This page is an Archive only. It is no longer being updated. Thank you.

However, there seems to be something happening here.


Friday March 27, 2009



Tuesday July 3, 2007

I updated the RSS feeds today. The old ones were giving me grief… Sorry for any inconvenience.

Welcome to the new Junk Forest site!

Wednesday May 16, 2007

Hey everybody! Its been forever and stuff.

This is a redesign that Ive been sitting on for a while now, and I thought I’d go ahead and make it live tonight. Let me know if you run into any weirdness.

Well, I cant promise this production journal will be humming with activity anytime soon, but I do have some ideas for Junk Forest goodies that I should be rolling out soon-ish. Hows that for vague and uninspiring? heh.

So yeah, Junk Forest rolls on into the future. Its not dead, its just been just sleeping, thats all.

  1. Looks great Vance! I hope to see a revival with some more podcast action.

    brian    May 16, 11:58 PM   
  2. agreed. i loves it

    bv    May 17, 12:59 AM   
  3. Looks awesome! And more podcasts would be super-sweeet.

    bray    May 19, 08:32 PM   
  4. Thanks dudes.
    I should film a driving/walking tour of all the junkyards and trash heaps in my town for the next podcast or something. Show the inspiration.

    vance    May 20, 06:19 PM   

The Story

Friday July 28, 2006

I thought I’d write out the gist of the story for anyone who is interested. Enjoy!

JunkForest Story:
Sam is a 9-year-old boy who lives alone with his abusive, alcoholic father in a small country home near a vast, sprawling forest. One night Sam sneaks outside into the backyard to avoid another fight with his dad. He is usually able to day-dream alone out in the yard, but tonite hes too tired and weary of his dad’s insults to do more than prop his head up on the fence and stare blankly into the woods.

Sam’s dad works at the area factory, which is run by a mysterious corporation called Natrocorp. It is a bland, dull metal factory on the other side of the forest from Sam’s house. They create “Nature 2.0” (their own term) by recycling unused scraps and junk- and processing/smashing it all into small beige cubes. Then, by draining the life-juices out of the nearby trees and funneling it down into the factory, they can inject it into the beige building blocks and “grow” and process new types of synthetic plants. New, exciting colors nature cannot produce! Perfect for brightening up that dull office hallway! They hardly need any watering! etc. (So reads their marketing attempts…)

Underneath Sam’s feet, deep in the earth, lives a small community of fireflies- who are stirring now that dusk has fallen. They kiss their significant others goodbye and begin their journey through the layers of dirt and tree-roots to the open sky above. They emerge and soar in a large glowing group high in the sky, and Sam gets swept up into following them deep into the woods, which grows darker and more shriveled and frightening at each turn and twist of the fireflies’ flight!

Sam eventually slips and falls down a deep ravine and crashes headlong into a giant pile of junk. His last blurry vision is of floating junk spinning around him, glowing the same yellow-green as the tails of the fireflies. Then it all goes black…

When Sam comes to- the forest is all aglow with activity and sputtering junk-machinery. He meets the gruff but cowardly, self-proclaimed caretaker of the forest – a small Mechanic-bot pieced together from odd tubing, scrap-metal and junk. Suddenly a loud, deep siren bellows from the factory across the woods and its insatiable hunt for fresh junk begins! Sam and the Mechbot have to work together before they accidentally get sucked into the strange nature-skewing machinery of the Natrocorp factory!

  1. Junk Forest looks really awexome right now and it’s obvious you’re putting an incredible amount of work into it. I can’t wait to see it once it’s finished!

    notorious    Aug 9, 03:11 PM   

Whats up?

Thursday July 27, 2006

Lately Ive been reworking the JunkForest story to be a little less unwieldy – hopefully without sacrificing any of the major themes and ideas I have for the story. About 2 years ago I wrote the “final” version of the script, and I havent really deviated much from it since then, Ive just been trying to constantly enhance the elements that are most important to the story and shorten or cut out the less important stuff.

So the themes remain mostly the same- and hopefully its growing into a leaner, more entertaining and meaningful beast because of it. This process will continue until I finish it I think… which is a luxury that most animations cant afford because of deadlines and meeting production demands set by the “suits” backing it etc. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to take my time with it… I guess I do so at the risk of boring people to tears with my slow process, but whatevs.

Heres a quick progress report: 4 minutes of the film is finished! woo! I still have yet to record any voices for the film and the scoring has not yet begun either, (music will come last most likely…) but the animation itself is going at a decent rate I think – for animation, heh…

JF TV - finished!

Tuesday July 25, 2006

Heres a JunkForest related tidbit for ya – I have recently been tinkering with the shell of an old mini-TV and I inserted layers of JF art inside of it. Click the picture to check it out!

Podcast #4

Tuesday July 11, 2006

I know, creative title eh? But really, this one gets into a more in-depth look at my animation process. Namely, how I use Adobe ImageReady as the bridge between my paper scans and Flash – and how I prepared a background element (a plant) for animation in After Effects.

ps- the “Podcast” subcribe link to the left should now be compatible w/ iTunes + iPod (w/ video)! Sorry that didnt really work from the get-go, Im kind of figuring this out as I go…

  1. looks great vance! i dig the podcasts so far.

    Brian Warren    Jul 11, 04:24 PM   
  2. You taking notes for your future possible podcasting adventures? ha – Just let me know if you need any sage advice.

    vance    Jul 11, 08:46 PM   
  3. Wow, I must have missed these when you made them- these podcasts are really good! I’m really curious to see how JF is going for ya now. I hope you show us more sometime soon.

    bray    Dec 20, 09:55 PM   
  4. Hey man – Thanks! I havent actually touched junkforest in a couple months… Have this whopper of a commissioned film eating all my time. One of these days I will blog about it on my main site, but Im sworn to secrecy at this point!

    vance    Dec 21, 12:45 AM   

Podcast update!

Saturday July 8, 2006

Hello! I just reworked the podcast so you can view it right here in the Journal in a Flash player! Hopefully this makes it more accessible for more people. I converted the first 3 episodes to this new format and posted them here.

Let me know what you think!

Tech. Difficulties

Friday May 26, 2006

Hey all – I just switched servers, so things might be a little wacky for a while. Please bear with me! Thanks.

JF Flickr

Sunday April 30, 2006

I set up a Photoset on my Flickr account that Im going to keep filled with the latest JunkForest concept art and screenshots etc.

Check it out!

  1. It should be JFlickr. Not JF Flickr. Or it could be Junkr.

    brian warren    May 1, 05:36 PM   

Check out these robots

Friday April 28, 2006

I’m currently inspired by these robots made from junk! Check out Lockwasher’s photos!

I have lots of things I could write about these days, but I need to sit down and decide how much is sharable first. Im a secretive punk with the JF stuff I know. mwa ha ha

JunkForest TV?!

Saturday April 15, 2006

Hey folks! Let me take a few minutes to clear my throat——-——-———- – ah, thats better…

OK, heres something Im thinking of doing – starting a JunkForest video-blog! I found this amazing video-blogging site, that allows you to upload your videos 100% free to their site and they will host it there, all in the name of free media for the masses! So, I’m thinking of doing a “Making-of” diary thing for Junk Forest and posting the video to for all to see and comment on! They make it super easy for me to link to the videos from this site, and it will be easy for you to add to your podcasting program of choice (iTunes, Democracy, NetNewsWire etc)! So you will be able to just subscribe to The JunkForest Making-Of Channel and watch it in the comfort of your underpants without once breaking a sweat! Super amazing and cool.

Ideas: I could capture video of whats on my computer screen while I paint a background in Photoshop, or as I animate in Flash or After Effects, etc etc. And I suppose I could show an 4 hour long video of myself hunched over the drawing table too, but we’ll see. Reality TV’s got nothin on this, you hear me? Seriously, this is going to be really fun. Stay tuned!

You have any ideas/things you’d like to see? Shoot em my way.

(Oh, and by the way, the first 3 minutes are roughly finished! Work is progressing, I promise!)

  1. I’m loving the idea. Any more updates, and especially some in video form, would be way cool!

    brian    Apr 15, 05:11 PM   

JunkForest is portable!

Sunday January 29, 2006

Ok, forgive me if nobody cares about this, but I think its super cool. After I purchase this portable Canon scanner from a friend (I’ve been trying it out today – works pretty good) I can fit everything I need to work on JunkForest in my backpack and take it wherever I want/need to go! So now if the squirrels that live in my attic get too noisy I can just hit the streets and work somewhere else. Here are some pics with descriptions on how this is gonna work:

First, I need a portable pegbar to be able to draw accurate frames of animation on my acme animation paper, and the way I can get that portability is by popping the plexiglass off of my light-table and there you have it – portable pegbar!

Here are all the pieces to the portable JunkForest office, from left to right, starting at the top:

• The portable Canon scanner (LIDE 80)
• My backpack
• My iBook, in its bag, with my old 4×6 Wacom tablet on top.
• The aforementioned plexiglass with pegbar embedded on it – shown with frames of animation intact.
• Sheets of ACME animation paper in a protective plastic case with a zipper.

