Sunday, January 30, 2011

One-a-day..Paper Parkour Flip Animation

This animation looks time consuming ...but sure amazing  :)

FAO CGAA Year 1: Reminder - Materials for Unit 5/Animation


As part of Unit 5, you will participate in a weekly series of 2D animation workshops with Meg Bisineer - who comes to us from the Royal College of Art. This is a great opportunity to experience the fundamental principles of animation and Meg has asked you to equip yourselves with an 'animator's kit'.

Meg recommends you purchase the following:

Pre-punched paper and pegbars are necessary for the effective registration of the individual drawings or frames that comprise an animation.

And if you haven't got your hands on these yet, you'll need to...

The Fundamentals of Animation by Paul Wells.

Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair

You'll want to already be familiar with these books before Unit 5 begins and you commence your workshops with Meg. Do yourself a favour and get stuck into this stuff nice and early.

Please note - last year there was a delay in students getting their materials in time for the beginning of the unit. Please order your materials today!

Question for Alan or Phil

Does the deadline for the transcription project fall before or after the Easter holidays? Just wanted to know when the deadline date was so I can create an accurate project plan.


Friday, January 28, 2011

myuca - weight lifting tutorial

Hello world, hello Alan.

In part 2 - Chunk is missing. Don't get me wrong, we have movie reference and I can do by my own, but I just want that everything will be correct. And I want complete collection of tutorials :).
Maybe this is some kind of a plan :), but if its not, please add chunk 2 :).


Good reading for us 1st Years!

This book was on our suggested reading list in the pack we got pre-start. It's awesome, full of theoretical, artisitc and pratical advice on editing, camera moves/positions and story-boarding techniques. It features some copies of story boards to key films such as Hitchcock's The Birds and Orwell's Citizen Kane. I'm sure I've seen a copy in the library and it's pretty darn cheap on Amazon. I've also got a copy if anyone wants to peek at it!

CGAA One-A-Day: Exodus.

I think I may have uploaded this before, sorry if I have. What can I say, its a great animation.

I thought this would be great for us 2nd years getting started on transcription...

The guy started this in 2006 and completed it during his spare time. He finally got it out 8 months ago in June. His name is Alexander Lehmann and he is from Kaiserslautern in German where he studies Virtual Designat the University of Applied Sciences.

Shortly after NOISIA released their debut Album "Split the Atom" Alexanders animation premiered exclusively on Sony Computer Entertainments vidzone.

Synopsis: When the impatient Warmachine designed by mankind to murder the likes of him sets off to destroy itself in a ballet of annihilation hopefully something beautiful and intelligent will remain.


Updated Blog address

Hello guys i was messing around my settings and i changed my blog address. please can you refollow
Thanks Godwin

This is how all of our presentations should begin

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Year 2 - Transcription Question (Phil/Alan)

Hi all,

Hope you're having a reading week to remember - I'm just curious if the timetable is correct;

Research Framing Practice - Monday - 31st January 1pm

Is that correct? Usually lectures/seminars start around 10am.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Message For Our 3rd Years...

Just wanted to wish all our 3rd years the very best of luck for their Dissertation hand-in on Friday 28th. It's no small matter bringing in an 8,000 word thesis on schedule. It's a BIG achievement - and it defines you as a degree student. Make no mistake - it's a badge of honour. You're nearly there, so remember to save (and save again), remember to proof-read, remember to paginate, get it bound before the rush, get it in and go celebrate! I still remember the night of my dissertation hand-in all those years ago. I woke up cuddling a toilet. Ah - happy days...

Blendshape problems.

 Blendshape moves the head, after I'm changing the value to 1. I didn't find a solution. Please help. This problem doesn't allow me to continue.


CGAA One-A-Day: Sensology

Something truly exhilarating for you! Being a huge admirer of Norman Mclaren and abstract animation generally, Michel Gagne's transcription of Paul Plimley's improvised piano pieces knocked me on my arse.

