Monday, October 31, 2011

The Making of... The Smurfs!


The film itself may be one of the most heinous blots on the history of mankind but this is video is quite informative. Interesting to see some 'in-software' video and how actually, it's actually just the same techniques you learn on CG Arts and Animation.

@Simon/Alan Unit 2 UV task

Sorry to be posting again, the videos are up on the tutorial blog but there's no link to the house reference images so we can't make a start yet

Maya Tutorial Help.

I know Katy brought this up previously but I don't know if she got a response or not.
On the Mustang Roof tutorial the rear light has already been cut out. Is there a tutorial missing or are we supposed to model the light ourselves? I just wanted to check before I start messing with the geometry :P

CGAA Unit 2 Space: Worlds Apart: Alien 1/11/2011

Answering a distress call from a far off planet, the crew of the mining ship Nostromo come across the egg of a bizarre alien species. Director Ridely Scott enlisted Swiss artist H.R Giger to design all aspects associated with the Alien and its environment while Ron Cobb and Chris Foss were hired to design the human side of the film. Though equally striking, it was Giger’s gruesome surrealist vision which reverberated the most with audiences, influencing Science Fiction design for years to come.

“From the outset, it was Giger’s unique vision, a blend of nightmare surrealism with industrial design, that seemed to lift Alien out of the conventional, his creations shaping and challenging its production values. Alien is a perfect example of an image-driven film. (Raw, 2009:78)

Raw, L. (2009) The Ridley Scott encyclopedia. USA:Scarecrow Press Inc.


Ridley Scott

Screenplay by:
Dan O’Bannon

Produced by:
Gordon Carroll, David Giler, Walter Hill

Science Fiction, Horror, Monster

United States

Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerrit, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto

Selected Director Filmography:

Related Films:

Problem with sound on PC

I wonder if anyone can help...having a problem with the PC. We have lost all sound, and its not letting us play music or videos via media player. It's coming up with this error message -

'Windows Media Player cannot access the file. The file might be in use, you might not have access to the computer where the file is stored, or your proxy settings might not be correct'.

When we tried the Fix-it through Microsoft troubleshooter, it wasn't letting us do that either! Any help gratefully received!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

CGAA Unit 2 Space: Worlds Apart: King Kong 31/10/2011

Pioneering special effects and production design are used to create the mysterious Skull Island’s lush jungles and vistas reminiscent of the ones described in Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. King Kong astounded a 1930’s audiences with it’s incredibly lifelike animation of the giant ape, Kong, rampaging - with Fay Wray in-hand - through dense jungles pursued by dinosaurs and later smashing apart the streets of Manhattan. The films iconic final encounter atop the Empire State building is one of cinema’s defining moments.

Note: O’Brien refers to the films Special effects artists Willis O’Brien

“King Kong was a milestone in visual effects history. In this amazing film O’Brien established brilliant methods of combining stop motion animation with live photography. O’Brien’s technical achievements laid the groundwork for furthering of the art of stop motion visuals by his protégé Ray Harryhausen” (Sawicki, 2011:78)

Sawicki, M. (2011) Filming the fantastic: A Guide to Visual Effects Cinematography. China: Elsevier Inc.


Merien C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack

Screenplay by:
James Ashmore Creelen, Ruth Rose

Produced by:
Marien C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack and David O. Selznick

Fantasy, Adventure, Monster

United States

Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher, James Flavin, Victor Wong

Selected Director Filmography:

Related Films:

Postmodernism: The Thing - The Musical

Okay, so, back in 1982, John Carpenter (dir. of horror smash, Halloween) remade The Thing From Another World (1951), and so unleashed some pretty amazing non-cg special effects set-pieces in which dogs turned inside out and disembodied heads sprouted legs.  This was the film that got the playground buzzing in terms of its extreme gore and 'out there' creature design.  A prequel to the film is due for release very soon, but it appears to this jaded viewer, that The Thing 2011 is just the The Thing '82 all over again - but with cg augmentation probably undoing all that was properly visceral and grisly about Rob Bottin's extraordinary puppets...  

