Saturday, 2 May 2015

Animation Update: All WIP animation shots so far

Here are most of the WIP animation shots for the final year projects so far:


Shot 1: Finished Shot

Shot: 3 Needs Polishing

Shot 6: Needs a little polish

Shot 7: WIP Blocking


Shot 24: WIP

Shot 28: WIP


Blocking first pass:

Spline first pass:

There's still a lot of animating to do so hopefully I will get them all done. Fingers crossed.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Ultimate Image for Business Assignment

One of the last assignments where I had to create an Ultimate image using the poster grid system to show good use of layout and also see if the image itself can tell a story.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Inspirational Trailer #3

Today I stumbled across a trailer for a feature film that has blown my mind. The beautiful animation in this film is pretty amazing. This feature film which will be out sometime this year is called, The Little Prince Trailer #1

By just watching this trailer makes this film look like it's been produced by Pixar or even Disney. The quality is that good! I thought I'd just make a post mentioning this trailer because it inspires me and makes me want to work more to reach that kind of level.

A visit from FRAMESTORE: Animator - Michael Elder and Recruitment Manager - Toyah Dunningham

Today was a inspiring and slightly productive day in terms of uni project work. Today we had special guests from Framestore. Michael Elder who is an Animator and Toyah Dunningham who is the recruitment manager. The day started off with Michael and Toyah going around to all of the third year students and talking to them for approx 10 minutes. Showing the current work that we are all working on and also get to ask a couple of questions about the industry. This was kind of running a little bit late as there were some issues and they arrived later than scheduled.

They managed to get around to seeing me and even though it was not their fault that it was running late. I felt the time I had to talk with them and get feedback from the about my work was a bit short. I had enough feedback but I would still like to have had a little bit more time as it was rushed.

After lunch they were giving a presentation about the company and a brief background knowledge about themselves and what their job role is at Framestore. They went over briefly the films that the studio will be taking and working. The films are, Pan(2015), The Martian(2015), Tarzan(2016), Geostorm(2016), Now You See Me(2016), Jungle Book(2017) which this film will be directed by Andy Serkis. (Might be an all out motion capture film)

Michael and Toyah then went on to talk about how to get into the industry. Especially Framestore, what they look for when interviewing candidates. They mentioned that you will need to have very good communication skills. As you will need to communicate with the production and the directing manager of that project to update them on the progress of the shot you have been given to. The reason for good communication skills is that if you fail to communicate how well your progression of your shots are. Then you will be slowing down the process of the schedule that has been planned.

They also mentioned about the internship that they are going to run over the summer. The summer course will be 8 weeks long and that the applications are open now. If I wanted to get into the film and vfx specialist area. Then the best route to take to get into that is to start out as a runner. To have a chance of applying and getting an interview, I will need an extremely good show reel. Keep all my work up to date! (basically house keeping) All my links on my website are all working to ensure a smooth run of the process of viewing my work. Have a show reel no longer than 2 minutes maybe even shorter. If I want to be an animator it is a good example to include some tracking shots and also include clear breakdowns of your animations throughout the show reel.

Michael also talks about criticism, don't take it to heart receive criticism professionally as they are the ones that have been on the industry a lot longer than I have. To try and get a lot of experience in TV animations as it is a good starting path to go from to get yourself into the industry. They then ended the presentation with a couple of demo reel examples and example shots of films they have worked on. Machael and Toyah's last words were that 'It will be easier to get into the industry as a runner. You will have more chance of that than going for an internship over the summer'

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Cat Chase Project UPDATE 4 - Blocking of shot_03

After finishing up on the animations for shot_01 and shot_06 for this project. I have now moved onto blocking out the animation for shot_03. Even though I should have finished this project 2 weeks ago I am aiming to complete the final animation of shot_03 by at least the end of the day. Then hopefully moving onto finishing blocking shot_07.

When blocking out the key poses for this shot I found it particulary comfortable doing this shot. I set myself a target in getting the first pass of the blocking stage for this shot done by around 2pm ish. I managed to complete that by 2:15pm. Which I am happy that I managed this.

I have been following the animatic in which the director has provided me for this shot. I feel when using the animatic for reference that there was still a few seconds spare towards the end. So I added a little bit of improvisation/extra bits into the shot.

Here is the animatic:

and here is the first blocking pass of the animatic above....

 and then here is the same shot but a side view of the blocking.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Company Research #5

For my #5 company research it is going to be DreamWorks Animation SKG

DreamWorks Animation SKG is another American based film production company. The studio was founded on October 1994 almost more than 20 years ago. The founders are Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen. The studio is mainly known for it's animation films such as: Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon films. They have also worked with Aardman Animation studio before but now all of their films  now use computer animation.

