Monday, 15 November 2010

Review of Bradford Animation Festival 2010

This is a review of the 17th Bradford Animation Festival, which I attended with North Wales School of Art and Design, NWSAD. Although the event is a four day affair I only attended the first two, due to illness, but the seminars that I did sit in on were rather dull and uninteresting from an animation point.

Over the two days that I personally attended the event I sat in on a number seminars and screenings by professional and students in undergraduate and postgraduate studies, after watching these works, I began to get the impression that a lot of the students in the student films section of the program had only done basics on the story, and then took a leaf out of the design courses book, and farmed the work out to companies, in fact in the credits of a number of them their was names like ILM, Image G and Skywalker Sound, all big Hollywood names. I personally feel that some of these entries where to well polished to be the work of students when compared to the work of the previous year.

Of all the screenings I attended I personally enjoyed one called "Metropia" by director Tarik Saleh, from Sweden. The story of Metropia takes place in a not so distant future in a time when the world is running out of oil and the underground train systems have been connected into a gigantic subway network beneath Europe. Although many of my class mates felt that this was a slow and uninteresting short, I enjoyed it and found the use on sepia tones relaxing and the use of a few colours every so often pleasing to the senses, as many films appear to over whelm the visual senses with information.

Scene from 'Metropia'

Another event I enjoyed was the student networking event, which was hosted by Animated Yorkshire, this was a interesting event as it gave me a much needed boost in my confidence as I normally tend to feel that my work on story boards and character art is lacking development when compared to the work I do on sci-fi concepts, space ships and submarines, but a number of the people that I spoke to during this where encouraging, I only wish I had taken some business cards with my e-mail, blog and portfolio addresses on, oh well.

I wish however that I had not been ill over the last two days of the event as on the final morning of the event there was a screening of my personal favourite film, Jason and the Argonauts, with classic stop motion visual effects by Ray Harryhausen, which was screened as part of the BAF 2010 Life Time achievement Award.

I look forward to attending next years as I hope to get a portfolio of work together so that I can show it to the gathered animators and professionals from the industry to possible get an apprentice ship with a company with links to the Canadian animation industry or even the Japanese anime field, to that end I plan to attend the upcoming Manga and Anime expo in London in October 2011 with a sample of my best work in an attempt to make some contacts with in the industry as part of my professional development and to generate more contacts to increase my chances for future job opportunities.

Monday, 8 November 2010

My first pice of published work

Right so I was going through my old research files and folders the other week, having a general tidy of my stuff ^^; and I came across a file filled with old copies of Neo, the anime and manga magazine
its from november 08 but as I had forgot about it till now I am only just getting round to shoving it up on here.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Neg One Prep 2/9/2010

This link is for where I am displaying my Neg One Prep work

Sunday, 15 August 2010

that train 2 game tv advert

right so you will undoubtedly have seen that TV advert for the train2game, see below if not, (copy and past in to the address bar)

well I got sick of the advert being in my face, as it offer people the chance to do a computer game/ animators course with out going to university and still have the same qualification as some one who has for three years, so I sent off for an information pack just to compare it to the information I have seen from the game students in Glyndwr University game course, and from what I can tell about the course it is identical in the type of work that the people on the course and in the animation course animation course have to do.

After reading this information it really makes me wonder are these last few years of my life been worth it, sure I'll have a degree from a university but tell me this;

a) Whats the point of going to university and getting in debt?
b) Are these sites that allow you to train and gain professional qualifications even legal?

after all the whole point of going to university is to weed out the best of the best from the worst of the worst, but if the are websites that let you train at home with out any help, support or yes even access to tutors for real time comments and feed back, don't give me that look Ms Maguire and Mr Townsend, even though 99.9% of the time they never allow you to use creativity the would rather have us churn out more of what they are used to seeing, or some CGI maya Hippo that can dance, (copy and past in to the address bar)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Clash of the Titans Review

This is a a review of the movie Clash of the Titans, with Liam Neeson as Zeus and Sam Worthington as Perseus. The movie is an update and remake of the 1981 film which is based, however loosely on the Greek myth of Perseus.

The movie opens with a narration by Io, Gemma Arterton, telling the story of the Titanomachy, war of the Titans, which goes into a short sequence of a casket floating to the surface after a storm and is found by a fisher man,which he opens and finds a baby boy , the story then flash-forwards about ten years and the fisherman, his with and a young Perseus are sitting by a fire on the shore and talk about the boys destiny, at this point the story is very much like the 1981 version with the boy living in a small fishing village with his family, the story then jumps forward by 12 years and the now adult Perseus, Sam Worthington, is aboard his families boat when a group of soldiers destroy a 50 - 60 foot stone statue to the god Zeus as a open sign of war against the gods, up to this point there hadn't been much use of CGI or any other animation techniques which I found refreshing as most movies that came out around the same time had a shit load in the first act of the story.

