8hrs at “Ryusei Matsuri” in Chichibu City, Saitama


Our good friend Koga-san took me to a rocket festival. It evidently was the setting of an anime series. Of course there is an otaku site that outlines how the series emulates the town.  Here is a collection of pics snapped on that day (click for biggerer):

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…and a quick video to give you an idea of the spirit. Love this country.

Compositing Reel 2015

Nortega is a versatile motion artist with decades of production experience. He can lead crews of talent, or do it all himself. Just put the task in front of him. Here is a collection of compositing & motion graphics work:

Animatic Animation and compositing:

Whiteboard Animation and compositing:

12 Hours at MetroCon 2011

Pictures from an Anime convention from either a Epson RD-1 w/ Rokkor 40/2 and Leica M9 w/ Summicron 35/2 v4. Click for bigger n’ slideshow:

M09 : Art Direction

Some of the unused designs from the new version of the Japanese Nintendo game M06, that then became Jam Sessions DS from Ubisoft. Had a great time working on those versions that it was natural that I’d be excited to work on the next version. Here are some of the extra design packages that went unused in the final:

Lupin the 3rd : Art Direction + Character Design

Here’s a passion project that’s been under wraps for a bit, but we’re able to make it semi-public now. If you’ve followed the exploits of my studio we’ve done some work on the Lupin franchise before.  Here’s a slight taste of some of the design work for a new film that takes place in the near future as Monkey Punch’s beloved characters have aged a fair bit. Oh, and yes… they all ride bikes at the end during a climatic chase… but you could have guessed that.

Fisher King : Character Design

A little sneak peek at a new series I’m art directing. It’s based on the hilarious writings of a post-modern author on a quest to create the greatest novel ever written. These designs are for an episode where the Fisher King goes on Larry King with Steven King. Craziness ensues.

Manga Mouse : Art + Animation Direction

Here’s a taste of the super simple style made for a very young audience to learn both English and Japanese.  This was based on creator Charles Danziger’s fun style that can be found in his book Harvey And Etsuko’s Manga Guide To Japan.

You can watch a taste of the show here:

Halo Anime : Director

Got to direct the first-ever installment of the uber popular video game Halo a little while ago. Had an absolute blast. Made from script to screen at Humoring the Fates with the supa’ wicked awesome cast from Rooster Teeth. Yes, it’s a comedy based on Halo… pretty awesome right?

Watch an episode of the series here or by clicking this image:
halo animation cel animated

Kenny the Shark : Art + Animation Direction

Here are some way back frames from the first episode of the Kenny the Shark spinoff show Kenny’s Home Movies. Maybe this was 2003? Good grief I’m getting old…

JiJ : Chibi Designs

Some fun little takes on the characters in the Joe is Japanese series:

Marlowe the Baby Detective : Creator

Yep. I’m making a children’s book. Be afraid world. Bwa-haha ha ha! It’s kind of an interesting concept and I’m actually excited to find the time to finish the first two installments. Here’s a little taste of some of the art from the first two books:
and then of course if SpaceBalls the movie taought us anything, it was “francising!” So in that spirit (and in the spirit of good storytelling of course) the children’s book parley into an anime series that follows the teenage Marlowe as she solves more robust mysteries… with her friends, dog, & and kick-ass 4×4. Here’s a splash image so you can imagine it:

Chaz Bithmore : Creator + Art + Animation Direction

Here’s some frames from the test animation of my personal passion project:

Rocket Racers : Creator + Art Direction

Here’s a little show I worked up that was a few parts mixed of Speed Racer, Iron Eagle, A-Team, Air Wolf, hell any cool 1980’s TV shaken and poured over solid rocket fuel.  We pitched the show as a Tie in to the Rocket Racing League and hopefully one day soon we can get this show into production. Could be fun. Would have loved to show the Vehicles in this spread but they’re under lock and key for right now. In the meantime you can watch the released video below and imagine what they’re like to fly. Pure Awesome-sauce.

Marvel Anime : Art Direction

Some sneak peaks of some of the new Marvel & 20th Century Fox materials we’ve been doing over at Humoring the Fates. Always fun to work on stuff like this. Click for larger sizes (they pop up instantly):

And a little tiny animation teaser to go along with this stack, you might remember a scene like this from the Wolverine : Origins film :

JiJ : BG Design

An establishing background for the Joe is Japanese series. Fun colors and even better Oden shops. Click image for larger size:

Hello Kitty has no mouth

And yet she must scream… built for the upcoming Joe is Japanese series, here is a little collection of some of the cute characters that have no mouths… but lead Koga-san to madness as the producers keep giving him notes about “the characters’ dialogue not being believable.” It’s funnier in context of course. Here are some of the designs of those adorable little sprites.

3D Production Terms

Happened across this amazing collection of terms (on Definition Magazine compiled by Phil Streather) that get tossed around during a stereoscopic production. Confidingly, I have not known the true definition of some, so I’m posting this cheat-sheet for myself and others to see.


A vision system that utilises a pair of forward looking eyes. Humans have this, enabling them to judge distance.
The difference between the view from the left and right eyes.
The ability to perceive in a third dimension, to have a depth sense. A by-product of Binocular Disparity.
The interpupiliary distance in humans; approximately 2” in children and 2.5” in adults.


The distance between the centres of the two lenses used in any 3-D filming set up (sometimes referred to as Interaxial).
Two vertically aligned cameras, in either a Side by Side Rig or a Mirror/Beam-splitter Rig.
Two cameras placed side by side, able to achieve (at least) a minimum distance between the centres of the two lenses of around 2.5” -the average adult human Interocular.
Two cameras one looking forward through a 45º half silvered mirror and the other looking up or down for 50pc of the reflected light from the same mirror. Required if Interoculars of less than the approx. 2.5” of the Side by Side Rigs are needed. Mirror Rigs can go down to zero Interocular by moving one of the cameras on a motorised platform. Normally a stop of light is lost in the process.
Can also be the DoP. Person with mathematical or intuitive knowledge of the 3-D process. In particular, the interactive relationship between Convergence and Interocular. Most often Stereographers use a spreadsheet to determine where an object will appear on the Z Axis given the focal length of lens, distance of object from camera, amount of Camera Convergence, amount of Camera Interocular and the theatre geometry.

There’s more.  Click to go on:


Spike TV : Art Direction

Another oldie but a goodie, from the Spike TV campaign we did with Curious Pictures:

Go see this Disney movie…

Look, maybe you’ve heard me spit venom re: the dark, evil rat mouse (or maybe just Celebration Orlando in general) but let’s put all that aside and get down to brass tacks: Someday I’d like to direct a big budget 2D animated, world-wide theatrical release feature, with A-list talent. One of the deciding factors of Nortega ever seeing this pipe dream come true rests with the mouse. Here’s the rub. How this Disney Princess movie performs at the box office is tantamount to the future of 2D theatrical animation. Opening weekend BO was meh. It did better than that Mormon Vampire sequel where maybe something actually happened over the first movie (in my defense I saw it as part of a drinking game)… but it didn’t do Disney’s Pixar numbers (or Pixar’s Disney depending on who you ask). The Princess and the Frog is doing almost less than 1/3 of the last 3D Pixar movie: Up.

So here’s my suggestion. Go see it. Buy a ticket, don’t sneak in… or if you are sneaking into an NC-17 movie, buy a ticket to the first 2D animated Disney film in who knows how many years.  Look, this one’s different from the other Princess movies for several reasons:

  1. It has black people that aren’t horrible racist stereotypes in lead, prominent roles
  2. It has black people that are horrible racist stereotypes in minor, passing roles (just kidding… well… kinda…)
  3. there aren’t a ton of sappy songs
  4. there isn’t a Randy Newman soundtrack
  5. it takes place in good ol’ New Orleans
  6. There is some sweet incidental music (despite points 3 & 4)
  7. There are some frankly amazing effects (especially in simple things like a table cloth texture) and very cool stylized animation segments
  8. it’s not a re-invention of the genre by any stretch… but didn’t you start to miss it when you were told it would never return?

Anyway watch the first 5 minutes in an early stage (some pencil tests & key frame only stuff in this):

The Hakuna Matata of this film:

Some of the sweet style that makes this film unique:
THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG: Almost ThereThese bloopers are hilarious

Yeah sure, it’s the sappy Disney shite we’ve all bitched about before, but you’ll have to admit it’s well done… and honestly, haven’t you missed it? It’s giving animators the work we all desperately need. When it comes to sheer skill, these cats can draw. So support the working animator by supporting the conglomerate and showing the world that 2D animation still has a place. For once I think it’s ok.

Watch closely…

This reminded me of a few jobs were keeping track of continuity was near impossible. Here in this video, it’s inhuman:

Dock Ellis & the LSD No-No

Just thought this deserved to be thrown up here as James Blagden and the No Mas guys worked hard on making some really nice animation to follow Mr. Ellis’ won dialogue. Sure it’s been up on Bike Snob NYC & Black Market… but if you’re not a hipster cyclist maybe you missed it:

check this one out by David Rathman too:

Taco the Town : John Oates talks about J-Stache

Come on, look how into the show John is. He wants to do this. Dave Attell is genius. We’ve got great writers. We’ve got ALL the H&O music. It’s a no-brainer. Wise up and get out the greenlight checkbook for fuck’s sake.

IF A NETWORK DOESN’T PICK UP THIS GAWDAMN SHOW UP SOON… I WILL SHOOT A PUPPY. A cute, furry puppy will meet the business end of a .38 caliber bullet.


Really, Oates is a total bad-ass.

He’s got stories.

Listen to him introduce this song.

Then listen to him play.

Then listen to the whole room,

then the world,

then the very fabric of space & time

sing along with him:

Network heads, remember what Jack Donaghy says, “Never ignore Synergy.”

Superflat Murakami Supershoppin’

There was some dialogue in this originally of the school girl warning Louis of a bleak future of rampant consumerism and shoddy proliferation of bootlegged handbags. It seems to be removed from this version:

A Fucking Reality Show!?!


I’ve joked for years that the daily operations of our animation studio would make a halfway decent reality series… but I don’t know if we’d ever really want to be in front of the public eye at all. If you got to know the real cast of characters that are behind making an animated production… um, well we ARE talking about guys and gals that draw the same thing over and over hundreds of times, just to make a few seconds of motion on screen. They are not the most social, well-adjusted bunch. They are not as pretty as the cast of The Hills. They have very, very dark moments… I digress.

Anyway, some group out there is going forward with that very idea. At 24 frames per second it takes 7200 frames to make a five minute short, hence the clever title. Here is a link to a Cartoon Brew’s coverage of the yet to enter production reality series. And a link to the actual show’s site. And a link to the fact that it might be somehow connected to Titmouse? If anyone enters, let me know. I’m interested to see how this progresses. Me… I think I’m out of the running on this one kids.