Thursday, April 29, 2010

Slime mold confusion sorted!

Ethan (and Richard, I think) were checking with Dr Klappa re. which sort of slime mold it was they were supposed to be depicting... I am now happy to report that he has replied - and you can go with which ever you find the most interesting!

Dissertation Grades are up

Just a heads up, our dissertation grades are now up.

1 - Go here :
2 - Log in (Password is your DoB - Day/Month/Year (last 2 digits))
3- Student Home
3- View Marks

Should have something like that. Top one is Minor Project, bottom is your dissertation.

I wish there was a third there that would do the math to tell you your overall grade from the two. My dissertation grade is crap, interested in knowing how much this will ruin my Minor grade.

Dissertation mark into grade

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Khalid 'Class of 2009' Ma'ani is off to Muscat!

Graduates from the 'Class of 2009' are on the move: Emily Cronin is literally running miles a day for Double Negative, Tom O'Rourke is off to Scotland to become a 'Master of Science', and Khalid Ma'ani has just been offered a position as a 3D visualiser in Muscat, Oman, after one of his YouTube videos was picked up by a design company...

A few words from Khalid himself:

"At first most of my time was filled with applying for jobs and writing cover letters, which became rapidly boring. Instead I stopped and focused on my portfolio and whether it was in need of fresh material. Anyone who knows me knows I'll have a 'great' idea and start it, but next day have another 'great' idea, then leave the previous one I was working on... This left me with too many unfinished projects on my PC. I was too ambitious and forgetting the time and resources needed to complete them. A single computer and dodgy laptop can only achieve so much!

After a while I started creating short speed modelling videos on YouTube in my spare time. It was one of the videos I created which made the Director of the company, Dzineworks in Oman give me a call. He liked the work and wondered if I was able to carry out a design task to prove my abilities. I was set 2 tasks, one was graphic design and the other 3D exhibition design. After completing them, he was further impressed and insisted I join their expanding team in Muscat.

Working in Muscat as a 3D Visualiser was not something I thought about when I was at UCA Rochester and is far from home - but when a company offers you a monthly salary too hard to turn down, inclusive with many benefits such as paid bills and medical etc, I couldn't help but accept.

So what now? Establish some useful work experience and networks then, use that to step further up the ladder..."

We wish Khalid every success in his new job and new home - congratulations from all of us here on CGAA & bon voyage!

You can follow Khalid's blog here - and I suggest you do, as it's rich in creative projects, Maya hints & tips, and insights into the world of a freelance digital artist 'after graduation'. Go say hello - if Khalid's story proves one thing it's that the internet is a great place to network and blogs etc. are truly opportunities-in-waiting...

FAO CGAA 1st Years - '1 Becomes 2' Competition Brief now available on myUCA!

The '1 Becomes 2' Competition Brief is now available on myUCA. You'll find it within Unit 6 : Commission in a separate folder. The briefing is on Tuesday 4th May (Thank you, Lev!) @ 2pm in the Baseroom. All students should attend.

And yes - I know your collective brains are already whirling with slime, spores and fungi, but download it, read it and I'll see you at the briefing. You're going to be amazing, I can tell! :-)

Need help frm ALAN!

Hey Alan, first quick question.
You mentioned using the connection editor to adjust the influences for my binding and though i do understand the purpose, i am unsure how to begin in the execution. do i select the geometry and adjust the influences there, or the joints?

and second question.
Are you going to be available tomorrow or friday? i no you teach, but will there, may there be a gap? or tuesday next week. we have phil on wednesday, but technical help will be more helpful. please let me know when you are free to help and i will come in and do this part at uni.

Much thanx, Lisa

Congratulations to alumnus Tom O'Rourke!

Congratulations to Tom 'Class of 2009' O'Rourke!

Tom has just let us know that he's been successful in his application for the MSc in Design & Digital Media at the University of Edinburgh.