Anyway, this postmodernism-themed post could be about the continuing slow death of the avant-garde in terms of film-making as Hollywood stagnates in a perpetual 'nostalgia mode', as it seeks only to remake and revisit its own back-catalogue, as the levers of capitalism demand bums on seats over art and innovation... But actually,  I present to you another example of Barthesian appropriation, as some bright spark strips the dour body-horror from Carpenter's '82 remake, splices it with a pastiche of Sinatra and offers up The Thing - The Musical... Enjoy!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vimeo Music Store

Vimeo has just introduced its new music store, me being the in-house CG Arts Vimeo fanboy I thought I'd share with the community. As with all of these sorts of websites, it's some good, some bad. Either way - it looks really useful if you're looking for a royalty-free track to use in your animations.

Click here for the Vimeo Music Store

Postmodernism: Yeo Valley X Factor Advert 2011

A pitch-perfect parody of boy band pop/pap from some clever/creatively bankrupt ad agency for the Yeo Valley milk & yoghurt company; a manufactured pop group singing a middle-of-the-road ballad with obligatory key-change that is largely indistinguishable from 'real; manufactured pop groups singing middle-of-the-road ballads with obligatory key-changes...


Heya, where can I find the reference images for the UV layout task? I've looked all over the tutorial blog but I cant see it there, are they hidden somewhere else?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Trailer: Para Norman (2012)

From the people who brought you Coraline...


Hey all,

I'm looking at buying Photoshop for my mac and while roaming around on the web i have come across two cs5's for two massively different prices. the cheepest one is -Extended student teacher cs5 for around 160. If anyone knows, is this a good one, so to speak and, do to help me work at home for all the photoshop needs :). I only ask due to the massive price difference and seems to good to be true as the other is just over 600 hundred for the full edition of cs5.

Thank you ;)


FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit 2 Space 2011/12 / OGR - 8th November 2011

Tuesday, 8th November is your Unit 2 OGR

Your OGR is to be presented as a Scribd presentation on your blog, with your name, date, and unit title. If you are still experiencing difficulty using Scribd go here for some easy-to-follow instructions.  I suggest you save your documents as PDFs before uploading to Scribd, as this should mitigate against formating glitches.  Remember, when pasting Scribd embed code into your blog, you must  first select the HTML mode tab, then switch back to 'Compose' to view embedded presentation.

Unit 2 OGR: What do you need to present?

A short synopsis of your book(s) to include plot, author biography, social and cultural context (i.e. when the book was written and what was happening at the time of its writing that might have influenced its content), and summary of any existing adaptations (film, theatre, television etc.) key illustrations, associated artists etc.

A short statement identifying and justifying your Visual Concept in relation to your story (i.e. what are the underlying principles driving your production design and from what and where are they derived - and why).

A breakdown of your excerpts identifying your choice of three scenes.

A single 'Visual Concept' influence map that illustrates your production design principles.

Specific Influence Maps for each of your 3 scenes.

Key Thumbnails for each of your 3 scenes.

Introduction to your Unit 2 written assignment*

Your creative partnership archived (wip).

*Your introduction should satisfy the required criteria, e.g. "A clear introduction to your investigation ... should mention the different published sources you have used and your reasons for choosing them."

Please refer to the Rough Guide to Written Assignments - available on myUCA/Space/Unit Materials - for advice on academic writing at undergraduate level.  If you haven't accessed this material yet, please do so, as it is designed to ensure against students submitting work that will not meet the required standard. Be sure to read the 'Dos & Don'ts' style guide   BEFORE writing your introductions - it will save you (and me!) valuable time, which we could  better spend on refinements and polishing.

The 'Rough Guide' also contains an example 'Unit 2' essay, which will give you a clear idea of what I'll be looking for in terms of structure, tone and presentation.  You can find more advice on the group blog simply by clicking the 'written assignment' and 'academic writing' labels.

In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your life-drawing, weekly film reviews, and technical exercises etc.  Your OGR might include links to the corresponding posts and/or images. Students that use their OGR to manage their weekly tasks in this way manage their workloads more successfully.

Your OGR should be a professionally presented, spell-checked, with an emphasis on graphic design, layout and personal branding.  No more last minute, slipshod presentations please.  For some great examples of Unit 1 OGRs, go here, here, and here.  This is what I want - from everyone this time.

