Monday, 12 December 2011

Holden and Sons | Protfolio Visit 3

I stuck to what I said, and didn't waist time by showing my show reel, instead I went straight in there with my ident, which went down well. It was nice as they got to see a contrast between both mine and jacks idents. They pointed out how the movement of the textures as the sun comes into shot adds to the piece and emphasizes the sun being in your eyes. I still feel the sound is not the best it can be in this piece, mainly as its very quiet. I really want to create a better sound for it as it will make the whole thing so much better. The making of for the ident, again, went down well

From looking at their website and seeing what they do, I decided on showing two pieces of work which I did at LOVE creative which was an umbro brief, as i thought they'd appreciate this more than my short train animation. They really seemed to like one of my executions for the brief, as i explained to them the meaning behind the concept before showing it. This is something i need to start doing with all my work when showing people, really giving the viewer some idea of what’s going on.

I finished with my latest project, Feel Good Drinks brief, its not even finished yet, but I'm really liking how its turning out, plus i was able to show my sketchbook work which shows my process.

Overall, what was good about this visit was that I realized how much I need to do towards sound in my animation. I wouldn't have noticed this if it weren’t for it being a joint visit. I haven't really got a finished piece which has great sound on it, and I feel sound really makes or breaks a piece of work. I really want to work on sound, especially for my final major project.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Feel Good Birds Research

I've been asked twice now about whether my feelgood birds animation has been influenced by any particular person or style. My answer is that I can't really pin down a specific artist, illustrator, movement or style. I look at lots of different things which have influenced the look of the animation.

This first one, below, was just a sketch I did once I figured out the layout and colour. But actually, the construction lines worked quite well with it, in comparison to the one below this one, and decided to keep them in and work them into it. Although, I wanted the background sketches much more subtle.

One of the first things I did was changed everything to square (below, not the video), mainly because of the way the characters were drawn, it made the birds feel part of the scene and vice versa. I taught my self to use the pen tool in photoshop to create the curves. I used to think it was really complicated to use, but have now got my head round it.
I also wanted to start making my own brushes in photoshop and after watching this toutorial, I created my own which gave me the texture you see on the main branch...

I experimented with adding sketches with thinker lines, it looked really out of place and ugly to look at

Even a neater version looked bad...

After I'd hit a brick wall, i decided to look around on the websites i regularly check. One which i love called Grain Edit gave me some inspiration and also an ex student of Stockport College Chris Madden. I can't tell you what I saw as I can't remember, all i can say is that it inspired me to add the brush texture I'd made to different parts of the background, only subtly though, just to hint at the roughness of the style.

This was the almost final background, only apples need to be added...

Lastly, in terms of technique, I was inspired by an animation which was made on a small scale called 'Nosy Bear'. I find that my drawings look nicer when very small so this whole animation, like nosy Bear, fitted in one sketchbook....

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Work Experience LOVE Creative

From 31st May till 24th June I was at a studio called LOVE Creative. I was there with three other people from Stockport College; Helen Porter, Dominique Byron and Jack Maguire. Me and Jack are working on a short animation so that's what we were working on whilst in the studio. As well as working on this short animation, we were also given some after effects work to do at some points.
 Me and Jack helped out Dominique bring one of her illustrations to life, this was nice for two reasons; firstly it meant it could put our after effects skills to the test and secondly it was nice to use someone elses work which looked really cool.

I started thinking more about colour, my aim was to get started on a colour script for mine and jack's animation. To give a brief out line to what the vision is, we want to get across the feelings of two characters in a relationship, by using the seasons, for example; the animation will start in spring as spring is known as the season of new life etc also, we go through eight seasons all together and as the relationship turns sour, the seasons should mimic this.

As well as this going towards a side project, its also helping me on my self initiated. 

Also use of the 'Hue and Saturation' tool in Photoshop helped out a lot, you can take the colours your happy with and make then really vibrant or really saturated in an instant. (that how i got the really vibrant orangey/red on the first autumn)

In terms of moving image stuff done at LOVE Creative, I did 2 seconds worth, here it is...

