Saturday, March 30, 2013

Post With The Most 30/03/2013

More normally, I'd begin this March edition of the Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation PWTM by waxing as lyrically as Wordsworth about drifts of nodding daffs and giving fanfare to the unfurling of the world beneath the warm caress of the honeyed sun.... except it's still bloody freezing and Wordsworth is stuck in a snow drift.   

Sigh.  Winter is proving truly interminable, with drab slabs of cloud entombing the landscape and winds as cold-through-the-clothes as surgical blades.  However, if it's colour you want and proof too of vigorous growth, I suggest you look no further than the following showcase of the most current work from CGAA years 1, 2 & 3 and news too of exciting collaborations and alumni success.  It's a hefty slice of up-and-coming talent with a plethora of embedded video, so put your feet up and happy browsing.

A few weeks back, CGAA year 1 completed their seven week 'From Script To Screen' project that challenged them to pre-produce an original one minute animation of their own devising - the only proviso being that they had to derive their stories from three components chosen at random on the day of the briefing - a character, a location, and a prop.  So it was that we had stories comprising tightrope walkers, graveyards and lightbulbs, magicians, lighthouses, and vacuum cleaners, contortionists, jokeshops and eggs, gravediggers, seesaws and cellars, brain surgeons, concert halls and food blenders...  As was noted by many on the day of the final crit presentation, the students' resulting stories were 'the best yet', and with many of them begging for further development, and what follows is but a small showcase of highlights from what was a very satisfying submission.

Emily Clarkson - Roped In (clown, restaurant, lasso)

Character sheet (poses)

Character Sheets


Sam Niemcyzk - The Chefs Of Tonga Island (chef, desert island, stick of dynamite)

Storyboard (excerpt)


Lucy Yelding - Gie (trapeze artist, circus, skateboard)

'Art Of'


Katy Fosdike - Balls (undertaker, art gallery, bowling ball)

Character Sheet

Storyboard excerpt


It's been a pretty busy time for our year one students; not only are their current 'Fantastic Voyage' projects revving up nicely (more about these in the next edition of the PWTM), they were also challenged to compile their various 2d animation exercises into provisional 'showreels', so that animation lecturer, Meg Bisineer, could offer some 11th hour feedback before their final deadline on May 3rd.  I've chosen a few of those 'WIP' showreels to share with you here and what they prove is that animation, even at its most lo-fi and back-to-basics, still has the power to delight and to charm.

Meg Howett

Akinbiyi Babarinde

Samantha Niemczyk

Elsewhere, CGAA Year 2 are busy transforming their production drawings, storyboards and design sheets into Maya realities - with all the tweaks, refinements and patience-of-saints so implied.  Everywhere I look, complex models are springing up from orthographic drawings, with new technical challenges presenting themselves daily and unforeseen creative problems to be wrestled with and vanquished.  This is the reality of the cg artist - the ongoing quest to bridge the gap between the idea and the technology, between the dream and its execution - that disproportionate trade-off between inspiration and perspiration.  Come see how they're getting on...

David 'Stitch' Vandepeer - A Short Drive

Anita Gill - Calypso's Nest

Ernesta Baniulyte - The Metamorphosis

Animatic (2nd draft)

Joey Ku - 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark'

Tom Farrington - The Golden City


Emma Foster - Around The World In Eighty Days

Lydia Caplan - Twenty To Nine

Nat Urwin - Winnie

Winnie 2D test

Kadeem Reid - David & Goliath

Gabriel Burokas - Egle, Queen Of Serpents

Steven Payne - Making Plans For Nigel


Strange, but true: in a little under six weeks, our third year students will have submitted their major projects and their degree will be all but at an end... I can still recall vividly their first crits all the way back in year one - how nervous and unsure they were, how tentative.  Those newbies are long gone, and in their place are confident cg artists all of whom are on the cusp of producing their most ambitious, most accomplished work-to-date... 

Bestia Studios (Domantas Lukošius & Sam Tremain) - Canto XIII

Harpy design

Molly Bolder - Dream Cleaners







Dan Rolph - The Armoured Train

Lyn-Dae Stewart - Rhea Monroe

Max Rogers - Amarok

Alex Zepherin - Anima

Aidan Codd - France Of Tomorrow

Texture Test


Justin Easton - 'Mars Man'

Kinnareee - animation progress

Hemmy - run cycle progress

Over the period of ten working days, our CGAA community - students, staff, alumni - generated a wealth of expressive, joyous digital paintings in synesthetic response to ten consecutive extracts from Darius Milhaud's La Création du Monde - a 1923 ballet score characterised by its jazz inflections.  The purpose of this communal exploration of the visualisation of sound was to create production drawings from which a sixteen minute animation to accompany a live performance of La Création du Monde will derive.   The CGAA/ACT Live Commission Speed Paint Challenge was a rip-roaring success; more than this, it encouraged a bunch of like-minded creatives to cut loose and express themselves. The resulting body of work is genuinely exciting - and artist-in-residence Tom Beg has just put the finishing touches to a dedicated CGAA/ACT Behance portfolio showcasing each and every painting - and go look, because it's a fabulous collection and no mistake.  Jordan Buckner and Tom Beg now face the no small task of transforming our paintings into animated content in readiness for the live performance of Milhaud's  La Création du Monde by the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne on July 12th.  You can follow their progress on the CGAA/ACT blog here.

