Talent

Talent Spotlight: Hayden Patterson

We're excited to introduce Hayden Patterson! He recently finished working with us as a freelance 2D Animator on one of our client projects. We had such a great time working with him we wanted to learn more about his journey as an animator. 

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Hayden grew up in the small town of West Bend in Wisconsin. Spending time outside with his siblings and reading Sunday comics were the results of his imagination and his inspiration to be a cartoonist at a very young age. Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and Sheldon are just a few of the comics he was inspired by, along with Looney Toons, especially "Tom and Jerry" being his visual influence. With the support of his parents and the guidance of his teacher in high school, he was able to go to school for Animation at Maryland College Institute of the Arts!

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Working at several small studios, while he was in college and over the past couple years, gave Hayden the confidence and skills he needed to move forward with his career. Some of these studios include; Moving Colour, Eskimo, and Locus New Media.  Now that he is in California it has opened even more opportunities. After working as a freelance animator at Eric Miller Animation Studios, he went on to working full time at the NFL Network doing animation and other facets of video work.

"I met Eric at The Creators Society Mixer, which helped me acclimate to LA and the professional network here. After the first one, I had to check out Eric’s studio online, and really enjoyed the content he has produced, particularly “Bink”, which is absolutely stunning, and adorable."
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He loves spending his time animating, but tries to spend time outdoors as often as possible. Being in California gave him the opportunity to spend time outdoors a little differently than he did in his childhood days in Wisconsin. He surfs any moment he gets the chance as well as playing basketball and disc golf.

To check out some more of Hayden's work be sure to visit his portfolio.
http://www.haydenpatterson.com/#/reel/

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Talent Spotlight: Rich Draper

We're excited to introduce Rich Draper! He is currently working with us on one of our client's projects with our team of animators. We had the chance to learn more about Rich's journey through the creative industry, and wanted to share what makes him a great animator!

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Rich grew up just outside of Toronto in Burlington, Ontario Canada, and was I nspired by the Warner Bros. Cartoons, old Disney features, and Mad Magazine. He knew being in the creative industry would be perfect for him; from childhood he loved watching movies and was constantly drawing cartoons.

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After studying Classical Animation at Sheridan College in Canada, Rich moved to New York for a couple years. It was not long until he was back to Canada to work on features and commercials, which eventually landed him a job in Los Angeles. After spending 7 years in LA working at Creative Capers, Kurtz & Friends Animation, and Sony, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia. There for 16 years now, he's done everything from directing, animating and character design for studios like Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, PBS Kids, Adult Swim, and clients such as IBM and UPS.

 
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Though Rich started with "just good old pencil and paper and film cameras", he is glad to be doing digital animation with Eric Miller Animation Studio because he is "always happy to get a chance to work with new studios, to see what they do, get inspired and continue to grow". He's been animating for 30 years now, but he knows how to keep his life balanced! His free time is spent playing hockey, cycling, and traveling.

 

We're really excited to be working with such a talented animator, and if you interested in seeing more of Rich's work then head over to his online portfolio at www.richdraper.com

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Talent Spotlight: Ruby Wang

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We’re so excited to introduce our newest team member, Ruby Wang. Ruby is a talented illustrator who will be working with Eric Miller Animation Studios to provide illustrations and concept designs.  When not working on specific projects she will be creating some fun illustrations for both our website, and social media.  So keep an eye out for some of her amazing work.  

Growing up on a small island in Taiwan surrounded by a crisp blue ocean and huge mountains filled Ruby Wang’s mind with many stories that she wanted to share with the world. She has been drawing for as long as she can remember, but thought making her art move would make a bigger impact for the stories she had to tell, which is what made her interested in animation.

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“When I was little, my sister and I loved playing a game called “Story Theater.” I would spend a whole week illustrating a story, by the weekend I had a complete story to present to my sister. I loved seeing her face glow; she was so eager to see and hear more about my stories. This inspired me to do what I do today, tell stories through my art.”
— Ruby Wang
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After studying 3D animation in Taiwan, she came to the United States and worked towards her Master’s in Visual Development. She felt fortunate to be accepted into the internship program for Tonko House in the Spring of 2017 and shortly thereafter started as a concept artist at Flight School Studio. After seeing the Bink teaser, Ruby saw great potential in Eric Miller Animation Studio and hoped to contribute to the project. So here she is now, very excited to start as a freelance illustrator, and we are also very excited to get to work with her!

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Animation Spotlight: Ken Bielenberg

Ken Bielenberg

We're excited to introduce you to Ken Bielenberg, a talented animation veteran who's credits include Shrek, ANTZ, Monsters vs Aliens, The Simpsons and many more! Ken has worked in both live action and animation, and has directed, produced, and was a VFX Supervisor on several projects. Not only are we excited to discuss Ken's career on our blog this week, but we are happy to announce he will be taking on an advisor role for Eric Miller Animation Studios. Ken will will be advising Eric on a variety of business and creative areas.

What was your path to get into animation?

I went to college at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for computer science, but what I really loved was film and animation.  So, I used all my electives to take as many film and traditional animation classes as I could.  After 2 college co-ops at IBM, I realized that I didn't want to be a computer programmer, so I decided to combine my interests and pursue computer animation.  This was in the early days of CG -- it was a risky move.  But, my parents were really supportive so I went for it and eventually landed a production assistant position at PDI in 1990.  I was SO excited to be at PDI and practically lived there to soak it all in.

    What do you think the major differences in the animation industry today are from when you first got into the industry?

