For this assessment we were asked to work in groups to create a concept for an Animated TV show, either for CBBC or CBeebies. From there we were to deliver a 3 minute pitch, and submit additional group material such as a PowerPoint presentation, pitch bible and production plan. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, the pitch (which was due to be given in class to an audience) was altered to be an online conference. As a group we are to deliver our final pitch via Zoom where it will be recorded and graded. Our Animated show was designed to be a young children’s TV program entitled “Sherlock Holmes” and is intended for CBeebies.
Sherlock Homes follows the tales of a group of friends named Laos, Pepe, Nia and Jacob. It is a show aimed at younger children due to its strong educational themes. It combines life lessons ensuring little ones see how to be the best person they can be but also brings in Education themes throughout the school scenes. The bright colours, shapes, 2D animation and themes of friendship made it the perfect show for CBeebies as it has similar themes and educational scenes to shows such as Charlie and Lola and Fireman Sam.
Below we have combined all the relevant information we have alongside character designs, pitch bible, research and our Pitch Presentation.
For this project we intended our show to be for Cbeebies, therefore I looked into the channel and took elements I liked from the TV programs that were similar to our show 'Sherlock Homes'.
‘Sherlock Homes’ is a show intended for Cbeebies. We feel it fits the target audience of ages 6 and under perfectly as for a start, our detective group are age 6 and below. The show is educational, it encourage learning through play in a consistently safe environment, which is Cbeebies main goal.
Through easy to solve but fun mysteries our 24 episode series hopes to promote and teach children social skills at an early age as well as early educational lessons involving colours, animals and building early development in problem solving. The art style uses soft colours, simplistic designs and shapes in order to subtlety re affirm these early development stages. The light hearted humour for children mixed in with easy life lessons about being the best person you can be makes this show the perfect watch for little ones and their parents. It fits in with other Cbeebies shows such as Fireman Sam, Hey Dugee and Charlie and Lola which all include elements of friendship, adventure and of course education.
Sophie was in charge of creating Backgrounds for this project. Below are the images that inspired her when creating our backgrounds.
Before Sophie started the design of the background and concept art she did some research into similar drawings and options for the background. The playground was the most complicated to design as there are so many different approaches. So, she looked at some different styles and ways I could go. Using the street and classroom designs helped her with perspective and inspiration for what to involve in the backgrounds.
Children’s TV shows and animations that inspired Sophie include; My life as a courgette, Timothy Goes to School and Milly and Molly.
The official designs are below.
CHARACTER DESIGN RESEARCH
Chelsea worked on the character designs for this project. Below are images from Chelsea's Pintrest Board that she took inspiration from for the designs.
As you can see from the above images, Chelsea took elements from her inspiration to create her characters. Below are the official character designs and expression boards.
DEVELOPMENT AND PLANNING LOG
Our first meeting took place in University. In this meeting we discussed our initial ideas. Collectively we decided that we would make our Animated Show for Children 6 years old and under. Looking at shows such as ‘Paw Patrol’ we decide we want to make our show a detective shows for little ones. Names for our show are discussed and the idea that we call it ‘Sherlock Homes’ adapted from the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories is decided.
By this point we had decided that each member of the group would create our own idea for a character. Gabi was in charge of designing Pepe, Sophie in charge of Nia, Chelsea in charge of Laos and Mario in charge of Jacob. University closes at this point and our meetings have to move online.
Ideas for episodes begin. We designate roles that each member of the group will be in charge of. Chelsea will be doing character designs, Mario working on scripts, Sophie will be working on Settings and Gabi is in charge of collecting all the work to do the Pitch Bible and Pitch.
Collectively we create a storyboard that we submit for feedback. Our idea for episode one is approved.
Design Work Continues.
We meet with our tutor to run our progress by him. We also discuss ideas for episode 2 and share our work with each other.
Group Meeting to discuss progress.
Group Meeting to discuss progress.
Final designs are shared via the one drive.
We have a Practice Pitch via Zoom in which we practice what we are going to say and get a chance to practice as a group as we haven’t been able to in person. Final progresses are made before our Final Pitch.
Final Submission Date. Our group will take part in an online Pitch where we discuss our final ideas for ‘Sherlock Homes’.
The ALTERNATIVE BRIEF
Individually you are required to produce a portfolio which is based on your own theme and observations. The project should include aspects covered during the module such as key animation principles and knowledge of rendering, lighting and background design. To satisfy this brief you are required to produce a single portfolio of 3-D CGI development work and if possible animation tests based on ideas developed during this module. Through the construction and development of this animation you will need to “demonstrate technical competence in the application of a range of specialist 3D digital animation skills and processes (LO 2).” The animation must be informed by substantial visual, intellectual and observational research and the supporting documentation must demonstrate how you have managed to “analyse, evaluate and contextualise functions and concepts of 3D digital animation, and be able to place your own work within contemporary contexts (LO 1).” Additionally, the final project should evidence your ability to “recognise and formulate responses to problems encountered during production relating to 3D digital animation (LO 3).” The portfolio must include research work and tests as well as a written 1,000 word contextualisation.
The original brief required that I made a 3D CGI animation film (120 - 180 seconds – depending on the project). Combing my CGI module with Character Design, I began thinking of ideas for my Animation. Below are examples of research, character designs and my storyboard for the original story. The final animation follows the story of Student Lucy McGuire who gets herself into plenty of Mishaps. The animation comes from an animated series. As my specialist module is CGI/3D, my character was supposed to be modelled, textures and animated in CGI. The character would have been created in Autodesk Maya, I was using my 2D references such as character design (front/back/side view) to model.
However, due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, I was no longer able to use the facilities and software which would have been needed to create this character and animation. In this Research Portfolio, I intend to show what I would have done, had I been able to.
This Portfolio will include all related visual and academic research, that was undertaken to support my project development. I will be detailing evidence of Animation and film references that inspired me and would have contributed towards my final animation. I will also be explaining the modelling, texturing and rigging process in as much detail as possible. This means explaining how the modelling process, which starts with Polygons moulded into the shapes, would have created my character. This then moves into the texturing process and the the Rigging process in which the character is given bones and joints.
Before any of the Character Design or CGI process could begin, i needed to do some extensive research into what I wanted to do in terms of story and how I would go about modelling, texturing and rigging my character.
Taking this idea of the short TV shows I began looking at Animated TV shows that were aimed more towards a 8-12 year audience. This is something there isn't as much of anymore - but one animation I liked the idea of was the Morph cartoons. Morph was centred around one character which is mostly how my animation would have been (with the ever so often appearance of background characters). Morph gets himself into Mishaps like my character Lucy will and I took a lot of inspiration from this in terms of story.
In terms of my characters style, as usual I took a lot of inspiration from Disney. My character has a big head a lot like some of the recent female characters of Disney such as Rapunzel and Elsa.
My character is also extremely girly so I created a mood board which depicts a lot of the stylistic attributes of my character.
Finally, here are some videos that helped guide me in the modelling and rigging process.
Original Character Designs
Below I have included a Powerpoint presentation that details all my Character Designs. The designs include Front, Back and Side as well as a bit of information in regards to the background of my character.
In CGI, modelling is the process of developing a model (be that of an inanimate object or living being) from shapes via specialised software (such as Autodesk Maya). My intended CGI Animation would have been made up of numerous Animations, such as the background and props but most importantly the Character. The Model is the starting point but arguably the most important part of the Animation process.
My 3D Model was to be created manually. Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, I was able to start developing a 3D model. I was in the very early stages of this process and I wasn't able to save my latest version of the project to show in this portfolio. However I do have some early development which show the direction I was going in and the 3D polygons. There are numerous types of models that the model can be designed from. These include Polygon, Spline and NURBS. I intended to create my character mesh primarily from Polygon primitive.
With a 2D reference of my character designs, I imported the image into Autodesk Maya. The image acted as a guide which i discovered from my research was helpful. I started by trying to do each part individually. I began by creating a polygon cube which I then went to mesh in the options and selected smoother. This turned the Cube into an octagon. Leaving this for the time being, I wanted to create a torso in Maya. So inside the create option, I selected polygon and then cylinder. Then inside the Subdivisions Axis I make this 12 with a height of 4. Using the 2D Character design, I tried to mould the body and scale it into a shape that matched. As my character is a slightly odd shape and standing slightly to her right side this was fairly difficult. Using the 1-5 keys I was able to see how the shape would look smoothed over. I was really struggling to match up the mesh of the body to the design and so I went in a different direction.
Using a Cube and adjusting the subdivisions to edit the size of the mesh, I began using the EXTRUDE option to create a body. By starting with a cube for the body I can use CTRL + E to extrude and create each body part. I did begin experimenting with this but I wasn't able to save the file that had the extruded body. However it was quite a simple process extruding each body part. It is essential that I adjusted the subdivisions first so that when I'm extruding the arms and legs they are around the correct size. The size can be adjusted by selecting the model and navigating through each mode whether it be FACE, VERTICES or EDGES. I can look at the model in different modes using the F1-F5 keys. By using F3, I am able to see my model smoothed over - this is how the mesh will look. In addition to this by going to the SMOOTHER setting, the entire mesh will smooth.