Tada! All items fit (snugly) in the backpack.

Here are all the pieces laid out in workable fashion on my wooden spool/table in my apartment to give you an idea of what my portable workspace could look like all set up and ready.

Here I am, the lone adventuring animator on the move, looking for sweet action to be had. Little do most on-lookers realize what magical devices I have in my inconspicuous backpack.

  1. Hi Vance, heheh, interesting creative solutions for a animation mobile office! But! You still need powerpoint to work right? Your scanner still need power. Perhaps you can coin a new term, The Animation Ronin. ;)

    robin    Jan 29, 09:44 AM   
  2. Hey Robin. Actually, the scanner is powered through the USB connection, so it would suck juice from the iBook while Im using it – so I can go totally electricity free if I need to.

    About powerpoint…well, Ive made it this far in my career without touching it, so I think I’ll be OK.

    The Animation Ronin – has a nice ring to it!

    Vance    Jan 29, 09:15 PM   
  3. Vance! hah! That’s an awesome last photo. Arg! Just when you think spring is in full bloom…

    dan    Jan 30, 01:33 AM   
  4. hi Vance, wow, it’s nice that the scanner can have enough power to run from the ibook. Oh, by powerpoint, I mean, electric point to run your mobile office. :-)

    Cool. Keep up the good work.

    robin    Jan 30, 04:36 AM   
  5. Ah… yeah, the scanner is a little slow because its powered by USB unfortunately. Its the only downside to the USB power.

    I wonder how long I could work away from power on a full battery… I’ll have to try it out.

    Vance    Jan 30, 04:59 AM   
  6. I worked at a park the other day with my 17inch Powerbook. With Maya, I lasted for up to about 2 hrs with full screen brightness (daylight makes screen light less visible outdoor). The new Macbook is 4x brighter and last longer as well, but it will be a while b4 I upgrade ;-). I think iBook has a better battery life since it has a smaller screen.

    robin    Jan 30, 07:41 AM   

Sam/Me Comparison

Wednesday January 18, 2006

I thought this was funny… If I part my hair down the middle I’m starting to get Sam wings!

Back once again

Wednesday January 4, 2006

Well, its been a LOOOOONG time, but having (mostly – oh so close) finished the HERVA music vid, I can start to get back into the swing of things on JunkForest, my eternal side-project.

I have been doing a bit of thinking and learning in the down-time though. I think Im going to experiment with using Flash to do a lot of the animation and try to save time that way. I had been drawing frames of animation on paper, scanning them in and cleaning up the drawing in Photoshop, and also doing the in-between frames in Photoshop, but I am going to try out Flash now that I think Ive found a way to get a similar line quality with it. I will still be starting on paper, but will do clean-up and inking/coloring in Flash hopefully. If it works, I will post about it in here and explain it a little better.

Anyway, so to those of you who read this blog, thanks for your support over the years and sorry for the delay!

  1. I think it’s awesome that you have been learning so much about how to make JF better through your sideprojects. Keep up the great work Vance!

    brian    Jan 4, 02:06 AM   

Web troubles

Friday November 4, 2005

Hey folks. Im writing in here in the off-chance you’ve gone here looking for info on what happened to my main site. Well, its having technical difficulties, to say the least, but we are in the process of getting it back up and running.

Stay tuned and sorry for any confusion.

Whats going on?

Saturday September 17, 2005

Wanted to keep you on the up and up SO heres whats going on these days for me. Im still on “break” from Junk Forest, working on a music video for Herva (the astute JF follower will realize that this is indeed the musician who will be scoring the soundtrack to Junk Forest). Herva will be releasing an album soon, and let me hear an early copy to pick out a song for which to do a video. So that is what Ive been busy doing for the past couple weeks or so. You can view a couple screenshots and read a little more about it HERE if you feel so inclined.

  1. woah…

    person    Oct 28, 02:08 AM   

Time for another Junk Forest break

Friday August 19, 2005

Hey all.
I wanted to drop in and give you a heads-up- those of you that follow the site closely and check it on a regular basis. I’m planning on taking a JF break here for a bit to chase down some other creative endeavors and adventures etc and so forth. I might end up picking up Junk Forest here and there, but for the next month or so it wont be my main project. FYI just-so-you-know type business.

I’m gonna be working on some music video-esque things just for fun for a while hopefully – trying to branch out that direction a little more and see where I end up and see if the new fruits are edible and nutritious or not… should be good. First off, I’m gonna do a quickie for Herva, the music-master of JF! He has an album in the works, and we’ve been kicking around ideas for a video. Stay tuned. I will be posting whatever I can in here for these other projects, so keep coming back if you want the dirt.

2 Minute Mark

Saturday August 13, 2005

Roughly 2 minutes and 5 seconds of footage “complete.� (Various parts still need work and finishing touches/tweaks)

...but still, things are cruising along pretty well!

Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday August 11, 2005

(last update: 8.11.05)
– - -

What is JunkForest?
JunkForest is a short animated film I’m (Vance Reeser) making in my free time. It will be about 12 minutes long and it will have a musical score, sound effects, and very little dialogue.

Its being made both the old-fashioned way (drawing individual cells of animation) and by using some of the new methods out there (scanning it into my mac and bringing it into Photoshop for digital clean-up and painting and then into AfterEffects mostly to animate and output it to video).

Its independant, meaning it has no ties to any business for the means of making a profit. I’m a freelancing animator and illustrator by day, so thats how those pesky bills get paid.

When will it be done?
I actually have been asked this a few times by some well-meaning folks out there. The “answer” is: Its really hard to say, since I dont have a schedule to follow or any definite deadline in mind or set in stone. That would sort of take the fun out of it for me, personally.

Its also still very much in the beginning phases, so once things have progressed a good healthy distance, I might actually be able to give an estimate.

What’s it about?
There are two ways to answer this question I think. The first way is to summarize the gist of the story, and the second is to delve into the deeper meanings that reside between the lines, er the frames of animation as it were. 1. The story is about a 9-year-old boy named Sam, who lives out in the country in a run-down little house with his abusive and uncaring father. He’s an introspective kid with nothing to look forward to when suddenly he sees a giant swarm of fireflies emerge high above the treetops outside of his backyard. They take off down into the woods, and Sam hesitates for a moment, but quickly plunges into the thick trees after them.

Deep in the forest he learns of the fireflies bizarre experiments with the massive amount of junk strewn about, and is thrust into an adventure bigger than he could ever have dreamed.

2. I’m not really into trying to explain the “deeper meanings” of this film, not because I don’t believe they are there- or are important, but because I’d rather people experience it on their own, in their own way, where they are, without any hand-holding so to speak. So it has deeper meaning to me, but once its out there for others to see, it becomes theirs, and I’m more than happy for them to receive it on their terms, not mine.
—- How long will the finished film be?
Right now, it looks like its going to be about 12 minutes long.
—- Where will I see it after its done?
This is a question I actually ask myself… I’d really like to somehow make it available to everyone free on the internet first off. I also plan on taking it to as many festivals as I can once its done to get it “out there”.
—- How many people are working on it?
Heres the complete list of credits as of right now:
Vance ReeserWriting, Character Design, Storyboards, Lead Animation.
HervaMusic Creation.
Noah SmithCharacter Design.
John Lein, Dustin Solomon3D Modeling/Animation.

These friends of mine have graciously offered their help with this crazy thing, and I don’t know what I’d do without ‘em. They are also my support and help when I get stuck with story problems or artist’s block and keep me sane.

If you have any more questions, feel free to send me an email here.

A finished scene of the film to watch!

Wednesday August 10, 2005

Hey, heres a special and tasty treat for you today! I posted a finished scene from the film and a step-by-step interactive flash movie for you to click through if you’d like to see how I built and painted the background for this particular scene. Enjoy!

Watch the scene (1.7mb quicktime)


See how it was made! (1.2mb flash)

New studio pic up

Tuesday August 9, 2005

Theres a new addition to the JunkForest household!

View it here!

New addition to the studio

Tuesday August 9, 2005

I recently purchased a slightly older iBook through my friend Brian, who had the hook-up at an Apple store at the time. You can see it sitting there to the right. Now I can take my work on the road if I need to and nerd it up in style!

(Its also been handy for escaping my currently A/C-free house this summer to work over at a nearby coffeehouse…)

  1. Wow, no AC. I’m sorry vance. And at first glance I thought maybe you ahd bought a PC! I was comforted to read though that you are sticking to your standards.

    chad    Aug 10, 10:43 PM   

Work in Progress

Monday August 8, 2005

Heres a screenshot of a piece of the scene Im currently working on. The parts of the background that are brown have not yet been painted on, and the other stuff is still rough too. Im painting the background in photoshop and it should be done fairly soon. Once I get the whole scene painted and animated I think Im going to post an in-depth flash movie that shows what goes into creating a background from start to finish. Is that something you’all would like to see?

Some Bear Hunt news

Monday August 1, 2005

Hey. Sorry the updates have been so few and far between. I have been working quite a bit on JunkForest, but theres just not much that I can really write about or display… I have to keep my secrets secret you know.

