drawing night

Looks like it is going to be a good drawing night.

I’ve got a couple of beers in the fridge, there is a rack of side ribs on the BBQ and itunes throwing down a good beat.

Well then. Time to get going on those storyboards. no more excuses.

USC animation graduation

USC Animation

Below is a listing of some of the Animated shorts I made at USC.

Most were produced while I was working on my masters in Animation and digital arts at the University of Southern California, School of Cinema-Telivision, Division of Animation and Digital Arts…Whew what a mouth-full. The one exception is Red Sky Morning which I actually started as an undergrad at USC. I was in the film Production program *cough-cough-very-famous* but towards the end started falling in love with animation. Don’t get me wrong I love live action but I’ll tell you what I hate. I hate permits, paperwork, 3am wake up calls, donuts, bad coffee and having to work till four in the morning because the equipment is rented and you cant afford to shoot another day!

  1. Cub Scouuts Pack 213

    We spell scouts S-C-O-U-U-T-S which makes us a completely different autonomous organization.

    An improvised comedy about the woes of scouting in the middle of urban Los Angeles.

    Improv by Devin Westberg, Tom Warren, Jimmy Zerda, David Ury, Ben Tolpin
    Directed, Animated and Produced by Sterling Sheehy

  2. Red Sky Morning

    Never turn your back to the ocean

    This is the project that got me into animation. It was entirely hand drawn with wax pencils and paint on cells and took about three years to finish.

  3. Square Cubed

    Consciously simplistic, this film shows how the repetition of a single drawing is able to cast the illusion of rhythm and depth when enhanced through the use of camera movement and changes in exposure settings. Made from a single square drawing this film attempts to create compelling imagry out of a symbol as simple and primitive as a square.

  4. Written, Directed, Animated and Produced by Sterling Sheehy

  5. Stillborn

    An ambient film I made from my USC animation production 2. The requirment was to make a one minute film so I made a 26min one! This was never ment to be watched as a film but rather played as an instalation at a gallery.

    I projected this at a lot of LA group art shows where it went over very well.

  6. Naked

    This is an expiramental motion painting I made while doing my grad work at USC Animation. It is ment to be an ambient work, show at an art gallery.

  7. Limp Buisnes

    Some rotoscope animation I did for a band while I was a student at USC. Drawn using ToonBoom Animation.

  8. Made in collaboration with Daisy Church.

Some pictures of the ‘ol gang

innertube camera mount

Lazy River Camera Mount

Ok, at first this may not seem like it has much to do with animation but here are some sketches I made for a little lazy river time-lapse camera mount. My brother and I are pretty avid tinkerers and ever since I gave him an HDhero cam for his birthday we keep playing around with different camera mount ideas. He’s made a pretty decent surfing head mount system but I can’t shake the idea of building some sort of floating… Read more »


Doggy Dog

The dog here was modeled in maya and then posed in zbrush using the transpose feature. I made him a few months back but never did anything with him. So rather than just letting him rot with everything else on my hard drive I thought I would stretch him out and share.

Also in glorious 3D!

yep, put on those old 3D glasses to see this stereoscopic version.

Maya render of flyboy

Fly Boy

I finally broke down and bought Zbrush. All I can say is that it was SOOOoooo worth it! So far I love it.  I’ve been geeking out on it for the last two weeks. Its great!

Having spent so much of the last year clawing my through Maya, working in Zbrush is like a great big breath of fresh air. Thank you Pixologic! It took a day or two to learn the basics but by the end of the first week I was already beginning to do some interesting work. There is a bit of a learning curve but its nothing compared to Maya. Wow, Its so nice to worry about the design and not the technical aspects of the project for a change.  I’m glad I learned the tech stuff but too much of it will drive you mad.

I’ve already modeled and painted up a few things but they are for a feature and so I can’t put them on line.   So to share I roughed out this little fly character.  He’s based on a doodle I did.   Like I said, i’m still learning the ropes so the pose is all stiff and there are somerendering artifacts but hey what do you expect right out of the box.   Still he’s kind of fun so I thought I’s share.


Flyboy on a cluttered set.

To test out Zbrush’s GoZ plugin I tossed him into a rough set and did a quick render. Just one button and you can jump back and forth. Its so easy I love it. The render took longer than the whole project. Ha!