Here are some still shots of the animated film work they have produced over the years...

How to Train Your Dragon

Kung Fu Panda


DreamWorks have inspired me in a way that they are another big animation company that also can produce top quality animated films. They are up there with Disney and other companies like Pixar and Illumination Entertainment and so forth. I really love the quality and style of the animation in the films How to Train Your Dragon. The quality of the models, animation, the feel and the look of the film is so aesthetically pleasing to the eye. It looks so realistic but at the same time it is not. As I said earlier other big companies like DreamWorks inspire me because there are other companies like this one who can produce around the same quality of animated films. It's also good for job prospects more big companies other than the two main ones shows that there are a lot of opportunities. As well as smaller companies too.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Cat Chase Project UPDATE 3 - Animation shots

Today I finally got what I hope to believe, is the style of animation that will be suited for this short. After weeks of going back to the drawing board in trying to get the kind of animation style for the short. I am happy with the outcome, all I need to do now is pass it onto the director to get feedback and hopefully there won't be too much that needs altering.

In the first playblast of the animation for shot_01 I wanted to see how the run cycle of the policeman would look in the actual environment. So here it is,

After putting the video on loop, I wanted to see if I could spot out any small detail that would be off putting. Anything that wouldn't look right in this scene, but after a couple of minutes analysing the shot I couldn't spot out anything. I then decided to add in the rest of the policeman characters into the scene as the first tester look good. Here is the same shot but with 2 extra policemen added into the scene.

So I will now send this to the director and hopefully get some feedback soon. As I have lost some time in my other projects in which I need to make up for desperately.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

3D Animation Contest (with Animation Methods)

Today this popped up on my Facebook feed, Animation Methods. It's an animation contest, mainly a body mechanics type of animation piece. To enter the competition I must animate a 3D biped character lifting a heavy object and placing it on a table. This competition sounds like a really good opportunity to do as a side project. Even though I have a lot on my plate work wise, as I am a couple of weeks behind but hopefully I can get this done in 2 weeks along side all my university projects.

Hopefully the next post about this competition I should have recorded a reference video and have some blocking animations done.

Inspiring CG trailers

Today I stumbled upon these great CG trailers which I found inspiring. Door Guardian Trailer (no subtitles in trailer) and The Leviathan Trailer Yes even though they are both completely different in style. That one is fully CG and the other one is Cg but mainly VFX type. The trailer for the Door Guardian looks pretty amazing!

                                                                  Door Guardian Trailer

                                                               The Leviathan Trailer

The company Light Chaser Animation that are producing this feature film is dubbed as 'Pixar of the China'. The animation company is based in Beijing and was founded by Gary Wong in early March of 2013. On their website they explain that their 'goal is to create world-class animated films with a Chinese cultural touch' Which I find really exciting as at the moment in the industry the top animation companies for CG wise are Pixar, Disney, Blue Sky and Illumination Entertainment. (That audiences know of) It is nice to see that there is new animation company from a different country that are going to create and give the big animation companies a challenge. It is also nice to read that they wanted to create animated films with a touch of Chinese culture, which I thought was an interesting thing to read.

I also found this trailer really exciting is because of the style of animation. It is so exaggerated, even though there are only a few shots of some of the characters throughout the trailer. You can see the quality of the characters are close to what Pixar and Disney would produce. I think the main reason (personally) why I am excited for this animated film is because of the touch of Chinese culture that will be shown in this film. It will give an idea/insight in what the Chinese culture is.

The other animation is more VFX based and even though it is a pitch rather than a feature trailer/film. It still looks pretty amazing! Even though it is not fully CG animated. I have an interest in one day working on live VFX feature pieces in the future as well as working on fully CG feature films. I am a massive fan of futuristic and fantasy creature films. Even though I don't have enough knowledge in VFX, I would like to one day be able to work in both CG animation and live VFX films. It's pieces of work like these that I come across everyday, in which I use to help inspire and motivate me with my work.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Company Research #4

Part #4 of the company research

The next inspirational company is Blue Zoo Productions. They are a UK based computer animation studio. The studio was founded in the year 2000 by Tom Box, Oli Hyatt, Adam Shaw and Nic Sims. The studio mainly produces content for TV broadcast, but it is also known for creating children's animation series. Their headquarters is located in Soho, London UK.

