Friday, 30 July 2010

The 'Moving Image' Industry | North West | The Neighbourhood

Found these people from google search, there based in manchester and from their website, they look like a really good company.

They have a very fancy website, but whats the point of having a good web site if their work is crap. Luckily The Neighbourhood's work is also really really good, fresh and exciting!

They have loads of information about themselves on the website; what they believe in, like... big ideas, animation, architecture, good design. But they don't take themselves too seriously, they also believe in Random encounters and smiling... still relevant and adds humor!

Some of the stuff they do include...Product Visualization, motion graphics, 3D animation, directing film shoots, t.v stings, idents abd illustration.
They do a wide variety of things and being open to lots of different disciplines means their client list is pretty hefty.

Here are some of their clients...

Advertising & Design - TBWA, Publieis and Elmwood

Broadcast - BBC, CBBC, Five and The Mob

Architecture & Properties - Derwent London and Urban Splash

Brands - Nike, Sony Europe, ghd, Toyota and Visa

To see any of their videos like their show reel etc, you have to go to their website and navigate round it. I can't embed them here or send a link to them, just have to go to the website and find it...

They were commissioned by channel five to do an ident for 2010 Valentine's day which was only shown for that one day.

They also were asked by Manchester City Football Club to do a promotional video...on their website they have two videos (short clips) of a birds eye view of Manchester, which are really dull (because of are magnificent weather here) and it showed how they made it go from dull hazy view of Manchester, to a bright sunny one. The also added a bit of blue to the pictures because of the Football Club they were promoting.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Marge Hair

I saw for the first time ever, the new Simpson's introduction, what they've done is touched up and brought the intro into the 21st century and made fit in with the newer episodes. Obviously most programs (like The Simpson's) are now done on computer apposed to hand drawn, but back in 1990, when people saw clouds part to reveal golden letters spelling out the name of the now famous program for the first time, all the animation would have been hand drawn. 

The analogy below sort of sums up the new introduction.

I always liked this bit in the introduction when Maggie gets scanned by the cashier at the supermarket because of Marge's hair...

...the follow through is well timed and really smooth, its very exaggerated but looks right. So it uses the animation principles and as a result we get a very good seconds worth of animation.

Now lets see the new one, sorry about the poor quality...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

The 'Moving Image' Industry | North West | Firestep

Firestep was set up by two people; Steve Maher and Jon Doyle, they have both worked in the television industry for many years and also have both worked at Cosgrove Hall. Doyle worked on Danger Mouse and Count Duckular when at Cosgrove Hall and also directed and produced a kids t.v show called Foxbusters, which won a Bafta.
Both Doyle and Maher were big Doctor Who fans and set up Firestep in Manchester to make the animated spin off series from the revamped doctor who.
After the company was set up, Imposable Pictures (a company in  London) made a deal with Firestep and now Firestep is a company of Imposable Pictures. Link

I read about them and firestep about two years ago in the M.E.N after there first T.V program came out called 'The Infinite Quest' which was the spin off of Doctor Who.

What interests me about the company is the two people who founded it,  both came from good backgrounds in animation. They both worked at Cosgrove Hall as Director, Art Director and Producer at some points during their time there, then teamed up together to start a company because of a common interest.

The Firestep website doesn't specify any clients but the BBC has to be one of them

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The 'Moving Image' Industry | North West | MI

Came across these people when searching on Cartoon Brew to see if they have picked up on any talent in Manchester, and they had an article on this studio called MI. 

They make 'outstanding imagery, animation and visual effects' and looking at their work, its pretty good stuff. Especially like there stuff which isn't really done for a client, like, they did this beach ball bouncing off their building (it was on the contact page so people knew what the building looked like) 

They also did, during the recession, a short animation of an unemployed robot who was meant to be part of a production, but because of the recession it got canceled and now he roams the streets of Manchester looking for work...

There stuff they've done for clients like, 'The BBC, Distiller Records, Land Securities, Marketing Manchester' are good, but its these things i talked above are the ones which interest me the most.

Here's their show reel...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The 'Moving Image' Industry | General | .....

I've looked at some of the jobs involved when working on a project, but i want understand the process of how things work, like, is it all done under one roof or are people and companies employed to do certain bits in the project? For bigger projects is it different?

I've emailed a studio called firestep who are based in Manchester, they did a television series which was a spin off to the doctor who series called 'Doctor Who - The Infinite Quest', so hopefully they will get back to me with some answers of how they work etc (they've got back to me in the past about work experience, but with no luck, but at least they got back to me which I thought was really nice of them)


Whilst waiting to hear from firestep i'll talk about someone...

Joanna Quinn is a pretty well known animator who's debut film 'Girls Night Out', made during university but not finished untill she had graduated and moved to Cardiff, racked up 3 awards at the Annecy film/ animation festival in 1987.

