Friday, 30 October 2009

dire need to update...

Some days are far more productive than others, and thankfully today was one of them! I drew out all my frames for the 2D Animation today (36 of them, I was really going for it), but didn’t manage to shoot them on the line tester yet, so there’s no video till I go back in tomorrow (which is Halloween – awesome! And also a Saturday, so hopefully the studio will be pretty quiet and I’ll get to use it). The 2D brief this week was to animate a big and a little Cubey, and an interaction between the two of them, using the new methods we’ve learnt this week: anticipation and overlap. I won’t give away what happens in it, I’ll post the video as soon as I remember too, but I’ve put up my scrappy little plan for it with this update.

I’m actually managing to succeed (slightly) in getting Maya to do what I want. (This is probably because I’m choosing pretty simple things that I’ll actually have a chance at getting right). I prefer the 2D Cubey to the crazy 3D one, although it’s fun trying to get him into all these physically impossible positions that want to try to break (the “un-breakable”) Maya.

I like how broad our project briefs are too, by just being given a simple task (our project brief for 3D this week was described by Georg as having to “animate Cubey and a Ball”) it allows everyone to come up with their own ideas and makes everything unique (It also means that some of the class, *here’s looking at you Dan Emmerson* go off and create really crazy complex stuff in Maya that makes me want to cry because their skills are so epic).

Life Drawing
I haven’t spoken about life drawing at all, so I feel it’s time to break the silence on the subject! The human figure has always been my favourite thing to draw, simply because there are so many people around all the time (unless you’re hiding out in your room writing your blog updates). At school we drew a man called Nigel (who was given the affectionate original nickname of “Naked Nige”, was completely hairless and also looked a bit like my old I.T. teacher!), and now we have a man called David (he has no nickname as of yet... at least to my knowledge anyway). I’ve never drawn a female life model though, which is strange because (from my experience) when most people think or talk about life-drawing they tend to assume it’s with a female model and are always a little bit shocked when you say it’s with a man. Which is stupid really, as it’s a 50/50 chance anyway!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Jump to it...

I wrestled Maya. It was bitter and intense and there were heavy losses on both sides (well, loss of sanity on my side, not much on Maya’s). Everyone else seems to have been able to do pretty epic stuff with their Cubeys, making him do crazy acrobatics and jumping through fire rings (I kid you not). My Cubey, well he jumps, that’s we got told to do, that’s all he does do. And just that was a bitch to try and get right, so I’m glad I didn’t try to do anything crazy or fancy at this point in time. Hopefully in the future.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

bouncy, bouncy, ooh such a good time...

I’ve had to give links to my videos because blogger has gone lame and not liked them for some strange reason.


Our 2D project this week focused on using Squash and Stretch, and the time old classic of bouncing balls, personally I think mine’s a little slow, I probably should have shot it at 24fps instead of 12.

We also had to animate a little character called “Cubey”, so we could not only practise the Squash and Stretch technique, but to practise with the Secondary Animation of his Antennae.


It’s a miracle! I managed to do something on Maya (after much umming and ahhing and cursing at the screen), we had to animate two bouncing balls of different weights, so I did a normal(ish) one and a super bouncy one! It was pretty fun when I got the hang of it, but now we have to animate the Cubey character in 3D this week. Eep.

(kudos to you if you understood the boosh reference in the title)

Sunday, 11 October 2009


It’s a Sunday afternoon, and in good old tradition, there’s nothing to do. But at Uni when you need to do something, like washing, everyone else needs to do it too, so there’s a massive queue. This is why I’ve stayed in from the rain and decided to do my Lecture Reading, and update (again).

So, our new project from Kathy/Derek combo is called “People Watching, with a twist”. The twist is that we have to draw people with animal heads. Only problem is, I find it pretty hard to try and draw an anatomically correct animal right off the top of my head, I don’t want to spend a long time on trying to draw a person’s body then giving them a really crappy cartoon-y head. I’ve only drawn two headless bodies so far, and it’s really odd, because when I draw I normally start with the head first, so just leaving a blank gap is really hard to do. I was originally thinking of just drawing animal heads separately and sticking them on over the top, but, last night I was reading “The Mighty Book of Boosh” (because it’s just an epic TV show) and it gave me a really simple, but great idea that I can’t believe I didn’t think of... Just draw over the top of the original head! At least this way I can at least draw the figure the way I normally would, it’s one of the only things I feel confident in drawing from scratch!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Kicking it Old School (well, old foundation, but it doesn't have the same ring to it...)

Today I’ve decided i’ll dump post some more old work of mine, so that you can see what I got up to last year and the sort of style I developed...

This one (Teapot), doesn’t really have an introduction or background story about it, the project was “Angles”, but I think it’s my favourite little animation from the year: it combines drawing, stop motion and [I think the term is] pixilation...

