Friday, December 30, 2011

What I'm Busy With...

Having a blast animating Dechen for thesis..

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Simple Approach to Thesis Layouts

Busy animating and compositing for my Thesis, DECHEN. Spring semester will involve mostly coloring / inking the characters in Photoshop. BGs will be a combo of mixed media - color pencils, pastels, watercolor and oils... So, here's a step-by-step of how I'm approaching my Thesis BGs. Nothing fancy here. Pretty simple stuff...

I originally drew and colored (see very above) with color pencils on paper. All done in separate layers, e.g. overlay, background, underlay, clouds all on separate sheets of paper for the purpose of being animated in After Effects...

After scanning, in Photoshop, I put the layers over an oil-on-canvas color card (actual ochre oil wash). I want a light, canvas-gritty feel to the BGs of my film... Note, I did not merge the layers...

I further played around with the modes and transparencies. Finally, animated the layers on separate levels in After Effects, e.g. sunrise happening (Color Balance), and clouds drifting off (Lens Blur). This BG 01 will cross-dissolve into BG 02, the establishing shot of Dechen's monastery. Ta-da...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Introducing Dechen

A couple of pencil-tests from DECHEN, my ongoing Thesis film's introductory scene. Will upload some more shots in the coming weeks...

Introducing Dechen from Kaukab Basheer on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cheeto the Kitten

I rescued 8-10 week old Cheeto - or rather, he 'found' me - more than a month ago, on my way home from school one afternoon. Junaid and I have been fostering him since. He's a terrific little boy. Friendly, affectionate, energetic, extroverted, fearless, and Mr. Personality. My friend Deborah and her sister, a Bengal enthusiast, insist Cheeto is no ordinary cat, but a high-grade Bengal mix.. So cool...

Faith didn't take long to "accept" wild Cheeto.. (Thank you, Faith-unu, you've been great.) However, she quickly figured out that he doesn't scare easily, is a handful, ALSO loves to hog the toys, and is ALWAYS up for a rough play session. Well, good for them.

Sophie's not too thrilled about the new addition though. Poor girl. I keep dumping new rescues on her. But in Cheeto's case, it was tricky. With no foster home available at the time, we just had to take him in. At least Sophie no longer has Faith hounding her all the time to play with her..

No matter how hard Cheeto tries to befriend her, Sophie wants NOTHING to do with him - but that doesn't deter him from trying again and again. She avoids him as much as possible, which is hard when you are living in a small one-bedroom apartment. Hope she eventually gives in and goes easy on the little guy. Will be less stressful on her, too. But that's our Sophie - a bit of a loner, a one-person (exclusively MY) kitty.. A straight-forward cat that doesn't take kindly to changes, strangers, sudden bursts of excitement, and surprises (like Cheeto)...

"Whuzzaaap! Check out my awesome belly-spots..!!"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Oil Figures in Light

Painting light, taught by Peter Fiore, a terrific Illustration faculty at SVA. Twenty-minute figure studies in yellow ochre + burnt umber + flat brush. Never worked with oil paints before, but loving it..

Thursday, September 22, 2011

HBO Hosts 2011 NBR Student Awardees!

HBO hosted an official screening of this year's NBR student grant awardees, evening of September 20th in NYC. My instructors Howard Beckerman, David Levy, and Don Poynter attended the event, along with my husband, and some of our non-school friends.

"Picture Purrfect" was received well, which (still) amazes me. I was in awe the entire evening and through the Q & A. To have my work screened with some very good films, and seriously talented young filmmakers was a dream come true. Thank you HBO and NBR!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thesis Boards - Unfinished

Few pages of my revised thesis storyboard. Sequences 1, 2, and 3. Currently wrapping up the final sequences, and simultaneously working on the animatic with rough sound.

- Copyright 2011 by KAUKAB BASHEER -

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rango Gets Adopted..!!

After an adventure of extremely surreal proportions, Rango, the most affectionate, and friendliest of our colony ferals, was officially adopted on Monday by a loving family! Hunter Kirkland (a professor at SVA whose class I was in last fall) and his wife, Brooke, were kind enough to take in our precious feral tabby after having recently lost 2 of their beloved orange tabbies..

As is the case when working with feral cats, things don't fall in to place so easily.. Within hours of his fostering, Rango had panicked and escaped from Brooke and Hunter's bathroom window, only to realize that he was no longer with us or his cat colony in Jersey City, but somewhere very new and highly unfamiliar - the Lower East Side of NYC! For days, Rango battled bad weather and avoided confrontation with established cat colonies in the region, as he searched for a place to feel safe.. I was guilt-ridden, heart-broken, and devastated. Rango had been close to Junaid as a kitten, but had grown very attached to me as a young adult. Now, my beloved feral may be lost, forever.. Would he forgive me for abandoning and betraying him? And would I ever see his sweet face, receive his 'kisses', or be part of his fun conversations again? God knew I had only wanted to help him..