"I've wanted to do an abstract animated film ever since I discovered the work of Oscar Fischinger, Norman Mclaren, Kandinsky, Yves Tanguy and many others. I knew that Paul's music, was the perfect catalyst to get started on such a project. The creation of this film was a true spiritual and artistic journey. Sometimes, I felt like I was channeling the images. I did no storyboards and virtually no preliminary work. I animated in a stream of consciousness, one frame at a time at a rate of 30 frames per second. The shapes revealed themselves as I listened to the music over and over again. The process was intensely focused and required large amount of concentration. I was becoming part of the music and expressing my creativity at its rawest and most primal. Like Kandinski tought us, every shape and sound has a equal vibration in the soul. When Paul Plimley saw a portion of the film for the first time, he said to me with tears in his eyes, "It's like you read my soul."

Sensology was handdrawn (painted) with a Wacom tablet at first, and later, a Cintiq, using Adobe Photoshop. The drawings and frames were then composited and manipulated in a 2D software called Animo. There is no vector animation at any point in the film..." Michel Gagne

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What is Time Machine?

I've noticed in the time table that we have some kind of Time Machine seminars. Are those like Perception seminars dedicated for an essay or is this going to be a different type of project?

FAO 2nd years mainly...but useful for anyone doing research!

I know you probably don't really want to be hearing this, but VERY soon you are going to have to start thinking about an area to research, in the lead up to your dissertations!
I just wanted to show quickly, how research doesn't just come from a 'reading list', but how you have to keep your eyes open, read the papers, magazines etc and start to keep notes or a file of stuff that might be useful. So, just from yesterdays paper, I found an article on product placement, which would be useful if you were discussing advertising, subliminal influencing of viewers, or the integrity of British TV....

...and an artcle on the dangers of social networking sites, which you could discuss in relation to reality, changes in the way we communicate, and our relationships with others.

From this one article, I was able to get some names to check out - for example, Professor Sherry Turkle, which led me to her book, Alone Together - Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, which discusses how technology in our modern lives leaves us, 'less connected with people and more connected to simulations of them.'(

So you see, once you get started, it's all about following the clues, from one source to another...

Well, there you go...Hope that might be useful to someone!

Monday, January 24, 2011

CGAA One-A-Day: The Art Of Drowning

An animated transcription of Billy Collins' laconic, wry poem, The Art of Drowning by Diego Maclean - beautiful!

The Art of Drowning from Diego Maclean on Vimeo.

The Art Of Drowning by Billy Collins

I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds.

After falling off a steamship or being swept away
in a rush of floodwaters, wouldn't you hope
for a more leisurely review, an invisible hand
turning the pages of an album of photographs-
you up on a pony or blowing out candles in a conic hat.

How about a short animated film, a slide presentation?
Your life expressed in an essay, or in one model photograph?
Wouldn't any form be better than this sudden flash?
Your whole existence going off in your face
in an eyebrow-singeing explosion of biography-
nothing like the three large volumes you envisioned.

Survivors would have us believe in a brilliance
here, some bolt of truth forking across the water,
an ultimate Light before all the lights go out,
dawning on you with all its megalithic tonnage.
But if something does flash before your eyes
as you go under, it will probably be a fish,

a quick blur of curved silver darting away,
having nothing to do with your life or your death.
The tide will take you, or the lake will accept it all
as you sink toward the weedy disarray of the bottom,
leaving behind what you have already forgotten,
the surface, now overrun with the high travel of clouds.

Attack Of The 50ft Alien From Toyland Trailer

Void Canvas Studios proudly present there debut trailer:

So where can we see the trailers that 2nd years made?

I remember something about that they would be uploaded on 21st,but i can't seem to find any except Jolanta's.
2nd years worked alot on these projects and it's really interesting what they made.

Rigging and Skinning

I rigged and skinned character in different Maya projects. How to attach/connect/merge them together.
I couldn't find an answer from google. Perhaps I asked wrong questions.

This question mainly to Alan, but if anyone knows the answer, please help.


