Thursday, January 31, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 3: Minor Assessment Proformas Available Now & 99 Days!

Your Minor project assessment proformas have now been sent to your UCA accounts. Please read your feedback carefully and closely - and then read it again.  Alan and I have taken time and energy to put things as plainly and as truthfully as possible for you - and our goal is to ensure the terrain of your Major project is clear to you.  Your Major project is worth 60 credits; this is a transformative weighting and has the power to propel students into higher grade boundaries and make real change in terms of your ultimate degree classifications.  

Without exception, all your reflective statements evidenced you'd underestimated the time and effort required to deliver your films on schedule.  If there is one thing all students need to take forward now it's simply this: you need to use every available day with clarity of purpose and with passion!  To help  you focus on the task in hand, I have some numbers for you...

As of today, you have just 99 days before final hand-in!

... as of today, you have just over 14 weeks before final hand in!


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

FAO all years: Introduce a friend, and earn £350 !

Calling all students!  Recently announced on myUCA - just in case you missed it!

'Following the outstanding news that the University has been awarded the title of Modern University of the Year 2019 in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, we are inviting all Undergraduate students to spread the good news by introducing a friend to UCA for September 2019.

>> A modern approach to co-creating our community with our students

Starting from the 1st November 2018, if you know someone you think would be a good fit for UCA to enrol in September 2019 on to any Undergraduate course, the University will be offering £350 per enrolee (up to a maximum of 4 enrolees) to current Undergraduate students* every time someone they have referred joins the institution following a successful application.

Increasing our creative community by bringing the best talent to UCA will be hugely important in maintaining our quality of teaching, student experience and developing our facilities over the next decade. We believe that our current students are the most likely people to have friends and family that would be perfectly placed at UCA to have an incredible creative career in the area of creative arts, business and technology.
The award will be made to you as a current student when your enrolee has completed their first term at UCA following enrolment in September 2019.

How to introduce a friend

If there is someone you’d like to introduce, all they need to do is ensure your full name and UCA Student Number are included during the application process*, citing you as their contact at the University and validating you as a referee. If your friend(s) should go on to enrol and join UCA in September 2019, you will be recognised as having acted as an advocate and helping the University to directly find the next generation of UCA students.
By committing to working with our current students to co-create our future student community, we believe that students should share in the benefits of keeping more of the University’s funding within the community and spending less on speculative advertising, promotion and events.

We hope that this will enhance the experience of both our current students, future students and the wider community to bring networks of friends together across years that remain long into our graduates’ careers.

So spread the word in your own way and help the University to bring the best new talent to our campuses in 2019!'

CAA Careers: Reposting - Exciting work experience opportunity in May!

Now that your dissertations are all done and dusted, I just thought I would re-post this exciting work experience opportunity...

I know it seems a long way off, but before you know it, it'll be May, all your hard work will be handed in, and you'll be out there in the real world...

I'm very excited to announce that I have managed to secure a week's work experience for one student, starting from the 20th May, with Bloc Digital, who are based in Derby.  Read all about them HERE!

If you feel you might like to be considered for this position (or have any questions), please leave a comment below and I will be in touch! 

If you have already expressed your interest, you don't need to do so again :) 

Friday, January 25, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1: From Script To Screen OGR 2 / Wednesday 6th February

Wednesday 6th 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  Wednesday 6th 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 appropriate conventions (see Toy Story example and also here).
  • Completed 'first pass storyboard' with illustrated camera moves etc and in accordance with storyboarding conventions.  I want to see evidence you're using your storyboarding resources and applying your understanding of film language to your own 'directing with a pencil'. Also, no stick men! 'First pass' means getting all your shots panelled out without committing to lots and lots of design.  Don't be tempted to 'colour in' or 'make perfect'; you need to ensure your shots are communicating successfully before you polish them up for your animatic. 
  • 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 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.

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

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

FAO CAA YEAR 2: Infographic Submission Date Confirmation

Year 2: Infographic Submission Date Confirmation

During the Maya class presentation I gave you a submission date of 14th Feb for your infographic (title credit sequence). Whilst this is technically 'five weeks' into the course I would like you all to have five full weeks to complete your work instead. Therefore the deadline has been extended to the Thursday 21st Feb to give you the full amount of time. Of course, use the extra time wisely.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

FAO 1st Years; an exciting opportunity to study abroad in your second year!

Applications are now open for Study Abroad!

Applications are now open for first year students to apply to study abroad for half of their second year. The deadline to apply is Monday 4 March 2019. Students can apply for a part funded exchange in Europe with Erasmus+ or go to one of our international exchange partners outside of Europe.
See HERE for more details.

Why should students study abroad?

Study abroad offers a unique opportunity to enhance students’ career prospects and gain new skills. They can boost their employability by developing cross cultural understanding, foreign language skills and a global mindset. An important aspect of broadening their experience is the opportunity to develop links with key emerging economies and form networks to set students up in their future careers. They’ll develop initiative, independence, motivation and, depending on where they go, a working knowledge of another language – all qualities employers are looking for. Students will return to complete their degree with all the benefits of international experience behind them.

Where can CAA students study? 

Hungary - Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design
Italy - Instituto Europeo di Design (IED) Rome or Milan
USA - Lesley University
USA - Maryland Institute College of Art

Check out #UCAStudyAbroad on Instagram to see some great images from our students who are currently studying abroad.

Go HERE for full details on how to apply.

Mood Boost Course - change your thoughts and actions, and FEEL BETTER! :)

Mood Boost Course

A free mini course on Tuesdays for students to learn skills and strategies to tackle low mood.

Starts 26th February 2019

Over this 4 week course...
  • Learn to apply proved practical strategies for improving mood.
  • Identify strategies to practice in your own time.
  • Build a foundation for increasing confidence, happiness and resilience.
The Mood Boost course is aimed at students with mild to moderate depression and anxiety.  To gain the maximum benefit it is necessary for the participants to attend all four sessions.

I will bring some application forms down to the baseroom, and application forms are also available from the Gateway desk in the library. Please return them to the Gateway by 24th February.

Be Happy! :D 

CAA Careers: FAO 3rd yrs - Work experience opportunity with Bloc Digital

I know it seems a long way off, but before you know it, it'll be May, all your hard work will be handed in, and you'll be out there in the real world...

I'm very excited to announce that I have managed to secure a week's work experience for one student, starting from the 20th May, with Bloc Digital, who are based in Derby.  Read all about them HERE !

If you feel you might like to be considered for this position (or have any questions), please leave a comment below and I will be in touch! 

FAO CAA Year 3: Timetable Update

All 3rd Year Students: Timetable Update.

Please be aware that an updated timetable has been uploaded to MyUCA. The updates include, dates for Nuke classes with Simon, adjustments to the Maya class dates, and additional sessions to get 'project help' with myself in the last month of the Major Project. Please download the new timetable. You can find it under MyUCA/Major Project/Teaching Materials

- Please pass this information onto anyone you feel may not see this post.

Monday, January 21, 2019

ACCESS VFX: Visual Effects, Animation and Games: Industry Connect

ACCESS:VFX "is a cross company initiative that promotes diversity and inclusion in the VFX and Creative industry. Many VFX companies, educational establishments and industry organisations have come together to create initiatives & events to help raise awareness and champion the important issue, helping to bring about change. Our partners include, The Mill, Third Floor, Framestore, DNEG, Next Gen, Blue Zoo, Escape Studios and many more."

"ACCESS: VFX, UK Black Tech, The Brixton Finishing School and Ultra Education are teaming up to host a series of 'Industry Connect' events that will promote careers and entry routes into the UK VFX, animation and games industry."

"This first event, hosted on the evening of Wednesday 27th February at Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton will start the ball rolling by hosting an evening where future talent, students, parents and teachers can attend and hear from industry about the the different routes, skills required and available training in VFX, animation and games."

The event is FREE and upcoming events will focus around software training and e-mentorship.
Go HERE to sign up for a free ticket.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 3: Thesis/Extended Thesis - Best Of Luck For The Final Push!

This is a message for all our hard-working final year students who are sitting over their respective keyboards doing battle with their theses... hold your nerve and keep going!  I'm sure you're all experiencing moments like Paul Sheldon in Stephen King's Misery... see below!

When in doubt, just stop and take a look again at your plans and keep asking yourself this simple question: "What does the reader need from this paragraph?"  Ask yourself, "Is this paragraph earning its keep? Is it doing an identifiable job?  Is it making use of good supporting evidence? How is it helping your argument get from A to B as purposefully as possible?"  

