Friday, 15 November 2013

Finally, I Present My Second Demo Reel.

As mentioned in my last post, I was planning on putting together another demo reel featuring the work that I have created since the start of the year. I used work from six different projects, all of which can be found on my Youtube channel.

Next, I will start working on the website that I talked about creating to showcase all my work. Additionally, I have a number of ideas for my next animation (excluding the work on "Gump & Gil" and "Grumpy Gary") such as a comedy involving a bully and his victim (3D) swell as a road runner type story involving a fox (2D)

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Time to step up and be more professional!

Having started to focus on my animation again, I have decided to switch Youtube accounts to a newer, more professional account. I wish I'd been able to change my less-than-professional username on Youtube, and this could all have been avoided. I felt it best to change things now before I start looking for work, just to be safe.

Link to my new Youtube channel:

It has been all about change this month for sure, I have also changed my email address to be more professional. This, coupled with the fact that I've also changed my phone number pretty much makes my business cards absolutely useless. Might change my name too... Hercules Skywalker perhaps?

I have also decided that it is about time that I created my own website to help showcase my work. My blog has been very useful, and will continue to use it to release my thoughts. However, I feel that I need a site to help show, not only my animation skills, but also modelling, digital drawing and character designs. I will begin work on that very shortly and post the link onto the blog.

First though, I am going to start work on my demo reel, that will showcase all the different work I have produced since the turn of the year. Wow! I have so much to do.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I'm back!! Et Rapta (The Kidnapping) and plans for the future.

Well, it has been quite a while since my last post in relation to my work on "Tim's Time Machine." I have been on a much needed hiatus after the mayhem of my Masters degree. The break has felt amazing and has allowed me to spend quality time with my beautiful girlfriend, Amy and amazing son Logan. 

The constant and unyielding flow of assessments feels like a distant memory, and I'm already starting to look back on it with fondness. I feel that now is the time to get back to work and start creating more animation. Below is my final piece from my degree, titled "Et Rapta" (latin for "The Kidnapping") Et Rapta was created in Toon Boom Studio 6.0 and took around a month from start to finish.

"Et Rapta" takes place in a small town named Lardeen, during a time when a series of child kidnappings have taken place. A total of thirteen children are officially declared missing, with no leads as to their whereabouts. The story follows mischievous ten-year old Rex, who accidentally flies his toy plane through the window of a derelict old mansion. However, upon entering, he finds far more than he bargained for.

Please watch "Et Rapta" before I go into more detail in regards to the plot.

So, yeah you probably seen that coming. Hopefully the plot was clear enough that you understood everything that was going on. Alex West (the creepy scientist type), who I consider to be the main character, was a renowned and amazingly gifted surgeon, who sadly lost his son Timothy after a long battle with Leukemia. Alex (as can be read in one of the papers Max notices) tried his very best to cure his son, but only managed to prolong his death.

Alex went off the rails after Timothy died, driving his wife away and becoming obsessed with bringing his son back. Eventually, he became insane and increasingly desperate, resorting to kidnapping local children and operating on them to look similar to Timothy. He injects them with Curare, a strong paralyzing agent, throughout the process before locking them in glass cases like dolls, naming them "experiments."

The target outcome of this project was to create an animation that would be considered creepy and somewhat scary. This animation deals with darker topics than what I, as an animator, have dealt with in the past. This is what encouraged me to see it through to the end, it was something I would need to adapt to, and test my skills. Usually I focus on creating comedic animations and knew that the horror genre would be a big challenge for me to overcome. 

I was inspired heavily by the types of stories that I read in my youth, particularly those from the "Goosebumps" series of books by R.L. Stine. These tales, more often than not, ended with a shock twist. 

"Goosebumps" was a big influence on this project. 

In my personal opinion, the final piece came together quite nicely. I feel that I am most likely capable of better work, although I do stand by this piece fully. The area that I feel I didn't quite do enough with was the back story of the scientist character. I had it all planned out, as you can see above, but perhaps it is a little too subtle, particularly as some of it, like the newspaper articles, are "freeze-frame" information.

The amount of exposition for Max I feel is the right amount because, as mentioned, I consider him to be a secondary character, with the scientist being the real important character. I also cut quite a lot of Max's scenes for time reasons, but there was originally a scene with max walking through the garden and a scene in the main hall of the mansion.

I learned quite a bit from this project, particularly with the storytelling aspect. As mentioned, I usually veer towards animations with gags throughout, similar to Tom & Jerry. As a bad habit, I used to only have a rough idea of where the story was leading when I started animating, causing difficulty later. This was mainly because I was impatient with such things. 

However, I have since learnt to take my time and fully flesh out my storyboard before starting. I have learnt to plan ahead with story from the start, having a start middle and end before going ahead and animating.  

