Thursday, December 16, 2010

James V Bobrowicz (1923-2010)

I only learned a few years ago that James was not his birth name, though he was likely to punch you in the nose if you tried to call him by that other name. He was Papa to me. In my world, he was the inspiration for Grumpy Old Men, Big Fish and Mickey Rooney's character Gus in Night at the Museum, though, it is unlikely that any of those script-writers knew my Papa. He was as rough and tough as the Cowboy movies he watched so often, but his weakness for pinching the chubby cheeks of his great grandchildren leads me to believe that it was all a facade. He suffered a stroke and was pronounced dead in the hospital...and then went on to live another 20 years (talk about tough). He had a pace-maker put in, he had tuberculosis, diabetes, lost half of one foot and all of the other foot, due to diabetes, but he still refused to sit around and be idle. He would still use the push-mower from his motorized wheel chair, invent contraptions to help him lower and clean out his purple martin birdhouse. I remember visiting him in his rehab after they took half his leg off. He was working the exercise machines before the therapist even got there and refused to stop after his sessions were over. When the therapist had him practice moving from a wheel chair to a mock-bathtub, he did it in one try and told the guy "piece of cake, what else ya got". He was walking on his new prosthetic leg the next time I saw him.

He died this morning, December 16, 2010, 5:10am EST. at the age of 87. I am heading home to be with my family, and we will probably exchange stories of him that will make us laugh until we cry. I will miss him so, so much. I hope he's resting peacefully in whatever his heaven might be: probably the old hunting camp, or the perfect fishing hole.
"Huduyalikea punch in da nose?"

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Character TD reel 2010

Character reel demonstrating modeling, articulation, rigging and tool writing abilities.

I am currently living in Glendale, California and looking for work as a Character TD in feature film, tv or video games. I spent four years working at Crystal Dynamics on "Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light" and "Tomb Raider: Underworld".

View my resumé at

Monday, October 04, 2010

Facial tests

This is the facial rig in a mostly done state. I need to add articulation to the eyelids to get more expressiveness out of them, and I need to add controls for the cheekpits, tongue and the outside of the orbicularis oculi which helps sell winks and squints. This rig is made with a combination of wire deformers for general movements and clusters for finer articulation. The lips have separate translate, rotate and scale pivots so each action can have a different pivot and different falloff.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Performance without a body.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Muppets. Most of my animation friends knew they wanted to be animators when they saw a particular Disney or Pixar movie when they were little. For me it was Muppets.

So much character, so much performance, in just a little foam banana peel.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Still going...

Last post I talked about progress on the face rig and the skinning. That progress showed me several areas in the mesh that needed improvement so I back tracked and made some topology changes in the face and torso. While I was at it, I decided to do some adjusting of some of my joint pivots as well as adding in some helper joints that will be used for preserving volume. Though this does set me back in my progress, I think that this rig will benefit from the changes; and that's the whole point, right?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Long overdue progress.

Finished hooking up the face controls and the initial weighitng pass. After posing this guy, some problems became apparent in both the weighting and the mesh. I know my poor lighting job doesn't make it clear, but the upper eyelids are a bit lumpy in the area that leads up to the brows. The shape of the nose gets muddied up when I lift the nostril. I'm pretty happy with the mouth. The corners of the lips need some work but i'm liking the center of the lips are working out.

I'm trying to avoid correcting things with Blendshapes as much as possible for two reasons: I want this setup to be able to work in a game pipeline, where we are all joint driven, and this character has been an exercise in learning to model for deformation. I want the Rig and the Topology to carry the deformation and only use Blendshapes to augment, instead of correct.

Feedback is always welcome in the comments or you can email it to me as well. This is certainly a good learning experience for me.