Friday, September 29, 2017

Post With The Most 29/09/2017


It's still very early days on Computer Animation Arts.  Briefs have been briefed and brain cells are firing again after the hazier, lazier days of the long hot Summer.  Our latest recruits are beginning to lose their expressions of bewilderment as new routines start to feel less overwhelming. Returning students are revving up.  While the next edition of the Post With The Most will be the usual cornucopia of ideas-in-the-offing, this month's PWTM has a retrospective feel as we catch up with some of our alumni and the Course Leader answers that question beloved of school teachers everywhere, "What did you do over the Summer holidays?".

Before all of that - an exciting announcement: after several years of preparation, reflection and improvement, Computer Animation Arts has been accredited by Creative Skillset, and if you don't know what that means or why this news is very good news indeed, let's hear from Skillset themselves:

"Creative Skillset accredits practice-based degree courses that most effectively provide students with the skills and knowledge required by employers in the Creative Industries. Courses that achieve accreditation are awarded the Creative Skillset Tick. The Tick is an invaluable signpost for potential students, apprentices and employers to indicate those programmes that provide the most up-to-date and relevant industry training and education. For potential learners, the Tick signposts courses that can prove they connect with industry and which teach professional skills that make sure you graduate work-ready. For employers, the Tick signposts them to work-ready graduates and apprentices from creative courses that have proven links with industry and teach professional skills. Graduates from Ticked courses have privileged access to Trainee Finder, a service that matches trainees with companies across the UK’s animation, film, games, high-end TV and VFX industries."






Let's not be backward about coming forwards on this - this is a big achievement, and behind the scenes, the course team have worked rather tirelessly to make this happen.  However, we owe our students and alumni a huge vote of thanks for their role in getting us this result.  Creative Skillset is a rigorously evidence-based application, and the industry panel overseeing our submission looked at the creative output of our students and alumni for reassurance.  They clearly liked what they saw!  Special thanks must go to 2017 graduates Charlie Serafini, Catriona Barber and Julien Van Wallendael, all of whom accompanied the staff team to the high-stakes industry panel scrutiny meeting in London.  Think Dragon's Den meets The Apprentice and you'll have some idea as to the nature of the event!  Suffice to say, Charlie, Cat and Julien were exceptionally articulate on the subject of the breadth and depth of their educational experience on Computer Animation Arts and dealt with an intimidating, high-pressurised encounter with impressive aplomb.  

Let's further celebrate the accomplishments of the creative community of Computer Animation Arts by taking a couple of minutes to enjoy this year's course showreel.




September can be a challenging month for recent graduates; for many, it will be the first September in years when they're not due to 'go back to school' and the inevitability of new beginnings isn't there.  It can feel too as if everyone else in the world has somewhere they need be and something to do.  It can be lonely - a fallow period during which it is easy for a freshly-hatched graduate to lose their nerve.

Let's seek to give comfort and reassurance by catching up with two of CAA's most recent graduates, Anthony 'Class of 2016' Faulkner and Jamie 'Class of 2017' Wathen, as they answer the question, 'What happened after you graduated?'

Anthony 'Class of 2016' Faulkner

Ant Faulkner / After graduation I went to London with my Art Of book and knocked on various studio doors, curious to see if my work and I were of a high enough standard to join the buzzing community. I was told I had missed the 'graduate run' and that if I were to be a CG Generalist I needed more evidence of varied skills. I then attended a business convention where I connected with business owners who needed graphic designers etc.  This event led me to become a freelance artist for Diagonal Designs in Sevenoaks. I worked there for 4 months, all the while applying for jobs in and outside of London. I did have one interview with The Marketing Store (through ND16) but we both knew the job just wasn't for me.  I also worked on some freelance projects through Artella as a rigger and animator. It wasn't until October, whilst attending the Story Design Conference in Rome with Chris Oatley, that I had an interview with Arx Anima, Vienna, Austria.  I secured a placement as a layout intern then quickly progressed to a Junior Layout Artist within 3 months of the company. I worked on the web series, Talking Tom and Friends Season 2.  I had such a fantastic time working there. The team is fantastic and due to it being a slightly smaller studio I had a lot of opportunities to work closely with directors and my seniors. I learned so much about my role and industry-etiquette ,but all good things must come to an end. 