Anyway, I have some news to report about my other film The Bear Hunt today. Its now being featured on Animwatch, a cool site that profiles independent animation and their creators! You can check it out HERE.

Be sure to browse around the site and took a look at all the other indie animation thats out there. Its a pretty exciting time to be a part of this “scene”. The tools are available, affordable and powerful enough for just about anybody with the gumption and fire in their belly to make their own dreams come alive on the screen.

  1. I’m excited Bear Hunt is doing so well, thats’ really cool. It’s certainly a unique and impressive piece of work! I’m glad you got that fire in your belly.

    brian    Aug 1, 11:54 PM   

First 3D model

Tuesday July 5, 2005

Howdy. Some exciting news to share this morning. My friend John sends in the first rough model of one of the junkbots! The Mech-Bot can be viewed in his early 3D glory right here in the art section! Im super excited about how this character is looking!

Mech-bot 3D Model

Tuesday July 5, 2005

Hot off the press, heres the first rough 3D model of the Mech-Bot! Click here to watch a short movie clip of it rotating to get a better look at it! John Lein over at Oddbeat Inc is the modeler, and the character design is by Noah Smith.

  1. very nice vance! i’m waiting for a poster…..

    kara    Jul 5, 09:11 PM   
  2. Cool! How exciting!

    Anna    Jul 7, 01:51 AM   

More new art up/Some personal blogging.

Friday June 10, 2005

New sketch – Check it out!

I’ve had the last 2 weeks or so now to myself to spend all my waking hours on the film and its going along pretty well. Its hard to stay motivated sometimes since this beast is so huge but its important to take it one step at a time and set small goals. Otherwise I get pretty dang frustrated and lose track of whats really important- Having fun and learning the most amazing and fulfilling of all artforms (for me)!

I have to remember how blessed I am to be doing what I love on my own schedule to tell this story that means so much to me. Its a beautiful thing that should not be taken for granted. Maybe I just need to take a break more often to regain a little perspective… Going outside occasionally probably would help, heh.

  1. The last two weeks huh? Are you finished with the first scene yet?
    I enjoyed your May 25 entry (picture of the lightening bug), it looked really good. If Julie and I come up, can we have a look at what you’re are doing, or is it all secretive? I feel like there is alot probably on the sight you are withholding from the fans.

    chad    Jun 27, 04:53 PM   
  2. Sure, you guys can come up and take a look at all the secrets if you want! Im only posting about 5% of the work Im doing, so there should be plenty of surprises in store for even the most astute reader of this blog.

    Vance    Jun 29, 06:43 PM   

Firefly Village sketch

Friday June 10, 2005

A rough sketch of the background for an early underground scene. This gives you an taste of what the environment will be like around the Firefly Village.

Click here to see the whole image!

New art up

Wednesday May 25, 2005

New image of finished animation up.

Finished Frame

Wednesday May 25, 2005

Heres a frame of finished animation for your peepers to peep at. Click HERE for a nice full-size version.

And just for fun, you can compare it to the rough version here.

  1. wowzers. Sargent crispers making an appearance to transform a genteel drug trip into a political statement… Hmmm. I see it all now…

    dan    May 26, 09:30 AM   
  2. ha ha. Dan, have you been spiking your chai again?

    Vance    May 26, 03:40 PM   

Portfolio Demo Reel

Friday May 13, 2005

Wanted to drop in a quick note to say that my new demo reel is finished and up over on my portfolio. And as I mentioned, its got a few quick bits of new JunkForest footage in it! So go check it out.

Im just getting back into working on JF today, after having quite a lot of paying-the-bills type work for a long stretch. Its good to be able to eat and pay the rent, but its also very nice to get back into the film. I mostly painted on a background for an early scene in Firefly Village today, which is a tricky color scheme, but Im getting the hang of it and starting to really like what I see.


Thursday May 5, 2005

Hey all. Ive been busy busy with things and stuff. Anyway, wanted to drop in here and notify the public that I hadnt died or fallen deathly ill or forgotten about you.

Im working on a new demo reel for my port-a-folio, and most likely, I will drop in some of the new finished JunkForest footage thats hot off the press! Thats only if you behave yourself though, so no funny business, kids.

  1. i like bananas

    brian    Aug 15, 10:43 PM   

Scene 1

Monday April 18, 2005

As I sit here typing this, The “finished” version of the first scene is being rendered. Not at full resolution, but all the elements are finished and its basically done. For some reason – ok, because this scene has a TON of layers of depth and detail – a full-resolution render is taking forever, so I will have to set aside a weekend for that task. Yeah, a weekend. For 40 seconds of footage… crazy. I know the 3D world has to put up with long render-times, but Ive never seen AfterEffects go so slow before. Oh, well.

All that to say, things are moving along nicely! Im very optimistic about the progress we are making so far. On to scene 2!

  1. Wow Vance. I kind of assumed since you were rockin with a G5, that you didn’t need to wait so long… but it does make sense though. Anyway, I’m excited that you can be done with a scene. That’s gotta be encouraging.

    brian    Apr 18, 02:08 PM   
  2. Yeah, I didnt think itd take this long either. Im pretty sure most of the other scenes will render faster – this one really is huge. Like 60+ layers of hi-res photoshop stuff, made big enough to someday print into a poster if I want to.

    A half-size render only takes like 20 minutes, but full-size like 11 hours or something! wacky wacky

    Vance    Apr 18, 10:05 PM   

Title Screen Video

Thursday April 14, 2005

Click here (708kb) to view a short clip of a piece of the opening scene of the film. The details of this clip can be read here

  1. Looking good. Like the gateway to the future.

    Ben    Apr 14, 07:57 AM   

Title animation

Thursday April 14, 2005 Click here to watch (708kb)

This is just a small piece of the opening scene of the film – and its still a little rough around the edges.

Pencil sketch colored in painter/photoshop, then “lit� and animated in aftereffects

  1. Super good job dude. I love seeing the progress in this project.

    Dro    Apr 14, 03:55 AM   
  2. Thanks Dro!

    Vance    Apr 14, 04:48 AM   
  3. Very cool Vance. I’m always so impressed by your work. Way to go!

    Anna    Apr 16, 04:10 AM   

New screenshot

Thursday March 31, 2005

Theres a new screenshot up in the ART section.

Latest look and feel screenshot

Thursday March 31, 2005

Heres what its looking like, stylistically at this point. I’m learning more and more about how to “light” things in interesting ways in AfterEffects.

Final Junkbot designs

Wednesday March 30, 2005

WorkerBot (picture taken from the Teaser)
Duties – The obedient servant of the team, this bot uses its multifunctional blender arm contraption to run the various machines and gizmos of the forest. Crystal clear water can be piped into this little guy via a nozzle on his back, allowing him to hose down whatever needs a drink.

Duties – Her golden singing voice and fantastic hip gyrations ease even the harshest woodland beastie’s sour mood.

Duties – He is the brains and brawn of the JunkBot team. Utilizing his massive barrel chested upper torso and built-in wrench, he keeps all the Forest’s junk-equipment running in top shape.

Now its on to making 3d models of each of these guys! I will keep you all posted for shore.

  1. Cool. Are there just going to be three bots, or are these “types” that will be used for many of them?

    Are Dustin and John going to start modeling them?

    dan    Mar 31, 08:26 PM   
  2. There are only these 3 unique bots in the story, yeah. That way we can inject lots of personality into each one.

    We havent set up a schedule yet for modeling… but hopefully somewhat soon John can get to the modeling. I’ll be posting things as they progress!

    Vance    Mar 31, 08:46 PM   

FINAL Junkbot designs!

Wednesday March 30, 2005

Noah sends in the final versions of the Junkbots’ character designs today! Go see for yourself in the art section HERE

I wrote up a little Bio for each of them too. Check it out.

Huge poster

Thursday March 24, 2005

I made a giant poster using this web software with the slightly unsettling name The Rasterbator and put it up in my room/studio. Its very cool!

I printed it out on 63 sheets of 8.5×11 paper and its almost 100 inches wide! The image is from Castle in the Sky, my favorite movie.

Click here to view a nice big version of the picture.

New site graphics/design

Wednesday March 16, 2005

After some tinkering with the logo on my part, and thanks to Brian’s webmasterings, theres a new, juicier look to the site!

What do ya think?

  1. Looks great. Lucy in the sky. Fireflies tonight shining bright.

    I haven’t checked on Junk Forest in a while, but its back in my “blog” bookmark section! ya.

    Dan    Mar 16, 10:13 AM   
  2. Thanks, daniel. I hope to be writing and posting much more stuff starting soon-like… Ive sort of got a load of client-work to do for a good while, so it might take some time to fully get back into it.

    Vance    Mar 16, 03:03 PM   

Animation HAS BEGUN!

Tuesday March 15, 2005

I want to write something here that may sound kind of ridiculous, because well, it is sort of ridiculous… Anyway, I’ve officially begun work on the first scene of JunkForest!

