Thursday, May 31, 2012

@ Alan

Hi Alan, are there any scene files for the Cameras: Stereo 3D Camera tutorial?

FAO CGAA Year 1 - Your Unit 6 'Art Of' & Your Emails Plse

Hi you lot.... Can you all please upload your 'Art Of' documents to your blogs please if you haven't done so already - lots of you havent! Also, I'll be emailing you your Unit 6 proformas, so could you first please email me at so I've got your current emails.  As I'm sure you appreciate, there's lots of third year marking to be completed, so there might be a slight delay in getting your marks out to you, but I'll send them asap.  I'm sure that not everyone will be checking the group blog as regularly, so could you use your various social networks etc. to get this message 'out there'.  Much appreciated - and I look forward to seeing the creative trickle of those summer projects soon... :)

And finally - if you still haven't returned any course kit, please drop it in at reception promptly.  Thanks again.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CGAA Cinema: The opening of 'Written on the Wind' directed by Douglas Sirk (1956)

 The opening of Written on the Wind is one of my favourites, even if relatively new to me. Directed by Douglas Sirk in 1956, the film depicts an unraveling web of unrequited love and desperation. In recent times, Sirk has been reclaimed as a director whose seemingly one-dimensional films have been debunked as the films they were once assumed to be. Look beyond the surface and you find scathing indictments of American conformity and family values. Whether or not this true is up for debate, but there's no denying he was a master of control. Visually, his films demonstrate an outstanding eye for detail and style. Though entirely constructed, it's a world designed to appear realer than real. 

The opening hits like you a speeding car, because that's what it is.  In the evening light, Robert Stack speeds towards an unknown destination - roof down, pissed off and bottle of booze in hand. In the background, The Four Aces gentle crooning sits perfectly with the frenetic editing and disorientating pace.  Made more powerful because we don't understand why the people  are behaving the way they are. Vivid set design and lighting set the mood wonderfully, and immediately we're transported into a quite remarkable world that can only be described as pure cinema. 

The entire film is available to watch on Youtube, along with a number of other Sirk films:

Maya Sculpt Deformers Part 1 Muscles Problem

Hey everyone it's Emma here. I'm having a problem with the first sculpt deforming tutorial. No matter how many times I try and do it and follow the video it's causing a problem later on.
The problem takes place when I'm roughly at 5:20mins of the tutorial.

When I try and create the sculpt deformer, I create it but I don't end up with the result that the tutorial does and when I try and move my locator to where it should be after by setting all the channel box options to 0 it doesn't go where it should.

Instead I'm faced with the following warning when I create the sculpt deformer.

'Warning: Cycle on 'BicepShape.local' may not evaluate as expected. (Use 'cycleCheck -e off' to disable this warning.)'

When I ignored this the first time just to check whether it was causing a big problem I got to the part where you set the driven key ect. and when I scroll through the animation the deformation of the bicep just jitters about.

Here is an image of my outliner, deformation result and the warning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CGAA Cinema: David Gladwell's An Untitled Film (1964)

I'll kick this off with something completely from the left-field. David Gladwell is perhaps most famous for being the editor of Lindsay Anderson's disaffected classics  If... and O Lucky Man!. He is a talented director too and went on to make the utterly bizarre and disturbing Requiem for a Village, an anthropological study of the inhabitants of Suffolk farming village as machinery begins to take over from traditional methods of labour. An Untitled Film, like Requiem, is a film of contradicting and unexpected images centered around farming. It's  filmed in  luscious slow motion, so that the actions of the humans and animals become both utterly chaotic and magnificent. It's quite strange, but let let the images suck you in.

Disclaimer: The film does imply that a live chicken is killed, but it's not graphic. However - don't watch if you'd rather not see!

A friend of mine is looking for some fellow concept artist to be buddies with.

Hay every one it s me Shahbir, just recently I have receive a message from a college friend named Luke and he is looking for other concept artist to be friends as well to make connections with.
If anyone is interested in becoming friends with him here is his blog address:

down side to this is that he might get pals who are better than me :( lol.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Introducing 'Cinema' a new CGAA regular feature!