"The MSc in Design and Digital Media is a unique programme of study that addresses the growing need for professional education in digital technology applied to design, including its social, cultural and philosophical implications. Based in a lively studio environment, the programme develops wide skills in digital techniques and a critical framework to appraise the application of these technologies to design.

The course addresses the needs of practitioners, managers, decision-makers and educators who want to be informed by first-hand knowledge of the technical possibilities of digital technology and an awareness of social, cultural and business contexts..."

Well done, Tom :-) We're very proud of you and look forward to hearing all about your adventures in the post-grad dimension. You're going to love it!

CG Arts & Animation Unit 6: Audio from the lecture on Moday

Sorry I didn't bring this up sooner but I have recorded the lecture on Monday but I don't know how to put the audio on the blog so if anyone knows please leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Youtube video uploads

Quick question, ive uploaded some videos of the hand drawn animation tutorials to youtube, but when they play it is just a black screen, any one know why this is???

Monday, April 26, 2010

CGAA 3rd Years : Provisional Dissertation Marks Available 29th April

Attention CGAA 3rd Years

Provisional Dissertation Mark

Your provisional mark for your dissertation will be available to view from on Thursday 29th April from 12 noon. A letter will follow in due course.

If you have difficulty accessing Registryonline, please email quoting your username and student number. Dissertation marks will not be available from the Faculty Office on this day.

Unit 6: Peter Klappa's Email

Peter's email - - don't swamp him!

Life Drawing Class - Cancelled!

Life Drawing Class - Tuesday 27th - Cancelled!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

UCA Student Survey - A Reminder!

A reminder - can all 1st & 2nd years please complete the UCA Student Survey 2010.

You'll be emailed an individual log-in and password and the web-link for the survey to your ucreative email accounts.

You’ll also find a link to access the survey in myUCA.

It should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete, and all your responses will be stored anonymously.

Once completed, can you email me at to confirm - alternatively leave a 'done it' comment on this post.

Many thanks!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

need help with and arm rig

i am having trouble with one of my rigging tutorials, which pass the object tutorial. I followed all of it but when I actually animated the passing scene the right arm gets messy. The only thing i did differently to the guide alan gave us was instead of mirroring the left arm rig i had to make the right arm rig because everytime i had to mirror the rig my maya just close down.
here are some screen shots that shows the problem i am having.
The arm is rigged by an ik handle.

if anyone knows the problem please comment

Third Years

Just a reminder about graduation, you need to pre order the gown and stuff online - don't forget!!

  • You have to go to: (your user name is your 5 digit student number)
  • Find the ''Ede & Ravenscroft - Gown Hire'' on the right hand side of the screen, it will take you through gown hire, photography, and frames and then its all done.
There is a cut off date for this so don't forget.

You have to organise how many tickets you need for your graduation. You get given two but if you need anymore they put names in a ballot and then whoever gets picked out gets the remaining tickets for additional guests. This is detailed on the registry online page too, however, if you do not say that you require your given two tickets they will be entered into the ballot, so make sure you fill it out or you will end up with NO tickets!!!

Just thought id post because id pushed it to the back of my mind myself until today, and didn't want anyone else to forget, the address is at the top of this post - may as well just do it now it took me about 15 minutes :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

FAO CGAA First Years - Unit 6 Project Brief & Final 5 Week Timetable now available on myUCA

I know your lightbox bulbs aren't even cold and your pencil cramps continue, but your Unit 6 Project Brief 'Commission' is now available on myUCA. In between your inbetweening, download it, take a look, and we'll review it together before the Animation Crit tomorrow.

Unit 6 - the beginning of the end (of the beginning)...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

John Lasseter - Advice for Aspiring Animation Students

I recently posted this on my blog, but I think its worth posting here too. Wise words from John Lasseter himself.

John Lasseter Q&A Any advice for aspiring animation student?

UCA Student Satisfaction Survey for all 1st & 2nd Years - Have Your Say!

Your UCA: Your Say!

Student satisfaction survey needs your input now!

This is your chance to tell us about your course, your campus and your experience at UCA.

The survey is crucial to our understanding of what you think about us. It informs us of the things we are doing well and where they need improving. Your feedback (good or bad!) is used to improve the student experience and the results become part of formal monitoring processes within the University.

It's really important that all of you take the time to complete it!

The survey asks you for a satisfaction rating via multiple choice questions for the following areas:

1 Teaching

2 Learning

3 Assessment and Feedback

4 Personal Development

5 Work Placements

6 Organisation and Management

7 Academic Support

8 Learning Resources

9 Services and Facilities

10 Overall satisfaction with the quality of your course

There are also two free-text questions which will ask you to indicate what you like most about your course, and what improvements to the course or campus you'd like to see.

You'll be emailed an individual log-in and password and the web-link for the survey to your ucreative email accounts - so please check (I know not all of you use your ucreative account routinely).

Third year students are not eligible to take part as you have already completed the NSS survey earlier in the year.

You don’t have to be on campus to access the survey; it can be done from any computer.

You’ll also find a link to access the survey in myUCA.

It should take no longer than 10-15 minutes to complete, and all your responses will be stored anonymously.

Thanks in advance!

7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls

A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the "immortal soul clause" to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

"By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from or one of its duly authorised minions."

GameStation's form also points out that "we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction."

The terms of service were updated on April Fool's Day as a gag, but the retailer did so to make a very real point: No one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

While all shoppers during the test were given a simple tick box option to opt out, very few did this, which would have also rewarded them with a £5 voucher, according to news:lite. Due to the number of people who ticked the box, GameStation claims believes as many as 88 percent of people do not read the terms and conditions of a Web site before they make a purchase.

The company noted that it would not be enforcing the ownership rights, and planned to e-mail customers nullifying any claim on their soul.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Third Years Interim Crit Tuesday 27th April @ 10am

Attention all CGAA 3rd Years - your major project interim crit is on Tuesday 27th April @ 10am in the baseroom. At this stage, you DON'T need to reiterate or present all the things your project could or might have been; simply present the creative evolution of the idea you've taken forward. However, your interim presentation should provide a clear and detailed timetable for the final weeks of production.

You should use this presentation and critical forum to audit your progress so far and outline your intentions/workflow. You should use this opportunity to identify technical challenges and specific problems so that the appropriate advice can be given and any potential problems pre-empted and resolved.

Your presentations should be concise, professional and effective.

Everyone MUST attend.

Hope all is going well - and I look forward to seeing you on the 27th.

Time Machine Cancelled - Thursday 22nd April

Attention CGAA first years - Thursday's Time Machine slot is cancelled - good news, I guess, if you're hunched over a lightbox and watching the clock...

Remember - Time Machine Essay Hand-in : FRIDAY 30th APRIL

Between 10am – 12 Noon @ Faculty Office room 401, Ground floor

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Concept art walkthrough Vid from Uncharted 2

Not related to the unit or work but still interesting. I just preordered a special book detailing the entire development of the game 'Uncharted 2' for personal and uni use as it goes from concept to final product in great detail as well the art of the game. When I preordered it I was given a download link to this. Its a video with various concept art walkthroughs from the team in great detail. Its 22 minutes long (skip along if you want) with no sound but really shows what goes into making a fantastic piece of concept art.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Point Based Lighting

Check out this piece on Point Based Lighting on CG Society : PBL article

New Designers Prepare Day Friday 23rd April

F.A.O. Heather, Jonny, Lisa, Liam, Dave & James...

I've faxed your contact details to the powers-that-be at New Designers to ensure they're expecting you at the Prepare Day Event on Friday 23rd April. The event begins at 1pm, so the organisers recommend you arrive at the Business Design Centre for 12.30pm. The nearest tube station is Angel, and the BDC is just a short walk - go here for more info. I have a first year crit on Friday so I won't be able to accompany you - but it's a painless day (lots of sitting and listening to presentations) and will offer valuable insights into what lies ahead and what is expected of you. Any questions, drop me an email.

