Monday, October 31, 2016

FAO Everyone: Reminder: Visiting Lecturers Paul Larson & Laura Beaumont / Thursday @ 2pm / Lecture Theatre 1

Just a reminder that this Thursday at 2pm in Lecture Theatre 1 we're being joined by animation scriptwriters Paul Larson and Laura Beaumont, who are coming to talk to us about their careers and the mechanics of writing for animation.  Your attendance is required and please be in Lecture Theatre 1 by 1.55pm  If you turn up late in front of industry professionals - while they're talking, for example - you'll look rather silly!  Don't do it.  See you there!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Post With The Most 30/10/2016

October, month of new starts, stage-fright and rabbits-in-headlights is over and the Computer Animation Arts' Post With The Most is here once more in celebration of our students' enthusiasm, innovation and creativity.

Our year one students have just completed their first undergraduate project. For most, it's been an intense period of adjustment leaving them breathless and giddy.  Learning curves have been steep and bumps in the road have been bumpy, but they've done it - their first submission is done and dusted and the beginning of the beginning is over.  

The Invisible Cities project challenges students to envision the cities described by Italo Calvino in his magic-real book of the same name.  Calvino's cities are enigmatic, fantastical and improbable and thus make for thought-provoking subjects for our year one digital painting and concept art project.  For many of our newbies, this is the first time they've used graphic tablets or pushed their Photoshop knowledge beyond the odd lens flare or paint daubs filter.  I think they can feel rather proud of themselves.  Enjoy this smattering of thumbnails and finished paintings.

Ellie Row - Tamara

Michael Brook - Esmeralda

Polly Gwinnet - Sophronia

Ruth Cann - Ersillia

Alex Park - Argia

Last month's PWTM launched our CAA Yr 2's studio blogs, the inception of which kicked off their current collaborative project which sees teams of three or four students working together to produce an original animated short.  Inevitably, group projects bring with them their fair share of storms-in-teacups and inter-personal hoohaa, but they also generate lots of engaging pre-production art - a selection of which I'm sharing here.

The Barber Shop / Lewis Punton, Manisha Dusila & Mark Bridgland

PixiePixels / Krissy Botinova, Pip Harris & Katie Lima

D4C Studios / Ian Garling, Aureo Antonio, Brad King & Hannah Kubias

Astronaut character design development / Brad King

Astronaut character design development #2 / Brad King

Hecate Productions / Becky Stapley, Eleanor Spence & Danielle Gibbs

Sugarcube Studios / Dee Crisbacher, Tom Smith & Joe Crouch

If negotiating group dynamics wasn't challenging enough, our second years are also developing their own individual character design projects, which sees them working weekly with visiting lecturer, Justin Wyatt on in-class exercises, while devising their own characters in response to audio sound clips picked at random on the day of the briefing.

Pirate character development / Mark Bridgland

Executioner character development / Mark Bridgland

Kraken character development / Mark Bridgland

Character development thumbnails #1

Character development thumbnails #2

Character development thumbnails #3

Character development / Dee Crisbacher

Pre-production is well underway for our Year 3 students' respective final films. As per usual, we can boast a rosta of memorable characters - an extra-terrestial chanteuse, a pug called Ghengis, a little boy convinced his bed is trying to eat him... and that's just for starters.

2040 character development sheet / Tumo Mere

2040 expression sheet / Tumo Mere

2040 character development

Ghengis character development

Environment concept / Sankavy Balasingham

Environment concept #2 / Sankavy Balasingham

Hem character development #1

Hem character development #2

The Boy character development #1

Bedtime Story storyboard panels #1

Bedtime Story storyboard panels #2

The Boy expression sheet

Bedtime Story animatic

Character development sheet
'Medusa' concept / Vlad Yankov

Norma Green character sketches / Cat Barber

Norma Green concept painting / Cat Barber

Norma Green concept paintings / Julien Van Wallandael

Norma Green character development sketches / Julian Van Wallendael

Back in the August 2016 edition of the PWTM, current year 3 student Charlie Serafini talked to us about his work placement at Nexus Productions.  Charlie told us about a project he'd been working on - which, at the time, couldn't be named: 