(CGAA Year 3 Ryan Leitao's Speed Paints)

Motion Graphics Served is a curated off-shoot of the Behance network and a number of CGAA graduates have had their work selected for showcasing.  The most recent addition to the Behance 'Hall of Fame' is this collaboration from alumni Jon Stewart and Pol Winandy, who were commissioned back in 2011 by UCA and the University of Kent to produce a science-themed animation for the Spectacular Science collaboration. Innerspace has never looked so epic!

The Final Word...

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”   H. Jackson Brown Jnr


  1. Yeaaaaa, some sick modeling going on in this one. That makes me happy! :D

  2. Hi Everyone, Martin from MPC with a first post.
    Some really great work here. My favourites were Lucy Yeldings concept art for Gie. Loved the concepts for the Penguin Keep especially.
    Also Emma Fosters Around the World In Eighty Days,Sam Niemcyzk - The Chefs Of Tonga Island. Nice to see some hand draw Animation reels too. Hope your all having a good Easter break. Cheers M.

    1. Hey Martin :)

      Thanks so much for dropping by - much appreciated!

    2. Thanks Martin! Glad you enjoyed my work :)

    3. Thank you so much, it really makes me so happy that you liked my work!!

  3. A lot of lovely stuff going on here.

    Quite a few caught my eye, but especially Don’t be afraid of the dark, I love the child’s style drawing mapped onto the 3D – nice idea. Chefs of Tonga Island, great sketch work. It brings a ton of character to the piece. And Dream Cleaners, nice translation to 3D, you’ve kept a lot of the original fun that the sketches had.

    Keep it up guys, I’ll deffo be back for more.

    1. Thanks a lot Tom! I really appreciate it :D

    2. Thanks for the great encouragement Tom!! Really appreciate it!! ^_^

  4. You will have to forgive my short reviews of the work I have manged to find time to watch, Its been a busy day and i thought i'd buzz through some of these in my lunch break... and a bit more (don't tell anyone!).

    Emily Clarkson I liked the character artwork and the idea of the story, Felt like the animatic could have been even more animated and include more extreme expressions. This reminded me of the 'who framed roger rabbit' scene in which roger is trying to look after the baby. Your frames fell flat and i think maybe some of that depth lens bending squash+stretch nature of Roger could add some dynamism to your work.

    Sam Niemcyzk- Beautifully drawn. Definite style. i felt like some of the edits were lacking and could be better timed. other than that, this was a pleasure.

    Lucy Yelding- Very well documented. Looks lovely. I like your attention to lighting and colour in your animatic.

    Katy F- Did that dead guy fart?.... Reminds me of the film RUBBER. defo watch it if you haven't. An inanimate object is a serial killer. fun film. cool concept.

    For me personally, show reels are an artform in themselves. I thoroughly enjoy making my own showreel and watching others. The audio on some of your clips seems to lack the same energy of your showcased work (though music and sounds are not everything to a showreel as they are often muted).

    Taking Akinbiyi's for example; the starting "intro" with your name and Logo and matching sound effect (ps1 i think?), i wouldn't include. the music that follows is no nice i felt physically annoyed and wish i had your phone number at the time so i call you and say " DUUUDE, you could have sold me if ONLY you hadn't included the into music+logo." I imagine the opening of your reel fading up with your name and the bowling ball on the pedestal in silence and as it drops the first beat of the tune starts as that ball hits the ground and it goes from there. other than the intro, cool reel. (Don't be too disheartened by what i say. I had a spiky logo and blood drops with a sword sound fx on my first showreel back in 2005?or 06? which has since been deleted from youtube ^.^)

    Samantha, did you upload your showreel flopped or mirrored and cropped? your titles are reverced and clipped off at the sides? Not sure if this is the case but i would double check. From what I can see your content looks cool but sadly cropped?

    Very stylist and dark. love it. I would have loved to have seen your seens with some atmospheric dust in the air to catch some of that moody light and really sell those shots. similar to this (quick you tube search)

    Sadly thats all i have time for today, Sorry if i didn't get to see your work or say anything about it but from buzzing up and down the bloog the work over all looks nice colourful, fun with a splash of dark+sinister and of a good standard.

    You should all be proud! =]

    Keep up the work and development!

