Wednesday, March 27, 2019

CAA Careers: Upcoming 'Games Event London' - Level UP - Character Modellers

Mainly aimed at Games Modellers, this talk might be of interest to some of you...

As part of the London Games Festival (2nd -14th April - see HERE ), there is a talk by Christian Paskota, a Lead Character Artist on Total War: Arena, on 11th April at 7pm.

He will go over his practices of how to retopologize models for the games pipeline.  The talk will include examples of dos and don'ts, LODs, UVs for characters, modelling for prop swapping and best pracices to prevent clipping.
The doors will open at 7pm, and the talk will be followed with Q&As, and a chance to network at the bar!

Full details HERE.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

CAA Careers: 'Getting the most out of Linkedin' - seminar 27th March

Seminar Wednesday 27th March
Lecture Theatre 1
14:00 - 15:00

Brought to you by the Careers and Employability SPECTRA programme - 

How to improve your Linkedin profile and use Linkedin effectively.

Friday, March 22, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 3: Major Project Submission Briefing / Wednesday 27th March @ 10.30 / DM5

We're getting you all together on Wednesday 27th March @ 10.30am in DM5 for a Major Project Submission briefing.  We're going to be clarifying requirements for the big hand-in on May 10th and we're asking that everyone attends accordingly.  Looking forward to see you all there!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 3: 52 Days Remaining Until Final Hand-in!

As of Monday 18th March, you have 52 days remaining until the final submission of your graduate projects - or 7.4 weeks!  You'll need to look again at your respective schedules and re-calculate your goals accordingly. You're all working very hard and we're excited by the quality of your assets and the promise of your films, but you all need to work 'smart' too: animation is your priority because getting your stories told is your priority: that's 'the 60 credit' X factor - that's the prize - don't lose sight of it.  You may need to make compromises.  You may need to simplify. You may need to make cuts - but now is the time to look coolly and calmly at everything you want to achieve - and identify strategies by which to achieve it!  

52 days before hand-in - make all of them count!

Friday, March 15, 2019

FAO CAA Year 2: Premise Submission

Year 2: Premise submission

The purpose of Premise is to create a solid foundation for year three. The more successful your Premise project, the better chance you have of a successful third year. You now have six weeks left (eight including the Easter break) until Premise is over. That’s six weeks (term time) to create the best foundation possible for your final year. Therefore, to help you I created a ‘must have’ list below. However, whilst this is a ‘list’ it is not a ‘check list’ whereby you create work simply to fulfil the list (see - No ‘tick box’ submissions below). It is a list that discusses areas where you find out more about your concept by researching, developing and refining work.

Submission List Breakdown

- Concept 
- Research & Design (Character/Production Design/Concept Art)
- Sound Design & Script/Animatic
- 3D/Maya Work

In Detail & Examples-

- Concept: During the past few weeks you have all arrived at a concept. Therefore, your final submission should demonstrate that you have explored and understood that concept (premise) thoroughly. Including attempting to answer all the key questions it presents.

- Research & Design (Character/Production Design & Concept Art): This includes, a character design bible, a set design bible, and concept art. In each case showing your design process and how it has evolved through experimentation and refinement (see examples below).
- Sound & Script/Animatic: For some of you ‘sound’ will mean a voiceover and for others creating a soundscape. In some cases, both. You may also need to commission music, such as working with a composer either now or in the future. Having a good music/audio track will allow you to create a more specific and better timed animatic - A good animatic is a vital to the success of your project (see examples below).

- 3D/Maya Work: 3D/Maya work should be part of your submission. This could be ‘aesthetic tests’ such as trying to understand how to create or mimic a specific style. It could also be a first attempt at modelling a character or set. In both cases, you should use your 3D work to understand more about the world of your animation. 

Ellie Row - Link
Polly Gwinnett - Link
Douy Singamran - Link
Charlie Serafini - Link
Becky Stapley - Link
Tom Smith - Link 

- Warning, No ‘tick box’ submissions.:
I have listed the ‘must have’s’ for your submission. However, please don’t think of these simply as a ‘check list’ of what you need without considering that you need to demonstrate that you have used each stage to explore and understand the world of your premise. Don’t for example, create character designs just to ‘have’ character designs for submission. You should create character designs to fulfil the requirements of your premise not just the list.

