Friday, 14 November 2014

YCN Brief Analysis

After reading the briefs with the questions in mind, I have decided to take part in the Moo competition. 

(Their website):

To analyse the brief, we were given these questions to answer:

What are the 5 most important words?

  • Playful
  • Passionate
  • All industries
  • Striking
  • Appeal

The 5 most important considerations?

  • Do my styles/designs appeal to their target audience(s)?
  • Does my idea encourage the audience that they have creative freedom with this website?
  • Is their new tagline 'Design Works Wonders' portrayed well?
  • Does it to show that 'Moo' are a playful, open, helpful, social and encouraging company?
  • Is the advertisement fun but professional at the same time?

Once I had established these answers I went on to consider:

Who is the audience for this brief?
Mainly business owners from companies that sell a variety of things such as; food, fashion, health and fitness etc.

Who should the audience be?
Anybody that wants to sell themselves; people from the creative industry who need business cards or need to sell their illustrations/designs, down to lawyers, or anybody who wants to work with clients.

Who could the audience be?
They could be family-orientated citizens who want to buy greetings cards (so anybody from all ages)

What do they do?
They design business cards/greetings cards to sell to people who are running a business.

What do they want to be?
They want to be creative, fun and encouraging to anyone who's in the business industry. Their customers want to be unique and able to sell themselves in their own way (summarising themselves into one business card).

Now that I have an idea of what the brief wants me to achieve, I can start researching and developing my ideas ready to pitch in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

11 Second Club

One competition that I would love to do towards 'Responsive' is the 11 Second Club.
This is an organisation that releases an audio clip every month for artists from anywhere to make a character animation fitting to the clip to be entered and potentially win the monthly competition.

The new task for November 2014 has been released:

It seems straight forward enough, and it allows me to use any technique I want - so I could either develop on stop motion/2D animating (the mediums I'm most comfortable with) or it could be an opportunity to practice 3D animation, to experiment and see how well I can achieve what I want.

I have also considered their previous competitions, to see what techniques other people generally use and if there were any other clips that gave me ideas;

I found a few that I like more than others but they've shown me that most people usually make their animations in either 3D or 2D drawn.

This gives me the opportunity to create something different to try and stand out from the rest - but I think ultimately the best option for me is to try a few of the competitions, rather than just one, so I can properly compare techniques and see which medium I'm best in.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


After taking my 3 chosen briefs to the session, I have been given the task of re-reading the briefs considering these points as to what I want to get out of this module and any competitions I enter (the class were split into groups to create these lists with multiple brain power):

And to consider the motives behind the companies who set up these competition briefs (our tutor asked every group to contribute different points for each list):

After taking all of these lists into account, I have decided to pick the 'Moo' competition, since it sounds like the best overall!

Now that I've picked my brief I can get started on ideas generation to try and win this contest!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Study Task 2 - Animating Skills

For this study task, we were taught a variety of ways/tools to animate with on Maya, then given 3 files containing balls, a segmented pendulum or a normal pendulum to animate with.

The first are two different bouncy balls; the red is a realistic ball of your choice (I chose a bowling ball) and the green was provided with a squash and stretch tool where you could have the freedom to create your own ball.
I enjoyed this task the most because I had the freedom to be more creative rather than mathematical.

I decided to keep the pendulum simple with its movement, so that it would flow better when played on loop.

I found the segmented pendulum slightly more difficult to flow in a natural way; each section is supposed to follow through just after the section before it has finished the action.

I think I pulled off the anticipation of this ball well, because you can see the squash before it bounces into the air, and I added in a small squash at the end so that when played on loop, it would look like there is a bigger anticipation.

I wanted to create an interesting scene when making the turntable, so I wanted to see how a water texture would look. I like how this turned out, mainly because you can see the reflection of the light in the waves, which move appropriately as the camera turns.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Responsive: The First Three Briefs

A few days ago my course (joined with the Illustration course) were briefed into the new module 'Responsive'. It's split into 3 parts, and revolves around starting to get our work out into the world; The first part of the year - what we're starting now - is entering competitions and taking on live briefs. We have to choose at least 5 briefs in total, whether they are competitions on popular websites or tasks set by someone you know. As long as I expand on small tasks and document everything I do towards the briefs, then I can do anything.

After our introduction, we were asked to look at all the websites provided and choose 3 briefs ready for our second session.

I chose:


[Insert Image]


[Insert Image]

Digital Cinema Media

[Insert Image]

I will take these to the next scheduled lesson and see what I can do with them next!

Study Task 1 - Modelling Skills

Our first study task of the year is to create two objects in Maya - One truck provided with a tutorial and one of our own choice, to practice the skills we have been taught so far.

