Thursday, November 01, 2018

Post With The Most 01/11/2018


A belated "Trick or treat!" to all our loyal readers! 

Olivia Richer

Well, it's all treats and no tricks in this all-new edition of the Computer Animation Arts' Post With The Most, with all the latest from our busy creative community.  We're just six weeks into the Autumn term, but we've already had project hand-ins and draft Thesis submissions, and slowly, but surely, the course staff are turning up the heat in preparation for some of the bigger submissions coming our students' way.

First up - one of my favourite things: a selection of life-drawings from the last few classes.  There is always something hugely gratifying about the moment the students' drawings appear on their course blogs - usually very soon after the life-drawing classes have concluded.  In a discipline characterised by the postponement of gratification - by the slow labours of CGI - these quick, expressive explorations of shape, colour, style, form and gloriously happy accidents are a welcome quick-fix of creativity!


Shannon Fisher

Shannon Fisher

Juanjo Estany

Meg Robson

Meg Robson

Adri Lopian

Ellie Row


Back in September, our newest recruits were a rag-tag collection of nervy, timorous kittens - playful, a but unruly, but easily spooked and inclined to run away from all the new and exciting things characterising their new home on Planet CAA.  That was then.  A few short weeks ago, they completed and submitted their Invisible Cities project, which asks them to produce original concept art envisioning the magic-real cities described by Italo Calvino in his celebrated book. Enjoy this selection from the students' submission - and as always, if you want to explore any of the projects featured in the PWTM further, all you need do is click on the respective student's name and you'll alight on their individual blogs.


Karris Palmer - Diomira

Diomira developmental thumbnails / Karris Palmer

Diomira establishing shot / Karris Palmer

Diomira low-angle shot / Karris Palmer

Diomira establishing shot build-up  / Karris Palmer

Diomira interior shot / Karris Palmer

Diomira interior shot build-up / Karris Palmer

Tom Dent - Baucis

Baucis interior shot / Tom Dent

Shannon Fisher - Armilla

Armilla developmental thumbnails

Armilla interior shot / Shannon Fisher

Armilla interior shot build-up / Shannon Fisher

Olivia Richer - Thekla

Thekla development thumbnails / Olivia Richer


Thekla low-angle shot / Olivia Richer

Vincent Lange - Isaura

Isaura establishing shot / Vincent Lange

Our Year 2 students have a lot on their plate as we test their resilience for complex multi-tasking and collaboration.  In addition to their 'studio' films (more about those in a moment), they're also enjoying weekly character-design classes wherein they have to originate appealing character designs inspired by a series of prompts and primers - for example '1960s', 'Robot' and 'Anti-hero' - which is how Adri Lopian arrived at these rather jaunty designs!


Character developmental sketches #1 / Adri Lopian

Character developmental sketches #2 / Adri Lopian


Our Year 2 'studio project' (wherein they work together in the production of a series of animated 'skits' using the course character, Moom) requires students to establish a secondary collaborative blog archiving the ups and downs of their collective creative development.  I've listed them below for your leisurely perusal! Enjoy.


Meg, Alfie, Jaunjo & Tom @ http://animancersstudio.blogspot.com




Filipe, Ollie & Divine @ http://wastedgeniestudios.blogspot.com







Tom, Adri & Frankie @ https://pixemoonstudio.blogspot.com


Meanwhile, CAA's final year students continue work on their final films... (they've also been completing their draft Theses during this same period, which is less showy, but no less impressive). Browse this whistle-stop tour of what some of them have been up to this month...


Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt's Art Room concept sketch / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt's Art Room digital painting  / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt's Art Room 3D digital set test #1  / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt's Art Room 3D digital set test #2  / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Older Graeme head model / Graeme Daly


The Cherry Red Shed / First pass storyboard panels #1 / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / First pass storyboard panels #2 / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / First pass storyboard panels #3 / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / First pass storyboard panels #4 / Ruth Cann
The Cherry Red Shed / First pass animatic / Ruth Cann