After being on the team for 10 months the project was coming to an end and I needed to find more work. I started to apply as a Layout Artist and got two offers, one for a children's TV series in London and a Netflix animated series in France. However, a recruiter from Double Negative had seen my LinkedIn Profile and contacted me about a Layout job opening soon. After a very long 3 course interview process, here I am in Double Negative working on a feature film due to release early 2018!


My working day is from 9am - 6pm. I make myself some breakfast and tea in the office kitchen and after fuelling my brain I go to my desk and catch up on any emails and see what work I have been assigned for the day or week. As a Mid Layout Artist it is my responsibility to produce the final camera animation for the chosen shots and sequences. My role also includes blocking in rough animation, final compositions and making sure the assets are accurate for the pipeline. I work predominately from storyboards and transition that into the first stage of 3D in readiness for the next stage of the pipeline. I have an hour lunch break in which I either sit in the kitchen socialising with other artists or I play games in the main atrium with my colleagues. After lunch I submit any work I have completed to show the seniors in daily reviews and get regular feedback on my work. We also have a screening the first Friday of each month to bring different departments together and see what we have achieved so far, this is all accompanied by beer and pizza.


Anthony Faulkner / Skye face rig

CAA / Any advice for our newest recruits?

Listen to your tutor and listen to your instincts. This is the time to step out of your comfort zone and explore all aspects of the course. Take advantage of the time for experimentation and collaboration because there's a high chance after gaining your degree you still won't be certain on what path you want to take. Don't be shy and learn from everyone and everything around you.  The great thing about art or learning a new skill is that it will benefit you whatever path you take. Every piece of knowledge gained will have a positive impact on your development as an artist. Be open to finding work alongside the course, whether professional or voluntary (on Artella?). Any insight to the industry will help you develop. This is also the time to make connections; create a group page with your classmates and help each other throughout the course. Just remember this is the time to make mistakes and find out who you want to be - and don't forget to have fun!


Anthony Faulkner / Skye / 2016

CAA / Any advice for our current final year students?

Stay true to yourself.  If you need something and the project is calling for it, don't ignore it - even if people say you can't do it, make the time and do your work justice. Relish in the time you have to create something truly yours.  I have met many people and only a handful of them have created their own short and you could be one of them.  This is the year for you to really say something and be the artist you want to be. Having your own 'product' is not something that should be underestimated or overlooked, as it not only shows who you are but who you want to be and your ambition to connect artistically.  If you are worried about grades - don't be - producing something you love will get you the grade you want and deserve. Don’t be selfish and help each other out. Your classmates are your friends not your competition.  There’s a whole bigger world out there to compete with so get through your final year together and you never know you could all be collaborating on a big project one day. Don’t worry about the future after the course - put all of that stress energy into something that will help you now; your project needs all of you.  Take everything one step at a time. It's not just about animation after the course - there are a multitude of disciplines within the industry.  Truly think about what it is you love; telling stories, directing, animating, compositing... Whatever is you love to do - do it. Lastly, don't be scared to look or start outside of London.  There is whole bigger world out there and it's yours to explore!


Jamie 'Class of 2017' Wathen

Jamie Wathen / After I graduated I took some time for myself.  You deserve a break from work to unwind.  After attending the New Designers event I kept in touch with The Marketing Store who I'd met at the graduate show. Over the summer I was lucky to land a couple of small freelance projects that truly tested the skills and my time managment. I was finally contacted by TMS and, long story short, I'm now working in their London Studio. If I could give a little advice... Talk! I'm a very quiet person, but without the networking I did at New Designers I wouldn't be where I am.

Jamie Wathen  (centre) at New Designers 2017

My working day starts from 9:30 and ends 5:30 (though in the creative industry expect overtime!) I'm not allowed to talk to much about what I'm doing. I'm working mainly with Meta Data at the moment but this could change on a monthly basis. Coming straight from uni I'm very much a newbie and I'm very much at the bottom of a tall company ladder. 