If you have any questions about how this post applies to your submission, please come and see Phil or myself - Good luck!.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

CAA Careers: The go-to guide for creative meet-ups in London

Online academy 'Created' have put together a really useful guide of events, meet-ups, seminars etc, happening this year in London.

This is what they say -

"Are you new to the creative industries? Do you want to get involved but not really sure where to start? The answer is simple: you have to get out there, make connections and join inspiring creative communities. You know, good ol’ networking. You might not know where to begin right now, but that’s okay: that’s precisely why we’re here to help you with our directory of events in London covering creative, graphic and motion design.

The key to getting started is knowing where to go. So if you’re in London and have got a free evening, stick these in your diary. These events, meet-ups, groups, events and resources (which are either free or inexpensive) will help you gain new knowledge, make new friends and propel your career in the right direction."

Find the list HERE !

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

CAA Careers: Reposting... 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! 

Saturday, March 09, 2019

CAA Careers: Work experience opportunities at DreamingFish Productions

I've been in contact with Phil Miller, Managing Director at DreamingFish Productions in Woking, and he has let me know about some exciting work experience opportunities at the company.  Because they are quite a small team, they can only take one person at a time, but last year they hosted 13 students over the year for a week each, so it's worth anyone that is interested, applying! 
Here's what Phil says - 

We’re quite a small team so we only take 1 student at a time. We usually take students for week long placements and do these at any time, usually excluding summer/easter holiday times as staff can be a little thin on the ground at these times. 

We took 13 students last year and we ask each one to come with a project in mind that they want to undertake while they are with us. I feel it is important that they are not just observing us but also undertaking their own work with our support. It also means that they have something to take away and potentially include in a future showreel. You can see the results from 2018 here:
You can read more about the company HERE.

If you are interested, you should contact Phil directly, with a brief introduction and your showreel and/or blog link...his email is  Say I sent you!

Good luck everyone!

Friday, March 08, 2019

FAO CAA YEAR 2: Sign up/Drop in tutorials today

Year 2: Drop in/sign up tutorials.

Please be aware that I will be in the CAA office today not on the ground floor as I mentioned yesterday. The tutorials are 'drop in' meaning that you can come anytime from 10am - 1pm to talk about/get help with either Premise or Toolkit 2. If you need practical help please open your files on a computer in one of the CAA rooms. 

- Alan

Thursday, March 07, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1: Fantastic Voyage OGR 13/03/2019

Wednesday, 13th March is your Fantastic Voyage Online Greenlight Review 

Your OGR is to be presented as a single Scribd presentation on your blog, beginning with your name, date, and project title. Your OGR presentations should be uploaded to your blogs on Wednesday, 13th March. Written feedback will follow as a 'comment' on your OGR post.

Fantastic Voyage OGR Part 1: What do you need to present?
  1. Your chosen scenario. 
  2. Your chosen audience & supporting market research.
  3. Your visual concept influence maps
  4. Thumbnails/developmental drawings etc. 
In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your ongoing Toolkit 1 project work (life-drawing/Maya tutorials/Nat's animation exercises etc). Historically, students who use their OGR to manage their weekly tasks in this way manage their workloads more successfully.

Use your social network to ensure everyone has seen this post - much appreciated.

I look forward to some exciting visual concept proposals! 

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Dale Carnegie

And now some further inspiration of previous student work to get your juices flowing!

'Art Of'

Matthew Fletcher

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

FAO CAA Year 2: Sculpting Character Choices.

Having looked at all of your character choices on your blogs I am going to make a 'universal' judgement call in the interest of you being able to get the most out of the sculpting experience. Also, to avoid stress over trying to create 'popular character likeness' and understanding stylisation/other peoples choices. It would be better that we opt for a 'real person', one that is not a celebrity or part of a TV show or film. 