On the right is a basic truck I made. I found it harder than I anticipated to make, due to the fact I've never used this software properly before, but once I got used to the tools I managed to finish the job.

Final render view

Basic colours

For the second item I wanted to make something simple but interesting at the same time, so eventually I chose a mobile phone:

Final Render
This turned out quite well; it's a symmetrical shape so it was fairly easy to construct. I used this item so I could experiment with different lighting and create a floor texture; in order to achieve the final render I had to change the reflective quality on the black screen to make it look realistic. Here are a couple of experiments I rendered:

Too bright
Too dark

At first I found this task difficult, but once I got used to the tools and different shapes you can make then I enjoyed it a lot more.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

My Final 3 Ideas...

Idea 1

'Yellow Submarine' - The Beatles.

"In the town, where I was born,
There lived a Man, who sailed to sea,
And he told us of his life,
In the land, of submarines"

I could use this in a storytelling environment, put on a posh voice and make Moom read a story from a book; This would give me the opportunity to dress up Moom and create strange props such as the yellow submarine, to bring the story to life in a fantasy way, much like the Beatles with their videos that look slightly like hallucinations.

Idea 2

'When will my life begin' - Mandy Moore, Tangled.

"7AM the usual morning line up
Start on the chores and sweep 'till the floor's all clean
Polish and wax, do laundry, mop and shine up,
Sweep again, 
And by then 
It's like 7:15"

This could be said enthusiastically, as if I can't wait to do all of these activities, or I could say this in a bored, fed up manner making it sound like I don't want to do the activities listed. This could allow me to practice body language on the character as well as lip syncing; and the list here gives me a few opportunities to practice modelling a variety of props (choosing only one or two out of this list).

Idea 3

'Home' - Michael Buble
"Another winter day has come 
And gone away
In either Paris or Rome,
And I wanna go home,
Let me go home"

I have the opportunity to create nice scenery in this piece - with settings from Paris and Rome - which could be a good opportunity to have Moom stood still saying these lyrics, which would allow me to focus on lip syncing and creating objects/buildings on Maya.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

3D Animation - Jonathan Mafi

This is a good example of character animation in 3D:

Finished 3d Animation from Jonathan Mafi on Vimeo.

You can tell how the characters are feeling based on their body language - the character that walks in the room and shouts is obviously angry and assertive based on how he looks and interacts with the other character, whereas the guy on the left seems slightly frightened and stands up straight readily listening to his commander. Based on these observations we can tell that they are soldiers, because they are trained to walk and act in a certain way.

I have to take this into account when making my own animation, once I decide what dialogue I'm using I also have to get the right body language to complete the action to a realistic standard.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Character and Narrative

So my class had our first briefing into the new project today! We found out that this project will be based on learning Autodesk Maya to lip sync a rigged model to our own voices.

We will be taking a verse or chorus of song lyrics to record ourselves, but they can be said in any way that we wish. This ranges from screaming and shouting our lungs out to whispering or muttering, depending on which way we want to take this project.

This is the character I will be animating, called Moom (given to the whole class):

He's an interesting looking character, who is easy enough to adjust and change features slightly (such as the teeth), so I'm looking forward to experimenting with it!

This character also needs at least 1 prop to assist in the performance, so I will need to take this into consideration when generating ideas.

So the first thing I need to do is start generating mind maps with different song lyrics and movements of Moom.

Sunday, 11 May 2014


Using Audacity, I downloaded sounds from Youtube and and opened them up like this:

I then selected the part of the track I wanted to use, exported it and added it to my Photoshop timeline, positioning it in the right place.

I decided to use simple sound effects because I wanted to emphasise the action in the animation, and the sound effects help describe what's happening through the story.

The reason I didn't add imagery or specific sounds for the cloud was because I didn't want to narrow down the reasons why someone could be depressed. ChildLine are open to solving any issues, so I thought adding specific imagery and phrases would narrow that down, whereas now the audience can use their imagination and relate to the film in their own way.

After all of the improvements and applying audio, here is my final piece.

Overall, I think I've done well with this piece. The main point I would improve is the sound of the cloud. While I believe I made the right choice of the type of sound to use, I could have chosen a better crowd sound effect/smoke machine that go better together; Watching it back now, I wonder if it's easy to depict where the sound is coming from.
However, I'm happy with the movements and design of the animation, and I think it puts my point across well with the dramatic ending.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Improvements In My Animation

After receiving the feedback for my animation, I have taken on board some of the points made by my tutor and piers and made some changed to my film, such as:
The cloud. They suggested that although the movement of the lines are smooth and life-like, it should look more like a cloud. I acknowledged this and added another layer behind the cloud of a faded black/grey colour, to give the cloud a gassy feel.