Monster pen test


The scribble drawing from the time lapse project.

Some folks wanted to see a close up of the drawing I made in the Root – Timelapse post.

Well here he is all his fifty-dried-out-old-pen wackyness. Yeah, he was the bi-product of me sorting through several buckets worth of pens, testing for the ones which were still good.


Root- Time lapse

This is a time lape of me organizing some of the mess which is my home office.

I added a few bits of animation here and there just to make it interesting. The roots are a maya paint effects setup. For some reason it took way longer than I thought to render. Oh well, time flies when your having fun.

Oh, I should add that the time lapse was shot on a Nikon D700 using an AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm lens. The camera was set to shoot one frame every 20 seconds and it was all compress at 24fps. I composited the shot using TVPaint animation software.

loop test still

TVPaint walkcycle

Recently I bought a copy of TVPaint animation to help me out with my storyboard work.

It has a wonderful interface for this and is much improved compared to its predecessor, Mirage. Playing around in it I made this quick little walk cycle to combat the boredom of waiting for maya to render. Ahhhh.. good ‘ol 2d. Instant gratification. Hand rendering is so much faster.

something went wrong

FAIL: Maya Mental Ray Satellite

I took a break from learning maya rigging to try and setup a Mental Ray Satellite on my Playstation 3. Let me tell you this was nothing but a very big headache. I did learn a lot though along the way and so I really don’t mind that in the end it was a failure.

Setting out the goal was to take advantage of the PS3’s graphics engine to do render tests of my maya experiments. I had heard of people doing this by installing Linux on the other OS option of the PS3 and running mental ray through it. I know nothing about Linux so after spending a day or two searching around on the web I learned that there are hundreds of open source linux operating systems out there and that they are all rather pourly documented. The rule of the linux land seams to be, “you can find anything you want as long as you know what your looking for and where to look for it.” Like I said before I had no clue what I was doing but was lucky enough to stumbled across a very helpful site called PSUBUNTU. With the help of some of their tutorials I was able to installed a Ubuntu 9.04 pS3 operating system on my Playstation and move on to the next challenge, installing Mental ray satellite.

Installing Mental Ray Satellite should be relatively painless. Essentially its just a little application that waits for commands from a master computer, renders the said jobs and sends them back to the master computer. No big deal, just like a networked printer. It should be a relatively painless install but no, this is Autodesk maya we are talking about. It has to be hard. Really, Really hard. Fist off, the install specifies that you need to be logged in as a root user to instal mental ray satellite on linux, that would be fine and dandy if logging in as a root user was possible. After a lot of searching it turns out you can’t login as a root user you can only use something called sudu commands from a terminal window. Ok so I figured that out and moved on to the next step uncompressing the file on the instal cd. Of course the linux instal file has to come in a format which is non native to linux. It can’t be opened unless you install a special uncompression program to convert it into something that linux can uncompress. All of this has to be done using sudo command lines in the terminal window which is particularly difficult for a visual person like myself. ;But I did it. I did it all the way up to the point where I got an error that said I was running a PPC kernel machine and that Maya Mental Ray Satellite was only compatible with Intel chip machines. After struggling for a few day to get to this point I was pretty mad. In none of the installation documentation does it say that mental ray requires an intel chip. It specifies a 64bit operating system yes but not the intel chip part. I FAILED!! I have to hand it to Autodesk, they really know how to write terrible instal guides. In the end my favorite instruction through out this whole ordeal was something like, “ask your system administator to do this for you”.

When my headache finally goes away I’m going to look into rendering on the Amazon cloud. I hear you can use programs like EnFusion, for a small price, to do this relatively painlessly. Until then I will just have to be patient and wait for my little imac here to slowly render my files. ;sigh…

I have a long way to go before this model is rigged properly

monster walking

A quick maya render of the rig

I have been trying to learn how to rig the little monster character I started building and its clear from the start that I was never meant to be a rigger.

There are a million mistakes with his rig.  Controls fly all over the place and the whole thing is generally a mess.  Still I want to keep at it since its it would be fun to be able to make things that can move.  Its going to take a lot of time.  Until I really understand how constraints work nothing is going to moving anywhere fast.  For now, I am going to need a lot of aspirin and a few stiff drinks.

I have a very very very long way to go…