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Post With The Most 28/03/2016

I always like this time of year on Computer Animation Arts. There's a constant humming sound emanating from our busy creative community. It's like shoving your ear against a beehive! At time of writing there are just 33 short days before submission day and everyone has their eye on the prize (and on the clock).  Blogs are lighting up with updates and everyone is engaged in their most ambitious project thus far.

Our Year One students have been commissioned by Dr Peter Klappa, lecturer in bioscience at the University of Kent. Dr Klappa's brief challenges our first years to turn a series of bioscientific scenarios into engaging animations for a variety of audiences.  This year, Dr Klappa's scenarios are the life-cycle of HIV, and of the Zika virus, the immune system and how it reacts to infection, and how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics.  A few weeks back, our first years pitched their respective ideas to Dr Klappa, who was wowed by the range and diversity of their creative approaches, a small selection of which heads-up this latest edition of the Post With The Most.

Zika virus concept paintings

Environment thumbnails #1

Environment thumbnails & bacteria character development

Storyboard panel

Bacteria character development #1

Bacteria character development #2

Environment concept painting

HIV as 'The Kraken' concept sketches

'The Abyss' concept development

B Cell & Bacteria character development #1

B Cell & Bacteria character development #2

Concept painting

Bacteria character development

Character development sketches

Developmental storyboard panels

Antibody character development

Bacteria character development

Concept painting

Storyboard panels

Joe Crouch

Antibiotic soldier character development #1

Antibiotic soldier character development #2

Battlefield environment development #1

Battlefield environment development #2

Kelp forest developmental thumbnails

Kelp forest concept painting build-up

Bacteria sharing DNA concept painting 

Bacteria development #1

Bacteria development #2

Our Year 2 students are similarly busy with their Adaptation project - but just before we showcase their progress, I wanted to share a snapshot from their recent acting classes with tutor, Dan Snelgrove.  I'm not sure what's happening in the image below - which appears to show Vlad Yankov and Andy Moshi mid-marriage proposal! - but I can tell you our year two students relished their improv classes.  Our baseroom was filled with laughter (and cluttered with improbable props) and it was a genuine delight to see so much fun being had by all...

Andy Moshi & Vlad Yankov mid-improvisation

... and when not clowning around in the name of accessing their inner-exhibitionists, our second years have been hard at it, adapting a plethora of existing texts into cg outcomes. 

Character development #1

Character development #2

Character development #3

Rama character development / Rama

The Ant character painting / Le festin de l'araignée

The Spider's Banquet poster & character ensemble / Le festin de l'araignée

The Soldier character development #1 / Le Dormeur du val

The Soldier character development #2 / Le Dormeur du val

The Soldier orthographs / Le Dormeur du val

Modelling the Soldier / Le Dormeur du val

Pop Princess concept painting / Battle Of The Bands

Modelling the Pop Princess #1 / Battle Of The Bands

Modelling the Pop Princess #2 / Battle Of The Bands

Dr Oppenheimer character sheet / Red Road Project

Dr Oppenheimer orthograph  / Red Road Project

Modelling Dr Oppenheimer's head / Red Road Project

Rugby player Martin Johnson imagined as a Doom Buggy

Colo Colo concept painting

Modelling Colo Colo

The Astrologer character painting / The Astrologer

The Astrologer modelled / The Astrologer

The Astrologer's observatory concept painting / The Astrologer

The orrery modelled / The Astrologer

Metal beetle development

Glass beetle development

Paper beetle development

Plastic  beetle development

The Recycling Beetles size chart

Our third years are an exceptionally committed bunch, working pretty much around the clock to ensure they can meet their deadlines, but dedicated as they are, it would be fair to say pressure is mounting and nerves are beginning to jangle. Their projects are ambitious, characterised by high levels of technical complexity and an artisanal relationship to detail.  Enjoy this catch-up with their progress so far:

Test render / Espial

Pre-viz / Espial

Oxygen final model / Elements Academy

Hydrogen rigging demonstration / Elements Academy

Shot 7 / The Leftovers

Shot 11 / The Leftovers

Diaa character sheet / Diaa's Journey

Diaa run-cycle / Diaa's Journey

Robot & Vacuum Cleaner dance sequence wip / Rob-O-Matic

Test render #1 / Dad's Story

Test render #2 / Dad's Story

The Beast body rig complete / Legends Of Grimm

King Azaz walk-cycle #1 / The Phantom Tollbooth

Ruby Newland

Test render / The Taxonomy Of Laughter 

Joke scene playblast / The Taxonomy Of Laughter

Expressions library / Warning

Expressions run-through / Warning

Animation progress / The Bog Goblin

Congratulations now to CAA lecturer, Jordan Buckner, whose prints went on sale at the Hero Complex Gallery earlier this month.  Entitled Visions of a Past, Present and Future, Jordan's set of giclee prints celebrates some of the best science fiction films in cinematic history. From Star Wars to La Jetee, each print is sized at 12" x 36" and limited to 75 per print.  This is what the people over at io9 had to say:

"As recognizable as the characters in our favorite scifi movies are, the landscapes are what completes the vision. A new poster set by artist Jordan Buckner focuses on these familiar cinematic vistas, and each one is more gorgeous than the next... the ethereal colors on these pieces, the almost paint-like aesthetic, and the zoomed out, desolate point of view, make them stand out in a world of movie themed, landscape art prints."

