Thursday, April 28, 2016

FAO: CAA First Year. Maya Tutorials

With the year nearly over I thought I would post up a reminder regarding the Maya tutorials that need to be completed. All the videos in the sections below should have evidence of their completion submitted to your blogs. The posts should all have a label of "MayaTutorials" or something similar.

Intro to Maya 2016
Modelling 1:Digital Sets
Lighting & Rendering 1
Texturing & Shading 1
Animation 1
Intro to Pre-Viz
Rigging & Skinning
Modelling 2: HS & Organic

I will start reviewing them on Tuesday so that gives you a long weekend to catch up on the few that you may have missed. Don't forget to double check, tick them off and label them as I would hate to miss some.

Spread the word.

Best of luck for tomorrow,


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

FAO Everyone: Friday 13th May / End Of Term Drinks @ The Golden Lion

I know you're all up against it and will be dreaming of the day when you're done and dusted with your current projects.  A date for your post-hand-in diary then: on Friday, May 13th, let's convene at the unofficial CAA club house - also known as Wetherspoons, Rochester, for some end of term conviviality.  All comers are welcome, including staff, alumni and friends of the course.  We hope to see you there.  Let's get all year groups together and give the academic year a proper send-off. Spread the word! 

FAO CAA Yr 3: The CAA Course Team Wave Their Magic Wand Once More!

This is a message for our hard-working Year 3 students.  We know that Monday, May 2nd is a Bank Holiday, which means the campus is shut.  For this reason we're moving your submission deadline to Tuesday, May 10th. Yes, the course team have waved their magic wand once more in support of your projects - I know, we're amazing.

Submission hand-in / Tuesday May 10th by 7pm

Important: You need to a) create a clearly labeled submission post on your blogs and b) copy your work onto a PC in the baseroom and sign against your name, confirming your submission.

And one more thing: Alan won't be in on Friday 29th April, as he'll be assessing the year 2 Adaptation unit.  Ask your questions now so you can work effectively in his absence.

Please use your social networks to ensure everyone has seen this notification.  Many thanks!

FAO CGAA Year 1: Fantastic Voyage - Final Crit & Submission Checklist & Final Crit Requirements 29/04/2016

What follows are instructions for your crit presentations and reminders of what you need to present and submit. Please ensure that everyone has seen this information and understood it. Any queries, please leave a comment and I'll clarify where necessary.

In response to one of the scenarios presented to you at time of briefing, you are required to produce a complete 3D animation that demonstrates creatively your ability to interpret, transcribe and represent complex ideas in engaging and dynamic ways. Your final animation should demonstrate clearly your creative methodology as established by your Year 1 curriculum, i.e. pre-production (production design and art direction via concept art and the structuring of time-based narratives via storyboarding and pre-visualisations), production (modelling, UV layout, texturing & lighting, and animation), and post-production (compositing, digital editing, sound design, publication and promotion).

Format Requirements

• PAL 25fps
• 16:9 ratio
• Mpeg or Avi

Please note: only royalty-free music is to be used and voice-overs must be professionally produced The use of inappropriate formats and codecs may result in viewing problems. 

You are required to produce a deluxe ‘Making Of’ publication showcasing your creative methodology. Your ‘making of’ should provide a complete record of your project work and should include your research and development, supporting concept art, storyboards, a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at your models and animation - from wire-frame through to finished renders – and your sound-design and post-production. Your ‘Making Of’ should be designed graphically, engagingly and presented professionally. 

You are asked to produce a comprehensive blog archiving and annotating your creative development during the duration of the unit. You should use the blog to reflect critically upon your own creative practice and the wider cultural and thematic context of the unit.

Important! Your blog must include:

1) Your final animation
2) Your ‘Making Of’ publication (as Scribd Presentation)
3) Your Pitch presentation (as Scribd Presentation)
4) CG Pre-vis
5) Animatic
6) Final storyboard
7) Final script
8) Concept art (16:9)

9) Final Production art (16:9)
10) Matte paintings (if applicable)
11) Final textures (and development).
12) Your sound design archive: (Original SFX/Processed SFX)
13) Your cg pipeline;

Wireframe Models, Untextured Models, UV Maps, Texture Maps, Textured Models, Lighting Tests, Rendering Passes (Beauty, Ambient, Occlusion, and Effects),

14) All supporting artwork (thumbnails, preparatory drawings etc.)
15) Supporting research/Influence maps
16) Market/audience research
17) Your Cutting Edge film reviews

On crit day, you will present your final animation onlyOn this day, it’s all about the animation.

Important: please note, your Fantastic Voyage crit starts at 10am sharp in Lecture Theatre 1. The order in which you'll be presenting your work will be randomised, which means any one of you may be presenting first!

