Heya folks!


Sorry it’s been so long since any updates and posts on my site! As most of you know, I’ve been very busy for the past three years as Head of Character Animation on Dreamwork’s  Megamind

. It was quite an exciting and amazing journey, but VERY very very busy!

Will Ferrell

Once the movie finished, I immediately started working on the short “The Button of Doom” which released with the DVD a few weeks ago.

After that I took a really lovely 3 weeks off to just relax with the family, and then came back to work as a supervising animator on another short that will be released sometime soon hopefully!

In addition to that, I’m working on some new technology at work, AND getting ready to head up the animation for another film at dreamworks that comes out in a few years.

So yeah, I’ve been busy! 🙂


Anyway, back to the Animator Friendly Rigging series! I’ve had a number of requests to find out whether or not the series works with Maya 2011. I’ve started working through it to see where the issues are, and one of the first ones I’ve resolved is a quick fix to the js_createTwistySegmentUI.mel script to make sure that the WorldScale Enable/Disable checkbox works correctly.

You can download it here:  js_createTwistySegmentUI

I’m hoping to start blogging again a bit more regularly.. I apologize for slacking so hard! 🙂


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The Art of Megamind

Originally uploaded by Parka81

Now that I’m done with megamind (woo!) I get to wait patiently for the world to be able to see it!

It’s really exciting to start to see posters, commercials, etc. I can’t wait for the reviews to start coming in!

One of the other exciting things is that the art of megamind book is going to be available soon! Check out this video and the review.. woo!


Heya folks!

Sorry for the lack of updates lately! We’re in the final few weeks of finishing up animation on Megamind, and I’m a bit busy at the moment. 🙂

I’ll get back on track with updates and stuff after we wrap! Woo! 🙂


Plastic Animation Paper

Plastic Animation Paper – PAP:Pro 4.0 for free.

Woah!  plastic animation paper for free!



Comic Con Panel – Megamind with Will Ferrell.

There was a megamind panel at comicon this morning at 10, and the buzz is coming back that it was a lot of fun!  They showed 5 minutes of the movie, which has shots from all through the film.. Everything should be on Yahoo movies tomorrow, so hopefully people will watch and enjoy! 🙂


You know I love Animation Mentor.  Not only is it one of the best places to learn character animation in the world, but the founders and the staff are such awesome human beings that they infuse the entire Animation Mentor experience with pure, unfiltered, pure awesome.  Seriously.. you just mention “Animation Mentor” to someone and immediately you’re surrounded with hugs, and smiles, and great stories.

I spoke with the friggin amazing Bobby Beck, and am now able to offer a discount on the Animator Friendly Rigging products to all Animation Mentor students and alumni!

Bobby will be distributing the information to students and alum on how to get the discounts!

Enjoy! 🙂

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I’m super jazzed about what the awesome people at Rigging Dojo are doing to help people interested in character rigging learn more about the craft.  They’re all fantastic teachers, excellent riggers, and just darn-right awesome human beings.  I’m really excited to be able to offer a 10% discount on the Animator Friendly Rigging DVD series for rigging dojo students!

If you’re a student there, please contact brad, josh, or chad to find out how to get your discount!



I’ve stuck pretty rigidly to my GTD plan these past two weeks and I can really feel a difference in my stress level and my ability to feel like I’m on top of everything on my plate.

I’ve modified my toodledo system a tiny bit.  Previously I mentioned that I had 4 folders set up in toodledo:

  1. Inbox
  2. Projects
  3. Discussions
  4. Someday / Maybe

This worked for a little while, but I soon found that my Projects folder was getting a bit overrun, so I decided to change Projects to Areas of Focus.  This lets me separate the areas where I don’t have any overlap to allow me to focus better.

My folder structure now looks like:

  1. Inbox
  2. Focus – Work
  3. Focus – Home
  4. Focus – Animator Friendly Rigging
  5. Discussions
  6. Someday / Maybe
  7. Calendar

As you can see I also added a Calendar folder.  This is where I’m keeping things like birthdays and other events that I want to find quickly and easily.

What’s really been helping me keep on track however is being SUPER diligent about not letting my email inbox balloon out of control.  My goal is to get it to zero every night, but that’s not always possible to do before heading home to be with the family.

That means I also don’t skim through and start reading my work emails until I get into work in the morning (or sit down at the computer at night) and have time to process everything.