Your enemies now are repetition, deviation from the through-line of your argument, and departing from evidence-based discussion.  Are you saying the same thing over and over ?  Are you going off on tangents at the last minute? Are you asserting things to be true - or true of everything or everyone - without the necessary evidence to support your claims?  As students get more tired, academic conventions and the 'tone' of their writing tend to be the first things to slip, so take a break, freshen-up, and reappraise the academic quality of what you're writing, and how you're writing it.

Proof-reading: if you haven't roped someone in to proof-read for you, rope them in.  A fresh pair of eyes will be invaluable to you if you want to mitigate against annoying typos and grammatical errors.

Some basic house-keeping: you need to provide two bound hard-copies of your Thesis to be handed in to Campus Registry on Friday 25th January between 4pm and 5pm.  Prior to this, you will need to have uploaded your Thesis to Turnitin, retrieved your ID number, and added it to your assessment cover sheet (available on myUCA etc).   You need to be aware that Campus Registry are instructed to close the door to any student submission after 5pm... Even if you are a minute late, Campus Registry will disallow your submission.  Every year, one student will push their luck and things always end in tears.  

I suggest you seek to submit early and leave nothing to chance.  Printing and binding a thesis all take time and if you're doing everything at the last minute, you are upping the chance of falling victim to unforeseen circumstances. 

You can purchase binders from the UCA shop (Ground floor) - and there are binding machines in the UCA library, though I strongly recommend you ask for assistance before attempting this - and please don't attempt it at the last minute!

Other things to remember: you need to ensure your thesis is presented according to academic conventions: contents page, page numbers (students often forget to paginate their work in their hurry), and 1.5 spacing for your text.  Things to avoid: don't 'text wrap' your illustrations, as this often creates disjointed formatting and makes for a more difficult reading experiencing.  Present your text and illustrations the way you would on your blogs - so a paragraph of text followed by a centred illustration, followed by a paragraph of text and so on.  Trust me - your assessor will appreciate this sane, simple approach.  

Many of you are writing your theses using bullet-points or sub-headings to help you cover all the points you need to make.  You should remove all bullet-points and sub-headings from your chapters prior to submission, as these create the impression of reading 'a list' or a 'chapter plan' and assessors don't like them because it fragments your argument.  The only titles should be your main headings at the start of each new chapter.

Remember too: write (or re-write) your Introduction last; this is so you can accommodate any changes in your argument that have happened naturally in response to your research.  This is the moment where you can re-clarify 'what' you've written, and 'how' you've written it and which theorists and ideas have become most important to your debate.  Your introduction should mirror the thesis you've actually written, not the version you started writing much earlier.  They will not necessarily be the same thing at all at this stage - and that's okay!

And finally - make no mistake: your Thesis represents a huge achievement.  It's not easy.  It's a massive challenge.  Don't underestimate what you're undertaking.  Take pride in just how difficult this  task is, and how well you've managed it so far.  You're a final year undergraduate student - it doesn't get more grown-up than this!

This is you @ 4pm on Friday!  Job done.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1: Contexts '1000 Word Written Assignment' Assessment Proformas @ Your UCA Email Account Now

Your assessment proformas for your Term 1 1000 word written assignment are available now at your UCA email accounts.  If yours isn't there, let me know and I'll investigate.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

CAA Careers: BFX Competition - Exciting opportunities!

BFX is a student competition designed to give you direct exposure to cutting-edge practices and showcase your skills to some of the best supervisors, producers and artists in the VFX and animation industry.

The Brief

‘We ask teams of 5 people to submit an application form and showreels (unlike previous years, an animatic or treatment is not required at this stage). The teams with the strongest set of skills and showreels are then shortlisted and 8 final teams chosen to take part in the competition. Each team is given a charity brief selected for them by the BFX team. They will then have approx. 2 months to create storyboards, animatics and character designs for the charity. The charity review the treatment and provide further feedback before the residential competition starts in July.
As a team of five people, you will be tasked with creating a stunning 2D or 3D visual effects or animation sequence for 4 charities that is based on one of 8 supplied screenplays. The 7-week residential competition is based in Bournemouth over the summer from July to August (all accommodation is free and the team members are given a stipend to help with their cost of living expenses). In 2017 and 2018, teams were mentored and judged by experts from Framestore, Double Negative, MPC, Animal Logic, Hibbert Ralph Animation, ILM London, ToonBoom, Outpost VFX, Jellyfish Pictures and Blue Zoo.’

