Behind the Scenes of My Interview With Keisha Jordan

Posted by on Jul 4, 2011 in Artist Interviews | 0 comments

Our final project assignment for my DC489 “The Big Picture” class was to interview a person in the field of entertainment. I organized my project by prospecting my LinkedIn connections list for potential interview candidates. I specifically researched some of the artists that I have reached out to via social media and found a couple of candidates with interesting profiles whose careers I wanted to know more about. Senior Art director Keisha Jordan of Common Ground Marketing was one of those who responded.

A couple of things stood out about Keisha. First, her artsy profile picture caught my attention. Instead of a head shot she uses a hand sketch of her face as her profile picture on LinkedIn. That instantly made her stand out from pretty much everyone else on my list (See why you should never leave your profile picture space blank?). It was proof enough to me that she was a serious artist so she was an immediate candidate. The other factor was that we could talk shop about the digital tools we use for our different artistic pursuits. Here’s the interview. Take a look and I’ll continue on the other side.



I mention the effectiveness of a good profile picture for a particular reason. In the case of scheduling Keisha for filming we agreed to meet at the Harold Washington Library. If you’ll take a close look at her sketch, it looks just like the lady in video. I knew exactly who she was as she stepped off the escalator and we headed to our meeting room. If you have any artistic leanings I recommend you use her idea as inspiration if you want to try something a little different for your profile.

As far as project logistics flowed, we rearranged chairs in the meeting room to stage her against one of the walls. I asked more questions than included in the final cut because I had a fifteen minute time limit for the class presentation so you’re hearing about 1/3 to 1/2 of them here. I used my SONY Handycam for filming and had Keisha reposition her chair so I could include a couple of different perspective views of her in the final cut of the film.

For post production I imported three clips of film into Adobe Premier Pro. I typically use After Effects just because I’m used to it but it’s not really a complete film editing program. It’s specifically designed for effects and animation and happens to have some good basic film making features. Premier Pro though is Adobe’s full fledged editing package (all the cutting, audio, color correction and other features of Final Cut Pro for you Mac people) so I made the choice to jump in and use it full tilt for the first time.

After filming, Keisha provide me a few PDF’s of some of her digital ad work and some personal paintings which I faded into the film at different points to demonstrate her skills. The white walls of the meeting room made for a lot of glare in the film so I was able to use color correction to ramp it down. In my first rough cut of the film I created a QuickTime and imported it into After Effects to create opening and closing credits on either end of it (again, because I was used to doing that in After Effects). Fortunately I got bumped to another class day on the presentation rotation and my copy of Adobe Premier Pro CS4, Classroom In a Book arrived in the mail so I learned how to use the title feature within the package to create the credits. So this is my first fully contained Premier Pro production.

I enjoyed this project because I was able to expand my technical skill which as always the objective but also I had the opportunity to network with another professional in the field which was our professor Dan Pal‘s objective. So what do you think of one of Chicago’s art directors on the rise?

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I Love Music

Posted by on Jun 13, 2011 in Animation, General | 2 comments


I didn’t use the Isley Brother’s Ohio Players classic by the same name but I could have and it would have fit perfectly. This was a short film produced in my Editing I class at DePaul University during the Spring 2010 quarter.

The assignment was to find or create our own video footage and stills and use it with music to tell a story. My sources were YouTube and the iTunes Store.

This is one of my favorites as I got to indulge my love of music and give a truncated version of the history of Western music. Who knows. Maybe I’ll do a longer one some day.


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My Interpretation of the Jaberwocky

Posted by on Jun 13, 2011 in Animation, General | 0 comments


This was my last regular project prior to the final project for Acting For Animators during the Spring quarter of 2011 at DePaul University.

Our assignment was to take Lewis Carroll’s nonsensical poem Jaberwocky from Alice In Wonderland and make a short film interpretation of it. More specifically we were to find a YouTube version online that seemed interesting and use that audio as the foundation for our video.

I had fun making this a more figurative than literal interpretation. We were fortunate to be taught by the author of the book “Acting For Animators”, Ed Hooks.

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Fun With Austin Powers

Posted by on Jun 13, 2011 in Animation, General | 0 comments


This was my final project for ANI430 – 3D Character Animation at DePaul University. I created it during the fall 2010 quarter.

The project uses the Generi character which is a commonly downloaded rig.

I used the “Capitalism” audio from a YouTube clip of this part of the first Austin owers movie as the basis for my assignment.


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My James Bond-ish Short Animation

Posted by on Jun 11, 2011 in Animation, General | 0 comments


I made this one in my Visual Stylization in 3D Animation Course. It’s the final production from the Winter Quarter of 2011. I had a blast learning a lot of 2D and 3D techniques. The object of the final was to create an animation in two different styles and to show a convincing transition between each.

The first part of my film uses the 3D on 2D technique. The boat is a 3 dimensional object which is colored with Toon shaders in Maya. This shader gives it a flat 2D appearance to make it look as if it were also 2 dimensional like the painting it appears in. The boat moves between two flat planes onto which I applied two layered parts of said painting. The 2D flat planes give a feel of depth to the scene as the boat moves through it.

The painting is “Dr. Scorpio’s Lair” by Josh Agle which I separated into two layers and processed into two separate files using Photoshop.

The second part of the film was all 3D, created in Maya. I used a copy of the same 3D boat with regular color shaders applied to it. Using the same two colors on both boats tied the 2D and 3D scenes together.

The tiki head is also a Josh Agle piece. I used it as my transition from from one scene to the other.

Finally I used After Effects for post production to create a Quicktime clip.

This got some really good reaction on YouTube and I hope you enjoy it too. Leave a comment and let me know what you think of it.


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