Texturing is the second part of the process. Sadly I wasn't able to start any texturing on my character, however it is probably the part of 3D CGI character design I find least complex. In Maya, you create surface detail with textures connected to the material of objects as texture maps. A texture can be added to a character model or an object. I've had experience with texturing in the group project I did at the beginning of the year. I added textures such as denim to the characters clothing which I would have done again. So Texturing in Maya requires the use of a colour map or a bump map. By going into WINDOWS>UV TEXTURE EDITOR i will be able to export the UV map of the character. Whilst doing research I was able to discover that you can bring Photoshop into the texturing process. By opening up the exported UV map file in Photoshop I am able to start the process. The first thing to do is delete the ALPHA layer in the CHANNELS option on Photoshop. Following this I'd delete the black background layer on the photo and replace it with a neutral grey. Only the background should be grey, the parts of the model should be left black. Using this method of bringing Photoshop into play is useful because you can add multiple textures to one specific image. So if I bring in a photograph of skin texture or use the characters skin colour I am able to place that wherever I want within the image. Its the same when I bring in a texture such as denim for the shorts. My character would have had denim shorts so I would have placed the image of that texture accordingly within the original image. The SPOT HEALING tool will help smooth over specific parts of the texture, but I am also able to bring in other textures to place on top. So say I wanted a rip or some ageing on the denim shorts, I am able to find that texture on google and bring it in on top of the denim. Navigating through the different modes such as LIGHTEN and DARKEN, I can decipher which version I like most. This part of texturing isn't particularly 3D based but back in Autodesk Maya I am able to assign materials to my mesh by right clicking and going to ASSIGN MATERIALS. A list of material is then brought up and I'd be able to navigate through which one I want. Blinn is a good one to use as it adds highlights. For the Blinn it brings up a file where you are able to adjust settings, there is a file option and within this file option I can bring in my Photoshop image. The Photoshop file needs to be saved as a Photoshop file as opposed to a JPEG and then by importing that into the Blinn it'll appear on the mesh. I am still able to edit the image within Photoshop if it doesn't look quite right, by pressing RELOAD in the Blinn each time the file is edited it will show the most recent texture . This will be essential when texturing objects when creating a background. All of this is a Colour Map - I like the idea of colour maps as it means playing around in Photoshop which I am extremely familiar with. I haven't had a chance to use this version of texturing but I would have used it following tutorials had I had the chance.
BELOW is a video that goes into detail about colour maps.
Bump Maps can also be used when Texturing. The bump map will help define the colour map. It probably isn't as essential part as my character designs are quite flat and she doesn't need too much highlighting but there are elements of the process that can be used. Bump Maps work on Grey Scales and so back in the Photoshop file a new layer needs to be made - an adjustment layer. This needs to be a HUE/SATURATION layer and the saturation needs to be completely de-saturated. To add the bump map to Maya, the file needs to once again be saved as a Photoshop file and then plugged into Maya. I'd do this by going to the Blinn from the colour mapping, here there is an option to add a Bump Map. I'd click on that file and search for my file, select the file and then it is plugged in to the Mesh. In the VIEW PORT 2 setting it'll show the changes made to the image. Once again if the file is not correct the settings can be adjusted in Photoshop but it can also be adjusted in the Bump Map settings in Maya. This is useful as you will be able to see the changes to the file as they happen. Colour Maps and Bump Mapping are just a case of playing around and choosing what you like most for the model. This method does mean that a knowledge of Photoshop is required, but I like it because you can add as many layers and play around with it as much as possible.
Had I been able to finish the character model and texturing, the Rigging process would have been next. This is one of the more complex parts of the process. However once a character is completely rigged, it makes the animation much easier and very rewarding. As my character is quite complex, the rigging process would have been one of the longest. This means having to rig all the facial features and placing the rig
manually - therefore not being able to use the quick rig tool in Maya. Beginning by going into the Rigging mode, I am then able to create joints in the skeleton option. You create joints by selecting where each part of the body would bend. Say for example I wanted to rig my characters leg, I would select 'create joint', then select the top of the leg connected to the torso, then select again where the knee is before finally selecting at the ankle. With that we have three joints within the leg. I would have then continued to bring the joins into the foot (the bends in the toes and then finishing with the tip of the toes.) The joint size can be adjusted in the animation setting and check the joints are in the correct place by navigating through the different views in Maya. In the top right corner, there is an option telling you the details of your joint, this is where the translate and rotate options are. At the top the joint will be names 'Joint 1'. Renaming the joint to match the correct body part, so left, right, right, left... will make the rigging process easier. However each joint within the body part will need renaming so by click on each circle where the joint is, I would have been able to name them left knee, left toe etc... The hip will need a separate joint created in skeleton. The hip should be placed directly in the middle of the legs and you can connect the hip joint to the upper leg joint by pressing SHIFT + P. Instead of having to go through the exact same process of manually creating the joints on the other leg, I can click on the top joint of the first leg, then go to skeleton and select 'mirror joints'. With this option, you can search for the joints by simply typing 'left' or 'right'. In the replace with bar you can type the alternating leg. So by typing search for 'left' and replace with 'right'you would have the same joints on the alternative side and connected to the hip bone.
The arms can be done in the same way as the legs, so by creating joints in skeleton option. Starting at the shoulder you add a joint, then add the next and the elbow and then at the wrist. My character has mitten like hands so I would only add two joints inside the hand as opposed to adding all the joints to the fingers. So I start by adding one joint to the thumb. I would then create another joint in the other fingers (which are placed together) and connect it to the wrist joint with SHIFT + P. I have therefore reduced a lot of the stress of rigging each finger. This would have saved some time on a tight schedule and also still keeps the cartoon feel of my character. After naming each joint accordingly, I can then mirror the joints in the same way i did with the legs, and change each name of the joints. By creating a singular joint in between the shoulder and spine I would have then parented the arms to it with SHIFT + P. The arms are extremely similar to the legs and so the diagram of the legs above will give you a better understanding as to my understanding of rigging arms. Finally I would have rigged the spine of my character. So I would have started the joints near the bottom half of the torso and above the hip. here I would select the next joint in the middle of the torso. I'd then select the next slightly below the neck, the third at the bottom of the neck, fourth at the top of the neck and then finally the last joint at the top of the head. Once those joints are finished, the bottom joint of the spine can then be the 'Parent' to the hip bone. I would do this by selecting the bottom joint of the spine and then the hip joint and pressing SHIFT + P. Every joint then needs to be named as I would have done with the legs. The joint just below the bottom of the neck should also be parented with the joints between the spine and the shoulder. That way the Spine will be acting as a parent to both the legs and both arms.
To complete the joints, I need to make sure the orientations are pointing the right way. This means that the X and Y Axis should be pointing the same way as the direction its going. Therefore some of the joints that have been mirrored may be pointing the opposite way. With the help of a tutorial I learnt that I would be able to do this by opening the script editor in Maya. By opening script editor, I can go to File>Load Script and it'll open the script for the character I am working on. At the bottom I can write "CommentJointOrient()". Then by right clicking and selecting 'execute' it opens up a file. With that file open, I can then select all the joints and change the Up Axis to Y and the other axis to X. Finally by selecting 'Orient Joint' the script will set the Orients to the same direction. This is a helpful tip I would have used that I've discovered through my own research. However, I would also be able to manually work with Orients by selecting a Joint, then going to Skeleton>Orient Joints. This would then bring up the Orient box and I would have been able to set the joints accordingly so they are pointing in the correct direction. This is the final part of setting up the skeleton of the rig.
BELOW is a screenshot from the tutorial I used in regards to axis, as I wasn't able to show my own work in Maya. As you can see the Y axis is pointing forward and the X upwards. This should be applied to all the joint orients.
So moving on to creating controls. By selecting all the joints and SHIFT clicking the Model mesh I will be able to 'bind' them together. I do this by going to SKIN>BIND SKIN. This then connects the Model and the Rig together which is obviously a huge part of making the character move. By clicking on one of the joints and using the Rotation or Move option the Mesh should hopefully move alongside the joint. Obviously I am not able to say whether or not it worked for my character or not due to the ongoing circumstances but if all the joints were properly placed alongside the model it should have worked. However in order to move an entire body part, an IK handle needs to be created. Currently each joint moves one by one as opposed to if you wanted to move an entire leg forward. Through research I've learnt that the IK handle will control the entire body part. By going to SKELETON>CREATE IK HANDLE i can begin this process. With the IK handle option selected, I can click on the top of the leg down to the ankle and that links them so they move together. By selecting the W key to move and the ankle joint, it will then move the rest of the leg with the ankle.
The IK handle can be applied to the other leg and both arms. It''s an essential in being able to move each body part with fluidity. by selecting the IK Handle option and the top to bottom joins in each body part in created an IK handle. The IK handles are then placed in the Outliner on the left of Maya where they can be renamed.