I absolute refuse to let an email sit in my inbox read.  If it’s sitting there, and I’ve read it, I force myself to make a decision on it.  Is it a task?  Is it an action?  Do I need to read it later and figure out what I’m going to do with it?  Even if that last option is the one I need to do, I make it a project, drag it to my Active folder in outlook, and then make a task in toodledo to read the email and process it.

This works for my physical inbox as well.  I spent a good 4 hours on Saturday going through my entire office and cleaning up all my old files, todo notes, etc.  I got everything current, emptied my inbox, and made sure to have a good clean space that’s enjoyable to sit in.

It’s amazing how just having a clean area and a clean inbox can allow you to focus 100% on a task at hand and really plow through it.

I think I’m totally hooked!

Now.. I still wish I had a cleaner UI for toodledo.. it’s okay, but check this out.. has anyone used smartytask?

Smartytask for GTD (Smartytask.com) from Smarty Task on Vimeo.

It looks super slick.. I’d love to give it a try, but 100 bucks a year is a little steep. 🙂

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I know I’ve been talking a lot about toodledo as my current task manager of choice, but there are a number of options out there for people that would work pretty well for what I’ve been harping on so far.

In fact, almost any type of “list” system will work just fine.  The only reason I’m currently using toodledo is because it syncs with the iPhone so well and fast, it’s incredibly easy!

However, in terms of UI they could certainly use a retrofit.

Check out a similar task list in nirvana.. I can compress the window a lot more, only the relevant information is shown, and it just looks way cleaner.

I love the list of projects on the left, the fact that I can use Areas of focus to easily separate work from home stuff, and it’s super easy to see what items I’m waiting for, what’s next ,what I plan on doing in the future, etc.

The only real issue as to why I’m not using nirvana is because I can’t sync with my iphone.  They have a beautiful mobile app, but it needs an internet connection to sync. When I want to get my tasks I don’t wait to wait for an internet connection, I want the stuff there.. immediately!

Google tasks is another possibility.. you can make individual lists, and you can indent.. but as far as I know I can’t search my tasks, and I can’t tag them.  That makes it a no-win for me.

The other thing I like about both toodledo and nirvana is that I can email tasks directly to the inbox.. super sweet!  And with toodledo I can actually process stuff with my email!  I can send with a subject like:

Call bob about new car ideas ! @@call #today

and it’ll show up in my inbox with the context @call and already marked for #today.  I can also add tags, status, folders, etc..

Crazy powerful!  Also, check out all the connections they have. Lots of ways to work with your data.

They also have a fancy “refer your friend” deal where if you refer a friend to toodledo and they sign up through a special link, you can save money on a pro account.. giving you access to all sorts of cool things like subtasks and more.

I just wish it were prettier. 🙂

At any rate, I’d love to hear what other things you guys are using!  In fact, regardless of how useful toodledo is, or how pretty nirvana is.. neither still really give me what I want.

What I WANT is something I can host myself for absolute security that’ll sync with my iphone/ipad.  Anyone know of anything like that?

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In a previous post I started going through my new process for handling tasks that allows me to be email inbox zero.

If you can remember, I funnel everything that I have to do (or need to follow up on) to my toodledo inbox, whether it’s from email, snail mail, meetings, etc.

In toodledo I have the following folders set up:

  1. Inbox
  2. Projects
  3. Discussions
  4. Someday / Maybe

My default tasks get sent to my inbox folder automatically, so any tasks I add whether it’s within toodledo, by forwarding an email, or by using my own personal python script (I’ll discuss this in another post) all sit first in that inbox folder.

Then, I can go through each item and specify whether the item is a task or project, what it’s due date is, the context (@work, @home, @calls, @wife, etc), what the status is ( next action, deferred, waiting on, etc) and determine if it’s a project, a discussion I need to have, or if I’m going to do it sometime in the future.

Then I move the task to the appropriate folder and I’m done!

Well, done processing anyway. Now it’s time to start doing real work.

Depending on where I am, I will filter my lists by context, so when I’m at work I only see my @work tasks.. Or if I am meeting with my whole animation team I’ll filter to my folder discussions and then check out my @anim items so I know what I want to talk about.

What’s great about this is that I can have a real clear picture of what tasks and projects are relevant to my current state, and I can easily determine what I should be working on at any given moment.

I’ve been focusing on doing this for a few weeks now and my focus has changed considerably. I really feel like I have a handle on most of the things that are taking my attention.

I don’t have everything in this system yet.. For example I know that I have to return my leased car within the next two months but I don’t have a project based on that idea yet.

It’s all a process though.. A journey.

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