In the first instance, we are organising a group Skype meeting with the competition director, Sofronis Efstathiou, who will be able to give you further details and answer any questions you may have.  
Please can you leave a comment by MONDAY 21st JANUARY if you feel this is something you might be interested in taking part in, and we will then organise a suitable time for the meeting. 

More details of the competition, and examples of previous entries can be seen HERE.

FAO CAA Year 3: The National Student Survey 2019

It's time to complete the National Student Survey 2019

Okay - so what does the survey entail? Most of you will have completed surveys very similar to the NSS during your time with us, so you'll know the format: 27 core questions relating to the following aspects of the student learning experience:

  • Teaching on my Course
  • Assessment and Feedback
  • Academic Support
  • Organisation and Management
  • Learning Resources
  • Learning Opportunities
  • Personal Development
  • Student Voice
  • Student Union
  • Overall Satisfaction

The survey doesn't take long, but it is important you consider your responses carefully. It may feel like just another box-ticking exercise - it isn't. The NSS survey is crucial to our understanding of what you think about us, and UCA more broadly. Your views on what we do become part of formal monitoring processes within the University.  In short - data derived from the NSS - from you - is taken very seriously.

The survey is asking you to reflect on your experience of the course as a complete experience, so the sum total of your time with us - Years 1, 2 & 3.  You'll want to think about who you were when you first arrived on Computer Animation Arts and what you think about yourselves now in relation to the course, your experiences, what you've learned and how you've changed.

Accessing the survey is very straightforward - visit and then follow the instructions. You'll need your student ID number handy: that's the number on your UCA identity card. 

When you've completed the survey, could you leave a 'Done it' comment on this post, or email me to confirm.  Much appreciated.

Improving motivation

Today, a few hints to get (and keep) you motivated in this post-festive season...

1. Acknowledge your resistance and difficult feelings with motivation. It may be helpful to write these feelings or thoughts down and then leave these on the side so you can then study.

2. Do not run away. Avoiding work can make you feel deflated. This is emotionally more draining than having to go through the process of starting your work.

3. Do not blame yourself for procrastinating now and then. Try to become aware of the  habit and gently make yourself to go back to the task sooner rather than later. 

4. Try to understand your studying style better. What will make it easier for you to work? We all prefer pleasant experiences and it is natural that we tend to avoid uncomfortable situations, boring chores and duties.  So try to make your study experience as interesting as possible.

5. Don’t question your abilities. Don’t put yourself down by comparing yourself to others.

6. Visualise yourself starting. Make yourself sit down and work even if this is for just 20 minutes. See starting as a parallel process like a plane on a runway. You may start slow but you will still take off! 

7. Focus on the task at hand and prioritise the most important tasks. Avoid multitasking.

8. Communicate to others any difficulties and/or what you intend to do. This can help you engage with the process and identify the important tasks. Communication / externalisation can help you to commit with immediate goals and you could also find out others’ points of view and tips. 

9. Take a time limited approach in which you schedule your tasks.  Ask yourself  ‘how much can I achieve in the next 2 hours?’ instead of ‘Can I complete all tasks?’ In this way you do not get as easily overwhelmed by the volume of work you need to do.  

10. Remember that studying can be challenging and take you out of your comfort zone. Think about the hiking of  Mountain Kilimanjaro; it is not easy and can even be uncomfortable but the pleasure comes when you begin to see the view from height, feel the fresh air and when you reach the destination you get a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Focus on the outcome and not the struggle to get there!

Adapted from -

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

FAO CAA Year 2: Bring Your Jetpack Jones Model to Thursday's Maya Class.

Year 2: Toolkit 2 Maya Class. 

Please bring your Jetpack Jones model with you to the Toolkit 2 Maya class on Thursday 17th.

CAA Careers: Online mentoring...broken link fixed!

Thank you Graeme, for pointing out the non-existent link on my earlier post... hopefully that is it sorted now!

CAA Careers: FAO 3rd yrs - online mentoring available!

Calling all 3rd years!

