Friday, 10 August 2012

Something new...

Hello interweb goers. After taking a couple of weeks off enjoying the sun (what little there's been) and some bowls it's time to get back to work (and blogger).

As I don't have a job yet I've decided to take a step away from just doing animation, and try to do more of a whole VFX shot to improve my skills in other areas. The idea of the shot is to integrate a CG creature into a live action plate, and in the process I can learn tracking and improve my lighting and comp skills. Then hopefully I'll have something good for my showreel that demonstrates my skills for VFX.

So here's what I have so far, a tracked plate with a quick slap comp of the creature.

And here is an image of a better comp I'm working on with no crushed blacks.

The next step is to animate the beast, I plan to have him come over the roof and down onto the paving all gorilla like (so I'll film myself for reference, ha!). I'm really looking forward to the animation and I'm excited to see how this turns out. I might even throw in some dust and effects if I have the time.

As this is mostly new to me I'd love feedback and crits on this as I go along, so feel free to give me a shout if you see something you do or don't like.


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

...3 years later...

Hello again. It's been a while, and in that while I've managed to pass my degree. As surprising as it may be, 3 years after leaving home for the first time and taking the plunge into uni I've graduated with a first class degree in Computer Animation Arts from Bournemouth University. WOOOHOOO!

Anyhow, so now I'm in the process of job hunting, sending out applications etc. It's going okay but as of yet I've had no luck. In my spare time now I'm working on my animation and rigging skills, focusing on my acting performances. I'm also in the near future going to look at doing a VFX shot by myself. Film a quick plate, then track it and animate something to composite into the shot. This will be a great learning curve and will hopefully make me a more suitable fit for VFX houses in London.

Tomorrow is the Computer Animation degree show for me and I'm looking forward to that and hopefully making some connections and leads on the job front. Talking of which, below is my new animation showreel, and my generalist showreel.

Animation reel:

Generalist Reel:

That's it, just a quick update about where I am right now. Hopefully I'll have some work to show once my big PC is fixed, and maybe a job too. Wish me luck for tomorrow!


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Finally finished...

It's done! Yes we've finally finished our major project. As we want to enter it into a few festivals it's not publicly online yet. However we have made a website and trailer for the animation in order to publicise it. Here's the link if you want to check it out -

Because I worked in a group project we each had to produce a making of reel to show our personal contribution to the animation. I had a great deal of fun (and stress) working on the project but it's all been worth it and I'm really proud of our final film. Here is my making of reel:

So now I'm done it's time to take some time off before the degree show and work on some personal animation and rigging projects. Then hopefully in the near future, get a job!


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

All of the rendering, all of the time...

Hello again web goers. It seems I've been quite absent form here for a while, but things have been busy. I finally managed to finish my animation shots on the major project, thought I was done, then re-animated some shots based on feedback, but it looks better now so it's all good. And now, at last, we're rendering! Rendering is going really well, if a little slow, but the results we're getting are good. Thankfully our deadline was extended to the 8th of June, so we're not quite worried about finishing rendering just yet. However with all this rendering I find myself twiddling my thumbs a bit.

So what am I doing with my time? Mostly catching up on some gaming, but when it gets a bit tricky I relax by doing a personal rigging project which I am quite excited about. My house mate and I recently finished watching The Clone Wars series, which is very good, the style and animation is amazing. Obviously I won't be working on that project any time soon (although I would love to), so I did the next best thing - find a model like those from the series to rig and animate. So here it is, this is an awesome model of Starkiller (not official) I found in the style of The Clone Wars.

This is a WIP of my rig, none of the controls are coloured yet so it's a bit messy. But I assure you I know what everything is.

So after some re-doing of the UV maps I've gotten down to rigging. I've done my fair share of rigging before, but I'm trying to make this one right. Including stretchy stuff and dynamic cloth rigging I can't wait to get down to animating this. And hopefully getting myself a job on the show! ha. With any luck I'll have some animation of this bad boy to show you guys in June (after rendering).

Finally, keep your eyes peeled in June for our major project, it's coming together and I can't wait to see it rendered and share it with you guys.


p.s. Don't worry, I have his lightsaber ready for animation.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

So... nearly... there...

Well hello again fellow interneters. It's been over two weeks since my last post, so I think it's time for a good old fashioned progress update (and maybe a cheeky plug).

First of all, the major project! It's going well, as of today I only have 6 more shots to animate. So by the end of next week (fingers crossed) I should be done with my shots and ready to set my computer rendering. Talking of rendering we have nearly finalised our characters. We just need to tweak a few displacements maps and turn down the glossyness of the Doctor's gloves. But here you are, two rendered tudor London gentlemen.

