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Showing posts from November, 2010

Odd faces in Maya

So I thought I'd get a tiny bit of Maya practice in with spheres and cylinders when these odd faces creep up on me. It's on a sphere that has been scaled, extruded in places and had a few faces deleted off. Just before I notices this I had to flip some normals that got confused after an extrusion.

Any ideas? I tried deleting them and using the Split Poly/fill hole tool to remake the faces but the same thing happens (O,o)

UCA Rochester Open!

I went on my UCA, and Checked my email and receive several messages from the University saying that UCA Rochester is open on Tuesday, 30 th November! However, I guess if it is too risky to come in, maybe I would give it a second thought in whether to come in or not.

Problems with My UCA

I don't know if it's just me, but I can't seem to log on to My UCA to check whether uni is open or not... I'm guessing it's because loads of students are doing the same thing... It would be cool if anybody could reply on the situation so I know whether I have to brave the cold, or spend one more day in my warm bed (which I'm rooting for).

'1 Becomes 2' Winners Announced (Finally!)

As the snow begins to fall and Christmas looms, summer 2009 is but a dim and distant memory - likewise the '1 Becomes 2' competition brief. Lots of (now) 2nd year students made a start and got some fascinating entries underway, but only 3 got their submissions over the finish line. How fortunate then that we have 3 prizes to award!
So, in 3rd place, with her rather wonderful 'Ivan' character design (which I hope might soon find its way into a fully fledged animated short...), is Jolanta, who receives £25 of Amazon vouchers for her trouble. In 2nd place, it's Jordan, for his pre-production work on his Chicago-inspired cockroach animation, who receives an Amazon voucher of £50, and in 1st place and recipient of a brand, spanking new Intuos tablet, is Leo - in recognition of the ambition and professionalism of his 'Art Of...' publication. Well done you lot - come and collect your prizes from the office - and apologies for the long (very long!) wait for the…


As promised at today's Unit 3 briefing, I've put together some examples of previous first year digital set + matte painting final scenes. I have included the final scene and digitally painted backdrop so you can see the relationship between the two components. I have also included links to the final scenes as posted on the respective student's blogs back in January 2009. What I want ALL current first years to do is take the time to browse backwards from these final scenes and take a really good look at the bodies of work created by each of the featured students in response to the brief. It will give you a clear idea of our expectations for your semester 1 'finale' and will clue you in to the challenges ahead - and the creative and technical ambition necessary to meet them. Viewing these blogs should also make clear that some of you are simply not working hard enough yet - or engaging as effectively with the blog/feedback forum as you could and should. Don'…

FAO First Years

Hi guys,

Just wanted to make a post to introduce myself a bit. I gave a lecture at the start of your year so you know about me and what I've done. I've been asked to assist mainly with modelling. This is definately the area that I am more fond of, and most of my work has been focused on that. To me, clean models and topology are important, and I come at modelling from that point of view. So to make it a lot easier for me to help you, please post grey scale models and wireframes of your models. The easiest (and best) way of showing wireframes is through this method :

Also to do a pure greyscale model (without having to replace shaders ) tick 'use default material'. Always ensure you aren't using the default Lambert1 shader in your actual final shaders and textures. Keep it default.

Please give Screenshots that will allow me to understand the issues easily, even if it takes multiple screenshots with scribbles and drawings on them. Just so I can understand and help yo…

Maya crashing?

Has anyone experianced Maya crashing whilst doing anything to do with UVs?

For some strange reason as of last night Maya runs into a fatal crash when I project UVs or in the UV texture editior when I clicked a UV the clicked 'select shell'.

I deleted the history of everything in the scene and it still crashed

running it on Windows 7 64-bit with specs that meet all the requirements

Back Porch Audio Books

On these cold winter nights, there's nothing better than a bedtime story, rich in atmosphere and menace. If you're a fan of H.P. Lovecraft and Poe, visit Back Porch Audio Books for recordings of Lovecraft's The Shunned House (perfect for the first years as they prepare for the 'unhomely' delights of their up-and-coming Environment project!), Poe's The Cask of Amontillado and Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner... close the curtains, light a candle and enjoy....

The Post With The Most 28/11/2010

It's been an intense time for the CGAA community, as week 10 of semester 1 concluded with final crits for both first and second years. The gloves came off and egos got bruised, but for those still smarting from the slings and arrows of summative feedback, I offer this as balm and olive branch:
"We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him ..."Michel Eyquem De Montaigne
For CGAA/Year 1, Friday 26th November witnessed the end of 'Space' - which sounds like a Mayan Prophecy - but in fact relates to the conclusion of unit 2 - the 'concept art project'.
Students were challenged to generate 3 digital paintings transcribing environments from classic adventure stories written by the likes of Jules Verne,…


For All Students: Please Read the Following UCA Assessment Regulations.

Assessment Regulations
Common Undergraduate Credit Scheme

Assessment Procedure
* Unitised Assessment with one or more components
* Assessed against the learning outcomes (see unit descriptor)
* May be several components (see unit descriptor)
* Percentage mark
* Marks subject to moderation by External Examiners prior to confirmation by Unit Assessment Board
* End of Stage Assessment
* Progression and Award Board confirms progress to next Stage

Deadlines and Non-submission
* Work will not be accepted after the submission deadline unless there are previously submitted extenuating circumstances
* Must be an attempt at showing at least one of the learning outcomes
* Must submit all parts

Remember failure to submit at the initial attempt, without previously declared extenuating circumstances, gives one more Retake opportunity only

* Overall mark for a unit of 0-39.99%
* Can be retrieved through Referral or Retake
* Non-submission at initial attempt - allowed ONE Retake only
* Partial non-submission le…

Urgent! Lost Sketchbook!

When in the CG Art Computer room, I have accidently left my sketchbook there that contained my life drawing sketches that were used in charcoal and pastles, and thumbnails of my Unit 2 Project. The thumbnails contained sketches of plants, rocks, crystals and such in my sketchbook and sketch scenes of sceneries on what I thought it would look like from the book called "The First Men in the Moon". When you open the book, it will have a page with a bunch of pink pigs on it which I haven't taken out.

If anyone finds it, bring it to a girl that wears a black hat and red glasses.

Unit 2 Chinese Meal Fest

After a couple of discussions we ended up settling for the Chinese place again.
same deal as last time:
                                 .meeting by the lecture 1's door after crit
                                 .Minimum of £12 (for all you can eat)
                                 . (single meals do cost less than £12)
                                 . water's free ^-^

(The place should still be open by the time we're done, hopefully)

Hope to see you there~

One day to go..

Hello all, if anyone has a few spare minutes for finishing touches to their final concepts, here's what I recommend. Now, a final pass can always be made to improve the work. Save a copy of the final image flattened and use your; colour balance, hue and saturation and levels to refine the over all feel of the image. Also don't forget that all important final paint layer into which you can add finishing sharp highlights, atmospheric specs and rimlights. If you think your work is finished always do another half an hour on it, it really works..Work is looking really good.. Good luck and see you at the crit.. Photoshop Phill..

FAO CGAA YEAR 1 - UNIT 3/ENVIRONMENT - Brief/Timetable Available Now on myUCA

Your new Unit 3/Environment brief, film programme and wks 11 - 15 timetable are available now on myUCA. Go to Environment/Unit Information for hyperlinked preface, timetable and 'The Unhomely Cinema' film programme + trailers. Go to Environment/Unit Materials for brief.
... oh, and this time, ladies and gents, there's no 'mysterious blue box' ...

IMPORTANT! CGAA Yr 1/Unit 2/Space/Submission Requirements

As you complete your finishing touches to your Unit 2 work, I wanted to remind all first years of the required content of your 'Space' submission disc:
Your 3 final digital paintingsYour definitive influence mapYour essay file (use .doc or .pdf)Your pdf blog Unit 2 archive (go here for instructions)
Please write your name, date & unit title with permanent marker on your submission disc!
Take a moment to double-check the submission criteria and specific requirements; i.e.16:9 aspect ratio, 1,500 words, up-to-date blogs, powerpoint presentation & pdf 'failsafe'...
Looking forward to it.... Be Amazing!

Maya Issue - Yellow Selection?

Hey guys.
Just a little Maya hitch has pooped up and I was wondering if its happened before.

As you can see, when I select a face in this case (it happens with verts and the like as well) it gets this yellow outline with by itself isn't annoying, but when I try to move or manipulate what is selected:

It seems to move around a defined pivot as indicated by the changing colours as I move it.

How do I turn this off and go back to normal?

Question about Character Design Project- Using traditional media

For my character design project, I was planning to add some colour to the characters, though I realised to create a good texture, i wanted to do some mark making with traditional media. I just wanted to check with Alan and Phil if it is ok ?

Surely, I wont put the messy drawing on the design bible, they will be scanned in and if smudged around, I will clean them.

Kris 'Class of 2008' Savona Speaks!

