Saturday, December 31, 2016

CAA Misc. Clowning



2016 was the year of the 'horror clown' - watch this documentary for a way back to simpler, less macabre incarnations.  Indeed, there is a sense of childlike wonder at work here, and for animators, character designers and environment people, there is a wealth of visual reference here. Enjoy.

Post With The Most 31/12/2016


“Tonight’s December thirty-first,
Something is about to burst.
The clock is crouching, dark and small,
Like a time bomb in the hall.
Hark, it's midnight, children dear.
Duck! Here comes another year!”
Ogden Nash, 1929

Like a time bomb in the hall... 

2017 does a feel a bit like that, doesn't it? Who knows what's coming next in these newly uncertain times.  2016 has been both absurd and a bit terrifying - a clown with a shotgun. I won't be alone tonight in my sense of satisfaction at showing it the door.  I don't know about you, but the whole Carrie Fisher thing was pretty much the last straw.

How lucky I am to work within a community of young, aspiring artists whose ambition and creativity always make the future seem bright and a place worth visiting.  It's New Year's Eve and what better way to usher in 2017 than with an all-new pristine edition of the Computer Animation Arts Post With The Most and our monthly celebration of talent, imagination and the inarguable benefits of a university education.  

Three months ago, our first years arrived in the CAA baseroom all big-eyed and trepidatious and worried about pretty much everything.  Now look at them - boisterous, clever, and coming on nicely. Term one concluded with their What If Metropolis submission - a project requiring them to work closely with the ideas and imagery of another artist or designer to envision a fantastical city.

Karolina Urlikyte - City of Ezinor (after Victor Vasarely)


Ezinor / Wireframe / Karolina Urlikyte

Ezinor / Occlusion pass / Karolina Urlikyte

Ezinor / Final render / Karolina Urlikyte

Graeme Daly - City of Distortia (after George Braque)

Distortia / Concept painting / Graeme Daly

Distortia / Digital set / Graeme Daly

Distortia / Digital set + matte painting / Graeme Daly

Paris Lucke - City of Merveille (after Joseph Cornell)

Merveille / Final render / Paris Lucke

Merveille / Art Of / Paris Lucke


It's no secret group projects can prove hugely challenging, no less so for our current year two students, who, I suspect, will take yet more time to truly value lessons learned during their recent collaborations.  Conflict resolution, negotiation, forbearance and perseverance may not seem the equal of flashy renders or dynamic animation in terms of gauging a project's success, but these are invaluable skills only learned by going through something difficult - diamonds pressed from coal. 


Hecate Productions / Becky Stapley, Eleanor Spence & Danielle Gibbs

The Old Seamstress / Textured turnaround / Hecate Productions

The Old Seamstress / Textured model #1 / Hecate Productions

The Old Seamstress / Textured model #2 / Hecate Productions

The Old Seamstress / 2D animation sequence / Hecate Productions


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

Giant Steps / 2D Alien assets / DC4 Studios 
Giant Steps / Rendered still #1  / DC4 Studios 

Giant Steps / Rendered still #2  / DC4 Studios 


Sugarcube Studios / Dee Crisbacher, Tom Smith & Joe Crouch

Pikatti / Rendered still #1 / Sugarcube Studios

Pikatti / Rendered still #2 / Sugarcube Studios

Pikatti / Rendered still #3 / Sugarcube Studios

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

Pine / Finished character models / The Barber Shop


Pine / Art Of / The Barber Shop


I'm not sure how great a time our third years had this Christmas.  It must be hard to truly relax when you've got your minor project hand-in in the second week of January, and your dissertation hand-in a few days later! Nonetheless, I hope they managed a few mince-pies in between hitting their keyboards and marshalling citations.  Here's a glimpse of some of their ongoing progress on their final year animations.  Join me in wishing them all the very best of luck for their January submissions.



