attended Seneca College for Computer Graphics Imagery. After working for 10 years at boutique visual effects houses as a 3D Generalist, Graham decided to make the move from Toronto down to California. He currently works at Blizzard entertainment specializing in lighting and compositing (Compositing has to do with taking multiple visual elements and rendering them separately to get a final product). 

Graham has worked on many television shows and feature films. One ofhis favorite projects he’s worked on was The Road to 9/11, which was nominated for an Emmy Award. He had the challenge of making downtown Toronto appear to be New York City.

Currently, Graham is helping us complete the Bink short by rendering the frames. There are 24 frames per second and right now rendering Bink takes about 30min/frame (wow!).

When he’s not hard at work, Graham keeps busy with his three-year-old son. Graham has always had a love for Legos and started collecting Star Wars Legos into his adult life. He is also passionate about photography and enjoys doing that in his free time.

We’re so happy to have Graham on board and thankful for all the hard work he’s put into Bink! To find out more about Graham and see his portfolio, check out his website

Talent Spotlight: Introducing Violette Sacre!

This week we got to learn more about the amazing look dev artist who’s been working hard on Bink’s Textures and Fur: Violette Sacre!

Violette always knew she wanted to work in animation but never knew it could one day come true!

She comes from a multicultural family and grew up in many countries : America, Belgium, Spain and France, but always had one constant passion wherever she lived: the love for Art.

At a young age, her mom put a pencil in her hand and encouraged her to Draw. As she grew, Violette enjoyed exploring all forms of Art, from drawing to sculpture, and would often find herself illustrating for her Mom and Community of Valbonne (small town in the south of France): illustrating such things as Poems and stories her mom wrote, articles for the local newspaper and holiday cards for the local school fundraisers. 

Like all 'kids' working in Animation today she was greatly inspired by Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks, 'The little mermaid', or 'La Sirenita' as Violette knew her while living in Spain at the time, would be the influence that really sparked her passion for Animation. But it was really when she saw 'Shrek' for the first time, with all of its rich texture and lighting work that she then fell in love with 3D Animation! With a computer Geek as a dad it also made sense to follow in his footsteps and study something that had 'computers' in the title and so, she decided to pursue a career in Computer Animation.

Violette was lucky to fulfill those dreams by getting into Ringling College of Art and Design's Computer Animation Program and landing her first job at Dreamworks Animation where she was privileged to work on films such as 'The Croods', 'How to Train your Dragon', and 'Madagascar2'.

When Eric Approached Violette about working on 'Bink', she immediately fell in love with the cute character and was excited to have the chance to help bring him to life! Originally, Bink wasn’t going to have fur but Violette was determined to make Eric’s vision of Bink having fur come true (and he looks incredible!). To Violette, one of the most rewarding aspects of Look Development is making people’s visions come true!

In her free time, Violette loves to spend time with her husband and three-year-old son. She enjoys gardening, developing characters and stories, and helping her husband expand his photography business.

One of her greatest wishes is to one day finish illustrating all her late Mother's prolific writings and to publish them in her honor.

To learn more about Violette, check out her website here!

Talent Spotlight: Introducing Rachel Wan

We chatted with Rachel Wan, who has helped in many different ways with the creation of Bink!  Rachel did the concept art for Bink, the character design for the mechanical hand, and the title design for Bink!  Rachel currently lives in Malaysia and as we were thrilled to learn more about her and her experience.

Growing up, Rachel had no idea that she would end up working in animation. In fact, she originally wanted to be a human rights lawyer. But Rachel loved to draw and her love for animated films and television eventually led her to pursue animation as a career.  She grew up watching Disney films, cartoons from Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and Sailor Moon. 

Bink concept art by Rachel Wan

Bink concept art by Rachel Wan

Rachel Studied Digital Animation in The One Academy of Communication Design. Courses covered topics like 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, and Rendering. Rachel ‘s expertise falls into three different areas: Graphic Design, Concept Art, and Illustration.  In Malaysia, most animation companies prefer to hire employees with multiple skillsets, although being specialized in one particular skill also prove advantageous

Early character designs of the mechanical hand.

Early character designs of the mechanical hand.

In Rachel’s free time she loves reading Manga and playing computer games. Her bucket list includes traveling, programming, and cooking. Rachel also hopes to one day be able to visit the US! 

For more information on Rachel, check out her website here

Bink Title designed by Rachel Wan

Bink Title designed by Rachel Wan