Monday, 7 April 2014

'The Legend of the First'...


Time to introduce a new project to the lineup - 'The Legend of the First'.

First some backstory. Unfortunately 'Company 302' is not going ahead as planned due to various reasons. The silver lining is that all of the animators are still allowed to use the rigs produced for personal animations, they just wont be the rendered and composited result of the original project.

Since the fall through of 'Company 302' I was invited onto this new team by it's director Graham Goldsworthy. Last year I had the opportunity to work with Graham on the project 'Still Life' as one of the animators. Given the overall success of 'Still Life' I was happy to join onto this project in the place of 'Company 302'.
(Watch the 'Still Life' project here -

The basic idea behind this new project is of an animation rig breaking free from the 'shackles of the computer' where it has been forced to obey the animator's directions. The piece will see the rig hop out of the computer screen when his animator goes for a break, explore his new environment and finally get into a small fight with the animator who is trying to order him back into the screen.

Please check out Graham's blog for a ton of more detail about the story and behind-the-scenes filming info for this project:

Given the limited period of time left for the final major project I am only able to animate for a small amount of frames within this short with my sequences each lasting less than 2 seconds. However, they all give me good opportunity to animate stretchy bodymechanics movements as well as a surprised reaction shot!

'The Legend of the First' was an unexpected project in my lineup for the final major submission. However, after going over the story with the team and being assigned my shots, it has quickly become one of the projects I am looking forward to seeing in it's final form the most.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Fight thumbnails

For the last couple of days I have been focusing more on finishing two of my fight sequence animations.

However, I found that I struggled slightly with getting back into animating bodymechanic pieces. To try and get back into the mindset needed I did a page of thumbnail drawings showing different judo throws.

It was a very useful exercise and definitely something I will start doing more in the future to try and get back into or keep the momentum going for a certain mindset for animation. It also was a sharp reminder to me that I need to keep drawing more (and not just for project work)! It is a great way to escape from the world of cg animation whilst also sharpening a useful skill that can feed back into my work.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Change of plan....

Final major tutorial session for 'The Waiting Room' was yesterday. We managed to get some nice overall feedback for the project BUT it does mean that our render time is being pushed back by another week unfortunately.

First piece of feedback which we were thinking beforehand anyway is how much Norman could potentially blend into the background too much (grey on grey) and so the colour for the circuit board design has now been changed to light green.


The other major change was adjusting the camera angles for when they are talking to each other from the benches at the beginning of the short. Getting up closer and not wasting as much space around them definitely makes more sense and makes the overall scene appear more interesting and polished.

The set-back might be an annoyance but it will look better for it in the end!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Close up test renders


Two of the render tests I put through for the close up shots - it's getting there!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Render Time!

We are finally at a stage where I can start rendering some of the animation for 'The Waiting Room'!

Laura has now finished with the lighting setup and texturing the environment (for which she has done an amazing job) so we have begun testing some of the wide-shot renders.

The only downside is that our render time for the wide shots are coming 22 mins per frame! This is going to be a very long week but by the end of it 'The Waiting Room' should be rendered, editted together and ready for show..... that's the plan anyway.....

Friday, 7 March 2014

'The Waiting Room' Final Stretch!

We are almost finished with 'The Waiting Room' now!

Final animations will all be in by the end of the weekend but more importantly at this point we have a finalised lighting setup.

I am personally very happy with what Laura has made for the room. It was a little bit more of a struggle than expected to dial the different lights to just the right point for the scene.
If you would like to see how it developed please check out Laura's blog as she goes into a lot more detail than I can:

The shadows were a concern for me last week as they showed up quite harshly and I was worried that the contrast would take the audience's attention away from the animated characters. However, that problem is now sorted. The only issue we have now is with the render times. While the close up shots render at around 3 mins per frame the wide-shots come through at approximately 13 mins per frame!
Unfortunately there is not much we can do about this without drastically changing the lighting set. The silver lining is that the short only has 2-4 long shots to render while the majority of the other shots being close up of the characters.

'The Waiting Room' will be rendering very soon.....

Monday, 3 March 2014

Fight Sequences...

In between animating 'The Waiting Room' scenes today I also found time to work on my blocking animation for the 'choke-hold' animation.

Luckily the individual sequences only last approximately 3 seconds each but they are quite technical with how the body positions for both rigs have to be set.

The idea is to have a set of 4 fight sequences for the major project. These can then be used to break up my next showreel.

'The Waiting Room' will be ready to go into the first lot of rendering by this Thursday! The plan now is to render from Thursday over the weekend if we have to - the final piece deadline is Monday 10th March.