CAA / Any advice for our first years?

For you newbies, I would suggest working hard in year 1. If you don't, you'll only make it harder on yourself in years 2 and 3 trust me. That sounds a little patronising but spending the first few months 'slightly tipsy' makes playing catch-up very stressful. Do not be tempted to ignore the more 'tedious' tasks you have to do with your work... as guess what you'll probably be doing in your first job!


Jamie Wathen / Trimia / 2017


CAA / Any advice for our third years?

You probably have some kind of direction you want to tailor your work towards? Tie in what you want to do when you leave and try and really showcase these parts of the project. It's harsh to think about but when you leave there will be thousands of artists fighting for jobs. I must have sent over 200 applications! Don't forget to make your work the best work you can and make it stand out, You have to try your hardest to be that little bit better than the next person...


Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / Red & Yellow in the Trumpet District

For a few select people, the Summer months were as busy as any other, as work on CAA's animated adaptation of Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide To The Orchestra continued.  It's going become increasingly difficult for me to convey my gratitude and admiration for the YPGTTO production team; I may soon run out of synonyms and superlatives, but suffice to say their hard work, imagination, and down-and-dirty, nuts-and-bolts commitment to getting this job done right cannot be overestimated.  We have just over thirty days to now complete this epic animated adventure before its premiere in Amiens, France.  Enjoy this tiny smattering of updates from the Kingdom Of Sound and know you're just seeing the tip of a very large iceberg...


Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / Pre-vis / Jordan Buckner



Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Bassoon District playblast #1 / Jack White



Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Bassoon District playblast #2 / Jack White



Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Violin District playblast #1 / Dee Crisbacher



Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Violin District playblast #2 / Dee Crisbacher



Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Viola District playblast  / Dee Crisbacher



Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Viola District playblast  / Dee Crisbacher

Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Percussion District playblast  / Emily Clarkson


Red & The Kingdom Of Sound / The Arena / Digital set by Simon Holland, Conductor model by Alan Postings

It was often the case, following another long, boring Summer holiday spent watching cartoons with the curtains drawn to keep the sun off the television, I'd struggle to come up with some enthralling response to my English teacher's 'What did you do over your Summer holidays' homework.   Had I written 'impersonated a long-dead dignitary and had my likeness hung in a museum', my teacher might have had cause to doubt the veracity of my account and asked to see me after class...  only on this occasion I'm not telling fibs!

You may recall from a previous edition of the PWTM, that I was asked to give my likeness to a portrait of the Mayor of Rochester, Sir Peter Buck - for whom no visual record exists - on account of my rather luxuriant facial furniture.  Artist Kevin Clarkson undertook this clever subterfuge, working up the portrait from meticulous historical research - oh and a couple of mug-shots from yours truly!

This is what Wikipedia has to tell us about the real Sir Buck: "In the 1590s, Eastgate House, a Grade I listed Elizabethan townhouse in Rochester, Kent, was built for Buck. He was Mayor of Rochester and Clerk of the Cheque at Chatham Dockyard.  Buck was knighted by James I in 1603. He also served as Secretary to Algernon Percy, Earl of Northumberland and Lord High Admiral.  Buck died in 1625 and was survived by his wife Frances, the only daughter of William Knight, and daughter Margaret. He was referred to as "The Worshipful Sir Peter".


The portrait of 'Sir Peter Buck', Eastgate House, Rochester

I was invited along to the grand re-opening of the restored Eastgate House back in July to see Kevin's portrait of 'Sir Peter Buck' hanging in-situ - and some of the double-takes from the other guests were priceless!  


'Sir Peter Buck' by Kevin Clarkson

My last words for this edition of the PWTM are straightforward enough, as I extend a big warm welcome to all our new first years, and hearty 'welcome back' to years two and three.  I'm personally very excited to see what you produce this year, and look forward to sharing your creativity and your imaginative triumphs in future editions of the Post With The Most.

And to any of our recent grads reading this who might be feeling a little lost... Sir Peter Buck says 'Keep going!'

