Thursday, June 25, 2009

A year at home away from home away from home

Today was June 25th, which means it has been exactly 1 year since I moved out of Chicago and back into my parents house here in Minnesota. Oh sure I could have stayed in Chicago, maybe even stayed in the same apartment for another year while I looked for work or did whatever else. I'm still wondering if I made the right decision in moving home for a year or not, but its still weird and someone entertaining to stop and think about what life might have been like if you decided to do that other thing.

I thought about making this a really lengthy retrospective about that past 12 months, but thinking back I'm really not sure how much I have to say about it. The most important thing I did was spend a good 9 of those months interning at the Japan America Society of Minnesota, meeting all kinds of people in or around the Japanese community in this state. I made a new group of friends out of a bunch of people at the University of Minnesota which is something that I was never really expecting, but totally welcome.

Whoops, if I would have kept that previous paragraph's train of thought going this totally would have become a really long retrospective that no one is probably interested in reading. You know what? Screw that, I'm looking into whats ahead of me which is bound to be WAAAAY more interesting. I'm going to the country where crap like this is not only socially acceptable, but also apparently encouraged:


So yeah the past 12 months, awesome things that happened:

-made website
-got internship at JASM, made friends and met many new people
-joined Animation Mentor, made friends and met many new people
-went to New York. Twice.
-went to Chicago. 4 times.
-passed the Japanese Language Proficiency test Level 2
-started yoga, lost lots of weight

Stuff that was not awesome in the past 12 months:

-made $0

Yup, that's all. I leave for California in less than 2 weeks. That'll be fun! I hope I can find something interesting to update with before then.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Like I think I said last time, I'm done with Animation Mentor for the moment and have nothing going on until July 7th when I take a trip down to California for the Animation Mentor Graduation and BBQ. That's still 2 weeks away, so in the meantime I'm working on a new portfolio website and also learning how to do a bunch of other silly internet things. And brushing up on HTML and stuff too.

So lets if this image posting thing works. This is a sketch I did a few weeks ago for the weekly sketching challenges posted each week in the Animation Mentor forums. I couldn't get it uploaded to the forums, but lets see if it'll work here:

Napoleon BonaSpike

Until next time!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Animation Mentor Class 2: Finished!

I haven't updated a thing about animation mentor this whole term, but here is the final composition of everything that I've done so far in the program. I feel that I've improved a HUGE deal in my workflow and the way I think about this whole thing, but I also know that I have a very very long ways to go. Here you go:

Animation Mentor Class 2 Progress Reel from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

I'm taking next term off in preparation for my move to Japan, so I won't be posting many animation related things on here for a while. This also means that I have from not until the end of July completely free! There's a lot of little side projects I've been meaning to do for a while now before I leave and with all this free time and no more Animation Mentor, I'm out of excuses :)

But first order of business: Clean out my room. Lots of stuff here I need to get rid of. Just in going through my closet yesterday I found a ton of old crap that I picked up my first two times and Japan. Basically anything that had any kind of Japanese writing on it I found for some reason necessary to keep which means I'm not left with a lot of old papers that are surely going to be filling up my room in the coming days.

My weekend.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Little update!

I found out recently where I'm going to be living in Japan! The place is...

Sakai City, Osaka prefecture!

It's a pretty big town just south of Osaka which apparently acted as a very important seaport in Japanese history. The guy I'm replacing already sent me a video tour of the apartment and its AWESOME. Here's a little view of the surrounding area I'll be living in:

Woo! next step is registering for for visas and planes and then getting ready to GO!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

April is here, but May is not quite yet

Some new stuff that's been happening around here!:

I changed the layout of the blog and cleaned some stuff up a bit. Got rid of that amazing picture of George Clooney as well. It just didn't make any sense any more. I'm keeping the name though, because I like it and it references an old inside joke I had with my roommates, so yeah I'm keeping it. It works as a blog title too, because you are investigating (stalking) me, kinda. I'm not totally sure about the color scheme yet, as it is the default, so I'm sure I will mess around with that on a later date :D

Also I just found out yesterday that I was accepted to become an assistant English teacher in Japan starting in July. I'm really excited about that and feel really fortunate that I was given the opportunity. Hopefully the things we get to talk about here will become a little more interesting in the coming months.

Until then!

Animation Mentor: Class 2

I'm in week 2 now of the second term of Animation Mentor, which is titled "The Psychology of Body Mechanics." Its going to be a great class I think, but unlike last term, there is going to be a lot fewer animations. In the span of the whole 12-week class, it looks like we're only going to be doing 3 or 4 animations. Good news since that means better more fun stuff for you all to watch! Bad news in that it gives me much less info to update on. I'll just have to find other interesting things to talk about here, which has been my goal for this blog since I created it. Which, by the way, we are nearing its 1 year anniversary!

I'm working on a couple character design and drawing projects, I hope I get to post those soon. Otherwise, have a wonderful day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Progress Reel

I have finished class 1 at animation mentor, which means I am currently 1/6 done with the program, which is a pretty cool feeling. All in all its a really great program with a lot of focus in making connections in the industry, which I'm finding out more and more is one of the most important things you can do.

So, next Monday already the next term starts. I'm really excited to get into more advanced animation stuff, so it should be a good experience. And I intend to put even more time and energy into the program this time around as well! Wish me luck!

