Samantha Skinner Compositor's blog

Update from the Seattle trip

September 18, 2015 | Uncategorized, updates | Permalink

Has it already been almost 1 month? Time fly’s by, sometimes.

Well at any rate, here is my update about my week in Seattle, Washington!

So with my luck, the day before the flight I had to work all day until 10 PM, which…kinda sucked. Because of that, for some reason I thought it would be a great idea to pull an all – nighter into the day of flight xD. I think it was my way of saying “this way, I can get more done! Double check luggage! Sleep on the plane!”

What ended up happening was I packed 2 days ahead so the night before I just kinda ran around the house excited as my boyfriend packed. Then I proceeded to check my suitcase, and then get grouchy at the state of our apartment…because at that point….a bomb looked like it went off.

End all be all, we made it on time to the air port. 3 hours early, at about 4 AM.

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So at this point Tim and I were exhausted because he didn’t sleep either. We decided to get some breakfast and sit down for the last hour or so before our flight. Thing is…the flight ended up delayed. By 6 HOURS.

so during those cold 6 hours…we dossed off…got coffee….rinse and repeat…lol

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Eventually, our plane did in fact get here and we were able to take off to our transfer plane in Chicago! Of course in the Chicago airport we had to try Chicago pizza….:) (no picture unfortunately, becuase we literally had only 20 minutes to get to the new flight, eat the pizza, and use the facilities…)


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Soon after our transfer, we were on the last 4+ hour plane flight stretch to Seattle, Washington!

We landed safely, and began our trip to the after party for Dota 2, thanks to a pal of mine ;).

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After this kick start to our trip, we finally made it to our destination and had some well needed rest! It was funny- we only slept off an on on the plane, so I was sure we would sleep for at least 8 hours that night. Turns out, Tim did. But me on the other hand…woke up at 7AM the next morning (and we got in from Dota at around….3-4 AM).

I honestly didn’t mind waking up so early. I had a tea, and gazed out at the lovely view from the patio:

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Tim woke up around 10:00 AM, and we began our day :)

For the next few days up to the Valve tour (yes, I will get to that later) we did a lot of sight seeing and apartment hunting!

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The Valve tour!!

This has been a dream of mine for years, and I never thought I would get this kind of a chance. When we walked into the lobby, I felt really silly because I almost cried in joy. I have fought a lot of life battles, and to finally have this chance, was amazing.

This was something that I had planned, but was not officially set into stone until I was actually in Seattle. I was SO excited I could not express my self. The tour was amazing!

I got to see the whole studio, and talk about everything Valve.

I don’t have much pictures, because pictures are not really aloud through the whole tour (I completly understand why) but I do have some to share 😀

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I was able to see their MOCAP studio, their lunch area, and sound studios.

One last thing we were able to do was… a VR demo!! Valves virtual reality helmet is called the Steam VR I believe….

I was able to try out the whole demo along with Tim….we were speechless…!


When this is more commercially available, I will be buying it! Once we got through the set up and got into the interactive things, you literally begin to lose your self after a while and just forget…that you are in a room with a helmet on 😀 I was nervous to not break anything, but the staff assured me I would be okay. You see everything from an archery demo, wales swimming around, to a interactive Portal demo! Fantastic.


So, that pretty much sums up my trip. I hope I might have inspired you to follow your dreams, and maybe even take a trip to Seattle!




Trip to Seattle WA, CONFIRMED

July 18, 2015 | Uncategorized | Permalink

All of the exclamations of excitement, ever! My long awaited and delayed trip to Seattle, WA is finally booked, and official!

For those of you who view this and know me, this trip started as a dream back in 2009. I always dreamed of seeing Valve’s headquarters, but at that time it was Just some idea I played with in my mind. Then as I started to play with the idea of a vacation there as I was getting my schooling underway in early 2011.

(below is Valve’s awesome lobby, photo not be me….yet….;) )

As this was going on, I started to think “Why can’t this be a reality?”

It can!