Also, my after effects skills also got a lot better from having some briefs of the LOVE creative team...but I can't show them on here. There on my Hand in disc for refrence.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Wash Studio | Portfolio Visit 2

I talked to a guy called Andy Walmaley from a studio called Wash Studio, I only had 20 minuets with him, and he was conscious of that too, which meant he just spewed out as much feedback as he could in the time we had.

I showed my train animation. I suppose its a mixture of not having enough time with him, me not explaining what it was about and the animation not actually being finished, but it just didn't seem to go down well with him.
He thought it looked visually brilliant and there was no faulting that (he also said it would have made a fantastic title sequence), but it didn't make sense. I feel I need to make a making of for this project which will really give a sense of how much work was put into it and what its all about.

I went one and played two Umbro pieces, which I did during my work experience at Love Creative, which he thought was good, as the dimensions of the piece created a challenge for me. He did go onto say that the sketch book work for it looked as if I'd done the piece then scribbled some stuff down to look as if I'd thought about it. I shrugged this off as I only had two days to produce the animation and most of the time i was worried about how to use after effects as I hadn't used it in a while.

I think the main point highlighted from this visit for me was that its my sketchbook which needs presenting better. In general when I looked at my stuff afterwards it made me realize that I do just scribble stuff down for only me to understand. I also seem to get ideas in my head then develop it in my head without writing it down, thats ok for me, but other people can't see it.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Colour Tests for Competition Brief

One thing which I feel I've made more of an effort to do in the 3rd year is make sure the colour in my animations look reasonably good, or visually ok. I really enjoy thinking about colours for my animation, taking into consideration all the different things which will essentially make up the animation; the mood, the style, target audience etc...

The company 'Feel Good Drinks' already have a colour scheme and a style on there website, and although its good, i wanted to create something different which was my own, but still in keeping with their message.

To get inspiration for the colour i looked to my book shelf, which is ever growing. I homed in on the pixar 'art of' books and also one of the disney archive series volumes called 'Design' which showes off some fantastic works of art from the disney artists.

This was the first one I did (below), it was pretty dull, but were the colours I essentially wanted to use; Greens, Blues and Browns.

More Autumn looking...brighter colours, but its looking too realistic...

Birds n' all in this one...

I liked this one (below), but my problem with it was that it wasn't really the right colours for the brief. I imagined it more summery, I'd been rearing off into the autumn look too much.

This was looking less real and more stylized and the colours were much brighter in contrast to the first attempt. But I wasn't happy with the colour.

I got bored with the 'in a tree looking out' composition and decided to look at the tree to see if I could get any good colours out of it. I liked the green sky which was influenced by a few pieces of art i'd seen from my books of reference (which are shown below my image)

I finally settled for this....its bright enough and looks pretty spring/ summery. also I made the branches/ tree trunks a dark green and totally got rid of the browns, it seemed to work better. Now i needed to do this, but inside the tree where the animation will take place, and also consider the composition.

Friday, 18 November 2011

DandAD Talk at Preston

On Wednesday 16th November I went to Preston university with a bunch of people off the coarse for a DandAD day.

We got two talks in the morning, the first one was just really an overview of DandAD and what they do. It wasn't too interesting. Lucky it didn't last that long.

The main speaker was Jack Renwick who just recently left a company called 'The Partners' to start up her own company. In her talk she briefly gave us a bit of background to how she got into the industry then went on to shared her experience within the creative industry with us all.
Jack talked about how clients might come to you wanting to 'be different' then as time goes by and you pitch your ideas to them, they can become a bit nervous and start to think 'maybe different isn't what we want'. Jack explained that what people tend to do is do something which they'll then go away and say "i did this, its ok, but the client was always making me change stuff, so its not how I want it to look". Jack had the same issue with one client where they wanted to be different, so jack and her team re-branded them and gave them a makeover which consisted of changing there main colour to black, this would mean their business cards would be black too. They didn't like the idea of black business cards, they wanted to keep them white. In this circumstance what she did was instead of moaning about the client, she went away and thought how I can convince them that its a good idea. She went out and collected all their competitors’ business cards and put them in a frame and put in the middle what she wanted their new one to be. It was a sea of white business cards with one black one in the middle. She asked "which one stands out the most" to which they all pointed at the black on, thus convincing them it was a good idea.
So, its all about finding ways to persuade the client....not just moaning about them.

