Sunday, 6 December 2009

Started to..

1.Read a book called 'animation Pimp' by Chris Robinson. This is just what i have been looking for, as i love a good read and as this is relivent to the animation industry i though it would justly become my Christmas read.
2.Draw more loosly. Using the life drawing and referencing skills picked up from my Tutor Kathy and my fellow students (Gaz and Rory you are an inspiration) i have started to use these skills to draw things that just come to mind. These are usually themed with an underlying thought but the work has recently had no physical reference.
3.Teach my boy Photoshop. I hope he becomes more interested in this program, i am sure he will. This is also an ideal way to go over some of the functions that i have not used for some time.
4.Learn Illistrator. I am having a course in Illistrator at the University. I am doing it in my own time. This will aid me in creating vector based charecter for Flash animation. At last we can say goodbye to the jaggies.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


These are a few sketches i have done today out of my minds eye. I know we should be working from reference; but this is like a bit of a busmans holiday. Hoping to transfere one of them into illistrator using the trace feature on it; we will see..
Oh and sorry about the quality; i am hopefully getting a scanner soon..

The creative process.

When we were first played the pieces of music for the experimental animation several things went through my mind. The way the sounds identified with certain colours and shapes. And also the mood they left you in. This was apparent as the flavour of heckling (they are not the quietest bunch in our group) changed.
The one i chose was called 'Lorraine'.
It makes you feel kind of sad because of the minor key, (Gm i think) this gives it a kind of melancholic feel.
When i opened up each file and looked at them as waveforms a few things became apparent. The way the patterns repeated in the piece of music that i chose shouted out to me that a visual pattern would be easy to sequence. There was also two definite sections; this would allow a certain ammount of repitition.
The next time i do an experimental piece i will make it completly non narrative and use total abstraction with no recognisable shapes or figures.
Also the way i shot the animation was all together too fast; when played back a lot of the movemens seemed far too fast. The only time that i got near the natural speed of animation at 25fps was on the last day of shooting.
I will post up a load of stuff later today; but i am afraid none of it is here at the mo. Well except these stills.

Monday, 30 November 2009


After some fun with flash and cs4 i eventually got the eleven second club thing sorted. I will be happy just to recieve some feedback from other people in the industry and also to get cracking on the next months character!
I am going to do the same method and see if i can get a lot better at it.
Hopefully the new software will come into play soon; this will make rigging and animating the charecter a lot easier.
I am sorry the animation is not uploaded here yet; but i got in late and the file is in the studio.
I think that my time-management skills left a lot to be desired in this module. Not checking the file sizes that we had to produce for the finished animation was a school-boy mistake;also not knowing how to produce the file type was pretty slack.
These silly mistakes could have stopped any entry being made to the competition and therfore resulted in a lot of wasted time.
On the upside the charecter works well; i only realised this when looking at him with no volume; it works. This is good. Hell yeh. Get over the comedy cat head figure and there is body and facial laungage that enforce the spoken narrative and become this character. Well i am happy enough with this project but expect a lot of stick from my tutors on not letting the character really 'let go'; this is something thatt i assure you one of my characters is going to do soon; so beware!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Here is an update on what has been a hektic week.

The eleven second club animation has developed from a character turn around into a 2d manikin which i can animate in Flash. Each part of the character was drawn up on a separate layer in Photoshop and imported into flash on its own separate layer. I am just thankful that i have a strict naming and labelling regime else this would have been a mare.
The animation is now finished and all i have to do is stop myself from over-doing the animation on the character- ie keep going back and tweaking bits and pieces as i think this would cause an over busy character.
I have issues with the new flash CS4 interface and especially the way the tween don't work; maybe its me; but i just ended up using key frames and no tweens. Put a tween in there and the results were unpredictable at best.
I feel that my character is a bit of a comedy/scaredy cat character; the best things about him are the way his jaw moves and his shoulders and head movements are very expressive. He is looking for a response in the last second of the animation, his body language is saying "well what should i do, I've got a crushing problem here".
I have a first run of the animation with me at the moment which i will post; it has faults which i ironed most of out yesterday; these include more head and arm movement, better lip-sync on the last passage and a background (don't know if i am going to us that yet as it distracts from the character).

As for the Sketchbook work.