@Phil/Alan - Resolved

Not to worry, Emails are back up :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Maya Error and fix found

When doing the the blend-shapes on the character tutorial for the 2nd year I came across an unexpected error, when trying to open 'All Inputs', it came up an error, and it just wouldnt open. As shown in the picture:

Inputs List:


Knowing if I couldnt sort out this error I could not progress on the tutorial, i did a quick research on internet and found out that in maya 2011 hotfix3 ( the version I am using) it has a bug.  
( for easy solution I will post directly the solution from the website I found)

Maya goes over a list of items to add, but is told to skip an item called SEPARATOR; doing so messes up the list count and now Maya goes from list item 0 to 2 directly, and can’t find row1. This only happens if you have layers in the scene. The solution is to remove SEPARATOR from the list, which is pretty simple:

Quit Maya

In scripts/others/detachHistoryTable.mel

tokenize$all$list );
$n size$list );
tokenize$all$list );
string $items2remove[] {"SEPARATOR"};
$list stringArrayRemove($items2remove$list);
$n size$list );

restart Maya.

Please note that you make changes to Maya’s mel scripts at your own risk. If you’re not comfortable making such changes, and if you do not understand what the above does, then please don’t do it. I have only briefly tested this fix; there may be situations where it does not work." 

I have to say it worked for me, however on the safe side I have made a duplicate of the MEL File I was about to change. so even if you mess up the file you using you wont have to reinstall maya to make it work

I though I could share the error and the fix, If any of you find the same error in any of your CG adventures!


No Brief?

I am trying to find the new brief on MyUCA but the Unit Materials folder is empty. (o_o) ?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1st Years! This might be helpful!

Since our next project includes script writing for a story i think this might be helpful.

This is a free software for both PC and MAC. This is a story script writing software that i used in film course a few years back. It's more easy and fluent to write a script in than a normal text editor.

FAO/CGAA Yr 1 : A 'Reading Week' Message from John 'Toy Story' Lasseter

It's Reading Week 2011, which means you're at the halfway stage of year one of Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation. I hope you're nice and relaxed after the rigors of Unit 3. The first semester of any degree course is a big culture shock and intellectual leap. Not everyone makes it and not everyone enjoys it, but hey, you did it, and it's time to take stock. In just 15 weeks, you have:
  • evolved from dice to digital sets
  • evolved from digital daubs to matte paintings
  • written 6,000 words (approx) of degree-level essay (that's three quarters of a dissertation!)
  • experienced 21 important films & written 21 degree-level reviews
You are now:
  • an improving cg artist
  • an improving 2d artist
  • an improving writer
  • an improving researcher
  • an improving critic
  • increasingly literate
  • increasingly confident
  • increasingly credible
  • and 15 academic weeks from your 2nd year...
You should be impressed. I am. Congratulations - you've completed one sixth of your degree!

But let's be honest - let's just get it said - some of you are faking it. Some of you are flying by the seat of your pants or hoping that the course and its criteria might bend out of shape to better accommodate your whims, skillset blindspots and creative insecurities. Some of you are still not fully awake to the hard reality of what it takes to make genuinely inspiring work. Some of you want something for nothing. Recently, I've been asked some pretty daft questions by first year students struggling to see the connection between the CG Arts curriculum and their own creative ambitions. My response was pretty unambiguous - but John Lasseter has this message for you:

What I suggest everyone does now is take this moment to scroll back through 15 weeks worth of your blog posts. If you need a morale boost in addition to Lasseter's wise words, an overview of your own work will do wonders. I think you'll be surprised at just how much you've accomplished and in so short a time. While you're at it, why not take a look at the blog of a student whose Unit 3 work you particularly admired. Pick a role-model, be inspired, and be honest enough with yourself to judge if you think you've truly been working hard enough and what you need do to improve.

Unit 4 brings with it a whole new set of creative challenges - get stuck into the resources on myUCA/Storytelling/Unit Materials and get good and ready for day 1 of semester 2. To coin a phrase - you 'ain't seen nothing yet'.

I look forward to seeing you all on Monday 31st @ 4pm / Lecture Theatre 1

FAO CGAA Yr 1: Unit 4/Story-Telling - Timetable Now Available!

Your Unit 4 Timetable is now available via myUCA/Story-telling/Unit Information

Maya Submission question

Can someone just refreshen my memory. For the lip-syncing tutorials, do we have to do all 11 of the 11 second club sound clips or just 1 (or some)? I really can't remember and would like to finish them up.