"After a couple of weeks at Nexus I got asked to help out on another project - to create a 3D animatic for a 3D printed stop motion short film. I got given previous animatics and everything about the project to look at. After I'd made myself familiar with the project I met the director and again got briefed on what he wanted. I got straight to work and begun to make the 3D animatic based off of the 2D versions that I was given. The next day I sat down with the director again to show him my progress. He gave me some things to fix and explained there was one shot in particular he wasn't sure of. We then spent a few days working on this one shot having back and fourth discussions on how it could work and figuring out the best method of creating something that satisfied his vision. The whole animatic took about a week and half to complete. In the end it was a clear vision of what the film should look like and was created through lots of revision and feedback. 

I completed the animatic on my last day at Nexus and was asked by the director and project manager if I would be available to help during the actual shoot. Of course I said yes, and I was really excited to be able to return and watch the animatic I made become the final film."

Charlie has since been able to share the completed animation he helped to produce - a charming promotional film for Tripl Stitched.

It's CAA Alumni-time, as we catch up with the continuing adventures of the Class of 2016.  First up, it's Ayunie Adiana,  who joins our exclusive club of CAA alumni selected for the Student Volunteer Programme at SIGGRAPH.  Last month, we heard from Nadia 'Class of 2016' Yadallee, following her adventures in California at SIGGRAPH, Anaheim.  Let's hear from Ayunie now as she prepares for her stint as an SVP in Macao!

Ayunie Adiana at the Royal Festival Hall, Graduation 2016

Ayunie / After graduating, I got a couple of freelance jobs to do logo designs but mostly I've been non-stop travelling because I know once I start a job, I'll be a bit stuck!  Life in Singapore is very different in comparison to England because people here work around the clock. I get emails at two in the morning to ask how the design is going!  I am enjoying my life after graduation because I have all the time in the world to do what I want to do!

A couple years ago, I applied to be a SV at SIGGRAPH Vancouver, but wasn't successful. SIGGRAPH kept my details and sent me an invite to consider being a Student Volunteer again in Macao.  Since I am in Singapore and Macao isn't that far, I thought 'Why the hell not?' 

The application was really straightforward - it was all about giving a personal statement and explaining how you could contribute to the event.  I tried my luck again because I know it's an opportunity  to build my connections with people within the field of animation (and from all over the world too!). What I'm expecting from the event is to learn from other creative individuals and gain advice from them and companies on how to improve my portfolio and continue being a better artist. Learning I'd been accepted (Thanks CAA course leader Phil for the letter of recommendation!) was an advance birthday gift for me!

Macao is known to be the 'Vegas of Asia' so that should be exciting!  The event will be from 5th to 8th of December and I'm looking forward to share my adventures with the CAA community."

Ant Faulkner in celebratory mood at the Royal Festival Hall, Graduation 2016

Ant Faulkner likewise graduated from CAA in June this year.  His graduate film Skye has had UCA Open Day visitors reaching for their paper tissues ever since.  We were excited to learn that Ant had been shortlisted for an animation position in Vienna - and thrilled when he was offered the role.

Skye / Anthony Faulkner / July 2016

Anthony / My job is based in central Vienna, and the company is called Arx Anima. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say, so I'll keep it short and sweet.  I'll be working as a layout artist for them, working closely with the directors of the animation to bring 2D storyboards into the 3D world. I'll be working with the cinematography side of things, laying out the scene ready for animation, with some blocking of the characters and finalizing the camera animation for the scenes. It's a bit more complex than the previsualisation stuff I did on CAA but to be able to work closely with the directors and to enhance my skills in composition,v isual storytelling - and being surrounded by great individuals! - is very rewarding! 