So I started to save money all the way back in 2011. My mom and I were going through a very personal and traumatic experience back then. Financial stability was a dream at the time, but I saved money where ever humanly possible and stashed it away.

During the 6 years it literally took my to get to this point of affordability, my little savings pool would be drained for financial bill emergency time to time among other things.

( to put it into perspective, my mom and I would have had to loose out on food, power, or water if I did not use this money. Those stories are for another post…)

So alas- it is Time! I will be there in August

I obviously dream to tour Valve, and at this point I am not sure if I will be able to. But I never lose hope. I can always stand out side the building, that is still something! And you can bet your buttons there will be pictures.

Other then seeing Valve, and possibly a few other studios, I will be playing the role of a regular tourist and having a much needed VACATION! I will also try to see if I can visit a few friends along the way while I am there 😀


For now, that is all I have for this update. As I plan more, I will add more.

Buh bye!

Current Updates 2015

June 23, 2015 | 3D, Uncategorized, updates | Permalink


It has been a few months since I added an update to my blog. This entry will probably be a big one, since a lot has gone on.

First on the docket: Current compositing projects.

After graduation a lot of random life events happened that honestly prevented me from work. Only until this last month or so have I actually been able to site down and create.

First thing to happen was loosing my one job because they went out of business. That brought a lot of stress.

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Then right in the middle of that I got in a very unfortunate car accident (not my fault) in which gave me a bad back injury.  I would show pictures, but because this is a current case, I can’t risk any issues that may arise or even talk about it any further.

However! I made time to at least do something related to the field. One thing that I started doing was some learning tutorials from this guy on YouTube: eosacro

I was able to make this from following along:

This was done all inside of Nuke! No outside textures other then the background.

He teaches very well and he is very easy to follow. I recommend checking out his channel! He also made an asteroid tutorial that I completed. I just need to fix some issues on mine before I upload it.

Here is a still of both the planet and the asteroid:

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Again, all inside of Nuke. The planet goes over procedural textures, and the asteroid is all about particles.

After I got into the swing of things I got inspired to make my own project based on Alien: Isolation!

Being someone who never really saw the Alien movies, and was traumatized by the ride when it was still around at Disney (and I mean the original! Not the dimmed down version) I was already hesitant to play this game because I was scared of it.

Let me tell you this….That game is AMAZING! It has sparked a new fandom in me, I then bought the first Alien movie and fell in love xD But it is scary. That Alien is so smart it will shock you and thus scare you, but you wont be able to stop playing.

One thing my boyfriend and I did was dick around with the Alien when we got frustrated at one part….I did upload it to YouTube, so here is the sillyness…. and our terrible singing (and for some reason we sang I Love Lucy xDD)

Other then that, I don”t really have anything to show yet of my personal Alien inspired project, I am in the middle of the roto, projection geometry, and finishing the Alien rig. I guess I can show the rig, I just finished the Alien’s tail…it has a lot of joints…


For the second thing on the docket, I might just go ahead and include that in a separate post. I started a few craft hobbies, and I have new cosplay ideas.

I want to keep these post for the most part small so it is not a big deal to sit and read them through.

Until next time!



December 19, 2014 | school realted, Uncategorized, updates | Permalink

As of December 19, 2014…..I AM A GRADUATE!


I have worked hard at my reel and I am proud of what I have accomplished. You can view my reel here:

I was also surprised before graduation with an award called Advanced Achiever. I was so shocked and very thankful to receive this award and I want to thank everyone who made that possible.

At my graduation I had to say a speech and for anyone who knows me…that is not an easy task. I get stage fright and nervous real easy. However, it turned out just fine and some of my family in Canada recorded it for me. You can watch it Here

One interesting thing happened though;

They got my name wrong…Yep. My name. Wrong. Instead of Samantha Skinner, They called me Samanha. They really only left out the T, but pronounced it as if I was from a foreign country. I definitely got a good laugh out of it and so did my graduating class! I let it go and concentrated on my speech.

