Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stan Winston School Of Character Arts

Hi guys, this site looks seriously good for those looking to do character design. Just watch the video below to see how Chris Swift (creature designer) goes from a clay sculpture to a digital concept. It just blew my mind :D

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit Space & Environment/Project: Cinematic Spaces - Your Online Greenlight Review Thursday 11th October

Thursday, 11th October is your Cinematic Spaces Online Greenlight Review (OGR)
Your OGR is to be presented as a single Scribd presentation on your blog, beginning with your name, date, and project title. If you are still yet to get to grips with 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 the embedded presentation.  Your OGR presentations should be uploaded to your blogs by 10am on Thursday 11th October.  Written feedback will follow as a 'comment' on your OGR post and will take between 1 and 3 days.

Cinematic Spaces OGR: What do you need to present?

1) A short illustrated 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 chronological summary of any existing adaptations (film, theatre, television etc.) key illustrations, associated artists etc.

2) A breakdown of your excerpts identifying clearly your choice of three scenes.

3) A short statement identifying and justifying your 'visual concept' in relation to your scenes (i.e. what are the underlying principles driving your design ideas and from what and where are they derived - and why?  This might include your ideas in regard to colour palette, architectural elements, exaggeration, expressionism, symbolism, lighting, point-of-view... Put simply, I want you to be able to identify and articulate your visual strategies for the design and staging of your three environments.  Remember -  you are not just painting pictures, but rather 'designing worlds' - so I want to understand your internal logic, your influences and your decision-making.

4) A single 'Visual Concept' influence map that illustrates and unifies your production design principles.

5) Specific Influence Maps for each of your 3 scenes.

6) Key Thumbnails for each of your 3 scenes (i.e. those thumbnails on which you'll be basing your final paintings or have most inspired them).

7) Your creative partnership archived (so far).

8) In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your film reviews and ongoing CG Artist's Toolkit project work (life-drawing/Maya tutorials etc).  Your OGR might include links to the corresponding posts and/or images. Historically, students who use their OGR to manage their weekly tasks in this way manage their workloads more successfully.

Please note: your OGR should be a professionally presented, spell-checked, with an emphasis on graphic design, layout and project branding.  For some useful examples of previous OGRs, go here  and here.  

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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Supplement: De'Von Stubblefield

I've been following De'Von Stubblefield's blog for a while now after his deceptively simple character designs caught my eye.  His blog biog tells us he's just 17 and off to CalArts for a stint of character animation - little wonder!  Sometimes, 'character design' gets confused with a sort of conspicuous complexity of costume and prop, but here, the characterfulness of these drawings announces itself from the simplest, most reduced of forms. There is an enviable lightness of touch in Stubblefield's work, so happy browsing - lots to like, and lots to aspire to in terms of the joy of drawing.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tom Beg Animation Selected for New York Film Festival!

Exciting news! Tom Beg - CGAA graduate, soon-to-be Master of Arts, and our 'all-new' artist in residence - has just learned that his lauded The Lifecycle of a Mushroom animation (created as part of the Spectacular Science collaboration) has been selected for screening at the 5th Imagine Science Film Festival - in New York!  Congratulations from all of us here on CGAA, Tom - may the force be with you...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

FAO CGAA Year 2 - Critical Perspectives/Postmodernism - 'Podcast Now Available' 26/09/2012

The 'podcast' from today's Postmodernism is Difficult lecture is now available on myUCA

FAO CGAA Year 1: Cinematic Spaces - Thumbnails from Disney's Cinderella


@Alan - Mudbox lesson

Hi Alan

Just to confirm about graphics tablets, Are you not lending any out during the lesson or was that just if we wanted to take any home?

Character Turn around done well (FunkyBunnies)

This is a character from a guy known as 'Funky Bunnies'. She's named Dizzy and she's from a game called Guilty Gear. Obviously there is a tonne of great Character art out there, but I feel like this needs sharing as the turn around really distinguishes its self from most character turn-arounds out there. She feels alive, there's subtle movements, blinking, minor head movement. Plus the character is stunning. Just wanted to share a great example of showreel material done right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Hello all, I have lost my wallet and I think/I hope I may have left it in the CG base room, I was wondering if anyone has seen it. If any one has please let me know! It's a black liverpool fc wallet and it will have my ID card in it so you will know that it is mine.

Thank you in advance

Introducing Llogari Casas Cambra - all the way from Barcelona!

 From this!

 To this!

A big welcome to our year two exchange student, Llogari Casas Cambra, who has come all the way from sunny Barcelona to study with us in not-so sunny Rochester.  Llogari's blog is up and running so go make him feel welcome and show him the ropes! Help him feel at home.

Llogari Casas Cambra @

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit Space & Environment/Project Cinematic Spaces - Examples of Previous Student Work

Okay - take a look at the following examples from last year's Cinematic Spaces project (formerly called just Unit 2: Space)*.  Don't get caught up with the polish of the final images (that's you too after five weeks!) - instead, click on the names and you'll be able to view their creative development - their thumbnails, their film reviews, their process.

Be sure to check out all the resources, references and learning materials available to you via myUCA - go and explore.   The 'podcast' from today's briefing presentation is already available in 'Learning Materials'.  You should look too at the 'Do's & Don'ts' of Academic Writing also available in 'Learning Materials'.  A link explaining how to reference published sources correctly using the Harvard Method is included on your brief, but you can also access that information here

I've sent details in regard to how to create posts on the Group blog to your ucreative email accounts.  Please be aware that I will always send course-based information to your ucreative emails, so please get into the habit of checking your inboxes for notifications and additional info.

Final word then, ladies and gentlemen: it's time to begin blogging your work; fortune favours the brave, remember - and remember too, that no queries can be answered or advice given or great ideas celebrated if you don't 'publish and be damned!'. (But remember to always label your posts according to the conventions outlined on your project brief - trust me, it will just make your lives easier in the long run).  And now... just get on with it! Enjoy yourselves!

*This label relates to all things digital painting/concept art-based - the project title might be different, but the content encompassed by this link will prove useful to you - click on it and see.

Monday, September 24, 2012

CGAA Year One Blogs - Final Update!

At last, ladies and gents - the definitive list (I hope!) of our new CGAA year one students and their respective blogs. If you haven't done so already, show your support by following and tracking their progress and offer pearls of wisdom on an as and when basis!

Shannon Mason @
Jake Bryant @
George Hind @
Alex Edmonds @
Vikki Hercules @
George Nwosisi @
Samantha Niemczky @
Lekti Rose Jacobs @
Akinbiyi Babarinde @
Katy Fosdike @
Megan Howett @
Anass Moudakir @
Dhuran Modha @
Peta-Gaye Brown @
Aaron Hayre @
Emily Clarkson @
Vicky Hatton @
Lucy Yelding @
Matt Coward @
Kym Mumford @
Luke Scott @
Meg Leslie @
Simon Bloyce @
Nadia Yadallee @
Jebb Bobbett @

The Supplement: Luke Jeram's Glass Sculptures of Viruses

These giant glass microbes merge science and art  to each other Images of microorganisms are derived from electron microscopy and are usually enhanced with color. The color is generally arbitrary and used primarily to help distinguish the various elements of the image. But in fact most viruses are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, so they can't really have a color. His glass sculptures of these viruses, made in consultation with virologists using a variety of images and models, thus have a lot of merit as scientific illustrations and have been used as such. Beyond that, they're just really really cool.

These sculptures were produced in collaboration with glass blowers Kim George, Brian Jones and Norman Veitch.

There's plenty more viruses to look at and a lot of other cool stuff on his website


CGAA Recommended Reading: The Art of Walt Disney by Christopher Finch

The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond 
by Christopher Finch

The very definition of 'heavy reading' if only because the book is a 500 page juggernaut - it's absolutely huge and weighs a ton. Otherwise, it's a very digestible and easy to read history of Disney and the artists working behind the scenes, developing the ideas which ultimately make Disney cartoons as beautiful as they are. As expected for an art book about Disney, expect some absolutely glorious images. Finch's seminal book, originally published in 1973,  has seen numerous reprints and revisions and was most recently revised in 2011 to include an extensive section on Pixar. I prefer the older editions which go into more depth about slightly obscurer Disney cartoons and these copies also feature some lovely pull-out double page spreads of Disney art. Even its modern, slightly truncated form, this book is still the de facto study into Disney's style and processes. It covers just about every major full length Disney feature in some form or other, so it's a highly valuable resource.

The UCA Rochester Library has a version which although has seen much better days is the older version but all the versions are equally fascinating.

UCA Rochester Library Code: 741.58 DIS
Buy it from Amazon

Product Description of the 2011 version:

"Since it was first published in 1973, "The Art of Walt Disney" has established itself as an indispensable classic of illustrated book publishing, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. Offering a comprehensive history and tribute to the career and legacy of Walt Disney, this book was the first to reveal the wealth of concept art, animation drawings and archival material that is created in the course of animating films. And for many readers, it was the first art book that they came to own and treasure. "The Art of Walt Disney" went through two updates at the hand of its experienced author, Christopher Finch, both adding chapters to the original book. Now comes the first completely revised edition, thoroughly reworked to give a balanced view of the achievements of the Disney Company in filmmaking, theatre and theme parks from Walt's day to the present. This new edition also shows how John Lasseter and his team at Pixar have equalled and extended Disney's achievements in feature animation. In researching and writing the new chapters, Christopher Finch builds upon his unparalleled access to leading filmmakers and artists at Disney."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Recommended Reading: Setting Up Your Shots

Although not a lot to read in this book it does however provide the perfect companion for a CG student. Over the past few years of being a student on CG Arts this book has been my friend. Even if you don't use every shot depicted in it, its still helpful for getting ideas together. Each page takes you through a different camera angle/shot, what the shot is called and a description of how it is captured. It also gives examples of where to find such a shot in well known films as an example to follow.

Recommended Reading - Stop Staring

I'll bite with this one. First thing that came to mind for me was 'Stop Staring - Facial modelling and Animation done right' The title explains it all really. Perfect for head modelling and rigging/ animation. Fantastic book, definitely a must have for character artists and animators, and is a valuable resource for the course!

Introducing CGAA Recommended Reading. A new blog strand!

Hi Everyone,

Whether it's your very first film review or those first speculative moments of your final dissertation, it's the start of a new academic year and pretty much everyone studying at university, of all years, is about to embark on an uncharted journey of self discovery and research which often involves climbing a few sets of stairs to the library so that you can discover new and exciting things about both the world and of yourselves. You're all like academic George Mallory's and Andrew Irvine's, but hopefully without the grisly, frozen demise! To avoid being stranded on the metaphoric Mount Everest of academic writing, the best trick to survive is to prepare yourself for the climb so you don't get caught in a tricky to navigate blizzard without the correct equipment. And that means books, and lots of them.

While studying my MA, for the entirety of the year I carried around a canvas bag full of books which made up a quite sizable reading list for the year which I could come back to at any point in my studies. Athens and Google Books are incredibly valuable resources but there's no doubt a big old book which you can reference at any point, attach post notes to and thumb through at your leisure is the most effective way to absorb new and sometimes difficult material.

This new feature is called CGAA Recommended Reading and the title pretty much explains what this new strand is about. Found a book in the which you think is particularly valuable for a project or is just inspiring? Post about it here and take the time to showcase a few images or some key passages or quotes.

Brownie points if you can showcase a book which is available from the UCA library! 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Documentary: Room 237.

I came across this on Empire today and thought I'd post it up just in case anyone hadn't heard about it yet. 

I got to see The Shining for the first time at uni and I thought it was amazing. Any film that makes the days of the week scary is powerful stuff, so I'm really looking forward to seeing this documentary. It will be out on October 26th and you can catch Empire's review of it in their next issue, although there is also a clue on the poster.

FAO CGAA Yr 1: Unit Space & Environment/Project Cinematic Spaces - Your Creative Partners Announced!

Project: Cinematic Spaces - Your Creative Partnerships*

Akinbiyi Babarinde @

Lekti Rose Jacobs @

Shannon Mason @            

Jake Bryant @
Jebb Bobbet @
Nadia  Yadallee @


Remember - isolationism is counter-productive on CGAA (and 'out there' too). You need to get comfortable working collaboratively and receiving feedback for it is a principle characteristic of professionalism and the expectation from industry of graduates.

Okay, so I want you to use your creative partners as sounding boards, constructive critics, proof readers, quality controllers, mentors and creative allies.   Work with one other to come up with ideas for your respective creative projects. Follow each other's progress and get each other up-to-speed with course info.  Meet up, draw, discuss the movies you watch, reflect on each other's development, support each other technically, trade expertise and scaffold your weaknesses.  Use each other for life-drawing practice!  Take part in mini-crits, in which you present your work to one another and reflect critically on its strengths and weaknesses. Why not use these 'mini-crits' as smaller, weekly deadlines, as ways of structuring your workload?

Chances are some of you are still playing catch-up, still unsure of where to find course resources or how to blog confidently or what the brief is asking of you, so pool your knowledge, share ideas and save yourselves valuable time.

Remember: the brief asks you to archive your creative partnerships as part of your ultimate assessment; so, if you get together for a 'sketch jam' or  brainstorming session, identify creative, visual and dynamic ways to capture it for your blog.  People love to see how 'stuff gets done' and how ideas develop so engage your audience effectively.  Again - let me be clear: effective collaboration and creative partnership associates with Learning Outcome 4 on your Project brief i.e. Technical and applied skills through project management and professional skills. You need to work at these collaborations and find effective ways of communicating.

Obviously, you've got the whole CGAA community to work with, but consider your creative partners as your 'inner circle of influence'.   I very much look forward to seeing how these collaborative relationships develop over the next 5 weeks.  Have fun! "Be Amazing!"

*edit - sorry, if it's not clear - the groupings of blog addresses above correspond to your creative partnerships - i.e. George, Samantha and Peta-Gaye are creative partners for the duration of the unit etc. 


New First Year Blogs - Reposted

The Bash Street Kids

My most up-to-date listing so far of the 'all-new' CGAA Class of 2012 blogs - re-posted after some clash of hidden coding in the original 'incoming' posts turned the group blog an eye-watering blue! Add them to your Blogger reading lists and make everyone welcome - and offer help, support and guidance when duty calls!

The Supplement: James Bond Reissue Book Covers

With the imminent release of Sam Mendes' new Bond adventure, Skyfall, Ian Fleming's original novels are being reissued by Vintage here in the UK and by Amazon in the US.  It's a minimalist graphic-design smack-down between the two companies, and they're compared and contrasted here for viewing pleasure.  Saul Bass looms large - never a bad thing - and the best of these just go to prove that sometimes there's nothing more chic than a bit of text and lots of negative space!