Truly miraculously for us, Brooke and Hunter happen to live next to Janet Jensen, a long time feral cat expert - and an angel in disguise - who came to our rescue, armed with patience, advice, a few cat-loving neighbors, and a gifted animal communicator. During one of our desperate nightly searches, Rango decided to come by and greet us - out of affection, gratitude, and respect which moved Junaid and me incredibly.. This new neighborhood was enchanting to a friendly feral like him, with it abundant crawl spaces, trees, grass, flowers, fountains, and many cat-loving residents who provided food at all times. Nothing like the awful neighborhood he originally belonged to. We sensed Rango didn't want to be trapped now, and so with great difficulty, Junaid and I decided to just let him be.. Thanks to this meeting with Rango, I too finally started to feel at peace with myself..

But then warnings of Hurricane Irene approaching NYC had us all concerned for Rango's safety. We just had to get him indoors, since a storm and flooding could be potentially fatal for a lonely, young feral who had just been (accidentally) relocated to a new area without his colony. And so, a day before Irene finally hit NYC, we managed to successfully trap, and reunite Rango with Brooke and Hunter, where he was safe through out the storm.. Thank God!

A truly remarkable gem of a cat, our Rango has been doing exceedingly well in his first-time home :-) We couldn't be prouder of our orange boy. This kitty has worked his sweet charm on ALL the pets of the household. He instantly bonded with Hunter and Brooke's super-friendly and adorable Pitt-mix, Rosie..!! Lots of love and best wishes to our friends Brooke, Hunter, and our boy Rango, and his new life-long friends (Rosie, Pepe and Cleo). Thank God for miracles, good fortunes, angelic cat-loving people.. and warm, furry, happy endings!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Honey Gets Adopted!

This long weekend, our fat baby Honey's foster home in NYC officially became her furr-ever home - yay! Thank you very much Kitty Kind for helping us help our troubled, abandoned kitty, and working hard to find her a responsible, loving home :-) All the very best to Honey and her new parents!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We Rescued Cleo!

This was a truly rewarding weekend. When you're out managing or rescuing unwanted cats, you usually don't get a best-case scenario - especially right away - but WE did! Within a span of a day, my husband and I managed to grab our most lovable and friendliest young stray, Cleo, and got her in to an establishment that will pamper her, and find her a loving new home...

The scary thing is, this fawn colored tabby had gone missing for a few weeks. I feared the worst had happened. When she finally returned, we decided we'll catch her and get her indoors, ASAP. Abandoned at a very tiny age, Cleo belongs to the stray and feral cat colony we manage where we live. This 6-8 month old cutie-pie is sweet, gentle, and very engaging. She loves being around people, and hasn't a single mean bone (or whisker) in her body. No hissing fits, no mood swings, no nippiness, no scratching spells - nothing. Cleo has a stellar personality and stunning looks to match, so we're sure she'll get adopted in a heart beat :-) She probably would like to be an ONLY cat in a household.

Feels great to know that our Cleo is sleeping soundly in the comfort and safety of loved ones, well fed, and in the clean vicinity of other needy kitties, thanks to our superb friends, Carolyn, Marcia, and Kandi at the Secaucus branch PetSmart cat nook (representing Hudson County Humane Society, Liberty Humane Society, Closter Animal Welfare Society (CLAWS), and Animal Life Savers). These ladies are all awesome...

Cleo's favorite napping and comfort spot - people's FEET..!!

Cutie Cleo's informal adoption page: http://www.catster.com/cats/1198243

Monday, August 1, 2011

Meet Dechen

I've been busy story boarding and developing elements of my thesis film for the last 6 weeks.. Whew.. Still can't believe I'm a senior now.. Anyway.. My film will be traditionally animated on paper and is due April, 2012..

It's about a young Buddhist monk who learns that despite his care and nurturing, an extraordinary flower finds a harsh and frigid environment better suited for its existence.. The story takes place in a Buddhist monastery up in the mountains of Leh, Ladakh (situated East of Jammu-Kashmir state of India), and centers around a young boy, Dechen and his surprise discovery, an exotic, high-altitude flower..


Spent my entire junior year at reading, researching and collecting material for my film. I've had the idea for my film for some time now. Chose to give it a shot for many reasons - color palettes, time of day, different seasons, special effects, exotic layouts and sounds, and finally, a simple story (that stems from my own personality and experiences). Yeah, I've given myself a continent-load of nuances to think about - and work on..!! But I'm basically just trying to challenge - and 'wow' - myself.. After completing 3 student films at SVA, I wanted to go all out (before I graduate and take off).. Oh, and never mind that my inflamed drawing hand is STILL not back to normal - the ONLY thing about senior year that scares me.. Let's see by the end of all this if I crash and burn, or soar..


So far, the meetings with my advisor, Don Poynter, have been going well.. He's liking what I've been showing him, which is a good sign.. Will keep all of you posted on the progress... Oh, and the title for the film is still up in the air..