Wednesday, December 06, 2017

FAO CAA Year 1: 'WIM?' Submission Checklist & Final Crit Requirements 15/12/2017



What follows are instructions for your crit presentations and reminders of what you need to present and submit. Please use your social network to ensure that everyone has seen this information and understood it. Any queries, please leave a comment and I'll clarify where necessary.

In response to the work, creative methodology and philosophy of your production design collaborator, you are asked to design your own ‘What if?’ metropolis. You are asked to produce a single rendered image of a digital set derived from original production art. Production design for your metropolis should demonstrate clearly your understanding of the principles and processes of production design and the ways in which environments communicate their visual concept through careful consideration of the mise-en-scène. Your digital set must be textured in accordance with the digital set pipeline and incorporate a fully integrated matte painting. Aspect ratio for final scene should be 16:9 (HD 1920 X 1080). 

You are asked to produce a comprehensive blog archiving and annotating your creative development for the duration of the unit. You should use the blog to reflect critically upon your own creative practice and the wider cultural and thematic context of the unit.

Important! Your blog must include:

1) Your final scene.

2) Your What If Metropolis 'Art Of' as Scribd document.

3) Your 16:9 concept art for final scene.

4) Your key assets as production art.

5) Your key assets as orthographic design sheets.

6) Your Travelogue – minimum 1000 words.

7) 100 supporting thumbnails (minimum).

8) Your final matte painting and its development.

9) Animated GIFs of your digital paintings/matte paintings in progress.

10) Your influence maps.

11) Supporting Artist/Designer research presented as a Scribd document.

12) Your Production Designer Profile as a Scribd document.

13) Reviews of the Space Oddities film programme. Please note – in addition to and support of your own critique, your reviews must include a minimum of 3 quotations from 3 different published reviews + poster art + supporting stills. Please note - Harvard Method must now be used for all quotations and all illustrations to be referenced correctly. Reviews are to include bibliography and illustration list.

14) Your digital set pipeline : Pre-Viz, Wireframe Model, Untextured Model, UV Maps, Texture Maps, Textured Model, Lighting Tests, Rendering Passes (Beauty, Ambient Occlusion, and Effects).

15) Your final submission must include a short reflective statement. A reflective statement is a statement in which the student considers their experience of a project. Reflective statements are used to understand past events, learn lessons and identify best practice.









You will present on crit day from a blog-embedded Scribd document (not your Art Of!) that should, in terms of structure, follow the order of pages as given below.
  1. Title page, giving your name, unit title and date of presentation.
  2. Name of your city & collaborator. 
  3. One short extract from your travelogue (a key description).
  4. Definitive production design influence map.
  5. Final concept art (environment).
  6. Final production art (key assets).
  7. Orthographic drawings (key assets).
  8. Matte painting.
  9. Final WIM render.
  10. Build-up (digital set pipeline)
  11. Final WIM render.
We expect a high level of professionalism from our students, so please give the preparation of your crit presentation the requisite care and attention. Your presentations should be branded, spell-checked and polished. Think creatively about your crit presentation, but don't clog your content with unnecessary typography etc. Avoid complex backgrounds.  Avoid unreadable typefaces.  Your presentation should serve your content sympathetically. Keep it simple - only include what you've been asked to include.

Important: please note, your WIM crit starts at 10am sharp*. Latecomers will not present their work. You need to be in Lecture Theatre 1 by 9.45am.  The order in which you'll be presenting your work will be randomised, which means any one of you may be presenting first!

If circumstances beyond your control** prevent you from attending on time, you must contact Hazel Searles before 10am.  Please prepare for your crit as you would for an interview or pitch. For some 'Rough Guide' style advice re. the stuff of engaging crit presentations, please go here.

Important! Please note this is a summative assessment. 

Unauthorised non-attendance at final crit = non-submission = Fail = Resit in June.

And finally...




*And a note to any 2nd/3rd years - your input on crit day, as always, is welcome (as long as you're wearing your santa hat obviously!).

**But not issues in regard to last-minute technical problems - or oversleeping! Thursday is your deadline, not Friday.

FAO CAA Yr 1: Problems With Turnitin - It's Not You... It's myUCA!



I know you're all stressing about submitting your Contexts assignment to Turnitin on account of an error message you keep getting... Rest assured it's us not you and I have made the powers-that-be aware of the problem.  I'm awaiting confirmation that the glitch has been sorted and I'll get the message out - probably via Twitter - when it's sorted.  If the problem persists and we can't fix it for tomorrow's submission, just hand-in your paper-copy to Campus Registry as per the instructions and this will be fine.  Short version - stop stressing!  We know what's going on, and we know it's out of your hands.  Breathe!

FAO CAA Year 2: Collaboration and Toolkit 2 Submission Checklist




Collaboration: Thursday 14th December

As a group...

1) An animated short: Show this first before giving your presentation.
2) A presentation (crit): Nominate one studio member to be your 'professional' spokesperson.
3) A making of document: You can use this to present from if necessary or create a more bespoke presentation document.
4) A studio blog: Up to date and containing all of the groups work.
5) Basecamp: Please make sure your Basecamp is up to date, contains your animated short, making of document, and any other materials you think are relevant for assessment. 

Note: Please, do not delete or add anything to basecamp or your studio blogs after the final critique.

As individuals...

1) Personal blog: Please make sure your personal blog is up to date and contains your contribution to the Collaboration project.
2) Film reviews: Create a single post on your blog with links to your film reviews. The deadline for the film reviews is Friday 15th December at 5pm (you have an additional day). 

Toolkit 2 (check in submission): Friday 12th January

Maya: Pipeline 1 Head modelling (show the final model and mesh)
Maya: Pipeline 1 Body modelling (show the final model and mesh)
Maya: Pipeline 1 UV Layout (show the final model and UV Maps)
Maya: Lighting & Rendering 2 (Tutorials 1 - 13)
Animation: Weightlifting exercise (create a final playblast)
Animation: Animation contribution to the Collaboration project
Drawing: Character design production bible (uploaded as a PDF document)
Drawing: Life Drawing (photographs of your drawings from term 1)

Note: For Toolkit 2, please create one final blog post containing links to the list above (your previous posts).

Good luck everyone.

Friday, December 01, 2017

FAO Everyone: Friday December 15th is 'Santa Hat Friday'!



Friday December 15th is 'Santa Hat Friday'!  What does this mean if you don't know already? It means all CAA students are required to wear some kind of festive headwear or similar accessory, and it also means the course decamps to Wetherspoons, Rochester Highstreet for a seasonal wind-down. For our year ones, this exciting moment of jollity will follow the What If Metropolis crit, so this means the staff will head down for about 5.30pm.  Please spread the word - these things work much better if you actually turn up!  

Post With The Most 01/12/2017


Welcome to the latest edition of the Computer Animation Arts Post With The Most - the last before Christmas incredibly (where did that term go?).  Indeed, the UCA Christmas tree has arrived in our reception and our students have got that far-off gleam in their eye - not dreaming of sugar plum fairies, but rather of the moment when all their project work is done!  Well, we're not there yet and there's lots for them to do, so enjoy this selection of our students' most recent creative endeavours, beginning with the simple expressive pleasures of their life-drawings!

Ellie Row

Ellie Row (detail)

Greta Mongyik

Megan Robson

Rachael Holyhead

The What If Metropolis project challenges our first years to produce their first digital set - which sees them seeking to bend Autodesk Maya to the whims and fancies of their production design.  It's the steepest of learning curves and requires them to learn-on-the-job as very few of them arrived with pre-existing skills in 3D modelling software.  In addition to the task of wrestling Maya into submission, they must also demonstrate the conceptual flex and fleetness of foot to collaborate with another artist - a creative partner from the canon of established artists and designers picked at random from the course's celebrated 'mysterious blue box' and with whom they have to work closely in the imagineering of a fantastical cityscape.


Developmental thumbnails #1

Developmental thumbnails #2

Developmental thumbnails #3

Developmental thumbnails #4

Developmental thumbnails #5

Developmental thumbnails #6

Developmental thumbnails #7


Developmental thumbnails #1

Developmental thumbnails #2

Preparatory painting

Final concept painting


Developmental painting #1

Developmental painting #2

Developmental thumbnails

Concept painting


Concept painting




The season of goodwill to all men is nearly upon us, though it's usually at this time of year on CAA that tempers are fraying, as our Year 2 students experience the highs and lows of working collaboratively.  At risk of speaking too soon, it does appear as if the teeth-gnashing, temper tantrums and blood-letting is at an all-time low this year.  The students are making a series of skits starring a pre-existing 3D character - Moom - who they are accessorising in accordance with the needs of their respective scripts.  Right now, our year 2's are busy blocking their animations, with Moom sporting an impressive array of accessories!