My Final Piece has a lot more of a background story to it...
I wanted to try to explore more traditional methods of animation for my final project. So, I researched traditional animation techniques used in the industry, which led me into looking at traditional methods of presenting animations before the invention of television and the cinema. Traditional optical toys, such as Phenakistoscopes and Zoetropes (and not forgetting the humble flipbook) were the most popular gadgets of the day.
I set myself a test to make one of these machines and decided to make one of these machines myself and picked the ‘Mutoscope’, aka the “Penny Peep Show”. (I originally got the idea to make one after watching an episode of the television program “What the Victorians Did For Us”!) It was one of the more popular and longstanding machines, and had fairly simple mechanics behind it.
Sadly, I don’t have a video of the finished thing, but I do have one of it during construction (being modelled wonderfully by my Dad):

My final clips, put together for the Foundation end of year show, (some are rotoscoped some hand drawn) were displayed on both my Mutoscope and on a screen behind it:

Yeah, that’s it really for today (she says...) I might update later because at the moment I’m trying to create a banner for the bottom or top of the page. And please, don’t steal my work or try and claim it as their own, I realise most people wouldn’t, but the internet is full of people who do. Seriously, I worked my ass off on these things.

My oh Maya...

Unbelievably scary.

It’s going to be like trying to learn another language.

Bring it on.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

ceci n'est pas une chair...

I have a lot of friends who took psychology for their A-Levels and some of them have gone on to do it at University, so I know that I don’t understand it at all, all the terminology about Freud and the like goes completely over the top of my head. So I was a bit stumped on Tuesday when in my first Animation History & Theory lecture, about representation, it started off sounding very much like a psychology one.
Ann, our lecturer, picked up a chair and asked what it was. Clearly it’s a chair. Apparently it’s not. Or maybe it was, I can’t really remember, I got very confused and felt like I’d had my mind raped. The aim was, according to the notes I took, to “recognise the difference between the thing (the subject, referent), the concept (or signified) of that thing, and the sign or signifier that represents it”.
Even now I'm still not really sure how it relates to the things we watched, the only thing I could really think of to try and understand it though was Magritte’s “This is not a Pipe” picture.

(I don't know if that's the correct way to write it, I know no French except for the odd [swear]word.)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

a little introduction...

Now to bore you with a little background information about yours truly (remember the promise of pictures and shiny videos!)...

I’m a first year student at University College Falmouth studying a BA(Hons) in Digital Animation. Before this I did the standard Art Foundation course for a year, and before that I served my time in Sixth Form.

The first real introduction to Animation (not counting the healthy obsession with all things Disney I had growing up), was on my Foundation course. The third workshop I did was called “Time and Image”, our first project was to create two different self portraits of ourselves, not really animation-yin principle, until we were told that we had to find a way to get from the first picture to the second. Then to go from our second picture to the next person’s first, which has a pretty amazing result when there’s about 25 of you all doing the same thing with completely different pictures.

My tutor, Jack Southern, was primarily for Film & Fine Art students (though the degree he studied was actually in Sculpture, go figure), so the students who showed an interest in Animation were pretty much left to discover different animation techniques on our own and through trial and error. I loved it, it’s hard enough to try and get just one accurate drawing of something from real life, but to try and get enough so that you can make the object move is an entirely different task altogether. It’s the hardest thing to do, but certainly the most self-satisfying when you see it work.

I mainly took videos of things from real life that I wanted to study the movement of. Mainly this including the things I had close to hand, so lots of my early tests and drawings were done from studying my pets (mainly my cat and rabbits). I’d end up taking videos to slow them down and study, and taking enough frames so that the action would flow naturally (nowhere near to the industry standard 24fps, it was probably about 8 or 10) and using these pictures as a reference, I’d draw my own, or use them as a base to rotoscope over the top of.

I’ll probably post some more of my old foundation stuff at some point, the main focus is going to be on my new university orientated stuff, but I thought this’d be a nice little introduction.


So I’ve never done one of these blogs before, it’s a whole new experience for me.
University is also a brand new experience for me.
This is why these two things are going hand in hand.
(There’s also the small fact that I have to maintain a blog as a part of my assessment, but that’s just a minor technicality).

I’m going to try and keep these posts pretty short so as not to overload you, which is why there’s probably going to be several updates today with bite-sized bits of information about different things (with video links and pictures to bribe you into coming back), mainly to avoid really long monotonous posts, and because I don’t know if there’s a word count on these things.
Just so you know, I also wanted to call this blog something cool, but epically failed as usual to try and think of a good name. It was nearly called “Lice Animation” which sounds much more interesting but I clicked the wrong button. “Alice Animation” is a bit lame but it gets the point across. Alice is my name, and Animation is my game (apologies for the severe corniness).