With the joints and IK handles sorted, I could then move on to creating a controller for the joints. If I was going to create a controller for the foot, I'd go to CREATE>NURBS PRIMITIVE and then any of the shapes can be used. The tutorial I took guidance from used a circle. A circle will then form around the foot. To snap the circle to the model mesh, 'ENABLE SNAPPING' must be switched on. The circle would have then been reshaped to fit the length of the foot. By naming the circle the same name as the joint it makes it much easier. I would then disable the ENABLE SNAPPING key so the NURB circle can then be duplicated. By duplicating it can then be dragged to the other foot, renaming it accordingly. The new circle would then have to be snapped to the opposite joint and this can be done in the same way, select the joint and press ENABLE SNAPPING. Once both feet have a controller that is snapped, I would have gone to MODIFY>FREEZE TRANSFORMATION and this would have kept everything in the correct place. The controllers would then need to be connected to the correct IK handles - meaning the IK Handles that match the right joints In the Outliner. I'd do this by selecting the correct foot controller then hold down CTRL and press on the matching IK handle. Then by going to CONSTRAINT>ORIENT CONSTRAINT, it connects them so I'd be able to move the IK handle. Finally by selecting the Foot Joint and the Controller, i can go to ORIENT CONSTRAINT and select the options box. Within the options box I will need to make sure the 'maintain offsets' option is on and press apply. This will of course need to be done for the opposite leg.
With the foot controllers created, I could have used the same technique to create controllers for the characters hands. Controllers are essential as when animating a character, moving joints is not ideal. The controller has the freeze transformation option on and means you can always reset the options if needs be. The spine is slightly different - I'd start by going to SKELETON>CREATE IK SPLINE HANDLE. With that selected I would have started by selecting the hip joint and then selecting upward to the joint just below the neck. This IK handle can then be named 'Spine'. You can test the spine is working by selecting F8 and dragging your mouse over the spine which then brings up the movement option. As I am not able to create a rig, I can't test but if all these things I am outlining have been done properly it should work. By creating a Spline Handle, in the outliner I'd also get a 'CURVE', this can be renamed as Spine Curve. The Curve needs to have a pivot point set to the hip, I can do this by enabling snapping, holding down D and dragging the pivot point to the correct place. The controller is then done in the same way the legs and arms have been done by creating a NURBS Circle and snapping it to the correct place which in this instance is the hip joint. I have to make sure the transformations are frozen and renamed accordingly. However when it comes to connecting the controller, instead of using the IK handle I would have connected the controller to the Spine Curve - I'd then select a CONSTRAINT>POINT. Once done, I'd select the hip again and select the ORIENT CONSTRAINT options box. In the options box select the constraint on the X and Z axis only. Different to the other controllers, for the spine I'd go to WINDOWS>GENERAL EDITOR>CONNECTION EDITOR, this brings up an options box. This is a a part of the rigging process I've never had any experience with so I look forward to trying it in the future. With this box open, I select the Hip Controller and inside the box press RELOAD LEFT. Then I deselect the Hip Controller from the outliner and select the IK SPLINE and press RELOAD RIGHT. Inside the box on the left, I would have scrolled through to find ROTATE and on the right scrolled down to find ROLL. The rotate option can then be expanded to reveal and option of ROTATE Y and select that. I can also select the ROLL option which gives both options a connection - the box can then be closed. A controller can also be made for the chest area of the torso (the joint under the neck) - using the connection editor, the exact same technique can be applied but instead of ROLL on the right side, select TWIST. The chest controller will need to be placed inside the hip controller so the two move together, which can be done simply by dragging the chest controller to the hip controller. This then places the controller inside the other which is very similar to how to connect PEGS in 2D animation - something I am familiar with. The hand controllers will need to be placed inside the chest controller so they move together and the legs in the hip controller.
So finally the last controllers will be the neck/head. It can be done in the same way the legs and arms have been done by freezing, renaming, etc... Once done the neck/head controller should be dragged inside the chest controller. I would have also needed a controller for the entire model that acts as a master controller. This means that if I wanted to move every single joint at the same time the master controller would be the one to go to. When doing the group project earlier on in the year I got used to working with controllers and the master controller was essential when creating walk cycles. It can be done by creating a NURBS circle that is placed around both feet at the bottom of the model. The transformations for the controller then need to be frozen and renamed. All the controllers inside the outiner need to be dragged inside the Master Controller therefore meaning the Model can be moved. This really rounds up everything I've learnt in terms of controllers. It is a very new part of rigging to me and whilst I've had experience with using controllers, I've never created them for myself so It was interesting to learn about them in detail.
BASIC FACE RIGGING
With the body pretty much rigged up and ready to go, I would have then moved on to rigging up the face. As i'm extremely new to rigging in general, face rigging is probably one of the more complex part of the process. Therefore I looked up very basic face rigs and I am going to do my best to explain how I would have gone about this process. So Rigging a face also start off with joint creation. From the neck there will need to be a joint that goes toward the jaw. Joints will also need to be placed around the mouth, so like with rigging the body every joint can be named with LEFT/RIGHT and then the feature it is. Generally there are a lot of rigs placed around the face so renaming them all is essential to avoiding confusion. The lips will have a number of joints inside them, each one will be placed next to each other. The cheeks will also have a few joints. To make it less confusing each joint can have its radius changed (so the cheeks may be bigger than the lips as they take up a bigger surface area) and each joint can also be colour coded and placed on a new layer. I haven't had a chance to practice face rigging so my understanding of it is fairly basic, but taking what I can find from research this is what I would have done. My character is fairly basic as she is a cartoon but there will still be a lot of joints for each part - so the eye will need lid joints and pupil joint, the nose will probably need three joints, etc...Each joint will need to be snapped with the Z Axis so it only moves forward. The joints can be done on one side and then mirrored to the opposite side, which made it easier than individually going around each joint on the other side and trying to get them identical.
A joint can be created inside the face (which I would have already done with the spine) then all the joints on one side of the face can be parented to that Face Joint - SHIFT+P. The middle joint such as the nose, cupids bow, middle of the lips etc...will not need to be mirrored. So by selecting all the joint to one side of the middle the joints can then be mirrored in the SKELETON option. A lot of the rigging face method has elements I've already discussed when rigging my body. From there controllers can be put it and it works in a similar fashion.
The final part of the Rigging process is skinning the character. Skinning is the process of binding a modelled surface to a skeleton
According to Autodesk "When a model is bound to a skeleton using skinning, it then follows or reacts to the transformations of the skeleton’s joints and bones. For example, if you bind a model’s arm to its underlying skeleton using skinning, rotating the elbow joints causes the skin at the elbow to crease and pucker." In Maya there is smooth skinning, rigid skinning, and indirect skinning. To skin, the mesh will need to be selected and the mode in Rigging.To bind, go to the SKIN option and select BIND. A lot of the options in regard to skinning will be in the SKIN option, through research I have seen a lot of people use the PAINT SKIN WEIGHT option. Through adjusting the settings on the tool box, I can then right click on a joint, press SELECT INFLUENCE and I will be able to see which part of the body I am working with in colour. There are some parts of the body that might not be coloured in and considered part of the joint, therefore if I press down SHIFT i will be able SMOOTH over and colour in those selected parts. Doing this all over the body is essential in getting a nice skin weight.
I found a very useful video that goes into the basics of SKINNING. As it isn't something I've had very much experience with, the video was very useful in getting me familiar with the language and keys used to SKIN.
Original Environment Sketches
Before Lockdown I wasn't able to get any work done on a 3D Environment. I do however have 2D versions of my background and I'm going to try and explain in as much detail as possible, how I would have gone about creating these backgrounds and environments for my character. So Below I have examples of how my background would look. The bedroom is quite basic - a lot of it could be done by extruding cubes. To start building this background I would have used an IMAGE PLANE - I would create three image planes of the wall colour and then another Image Plane to be the floor. This is an easy way of creating the box room but I could have also done it by TEXTURING with COLOUR MAPS and BUMP MAPS. With the image planes set out how I like I can then start building objects to be placed around the room. As I've already said a lot of these objects will come from cubes - so the book shelf for example will be made up of three cubes. The main one in which the books rest can be a simple cube with a fairly low height and a much bigger width. Using the EDGES and VERTICES option, I can then mould the ends to create the desired shape. This can then be done with two separate cubes underneath that act as the bottom of the book shelf or I can EXTRUDE like I would have done with the model. Basically everything in the room can be made from a simple POLYGON PRIMITIVE and TEXTURED accordingly. The plant I may have extruded as the leaves would look much better coming off the branches and then using the COLOUR/BUMP maps I could TEXTURE so it blends from branch into leaf quite fluently.
The Kitchen is slightly more complex but once again everything can be made from cubes. The wall and floor can be placed on image planes, I will also need an image plane for the ceiling for this background. The lights will need to hang down from the ceiling which can be done with extruded cubes. None of the appliances would need to be opened in my animation so the cupboard, fridge, microwave, etc... can be textured accordingly.
Whilst I didn't get to experiment with creating Backgrounds for this project, I did create them for the group project early on in the year so I have had experience in somewhat of a way. I added images to IMAGE PLANES and adjusted them accordingly, so whilst I didn't get to experience creating my own background I have confidence this process would have been okay for me to achieve.
LIGHTs, camera, RENDER!!
The final part of the process is something that I was able to experience doing in the group project earlier on in the year - this is LIGHTING the scene and RENDERING. Lighting is a fairly basic process, there is a lighting option at the top of Maya that brings up the list of Lighting options - the lights include:
I will insert a video of the last 3D CGI group project we did to depict different camera angles and lighting techniques I am familar with using.