Rig help

(Can't believe I'm going to post this)
I hope someone can help with this...

For squash and stretch to work, you need an IK handle and for an IK handle to be of any use, it helps that your rig isn't dead straight. Well, I kinda want it straight. I want... a pear shape to bounce up and down without loosing its form, other than its stem getting longer and shorter and the bulbous shape at the bottom meeting the slightly smaller bulbous shape at the top.

In visual terms, a bogie (yes a bogie, dont ask) sliding out of your nose, down and over your mouth to your chin. I intend to use the squash and stretch, if it works, to animate the bogie bunging from the nose, down and back up again, when the character sniffs... hard!

But I'm unsure how I can achieve this. Any ideas will be great.

MakerBot Giveaway!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

CGAA 2nd Years - Transcription

To all CGAA 2nd Years: okay, so you have six days until your Transcription Crit - (Thursday 22nd April - Lecture Theatre 1 @ 10am) - and there's lots of interesting stuff happening on the blogs and Alan and I are very much looking forward to your presentations.

For many of you, the ambition of your transcription projects inevitably means that you're going to be pushed for time - but can you all please give your Transcription presentations some thought.

When it comes to Powerpoint, less is always more; please - use this opportunity NOT to reiterate all the things your project might have been and why (or why not) but rather to simply and clearly articulate the development of the idea you've taken forward. You need only precis your premise - one slide will do! Accentuate the positive, 'unpack' your workflow, and reflect critically on your strengths and weaknesses.

I would like you to treat the presentations in a suitably formal way - and, importantly, check all spelling. It DOES matter. If you're working on a PC, beware of font substitutions and problems with embedded video files or sound clips as you'll be presenting from a Mac. If in doubt, create a PDF version of your Powerpoint to ensure formating is as intended (and present PDF as slideshow) and be prepared to access clips online via Youtube.

You are now expected to present your work (and yourself) in a professional manner - please give time to 'rehearsing' your presentations; by this stage, you should be able to talk engagingly - and with confidence - about your own creative practice.

I won't be in at the University again until the day of your crit, but I'll be blog-watching. I wish you all the best for the 'final push' - I'm expecting great things from all of you! You are but a short few weeks from becoming third years; this should be reflected in the ambition and proficiency of your work and in your demeanour as 'young creatives'. (And don't be late!)

Good luck & get finished! :-)

Unit 5: Animation

To all those CGAA first years who, by now, should be knee-deep in drawings for their Unit 5 animations... Remember, it's a marathon - not a sprint, so pace yourself, set targets, keep your eye on the finish line and enjoy it. I'm not in until Thursday next week and it's your crit on the Friday, but I'll be watching the blogs, so, if you want feedback, be sure to post. Remember there will be an inevitable bottle-neck when it comes to scanning your drawings, so get organised and don't leave everything until the last minute or disaster will certainly ensue. Good luck and happy animating - see you all soon.

Be amazing!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My hole punch ate my essay :(

ok i have 2 problems, 1st is that I have ran out of paper and need to draw 41 drawing for the animation project so i was wondering if anyone who is in tomorrow has 41 pieces to spare. 2nd is that I don't have a clue who to write about for my essay, I know its a little late but i have nothing left to do so 1.5 weeks isn't too bad. Is the library open tomorrow? and the technicians' office?



Saturday, April 10, 2010

Nexus Visit - Wednesday 5th May - Be There!

An important date for the diaries of all CGAA students : Mark Davis of Nexus Productions will be coming in to talk to you on Wednesday 5th May at 11am in Lecture Theatre 2. All students should attend; there will be an opportunity to talk with Mark about your work in the afternoon, so ensure your creative development blogs are up-to-date.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Animation tips from 'Flip'

Here's a blog you guys should start following. It deals with all sorts of animation tips that you might be interested in. HERE

Here's a specific one that I found very interesting.