Next on the agenda for me will be trying to find a job within the animation industry. I know this won't necessarily come to me overnight, but I am willing to work as hard as possible and will hopefully see it all pay off in the end. Asides from this though, I will also be returning to my animated piece "Grumpy Gary in Dog Daze" which is about one-sixth complete. I also intend to create a second episode of "Gump & Gil" with fellow animator and friend, Jon Campbell. I also have quite a number of other exciting ideas for animated pieces that I will hopefully get around to working on in the near future.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Tim's Time Machine

Well, as mentioned in a previous post, I chose to create storyboards for a story about a boy genius who has an obsessive love for everything related to Vikings. He therefore decides to build a time machine in order to bring a Viking of his own into the present day. Initially I had intended to create the piece in 2D using Toon Boom Animation Studio. However, I learnt afterwards that our lecturer wanted all of our work to be created in 3D and so I instead had to quickly model and rig a character (which isn't my favorite task) I also decided to change the name of my character at this point from Ted to Tim, as I felt it gave the title a little more appeal.

For this project, I chose to create the first thirty seconds of my two minute storyboard, which has my character finishing his Viking book then going to collect another book based on "Time Travel". Below is the completed piece, though the quality isn't great, the HD version can be found on Youtube here

Changes that I would make to the piece, in retrospect, would be to cut down on the ladder pushing/pulling scene to just having him push them towards the bookcase. I included two separate scenes for the ladder pushing to allow more animation of my character, and also to add a little humor into the piece. Our class had roughly a month to complete this project, but this included the sessions with Mark Andrews, which ate up about a week of our schedule. However, as I had planned on doing 2D I didn't consider a number of factors: the modelling, rigging or render times, so I caught myself a little off guard. In the end, I managed to get the entire project completed in about 10 days.

Overall, I am fairly happy with the final outcome of the assessment. We have had quite a number of assessments this semester, far more than I was used to during my time at my previous university. Our second semester has officially come to an end with this assessment and the third semester will officially start on Thurs 30th May 2013, where I will be creating a dark 2D animation, based around a child snatcher, more details to follow.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Pixar's Mark Andrews Comes To Town!

So, as I have mentioned before, all of us at the Glasgow School of Art were eagerly anticipating the arrival of Mark Andrews, the Academy Award winning director of Disney-Pixar's "Brave."

Mark started off his visit by giving us a lecture with a bit of background information on how he ended up in the industry himself. He then showed us some storyboards that he has worked on, taken from movies like "The Iron Giant" and "Spider-man" as well as giving us an exclusive look at what Pixar are working on at the moment, which I won't say anything about, just in case.

We also got the fantastic opportunity to present storyboards for a two minute animated short to him, thirty seconds of which we will need to animate for our next animation project. As previously mentioned, I chose a story that revolves around Ted, a boy genius who creates a time machine to bring a Viking to the modern day. Mark had some really good suggestions for where I can take the story, and great ideas that I wouldn't have otherwise thought of. I will keep his advice in mind for future projects and I have already began to look at story-boarding in a different way. This experience, which was also my first workshop with a professional, has encouraged me to make an effort to attend the Animex masterclasses which I have always missed because it meant an extra days stay, which would mean more money. But after this experience, I would imagine that these classes will be worth the extra price, and will hopefully attend them in 2014.

Drawings by Mark as he explained his suggestions for improving my storyboards.

Overall, I learnt a lot from the past two weeks with Mark, and from his colourful personality, which made him all the more likeable as a person. His advice always lead peoples stories down avenues that they may not even have considered before. I also learned a bit more about pitching my storyboards - that for two minute boards, I should be presenting them in roughly one and a half to two minutes tops. This helped me a great deal, as before I would simple drone on, which I guess must have really bored the listener.

My next posts will likely be about my next few assessments: the Masters Proposal and the Animation 3 project which, as mentioned, will be animating thirty seconds of the storyboards that I made. I will also try to have my storyboards scanned and uploaded soon.

Monday, 18 March 2013

A Ninja Tale

 As mentioned in my previous post dedicated to "A Chessy Love Story" we was handed out another assessment that was to be completed in a period of only two weeks. This proved the biggest challenge for me as an animator, having always favoured 2D animation, and not ever feeling good at rigging and 3D character modelling.

So, for this assessment we were tasked with modelling and rigging a bi-pedal character, who we were then told to animate. I decided fairly early on that I wanted to create a ninja character, as he would be great to animate carrying out fast paced actions and stealth.

Overall, I am happy with the project considering how little time I had, and considering that I am wasn't overly confident modelling a character. I do feel though that I could produce much, much better animation with a little more time and without having to worry about rigging and modelling.

Our next project will be another character animation, though we have much more time and the option to work in 2D. I will most likely work in 2D for this assessment and have an idea involving a boy genius with a love for Vikings and a time machine. Inspired by Dexters Lab! More to follow.

