Thursday, 3 October 2013

Graduation and other things

My last post was in May, 2 days before the deadline, so there's a lot of catching up to do! The Secret Circus was finished (completely!) on time. I did however have a new score written by a new composer, David Munoyerro-Sesmero;

Some final shots of The Secret Circus;

Since leaving Falmouth, I was super lucky in getting a job at Spider-Eye Animation Studios in St Just, Cornwall. I worked for a month as a CelAction Animator on an up-coming feature film, which was super exciting. I then graduated on September the 9th;

Needless to say, I'm missing Falmouth loads!
I now have a snazzy new website, you can find more of my work here at;

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Secret Circus - Work in Progress!

Exciting developments for The Secret Circus. The film has been completly animated now, so the only thing left is sound editing. I rendered the whole film as TIF sequences the other day, and created several quick rough-cuts using Quicktimes to give a feel for the film. Final editing in progress;

I designed the DVD cover and disc earlier too;

Friday, 10 May 2013

Good Knight Bears - The Bears Wake Up.

I animated a scene for Alice Holme's production, Good Knight Bears in CelAction. This scene is just after the girl has fallen asleep, and the bears come to life. I did several renders of this shot to show my development. I really enjoyed animating this scene, especially working on making the bears stand up which was really fun to experiment with. I feel animating this scene has helped me improve on my timing and weight in animation. As I animated the bears getting up, I had to remember and think about the weight of the characters and how the legs would move for each character. As well, each character had to be individual, it was nice being able to experiment with giving them a personality even though there was no dialouge.

The first take I did, I felt Oaf yawning was a nice touch, however he didn't convey any weight at all and practically slid back on the matress.

The second take I did, this time with both Oaf and Nerdy bear getting up, I feel I worked better on the weight and timing here. I took critique from Phoebe Herring who also noticed the weight and gave advice on making the bear seem much heavier and stop sliding.

Third take, this time I added in movement to Leader bear, in making his ear twitch a bit as well as twitching his muzzle further on. Nerdy also looks around a bit more at the start, before turning his head towards Oaf. I also added in Oaf falling asleep I felt to add a bit more character to the piece before Leader nudges him to wake him up. Adding in Leader who brushes his tunic down as he gets up.

Fourth take, same animation, a few tweaks; I removed a mouth which appears and falls off Oaf's muzzle, as well as adjusting a few paws etc. The bears now wake up and look towards the edge of the bed to initiate the next sequence in which they jump off the bed.

Final scene, another few adjustments. I moved Oafs leg as he stands so he seems much more stable, as well as making Nerdy face towards the edge of the bed.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

The Secret Circus - Tilly jumps into the Circus

One of the most important shots for The Secret Circus is when Tilly jumps into the circus. This scene needs to be magical and really engaging to the audience. My initial idea was to make the circus spin along with sparkling at the same time. However due to time, I decided not to make the circus spin, instead, I made the circus sparkle, both by using preset animations in After Effects and creating my own sparkles in CelAction (I re-used the previous sparkles from Tilly leaving the circus scene) Although I am quite dissapointed I couldn't make the circus spin, I felt the sparkles were much better and worked with the storyline instead, especially as Tilly leaves the circus in a cloud of glitter. Here are the WIPs and development shots of Tilly's bedroom scene;

First scene;

This scene involves Tilly jumping, a first development shot without the darkness of the bedroom. As well the stars I rendered in After Effects were red at this point, which I ended up changing through to yellow.

The second take on, this time now with the night-time background. However the stars remained the same in this one. This was to show how the night-time background would work.

With crit from Derek, Kathy & Niki, this scene then developed further. I changed the stars to white at this point, as well this part is critical, the jump needed to be slower and the whole point of Tilly jumping into the circus needed to be emphasised. Kathy, Derek and Niki suggested a close-up and a pan to aid the viewer when watching the film. As this is aimed at young children making sure they understand what is going on is crucial. Adding in the close-up has really emphasised the scene and made it much clearer to the viewer of what's going on. I also added some stars around Tilly too which I feel completes the atmosphere and makes a really interesting and magical setting.