The second act of the story opens and is as fast paced as the original 1981 version, the next major use of CGI animation the fight sequence with the huge scorpions this is pretty much it as far as the high lights of the second part of the animation goes the rest of the animation in the second act of the is confined to simple in camera effects and make-up magic.

The third and final act of the story starts of well as the heros of the story face off against Madusa in an mixed media layer, mostly green screen, with the hero decapitating her head, but the final part of the story is predictable and slow, the only feature of the final sequence is when the hero, Worthington, destroys the kraken, the enormous sea monster, with the decapitated head of Maduse.

All in all the movie is enjoyable through out the first two acts however at the end the story seems some what rushed and unfinished, as the story leaves a number of minor plot points unresolved and up in the air.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Command & Conquer - Movie Trailer

if this is ever made into a real film I am so first in the Q to see it

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Just an other quick sketch

Top : Line Art
Bottom: Coloured version, markers

Star base design based off a number of sources

Monday, 21 June 2010

A quick sketch and colour WIP

Top: Coloured version.
Bottom: Pencil line art version

This is personal piece that I have been working on for a while, the concept is that an alien shp crashes on one of the Falkland Islands and a Royal Navy submarine is dispatched to investigate it.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Shitty Little Hipster movie

This is a shitty little hipster thingy that took all of an hour to make but the last 6 hours to upload on to the net

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Evaluation of Project: Narative

Well for this project I had to create an animatic, that is a moving story board with sound, that told a story for either; a public information short, a product for sale or something else, I decided to create a public information piece on the topic of rail safety.

After doing some research I decided to narrow this topic down from a complete overview on railway safety to the dangers of level crossing. One of the plot’s I considered was the idea of an alien coming down to earth and having a bunch of children try to explain the dangers of the level crossings, but after testing my character designs out on my younger cousins, I re-approached the plot and altered it to a more friendly looking character.

The next character I created was a cartoon/ manga stylized cat. I again used my cousins as test subjects, and the over all opinion was that they loved the character and found it “cute”.

The next stage of this project was a little harder, as my normal style of working is to create the characters after I have the more than a general overview of the plot, but after sitting down with the family and finding out what, if anything, they knew of the dangers of level crossings the, I worked out a first draft. After a number of rewrites I settled on a finished story.

The general overview of this story followed the main character of the cat as it was taken on a car trip by it’s owner, a Sunday drive if you like, that took it over a set of level crossing points in the country side, as a demonic looking train races down to try and catch the car as it crosses the points.

As I aimed the story at an age group of 5 – 11 year olds I decided not to have the train crash into the car, as this would be to graphic for the younger end of the age range, but would still show a live action still of what happens when a something is hit by a train.

Evaluation of Project: Extended Practices

For this project I had to create a number of short animations; a 2D walk cycle, a 2D perspective walk, a 3D walk and run cycle and have a lamp interact with an object, kind of like the ‘Pixar Lamp’.

The 2D cycles where fairly easy to do as I was using some existing characters, and had video an life drawing reference for different types of walk; runs, shuffles etc.

presective walkcycle

The 3D work was a bit more challenging as I had to learn a new program, Maya, but thanks to the tutorials in the help menu and the taught sessions, I was able to learn this program.

The walk and run cycles for the 3D section of the work involved using a generic blue character, that had no life or easy moving parts to it which I came to hate, but the lamp, or lampie as I came to call it was more fun to use.

From the tutorials in the help menu I created a Greek styled temple. I then did a short thumb nail story board to work out how to have the lamp would enter the temple and exit the temple again.

Overall I fell that this project was useful, and I would like to do another project in Maya, mainly for my show real, as I felt it lends it’s self well to the genra of animation I like the most, science fiction.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Evaluation of Project: Comunication and Media

Well for this project I decided to work with despair and panic as well as a touch of oxygen deprivation.

To start with on this project I was going to use a human character based off one of my existing characters, Jon Andrews, after he survives the explosion of his ship, the SS Phoenix, but after quite a bit of development work, I decided to keep the story line for this project but alter the character to a more alien looking, so I changed the character to a new one called Mars Andrews.

To start with on this project I first created a storyboard completely digitally with photo shop and comic life, but after a number of thumbnails and development sketches I created a storyboard that was 45 panels long.

In order to create my new character I looked at a number of 1990’s cartoons, from Chip n Dale rescue rangers to Bucky O’Hear, and the Toad Wars. As the original version of the storyboard involved a flash back to before the ship exploded I had to edit the ending so that the main character in the story was rescued as not to leave it open ended.

What did I find interesting in this project?

The must challenging element I found while I was working on this project was learning to use Flash, and I thought learning Maya was hard to learn, but I feel that I have managed to create something that is ok, but as this is the first major piece of animation that I have done, it even has lip syncing in major achievement for me as I missed it last year. I have also added a simple sound track created using a heartbeat, downloaded from, even though the effect was only three seconds I edited and extended it usingAudacity so that it was five times longer than I needed it.

One thing I would like to do on this project if I could repeat this project is to create it like a traditional piece of Anime, all hand drawn and coloured using markers or pencil, to give it a more realistic effect, or maybe go back to my original concept of a human character.

The video can be found here Space Dog Video.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Space Dog

Spacedog animation with sound, lip sync and music

since making this I have decided to remove the music track from Kevin MacLeod called Consort for Brass as it was a touch to up beat for the piece

Friday, 30 April 2010


This is something that I through together at the artist mixer known as Doodle Planet at Telford's Warehouse Chester, which I attended at the end of April. The media I used to make this was acyrilc markers on to an A2 sheet of black plastic card

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Comms and Media

Comms And Media assignment

this is a rough cut version, it's more of an animatic really made in Flash

Friday, 23 April 2010

Space Dog animatic flash

Animation made in flash for a university project (no sound)

Friday, 26 March 2010

Project Pitch for Wrexham in Bloom

This is the pitch idea I had for working on the Wrexham in Bloom project as part of my PDP, the concept behind the pitch was a flash based game, similar to games like puzzle bobble, aimed at young school children, years 5 & 6 of local schools, in which the more points they earn while playing the game the more information they learn about the importance of recycling and the local environment, and for every 100,000 points they could earn money off vouchers for local leisure centres or be exchanged for iTunes downloads.

When I presented this I presented it with a friend Kyle's Blog and the rest of the second years, who had their own concepts for this project, to the members of Wrexham council, the head of corporate marketing section, three members from the recycling team. One of the main issues that they had was with the corporate and the promotional aspects to the work, in terms of what they could and couldn't put out into circulation. The members of the council were overwhelmed by the range of work created since the initial project delivery six weeks ago, and where completely positive with the overall response to the project by the students.

One of the points that was raised by the council was relating to costings for the project, physical cost to the council i.e. how much would it cost to have an A1 vinyl produce.

Generic points; when we were working with characters they had massive problems getting the current one "Recycle with Michael" because they already have the Wrexham 'W',

they are therefore very keen to make sure that anything they do is with in their corporate guide lines, and were we as students are suggesting characters to be the head of a brand they said that it would be massively problematic as they don't want the council split into different sections with the characters as a figurehead, therefore in order to get the body of work that I am looking for to get a good mark I have to completely ignore what the council are saying as the feedback they are giving is very council based and therefore limited to what they can see, no surprise there as councils never like to give money way, so I am therefore going to concentrate on the work as it is for my portfolio.

Monday, 15 March 2010

New video for animation V2

opinions, comments and thoughts all are welcome even bad ones

new video for animation

well I have done the rough cut of the video for my animation for comms and media, it's not the best but it is only the rough cut version I still have to do the dialog and edit it to make the timings work.

Friday, 12 March 2010

London Industrial visit, March 2010

Day One.

Arrived in London today, 8th March 2010, after leaving Wrexham at 8am, and after resting for a little while and getting my room sorted out I partook in the atmosphere of the West end, with Gemma Morris and Ying Yau and one of Ying's friends, who acted as a sort of unofficial tour guide as she lives's down in London.

As I very rarely come to London, I welcomed having some one around my own age, and with similar interests to show me around the West end of London, mainly the tube stations and China town. I am looking forward to tomorrow, 9th March 2010, as I am going to visit the companies Double Negative in the morning and in the afternoon Picasso Pictures. I'm not sure what to expect from these companies as I was not expecting t
o be going to see these companies so I have not really looked at them till the Friday before we came down.

Day Two.

Well started today by going to Double Negative where they showed us around there studio's and showed us a show real of the current work and talked abut work they are doing as well as ways to get into the film and animation industry, but due to a Non Disclosure Agreement I have signed I can not go into much detail, other than to list the new movies that are due out this year, such as Ironman 2, Sherlock Holmes and Hot Fuzz.

I then had some time to kill before I had to be at Picasso Pictures so I walked along Oxford street window shopping and looking for other animation houses.

In the afternoon I visited Picasso Pictures where they showed us around the studio, which was a bit on the cramped side, but they were working on some new Direct Line T.V. adverts.

If had to sum up what I all of the visits today would be to learn the following two programs, Adobe Flash and Autodesk Maya. I then rounded the day off with a trip round to the local public house with some of the second and third years from animation.

Day Three.

This was the most informative day as I started the day by going to 12foot6 where they showed us a selection of work on the show real they have for this year, including Dog Judo, which I had seen a few of on Youtube.

