Tuesday, April 30, 2013

CGAA One-A-Day: Dumb Movie Ways To Die

We all enjoyed the original 'Dumb Ways To Die' - indeed, I was singing the song for weeks.  I've just watched this parody featuring notable deaths in cinema - it might make you smile, but I reckon the 'Minas Tirith' bit will make you 'lol' - it did me.  Go on - waste 3 minutes of your life... Enjoy!

FAO Year 1 and 2: Maya Tutorials Submission

Good news! Extra time to complete the Maya tutorials.

Year 1: 

Submission: Friday 10th May by 2pm

Thats a whole extra week! 

Year 2: 

Submission: Friday 10th May by 2pm

Thats two extra days (in addition to the two extra for the Adaptation project)!


Please help us to mark your work accurately by:

1) Making sure that all tutorials are uploaded to your blog and can be viewed.
2) By creating a 'master post' that links to all your previous tutorial posts. 

Good Luck!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Announcing The CGAA Super Screening - Friday 24th May Lecture Theatre 2

More details to follow, but we'd like to invite all years to screen their work in Lecture Theatre 2 on Friday May 24th - with some end of term drinks in a (hopefully) sunny beer garden to follow! All those in favour say 'I'!

FAO CGAA Year 1 & Year 2 & Year 3: Next Tuesday = Free Day!

As some of you may have heard already, I've taken pity on our poor, stressed & sleep-deprived 2nd and 3rd years and cleared out next Tuesday (May 7th) of all other commitments - other than getting your submissions ready, of course!  What this means is that Darren Wall of Planet Jump Productions will now be visiting us on Tuesday May 21st @ 2pm Lecture Theatre 1 and for all those year 2 students due to meet with Pete Wallace re. summer work experience with Butch Auntie, you'll be seeing him on Friday 17th May @ 10am.

FAO CGAA Year One - Contextual Studies Written Assignment Hand-in

Please note - due to your attendance at the Fantastic Voyage crit, I have arranged with the Faculty Office that you can hand-in your Contextual Studies written assignment between 12 - 1pm.  This means you need to have your written assignments printed and submitted to Turnitin etc. prior to the start of the day, as you'll be going directly from the morning session of the crit to the essay hand-in.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

FAO CGAA Year 1: Storytelling & Commission/Fantastic Voyage - Final Crit & Submission Checklist & Final Crit Requirements 03/05/2013

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. Any queries, please leave a comment and I'll clarify where necessary.

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 Year 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.

You are required to produce a deluxe ‘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 – and your sound-design and post-production. Your ‘Making Of’ should be designed graphically, engagingly and presented professionally.

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 ‘Making 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)        Matte paintings (if applicable)
10)      Final textures (and development).
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 Creative Partnership Archived
16)      Your submission disc artwork/branding

You will present on crit day from a single presentation blog post comprising your final animation & your deluxe 'Making Of' publication.  However, you will ONLY be presenting your final animation, not your supporting material.  On this day, it’s all about the animation.

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

  • Final Animation
  • Deluxe ‘Making Of’ publication
  • PDF archive of blog.  For instructions on how to export your blog as pdf. go here.
Important: please note, your Fantastic Voyage crit starts at 10am sharp - 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.  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 10am or before will be given the opportunity to leave the crit at this time.  The order in which you'll be presenting your work will be randomised, which means any one of you may be presenting first!

If circumstances beyond your control* prevent you from attending on time, you must contact Jackie Andrew before 10am.  Lecture Theatre 1 will be open at 9am.  Students should seek to arrive in advance of the start time to ensure they are prepared. Your project management and professionalism counts.  Please prepare for your crit as you would for an interview or pitch.  For some 'Rough Guide' style advice re. the stuff of engaging crit presentations, please go here.

And finally...


And a note to any 2nd/3rd years - your input on crit day, as always, is welcome.

*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 is your deadline, not Friday.

Reminder - Can't Stop the Music- Tuesday 30th April - 5:00pm

Hi all. I know that you're all ridiculously busy with deadlines looming large. Take it from me that sometimes it helps to just spend a couple hours rest away from the glow of a computer screen and do something a little bit different even at this seemingly hard-fought time. It's the last film of the year and it only makes sense to finish with something which doesn't require much brainpower. Can't Stop the Music is campy, cheesy and utterly charming. It might one be of the biggest back-fires in cinematic history but it's a lot of fun and completely absurd! Hope to see you there! :-)

Can't Stop the Music
Directed by Nancy Walker
Tuesday 30th April - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Lecture Theatre One

@Alan - File Corruption - Please Help

I try to open my scene, it'll open, but there's nothing there. Nothing in the scene viewer, nothing in the outliner, nothing in the hypershade.All I get is this error;

file -f -options "v=0;"  -esn false  -ignoreVersion  -typ "mayaBinary" -o "M:/Commission/Commission/scenes/Final_File.mb";addRecentFile("M:/Commission/Commission/scenes/Final_File.mb", "mayaBinary");
// File read in 0 seconds.
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ramp29 //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ATP_Blinn_Blue //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Basic_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Celll_Membrane_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ramp26 //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ramp30 //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ATP_Blinn_Orange //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Mitochondira_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ramp25 //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Vesicle_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Nucleolus_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ATP_Blinn_White //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ER_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ramp27 //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ramp28 //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ATP_Blinn_Red //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Golgi_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: DNA_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Nucleus_Blinn //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: ATP_Blinn_Black //
// Warning: swatches file depend node not found, icon discarded: Ribosome_Blinn //

Deleting the swatches file (I replaced it afterwards) removes this error, but the file is still empty. My last backup is from two days ago, and looking at it I really don't have time to backtrack and then render as well.