So what happened after I graduated?  I've been apart of Artella and been doing bits and bobs where I can. Artella is a creative community where you help alongside animation projects where you can, volunteering and freelancing, depending on the project.   I'm currently on a few - one with Blastframe Studios based in San Francisco, where I was part of the character rigging team for a music video. I'm also a character modeller for a project called Poopi Lopez directed by Jorge R. Gutiérrez, the Book Of Life director!  The production is in very early stages, but hopefully it'll be a really fun and amazing project. 

If all of this sounds like it's been bliss and wonderful, I've certainly had my down times and days when I felt like giving up. I  must have sent fifty or more emails to companies with barely any replies,  or to be told 'I'm not what they're looking for', or to be given tests to do and for them to not reply positively.  I also tried visiting studios in London and asking for reviews on our work and advice on what I could do to improve. We went to the SIGGRAPH event in London and met all of the big studios and got all of the same advice -  how we need more experience and how we weren't good enough yet.  Of course, this gave us pointers as to where to go and advice on our work, which was great.  Alongside all of this, I was working for a graphics design company, Diagonal Design, doing admin work and design work. I led a campaign for Shepherds Bush Market, designed leaflets and posters, and introduced my animation experience into the company by producing some motion graphic work. 

Ultimately, after seeing the competition and the expectations of London, I decided to apply elsewhere. When London doesn't want you, go to where the work is and don't be afraid of new things! Vienna is lovely and we are especially looking forward to the Christmas markets out here - only a month away! We'll be back soon in December and look forward to seeing everyone again!"

Phil Cooper's table-top forest

As it's the end of October, thoughts of Christmas markets should be superseded by spookier stuff, and what's spookier than a classic tale of witches? Loyal readers of the PWTM will know that CAA course leader, Phil Gomm has exhibited his long exposure photography alongside artist Phil Cooper's moody and menacing collages, drawings, paintings and maquettes -  most recently at their Semblance exhibition back in August.

'Witch's Cottage' / Phil Cooper / August 2016

Excitingly, Phil Cooper can now add 'film' to his growing list of creative endeavours: "I’m collaborating with artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins and filmmaker Peter Telfer on a trailer for Clive’s new picture-book version of Hansel and Gretel for Random Spectacular, due out in November. You can see a great post on the evolution of this book on Clive’s Artlog here.

The short film will use footage of the models, intercut with puppet stop-motion sequences. Clive has described the aesthetic as “a kind of Svankmajer’s ‘Alice’/Dr. Caligari mash-up, additionally referencing…schlocky ‘horror movie’ trailers”, i.e. an absolute dream to work on!

I made a witch’s cottage model ... which will be travelling to Wales at the end of September, along with a suitcase packed up with gnarled trees, expressionist skies and cans of glow-in-the-dark spray. I think when I was little this would have been exactly the kind of thing I wanted to do when I ‘grew up'".

So, turn the lights down low, and press play: "If you go down to the woods today..."

The Final Word...

“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” 
Meister Eckhart

Friday, October 28, 2016

FAO CAA Year 3: Interim Critique (Green Light Review)

The Interim Critique (Green Light Review)

The Interim Critique will take place on Thursday 10th November starting at 
9.30am in the baseroom and at 2pm in the Exchange (reception).

You are asked to give a 5 - 10 minute presentation of your work with a view
to pitching / convincing the audience that you are ready for production to begin. In terms of what you need to include in your presentation this is going to vary per project depending upon the intended outcome. If you have any questions regarding content please see Phil or myself for advice.

FAO Everyone: Halloween Film Screening / Monday 31st October @ 3.30pm / Lecture Theatre 1

Just a reminder we're screening a double-bill of the original A Nightmare On Elm Street and Poltergeist in Lecture Theatre 1 at 3.30pm on Monday 31st October - for no other reason than it's Halloween, of course, and it will be fun seeing these classic 80s horrors on the big(ish) screen! We'll be starting promptly at 3.30pm, so be seated by 3.20pm and we'll kick off with Freddy Krueger...

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Open Day / Saturday 29th October / CAA Suites Open For Business

This Saturday is Open Day, which means you're welcome to work in the CAA computer suites between 9am and 2pm.  Make the most of the additional access.