Since then she carry's on doing short films and also has a studio called Beryl Productions which works on adverts and also the short films. One advert which i've seen before which Beryl Productions did was the Charmin Adverts with the bear who whips his ares on the toilet paper, you know the one...

Joanna found her place in the world of moving image from having a very strong short film, with a unique style and character called Beryl (her production company has the same name if you've noticed) and from that kept on making short films, entering them into festivals and also started up a company to make adverts which brings in the money.
Here's a day in the life of Joanna Quinn...

I don't think you can plan to what Joanna Quinn did, you can't be sure your short film will be a big success and that clients will be wanting your style for adverts. But I suppose that's what freelancers do. Freelancers get there name out there and wait for clients to want their style then build up a client base where you always have steady work, although steady work isn't really a known work in a freelancers dictionary!

Working for your self, for me, isn't what i would like to do, its too free. I would rather at this moment in time, work for a company and gradually gain more skills and move up...

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Walk Cycle

For my birthday, which was like one or two months ago now, i got that 'animators survival kit'. Its a bargain really, you can learn animation from it and also build up your muscles because its so heavy.
Its way to overwhelming when you skip through it, (i left it on the shelf for a month or two because of this, it was too much to take in), but when you concentrate on just one bit its really helpful.

I've done walk cycles in the past, three or four, but I just used to do it from my head, didn't know where to start, didn't know where to end, just drew something which i thought looks pretty cool. They did look cool and I'm amazed I even did them after looking at how much thought and planning actually goes into a walk cycle.
The guy who wrote the book (Richard Williams) gives a nice easy way of learning how to make a walk cycle, but before that he talks about people and how different everyone walk is, womens, mens and he even gives a story about when he saw a 'gay walk' which was interesting.

So when I did a walk cycle I started at frame 1 and ended at frame what ever, Richard Williams on the other hand says the best thing to do is draw the first and last frame (which are both the same except the legs are now the opposite way) then draw the passing position (middle one, kind of) and then from there, do the inbetween of the start to the middle and middle to end, and so on...

I did one from reading the book, went along with the instructions. Its a copy of one he did, but i thought its best to do that and learn than try something fancy straight off and fuck it up and get really annoyed and throw the book out of the window and kill someone because of how heavy it is. Anyway here it is...


The above was a copy (i explained why), but thought I'd try my own now I have the technique sorted...

So the one below is one I did, remembering what I'd learned from the book. I went for a character with a hunchback, with the head very low with his back coming over the top...but still had his head looking up, so he dosnt look sad, looks more he's on his way somewhere.

Too make him look like he's carrying himself and give the illusion of weight what i did was this (by the way i learned this from going back to it and doing stuff to it...then watching it....going back to it....watching it....going back to it) on his lowest frame when his leg is bent the most, the frame after that, his his head goes lower whilst his body goes higher (Its that cat tail thing)

All that makes the stomp down look really my opinion.

Its only like 10 frames and not smooth, but I think you get a sense of weight etc from it...

Thursday, 1 July 2010

The 'Moving Image' Industry | General | Jobs in Animation and Film

So what I'm doing is identify the different disciplines within moving image from this website Skill Set to start to get an idea of whats out there in this big wide moving world of image. Starting with 2D computer, 3D, 2D drawn and Stop motion. Also things I've missed out or things that i think come under the title of moving image will also be included.

Director - From what I've been reading the director literary sees over everything heres a list...

> The design of the project
> storyboards
> layout
> animtion
> post-production
> schedule
> budget?!?!!  (they have to sometimes manage how much money they can spend, never knew that, always thought some one followed them round bening a killjoy)
> casting
> sound

So really, anything that involves a creative decision.

Looking at how to become a director, it says that appropriate qualifications are needed, like graduating from an animation coarse or something creative, and from that work up the ranks. People look for good leadership skills and have a creative outlook.
Also the concept /original idea /vision, normally comes from the director in the first place.

Production Designer - this guy or gal is responcable for the look of the porject, he or she thinks through how things can be done keeping in mind the treatment, script and most importantly the directors origonal vision

They should be able to 'illustrate the narrative and enable the director to realize their vision'

In a way you need to be able to read the directors mind, go inside his or hers head and claw out the concept and get cracking on how it can be achieved, also keep in mind the budget of the project (money always seems to be a burden) 

There is no real career path for becoming a production designer, the production designer could well be, if the project is bringing to life a book or comic, the author etc.
'Ideally, Production Designers will have worked their way through the Art Department, possibly starting as character or set designer and working their way up to Art Director.' so again, like the director, you work the way up the ranks (seems to be a trend here)

Storyboard Artist - We have done storyboards in class but will go threw it anyway. Storyboard artist brings the script and initial sketches together to tell the story, they work very closly with the script writer, produce, client and storyboard supervisor.
They will always have to, like Chris and Rick say, go back to them if something dosn't work or if the client isn't happy with something or if the script changes. so that's why they work closly with the script writer and client, so they can quickly go back the the drawing board (literary!) to make the sufficient changes.

