Monday, September 30, 2013

Author-in-Residence - Jackie Hagan's top tips for stress-free writing - part 1

Hello!  As Phil has already introduced me, and most of you either know me already or have at least had me poking around your blogs for the last week or so, I won’t go into too much of an introduction here, but will keep it short and sweet.

So, I could kick off with a Phil-esque ‘Who the f@*k is Jackie Hagan’ spiel, but I’m far too ladylike for that!  But I guess you might still want to know why I am here, picking your film reviews to bits and generally dishing out advice, even when it’s probably not wanted…

So, me in a nutshell – I have always seen myself as a ‘crafter’ rather than an artist, although I do paint too, and I’m certainly  not particularly academic, but in 2005 I took the big step of undertaking an Access course in Art and Design at UCA on a part-time basis, just to see if I could do it.  I discovered I could, and enjoyed myself so much, that the following year I took the even bigger step of packing up work, and embarked on an Honours degree in Applied Art.  Roll on 3 years, and there I am graduating with a First Class Honours degree – not bad for an old girl! 

 I have to say, that it was my dissertation that swung it for me; my studio work was good, but only just scraping the 70% mark that you need for a First. I opted to do the extended dissertation, which rolled in at around 14000 words I think, and luckily for me it paid off, and nudged my mark above that crucial 70.

Anyway, I had had such a good time here at UCA, that I decided to stay, and luckily for me, my first ‘posting’ was down in the depths of lower 4th in CGAA, where I have lurked ever since. 

So that’s me… and over the next few days, I am just going to be giving you a few hints and tips on writing your film reviews…which in turn, will hopefully help you when you start writing your essays, and eventually, your dissertations (which, believe me, will come round sooner than you can ever imagine!) I am a BIG believer in the importance of the written elements of your course... it could make all the difference between you walking out with a First, or not.

 Tip number 1 – Be prepared!

If you look at your timetable, you will see that the films you are going to watch are all listed already, so my first suggestion is that you prepare yourself prior to watching the film, by doing a quick bit of background reading. Try and find out what the themes are within the film, have a look at the context in which it was made (what was happening in society and culturally at the time), what the director has to say about it etc.  Remember the reason you are watching the film; try and find a connection between the cinematography and your own project. Also check out the running time…you are going to be watching some ‘challenging’ films at times, and it’s good to know how long you have left before the end!
Hint - tomorrow's film is Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927)... get busy!

Tip number 2 – Get on the case.

Don’t go home on a Tuesday evening and relax – strike while the iron is hot! It is much easier to write your review while the film is fresh in your mind and while your brain is still processing whatever horrors Phil has inflicted on you (sorry Phil… too many years of Dancer in the Dark and Funny Games!) Also, it is all too easy to let that one film review slip, and before you know it, you have 3 or 4 to write, and the deadline is in sight.  Just do it. Now.

Look out for more tips tomorrow :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

FAO CGAA Year 2: Dissertation Tutorial Group 2 - Email Me Your Proposals

Dear Dissertation Group 2 - Please could you email me your 'Framing Practice/Dissertation Proposal' Assignments and feedback sheets from last year to today/tomorrow so I can have a quick read of your ideas so far, so ensuring that we use your half hour slots efficiently and constructively.  Please note your time slots too.  See you Tuesday!

9.30 Emma Foster 
10.00 Anita Gill 
10.30 Sasha Hart 
11.00 Michael Holman 
11.30 Joey Ku 
12.00 Paul Lavey 
12.30 Urvashi Lele

FAO CGAA Year 1: Revised Group Lists & Change Of Room for Photoshop Class

See below: your Toolkit groups have been revised in light of final student numbers.  For most of you, it means no change from your previous groupings, but please take note if you have moved from one group to another and how this effects your timetable more generally.  The revised group lists are viewable too on myUCA under CG Artist's Toolkit/Handbook & Timetable.  Please use your network of creative partners to ensure all your classmates have seen this information in readiness for next week.  

