It's hard to believe next time the Computer Animation Arts PWTM goes live on here, the academic year will be as good as over and our students will be twiddling their thumbs post-submission. (It looks like I've hit that time of life when I'm astounded over-and-over by the swift passing of time and feel it necessary to comment thus!). Still, we're not there yet - the end is indeed nigh, but with a little under two weeks before final submission, our students have loads to achieve in the remaining time.
For our first years, their Fantastic Voyage animations find them operating at the upper-limit of their knowledge and experience. While this final project represents a culmination of all they've learned since they arrived at UCA back in September 2016, it also demands they 'learn on the job'. No single curricula can teach a group of cg-newbies how to model a cartoon car, Dr-Seuss-inspired chromosome or Lucienne Day-esque chemotherapy particle, and yet here they are, making it happen anyway. They're to be applauded for their ambition, determination and pluck!
Enjoy this selection of year one 'works-in-progress' and look forward to next month's edition, which will showcase the best of their final year films. Remember too, should you want to explore any of the projects profiled here, you need only click on the students' names by which to arrive at their respective course-specific blogs.
|Cell-cycle / Cell racing car 3D model test render / Graeme Daly|
Cell-cycle / Cell racing car 3D model rigged / Graeme Daly
|Cancer / Chemotherapy orthographs / Michaela Cernejová|
|Cancer / Chemotherapy 3D model / Michaela Cernejová|
|Cancer / Chemotherapy 3D model textured / Michaela Cernejová|
|Cell-cycle / Cyril the cell character development / Alex Park|
|Cell-cycle / Cyril the cell character model / Alex Park|
Mitosis / Pre-viz / Paris Lucke
Year 2 on CAA is a famously challenging learning phase for students, characterised as it is by the rigours of collaboration and the prospect of specialisation, and by the looming reality-check otherwise known as 'year three'. Another challenge is presented by their 'acting for animation' classes with guest lecturer, Dan Snelgrove. At risk of making sweeping generalisations, it might be said students of cgi are not hugely extroverted, and for many of them the idea of acting and improvisation is daunting. That said, the truly lovely thing about the acting classes is how much our students come to enjoy them. Take a look at this selection of photos taken by various students during their classes - and note the lack of captions; the what, when and how of the scenarios so implied is up to you, dear reader, to decide!
When not playing 'ninja' in the baseroom or improvising characters of oppositional status, the second years are also finishing up with their Adaptation project. The exciting thing about these projects is the range and scope of their respective methodologies, with students using Maya in speculative ways. For example, while the likes of Eleanor Spence and Mark Bridgland are using the powerful 3D software traditionally as the means by which to translate their 2D production art into ambitious 3D assets, Deanna Crisbacher is deploying Maya as the mediator between audio and image, physicalising sound as disturbing deformations to the female form.
|Dysmorphia / Text render #1 / Deanna Crisbacher|
|Dysmorphia / Text render #2 / Deanna Crisbacher|
|Dysmorphia / Text render #3 / Deanna Crisbacher|
|Dysmorphia / Text render #4 / Deanna Crisbacher|
|Dysmorphia / Text render #5 / Deanna Crisbacher|
|Dysmorphia / Text render #6 / Deanna Crisbacher|
|My Pretty Rose Tree / Rose character development / Eleanor Spence|
|Ah! Sun-flower / Sun-flower character development / Eleanor Spence|
|The Lilly / Lilly character development / Eleanor Spence|
|My Pretty Rose Tree / Modelling Rose #1 / Eleanor Spence|
|My Pretty Rose Tree / Modelling Rose #2 / Eleanor Spence|
|Devil's Elixir / 'Redrum' orthographs / Mark Bridgland|
|Devil's Elixir / 'Redrum' modelling progress #1 / Mark Bridgland|
|Devil's Elixir / 'Redrum' modelling progress #2 / Mark Bridgland|
|Devil's Elixir / 'Redrum' modelling progress #3 / Mark Bridgland|
Our third years are surely beginning to feel it now - the pressure of their looming hand-in. They need to stare their fears down and push on, ticking items of their crowed to-do lists one-by-one and hold their nerve. Join me in wishing them all the very best of luck - fingers-crossed for a gremlin-free final leg of their three year adventure on Computer Animation Arts...
