Doug's Intro

Animator/Illustrator/Student Director

A drawing is an idea. As an animator, I turn ideas into stories.
I am currently a junior at the Kansas City Art Institute. It's been a blessing and privilege to be a student there after earning my AFA at the Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, IL. I keep this as a journal of my latest projects and explorations in animation.

Vimeo -
DeviantArt -

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fields of Gold

I have been sick over the past couple days. So, that did put a little punch in my time. All better now and ready for vacation to begin. Not wanting to leave this blog unattended, here are some photos from the fall semester that I have yet to upload.

Look everybody! KCAI really is paved with gold.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wacom Tablet - let's get familiar

I purchased my first digital drawing tablet last week, and I must say...I am loving it. These images are simply studies to get the feel for using this new hardware. There is certainly a learning curve to this process.

I have posted these purely for later reference. I wish to return to these images and laugh in their "faces" when I post much more skillfully executed work. 


Fall Final 2010 from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

Here it is in all its hand drawn glory! I present to you the culmination of three weeks labor. I refuse to acknowledge the week I spent doing other things over Thanksgiving Break.

The B&W rendered portion completes the assignment while the roughed out drawings towards the end are the early stages in this becoming a full blown animated short.

My study focused on cycles, cycles, and more cycles...I am so glad to be taking a break from cycles for a while. Being able to execute visually interesting and fluid cycles is an essential skill and I am certainly grateful for the time I invested in this project.

1) Need to completely redo the transitions because the EKG is poorly botched.
2) There is some skating on  the "suitcase walk cycle", and his hat has heavier line weight than the body.
3) Need to add all the additional content that expands the composition and narrative.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Something to think about

Well, I have been faced with an opportunity, and it came time to make a decision. I am confident I made the right one. I was considering taking a double-major in Animation/Art History. I had to ask myself what I want most of my BFA degree(s).

The answer was simple: I want to ANIMATE! I came to this school because I have the dream of being able to see at a great story told on screen and say, "Look at what you were a part of. You made that!"

If I am to be accepted into a studio, then I need to be at the top of my game. My work is decent, but I have a lot of growing to do. This semester was demanding and although I got things done; I didn't experiment with the mediums as much as I should have. Why would I slash my time and keep my portfolio from being the best it can be? Dividing myself between two majors just isn't logical at this point.

Plus, I can always get an Art History degree/certificate after finishing up with the BFA.

I just need to stay on top of my game and really push myself to devote every moment I have to my animations! So, blogging isn't doing that right now. God Bless and here's a fancy animation for you to check out.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Progress 1

Progress 1 from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

Happily, I can genuinely call this progress. Focusing on walk cycles sounded like a great idea and a perfect fit for this assignment. It is...and in so many ways it is Driving Me Crazy!

I see the improvements I am making, but I really must find a way to crank up the speed. The concept behind this project is to provide a short narrative that tells a man's life (very briefly) through walk cycles at different stages in his life.

The video is roughly 60% done. I just need to: work the problems out of this last under-layer (the cane walk), drop two characters, include transitions, and see how many secondary actions I can include.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cane Walk Study

Cane Walk Study from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.
This is a small video I recorded as a reference for a walk cycle. The shorter steps show that this is an elderly character.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Visual Research 2

Here are more studies of landscapes to improve on composition. I photographed some of the same scenes, because the change of seasons greatly alters the mood of the environment.
Gosh, I do love autumn.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Elements from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

Wow, what an engaging assignment. What brings me no end of frustration is the cropping of these studies. Once again iMovie takes pleasure in removing a sizable portion of my material. The smoke effect, which turned out beautifully on the preview screen, has been cropped out almost 50%!

No fear. I simply need to reshoot the frames once I figure out how to get my laptop "uncrashed" and booted up.

I plan to perfect a full color study of each of these elements so that I have some nice work for my portfolio.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Visual Research: Smoke

Visual Research: Smoke from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

It's not everyday you happen to come across a smoker's pavilion that is ironically burning on the inside. I only wish I had adjusted the white balance on my camera so that the smoke would not have turned out so green. I'll soon upload a version of this study played back at different speeds.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oskar Fischinger (1969)

Lumigraph Film (c. 1969) by Elfriede Fischinger (excerpt) from CVM on Vimeo.

Unfortunately this video is without sounds, so this has lost its original intent.

Metamorphosis Remix, "Satori"

Metamorphosis Remix, "Satori" from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

This is an expansion on my earlier assignment. I added a few breathing holds, but I really need to find a way to lead into them and make them appear more natural. I think the pace needs a lot of work and there's a few things I would just take out entirely.
I did add a lot of content that I am happy with. Since I was shooting on notecards there were issues with cropping.
I also started playing around with stop-motion and altering the exposure between shots to create fading effects.

William Kentridge

Watch the full episode. See more ART:21.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Walk Cycle With Character

Walk Cycle With Character from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

"Hello, My name is Gilbert. Friends call me 'Gil', and you sir may not call me 'Gil'."