The original
Final Cloud

It was also suggested that I add some imagery or text into the cloud at certain points to show that it's my characters thoughts, rather then just a cloud. This will imply to the audience what is wrong with my character; which will allow me to explore the issues that suicidal teenagers might be facing; giving my animation more context and reason behind it.
However after considering this, I decided the imagery would put too much in the image, so the viewer won't know where to look. I will use the audio as a tool to communicate why the cloud is there.

Another improvement suggested was to draw out the ChildLine logo at the end, or at least make it look neater. These were a couple of alternatives that I tried:

The logo taken from the internet, with a transparent background, so it could fit neatly on my black background.
My drawn out logo - which I traced from the original (above)
Out of these, I prefer the logo which I drew myself, because it gives the logo a sketched feel to it, which works well with the rest of my animation.
This version gives the logo a neater, painted look, which makes the logo slightly quirky but it's still faithful to the original design.

After watching my animation again after the final crit, I noticed that the walk cycle wasn't quite accurate. The feet was the main problem, I realised he was walking on his toes rather then through his heels, which was giving the animation a strange limp.

After I re-did the feet, the walk flows more smoothly.

Now that I've made these improvements to my campaign, I will find the audio to finish this piece off, and bring it to life.

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Final Crit

This is the video I presented to my class today:

The feedback I received was generally good, with a few suggestions to make it better:

They thought it was good that I had done further research after the interim crit to lead me to this outcome.
I need to find and add audio - I explained that I thought sound effects would be the best way to communicate what's happening
They suggested that I add noise representing the cloud; such as a lot of voices in a crowd shouting insults at him.
The cloud could contain images or words flashing up (to show that the cloud is his thoughts and worries following him) It should also look more like a cloud rather then squiggly lines.
I should make the ChildLine logo at the end neater or draw it myself to fit to the style of the animation.

It definitely seemed to have an effect on everyone who saw it, so I must have used the right body language, colour scheme and words to get across the sad story.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Progress - The Second Half Of My Animation

I have made a lot of progress in the past few weeks;
This is part of my walk cycle, animated with the cloud that will be following the character:

I think I have executed the body language well, implying that my character is sad and plodding along slowly.
To give it a finished look, I added colour to the character, removed the circles on the knees and added clothes. I will need to add the facial features to complete the look.
I will also add a background, so that the viewers know where the character is walking.

Scene 5
Scene 6 is the character back in his room, stood as he gives a big sigh; the bump on his chest in the first photo is supposed to represent this.
Apart from that, the main action in this scene is the cloud floating above him, then moving off the right of the screen. The movement is consistent and flickery, which is the look I was going for.
Now I just need to add his eyes, which will hopefully show the sadness I'm trying to get across.

Scene 6
Scene 6
Scene 7 is the final part of the story - the suicide. To pull this off, I decided to have the cloud do the action, which represents the characters thoughts as his depression is tempting him towards committing suicide.
I think it moves quite well, and smoothly, as it twists around the rope.

Scene 7
Scene 7 - The cloud floats around through the noose and back to the top left of the screen

Scene 7 - The character fades out, representing the end of his life
 After the scene fades out, a series of texts will fade in and out of the screen:

A fact I found on their website
I thought it would be more believable if the viewers can see actual figures

I chose these words because I thought it was the simplest way to explain to viewers who may be going through this situation that they can talk to someone about their problems/worries, and that it doesn't have to end in suicide.
I thought a black background would represent death and how serious this situation is, and thought it would go nicely with the rest of my grey-scale animation.

Now that I have filled the 40 second limit, I can go back over my animation and add the final feature, change a few mistakes and have it ready for the Interim Crit on the 28th April.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Reference Material - Walk Cycle

To animate my walk cycle, I needed to look at how a sad walk cycle should look, so I found this:

Sad, Slow Walk Cycle from Lindsey Bunish on Vimeo.

Observing the body language, I can see the head and top half of the body are very weighed down, causing the legs and feet to stay close to the ground as they move.
There isn't a lot of difference in the height of the person throughout the movement, just a small bobbing action.
The back is arced, which is what is causing everything else to move in a lower position.
The foot flicks back slightly as one is lifted off the ground and moving forward into the next step, which suggests the toes stay glued to the ground as long as possible, suggesting the person is slightly reluctant to move.
The arms swing slowly in time with the legs, giving the whole body a slow momentum and allowing the audience to follow the pace more fluently.