|Bloom / Character concept painting / Eva Pinnington|
|Bloom / Character modelling #1 / Eva Pinnington|
|Bloom / Character modelling #1 / Eva Pinnington|
|Bloom / Gun design & model / Eva Pinnington|
|Bloom / Holster model #1 / Eva Pinnington|
|Bloom / Holster model #2 / Eva Pinnington|
Cat Barber & Julien Van Wallandael @ Tsygan Productions
Stellar! / Compositing test #1 / Tsygan Productions
Stellar! / Compositing test #2 / Tsygan Productions
Stellar! / Compositing test #3 / Tsygan Productions
|Stellar! / Matte test #1 / Tsygan Productions|
|Stellar! / Matte test #2 / Tsygan Productions|
|Hem / Test render #1 / Ryan Brand|
|Hem / Test render #2 / Ryan Brand|
|Hem / Test render #3 / Ryan Brand|
|Hem / Test render #4 / Ryan Brand|
|Hem / Test render #5 / Ryan Brand|
Bedtime Story / Animation progress #3 / Charlie Serafini
|Bedtime Story / Test render / Charlie Serafini|
|Bedtime Story / Test render #2 / Charlie Serafini|
|Bedtime Story / Test render #3 / Charlie Serafini|
|Bedtime Story / Test render #4 / Charlie Serafini|
|Bedtime Story / Test render #5 / Charlie Serafini|
|The Sound Collector / Kitchen texturing progress / Jack White|
|The Sound Collector / Living Room texturing progress / Jack White|
|The Sound Collector / Render test #1 / Jack White|
|The Sound Collector / Render test #2 / Jack White|
|The Sound Collector / Render test #3 / Jack White|
|The Sound Collector / Render test #4 / Jack White|
Four / Pre-viz / Mark Stamp
Work on CAA's adaptation of Britten's The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra continues apace as we move ever closer to the moment when we start to actually 'make' the film. As any one of our students will tell you, working with CGI is a prolonged exercise in delayed gratification - everything takes a long time - and there's always one more thing to be designed or 'just one more tweak' before the cameras roll. For the YPGTTO production team, that day is surely getting closer, but until then, here's a selection of everything we've been up to this month:
|YPGTTO / The King & Queen orthographs / Julien Van Wallandael|
|YPGTTO / The King & Queen 3D models (works in progress) / Ethan Shilling|
|YPGTTO / The Violin Train #1 / Emily Clarkson|
|YPGTTO / The Violin Train #2 / Emily Clarkson|
|YPGTTO / The Overture staircase 3D model / Samantha Niemczyk (design by Emily Clarkson)|
|YPGTTO / The Overture staircase 3D model #2 / Samantha Niemczyk (design by Emily Clarkson)|
|YPGTTO / The Bassoon District buildings / Jordan Buckner|
YPGTTO / Yellow rigging demonstration / Ethan Shilling
YPGTTO / Red run-cycle #1 / Natalie Urwin
YPGTTO / Red run-cycle #2 / Natalie Urwin
As regular readers of the PWTM will know, it's around about this time of year this course leader's online shopping habits begin to favour all things glow-y, as I prepare to continue my intermittent project exploring the other-worldly dimensions of long-exposure photography. At long last, I've gone as far as establishing a website archiving all previous excursions. It's a simple affair - and not finished yet - but it's interesting to see it all in one place, not least because it reveals an obvious preoccupation with uncanny effects and filmic tableaux.
|Arrival II / Phil Gomm / 2015|
|Arrival II / Phil Gomm / 2015|
|Room I / Phil Gomm / 2015|
|Meadow / Phil Gomm / 2014|
|351 / Phil Gomm / 2016|
What all of the images have in common I suppose is my excitement at seeing the camera catch something that 'wasn't there' - this is the crux of my obsession, and it goes right back to a childhood characterised by the desire to encounter the unexplained - UFOs, fairies, ghosts... Later in the Summer, I'll be returning to No 351 to enact new rituals of light, time and activity in that old dark house, but before that, I'll be seeking to capture phenomena a little closer to home. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was famously duped by the fairy photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths in 1920 and I'm on the hunt for some similarly ethereal beings at the bottom of my own garden. Not content with the sepia fabulations of Wright and Griffiths, I'm going to be channelling the light-fantastic of Fantasia's Nutcracker sequence... watch this space!
|Still from The Nutcracker Suite / Fantasia / 1948|
|The Cottingley Fairies / Elsie Wright & Frances Griffiths / 1920|
As our final year students contemplate their lives after UCA, it's both inspiring and soothing to share stories from our extended family of alumni, who have journeyed far and wide in the pursuit of their creative ambitions. Dayle 'Class of 2013' Sanders dropped by the CAA group blog a few days back to precis his adventures-in-animation:
|Dayle 'Class of 2013' Sanders|
"Hi there, my name is Dayle. I graduated from Computer Animation Arts in 2013. I currently work as a Junior Animator/ Animation Fixer at Jellyfish Pictures in London. It's great to be able to share with you today what I have been up to and offer my industry perspective too, as a former classmate and fellow Rochester alumni... At the start of the year, I became a Junior Animator/ Animation Fixer on Jellyfish's new production, Dennis the Menace; actioning intersections, asset replacing, and animation alterations. I work on a few shots myself from time-to-time, too! From character, prop and environment layout in Maya, to polished animation approval..."
Read more about Dayle's post-UCA adventures here.
|Dennis The Menace / Jellyfish Pictures|
The Last Word...
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein