Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Eggno- er, I mean...

I couldn't sleep, so I made you all a present, with Santa's Seal of Approval... Or maybe Santa's Weasel of Approval?

Love, and a Very Happy New Year,


Thursday, December 16, 2010


I found myself a fish outside the bowl
So I grew legs to find a new one,
Lungs to tide me over,
And a brain to avoid the snakes.
Suddenly, I was a brand new creature,
Capable of great processes and feats,
But aware, always and achingly,
Of the distance between me
And water.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Shot 28, Test One

Heya, everyone!

Here's the latest! This is shot 28, wherein the Shaman realizes his staff has broken and begins to feel alarmed! Check out the animatic to see it in context (link in my previous post). It's also my first animated acting assignment! Prior to this, it's mostly been bouncing balls, walk cycles and other exercises.

I'd like to rework some of the timing and spacing in the eye-widening and head turn at the end (feels a little too even), but as a whole, I'm pretty happy with it! I haven't really gotten into overlapping action with the accessories yet, but I'm going to keep working on this, so I'll post it again soon!

Best wishes, as always!

Jen Cram

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Hello again, readers! Happy Holidays - I hope you're all enjoying the fine/frigid weather, depending upon your locations. I know I'm enjoying the season of egg nog and hot cocoa quite a bit this time around - I've been busy, and a busy Jen is a happy one!

But first, a recap - my first semester at SCAD rolled through at light speed with an incredible amount of learnage and a pleasantly surprising amount of sleep - great success! New friends abound, and with them new projects! Hooray!

My good friend and director, Nate Swinehart, along with producer extraordinaire Tyler Kupferer of Base 14, are in preproduction on what will be an amazing project, and I'm lucky enough to be involved! I'll be animating the Shaman, one of Nate's two characters for Rain Dance, a ritual-gone-wrong story of magic and personal growth. Follow the link to check out the super tasty animatic!

Amazing 3D (and 2D, but you didn't hear it from me) animator, Alex Curtis, fresh out of a Disney animation internship, has also got some wonder in the works. I've been lucky enough to watch the progress of this film, and as the sketches roll out and the models and rigs roll in, I can tell you Hephaestus is going to be beautiful. Alex's passion for animation and commitment to quality in every detail would not allow it to be otherwise. Keep an eye on the project!

There's a lot of talent building behind both of these projects, and I'm swimming around right in the middle of it! Needless to say, it's super invigorating and I'm totally jazzed to head back to SCAD!

But first! Enjoy a few sketches from a game yesterday - in 5 minutes or less, come up with an unusual take on a mythological figure!

First! A house-gryphon:

A girafficorn!
And finally a selkie!

Have a good one guys! Until next time!

<3 Jen

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Jen Cram Talent Reel, 2009

I call it a "talent" reel because it's really a big conglomeration of stuff! You've already seen the Sleasel TD work on here, but please bear with it! As you can read in the notes for this on YouTube, this is almost all of my 4d animation-related work to date in one place. I've got mixed feelings about a lot of it, but I thought I should post it for you guys as a point of comparison - because I am now at SCAD and taking a heavy interest in my own self-improvement! =D

From YouTube:

Jen Cram Talent Reel, 2009

Hey guys! Here's a showcase of (almost) all of my animation work up through 2009. I put it together for my application to SCAD's MFA in Animation. Jennifer DiMassino Cram is the creator and owner of all characters, and is responsible for the creation of all content unless otherwise stated.


1) Sleasel the Weasel, Character Animation. 56 sec, pencil and Lightwave 9, 2009. This represents my first attempts at 2D animation, rigging, and 3D animation. Sleasel was the second character model I'd completed.

2) Sleasel the Weasel, Modeling/TD Reel. 2 min 7 sec, Maya 2010, 2009. I brought Sleasel into Maya and explored some more advanced rigging when my school (Montclair State University) got Maya 2010. I give a lot of props to Steven Murdoch for his excellent biped rigging tutorial, and to Swinburne University of Technology in Australia for making it available (link at the bottom). Also, thanks to my old prof, Wobbe Koning, for helping me iron through the rough parts.

3) Funk Skunk: Trippin' Up! Animation Layout and Keyframes/Color Script. 2 min 12 sec, pencil, Prismacolor marker, crayon, and Adobe Flash, 2009. Music by "The Inferno" - Guitar, Dante Cornella, Bass, Jeff Little, and Drums, Sulaiman Ismail. Sounds collected from The Freesound Project ( Massive props to the prof I never had, Kyeong Won Youn, for his help with Flash. =)

I used a free version of TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress to compile everything - hence the stamps in the upper right corner at the beginning and the end.

Murdoch's biped rigging tutorial - (

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nude Jersey?

Some might call it a bad idea to post this kind of stuff on the internet, right here next to my professional work and professional name, but this is a social issue of some importance to me. Please take it as a testament to how seriously I feel about the issue that I AM discussing it here.

taken from this ABC article - please read it.

I sincerely hope this goes through! I don't go to Asbury Park often, but if they pass this, it would become my main beach. Asbury Park is already full of great food, exciting music and neat art shops, it's a great place to visit - adding a topless beach to the mix would be fantastic! And it's right down the highway from me. Wonderful!