Finally, the piece would need to be rendered. 3D Rendering is the process of generating 2D images from the 3D animation. The software does the necessary calculations and combines all information about the light, texture and space. Rendering is the part of the project in which the least amount of work is required as the computer will do a massive majority of the work. However, specific Plug Ins are needed and the process can be incredibly lengthy. At University a Plug In is required called V-RAY. We have a specific Rendering room in which V-RAY is plugged into all the versions of Autodesk Maya. V-RAY is inaccessible at home and therefor I wouldn't have been able to Render had the software worked properly from home. With the V-RAY plug in, rendering is actually fairly simple if the lighting is correct and all the other factors are in order. To Render
The Brief: This brief for this project requires that you complete and submit:
Part1: Lighting production practice: Produce a portfolio of photography work to include at least Two images in the following areas:- Portrait, Pack-shot, Landscape(two night-time and two Daytime),Depth of field, Plus 1x Greenscreen EFX composition if available but not obligatory.(LO1&2)
The Night time Landscape photography below was taken throughout Lockdown. As I wasn't able to get any with the University Cameras, I took these photographs with my IPhone XR camera. I edited them in Photoshop to further intesify some effects.
PERSONAL LANDSCAPE SHOTS - DAY
Below I have inserted personal landscape photographs I've taken on holidays. They portray both Day time and Night time landscape photography. I have inserted them into my portfolio because they have been taken throughout this academic year and I wanted to include them in my portfolio before the COVID-19 crisis.
PERSONAL LANDSCAPE SHOTS - NIGHT
DEPTH OF FIELD
I was not able to collect many depth of field photographs, other than the ones I have put inside my Landscape portion of the project. Below I have inserted an edited photograph I managed to take at University. I have also inserted personal photographs I've taken. I took these photographs with my IPhone XR camera but I feel the way they've been taken depicts depth of field appropriately.
Sadly due to the ongoing COVID-19 Crisis, I wasn't able to get any photographs to Green Screen. I attempted to do so by taking a photo on my phone but I didn't have a Green Screen to take a photograph on. Therefore I found it extremely difficult to project any photos on to a background. On the alternative brief it was stated that a Green Screen EFX composition was not obligatory. Had I been able to get a Green Screen photo, I would have placed it on to a photograph of Disneyland and tried to create a believable photograph.
Tutor Set BRIEF
Theme; Pitch Animation Project
CW1: Research, develop and present a concept for an animation product derived from a tutor led brief and provide a detailed production report (group or individual). (20%) [LO 1 & 2] – (pitch presentation, no more than 5 minutes, submission to include all research and draft material)
A significant part of an animation project lies in its preparation and planning. This coursework is designed to develop your skills in design and pre-production and you will employ these skills to formulate a pitch, animatic and animatic presentation.
Your task is to present a group pitch/animatic/animation for the following brief: HEDDA reimagined by Jen Heyes, Artwork by David Hoyle.
Through individual and group documentation you will need to explain how you have worked to generate, analyse and formulate solutions for production relating to a variety of animation briefs (LO 1) and how this has been applied to inform and form your pitch. You will also be required to demonstrate how your project communicates as an appropriate solution to the above task.
For the submission you will be asked to evidence through your documentation how you have worked together as a group and also importantly how you have worked independently within the group to formulate solutions for production. Within this documentation it is required that you evidence your ability to recognise, formulate, execute and report responses to problems encountered during group or independent production work (LO 2).
3. Learning Outcomes
This project has been designed to satisfy the following learning outcomes for this module – 1 & 2 (please see module handbook for further detail) and your project will be assessed in relation to the success in which you are able to demonstrate and evidence your ability to:
The brief for this coursework will be assessed against these two areas.
The story of Hedda Gabler comes from Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. The character of Hedda is considered one of the great dramatic roles in theater whilst the play has been recognised as a classic of realism, nineteenth century theatre, and world drama.
The name of the play takes Hedda's maiden name as opposed to her married name - Tesman. Ibsen said his "intention" by giving the play this name was to "indicate that Hedda as a personality is to be regarded rather as her father's daughter than her husband's wife."
The play in which our group were asked to produce a projection for will be directed and produced by Jen Heyes and star David Hoyle. It is to be a reimagining of Ibsen's classic play that will be performed on Monday 23rd March. Jen Heyes has been quoted as saying:
"This is going to be very different to a classic production of the play,” she said. “It’s a queer reimagining of the play for a 21st century audience and won’t follow the heteronormative reading of the original. We are working closely with the film and animation department at Edge Hill and to that end it’s going to be a very visual, cinematic production. Hedda Gabler has always been recognised as a feminist work; Hedda is rebellious and won’t be pinned down. If Ibsen was here now I wonder what he would say about our attitudes to gender and equality."
LOG LINE: Newly married Hedda Gabler is already bored with both her marriage and her life, She seeks freedom.
REFERENCES AND RESEARCH
Whilst a lot of the work on this project ended up being individual as we had six different pieces, we did decide on a theme and Animation references we wanted to follow. Within our group two of us (Sophie and I) worked on pieces with words. Mario and Matthew worked on pieces that involved faces and had words with them. Chelsea worked on a piece which was a sketched image of George Tesman (a character in the play). So all of our pieces complimented each other extremely well which meant it was easy to stick to a similar style. Our idea was to keep all our pieces as close to the original as possible instead of changing elements because we felt that worked well with the show’s theme.
Below are some of the videos and animated pieces I got my inspiration from. As a group we all stuck to very similar research references - Terry Gilliam was one Animator we specially looked to as his Animation style is quite quirky and incorporates cut out Animation. Other animators and artists we looked to were Martha Colburn and Osbert Parker. Individually I looked at the pieces below as references to help me complete my animation.
I looked at this Animation and took inspiration from it as it incorporated hands making objects and moving pieces around on the screen. This was similar to what I wanted to do with my piece as I wanted to have my hands moving around letters in Stop Motion. Whilst my piece is obviously very different in terms of colouring and topic, I really liked the hand movement element to this Animation and was therefore inspired by it in a way.
Whilst my piece doesn't involve characters it does incorporate some elements of Cut Out animation, the part i did in Stop Motion was all cut out from the original image. As Matthew and Mario's 'face pieces' were inspired my the work of Terry Gilliam - I wanted to take elements of his works so we all had references to his work. The animations of Terry Gilliam are so wacky and unique in a wonderful way and it matches a similar theme to the Artwork we were given as that is also quite unique.
The intro to the 2001 Pixar film "Monsters, Inc" is another animated piece I derived inspiration from. It deals specifically with Animated words. Sophie and I both liked elements of this scene - Sophie liked how the words enlarged and danced around whilst I was a fan of the way they move around the screen. This scene is done in CGI animation so I didn't take inspiration from that specifically but the way in which the movement is portrayed and the words are the main focus came from this scene.
The story of Hedda has been told many times in various adaptations of the play. Hedda is considered one of the great dramatic roles in Theatre and is somewhat of a feminist icon. This reimagining by Jen Heyes is particularly different as the the title role will be played by a man - David Hoyle. Hoyle who established himself as a performance artist, avant-garde cabaret artist, singer, actor, comedian and film director is extremely popular in the LGBTQ community. Furthering to this it is said transgender performer Krishna Istha will appear in interactive film footage. And so the audience for this take on the play differ to the usual audience of this classic play. The show is likely to attract fans of Hoyle and people of the LGBTQ community as well as fans of the show and women that look up to HEDDA.
Group Log/Individual Reflection
For this project we were asked to present a group pitch/animatic/animation for the following brief: HEDDA reimagined by Jen Heyes, Artwork by David Hoyle. This specific brief was designed to give us experience in working for a client and to develop skills in design and pre-production. For this project I worked with Sophie Benjamin, Mario Millen, Chelsea Picton and Mathew Dodd. We were given six pieces of artwork by David Hoyle that are intended to be used in the reimagining of HEDDA. As our group had six individual pieces of Art the majority of our Animation work was done individually but we worked as a group to make style and theme choices.
Week one commenced on 20th January. The work was distributed to us and as a group we decided that each of us would work on an individual piece with Mathew doing two (as his pieces were shorter than the others). My piece was made up of words depicting a message. After speaking to Jen Heyes, she told me the message is a very important part of Hedda’s story. The message read: “And life teaches us to expect nothing in the absence of money”. My piece was to be twenty seconds but in discussion with Jen she said it could be longer. Knowing which pieces we were working with we began discussing our ideas – as a group we wanted to keep our pieces as close to the original as possible, if not exactly the same. Three of the pieces involved close ups of faces which were to be kept identical to the artwork. These were done by Mathew and Mario; their art pieces were very similar. Sophie and I had pieces involving words at similar time frames so we wanted to keep ours very similar. Our idea was to use Stop Motion and 2D Animation. Our work was to contrast each other; I wanted to do my words in stop motion with a 2D background, whilst Sophie wanted to create her words in 2D with a Stop Motion background. Chelsea had a unique piece of Artwork in comparison to everyone else’s within the group. Her work was a sketched drawing of George Tesman, who is Hedda’s husband. Whilst her piece was stylistically different we managed to keep themes similar as her piece keeps as close to the original and draws itself on the screen (like my 2D background does).