And here is a quick turntable with a bit of animation to show the blend shapes of the sick man in action.

I obviously can't take credit for all of the hard work that's gone into these characters. So if you're interested about who did what:

Jenesta Smith - Modelling, Blend shapes, Displacement & Specular Maps.
Agatha Gomes - Character Design & Texture Maps.
Lewis Haley - Hair, Sub Surface Shader & Render set-up.
and Myself - Rigging & Pose/Animation.

...(Cheeky plug coming up)

In other news it's getting close to the end of my time at university and the reality of job hunting is looming over my head. So with my new show reel up and running I've started to apply for various internships out there. One of which is the CGSA awards, you can check out my entry here. I'd be very grateful if you could check it out, and if you like it please vote and share it with others. Thanks!

Finally, since putting my show reel together I've been mulling over what kind of animation I'd really like to hone and focus my skills in, creature animation or more performance based character animation. I know they share a lot of similarities, and I love doing both. But I really feel like I need to have a better grasp of one in order to focus my job applications. I might go more into this in another post, but I'm still going over it in my head and I don't want to waffle too long.

So that's it for another blog post, hope you liked what you saw/read.

Take care,


Saturday, 24 March 2012

three down, one to go...

Hello internet goers. I've finished three projects now and that only leaves the major project to go. We've still got 5ish weeks working on that, but we've got to get cracking with it, other projects have taken priority over the past month or so.

The latest project I've done is the animation assignment for our AAT unit. Our brief (simply put) was to pick a 10 second clip from any film and then reinterpret that performance in an animation. Once we had picked a clip we had to analyse the performance based on what Ed Hooks taught us, highlighting the objective/action/obstacle and the conflicts within the clip. With this information we could then go ahead and reinterpret the performance.

So I chose to do a clip from the first Harry Potter film, where the sorting hat is sorting Harry into a house. I chose to reinterpret the performance of the hat for two reasons. Firstly, the hat goes through a lot of thoughts during this clip, and as Ed teaches, thoughts lead to conclusions which lead to actions. With this in mind I knew I would have a variety of options in regards to acting choices. Secondly the hat is... well, a hat, so my view of how the clip could be acted would not be tainted by any live action acting choices. I don't want to say too much about my analysis of the clip, but my main aim was to make the situation seem a little more sinister than it is in the film. I wanted the character to be like a clever villain playing devil’s advocate as he tests the hero's worth. One last thing I must say is that the reason there is no detailed facial animation is because we are not marked on it, we are only marked on the body performance.

And without further ado, my animation:

Now that the animation project is done it is all hands to the pump on the major project. I've done half of my shots on the animation so far, which is great, but I've got some pretty tricky/important shots left to do which will take some time. It is going well though, and overall we have a third of the piece animated now. Below is another sneak peak of some of the W.I.P animation I'm doing. (The last shot is still in blocking).

That's it for now, I might go a bit quiet for the next few weeks as we work flat our on the major project, but I'll try and keep everyone posted on progress when I can.


Saturday, 3 March 2012

while the going is good...

Hi again people. Just thought I'd write a little post while everything is going good to show you what I've been up to.

First off, the innovations project is due in soon, so I've finished that. It's about the process of fantasy creature animation, and how a company would build a creature document to ensure continuity of movement when a creature is animated by more than one animator. The main point of my project was the report, but the bit i can show you is my final bit of creature animation. The model and rig are not my own work.

Here you go, short and sweet.

Moving onto the major project. I've been putting off starting animation on this because of other projects, but now I'm fully into animating my shots on the major project. I've been starting with some of the smaller shots, just to get used to the rigs again. It's going quite well at the moment though. We have a sick man in our animation who coughs a lot. I've been dreading animating coughs, but so far with a lot of reference it's not been too hard. All of the coughs for the sick man have been provided by one of our group mate's dad - Phil Smith. We also have a good few sound effects for our animation, and people working on the music. So overall it's going very well. Below is a sneak peek at one shot I've animated.

In other news, we've now been given out AAT2 animation project. It is basically to take a 10 second film clip, analyse the performance based on what Ed Hooks taught us, then reinterpret the performance in an animation of the same length using the film audio. I've found a nice clip I am going to use and I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into some nice physical animation. I say physical because we're only marked on the body animation, not any facial stuff.

So that's it for now, good progress everywhere, just got to keep at it.