Thursday, September 28, 2017

FAO Year 2 Collaboration: Preparation for Dan's Class on Monday and OGR Details


Collaboration

For Dan’s class on Monday

Dan is going to be new to your project and ideas so put together a sheet(s) that help explain it/them fully. Make sure it includes your starting title (e.g. world’s worst), a complete list of your ideas, performance ideas (see below), and any other information you think Dan may need to know about your project. Think, if you knew nothing about your project, what would you need to know about it to get on board quickly?

Three (or more) Performance ideas (visually defined so that Dan can work on performance with you.) 

Dan will be helping you with physical performance so please make sure you have considered your ideas 'visually' beyond an initial idea. A good way to start is to try to define your skit using a ‘three panel comic’ technique (above). You can write notes above, below, or on you panels to help you describe the perceived actions in your skit. If you have, multiple ideas for a skit draw and write these out too. The more ideas you have the more options you will have on the day. Above all don’t turn up to the class with nothing, this is a class where you need to have 50% of an idea to work on.

After the class. 

Take what you have learnt about your project from Dan’s class an start making ‘video animatics' of your skits featuring yourselves (or a collaborator) - Yes, acting or posing things out to a camera. This is going to be your first attempt at defining performance and editing for comedy. You can use images, video, cut-outs, animation, text, or any other media you need to convey your ideas. For example, if you need a pair of flippers on your feet whilst filming, two bits of card and some rubber bands will do. Keep your work roughly made but clear and concise in what your intending to convey. 

For your OGR.

For you OGR I would like you to include the following components in one post on your studio blog (repeating the post on your own blog). You can use a PDF format and embedded video to submit your work. Include a graphically designed cover and make sure your post is correctly labeled.

- 1) How you have allocated job roles: Director, Producer, etc.
- 2) Your title: E.g world’s worst.
- 3) Your starting ideas: What have you discussed, rejected, kept.
- 4) You final ideas list: This is the final list or a statement explaining the ideas you want to take forward.
- 5) Three visual/ fleshed out skit ideas: Drawn as a three panel comic or similar (see ‘For Dan’s class’ above)
- 6) Three animatic versions of your skits: See ‘After the class’ above.

- 7) Ideas on what the overall structure of your film might be: For example, will you use title cards to join your skits together? Which idea is your best / worst? Which one will go first and which one will go last in your sequence. Is there a ‘natural structure’ that will hold your film together. For example, if you have ‘outtakes from films’ you could spoof a ‘Youtube top 10 list’ (like Watchmojo for example). Or, if you have a Victorian Gentleman swimmer as a character then you might use ‘early silent cinema’ as a style. If your film is about repeatedly learning to drive and failing then it might framed using the passage of time - days of the week, ‘day one, two, and so on’ or months ‘January, February, etc’.

- 8) Set / Background Ideas: This is linked to the structure ideas above. What would you need in terms of sets or backgrounds to make your skit work. For example, if you have ‘world’s worst spy’ you might replicate the ‘essence’ of a 1960’s James Bond style set (designed by Ken Adams) for the background. This could be achieved quickly and easily with simple props - It doesn’t need to be complicated but it does need to be well observed. This is early days so I don't expect these to be designed yet, just considered.

- 9) Basecamp, Studio Blog, and Personal Blogs: Evidence that; You have branded your studio blogs and been posting regularly. That you have been using Basecamp to discuss and organise your work. That you have kept your personal blog up to date with your contribution. You only need to have done this, you do not need to include evidence as part of your OGR post.

Finally, any questions please ask me.

FAO Everyone: Your New Campus Registry Officer is Hazel Searles


Hazel Searles is CAA's new campus registry officer.  You need to contact Hazel if you're going to be absent or late - so not Alan or myself - as Hazel will make a formal record of your correspondence and then notify the course team.

  • Hazel's email is hsearles@ucreative.ac.uk
  • Hazel's telephone number is 01634 888745

Please make sure your classmates have seen this information.  Many thanks.



FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities #9 (The Chapel)



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FAO 1st years...Film review tips

I just thought I would drop by with a few hints and tips for you, as you prepare to write your first film review...