Storyboard artists must be 'film literate', have good understanding of composition, layout ect. also they have to be able to work alone or in a team. Like i said before, depending on the project the drawing skills need to be good.
Also they need to be able to communicate the story to the director via presentation, so presentaional skills are needed.

Most storyboard artists did some sort of animation degree, because storyboarding is an essential part of the process, they might sway towards wanting to become a storyboard artist. or they can alternate from animator to storyboard artist.
So for storyboard artist its not just 'Work your way up', although from being a storyboard artist you could keep going.

Too much writing, heres a video...

Layout artist next...

Layout Artist - These guys will plan out the scenes, although I thought that was the storyboard artists job???

After looking at some other websites I've found a sentence from an article that helps out with what a layout artist dose...
'Gladstone gives an example of how the artist (in this case the layout artist), director, and art director work together. These individuals interpret the storyboard into the various sets, backgrounds and foregrounds for each shot of an animated film.'
So from this I'm guessing they look at the rough storyboards of a scene and bring it to life, give it a fitting background and colour ect.
The article goes on to talk about what a layout artist has to consider; Lighting, scope and the way the camera moves and even says that in the case of an animated film they can be seen as the cinematographer.

Yet again like the two of the past three job rolls, there is no specific career route to get into the layout department, unless you have an exceptional portfolio.
People who have worked on comic books or have had experience in illustration have a good chance of getting a job as a layout artist, the skill set website says,

'At the beginning of a project, Directors will often view illustrators' portfolios looking for a filmic style or an appropriate talent for composition and lighting.'

Animation Director - AD Could help recruit animators picking people who are right for the specific production and will leads the animation team which is chosen.

AD is in charge of making sure everything works in sequence eg - one animators work fluently rolls in to the next shot which might be done by another animator, making sure the performance of the character stays the same and also the style of the character ect
On big projects there also in charge on keeping track of budget and making sure everything is done on time.

To Be an Animation Director you must have a good knowledge of animation and have had worked as an animator at some point. Must have good communication skills and be able to manage time well and budget.

Animation Directors are likely to have first-hand experience of most of the jobs within the department, from Runner to Inbetweener to yet again to really become one, you need to work your way up!

Animator (2D drawn) - Animators bring to life the characters or whatever their animating following the design and brief given to them by the Director and Animation Director. Animators also need to be aware of the style of the production and also keep track of time and schedule.

Inbetweener (2D drawn) - Animators mostly do the key positions and work out the timing, then hand their work over to inbetweeners who will fill in the in between shots following what notes the animator has given them.

Working for a team in a production can be or is different to stuff you do at university, this website says the best thing to do is get work experience (yer, if anyone will take us)

Runners (2D Drawn) - Entry level job, wow, reading through it (i read it before writing anything) it sounds like i'll have to start learning how to make tea and coffee!

I'm gonna copy and paste this one because...

Runners provide support and backup wherever it might be required within the studio, but particularly at the request of the Production Office or Editing Department, and it can be very varied work. They check and, where possible, maintain studio equipment, including carrying out 'housekeeping', or office management duties, such as replacing batteries or light bulbs; fixing chairs; hanging pictures on walls; keeping track of materials and ordering new supplies; keeping the kitchen and other areas clean, tidy and well stocked; making tea or coffee, etc.

It has another paragraph but it ends with this....'but should also be watching and learning all the time.'

Keep on top of the tasks given and prioritize them.

No degree needed really, just look your best and have a smile on your face n' look enthusiastic. Although having a good portfolio and a degree of some sort will help your chances.

Being a runner lets you look first hand how a production company work in the real world, which is helpful, and also lets you decide what you think is best for you by looking at what jobs are available.


The above are taken from 2D drawn animation (from the skill set website), but the same will apply in what ever animation process the job requires, but with a few changes like for instance....

Animating hand draw, you don't need to keep up to date with the latest 3D software (although you might want to if your like to mix it round and do 3D as well, or you might want to move on to 3D after starting in 2D.)
Also, there maybe other jobs in 3D that might not be needed in 2D, like a modeler, who will build the models (characters or sets etc) in the computer for referencing the concept art and so on.


I renamed this to include film as well, because after doing research into film I realized things stay the same. The best place to start if your a graduate is a Runner and working your way up (no inbetweeners in it)


What I've learnt (how do you spell learnt????   learned?  or learnt? or something totally different) from looking at jobs in animation and film is that you work your way up from the bottom, unless your a veteran and are going to another company, but to start off (which we will be doing in 2 years) being a Runner or a Inbetweener is the place to start, then find what you feels the right place for you in the company.

If you feel like you want a change, go to a different company or maybe start your own.....