King Of The Hill character development #1 / Thanachot Singsamran

King Of The Hill character development #2 / Thanachot Singsamran
King Of The Hill physical character modelling  / Thanachot Singsamran
King Of The Hill 3D character modelling #1  / Thanachot Singsamran
King Of The Hill 3D character modelling #1  / Thanachot Singsamran


Memory beetle developmental thumbnails #1 / Rachael Holyhead
Memory beetle developmental thumbnails #2 / Rachael Holyhead
Memory beetle developmental thumbnails #3 / Rachael Holyhead
Memory beetle developmental thumbnails #4 / Rachael Holyhead
Memory beetle chosen sketch / Rachael Holyhead


A Boy & His Shadow / Bedroom concept painting / Anabel Says

A few ways back, current year 3 students, Ellie Row and Graeme Daly, returned from Beijing, China after participating in a trip to Beihang University, organised by UCA's Birgitta HoseaUpon his return, I caught up with Graeme and asked him all about his recent adventure...

Graeme (the tall one at the back) and Ellie (the short one at the front), plus Birgitta Hosea (front left) and students from BA Hons Animation at UCA Farnham.

CAA: Wow. You've just returned from Beijing! What was the purpose of your visit?

Graeme: We left Planet CAA to embark on the trip to Beijing to partake in animation workshops at Beihang University to work alongside Chinese students.

UCA and BUA students drawing out their emotions


CAA: Describe your animation workshops?  What was it like collaborating with Chinese students? Did you learn anything? What do you think they learned from you?

Graeme: The animation workshops were a lot of fun and felt really collaborative and taught me a lot about how much emotion is really important for animation. The first workshop revolved around accessing our own emotions through abstract drawing and animation.  We were provided with a massive sheet of paper that stretched along the walls of the workshop space. Birgitta guided us through our emotions, talking us through them, and we let our emotion flow out through the coloured chalk.  

Emotion drawings #1 / Beihang University workshop

Emotion drawings #2 / Beihang University workshop

Emotion drawings #3 / Beihang University workshop

It was really inspiring to see everyone’s work start to mesh together as at this stage we started to draw over, in and around other people’s work, which made the whole page feel like one. After the group exercise, we translated what we'd learned into individual 2D abstract animations.


Ellie and Graeme (far right) and BUA students with their emoji faces #1


On day two we learned about Performance Art in animation.  The UCA students and BUA students worked together in groups and each group was given paper plates with an emotion attached to it, such as angry or cheeky. We then drew emoji faces which reflected these emotions, then each group walked around in circles with the others watching, as Birgitta guided us through a scale of emotions from 1 to 10 in terms of intensity, and we translated that intensity into how we walked. This workshop was a lot of fun and it taught us a lot about the relationship between emotions and personality.


UCA and BUA students getting 'emotional' behind their emoji masks

After the workshops we then spent the rest of the week working on an animation on any medium showing a character changing from one emotion to another. Our animations were screened at the university to students and alumni.  It was really impressive to see all of our animations together and to see how much everyone was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time.

I absolutely loved collaborating with the Chinese students. They really made it feel like home and they completely went out of there way to make us feel comfortable and have as much fun as possible all the while experiencing their culture.  We learned a lot about how they live their lives, such as them paying for everything with the WeChat app and how they don’t pay with cash for anything! We enjoyed lots of traditional food too… which I really miss!


This is what Graeme is missing!

CAA: What were the highlights of your trip?

Graeme: The whole trip was mesmerizing!  If I had to pick highlights, one of them was definitely seeing the Forbidden City! The Forbidden City housed the emperors of the dynasties and stretches over 180 acres. The attention to detail in the houses was incredible - from little dragons and figures on the cornices of the roofs and the different colours of all the houses.  The view  was stunning.

At the Forbidden City...

Meanwhile, back on Planet CAA, work continues on our visualisation of Hector Berlioz's Romeo & Juliet - to be screened with live orchestral accompaniment in Katowice, Poland and Amiens and Soissions, France, in early 2019.  Dee Crisbacher is somehow finding time alongside her new job at The Flying Colour Company to develop the visualisations in line with 'art direction' animatics I've put together for guidance.  I'm sharing here a few more of Dee's most recent forays into R&D, utilising the music-visualisation plug-in, Spectro, patented by CAA alumni, Ethan Shilling.