Some of you might be confused by what a CAA film review actually is; it's possibly easier to say what it ISN'T!  It is NOT you writing a 2000 word essay, recounting the plot of the film.  What we are looking for, is evidence that you have thought about how the film maker has used techniques to convey a message, or the relationship between the narrative and the environment; in 'Caligari', the use of the warped sets to depict the insanity of the protagonist, for example.  As you get deeper into the film programme, you might start to consider how the films use sound to build tension, or how editing techniques can enhance the viewing experience.

You are asked to support your own ideas with quotes from at least 3  different published sources.  This means you will need to do some background reading; try and find sources that allow you to develop a discussion.  You should introduce the quote, rather than just dropping it in; a good way to do this is via the author's name -
'As Ebert says in his review, "blah blah blah..."(Ebert, 2009)' (...believe me, Roger Ebert will become your best friend ;)

You need to reference your writing using the Harvard method; this is so that you cannot be accused of plagiarising other people's work.  This is particularly important when it comes to writing essays that are submitted through the system called 'Turnitin', a plagiarism detecting tool.  So that's why we ask you to do it from the off... so by the time you submit essay number 1, you will have had plenty of practice! There is a guide on myUCA that tells you how to reference most sources, and shows you how a bibliography should look; there has been some debate over whether quotes should be placed between single marks ' ', or double " ".  Turnitin wants you to use the doubles, so that is what we are going for, for the film reviews too...

So the long and short of it is - don't get stressed about the reviews; no one is expecting you to be writing perfectly referenced pieces right away! BUT!!! - do read your feedback comments and act on them - there is nothing more frustrating for me than saying the same thing to the same person, week after week!

If you are after an example of a film review, this was written by current 3rd year Dee, when she was in the same spot as you, contemplating Dr. Caligari

A summary!

1. Be prepared; read up on the films before you watch them.  You have the details of what you will be watching for the next few weeks on your timetable, so get ahead of the game, and get reading!

2. Watch the film; not only as an entertainment, but look out for themes, topics and ideas.

3. Start the review right away; you will be amazed by how quickly you get a backlog, if you don't keep on to of the reviews.

4. Use academic writing; no "it was great!!" Get into the habit early on.

5. The importance of using quotes correctly; they are the backbone of your review. You should use them to bolster your own arguments and open up discussion.

6. Likewise, images; choose images that are relevant, and that you can discuss.

7. Use the library for books on film studies etc.; don't just rely on online film reviews...

8. ...which will lead to you producing a comprehensive bibliography.  Use bibliographies in the published sources as a 'springboard' for further research.

9.  When you first mention an author/director etc., use his full name ie; 'As Roger Ebert says in his review...'.  When you mention him again in the same piece of writing, you should just use his surname - 'As Ebert mentions...'

CAA: The Supplement: Janet Echelman






FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities #3 (NightVision)




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"They're Here!" All New First Year Blogs!




For your collective convenience - all new first year blogs all in once place! Missed any? Add them to your Reading List and go and be a force for good!



FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities #2 (Omicron)



Monday, September 18, 2017

FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities 2017 / Online Greenlight Review 04/10/2017




Wednesday, 4th October is your Invisible Cities Online Greenlight Review (OGR)

Your OGR is to be presented as a single Scribd presentation on your blog, beginning with your name, date, and project title. If you are still yet to get to grips with Scribd go here for some easy-to-follow instructions. Save your documents as PDFs before uploading to Scribd, as this should mitigate against formating glitches. When pasting Scribd embed code into your blog, you must first select the HTML mode tab, then switch back to 'Compose' to view the embedded presentation.

Your OGR presentations should be uploaded to your blogs on Wednesday 4th October. Written feedback will follow as comments on your OGR post and will take between 1 and 3 days.

Invisible Cities 2017 OGR: What do you need to present?


1) Your 100 thumbnails exploring all cities (minimum).

2) Your chosen city, its key descriptions and associated thumbnails. (Please include the original text in your presentations, with key descriptive passages highlighted or extracted.) 