Please note that this Monday's Photoshop classes with Jordan Buckner are in DM4 on the Lwr 2nd Floor.  Don't worry - I'll be on hand tomorrow morning to direct you.  Assemble in the CGAA baseroom at 9.50am and I'll show you the way :)

FAO CGAA Year 1: Cinematic Spaces Online Greenlight Review 09/10/2013

Wednesday, 9th 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. 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 8pm on Wednesday 9th October. Written feedback will follow as a comments 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, time period, stylisation, intended audience... 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 digitally, but rather 'designing worlds' for an animated film - 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 as outlined above.

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 think 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 (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 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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Urvashi Lele's Sir P Greene Studios

Hello everyone! For my final year's project, I am working on making an animation about Edward Lear's poem, The Owl and The Pussycat. I will be posting work in progress quite often on the blog that I have created for this project called Sir Pea Greene can visit it at

Please do check it out and feel free to give me your is always useful. If you want to receive updates on the project, then Sir Pea Greene also has a twitter account which will inform you of any new posts that go up.

Follow Sir P. Greene Studios on Twitter @SirPGreene

Sir P. Greene also has a Facebook page at

so please do click like (because it would mean the world to me) and tell everyone about it! (Please? THANKS!!)

Thanks for reading!!



Thursday, September 26, 2013

CAA Cinema: Only God Forgives (2013)

I'm coming a little late to the Ryan Gosling fan club.  I'm still yet to watch Drive (2011)but I did watch Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond The Pines (2012) recently, which I enjoyed for what was quaint and reactionary about its macho romanticism and reverence for the motorcycle as the signifier of  uncomplicated masculinity and Thanatos made literal.  It comes as little surprise to me that Gosling is the straight man's crush du jour.  He is Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden to Edward Norton's average Joe. 

Ryan Gosling as the motorcyclist bank-robber in The Place Beyond The Pines (2013)

Ryan Gosling as Julian in Only God Forgives (2013)

In all truthfulness, it wasn't Gosling's blank-faced, shell-shocked machismo that had me so transfixed in Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives - no, it was Kristen Scott Thomas's terrifying Crystal, the Gosling character's castrating, terrible mother, the monstrous feminine, the murderous MILF.   Like some oxymoronic light-source, Scott Thomas dazzles on screen with the blackest light, putting in a performance so potty-mouthed and hypnotic in its hatefulness, her turn as the stiff-upper-lipped, unlucky-in-love Fiona in Four Weddings and A Funeral is all but burned away.  Charlote Higgins of The Guardian agrees, describing Crystal as "a peroxided Clytemnestra of a character – trashy, American and emphatically nothing like the cut-glass-accented aristocrats [Scott Thomas] is most famous for playing." (Higgins, 2013).  Clytemnestra - the character from Greek legend namechecked by Higgins - was an adulterer who murdered her husband and his lover, plotted to commit infanticide, before being murdered by her own son - which gives you some idea of Crystal's moral compass and of the heightened, fable-like artifice of the film itself.

Kristen Scott Thomas as Crystal

In a previous CAA Cinema, I enjoyed joining the dots between the passive-agressive children of Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon (2009) and others of their filmic kind(er).  Haneke's depiction of morally-ambiguous children ghosted with antecedents, and Only God Forgives no less so, not with butter-wouldn't-melt demon seeds, but rather with spectres of other monstrous mothers.

Crystal resplendent in neon

Only God Forgives is a painfully beautiful Oedipal stew, a film conceived as if with the sole purpose of powering an entire generation's worth of dissertations and blowing the dust off rote Freudian theories made tick-box and bland by dint of over-familiarity.  The plot, such as it is, is simple: 

"Bangkok. Ten years ago Julian [Gosling] killed a man and went on the run. Now he manages a Thai boxing club as a front for a drugs operation. Respected in the criminal underworld, deep inside, he feels empty. When Julian's brother murders an underage prostitute, the police call on retired cop Chang - the Angel of Vengeance. Chang allows the father to kill his daughter's murderer... Julian's mother Crystal [Scott Thomas] - the head of a powerful criminal organization - arrives in Bangkok to collect her son's body. She dispatches Julian to find his killers and 'raise hell'."  

Thank you IMBD, but what this synopsis cannot convey is the film's Argento-like neon-hued beauty, its glacial, Kubrickian-pace and predominance of one-point perspective, its Lynchian recourse to uncanny tableaux of synthetic singing - or the violence.   Characters are sliced, diced, skewered and eviscerated - mostly at the hands of Chang's blade, a character so taciturn and silent-footed, his actual corporeal existence is debatable.

Only God Forgives

Suspiria, Dario Argento

Only God Forgives

The Shining, Stanley Kubrick

Only God Forgives

Blue Velvet, David Lynch

Predictably, Only God Forgives has been lambasted for its grue, though it pales into insignificance when compared to much in the gorn subgenre of film entertainment. (I stopped watching Saw 3D: The Final Chapter (2010) the other evening, drawing the line at the scene wherein one poor bastard had to pull a key out of some other poor bastard's stomach - the said key being attached to a fishhook at the time). The point about 'revenge movies' - of which Only God Forgives is an example - is that the 'revenge' tragedy is constitutionally a violent one. Violence is part of the syntax, not an addition somehow consonant with a new or especial decline in civilisation.  Consider John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi (1612-13) or Cyril Tourneur's The Revengers Tragedy (1607) - or Hamlet - all  of them stories with multiple body-counts and a USP predicated upon the promise of on-stage violence.  Revenge narratives must always unravel in a denouement of spiralling violence - it's the way of things and it's moral too; violence begets violence, you see - that's the lesson. The format can't teach if the violence doesn't crunch.

It is a Crystal's quest for revenge following the execution of her son that propels the action in Only God Forgives (though propels may indeed be a poor choice of words in light of the film's supine pacing). Crystal is a crime world queen bee whose murderous wishes are carried out by male drones, which puts me in mind of one of cinema's other big bad mommas - maybe the biggest.

In common with Only God Forgives, the Alien series has always played games of Freudian I-spy, inviting audiences to join the psycho-sexual dots. The science-fiction franchise likewise shares with Only God Forgives the still-not-common spectacle of a narrative populated by subordinate men and dominant women.  It was with the introduction of the monstrous alien queen in James Cameron's superlative sequel, Aliens (1986) that the first film's fecund subtext ripened so deliciously. If Alien (1979) was a skewed exploration of our ambivalence for the messy business of reproduction and birth - phallic intrusion, offspring as parasite, human as host  - then Aliens boils down to the tooth and claw of matriarchy.  When Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) destroys the alien queen's brood in an explosive act of reprisal (the aliens had attempted to impregnate Ripley's surrogate daughter), the grudge-match that follows between the two mothers is bruising - and blissful in terms of pure cinematic spectacle.  From Aliens onwards, the sci-fi franchise is one continuous mediation on motherhood, which is why this viewer still derives such thematic pleasure from the later sequels that seemed to so disappoint everyone else. 

Ripley encounters the Alien Queen

Another bereaved mother with an unstoppable thirst for revenge sits at the heart of one of horror cinema's longest-running franchises.  As Casey Becker finds out to her cost in the opening ten minutes of Wes Craven's Scream (1996), it is Pamela Vorhees, not her son Jason, who is the lurking serial slasher in the original Friday The 13th (1980).  Mrs Voorhees is killing camp counsellors at Crystal Lake because, years earlier, another bunch of fresh-faced teens had been too busy screwing to notice her handicapped son drowning in the lake. The film's big reveal - that a woman is carving up young nubile bodies - is indicative of our near-invisible sexism.  The twist works because the film's penetrative crimes are signified throughout as uniquely male activity.  There is an implied masculinity to the murders and their methodology, what with the preponderance of hunting knives, axes and crossbows.  That a Mrs Voorhees is killing America's children surprises audiences in the final reel because we still assume that women are capable only of making lives, not taking them.

Pamela Voorhees from Friday The 13th

The monstrous mothers of Aliens and Friday The 13th are terrifying because they are implacable. These are primal crimes of maternal instinct, but this is but one element of Crystal's terrible allure in Only God Forgives.  For those keen to equate the severing of limbs with castration anxiety, Only God Forgives is a text-book case, but it's not Chang's blade doing the neutering - it's Crystal.  In one scene, Julian introduces his girlfriend to his mother and in a calculated attempt to emasculate her son, Crystal fixates on the appreciable size of his late brother's penis, using this totem of masculine superiority as a stick to beat him.  It is an exquisitely discomforting scene - for male audiences especially - and it crackles with Oedipal taboo, as we're encouraged to speculate darkly as to the exact boundaries between this sexualising mother-figure and her objectified sons. This scene echoes commensurate moments in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) when Norman's mother baits her son similarly - and always about his virility, his masculinity - and in this way Mrs Bates - the grand dame of castrating mothers - is going for the size of her son's cock too.

Norma Bates:  No! I tell you no! I won't have you bringing some young girl in for supper! By candlelight, I suppose, in the cheap, erotic fashion of young men with cheap, erotic minds!

Norman Bates: Mother, please...!

Norma Bates:  And then what? After supper? Music? Whispers?

Norman Bates: Mother, she's just a stranger. She's hungry, and it's raining out!

Norma Bates:  "Mother, she's just a stranger"! As if men don't desire strangers! As if... ohh, I refuse to speak of disgusting things, because they disgust me! You understand, boy? Go on, go tell her she'll not be appeasing her ugly appetite with MY food... or my son! Or do I have tell her because you don't have the guts! Huh, boy? You have the guts, boy?


Norman Bates:  Now mother, I'm going to uh, bring something up...

Norma Bates: Haha... I am sorry, boy, but you do manage to look ludicrous when you give me orders.

Norman Bates:  Please, mother.

Norma Bates:  No! I will not hide in the fruit cellar! Ha! You think I'm fruity, huh? I'm staying right here. This is my room and no one will drag me out of it, least of all my big, bold son!

Norma Bates

In Only God Forgives' most startling and discomforting scene, Ryan Gosling's character - upon finding the slain corpse of his mother - opens up her belly and dips his fingers into the wound.  In earlier scenes, this same penetrative act has always been a sexualised one; we've seen Ryan get close to putting his hand between his girlfriend's legs, but never quite clinching the deal. This is a complex, disturbing synthesis of signs - and one best understood by looking at the language adopted by some heterosexual men for describing female genitalia - 'gash', 'slit', and 'axe wound'. Freudian thinking would argue that all this appalling wound imagery some men associate with female genitalia is further proof of  the prevalence of male castration anxiety; i.e. the thing they are most fascinated by is likewise the 'ground zero' of the thing of which they're most terrified; vagina as wound, the site of the missing, the hole where the pole once stood.  When Julian fingers his mother's wound, consummating an act he has previously been unable to complete with other women, we come to understand a little more about this family's dysfunction and the damage wrought.  That the wound is in the mother's belly just lays in another strata of symbolic disquiet.  It's like Julian can't believe he came from there.  For a moment it's like he wishes he could return. 

Only God Forgives has no love for women.  Refn's women are emasculating or they are vapid. They are proactive to the point of asphyxiation or as inactive as sex dolls.  So is Only God Forgives hateful and misogynist as some critics have suggested or is it film that takes misogyny as its theme?  For me at least, it chimed with what I've sometimes glimpsed in the sort of conversations men have with other men about women; a sort of tortured, fearful worship of the opposite sex - the 'can't live with them, can't kill them' vibe.  For all its artifice and stylised self-regard, Only God Forgives feels like a highly personal film and while we all know better than to reduce fiction to the veiled autobiography of its maker, I was reminded while watching Refn's film of what I know about another 'mother-hating' movie,  David Cronenberg's The Brood (1979).  The Brood has been described as Cronenberg's most autobiographical film, in that it was written during a custody battle for his child.  Samantha Eggar's mother character in The Brood is so self-absorbed, so self-entitling, and ultimately so abject in terms of blood and reproductive plumbing, that it is hard not to suspect Cronenberg of using this frankly rather revolting character to vent his anger and distrust for the opposite sex.