What I mean is, Im starting to animate the thing. Not storyboard. Not concept. Not time the scenes. I mean Im doing the real animation for the final film. I cant really describe how good it feels to finally get going after all the preparation and planning and whatnot and what-have-you’s that have taken almost 4 years now… unbelievable. Im sort of amazed Im still so excited about this crazy thing! But I am.

To prove to the nay-sayers and poo-pooers out there that I mean business, check out this photo I took here. Its a quick snap I took of the background drawing for the opening scene. Its going to be a cool scene I think, with lots of layers and depth to it. Thats as much as I will say about it for now…

If only I wasnt so stinking busy with “real” work these days… bagh. Once I have more time the floodgates will open, I assure you!

New Storyboards

Sunday February 27, 2005

Here’s a quick production update for ya:

I just finished re-storyboarding some important scenes of the film, and Im finally happy with how they look! Heres a quick sample:

And follow this LINK to a new page with some of the new storyboards, animated! ( 276k ) I wish I could post some of the juicier scenes, but I have to keep my secrets… mu-hahaha

JunkForest teams up with OddBeat Inc!

Wednesday February 23, 2005

Hot off the press!

I’m happy to announce that my friends John and Dustin over at OddBeat Inc have officially joined the JunkForest Team!

They will be doing the 3d modeling and animation of the Junkbot characters. So yes, this is a new direction for the film in many ways. I had originally intended for JF to be purely 2-dimensional, but the work-load was going to be unrealistic for me to handle all by myself that way. So, after promising the OddBeat guys fame and fortune with a semi-straight face, they chose wisely.

This is still a “side project” for all parties involved, so nothing has changed in that regard. This will still speed up production quite a bit once we get rolling. I (Vance) am currently re-storyboarding some early scenes of the film, and am also re-writing what the junkbots’ roles will be in the story.

Stay tuned for more updates soon!

TGSNT accepts Bear Hunt

Friday February 11, 2005

Bear Hunt is a finalist in TGSNT (The Greatest Story Never Told)! You can vote for your favorite – just click the link.

Vote here

Bear Hunt 2005!


Friday February 11, 2005

In not-really-JunkForest-related-at-all news, I made an iMix to usher in some spring weather:

Give it a listen

(you’ll need iTunes)

  1. Dude, I thought you were saying you made an iMix with Usher music in it – not just to usher in the spring weather!

    brian    Feb 11, 10:28 AM   
  2. Well, that was my first idea…

    Vance    Feb 11, 08:39 PM   

Motion Trial

Wednesday February 9, 2005

I just realized tonite that Apple posted a 30-day trial for Motion recently! So I’m checking it out… Its running pretty slow for me, and it actually crashed too on the first use, so egh... C’mon Apple, lets see v.2!

All the same, tomorrow I hope to bring in some JunkForest stuff to see if I can use it for the film – to see if its worth a purchase or not.

  1. update
    Motion is too slooooooow to even consider a purchase. Oh, well…

    Vance    Feb 9, 06:27 PM   

New Studio Photo

Wednesday February 9, 2005

New studio photo is up here

“New” Studio picture

Wednesday February 9, 2005

My building is cold these days, so I moved everything into the living room near the gas furnace. Heres a small picture:


Wednesday February 9, 2005

Hey all.

Sorry things have been so quiet and mysterious here for such a long time. I hope to start making lots of noise soon enough though! I’ve been thinking a lot about how to apply what I learned while making Bear Hunt without turning JF into Bear Hunt 2 or something, if that makes any sense. JF and BH are very different beasts, and only so many things can apply to both of them, but heres a short list of things I’ve learned that I’m hoping to apply to JunkForest:

Speed up production!
This is the big’un. I was able to make a 6 minute short in only 3 months… Why has it taken me 3 years to only begin to scratch the surface of JF??? hm? WHY?! Time for some creative corner-cutting and setting of a serious deadline methinks.

Sound Effects
I think the scenes in Bear Hunt that have sound effects really pop out and grab you nicely – maybe its just because they are at the end and contrast everything you’ve heard so far in the film – I dunno… I do know that JunkForest will shine brighter and be much more compelling with sound effects though, so they are officially added to the production henceforth.

Keep things pretty
While I would like to speed up the creation of this monster, I simply cant allow myself to sacrifice the quality of the visuals. In Bear Hunt, if something wasn’t working quite right, I would just blur it and distort it until it kinda-sorta worked. This was okay I guess because its such a dark film that you cant see many details anyway, but man I distorted things to painful extremes sometimes, and those really show up when you play it on a brighter screen or full-screen etc. So – blurring and stretching and distorting only as an extreme last resort…

  1. Hey Dude,
    I’m excited to see how the bear hunt experience lends to JF. I’m excited about sound effects. I really enjoyed seeing the full screen teaser on the DVD of Junk Forest. it really got me excited to see more. What a different beast indeed!

    brian    Feb 10, 01:39 PM   
  2. Yeah, the contrast is pretty stark watching them back to back, thats for sure!

    Id also like to implement the same level of atmosphere and ambience as Bear Hunt by adding fog and deeper, denser environments – without making it too creepy of course…

    I like this guy’s darker paintings and hope to learn some things about value from his stuff as I work to achieve a better all-around atmosphere.

    Vance    Feb 11, 05:13 AM   

The Bear Hunt is done

Friday December 31, 2004

The Bear Hunt is done!

Check it out

A quick revisit to JunkForest

Tuesday December 21, 2004

Hello JF faithfuls!

I just wanted to pop in here and write that I hadn’t thought about, looked at or watched anything having to do with JunkForest for the past 3 months now… crazy since I had up until that point worked on it and thought about it constantly for about 3 years.

Anyway, the other day I had some free time and I decided to fire up all the rough JF footage thats been made so far, and I must say, it was so refreshing to see it with “new eyes” so to speak. 3 months ago, when I halted work on it to start up The Bear Hunt, I was so burnt out and it was beginning to look impossible that I would ever finish the crazy thing. Now I have a fresh perspective on it and Im thinking through new ways to get it created… so I’ll share about those ideas as they get solidified.

The Bear Hunt should be done in early January sometime, and then Im going to take a break from these massive animation side-projects I keep getting myself into for a while and then come back into JF in full force with a new perspective and things should hopefully get very interesting… I’ll keep ya posted.

  1. Maybe every year or so you’ll need to pull your head out of Junkforest for a side project. Just to get your focus back, look a some different things for awhile, and then dig back in with a fresh head.

    brian    Dec 21, 11:09 PM   
  2. Yeah, maybe that would be good. When I think about spending the next couple years on it – which is how long it would probably take if I continue to keep making it lone-wolf style on the side – I start to get kind of worried I’ll want to change it all the time to fit my changing interests and whatnot – or that I’ll just lose complete interest in it at some point.

    But, JF’s stayed pretty focused so far I think… and Im still really happy with the current final version of the story. So maybe I can just keep plugging away at it nice and slow like I have been… we’ll see.

    Vance    Dec 22, 06:35 AM   
  3. Because of Bear Hunt, now i want to add sound effects to JF… hmm. No voices still, just sound effects.

    Vance    Jan 4, 10:57 PM   
  4. That could be really cool! The SFX made a huge contribution to the impact of Bear Hunt.

    Casey, but not the one you know    Jan 26, 12:09 AM   
  5. Yeah, i think so too, mystery casey. Theres a very noticeable lack of punch and energy to JunkForest when I watch the rough footage of it now because of the lack of sounds…

    Finding and/or making sounds is great fun anyway, so I think it needs to happen!

    Vance    Jan 26, 03:08 AM   
  6. Yeah – to be honest, the atmosphere of JunkForest does feel a little blah compared to Bear Hunt. On the other hand, i saw the completed version of Bear Hunt, and all i’ve seen of Junk Forest is the early stuff.

    Brian Warren    Jan 27, 06:34 PM   

The Bear Hunt site

Thursday November 4, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I give you The Bear Hunt website.

I will be blogging over there from now until I finish Bear Hunt – which should be by the end of the year… So things will be very quiet on this site until then. Rest assured, JunkForest will continue! ...just not for a while…

  1. Friends at school think that you have made some really cool stuff… They all like the bear hunt adventure tooooo!!! Especially the growl, ten points man on that one——definately….... Welp until next time

    Keith Reeser    Dec 8, 09:53 AM   
  2. Thanks. The Bear Hunt is definitely going to be best experienced at night with some good headphones…

    Vance    Dec 8, 08:01 PM   

The Bear Hunt teaser

Saturday October 30, 2004

What’s up kids,
My friend Dan over at publicpixel is hosting the teaser for The Bear Hunt. Follow the link and get a teasing taste of what’s to come.

The Bear Hunt teaser

There is a mini-site for The Bear Hunt in the works. I’ll drop a note in here when it goes live. Take care!

Bear Hunt video

Monday October 11, 2004

Heres a quick video test I did for the experimental short Im currently working on, “The Bear Hunt�.

Clicky (768kb)

What I'm up to...