I have brought in a series of images for you to use (similar to above) and of course you are welcome to choose your own. The images will be available tomorrow for you to pick from. Apologies to anyone who has chosen a character already, but as I said a poor choice will radically change what you learn and the experience you have. Please arrive early so that we don't get a bottle neck when choosing. Please pass this info on to anyone who you feel may not see this post.

- Alan

FAO CAA Yr 3: Thesis / Extended Thesis Proformas @ Your Ucreative Emails Now

Your Thesis / Extend Thesis assessment proformas have been sent to your Ucreative email accounts.  If your's hasn't arrived, drop me an email and I'll investigate pronto!

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Post With The Most 03/03/2019

Even as you're reading this, I'm probably in a concert hall in Amiens, France (or maybe it's the one in Soissons), preparing for a live screening of our animated visualisations originating from Hector Berlioz's Romeo & Juliet - the last of our big projects for the Orchestra Network for Europe, and the culmination of a six year cycle of creative collaborations with classical orchestras across Europe. Just last week I was in Katowice, Poland, but more about that a little later.

In truth, the Computer Animation Arts course team is a little bleary-eyed as it's been a hectic few weeks getting everything prepared, but our creative community of hardworking students have been no less prolific, so enjoy this all-new edition of our Post With The Most, beginning with the expressive joys of our weekly life-drawing classes...

Meg Robson

Meg Robson

Meg Robson

Meg Robson

Meg Robson

Adri Lopian

Adri Lopian

Katie Lima
Thomas Sherwood

The year one From Script To Screen project is a bit of a whopper, with our students taking an original story idea from the words on a page to pre-visualisations in the space of short seven weeks.  What is especially satisfying about this project is watching students awaken fully to their own creative powers as they experience the excitement of bringing an original story idea to life. While never completely perfect, the outcomes of this 'quick and dirty' project never fail to impress and its influence shouldn't be underestimated; in years past, some of the stories carved out for the FSTS project have gone on to become the 'materia poetica' of graduate films...  

Cutting Loose Ends / Art Of / Karris Palmer

Cutting Loose Ends / Animatic / Karris Palmer

Wunderkind / Art Of / Olivia Richer

Wunderkind / Animatic  / Olivia Richer

Ideal / Vincent Lange drawing Aurora

Ideal / Art Of / Vincent Lange

Ideal / Animatic / Vincent Lange

Shannon Fisher

Constant / Animatic / Shannon Fisher

Constant / Art Of / Shannon Fisher

Louis Belden

Tiki Turmoil / Ed. Venture character design / Louis Belden

Tiki Turmoil / Malama character design / Louis Belden

With just a little over two months remaining before their final-hand-in, our third year students are hard at work on their final films.  3D animation production is infamously long-winded, with a multitude of tasks standing between the student and the final realisation of their stories.  There are no easy-wins by which to deliver an engaging animation - just another slew of processes bringing their visions to life - but here they are, always pushing forward towards their ultimate goal - a completed film!

Ellie Row

None Of This / Mouth rig demo / Ellie Row

None Of This / Facial rig demo / Ellie Row

The Cherry Red Shed / Ruth model UV-ed / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / Ruth model texturing wip / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / Ruth model textured / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / Hand rig demo / Ruth Cann

Mr Leopard / Final 'Mum' model #1 / Laura Boots

Mr Leopard / Final 'Mum' model #2 / Laura Boots

Separated By Time / Man II turnaround / Anastasija Strelcova

A Time Apart / Rosa Rig Demo / Paris Lucke

A Time Apart / Rosa Rig Demo / Paris Lucke

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt test render #1 / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt test render #2 / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Young Graeme test render  / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Present Graeme test render  / Graeme Daly

On Wednesday, February 27th, a group of our enterprising final year students organised for themselves a studio visit at Blue Zoo, where they were given an insight into the nuts and bolts of the company's workflow.  What I love about this story is a) that a group of young people took the initiative and got themselves out there and b) that Blue Zoo is always so supportive and welcoming of new talent!