Genghis The Space Pug / Genghis finished model #1 / Max Ashby

Genghis The Space Pug / Genghis finished model #2 / Max Ashby

Genghis The Space Pug / Genghis finished model #3 / Max Ashby



Bedtime Story / Developing The Boy's textures #1 / Charlie Serafini

Bedtime Story / Developing The Boy's textures #2 / Charlie Serafini

Bedtime Story / Developing The Boy's textures #3 / Charlie Serafini


Soma / Mada character development / Eva Pinnington

Soma / Mada modelling progress / Eva Pinnington

Soma / Mada texture map / Eva Pinnington

Soma / Mada finished model + UVs / Eva Pinnington


Four / Four 3D model  / Mark Stamp

Four / Four Skinning progress / Mark Stamp

Four / Adding eyelid controls / Mark Stamp


PC Tank / 3D model (wip) #1 / Jamie Wathen

PC Tank / 3D model (wip) #2 / Jamie Wathen

PC Tank / 3D model (wip) #3 / Jamie Wathen

PC Tank / 3D model (wip) #4 / Jamie Wathen


Stellar! / Norma character design development # 1 / Tsygan Productions

Stellar! / Norma character design development # 2 / Tsygan Productions

Stellar! / Norma 3D models / Tsygan Productions


Stellar! / Norma texturing progress / Tsygan Productions


As work continues on CAA's adaptation of Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra, CAA alumna, Emily 'Class of 2015' Clarkson joins the fold. The YPGTTO script calls for multiple cityscapes deriving from specific orchestral instruments, and Emily has been busy visualising sets of individual assets, soon to be translated into 3D models.

YPGTTO / The Horn District concept art / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Trombone & Tuba District concept art / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Trumpet District concept art #1 / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Trumpet District concept art #2 / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Violin District concept art  / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Viola District concept art  / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Cello District concept art #1  / Emily Clarkson

YPGTTO / The Cello District concept art #2  / Emily Clarkson

On December 6th, CAA's celebrated visualisation of Darius Milhaud's ballet, La création du monde was screened to a full house at Zilina's concert hall, Slovakia, with live accompaniment by the musicians of the Slovak Sinfonietta. Simon Chalk was their conductor and master of ceremonies, and following a short presentation explaining the provenance of our animation, the lights dimmed, the musicians began to play, and shapes and colours began pulsing across the screen.

La création du monde was screened in Zilina as part of the ONE is more programme: An Orchestra Network for Europe – ONE - is a distinctive network of classical symphony orchestras initiated by Orchestre de Picardie in 2003. Since 2005, it has received support from the European Union under the Culture Programme for 4 cultural projects. Its successive periods of activity have been called ONE, ONE - a new dimension, ONE step further and from June 2011 to 2015 ONE goes places. In 2010, under the title ONE is more, it prepared an application under the Creative Europe programme of the EU. For this bid, the University for the Creative Arts joined the partnership.

Simon Chalk rehearsing La création du monde with the Slovak Sinfonietta at the Concert Hall, Zilina #1

Simon Chalk rehearsing La création du monde with the Slovak Sinfonietta at the Concert Hall, Zilina #2

This is the fifth screening for our animation, which began life as a multi-participant speed paint challenge, in which the students, alumni and staff of Computer Animation Arts were invited to visualise Milhaud's jazz-inspired ballet as a series of abstract digital paintings. CAA alumni Tom Beg and Jordan Buckner then worked with the resulting paintings, translating them into moving image. In common with previous screenings, the experience of watching the animation accompanied by the full bombast and beauty of a live orchestra was magical and transformative. Many thanks to Simon Chalk, for all his fizz and enthusiasm for the project, and to Keith Burden of Clever Projections, who not only ensures our screenings are faultless, smooth and gremlin-free, but who also drove the three thousand mile trip to Slovakia and back in the short space of four days!


Still from La création du monde #1  / Tom Beg & Jordan Buckner

Still from La création du monde #2  / Tom Beg & Jordan Buckner

Still from La création du monde #3  / Tom Beg & Jordan Buckner

The Last Word...

“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” Carrie Fisher