No introduction necessary, Gilbert here took care of that for me. Here you'll see my use of the "very light" walk cycle to produce my first character.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Walk Cycles

Walking Female from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.
This is the first successful walk cycle I produced. One thing I love about this is the fact that no matter how many times you do walk cycles there's always a way to make it better. The toughest part is knowing when you've done all you can to a specific drawing and it's time to move on to the next step.

Walking Male from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.
Here I improved on the original drawings after completing the female walk. I needed to give the figure a more forceful step to show the more deliberate, male movement.

Walking Light from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.
This is the most rewarding walk cycle I've executed so far.
I began sketching this animation by asking myself, "What causes someone to have a very light step?" Without even realizing it, I was beginning the steps of creating personality animation.
I was thinking about what motivated a very light walk, and how the body would move to create this gesture. It was remarkable to finally see exactly what I imagined come to life in this little figure.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Visual Research 1

Here are five images from a continuing study of composition. Since I will be having to provide scenes for my animations, I am getting into the practice of visually containing a scene.
I find that some of these images offer much more visual interest than others. One idea I am playing around with is how to arrange different amounts of objects in a composition. So, I intentionally photographed scenes with varying levels of  visual interest. Since I am photographing these from an animator's perspective, I have to consider how to effectively frame environments that have less detail than others. The more complicated the backgrounds in an animation, the more work it is to render it again and again. Our flip-book assignment made that clear to me.
Oh, I just took this about twenty minutes ago and simply had to upload it. I would like to crop this to be a narrower landscape shot, but I uploaded the original file so you could see how I composed the shot with the camera. The only part I just can't stand is the fluorescent lights that pop up on the right side.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Motion Capture

I've become rather fascinated with the movement of squirrels. There's quite an abundance of them on campus. So, each morning I try to observe them before going to my classes. They have this odd ability to elongate their body which gives them a unique squash and stretch effect.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weight: Three Objects

Objective = Simulate realistic weight effects and the objects' impact on a resistant surface.

I had some issues with cropping the final cut, but it's all there. The objects get really close to the borders. This is my first time using stippling as a rendering effect. I like the end result, but I should use it sparingly. It is a very time consuming process. In the future, I need my shadows to be more subdued.

I have to say that I'm most pleased with how the rock and paper turned out. I certainly need more practice with breathing holds. The horizon line is moving so much that it distracts my attention from the moving objects.

Weight: Three Objects from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

(below) Final Paper Test

Final Paper Test from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

(below) Final Rock Test

Final Rock Test from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Incremental 2

This drawing is of great importance to me. This was the first one that began to move smoothly for me. Here. I started getting a sense of how much time each drawing took and the general proportions of the figure.
 In this drawing, the figure is just beginning to exert a force on the object. I mainly focused on representing the areas that visually displayed physical tension.
 This pose is taken from a stair-step movement. Here, I began developing a feel for where I could leave out certain details and still convey the position of the figure.
 This resting position after completing the action cycle of delivering a punch, left a lot of areas in the figure that created flowing contours and overlaps. 
 The was the final drawing in the "picking up a box" cycle. So, I had considerably more time to render the figure.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bouncing Ball

Bouncing Ball from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

At long last!! It's finished, at least for the time being. The major issue I ran into was compensating for the change of force in the bounces whenever the ball changes direction. I had to make it believable while maintaining enough momentum to keep the ball bouncing for the allotted time. I ran into some issues while importing the video from the "Lunchbox". I kept getting these odd skips and pauses during the process. So, I tried my best to edit them out.

I did have to make considerable changes to the under layer when it came to how many frames each bounce would be. Since I wanted to experiment using varying speeds, I had to continuously adapt to how the movement progressed.

Another project I fully intend to revisit (when I'm really, really, bored).

MAJOR ISSUE= I just noticed this, the video stretched my ball vertically. The first squash and the ball in resting position are very distorted. I'm not sure what happened to cause this distortion.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ball Under Layer

The preparation stage has been completed for my "Bouncing Ball" project, and I'm happy to say that I have   the four seconds animated at a preferred speed. Below I've included the: spacing test, path of motion, and the first four seconds played on a loop.

Spacing Test- I roughed out some spaces and placed a coin at each point (shot the animation) and got a feel for the speed the ball would move at. I decided that each bounce should average 17-18 frames.
sorry, the scanner didn't want to keep the drawing straight that day.

Path Test- Originally, I wanted to use a simple racquetball court for the environment, but I felt it didn't offer enough visual interest. So, I drew out my under layer path and numbered, in order, where the ball hits the ground.

Animation, I know the ball's hard to see. It's starting far back in perspective. It's in the top left of the screen.

Bounce Test #2 from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

Golf Swing Sequence

Golf Swing Test from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

I combined two tests into a single video upload. Unfortunately, I didn't reach the point where I found a movement cycle I was satisfied with. I didn't want to delay my bouncing ball any further. So, I do plan to revisit and complete this project. 
(Each test will repeat once.)

In the first test,
Well, I aimed for a more technical approach by working with the body in segments. One major problem is that some of the limbs move in an unnatural way. Two, the length of the club shouldn't have been foreshortened as much as it is here.

In the second test,
I am pleased with how the figure starts out. I got some nice movement at the beginning when he takes a breath and focuses, but I can't ignore the fact that his feet start shrinking. He shouldn't be moving back in space. Once I realized the figure's change in proportion, everything fell apart from there.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Pendulum from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

The assignment's simple enough; animate the swinging motion of a pendulum. Within this task lies several challenges: maintaining a fixed axis point, consistency of moving objects' size, and making the movement believable. This animation was carried out in 120 frames. Each swing is composed of 13 frames.

After drawing out 8 back and forth swings, I quickly encountered some sources of difficulty.
First, Coloring the drawings with markers on printer paper caused the ink to bleed. This slightly altered the size of the pendulum in various frames. Second, I was able to achieve the exact speed I was aiming for in the animation sequence, but the spacing of the frames causes brief negative space reveals within the colored space of the pendulum.

The creation of this illusion takes focused patience, and requires that you draw out the sequence from scratch several times to gain a natural sense of the movement. I drew out the process a total of 9 times. The part of the video plays 6 swings and then loops the same 6. The second part of the video is one looped back and forth swing that I added more frames to in an attempt to slow down the motion and eliminate the temporary negative space reveals.

I use looping in this assignment to analyze any inconsistencies.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Incremental #1

First of all, I realize that the drawings are not at all in proper order. It completely slipped my mind while I was drawing these. I should have each pose arranged by how they appeared in relation to each other in space. It's just a bad habit of mine, from Life Drawing, to separate each figure and shade them. However, I did number them so I hope that helps.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


What I enjoy most about this study is that it is one of the first incremental movement studies I drew. Since I drew this out before reading any "how to" diagrams or text, these drawing have a certain "freedom" to them that seems to be lacking from my other studies. Plus, I greatly wish to further study some of these more complex animal movements. For example, the fish mainly gains the illusion of movement based on its progression through the space around it. This was one conclusion I made while doing this study.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Tadah, Here it is! The progressive product of two weeks work. Having incorporated my 30pg. flip-book from the previous week, this animation contains a grand total of 175 drawings. Booya!

The beauty in working this piece was the size. Although there was a decent amount of drawings, it was in a small enough format that I could flip through the pages with ease and actually see the animation progress as I drew out the motions.

The most rewarding part of this experience was being able to visualize the scenery's developing perspective and the overall speed of the various motions, and then actually seeing how the final product compares.

The biggest challenges of this project was realizing how quickly materials run out, and anticipating how to move through a space that doesn't really exist.

You'll notice an odd twitch in the video at roughly 35 seconds into the animation. This occurred because I shot one of the frames upside down (accidentally). I also wasn't too happy with how the flickering effect turned out. I'm happy to say that I did make a second cut of this video where I corrected the twitch.
Enjoy, clip is below.

Metamorphosis from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

YEAH! Edited version uploaded! I changed the timing on a couple things. It's not any major change, but fixed the little things were bugging me.

Metamorphosis_edited from Douglas Meloche on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

KCAI ANIM: Hunting & Gathering Project, PART 1

Alright! First assignment for animation; draw a landscape of your favorite childhood location and one of your favorite local location.

Childhood Location
There is one location from my childhood that is especially precious to me. The Lake Muskegon Channel at Pere Marquette in Muskegon, Michigan is a special place that holds many memories. It is here, where my father and I first went SCUBA diving in open water, I often swam with my cousins, and my uncles took the family on boating trips through the channel. Also, inside the channel is a retired World War II submarine, the U.S.S. Silversides. My grandfather took me to the neighboring museum when I was very young, and he spoke a great deal about bravery, courage, and other things I would come to understand much later in life.
I’ve always found a special comfort in the waters of the Lake Michigan. When standing in the surf, and breathing deeply of the cool rushing breeze, any problems and concerns I have are washed away. I realize just how small I am in the world and how simple life really is. Lake Michigan has been the setting for a great deal of my most treasured childhood memories that helped make me the man I am today.

Kansas City Location
Although I’m a second semester student here, this is my first year attending Kansas City Art Institute. I transferred here from a small town, called Troy, located outside of Saint Louis. This place is very unfamiliar to me, and I knew I would need a place that reminded me of home. I like very much how KCAI is not located in the middle of a bustling city with skyscrapers and congested intersections. Although this is a major city where you can find almost any form of entertainment, there’s still a friendly inviting attitude to this place. Our campus is surrounded by trees and anywhere I need to go is within walking distance.
While walking through the Sculpture Park on the Nelson-Atkins Museum property, I found a place that became very special to me. It was rather instantaneous. What first drew me to this spot was the sculpture titled “Three Bowls”. It is located on the highest hill overlooking the entire park. “Three Bowls” differs greatly from the other sculptures in the park. While most of the works emphasize smoother curvilinear forms, “Three Bowls” resembles a rigid geological structure. Once I approached “Three Bowls”, I saw over the side of the hill. The sun was just beginning to set behind the city buildings in the distance, illuminating them with a golden light. In that moment, I knew I’d found my special place where I could “escape”.