Thursday, November 29, 2012

FAO CGAA All Years - Get Ready For Your Close-up!

On Friday 7th December, a UCA marketing film crew are coming to capture our merry band of CG artists for a YouTube promotional video.  I'm not sure of the time yet or the exact arrangement, but what I do know is that I want to raise the profile of CGAA at Rochester and that any YouTube video associated with our course should look the bloody business!  In short, what this means is that I'd like all the CGAA baserooms to be up-to-the-ceiling with bright young things when the film crew arrive.  We've got a great creative buzz going on down on the lwr 4th, and I want it communicated loud and proud.  You might be asked to do a 'piece to camera' or be filmed 'at work' - so wash your face, brush your hair and don't look half-dead - even if you are!  So - on Friday 7th December, be around, be busy, be amazing... When I get more info re. the precise schedule, I'll notify you on here, so watch this space!

Sky Arts Sting Competition is 'Go'!

Sky Arts is looking for fresh talent to design a 20 second animation to air on its channels. You could win a £500 cash prize, a month’s paid work placement and a chance to see your work broadcast...

Go here for more info and examples of previous winning entries.

Go here for the entry pack!

I want lots of you to try for this!  CG Arts & Animation students can win this thing - indeed, one year one of our number came very close indeed...

Go! Go! Go! Get yourselves on the telly!

The Hobbit (2012) - Production Diaries

While I remain sceptical in regard to The Hobbit's attentuation over three films, there is little doubting Peter Jackson's commitment to creating Middle Earth in all its minutaie or his commitment to laying bare the mystique of film-making for the rest of us. 

I watched the second of these 'vlogs' before work this morning and experienced a uncomplicated rush of childlike excitement in response to the sheer collaborative verve on show.  So many talented people working together to realise something amazing.  I'm going to put my money where my mouth is and state simply that if these videos don't make you itch to make movies you're probably dead.  Watch them.  Be inspired.  However good, bad or indifferent The Hobbit turns out to be, the creative minds bringing it to the screen are to be celebrated and admired.

FAO CGAA Year 1 - Plagiarism Forms for Contextual Studies Essay

Hi - I know some of you are experiencing difficulty hunting down the plagiarism form download with which to accompany your Contextual Studies essay submission.  To find it, you need to logon to myUCA, go to the Contextual Studies Unit link and then access the 'Assessment' tab on the left side of your screen - or go here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Siggraph Asia: Emerging Technologies and Research Papers

The most interesting parts of the Siggraph conference are the 'Emerging Technologies' and 'Research Paper' talks and displays. Here is a preview of the Siggraph Asia submissions which are currently on show. Interesting and amazing stuff!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

CGAA Misc: Firefly 10th Anniversary- Browncoats Unite

I watched this last night and it's a MUST for any of you that loved the shiny gem of a half-series that was Joss Whedon's 'Firefly'. This video is a fantastic reunion of everyone together (except the actor that played Shepherd Book) and as lovely and fuzzy as it was to see them all together again, it's really upsetting to hear about the stories that were going to be told, especially about Inara.

If you haven't seen the series then hopefully this reunion will spark your interest and you'll seek it out, just be aware that there's little of it, but it's definitely worth your time.

(If that video doesn't work then here's a link to some possible other working videos here.)

CGAA One a Day: The Taxidermist

The uncanny valley strikes once again. Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2012

@ Alan

Hey Alan, Is there any chance your in on monday? Many thanks

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

CGAA One-A-Day: A Realm Reborn - End of an Era (a.k.a. Disconnect and the 'Trailer Trauma')

This is from a distant standpoint (I'm not exactly sure about the story) so am not going to criticise. In a nutshell, the general reception relating to the controversial aspects of this game.

If for a moment we separate the trailer from the product and any notions of "deceptive advertising"
- as is usually the case with video game trailers (a really good example is "Dead Island") - it is technically, very interesting. It is always great to stumble upon material that is emotionally evocative given it's short running time. Lots of meticulous details going on; beautiful soundtrack and beautiful render.

CGAA One A Day : I'll Get The Icecreams

I'm not sure if this has been posted before,
but I came across this yesterday and had to share it

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Animade: Call for Intern! Application by the 23rd of November

Animade is on the hunt for a winter intern. We will be viewing submissions all week. The final selection will be made on Friday (23rd). More info below...

How to apply:

...Send a link to your showreel along with a couple of lines about yourself to

Roles and Responsibilities:

- Helping to produce the studio Christmas card

- Getting stuck in to current studio projects

- Lending a hand with prep for our upcoming talk

- Drinking tea

Key skills:

- A good knowledge of After Effects and/or other animation programs

- Being able to make things move nicely

- Friendly and fun

- Tea drinking

Rough timings:

Starting on the 26th November

Ending on the 21st December

Monday, November 19, 2012

'Animation Meg' Wins 2012 David Gluck Memorial Bursary!

Congratulations to CGAA sessional animation lecturer, Meg Bisineer, who has just been awarded the 2012 David Gluck Memorial Bursary!  Well done, Meg - beautiful, evocative work :)

CGAA Design: Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier

A founding father of the modernist architectural movement, Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret) was a Swiss born architect, designer and writer who paved the way for modern design as we know it today. What is astonishing about the ideas of Le Corbusier were how ahead of their time they seemed. Structures and ideas formed in the 1930's look far beyond that of late century design and hold up as the exemplary pieces of modernist architecture. 

Villa Savoye: 1928 - 1931
Notre Dame du Haut: 1954

The modernist examination and experimentation of Le Corbusier represented something more than simple aesthetic design. These buildings represented a new way of living, new methods of manufacture and most importantly, an overthrow of the classicist design motives of the present time. From this, Le Corbusier became famous for his untreated concrete exteriors, his bold and yet simple forms which functioned as living spaces rather than decorative extensions. To this day, these ideas still hold up and have helped push architecture forward faster than ever before.

To create architecture is to put in order. Put what in order? Function and objects.
- Le Corbusier

Palace of Assembly: 1953 - 1963
Unitè d'habitation Marseille: 1947 - 1952
Berlin Unitè 

To create architecture is to put in order. Put what in order? Function and objects.
- Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier had a philosophical approach to design, wanting to create spaces which enabled modern living and community. These ideas centred on the utopia which architecture could fuel. However, these modernist ideals were not accepted by all. Many have criticised Le Corbusier for this very issue. Indeed, one can see that the buildings above share a resemblance to the aging blocks of government built housing in England. Le Corbusier's utopian ideals inspired architectural movements such as brutalism which fueled bad, cheap design across many cities. Rather than creating a sense of community, one could see how it instead isolates poorer communities and traps them within the confines of an open environment.

It seems clear that many poor design ideas have spawned from the original intentions of Le Corbusier, but this decay and reputation should not tarnish the wonder of Le Corbusier. After all, he was a man beyond his time, with extraordinary ideas and a passion for living space. His work has inspired both good and bad design, but at it's heart, Corbusier's work reinvented what architecture could be. It reflected that the everyday buildings in which we spend our lives are as important as the food we eat. Having such an ambition can only be commended.

The National Museum of Western Art: 1959
Villa Stein

Further Reading and References
Le Corbusier at the Barbican -

Sunday, November 18, 2012

TutorPhil in a meeting @ 2pm on Monday 19/11/2012

Hi - this is just a message letting you know I have to attend a University meeting at 2pm tomorrow (Monday).  I'm not sure how long it will last, but obviously I'll be available in the CGAA office in the morning.  I'm just keen not to waste anyone's time if they were hoping for some afternoon face time... Apologies in advance.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Post With The Most 13/11/2012


I've just seen my first Christmas advert.  It was all soft-focused snowflakes and off-the-peg nostalgia and small people in flannel dressing gowns looking angelic... Meanwhile you can't so much as move in the supermarkets for towering end-of-aisle skyscrapers comprising mince pies, biscuit assortments and five kilogram tins of Quality Street.  With just five weeks to go until the end of term one, I'm guessing the remaining number of shopping days between now and December 25th is the very last thing on our students' minds.  Year one have already completed one project and are three whole weeks into another, while years two and three have just had their respective interim crit presentations and are moving decisively into production.   The pace is picking up!

This month's edition of the PWTM begins with a showcase of work produced by CGAA year one students in response to their Cinematic Spaces brief, which challenged them to generate original concept art for cgi adaptations of some classic larger-than-life novels.  There were lots of varied and fascinating responses to the brief - with our newest recruits moving well beyond their pre-degree comfort zones and coping admirably with the not inconsiderable challenge of adapting to life in the hallowed halls of UCA...

Vikki Hercules - King Solomon's Mines

Jake Bryant - Brave New World

Emily Clarkson - At The Mountains of Madness

Akinbiyi Babarinde - The Lost World

Peta-gaye Brown - Dorothy And The Wizard of Oz

Shan Mason - The House On The Borderlands

Nadia Yalladee - The Street of Crocodiles

Samantha Niemczyk - The First Men In The Moon.

Our CGAA year 3 students are moving quickly out of the pre-production phase of their minor projects.  Maya beckons - with all her allure and frustration-in-waiting. In way of preparation,  Justin Easton's Lovecraftian behemoth has gone through multiple mutations  - from lobster to dinosaur to Freud - as Justin seeks to identify its definitive form...

...while Sam Tremain's Five-Man character from H.G. Wells' The Island Of Dr Moreau gets a hansome set of mutton-chops and a rather natty neck-tie.

Jono Pearmain's gaming concept, which sees a young boy encounter the keeper and dealer of dreams, seems intent on producing the Doctor Who effect - that mixture of high adventure and under-the-bed unheimlich so cherished by young audiences (and by some much older audiences too!).  Jono's character designs for his 'dream purveyor' and its various incarnations are delightfully creepy - and becoming more so...

... while Adam Webb's much less menacing game character, Kojo, is receiving some final alterations.

And another bird now - Alex Zepherin's peacock and supercillious show-off who is soon to feature in Alex's cgi short, The Peacock & The Crane.

Meanwhile, Kayleigh Dean is getting to grips with an animal that is neither fowl or fish; indeed, the precise nature of Lewis Carrol's Snark remains elusive throughout the duration of the nonsense poem dedicated to its discovery - and it's this very same zoological conundrum that Kay is seeking to capture in the ultimate design of her mysterious beastie...

Elsewhere, Dan Rolph has designed fictitious bits of kit for Warbreakers - an imagined alternate history game in which the bloody battlefields of World War 1 now include the 'what if?' anachronism of radio-controlled technology...

... while Molly Bolder's animated short - which sees a rather put-upon character struggling to keep his problems in proportion -   has reached the final stages of pre-viz.

Over at Mango Mercury - the minor project collaboration between Dayle Sanders and Andriana Laskari - the character design phase of their year long production schedule for their Thai-inspired animated short, Kinnaree is well underway...

Not content with deconstructing famous monsters of filmland on the group blog, CGAA Artist-in-Residence, Tom Beg has just completed a creative project which saw him collaborate once more with Butch Auntie to produce content for Leeds Castle's Firework Spooktacular 2012, wherein Tom's projection-mapped imagery combined with lavish pyrotechnics and Edvard Grieg's In The Hall of the Mountain King to suitably impressive effect.

You can get an idea of the overall effect here.

CGAA graduate, Charlotte 'Class of 2012' Buchan was also involved in the production of imagery for the Firework Spooktacular.  Charlotte's images have an arcade game charm, but keen-eyed observers may notice an 'easter egg' alluding to Charlotte's more recent avant-garde past... 

Oh, and on a related theme, Tom's previous foray into projection mapping - not the exterior of a castle this time, but the interior of the LV21 decommissioned lightship - has just been hand-picked by the Behance team for their curated off-shoot, Motion Graphics Served.  This is the second time Tom's work has been showcased here - congratulations!

In other news, Simon Holland - CGAA Alumnus and key member of the course team - is participating in the UCA Flat Pack exhibition.  Flat Pack is a celebration of UCA technicians and their work and seek to challenge the distinctions between 'thinkers' and doers' - as the exhibition's accompanying rationale goes onto explain:

"We tend to think of a distinction between manual and mental labour, a binary played out and socially reinforced from school onwards: The doer and the thinker. This division exists across the world of work – workers/managers – and is even played out at a university level, where as a student we find ourselves confronted with two levels of tutor, the academic and the technician. These categories assert themselves as real distinctions in status and pay, but also reinforce this artificial binary between thinkers and doers.

However this is a questionable state of affairs in a university for creative arts. An Art practice is precisely the type of self-determined activity which actively resists these categories; it is by necessity labour of both hand and head, never merely mechanical, and rarely conceptual without some sort of physical execution. Both the Academic and the Technician are thinker and doer, both are artist and teacher.

What you see here is a selection of work from UCA Technical staff from Kent campuses. It is what it is. Each work shown ‘flat-packs’ into a shoebox for transport between sites. Some works demonstrate a ‘mastery of craft’, which you might expect from technical labour, others adopt a more conceptual approach. Some works are finished articles, others are works-in-progress."  

I asked Simon for a few additional words in regard to his creative contribution to the Flat Pack show:

"One of the advantages of being a technical tutor is the interaction with students and staff.  The dis-advantages is that it doesn't leave too much time for personal work - such opportunities, when they arise, are cherished.  I take the creative flow as I find it, which often results in works that are fragmentary and ideas that are not fully resolved.

I decided to make my submission for Flatpack cross-sectional, ranging from wireframes of digital sculpts, through production concepts (in particular all those unresolved thumbnails) to landscape painting. Most of the works have been produced digitally as it is the most convenient tool to hand; my trusty Wacom travels with me and my laptop to whatever campus I happen to be based at. Some days I'm able to break it out, others I am not so lucky.  I finally managed to select 12 images to pack off on their travels in a shoebox, I bid them bon-voyage and hope they enjoy the limelight with the rest of the technicians work, the breadth of which is quite exciting.  I am personally excited about Flatpack's arrival at Rochester and Maidstone where I can see the fascinating work of my colleagues."

The Flat Pack exhibition is coming to UCA Rochester between the 4th and 11th of December in the Zandra Rhodes Gallery.

And while we're on the subject of all things arty, CGAA graduate and incumbent GTA, Jordan Buckner has just completed another batch of CGI content for the artist Matthew Noel-Todd and his new installation piece entitled A Season in Hell: Fall/Winter 2012.

"The final part of LUX: The Adverts, A Season in Hell: Fall / Winter 2012 is an animated winter warmer for Canary Wharf Underground Station. In a blazing inferno turns an image of the world orbited by four cartoon children. Encircling the globe is the Latin palindrome; In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (We go in circles into the night, we are consumed by fire). The phrase is originally attributed to the behaviour of moths around fire. In A Season in Hell: Fall / Winter 2012 the children are in constant movement, never landing, never leaving. Purgatory is overwritten by the ecstasy of the spectacle..."

For more information check out:

The Final Word...

'Believe you can and you're halfway there.' Theodore Roosevelt