Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Stills of Pod Racer





Pod Racer

Here is the finished piece following the introductory guide to Maya by Digital Tutors (Click name for link). It was modeled, textured, rigged, animated (including dynamics) and lit by myself, i didn't use any of the files that accompany the lesson, however, it remains similar do to the imitative nature of the guide. The shadow for underneath the racer is missing, I had some issues with 'use background' layer, mainly it came out solid black. One solution i found on a forum appeared to work for others, however for me all that happened was i got a completely translucent layer and toying about with the settings in-between only gave me on of those two options, solid or invisible. I've not given up so watch this space.

The guide was very easily broke down, and i found it much easier to absorb than Andy's lessons, (this is due to the way i learn rather than anything negative towards Andy, so don't read into that anything otherwise). You can find Andy's blog here. I'm currently rendering some stills of the racer itself so you will be able to see it in a higher quality and higher detail than you currently can.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Sprawl 2 and I Am A Chain Reaction

A great new release has been made by Arcade Fire in shape of the video for Sprawl 2. Here is the typical version:

However there is an interactive version that can be found at which is great fun. The movement and choreography of the dancers is interesting. I do not know enough about dance to comment on its style, however, it does remind me of the dynamo rhythm that was developed my Decroux (I have a small pool with which to relate too, so if you know any different, please drop me a comment). It was choreographed by Dana Gingras, with the group under the identity of Animals of Distinction which you can read about here. There is a great piece of work called 'I Am A Chain Reaction' which you can see an excerpt below, and this was taken from here. The rhythm of movement is slick and during the immobile moments i can't help but be reminded of keyframing. The hands, feet and head drive the trunk and the circular motion builds a nice contrast between the immobile poses and the mobile cycles. The animation was completed before, and projected from above during the performance with no compositing.

I Am A Chain Reaction from Presstube on Vimeo.

Back from the dead

It has been some distance yet again between now and my last post. Now to summarize the first term:

Context 3: My business idea was to stimulate the animation industry within the Birmingham area (My home town, and somewhere lacking in training opportunities of the kind). My catalogue approach was to establish my target audience and then tailor my images to its needs.

Client Project: I selected the YCN feel good drinks company brief and am currently building up different concepts through different marketing techniques.

Research Project: I am investigating the method through which an animator conceives a believable performance and have established three different approaches which are interlinked. Some names of the people who have influenced the research; Etienne Decroux, Jacques Lecoq, Richard Williams, Rudolf Von Laban, Ed Hooks, Angela Tinwell (to name a few). Ultimately, animation will only be progressive through development of techniques that explore interpretation of movement, and not advances in realism. For those of you that haven't looked at Angela Tinwells work should; The Uncanny Wall is particularly insightful. The message: realism is flawed.

For the past week I've been learning Maya, for which i have built and animated a Pod Racer, which should be available later tonight, (or tomorrow, as Motion Blur is desirable).

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Exhibition Ideas...

Have only posted once this (3rd uni) year so far. However, there has been a lot of researching and writing so not much to show.

We are in the process of planning our exhibition and coming up with theme ideas. One that was mentioned in the meeting was to represent the 3 pathways of the course by different elements. Here i have used some abstract photography as a solution:

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Although there is not a literal representation of elements I was using colour, tone and ambience. I came across this second image that links our course with the natural theme people liked at the meeting. It looks professional and relevant:

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This led me to thinking about having different retro screens representing each pathway, i know the whole retro idea feels a bit corny, but i think with something strong and consistant we can pull it off, here is a representation. (This could also tie in with the image above):

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Third Year has landed

So first year has landed, learnt a lot from last years work to know where needs substantial improvement. So, first up, a preview of my first draft of the Simulated Client project, need to develop the sound, i have the Universities logo and other written information on the hand in version, but i do not want to cause any copyright issues on here.

Iv kept a simple metaphor urging people to 'Lend a hand and donate to the fund'. I am still to develop the concept into the other areas of the fund, but will do as a plant for the client project should i be successful.

Also, something else i thought shows a good understanding of time and movement regarding walk cycles and age, enjoy!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Small Retrospect on the Dojo Scene.

After a few weeks away from the piece or work i spent 3 months looking at there are changes i want to make. (However i will incorporate them into the current project im working on)

Firstly, Where i introduced Neo, the build up was completely flat. The shots built up no tension or showed any reaction to the noise... (such as a close up of some floor boards, the foot meets the floor center view and the camera shakes) easy in hindsight isn't it! The facial reaction in this scene was ok but inappropriate as it slowed the pace and tension rather than increase it.

One of the big mistakes in my facial expressions was that they were flat. They never went anywhere inbetween, they went from A to B or in effect the opposite in A to B to X when it should've been A to X to B. Part of this was because i simply didn't produce enough facial morphers. My current character has many more, which i will post up soon!