Any help is appreciated.
- Meg L

Post With The Most 28/04/2013

Let's cut to the chase: on the 3rd, 8th and 10th of May, years 1, 2, 3 of Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation will submit their final projects and the academic year 2012/13 will come to an end.  This, the all-new April edition of the Post With The Most captures the 'about-to-be' of those final year projects.  In the days that follow, our students will experience stress, a few heart-stopping moments, exhaustion and the euphoria of the finish line. Good luck - all of you!  For the rest of us, we can enjoy the luxury of this sneak peak into the students' culminative projects and look forward to the May edition of the CGAA PWTM showcasing a selection of those final projects in all their bright and shiny entirety! Bring it on.

Our year one students' final project sees them commissioned by Dr Peter Klappa, senior lecturer in biosciences at the University of Kent, to create original cg animations from bioscientic scenarios.  Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation has a growing reputation in regard to producing cg content that bridges the gap effectively and imaginatively between arts and science subjects - and this year's latest crop of science-themed animations looks set to impress.  Enjoy the selection of production drawings, animatics and pre-viz that follow:

Lucy Yelding - The Eukaryotic Cell Structure

character design/concept art

modeled scene (wip)


Emily Clarkson - The Eukaryotic Cell Structure

concept art

render tests

Jake Bryant - The Cell Cycle

concept art


Modeled mechanisms

Peta-Gaye Brown - The Prokaryote Blues

concept art/character design

modeled character

Nadia Yalladee - The Cell Cycle


Kymberly Mumford - The Structure Of A Eukaryotic Plant Cell


Meg Howett - The Cell Cycle

modeled environment (wip)

Katy Fosdike - The Cell Cycle

concept art

Samantha Niemczyk - The Prokaryotic Life

concept art/character design

modeled character


Shan Mason - The Eukaryotic Cell

test renders

The Adaptation brief is always a landmark project for our year 2 students, for not only does it represent the halfway point of their degree studies, it also makes manifest their growing confidence, aptitude and specialisation.  The rigors of Adaptation are those on which successful year 3 experiences are founded and this year's projects look set to push the bar.  

Steven Payne - Making Plans For Nigel

modeled environment & character

Ernesta Baniulyte - Kafka's Metamorphosis

animation tests

modeled games character & vehicle 

Anita Gill - Calypso's Island

modeled environment (occlusion pass) & lighting tests

Emma Foster - Around The World In Eighty Days

modeled environment + texture & lighting tests (wip)

texture map

Tom Farrington - 'Lenny' from The Golden City

Samantha Butler - 'Winter' from How Glooskap Caught The Summer

Chrissie Peters - 'Plop' from The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark

Alice Druzga - 'Tiffany' from The Wee Free Men

Tiffany turnaround

Lydia Caplan - Twenty To Nine

Miss Haversham live action footage for compositing into digital set

Nat Urwin - Winnie

Animation test

This time of year is stressful and fraught for all our students, but perhaps none more so than for our third years, who are not only dealing with the complex, time-pressurised challenges of completing their major projects but who are thinking too about 'what next?'. The future has never felt closer than now. Still, let's not get ahead of ourselves; deadline day is still a few days off, so until next month's PWTM here are some all-new hints and glimpses...

Alex Zepherin - Anima

Justin Easton - Martian & Suit

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

Harpy's roost model

Environment test 

Harpy model (wip)

Harpy blendshapes test

Molly Bolder - Dream Cleaners

Clarissa animation test

Max Rogers - Spirit Of The Snow Wolf

Amarok & environment test render

Lyn-Dae Stewart - 'Rhea Monroe'

Rhea walk-cycle

Mango Mercury (Dayle Sanders & Andriana Laskari) - Kinnaree

Kinnaree test renders

Hemmy test renders

Kinnaree's dance (wip)

Kinnaree environment + character composition test

Bharathi Anthonysamy - Num Num

Num Num animation & particles test

In other news... not content with creating her own original animation for the Adaptation brief, CGAA year 2 student, Nat Urwin recently completed work on a live commission for the NHS - an advertisement making good use of Nat's natural flair for hand drawn animation (last seen bringing an ebullient toadstool to life). Go here to  read more about her involvement with the project.

Meet Joe 

The Final Word...

“All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil. The fight to the finish spirit is the one characteristic we must possess if we are to face the future as finishers.”  Henry David Thoreau