After watching this video, I will take these points and try to apply them to my animation, to portray the fact that my character is sad/depressed.

Progress So Far...

After completing the backgrounds, I was able to start animating! Firstly, I drew in the keyframes on top of the backgrounds:

The first scene contains the alarm clock buzzing, signalling the start of the day. At first, I struggled to tackle the issue of how the alarm would be switched off (since it switching off by itself doesn't make sense) and fitting my character into the original frame I drew proved to be difficult.

My original visualisation of scene 1
I realised it would be better to emphasise the clock, so making it larger on the screen seemed to be the best idea; It also solves my issue of fitting my character into the picture, since now I can just have a close up of his hand hitting the clock.

Scene 1
Scene 2 proved to be easier to animate, since it only took a few frames to complete the arm action.

Scene 2
After doing this, I animated the cloud above his head. I visualised it moving quickly and moving at the same pace throughout the film, so I drew in a few frames and experimented with the speed at which it moves on the timeline. I ended up concluding that having it span across 3 frames (at 24 fps) had it moving at the best speed.

Scene 2 cloud timeline
It took me a while to get scene 3 right; I wanted it to look heavy and slow, as if he is reluctant to walk down the stairs. I thought the best way to do this was to exaggerate his actions; the first frame is the highest point during a sigh. I wanted to show that he is taking a really deep breath, so extending his chest was the more obvious way to do this.

Scene 3
After getting the exaggeration, I had to make him move. At first I thought putting in lots of steps would be the best way to slow him down - but that would mean using more frames.
Instead it was suggested to me by my classmate that I just put in a few steps that he plods down on heavily, and pause on every step.
This proved to make the action clearer and simpler, yet it looked better.

Scene 3
For scenes 4 & 5, I wanted to use the same character drawings for both scenes, because one background fades into the other:

Scenes 4 & 5 merged together
I realised after drawing my character in the right place between both scenes, the door was too low down, giving the impression that my character is very tall. So I selected and enlarged the door and windows of background 4 to make it look like this (underneath):

Scene 4 with the door enlarged
After this I added in him sighing, but timed it between the fading in-and-out of the two scenes, to make the animation flow better.

Overall, I think my animation is going well. After cutting out a few scenes from my original storyboard it has made it a lot easier to slow down the movements, which work better with the theme of the story.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Ceramics Induction Part 3

We had the morning of the following week to finish off our models with the milliput and plasticine. I used this time to add more accessories and facial features to my character:

If I had more time, I would add eyeballs to the sockets, which is a simple process of rolling two small balls of milliput, poking a hole in each, leaving that to dry and then painting them.

Ceramics Induction Part 2

As part of the ceramics induction, we were given a task of creating 10 shapes representing the process of one shape transforming into another.

We could use any two shapes we preferred, as long as we use one colour and have the in betweens.
I decided to complete this task with two simple shapes, because I wanted to be able to see the transaction more clearly, which I thought would be more obvious with simpler shapes.

Ceramics Induction Part 1

Our class undertook an induction in the ceramics department as a 4 week mini project, which involved using a lot of plasticine!

Firstly, we had to design a character, so after drawing this out on paper and determining where the skeleton will be, we could start making the models.

The first task we had was to create the wire armatures (by folding a long piece of wire in half and clipping it in the drill to spin it around to make it stronger. At first it's hard to figure out how tight to spin them, because if it's too tight then it won't bend, and if it's not tight enough then it won't be very strong. Once I tried it a few times then it worked well.

Then I tried the slightly harder task of sawing a metal rod and using a hammer to bend it. I found this more difficult because it requires physical strength to get it done quickly. I eventually managed it and was able to move on the the armature making...

This required using the wires I had spun earlier and bending them into the shape of my design. I didn't enjoy this part as much because the wire didn't bend as easily as I thought it would, but after referencing from my drawing I was able to create a basic structure which was attached to the metal rod that I'd cut earlier (placed in a hole in a piece of wood).

Once the wire was complete I was able to start mixing some milliput (two
tubes of plasticine-like substance that harden when mixed together) which was used as the muscles of my armature, leaving the joints free to move.

After the milliput was placed, we had to leave them to set, and carry on with the process a week later. This started off with us putting plasters over the milliput, so that the plasticine we were about to apply would stick to the model.

I have photographed the process of applying the plasticine, seeing my character slowly develop over time. (Left hand side)

Overall I have enjoyed this process of making a model; Designing a
character and seeing it come to life over time is so rewarding, and experimenting with the different tools to develop textures was enjoyable. My favourite part was creating the accessories, such as the hair and hat, because they are the main aspects that have given my character a personality.

Drawing of my character

Armature with Milliput