FAO CGAA Yr 1: Unit 4/Story-Telling - Your Writing Partners Revealed

It's time to reveal the purpose of that mysterious draw of random numbers at Friday's crit. Okay, so you've got your 3 story components, but as part of your story development process, you'll be working with a writing partner - a sounding board and 'critical friend' - someone who will follow your progress specifically and help with lateral thinking, idea generation and constructive feedback The numbers drawn from the 'blue box' relate to your respective positions on the year group register - and the resulting partnerships are as follows:

  • Chris + Paul-Arthur
  • Adam + Molly
  • Oliver + Sasha
  • Dmitrij + Naomi
  • Sean D-R + Domantas
  • Jonathan S + Max
  • Jonathan P + Paul L
  • Conor + Oriskolade
  • Sam + Nat
  • Dayle + Kay D
  • Ryan + Katy
  • Andriana + Michael H
  • Roy + Alex Z-P
  • Lyn-Dae + Dan
  • Justin + Sean B + Aidan

Note - this isn't a group project - you are pre-producing your own 1 minute animation - but you are required to collaborate and work in partnership. Of course, the specific nature of your partnership does not mean you shouldn't interact with everyone else's development too via the blogs etc. Importantly, I want you to establish a way of archiving your collaborations - obviously though blog-based 'conversations' and comment threads - but you should be meeting face-to-face, engaging in workshops and creative discussion - and find interesting and dynamic ways of chronicling those sessions.

I very much look forward to some fruitful collaborations - go say "hi" and get stuck in.

Keeping Up Momentum...

Hey everyone, I pondered on whether or not to post this on here, or my personal blog, but I hoped this would give me the most responses.

Correct me if wrong, but as of Friday, 1st, 2nd and 3rd years all came to the end of their projects. Now, after a much needed 12 hour sleep, I've found today rather slow and it almost seems weird not to be panicking or staying up until birds chirp.

What I want to ask, how does anyone manage to keep up the momentum that you build up towards the end of a project, and carry it on into the next? I enjoyed the hustle and bustle of a sharp deadline and don't want to 'forget' what it was like due to a week off.

Any thoughts welcome.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Maya Backwards Compatibility

Is it possible to put a project from maya 2011 onto maya 2010, only I use maya 2011 and wanted to bring my work in to collage if I get stuck on it. Can it be done or is it just not backwards compatible?

2nd & 3rd Year Timetables

Timetables are now available for download from MyUCA.

Year 2: Transcription \ Unit Materials
Year 3: Major Project \ Unit Materials

Good luck 1st Years!

Let's do our best everyone!

Chinese Fest!!

If anyone is up for it (and not to tired after the workload thrown at us this unit) 
Another Chinese Fest is taking place; things you should know:

- Costs £12 for the All you can eat
- (There is a cash point near the shop)
- Cosmo is better than the one we used to go to, shown to us by Kayle/ Kay D
-Possible Dance Central gaming (depending on tiredness of participants)

Hopefully I'll see you there ~

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Bad Sign?

Has anyone else noticed that when you do a google image search for the films in this unit, some of the first pictures you find are from reviews other people in the course have done?  It seems like we could be in danger of becoming recursive...


Can i use 2011 powerpont to show my work On the uni comps. Or do i have to use 2010 To show my work.

Guy faints after watching Blob movie!


All 1st Year Students: New Groups

The technical class groups have been re-divided to balance out numbers. Please familiarise yourself with your new group.


This is a question thats probably been asked before, if so I am sorry, but what exactly do we need to have on our presentation tomorrow?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

@ Jon or Alan Tree UV grid trouble

Having a little bit of trouble adding a UV grid lambert to my tree for my scene. It seems to not accept it and stays the same when adding the lambert any thoughts please? Thanks

@ Phill essay

Keep Going...the end is in sight!!

Soon you will be able to sleep again! In the meantime, crank this up and keep going!


While not retro, I though I'd post something relevant to 2nd years' projects as we're all wrapping up our own horror trailers for tomorrow.