Goth girl at Hogwarts - wip

Cheering audience at Hogwarts - wip


Developing 'The Granny' #1

Developing 'The Granny' #2

Developing 'The Granny' #3

Moom starring as 'The Granny', 'Nervous Guy', 'The Driving Instructor' & 'The Blind Man'

Moom starring as 'The Driving Instructor'


Elderly Bruce Banner getting angry - wip

The Flash & the stairlift - wip


The always exciting thing about year 3 projects is their range and diversity; 3D animation isn't a genre, it's a vast continent comprising a plethora of different approaches to film-making, storytelling  and visualisation. In the mix this year we've got projects harkening back to the rubber hose animations of the 1930s, and avant-garde explorations of the materiality of Autodesk Maya, animated shorts-in-the-offing about friendless jellyfish and Sisyphean escapees, documentaries about airfix kits and battle jackets, and a knock-about, anarchic journey into the pop-cuture-powered imagination of a super-hero obsessed  child.  As per all previous editions of the PWTM, just click on the students' names to access their individual course blogs for a more complete picture of their ongoing creative development.


Mr Plimsoll developmental sketches #1 / Katie Lima

Mr Plimsoll developmental sketches #2 / Katie Lima

Mr Plimsoll final character design / Katie Lima


Mr Polo developmental sketches / Katie Lima



The Fairy final character design / Danielle Gibbs

The Fairy & The Catcher final character design / Danielle Gibbs


Escape 3000 / Colour script / Tom Smith

Escape 3000 / Colour script detail #1 / Tom Smith

Escape 3000 / Colour script detail #2 / Tom Smith

Escape 3000 / Colour script detail #3 / Tom Smith

Escape 3000 / Character development  #1 / Tom Smith

Escape 3000 / Character development  #2 / Tom Smith

Escape 3000 / Character development  #3 / Tom Smith





Love Stung / Jellyfish character development thumbnails #1 / Becky Stapley

Love Stung / Jellyfish character development thumbnails #2 / Becky Stapley

Love Stung / Hermit Crab uv-ed model / Becky Stapley

Love Stung / Hermit Crab textured model (wip) / Becky Stapley

Love Stung / Environment concept painting / Becky Stapley

Love Stung / Colour script / Becky Stapley


The Spitfire / Time-lapse reference footage / Brad King

The Spitfire / Concept painting / Brad King

The Spitfire / Airfix-inspired 3D model #1 / Brad King

The Spitfire / Airfix-inspired 3D model #2 / Brad King

The Spitfire / Maya pre-visualisation  / Brad King


Battle Jacket / Hannah character design development #1 / Hannah Kubias

Battle Jacket / Hannah character design development #2 / Hannah Kubias


Battle Jacket / Hannah character design development #3 / Hannah Kubias


The Jayden Tapes / Animatic / Sam Johnson

In late August 2015, I sat down on an old wooden garden chair at an wooden garden table to begin writing the screenplay for our as then untitled adaptation of Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra.  On November 16th 2017, Red & The Kingdom Of Sound premiered at the Jeu de Paume theatre, Albert, France accompanied by the Orchestra de Picardie conducted by Arie Van Beek.   This performance was followed by another at the Theatre Municipal, Abbeville on November 17th, and then on Sunday 19th, it was screened in Jena, Germany, accompanied by the Jena Philharmonic. 

Rehearsal at Jeu de Paume Theatre, Albert, France #1/ 16th November, 2017

Rehearsal at Jeu de Paume Theatre, Albert, France #2 / 16th November, 2017

Rehearsal at Jeu de Paume Theatre, Albert, France #3 / 16th November, 2017

Rehearsal at Jeu de Paume Theatre, Albert, France #4 / 16th November, 2017

Rehearsal at Theatre Municipal, Abbeville, France #1  / 17th November, 2017

Rehearsal at Theatre Municipal, Abbeville, France #2  / 17th November, 2017

Rehearsal at Theatre Municipal, Abbeville, France #3  / 17th November, 2017

Performance at Volkhaus, Jena, Germany / 19th November, 2017

In the short space of four days, Red & The Kingdom of Sound was seen by nearly 1500 children in two different countries. Loyal readers of the PWTM will know readying our animation for this performances has been a long haul and a testament to the transformative powers of collaboration. The list of people who created this film is long, encompassing CAA teaching staff, alumni and current students and my list of thank yous to them would be considerably longer! Taking the Kingdom Of Sound from 'script-to-screen' has been an epic undertaking - fifteen different worlds and multiple characters brought together in one continuous adventure in classical music!

Red & The Kingdom Of Sound

The Overture








The Flute District






The Oboe District





The Clarinet District






The Bassoon District






The Violin District





The Viola District





The Cello District





The Double-Bass District





The Harp District






The Horn District





The Trumpet District





The Trombone & Tuba District






The Percussion District






The Maestro's Amphitheatre














Red & The Kingdom Of Sound can't be shared on line in its entirety as there are many more live performances of it to come - Katowice, Lyon, Zilina... - so enjoy this excerpt of Red's adventure's in the Kingdom's Percussion District.


Red & The Kingdom Of Sound excerpt / The Percussion District