On 3rd February, we presented our ideas to Jen in a group pitch. In order to do the pitch we set up a PowerPoint presentation on the University one drive which we added to over the week. We each discussed our slides with Jen. Within the PowerPoint we included sketches, storyboards, animatics and references to research. My idea was presented with a storyboard – I told Jen I wanted to have a wall done in 2D in which the ads and the words begin to appear in Stop Motion. I planned to ‘Green Screen’ my stop motion work over the 2D background. Jen loved the idea of the wall as it referenced the saying “the writing is on the wall”, but she asked if I could place it on an old Villa wall to match the theme of the play. I was happy with this an obliged by creating an updated storyboard.
From this point onward a lot of our work became individual in terms of the way in which we animated it. Sophie and I worked in close proximity to each other so we could keep in contact about our work. We both went into the Stop Motion studio on 27th February after already completing our 2D work. We helped each other out as one of us worked the camera whilst the other did their intended work. I had each of my ads (from the background) cut out as well as individual letters and block words. I began rearranging the words to make the important message and placed the ads around the words. This fit in with my 2D work as each line is outlined by a pencil drawing and the ads slot into the correct place combining 2D and Stop Motion. We didn’t run into any problems when doing the Stop Motion apart from a few times in which the camera had low battery so the position of the camera slightly changes. However none of the movement is evident in the final work.
When it came to editing my two pieces together, I did so in Adobe Premier Pro. I already had the correct dimensions we had discussed with Jen on my 2D work – these are around 600x700. So when I imported the 2D video (done in Toon Boom) into the editing software the correct dimensions automatically appeared. I then imported the Stop Motion video (done in Dragon Frame) on the layer above. Using the ‘Ultra Key’ effect, I was able to play around with my Stop Motion video until it looked as though the letters were being placed on the wall by my hands. I was extremely happy with the way it turned out. The piece is around 30 seconds but I leave the message on the screen at the end so that the message becomes ‘bolder’ and sticks with you.
Overall whilst we did do a lot of our work individually we still managed to work well as a team. To begin with there were no arguments or unfair workloads as all of us had a piece each that challenged us. We kept in contact with occasional meetings and sending messages to see where we were up to and if the original style we intended was coming through. Our pieces all compliment each other but we were able to work in the way we wanted to bringing in our unique skills and traits. I enjoyed this project as I was able to incorporate Stop Motion and 2D and I am thrilled with the final piece.
Below is our PowerPoint pitch from week two. It details some of our original ideas and animatic work. Jen was happy with our pitch overall and provided great individual feedback.
My final piece is practically how I envisioned it would be. The glitch type parts add to the overall style of the piece and I think they will look interesting when projected. The words are clear and so are the hand movements. The message is extremely bold at the end of the piece and therefor I believe I have achieved the expected brief and I am happy with the way my work tuned out.
For this brief we were asked to work in groups to deliver an animation product developed from ideas derived from a tutor led brief. The Animation was to include 3 elements and not exceed 2 minutes. For the project we were given a theme and title of ‘Still Waiting’. The idea of this brief was to demonstrate some of the techniques and skills we have learnt in our first semester such as; modelling, texturing and walk cycles. The learning objectives asked that we demonstrate technical competence in the application of a range of specialist 3D digital animation skills and processes (LO 2) and that we recognise and formulate responses to problems encountered during production relating to 3D digital animation (LO 3). In order to complete this task, we were required to work in groups, I worked with Chelsea Picton, Mario Millen and Chloe Silvester and we decided our Animation would take place at the Airport. We could interpret the brief in any way we chose and so we began to think of common places people are often made to wait, ideas such as waiting at the Bus Stop, waiting for Dinner or waiting for an Animation to render came to mind. However, after thinking about it, we decided the Airport had a lot we would be able to play around with and so we were happy with this idea.
When it comes to looking at inspiration, the two companies I always look to are Disney and Pixar. There are very few companies that do CGI so impressively as they do. I knew that I wouldn't be able to create something quite as visually spectacular as Disney yet, but looking at their films as a reference was a great start. Looking at Tangled (2010), I was able to look at how Rapunzel moves around and use it for my character. The way in which my character moves her arms is very much inspired by Rapunzel as she walks with an element of sass. For the facial reactions, I was completely inspired by the close up scenes of characters in the Toy Story films. There is a great deal of facial movement, which adds so much more depth to each character. Below i have included a photo of Andy in Toy Story 3 (2010), just in the photo alone you can see the emotion in the character - this is something I was eager to get across in my scene.
For my part within the group project I wanted to create a scene which incorporated a walk cycle. The idea was to have my rigged character walking though a Terminal/Airport Lounge towards a departure board. She is looking to see when her flight will be boarding. My character reacts in a frustration when she discovers her flight has been delayed and then waits for the board to change. The main focus of the scene is the Walk Cycle as I was keen to show some of the sills I'd learnt this semester. Below I have linked a Youtube video which I used as a reference for my Cycle.
Walk Cycles are extremely different in CGI in comparison to 2D Animation, however it is still possible to use a reference as a guide. I used The Animator's Survival Kit and walk cycles found on the internet to help me with my characters poses. Below i have inserted a photo of the walk cycle I used as guidance the most. The places in which the body parts are meant to be a are clearly indicated and make it easy to follow along with. I did the cycle in 25 frames, making sure frame 1 and 25 were exactly the same. Doing this makes it easier to place my 'inbetweens' throughout my work, although Autodesk Maya does a great deal of the work along with you. I needed the references as before I started this project, I wasn’t as skilled in CGI Walk Cycles as I intended to be.
STORY AND CHARACTER
It was essential that each of us had a character that was fully rigged for our animation. It was not a requirement that we created our own rig and so we were able to look at pre-existing characters. We already had tutor set rigs from our tutorials, so we used these within our animations. For my scene I used a rig of a character named Hilary, but I wanted to change her slightly to make her more of my own. In Autodesk Maya, I opened the character rig and went into the ‘Hypershade Window’. In here I am able to play around with colours and textures. I changed the hair colour of my character and added denim and fabric textures to her clothing. This way I was able to demonstrate a skill I had learnt in my CGI tutorials regarding texturing. Once I had a character I was happy with, I began the Animation process. Each of us was to animate a different point within the Airport – Mario animated his character in the Car on the way to the Airport, waiting in traffic. Chelsea animated her character waiting in the terminal, looking tired, whilst Chloe animated her character waiting in the queue for the plane. My idea was to animate my character walking up to the departures board and have her get annoyed that her flight is delayed. She reacts in frustration and then waits for the board to change. I wanted to do this as I was eager to bring a walk cycle in as one of my three elements.
Above is a very basic storyboard detailing my scene, it has three drawings depicting the side view and three showing the front view. The side view is basically a view of the walk cycle - it shows my character walking to the departure board. I then switch to the front view which shows my character reacting to the board. My scene is fairly basic but drawing the storyboard gave me a clear idea of which direction to go in with my scene.
SHOT DEVELOPMENT AND STILL IMAGES
Below I have included some still images and shots from my completed scenes.
When it was time to render my work, I ran into quite a few challenges. For a start I struggled to find good lighting that covered my entire scene. I had to use a number of spotlights but once the scene was covered it created large shadows and bright lights in some areas. Eventually I got to a point in which I was happy with the lighting enough to render but it is evident I need more practice with this as time goes on. When I was ready to render my scene I had two cameras - 1 and 2. Rendering camera one took two hours and was rendered using V RAY. I rendered camera two using Maya Software as I had to do this at home. The lighting for camera two looks much better as there is a rather large shadow on camera one's render. Rendering is a lengthy process and it is something I will definitely get to grips with a lot more as I complete more projects.
MY FINAL SCENE
For this project we were asked to create a Drawing Portfolio comprising: Representational and abstract drawings. Over the academic year we have been researching and looking at a variety of different artists in addition to drawing from life. My Portfolio consists of thirty(+) drawings that range from Life Drawing, to Landscape. My drawings have been created with a range of materials including pencil, charcoal and oil pastel.
30 SECOND POSES
For this project we were required to develop and produce a short animation that demonstrates our understanding of the concepts and techniques introduced to us during the course so far...
In the last 12 weeks we have looked at
The Sketchbook follows the narrative of a young animator, played by myself, opening up her Sketchbook to reveal a world of drawings. Each little sketch walks across the screen to give the idea of 'drawings flying off the page'. The Protagonists sketchbook is somewhat 'magical'.
Below is a comprehensive production portfolio detailing how I made my short film and detailing some of the inspiration that helped me create it...
Inspiration AND DEVELOPMENT
2D Animation has always been a favourite of mine, I am a huge fan of 'The Disney Renaissance' films of the 1990's such as 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Aladdin'. I always want to incorporate 2D Animation into my work but with that being said, it was one of the last techniques we looked at. Therefore I didn't feel I was skilled enough to do a fully 2D animated film but I definitely learnt enough smaller skills to add some 2D walk cycles.
The first image above is a reference I used to help me create my first Walk Cycle. The second image depicts a very simple animation I created using Toon Boom. This Animation was later Green Screened in Adobe Premier Pro so that it was displayed over the Sketchbook.
The original video is below to Download.