Well i have my sketchbook with me all the time; i have tried to commit more to single line drawings and trust my eye; this has worked sometimes; and others not. I have also been experimenting with drawing the human face more; conjouring up images in my mind and putting them down on paper. Reference work has been mainly covert; looking at people on my journy to Tremough from St Austell. This has given me the chance to observe family groups, teenage hierachies, people with animals and sole travellers. A lot of the poses have had to be sketched at speed as the subjects are rarly still.


This is the one which has been doing my nut in. The time code that we are working to and keeping the relevence to it is the thing that is tripping me up. Today i am going to put my footage into Adobe Premiere and see what i can do with it.
We shall wait and see the outcome; but i have two different styles to play around with...

Also this week

We were invited to a talk on some vjing project that the third years are doing. They asked us for some help and maybe to do some 3D work for them. This is good; i have a meet with them today so we can try a digital enviroment i have knocked up in Maya in the virtual reality studio. This is exciting stuff...

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Change in plans.

The experimental animation idea that i blogged about yesterdayhas had to change. It is going to be too expensive and i have not got the time to do it at the moment. But it is one for 'later on'.

The method that i am going with will involve an under-lit panel; some rice and some pebbles. I have done a test shot and i think it looks cool.

The pebbles i am using are also slightly translucent; so they give a very warm feel to the piece.

More to follow.

Monday, 16 November 2009

A Few words (and pictures).

In the run up to the end of this semester things are hotting up. The projects that we have going at the moment are as follows:

An experimental animation piece. (Animating a piece of music as supplied),

A Character animation for the 11 second club,

And a study of relationships and body launguage in sketchbook form.

The experimental piece.

I have been in two minds hoe to do this and have come up with a way of animating using gels, light and silloettes. The method involves a wooden wedge shaped box with holes and slots drilled and cut into it and the insde painted black. At the far end is a light source; and along its lenght are pieces of polythene (semi-transparant) to give the impression of atmospheric perspecive.

Slots are cut in at regular intervals and sillohettes introduced., with the combination of lights being moved from the back of the box to the front i am hoping to produce a 'street' effect; with cuts to stills of some city like signs, and the music i have chosen this should produce a feel of 1950's Chicago.

The whole thing is going to have to be shot in the dark (to stop light coming in through the slots and light holes).

Wish me luck; im geting the timber this weekend.

The Character animation.

At first i was going to do a cat for this animated character. But i have had a sudden change of mind (i know time is of the essence), and i am now doing a human body with a cats head.

This is going to be some freaky shnoozle man; animatic is in the pipeline; and the new charecter sheet has been drawn up. I just felt that a human form would lend itself better to this learning module as all the projects we are doing complement each other in some way or another.

The Sketchbook work

Here are some of my drawings i am happy with. One is from a photo (the old man and the boy) and the others are realtime observations.

SOrry about the orientation of this one!

Friday, 13 November 2009

So be it. Cat is cat.

Been studying the difference in behavior of different types of cats and the way that they act abroard. The essence of the relationship between humans and felines seems to be based around food. When i observed cats in the Canary Isles ( i have been there for a week, very nice too), they seem a lot more jumpy and paranoid of humans, will not come up for fuss; etc and are considered as a pest.
This changes when they are around a food establishment; where tit-bits are on offer and their pest eradicating skills are useful. The animals become more submissive and do the whole leg weaving thing, knowing that there is a chance of food.
The kind of animal i am going to be animating for the eleven second club is a world apart from the type of cat i have seen in the Canaries; but one thing remains constant, the relationship with food.
The thing i have got to keep in this character is the constant between the donor and the recipient; the relationship between cat and feeder, but with a lot of added presumption.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The 11 second club.

As part of this terms activities we have been asked to enter a competition run by the 11 second club. This is a monthly characyer animation cometition where the winner gets his/her work reviewed by an established industry animator.
I am going to build a new character and animate it in flash. The sound byte is 11 seconds long (hence the name), so it is not long to get some kind of message across. The importance of situation and sillouette will be very important in this exercise; instant recogrition of the scene and emotional bond with the character are a must.
Simplicity is king here, i feel. Im thinking a cat character could be in the pipeline....everyone likes cats!

Experimental update

Have got hold of some gels from the media store and i am experimenting layering techniques.
May use cooking oil as a bonding agent. This could get messy.