If circumstances beyond your control* prevent you from attending on time, you must contact Natalie Holmes before 10am.  Lecture Theatre 1 will be open at 9am. Students should seek to arrive in advance of the start time to ensure they are prepared. Your project management and professionalism counts. Please prepare for your crit as you would for an interview or pitch. For some 'Rough Guide' style advice re. the stuff of engaging crit presentations, please go here.

And finally...


And a note to any 2nd/3rd years - your input on crit day, as always, is welcome.

*But not issues in regard to last-minute technical problems that reflect poor project management. No student should be rendering etc. on the morning of crit day. Thursday is your deadline, not Friday.

Monday, April 25, 2016

FAO CAA Yr 3: New Designers Meeting / Monday 23rd May @ 10am / Baseroom

I've had a few enquiries from hard-at-it third years in regards to a 'good week' post-hand-in to take a well-earned rest before revving up once more for the creative marathon known as 'New Designers 2016'.  What you do after the 9th is up to you, but there will be a New Designers meeting on Monday 23rd May at 10am in the CAA Baseroom, which will the next time post-hand-in I'll want to see you all together again - refreshed and ready to get stuck into phase 2!

Another question I've been asked is 'How much money do I need to put by for my ND16 contribution?'  The answer none of you have been looking forward to is £155...

I'll be setting up a payment slot at the UCA Online Store, which is where you can pay your £155.  I'll announce when the Store is open for business here on the group blog in the next few days. The deadline for making this payment will be Friday, June 3rd.

FAO CAA Yr 1: Year 2 Study Abroad Option

At UCA we offer you the opportunity to study abroad as a fully recognised and accredited part of your degree course. We have strong collaborative links with partner institutions worldwide... Take a look at the presentation below, and if you want to enquire further email

FAO CAA Yr 1: A Message Of Encouragement In Your Final Week

This is a message of support and encouragement for our year ones who are but one short week away from their final crit.  You've come a long way in a short time and you've learned fast and dirty and always against the clock.  You've got a big day ahead of you and I'm certain you'll do your very best... and your motivational anthem is, of course, Irene Cara singing What A Feeling... Onwards!

FAO CAA Yr 2: Best Of Luck For The Final Push!

Wishing all our second years the very best of luck as they prepare for Thursday's Adaptation crit... and your motivational anthem is Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now.

FAO CAA Yr 3: 15 Days & Counting!

15 days, ladies and gentlemen... and this morning's motivational anthem is Survivor's Eye Of The Tiger... grrr!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Trailer: Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)

More CGI annihilation and city-killing fetishisation courtesy of Independence Day 2... Note Jeff Goldblum's knowing meta-reference 'They like to get the landmarks'... 

Friday, April 22, 2016

CAA One-A-Day: Eric Goldberg's The Simpsons Couch Gag

Disney animator Eric Goldberg's couch gag for The Simpsons...

The Supplement: Philip Cooper / Table Top Villages

This isn't the first time I've showcased the work of Berlin/Kent-based artist Philip Cooper here on the CAA group blog.  His expressionistic collage work was featured here and his use of thumbnails profiled here.   Phil's most recent work, which combines his love of textural surface with his move into model-making, continues his fascination for 'spaces and places' - worlds often infused with tangibly gothic atmospheres.  Phil builds his 'table top villages' quickly and simply, emphasising form and surface over the aesthetic shackles of mimetic realism.  Phil's photographs of these miniature hamlets have a dream-like allure - and these dreams aren't always benign...

One of Phil Cooper's models

CAA Cinema: Laika's Head Of Puppetry Explains How Stop Motion Puppets Are Made

A lovely insight into the craft and graft of puppet design and making at Laika.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

FAO CAA Yr 1 & 2: Your Name For The Credits Of The Film In Which You Starred!

This is a message for those students who helped out as extras for the film in Lecture Theatre 1; if you want your name in the credits (and hell, why wouldn't you?) can you please email your name to Tim Willcox @

In your emails, just state simply that you were an extra in the 'lecture theatre scene' and then give your name.  Tim is on a tight post-production schedule, so if you could email him by Friday this week at the latest, I know he'd find that helpful.  If you could ensure all your classmates have seen this, that would be helpful.

FAO Year 2: Sculpting Class

Due to the run up to the Adaptation Crit the final sculpting class will be postponed until the following week. The class will now take place on Tuesday 3rd May from 2pm.

Please use the extra time to good effect.