The reason I chose Blue Zoo is because they produce a wide range of animated TV commercials in different style and formats. So far I have been inspired by mainly animated films and one style of animation (Stretch and Squash style) After seeing a lot of their adverts on TV I really like them and their style and how visually pleasing the adverts are. Here are some examples of the work they produce at the studio....

In the video link above is an Animal Planet, the design and the quality of the models of the animals and the animation is kept very simple. But at the same time it works, the animation is not so smooth but it's good. Simple and effective is the way they approached this Animal Planet branding project.

Here is another Animal Planet branding short Animal Planet Wilderness which I really like because it's something different. It is also short and effective, I also believe that I should not be focused on working in only animated film industry. I should look at what else is out there that is not film related project. That is why Blue Zoo is inspiring because of their short commercials and quick simple and effective branding for other TV companies.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

No Life Drawing Session Today. Guest Speaker Michael Cawood

Today there was no life drawing class, instead we had a last minute guest speaker Michael Cawood who gave us a talk about the animation and the games industry where he had worked at over the years. He provided a brilliant breakdown of working in the animation industry, that building a strong network is a must when you're out there in the industry world. Michael also gave us tips on how to create and structure your own website for what the industry are looking for. The talk went on for a further hour and a half comparing full time jobs and freelance, what to show when you're creating your portfolio on line etc...

Overall I found the talk by Michael Cawood very helpful. It provided a huge insight in working in the animation industry. I hope the university will bring in more guest speakers before the end of the year to encourage us to push to produce animation to the highest of quality.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Company Research #3

Welcome to part 3 of my inspirational company research..

It's been a while but for my third company research it has to be Warner Bros. They are an American based animation studio. That makes film, TV series and music entertainment and their headquarters is based in Burbank, California. (Which I wouldn't mind working out there. I've heard it's a really brilliant place to live) Anyway they have several subsidiary companies and I won't name them all because the one I am interested in and will be talking about is the Warner Bros. Animation.

Just because it is animated related to what I want to pursue as a career. But when I was a child growing up if I wasn't watching Disney films. I would definitely be watching Looney Tunes!! Everyone must have at least watched a couple of episode and have enjoyed it thoroughly. Whether you are a child, adult or even an OAP, Looney Tunes was and still is a really good TV series to watch.

Just look at these screen shots from the TV series showing stretch and squash poses..

This inspiration of my love for animation style is the same as I mentioned in my first post about the style of animation in Looney Tunes. It's use of stretch and squash is just brilliant, the animation is so smooth and the use of stretch and squash technique shows brilliant exaggeration of the characters poses. It's so good that it just looks normal like nothing looks out of the ordinary. That's how good and effective they have used these techniques. That is why Warner Bros. is one of my inspirational companies to look at when I was growing up looking to a path towards animation.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

This is what happens when I draw (18/02/15)

Today was the first time I've been to a life drawing class this year! I need to try and go to more life drawing classes as I need to improve my drawing skills. Here are some sketches from today's session which was held at the University of South Wales.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Creature Performance Animation UPDATE 1

Here is the first update for the production stage of my Creature Performance project. First of all I will be animating a walk cycle using the free Doberman dog rig that I have downloaded on line.  It's been a very long time since I've animated a quadruped.

Since I like doing character animation, I struggled to get going from the start as it has been a while since my last quadruped animation. But after being consistently at it I managed to get a good rough blocking of the walk cycle.

Here is my first pass of the blocking stage.....

Friday, 23 January 2015

Company Research #2

Part two of the inspiring animation company.

Studio Ghibli, this company is best known for producing Japanese animation which is also called 'anime' I know this is way different from Walt Disney Animation. Their style of animation mainly focuses on the aesthetics of the film visually. When I first saw a studio Ghibli film which was Princess Mononoke (1997) visually it just looks amazing, the animation style is obviously way different from what you would see, say Disney would produce. But there are still some fundamental basic animation techniques throughout the film.

For me looking at this poster for the anime film shows that they mainly concentrate on the aesthetics visually more. For example you can see what I mean in this short clip from the film below...

Studio Ghibli studios produce a lot of anime films and throughout all their anime films. They are always best at adding emotion within the story. It always gets me every time. In almost ever anime film I've seen produced by them, the emotion within the story is really strong and it hits the right spot. It hits you really hard, emotionally.