Thursday, 29 October 2009


I have been watching some films about experimental animation and have been quite taken by Norman Maclarens styles of animation through the years. From him living with chickens for a day; to the way he involved simpleification of the medium. The way he stripped down the nature of animation about as far as you could go with both 'Vertical Lines' and 'Horizontal Lines' put a few ideas in my head. (The only way he could have gone further was to take the colours out-this would have been done if it was ever televised at the time!)
This kind of animation could be done by layering gels (lighting gels) and moving them in time with the music to create a rythmical narritive. The next thing i have to do is build a rig and borrow a camera. Lucky enough i have a light which could be addapted (old 200w disco light).
I have also watched some old 'dope sheet' programs, and the Beyond dope sheet programs.
This also gave me a few ideas, the oil on glass thing looked good; then i thought maybe mixing those two styles together i could come up with something a bit more experimental. We will see.

Emotional Guy

Our task this week for our charecter animation was to animate a person whos mood changes from one moment to another. My character is going from sad to overjoyed. I feel the best aspect of my animation is the way the guys chest is heaving and his shoulders are rising and falling. He even makes me feel sad.
The way i would improve it ( i know, i still have time but at the moment i have caught a lurgy and it would not be fair to come into the studio), is to make the first pose more expressive and hyper-typical of the emotion i want to portray. I am happy with the format i am using, and the next peice or work will incorperate my newly acquired knowledge of the bone tool.

As for drawing...

I have been keeping my sketchbook up to date, and as soon as i get a camera that works (i know, slackness) we will have a load of them posted on the Blog,

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Cool video

This is like a clash between visual and aural mediums coming from a totally different angle, using the hands on approach of a turntablist, as a zoetrope. This is then married with several different digital mediums to create some nice looking kalidoscopic effects.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The lift so far.

This is the first run through of my lifting animation. I am using flash because i feel it is a very powerful tool and that it has been under-used by me so far. I want to develop the images that i am using in photoshop in future to give more detail. But this is a bit of fun and something i am going to do a lot more of.

The guy has actually got four heads; each one with a different expression on; even tho this was not part of the exercise. I am thinking of giviing him another couple of sets of feet so he will not look so flat footed. This is yet to come.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The pick up..

I must admit; i am having trouble getting my head around the controls of the Dee rig. I have decided to stick to what i know i can produce an animation of someone picking a weight upin, namely flash.
I am going to try and pick someones brains tomorrow (if there is anyone available), to run through the controls on the Dee model, as i live afar from uni and am deprived of the software at the moment. This has stopped me from tinkering with the 3D model at home.
Having someone to act out the pick-up would be a help also; for the timing and stature, as i do not want to jib it and just copy the poses out of the 'animators survival guide'.
Today i have designed a 2D character in flash and made him very posable. With the help of the various transform commands in flash i should be able to come up with a believable sense of weight.
I think that the way the feet are positioned along with the anticipation should make or break this little scene, hopefully by this time tomorrow i should have some kind of developement to show you.
Until then, laters.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Thoughts on the structure of sound.

I have read a bit about how people have bridged the gap between ssound and pictures in the past and have decided to break down the experimental peice of music into its smallest repetative part and express that as a visual; using pitch and lenght of note to get a shape which can then be repeated to form a pattern. A medium and colour palette can then be applied to suit the mood of the music. This should result in some visuals which should be in time with the music and convey the same feeling as the piece.
An experimental piece is to follow.

Walk Cycle

As i have not got Maya at home at present i thought i would do the walk cycle in flash; with all the constituent parts of the body in different colours so you can see what is going on.

This cycle is over 12 frames, which i feel is about the minimum you need to get a walk across. Also i feel the stride on the black leg is a bit too long; giving the appearence of a limp; but overall i think it is not too un-natural. I know that this walk cycle is going to get torn to pieces; and yes it is one of the disiplines that i have been neglecting; this exercise high-lighted that, and the need for at least one walk cycle to be done every week. Promise.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Ok, lets get on with it!

The second year has begun and a few projects have already been put on the table for us to think about.
The experimental animation class is something i am really looking forward to, and i have already had a mad idea which involves getting my hands dirty. The medium i am going to be using is poster paint and a rough form of printing. While the paint is wet a mirror image of the paint is taken and then a mirror of that is taken again and hey-presto, you have a frame !
This should end up with a vivid coloured, moving paint shape which i can move to the time of the music. The peice of music i am going to use is the forth one; it conjours up late nights in downtown Chicago; bleary eyed detectives driving through neon drenched streets; fly-overs and sleezy all-night bars.
The choice of colour and the amount of colour i use are going to be of great importance in this project; the way that the colour travels across the paper is also of great importance. I am thinking a right to left shift of colours to suggest some kind of car journey.
Before i get ahead of myself; lets go buy some paint......