I didn't really spend an incredible amount of time on character development as I have quite a few different characters in my short film and they're all fairly simple. However for the animation above I did take inspiration from one of my favourite comics 'Catana Comics'.
The comics were created by Catana Chetwynd and detail relatable yet comedic everyday moments that make up a relationship. Her drawings are somewhat simple but are still very well drawn as they look 'cute'. I took inspiration by using the simplicity of the body and added the bigger head similar to the way Catana does. I also did a bit of research into Alien cartoons and used a few drawings I liked to help me create the Alien.
CATANA COMICS - https://catanacomics.com/
I was inspired by a-ha's 'Take On Me' music video when the original concept for my short film came to me. I loved the idea of adding comic-like drawings to my work and knew the way to do this was to Rotoscope. I didn't quite achieve what I had originally planned, as I'd hoped to Rotoscope over an entire Walk Cycle and add it to the Sketchbook. However I still managed to include little bits of Rotoscoping - one of my favourite parts of the short film is when the Bee flies across the page. The Bee is fully Rotoscoped, this is a skill I have developed in the last few weeks. My only sadness about the Bee comes from the fact that it moves far too quickly.
I also used Rotoscoping to colour in parts of the Alien and add little drawings to the Sketchbook. I wish I could have added more to the film but this technique can be extremely tedious and time consuming.
Adding Audio to my project was probably one of the simpler parts of the film. I used some of the unused sounds from my Audio Project as well as recording a new sound (the waves). In order to record the sounds I used a Mini Boom Microphone, XLR Cable and Zoom H5. I later just imported the sounds into Premier Pro and tried my best to match them up with the images. I used the waves for the small portion of the film that has a rotoscoped rain drawing on the sketchbook and used footsteps and running sounds over the walk cycles.
The Pixilation part of the film was done using Dragon Frame, I asked another person on my course to help take the photographs whilst I moved slightly each time, this gave the illusion of a recorded video. My favourite part of the entire Pixilation part of the film is when I write my name and it appears letter by letter. Considering Pixilation was one of the first techniques I learnt, it was quite nice to revisit this and add it into my short film. I think it is actually one of the best parts of 'The Sketchbook.'
Since starting my Animation Course, Stop Motion has quickly become on of my favourite forms of Animation. It is for this reason that I decided I wanted to add it into my short film.
I began by filming three walk cycles using Dragon Frame. The first and second were done using a Character I made, I had him move ever so slightly each time and took a photograph to give the illusion of him walking. The third walk cycle was one I created a couple of weeks back with a character we were given, I made the walk cycle then knowing I wanted to incorporate it into my short film.
I then added the Stop Motion films into Premier Pro and used the 'Ultra Key' effect to green screen out the background.
NOTE - *ANNOTATIONS ARE ADDED TO THE IMAGES.*
STUDIO AKA - MANDDY WYCKENS
Manddy Wyckens is an Animator and Illustrator currently working at Studio AKA. Studio AKA is an Animation studio producing television commercials, TV programs (such as Hey Duggee) and short films. It is a multi-BAFTA winning and Oscar/Emmy nominated company founded in 1989.
Wyckens graduated from Gobelins in Paris and also attended California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). CalArts is notable for being the college a lot of Walt Disney Animations finest animators attended. She has been freelancing since 2014 and has worked on various projects including feature length films and TV shows. As well as Studio AKA, her client list includes Disney TV, Cartoon Network and Dreamworks TV, this clearly gives an indication of the great talent Wyckens possesses.
Manddy brings bold compositions and contrast to create vibrant atmospheric background. Her characters are beautiful, she uses elegant thin lines and yet something so simple still captures attitude and emotion. One of her notable achievements with Studio AKA is a film called First Family. She directed the film with Marc Craste but the films design is fully down to her. It follows the First Family as their caveman clan grows from two to three. It is a lovely little film with some charming moments, the way in which the characters are drawn and animated is partially the reason why this film is so compelling.
Manddy’s character design is somewhat simplistic and yet so graceful. Her female characters look sophisticated and stylish. She obviously has a gift for designing female characters, I aspire to create characters just like hers bringing my own unique style to it.
Naturnes - First Family
David O’Reilly is an Irish animator born in 1985. He is currently based in Los Angeles but previously worked for Studio AKA in London. It was there that he picked up the style of the Studio AKA and furthered his artistic ability. He uses fine art, painting and drawing and combines them with his CGI work. He is known for creating distinctive 3D animated films.
Some of his most notable work includes directing, producing and animating an episode of Adventure Time entitled “A Glitch is a Glitch”. He also created the first video for U2’s single “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”. He produces a ‘surreal’ short film called “RGB XYZ” and animated sequences in the 2007 film Son Of Rambow and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
His work has been characterised by the use of intentionally stripped down 3D graphics. He uses glitch effects and was one of the first people who used them. A lot of his work could be described as ‘strange’ although it is extremely entertaining. O’Reilly is obviously very talented and is currently freelancing for a number of companies. You can see some of his work in the Gallery below.
Winsor McCay was an American cartoonist and one of the first animators. He was born between 1866-1871, although his exact birth date is unknown, and died in 1934. McCay is best known for the comic strip Little Nemo and one of the earliest animated films Gertie the Dinosaur.
In Winsor McCay’s early career, people would frequently get newspapers delivered to their homes daily. Inside these newspapers were comic strips that were large, elaborate and often took up full pages, one of these comics was Nemo In Slumberland. Nemo appeared in comics between 1905 and 1914 and was a big favourite of readers, he was a little boy that fell out of bed into adventures in the land of King Morpheus. Gertie the Dinosaur is considered the first animated character to exhibit her own personality - I would consider the film an extremely impressive product of its time.
McCay exhibits elements of Art Nouveau in his work, he outlined his characters in heavy blacks but did also use colour a lot of time. I’m a huge fan of his work, I like the simplicity of Gertie the Dinosaur but also the way he draws buildings and cartoons.
Mark Henn is an animator, best known for being one of Walt Disney Animations most famous character designers and animators. He was hired by Disney in 1980 and is still animating for them to this day, making him one of their longest employed animators. He is one of my all time favourite animators which is why I have chosen to write about him. He is especially notable for creating female leads such as Jasmine (Aladdin, 1992), Mulan (Mulan, 1998), Princess Tiana (The Princess and the Frog, 2009) and Belle (Beauty and the Beast, 1991).
Born in Dayton, Ohio in 1958, Henn had two very strong passions in his younger life. The first was American History and the second was Disney Animation. Since a very young age Henn aspired to be a Disney animator, quite like me. When Mark Henn was hired by Disney in the 80’s, he was mentored by one of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men - Eric Larson. Disney Animation was famously going through a rough time in the 1980s, the documentary ‘Waking Sleeping Beauty’ explains how the animated films of the time such as Fox and the Hound and notoriously The Black Cauldron, weren’t performing as well as some of Disney’s classic films. Animators such as Glen Keane, John Musker, Ron Clements, Andreas Deja and Mark Henn were all brought into the Walt Disney company and worked on some of the ‘flops’ of the 80s. However as the decade ended amazing things began happening at the Walt Disney studios - The Little Mermaid was released in 1989 and thus began “The Disney Renaissance”. The Disney Renaissance is my all time favourite era of Disney Animation and this is partly due to the work of Mark Henn.
The way in which Henn always seems to make his leading ladies so beautiful is a skill not many people acquire. He helped animate Ariel from The Little Mermaid along with friend and fellow Disney animator Glen Keane. But he took on a Supervising Animator role when he created characters like Belle and Jasmine. The female characters of The Disney Renaissance all have a similar look, however Henn has stated that Jasmine is actually based off of his Sister. As well as the stunning leading ladies he has animated, Henn has also been the supervising animator for Young Simba (The Lion King, 1994). Henn stated that his favourite character he has animated is Mulan - he says this is because it was completely different from anything he has ever done before. He considers it his best work but also loves the character of Mulan because she is without a doubt one of the strongest characters he has ever animated, he incorporated Chinese art styles into this animation. His work is somewhat similar to the early work of Disney’s Nine Old Men. The female characters look almost quite simple but the facial expressions and capturing that beauty issomething any young animator struggles with.
Andreas Deja is a Polish born German-America animator. He is once again most notable for being a Disney Renaissance animator. He is predominately an animator Of Disney villains such as Gaston (Beauty and the Beast, 1991), Jafar (Aladdin, 1992) and Scar (The Lion King,1994). However he has also been a supervising animator for Lilo (Lilo and Stitch, 2002) and Hercules (Hercules, 1997). His work is incredibly unique, it differs from the work of Mark Henn as Henn is known for creating beauty whilst Deja has a gift when it comes to Evil.
Like Henn, Deja was a lifelong Disney fan, he aspired to be a Disney animator from a young age. He too was hired by Disney in 1980 and was mentored by Eric Larson. Dena’s early days at Disney are very similar to Henn’s, the first film he worked on was The Black Cauldron (1985) in which he shared a cubicle with Tim Burton. He later moved on to becoming a supervising animator in the films of The Disney Renaissance. His last work with Disney was on Winnie The Pooh (2011) but he is still affiliated with Disney to this day. Deja has been honoured with a Disney Legends award as well the Winsor McCay Award for outstanding contribution to the art of animation.