Every now and then, I invite one of our alumni to share their post-grad experience with the CGAA community. Kris Savona graduated in 2008 and this is his story so far..."Being from Malta, my experience at UCA was, let’s say, interesting, - mainly because of the lack of sun, the cold, and the rabid foxes…*Living in Chatham was definitely an experience!Most of my time was spent behind my reliable laptop HP - which I could always rely on overheating and shutting down. The rest of my time was spent hunting down Phil and Alan to discuss the direction my project was taking. I'm quite sure they stayed up at night thinking about how they could add new twists to the project and piling on more work.** Every time I thought I’d finished the project and met all their demands they would change something.In that respect things haven’t changed; clients are still changing stuff at the last minute, but unlike Phil and Alan's changes, the client’s are usually for the worst! It was one …

Tuesday 23rd November - Baseroom - FE 'Show & Tell'

Just letting everyone know that @ 10am in the CGAA baseroom on Tuesday, a 45 min presentation is being made to Foundation/NDD students by CG Arts, Creative Arts for Theatre and Film and Broadcast Media. If, on Monday, students could ensure that the baseroom ISN'T a bombsite of pencil shavings, energy drink cans and abandoned thumbnails (drawings!), I'd appreciate it. I'm not sure of the numbers of FE students expected at the 'show & tell' session, but I'm assuming the room will be quite busy for that 45 min period. It doesn't mean you can't be there working, it just means there might be some disruption for a short time. Thanks in advance - and please tidy up! :-)

Problems with the Rig/Geometry

What was done wrong in riging  for this to happen with  geometry. What’s the problem and how to fix it? Or is this  the case of redoing right leg’s rig over?

Monday 22nd November - Graphics Tablets

Both Alan and I are not in the CGAA office tomorrow: you'll be able to borrow graphics tablets from Jackie Andrew (faculty office, ground floor) after 10am. You'll need to sign them out as usual. The faculty office closes at 4.30pm.

FAO CGAA YEAR 1 - SPACE CRIT/Friday 26th November @ 9AM/L1

With one week to go before your Unit 2/Space crit presentation, there's lots of creative activity on the blogs and expectations are high that Friday's crit is going to be something special. I encourage you to take a moment to return to the brief to ensure you've ticked all the boxes and generated all the content requested - and in the format specified. For example, your final three images need to be at 16:9 - no exceptions.In terms of the content of your presentations on Friday, 26th November, I only want to see the following:1) Begin by showing a single definitive influence map that explains clearly your 'visual concept' for the production design underpinning your 3 scenes. (The 'why').2) Organise your work into a Powerpoint presentation that begins with your definitive influence map. Next, present your first final scene, followed by its 'build-up' sequence (the 'how'). Repeat for remaining 2 scenes.3) As a precaution create a PDF versio…

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Maya 2010 and 2011 is on there for Windows and Mac OSX, Enjoy.

Character Design Submission

Ok Ladies and Gentlemen it's almost that time!

The final critique will take place:

Thursday 25th November
9am - 1.30pm in Lecture Theatre 1
2pm - 5.30pm in the Base Room


Submission Rquirements:

Creative Project Parts 1 & 2: Completed Character Design Bible (As a .PDF or .PDF's) Containing:

1) Three fully resolved characters – Hero, Villain, & Sidekick
2) A synopsis of the show
3) Expression Sheets
4) Turnarounds
5) Completed weekly tasks

Creative Project Part 3: Blog & Development Work (Online & as a .PDF)

1) A fully up-to-date blog containing your research, development, methodology, sketches, and finalised designs.

For details on how to turn your blog into a .PDF click HERE

R.I.P Base Room Lights

A number of the Base Room lights have joined the computers in electronic heaven, god bless em'! :'( It's like The Descent in here now and people keep walking into walls!

What To Do When A CGAA Computer Isn't Working...

Alan & I have no jurisdiction over the computers/software etc. in the 2 CGAA rooms.
The University's IT Dept. are responsible for the resources and they only respond to a problem if it's logged in their system via their helpdesk.
If there's a problem with a machine, or scanner or software, you have to TELL US so we can TELL THEM and get the problem on the system and dealt with asap. Frustratingly, I keep learning of problems with the CGAA resource via an overheard remark or sarky comment. If a machine isn't working, or if software isn't available when it should be, please do the community-minded thing and let either Alan or myself know.
If WE know, THEY'LL know and something can get done.

Apologies & Thanks & More Apologies!