All in all other then random family issues it was a fantastic day. My boyfriend, mother, sister and father were all there to (for the most part) support me.

Thank you everyone for helping me through the 3 years of school with all the love and support!


Final Stretch

August 8, 2014 | school realted, Uncategorized, updates | Permalink

Hello everyone! Quick entry;

I am finally in finals. Finally in finals…heh heh….

I was working on some small projects before I hit finals (you can find them in the portfolio section once I add them), and now all my attention is directed to my finalized reel and polished website. Over the next few months I will be more busy then ever getting my assets approved and working on my shots for my reel. I might have time to post some rough side projects I am doing to keep my side creativity going. I am staying focused on my reel of course, but I have some ideas that might not be good on a reel, so why not just make them small side projects? :)

I am very nervous and excited at the same time to be near the end of my degree! I can’t wait to have some finalized work for my reel, and to start my career.


Omni Expo 2014

June 3, 2014 | Uncategorized | Permalink

What a fantastic first year!

I had a wonderful time at Omni Expo’s first year in Orlando Florida! It was held at a beautiful hotel with plenty of space and photo opertunities.


I was there with Ellen Mclain, John Patrick Lowrie, Chris Pope, and Curtis Thorpe. Since it was the conventions first year, it was slow enough to be able to walk around and see the different things they had going on. I was there most of the time as TaliZorah Vas Neema from Mass Effect. I was not able to finish all of the costume, but enough of it was done in order to wear it around and feel proud!

here are some pictures of my costume:

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See the Tardis!? And the ship form Battle Star Glatica?? Wasn’t that cool? :)

I met a lot of cool people during the convention and that is half of the reason I love going to these things. People are there with almost the same interests as you. A great place to find new friends and cosplay buddies.

(If you don’t want the pictures of you on my site, please message me and I will take them down. As goes for the last picture- not taken by me or Curtis. If you want it removed, please let me know)

Over what spare time I get I will continue to update Tali and improve for my next convention. Until then….I am also thinking of doing a Watch Dogs cosplay….I pre-ordered and loved game! It is everything I wanted 😀

I don’t know what convention is up next, but…

Until next time!

(this is how hip Curtis and I are…)





Upcoming convention and demo reel

May 8, 2014 | Conventions, school realted, Uncategorized | Permalink

Hello Everyone!

It has been a while! I have been busy with the usual- Class, demo reel, and cosplay work.

First item on my list toqickly write is the upcoming convention Omni Expo! It in fact is this month and I am busy busy busy finishing my Tali Zorah cosplay and my demo reel! And may I say….It is really hard….:D and this is probably the most difficult cosplay so far.

I only have 15 days left…and I still have 11 things left to finish! UGH

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During this convention you will be able to spot me at Ellen Mclain and John Patrick Lowrie’s booth! Come by and say hi! And also buy John’s book! Dancing With Eternity!


Next item:


that’s right- its almost time.

I am nearing finals of my degree and I am now in the process of creating my reel. I will be re-vamping my portfolio section completely in the next few months to actually update it. (along with my ‘about me’ section).

I can’t believe I am almost at the end of my schooling, and at the beginning of my career. And closer to getting into Valve! 😀

Well that is  it for now, I will update later with class information, and an end of the convention write up.




Mocap, mocap and mocap!

January 10, 2014 | 3D, school realted, Uncategorized, updates | Permalink

(Happy new year! Post on that later-) Did I mention mocap?
2 months ago I had the best class ever: motion capture!
This class inspired me and finally helped me decide what just discipline should be. That’s half the reason this update is so late; I took my rigging art test. …AND PASSED! (More on that later)

Pretty much the class taught us motion builder, how to capture raw data, how to clean that data in Cortex, and then create the track and clean the animation.

As that was going on, he put us into random groups. Our final assignment was to make a video of anything we wanted with motion capture data. That was the only part the group was needed for.

