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.

What do you want to see and hear more about?