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)
Sam Niemcyzk - The Chefs Of Tonga Island (chef, desert island, stick of dynamite)
Lucy Yelding - Gie (trapeze artist, circus, skateboard)
Katy Fosdike - Balls (undertaker, art gallery, bowling ball)
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.
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
Molly Bolder - Dream Cleaners
Alex Zepherin - Anima
Aidan Codd - France Of Tomorrow
Bharathi Anthonysamy - Num Num
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