To show the WIP;

This scene was animated by Alice Holmes.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dear Nana - Shot 37 - Rough Line

Iv'e began doing some shots for Lydia Foster's project 'Dear Nana'. I did the rough line animation for Shot 37 of Marion and Charlotte in the van together.

The rough line was really fun to animate, I've taken on some more animation, however I feel my Flash and hand-drawn animation has really improved and I hope to improve even more with the extra shots I've taken on.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Eye for an Appetite - Final Animations.

I created Four animations for the project 'Eye for an Appetite' One is still underway, however this is being animated by myself and Phoebe Herring. The four I have done myself are complete. I had a few tweaks to a few and there. The Fox and Rabbit animation now loops;

I also created 'The Death of the Fox'. This sequence illustrates how once an animal has deceased, bacteria and micro organisms will begin to break down the solid material. The remains of the animal will decompose naturally and fertilise the soil, thus allowing more life to grow. I chatted to the director who suggested a 'wave' of bacteria. I did this in Flash, to get a more realistic motion of water, rather than using CelAction. The Wave Animation started out as a simple blue animation, from there I exported the piece as a PNG sequence which I then bought into Photoshop. I painted each frame, using the same colour pallet, however I varied the brushes from frame to frame. I added in small green dots as well to illustrate the bacteria. Here's the animation of the basic wave and the final painted wave;

From there, I animated the fox. I used the same fox as in the previous animation 'Head of the Food Chain'. After the fox gets destroyed by the bacteria, I created an underground background, in which the fox's skeleton lies until it fades out, illustrating the decomposition process. The camera then pans up to a background above ground, in which fresh flowers grow. Thus illustrating the process of decomposition and how the remains of the fox help fertilise the soil. This is the animation I completed;

However, upon review from the Director, he felt it needed to end with the Fox's remains lying on the fertilised soil. This I then changed as so;

The final animationis that of a Beetle, explaining how energy transfer works. The grass the Beetle eats has 100% energy, the beetle eats the grass, however only received 10% of that energy. The other 90% of the energy is given away to reporoduction, movement, growth etc.

This still needs a bit of work, just to extend the animation.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Good Knight Bear - Faces & Stop-Motion Props

I've been helping on the project 'Good Knight Bear' directed by Alice Holmes. I've been mostly helping create faces for the Leader bear puppets in Photoshop as well as props for the Stop-Motion background.

I mostly worked on changing the muzzles, noses, mouth shapes and eyebrows. Some faces can be re-used luckily.

The props I created were mostly simple items. I created a lot of books as well as a fairy wand. I also created a pair of fairy wings and a clock, in which the hands move independantly. Here are a few of the props, more photos to follow soon;

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Secret Circus - Tilly says Goodbye.

Tilly leaving the circus has been animated. I wanted to gain quite a magical atmosphere, so created a lot of stars in photoshop, both normal and some with more of a 50's vibe to them. when animating them, I made some move faster than others, I tried to make all of them move at a varying pace. I kept to quite a simple pastel colour scheme of blues, yellows and pinks. The clouds I created with a paper texture and gingham fabric merged and overlayed on each other. I tried to animate the cloud swirl in Flash, however I felt it wasn't working (I didn't keep a copy of this). I felt the clouds in CelAction worked better, I got some critique from Elliot, Phoebe and Lauren. Lauren thought the clouds needed slowing down, as did Phoebe. Elliot felt they gave more of a sleepy feel especially as she was leaving to go back to bed. I worked with what they said to create this piece. I also used After Effects to create some light, simple stars which float in the background, just to add a bit more to the piece. I still need to add in the 'pop' of smoke as Tilly is whisked home.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Crowd - The Secret Circus

The Crowd for The Secret Circus. Only a short shot as I felt it didn't need much, however I wanted to create an exciting atmosphere. I created each character by making one individal model, then in CelAction, I created it so the model could change their hair/clothing easily.