I was thrilled! We all even decided and got approved to do a game related short! So I was eager to start. That is. … until my group became lazy and selfish. It goes as follows:

All was well at first. We decided on an idea,  we swapped phone numbers, etc.
However,  every time I would  set up a meeting or plan to start data clean up,  either no one responded or could not make it out. At first I thought nothing of it. I was busy also with work and class work.
But it got worse….

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When it comes to work I like to get it done right away. Especially with stuff like this that requires renders and rigs. If it’s done a head of time, then if something is wrong, we have time to fix it.  I really enjoy collaborating with a group also, helps with work loads, and ideas.

Well I will cut to the chase; for a while I thought I was just over reacting and every one would help out eventually.


I was terribly wrong…

I ended up doing The. Whole. Project. 


Let me also state, onece we recorded our raw motion capture data, we had roughly 1 weeks and a few days to finish the whole thing. Not including the fact we still had regular class assignments of other mocap data for turn in each day. Riggs needed to be done, assets made, scenes build, data cleaned, animations cleaned, light, rendered, etc. Not to mention, I had a job.

I ended up with a lot of all nighters, I’ll say.

But you know what? I LOVED every minute of it! I took it as a challenge. A really fun one, at that.


I ran into some pretty stressful issues along the way, especially near the end (bloopers are posted in the main video for your viewing convenience). A lot of weird name space issues, and weird weird rig weighting.,…break…things…..Like this:



Also at the end, I ran into spiking in the rigs that I could not, and did not have time to finish. NJot to mention the fact that one whole scene rendered from the wrong camera, so I had to scrap that part xD.

With out further delay, I will go ahead and post the video. It’s a story about Shepard going to a party to meet all of his friends on Halloween.

Here it is:


Conventions, side projects, and more!

January 2, 2014 | 3D, Conventions, updates | Permalink

(if you are just wondering about conventions, scroll down)

I finally found my inspiration again!

I really like simulations. Especially fluids! And I also really enjoy rigging.

So, my two side projects so far have been these:


A T-Virus model and simulation:

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and a modeled and rigged pocket watch:

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I have a video demo of me talking through my plans with the model and simulation. And now I also have some rough renders of the animation.



and for the pocket watch, I have a demo of the ticking hands and gears!

(a new gear video is being recorded and will be up real soon!)


I also decided to photoshoot an image of me in my Zoey cosplay (hunter was quickly added in). I had a photo shoot a few months back and never did anything with the images yet. The photographer is my good friend, Rios Lopez.




So for convention news!

I am planing and preparing for Omni-expo 😀

I will be there with Ellen Mclain and John Patrick Lowrie. Come on out!!

I am working on a new cosplay, also! Garrus Vakarian from Mass Effect and Tali Zorah! Very challenging- But I am up for it! Right now, I am woking on casual outfit for Garrus….I am not sure how to tackle armour. I will post updates when I have images to show.

But because of the guests, I will also be in my other cosplays at some point :) (Zoey, Sniper,)



Character animation, away! (quick entry)

October 13, 2013 | 3D, school realted | Permalink

(fixing links and videos)

I really do like animation! Just not my profession 😉

However for me, it is hard. I seem to take a little longer to get my animations complete then others. And when it came to understanding a walk, I had to take my time to make sure I got it right. That didn’t stop me though! I powered though the class and really enjoyed it. I began to understand animation so much more.

In the class we primarily worked on walk cycles, building strong key story telling posses, and our anticipations and holds. We had some really neat projects! We had a lip sync project, a emotion change project, and a button push.


I will show you a few of mine. Keep in mined, this is not my forte. But I had fun! That is what counts, right?

I am going to show you the progression up to the final animation. In other words, blocking keys, moving holds, and anticipations until the final (which were our dailies).





lip sync:





So those are the two projects I liked the most. Was a really enjoyable class. Sometimes I would get distracted because animating is not really my thing. I still found it very informative. Animating is not easy! So to all the animators out there- you rock 😀


Later today I will make a separate entry for my current projects. Pretty big update- deserves its own spot.