3) A short mission statement identifying and justifying your 'visual concept' in relation to your chosen city (i.e. what are the underlying principles driving your design ideas and from what and where are they derived - and why? This might include your ideas in regard to colour palette, architectural elements, exaggeration, expressionism, symbolism, lighting, point-of-view, time period, stylisation, narrative, intended audience...  I want you to be able to identify and articulate your visual strategies for the design and staging of your three concept paintings.  Remember - you are not just painting pictures digitally, but rather 'designing worlds' for an animated film. There's a big difference.  I want to understand your internal logic, your influences and your creative decision-making.

3) A single 'Visual Concept' influence map that illustrates and unifies your production design ideas in terms of the exterior concept paintings.

4) A single 'Visual Concept' influence map that illustrates and unifies your production design ideas in terms of the interior concept paintings.

5) Key Thumbnails (those thumbnails on which you think you'll be basing your final three paintings or have most inspired them or invite further development).

6) In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your film reviews and ongoing CG Artist's Toolkit project work (Maya tutorials, digital painting exercises etc). Your OGR should include links to the corresponding posts. 

Historically, students who use their OGR to manage their weekly tasks in this way manage their workloads successfully.

Please note: your OGR should be professionally presented, spell-checked, with consideration given to graphic design, layout and project branding.  I'm including an example OGR presentation from last year as guidance in terms of preparing your content in line with the OGR checklist and course expectations.


Julien Van Wallendael / Invisible Cities OGR


FAO All years!

Just to let you all know that I will be loitering around the baseroom/red room/blue room tomorrow morning, if any of you want to have a chat about anything...briefing questions, dissertations, potential film reviews, or anything else that is worrying you - Come and find me!

See you tomorrow:)

FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities #1 (Walking City)




FAO CAA Year 2: Updated Timetable




Year 2: Updated Timetable

Apologies for another update but we have some announcements and last minute changes we would like to make. Please note the following changes...

Acting & Performance Classes: I'm happy to announce that Dan will be coming in to help you with your performance ideas in Weeks 3 and 5.

Life Drawing Classes: You can never have enough life drawing practice. Vicky will be helping you improve further in life drawing classes on Wednesday mornings. These classes are now part of Toolkit 2. 

Perspectives (Weeks 8 & 9): Phil will be in France during week 9 so there will be a double post-modernism lecture (perspectives) in week 8.

Please make sure to download an refer to this version of the timetable. Please pass this information on (Facebook etc) to anyone you may feel will not see this post.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

FAO CAA Year 1: Invisible Cities 2017 / What Is An 'Art Of'?


As part of your Invisible Cities submission requirements, you're being asked to produce an 'Art Of'. You'll be asked to submit an 'Art Of' document for all your forthcoming projects, so there's no time like the present in terms of getting the hang of them.

Your Art Of is a curated exposition of your pre-production, production and final piece.

curate:

1) to take charge of (a museum) or organize (an art exhibit):
2) to pull together, sift through, and select for presentation

exposition:

1) a comprehensive description and explanation of an idea.

In other words, your Art Of is the 'edited highlights' of all the work you've produced in the working-up and execution of your 3 Invisible Cities paintings.  

You need to create your Art Of with the uninitiated reader in mind; it needs to explain the brief (succinctly), introduce Calvino (succinctly), introduce Invisible Cities (succinctly), and introduce us to your city of choice.  It needs to include a selection of your most striking and successful thumbnails, and the quality of all images in the document needs to be high and of a 'client-facing' standard - so no grubby scans, or poor reproductions or poorly cropped images etc.  Likewise, your spelling, grammar, typography and layout needs to be first-class.  Your Art Of should be able to take its reader from the very beginnings of the project, right through to the final pieces in a way that is logical and engaging. 

Your final paintings should occupy a page each, so we can really look at them.  You should include close-ups of details of your final paintings - so that the reader may take a closer look at your worlds and at your techniques in creating them.  

You should include 'behind-the-scenes' type sequences, in which the reader is shown how you created your final images, so break-downs of compositions and explanations of work-flow.  Your Art Of might be annotated - i.e. you write short descriptions against the various stages.

