Saturday 28 April 2012

BA - Flamboyant Initial concepts

These are in their early stages and will need improvements / refinements. I'm thinking of these as sketches but hopefully indicate the direction I want to take them.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

BA - Initial ideas experiments

Initial idea one:

My initial idea involved objects falling in between the arches of the church. Using Alan's dynamics tutorials I have used basic shapes and edited the expressions to randomize them and their rotations. These objects can be adjusted to the clients needs. For example if they have an interest in sports, the objects can be changed to footballs / tennis balls / rugby balls etc. Eventually I want them to stack on top of each other and fill the arches.

Initial idea two

At this stage I know one of the parties will be for teenagers who are 18+ years old. I'm assuming the music will be quite upbeat so I thought about filling the arches with speakers pumping to the bass. I still need to refine it so it matches the beat, but it's a simple animation than can be cycled.

Initial idea three

This is based on another projection video I found in my initial research. I modelled some simple arch ways and attached a light to a motion path revolving between the arches. Very early stages but I quite like the effect.

Monday 16 April 2012

Grandad's Story - First act complete

I have finally completed the first act!! This is the video I will be showing at the transcription crit this Thursday. I have edited it together with the storyboard and interspersed concept art and influence images to demonstrate what direction the second and third act will be going.

Saturday 14 April 2012

Grandad's Story - Update

Ok so a few more scenes done, one more to go and the first act is done.

@ALAN - For the last scene for act one, my character soars over London. I'm going to use the instancing tutorials to make the buildings, can you point me in the direction of an ocean shader tutorial for the river thames?

Thursday 12 April 2012

Grandad's Story - Update

I've refined the refinements and added some more geometry to the opening scene, BUT I haven't gone crazy as my grandfather wasn't "well off" at the time. I've looked at the lighting (again) and made some more alterations that have (hopefully) made it "punchier". I've also completed the next few scenes, hope you enjoy....

The next few scenes are ready to go, the street is modelled and textured. Here's a sneak peak....

@ Alan - can we arrange a meet to talk over how much of this I can realistically complete? I was hoping to complete the second act in time for the crit, however looking at my schedule it will more than likely be half of the entire animation. I'm planning to complete the rest throughout the summer holiday.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Maya Dynamics Basics (Part 8) Goals

Maya Dynamics Basics (Part 7) Instancing Animation Cycles

Instancing and Paint Effects (Trees)

Watership Down - World animation reviews (UK)

Watership Down - 1978
Director - Martin Rosen
1. Watership Down - Poster

Plot summary / review:
Based on English author Richard Adam's novel, Watership Down is an established classic, endlessly repeated on British television. It was originally directed by John Hubley who left early in production after completing the opening scene. Martin Rose took over the reigns, recruiting an impressive cast of British film, television and theater stars including John Hurt and Richard Briers. It's a rare animation that still manages to appeal to audiences of all ages. Richard Schickel of Time magazine states at the time of it's release that it "keeps kids on the edge of their chairs without inducing in their parents an overwhelming desire to escape theirs for a smoke in the lobby." (Schickel. 1978).

Set in Hampshire, England (where Adam's grew up), the story revolves around a group of rabbits living in their warren. An intuitive young runt rabbit called Fiver receives a terrorizing vision of the imminent destruction of their home. Fiver and his brother Hazel try to convince the chief rabbit to evacuate but are unsuccessful. Lead by Hazel, a small group of rabbits set off on a dangerous journey to find a new home.

2. Fiver's visions

3. The journey begins

The film has a realistic, sensitive and unsentimental style. It does suffer "at times from rather minimal animation, which, along with the limited range of expression in the naturalistic animal faces, often contrasts with the dramatic voice performances by the excellent cast." (Cavalier. 236:2011). This is atoned by strong character designs and sumptuous environments akin to John Constables watercolour paintings.

4. Watercolour environments

Marketed as a family friendly, mainstream film, Watership Down is no cute children's story. There is a powerful sense of danger throughout the film culminating in a gory final battle. Rosen's film is a brave and uncompromising story that "ultimately works because it doesn't dilute the violence and drama of Adams' book with a rose-tinted lens." (Luck. 2008). Combined with Art Garfunkal's powerful, emotional soundtrack "Bright Eyes" (1978), Watership Down is rightfully considered as one of the greatest animations of all time.

5. Uncompromising violence


Cavalier, Stephen. (2011). The World History of Animation. UK. Rotovision

Luck, Richard. Film4 review 3rd September 2008 - Accessed 11/04/12

Schickel, Richard. Time Magazine review 13th November 1978,9171,946188,00.html?promoid=googlep - Accessed 11/04/12


1. Watership Down - Poster - Accessed 11/04/12

2. Fiver's Vision - Accessed 11/04/12

3. The journey begins - Accessed 11/04/12

4. Watercolour environments - Accessed 11/04/12

5. Uncompromising violence - Accessed 11/04/12

Monday 9 April 2012

Grandad's Story - Opening scene refinements

Here is another animation of the opening scene to "Grandad's Story" with some minor refinements. I've changed the size of the comic book style opening subtitles and lightened a few sections. I've watched it back on a few monitors and some of the scenes seemed  a bit dark.

I've also added the backgrounds. I decided to model and texture the street as opposed to using matte paintings. I did another pass with the same camera movements and have composited it together. I will use the street models for the next scenes too.

I'm tackling each scene chronologically and have a good work flow going so expect another update soon....

Saturday 7 April 2012

Grandad's Story - Transcription Update

Here is a test render of "Grandad's Story" so far. I have been concentrating on the visual style - my aim to fuse Raymond Briggs' cross hatch style with a 3D comic book. I have been rendering out a number of passes; two beauty passes that alternate the cross hatch textures to try and replicate that hand drawn feeling; a toon pass to add black outlines and an occlusion pass. When composited together I achieve this effect.

FYI - this version includes a professional voice over but is missing matte paintings of the street outside of the window but it's nearly there. Please comment:

Friday 6 April 2012

Yellow Submarine - World Animation review (UK)

Yellow Submarine - 1968
Director - George Dunning

1. Yellow Submarine Poster

Plot summary / review:
Director George Dunning's Yellow Submarine is widely considered to be an icon of British history and animation. Released in 1968, it fuses experimental art with exploratory music from "The Beatles". It was released "after the Summer of Love but before Woodstock, when the Beatles stood astride the world of pop music, and ``psychedelic art'' had such an influence that people actually read underground newspapers printed in orange on yellow paper. " (Ebert. 1999).  The movie also fuses a third popular subject of that era and is filled with non-subtle references to hallucinogenic drugs.

The Yellow Submarine is a reflection of societies relaxed views on the swinging sixties. On paper, the plot resembles a script for Saturday morning cartoons, only written by a teenager experimenting with said hallucinogenics. Time magazine refers to Submarine as  a"two-hour pot high" but "still a breakthrough combination of the feature film and art's intimacy with the unconscious." (Time. 2008)

2. Psychedelic art

The basic plot opens in Pepperland which is invaded by the Blue Meanies. They turn the music loving inhabitants to stone and drain away their colour. Old Fred, the conductor of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, escapes in the Yellow Submarine to enlist the help of the Beatles. They embark on a "trip" (in every sense of the word) to save Pepperland with their songs, eleven of which are featured throughout. 

3. Blue Meanies

4. Sgt. Peppers

It is commonly misconceived that the Beatles voiced their characters, however they only "redo old songs or appear once, in person, briefly, in one of their worst acted appearances ever." (Adler. 1968). Despite this the Yellow Submarine has a cult following.  The older audience sing-along to their songs and muse over the sixties references.  Contemporary teenagers snigger at the suggestion of drugs. The younger modern audience won't understand the jokes or references to art. The Beatles songs contribute to the film but the animation has not dated well, which may explain a 3D revamp due for 2014. 

5. The Beatles


Adler, Renata. New York Times Review 14th November 1968 

Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times Review 5th September 1999

Time Magazine Reveiew 4th September 2008


1. Yellow Submarine Poster - Accessed 06/04/12

2. Pyschedelic art - Accessed 06/04/12

3. Blue Meanies - Accessed 06/04/12

4. Sgt Peppers - Accessed 06/04/12

5. The Beatles - Accessed 06/04/12

Wednesday 4 April 2012

Belleville Rendez-vous - World Animation reviews (France)

Les Triplettes De Bellville (French Title) - Belleville Rendez-vous (English title) - 2003
Director - Sylvain Chomet

1. The Triplets of Bellville Poster

Plot summary / review:
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times describes Bellville Rendezvous as "creepy, eccentric, eerie, flaky, freaky, funky, grotesque, inscrutable, kinky, kooky, magical, oddball, spooky, uncanny, uncouth and unearthly. Especially uncouth." (Ebert. 2003). All of these descriptions are accurate, however, it is also charming, engrossing, touching and oddly beautiful.

The first feature animation by French Director Sylvain Chomet revolves around Champion, a small orphaned boy living with his grandmother. He dreams of one day competing in the Tour De-France. His grandmother (Madame Souza) encourages his dream by buying him a trike. As he grows into a man, he is ferociously  trained by Madame Souza and their faithful dog Bruno.

2. Young Champion

3. Grown up Champion

Whilst competing, Champion is kidnapped by a group of Mafia gangsters and taken to a New York-esque city filled with wonderfully over the top stereotypes.  Champion is used in underground gambling scheme ruled by a French Mafia boss. Madame Souza and Bruno set off on an elaborate rescue mission. Along the way they befriend The Triplets of Bellville, ageing 30's jazz musicians with an unhealthy appetite for frogs.

4. The Triplets of Belleville

Bellville is a wonderfully odd animation throughout. Its eccentric story is complimented with grand, surreal, beautifully rendered environments. It somehow manages to be gloomy and funny, often in the very same scene. This also translates into the character design as Richard Corliss of Time Magazine observes, stating  "the old woman is stocky and clubfooted, a compact metaphor for stubborn dedication; her grandson is so spindly he could ride Giacometti's Chariot; Bruno the dog has more personality than 101 Dalmatians." (Corliss. 2008). Chomet's universe pushes the laws of physics and physiology to the extreme, but to hilarious effect. In a market ruled by computer generated animation, Bellville is a reminder that traditional animation is not dead. It demonstrates that a good story, combined with outstanding character and environment designs can still be popular, no matter how peculiar it is.


Corliss, Richard. Time Magazine Reveiew 4th September 2008 - Accessed 04/04/12

Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times Movie Review 26th December 2003 - Accessed 04/04/12


1. The Triplets of Bellville Poster - Accessed 04/04/12

2.Young Champion - Accessed 04/04/12

3.Grown up Champion - Accessed 04/04/12

4.The Triplets of Belleville - Accessed 04/04/12

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Maya Dynamics Basics (Part 6) Instancing

Persepolis - World Animation Review (France)

Persepolis - 2008
Directors - Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi

1. Persepolis poster

Plot summary / review:
Persepolis is an autobiography based on Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel, who co-writes and directs with Vincent Paronnaud. It's not a direct frame-by-frame recreation of the original books,  Satrapi and Paronnaud use the animated format to recast certain scenes and expand them into different directions. The result is a film that manages to stand alone in it's own medium whilst remaining faithful to its source material.

It tells the story of young, outspoken Marjane, an Iranian girl growing up in the 1970's during the Islamic revolution. Marjane is a feisty but vulnerable character with a unbiased love of Western trash culture. Her doting family ceaselessly campaign against the Shah, some of whom endure harassment and even imprisonment. Her secular family welcome the revolution when it finally arrives regardless of the overenthusiastic Theocrats patrolling the streets. Anna Smith of the BBC notes "Despite dealing with adult themes such as interrogation, imprisonment, drugs and sexual awakenings, there's a delightfully childlike element to Persepolis." (Smith. 2008). 

2. Young Marjane and her family

The animation and visual style submerges the audience in Marjanes childlike view of the world but does not sugar coat it. "The style is deliberately two-dimensional, avoiding the illusion of depth in current animation. This approach may sound spartan, but it is surprisingly involving, wrapping us in this autobiography that distills an epoch into a young women's life." (Ebert. 2008). As Marjane grows into a teenager, the society she thought she lived in has disappeared. After nearly being arrested for wearing make-up, her family reluctantly send her to Europe to live with friends.

3. Hostile environment

Marjane's time in Europe becomes chaotic. Surrounded by a vastly different society full of casual sex and drugs, her suppressed raged is triggered and she loses herself. Homesick and disgusted with herself she is left with a dilemma; return home and lose her individuality, or stay and give up her home. She returns to Iran and discovers it is even more hostile than she remembers. The home she grew up in no longer exists.

4. Grown up Marjane

Persepolis "is one of those rare things in the cinema: a movie with an urgent new story to tell and an urgent new way of telling it." (Bradshaw. 2005). It's an emotionally hard hitting, deeply personal, often very funny coming of age story that's far more interesting than its Western counterparts. It's visual style and engaging narrative make it's political message easy to swallow whilst remaining easily identifiable to a range of audiences.


Bradshaw, Peter 25th April 2005 - Accessed 03/04/12

Ebert, Roger. Chicago Sun-Times review 17th January 2008 - Accessed 03/04/12

Smith, Anna. BBC Review 22nd April 2008 - Accessed 03/04/12


1. Persepolis Poster - Accessed 03/04/12

2. Young Marjane and her family - Accessed 03/04/12

3.Hostile environment Accessed 03/04/12

4. Grown up Marjane - Accessed 03/04/12