RUBBER is the story of Robert, an inanimate tire that has been abandoned in the desert, and suddenly and inexplicably comes to life. As Robert roams the bleak landscape, he discovers that he possesses terrifying telepathic powers that give him the ability to destroy anything he wishes without having to move. At first content to prey on small desert creatures and various discarded objects, his attention soon turns to humans, especially a beautiful and mysterious woman who crosses his path. Leaving a swath of destruction across the desert landscape, Robert becomes a chaotic force to be reckoned with, and truly a movie villain for the ages. Directed by legendary electro musician Quentin Dupieux (Steak, Nonfilm), aka Mr. Oizo, RUBBER is a smart, funny and wholly original tribute to the cinematic concept of no reason.

Needless to say, this should be on everyone's must watch list for 2011.

Batch Render Scripts

Just looking around at some scripts, some nice one out there to save render/personal time.This one allows you to render multiple files at one time. This is also helpfull if you need to render more than one camera. is also possible to just close maya while batch rendering, this is also good as you can allow more memory for maya to use. Give them a go, it is worth it!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Simple Fog?

Is there a simple straightforward way of making fog in Maya? I've looked at a couple of tutorials online but none have been very clear. There's mention of an env_fog node hidden somewhere but I can't find it :(

No computers available!! :(

On behalf of my coursemates, WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED OF COMPUTERS for the continuasion of the final 3D scene! Most of them are locked or rendering which makes it hard for them to finish their work on time. Can anybody help with this situation??? :(

Monday, January 17, 2011

Narrative Final Critique: Retro-Fest

Thursday 20th January in Lecture Theartre 1

Death of the Author

When a studio submits a piece of work to a competition it becomes disconnected from its creators and therefore any further explanation. It's purpose is to be the best that it can be in the eyes of the judges. In essence the work speaks for itself. Therefore the Narrative Critique will run as follows...

The Critique & Order of Events

9 am: File Transfer
- All studios to meet in Lecture theatre 1.
- Work transferred onto the main computer (Make sure your final trailer is clearly labelled and plays).

9.45am: Leave the Room
- All studios to leave lecture theatre 1

10 am: Review
- Phil & Alan to review work in private.

11am – 1pm: Studio Presentations
- All studios to return, present work, and peer assess.

Friday 21st January: Upload
- All Studios to upload their final trailers to their Group blogs.

Reading Week: Judging Panel
- A panel of judges will convene, review the work, & present awards.

Notes on studio presentations:

1) Play the trailer first
- Start by showing the completed work to let people see the end result.

2) Keep it brief. Your blogs have been followed throughout the 15 weeks and therefore staff and colleagues are aware of your work.

3) Summarise and show your pre-production
- Show your best concept art, character designs, story boards, or pre-viz for example. Let people see some of the magic behind the scenes.

4) Don’t all speak at once or speak one by one in turn
- Keep the presentation fluid. If this means electing a spokes person do so.

5) Be organised
- No last minute finding of files or bouncing between topics. Be prepared & remember your audience.

6) Don’t be boring, show off, or blag.
- Keep it professional, informative, and clear.

Textures missing?

I opened the scene I was working on in uni today and all my texturing is gone (or hiding?). I tried the wireframe and all the rest of the modes but it doesn't seem to be there. Do I have to open the file differently or something?

New in Maya 2011: Create Render Node Window

For all of you who have chosen to switch to Maya 2011

When creating a render node, such as a file (for textures) make sure to right click on the button and choose 'Create Texture' (See Image). This is a slightly hidden variation on previous versions which featured three radial buttons in plain sight.

UV Grids and texturing and whats what?

I haven't got there yet but I was wondering how the UV grid works in relation to texturing. I understand that the UVs flatten an objects faces down so they can be exported and textured but does the entire scene have to fit into the one grid seen in the UV Editor or does maya figure out the correct UVs for each model when a texture is put into the Hypershade? Theres no chance everything in my scene will fit into one grid nicely thats for sure!