Hi All,

This is the introductory post for 'Cinema' the latest in the CG Arts and Animation wunderkammer of regular features which allow you to showcase the works of others which you interesting or inspiring! I've set up this because although the existing showcases are inclusive of 'film', they are arguably more focused towards animation and the art of creating animation. However, we all know that film is as equally important to how projects on the course are approached and created.

This a platform to showcase anything related to the art of filmmaking which you feel doesn't fit within the existing structure of One-A-Day, The Supplement, The Tune or CGAA Misc. For example this can include anything from: cinematography, narrative, acting, sound design (as opposed to music) production processes, film festivals or film theory. You could showcase the newest Hollywood blockbuster release or the latest Austrian festival winner. It's up to you! Anything goes really!

My only suggestion is that if you decide to showcase something like the cinematography of a film, then maybe limit it to about 8-10 choice snapshots and maybe a trailer - lest we end with an entire film playing out on the blog as a series of still images. Which would be interesting but not in this context!

Have fun!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Fat Lady Sings...

Incredibly, it's that time of year again... The fat lady is preparing to sing as CGAA Year 3 put the finishing touches to their final submissions.  GOOD LUCK to all of you in the closing moments - dot every i and cross every t, then sit back and relax in the knowledge that you've done your best and there's no more you can do. As per tradition, it would be fitting of this illustrious occasion to toast your 'coming-of-age' in some sunny pub garden and everyone is welcome; indeed, the more the merrier!   We were thinking of a 2pm kick-off in a Rochester pub with a big enough garden; my suggestion was 'Ye Arrow' - the pub whose garden has that great view of the castle and the cathedral, but I'm open to the student vote on this one, as it's sometime since I've been out and about on Rochester Highstreet... If anyone has strong views re. an alternative venue, make them known on here asap.

Until tomorrow then - and once again, best of luck to all our third years!

All the best...

Wishing all the 3rd years all the best, as they wrap up their final projects...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shahbir's: Name my Characters Contest The Winners

(Update: Now with pictures)
First sorry it took me this long to post the winners, I have been busy finishing off my project.
With that said, it is time for me to announce the winners :). As we all know the first winner for naming my worm character Stevie Wormer is Kayleigh.

Well the second winner for naming my Red Bird is ...Alan,

and the name that was given to the character is Reddy Red. A straight to the point name which I can work with. hope he likes his box of chocys when I give it to him.

The third and final winner for naming my Blue Bird is...Tom,

and the winning name for that character is Blue Bird King (shortten to B. B. King). Although this is a cool name, I think I need to talk to him about editing it slightly because I can't help but think that the name is based on a blues singer and I don't think that it would work for my bird since he does not sing the blues. Well I hope he likes the box of chocys I will give him.

Well that is everyone again thanks to those who entered the competition and I hope the winners will enjoy their chocolates. :)

Also don't worry I will try to get the pictures of the two recently announce winners when I see them, be ready lol.

After Effects / Compositing and Video Support Group

Hello Folks,
       I'd like to say thanks to the 1st Years who have been slaving away over their Assignments, and popping in use of After Effects where they can.  You guys were really hard at it today.

For all years however, - for those of you who aspire to learn more about Cameras / Video / Compositing;
   I'd like to let you know of a support group that Simon and Myself have set-up on Facebook, which is aimed at people learning After Effects, and also using HD Video in their work.  It brings together a mixture of Professionals and Students, but is very informal - and is often just a great place to show links to things which cross over with Film Post-Production.

If you'd like to join in, or browse the collection of inspiring commercial work, you can click the Join Group Button.

Thanks again!



This is an important message for everyone.  It's now time that all CG Arts & Animation course equipment comes home to roost.  We know you've got course graphic tablets at home and lightboxes and Gnomon DVDs, course DVDs and books etc., because a) we lent them out in the first place, and b) because our cupboards are bare.  

Chances are you've gotten used to having a graphics tablet etc., but this is my polite reminder that the course equipment isn't somehow yours simply because no one has chased you for it until now.  CGAA is a small and trusted community, and we're keen to keep it that way - so please, it is now your civic duty to return our stuff. Don't disappoint us.