CAA's final year students at Blue Zoo

On February 28th at around 7pm, a twelve foot screen descended from the ceiling of the concert hall, in Katowice, and the lights dimmed.  Moments later, conductor Arie Van Beek, raised his baton and the first flurries of Berlioz's Romeo & Juliet rippled out from the assembled musicians of the Orchestra de Picardie and the Filharmonia Slaska.  On the screen above their heads, murmurations of black, glabrous cubes began to flock in time with the music, and for the next forty-or-so minutes, audiences watched as Berlioz's music gave shape, form, colour and movement to a quartet of CGI visualisations.

Arie van Beek conducting the musicians of the Orchestra de Picardie and Filharmonia Śląska during rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet, Katowice, Poland #1

Arie van Beek conducting the musicians of the Orchestra de Picardie and Filharmonia Śląska during rehearsals for Romeo and Juliet, Katowice, Poland #2

Loyal readers of the PWTM will now know that Kingdom Of Sound luminaries, Ethan Shilling and Deanna Crisbacher having been working with CAA's course leader to produce these animations. Ethan and Dee were unable to attend the concert, but like me, I suspect their familiarity with the project would have been chased away by the spectacle of seeing the work in-situ - and likewise the stresses and strains of getting the work completed on time.   In particular, the 'Love Scene' visualisation, which takes the Vanitas tradition as its inspiration with its imagery of fragile blossoms, held the audience spellbound - a genuine moment of magic.

Romeo and Juliet 'Intro' / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

Romeo and Juliet 'Queen Mab' #1 / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

Romeo and Juliet 'Queen Mab' #2 / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

Romeo and Juliet 'Love Scene' #1 / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

Romeo and Juliet 'Love Scene' #2 / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

Romeo and Juliet 'Grand Party' #1 / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

Romeo and Juliet 'Grand Party' #2 / Deanna Crisbacher, Ethan Shilling, Phil Gomm

The ONE project is predicated upon collaboration - creative partnerships between different types of creative communities.  Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans - the Heritage Lottery-funded animated film we're making for The Seaside Museum Herne Bay - is likewise characterised by a bunch of talented people working together towards a common goal.  As of writing, the Pudding Pans production team comprises CAA's course leader, Phil Gomm, senior lecturer, Alan Postings, lecturer in 3D Production for Animation, Simon Holland, and Animation lecturer, Nat Urwin, and CAA alumni, Emily Clarkson and Ethan Shilling.  Joining the production team more recently is 2017 graduate, Charlie Serafini (based in Poland), and 2018 graduates, Thomas Smith and Deanna Crisbacher.  The important thing about this project (and likewise Romeo and Juliet etc) is that any perceived differences between staff, alumni and students are vanished - everyone is working together and getting stuff right together - and also getting stuff wrong together!  Trial and error doesn't end when you graduate, and problem-solving, fire-fighting and managing compromise is pretty much constant!

There is that moment in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy 'looks behind the curtain' to discover that the great and mighty Oz is just an ordinary guy after all; for me, one of the great generosities characterising my favourite teachers was always their preparedness to admit to their own fallibilities and put their own learning in plain-sight.  These big wonderful projects in which we involve ourselves are indeed examples of talented people achieving memorable outcomes for diverse audiences, but they are also exercises in walking the walk.

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Promotional poster 

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Test render #1 / Lighting by Alan Postings

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Test render #2 / Lighting by Alan Postings

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Test render #3 / Lighting by Alan Postings

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Test render #4 / Lighting by Alan Postings

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Test render #5 / Lighting by Alan Postings

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Test render #6 / Lighting by Alan Postings

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Shot 7 / Animated by Nat Urwin 

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Shot 10 / Animated by Nat Urwin 

Marcus and the Mystery of the Pudding Pans / Shot 11 / Animated by Nat Urwin 

The Last Word...

During my trip to Katowice, I visited the camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau.  It was a cold, clear day, the afternoon light antiseptic in its clarity.  I'm struggling to reconcile myself with everything I saw there.

For the last six years or so I've been fortunate enough to work with other artists from all over Europe on projects predicated upon the lowering of walls between different creative disciplines and their representatives, and between art, culture and audiences.  I also have the ongoing privilege of working everyday in a creative community characterised by difference while sharing the same goals.  

Commonality isn't a very inspiring word - indeed, it sounds rather prosaic - but it isn't.  It transforms us and it saves.