I am a big lover of Disney Villains, I love the work the early Disney animators and the way they managed to make them so terrifying. However Deja’s villains are my favourites as each one he has animated is actually in a way extremely likeable. Jafar, Gaston and Scar are actually quite attractive, they aren’t terrifying throughout the film but they definitely become quite scary in the later scenes. He has stated that he found Gaston quite challenging as he had to make him attractive but still look like a villain. With Jafar, he made him quite calm and restrained in characterisation. Jafar and Gaston wear a lot of red and black, red symbolises danger and the black symbolises and evil. This is also evident in Scar who is a darker lion than his brother Mufasa, he is technically a brown but there is a reddish undertone to his fur, he also has a black Maine. However Deja isn’t all bad, he was the supervising animator for hero Hercules who has a similar look to Gaston. He also created Lilo who is such a loveable little character, she is insanely different to any character Deja has ever animated.
oLLIE jOHNSTON and Frank Thomas
Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas were two early Disney animators. They were two of the last surviving members of Walt Disney’s ‘Nine Old Men’. I was originally just going to write about one of them but you can’t mention Frank without mentioning Ollie and vice verse! Disney’s Nine Old Men were Walt Disney’s Core animators, they were good friends of Walt’s and created some of the most famous early cartoons. All nine members continued to work for Disney for most of their lives and although Frank and Ollie stopped animating in the 80’s, they continued to mentor some of the famous Disney Renaissance animators. Frank and Ollie were the best of friends, the pair were inseparable, but their artistic style differed.
Ollie was known for creating some of the ‘cute’ characters as well as some leading ladies. Johnston was a supervising animator for Alice (Alice In Wonderland,1951) and Wendy (Peter Pan,1953). Not only were these characters voiced by the same young actress (Kathryn Beaumont) but they almost look the same! Both possess a youthful beauty. One of Johnston’s last supervising animation roles was on Young Todd and Young Copper (The Fox and the Hound, 1981). Young Todd is In the Gallery below, the little red fox, he is without a doubt the cutest character on this page. Frank Thomas loves animating villains, he was the supervising animator for Lady Tremaine (Cinderella,1950), Captain Hook (Peter Pan, 1953) and Khan (The Jungle Book, 1967). You can probably guess that Mark Henn was greatly influenced by Ollie whilst Andreas Deja was influenced by Thomas. Classic Disney animation has that simplicity in terms of colour and character and yet it remains timeless to this day.
Both Frank and Ollie have passed away now, Johnston was the last of Disney’s Nine Old Men to pass, dying of natural causes in 2008. Frank Thomas died four years earlier. The pair have both received Disney Legend awards and remain great influencers to this day.
David Hockney is an English Artist. He is most commonly known as a key contributor to the Pop Art Movement in the 1960s, but he is also recognised for his work as a painter, stage designer, photographer and printmaker.
Born in Bradford in 1937, Hockney was the fourth of five children to Laura and Kenneth Hockney. It was clear from an early age that he was extremely talented when it came to art, this is shown by the fact that he would later go on to study at Bradford College Of Art and the Royal College Of Art In London. Whilst the Pop Art Movement began in England in the 1950s, it spread to the USA in the 1960s and has become most commonly liked with this decade. Some recognisable names associated with Pop Art include American Artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. But one of the most influential British Artists affiliated with the movement was David Hockney.
The name Pop Art is defined as being an 'art based on modern popular culture and the mass media, especially as a critical or ironic comment on the traditional fine art values.' A lot of Pop Art pieces include bright colours and figurative painting, this is evident in Hockney's work. Hockney was a big fan of Cubism (an early 20th Century art movement) and so he combined elements of Cubism and Pop Art to create some of his Art Work. Below is some of Hockney's most famous pieces of work.
Paintings & Landscapes
The first three pieces in the Gallery above are probably David Hockney's most recognisable art works. The first is 'Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy'. This piece was painted between 1970 and 1971 and is located in the Tate Britain Gallery, London. The painting depicts British fashion designer Ossie Clark and his then wife Celia Birtwell in their Notting Hill flat shortly after their wedding. 'Percy' was one of the couple's cats, however the one portrayed in the painting was actually called Blanche. Hockney decided to use the name Percy as he believed it sounded much better, I personally believe he made the right decision. Hockney began by taking a photograph of the couple and then went on to make drawings before painting the piece. The work was painted on canvas in acrylic paint and isn't so much a Pop Art piece, it actually incorporates 1960s minimalist style. We can see the elements of minimalism as the room is quite simple.
The second piece in the gallery is called 'My Parents' as is exactly what it sounds to be. It's quite similar to Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy in a way as it's another painting of people that has come from photography and drawing. How it differs is, 'My Parents' was done in Oil Paint on Canvas as a supposed to Acrylic. The work was painted in 1977, a year before his father's death and was sold to the Tate Collection, much like Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy, in 1981.
The third piece in the Gallery is 'A Bigger Splash'. This piece is a Pop Art painting from 1967 measuring 95.5 in x 96.0 in. Out of the three paintings I've looked at so far, this is definitely the brightest and it is evident that it is a Pop Art piece. Hockney uses acrylic but only a limited palette in comparison to some of his other art works. He uses two different shades of Blue, two different shades of Sienna as well as Green, Yellow and White. The paintings main focus is the splash coming from the pool but we can also see a single story California home on a sunny day.
Iphone & Ipad DrawiNgs
Whilst Hockney is most notable for his physical paintings on Canvas, he has also experimented with drawing, printmaking, watercolours, photography and has recently started trying IPhone/IPad drawings. Some of my favourite work by David Hockney has to be his Photography. I love the way he is able to capture lots of different angles of the same item and combine all the photos together to make one big Photograph. David Hockney is evidently very talented, I love his use of colour in his paintings. Some of his more recent IPhone and IPad drawings incorporate that unique Pop Art style he acquired in the 1960s. I've included some of what I believe are Hockney's best pieces of Art Work above.
Art Noveau is a style of decorative art, architecture and design. It is somewhat of a predecessor to Art Deco and Pop Art and was once again mostly prominent in Western Europe and the USA. It was most popular between 1890 and 1910 and is considered a 'total art style' meaning it involves a range of fine and decorative arts. Art Noveau embraces architecture, graphic art, interior design, Jewellery, furniture, textiles and household silver. In the Galleries below you can see how the Art Noveua Artists of the time managed to incorporate the style into many different pieces. It is characterized by flowing lines and curves and linear designs. Art Noveau is evident in France, you see a lot of the style in the lettering and the swirling staircases..
The term 'Art Noveau' first appeared in a Belgian art journal in 1884 and it really took off from there. It became much more popular by 1890 when Tiffany Glass and Decorative company was established, from that point the style was advertised through posters and people began to feel familiar with the aesthetic. Gustav Klimt was one of the leading artists in the Art Noveau movement, he was an Austrian Artist that did a lot of figurative work and landscape paintings.
Art Noveau artists also illustrate romantic Fairytale like drawings, these are some of my absolute favourite pieces of Art Work. In the Gallery below there is sketch of Arthur Rackham's Chesire Cat. The drawing is from 1907 and was created for a publication of Lewis Carroll's 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland'.
List Of Art Noveau Artists
Utagawa Hiroshige was a Japanese artist born in 1797. His art style is completely different to anything else I've looked at so far, it doesn't fit the Art Noveau or Pop Art Style. His work is some of the oldest I'm going to look at in this reflective report - it is mostly paintings but does have elements of printing in it as well. Hiroshige was most notable for doing landscape compositions and Woodblock Printing.
Hiroshige is considered a Ukiyo-e artist and considered one of the greatest and last artists of that tradition. His work would actually go on to become an influence in Anime, you can see some of the similarities between his work and Anime Animation. His landscapes are some of the most beautiful pieces of work he has created, he started doing these between 1829-1830. He likes to incorporate flowers and birds into his paintings as well.
His work varies in terms of colour, on one hand he uses a lot of bright colour but on the other some of his painting use darker colours. His work almost looks somewhat newer than it actually is - it has a cartoonish element to it and I would consider it timeless. In terms of his style, Hiroshige was actually remembered for using striking colour. As well as this he used unusual vantage points, these are places that provide a good clear view of the area, and Seasonal Allusions. Artist Vincent Van Gogh seemed greatly influenced by the work of Hiroshige, he went on to produce copies of some of his prints.
Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter born in 1890 and dying in 1918. He was a protege of artist Gustav Klimt whom I looked at briefly when researching Art Noveau. Schiele was a leading figure in the Austrian 'Expressionism' movement and is most commonly remembered for his portraits and self portraits. Throughout his short life Schiele produced a number of paintings and drawings, he used a lot of bold line and mostly dark colour. he tends to use a lot of black, a lot of his drawings and sketches are done completely in black - when he did incorporate paint, it tended to be dark green, brown, reds and many other darker colours.