Samantha Eggar as Nola in The Brood

Finally then, what to make of Only God Forgives - a film awarded no stars and five stars, a pretentious film, a nauseating film, a beautiful film?  If I close my eyes, I can still see its imagery.  I've liked thinking about it much more than I enjoyed watching it.  There's something about the tone of it - its depiction of women and its depiction of men as depicted by a male director - that rings peculiarly true.  Only God Forgives, with its monstrous, castrating milf of a mother-figure and mute, muscled pin-up who is handsome yet neutered, is a full-blown, neon-hued crisis of the masculine; a film about men and what terrifies them.

Higgins, Charlotte, Nicolas Winding Refn says he made Only God Forgives 'like a pornographer', (Accessed 26/09/2013)

Trailer: Frozen (2013)

FAO CGAA Year 2 - Authorship on CGAA Group Blog

Now that you're second years, I'd like to extend to you individual authorship permissions for publishing  content on the CGAA group blog.  All you need do is send me the email address you use for your individual blog, and I'll use this address to invite you as an author on the group blog.  The expectation is, now you're experienced bloggers, you'll share content with the course community via the various categories (One-A-Day, The Supplement, CGAA Cinema etc.), and use this space proactively in terms of problem-solving and sharing best practice.  I look forward to receiving your emails, and you can look forward to receiving an authorship invite in return.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

One a Day: Rob 'n' Ron

Here is an amazing example of a 3D animation that has successfully retained its 2D quality through the characters :)

FAO 1st years - Feedback on film reviews

Hello 1st years!

Great to see some of you grabbing the bull by the horns and getting your first reviews out there! :)

I just wanted to make a quick general point - when I provide you with feedback, please don't worry about going back and editing the review to fit my suggestions; just take the advice on board, and apply to the next review :)  You have way too much to be getting on with, to keep re-editing the same film review to get it perfect.  Also, if you edit the existing post, we lose the record of how you are progressing...

Looking forward to reading some more in the very near future!

A Stitch Update - 365 Days of Fun!

Hello Everyone,

I've been meaning to get cracking on this post for a couple of days but kept thinking I had so much to say which set my inclination to send this to the back burner. However, today Alan asked me why the hell I had a camera out so I figured id state all of my intentions and stop being so damn mysterious.

Now I'm not going to dilly dally here there are a few videos which are a bit slow to get into so I'll give you the highlights here in text and you can watch videos if your bored... or need to be bored. First and foremost I have undertaken a mini side project for the next 365 Days... it is called *Drum Roll* "the 365 Day Project"

This project basically requires that I document student projects as well as my personal Polydoodle Pictures collaboration project with video and photography. There will also be a number of additional tutorial videos and some funny stuff (nothing dodgy don't worry). There is also a thing which I'd like to get off the ground called "The Drop Shop" which is a random image library id like people to submit images to but it does require that you sign up to the website (I have made a video for how to do that so don't worry I got you covered! See Below).

This website is to be a time capsule of my third year University experience (365 Days from my Birthday Sept 1st 2013 - Sept 1st 2014). Providing it is okay with Phil, Alan and of course CG Arts Students I would like to document my third and final year to look back on. After the 365 days I wont ever touch the website again... I will even put it in my will that it is to never be taken down ha ha...

 The topics covered by the 365 day project are as follows:

 photo abear1_zps1b455ff0.pngAngry Bear: My past which believe it or not is what got me started with his first bit of digital software: Photoshop. Amongst these past experiences are amateur Jackass stunts and wrestling bouts plus a couple of ridiculous short film concepts. This topic is all about fun and my own personal experiences which I want to remember some day…
 photo dshop1_zpsa00af99e.pngThe Drop Shop: Is a fun little community based topic. It is the simplest thing to use to make it community friendly. It is basically a photo archive of images which students can contribute to (random images from IPhones preferred) but only for the duration of the project. It is an album of memories to look back on.
 photo eleap1_zps57eed33b.pngExclusive Leap: An informative topic disclosing the exploits of my independent company “Free Fall Interactive Limited” as we attempt to build and create our first independent game. There are also other side projects that fall within the Free Fall Interactive Hierarchy, these projects will be showcased where I am able so bear with me.
 photo sguide1_zps7dfaa83f.pngStep Guide: This is basically my personal methodology when it comes to pursuing creative feats. Throughout these posts I will try to talk about my personal processes in response to briefs… targeted at people who don’t understand but wish to.
 photo tdood1_zpsdbec346e.pngThe Doodler: This is my Year 3 University Project in which I have banded with 2 other people to form a miniature studio “Polydoodle Pictures”. Throughout the course of my final year at University I will be posting small updates from our project on this site for everyone to see. This is a chance for people to follow our team based exploits.
 photo opz_zpsf7c7b167.pngOperation Z: Is ZBrush exploits. For those of you that do not know ZBrush is a 3D modelling program primarily used for character design. Over the course of this project I will be using ZBrush to show a couple of tutorials and build my own 3D models for our projects.
 photo ujustin1_zps31f2d5f0.pngUCA Just In: This is to showcase other student projects and creative methodologies. I will use this to interview certain students and lecturers (if willing) on my course (CG Arts & Animation) at UCA Rochester. This is an inside look beyond my own processes at the future of CG Arts. I will post what I am allowed by the students, people who wish to Opt out have to let me know…

Now before Alan and Phil ask how the hell I'm going to fit this in and still be alive at the end of the third year don't worry. I will fit a video in here and there which should only require a bit of editing there's gonna be no text barrage just the odd video. The majority of work will begin when the third year is over during the summer months leading to Sept 2014 (this is unless of course that other people want to get involved in the editing process... just saying). Until then I will be documenting (videoing) what I can which includes student interviews. UCA Just In! See Video below!

Interviews are going to be conducted throughout 3 periods of  respective student projects. I will time them for 5 minutes each which should work out to a final 15 minute video showcasing each of your projects at key points ( Beginning, Middle and End - Behind the Scenes). I would ask that if this does not interest you or the idea of being on camera terrifies you please opt out by commenting on this post below. I will write your names down and do my best to keep the camera out of your way! This of course swings the other way if you really want to be involved in UCA Just In please opt in below! There is a limit to how many interviews I can handle but I will do as many as I can.

If you have any questions about this please feel free to approach me I don't mind answering any questions.

Another less publicised feature of the 365 day project is actually a feed which shows the activity on my computer screen LIVE with a small web cam feed. This will allow people to see what I am doing for the 365 day duration. Anytime day or night this feed should be active for an entire year, although it may be down if I'm rebooting or have a momentary Internet interruption. (The image below is what you will see in the stream window)

 photo Stream-Image1_zpsef0e2899.jpg

The feed can actually be found here: I am buying an extension cable so people can see all activity on the web cam. At the moment you can only see me when I'm working on the computer. This is really where the project name (365 Day project) came from but after a while it started to take on different forms. I found the best way to deal with it was to break it into sections.

This is just meant to be a fun project I'm not looking to document misery like the paparazzi. I just want to reflect back on this moment of my life because its where I had to start "moving on" as it were. I want to be able to show my family the work that goes in to what we do, I want them to understand this industry a little better... because I'm really not good at explaining it myself :P

Anyway I hope this is okay Alan, Phil, creative colleagues. If the University has issue then I will simply document what I can outside of the University but ideally id like to be free to capture every experience (including our Polydoodle Pictures tutorials).

I leave this with everyone.
Thank you again!


FAO: Everyone!

Hello Everyone in our CG Community!!! It's the first week back for us 3rd years which means my studio and I can finally announce ourselves! So introducing....

This is a collaborative project between:
David 'Stitch' Vandepeer -

We'll be working together for the whole year!
So please follow our new joint blog to learn what we're doing and to watch our creative process!

Thank-you :-)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

CGAA Facilities Are Open For Business On Saturday 28th September!

It's a UCA Open Day on Saturday 28th September.  I'll be in the CGAA Baseroom from 10am until 3pm.  Open Days always work better if actual students are about and looking busy, so you're welcome to join me and make use of the facilities - including the blue room and the red room.  I'm giving a talk to prospective students and parents at 12 noon in the base room - so no heckling! - but if you do come in, be prepared to have a chat with people if a chat is what they want!  

Build The Perfect Showreel: 10 Top Tips

CGAA Year 1: Project One: Cinematic Spaces - Examples of Previous Student Work & Your Creative Partners Announced!

And so it begins, ladies and gentlemen - your first undergraduate project brief, and your first foray into the fast-paced, high-energy culture of Ba Hons CG Arts & Animation! I'm not alone in looking forward to seeing how you respond to the challenge of your Cinematic Spaces project, but before you get stuck in, just take a few moments to take a look at these examples of previous student work.  By clicking on their names, you'll be able to view all blog posts associated with their respective Cinematic Spaces projects.   Don't get preoccupied with the polish of the final paintings (that will be you too in five weeks), give your attention instead to their methodology - that is, how they arrived at the final three paintings.  Review their research and reflect on its presentation.  Take time to think about the ways in which the students have organised, presented and published their bodies of work.   I also want you to read some of their film reviews, and consider their feedback from me and from others.   Do this now and save yourselves valuable time by finessing your workflow from week one and avoiding any classic school boy errors.  Happy browsing!

In addition to reviewing these examples of student work, be sure to check out all the resources, references and learning materials available to you via myUCA.  The 'podcast' from today's briefing presentation is now available. You should look too at the pdf entitled Academic Writing - Hints & Tips available in the folder Essays & Articles.  It offers lots of practical advice on developing a more academic writing style in readiness for your film reviews and written assignments.

A link explaining how to reference the published sources in your film reviews correctly using the Harvard Method - which is compulsory - is included on your brief, but you can also access that information here

Jordan Buckner's Photoshop Class 1 Toolkit Presentation is now available on myUCA/Space&Environment. Jordan has also made some thumbnail templates available here as psd files for your convenience.

It's time to begin blogging your work - little and often. Invite feedback and discussion by numbering your thumbnails and welcoming the opinions of others.  Similarly, try putting questions into your post titles: for example: 'Thumbnail 12 or 20? Feedback Welcome!' Remember, no queries can be answered or advice given or great ideas celebrated in the Post With The Most if you don't get yourself out there.  Always title your posts and please label your content according to the conventions outlined on your project brief: i.e., cinematic spaces, space and environment, digital painting etc.  Labelling will help you organise your blog as the year goes on and will make life easier, so start now and be consistent.

There are many ways for you to seek assistance. When it comes to Maya, be sure to 'Ask Ethan' by following the simple 'help desk' instructions as outlined here.

Jackie Hagan will be feeding back on your Cinematic Spaces film reviews as and when you publish them, offering invaluable advice and weeding out any bad habits or poor practice very early on. Complete your reviews promptly after the film screenings to make the most of this support. 

In addition, your mentors will be watching your progress too and will be able to offer their insight and experience.  Listen to them - they know what they're talking about!

You also have Creative Partners for the duration of this unit.  I want to see you working together proactively.  Be honest with each other; if you don't think a partner's drawing is working, then say so  - constructively - by helping to identify solutions or new approaches. If you think a drawing is working, then say so too.  It can feel strange giving your own peers feedback, but the sooner you get used to it, the better.  Find dynamic and visual ways of archiving your creative partnerships - video diaries, anyone? Audio recordings of brainstorming sessions? Scans of A1 brainstorming sessions?  Go on, year one - surprise me! Delight me! Your creative partnerships should feel active and exciting - you're not just ticking boxes on a brief, you're learning how to collaborate and build professional working relationships. Your creative partnerships for the duration of this project are listed below - and no radio silence please! First job - go introduce yourself via a blog comment and get things rolling. If you don't interact with others positively and productively you're being unprofessional - simple as - and professionalism is one of your key assessment criteria on all CGAA project briefs.

Creative Partnerships: Cinematic Spaces 2013

Candice Hiu Fu Leung@

Elaine Liu @
Tijan Sarr-Dix @ TBC

Your first Online Greenlight Review is Wednesday 9th October, the specific requirements for which will be announced here on the group blog later this week, so stay tuned, read the brief, read it again,  use myUCA, read stuff, research stuff, draw stuff, enjoy yourself, work hard and 'be amazing!'