By layering up the clothing and the hair in Photoshop, it meant in CelAction I could easily scroll through a variety of hairstyles and clothing to create a variety of characters. I changed the skin tone in Photoshop, creating 3 Actors in CelAction and repeating the process. I then animated the moving characters in different files to gain a variety of movements, then exported them all as PNG sequences and exported some static characters as PNGs before putting it together in After Effects. I haven't given the characters legs, as this will be hidden by the Circus Ring.

The first render without the background.

The Crowd rendered with a quick background.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Eye for an Appetite - Fox and Rabbit

Working on Eye for an Appetite, the Fox and Rabbit scene is done. The scene is to illustrate how when a prey increases, the predators will also increase too. As prey decreaes, population of predators will also decrease.

Here's the animation I produced for this;
Created in Flash and After Effects.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Secret Circus - Final Scenes & WIP's

The Secret Circus is currently underway, a lot of shots have been finished by myself and Alice Holmes. The second years I have working on the project are also producing a lot of work too. Despite this there's still a lot of work to be done. I feel though my animation has improved and my knowledge of CelAction has vastly increased. Although there's still lots to do, I am feeling positive about this project.

This is the shot list at the moment;

These are some final scenes;


There's still a fair few scenes to do. Hopefully I can get most of the edited together to finally see how it will look together. The one major part I am concerned about is making the Circus spin. At the moment I am thinking of maybe changing this and instead using a variety of After Effects pre-made illusions to render or maybe making my own sparkles to mix with. I'm going to try a few different techniques and try and make the circus spin itself. However if I feel this isn't working, I will begin to work on something different.

Eye for an Appetite - Head of the Food Chain (The Fox)

Finished Animation for the Marine & Natural History Photography project 'Eye for an Appetite'. Illustrating the Fox as the head of the food chain, sat upon a pile of rabbit skulls.

Skwigly Article - The Art of Short Films 1

My first Skwigly article, a review of the book The Art of Short Films 1. Co-written with Thomas Coleman. (

You can find the Skwigly Article here,

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Eye For An Appetite - Production Stills

Getting ready to animate 5 short pieces for a Marine & Natural History Student. Here's some stills i've been developing ready to animate;

Friday, 15 March 2013

Bathroom Scene

Current Work in Progress...

I took this render last night (14/03/2013) Only to discover the toothpaste making an unneeded apperance. Coming in this morning, I resovled the problem quickly by removing the shots in which it isn't needed. This has proved a really useful within CelAction as it allows me to remove objects for a period of time before I need them again in shot.

This is the current scene I am working on;

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Scenes 1 - 6 of The Secret Circus

First 6 Scenes of The Secret Circus completly animated! Wahoo! The project is making progress now, still a lot to do though!

Scenes 1 - 4

Eye for an Appetite - Marine & Natural History Photography project

Working with a BA (hons) Marine & Natural History Photography student on a project called 'Eye for an Appetite' This project revolves around the life cycle of animals, along with the chemistry and biology behind it all. I did two tests on the increase of prey leads to the increase in predators and the ways energy is transfered between food and predator, using a Beetle and grass to explain.

New Animatic

Current Animatic of 13th March 2013. New narration has been added. I animated the opening scene without narration, this proved to work and not work at the same time. I need to add in small bits of animation to bulk it out a bit, however it's coming together slowly.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Animatic - Feb 2013

Added small bits into the Animatic to make it flow better. This re-edited version now contains more Pre-vis and where Daniel explains to Tilly the Head-in-the-Lion's-Mouth performance the gang will do. However at the moment I haven't recorded the narration for this bit, this is something I will hopefully get done this week as I have the narrator booked for a visit.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Mark Trapeze Test

A quick test in CelAction working with a trapeze as an object, also testing the side model of Mark. Not the best piece of work I've done.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Life Drawing

I've been pretty lazy with uploading my life drawing. I feel i'm improving each time I go. A lot of these have weird anatomy as I feel I've been slightly out of practice. Here are a few from today's session;

Monday, 25 February 2013

Japanese Children's films - Inspiration.

