Monday, April 02, 2018

Post With The Most 02/04/2018


Every Monday on the CAA course blog, a number appears - black text on a yellow background, the colour of  belligerent Summer wasps, of hazard warnings and 'Police - Do Not Cross' crime-scene tape...  Its appearance no doubt triggers shooting pangs of urgency in the frontal lobes of our students, who know very well its significance; this is the countdown to final deadline day.  These are the remaining days between 'the now' and 'the end' (though in common with most endings, 'the end' just means the beginning of something new).  There will be nerves and apprehension as the end of the academic year looms large - but there'll be excitement too as students feel their skills and experience combining to transformative effect.  Without exception, every one of our current students are now undertaking their most ambitious project yet.  This latest edition of the Computer Animation Arts Post With The Most seeks to celebrate once more the talent and individuality of our animation Padawans, beginning with a showcase of their most recent life-drawings.


Megan Robson

Ellie Row

Anastasijia Strelcova

Ruth Cann

Ruth Cann

Douy Thanachot

In addition to all the visual explorations undertaken by our students, we also push our budding filmmakers to consider the potent role of sound design in the creation of compelling, engaging and immersive story-worlds. Year one students first try their hand at sound design when they're challenged to create thirty second soundscapes for abstract imagery.  Their conceptual mission is complicated further on account of them having to record all their own original sound effects before post-producing them in Adobe Audition.  The students have to pin back their ears and listen out for the extraordinary within the mundane; they need to demonstrate the skill for 'magical listening' - for transforming everyday sounds into otherworldly auditory experiences.  Enjoy this small selection of their resulting soundscapes.


Thomas Sherwood




Juanjo Estany




Adri Lopian




I've no doubt all their experiences in creating soundscapes for these 'inner-space-style' images will help our first years engage creatively with their final project of CAA Year 1 - a commission-style brief wherein they've been tasked with revitalising a selection of bioscientific scenarios, choosing between the carbon cycle, pollination, and the cardiac cycle.  Their commissioning client has been quite clear - the resulting 3 minute CG animations need to be as factually accurate and educative as they are innovative and appealing.  In just a few short days time, the first years will be pitching their ideas to the client in a bid for an unequivocal thumbs-up.  Here's a selection of their 'works-in-progress' - and in common with all work featured in the PWTM, click on the students' names to access their individual course blog should you want to dig a little deeper into their respective projects.


Annie Roberts

Flower 'dancers' character development / Annie Roberts

Butterfly character development / Annie Roberts

Flower 'dancers' character development #2 / Annie Roberts

Flower 'dancers' & Butterfly character development #3 / Annie Roberts


Meg Robson

Cardiac 'pinball table' concept sketch / Meg Robson


Cardiac 'pinball table' concept painting / Meg Robson

Cardiac 'pinball table' concept painting #2 / Meg Robson

Frankie Sutton

Wind pollination command centre concept painting / Frankie Sutton


Insect pollination ideation / Adri Lopian


Tom Sherwood

Cholesterol soldiers concept sketch  / Tom Sherwood

Cholesterol soldiers concept sketch #2 / Tom Sherwood

Emily Friswell

Lily & pollen grain 'low poly' concept painting / Emily Friswell

Lily 'low poly' concept painting / Emily Friswell

Premise - the final project of Year 2 - is for all intents and purposes, the first project of Year 3. Creating CG animations that are both technically accomplished and meaningful in terms of storytelling and filmmaking is incredibly challenging.  A student might be encouraged to 'rob Peter to pay Paul' - i.e., rush their story-development and production design stages in order to expedite the CG stuff, or conversely, rush the CG production of their films because they've given too much time to the development of their project ideas.  Premise gives our students the time and space to develop the foundations of their final year films with confidence.  The ultimate goal of this project is for students to have everything in place and greenlit at the conclusion of Year 2, leaving them with one complete year to put their short films into production.  I'm personally very enthused by the breadth and range of project ideas currently under-development by our second year students, with projects ranging from highly-personal animated documentaries to classic animated shorts. Enjoy this selection of character sketches and other developmental work.

Krissy Botinova

The Clown character concept / Krissy Botinova

Thanachot Singsamran

Hide & Seek creature sketches / Thanachot Singsamran


Mrs Pratt character development / Graeme Daly

Paris Lucke

Grandad & Doris character sketches / Paris Lucke

Polly Gwinnett

Ella character sketches / Polly Gwinnett

Ella character colour tests / Polly Gwinnett

Arnold outfit tests / Polly Gwinnett

Jennifer Ball

The Mountain King character development / Jennifer Ball


Character development sketches #1 / Karolina Urliktye

Character development sketches #2 / Karolina Urliktye

Character development sketches #3 / Karolina Urliktye


Joe Warrilow is developing an animation in the Creature Comforts tradition, wherein out-moded household appliances discuss their circumstances; in this clip, an old remote control reflects on his plight...





