Sunday, December 01, 2013

Post With The Most 01/12/2013

When I was small I was a bit of a terror for sneaking about the house in late November looking for the secret stash of Christmas presents I felt sure must await me under beds, in the back of cupboards and atop my parent’s wardrobe. I suppose this month’s PWTM continues that tradition, as I nose around our vibrant community of student blogs hunting out spoilers, those little enticing glimpses of what we might expect from their future offerings. Of course, the problem with sneaking around the house hunting for Christmas presents is the inevitable remorse that comes from actually finding them! I shall experience no such regret in uncovering these visual treats for you, only a growing sense of excitement for what is to come.

Let's begin this November edition of the PWTM with a showcase of year one work deriving from their Cinematic Spaces project, which challenged students to create digitally painted concept art for a proposed CGI adaptation of a classic novel. The majority of our year one students come to us in September with no prior experience with a graphics tablet.  I think they can be very satisfied by all that they achieved in the short space of five weeks. 

Candice Hiu Fu Leung - The Lost World

Heidi Grover - 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Josh Aldis - Gormenghast

Will Huntley - She: A Story Of Adventure

Ant Faulkner - The Fall Of The House Of Usher

Megan Doyle - The Red Room

Tom Boothby - The First Men In The Moon

Scarlett Freeman - She: A Story Of Adventure

Rhianna Slack - The Haunting Of Hill House

Sam Cannon - The Wizard Of Oz

With just two weeks before the end of term, year one are now busy creating their Secret Lairs – digital sets derived from their own original concept art and production drawings. The project began with students selecting two random components from the course’s now infamous ‘mysterious blue box’ – a character type (e.g. scientist)  and an attribute (e.g. voodoo). They then had to design the resulting character’s most personal space - their lair. I'll be showcasing examples of the completed digital sets in next month's edition of the PWTM.  Until then, feast your eyes on this lot!

Livi Wilmore - The Secret Lair of the Subterranean God

Ashley Nwachukwu - The Secret Lair of the Saharan Emperor

Scarlett Freeman - The Secret Lair of The Undead Knight

Rhianna Slack - The Secret Lair of the Solar Mob Boss

Ant Faulkner - The Secret Lair of the Neolithic Queen

Ayunie Adiana - The Secret Lair of the Clockwork Priestess

Josh Aldis - The Secret Lair of The Cyber Witch

Candice Hiu Fu Leung - The Secret Lair of the Bayou Inventor

Scott Turner - The Secret Lair of the Aztec Super-Villain

Kyle Kemp - The Secret Lair of the Byzantine Cannibal

As CGAA year one students are put through their first experience of wrestling Autodesk Maya into submission in their quest to re-create their production art, our year 2 students are neck-deep in production.  Their current collaborative studio project only has a few short days until submission day, and things are ramping up: models are being finessed, characters are rigged and being tested for animation, and exploratory renders are previewing the efficacy of textures and lighting... Be sure to visit their studio blogs for a comprehensive insight into the challenges of taking an idea of script to screen.

Zombie Sprite

Felix textured and rigged

Felix skinning tests

Eagle animation test

Grumpy Moose Productions

Lucy character sheet

Lucy modelled

Lucy UV mapped.

White Sand Studio

Mechanical bird animation test

Astral Odyssey

Viking character design

Viking walk-cycle (wip)

Digital Delusion

2D animation test

Character modelled

Cryptic Pickle

Betty character design

Betty modelled

Dorothy character design

Dorothy modelled

The countdown to Christmas can be an ambivalent advent for our third year students: still so much to do before the end of term, plus a holiday season preoccupied by 'to-do lists' predicated upon the double whammy of the 9,000 word dissertation and minor project submissions in January...  We hope they find a few stolen moments with a couple of mince pies and a Terry's Chocolate Orange, but until then (whip cracks!) it's noses-to-the-grindstones...

Anita Gill - Avis (Animatic v.2)

Tom Farrington - Experiment IX



Fat Cat

Shock Trooper

Kadeem Reid - Hooligan

Edin Fallare character development

Gabriel Burokas - The Garden of Earthly Delights computer game (thumbnails).

Nat Urwin - Mother's Days*

*Nat is creating an animated short combining stop-motion characters with CGI sets.

Steven Payne - Incompatibility 

Tidy-Heidi character development

Joey Ku - Carnival Of The Animals

Character sheet

Characters modelled

Alice Druzga - What if Chihuly designed...?

Developmental drawings (watercolours)


Ernesta Baniulyte - Kaukas

Kaukas Character design

Kaukas head detail

Kaukas head modelling (wip)

Sasha Hart - When I grow up I want to be..?

Tyler orthographics

The Final Word...

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” Stephen King


  1. Amazing work everyone keep going so you can have Christmas dinner Maya and Photo shop free this year !

  2. Thanks for sharing the treats Phil! Always amazed at how much fantastic work you all produce.. enjoyed browsing.. especially impressed to see what the lovely 1st years have been up to when they're not mucking around light boxes. Nat's playful armature made me it.
    Keep up the good work everyone.

    1. Hey Meg - thanks for popping by! Missing you already :( And yes, such busy bees!

  3. Hello... Mark Davies here from Nexus Productions. Some great stuff in this month's PWTM, so congratulations to everyone. To pick out some of my favourite things-- seeing Nat's armature come to life is really exciting, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how the film takes shape. White Sand Studio's mechanical bird test is a really sweet piece of animation. The turbulent effect on the wings really sells that it is flying. Anita Gill should be really proud of her 'Avis' animatic-- visualizing music is a great animation exercise and this is really successful. There are some interesting choices with monochrome and then extreme colour-- what was your thinking on this? And finally, Ant Faulkner's artwork for The Fall Of The House Of Usher is a really nice piece of concept art, with some strong figurative characters in it. I've never read the book, but seeing your painting makes me intrigued as to what the source material is about.

    Great work everyone!

    1. Thank you Mark! The animation is based on three aspects: bird sound, flight and plumage. I decided on the transition of monochrome to colour because I feel like monochrome emphasises the sharpness of 'bird sound' at the beginning, and then full colour portrays the beauty of the birds at the end :)

    2. Your time and enthusiasm always appreciated here on CGAA, Mark - gold dust! :)

  4. Hey its fletch from Glassworks here, sorry for the delayed reply, been rather busy with various projects, and some ridiculously short deadlines. Now im in between renders ive got a bit of time to jot some thoughts down,..

    As always a fantastic collection of work in progress here. im particularly captivated by nats alive armature anim, intrigued to see more. ive always enjoyed the charm that stop frame anim carrys with it.

    The animation test for the mechanical bird. Its really got some nice movements to it, and a great feeling of flight. i also checked out the previs on the separate blog page. Interesting idea, but i will say that i found the continuous movement of the camera a bit off putting, i know its tempting to go to town on animating the camera because there are no constraints in the 3d world, but it is these elements that can sometime push things over the edge and actually detract from the piece. Id suggest setting up a physical camera rig, to limit the range of movement the camera has to something more realistic. It doesn't all need to be one long shot. Cut it up, get some nice angles in there. i can see the potential here. a bit of DOF, volumetric lighting and some nicely chosen camera angles will go a long way.

    i also enjoyed the animation to music, but can help feeling that it needed a better feeling of depth here. Everything seemed a bit 2d, which is fine, but i think with abstract pieces like this, it just adds an extra visual interest element when a concept of depth is incorporated.

    For the guys doing characters, keep up the good work, everything looks interesting and have potential,

    characters are always something that everyone wants to try out at some point or another but they do come with their own hurdles that need to be crossed. characters can be/are massively time consuming in all aspects and any element that gets overlooked can easily become evident in the final piece. in saying this, just because its complicated doesn't mean that it will be good though. id pick a well executed simple project over a badly executed complex project any day.
    Keep it simple. Keep it good. As with all elements of creating a character, really take the time to consider, how you are planning to use your character(s), how the rig needs to be made so they move a certain way, how to paint the texture to aid in character building.. , etc

    Also really nice concept art from Josh Aldis, Fantastic ambiance from your images, and excellent amount of detail,

    overall great stuff. Keep it up and finish strong.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Fletch - always appreciated when you take time out to give such prudent, judicious feedback :) Many thanks!

  5. Thank you for the feedback :)