That is why Studio Ghibli is one of my inspirational companies just because for me personally they nail it every time in showing emotion within their anime films. Their animation is good but not what I am looking for or to go into. But the way they add emotion into their anime films always work for me. As in animation sometimes it is always difficult to show emotion, that will hit you very deep in the right spot. This is also where I try to learn and improve my knowledge on how to show emotion effectively in animated films.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

DEADLINE: The hand in for Business Assignment 1

Finally some spare time just to update my blog of the latest piece of uni assignment which the deadline was yesterday. This piece of assignment was for my business module called The Animation Business. For this assignment I had to design and create a business card, a CV and a cover letter for myself. A little mock example if I were to apply for a job. The assignment was also useful as I can use the information from that assignment for actually applying for a job.

I found it very difficult to come up with a design and a brand that I am comfortable with and also appealing as well as simple. In the end I kept it really simple also not too simple and plain.


Very simple shapes, I like the idea of using the circle as a main shape to put my initials in. I decided to not have the lines or dotted lines going across connecting the circle. As I want the logo in the middle to stand out, dominated the focal point of the design. Maybe I could have done a little more better with the background colour. As I said earlier in one of my previous posts about the design, that I wanted to try and add a cardboard texture style in the background to get that texture feeling. But in the end decided to stick with plain colours.


Again keeping with the branding of my logo and also the front of the business card. I decided to use the smaller circles as I did want a banner type going across the back with an image of my work. But instead I went with the circles which I am really happy about. As it links in with my brand and it's not taking up a lot of space. So space is good.
I might have another look at the quick sketch of a character at the bottom right corner. The only reason I put that in there last minute is because I thought it needed at least one small image.


Again keeping in line with my branding and again kept it really plain and simple so there's nothing too distracting that it will put the reader off from looking at my CV. As I said in an earlier post, I did want to see if adding cut off lines to section things off would look nice. But after experimenting with the lines I decided to just leave them out. Then use the body of the text to create sections for each sections. Now that is done and out of the way I hope I will get a good mark for this assignment.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Project Dance UPDATE 2 Animatics

Today I'm just catching up on updating my blog for Project Dance. I have done some animatics for the shots I will be animating in the animated short.

The first one is the slap scene.....

The second is the where the main character is being helped to his feet by the other male character...

Then the third animatic is where both male characters start going off dancing with each other.

As I said earlier in one of my posts. My drawing skills when it comes to pre-production are very beginners quality. But hopefully I will improve on those skills in the future.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Project Dance UPDATE 1 - Animatic

Just a quick update on Project Dance. Josh has uploaded a new animatic, just changing some shots which does not effect anyone's animation at all. So here it is....

I have also received the schedule for Project Dance. Now because I have already scheduled all my other projects while I was waiting for this one. I will have to schedule this project towards the end of the production pipeline.
Here is an image of the schedule for the project;

Friday, 2 January 2015

Company Research #1

As part of my business assignment I will be looking at Animation companies that have inspired me. Discussing which piece of work that inspired me the most and why. So it begins...

Walt Disney Animation Studio Films.

The animation studio for films was founded in 1923, way, way before my time and they are located in Burbank, CA. The studio is a film maker driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most best loving films ever made. They have produced films such as:

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Cinderella 
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Jungle Book
  • Beauty and The Beast
  • The Lion King
  • Aladdin 
  • 101 Dalmatians
The list is endless, these are the films for me that are one of the best movies I have seen when I was growing up. That these are the films have been responsible for playing a massive role in inspiring me to want to be an animator in the future. I would sit there and watch Disney's movies all day long if I could and I would never get bored of watching them. The three animation films that were the ones that made it for me and they still do to this day. But this one is my all time favourite and that animated film is....

#1 - 101 Dalmatians (1961)

For me this is the one of the best films I've ever seen, not just because of the story but the style. The animation being exaggerated, the squash and stretch of the characters throughout this film. I find is just beautiful, that is all you need to know.

By just looking at these scenes that are taken from the film. Instantly these images show that the film is a warm relaxed and a family feel kind of a film that you are going to enjoy. I also like the style of the characters, tall and thin which they can stretch and exaggerate their poses which is brilliant when you see it. As well as stretching the poses of the characters. There are also stylized short and round characters which again they show a brilliant use of the squash technique throughout the film on one of the bad characters.

Also in this film they have all the fundamental animation techniques that are needed to produce an amazing piece of work. As you can see the amount of detailed work that has been put into this film really shows. This is the reasons why Disney is one of my favourite companies because they produce really good quality animation films and also they show that warm, family, fun feeling type of films.