After her presentation, someone asked the question "why did you leave The Partners?" to which she answered in a round about way;
I've worked there for 13 years, what fun is it once you've achieved what you wanted to achieve. I wanted to start something new that would challenge me.

I thought that was quite nice.

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Neighbourhood | Portfolio Vist 1

One thing I've taken away from this portfolio visit which I think I'll start doing...or shall I say start not doing, is showing my show-reel. I felt it was such a waist of my time and their time. The whole point of a portfolio visit is to get critical feedback on your work and the show-reel is only fragments of your work, also you send your show-reel off to a studio if your looking for a job and I wasn't asking for a job. I suppose it’s a nice introduction, but i felt it was an awkward one.

The character animation went down well and so did the ident brief which seemed to trigger the conversation of style, which John started to talk about how sometimes not having a style is better as it shows you can adapt to all different mediums. He also pointed out that still having a style doesn't mean you can't do other things, its finding the balance of doing stuff which your recognized for and trying out new ways of working.

The only bit of criticism I got was towards the train animation for the self-initiated project. John pointed out that some of the shakes on the train were a little harsh on the close ups. Its something which I thinks been pointed out before, and when i get a spare minuet I'll be correcting it.

Apart from that, they really liked the style of the animation and mentioned that the colour palette was very strong.

They seemed to like mine and Jacks side project 'seasons' in which they gave some suggestions towards bringing in some close ups to get across some of the subtle facial expressions. We'll take it on board and see what happens.

So in conclusion, I've got some amending to do to the train and I've managed to identify what went well, what didn't and learn from that for the next one.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Day Tripper

Today, Me, Jack and John went to Liverpool to experience a piece of art by Kurt Hentschlager called 'ZEE' at the art house FACT which had an exhibition on called 'Abandon Normal Devices' which ZEE was being exhibited in. The theme of the art work being shown was 'Belief'.
Rick had told us about it at university a few days before...or even weeks before, so we knew what we were going to.

We went straight to FACT and went to sign up for the 'ZEE'. The guy took us round the back...and explained what the situation was, he essentially said

'Its a room which is fogged up so you can't see anything and then once your in, strobe lights will come on making you see all sorts of trippy patterns...oh and by the way, sigh this form before you go in to say if you have a fit or a seizure we have nothing to do with it. If you have any doubts don't go in'

I had a small doubt.

John signed up, and after some careful consideration, Jack signed up. too. In johns words I 'woman-ed out'. They went in....10 minuets later they were out. They raved about it, saying I had to go in, its really good, we're going in again afterwards!

To cut this part short, we went for lunch, then I struck a deal which involved going to a Beatles museum and then I'd join you in the ZEE.

Back at FACT, we all signed up for the 'ZEE'. Having Jack and John think it was a good experience and not at all scary, my nerves weren't that bad. Once we were called to go downstairs we got another warning from a lady saying 'Its going to fill up with fog and get pretty intense in there, don't breath through the mouth a lot as it will feel uncomfortable...and if you feel like your going to faint call me. Any doubts, don't bother coming in'.

I went in.

We went into the 'pre fog room' which had a small amount of fog in, to get you used to the experience, then she opened the door to the main exhibit. They had ropes which started at the door and went deeper into the space, them curved back round towards the door. The room was still filling with fog and you could see people at first, but as you shuffled further into the room it got more and more intense until I couldn't see johns behind (which wasn't a bad thing!). Then the strobes came on and then experience began.

You know, it was weird, I really enjoyed it to begin with. Jack described what you see quite well by saying its like looking at a kaleidoscope, although I could relate to this, I can't speak for everyone. In terms of how I felt,it came in waves, at one point i was loving it, then it all dawned on me where i am and that I can't see the exit and i started to feel enclosed ...then more pretty colours emerged, embedded in my eyes. And so it went like that for most of it.

