Monday, September 28, 2009

Giving An Owl Decoy Glowing Eyes

First you need an "Owl Decoy" know...the plastic ones people use to try and keep pigeons away...but don't work? Anyway, an old neighbour was throwing this out, so I grabbed it.
I needed to make it look more creepy for Hallowe'en though, so I figured I'd give it glowing eyes.

I cut open the back of the head with a craft knife, leaving the top attached as a "hinge".

Inside the head I could see that the eyes were not clear. I decided to drill out the centres.

I did this carefully.....

and now I had openings to place LEDs into.

I noticed that the drill bit didn't go through the "glass" of the eyes, just the black plastic backing...which was good! I tried to drill out as much of the black "pupil" as I could.

Then I took an old LED assembly I had hacked from a miniature Christmas light set which I was originally planning on placing in a bush as "glowing eyes". I now had a much better use for it! You don't normally need batteries this large, but because I wanted to make use of the on/off switch, I'm using these. I was experimenting with "parallel" versus "series" wiring last Hallowe'en and I can't remember what I did here. There are a lot of good LED wiring tutorials on the Monsterlist of Halloween Projects Link
Anyway, I fit the lights into the holes I had drilled.

And now the owl's eyes light up! He'll look better in the dark.
I'll have to post later photos of him with his new paint job too. I'm going to repaint his markings to look more realistic.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Magic Powder Jars

I decided to include some examples of "Magic Powders" for Hallowe'en props.

"Sacrificial Residue" is a mixture of old spices that had been hanging around for years. Some cinnamon, paprika, ground cloves etc. I think "Powder of the Undead" is a variation on that with some flour mixed in. "Magic Beans" are just the 'seeds' you get when you buy a pack of string beans to plant in your garden.

The "Pure Egyptian Mummy Dust" is flour and powdered ginger. My label for "Presifted Graveyard Dust" got damaged, but then I thought, "it's supposed to be old and ratty" I left it as is. "Dried Wolfbane" is actually Thyme from my garden.....dried. Remember, if you bottle anything moist, it will grow mold. It happened with some "Wormwood" I bottled, and now it's a terrible mess.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Just because she was being so cute again, I photographed my cat, Shadow.

She's an indoor cat. I don't let her outside because there are lots of raccoons around!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Macromedia Flash Revisited

I recently had to remember how to use an older version of Flash, and while I was at it, I let my kids experience using it. My 12 year old son did the Cookie and my 8 year old daughter did the Alley Cat.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Shane Acker's 9

I just saw the finished theatrical release of "9". I had the honor of working on it last year in the Layout department at Starz. I had to go to the movie website for these photos. I hope they don't mind. One thing I found amusing was that pictured here with Shane Acker is Dave Baas. On the site where these photos are from, Dave is labelled as "George Kraychyk" I have no idea why!
Dave is a master of Maya and he taught me a lot of what I know. Anyway, that's Dave on the left, in the blue shirt, and Shane on the right.

This film is a beautiful piece of artwork! The designs are excellent and original and the lighting and surfacing departments outdid themselves!

These still images don't do justice to the atmosphere and beauty of the actual film.

Here's the "cat beast" one of my favorite designs in the film. This creature is awesome in that it's so creepy and nightmarish, yet so beautifully put together. A masterpiece of biomechanical engineering!

The "machine" is also a phenomenal design! It was rigged beautifully also!

Here are two of my favorite characters, 3 and 4, also referred to as "the twins". Their mannerisms are cute and comical, everything done in pantomime because they don't talk.
Their designs and body language are great! I want toys of them!

Here's another shot of the "machine". It had to be anthropomorphized of course so the audience could tell what it was "thinking". It's more like an evil beast than a machine.

Now here's the creepiest creature of all! The "Seamstress"! She was very difficult to work because of all of her many parts. Her rigging was a bit awkward, but by the time she got to animation, I'm sure they had figured her out. I worked on quite a few scenes with her and as time went on, I started to get to know my way around her controls.

Using CG models is not unlike puppetry. I am always impressed with what the modellers at Starz are able to create. That studio is full of top notch talent and I was so thrilled to be able to work among them! This project was one to be proud of for sure!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

More CNE Photos

First of all, there were honey bees in the Farm building. The Queen has a dot on her back. This photo is a bit blurry and the bees were behind glass.

There was a petting zoo featuring a Yak who apparently acted in the latest "Mummy" film. His name is Kang. I think Yaks are great! Bos Grunnies! (actually Bos Grunniens, but Bos Grunnies sounds cuter!)

My son couldn't believe how cuddly the sheep were! I think he could've taken a nap on one right there!

Of course there were alpacas too!

Here's an interesting ride...a dragon roller coaster!

Kent and Maeve shared a car on the "Speedway" ride

And they also shared a cotton candy! Kent was going to try a blue apple, but we couldn't find them! The ones I photographed were gone! I guess that's a good sign!

Here's some footage of the kids on a carousel!