FAO CAA Yr 3: Reminder / Monday May 2nd Is A Bank Holiday / UCA Closed

Just a reminder to our hard-working Year 3 students: Monday, May 2nd is a Bank Holiday, which means the UCA campus is closed.  You need to factor this into your respective schedules - i.e. what can you achieve usefully at home if you can't work on campus?  If you could ensure everyone has seen this reminder, that would be useful.  Many thanks!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

FAO Yr 1, 2, & 3: Check Your Spelling & Your Grammar!

This is a reminder re. the importance of getting your project's text elements checked in terms of spelling and grammar.  I've been reviewing your various bits and bobs as they've appeared on you blogs - and I'm seeing a lot of typos and distracting mistakes. Many of you are adding text elements to your various animations and Art Ofs in software that may not be not alerting you to spelling or grammar errors.  Can I suggest you work in Word first - where mistakes are highlighted - and then transfer the corrected text into your project file.  No one should be inputting text without checking it first.  Proof read your text - then check it again! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

FAO CAA Yr 3: New Designers 2016 / Screening Prize / Deadline Friday June 10th

A heads-up re. the New Designers 2016 Screening Prize: the submission deadline is Friday June 10th.   Please go here to familiarise yourself with the submission requirements etc.

Monday, April 18, 2016

FAO Year 3: New Designers Showreel 2016

The New Designers 2016 showreel - and if you look closely, you may just see some familiar faces and one fabulously bushy beard!

FAO CAA Yr 3: 22 Days Until Your Final Submission

Just your usual weekly reminder that you've now got just 22 days until your final submission... oh, and a motivational musical number courtesy of Disney's Mulan...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

CAA Cinema: Every Best VFX Oscar Winner (1927 - 2014)

Every Best VFX Oscar Winner since 1927 until 2014! How many have you seen?

CAA One-A-Day: A Small Escape

FAO Everyone: The YPGTTO Kingdom Of Sound Speed Paint Challenge Still Needs You!

The Horn District / Eva Pinnington

On Friday, I presented a selection of your speed paints to our guests from the Orchestra Network for Europe - and your creative visions for our 'Kingdom of Sound' animation project were met with unbridled enthusiasm!  I was also able to tell them that the Speed Paint Challenge was still live, so we could expect many more Britten-inspired visions in the coming weeks.  A number of you have expressed the intention to participate in the YPGTTO Speed Paint Challenge when things have quietened down a bit post-hand-in.  I'm confirming here that the Kingdom Of Sound project remains live, so I'm actively encouraging you to participate at your convenience.  The next stage of the project - where we seek to derive a storyboard for the 16 minute animation - will begin in late May, by which time we hope we'll have many more completed speed paints from which to divine our definitive art direction.

For your convenience then, all fifteen challenges listed here. Those challenges marked with an asterisk have no entries yet, so I'm hoping some of you might start at #15 and work backwards! Thanks in advance - and thanks too to all those who have already taken part.  It's always exciting working with you in this way (and the Orchestra Network for Europe agrees!).

The Double Bass District / Eva Pinnington

The Horn District / Vlad Yankov

Thursday, April 14, 2016

CAA One-A-Day: Be So Glad

"A snowy night in New Jersey and some skeletal matchmoves lend an otherworldly aura in this stark and unvarnished music video from PostPanic’s Brooklyn-based director Fons Schiedon for jazz drummer and crossover artist Jaimeo Brown’s track called “Be So Glad.”

FAO Year 2: Final Adaptation Film Screening - Confirmation

World Animation Film Screenings: Mystery Film

Yes thats right everyone, it's the last film screening of the year and in fact your degree (not long now before you're third years - wow!). The final screening will take place on Thursday 21st April @ 10am in the CAA Base Room.

Apologies to anyone who misunderstood and arrived expecting the film this week.

CAA Cinema: How To Be A Foley Artist

A fascinating insight into the art of sound design and the craft of the foley artist.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

FAO CAA Yr 2: Butch Auntie Internships - Apply Now!

Reminder: there are 8 internships with Butch Auntie up for grabs.  If you want to be considered for an internship, this is what you need to do: send your blog url to company director Pete Wallace at by no later than April 25th.

Don't underestimate the significance of work experience in terms of your respective CVs.  This is a great opportunity and you should absolutely put yourself forward. 

Once Pete has chosen his 8 interns, he will call you in for an interview and further discussion of your respective creative strengths. These interviews will take place at UCA in the CAA Baseroom at 2pm on Friday 29th April - the day after your Adaptation crit, and a few hours after your Critical Perspectives hand-in. Busy times!

FAO CAA Yr 1: Toolkit Submission 02/05/16 - What & How You Need To Submit

You've been asked to submit the three projects comprising the unit CG Artist's Toolkit to your blogs by 5pm on Monday 2nd May.  Those three projects are Drawing with Vicky, Animation & Character with Meg, and Autodesk Maya with Simon.  When Vicky, Meg and Simon assess your projects, they're expecting you to have done your housekeeping in accordance with their respective briefs.  For your convenience then, I'm summarising those expectations here. 

