Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Silhouette Insanity

what is this i don't even

For those here from Facebook wondering what the hell this is, it's actually five sheets of black paper, taped together. Each spot of white I cut out with an x-acto knife. I photographed the whole thing on white paper and made it all pretty in photoshop. I still don't think I've completely recovered my sanity.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Walk of the Lonely Spaceman

Spaceman Walk Test from Michael Piazza on Vimeo.

This was my latest assignment for 2D animation. We had to animate another walk cycle, this time with arms. I really hate inbetweening my animations, but it always amazes me how much more character and life those extra frames bring. It's the difference between something reading as an animation test, and something that seems to live and move under it's own volition. And that's what we all  trive to make, right?

As a side note, my goal for the film this year is to hit this caliber of refined animation as much as possible. It's going to be made traditionally in pencil, but I'm going to plan everything out in Flash first, to hopefully speed up my process. It's totally a crutch, but I can live with that if it'll help me get my shit done!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Arthur the Lonely Spaceman

My phone can take cool pictures (with a little help from my friend photoshop)!

This is a semi-finished design for the main character of my film. I will say no more.

He is not to be confused with Dr Spaceman.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Panda Walk Test

Latest assignment for 2d animation, from an unposted character design for Maki's class.

Buddhist Panda walk test from Michael Piazza on Vimeo.

Animated on fours because I am lazy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2D Animation Ridiculousness

As always, this week I chose to spend a really really long time doing my 2D animation homework, at the expense of all my other classes (just kidding, any teachers that might be reading this).

Flour Sack Dos from Michael Piazza on Vimeo.

Traditional Animation + Photoshop + Flash + After Effects = My ever increasing need to sleep.

Long Technical Rant: Going into this assignment, I wanted to focus less on the animation (sorry Scott - most of it's on 3s and 4s) so I could spend my time figuring out the insanity that is After Effects. I animated everything traditionally (note to self, ColorErase doesn't scan in nicely), scanned it all in, batch processed it in Photoshop to get it on cels, and then timed it all out in After Effects. From there, I switched all my layers to 3D mode (:O), and separated out my ground planes to different depths. After that, I could move my 3D camera around, and the animation would show convincing parallax (things in front move more than things in back). The only downside is that shit takes FOREVER to render with a 3D camera. Creds for this go to the magical Tahnee Gehm.
I fear this program. 
But less now.

At this point, I realized I had forgotten to animate the trailing ears and feet on the sack - so this also became a test of integrating flash and traditional animation.  I don't think it looks particularly great, but at least I know how to do it now - and it's something that might appear in my film.

Overall, even though this all took a stupid amount of time (mostly because I'm so new to it), I feel just that much more prepared to do some crazy stuff when film season comes around second semester. Space Babe, watch out. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Lieu of Posting ACTUAL Work-

Here's a drawing I did of badass extraordinaire Jorge Gutierrez at his recent CalArts lecture. He totally dug it and signed it below. This made me happy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Floursacks of Danger from Michael Piazza on Vimeo.

Latest assignment for Scott Wright's Animation class. I really went all out on this one, but I'm happy with how it turned out!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Today, we learned how to use the Puppet Tool in AfterEffects.

This is going to change my life.

(For those who don't know/are curious: the Puppet Tool lets you take an existing image you've made, add "joints", and animate them moving. My birds, for example, have joints in the hips, knees, necks, and body. Once you've drawn a cool picture, it's incredibly easy to rig it up with these joints and make a simple animation. This animation probably only took me about 20 minutes, as opposed to many hours if I hand drew it each frame, which is the standard practice.. )

Monday, November 1, 2010

CG balls, so bouncy.

For CG Animation

Yeah, so it's not the most interesting thing ever - but I have a huge backlog of art to post! Soon soon soon.

In the meantime, here's my desktop background at school:
That way, I always stay productive! It's also my background in Maya:

Monday, October 25, 2010


For Character Design.

Usually I turn in just 3 or 4 drawings a week for class; this week I'm turning in 33.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mice 'n Shit

These were for Week 2 of Character Design.

Next up, balls!
For CG Animation.

Monday, October 4, 2010

My New Life at CalArts

I've been here almost an entire month and all I've done is draw on a fucking banana with some stupid kid.

Just kidding. We work like crazy here.