Sunday, 16 August 2009

A few things on my mind...

Saw this and at first thought it was done with the likes of after effects, but now i am not so sure. This kind of thing should only be done with computers, compositing does'nt hurt!
Please have a look and tll me what you think?
Other things that have been on my mind this summer are an animation of the Chrysilids by John Wyndham, with the various sects and groups being represented by different genres of electronic music. The narrative would be carried forward by music and light objects alone, in such a way that Fantasia does.
Thats me blert for today, arn't those Germans mad?!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Monday, 1 June 2009

Reflections on the Hayle project.

Looking at the animation retrospectively and going by the reactions that i have had from the limited people who have seen the finished project; i think that we have slightly missed the point of what we set out to do. May be it was a bit of a mission to portray this woman in such a way; when, in real life she obviously has plenty of friends and a decent social life. Maybe we would have been better off going for the gag type animation and portraying the character in a kind of creature comforts type of way. Either way i feel i still have a lot to offer the course and am looking forward to getting stuck into another project in the summer.
(The finished animation is to follow)

Friday, 29 May 2009

Sound shaping.

After getting some good initial feedback from the rest of the group about the foley i gathered, it was time to put it through the editing process. Some of this was done whitle the main editing was going on and some before (i.e removal of any unwanted noises and the cutting out of the sound clip we were going to use. The rain sample that we got hold of was a very good sample of rain outside. It is clear, constant (it can be looped without any audible seams or reoetitive patterns) and of a good bit-rate. For the rain sound inside we used one of the filters in premiere (the low pass filter), this still preserved the same rain pattern but took out the high frequencies. This damping effect is very true to life and the results, i feel are impressive.

Other dynamics that were altered in the rain nooise was when the car goes through the rainy road in the first scene, the sound has been panned from left to right to give the illusion of speed. (I was looking for a doppler effect in the software but could not find one).

The sounds in the 2-d section are only that of the narration, because it moves so fast and it is supposed to be a memory, this means that all the stairs foley that i recorded was not used; this stopped thed final animation being too busy. Another problem that we encountered was the sound of absolute silence. In the narrative it has an inherant ammount of natural background noise. When we had to insert silences in the recording to lengthen it we ended up with the 'absolute silence' this was remedied by copying natural pauses in Winnies voice and inserting them in the silent places. This worked.

The main worries i have.

The things that i am most concerned about in the whole are if we have conserved the original message, and if the the tones of the whole post-production have not put too much of a distraction on the narrative.
On a whole i think we have conserved a large ammount of realism, all the rules of physics are obeyed, there are no talking animals and the like, and everythig seems to be behaving as it aught to.
We have also gone down the route of stero-typing. Everything you see is of no surprise and in some instances is even expected (such as the cup of tea and the knitting). Where the realism lets go is on the whole ambience of the room and the outside; and the fact that you are invited into a very personal memory in the form of a flashback. The depliction of this memory is slightly hazey and lacks the same colour of the 'real-life' scenes. This is supposed to say it is of a long time ago.
I hope it does and all my worries are unfounded, but for me to say whether we have succeeded in doing what we set out to do is a hard shout, familiarity can chuck your perception.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Hayle Pipeline continued...

As the time gets closer to the deadline for our animation to be complete i thought i had better put a few notes up on what has been going on in the group. The modelling and hand drawn 2d animation have been taking place at the same time; with the 3d animation we are making the shots a bit longer than needed so that we can paraphrase what Winnie is saying and emphisize the speach with the visuals. In this way we can generate empathy for her situation and therfor fortify the narrative.
The weather has been kind to us today in the respectof foley; we needed the sound of a car going thruogh a wet road; a hard sound to get if the weather is fine, but today it is raining, so we got our noise. The sound of the clock ticking has come from an old metronome; which gives a very audiable clear tick; and this will enable us to duplicate it and dumb it down a bit in the wave-form editor (it only has one click per second and we are after tick AND the tock).
Other foley has represented its own problems; such as the stairs when i only live in a flat, (we tried the stairs all round the campus but the reverb was wrong on every attemp). We got over this by finding a creaky floor-board in my flat and having my son (Jake) creep over it inching forward all the time.
We have decided against the rain sound in favour of having stormy skys; this now gives the impression that it has just rained in the classic sunshine and showers (cornish fashion).