Please use your network of creative partners to ensure everyone takes a look at the OGR requirements.  Many thanks.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Production Art: Monster House (2006)

A great selection of production art from Gil Kenan's Monster House (2006) - courtesy of Living Lines.



British comics artist and illustrator, works include Stingray and Captain Scarlet concept artwork and the Wicked Wanda cartoons for Penthouse as well as hundreds of illustrations for children’s books in the 60s and 70s.

These images are from his many fairy tale illustrations, its worth looking at the actual books as the image quality does not do them justice.

FAO CGAA Year One: Unit 2 Space - FZD School

If you're not doing so already, you need to 'enrol' at concept artist Feng Zhu's online school - his Youtube channel that features many de-mystifying demonstrations of digital painting techniques.  The two episodes featured below are just the tip of this concept art iceberg.  It's important too that, as well as choosing role-models and running mates from within the CGAA community itself, that you get into the habit of following the blogs of industry professionals.  If you're truly serious about one day competing with these talents, it pays to heighten your awareness now of what it's going to take to make it.  A good start would be to follow Feng Zhu's blog - which you can find here.  

Important: All Graphic Tablets Returned Today Plse!

Can all Graphic Tablets currently out on loan be returned to the CGAA Office by 5pm today in readiness for Photoshop Phill's digital painting classes on Friday - no exceptions!  Many thanks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Red Bull 'Canimation' Competition

Red Bull are running an animation competition named 'Canimation'
The brief being a 16:9 animation starring their famous branded can, must be under 2 minutes long.

The prize for CGI Student entries is a two month internship at The Mill, where you'll be guided by Jimmy Farrington who has worked on great animations from Who Framed Roger Rabbit to Where the Wild Things Are

The Open CGI prize is a high spec laptop and a copy of the Autodesk Creative Suite 2012

CG Zombie Halloween Party

Hey guys, so I'm posting about a fancy dress party me (Bob), Jack and Ilmi are hosting as a Halloween special :D. We're inviting everyone from all years, as we haven't really had the chance to get mingling on the course yet, so feel free to come. It's a zombie themed night, so if your planing to come as a fairy, then zombie that fairy up :D

We'll have bqq food, that Godwino's goign to be helping out with, so if you can bring some to help keep it flowing, that'd be great, as well as some drink. If you add one of us on Facebook, we can add you to the group or ask us in person we can give you details where we live :D but it's pretty much near Chatham station, Saturday from around 6ish onwards

Hope to see you all there....Tutors also WELCOME :D

FAO: Year 3 Tutorials

Friday 28th October - Tutorials

Due to the one off halloween film showing, scheduled tutorials will be replaced by 'first come' drop in tutorials from 10am - 2pm.


It's here by special request the 'best worst movie' Troll 2 (1990).

Directed by Claudio Fragasso this movie has to be seen to be believed.

All courses & years welcome.

Friday 28th October @ 3.15pm

Lecture Theatre 2

Bring your friends!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Diablo III Black Soulstone Cinematic + Making Of

Diablo III Black Soulstone Cinematic

Blizzcon 2011 - Diablo 3 Making of Black Soulstone Cinematics

Postmodernism: The Derrida Virus: Funny Games U.S 26/10/2011

A shot for shot remake of Haneke’s own 1997 film of the same name. Two young men hold a family hostage and use them to play sadistic games. Using postmodern techniques to subvert and distort audience expectation of genre conventions- the film can be viewed as deconstruction of how violence is portrayed on screen.

Note: this quote refers to the 1997 version of Funny Games but is equally relevant to the 2007 remake.

“...He establishes Funny Games as part of the suspense thriller genre in order to lull the spectator into a false feeling sense of security, stating that: ‘Elements from the history of the suspense thriller appear as quotes – the classic opening, the scene where the boy escapes to the villa – very classical, like Hitchcock. And the audience only engages with the film when they don’t know whats going to happen, when they allow themselves hope’...while the use of generic conventions within a film indicates to the audience the course that they can expect its narrative to take, it also serves as a guideline for what emotional response the specatator will take to that film.” (Wheatley, 2009:82)

Wheatley, C. (2009) Michael Haneke’s Cinema: The Ethnic of the Image. United States:Berghahn Books


Michael Haneke

Screenplay by:
Michael Haneke

Thriller, Horror, Slasher

United States

Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet, Devon Gearheart

Selected Director Filmography:

Related Films:

Blogger settings...@Shahbir and anyone else not getting any replies to posts!