At time of writing, many of Jordan's limited-run posters have already sold-out, with Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind proving particularly must-have.  Hero Complex Gallery have already asked Jordan for new artworks inspired by George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road...

On Monday 14th March, the exhibition celebrating our MASK collaboration had its official opening at the Zandra Rhodes Gallery at UCA Rochester.  As the seven animations played across seven screens, colourful transcripts on the the gallery walls detailed the creative conversations between our graduates and the Kenyan artists, from whose original paintings the animations derived.

Installing the MASK exhibition in the Sandra Rhodes Galley, UCA Rochester

The official blurb...

"For this project, a series of graduates from the BA in Computer Animaton Arts (Rochester) have been invited to respond to the winning artworks of the MASK Prize, a creative competiition for schools and young people under the age of 25 in Kenya. Each animator has worked with one selected artwork and produced a short animation based on it. This initiative constitutes a unique creative exchange between young artists in Kenya and recently graduated animators in the UK. 

In order to allow communication between practitioners in the two countries, the following blog has been set up. This tool facilitates exchange between the original creators of the artworks and the animators working with them now, and it will also function as a record of the creative process behind each animation. Extracts of the on-going conversations will also be on view at the gallery."

The graduates' blog-based conversations with the Kenyan artists writ large on the gallery walls

It was a genuine delight to see the ways in which our graduates and the Kenyan artists collaborated and how together they were able to tease out themes and extended imagery.  You can look in more detail at the development of the animations at the CAA/MASK blog, and it gives me great pleasure to showcase the seven films here:

What the Noise Gave Me by Paula Karanja, 20, Nairobi
Animation by Vikki Kerslake

Greener Pastures and the Colours of Youth by Churchill Ongere, 21, Kisumu
Animation by Emily Clarkson

Our Home by Shela Foster, 9, Nairobi
Animation by Nat Urwin

Elephants by Allan Kiptoo, 4, Iten
Animation by Nat Urwin

Daydream by Samson Lazima, Jali Louis Tamlyn, 18, Nairobi
Animation by Ethan Shilling

Adore Woman by Edwin Wainaina, 18, Nairobi
Animation by Samantha Niemczyk

Lamu under Orange Skies by Fahima Munene, 12, Anidan Home, Lamu 
Animation by Steven Payne

Not content with one ambitious collaborative project, CAA continues its work with ONE - an Orchestra Network for Europe.  The short version is we've been briefed to create a seventeen minute animation to accompany live screenings of Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra.

Our plan is to turn Britten's instrument-by-instrument guide to the orchestra into a cinematic journey into a 'Kingdom of Sound', wherein each instrument group - woodwinds, strings, brass, and percussion - is envisioned as a city or district.  To kick-start the project, we've been challenging the CAA community to an ongoing series of 'Speed Paint Challenges', in which they have to listen to each section of Britten's musical guide and, using each instrument type as reference, respond to it visually via a digital speed paint or two.   Take a look at this small selection of the resulting imagery so far:

Julien Van Wallendael / The Flute District

Sam Niemczyk / The Flute District

Sam Cannon / The Flute District

Deanna Crisbacher / The Flute District

Sam Niemczyk / The Clarinet District

Eva Pinnington / The Double Bass District

Heidi Grover / The Violin District

Some more alumni news, as we congratulate Vikki 'Class of 2015' Kerslake for a second time, who in addition to participating in the MASK collaboration, has had her final year film, The Koi & The Crane, chosen for the official selection at the 2016 Water Docs Film Festival and screened on March 25th.  

I asked Vikki for a few words: "It was really exiting news to get the opportunity to have my film accepted into a festival and involved in an organisation’s cause, in which I also take interest.  That The Koi & The Crane receives its North American/Canadian Premiere is also great as this is where I'm from originally! Having been selected is great motivation to keep me working on my own films. It took a bit of time and patience to get accepted into a festival so I encourage anyone else to keep pushing to get their films out there too."

The Koi & The Crane / Vikki Kerslake / 2015

The Final Word...

“Creativity takes courage." Henri Matisse


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