So, let's return for a moment to those ominous black numbers on their yellow background - the ticking clock, counting down the days until the final hand-in on Friday, May 11th.  Our third years will be feeling that pressure acutely, vacillating no doubt between bouts of terror and euphoria, both wishing for the clock to slow, but also for their projects to be out of their lives already, so they can live a while without the nagging certainty that they're supposed to be getting on with it. Perhaps it seems insensitive on my part to say how exciting I always find this time of year - like a happy spectator watching the last laps of some epic superhuman feat of creative endurance.  But I am excited nonetheless.  Everyone has indeed come a very long way and a lot of water has passed under the bridge, but now, there is only this - the last project and all our shared hopes for it.



The Garbage-O-Saur / Jungle tree #1 / Ian Garling

The Garbage-O-Saur / Jungle tree #2 / Ian Garling

The Garbage-O-Saur / Jungle tree #3 / Ian Garling

The Garbage-O-Saur / Test render /  Ian Garling


Rock renders #1 / Lewis Punton

Steel renders #1 / Lewis Punton


Beckie Ryan

It's The Year 2500 / Original participant drawings #1 / Beckie Ryan

It's The Year 2500 / Original participant drawings #2 / Beckie Ryan

It's The Year 2500 / Test render / Beckie Ryan

Mark Bridgland

Sol / Rigging & pose tests #1 / Mark Bridgland

Sol / Rigging & pose tests #2 / Mark Bridgland

Sol / Rigging & pose tests #3 / Mark Bridgland

Sol / Jet Pack animation wip / Mark Bridgland

Sol / 'Eye darts' animation wip / Mark Bridgland


Tom Ward

Zombie vehicle model / Tom Ward

Zombie vehicle model (interior) / Tom Ward

Zombie vehicle model uv-ed / Tom Ward

Becky Stapley


Love Stung / Fish animation test #1 / Becky Stapley


Love Stung / Fish animation test #2 / Becky Stapley


Deanna Crisbacher


When / 'Vertabrae' final composite / Deanna Crisbacher


When / 'Bleach' final composite / Deanna Crisbacher

When / 'Bees' final composite / Deanna Crisbacher


When / 'Wires' final composite / Deanna Crisbacher


When / 'Silk' final composite / Deanna Crisbacher


When / 'Pufferfish' final composite / Deanna Crisbacher

Danielle Gibbs


How To Catch A Fairy / Fairy wink animation wip / Danielle Gibbs


How To Catch A Fairy / Door slam animation wip / Danielle Gibbs

Tom Smith


Escape Zone 3000 / Scene 5 / Tom Smith


Escape Zone 3000 / Scene 7 - Shot 2 / Tom Smith


Back when I was at school and it was the last day of term, we'd sometimes be allowed to bring in board games to play, watch some big 1980's film on some chunky VHS player or ditch our school uniform for the day.  Fast forward to the end of our term on Computer Animation Arts, and I arranged a rather more impressive treat by which to see in the Easter holidays: a guest lecture gig from creature designer, Tim Napper, who was responsible for those rather beautiful crystal foxes in The Last Jedi (among many other extraterrestrial wonders).  The CAA base room was packed with students, alumni and staff and we listened enthralled as Tim described his 'warts and all' journey from a fine art degree at UCA Canterbury to working alongside Rian Johnson at Pinewood Studios. Tim's story exemplified the importance of 'life-long learning' and loving something with enough passion and tenacity to make stuff happen regardless of bumps in the road.  Tim left our little creative community suitably inspired - and with a new-found respect for the very real seriousness of non-disclosure agreements!

Concept artist and creature designer, Tim 'Crystal Fox' Napper, inspires and entertains the students, alumni and staff of Computer Animation Arts 23/03/2018


Creating the Crystal Foxes / Design by Tim Napper


Finally then... some elliptical black and white images pertaining to the work already underway in preparation for Computer Animation Arts @ New Designers 2018...  It's no small feat to export the creativity and dynamism of our course to a convention centre in Islington - and battle your way into the attention spans of the show's 3000-or-so visitors.  It's early days obviously, but the concept for the 2018 stand is coming very clearly into focus and I did spend a few days in UCA's spray room performing artful acts of vandalism involving a dead PC and a desk-tidy... More updates soon!







The Last Word...

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

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