Question: why do eyebrows leave the head?

very strange problem this time..
When I smooth my models head , eyebrows disappear from the surface:

And end up being here

notably far away from the character himself :/ Just a note to void canvas studio members, I'm rerendering one scene because no expressions can be seen as the face doesnt have the eybrows...
It hapens only when I smooth the head. How to fix it?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Post With The Most 16/01/2011

It's been a while, but it's time once again for a round-up of what's caught your tutor's eye this week in the CGAA bloggosphere. In truth, I don't expect anyone to read the first PWTM of 2011 - at least, not until deadlines are done and dusted - but, for posterity's sake (and for those quiet moments following your RedBull come down), here you go...

In a change to the usual order of things, let's start with Tom Beg and his Garden of Earthly Delights. It won't have escaped your attention that, for the past 14 weeks, Tom has been firmly ensconced in the CG Baseroom from dawn 'til dusk working hard on bringing his CG recreation of Bosch's idiosyncratic painting to bustling, sensual life. He recently posted his final animation - minus soundtrack and After-Effects accoutrements. In truth, he's not entirely happy with it - not yet. I guess that means he'll be back in the baseroom first thing Monday morning... Raj, meanwhile, has completed rigging his characters, Zack's Castus short is but a few shots short, and Toni is doing battle with blend shapes. The course team wish all our third year students well for the coming week and hope that time is on your side and technology plays fair.

On Thursday, 20th January, the 2nd Year Retrofest project reaches its conclusion. It would be no exaggeration to say that Retrofest has been the most challenging experience so far for its participants - both in terms of creativity and 'man management'. Collaboration is vital to long-term creative success, but it also requires huge energy and stamina to make it work - but working it has been - (more or less!) - if recent content on the studio blogs might be used as a gauge. If you haven't done so already, check out the Retrofest studio blogs and follow their progress as they wind things up for Thursday's all-important crit (and good luck all of you).
With just 5 days and counting before the first years present their Unit 3 digital set + matte painting finale to their first 15 weeks as undergraduates, there's some promising sneak peaks on the blogs: Andriana's matte painting impresses and is proof positive that, with enough time and dedication, tablet and pen will give you what you want. Elsewhere, Paul Lavey gets to grips with modelling masks, Chris gets textural, and Jono just gets it. Dayle takes his essay writing to task (in a post that made this tutor 'laugh out loud') and sees dead people in his hospital corridor. Creepy. Michael gets particular about lighting, while Lyn-Dae gets particular about pretty much everything - from rumpled rugs to a 1920s desk. Indeed, there's so much going on at the moment - so many personal eureka moments, post-Pirate cove euphoria and incipient Maya addiction - that I look forward with genuine anticipation to Friday's crit!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

David Keefe's Showreel 2011

Mustard Kid Show Reel 2011 from David Keefe on Vimeo.

A Message To All CGAA Students: Keep Calm and Carry On

With one week to go before the end of Semester 1 - and major deadlines for all CGAA students - it's a stressful, fraught and sleep-depriving time for everyone. You're up-to-your-eyeballs, I appreciate, but it's worth just taking a few moments to revisit your respective project briefs and supporting information to ensure you're clear on what you need to submit come deadline day. Don't fall foul of an omission, blindspot or criteria technicality. You need to deliver what's on the brief and in the formats etc. requested - no exceptions.

Year one CGAA students should visit:

Year Two CGAA students should visit:

In the coming days, don't forget to back-up your work frequently and so guard against any eleventh hour catastrophes. To reiterate: there is no mitigation available for hard-drive death or similar. You're going to be tired - and that's when stupid mistakes can happen - so stay alert and err on the side of caution.

Finally, I just want to wish you all the very best of luck for the coming days and express how much I'm looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labours. In the face of your greatest creative and technical challenge thus far, 'keep calm and carry on' and 'be amazing!'

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined"

Henry David Thoreau

Wireframe - A guide to

Maya Advice Please

Can anyone suggest why I can't get my chrome to look like chrome when I render please?
Is it something to do with the light? The floor? If I have the wrong settings? Raytrace is on this time, thats where I had the problem last time. It has some shine in the render but it's still awful. I will be placing the chair in an alternative scene eventually but shouldn't it be all set up looking correct for when I do put it in there?