It was during the time when I was loving the experience and i'd let go of the rope to try and loose all sense of where I was, when some horrific screaming came from inside the room and suddenly my out of body experience went away in a flash and reality kicked in real fast. I panicked and immediately looked for the rope to get out.

I got out pretty quick and so did the staff member who went to get help for the guy still in the exhibit...i didn't know what was wrong with him though. Once out i waited for a minuet or two, then John and Jack emerged. We talked about the experience whilst waiting to hear what became of the guy who went a little 'west'.
We came to the conclusion he must have fainted or had a total panic attack. He was ok in the end.

I'm glad I experienced the exhibition and speaking to a woman afterwards who was in there with us, the whole 'guy screaming incident' just added to the whole experience!

Here's Me and Jack in the exhibition...

I'm on the left and jack's...errrr maybe its the other way round, i don't know...

In terms of the exhibit itself, it comes across in the leaflet as a calm and relaxed piece of art; using words like 'immersive' and 'ethereal' (if you don't know what that means, look it up) and in a quote from the leaflet, the last line is,

'Swim! the free white sea, infinity, lies before you'

ZEE is selling itself as a very calm and relaxed spiritual piece and is in an exhibition which is based upon the word 'belief'. I felt the disclaimer forms and talks before hand are a real put off and even if you agree, it ruins that experience of calmness which its trying so hard to be. Yet when your in there, its out of this world!

Sound Collaboration

I always done sound for my animations myself, but after the 'Eden Ident' sound which, I thought, was very weak I decided next time round I’d ask my good friend Richard Gallagher, who studies sound design in London if he's interested.I had a massive creative spurt at the end of the holidays creating about three short and very basic animations; I gave one to Ric to add sound to. It was 'Watching Television', the final one is embedded below.

I thought the sounds were nice, wasn't over keen on the voice of the man, seemed a bit out of character...but I didn't actually brief him on the piece. I just gave it to him saying "do something with it”.
It was nice to let go of a piece of work and give another creative mind some input into the work and put their own stamp on it.

As the test animation was a success, I was happy to ask him if he wanted to work on the train animation. He asked me to sent over what I had so far, so he could get an idea what he was going to be getting involved with. He liked what he saw and said he'd be more than happy doing the sound.

On Monday 24th November Ric was down in Manchester (sorry, up in Manchester) and by that day I had the final Train animation, titled 'Nowhere Fast' finished. We both watched it and talked about what I wanted out of the sound. The day before I'd had a think about that I wanted so I wasn't wooly when it came to explaining to Ric. We made a list of stuff I wanted, which can be seen on my hand in disc.

Although there wasn’t much communication on the progress of the sound, from the meeting we had to the final mix, the outcome is fantastic, and I think the whole experience has helped my ability communicate my vision for animations.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Hotch Potch Manchester

I'll go through a few of the things presented which I thought were interesting... 
We arrived half an hour to an hour into it. We'd just missed the first thing, which was a documentary and someone was at the front taking questions about it.  The documentary was about micro chips in human beings. The discussion which followed the film got quite heated.

After a short film called 'happy birthday', which was very good, 'Mr. C' went to the front and introduced his rap music video, which he wrote, sang, acted in, produced and directed (if I remember correctly). I didn't care for the song or the video really, but during the question and answer afterwards he pointed out this was his first time creating a music video...
During the Q and A afterwards someone asked essentially 'why is it all you, you, you?' Mr. C's answer to this was that no one ever manages to deliver the goods, he's always dissatisfied with the end result, so this has made him do it all himself so what ever is thought 'yer, good for him. Its his music' and I still think that. But I'd also say that maybe the reason for people not giving him what he envisioned maybe it’s because he can't communicate his ideas. I'm in a situation where I'm asking someone to create sound for my animation so I’ve got to be very very concise so that how I envision the sound gets into this guys head so were both on the same wavelength.

There's so much more to say about it, but I thought I'd just point out two key ones for now. Its nice to see places in Manchester encouraging people to show there work and talk about it. I really would consider, once my animations finished, asking if I can show it at the ‘hotch potch’ event.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Production Stills

I tried to keep to my storyboard and not keep changing things round halfway for this animation, I was pretty strict with my self. Its nice to see the process each shot has gone through however small...