Here's my most recent Character Design assignment. Old folks and young folks:
Preferred method of locomotion.
Not today, my sweet one.

 Anything to make you smile!

I work and live in a small enclosure. I share it with a large animal named Charley.

I mostly draw apples (because I am hungry always).

Tons more stuff coming once I scan!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Four and a Half Days

An epic stop motion adventure of sex, love, and Kung Fu treachery. Made in four and a half days. Out of boredom.

Four and a Half Days from Michael Piazza on Vimeo.

Man, this turned into an intense way to spend my last week of summer. So much for getting out and seeing (more than one of) my friends!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Animation Practice

For my work, I got to animate a short scene of a car blowing up. I spent a disproportional amount of time on it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

NYC + DC Moleskine

Just got back from an awesome two week trip to the east coast. It's hot as shit over there, but still quite enjoyable (especially NYC, where I hadn't been before).
Airporters @ SFO- The beginning of my journey!
People in NYC look different from anywhere I've ever been. Everybody there is a caricature, I swear. You get a sense that everybody is 'somebody' (even the thuggier residents).
Faces on the metro. One man was selling his book of anthologized Facebook updates, entitled "Don't Beat Your Children or They'll End Up Like Me."

Mawfuckah had staples in his head. 'Nuff said.

I saw a sleeping Jabba The Hutt on the train.

Unfinished sketch of the view from our apt in east village.
Security guard and hip girl chilling @ Museum of Natural History.
I love drawing street artists. Found this guy in Times Square.
I actually paid this fellow $5 to draw my portrait, because his drawings looked decent (turned out they weren't). He was mightily confused when I whipped out my pencil and started drawing him back!
Adorable little kid feeding pigeons in some random park.

It was sweet and sad actually. Sweet because it was such an innocent scene, sad because I'm pretty sure those pigeons were his only friends.

I wish I had spent more time trying to capture his expressions of terror and wonder as small children chased his flock of pigeons around the park.
Even the dirtiest of hobos wear hip, sexy red shoes in NYC.
One of said pigeon-chasers.
It's true what they say about people from New Jersey.

In D.C. there was less to draw. Our tour of the monuments and whatnot was pretty fast, and I didn't have time to really plop down and draw them. So instead I regressed to just drawing random people from my head.
My relatives had an adorable little dog named Jessie. It would play fetch all over the house, and you'd have to try to wrestle 'boney' out of her mouth by shaking her back and forth. I'm pretty sure I gave this poor dog brain damage.
Calm down girl in red, I wasn't checking you out. I was just drawing your expressive mug. BWI airport.

In general, I felt much safer drawing strangers on the East coast. As in, I would occasionally receive puzzled or dirty looks, but I rarely got the 'YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE STABBED' eyes that are seen in Oakland so often.

Hope you guys enjoyed looking!


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Studies 'O Color

I've set a goal for myself to do a color study every day. I try not to get bogged down in detail, and fail consistently, but I'm failing less and less!

In other news, I'm off to the east coast in two days - so to my eleven (11!) followers, I'm afraid you guys will just have to find some other way to spend your time besides constantly refreshing my blog every five seconds. I know, I know. It will be rough for both of us.


And finally, I've been busting my ass of animating a short film for this crazy Bio-Med company that I'm working for this summer. I can't show anything in it's entirety yet, but check some concept art:

That's right. Exploding cars.

I'm so gonna get fired.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


All part of a larger but still very small project- eventually, these will be composited in After Effects with some liveaction footage for hopefully humorous result. Oh and yeah, that sound was recorded by yours truly. Audacity is sweet!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I had the privilege of going on a tour at Pixar this morning. As always, the place is a paradise. It's especially striking compared to Dreamworks/PDI, which I was lucky enough to see last week - Pixar is sunny and the faces are cheery, while Dreamworks was a bit darker, more corporate, and everybody looked like they were cold.

While the art at both studios was obviously amazing, I couldn't help but gawk at the Toy Story 3 color keys by Daisuke Tsutsumi.
The cafeteria at Dreamworks beats Pixar's handily. Seriously - my tour was only like 20 minutes, and I spent a good hour eating the cafeteria, and I have no regrets.

All in all, both looked like ridiculously fun places to work. Although, SURPRISE CONCLUSION: Pixar is totally awesome.