Sunday, January 29, 2017

CAA One-A-Day: The Hangman (1964)

If, like me, you're watching events unfold in America with a sense of creeping horror, but you're not quite able to find a precise enough expression for it, watch The Hangman from Les Goldman and Paul Julian.   It's here you'll find it - the name for the dread you're feeling at the very idea of a 'Muslim Ban' and all that it augurs.  Cometh the hangman...  Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

FAO CAA Yr 3: Thank You For Your Patience

Just wanted to say thanks for your patience regarding your minor project feedback... It can't have escaped your attention that things have been super-busy of late.  We'll get your proformas out to you as soon as humanly possible, but be aware all marks need to be moderated prior to the release of the agreed percentages.  This isn't a process to be rushed, so be assured we're also going to give sufficient time and attention to your work and its assessment.  Official University policy gives us four weeks from the hand-in date to get assessment back to students, but we should be quicker than that! Thanks again for your understanding.  Watch this space!

FAO CAA Yr 1: Reading & Viewing Materials For Thursday's CTX With Kath Abiker

Kath has asked that you familiarise yourself with John Berger's Ways Of Seeing - and likewise view episodes of the accompanying television series (after link below).  You can find a downloadable PDF version on myUCA/Contextual Studies/Term 2.

FAO Yr 2/3 / Sky Blue Programme

The Sky Blue programme from UCA's Creative Enterprise Dept. are hosting a number of workshops in February and March for students wishing to learning more about going freelance.  Take a look at the timetable above and add the dates to your respective diaries - and spread the word.   You need to email Stephen Davies at to book your place.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

CAA & ONE is More @ Katowice, Poland / 27th January 2017

Filharmonia Śląska, Katowice, Poland

On Friday, January 27th, CAA's celebrated visualisation of Darius Milhaud's ballet, La création du monde was screened in Katowice, Poland, with live accompaniment by the musicians of the Filharmonia Śląska.  Milosz Kula was their conductor, and in the grand surroundings of their concert hall, our sixteen minutes-or-so cascade of shape, colour and form illuminated the fascinated faces of a full house. 

This is the sixth 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 Keith Burden of Clever Projections, who ensures our screenings run smoothly.

La création du monde was screened in Katowice 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.

Inside the Filharmonia Śląska concert hall #1

Inside the Filharmonia Śląska concert hall #2

Inside the Filharmonia Śląska concert hall #3

The pianist practices in a quiet moment

The instruments await their musicians

Preparing for the first rehearsal

Milosz Kula conducts at the second rehearsal #1

Milosz Kula conducts at the second rehearsal #2

Milosz Kula conducts at the second rehearsal #3

Milosz Kula conducts at the second rehearsal #4

Milosz Kula conducts at the second rehearsal #5

Milosz Kula conducts at the second rehearsal #6

La création du monde / Tom Beg & Jordan Buckner

Greetings From Katowice #2

Before today's performance, I just had time to get out and about in Katowice - magic winter light, sculpture, snow and a UFO!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Greetings From Katowice!

Just got time before getting some shut-eye to share a few images from Katowice, Poland - where it's forever Christmas apparently!  They've even got a giant festive Death Star!  Short version: we flew out this morning, got everything sorted for the performance tomorrow and we're good to go!

FAO CAA Yr 1: From Script To Screen OGR 2 / Wednesday 8th February

Wednesday 8th February is your 'From Script To Screen' Online Greenlight Review 2 (OGR)

Your OGR is to be presented as a single Scribd presentation on your blog, beginning with your name, date, and project title. Save your documents as PDFs before uploading to Scribd, as this should mitigate against formating glitches. Your OGR presentations should be uploaded to your blogs by 9pm on Wednesday 8th February. Written feedback will follow as a comment on your OGR post and will take between 2 - 3 days.

From Script To Screen OGR 2: What do you need to present?
  • Final script (as written using Adobe Story).
  • Completed storyboards (with illustrated camera moves etc. in accordance with storyboarding conventions.  I want to see a variety of shots and no stick men please!).
  • Your definitive 'Production Design' influence map (the art direction underpinning your story world).
  • Developmental thumbnails & concept art for Character(s) / Environment(s) / Prop(s).
In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your film reviews and ongoing CG Artist's Toolkit project work (life-drawing/Maya tutorials/Nat's animation exercises/Justin's character exercises etc). Your OGR might include links to the corresponding posts and/or images. Historically, students who use their OGR to manage their weekly tasks in this way manage their workloads more successfully. Please note: your OGR should be a professionally presented, spell-checked, with an emphasis on graphic design, layout and project branding.

You have a lot to do in a short period of time.  This means you need to work efficiently. 

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

Having trouble reading briefs and other course material?

Reading text from white paper can cause visual stress for a substantial number of students. 
After some research, we have found that many students find reading and processing information easier if it is presented on a pale coloured background instead of white.
We have therefore allocated a printer in the library that now prints onto light grey paper - the paper is also recycled, so that's another plus point :)
We would love to get any feedback from you! There is a comments box on the Gateway desk, or feel free to leave your comments here...
The printer is located around the corner in the library, opposite the DVDs.
Please let us know if it is making a difference for you!

FAO CAA Yr 3: The National Student Survey 2017

It's that time again - or it will soon be!  You've already been contacted by Ipsos Mori via email in regards to the National Student Survey, inviting you to participate.  A briefing will follow here on the group blog next week so you don't have to swing into action just yet.  Watch this space for more details.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

FAO CAA Year 2: Critical Perspectives 2 / Proof Of Concept Presentations

A reminder of the required content for your 'Proof Of Concept' presentations on Monday 30th January and Monday 6th February.  Don't treat this as a tick box exercise or last minute dash - remember the goal of this unit: it's about you and your ability to write an 8000 word dissertation with confidence!