Romeo & Juliet 'Introduction' test #1 / Deanna Crisbacher

Romeo & Juliet 'Introduction' test #2 / Deanna Crisbacher

Romeo & Juliet 'Introduction' test #3 / Deanna Crisbacher

Romeo & Juliet 'Queen Mab'  test #1 / Deanna Crisbacher


In addition to the course's continuing involvement with the Orchestra Network for Europe (for which Red & The Kingdom of Sound was created), Computer Animation Arts is now working in partnership with Heritage Lottery, The Seaside Museum Herne Bay, and the Herne Bay Junior School. Together, we're creating a short animated film telling the story of the 'Pudding Pans' - Roman pottery that somehow ended up lost to the sea off the North Kent coast and which ended up gracing the tables of Whitstable fisherman.  Quite how the Roman pots got there is the subject of different theories, and it's the 'mystery of the Pudding Pans' that we're exploring in the animated short. I've written the script and CAA alumni and Kingdom Of Sound veteran, Emily Clarkson, is production designing - enjoy this selection of Emily's development work so far!


Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Marcus character design development sheet / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Belsa character design development sheet / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Gaius character design development sheet / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Saturio character design development sheet / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Scuttle expression sheet & orthographs  / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Character line-up  / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Environment development sheet / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Digital set texturing test  / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / 'Shipwreck' development sheet / Emily Clarkson

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Puddings Pans / Holden's cabinet development sheet / Emily Clarkson

On Wednesday, October 31st, CAA summoned some visitations from the past to appear before current students and recent graduates... as part of our Animate Your Future careers event, organised by course staff and UCA Rochester's careers guru, Jan Rowan. We welcomed back CAA alumni Amar Chundavadra (MPC), Dayle Sanders (Jellyfish Pictures), and Deanna Crisbacher (The Flying Colour Company) to speak about their career journeys so far - and they did so with honesty, humour and generosity.  We were also joined by Jamie Denham, founder of Animation Jobs and Managing Director of Sliced Bread Animation, London.  It's so important that students - at whatever stage in their CAA experience - hear about the warts-and-all realities of finding meaningful employment and learn some home truths.  Themes common to all our guest speakers played out again and again - love your craft and love learning, stay curious, be sociable, choose change, remain open... and never give up!  

I just want to say a huge thank you to all our guests, and also to all the CAA grads who attended. I may not have had the chance or opportunity to hug it out with you  or have a proper meaningful chat, but I so enjoy seeing you all together again, and if someone out there reading this wants to take on the role of 'Official Reunion Officer' to organise more opportunities like these, do please just get in touch!

Amar, Dayle & Dee in the CAA Baseroom 31st October, 2018 / Animate Your Future

Amar, Dayle & Dee in the CAA Baseroom 31st October, 2018 / Animate Your Future

Amar, Dayle & Dee in the CAA Baseroom 31st October, 2018 / Animate Your Future

Amar, Dayle & Dee in the CAA Baseroom 31st October, 2018 / Animate Your Future

In addition to Amar, Dayle and Dee, we were also joined by Urvashi 'Class of 2014' Lele, who is in the final stages of completing her MFA at UCLA.  Urvashi couldn't join us in person obviously, but she did speak to us in a pre-recorded interview.  I might be getting sentimental in my old age, but I found Urvashi's words of wisdom to be hugely moving and up-lifting. It's my hope her testimony inspired attendees to 'love their work' - for me, it made me want to shout from the rooftops even more loudly about the transformative power of a creative education and the alchemy of perseverance!  Urvashi's graduate film, An Interview with The Owl and The Pussycat, won the Judges' Choice gong at the New Designers Screening Awards 2014 - watch it here, and then settle back and find out what Urvashi did next!


Urvashi Lele / An Interview With The Owl & The Pussycat 2014


Urvashi Lele / October 2018

And finally... while July 2019 must feel a very long way away, here's the latest New Designers showreel, including a quick little cameo from a certain familiar face espousing the importance of the event as it relates to pushing CAA graduates out of the comforts of their respective nests and into the world of work, pitching, and self-promotion!





The Final Word...

"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." J.K. Rowling

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