You can either return the equipment directly to us in the baseroom, or - if you'd prefer, you can return equipment to Mary on reception, Ground floor.  She won't ask questions or take names - just hand it over.

You may be thinking that this announcement doesn't mean you - it does. You may be thinking 'it's okay, because everyone else will return their stuff, so I don't have to'.  You do.  Check your rooms, check under the bed and those mountainous piles of dirty washing - if you borrowed it (however long ago) - we want it back.  If you've got course equipment and you decide not to return it, it's theft and you'd be stealing directly from the course team - and next year's students.  It's time to buy your own graphics tablet, okay? 

Can you please ensure that everyone is made aware of this announcement.  Many thanks.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Small Help!

Hello, 1st year student Anastasis here. I have a small problem with my export from maya.
I render with mental ray and the output is .tga file. Everything is ok with the rendering process. My problem  (when my frames are 125 which means 5 seconds and my animation settings are set to 25 frames Pal) is when i import this .tga sequence to After Effects to create it as an .avi loseless file I don't get 5 seconds of animation. I get only 4 or 4.06.  I don't know what is happening.
It's not a big problem but if everyone knows why this is happening i would very appreciate it.

I'm putting with this post my maya settings and after effects settings so if something is wrong and causing this loss of 1 second someone can tell me what is wrong.

After Effects and Maya settings:


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit 6 Commission 2011/12 - Your Maya Tutorials

... something to help you swim, not sink in your final week... Alan has kindly agreed to move the deadline for your completed Unit 6 Maya tutorials to Monday, 4th June.  Please upload to your blog as per...

Shahbir's: Name my Characters Contest Closed

Hi everyone it is me Shahbir, just to let everyone know that the competition for naming my character is now over and I have decided on what prizes to give the winners, a box of celebration chocolate. I know they are not much but I hope the winners will enjoy them. Thanks to everyone who entered, I actually got a nice selection of names for my characters , but the way I am going to pick them is by picking them from a hat/container. However there is one name that was personally chosen because a lot of people actually liked it. It is the name that was given to my worm character, he is now known as Steve Wormer. As mentioned before a lot of the public from the CGArts course really like the name so I though why not keep it. The winner of that portion was Kayliegh(hope I got the name right) and I gave her the prize hope she likes it.

There now two characters that still need their names which are the Blue and Red Bird, however if one or both of their names turns out to be based on a blues singer I will have to talk to he winners about making some adjustments to them. The reason for this is because I felt that the Worm should be the only one to have a  blues singer's parody name since he is the only one that sings.
The names of the birds will be announced tomorrow, can't wait to see what their names will be. Also, if the winner's don't mind, if I could take their pictures with the prize in their hand. If they don't want their picture taken thats ok I have a plan b, and if they don't like plan b then I will just mentioned them.

Again thanks to everyone who entered.

Monday, May 21, 2012

CGAA One-a-Day: Tales of the Night (2012)

For anyone that's already seen/heard of this film, I believe it actually came out last year but I just spotted the review on Empire's website and hunted it down from there.

The trailer's in french but just watch it, it's a really beautiful style and anyone that enjoys Lotte Reiniger's work is going to love it for sure!

Now to find a copy! :D

Your PWTM Reminder!

Okay - there is a much bigger countdown underway right now for many of you and you all know where your priorities lie, but this is just a friendly reminder that I'll putting the next PWTM together over the weekend and early part of next week.  The last PWTM generated some great industry feedback, so get your respective houses in order and ensure your blog is a great place to visit.  Since the last edition, more people have agreed to participate, with individuals at Disney, The Mill, and AtomHawk Design joining our impromptu panel - and I'll be contacting more studios and companies over the coming days.  It's a busy time for everyone, but I'm planning to publish on 02/06/2012... watch this space!



Presentation 1: Students working for Butch Auntie (Pete Wallace)

 - Please edit together a short show reel of all the work produced for Butch Auntie.
- Give a brief technical overview of the techniques used to produce the work.
- Comment on your experiences working for a studio and client.

Presentation 2: Students working for Other Studios

- Where possible, please edit together a short show reel of all the work produced.
- Give a short Powerpoint presentation detailing your time and experiences whilst on work placement.
- Give a brief overview of any new techniques / software learnt.
- Comment on your experiences working for a studio and client.

  Presentation Dates:

Option 1:  Thursday 24th May @ 10am in Lecture Theatre 1

You may if you wish present your work as part of the Models & Metaphors crit on Thursday.

Option 2:  Monday 28th May @ 11am in the Base Room

Students finishing work experience on Friday 25th May are able to present on Monday 28th May. Students wishing not to present on Thursday may also present on this day.


All Maya tutorials uploaded to your blogs by Monday 28th May at 5pm

Thursday 24th May @ 10am in Lecture Theatre 1

The Models & Metaphors crit will take place on Thursday 24th May.


All Maya tutorials uploaded to your blogs by Monday 28th May at 5pm

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Art Of Question

Hi Phil, is there anywhere that gives a really comprehensive example / list of what a professional 'Art of' should contain? 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

About Glow in Maya

Is it possible to add a glow effect to the misss_fast_skin material. If so how would I do this?

Friday, May 18, 2012

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit 6 Commission 2011/12 - Submission Checklist & Crit Requirements 25/05/2012

A Unit 6 checklist of what you need to complete and submit for Friday's Final 'Final' Crit 25/05/2012

Creative Project                                    60% 

In response to one of the scenarios presented to you at time of briefing, you are required to produce a complete 3D animation that demonstrates creatively your ability to interpret, transcribe and represent complex ideas in engaging and dynamic ways.   Your final animation should demonstrate clearly your creative methodology as established by your Stage 1 curriculum, i.e. pre-production (production design and art direction via concept art and the structuring of time-based narratives via storyboarding and pre-visualisations), production (modelling, UV layout, texturing & lighting, and animation), and post-production (compositing, digital editing, sound design, publication and promotion).

Format Requirements

  • PAL 25fps
  • 16:9 ratio
  • Mpeg or Avi

Please note: only royalty-free music is to be used and voice-overs must be professionally produced. The use of inappropriate formats and codecs will result in viewing problems. Please check in advance that your work plays on all computers; a non-viewable DVD/file format will constitute a non-submission.

Research & Development                         40% 

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

Important! Your blog must include: 

1) Your final animation.

2) Your ‘Art Of’ publication (as Scribd Presentation).

3) Your Pitch presentation (as Scribd Presentation).

4) CG Pre-vis.

5) Animatic.

6) Final Storyboard.

7) Final script.
8) Final concept art (16:9).

9) Final matte paintings (if applicable).

10) Final textures (and development - if applicable).

11) Your cg pipeline; Wireframe Models, Untextured Models, UV Maps, Texture Maps, Textured Models, Lighting Tests, Rendering Passes (Beauty, Ambient Occlusion, and Effects).
12) All Supporting artwork (thumbnails, preparatory drawings etc).

13) Supporting research/Influence maps.

14) Market/Audience Research.

15) Your submission disc & DVD case artwork.

16) Your After Effects exercises as specified in your technical classes.

17) All Maya exercises as specified in technical classes.

Publication & Promotion                       

You are required to design, produce and publish a ‘making of’ publication showcasing your creative methodology. Your ‘making of’ should provide a complete record of your project work and should include your research and development, supporting concept art, storyboards, a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at your models and animation - from wire-frame through to finished renders.  Your ‘making of’ should be graphically designed and presented professionally.   Your publication should be submitted as a PDF document on submission disc and uploaded to your blog as a Scribd presentation. Your submission disc and packaging should be branded (see printing template for DVDs on myUCA).

What follows are instructions for your crit presentations and reminders of what you need to present and submit.  Please use your network of creative partners to ensure that everyone has seen this information and understood it.

Okay - you will present on crit day from your blog.  Please prepare a single 'crit day' post that contains your Art Of publication and your embedded Commission video.  However, you will only be presenting your completed animation at the crit presentation.  Your animation should seek to be a complete and self-explanatory experience!  Introduce yourself, the subject of your film and its intended audience - and then press 'play'!

While you will present at the crit from your blog, you must also submit a submission disc to me, which must include:

Your Commission animation.
Your Art Of publication (as pdf).
PDF archive of blog. 

Important: please note, your Commission crit starts at 11am sharp in Lecture Theatre 2 - at which point the doors will close.  Latecomers will be disallowed entry after the crit has started, but are expected to join the crit at a convenient interval.  The grades of latecomers will be capped at the minimum pass  mark - irrespective of content.* Latecomers will join the 'back of the queue' in terms of crit presentations and will present their work at the end of the day in order of their arrival.  Students who have been in attendance since 11am or before will be given the opportunity to leave the crit at this time.  

Please note: the register order will be randomised!

If circumstances beyond your control** prevent you from attending on time, you must contact Jackie Andrew before 10am, and your situation will be reviewed.   Doors will open at 10am.  Students should seek to arrive in advance of the start time to ensure they are prepared. Your project management and professionalism counts.  

Please note: non-attendance at final crit = non-submission.

And finally....

* Obviously, if the work doesn't satisfy the minium requirements as stipulated by the brief, the work would be failed.
** But not issues in regard to last-minute technical problems (including writing of discs etc.) that reflect poor project management. No student should be printing/writing discs/rendering etc. on the morning of crit day.  Thursday 24th is your deadline, not Friday.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

@ Alan - IES Tutorial

Hey Alan for some reason the scene file for this tutorial is not at the start of the tutorial making it pretty near impossible to follow. :(

Maya Help Please!

Hello, I'm finishing some Maya tutorials and I have a problem. When I playblast through .avi video file the image gets distorted. This doesn't happen with all the tutorials, I'm experiencing it with tutorials that the windows interface in Maya is changed.

Attached picture with the distorted preview.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Both CG Arts Rooms Closed Between 9-10am Wednesday

Just to let all CGAA students know that both the big and small CG Arts rooms will be closed between 9am and 10am this Wednesday morning (16/05/2012). This is so the IT people can come and ensure that all and any Maya 2012 related inconsistencies etc. are resolved prior to the advent of rendering.  It's not great timing, I appreciate, but better now than never.  DM3 will be open as per usual. Thanks for your patience and apologies for any inconvenience!

CGAA One-A-Day: The Making of The Black Soulstone Cinematic

There has to be a reason why these big names from Blizzard like Diablo are so special and well known for more then 13 years already. I think the reason is that people working there are insanely creative and amazing. In this video they talk about the whole cinematic process and it is literally just mind blowing (at least for me).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit 6 Commission 2011/12 - A Change to your After Effects Class 18/05/2012

Pete Wallace sends his apologies, but due to some unforeseen circumstances, this Friday's After Effects class has been postponed... You will now have 2 classes in your final week of Unit 6 - on Monday 21st and Thursday 24th.  This Friday's Maya classes continue as normal.

CGAA One-A-Day: Mio Mao.

Here's something from my childhood that I thought would be nice to share. A silly but charming example of how extreme squash and stretch can make something incredibly simple, a lot more fun.

And here's a very short and sweet video on how to make your own Mio and Mao:

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

FAO CGAA Year 1: One Becomes Two Summer Project Briefing

Meet me in Lecture Theatre 1 @ 2pm on Monday 14th May for your One Becomes Two Summer project briefing.  The summer project is optional (i.e. non-assessed), which I guess makes the briefing optional too, but it is a competition.  Experience tells us that if CG students do absolutely nothing for four months, Year 2 can come as a bit of a shock.  The summer project is something to keep your grey-matter a-whirring and your cg skillset in rude health.  Don't worry though - your submission deadline isn't until September 28th!   I know you're all busy with cell-cycles and diminishing telomeres, so the briefing will be short and sweet.  I hope to see you there!

Oh - and what's that I spy? Could it be?  Yes - I think it is!  It's the return of the mysterious blue box...

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Supplement: Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka

Introducing Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, a father-son pairing from Germany who specialised in hand crafting glass sculptures of  underwater fauna and flora to a remarkably accurate degree.  Like the projects you're working on now, the Blaschka's mixed scientific accuracy with brilliant artistic craftsmanship, creating work which went beyond the category of simply being defined as 'scientific models'. Exquisite stuff! I like the Jellyfish the most...