    1. Also, guess i should say.

      Scotty from Framestore here =]

  5. So much good stuff here, so congrats to all,I still think that overall the 3D is not matching the quality of your 2Dwork,so try pushing that model/texture/animation/lighting rig....just a bit more,as always I am in the middle of a crazy schedule, but I will try to come back and post specific comments,I do come away from these post's energized and inspired, thanks Robin

  6. Lots of nice ideas going on, Gie & Dream Cleaners in particular caught my eye. All I have time for at this point on a Friday evening. Keep up the good work everyone.

    Piers @moko3d

    1. Piers - thanks for your input - especially on a Friday evening! Above and beyond the call of duty! Much appreciated, and we look forward to seeing more of you on here :)

    2. Excellent, thank you Piers! :D

  7. Just went through the animation show reels, yet again really nice work, and good to see some old school animation, thought they were all good, want to so one myself now.
    All the best Robin

    1. Thanks Robin - your input on here is always very welcome.

  8. Howdy All you talented incredibly creative people.

    Allow me to introduce myself.

    My name is Amar. I am a lead rigger at Framestore.

    First of all I would like to say I am very impressed with all your work. Most of your projects just needs a bit of fine tuning to really help the idea read a bit better.

    Emily Clarkson:

    The clown character has a great silhouette. I really love the poses that you've sketched out. Most of them are very strong in the way they read which I really like.

    The Animatic is a good start but you may have forgotten the audience a bit . Always try to set the scene in all your shots and carry it through with the audience in mind. A great way to do that when creating storyboards and animatics is to really think about the silhouettes of your characters in relation to the camera Strong poses help the audience read the characters disposition better. after you've got everything pinned down with boards then you should go in and add a few in between frames to polish it a bit further.

    Sam Niemczyk:

    I really love your drawing style. I am really looking forward to seeing these face shapes come though the rig into the animation part of the project. You should think about how you're going to layer all those shapes onto your rig while at the same time making it nice and puppetie. Some of the shots are a bit too long. Might need to think about the comedy timing and spacing a bit more but over all amazing work. looking forward to seeing the final peace.

    Lucy Yelding:

    The texture in your drawing style adds to the charm of your characters. I think you should try and carry that through to the final 3D animation.

    The animatic has a lot of shots that I feel underlines the changes in disposition of the characters too much. You should tone it down a bit by cutting the amount of shots down and think about composition of your shots a bit better. You may lose the audience if you lay everything out on a plate for them.

    Katy Fosdike:

    I really like your off the wall approach to animation. Reminds me of Ren and Stimpy. Its a very dark adult comedy which is a genre that I love. You may want to think about the amount of assets that you will need to make. Also try and think of a good pipelined way of creating and updating them. I suggest looking into referencing using the reference editor in maya . Also you should look into what Ncloth can do for you.

    Meg Leslie, George Nwosisi, Akinbiyi Babarinde and Samantha Niemczyk:

    Its really great to see some 2D animation skills. I love your work. Really nice texture in your drawings.

    Anita Gill - Calypso's Nest:

    I really love the texture in your drawing style. I also really like that you thought about depth distortion in your illustrations

  9. Ernesta Baniulyte - The Metamorphosis:

    What a great terrifying little spider character. Your animatic sets the scene very well. so well done! You should really sit down and really think about what the audience sees or more importantly what the audience does not see in more detail.. I feel this will make the animatic read a lot better. A few things that I think you should take a look at:

    This is a music video by tool. There are loads of great hunting shots that i think will help you develop your shots further.

    This is a scene from The thing (1982) where a there “the thing” takes control of one of the dogs. It is a truly amazing horror film moment

    Tom Farrington - The Golden City:

    I really like this indiana jones like character. I also really like your very diagrammatic illustrations. I am really looking forward to seeing how this character will feed through the rigging and animation stage of this project.

    Kadeem Reid - David & Goliath:

    Love character design but I feel you should silhouette all the characters and line them all up and see how they relate to each other. I feel you may need to make a few adjustments so they all sit together and feel apart of the same world.

    I think you should take a look at this guy for inspiration:

    Dan Rolph - The Armoured Train:

    Take a look at the train at the end of this animation:

    Justin Easton - 'Mars Man':

    The illustration of your character is very impressive. I feel your model is a bit abstracted from your illustration in terms of the mass of the character. for example: I feel like the torso in your model is a bit too wide compared to your drawings.

    Well done everyone. I have tried to take a look at as many peoples work as possible in the time that I have.

    If you have any questions drop me a message on here and I shall back to you as soon as I can.


    Amar Chundavadra

    1. Phew! Amar - lovely to have you on here - and that's a massive chunk of detailed feedback you've given here; don't think every time you get the PWTM you have to feedback on everyone (of course, lots of feedback is always welcome); feel free to respond to whatever catches your eye most :)

    2. Thank you Amar! Very helpful examples!