Tag Archives: Animation

Art is life for Iran’s Tooba Rezaei

When Tooba Rezaei picks up her pencil, she feels her sense of purpose. For her, art is much more than simply making something pretty. Art is about creating. It is a sense of escapism for both herself and the people that see her work. Every single thing she paints or draws tells a story, whether it is abstract or not. She shares herself with the world with each stroke of her paint brush, and is not afraid by this notion. Originally from Iran, Rezaei captivated her country with her talent, and now, she is taking the world by storm.

As both an artist and an animator, Rezaei’s work is both stylistic and intricate. In animation, she is a leader in the field. Her award-winning contributions to SilverFit, a virtual therapy system to train gross motor skills and ADL tasks during rehabilitation sessions or supervised exercise programs specifically for older people, revolutionized the company. After having the roles of background designer, background painter, character designer and character animator, her style was adopted by the company for all of their future endeavors. She even ventured into filmmaking with her animated short A Sweet Dream, which tells the bitter-sweet allegorical look at the desires of little girl who wants the world to see her talents shine through the difficulties of her life. The film went on to win several awards at many prestigious international film festivals, and Rezaei’s versatility was known to the world.

Despite this success, it was her work as a visual artist that started Rezaei’s career, and where her passion that she has had since her childhood lies. Her creations have seen public praise, and she was even selected to paint a display for Westland City Hall in Holland. The painting, titled Variety and Unity, displays symbols from various countries and cultures incorporated into Rezaei’s own style. It has gone on to receive acclaim not just from the employees of the City Hall, but all those who see it.

“Without art, life would be very hard for me,” said Rezaei.

Rezaei’s artwork has garnered so much attention throughout her career that she has been published in several books. One of these was the book Gods and Goddesses, published by Michael Publishing. The book contains 126 paintings from 23 different mythologies, as selected by the participating artists. Each mythology is arranged with a summary write-up of the culture and followed by the subject write up of the painting, artist’s biography and artist’s discussion of the art; the facing page displays the painting. Each artist had to select a god from ancient mythology to portray in their work. Rezaei’s work, titled Anahita, is in the Gods and Goddesses gatefold of the book.

Rezaei was contacted by the owner of Michael Publishing, Michael C. Phifer, to participate in the book. Very few artists were selected by the publisher. As the artwork started to come in, Phifer immediately recognized Rezaei’s style in her piece. He believes her work greatly improved the quality of his entire book, directly contributing to its commercial success.

Tooba made an incredible painting for the book, and it is easily one of my very top favorites of all them. The color pallet is exquisite; the pose is tantalizing and the image is breathtaking,” said Phifer. “Tooba delivered a knockout piece well ahead of our deadline and it was one of the pieces that helped inspire other artists raise their game. Her piece delivers a very sensual feeling without being blatantly sexy. That is a difficult thing to do and do well. Craftsmanship is an art form in itself that is partly learned and partly instinctive. Tooba is a craftsman.”

Rezaei was also selected to create a piece for the book Inner Vision. The Inner Vision book is made for the Inner Visions show called Contemporary Imaginative Realism at the Abend Gallery in Denver. Rezaei’s painting Anahita shows the ancient Iranian Goddess of water and fertility. It was displayed in both the show and the book, and was a great honor for the artist.

She was also selected to create a piece for The Journal, a collection of masterful international artists from various genres and industries. This book goes beyond a simple art description, as it reveals the creative process and genius of each of the artists themselves. Rezaei was contacted by Jon Schindehette, the owner of ArtOrder to participate. ArtOrder is curator of fine limited edition prints for Beautimarks, educator with Bethany School Applied Arts, and creative director for ThinkGeek Denver and GameStop. Schindehette has more than 30 years of experience in the creative industry and has worked for such companies and brands as: Disney, Fox Entertainment, Warner Brothers, Hasbro, Wizards of the Coast, Harley-Davidson, Microsoft, Kodak, Price Waterhouse, Atari, Activision, Sony Entertainment, Bioware, Bethesda SoftWorks, Crystal Dynamics, and many more. He clearly recognizes an exceptional artist when he sees one, and he saw that in Rezaei.

“I am so honored that my artwork has been published next to all the amazing artists in the industry, such as Ian McCaig, who is an artist, writer and filmmaker. He was involved in the Star Wars franchise and many other iconic film and book projects,” said Rezaei, when speaking of being published in The Journal. “Seeing my work printed next to wonderful artists whose work I admire is a great feeling.”

With the book Spectrum 24, the selection process worked a bit differently for Rezaei than in the past. Previously, she created a specific piece for each book she was published in. However, with Spectrum 24, Rezaei submitted a piece she had previously created from her imagination for her own enjoyment. Only after finishing the piece did she think to submit her work to the book’s contest. Among thousands of entries, her piece was one the few artworks that was selected by the judges.

The book is part of the best-selling Spectrum series, which continued with this twenty-fourth lavishly produced annual. Challenging, controversial, educational, and irreverent, the award-winning Spectrum series reinforces both the importance and prevalence of fantastic art in today’s culture. With exceptional images by extraordinary creators, this elegant full-color collection showcases an international cadre of creators working in every style and medium, both traditional and digital. The best artists from the United States, Europe, China, Australia, South America and beyond were gathered into the only annual devoted exclusively to works of fantasy, horror, science fiction, and the surreal, making Spectrum one of the year’s highly most anticipated books. Rezaei’s artwork Sunset at the Dragon Breeder’s Castle was recognized by the judges as one of the best. These judges included Christian Alzmann, who has worked as an art director on numerous film projects including Star Wars, Star Trek, Pirates of Caribbean, and more.

“It is very important to have your work published as an artist, especially being published alongside among other famous artists. People who already know these artists see their artwork next to mine and they realize that my work is at the level of these other artists. Familiarity and notoriety are very important for an artist. They are a big part of how much work an artist gets and how much recognition they receive,” Rezaei advised.

There is little doubt that Rezaei is one of the world’s most talented contemporary artists right now. Be sure to check out the aforementioned books to get a glimpse into her extraordinary style.

 

Cover Image “Sunset at the Breeder’s Castle” by Tooba Rezaei, featured in Spectrum 24

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Ana Lossada perfectly honors ‘That’s so Raven’ with awesome opening to ‘Raven’s Home’

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Ana Lossada

Ana Lossada, a leading motion graphics designer, loves what she does. She doesn’t wake up with that feeling most know all too well on Monday mornings. She doesn’t feel her week is a monotonous blur until Friday night. She is eager to go into work every day. For her, every day is different, and she has the ability to share her gift with the entire world.

Lossada’s work has impressed international audiences. When working with The Walking Dead, Lossada worked on The Journey So Far, a two-hour special summarizing the first six seaons of the show, as well as the virtual reality experience, a 360 teaser for their upcoming season. She captured the feelings of the main character of Netflix’s Atypical, a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome, with her work on the opening for the show. Working with Disney Jr on the spots Be Inspired with The Lion Guard and Be Your Best with Miles, she worked to encourage young kids to live healthy, active, lifestyles. Her career has been formidable, and nd now, her most recent work on the opening sequence Disney’s new series Raven’s Home, based off the old classic That’s So Raven, has generated quite a lot of attention.

“Disney Channel wanted the main title for their new upcoming show to be as catchy as the old one. As a fan of the old show, I could not say no,” said Lossada.

Raven’s Home is Disney Channel’s new spinoff from their major hit TV series in 2003. Lossada was in charge of creating the live action set that was used for the main title. She had to plan how the talent could interact with the set as well as how they could place the talent next to their names as they appear in the opening credits. She created several different mock-ups for the set using 3D software (Cinema 4D and Octane Render) as well as Adobe After Effects. The selected set had a LED wall that displays animated graphics that Lossada designed and animated herself. During post-production, she oversaw the selection of typography and animation by the interns, as well as adding visual effects to certain shots that needed it.

“Ana’s graphics and visual effects knowledge made her an instant asset to our design team and clientele. Her willingness to constantly go above and beyond her normal call of duty has shown through all of the projects that she’s worked on throughout her tenure with us. Not only has she been a key member of our post-production process, but has now been working with our live-action productions team, lending her talents to assist in shoots and constantly growing in all areas of television and film production. You just know that if she’s involved you don’t have to worry about her giving 110 per cent and whatever is assigned will be done thoroughly and to the best of her ability. You simply can’t ask for much more than that with any employee and we are so thrilled she’s a part of our team,” Mike Greggs, who worked alongside Lossada on the project.

The main title was released in July of this year, and has already reached over 1.2 million views on YouTube alone, as well as being shared through social media and various websites. It has been featured in Buzzfeed, E! Online, and TV Guide, to name a few, with articles praising the opening for its creativity and the way it honors the original content.

As a motion graphics designer, it is not often that Lossada actually gets to go to a set, despite being a vital part of the filmmaking process. More often, she works behind the screen of a computer. However, with the Raven’s Home opening, she worked on the pre-production and production side. Everyone she worked with had the opportunity to see what she was capable of, and just how well-rounded she is for any task. All of her skills were put to use, including designing, illustrating, animating, and even producing. She put everything she had into this project to ensure it resulted in perfection, and it did.

“I rarely get to go to sets, because I usually can’t due to work, but they needed extra help. While on set, I was able to aid with live-animation for the LED wall, and also helped out on the production to ensure it ran smoothly,” she said.

Lossada’s design and visual effects knowledge made her an instant asset to the design team and clientele. Her willingness to constantly go above and beyond her normal call of duty has shown through all of the projects that she has worked on. Not only is she a key member of Big Machine’s post-production process, but she has now been working with their live-action production team, lending her talents to assist in shoots and constantly growing in all areas of television and film production.

“I’d suggest to students entering the creative industry, they should open their expertise not only to design, but conceptual thinking and execution skills. Especially today, where there is always something new (interactive for example), they need to be able to adapt fairly quickly to the evolving technology and software updates, and be able to execute an idea based on the rising technology,” said Lossada.