A quick and intuitive way to adjust your timing between keyframes as you work ( in Maya ). I setup this little trick a few years ago and I can't live without it now...

I created two hotkeys that enable me to alter the duration between keyframes in the timeSlider. So say I had an action that hit a pose on frame 17, I can use these hotkeys to change my timing one frame at a time, so I can see how it feels when it hits on frame 15, 20, 23 or whatever really quickly and easily ( without having to select keys, slide things around in the dope sheet, or move keys around in the graph editor ).

here are the hotkey commands:
  • // add a frame ( I have this assigned to the + key )

    timeSliderEditKeys addInbetween;
  • // remove a frame ( I have this assigned to the - key )

    timeSliderEditKeys removeInbetween;

C ++ R6025 - pure virtual function call ... Any ideas guys?!

I found this explaination (below) but to be quite honest, can hardly make sense of it. Anyone that knows of this error or has any idea what i can do to stop maya crashing in this way please let me know!! Thank you

Calling a pure virtual function is a programming error, so you need to find the call to the pure virtual function and rewrite the code so it is not called.

One way to find a call to a pure virtual function is to replace the pure virtual function with an implementation that calls the Windows API function DebugBreak. When using the debugger, DebugBreak will cause a hard-coded breakpoint. When the code stops running at this breakpoint, you can view the callstack to see where the function was called.

Another way to find a call to a pure virtual function is to set a breakpoint on the _purecall function that is found in PureVirt.c. Breaking on this function has the advantage of keeping the stack intact so that you can trace what is occurring.

Turn your blog into a book at

As you near the final six weeks (!!!) of your respective studies with CGAA, you have all produced impressive portfolios of creative development via your blogs. Click here for - a company that can turn your blog into a book. I'd suggest that it would be prudent for all students to archive their creative development in this way. It costs money, but the price-list is reasonable and the process straightforward - with a video tutorial here.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Uni open tomorrow?

Tomorrow being 8th April. If not, when is it open next? Got some serious scanning to be done.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Urgent - New Designers Prepare Day Friday 23rd April

Important : can all 3rd year students who want to participate in the New Designers 2010 Prepare Day event on Friday 23rd April please email me at asap with the following information:

1) Email
2) Contact number

I need to fax a form confirming your attendance and contact details to the organisers before Friday 16th April.

Many thanks!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Is uni open over Easter at all!?!

One of my maya scene files has gone corrupt and I backed up all my work without checking that file was ok as I hadn't touched it since I left uni. So I've only got a corrupt file backed up :(
I dont want to remodel it all again as thats wasting time if I can get into uni and just get the file then continue with it, as it's still saved on the uni PC's on my area to the best of my knowledge.

If I cant get at it over Easter I'm thinking just get the rest of my modeling done and start texturing my other scenes then attack the dead scene in one go once we finish Easter if the file at uni is dead.

If anyone knows let me know

Friday, April 02, 2010

For fellow perfectionists

Hi i'm Nathan a 2nd Year and i'm here to announce some mel scripts i made for those fed up with trying to get a perfect scale to zero on any object including vertices, edges, polygons, control points, so on so forth.

The first 3 scale the selected item in one axis each and Crush scales all points to center.

Here they are give them a try and please give feedback even if it is to say how simple they are to code, i know this but i relised that no-one has bothered making any scripts to do this.

Download file here


Damn they are not working right, they seem to be snapping exactly to the grid instead of locally like they are meant to. I need to figure that out then fix these, oh well this is my first time trying to create script.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Wishing everyone a very happy Easter - relax (but not too much) and I'll see you on 19th April for 'the final push'.

(and thanks for the Easter egg, Tod :-) and the rice crispie cakes... courtesy of Jackie 'Martha Stewart' Hagan!)