Oh yeah, here's the reel:

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Progress Reel from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

spring!! :D

Both yesterday and today the weather has been so nice that we've been able to open the windows and the patio door. Provided of course we have the screen up, since we have cats

Anyways the weather has been so nice that in the past 2 days I've been able to go outside and go jogging. It's been wonderful!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Animation Mentor Update!

So, here's what I've been doing the last 2 weeks in Animation Mentor! First, we have the walk cycle that they gave us two weeks to work on. Week 1 was strictly blocking, while this past week was more timing and clean up work. I learned that walks like this are called vanilla walks, because they are pretty boring and have really no defining characteristics:

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 9 Vanilla walk from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

And next here is some sketches I did. First is for physical strength, which I had to kind of rush out, and the second is concerned:

And then finally, some posed and rendered images showing both physical strength and concerned, respectively :D

Talk to again soon!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

March in Minnesota!

It just recently turned into March, which is kind of nice. It feels like the closer I get to spring and summer the better. I'm not sure what's going to be going on this month, but I'm hoping it will be week I'm going to be going to New York City to see my sister in a play, which is a week I'm looking forward to. Anyways, I didn't upload anything for last weeks Animation Mentor assignment because I didn't really have anything to upload...the assignment takes two weeks so I'll be uploading it this weekend!

Anyways, not much point to me writing here, just wanted to check in...


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 7

Another light assignment load this week, which was nice since I had to finish this quickly and leave for Chicago that week. That's why I'm sure I'll be doing a revision of this for this week.

Lets talk a bit about some non-animationmentor related stuff next time :D

Tailor bounce from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 6

Heyyyy!!! This week, we took a look at overlapping action. Our assignment was to make a pendulum rock back and forth. Check it out:

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 6 Pendulum from Alex Harms on Vimeo

And that's all I had this week! I'll update again soon! :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 5

Here's my weekly update of what I'm up to here in Minnesota!

First up, my redo of last week's bouncing balls:

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 5 Redo from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

Next up, this week's main assignment. A bouncing ball through an obstacle course:

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 5 Obstacle Course from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

And finally, some sketches that suggest DEVASTATION:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Now it's Thursday

Another day spent at the Japan America Society. Tuesday I was in charge of preparing all the membership renewal notices for our private members, which means today it was time to prepare the corporate renewal notices. It's pretty much the same as the private, expect we print everything on our nice organized letterhead, and of course ask them for much more money.

I had to go home slightly early. I'm house sitting because my parents are in Florida for the week. We have two cats, Beans and Cali. Beans is a diabetic. He needs 2 insulin shots per day as well as is on a special diet. I fed Beans, and then watched the movie The Chungking Express, which I saw my freshman year of college and really like a lot. It's a Chinese movie.

Then it was time for an online Q&A with my animation mentor. Then I found out that there is the possibility that there are 40,000 worlds out there which can support alien life. I think it would be cool if one came to visit someday. Thursday.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Today was Tuesday. I spent the day at the Japan America Society of Minnesota. It's the first week of the new month, which means its time to send renewal invoices to all the members who are set to renew this month. I organized all the information in the database, found everyone set to renew in February, and prepared their invoice and letter. Gave the letters to the Executive Director, who signed them. Then came packaging and shipping. Everything went as planned, no hitches, no out of the ordinary occurrences. I hope we get many of these renewals returned.

Came home and made leftover pasta. It was good. Watched TV while working on a couple Animation Mentor assignments.

Tuesdays suck.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 4

Redo of last weeks assignment after my mentor gave me a critique:

Ball Bounce Redo from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

And this weeks assignment, which is two bouncing balls. I went with a bowling ball and a beach ball. I'm sure I'll need to do a redo on this for next week.

Class 1 Week 4: 2 Balls Bouncing from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Anticipation Vs. No Anticipation

This was the first animated short that I ever did. I made it in November 2006 for my introduction to animation class. I hope you enjoy it, it was a lot of fun to make:

Anticipation Vs. No Anticipation from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Animation Mentor: Class 1 Week 3

Here's some more cool stuff! I should have a critique form my mentor within the next day or so! The assignments this week were, sketch out plans for animating a bouncing ball, animate a bouncing ball, sketch out poses that portray "excitement" and then take one of those poses and make it look pretty :D

Bouncing Ball from Alex Harms on Vimeo.

Here's to another great week!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Bloop

Sorry if this is old news, I just find it so intriguing.

In the summer of 1997, off the coast of Southwest South America, a sound was picked up several times by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The profile of this sound matches that of an animal, for example a whale. But the big difference is, given the amplitude of the sound, there is no way a whale could have made the sound, because whales are too small. So, if it was indeed an animal that made this sound, it would have to be many times larger than even a blue whale.

I think that's really exciting and I wish there was more news on it in the past 12 years. But what could the sound have come from?? I would like to offer some suggestions:

For more information, please consult your local Wikipedia:

On a semi-related note, I have decided that one of my lifelong dreams will be to one day swim with a whale. This is a bigger dream than it sounds, since currently I have nowhere near enough courage to do this. But one day I hope to be able to swim with a whale. Probably humpback. Though this is left to be determined.

Happy New Year!!

Hi! It's 2009 now which is cool. I started taking online classes at the school Animation Mentor, so I thought it would be a interesting to throw all my assignments up on this website so few my progress or something.

So, here was our first assignment: Sketch a bunch of interesting poses and then recreate one of them in higher quality. I did mine in pretty much everyone else! Here ya go:

I got a really good critique and comments from my mentor and classmates, so I really look forward to improving a lot for this weeks assignment!