Came across these as I was uploading Scene 1 of The Secret Circus just and thought they were perfect inspiration for the project.

Scene 1 - Tilly gets ready for bed.

Began animating today! Scene 1 of The Secret Circus. Tilly is ready for bed, until her Mother shouts up and asks if she's brushed her teeth. Tilly lies and says she has, although the narrator makes it very clear she hasn't. This scene is still a work in progress, and requires a lot of editing especially with the narration.

Friday, 22 February 2013

CelAction & After Effects Typography test

I animated Tilly in CelAction. I created the typography quickly in Photoshop and composited the whole thing in After Effects. Currently I am still toying with the idea of using typography, I feel it would add a nice touch to the piece. I'm going to ask for critique from friends with small children and see if the typography is easily read by children.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

CelAction Test 2

Another CelAction test. The characters are rigged. These tests have allowed me to see if there is any problems that need sorting.
/br> Tilly's arm is hidden behind her hair which I didn't realise until I was animating so I can easily sort this out now. I also played about with algorithm which makes the animation much smoother.

Monday, 18 February 2013

More CelAction Tests

More CelAction Tests...

More tests in CelAction. These puppets are now completed and ready to use.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

CelAction Tests

Working more in CelAction, I've been testing out the models and continually improving and adding to them. I decided I am going to make my characters more expressive and give them eyebrows which will help present emotion to my audience. This is something I'm working on this week, as well as doing a few quick tests to make sure I understand CelAction properly. Alice Holmes has been been giving me a few brief tutorials just so I completly get my head around it. I've been working on some tests;

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

CelAction Test

Quick Test working in CelAction. Still needs tweaking as it's quite disjointed in the movement.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Freelance work - Mote

I've been commisioned by a friend to create some animation to go on his poetry website, Mote. I'd been given the poem to use, the animation will have the poem narrated over. I decided for this to create something traditionally, using the rostrum and lightbox. I tried to use a variety of mediums including plasticine as well. This still needs a lot of editing, especially touch-ups as it becomes quite dark in places and needs to be lit better. Here's a test I did for the first part;

Friday, 1 February 2013

Typography Tests

I wanted to add a little bit of typography to my project, a bit like how Charlie and Lola does. It would be to illustrate some narration alongside the animation. This is one small piece I tested. I did two versions, one much slower than the first, I realised it was much too fast for pre-school children to read. I designed the typography myself in Photoshop using both brushes and cut-out textures.

The slower version;

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Fenrir - Concept 2

Concept of Loki and his children again, for Kylie Burrell's project 'Fury'

Secret Circus Sketchbook.

A few scans from The Secret Circus sketchbook when designing the characters over July 2012. A little bit late (Sorry)I decided not to change Daniel or Ramone as I liked their designs already.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Current Pre-Vis Scenes for The Secret Circus

Current Pre-vis shots of the Secret Circus. Some may be used in the final film but will require a lot of cleaning up. Shot 1 is currently in progress by Phoebe Herring. These are the shots I produced;

Shot 2.

Shot 3.

Shot 4.

Shot 5.

Shot 5, when Tilly finishes brushing her teeth still requires a lot of work. However I feel I am making progress with the film currently.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Animatic & Pre-Vis Development

The Secret Circus's new animatic is finally here. I've had crit from two of my tutors and worked on what they said. The narration isn't available yet, however will be soon. Working on some shots for the upcoming deadline. This is Shot 2 of Tilly, as she lies to her Mother about brushing her teeth. Shot 3 is currently in progress. Shot 1 was completed by Phoebe Herring and will be rendered soon.
Animated in Adobe After Effects.