I just wanted to apologise to the first year for this afternoon's rather inauspicious screening of Avatar. I was besieged by gremlins - and then by fashion students, who I'd unwittingly rendered homeless after switching from Lecture Theatre 1 to 2. I was unable to view the film with you, as I was defending L2 from further interruption and absorbing the aftershocks created by the location-change.
More positively, I want to thank Chris Rogers for allowing us to break the seal on his brand new copy of the Special Edition - and big thanks too to Dan Rolph who leapt into the breach and deputised in my absence. The irony of showing the world's most technologically advanced film on a wonky projector wasn't lost on me - or you, no doubt! You were all really patient - and I hope you were able to enjoy the film after all!
There's lots I wanted to say about the movie in light of your current project. The biggest message I wanted to give was 'be inspired'! It&…


Minor Project Hand-in - Friday, January 21st, 2011

The Post With The Most 14/11/2010

It’s Sunday evening, it’s late – it can mean only one thing – time for the PWTM.If there’s an abiding theme in the cgaa blogosphere this week, it’s ‘environment’, with all years engaging in ‘world making’ of one sort or another. As the first years move into the penultimate week of Unit 2/Space, exciting glimpses of their ‘worlds apart’ are filtering through.Lyn-Dae - the girl with the feathers in her hair - has a breakthrough on the moon, while Andriana fuses Caligari and Van Gogh's Starry Nightand takes a bold step toward stylisation. I disagree with Domantas - his 'horrible thumbnails' are anything but; they are energetic, dynamic and speculative - all that a good thumbnail should be. Elsewhere, Max moves away from realism toward something more illustrative for this early concept piece for his re-imagining of The Lost World and Dayle's pipeline delights with fauvistpen and acrylic experiments and a knack for the fantastical. Paul-Arthur trips the light fantastic, …

Happy Birthday Ruben!

Have an awsum day.

Student March in London

This Wednesday some of CG AA student joined the march  in London.No,  we didn’t burn any buildings or smash any windows, but we did shout: No Ifs! No Buts! No student funding Cuts! Unlike it was planned, we stayed in London till late, basically because of the traffic jam we ourselves caused together with the rest of 50 000 other student.

So to make a long day go faster we came up with some brilliant ideas.  We lot had to think of silliest challanges and Godwin would then say: 'Challenge .. Accepted!' And go to forfill his promise. So that day he.. hi-fived a policeman (sadly I couldn’t catch that moment on time :D ) Huged a random person in the march saying: this is UCA love for you :D :D And I believe there were ... around seven other great challanges he did. Maybe you (Godwin)  want to name it  here . 

Overall it was interesting but tiring experience. Lee Gavin said it’s definitely not the last march. So hopefully more students to join there  next time.

How to make Water...

Hello CG world.
I'm looking for a helping hand from someone really. For the current Group project, I trying to create a flowing river. I've tried a few things, such as RealFlow, Ocean/Pond Plane and the Ocean shader to create a realistic river with varied results.

I'm sure some of you third years have tackled water at some point, so does anyone (from any year :) ) have any tips or a link to a tutorial I could follow. This way I don't have to constantly go through trial and error to find a working water look.

FAO CGAA Yr 3/Dissertation Hand-in Dates

Now that your minor projects are fully underway, it's easy to lose track of your dissertation schedule; so, here are 2 very important dates with which you should familiarise yourselves!
Dissertation Draft Hand-In : Monday 22nd November/10am - 1pm/Faculty Office
Final Dissertation Hand-In: Friday 28th January, 2011 (details to follow)

Phil - Urgent - Space and Perception Essays

For my space essay, I was thinking of doing Pan's Labyrinth or Avatar. Also, I need a question for it. Can you help me which one I should do and what question I should have for it?

Also, for my perception essay, I have no clue on what to do on it. All the things that was told about it in the lectures and seminars have just slipped through my mind.

Maya 2011 Trouble: Mirroring


I want to mirror one piece on my town house, which I can do fine, but I also need to change the threshold? or the distance between the pieces.
The tutorial screen shot shows the box im in need of. Am I being blind or is mine missing? Any help would be good please :)

First Year Roy Re-Booted!

CGAA First Year Roy has reset his blog - follow him @

Improving your digital Painting with brushes

OK, this friday we're going to be heading into more complex use of brushes to bring your worlds to life. I created this Sky and rippled sea in about half an hour, using various brushes native to photoshop. Looking forward to the lesson. Photoshop Phill.

FAO CGAA Yr 1/Unit 2/Space/Written Assignment Criteria Guide

See above - a guide to satisfying the essay criteria; again, I've used The Cabinet of Dr Caligari as an example of content; pay particular attention to the structure of the introduction; take note of how specific it is, both in terms of subject matter, investigative intent and sources used. The criteria is there as a guide to ensure your assignments are content specific and evidence-based. Use the criteria as a checklist - if you cannot approach your chosen example in this way, chances are you a) haven't researched your subject adequately, or b) there's simply not enough reputable/published information available.
Many of you are still submitting assignments that to do satisfy the basic presentation conventions of a written essay - see below:
Title PageEssay title/questionyour nameCourse and yearhand-in dateword countlead tutor of unit (Phil Gomm)Contents PageIntroductionEssay BodyConclusionList of IllustrationsBibliography
Essay presentationUse only one side of A4 pagesIn bl…