Thursday, December 27, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Color Zones

I did a quick study to remind myself of the color zones of the face, as well as document it for my readers. The 'base skin tone' layer and 'subdermal color zone' layer were combined using an Overlay blending mode (and a fair amount of hue/sat adjustment on the color zone layer to make it mesh nicely). The skin on the right hand side was the result. 
Don't assume this is all there is to skin color, though! The result on the right is still missing crucial aspects like ambient lighting, highlights, shadows, and blemishes. This is just the first step away from flat, cell-shaded, one-color skin.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Welcome to the last repetitive date in standard calendar notation any of us are likely to see:

12/12/12 12:12:12
or written another way
December 12, 2012 at 12:12pm and 12 seconds

You know, twelve is a pretty cool number. It has a great platonic solid, the dodecahedron, which many of us will recognize as the die we accidentally pick up when we meant to grab a d20.

But it's not that big a mistake; the two shapes, dodecahedron and icosahedron have a lot in common (also, soccer balls, but those aren't as fun). Let's look at all the cool crap that has to do with 12.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sketchdump 006

Did a quick lighting practice doodle. Nothing too fancy here.

Sketchdump 005

Some warm up doodles from today. This is Nick. He and Adam were roommates.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sketchdump 004

Some warm up doodles today. This is Adam, you'll probably see more of him.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Unity 4 Finally Released

I've been waiting for this one for what seems like forever. I really enjoyed working with Unity 3 while I was at SCAD, though I never had the opportunity to use it in any of my classes. We used UDK in my Animation for Games class with professor Cookson, and I often got into arguments with him about which engine was better suited to game design students. He (correctly) made the case that Unity required too much of an understanding of programming before you could get an animated character working, while in UDK, you only need the briefest introduction to Kismet before you get to work making a character controller and animtree.

It was about then that the first E3 trailers for Unity 4 and Mecanim started showing up and we got to see the new animation system planned for the next release of Unity... 6 months later, it's finally out! I downloaded Unity 4 last night and look forward to playing around with it today. The new animation system, Mecanim, looks like it will be a lot of fun to work with.

You can try it out for free here:

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sketchdump 003

Mushroom Studier. What mysteries lay hidden your layers of chitin?
Just a quick doodle of a game character I've been thinking of. She looks sort of like a futuristic Nausicaa.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Business Card: Revision


Further updating of my business card. I added a little bit of shading (in a subtle non-photo blue), and I edited the pose, size, and positioning of the girl on the back. Any new critiques?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Overthinking Videogames 001: Assassin's Creed III Developer Diary

Killing all the dudes.
Hi guys. I recently watched a trailer for the upcoming game "Assassin's Creed 3". I had heard this developer diary was about the in-game animation.  The Assassin's Creed series has always had an interesting approach to animation for locomotion, fighting, and even the ambient activities of townspeople.

Anyway, the video turned out to have very little to say on the subject... except for how totally brutal it is! Herein lies the problem: this trailer makes the game look worse as it goes on.

Hit the jump for the video and my reaction to it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

New Business Card

 I updated my business card design last night. What do you think?


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Sculptirs: Social Phobia

This is a sculpture I did for my Psychology class in college. My professor (prof. K) gave us all an assignment to create an art piece based on a mental disorder. I designed mine to describe social phobia: the fear of situations where one might be judged. 

More views and a description after the jump.

Sculptris Ecorche 02

Here is my progress on the Sculptris ecroche. I have adjusted the rectus abdominus muscles and lateral obliques. I added in the brachiallis to the arms and adjusted the biceps brachii to accommodate it. Most of the progress though, is on the back. I fixed the path and attachments of the teres muscles and the infraspinatus. I added the trapezius, sacrospinalis, and latisimus dorsi. Check out my progress below.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sculptris Ecorche 01

Yesterday I started doing an ecorche in sculptris. Not enough people give Z-brush's new younger brother enough credit, so I thought I’d see if I could do a serious anatomical study in it. It occurred to me this afternoon that it might be worthwhile to document it here. So, without further ado, Sculpting an ecorche in Sculptris...

Saturday, August 4, 2012

On Realism in Videogames

This is ruining everything... apparently.
Christoph Hartmann of 2k Games recently said this of videogames, “Recreating a Mission Impossible experience in gaming is easy; recreating emotions in Brokeback Mountain is going to be tough, or at least very sensitive in this country. It's limiting … Every time the technology advances, new things will open up and be created. To dramatically change the industry to where we can insert a whole range of emotions, I feel it will only happen when we reach the point that games are photorealistic”. (full interview available here)

This pissed a whole bunch of people off, but is he wrong? Hit the jump for more on that.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Overthinking Cartoons 001: Brave

I have a lot of opinions about Brave and about things surrounding Brave (particularly advertisements for it). So I may end up doing a couple posts about this, but what I want to talk about this time is how unique this movie is for a western animated movie.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

On Creativity and Organization

Jonah Lehrer is a journalist who often writes about neuroscience and psychology, and he is probably the smartest person I've ever met. I listen to his contributions to Radiolab all the time. He's not infallible, but he is a multi-disciplinary thinker and he makes some compelling arguments.

I recently read a New Yorker article he wrote on the subject of creativity and professional organization. It's a fascinating read and I highly recommend it. You can find it here:

Hit the jump for more thoughts on it...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sketchdump 002

I did a new drawing. I was testing out a new inking brush I made for Photoshop CS5+. I'll be uploading my brushes soon. I'm currently revising my 2012 brush set and I hope to have an easy to understand, powerful set of brushes that you all can use.

This lady is Siloh. She belongs to Lea.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sketchdump 001

I'm working on another useful post. But for the moment, here's a drawing I did recently of my girlfriend:
Yay drawing : )

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Anime Movies, Shows, Studios, and Animators That You Should Watch.

Some lovely You Yoshinari scenes.
While I was at SCAD, I heard a lot of opinions rendered about anime. I've talked with everyone from fellow students to my animation history professor, and I've grown a little tired of the weird place anime occupies in a lot of animation talk. Everybody seems to dig its influence. Everything from the Matrix to Transformers to Teen Titans to Avatar likes its influence. But people seem to still feel that anime is by and large an adolescent one-off from real, serious animation that’s being done at Disney or Pixar. And I’m a little tired of hearing about how awesome Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli are. They do great work there, but there are dozens of other directors and studios out there that do incredible work that isn’t being dubbed by Disney, and they deserve some love too.

The list below contains my recommended viewing as well as some extra information to help you appreciate some of the uniqueness of the work. Keep in mind that this is far from a comprehensive list. The list only contains shows and movies that I have personally seen, and usually only ones that I don’t think get mentioned enough outside of otaku anime-nerd media. There are many, many, many works not listed here and you should go find them yourself after you read this.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Start of a Blog

I am Ryan Gatts. I recently earned my BFA in Animation (with a minor in storyboarding) from the Savannah College of Art and Design. 

I do a lot of things from animation, storyboarding and concept painting; to more technical things like modeling, rigging, lighting and texturing. I'm particularly interested in how to do this kind of work in videogames because of all of the new technical and storytelling hurdles they face. It is due to this interest that I started this blog. Online portfolio sites are great and all, but they never really show how a person thinks or what interests him. So here, I intend to show my sketches, finished works, experiments, theories, and interests that I hope will help some of you guys out, or at least entertain you.

I also really enjoy science and math, so expect to see a fair bit of that here too. I've started several blogs by now. I hope this is the one that sticks.

If you are interested in seeing my portfolio or my resume, check out more of my work at