I have been experiencing some problems trying to leave comments on certain seem to be due to what the blogger has their comments settings set to. If you have not been getting as many replies to posts as you would have expected it might be worth having a look at yours!

Go to 'Settings' and then 'Comments', and change 'who can comment' to Anyone..... that might help!
SHAHBIR... I know for a fact that people are trying to leave comments on your last post! :)

FAO CGAA Year 1 Unit 2: Space 2011/12 - Dali Designed Sequence from 'Spellbound'

As previewed at today's briefing - Dali's dream sequence from Hitchcock's Freudian thriller, Spellbound (1945)

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Final Chapter Coming Soon....

Atom Pancakes proudly presents ...

Follow our official blog for all the progress at:

Or our Facebook page or twitter at: (respectively)

More updates will land on here very soon! 

Keep Tuned!

FAO: Year 2 Narrative 'The Pitch'

Location Details

The Pitch will take place on Thursday in the CG Arts Baseroom from 2pm

'The Pitch'

Each Studio will give a short 10 minute film pitch.

Each pitch will include & run in the following order:

1) Branding:

Give a brief overview of the studio's branding (logo, blog, etc).

2) Retrofest Requirements:

Present the films title, explain your choice of genre & method of approach (1, 2, or 3).

3) Treatment / Plot:

Present a synopsis of the films plot and give a list of potential cast members.

4) Character Design:

Present an overview of the design progress made in this area & explain how each character meets the requirements of the story.

5) Environment Designs:

Present an overview of the design progress made in this area & explain how each environment meets the requirements of the story.

6) Storyboard, Trailer, & Edit:

Give an overview of storyboard development before showing an Animatic version of the trailer (including temporary audio).

After this feedback will be given as to whether the project has a green, amber, or red light.


CGAA One-A-Day: The Gawper

Saw this and thought of the Second years!

CGAA Unit 2 Space: Worlds Apart: Metropolis 25/10/2011

Fritz Lang’s 1927 epic Metropolis established the benchmark or originality, design and scale for science fiction sets which has perhaps yet to be bettered. Met with a negative reception upon release, subsequent restorations and critical re-evaluations have led it to be reclaimed as a masterpiece. With its fusion of grand modernist cityscapes and oppressive industrial working class machinery, Metropolis triumphantly heralded the ability for filmmakers to create entire new worlds. Its influence can still be seen in almost every science fiction film released since.

“The set design, for instance, runs the gamut from cavernous Christian catacombs to abstract cityscapes in the tradition of the futurist architect Antonio Sant’Elia, from the mystical Tower of Babel to art deco interiors, from abstract moving machine parts at the beginning of the film to the Gothic cathedral at the end” (Isenberg, 2009: 175)

“The film reaches back into the mythical past and forward into the far future; its buildings stretch to the sky, while inhuman machine halls are underground...expressionist architecture is meant to underscore the contrast between the timeless pleasure gardens high above and the subterranean darkness deep below, where time is measured in ten-hour shifts.” (Isenberg, 2009:176)

Isenberg, Noah. (2009) Weimer cinema: an essential guide to classic films of the era. USA: Columbia University Press


Fritz Lang

Screenplay by:
Thea von Harbou, Fritz Lang

Produced by:
Erich Pommer

Science Fiction, Silent


Alfred Abel, Gustav Frölich, Rudolph Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Erwin Biswanger, Heinrich George, Brigitte Helm

Selected Director Filmography:
Destiny, Metropolis, M, Frau im Mond, Dr Mabuse series, Fury, Big Heat

Related Films:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Just Arrived - 2 More Year 1 Blogs

Introducing 'all new' CGAA recruit, Ernesta Baniulyte and returning student, Ollie Fowls  Make them feel at home.

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit 2 Space 2011/12 - Your Creative Partners Announced

See below - your creative partners for the duration of unit 2 are listed below - and look, 2 more recruits; introducing Ollie Fowls and Ernesta Baniulyte - all names below are linked to their respective blogs.  If, for whatever reason, you're not already following your partner's blog, you should use the hyperlink to do so now.
  1. Nick B + Meg 
  2. George + Chrissie + Mike 
  3. Otis + Nat
  4. Stitch + Joey 
  5. Shayne  + Sammy 
  6. Tom + Emma  + Ilmi
  7. Simon  + Josh 
  8. Lydia + Kadeem
  9. Amrit + Anita 
  10. Ernesta + Freddie + Ami 
  11. Lloyd  + Magda
  12. Jake M + Paris 
  13. Steve S + Urvashi
  14. Gabriel + Anthony
  15. Ollie G + Jamie 
  16. Anastos + Andrew 
  17. Aaron + Callum
  18. Jake C + Alicja P
  19. Steve P + Mei + Oliver F
  20. Ollie N + Alicja D
I couldn't help but notice a comment on one first year's blog in response to the creative partnership that said, 'we need to show we're talking to each other so we can pass this unit'

Talk about the missing the point!  

The 'point' of your creative partnership is that it offers you an ongoing opportunity for feedback, co-operation and support.  Rather like having a running mate in a marathon, it's having someone alongside you with whom to keep pace.  Importantly, working alongside someone new is getting you used to collaborative working - a fundamental characteristic of workflow in the creative industries, and something with which students traditionally struggle.  It seems that some of you prefer to work in your own little worlds, at your own pace - but those days are over. 

Many of you enjoyed successful partnerships during Unit 1, but there were other individuals who disappointed their respective partners by failing to communicate or connect. If that was you, snap out of it.  It is a requirement of the brief that you engage creatively with others - and of the world 'out there' too.

I look forward to some great partnerships.  Go introduce yourselves and get stuck in!

Weird Message

Hi, Joey here- my internet's back online!! I've just went to check my inbox and found this company "printingamerica" messaged on my life drawing and company of wolves review on my blog. I've then checked to see it if the message is written on my blog only to find it that it didn't. I've also went onto "printing america's" website which its only for printing services. So, I'm confused... :S

CGAA Unit 2 Space: Worlds Apart: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari 24/10/2011

Hugely influential silent horror film. Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr Caligari pioneered the use of expressionist sets in cinema, where deformed, wholly artificial and non-realistic sets were used to express the often delirious themes of the film.

“In Caligari, an evil psychiatrist compels a young man, through hypnosis, to kill people... His skewed perspective is depicted visually in the skewed and surreal set design: crooked houses, windows, and roads; outdoor scenes that are obviously shot indoors, misshapen and disproportionately-sized furniture that looks to be designed by Dr Seuss. Painted Shadows.” (Sipod, 2010:44)

“Caligari’s expressionist mise-en-scéne supports both story and theme. Dramatically the set décor and acting help to render a tale told from a lunatic’s perspective. But these elements also work thematically. Caligari has been interpreted as a metaphor for the then recently concluded First World War...” (Sipos, 2010:44)

Sipos, Thomas M. (2010) Horror film aesthetics: creating the visual language of fear. North Carolina: Mcfarland & Company Inc.


Robert Wiene

Screenplay by:
Hans Janowitz, Carl Meyer

Produced by:
Rudolph, Erich Pommer

Horror, Silent


Werner Kraus, Conrad Veight, Freidrich Feher, Lil Dagover, Hens Heinrich von Twardowski, Rudolph Lettinger

Selected Director Filmography:

Related Films:

Interview: Joseph C. Pepe - Character Designer

Go here for an interview with Avatar character designer, Joseph C. Pepe - courtesy of the Academy of Art Character & Creature Design blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Missing Maya Tutorial

For the automotive modelling in part 4 there is no cutting out of the rear lights. It shows the finished rear of the car in part 5, but not showing you how to do it.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Supplement: John Martin

John Martin is an interesting painter.  Although famous in his lifetime, in the 20th century he was much derided by artists and art critics, but has remained popular with the public (he was/is the most looked-at painter in the Tate), perhaps because his paintings have sometimes come to look like colossal 19th century heavy metal album covers.  In the 1930s you could have picked up one of his huge masterpieces for a couple of pounds.  In recent years his work has undergone critical reappraisal, and there's currently an exhibition at the Tate - have a look here.

His brother Jonathan was an insane preacher who set fire to York Minster: