Sunday, April 27, 2014

Post With The Most 27/04/2014

We're just a few weeks away from final hand-ins - the creative conclusion to the academic year.  April's PWTM is the 'nearly-there-but-not-quite' edition. It's image-rich and embed-heavy; it hints and highlights, it teases and trails.  Our students are moving quickly towards completion, with all the stresses, strains and tight-rope moments so implied.  It's an exciting time, an up-against-it time, and a special time, as months of hard work and investment in personal visions begin to pay off. Things only accelerate from here onwards - this truly is the beginning of the end of the beginning, as first years contemplate their futures as second years, second years look forward to the increased autonomy (and responsibilities) of their third years, and our third years look forward to their futures as bright, brand new graduates.

For our third years, the two week Easter 'break' was nothing of the kind, our computer suites term-time busy, and our keyboards littered with the usual confetti of 'Don't Touch! Rendering!' notices.  Enjoy this latest selection of renders, playblasts, models, and pre-viz from our third year projects, encompassing everything from complex mixed-media collaborations to speculative explications of Freudian theory...

Joey Ku - The Carnival Of The Animals

Final Pre-Viz

Eastern Elk walk-cycle

Sea Mink run cycle

Alice Druzga - Whodunit High

Jessie model

Mildred model

Lydia Caplan - Eglinton Road

'Beauty Table' Render test

Ernesta Baniulyte - Faust's Chamber

Texturing (wip)

Lighting test

Lighting test 

Texturing (wip)

Urvashi Lele - The Owl & The Pussycat

Frank turnaround

Ella turnaround

"It was a rather starry night..."

Anita Gill - Yatar-a-Nu

Animatic V3

Paul Lavey - The Uncanny Gallery

Visualisation of installation

Location prepared for filming for motion-tracked sequence

'Breathing Belly' test

Tom Farrington - Experiment IX

Fat Cat test render

Fat Cat playblast

Nat Urwin - Mother's Days

Original footage

Composited footage

Digitally painted wall texture

Wall model (Maya)

Physical elements combined with CGI wall

Test composite

Next up, it's our Year 2's, whose current Adaptation unit is winding up in a matter of days. The term 'adaptation' applies broadly here, encompassing everything from historical events to Japanese festivals, and from beloved children's literature to doodles drawn from the collective unconscious! (Told you it was broad!). We've got digital sets and digital sets for game, we've got character design and character design for game - and we've even got a talking tortoise on a treadmill!

Emily Clarkson - Shel Silverstein's Attic

Samantha Niemczyk - The Shadow

The Shadow animatic

George Nwosisi - 'Tortoise'

Test render

'Fastest Man' animation (wip)

Shan Mason - The Battle Of Arnhem: Operation Market Garden

Lighting tests

Anass Moudakir - The Street Of Crocodiles

Akinbiyi Babarinde - I Am Legend

Robert Neville texture maps

Robert Neville model

Robert Neville posed turnaround

Jake Bryant - Logan Ninefingers from The Blade Itself

Logan Ninefingers silhouette variations 1

Logan Ninefingers silhouette variations 2

Logan Ninefingers finished concept painting

Logan Ninefingers model (wip)

Logan Ninefingers model (wip)

Megan Howett - Arriety from The Borrowers

Arriety costume variations

Arriety texturing development 1

Arriety texturing development 2

Arriety variations

Peta-Gaye Brown - The Momijigari Spirits

Final concept

It's hard to believe that in a short time our fresh crop of first years will be 'first years' no more - but rather nascent second years, battle-scarred, but Maya-literate, with their first experience of taking an idea from thumbnail to fruition already behind them.   The final challenge of their year one experience is to transcribe a biological scenario into imaginative and engaging CGI for client, Dr Peter Klappa - lecturer in bioscience at the University of Kent.  Next month's PWTM will showcase a selection of Dr Klappa's favourites - but until then, check out these sneak peaks:

Candice Hiu Fu Leung - Life-cycle of Moss

Original concept art

Final render

Original concept art

Final render

Tom Boothby - Life-cycle Of A Fern

Pre-viz (minus SFX)

Heidi Grover - Life-cycle of Slime Mold

Test renders

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Sam Cannon - Life-cycle of Slime Mold

Test render

Test Render

In the last edition of the PWTM, we caught up with CGAA alum, Tom Beg, who is currently working on a music video for the Collectress track Owl - from their new album, Mondegreen.  Tom is combining his keen eye for black and white photography with his animator's skillset, and is using infrared photography to lend strangeness and crisp, heightened realism to rural landscapes.  Tom is trialling ways of compositing CGI components into his photographs as he moves closer to nailing his visual concept for Owl.

Still image with CGI components

Static match animation test

As followers of the dedicated ACT project blog will already know, our quest to translate the abstract curves derived from a conductor's movement during a performance of Verdi's Requiem continues.  Jordan Buckner is thinking big, using the conductor's curves as jumping-off points for spectacular structures and imposing installations:

Excitingly, we're beginning to identify the ways and means by which we might fabricate the resulting forms as physical objects.  CGAA alum and current GTA, Ethan Shilling is working doggedly behind the scenes to convert 'what ifs?' into demonstrable, buildable realities:

Conductor's motion/Dies Irae

Dies Irae component parts

Dies Irae animated 'build' and turnaround

We're currently working with fabricators and laser-cutters, who are advising us on the real-world logistics of turning these CGI simulations into tangible sculptural pieces - and as we learn more, you'll learn more, so keep one eye on the ACT blog for more updates as the project continues to develop.

The January PWTM featured a selection of celebrity portraits created by our students in response to - and in the style of - the animations of Bob Godfrey, which have since been collated and curated into a pop-up exhibition at the Rochester campus.

CAA students' Godfrey + celebrity speedpaint portraits

As UCA Archivist, Rebekah Taylor writes: "This exhibition encapsulates students’ experiences and artistic responses to work with The Bob Godfrey Collection. It is formed of a selection of celebrity portraits, realised in the style of Godfrey’s animation. Each portrait includes a QR code, linking directly to the artist’s blog.

The Bob Godfrey Collection comprises of works and ephemera from one of Britain’s animation greats. Godfrey (1921 – 2013) was the first British Oscar-winning animator for his 1975 short animated film Great. Animation Archive Day took place on 6th December 2013 and was focused around one of Godfrey’s best known works Henry’s Cat. 

Through collaboration between the Archivist, Learning & Teaching Librarian and Course Leader, CG Arts & Animation students were able to look through the original materials from the programme and explore the cel drawn animation method. The resulting exhibition recognises the importance of allowing students to steer and interact creatively with archive use in a library context."

The Computer Animation Art's community has another reason for feeling pleased with itself this month, as the second of our 'Tombola of Dreams' Prize Draws raising funds for New Designers 2014 achieved its target of £1,500 in ticket sales. That's a total of £2,500 raised this academic year - pats on the back all round. Thanks to all of you who bought a ticket - and that includes our alumni; your continuing support of the course and its community means a great deal to us.

"And the winner is...?"

New Designers 2014 is still two months away, but preparations are already well underway to ensure our graduates get the very most out of this busy, highly competitive event.  It's much too soon to show our hand, but rest assured we're pulling out the stops again this year and will again transform our little corner of the Business Design Centre, Islington, into something suitably swish.  That I spent my Easter in the University's theatre design workshops with sixty-plus picture frames and a pot of white paint should be something of a clue...

Preparations for New Designers 2014 begins.

The Final Word...

"Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time." Voltaire


  1. great collections of works here as always everyone!
    its great to see how much you have all accomplished in just some weeks with all your projects.

    had some downtime recently and managed to write down a few thoughts about stuff.. most probably riddled with spelling errors and words that don't actually make any sense because of my crap typing. I didn't manage to get through everything, but i had a good go.:

    good luck to all with the latest sleepless nights in the last push towards completion!
    keep pushing

    1. Thankyou muchly, Fletch, from Polydoodle :) We'll see what we can do to push the depth.

    2. Thanks Fletch, yes I agree about the shadow casts, that's the next thing on my to-do list when I finish animating the rest :)

    3. Thank you for the feedback, Fletch. Appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts about the work :)

    4. Thank you so much, Fletch =) I shall get cracking on that straightaway!

    5. Thanks Matt, I will definitely take your advice forward and onto my next projects. Much appreciated!

    6. Thank-you very much for your feedback Fletch!

    7. Thank you for the helpful feedback Fletch, will work on these right away! Much appreciated :D

  2. Smashing stuff here guys! Good luck in the final push :)