Animatic Shot

Colour Script




Here's the train about to go round a corner...

 Here's the train not going round the corner.

This is a style frame of a run down town. Its made it into the actual animation (In a way. Looks a bit different and moving like)....but have been given feedback that it doesn't look in keeping with the style. hmmmmmmm to be continued...

This is a rendered image from maya (3D software for anyone who doesn't get the lingo)..

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Self Initiated Animatic

Just need to make it now!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Dark Matters Exhibition

I'm going to talk about two pieces from the exhibition. One made me think for a second, the other made me say in my head 'ahh, interesting'. 

by Elin O'Hara Slavick

These [above] are flowers

It looked nicer in the exhibition space...the white bits looked more creamy coloured, from the light, which appealed to me. Still though, doesn't matter, once I'd found out what it was all about, the colour didn't matter anymore.
I thought it was just paint on canvas...but i was totally wrong. This is how its done...

'the historic technique of laying objects and natural forms onto paper impregnated with cyanide salts and exposing them to sunlight'

its more photographic and has nothing to do with paint on canvas. The technique, although serves a vital part in getting across O'Hara Slavick's point, isn't (in my opinion) the main focus. It’s the items which are the most significant. They are items which were left in the remains of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and were borrowed from the "Peace Museum' in Hiroshima.

Both the technique and the message compliment each other.

Next is the one which made me think for a second, its a moving image piece by R. Luke DuBois called 'Kiss' here's the video...

he reason why it made me think was because i didn't understand what sort of mood it provoked in me, with a name like 'Kiss' and to find out its lots of classic kiss scenes from films, I'd expect it to be quite warm and reminiscent...but instead it had high energy and had a black background and a sound track which made the whole thing really hard core. It made me think just how important sound is to a piece and how it can change the mood.

Over all, the whole exhibition didn't appeal to me, with a lot of it going over my head, yet saying this, as I've shown above, there were moments which did either appeal to me or made me think.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Where I Get Ideas and Inspration From

I was keen on coming up with an idea/story for this self initiated brief, but to pluck an idea out of thin air is hard. For me, I have to have some kind of connection with it, be it very small or huge, it helps to keep an all around focus on the subject your basing you work on and stops you from going off track. Its not just about having a connection either, its about being passionate about it, if I'm not passionate about it, why am i doing it.

To make sure I'm telling something which I feel strongly about and are interested in, I read and listen to stuff I feel strongly about and are interested in, i don't go out of my way to read a biography on a football player, because it doesn't interest me!

I enjoy listening to music (like everyone on the planet) but for some reason i've acquired about three or four books on different artists which talk about the meanings of the songs and where the inspiration for the songs come from. This, believe it or not, is what i find interesting! And reading these sort of books got me to read 'Someplace Like America'.

I like what Bruce Springsteen writes about and to find this book which gives real life examples of what he writes about was fascinating to me. It gave me a whole new view of America.

It also opened my eyes to the author and photographer of this book. Dale Maharidge has done so much work surrounding this book, not just what you find in the book, but he did these video series on youtube, which gave me more information which wasn't in the book.

So my idea stemmed from my love for music and my interest in finding out more about the songs i listen to. This is my way of getting inspired and coming up with ideas.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Push In The Right Direction

One of the main problems with my animation is that I have signs in the shape of arrows which show the way 'forward', but once it had been pointed out to me that they feel a bit out of place I started to see it my self. Its not just the sign, its the quotes that's on the signs as well which feel out of place.

I got pointed in the direction of billboards instead of signs which I thought would be quite a nice idea, its still inkeeping with my idea and story/ statement of the piece plus there bigger and more threatening than a tiny sigh with an arrow on it.

Brazil, what a film. I got told to watch the bit with the long row of billboards, but I figured I hadn't seen it in a few months, so I watched the whole thing again for kicks.

The idea of using billboards is such a nice idea, especially when looking at the 1950s ones which are there to advertise a better life style etc...