Monday, January 23, 2017


Due to personal circumstances I won't be in the University on
Wednesday 25th January. This is a change to an original date of Thursday 26th January.
 Therefore Maya classes and the film screening on Thursday 26th January (for year 2) will
go ahead as normal (please disregard the timetable on this day).

Thanks. Alan.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

FAO CAA Yr 3: Friday's Dissertation Hand-In / Some Reminders

Friday 27th January is your Dissertation Hand-in.  More usually, this auspicious moment in a third year's life would find me posted outside the Campus Registry office in readiness to welcome you and clap you on your backs in congratulation.  Past years have also seen me dashing after latecomers and dragging them into the office before the deadline expires!  

This year, I'm away in Poland, so won't be there to ensure you've all hand-in in okay and everything is fine and dandy.  For this reason, I'm offering up these reminders in terms of your submission so no one does the wrong thing, or self-sabotages, or simply underestimates the seriousness of the deadline.

  • FRIDAY 27th JANUARY 2017
  • 4pm – 5pm to the Campus Registry, Ground floor

Campus Registry will not accept your submission at 1 minute past 5pm.  They're not allowed and they will not do it, and it doesn't matter how much you plead or cry.  There will be nothing that I or anyone else can do if you submit late.  Campus Registry have to be meticulous about hand-ins to ensure parity of practice across all of UCA.  If you miss the 4 - 5pm deadline, it's a non-submission and that is the end of it.  Short version: DON'T RISK IT; get your dissertations submitted before 5pm.  You can always submit earlier than 4pm.  This is what I would try and do - submit for 4pm or earlier.

  • You're submitting 2 printed copies to Campus Registry
  • Your printed copies must be paginated (have page numbers!).
  • Your printed copied must be bound.

You purchase the binding mechanism in the UCA Shop (there's a range of types) and there are binding machines in the library.  Do not leave binding your dissertation to the last minute, as there are a number of ways this process can cause you last-minute grief - queues of students trying to do the same thing, and binding mistakes requiring reprints of your dissertation.  There are simpler binding options - those involving a simple gripping binder not requiring perforation of your pages - but be aware this binding isn't ultimately as secure.  Whatever your choice, do not hand-in unbound piles of paper - your dissertation may not be accepted.

You shouldn't be binding your dissertation in the 4 - 5pm submission window.  This is high-risk behaviour because it dials up the probability of something administrative or practical going wrong and costing you time.  Remember - Campus Registry will NOT accept your dissertation even one minute after 5pm. 

  • You need to submit your dissertation through Turnitin.
  • You need to add your Turnitin ID number to the assessment cover sheet.
  • An assessment cover sheet must accompany both printed dissertations (i.e. you need to complete 2!).
  • The assessment cover sheet is on myUCA/Dissertation.

There are a few house-keeping 'must haves' too in terms of the presentation of your written documents:

  • Dissertation should be 1.5 or double-spaced.
  • Text should be justified.
  • Font should be sized at 12pt.
  • Dissertation must include a title page and a contents page.
  • Dissertation must include bibliography and illustration list.
  • Dissertation to be printed as single-sided pages.
  • Any images should be at high-quality resolution and in colour where necessary.

And finally... I know you're all frazzled, but just keep going.  In a week's time it will be done and dusted.  Remember to save your work often and keep your structures in mind.  Keep asking yourself if your chapters are delivering what they need to in order for the reader to follow your line of argument effortlessly and feel confident that you know what you're doing and where you're taking them.  Remember too it is quite normal - even preferable - to (re)write your introduction at the very end of this process if you need to re-focus it to reflect more accurately what you've written or what you've ultimately concluded.

I don't want to see anyone tomorrow for third year major project tutorials. You should be working on your dissertations. I'm not expecting to see any one anyway, but some of you turn up because you think you have to... You don't.  Just get this done and get this done right.  Also, we won't be releasing minor project feedback until after you've handed in your dissertation and enjoyed a restful and restorative weekend, so put all of that out of your minds too.   Just focus on the task in hand and get it done to the very best of your ability.  Good luck - and go channel your inner-Mulan - everyone sing-a-long now!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

FAO CAA Yr 2: Critical Perspectives / Your Two-Part Premise / Ideation Example

So, you've been challenged to come up with a two-part premise for next week's Critical Perspectives session, as we seek to develop some killer enquiries for your proposed dissertations. Easier said than done, you might say - so much to think about, so much choice. Where to start!?

You'll recall I gave you a number of starter-categories to get you thinking, the idea being you identify ideas within these categories that align with stuff you're already interested in, or which you suspect might associate with stuff you're already interested in.  You might have seen this ideation exercise appear on one of your classmate's blogs earlier today: I'm sharing it here because it's really useful and a completely practical example of how you might go about breaking the seal on this 'thinking task' - a list of words under the various categories given above that slowly begin to reveal preoccupations or emphases or natural affinities.  I'm guessing this was done quickly, instinctively and without too much second-guessing.  If you don't know where to start in terms of finding your two-part premise - or how to start - you could do worse than having a go at this...

Get your premise ideation up on your blog with an @Phil and I'll do my best to shine a light here and there.  Don't be afraid or give time to worry - just make lists and watch for any patterns, repeats or affinities; in them, your premise awaits you.  Get busy.