    Oh boy!  Everything is different.  When I started at PDI, flying logos were still state-of-the-art computer animation!  Five years later, TOY STORY came out, proving it was possible to make a feature length animated film.  That was huge!  Then, the next two features were ANTZ (which I worked on) and A BUG'S LIFE.  At that point in time, the power of the computers and the state of animation technology really did limit the stories that were feasible to produce in CG.  Toys and bugs were what we could handle at the time.  Now, there's really no limit.  

    Antz

    Antz

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    What do you feel will be the next big breakthrough in the animation industry?

    Computer Animation is getting closer to being able to create believable, photorealistic humans, but we're not there yet.  The "uncanny valley" is still very much an issue, but it's a holy grail challenge that will get conquered at some point.

    What has been your favorite/most rewarding animation project you worked on thus far?

    There are so many!  But, I'd have to say SHREK 2.  It was a perfect combination of a great team super excited to push the envelope and a great story.

    Are there any little known fun facts about any of the projects you've worked on?

    I worked on the Simpsons segment where Homer goes into the 3rd dimension for the Tree House of Terror VI episode in 1995.  It was the first time Homer would be realized as a 3D CG character.  We were nervous about translating this iconic 2D character into 3D.  I wasn't sure how things like his hair (he has big Ms on the side of his head!) would translate.  Would that look weird?  But, it worked and the Simpsons team was a dream to work with.  So much fun.

    The Simpsons / Via  cinemablend.com

    The Simpsons / Via cinemablend.com

    We're excited to have you as an advisor for Eric Miller Animation Studios, what are you most excited to share your expertise on?

    I'm excited to help in any way I can.  When Eric left Dreamworks to start his own animation studio, I thought "that's incredibly ambitious and a little bit crazy."  And lo and behold, Eric's successfully launched his studio, is producing excellent work and is consistently adding new clients.  I'm especially excited about the next chapter for BINK.  He's such a cute character with a ton of potential.

    What is your dream job, or what do you want to work on next?

    My dream job is really simple.  It sounds corny, but it's all about working with great people.  I love creating an environment where insanely talented people can produce their best work.

     

    Thank you to Ken for sharing his experiences and thoughts with us!

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    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

    Talent Spotlight: Introducing Valerio Fabbretti!

    We’ve been lucky enough to work very closely with Valerio on the character design of Bink! Today we’re sharing a little more about this talented Character Designer!

    Valerio grew up in Rome and moved to San Francisco after High School to study Illustration. He loved watching cartoons and reading comics growing up and the European masters were his main inspiration and unconscious teachers of anatomy, gestures, inking, and design.

    Valerio has worked with Eric Miller Animation on the design of Bink. When asked what character design entails, Valerio gave us a great description of everything that goes into designing a character.

    “Character designing is the magical translation of a character description into a white paper.  Shapes, lines, poses, expressions and clothing need to convey the personality of the characters. Getting it right is very hard and usually it's a team effort! With notes and suggestions from directors or other artists the character designer can succeed in the visual representation.”

    In his free time, Valerio is very active. He loves to run and is part of a swimming team in Burbank where he trains every day. To fuel himself for that exercise he loves to eat pasta, pizza, and cereals!

    For more information on Valerio and his work, check out his website

    Talent Spotlight: Introducing Jared White!

    We're lucky enough to work with the talented writer and director, Jared White! Jared has been working as an editor on Bink as well as writing and storyboarding for other projects we're working on! 

    Jared was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley and was always passionate about filmmaking. In addition to making home movies when he was younger, Jared would make his own animated stop-motion films! Although animation was always a love of his, he ended up going down the path of live-action films. After graduating from Cal State Northridge with a degree in Film Production he started working at Panavision. Jared was a workflow consultant on major feature films like Ted, Smurfs, Captain America, and more! Since Jared was so familiar with the equipment, he began making his own independent films on the side. 

    Eventually, Jared decided to go out on his own and started working as a freelance writer and director. Two years ago, he decided to start his own production company, Squared Pictures. Jared has had the opportunity to work on various web series and work with reputable companies like College Humor and Funny or Die. His short films have been featured in festivals in the U.S. and internationally, and he recently won an award at the 48 Hour Film Project

    It was so exciting for Jared to be able to return to animation once again when he started working with Eric Miller Animation. He enjoys keeping up with animation news and watching animated films in his free time.

    When Jared's not working, he enjoys traveling with his wife. Recent travels include Europe and Costa Rica, and they're currently planning a trip to Japan.

    Want to learn more about Jared and his production company? Check them out at www.squaredpictures.com!
     

    Talent Spotlight: Introducing Scott Raymond!

    We're thrilled to introduce to you one of the talented animators we work with, Scott Raymond! Scott has been working on the Bink short since the first of this year and we're so happy to have him! 

    Scott Raymond - Photo by Spencer Filichia

    Scott Raymond - Photo by Spencer Filichia

    Scott is originally from Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before later attending the Academy of Art University in San Francisco to study visual effects and animation. 

    Growing up, Scott watched many animated movies and was always fascinated by animation. When Scott first started at DreamWorks Animation, he was doing crowd simulations, but his favorite aspect of the job was working with the animated cycles. He started animating his own cycles and then switched into an animation role full time. Scott spent 8 years at DreamWorks, where he was able to connect with Eric and many other talented artists. Although he no longer works there, he made many close friends who he keeps in touch with and works closely with. He's excited to work with Eric Miller Animation Studios because he gets to work with people who are so passionate about what they do and produce top-caliber work. 

    He currently resides in Tennessee and teaches animation classes at Austin Peay State University. He's thankful that he has time to spend working in animation while also balancing life with his wife and two boys. 

    For more information on Scott and the incredible work that he's doing, check out his blog here.