I think, if this goes through, it'll be a great omen for more mature and natural times to come. The human body is not lewd or suggestive or scary. It is beautiful! Our bodies are gifts that should be cherished and embraced, not hidden away for fear of offense or embarrassment. They should not be shielded from children! Nudity and sex are not synonymous!

Also, men already parade around with bare chests! Why is that acceptable while the female chest is scandalous? This is an issue that has confused me for a long time. Why does my chest have to be covered when his doesn't? Why do we dress our baby girls up in little bikini tops when there is nothing there to hide? In covering a baby girl's nipples, we suggest that there is something sexual there!! We turn our 2 year olds into sexual objects! Why not let them be innocent in their youth?

Why not let us be innocent in our age?

I will be pushing for this. Please, feel free to enter a discussion with me here. I wish more people would be comfortable with public nudity, and I fail to understand why it is such a large problem.

MUCH to update!!

SO! Excellent news abounds!

First off - I've graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Animation/Illustration! Hooray!

I've found temporary summer work - that might prove to be a lucrative long term investment. I'm life guarding again! It entails oodles of fresh air and requires me to stay in shape. Also, I hear there are lots of beaches and pools down at Savannah that might need guards... Which leads me to my next bit of excellent news!

I got into the Animation MFA at SCAD! They gave me a bit of money, too - huzzah! Now begins the housing/roommate/scholarship/grant/work study search. I'm so excited!!

FINALLY - the bit of news I'm MOST excited about - oh, no no, it's too good. I'll have to make a new post for it!

But here are some sculpture tidbit's I've been playing with. My uncle and aunt, Jim and Tay, gifted me with some taxidermy eyes that Jim used to sculpt with. What great inspiration! Also, my beagle, Savannah, is adorable. Just a quick gesture.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Amusement of the Day

My sister, texting from campus:
"I'm starving."
Me: "Eat a freshman. =)"
Sis: "Mmm, yes. They're so tender. Gotta get em before Spring finals, though, they get tougher going into sophomore year."
Sis: "There is a couple behind me who obviously hooked up over their mutual love for kicking the chair in front of them. I'm going to eat them."

In other news - more art is on the way. Scanner-computer-internet situation is a little complicated, but will hopefully be rectified soon with the purchase of a new computer! Looking at Apple's latest generation of Mac Pro desktops. I'm fluent with both Macs and PCs, but definitely prefer the former - even though they do cost an arm and a leg. Macs just function more smoothly, in my experience.

I'm working on a traditional animation lip-synch test. Hopefully it'll turn into some solid stuff with my neglected characters. Also - lip-synch animation means making funny faces in a mirror all day. I'm loving it.

Finally - a trip to the dentist yielded me a commission. She'd like a humorous piece to hang in her lobby that both adults and children can relate to. Interested in Norman Rockwell-ish content, but not style. Other than that, it's open. Should be a fun one. I'll post sketches soon.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hello again, guys!

So, it's official! I've applied to SCAD's Animation MFA, and internships at Blue Sky (visual development) and Pixar (art and animation). Wish me luck!

What now? Well, I guess I should apply for some actual JOBS. Also, continual development of portfolio/reel/ability, ha ha.

Anyway, here's some of the stuff I submitted. It went out in various formats to the various places, but these are the basics.

I'm gonna try to get all of my animation reel stuff up on YouTube to share with you soon, too.


Jen Cram

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sleasel the Weasel

Introducing Sleasel the Weasel! (And Jen Cram as a modeler/rigger, ha ha.)

Sleasel is best friend and worst enemy to Funk Skunk, the lead character of my main animation endeavor lately (more on that later). He's a sweet, well-meaning guy, but somehow always manages to cramp Funk Skunk's style and throw awkward wrenches into situations. Still, his happy-go-luckiness and winning-but-goofy smile always manage to patch things up.

Here's my second attempt at rigging a character - the first time I've tackled things like spline IKs, controls and stretchiness expressions (and expressions at all, for that matter).

I'll post some character sketches for Sleasel in a bit - I'm just a bit giddy about how this turned out. =}

Monday, March 29, 2010

Jeanne d'Arc

This was a quick little ditty for a character challenge on ConceptArt. They have bunches of challenges here, just for fun - a great source of inspiration.

I never submitted her, because I didn't feel it was enough of a finished illustration, but I still like the concept. Modernized, soldier/guerilla Joan of Arc. Of course, she fights in Vietnam, not Northern France.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So what are you up to now, Jen?

Well, I'm currently in the process of putting a portfolio/animation reel together for graduate school/post-grad internships. Pixar and Blue Sky only take undergraduate interns, or interns who have graduated in the last 9 months - so this is my big shot. Wish me luck!

While searching for a format to show off the updated rigging I put in my Sleasel character last semester, I stumbled across the idea of a TD reel. Basically, where riggers show off all of their fantastic abilities and try to get a job. I found this one really impressive, actually...

The squash and stretch capabilities are something I was really struggling to get in my Sleasel rig. He's supposed to be a rubber band! This stuff is really energizing to see.

If you want to see more, search for "TD character reel," or "technical reel," in Google Videos or YouTube.

Jen Cram