Schiele was born in Tulln, Lower Austria to his Mother Marie and Father Adolf - he was the third of their children. He was always a big lover of drawing and sketching, when he was younger he used to really enjoy drawing trains, so much so that his Father felt obliged to destroy his sketchbooks. Schiele wasn't academically blessed and didn't do particularly well at school until it came to Art... One of his earliest self portraits is from 1906 when he was 16 years old. Schiele was actually considered 'strange' by other children at school which is interesting because whilst I am a fan of his work, I would probably use the same word to describe some of it. Perhaps this is due to the raw sexuality and intensity that his pieces portray. He seemed almost fascinated with the human body! Not only did he draw quite a few naked portraits of others but his self portraits mostly depict him in the nude. He was extremely good at drawing hands which are commonly refereed to as one of the hardest body parts to draw.
Schiele greatly admired the work of Gustav Klimt and so in 1907 he sought out Klimt and the two formed what started as a mentor/mentee relationship and developed later into a friendship. Klimt was a great influence on Schiele's work and also introduced him to the work of Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch. Schiele died tragically of influenza at the young age of 28. This is extremely sad considering Schiele was on the verge of great commercial success. Whilst he is famous now and young artists tend to look and research his work, who knows what Egon Schiele might have gone on to produce. You can see some of his greatest art works in the Gallery below.
Euan Uglow was a British painter born in 1932 and dying in 2000. He was predominantly a painter of the human figure but he also painted still life’s and landscapes. Uglow was always a great lover of Art, he studied at Camberwell School Of Art from 1948 to 1950 under William Coldstream. Coldstream was a big influence on Uglow’s work, he actually followed him to Slade School Of Art in 1951 when Coldstream started teaching there. However Uglow has stated that painter Claude Rogers was probably more significant in his development.
Uglow wasn’t immediately successful in Art, it wasn’t until the early 60s that he sold his first painting. As you can see from the Gallery below, Uglow’s method was meticulous - it involved a great deal of measuring and correction. This obviously took a lot of time in fact Uglow once joked himself that he began painting one model when she was engaged, was still painting when she got married and did not finish painting until after she was divorced.
Uglow preferred his canvas to be square and golden rectangle or a rectangle of exact root value. Colour was fundamental to his understanding, as you can see from the Gallery below he used quite a lot of bright colour. He used blue in the background as well as a lot of yellows and greens. He also used photography in some aspects of his work which you can see from his painting ‘Skull’.
Albert Giacometti was a Swiss artist born in 1901 and dying in 1966. He was a sculptor, painter, draftsman and printmaker. Born in Borgonovo Switzerland, he was the eldest of four children of Giovanni Giacometti. Giovanni was a well known post-impressionist painter. He became interested in Art from an early age most likely due to the fact that he came from an Artistic background.
In 1922, he moved to Paris to study under the sculptor Antoine Bourdelle, it was there that Albert Giacometti experimented with Cubism and Surrealism. When he first started working on his sculptures he focused on the human head. He preferred using models he was close to, such as his sister Isabel Rawsthorne, Isabel was also an artist. In his later life his sculptures got bigger and better, he shifted his focus to the body instead of just the head.
When it comes to his drawings, they are extremely sketchy. The way in which he uses a great number of lines would indicate that he is drawing whilst looking at an object as a supposed to looking at the drawing itself. His drawings and sculptures are similar in terms of the fact that they have the appearance of sketchiness and are often distorted figures. You can see in the Gallery below the similarities between his sculptures and drawings.
Guillermo Del Toro
Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican filmmaker born in 1964. He is a director, screenwriter, producer, author, actor and former special effects makeup artist. However, he is probably most known for directing the Academy Award winning fantasy film Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). Whilst he is not considered an Artist, he actually created a Sketchbook for Pan’s Labyrinth with a number of surreal and interesting drawings. Below is a Gallery containing numerous pages from his sketchbooks.
Pan’s Labyrinth is a dark fantasy film, it was realeased in 2006 but some of the oldest parts of the sketchbook go as far back as 1993. As you can see below from del Toro’s sketches, there is a nightmareish element to his drawings. You can barely make out what the writing says but the drawings give some sort of indication as to what is going on in each part.
One of the first drawings in the Gallery is called the ‘nerve ghost’, you can sort of see that idea in the ghostly appearance of his face and then the red body gives that impression of nerves. The nerve ghost was an original idea for ‘The Pale Man’, in fact a lot of these ideas were original ideas and ones that didn’t necessarily make it to the film. The Pale Man in the film is still extremely disturbing and looks extremely similar to one of the bottom photos in the Gallery, the one with the long face and wide eyes. Del Toro is obviously extremely talented when it comes to drawing and has pages and pages of his artwork in sketchbooks.
'The Hunter' is a short Pixilation film I created with two fellow students. The definition of Pixilation is a technique used in film whereby the movements of real people are filmed or edited in such a way that they appear to move like artificial animations. Basically, we were asked to create a film approximately 30 seconds long, made up of a sequence of photographs which were combined to create an animated film. The title we were given was 'The Hunter' and with that we had to come up with our own plot for the film. Our group decided to do the classic stalker story, in which our main character Sophie or 'The Girl' was being followed around by 'The Hunter' (played by myself). As our first project I'm quite impressed with how it turned out but overall it is probably my weakest of the five projects. The editing is impressive, and I am happy with our use of transitions. Most of the scenes throughout the film flow quite well together, the first scene in which our protagonist is walking out of her home is probably the weakest part of the entire film. I think the scene in which The Hunter lifts the knife looks particularly impressive and the part in which he stalks the Protagonist from behind the tree also looks great. Reviewing the feedback and watching it back now, I do believe our narrative could have been stronger and perhaps we could have added a few more scenes that may have strengthened the Pixilation.
(Note - I have re-uploaded this link twice but for some reason it continues to be difficult. If it does not play automatically please drag the cursor along the timeline and it should play.)
For the 360 Project we were asked to create a 360 pan around a landscape or object. For this project we went on a field trip to Llandudno in which we did several mini exercises. We were asked to produce sketches in different forms and using different techniques. We used block colour with oil pastels as well as mark making with charcoal. We also visited Betws y Coed in which we produced sketches using pencils. It was important that we used the beautiful landscapes around Llandudno and Betws y Coed for our drawings. These little exercises later helped us with our 360 projects. I did start by creating a zoom with a landscape but when it came to the 360 pan, I decided I wanted to use an object and spin around it so you could see it at every angle. I chose a simple object, mine was a lipstick and then drew it at 18 different angles. The video above shows the Lipstick spinning at a 360 angle. I did find this project to be the most tedious and I struggled with it. I changed my idea a few times as I found drawing the landscape was proving extremely difficult. I think now If I was to redo the project, I'd have another go at a landscape. The problem with doing an object such as this was that I struggled to get more than about twenty drawings out of it because each angle looked so similar. Whilst it was easier than doing a landscape, this factor added to the tediousness. I do however like the result and think it depicts what it's supposed to (the spinning lipstick), well!
The Audio or Sound for Picture project was probably my favourite. For this project we needed a Mini Boom Microphone, XLR Cable and Zoom H5. With these we were asked to go out and record our own sounds that we would later use in our own film. I gathered a selection of images, some of which were given to us, others I found online and compiled them together to fit my narrative. My little film follows the narrative of a patient escaping from an old Mental Asylum. I really enjoyed the creative aspect of this project, I liked the idea of coming up with a narrative and then finding original sounds to fit it. One of my favourite sounds is the manic laughter. Overall, I'm quite pleased with the way this turned out. The only way I would improve it is by possibly gathering more sounds and making the film a bit longer. I believe the editing is strong and I have established a theme and therefore I am happy with this work.
Whilst Rotoscoping was an extremely long process, I really enjoyed it! For this project we were given ten seconds of a music video and asked to Rotoscope over it. The definition of Rotoscoping is as follows, "Rotoscoping is an animation technique that animators use to trace over motion picture footage." At first, I really struggled with my ten second clip as the beginning in which the girl is dancing on a table is quite a dark clip and blurs out a lot of her. This made it quite hard to trace over her and be creative in that way. I mainly chose to draw geometric shapes in this part of the video, I also added a lot of bright colours which contrast the darker video in a way. I think had I had a bit longer to complete this project I would have experimented a little bit more, I do feel like I may have gone a little bit too simple with my Rotoscoping. There is a lot of repetitiveness with the use of the coloured hearts. However, considering the time we had to complete the work, I do believe the result is rather good. I like the use of the colour and the little funny drawings I added throughout the video. There are a few parts that look slightly 'lazy' in comparison to some of the more artistic parts but overall, I am happy with the result. Rotoscoping is a technique I would like to look into more, I believe with time I could create some extremely good content using this skill.
My final project was Cut-out Animation. I am extremely proud of the fact that I have been able to produce animations like this at week five. For the project we were asked to create a character and have them walk, jump and land. I created my character in Photoshop, he is a little Alien that lives on the Moon, I also created the Moon background in Photoshop. I then imported both these images into After Effects. I'd never used After Effects before and was completely new to the Software. Initially I struggled with the walk cycle, even having used references I couldn't get the steps perfect. Having looked at tutorials and reading about the walk cycle, I was able to get it almost perfect. I think If I were to do the project again, I'd probably make my character slightly more complex but considering we only had a week to do the project I am extremely happy with how this turned out. Although I enjoyed editing the Sound Project the most, I am happiest with the result of the Cut-out. I'd like to explore this technique more and I'm looking forward to creating more complex animations in the future with After Effects.