Anyway, there will no doubt be a more substantial critique one the feedback has been issued!

The Crocus Gallery - Promotional Video

A joint project that myself and Jack Wright have been worked on in the run up to the end of term. The main focus of the this project, as opposed to others we have produced for the gallery, was to actively promote the gallery. The initial concept was to allow the audience to take a journey through the gallery, so we broke down the narrative into three areas - History, Where the gallery is in terms of growth/it's own journey and where it would like to go. The narrative visually was pretty straight forward; The location, Preparing a show, The launch and the Craft Shop. However, the actual structure was changed (There was extra footage from a previous video re-used near the beginning and the Craft Shop came before the launch!)

Being a small site in comparison to other mainstream galleries in Nottingham, we found we stretched ourselves filming and thus didn't have enough footage. It is important to note at this point that having lots of sculpture will make a cameraman happy! When an exhibition has lots of 2D work (no matter how interesting) the angles to tackle that piece of work are quite limited, we could of used different transitional techniques but an overload produces a tacky piece of work. Sculpture allows multiple angles to take a piece from, freeing up the repetitiveness that takes over the camera shots.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Marketing Made Obvious has gone live....

You can find it here -

Some Pictures from the prop production

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The start of the end of year Two part Two.

The title sounds a right mouth full and thats my intention! So roll back to the deadline day for our second year work, handed in final piece and finally a piece of free time to start my own ideas that had been building up in the back of my mind during the production of the second year project. PING i hear. Curiosity takes over.

An email from a PhD student asking for help producing a two minute ad for a marketing company. With the need to bump up the CV and not much work experience about what harm could it do? (None as it would turn out!) So after a few emails the group that responded met up and went through the narrative working out props, location and equipment and all important Mise En Scene. The client, Clarity Marketing, make clear the priority (after good Vis Coms) was to make it stand out from the rest of the site.

Aysha, the director of the project, was inspired by a scene from the film called 'Why Man Creates'. There is a scene where a man is fighting with props which is was the visual and narrative aim and we agreed that edging it more to the silent movie would edge it out. We literally had no budget except for a few minor expenses.

So we established what needed to be done, sourcing and producing props, hiring out the set with relevant staff and running the production. Although initially i was responsible for the production and post-production (taking a back seat from prop production) is was clear that the amount of work needed was going to require as much help as possible so i chipped in with that, using my apartment as HQ. I secured the equipment through the university as well as the set to film (Room 106B) and enlisted a good member of production team in Tobias Sample and a good camera man in Kieron Powis. This would mean i could focus on the running of the production with helping actors and setting up shots on the day.

Anyway, back to the production, we sourced an incredible amount of cardboard (44 Banana boxes and 6 or 7 big crisp boxes). The banana boxes were all wrapped in wall paper and then 42 were painted grey. The door was made out of two old portfolio folder boxes and roof tiles individually cut out of card and stuck to a cardboard roof and also painted. This process was considerably long to how long we presumed it would take - a week and 2 days at 12 hours a day between four people!

On the filming days (we had booked out 2) we wanted to get as much done as we could on the first day allowing the second and final day for any changes. However, building the physical structure took a few hours longer than we had anticipated. Thankfully the cast were patient and around 1pm we started filming. We carried right through until 7pm and surprisingly had a substantial amount of the filming complete. We tackled the most complex scenes 1st (where all the actors were involved for instance). This proved wise as the second day went very smooth and was over at 2pm. Leaving plenty of time to clear the room and get the footage set into folders ready for post production.

Post-production required a lot of patients in getting the flow of the advert right. We sped up most of the footage to give a silent era pacing and for the visuals we ramped up the levels which proved useful because it stretched the pixels and they became quite grainy and flickered from where the PC had interpreted the data change. Using the tritone i added some blue to the shadows which added a darker edge to the film and a vignette for extra impact.

My Favourite shot has to be the close up of the technician hammering the roof tiles. I think every aspect of above works and the lighting was spot on. In future in maybe useful to ad a gloss to surfaces in order to get that consistency in the light bounce. The client loved the final piece.

Below you will find the finished version:

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Plans for Summer 2011

So Whilst completing my university project iv had a few ideas burning in the back of my mind. One is a character that is a circular shape stuck in a square world. Initially i'm just going to produce the character thinking about it's movement, its reaction to horizontal and vertical objects and develop the narrative from there.

Initial ideas...

Initial Character Ideas

Texture Used for Skin....


Body Motion

This is an example of the body movement when rising out of his shell. the biggest problem was the eyes - they do not follow the skin as it travels inwards/outwards on the rise/fall. I am in the process of remodeling the skin so it has the eyes attached.