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Post With The Most 27/10/2013

Welcome back!  The leaves are patchworking the pavements, the clocks have gone back, and the new academic year is already five weeks old. Incredible. Why, it only seems like yesterday that we were heading off into the August sunset after an award winning New Designers 2013 and an animated extravaganza at the Civic Hall - happy, if knackered - and now look, here we go again; brand new faces, brand new challenges, and a brand new Post With The Most.

Not that our new first years can really be said to be 'new' anymore, not now they've completed their first project and survived their first undergraduate crit.  I'd say their feet were well and truly under the table.  As for our year two students, they're already three projects deep, while our final year students are balancing their minor projects and their eight thousand word dissertations.  Suffice to say, it's pretty busy in the CGAA suites - and getting busier.

October's PWTM begins with a round-up of current year three work.  We're in the pre-production stage, which is always characterised by a wealth of drawing. design and stories-getting-started.

Tom Farrington's year two character design project, Experiment IX, is going into production.  While the character designs themselves are done and dusted, bringing three characters to life is no small task; add to this, the equally formidable challenge of creating a fully realised, fully animated teaser trailer, and Tom's signed up for a year-long commitment.

Tom Farrington - Experiment IX Animatic

Kat modelling progress

Inspired and emboldened by her participation in this July's ACT collaboration, Anita Gill is speed-painting on a theme of birds, responding quickly and instinctively to the words of poets writing on the subject of our feathered friends.  The resulting paintings will be explored and investigated in CGI, and the animated content synched to music composed especially for the work.

Anita Gill - Speed Paintings On a Theme of 'Birds'

Joey Ku is creating an advertisement campaign for the World Wildlife Foundation focusing on extinction.  Taking inspiration from the likes of Charley Harper and Eric Carle, Joey is designing, modelling and animating a total of six animal characters - all of which are representative of already extinct species.  You can view Joey's most recent animatic here

Joey Ku - Carnival Of The Animals WWF campaign

Sea Mink running test

Nat Urwin's bitter-sweet animated short, Mother's Days, will be combining stop-motion puppet animation with CGI digital environments.  With the script now written and signed off, Nat is moving into the design stage - with this first sheet of exploratory faces determining possible character types.

Nat Urwin - Mother's Days

Polydoodle Pictures is the name under which year three students, Sammy Butler, Chrissie Peters and David 'Stitch' Vandepeer are collaborating in the making of the animated short, And Son - a story idea first mooted way back when Sammy was but a wide-eyed first year. 

Chrissie Peters - Character Sheets for 'And Son'.

And Son - Storyboard session

Kadeem Reid, meanwhile, is imagining a world in which the tribalism of London football clubs has (d)evolved, post-apocalypse, into a new social order in which hooligans are warriors, stadiums are fortresses, and the police totalitarian oppressors...

Kadeem Reid - Hooligan

Emma Foster is a year three student with a reputation for designing and modelling ambitious digital sets, and Emma's current project looks set to be her most ambitious yet.  Taking Felice Azari's manifesto on the aesthetic principles demanded of a 'Futurist' garden, Emma is preparing to envision Azari's 'anti-nature' environment as an elaborate digital set - beginning with this 'ground plan' of fragments, as prepared in accordance with the Futurist way... 

Emma Foster - The Futurists' Garden (ground plan)

Urvashi Lele's animated short, currently in pre-production, takes Edward Lear's 1871 poem, The Owl and the Pussycat, as its jumping off point, with the animation revisiting the titular characters in their dotage, as they look back upon their nautical adventure and curious courtship.  The animation takes the form of an interview with the owl and the pussycat, intercut with surreal flashbacks, with the production design borrowing from the early animation style of Ub Iwerks and other pioneers.  In an approach akin to method acting, Urvashi has established something of an alter-ego for the duration of her final year, operating under the eccentric moniker of Sir P. Greene - whose studio blog you should visit here

Urvashi Lele - The Owl & The Pussycat

The Owl & The Pussycat - Animatic V4

CGAA Year Two students are collaborating currently on their studio projects - and it's a project that brings with it the agonies and ecstasies of group work.  The value of lessons learned during this particular experience is often not felt until much later, when the merits of compromise, of biting one's tongue, and the subtle arts of diplomacy manifest finally as professionalism and industry-savvy.  For any year two students reading this, take heart - you're learning a lot about yourselves and others even now.  I'm including here examples pre-production work from the selection of  year 2 collaborations; do please use the hyperlinked studio name to investigate further.

Character development sheets

Storyboard excerpt

 Animatic V1

Astral Odyssey - How To Defend Against Vikings

Character development sheets

Storyboard excerpt 

Cryptic Pickle - The Information Age

Character development sheets

Animatic V1

As of the writing, the CGAA first years are enjoying their first post-crit weekend; that rare but welcome lull between project briefings in which they can prepare themselves for the next creative onslaught.   November's edition of the PWTM will showcase a selection of final work from their  inaugural five week 'Cinematic Spaces' project, but I've collected here for your viewing pleasure a collection of their thumbnails and preparatory paintings.  Our first years were challenged to create a series of original digital paintings translating environments described in classic literary stories into concept art for an animated adaptation.  For many of your newest recruits, this project represents their first experience of digital painting - not that you'd know that from these bold, expressive and imaginative examples!

Megan Doyle - The Red Room

Josh Aldis - Gormanghast

Ant Faulkner - The Fall Of The House Of Usher

Gemma Titchmarsh - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth

Candice Hiu Fu Leung - The Lost World

Heidi Grover - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Scott Turner - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Tom Boothby - The First Men In The Moon

Adam Stone - Brave New World

Drawing - in all its forms - is integral to encouraging a personal and expressive style, which can infuse CGI and animation to memorable effect.  As part of their year one experience, our first year students have drawing classes every week, in which they're prompted to 'let go', loosen up and try something different.  Their drawing class in week five was a case-in-point, the students entering the studio to find an installation of pick-up-sticks-style easels festooned with flags of vivid colour!  The students' resulting paintings were mouth-watering! (More here).

The 'pick-up-sticks' installation.  Photo courtesy of Scarlett Freeman.

Joey Ku is a year three student attending the first year drawing classes to inspire and to relax!

Heidi Grover

And last but not least... with a fizz of lights and a roll of drums, the CG Arts & Animation Tombola Of Dreams gets ever closer to launch day... What is it? More importantly, what's inside it? Your questions answered soon...

The Final Word...

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." Winston Churchill


  1. Good job everyone! : D

    And that mysterious TOMBOLA...I almost can't sleep because of that : D

  2. Great post! These early stages are always my favorite to see - A great place for exploration. (I love the Hooligan premise Kadeem - Kind of Mad max meets Football Factory!) Can't wait to see more from everyone.

  3. Great work everyone! Thanks Tom, just the other day I happened to find your 7 samurai gangster sketch and actually saved it for inspiration.. small world.

  4. Sorry about the late reply, been rather busy at present. anyways on to the featured works....
    As always fantastic stuff going on here. its always nice to see a such a great amount of diversity in the projects. As is Tom Mcdowell's interest, i also am intrigued to see how this football apocalypse concept is going to turn out, some great potential there. There's also some nice collections of pre-vis and concept art here. Its always important to work out the concept before getting bogged down in the technical realization, its great to see that everyone's focus is on point. Its also goo to see the character expressions sheets too, again planning is a key element when designing for characters, working out what shapes their faces need to make for your specific project needs will really help speed up the technical side of things. Again nice to see all aspects really have been thought about carefully. Overall there's some really great inspiring stuff here (as always) keep it up. There's some super ambitious stuff going on here and if there one thing i'd say to you guys its this, Try not to stretch yourselves to thinly (im sure this is being hammered home to you guys by the tutors already but heres a repeat). Quality over quantity. A simple but perfectly executed piece is always better than a very complicated piece that's badly executed. There will always be compromises with elements of projects within the set project time-frames, etc.. make smart choices, and most importantly have fun with your ideas.

    Looking forward to more.


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