Be warned - the more you write, the more you have to spell-check and design graphically.  If you write something about your work, you need to think about what you're writing and you need to spell-check and grammar-check accordingly.  Your 'Art Of' is not a diary and should never be negative.  

Your 'Art Of' should be designed in agreement with your content.  Think about how the 'mood' of your chosen city might be incorporated into the overall design of your Art Of  - its layout and colour palette.  NO GENERIC POWERPOINT TEMPLATES ARE TO BE USED.  You are expected to design the cover of your Art Of and everything else.  Be wary of using overly complicated backgrounds which might distract from the work.  Avoid 'shitty typefaces' and think about the way in which you're laying-out your work on each page: no random gapping between multiple images; when in doubt ensure the spaces between your image layouts are the same.

Think very carefully about your Art Of and the impression it makes; it is a professional catalogue seeking to present your work in the very best light.  

You should be thinking about your Art Of as of now.  

By way of inspiration and guidance, enjoy this selection of Art Ofs from various student projects from various levels of the degree.  Study them wisely in terms of their design, layouts and exposition of workflow.

Julien Van Wallendael




Samantha Niemczyk & Peta-Gaye Brown




Richard Vosper-Carey & Sam Hayes




Charlie Serafini

Friday, September 15, 2017

FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities 2017 / Influence Maps


As you explore Calvino's Invisible Cities for your first project, it's time to start gathering visual reference and inspiration to enrich and fine-tune your imaginings.

Influence maps are digitally produced 'mood boards' that we use as a means of collating and curating image research.   A single project idea might generate multiple influence maps - and should do - as early impressions give way to more definitive directions.




A properly useful influence map isn't decorative or image-rich for the sake of it, but rather an exercise in distillation, reflection and clarification.  They are also a very economic way of ensuring that your blogs do not clog up with the works of others, thus avoiding the scenario when 'your' blog devolves into a Pinterest page.  Image research on your blogs should feel purposeful and integrated.

As you explore Calvino's cities, you should be building visual libraries - not only drawing and painting what your imagination shows you, but bringing together influence maps of associated imagery.

Remember too your summer challenge: fantastical elements and extraordinary things derive, not from goggling, fan-boy-like, at the sci-fi cities of established concept artists, but rather by discovering and uncovering what is fantastical and extraordinary in the world around you.

Not everyone of your classmates will be tuned into the group blog at this early stage, so could those who are reading this already be sure to get the message out via your other social networks. Many thanks!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

FAO CAA Yr 1: Invisible Cities 2017 / Academic Do's & Don'ts & Exemplar Film Reviews


In preparation for the kick-off your Space Oddities film programme, I'm featuring here the 'Do's & Don'ts' of academic writing for your reference.  Ideally, you will have already taken the opportunity to take a look at the advice on offer here.  If not, be sure to familiarise yourself with this style guide before attempting your first film review of the year.




Your brief asks you to use the Harvard Method in terms of referencing your published sources. Please note - this is a mandatory aspect of the presentation of your film reviews, so I suggest you take some time to investigate the 'How To' resources available on myUCA.   We don't want to waste valuable time (yours/ours) correcting these more technical elements of your writing.  Using the Harvard Method and proper bibliographies and illustration lists are something you just need to adopt from the outset as part of the new terrain of your undergraduate life.   To begin with, you'll feel as if all this academic housekeeping is just slowing you down... but like every other new skillset on the course, it will soon feel like second nature.

For your reference, I've collected a number of film reviews posted by previous students as a means to further clarify what we're looking for from these weekly exercises in analysis, research, critique and evaluation.  Don't get hung up on the word count; focus on the content (i.e. what's being said and how it's being said), and reflect on the way the published sources (quotes) and illustrations are being used to enrich and further justify the students' observations.  You'll soon note that the reviews are not concerned with re-telling the story (unnecessary) or communicating personal 'likes or dislikes' about the film (i.e. I loved it! / I hated it!), but concern themselves instead with the various ways in which the films' themes are communicated by their production design.  

Happy browsing!