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Storyboard continued.

Hello again;just been through the work that i have done on the storyboard and done some work on the colour correction. On some frames i got rid of the colour all together and also i have played around with the timing on the animatic. The main criticism i would level at the story is the lack of pictures of how the fermenting went on in the creeps celler. But on the other hand i think you can use your imagination, or maybe have some action arrows on the brewing equipment.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009


I have made a start to the finished storyboard. It has been altered from the original draught, by that i mean the narrative has taken a turn. The old story; i felt was unsurprising, boring and had no twist or surprise at the end. I have remedied that. Lol.
This could be compared to taking a medical realist drama and plonking it firmly into the relms of urban horror/fairy tale (think Brothers Grimm meets the Candyman).
It is a shame that this narrative can not be made into an animation; but if i have time and the reception is favourable i may take it on in my own time (maybe over the summer).
The advantage of doing the storyboard digitally is the way it can be instantly inserted into an animatic and the ease of correcting any mistakes made in the continuity. This brings me on to the dis-advantages. The fact you cannot see the previous peices of work (i work off a single screen lap-top at home) can lead to deviation in line thickness, colour palet and character dress,etc.
This is the first bit of the storyboard before i made corrections.

The next phase is to see if the story is working so far; that is if the narrative is being carried forward at the right pace (remembering there is no sound at the moment).

Friday, 8 May 2009

Hayle, continued.

There is an obsession with most of the groups to use sepia and mixed mediums for the Hayle animation. For me it just shows what a strong picture the words of the interviewees (?) put over. Also it highlighted the way that an animation can gain a lot of direction when the sound is made before the animation.
The team is getting on pretty well and i feel that the pre-production and prodution are well on the way. Because we are dealing with two different time-periods the look can be changed to suit. In our case we are using 2d for the older 1940's stuff with some hand-drawn animation. I feel that this has to be got on with asap as it could be quite time consuming. The 3-d stuff is being modelled as planned and the shading is being done by one person as planned.
Had fun moddelling a ball of wool in a wicker basket today; used two different methods. I bump maped the wool and made the basket out of separate straws. Both i feel went well, but i must make sure my images for the bump map are dark/light enough in future (so the bump definition shows up).

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The conception of our Hayle animation.

Now that we have our group for our project we have started some lively debate on the whole feel of the project. The breif lends itself to a 'creature comforts' kind of humourous sketch but we have ended up going for a more realist, quite serious angle. We have taken what Winnie said about 'not falling out with anybody' and what she said about her relationship with her husband and put these into two brackets.
The first is:as she is refering to the fact that she does not intend to fall out with anyone in the future then we thought we would highlight the solitude that a lot of old people experience and have her sat in a room by herself. In this way we thought that we could offer a copy of the finished animation (or maybe an edit) to help the aged (a charity).
Secondly, as she is talking about her husband; a flashback into her younger life highlighting what a non confrontational person she was and also the love that was in her marrage. We feel it is important that we get this in as to not put across the wrong message.
The mediums we are going to be using are all digital, some 2d and some 3d, making use of the toon shader in maya.
One of our team is going to be in charge of all the shading so that the continuity is preserved.
So far so good.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

New project issued.

We got a new breif this week and it is quite interesting. Animations can can exist for many a different reason and to forefil many a need. You may want it to be entertaining, informative or just to give some hint of an atmosphere like say with a peice of music and the accompanying video.
This is a similar task to that of a music video where you have the sound first and work the animation to the sound. The post syncrinisation of the animation will differ from that of a music video because it has a historical context to the brief. Also there is a very Cornish flavour to the project; and in the 60 years since the recordings were made the place has changed drasticly.
We are also being told that we are to work in small groups; this i am going to find hard as i have just finished working in a group and i have a feeling that maybe i have put my cards on the table too early.
Hopefully i can find a group who will allow me to take a backseat this time and not think i am shirking any responsability, as i would also like the chance to do something out of my comfort zone; maybe something more traditional like model making or drawing.
We have a meeting tomorrow and i am sure after that i will know a bit more.

Friday, 20 March 2009

An evaluation of a pipeline coming through some dodgey terrain.

Hi all, sorry its been a while since my last post, but i have been busy with this Chew tv ident project, and instead of coming home and tapping my findings from the day into my blog i have had to take the brunt of the pressure created by this project, and by the lack of communication and commitment shown by other team members. Sorry boys; thats how it was and thats how i feel. If it was decided at the start that pre-production was going to be done by one person, post by another and everything inbetween by another i think we would have been a lot clearer.

On the upside all was completed on time and the brief was satisfied. I feel that the quality of the final piece was compromised by the last-minute attitude of our group (we could have done with at least another render), but the pre-production sketches provided by James offered a good start for our design bible and basis for our research (think Mega city one/Metropolis).

This was all put together by Gabe, who also done most of the post-production work.

The purpose of this 'block-through' is to show which bits of the production have to be detailed or even built at all.

As it happened, we could have got away with a lot more as we had to make compromises on the lighting for the rendering time and so we could meet our deadline. In the end to meet it we had four machines going for hours at a time and had to hope that the final result was right and all the render settings were the same on all the machines. As it was this was the case.

After realising that the lenght of time actually spent in the city was less than 2 seconds, the aim of this part of the animation was to portray that there is a lot going on within Chew, and not to show a highly detailed lot of buildings but just the idea of this. The nature of the shot; the way it pulls back at speed bombards the senses and before you know it you are looking at the chew logo. This gave us a get-out clause on a lot of the detail.

As it was the biggest problem (besides the lack of light, which actually worked in our favour) was when the camera went up in the cloud (Fluid container, actually like cloudy water) the light from the ground started to act really weird. The blue lights just set the sky 'on fire', this i feel must have been part of the fluid set-up, but as this was the only render we had time for we had to find a quick fix. We ended up putting a pure white scene in between the transfer from maya to after-effects. this gave us the desired white-out and got us out of trouble. If i had time i would have un-associated the clouds from any lights and this would have also spead up the render time.

Going completely off on a tangent this has led me to start thinking about the way that light acts in fluid containers andthe ways in which this could be used in abstract animation. This is an area which i am keen to research and maybe find a way of expressing a narrative through this. The use of the 3-d space created by the cloud give instant perspective and the way that certain lights in maya work could have some really impressive results.

As for now, this is our finished ident, sorry if it lags a bit, you might have more joy downloading it and then viewing. Bye for now..

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Another crack at lip syncing.

Thought i would try and record my own voice and do a short lip sync animation. I think its quite funny.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

First go at lip syncing.

We had a go at lip-syncing in flash today, it was ok, but i can also see it can be very time consuming and also very rewarding at the same time. The planning side of this is very important as you have to make all the mouth shapes for the noises before you start; this enables you to have a clear run at your animating.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Our crack at live@5.

Today we were given the reigns of the graphics production for this weeks live@5 production. The day started with my train being half an hour late (which it has'nt been recently, typical), and then straight on with programming the sports chart. This was done with after effects-screenshots to follow- and all the team logos were provided and put in place.

I found that the use of straight cuts instead of dissolved cuts was not what i was used to as the footage sometimes has to be paused and if the pictures were opaque it could lead to a shot that was 'washed-out'.

The next thing that i got involved in was the weather symbols. We managed to make an animated rain symbol (the only symbol we needed-typical) using flash. This we saved as a quicktime movie and created a mask to alpha the white from the graphic. I am sure there is a way of exporting the work with an alpha level, but at the moment we are not sure how to do this. (It could be that we just have to save it as a .swf file and after-effects would recognise this?)

All in all as a team we worked quite well, we had a feel of the stress that the news team are under and the only thing that went wrong was the weather guy was filmed on the wrong side of the screen; so he was standing in front of our chart. This could have been remidied by a simple horizontal transform, but by the time we realised what had happened it was 16:30.

As this was not really our fault as the graphics had been done first, i think we can feel quite happy with ourselves.

A little bit more artwork

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Just love this video and song... Its a great piece of work, and a great collaboration between the musicians and the animators.
It also shows the workings of a simple stop frame animation which is very interesting indeed. I love it.

Friday, 20 February 2009


These are some backgrounds i have done using different mediums. The top one i have used pencil and then scanned it into photoshop and then used gradients, layers and various selection techniques to get the feel of a desert at sun-up. The problem i had with the printing of the background was that the colour management chain from the macine t the key drive and then on to the printer made the image a lot darker.

The middle one is a 3-d mock up of a front room. I also had trouble with the lighting on this.

The last one is made using photoshop brushes and distorted rectangles only. Hence the roughness.

More artwork to follow.

Chew. And spit.

We have been asked to come up with an ident for an on-line t.v. station called Chew tv. The station has been running for a couple of years now and is looking to re-hash its image with the target audience moving from 11-19 year olds to 17-25's. The company has given us a breif and some printed material to hint at the kind of flavour that they want.
My initial reaction of having to do an ident aimed at this age group was to go out and drink some cider and get me 'teenage head' back on. Then i began thinking that i never really took it off and this realisation has given me the confidence to come up with some great ideas (well i think so anyway).
The pitch is on Thursday and by that time we have to decide which one of the ideas that we are going to go for. I am in a small team with Gabriel who is probably the nearest to my age in the group. This project is going to rock. We can not wait.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Thoughts provoked by ideology and realism readings.

Can't help thinking that the creative boundaries of western animation were stifled some time in the 1930's by none other than Mr Walt Disney. His industrialisation of animation and mass marketing of his product inserted a broomhandle up the back of the whole of the artform in western society and formatted animation in a new way. The free flowing unreal animations that were made before with their impossible characters and form were lost for this 'staged' type format. I can't help thinking that the driving force behind this change was the capitalist ideology and the need for a product. This is backed up with the emergence of Mickey mouse clubs throughout the USA and the introduction of branding. This not only made sure that Disney was a weekend thing but made it into the family home as well. All of Disney's animations follow his hyper-real formtting except for maybe fantasia (and this you could argue is a fore-runner of the modern pop video), and i am afraid that they stopped a lot of other animations making it to the surface of popular viewing.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Monsters and the like.

So there seems to be some jittering from the Thespian fraternity; that they are all going to be replaced by noughts and ones!
But i think that they can relax and breathe a sigh of relief because i feel these advances in on-screen technology can enhance the cinemographic experience and inject some life into the industry. With narrative based productions seemingly going over the same old 'stability-occurrence-stability' format; the injection of some 'wow factor' can not only add strings to the script-writers bow; but enable them to re-invent the wheel- that is, take the simplest narrative form and present it as though it were the a new concept.
By this i mean that the target audience in western animation, is,mainly children. So in making the tale of sinbad the sailor for instance in a two dimensional traditional cell-type animation in the 1950's now makes it possible to bring real life actors into the production with a high degree of CGI; therefore the actors are benefiting from the work that the speculative value of the film generates. This was proved to be true in 'Sinbad and the eye of the tiger' Ray Harryhausen (1977) which exhibited a high degree of stop motion animation and made the film a success; even though its two predecessors had seemingly exhausted the subject in hand. (Releasing princesses from evil genies or magicians).
Now surely the gate is open for another Sinbad film to be made just on the basis of CGI?
This also brings in the question of shelf-life of these productions. Unless a film is either totally believable or not believable at all i feel has something to do with the shelf-life. As we discussed in our lecture there is a place that the consciousness does not want to be in believability; when a production is uncannily life-like but there is just something about it that un-nerves you. This is true in robotics as well as animation and is called the un-canny valley. Whether there is a correlation between the believability of a film and its shelf-life is open to much debate; but personally i think that there definitely is. To give you a contentious example of this i cite the second volley of star wars movies; especially Clone wars. This for me is like Industrial Light and Magic have just found a new toy water pistol and proceeded to get everyone soaked when they could have just had an occasional squirt here and there and the fascination would have lasted a lot longer. The scenes when the same space ship is flying past again and again in the background remind me of the background scenery on a Hanna-Barbara chase sequence!
Surly this will limit the longevity of this series of films. I know this is not strictly speaking the un-canny valley theory i was on about earlier; but parallels can be drawn.
All in all i believe that CGI will carry on to supply traditional actors with work through speculative developments in film; more outlandish plots and the continual need for a human element in all productions; be it voice or live acting.
These are times of fast change in visual technology; and i believe that as happened with electronic music production, a plateau will be reached where any development is so minute that the viewer will not register it and any speculative value will be lost and narrative based production will prevail; be it with Thespians or not.

What do you want to see and hear more about?