Watch Lossada’s outstanding work in the Raven’s Home opener here, and watch Raven’s Home on the Disney channel to see it on a regular basis.

MADDURY CREATES AN EPIC SCORE ALONG THE STORMFRONT

One of the most important things that Steve Jobs proved in his illustrious career is that vision is equally as important, some might say even more so, than the ability to manifest. There’s a bit of a chicken/egg quandary there but, what Jobs made clear was that genius exists in the birth of an idea just as much as creating something. Of course, the symbiosis of these two factors are essential. Technology has created an ease that never existed before. It allows individuals to do what took legions previously. Consider entertainment. The ability to create full length animated productions that are vivid and amazingly realistic require a fraction of the man power previously needed. The same can be said for music. Modern purveyors are able to use technology to make single droning notes or the sonic onslaught of a major symphony orchestra…all at the fingertips of one person. Of course they may not sound exactly like an orchestra with the subtle perfect imperfections that are the human trait but, the end result is so moving and virtually undistinguishable that only the most discerning experts might even notice the minute difference. The animated film “Along the Stormfront” is epic in both its action and its music. Sai Sriram Maddury is the composer who was contacted by Griffin Giersch (Director & Screenwriter of the film) to match the tone of this larger than life story.

“Along the Stormfront” is an animated tale with epic fights and a huge visual landscape. A powerful score was needed to match the striking visuals. The idea was to balance the humor of the tiny characters while also rising to acknowledge the epic battle scenes. The music in the film was the ingredient which empowered the characters to become something akin to superheroes during the battle scenes. In a distant futuristic world, Finn (a fox) and Dallas (an armadillo) take a bus to get to town. They are later attacked by deadly Monster who jump onto the bus. The personalities of these characters are representative of the characteristics the animals are noted for; however, the events of the story call them to achieve inner strength and greatness in a classic story of self-discovery. It’s no coincidence that Maddury’s score recalls visions of superhero films and their grandeur. When Finn stands his ground for himself and his friend against a seemingly unconquerable oppressor, his bravery is announced by a huge brass section.

Griffin Giersch (Director, Screenwriter, & Animator of “Along the Stormfront”) declares,

“Sai was an incredibly important part of making Along the Stormfront what it was. His music brought the project to a higher level that it could not have reached otherwise. The goal with the story was to make an epic action/adventure with elements of suspense, tension, excitement, and some humor thrown into the mix as well. Sai brought all of this to the forefront with his music, letting all the moments of this story shine through. Working collaboratively on projects like this that have so many different aspects and pieces can often be a huge challenge, especially when it comes to communicating and sharing ideas to get everyone on the same page creating a cohesive work. Sai was always right there with us, listening and understanding our thoughts and ideas. He did more than just listen; he brought his own ideas to the table as well. Ultimately, his creative voice came through in a strong way that we hadn’t even expected. His contributions to the project made it even better than we’d hoped.”

Maddury concedes that modern technology has made composers capable of spending more time experimenting with their ideas and sonics with a much more budget friendly approach. Instead of having studio musicians wait “on the clock” while varying approaches are taken, a composer is allowed to hear each of their ideas on a schedule that is conducive to inspiration. This characteristic however does not preclude the use of real instruments and musicians. Sai communicates, “Technology plays a vital role in the process of film scoring. Due to the advancement of technology most of the job is done at the studio with Computers installed with DAW applications (Digital Audio Workstation) and connected to MIDI Keyboards and speakers. The major advantage in today’s music programming technology is to have amazing sample libraries for film scoring, allowing composers to create an orchestral score and make it sound exactly or very close to a live performance. This helps directors and producers to listen to them before going to the scoring stage. Basically now we can have the mock ups for the entire score sound close to the live recording. But for a film that demands an electronic score, it can pretty much be written and produced in your DAW at the studio.  That being said, I love the qualities that come from a more traditional approach in film scores. I’m a musician and have a soft spot for traditional or organic instrumentation. I think it’s the life of a modern composer to use the proper tool for each film they work on.”

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It’s a testament to this composer’s talent and creativity that he conceived of and created the score for “Along the Stormfront” based on storyboards and sketches rather than the final film. The common practice in the industry is for a composer to view either dailyies or the completed production and then compose based on this. Against normal convention, Sai discussed the characters and the story with Griffin, composing during the animation process in order to meet deadlines. Proof of the success of the film and its composers work lies in its being recognized as an official selection to the Full Bloom Film Festival 2015 and Carrborro Film Festival 2015 as well as receiving the Gold Remi Award at the 49TH WorldFest­Houston International Film and Video Festival. Discussing these accolades, Maddury remarks, “I personally consider awards as a token of encouragement requesting the recipient to contribute more to the respective field of art with which we are involved. Even though I did get more projects to work on as a result of my score for Along the Stormfront, having the experience of working on an award-winning film will always keep one motivated and inspired to work hard and contribute more to the art of film scoring/storytelling.”