Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Begins With Christ

"Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14 written c. 758 BC)

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. " (Micah 5:2 written c. 710 BC)

"A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more." (Jeremiah 31:15 written c. 600 BC)

Here's the Christmas story told with three of over three hundred Old Testaments prophecies regarding the coming of Jesus Christ. The first was completed when Jesus was born from a virign, Mary (Matthew 1:18-25). The second was his birth in a small town of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1). And the third was fulfilled when the Magi didn't report back to Herod the Great where the child was born. Fearing the throne will be taken away from him by the Messiah, Herod ordered the slaughter of all male children two years old and under. By this time, Jesus was taken to Egypt by his earthly parents, Joseph and Mary (a fulfillment of another prophecy). The probability of one being fulfilled in one man is 1 in 10 million. The probability of eight being fulfilled is 1 in 10 to the 17th power. It blows me away that the probability that over three hundred prophecies being fulfilled in one man are incomprehensible. The birth of Jesus Christ is truly the hinge in human history! Fulfilling the old covenant and ushering us to the new, from BC to AD! For two thousand years, no Herod "can put the God man down". Amazing.

May the true meaning of this season be with you all. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful new year!

Paintings are all done in PS.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beauty & The Beast

©Armand Serrano.
A different take on Belle and the Beast. We we're at the dental clinic for my daughter yesterday morning and they were showing this favorite film of mine which I haven't seen for a while. Got inspired and thought that it would be refreshing to see a different take on it. Here it is all done in PS.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


©Armand Serrano.
Been busy helping out on our Hotel T. project here at Sony that's why I haven't posted for a few weeks. Anyway, here's an image of an airship that for some reason I kept seeing in my mind while driving home yesterday. So late last night, I grabbed my pen and did it in PS.

Friday, September 12, 2008


©Armand Serrano.
Just another quick doodle in PS.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


©Armand Serrano.
This is a traditional painting I did back in 2002 for our annual union exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art during my Disney years. Equites were gladiators on horseback. Traditionally, they were the first ones to compete in games, rode a white horse and only fight their own kind. Oil on canvas 18"x24".

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


©Armand Serrano.
A very quick doodle of a water falls in PS.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lizard Troop Revisited

©Armand Serrano.
New images for an old personal project. Been revisiting my old story projects and looking into pitching one or two at the studio. I'm also thinking on the possibility of compiling them into a book together with all the artworks. We'll see.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


©Armand Serrano.
Another sleepless night last night so I decided to doodle in photoshop that turned out to be an aqueduct.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


©Armand Serrano.
A couple of personal thumbnail studies of light for a piece I'm working on.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This is a bit different than my usual post. I'll be sitting in as drummer for my friend's alternative band HiRise for their show this Saturday (since their drummer is on a business trip...but hey who knows...). Anyway, anyone who's in the Long Beach area and up for some good coffee, live music ( and good hookah if you're into it ), you're invited. Admission is free and all ages are welcome. I'll try to post some videos of the show next week (if they turn out good).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Surf's Up - Designing Big Z Beach

All Images ©Sony Pictures Animation.
Designing Surf's Up's "North" beach where Big Z lives was one of earliest tasks I had to undertake in the film and evolved through different designs. Here are some of them. Above is the approved sequence illustration for the "feel" on how Cody sees the place for the very first time. Cody character on the foreground was done by Sylvain DeBoissy.

Here's one of my favorite shots in the film. I designed the extreme down shot from Cody's POV on the cliff before he went down to the beach.

Now this one is the earliest aerial shot I did in order to map out the beach based from different story beats. The tall waterfalls on the left was supposed to be a sacred pond where Cody has to do his "karate kid" moment with Big Z and climbs to the top. Also if you notice right on the middle is a bluff where big Z does his beach chanting and be "one" with the waves. On top of a hill are two openings on the ground with smoke coming out which are the lava tube entrances. Towards the right is the main beach where Big Z's house (the huge banyan tree) and boardshack (bent palm) are located. Lastly, at the very tip of the island on the right is a surfboard shaped rock where Big Z is supposed to reveal himself to Cody.

Above are very early design explorations for his beach. Notice Big Z's pad and boardshack on the first two images. The third one are thumbnails to find the right shapes.

These last five images are the final approved design for the beach. Notice the sacred pond is still there. It was taken out later in production. Last two are elevations showing how rocks at the north shore used to form one huge monolith and eroded through the years. Enjoy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Volcanic Eruption

Always had the urge to draw a volcanic eruption. So late last night, I had the chance and here's it is. All in PS.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Animation Book Look 2008 and Aardman

I will be at the Animation Book Look 2008 for book signing together with Sony colleagues Marcelo Vignali, Paul Lasaine, Richie Chavez, Ron Lukas, Mike Kurinsky, Chris Buck, and Chris Jenkins on May 17th. For more information, click here.

