Sunday, July 4, 2010

Don't fear the 3D Smear

One animation piece that blew my mind came from a student at Animation Mentor in 2008 by the name of Henry Sanchez. I remember hearing Eric Goldberg talking about a smear in CG - but this was the first time I saw it in action. And it was done well! Up until watching the Summer 2008 showcase, I had a pretty rigid viewpoint of how CG Animation looked. Sharp, clean, and clear. So when I was watching this... it opened a third eye for me when looking at CG Animation.

I'm glad I saw this very early on when I was considering to pursue animation. Everytime I look at this piece I remember to think above and beyond. Once you get grounded (a far road ahead for me) in the fundamentals, take some chances. There's so much to this artform to learn and as the next week brings our first assignment... I can't wait to soak it all in.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What the hell is happening?

When I look back on life, I feel like I've always been more good than bad. My intentions were never purely evil no matter what I did. I'm not a genius, or an important name, or a very learned individual. I'm sort of a regular Joe... who happens to be named Tony. And I've always believed in the good in people. But every time I look out at what's happening in just these United States - that belief gets smashed time and time again.

I doubt this is going to reach anyone, but I'm gonna rant anyway just for cathartic purposes. There are three major problems that the Earth faces:

1. Global Warming. It boggles my mind that this is still in debate. Over the past decade the Summers got hotter and hotter hitting new records each year. What better proof than to walk outside and get burned by the evidence. We've lost over half of the world's ice caps and will soon be at a point of no return. With them gone, there won't be any stopping of the gradual rise in temperature and we'll slowly be cooking the planet. Oil companies are rooting for this to expand their offshore drilling territory. Russia is breaking apart the North Pole to extend their reach for the oil down under. We all know how awesome offshore drilling can be.

2. The Oil Spill. It's pretty obvious that this whole system is jacked up. What many don't know is that the cause of the oil spill was the result of three consecutive screw-ups in a row. For one, they knew their equipment wasn't up to sound - yet they went ahead. Secondly, when someone spotted part of the seal showing up on deck, the BP Manager commanded them to continue. After the seal had broken, they called in Halliburton to plug it up. This plugging process takes three plugs to seal shut. Before the third one was in place, the BP Management had the crew proceed with the drilling. That was the moment the rig blew up. The response was slow, there were no emergency programs running, everything a mess. BP had an HD Camera down there but didn't even show the footage until 3 weeks into the spill. They gave everyone a crappy video feed instead. Energy companies cannot regulate themselves. Which brings us to:

3. Gas Land. Many people hear "natural gas" and believe it to be the answer for our energy woes. It comes from the U.S. so less dependency on foreign oil, it's "cleaner", and more immediate. Except for the fact that it isn't clean at all. More than 30 states now have an immense amount of natural gas extraction happening. This process is called Hydraulic Fracturing. Hydraulic Fracturing uses over 500 toxic chemicals (something like 596) with a mix of millions of gallons of water per well to retrieve all of the natural gas in a particular area. The chemicals are seeping into the water supply and now tap water in homes everywhere are contaminated.

This was posted over a year ago on youtube, which means that with the time it took for someone to notice and then for someone to actually do reporting on it... it's been around for quite some time. This same lady was featured in a documentary called GasLand. Now over half of the United States is facing these problems. New York is in a battle to fend off Hydraulic Fracturing to save their unfiltered water shed. Contamination there means the entire city's water supply would be instantly poisonous.

I've always wanted to get into animation to tell fun and uplifting stories. I always thought I'd be going around and picking these fun stories from my own life. But at the moment I can't help but think of my brother taking a drink of water from his house in Texas - a state rifled with Hydraulic Fracturing wells.

A lot of people I know are in California and when I bring these issues up, 95% of the answers go something like this:

Well if it isn't happening in California then I don't care.

The world is being affected. If you're living then it affects you. It's sad that news isn't news and that politics is money. It's sad that people who aren't directly and immediately impacted by the situation aren't even sympathetic to what's going on. We're facing a global long term crisis, an immediate oil spill crisis, and OUR SINKS ARE PRONE TO EXPLOSIONS. What the hell is going on?