Project 1 / Drawing

A final Scribd portfolio of all archived drawings produced during your drawing sessions. Portfolio should be presented professionally and all drawings dated and compiled in chronological order. (This should include any extended studies you may have produced in response to photographs of your life-drawings)

You should also ensure that all Drawing related blog posts are tagged appropriately and consistently, so that all your work can be gathered together under one label.

Drawing Submission / Julien Van Wallendael / May 2015

Project 2 / Animation & Character

Your completed Animation Showreel

A final Scribd portfolio of archived drawings from your sketchbooks. Portfolio should be presented professionally and all drawings dated and compiled in chronological order. (This means all work undertaken in preparation for your animations, so sketchbook character thumbnails, storyboards etc).

You should also ensure that all Animation related blog posts are tagged appropriately and consistently, so that all your work can be gathered together under one label.

Animation Submission / Julien Van Wallendael / May 2015 

Project 3 / Autodesk Maya

In order to meet successfully the learning outcomes of this project, you are expected to complete all tutorials as set during the following classes. You are asked to produce a comprehensive blog archiving and annotating your growing knowledge of Autodesk Maya & Supporting Software for the duration of the project. You should use the blog to demonstrate the completion of class tutorials  

You should also ensure that all Maya tutorial related blog posts are tagged appropriately and consistently, so that all your work can be gathered together under one label.

To see how to organise your completed Maya tutorials visit Charlie Serafini's submission here.

In short, the expectation is you will present 3 organised submissions that will make the very best of the work you've undertaken during the year long Toolkit unit.  You are required therefore to curate your work and think about how your assessors are going to experience your submission. Present your work with confidence and with an emphasis on good design.  I suggest you start thinking about your Toolkit submissions now and utilise your current experience of producing your Fantastic Voyage Art Ofs as you prepare them for assessment.

Please use your social networks to ensure your classmates have seen this information.  Many thanks.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

FAO CAA Yr 1: Photoshop / Wednesday 13th April / Online 'ART OF' Surgery

Hopefully you are all now aware that my class tomorrow is cancelled due to some room booking gremlins: however, what we'd like you to do instead is upload your preproduction Art Of pages to your blog '@Jordan', and I'll be leaving written feedback on your progress so far, offering further design advice and mentoring. This means all those pieces of concept art, production art, orthographs etc, presented in your current 'Art of' template ready for some feedback.  Please update your blogs with your Art Of pages by 10am at the latest on Wednesday 13th April.  Don't underestimate the importance to your final submission of your 'deluxe' Art Of documentation.  Use your social networks to ensure all your classmates have seen this message.  Many thanks.

Monday, April 11, 2016

FAO CAA Yr 2: Important! Critical Perspectives Essay Hand-in / 29th April

This is a clarification of the deadline for your current Critical Perspectives written assignment: on your course timetable, the deadline is given as May 4th, but the specific theory deadline is given as April 29th.  This is to confirm that your Critical Perspectives deadline is:

Deadline: Friday 29th April 2016 

Essay hand-in 11am – 12 Noon (Campus Registry, Ground floor)

Please use your social networks to ensure everyone has seen this message. Many thanks.

FAO CAA Yr 3: 29 Days Until Final Submission

29 days & counting!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

CAA One-A-Day: Horde

Zombies + motorbikes = Horde

YPGTTO: Kingdoms Of Sound Speed Paint Challenge #15 The Kingdom Of Sound

Speed Paint Challenge #15
The Kingdom Of Sound

This is it, ladies and gentleman: this is Britten's big finish.  Your challenge is to show us the Kingdom of Sound in all it's helicopter-shot-style glory.  We want to see the whole realm laid out before us.  It needs to be grand, majestic and super-cinematic!  These are the closing shots, expressing the power, potential and sonic excitement of an orchestra in full swing!

Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, Op. 34 - Finale / Benjamin Britten

Need more inspiration? Visit the original YPGTTO brief here.

Friday, April 08, 2016

FAO Everyone: Orchestra Network For Europe Presentation / CAA Baseroom / Friday 15th April

The Violin District / Heidi Grover

On Friday 15th April, the CAA Baseroom is hosting some visitors from the Orchestra Network for Europe - the partners with whom we're working for the YPGTTO animation project. I'll be showing our visitors around and presenting to them in the baseroom in the morning.  You can work in the Blue room/Red room etc as normal, just be aware that I'll be showing some VIPS around, so keep the hooliganism to a minimum!

Interpreting Heidi's image in Maya