I have been made aware of an exciting opportunity for Computer Animation Arts students to register for a FREE E-Mentoring programme aimed at those considering a career in the animation/VFX industries. The programme is run by a startup called Prospela, it's completely online (think Whatsapp style instant messenger) and the team at Prospela are really looking forward to supporting you. 

If you would like to sign up with them to get personalised advice, authentic career insights as well as opportunities from real professionals in the VFX sector, you can sign up to the UCA programme through their website HERE. Just state that you heard about the programme from me. 

With E-Mentors from a huge range of leading companies and startups in VFX, Prospela can match you based on your skills, interests and personalities and you'll enjoy on-demand dedicated support through their web and mobile app. 

This is a new venture, so at the moment it is untested (by us).... if you decide to sign up, please leave a comment on here, so I can contact you for some feedback! 

Hope you find it useful! 

FAO Year 2: Toolkit 2 (Check In) Submission Percentage Results / Spreadsheet

Year 2: Toolkit 2 Check-in Submission 'Percentage'Spreadsheet

- The Toolkit 2 check-in submission 'percentage' spreadsheet is now online. Please familiarise yourself with your percentage before attending your tutorial on Tuesday. You can find the spreadsheet on MyUCA under Toolkit 2 / Teaching Materials

Friday, January 11, 2019

FAO: CAA Year 3: Confirmation of submission time - 6pm

Confirmation of submission time

The submission deadline is 6pm not 5pm. Apologies for the typo on the new timetable. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

FAO CAA Year 1: Story / From Script To Screen 2019 - Your Online Greenlight Review / Wednesday 23rd January

Wednesday 23rd January is your 'From Script To Screen' Online Greenlight Review Part 1 

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 23rd January. Written feedback will follow as a 'comment' on your OGR post and will take between 2 - 3 days.

From Script To Screen OGR: What do you need to present?

  • The premise of your story
  • The logline of your story
  • The step outline of your story 
  • Your 'like-for-like' storyboard segment (complete)

The emphasis of this first OGR is not you giving me full-blown scripts, but rather these condensed summaries of your stories and structures. You might have written more in-depth versions as part of your own process, but all I want to see on OGR day is your ability to express your stories in their most essentialised way.

The Premise 

This is one line that sums up the writer’s starting off point, the rationale for the existence of the story.  It can be vague along the lines of a theme like:

  • The triumph of love and community over violence and selfishness. 

Or philosophical like:

  • An examination of duality: Love/Hate, Past/Present, Action/Passivity, Innocent/ Experience. 

Or simply sum up the starting off point for the story something like:

  • A young country boy witnesses a murder and a city policeman must go into hiding with him in his country community when the killers get on his trail...

The Logline 

This is a summary of the story made in one or two sentences that attempts to answer the questions: Who is the lead character/s? What is their problem? How will they deal with it? 

It can be useful to write because it forces the writer to distill what happens in the story down to the briefest possible summary. This in turn makes it necessary to make choices that can reveal what the most important part of the story is.

The Step Outline 

This maps the entire plot scene by scene in a limited way. The action is summed up in paragraphs consisting of a line or two for each scene.

No doubt you'll want to 'get through' this story stage so you can start drawing your characters etc., but please refer to the 3D Production Pipeline diagram below: notice that the 'design' phase doesn't begin in earnest until after the story has been made ready for the screen via storyboards and an animatic.  This is because designing stuff your story ultimately doesn't need or designing stuff for a story that doesn't work is a waste of time and money.  It is inefficient to give time, energy and artistry to creating completed, polished production art if the script is weak.  Crafting a decent script that tells a satisfying story is HARD WORK - and it will no doubt feel that way.  This is okay. This is how it goes - but if you move into production on a story that doesn't work on paper and doesn't work 'on screen', you are missing the point of this project.

In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your film reviews and ongoing Toolkit project work (life-drawing/Maya tutorials/Nat's animation exercises/Justin's character exercises, Kat's Audition classes 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.

Remember, you're gunning for a 'green light' - you want to take your script into the storyboarding stage as soon as possible, so ensure your story idea is developed sufficiently and communicates effectively. Please note: your OGR should be a professionally presented, spell-checked, with an emphasis on graphic design, layout and project branding.

FAO CAA Yr 1: Story / From Script To Screen 2019 / 'Like-For-Like Storyboard'

One of the things on your 'From Script To Screen' to-do list is a 'Like-For-Like Storyboard' - but what is it and what do you need to do?