Monday October 11, 2004

Hey Folks,
Like I mentioned last post, Im taking a break from JunkForest and doing a shorter, experimental animation these days. It’s most likely going to be called “The Bear Hunt” and it will be a dark, dream-like tale of greed, pride and how we choose who to love and spend time with in our lives.

So far its been a nice change of pace and style from JF, and I think it will help me flex some different creative muscles and come back to JF refreshed and ready for the next round…

Here are some screenshots and a link to some early test footage.


Early Video (768kb)

  1. Oh man, I love the scenery! Dude, it’s beautiful! I’m glad you’re changing things up a bit and not getting so entrenched in Junk Forest that you can’t see the “forest for the trees” if you catch my drift!


    Brian Warren    Oct 11, 06:15 AM   


Wednesday September 29, 2004

Well folks… Heres the deal. Im going to take a little hiatus from JunkForest for a while. I need me a break.

Theres an new concept that I have thats rattling around in the old brain and I need to get it out on paper and bring the thing to life. Its keeping me awake and filling my sketchbook… I think it might take a couple months depending on how busy I am with paying jobs, as it will be a side-project. Im also going to enter it into a contest (The Greatest Story Never Told) and see what happens with that.

So dont you worry, my dearies. JunkForest is not even close to shutting down or quitting, i just need to take a vacation from it to keep it fresh and fun- and i will be back soon.

I may post a few shots of what Im currently working on in here in the mean-time just for kicks.

More of Noah's bot designs

Sunday September 19, 2004

I put up the most recent progress on the junkbots- sent to me yesterday by Mr Noah Smith.

More junkbot art.

More bots!

Sunday September 19, 2004

Noah sends in this little treat. These are the near final versions of the other two bots in the film.

The female bot is a hula-dancer, and she will be doing some stunning and fantastic hula-dancing throughout the story.

The other one is the mechanic who fixes and keeps all the bots and junk-equipment running in top form. You can see Noah’s design progress on this character in many places in this section of the site.

  1. Vance, does the hula girl hover?

    dan    Sep 19, 09:23 AM   
  2. Yeah, she does. I think she’ll have like a magical firefly-glow underneath her skirt and on each shoe instead of legs… I think it will give her a fun whimsical style, and it will be tons easier to animate her that way too. (heh)

    But we’ll see. Noah’s working out the colored versions of these guys soon, so Ill put those up in a little while hopefully.

    Vance    Sep 19, 05:46 PM   
  3. What is the little string hanging down from the buff bot?

    chad reeser    Sep 23, 07:02 PM   
  4. It looks like a little electrical plug to me.

    Brian Warren    Sep 23, 07:28 PM   
  5. Brian, you are correct.

    Vance    Sep 23, 08:44 PM   
  6. nice character i like it

    mario pulvida    Jun 18, 03:18 AM   

Sam running vid up

Monday September 13, 2004

Regarding the video I promised last post, I added his hair and put him against the background and did a quick render. Just for you my good friend, just for you.

Looky here

My hand hurts, time for a break. Take care.

Sam running

Monday September 13, 2004

Here’s a screenshot of the scene Im currently working on. These are the first 25 frames of Sam chasing the fireflies. He is about to leap over a log thats in his path on the last frame. I always draw his hair last, because, well, its really hard to draw…so he’s bald at this point.

He’s running over some rough terrain, so thats why his feet aren’t hitting the ground at the same level throughout. (I’m not that bad of an animator…heh)

I’ll put up a video of this bit of animation soon- after I draw his hair.

update Sept 12th The video is up.

Sam running video

Monday September 13, 2004

This is the video (160kb) for the scene Ive been working on lately- where Sam is running through the woods. You can see the different layers of trees there will be in the scene in order to give the illusion of depth and a thicker forest. Sam is about to jump over the log you see at the very end of this clip, but I haven’t animated that part yet.


  1. Wow. That looks really hard. Seriously, for a long time I’ve thought walking and running seem like such impossibilities to animate. And it seems like so often it’s gotten so wrong. Anyway, great work! I love the depth with the trees and I like how Sam’s hair flaps when he runs.

    Brian Warren    Sep 13, 02:25 AM   
  2. Thanks bw. This was pretty hard, but Im learning quite a bit and enjoying it too… I dont know where Id be without The Animator’s Survival Kit, that book is basically teaching me how to animate as I go. The author breaks everything down to its simplest form, and gives such detailed examples that I can go to it with almost any idea in mind, and it has the resources I need to start making it happen. There are at least 50 pages I bet devoted to nothing but walks and runs! Its the thing he suggests you learn to do well first to get inside the mind and personality of a chracter, because the way they walk/run can really say alot about them.

    Im pretty excited about how the trees are turning out too. AfterEffects does a good job at that kind of pseudo-3d depth stuff, which is really helping make the forest come alive I think.

    Vance    Sep 13, 02:40 AM   
  3. Vance,
    I was finally able to find a computer that will load flash and check out your sight again! I really like this animation! I think this is the most realistic animation I have seen you do yet.

    chad reeser    Sep 23, 07:00 PM   
  4. Thanks, bro. Its definitely the most difficult animation Ive tried yet, thats for sure. Im really enjoying it though. I might put up this whole scene when its done- in rough black and white anyway- because I like how its turning out.

    Vance    Sep 23, 08:47 PM   
  5. Total agreement with the other messages….. Your little running man is kick butt cool!!

    Keith Reeser    Dec 8, 09:57 AM   

Making Sam run

Saturday September 11, 2004

Today I’m working on figuring out how to make Sam run and its really challenging! There are so many subtle things that you need to think through- is he tired? hesitant? curious? bold? timid? etc etc. Its great fun (at least for me anyway, heh) to think this kind of stuff through and then try to incorporate these ideas into how he’s running in a particular scene.

The scene Im working on has him chasing after the fireflies as they dart through the woods. Since its night-time, Sam is dependent on the glow of their firefly-tails to light his way through and around and over the logs and hills of the forest, so he is running as hard as he can, trying to keep up, because if he doesn’t theres a really good chance he will get lost in the deep dark forest. So there is a bit of desperation to how he’s moving, which should be interesting to work out.

Im enjoying this scene quite a bit, and Im planning on posting a video of the results (in rough form) when I get it worked out.

update Sept. 12th
I put up a screenshot of the first 25 frames.

New sketch up in ART

Friday September 10, 2004

Hey kiddies.

There’s a new drawing up in the ART section. Its another fine junkbot sketch by Noah Smith, freelance pet-costume designer extraordinaire! Check it out.

Another junkbot sketch

Friday September 10, 2004

Noah treats us to another junkbot sketch for the mechanic character. This guy’s really coming along nicely now.

New photos in the Studio Section

Sunday September 5, 2004

Go check out 2 new photos in the studio section here. There are stories for each picture. So kick back, relax, and check it out.

Two early photos

Sunday September 5, 2004

These two pictures were taken by my friend Dan while I was down in RockSprings Texas, working on JunkForest while doing media stuff for Camp Eagle down there.

– - –

The first picture is me working late one night on the teaser in this old shack on the campgrounds. It houses all the guy counselors during the summer, and we were there in February of 2003. Dan and I had to fill about 4 giant trash bags full of leftover trash and food and filthy camp clothes before we could stand living there.

– - –

The second photo is after the teaser was finished. This picture was taken while I was still at camp, but we had moved to a new(er) place on the grounds that was much nicer after giving it a good steam-vacuuming. I had just rendered out the whole thing while playing Zelda (barely visible on the TV to the right) and Dan and I had just watched it. Dan had some wine on hand, so he broke it out and we celebrated.

Ah, the memories! Thanks for the photos Dan! And thank you Camp Eagle for letting me stay with you while I worked on this crazy thing!

Mechanic-bot sketches

Thursday September 2, 2004

I put up some of Noah’s junkbot design sketches. These are really early ideas for a mechanic character thats built out of pieces of scrap metal and other odds and ends.

Junkbot Sketches

Thursday September 2, 2004

Noah and I have been working out what the mechanic character is going to look like lately. Heres a rough progression of the ideas we’ve been working on- all drawn by Noah. I’d like for him to flex his robot arms a lot, as you can see…

Ill be sure to post the final version of this guy when its ready. Great work, Noah!

Sam drawing

Thursday August 26, 2004

Here he is. This is the lead character of the story, Sam.

colored pencil on sketch paper

Thoughts at this point in time

Thursday August 26, 2004

No major updates or additions to the site Im afraid… Just wanted to write a little bit about how things are going with the film. cartoon…animation…eh, whatever.

Ok, heres something thats really starting to bug me. Im trying to decide if it should bug me or not. Basically, the people that I come in contact with who have for one reason or another seen some stuff for JunkForest all think the lead character, Sam, is a girl. Now I realize that he doesn’t have a buzz cut and torn jeans and a moustache, but come on!

Thats their gut reaction and its sort of troubling. Im thinking I either need to redesign his character a little bit, which wouldnt be too horrible at this point, or I need to make it clear in some other way- the way he moves, acts etc. Since theres no voices in the film, sound’s not going to help anything Im afraid. I dont know, maybe its not even that big of a deal… What do you folks think?

Ok, I put up some art of Sam here. Take a look and lets get to the bottom of this.

  1. That’s interesting. I never thought he looked like a girl, but – you told me about the project before I saw Sam. And that totally influenced my perception. Now, thinking about it and getting a fresh take on him, I can see how people would think that.

    For one – his haircut is one that kinda looks like some girl haircuts that I’ve seen before on kids. I really like teh whimsical nature of his hair though. I think it fits the mood of this story well.

    Also, maybe the length and shape of his legs might lend a tiny bit of femeninity to him. Since each leg kinda is slender in the middle, it makes the pants look a bit like girl pants. Just total guessing, off the top of my head kind of stuff here, so take it for what it’s worth.


    Brian Warren    Aug 26, 06:29 AM   
  2. Thanks for the input Brian. Im still thinking this one over… I really really like the simple charm of his character, and I’d rather not change anything about him… but after hearing “Hey, I saw your site, the one with the little girl running around in the woods” about 7 times now, I cant help but be a little concerned people are getting the wrong impression about it…

    I kind of think I’ll stick with the same old design though, because Im a stubborn old mule that way.

    Vance    Sep 4, 05:58 AM   
  3. Oh, and also, I based Sam on a real boy that I saw running around one day- who had that exact haircut and the same kind of clothes and everything. He was carrying his skateboard around and had a german shepherd and looked to be about 10 or 11. He looked like a really cool kid and I instantly thought, “he would make a great character in a story…” and the rest as they say, is history.

    Vance    Sep 4, 06:03 AM   

Life stuff

Friday August 20, 2004

Things have become pretty hectic for me lately, so there might not be any updates for a couple weeks or so. Please bear with me, and know that things are going to be all right.

Maybe tell someone you care about how you feel in the mean time. Lifes way too short not to.

Links section is alive!

Thursday August 19, 2004

Hey there.

There is now a links section added to the site. Check there for things related (and not-so-related) to JunkForest that are worth checking out on the web.

New video: teaser scenes edited

Sunday August 15, 2004

This link will take you to a new video I put up. Its a re-edit of some scenes from the teaser…theres a nice long explanation for it too.


Editing scenes from the teaser

Sunday August 15, 2004 Some explanation:

In order to test out how JunkForest was going to move and look back in the fall of 2002, I created a teaser, which was finished spring 2003. While I was creating it, I was trying to think ahead as much as I could to make the scenes work not only for the teaser, but then also again in the finished film. After I finished the teaser, however, I realized there were A LOT of things I wanted to change in the story to make it more entertaining and interesting.

So I re-wrote the whole thing during the winter of 2003 and had my final draft done by January 2004. Needless to say, much of what is in the teaser doesn’t translate well at all into this new story… There are a few scenes that I think I will be able to work into the final version though, and thats what I am currently doing.

This video (1.2mb) is the new edit of 2 scenes currently in the teaser. I recreated the fireflies and changed some things in the backgrounds as well. It still needs some polish and some lighting effects, but other than that these are ready for the final I think.

This video is nice and big too, 720×480! Enjoy!

New Art up

Thursday August 5, 2004

I put up a photo of a pencil drawing tonite. Its the background art Im currently working on. looky here

Background Drawing

Thursday August 5, 2004

I decided that the scene Im currently working on is going to be so complex, that it may be better to draw out the background on paper nice and big, and then draw the different layers of depth for the scene on pieces of tracing paper. Sometimes thinking through an entire scene on the computer monitor can be pretty limiting… and this way I can move things around by hand and think of it as a physical environment much easier. Its working pretty well so far.

Heres a photo of the main drawing of the background. There will be 2 more layers of trees and foliage for added depth when the camera pans through the environment.

2H Pencil on bristol board

Woodchuck caught!

Sunday August 1, 2004

A picture of the woodchuck (taken today) sitting on top of his hole thats dug into this shoddy wall near my front door. The longer I look at this photo, the more I fear for my safety. Theres menace in those eyes!

  1. I hear scratching, scratching…

    Ha Vance! Time to call up Mathis and the “indoor” shotgun again!

    dan    Aug 2, 06:35 PM   
  2. Thankfully i cant hear any scratching around with this guy. There are squirrels living in the roof somewhere in this house too, but I cant hear them either…

    So if the creatures leave me alone, I leave them alone I guess…

    Vance    Aug 3, 03:08 PM   
  3. I think he is just trying to help you out with animating—I read somewhere that Disney brought in animals for the Lion King…he is trying to be inspiring.

    kc    Aug 6, 11:08 PM   
  4. hmm…guess i need to somehow work in some woodchucks into the story…

    Vance    Aug 10, 05:40 PM   
  5. Vancie, I’m way late in seeing this, but gosh-amighty if you don’t have that bleeping “chuck” at your house! I’ve seen him in the hood at night and figured he crawled up from some ditch. Alas no, you’re harbouring his smelly “A.” We can go ninja academy on him sometime if you need to.

    herva    Nov 16, 04:44 AM   

The woodchuck

Sunday August 1, 2004

Finally, documented proof of the woodchuck’s return, taken today.

In the studio section; here.

Thoughts on the progress...

Saturday July 31, 2004

I thought Id sit down tonite and write out a little bit about how I feel about the progress of the animation so far…

There are some days where making this thing feels like hard work and Im trudging through just to get another bit done, and then there are other days that Im genuinely inspired to work on it because I can see something magical (for lack of a better word) happening. Today was one of those days where I remembered “Yeah! That’s why Im making this crazy thing!” Im not even sure what sparked it specifically, but I felt giddy and excited all over again.

Animation makes it especially difficult to have a “big-picture” overview of the process, because you’re pain-stakingly crafting one frame at a time… I have the whole thing storyboarded, so I know the general pace I think it should have- and also the music is far enough along to get a feel how that is going to drive the story and vice-versa, but when your hunched down over one scene for a long time, trying to get that one arm movement or whatever just right for a few hours, it can become pretty over-whelming, and all perspective is narrowed down to that one moment. When those small movements are going well, it can be very exciting, but when its not, I can begin to doubt the whole endeavor- it suddenly looks huge and ridiculous.

I think its possible that I was able to finally see some real, solid progress on the flow of the film this afternoon after I rendered out what Ive got done so far- enabling me to step back and breath- and to gain some fresh perspective. Ive got about 1min:35seconds (of the rough b/w version) done at this point, and its flowing much better than I was thinking it would. I was beginning to really be concerned most of the action was happening way too fast, and that any sense of “awe” or “wonder” would be impossible to evoke at that speed. I stretched some things around though, and I think its going to work. Its still cruising at a pretty good pace, faster than I originally imagined- thanks to Jamey’s spiffed up score- but I really think its going to work. Now the key is making it sing, not just work.

So it continues…

Another Firefly video up

Thursday July 29, 2004

Hey. My newest rough scene is up for viewing here.

Fast Fireflies Video

Thursday July 29, 2004

An extremely brief and rough scene to show how the fireflies light up the forest around them- and also my best attempt so far to get them to move the way I imagine they should.

Im pretty happy with the amount of blur and the speed and everything…the only thing that needs work animation-wise is they kind of “clump up” at the end of their flight.

Fast Fireflies - 163k

  1. ... salivating… me likes your works vance!

    Brian Warren    Jul 30, 12:54 AM   

JunkForest Theme Song

Thursday July 29, 2004

Heres the theme music from the teaser of the film for your downloading pleasure…

JunkForest Theme - 876k

The music was created by Herva.

Frames flip video up

Sunday July 25, 2004

I took some video with my cheap-o digital camera tonite of me flipping frames of animation. Check it out here.

Frames Flip

Sunday July 25, 2004 Here’s (1.5mb) a movie I shot of how I flip the pages of animation while Im drawing to test the movement. Sorry its kind of awkward, but its hard to hold the camera and flip like that at the same time.

Oh, thats Stars of the Lid playing in the background. Buy their music.


Friday July 23, 2004

I made 3 simple desktop images tonite.

Click on the size you want then right-click on the image and choose “Save as…” or whatever it is your computer offers you and enjoy!


I also put up an aquarium pic tonite in the studio section.

  1. Nice! Good work, I am really enjoying the JF blog, Vance.

    Brian Warren    Jul 23, 05:17 PM   

My aquarium

Friday July 23, 2004

My Aquarium

The fish most visible – and thats see-through – is one of the gold pristellas, and the other ones that are blurry are the incredibly active zebra danios. Those suckers chase each other all day and are impossible to photograph.

Those plants are just starting to really grow, it will be cooler when they get big.

  1. Alas, I killed all the gold pristellas a while ago…

    Vance    Mar 16, 07:47 AM   

Quick Note: Archives

Friday July 23, 2004


Work on the film continues today…working on a quick scene with Sam.

FYI: There are links to Archives now along with the other shortcut links to the left. Check there for the older crustier stuff and let your eyes mist with thoughts of the good old days.


Wednesday July 21, 2004

Sorry for the lack in updates… Ive been busy working on other things. I hope to get back to JF as soon as possible though.