This was followed up by a walk to Cartoon Network to talk with a few members of the development team, on the way there I called into Nickelodeon and Sony to find out if they had in anyone in the development team that had five minutes to give a short tour, I was unsuccessful however I did get the e-mails for the people to contact in future. I then went to Cartoon Network where they showed us a selection of work and tips on pitching to a green light council.

In all I highly enjoyed the this visit to London as I have seen how the pro's work and the standards that they set for others to work in the industry, and plan to build on it in October when I go back for the animation expo over halloween weekend.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

back from London

back from London full report tomorrow

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Creative Futures Week 2010, well 3 days

Day one: Entrepreneurship Day

This was taken up by a number of seminars by the team from the careers section and guest speakers form the field of business. The first talk we had was from a practicing graphics designer while informative I feel that this section of the day was aimed, with a laser, at the graphics section of the art school than the rest of us, next came the worst part of the day a role play game called "Xing". I mean what a waste of time and money to produce, sure we need to how to start a business, but using something that is clearly designed and aimed at 15 - 17 year olds PLEASE !

The day ended with a double hit of "Pitching" and "Self Branding". The pitching was interesting but not as informative as I would have liked, compared to last years anyway, but the self branding talk was very informative as it made me realised how important the Internet is when going for new jobs or after potential clients.

I look forward to day two; Employability Day, as there are some interesting sessions scheduled that I plan to attend, including one on portfolio and CV writing for the artist.

Day Two: Employability Day

Well today I woke up in a positive mood for this was the one day of the week I was looking forward to, but what a surprise it was a big let down, I mean the first speaker just talked about how he used to be in a wheelchair and that he had worked for NASA.

This was followed up by a session with Thoughtful, on what an employer or client looks for in a CV and portfolio. I found this extremely useful, especially some key points such as:

  1. Find out which studio you want to work for - do your homework, who they are, what they do and why you should work for them.
  2. Start a dialog today - make contacts, make a list of five or six potential employers and send them an e-mail citing that you find their work inspiring.
  3. When the time is right send a short professional e-mail - with a PDF attachment with five to seven samples but no larger than 5Mb.
  4. If you don't get a reply with in 3 - 5 days give them a ring - do not just wait around for them to contact you be phone.
  5. Prepare an A3 size book style portfolio with 10 to 12 pieces of work, with attention to detail being paramount.
  6. Prepare for a 30 minute interview - but be aware it may only last 15 minutes, when you go in it is a nice idea to enquire as to how much time they have.
  7. Don't over stay your welcome - I know it seems dumb to mention that but when you are done pack up and go.
  8. Thank-you e-mail at the end - even if you don't get the job as it is always nice to stay in contact.
  9. never NEVER EVER give up.
After the session I asked if they would scan my folder as I have the up coming London trip post on London trip next week, they said it was fine but as I am on an Animation course I should think about investing in the iPad when they come out as it would allow me to show my work more effectively.

Day three: Ask the Expert Day

This day was devoted to talks from experts, I started the day off with a talk from Tomfoolery Pictures about how to start a production company and not die trying, this session was aimed at the Creative Lens Media course, CLM, however I found it useful as it has introduced ideas of where I can start to display my work, and whys of making a name for my self in the animation industry as well as screen agencies in the local area. I then followed this up with a session by Chris Woodworth from TT games on stepping into the animation and computer games industry. This was interesting as it gave me further tips on how to get a job and what to do once I have a been employed, plus some interesting tips on what to put into my portfolio; Life Drawing - form and movement work, Character Sheets and some storyboards, but not to go more than 10 pages maximum and to have my contact details on both my DVD show reel and on the bottom of the sleeves with my work in.

He also gave me a collection of useful websites for animation:
  • - this is useful for models and rigged characters for use in Maya and they are free
  • - useful for tips on animating
  • - is like the facebook for animation
  • - has useful tips and advice and if you sign up you can get resource information from the pro's in Hollywood
After lunch I partook in two sessions, the first was A life in design and the Arts - your creative carer paths, these session's were interesting, despite the technical probes they had with the DVD and the Internet connection, as they reinforced the importance of not giving up and making contacts with people in the industry.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Feelings on upcoming trip to London

So I am off to London in two weeks for the first time in years to say I am looking forward to it is an understatement, I hate London with an vengeance, so I am not looking forward to this but as the majority of the British animation industry is in London I will have to go if I want to make any contacts in the field, I guess I will have to bite the bullet and go in to London.

On the plus side I have finally got round to updating my online portfolio over at Deviant,click me to see it, and based on this work I have decided to use it as a starting ground for my portfolio that I will be taking with me to London to show with my fellow classmates/ competition while we are down there, but as I stated in my post about the Bradford Animation film festival Bradford Animation post, that I will be taking with me at the end of October to the London MCM expo.