Simple: you choose a short scene from an existing film, animation or television programme and you break it back down into its individual component shots.  You then need to identify and title those individual shots using the various technical names listed on your 'Storyboard Cheat Sheet' and likewise include the conventions for describing illustrated camera moves (zooms, tracking shots etc).

You need to choose a sequence that is a) not too long, b) not too short and c) characterised by different kinds of shots.  Please understand - this is not about 're-drawing' a movie, it's about learning to 'see' the construction and combination of different kinds of shots so you can approach the direction of your own scripts just as dynamically!

In terms of project-management, I suggest you could start this job now and thus sensitise yourself at this earliest stage to the nuts-and-bolts of storyboarding.

For more guidance on storyboarding principles, techniques, conventions and ideas go to myUCA/Story/FromScriptToScreen/StoryboardingResources.  I'll be looking for evidence in the quality of your project work that you're making proactive use of what we're providing.

Make a start - and enjoy that moment when you start to see the visual grammar of putting stories-on-screen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1: Story & Commission / Project 2 / From Script To Screen 2019 / Examples Of Previous Student Work

As you start thinking about your story ideas and planning your project timetables, take a look at these examples of previous student work in response to the From Script to Screen project brief - all of which began with those same 3 random slips of paper!

Mark Bridgland - Laoshu

Laoshu - Art Of

Charlie Serafini - A Tern For The Better

A Tern For The Better - Art Of


Lucy Yelding - Gie (Animatic)

Gie 'Art Of'


 Samantha NiemczykThe Chefs Of Tonga Island (animatic)

The Chefs Of Tonga Island 'Art Of'

Jono Pearmain - A Hero's Hat (Maya Pre-viz)

Douy Singsamran - Freak Show

Meg Robson - Arthur

This brief is much more than an exercise in satisfying the year one CAA curriculum. This is your first experience of getting an original story idea from 'script to screen' - and what you accomplish in the next few weeks might be just the beginning of a much more ambitious creative experience...

An example of a final year film first conceived in response to the year one FSTS brief is Franklin, by 2015 graduate Steve Payne.   I'm including the original year one outcomes followed by Steve's year three iteration.  These likewise attest to the huge creative and technical leaps you'll be making as students on Computer Animation Arts and to the powerful satisfaction that comes with creating your own content.

Frankenstylist - 2012

Frankenstylist - Art Of

Franklin 2015

Franklin - Making Of

This project is hugely important to your creative and professional development as CG artists. This is about the craft and graft of the storyteller and it's not for the faint-hearted. You will need to fight for your stories. You will need to fight to make them work and to connect satisfyingly with audiences. Don't underestimate the challenge - meet it head on with professionalism and with gusto and you might just create a story idea that's good enough to go a whole lot further. 

Good writing is a collaborative process and your discussions with classmates and staff will be of especial importance for this project.  Use each other proactively; test your story ideas, be honest; if it doesn't work as a script, it won't work on screen.  If you don't think your classmates' stories are successful or satisfying - if it leaves you cold, befuddled and unmoved, you have a responsibility to say so!  You simply don't have time to hold on to mediocre ideas or make a secret of any difficulties you're experiencing. In most instances, your first ideas will probably be crap, so have more than one, and don't be precious.  Onwards!

FAO CAA Year 1: Story / Project 1 / Soundscapes 2019 / Examples Of Previous Student Work

With its emphasis on 'sound', presenting your 'soundscape' project visually can represent a challenge.  How, for example, to express a 'sonic concept'?  How to create engaging experiences of your sonic creations and likewise their creative development?  Take a look at these examples for guidance and inspiration!

Sonic Concepts expressed as 'Word Clouds'

The three final soundscapes; note how sensitive graphic design and the addition of subtle animation enrich the listening experience.

The brief requires you to archive and present the creative development of your soundscapes - to include all original recordings and then the resulting vocabulary of post-produced SFX originating from them.  You'll need to think about how you can present your workflow engagingly and clearly.

You're also asked to profile a sound designer (for film, television or game etc) - check out this profile of Yuu Miyake - complete with embedded links to cited soundtracks!