I just got some fish for the aquarium in my room/studio. My friend Chad gave me his old tank and stuff and I just put in some zebra danios and gold pristella tetras. When the tank really gets going Ill maybe take a pic of it and post it.

Also, rumor has it that the woodchuck is back… but I havent seen him yet with my own 2 eyes, so I dont know. Stay tuned for more late-breaking coverage.

  1. No way! Is woodchuck coming back for school or just to live there?

    matt    Jul 22, 10:39 PM   
  2. The ways of the woodchuck are a mystery to me.

    I saw him scurrying around near Sager Creek and we made brief eye contact before he took off into the trees… and after that encounter Casey claims to have seen him back in his dirty hole that he was living in when I first moved here- but Ive seen no sign of his return…

    Im thinking of leaving woodchuck treats in his hole to lure him back…but I dont know what woodchucks like… besides wood, I guess. And I think woodchuck treats will just attract more of the rat-like cats that infest this part of the neighborhood and tear up my trashbags.

    Vance    Jul 22, 11:35 PM   
  3. Are we talking about Charlie Wofford or actual Woodchucks?

    matt    Jul 23, 04:12 PM   
  4. An actual woodchuck… Is that one of Charlie’s nicknames? Ive never heard that one.

    I thought you were being clever talking about the woodchuck going to JBU or something… heh.

    Vance    Jul 23, 04:28 PM   


Monday July 19, 2004

– - –

Im in the process of transferring my files over to my slick new dual 1.8 G5. It runs like buttery angelic string music compared to my crusty old G4.

I need to get the ethernet repaired on it though (which means no internet connectability yet with it- doh!), which shouldnt be too big a deal since its under warranty and all. Hopefully it gets worked out quickly, even though Ive heard some bad things about our area’s Apple Specialists… hm.

Update (07-19-04) 5:40pm
I got it back from the Apple guys today already. Guess theres not anything seriously wrong with it at all…They just deleted my settings and made new ones and it worked. I feel sort of silly having not been able to figure it out, but at least the ethernets working now…woo!

  1. hmm… my camera makes the G5 look like its been spray-painted with cheap metallic paint or something…

    Vance    Jul 21, 05:02 PM   
  2. heh heh, yeah not the most flattering picture, but still very cool vance!

    Brian Warren    Jul 21, 05:14 PM   
  3. Dude i like the little computer, it looks so famil…... hey wait thats mine…. I knew it

    Keith Reeser    Dec 8, 10:05 AM   

New computer

Monday July 19, 2004

I got a sweet new G5 yesterday – saturday – and it should make work on JF and everything else for that matter slicker than mayonnaise.

I put up 2 pics of it in the studio section. Check it out here.

Sam video up

Tuesday July 13, 2004

Hey. That video of Sam Ive been talking about is up tonite.

Go check it out.

Sam test animation

Tuesday July 13, 2004

My latest progress on the animation…

This scene shows Sam reacting to the Fireflies as they emerge from the forest. Its very rough still… I did a sketch of each frame on my light table and scanned them in, then cleaned em up in photoshop and added his hair in photoshop as well.

You can see how Ive layered things in photoshop pretty well in this scene. Theres 5 major layers: (from the bottom up) The backgound, Sam’s body, The part of the fence that covers his body, Sam’s arms, and lastly his hair. Some parts are definitely more finished than others, but you get the general idea I think.

Sam test - 273k

  1. Very cool! Definitely interesting to see Sam, and I’m looking forward to seeing more. In all honesty, I expected a longer clip but as I look at it, I’m seeing how much work goes into it. It looks very hard. Very impressive, Vance.

    Brian Warren    Jul 15, 02:10 AM   
  2. yeah, that few-second clip took a whole day to make… I need to train some monkeys to do in-between drawings for me.

    Vance    Jul 15, 04:29 PM   


Monday July 12, 2004

Im working on my first real attempt at giving the lead character, Sam some personality and trying to make it so he portrays emotion believably.

Its really really difficult…but its also a whole lot of fun. Ill post how it turns out once its presentable. Have a good day.

Teaser Full-Res Screenshots

Saturday July 10, 2004

Heres a few of my favorite shots from the teaser:

Sam in the woods
Sam and the lights
Junkbot piecing together


Progress report/Miyazaki

Saturday July 10, 2004

Hey folks.
Things are going pretty well with the film. Its a slow but steady progress. Ive completed a “rough” version of over a minute of footage so far… I should soon be able to put up an animation test of the lead character, Sam, so you can get a good look at him and his personality.

I think Im also going to pick a few of my favorite shots from the teaser and put up nice full-res screenshots of them. Look for those in the art section soon.

I watched Spirited Away again last nite, and every time I watch it I can sink my teeth into the story and ideas and characters a little bit more. Its one of those rare movies (for me) that gets better and better every time… Its such a rich and unique world Miyazaki has created, theres really no way to take it all in and appreciate it in one sitting. The man is a genius, pure and simple. I highly recommend every one of his films, they’re all fantastic. (it probably helps to be an animator to really dig them, but other folks should watch them too…)

Heres a list of the films of his Ive seen and can recommend:

Castle in the Sky (An absolute must-see! My favorite movie I think.)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (Probably my least favorite, but its pretty good.)
Princess Mononoke (Great!)
Spirited Away

Some of his older movies are being re-released (thanks to the folks at Disney- who I guess cant be all bad…) in the states this summer, one of which is Nausicaa- which is an amazing manga (Japenese comic). So Im pretty excited about that. I guess the original US-translated version of it is so horrible, Miyazaki wishes people would just forget about it.

Studio Ghibli (Miyazaki’s studio) are also working on a new movie, called Howl’s Moving Castle, and it looks really wonderful too. I cant wait!

Me Working

Saturday July 10, 2004

Here I am hunched over my light-table. All the years of slouching and bad posture have prepared me for the physical strain of animation I think.

I knew it would come in handy one day…

The open book next to me is The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams. Fantastic resource and its one of the key motivators for me becoming an animator. Check it out if youre interested in that sort of thing.

  1. I get the feeling you will look like a certain crotchety ol’ hermit someday if you maintain that posture while working.

    Brian Warren    Jul 10, 04:42 PM   

My new G5!

Friday July 9, 2004


Well, I broke down and got a G5! Here it is in all its splendor!

  1. Very cool – it’s so pretty! I’m excited for you! Brian’s office just got one, and it is so fast it’s not even funny. I might be a tiny bit jealous, even! (although my little iBook is still doing great, and hopefully will continue to do so for some time). Happy Computing!

    Anna    Jul 9, 04:37 PM   
  2. dude, is that a paper cutout or something? its way out of proportion…

    Matt Martin    Jul 9, 06:32 PM   
  3. I found this site with a downloadable .pdf to make your own mini paper G5… so yes. Matt gets a gold star for figuring it out!

    I was pretty amazed how believable it was after I took a photo of it. -sorry to fool you Anna!

    I hope to get a real one soon though…so this little guy has to tide me over until then. Im still using the same version of the G4 tower you had back in the day, Matt! Although Ive loaded it with RAM and stuff…

    Vance    Jul 9, 06:44 PM   
  4. Haha! That’s great. I did wonder why it wasn’t shiny or anything, but figured it was the lighting. And the giant cords were…ummm…on steroids or something. Well, I guess a paper cutout deal is better than nothing.

    Anna    Jul 9, 08:56 PM   
  5. You shoulda put it in a box with padding around it – like your taking it out of the box….then the proportions would’ve been more believable…

    But it does look real at first look!

    Are you gonna get a 30” inch monitor to go with it as well?

    Matt Martin    Jul 9, 11:43 PM   
  6. A paper cut-out 30” monitor maybe…theres no way Id be able to afford the real deal + the $600 video card you need to run it. Thats just insane. I would like a new monitor tho, this ones a little too dark sometimes.

    But I could write for pages about all the stuff Id like to get… one thing at a time…

    Vance    Jul 10, 04:34 AM   
  7. hah at first i thought it was photoshoped :)

    the bob guy    Sep 28, 04:24 AM   

Working for the man

Thursday July 8, 2004

The next few days I’ll be working on stuff that pays the bills (and hopefully soon gets me a G5- muha ha ha!), so posts might be a little scarce.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday July 7, 2004

For those of you who are checking in on this thing often… is there any particular kind of stuff you’d like to see having to do with the film that I could post? i.e. high-res screen captures, bigger videos, etc etc?

Just let me know in the comments below…

  1. Hey, it’s all lookin’ great! My favorite part so far has been the “art” section… I’m wondering how you have time for all of this now – it’s very juicy and spicy at the moment –

    By the way, is the link someone from the community, or is it a bogus link? Is that Mark? The cobrakilla?

    dan    Jul 7, 11:39 PM   
  2. thanks daniel!

    the ninjaattack came from Mr Jamey Clayberg, aka Herva. he made up that link and then realized it was a real site only afterwards. And I actually did send him that “memo” he was writing about… its sort of an inside DaySpring joke…

    Vance    Jul 8, 12:51 AM   
  3. I like seeing pictures of your studio. I like the screen captures too. Leetle videos are quite enticing. But honestly, just give us what’s on your mind, what’s up in your world of junk forest. If you decide you want lots of pics of your shoes (open-toed or otherwise)... why not?

    Brian Warren    Jul 8, 04:28 PM   
  4. Thats cool B. Im personally going to try to limit the amount of pics I post to stuff having to do directly with the film, but its nice to put up fun stuff too.

    Because I think the world needs to know about Noah’s sweet moustache-grooming skillz.

    Vance    Jul 8, 04:56 PM   

Fireflies in flight video

Wednesday July 7, 2004

I put up a small, quick video of the fireflies in flight. Check it out here.

Fireflies in flight

Wednesday July 7, 2004

Heres a quick shot of the fireflies emerging from their underground tunnels and into the night sky. Its still very rough, obviously, but I can test the camera moves and the timing of the scene this way fairly easily. Im also still trying to figure out how cartoony and exaggerated I want to make the glow of the fireflies…

Id like it to be a little longer, maybe, but I may have to keep it the way it is to fit the music. We’ll see…

Flying fireflies rough - 412k

New art up.

Tuesday July 6, 2004

I put up some more concept art in the art section, check it out.

Firefly house in color

Tuesday July 6, 2004

Another colored pencil – this time some concept art for what the fireflies homes will look like. They live underground, and Id like these cave dwellings to be cool-hued and strange, but not unwelcoming.

Style of the finished film

Tuesday July 6, 2004

This is probably the best examply of how I’d like the finished film to look and feel… I did this in colored pencils and gave it to my brother and his wife as a wedding gift.There will be a scene in the film much like this.

Rough video up

Tuesday July 6, 2004

Hey, theres a new video up showing a rough scene… Its a test I did in After Effects to see how the fireflies are going to move and illuminate things around them.

Check it here.

Rough Scene animated

Tuesday July 6, 2004

This is a short scene showing the fireflies travelling through an underground tunnel. Its pretty simple, and hopefully it gives you an idea of how Im working out rough versions of a scene before committing to a final version.

Short Rough Scene - 800k


Tuesday July 6, 2004

It feels good to have this thing up and running…

These days Im mainly focused on fleshing out the storyboards in more detail in photoshop, sketching out all the layers individually and doing a quick value study for each scene. Ive already scanned in all the storyboards and “matched” them to the music roughly. The final score isn’t quite ready yet, but I have plenty to get started.

Here’s an example of what Im up to. After doing the photoshop sketch, I take it into After Effects and try to match things up to the music. All the layers translate really well from one program to the other, which makes for a nice smooth workflow (usually).

I’ll hopefully post a video tonite of one of these rough scenes.

  1. Wow, you weren’t kiddin when you said you’d be journalling your progress. Looking forward to seeing more!

    Brian Warren    Jul 6, 09:29 PM   
  2. What can i say? Ive got ants in my pants I guess…

    Vance    Jul 6, 09:36 PM   

Noah in his studio

Tuesday July 6, 2004

Heres Noah in his studio, thinking about all the future happiness to be had.

  1. noah, your facial hairs is beautiful keep up the good work.

    southie    Jul 6, 05:12 PM   
  2. tu es muy bonito.

    Brian Warren    Jul 7, 12:43 PM   


Tuesday July 6, 2004

Hey Everybody!

Welcome to the JunkForest online Work Journal! Here you can check in on my progress as the film gets created. First off, many thanks to my good pal Brian for working out the code for this thing. Theres no way I could have gotten it going this fast otherwise (if at all…me no understand code). So, thanks!

This site will make it super-easy for me to update you on whats happening with the film, be it a new screenshot of work in progress or even videos showing off new footage. I might even post pictures of the woodchuck that sometimes lives in a section of broken-down concrete wall next to my front door. Who knows?

This film will take a good long time still to finish, and I had been sitting around lately, thinking to myself how cool it would be to engage people with the ideas Im having for the film as Im making it. I just couldnt wait any longer to share at least pieces of this thing to whoever’s interested. So hopefully this will keep both you and me curious and excited about this thing.

So check in here often and feel free to share your opinions with the rest of us by clicking the comment buttons.


  1. Looks great. A fine idea. I am looking forward to seeing those updates and also that woodchuck pic.

    Casey, but not the one you know    Jul 6, 04:10 PM   
  2. Looking forward to your updates Vance. I’m excited about JunkForest. Woo woo!

    Brian    Jul 6, 04:17 PM   
  3. Hmm… “Casey, but not the one you know” huh? I wonder who that could be…

    Vance    Jul 6, 05:33 PM   
  4. Vance, as a former employee of Junkforest Inc. may I remind you of one very important memo which you yourself posted regarding the wearing of open-toed shoes. I quote: “We here at JF Inc. feel that it reflects poorly on the overall image of our company and our various subsidiaries, quite possibly making the average person think, ‘Who are
    these guys, a bunch of “extreme-sport” wanna-bes?’ or even, ‘WTF?’ This of course, must not happen.” I have it on good authority that you were seen exiting said woodchuck-infested domicile wearing the afore-mentioned offending footwear. Nip it before it nips you….

    Ninja Gentlewoman    Jul 6, 05:50 PM   
  5. Ha. Man, I better clean up my act. Big brother is watching and taking notes!

    Vance    Jul 6, 05:54 PM   

The Teaser

Tuesday July 6, 2004 This is the teaser.

Its a one-minute test that we did to see how things are going to move and match the music and things like that. The story has changed a whole lot since this thing was finished, and many of the scenes in the teaser wont translate into the finished film, so its a bit unorthodox, in that regard, I guess.

Ive uploaded 2 sizes which you can view by clicking the links below:

Super Small – 180×120 - 2.3mbs Bigger Beefier – 360×240 - 6mbs

My apartment.

Monday July 5, 2004

This is the building I live in. I only take up about 1/3 of it probably. The rest is sort of abandoned, so I have the whole thing to myself! The windows along this side are all mine (not the ones along the ground though, I dont have access to the basement…) It used to be a Presbyterian church I guess. Its been remodelled quite a bit since then.

My Front Steps

Monday July 5, 2004

Heres my delapidated front steps leading into my apartment. The whole building sort of leans one direction. I like it.

Thats not my bike, btw. Its delapidated too.

The JF Bulletin Board

Monday July 5, 2004

Heres where I post drawings and photos for reference. My camera does this weird fish-eye effect sometimes which is kind of annoying.

My Art/Animation Table

Monday July 5, 2004

Heres where I draw stuff. You can see my magnificent, tiny light table ready for action. There are peg bars molded into it so I can animate with it. The book ‘o’ JunkForest storyboards is next to it, but you cant really see that.

Then theres my bulletin board ‘o’ JunkForest ideas on the wall. I have a better picture of that HERE.

My Workstation

Monday July 5, 2004


Heres my happy workstation! Go Apple!

Stuff I use:
G4 450 DP, 1.25 gb RAM
Epson C84 Printer
Epson Perfection 1670 Scanner w/ pegbar installed for easy scanning of frames of animation
4×5 Wacom Tablet

Im thinking about a computer upgrade soon… this old beast has served me well for almost 3 years now though. Notice how the desk looks like it might cave in at any moment…keeps me on my toes.

  1. That desk is crazy- ya know they don’t cost that much at walmart :) You were asking for ideas—have you thought of making prints of the art you are doing for junkforest to sell when more of the movie gets going? Several of those would be great for a creative kids room.
    Well, shelby is freaking out—love ya bro!
    hey! I need your address so I can send pics.
    love, kc

    kc    Jul 7, 10:02 PM   
  2. Hey sis!

    I had one of those cheap chip-board walmart desks, and it really did fall apart on me!—this ones just warped really bad from being exposed to the elements too long i think.

    Thats a good idea about making prints of JF stuff. Ive thought about that… the thing is, when im working with scenes of the movie, im working with an image quality that looks fine on a monitor or a TV, but if I were to print it it would look really bad. Unless i printed it really really small… heh. and thats not much fun.

    So maybe I could make special edition stuff and print it or do a few scenes at a nice high resolution so that I could print them later… Ill have to think about it…

    I thought you had my email! Ill send you a quick note then.

    Vance    Jul 7, 10:25 PM   

Firefly House Rough

Monday July 5, 2004

An upclose and personal view of one of the houses in Firefly Village- a rough sketch again done in photoshop.

I want them to be friendly and simple structures. The light emanating from the mushrooms and even the windows will have a misty and thick quality to it- kind of like fog. Throughout the movie I would like light to have almost a “presence” in the environments. I’ll have better examples of what I mean by that on here eventually Im sure.

  1. Very pretty

    Brian Warren    Jul 5, 03:22 PM   

Firefly Village Rough

Monday July 5, 2004

Firefly Background

This is a photoshop sketch of the first semi-upclose view of Firefly Village in the film. In this shot, the lights start to turn on. Its pretty simple… Mainly I’d like it to present the simple laid-back atmosphere of where they live- the lack of color makes it sort of tricky to convey that at this point…

  1. hey! great site!

    dude    Jul 5, 01:11 AM