Now I just have the problem of what should go on the billboards. Do I put pictures on them? Do I put words on it? Do I keep the quotes I had initially?
Speaking of the 'quotes I had initially', I came to a conclusion that only the short ones work in the animation. the long winded ones suck eggs. Heres the animatic, if you want to see the signs and quotes...

Here's a style-frame which could get round my problem...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Watching Television

Final with sound...

Cleaned up....

Rough version...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Three Days at Kilogramme Animation

This was a totally different experience to the LOVE Creative visit, I went from being with people I knew to just me.
Unlike LOVE Creative which is more graphic design advertising, Kilogramme is all about animation, and I feel I benefited more from that. Its only a small group of people who make up the company but they all were very kind and gave me some good feedback on my work!

So over the three days with them I got feedback on stuff which I'd done at Love Creative and also work which I worked on whilst there (which was the stuff in preparation for Uni).
I got some really good tips off Dave Ridges about how I could make the backgrounds of the 'seasons' animation better...

he made me think more about layout within the composition and gave me some useful tips on how to draw the eye into a certain section of the frame. from looking at my initial frame above, to the one below, you can see what Dave did to the piece to try and improve the composition and give it depth.
Really like of the idea of putting some sort of bushes or grass etc at the bottom right and left hand sides though, It keeps your eye central to the screen.
This also prompted me to buy a book called 'Dream Worlds' which Dave initially gave me to read at kilogramme....but I thought it was such a good book, I went home and bought it!

As well as the 'seasons' work I also worked on an animatic for the self initiated project from uni. Heres the animatic I've ended with (for the moment)...

Here's a maya test I did a few days after my time at took a while to do as I havn't used maya in a while! gives a sense of how I want it to look.

I'm wanting to add textures to the train, but we'll see.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Five Places

Suppose I should do this one first. I've done thousands of posts on this company already, but uni's making me do another one....

This is a place I'd be more than happy to work at, its a really nice company with friendly people working there. The studio consists of five people, the two main people in the company are Claire grey and Jon Turner and the other three are freelance; Sam Jones, Craig Knowles and Dave Ridges. There based in Manchester.
In terms of work, they do lots of animation in flash...mainly a flash animation based studio really, but also do 3D work, using 3D Max.'s there show reel, again
Links to the other Posts on the studio...
Link 1
Link 2
Link 3

the neibourhood  
Another place I'd be more than happy to work at. When we went there seem'd like there was a lot of people working there and from hearing about ste getting a job there and matt doing freelance work, it seems like they...well...employ freelancers and full time people there! You know, getting people in when they have a high amount of work to do etc
When we were there for that brief we did back in 2nd year, we talked to Jon Humphreys (Creative Director) and Sarah Baker (Studio Director)...

Heres what it says on their Vimeo...

'We work with clients across advertising, design, broadcast, architecture and beyond' 
Pretty Wide range of stuff going on in the neighbourhood! Heres their Showreel....

This is a place I found out about a while back (when looking for companies for this type of exercise in the second year)
What appeiled to me was the variation of work they do, on there website they list their services;

Concept Artwork
Character Design
2D/3D Illustration
Photorealistic Rendering
2D/3D Animation
Interactive Design
Interactive Asset Creation.

They have a 'recent' project nominated for a BAFTA and EMMY award

Their clients include;
Lloyds TSB

Same sort of stuff happening here at milkytea,  full time people working at their studio in Liverpool and at the same time also hiring freelancers for specific projects. here's their BLOG and their 2010 showreel...

the pond
they have some nice work, a guy called Sean is the creative director as well as Tina (no second names given)
Here's what they say about themselves on their WEBSITE,

'a creative CG Animation company with a passion for narrative, imagery and visual style.'

It's all 3D stuff at the pond...heres their christmas animation...

It specializes in animation for television, games and the film industry. It 'big player' is Richard Drumm (what are the odds!) It has some nice pieces of work which are all 3D animated.
Client list include...
realtime uk
ea games
warner brothers interactive entertainment

Here's there WEBSITE

Monday, 29 August 2011