Sound Designer - Profile

Your Soundscape project is submitted to your blog only; there is no presentation or crit, so you're not there to fill any blanks or offer further insight into your work.  For this reason, you need to think very carefully in terms of designing your submission to be a 'one-stop shop' and ensuring that it is self-explanatory and organised meticulously in line with the stipulations of the project brief.

As discussed at today's briefing, I also want you to find visually creative and professionalised ways of archiving your 'sound explorations': I want to see you capture your sound expeditions and your 'exotic locations'.  If you create some kind of ad-hoc sound-making contraption or gather together a fascinating array of 'noise-makers' - I want to see it!  Have fun... and prove it! 

Monday, January 07, 2019

FAO CAA Years 2 and 3: Collaboration Assessment and Demo Reel Tutorial

Year 2 & 3 please be aware that...

Year 3: The Pipeline 1 turnaround/demo reel shot 'how to' tutorial is now online. You can find it under the Pipeline 1 tutorial set. Please take this video into consideration when planning your Minor Project assessment.

Year 2: Your Collaboration feedback and grades are now online on MyUCA. Please note that we will discuss your grade and feedback in more depth during the Premise tutorials.

CAA One-A-Day: Island

Friday, January 04, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 3: 7 Days Remaining!

This is a message for all our hard-working final year students... As of today, you have seven days remaining until your Minor hand-in.  I flag this up, not to dial up your stress sadistically, but just to remind you to stay vigilant; be sure to save your work often and back everything up in multiple places.  At times like these, students sometimes forget to take their foot off the pedal long enough to save what they're doing and take good care of all their hard work.  Save your work and don't take any unnecessary risks.

Be sure to update your blogs; not only is this another means to 'save your stuff', it is also an opportunity to solicit the sort of feedback we don't want to be writing on your assessment proformas. Often, students submit character turnarounds that are badly-lit or poorly-composed; they submit turnarounds in which on-screen text is spelled incorrectly, or the type-face is 'off-brand' and ill-suited.  Sometimes the turnaround is turning much too fast.  Sometimes it is turning too slowly.  Don't be one of those students.  Wherever possible, we'd like to see what you're planning to submit before you submit it so you can receive the benefit of our advice before it forms part of your percentage.  We don't like giving bad news and we don't like writing about the small stuff that was otherwise very easily fixed.

The same is absolutely true of your Art Of documentation: some students have already shared their proposed layouts and have since benefited from further suggestions by which their respective presentations could be enhanced.  Certainly, if you're writing in support of your imagery you'll need to ensure any copy is proof-read, spell-checked and grammar-checked.  You probably don't need to be writing very much... and that's another thing we can think about together before you submit.

I guess my message is this: you're all working really hard and I'm looking forward to your submissions, but experience tells me these last seven days can see silly mistakes made and good judgement compromised by stress, anxiety and a sort of 'I'm sick of this now, that'll do' attitude.  So my advice is this: if you haven't done so already, get your proposed 'Art Of' branding, layout and documentation up on your blogs for our attention.  In terms of your turnarounds, be sure to follow the professional principles of lighting and presentation which you've been taught.  Don't be that student who packages up their many accomplishments in second-rate wrapping paper.  

The way in which you submit your work is now as important as what you submit.  Take complete and exacting control of the way in which your assessors will encounter your project work - that all-important first impression.  I want you all to make the very best of your work and to add prestige and sophistication to every aspect of your Minor submission.

Wishing you all a productive, creative and successful final week.  We're thinking of you and can't wait to see the fruits of your labours!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

FAO CAA Year 1: WIM Proformas Now @ Your UCA Email Accounts

Your WIM proformas have been sent out to your UCA email accounts.*  Please read your feedback carefully and then read it again.  My focus - and your focus - is on taking lessons learned into the 'live tissue' of your Story projects, so if you've been asked to switch-up your approach to something, or confront a problem, or change a habit or just do all of the work you're asked to do, then suck it up and make the necessary adjustments.  If I've called you out on something, it's not because I dislike you or want you to suffer or enjoy treading on your toes or rattling your cage, it's because I want you to win.

This terms ends with 3 summative assessments - 90 credits worth! - and our goal together now is to ensure you're ready and able to get the results of which you're truly capable.  

Term 1 is toast, ladies and gentlemen - move on and between us, let's do something amazing!

* If you haven't received your feedback, get in touch and I'll investigate!