Last week, I wrapped up a gig with Aardman Studios in their temp studio here in Venice Beach. Sony had me on loan for a whole month and it was quite an experience. I had the pleasure of working with director Sarah Smith and her Aardman team, topnotch visdev talents George Hull and Francois Audouy, and a good old friend from my Disney days, Scott Caple. The last time I saw Scott was eleven years ago when we were working in Mulan. Hopefully next time we meet again will be sooner than that, right Scott? Photo above was taken during our "wrap" lunch. Left to right: myself, George, Peter, Alice, Francois, Sarah and Scott. Btw, I have links to George and Scott's sites here in my blog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Proud Daddy Ad

If you have the Graco Baby catalog, You'll see my daughter Ella's photo on page 48. You can also view the online catalog here just for this month.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another Sci-Fi Doodle

©Armand Serrano.
Another spacemen thumbnail while still in the sci-fi mode for now. Enjoy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sci-Fi Doodles

©Armand Serrano
I've been painting in PS a lot at work lately. So while in that mode, I tried to continue painting at home (whenever I find time which was normally either 12 midnight or 5 am!)) and do some more practice pieces. Sci Fi was the chosen theme and here're my doodles from last week. By the way, for the next six weeks, I'll be busy working on a new feature film here at Sony in collaboration with Aardman Animations. Definitely looking forward to this venture and I'll try to continue posting as much as I could during those weeks.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lilo & Stitch Layouts

Digging the archives again, I came across my old Lilo & Stitch BG layouts which I'd like to share. Above is a shot of Lilo's house done in prismacolor and velum. Notice the tape mark I used to stretch the bg dates the artwork back to the pre-photoshop era.

Above is one of my favorites. The simpler the shot, the more challenging to make it interesting since there's litttle to play with. I was asked not only to lay this one out but also to design the the book cover. This is the only time this book is going to be seen on the screen so it has to be very clear for a one second shot. I did a couple of designs and this was the one I was happy with. Remember, this was pre-PS days so I have to do do the fonts by hand. Done in graphite on paper and the same goes with the rest of the artworks below.

Again, above are two layouts that were simple but challenging. For those of you into 2D, the front door was a 24 fld vertical pan setup. The 5000 peg mark can still be seen on the left hand border.

This is a layout of a street corner from a deleted scene. The painted bg turned out so nice that the directors decided to include it in the Wynona Judd song montage sequence at the end of the movie.

I never expected this one to be a favorite of mine when I was working on it because of the shot's "simplicity". This layout was painted by the "master", Xiangyuan Jie (Check my link to his site, it's amazing). Click here to see the painted version online.

A couple of my warm up design sketches before production kicked in. All images in this posting are ©Disney.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Big Bear and Third Day Concert

I took advantage of the President's day weekend and took a couple more days off to take a long overdue vacation. Since I celebrated my birthday two weeks ago, my family decided to spend a couple of days at a cabin up in Big Bear here in California to catch the last snow of the season. It was sunny and beautiful. No celphones and internet but I brought the very essential Xbox 360 and spent until 3:30 am playing Halo 3 and Ghost Recon 2. Photo above was taken from the patio of our cabin facing north overlooking Big Bear Lake.
Then to conclude my "birthday vacation", my wife Bing bought us tickets to one of my favorite Christian rock bands, Third Day at the House of Blues in Sunset Strip, Hollywood. They definitely rocked the house and there were also moments when they turned HOB into a sanctuary of worship. Awesome. For those of you in Florida, they will have a concert at the House of Blues at the Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista on February 29. Check for more concert details.
Anyway, it was a good time I'm back to work.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Surf's Up - SURFBOARDS Part 2

My friend Simon Rodgers (Sim-R) already warned me to post something or else... So here's my second installment on the Surfboard design for Surf's Up which by the way is nominated for Oscar Awards in two weeks for best animated film together with Ratatouille and Persepolis. Again, this is a surfing movie and it's a privilege to be the one to design the surfboards for the entire film.

Tank's approved surfboard above came a long way. Looking at these designs below, using his tatoo patterns and very fancy colored boards were tried. But the simpler "Jaws" motif was decided to be the best route to go.

The Japanese surfer's board was a hoot. I started with the obvious - Japanese WW2 patterns. I thought I hit the homerun till our senior 3d visdev modeler, Takao, said this could be very offensive to our Japanese friends. So I went for the high tech penguin version of a surf board which the directors liked. The characters painted on the board (which ended up on the big screen) means "Hannah Rules" - Hannah is my oldest daughter.

We have an Australian dude named Rory which the board design was based from aboriginal tribal patterns on boomerangs.

Last one on the list was the Brazilian surfer whose board has a shark bite. I love how it ended up on he big screen when art director Ron Lukas added loose shark teeth still embedded on the board.