Also I should add that the Academy Award winning director of Pixar's "Brave" Mark Andrews (pictured below) will be visiting the Glasgow School of Art soon. This will be great for our class, as well as for animators across Scotland in general who will get the opportunity to listen to his, no doubt, brilliant advice. I will post more about this great experience nearer the time.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Chessy Love Story

As promised in a previous post, below is my final submission for the inanimate object assessment. In the end, I chose to develop the pawn idea, which I think turned out pretty good. We had roughly three weeks from start to finish in which to model, rig, light, texture and animate the piece. In the past I have never really enjoyed rigging or lighting, and always did a half-assed job but I have started to put in the extra effort and I feel I have learnt a great deal from the assessment. The rig I created is fairly simple and I found it quite easy to animate, particularly with the help of Eric Goldberg's "Character Animation Crash Course" (which focuses on 2D but still applies)

Overall, I am fairly pleased with the final outcome of the project although, typically for an artist, I still notice little things that can be improved which I will bear in mind for my next assessment.

Our next assessment has been handed out already, this time we are expected to do much of the same but using a bipedal character (basically a character with two feet.) The deadline for this submission is March 14 2013 and at this stage I have absolutely no idea what I want to do. Some of my initial ideas have included a Ninja (great opportunity for showing lots of stealth animation) or an alien.

Animex, The International Festival of Animation

So, as mentioned in a previous post, me and another few animators headed to Animex at Teeside University in Middlesbrough for a series of interesting and very informative talks. The particularly enjoyable presentations were those by Ed Hooks and David Au, a pretty down to earth guy who we caught up with later in the student union. He offered some pretty useful tips and advice for effectively getting into the industry and gelling with fellow animators.

We were also gifted with free Disney notepads upon entering the lecture theatre, which was a nice little addition:

Dork face on (and slightly hungover)

The "Life of Pi" talks were particularly interesting as Stuart Sumida and Hans Rijpkema (both of whom we'd listened to before) were close friends and co-ordinated their back-to-back talks very effectively. The festival unfortunately fell a couple of days before our inanimate object assessment was due and therefore we had to work on it in the hotel (all work and only a little play)

                           Stuart Sumida, professor at California State University, San Bernadino

   The work behind the effects was positively astounding

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Max Howard & Practising Walk Cycles

Well, as mentioned in a previous post, Max Howard, a former Disney producer, gave a very interesting lecture in the Mackintosh Lecture Theater at GSA. He made some very interesting points about overcoming issues with production time, namely making creative changes to speed up and meet expectations. He also covered some topics that we have been looking at in our Film-making class, including the basic structure which every movie should adhere to. He also shared how he himself managed to get into the industry back in the "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" days. 

Max in all his glory.

Below is a quick walk cycle that I threw together as part of a non-assessed assignment for university. It scares me to think that this is one of the only walk cycles I have actually done, so will definitely continue to make them for practice.

For this animation I used "The Mechanics of Motion" by Chris Webster which can be purchased here.

We have also been handed out the brief for our next assessment, which is due in less than 3 weeks!! Talk about cutting it close. For this assessment, we have been asked to create a piece of character animation (including modelling, rigging and lighting) using a simple inanimate object. I've decided that I would like to create some sort of "love story" between two opposite pawns on a chessboard. Hopefully, this is the idea that I will use and develop for the deadline on February 25th 2013.

I will post the final piece of work onto the blog when I'm finished.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Gump & Gil: Ep.1 - Mebay or Mebay Not

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything here, there hasn't really been much to say, I had hoped to have the first scene of "Dog Daze" completed during the break between semesters, but needless to say this plan hasn't become a reality.

However, I decided instead to get together with fellow Masters student Jon Campbell to produce a quick animation. The entire episode took us roughly two days to plan and animate (12pm - 11pm each day) so animating took us roughly 22 hours with another couple devoted to the gathering of sound effects and post-production.

We enjoyed collaborating very much and intend to work on other episodes starring Gump and Gil, hoping to create one every few weeks when our coursework allows it. My plan for the next few weeks will be to continue working hard on coursework (comic book, film-making, life-drawing and PGDip Animation classes) and posting any work or updates here when I have them.

In other news, I will be travelling to Middlesbrough on February 20 - 22 (2013!) to attend the annual Animex animation and computer game festival at Teeside University. This will be my third consecutive year at Animex and I couldn't be more excited about hearing from speakers like Ed Hooks, Will Becher, Rob Dressel and David Au. More information can be found on Animex here.

As if this wasn't exciting enough, our Masters class will be taught by Mark Andrews, director of Pixars "Brave" between 8 - 19 April and Max Howard, former Disney, Dreamworks and Warner Brothers producer will be hosting a talk in GSA this coming Tuesday.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Finally!! My first showreel

I finally got around to making a showreel, which I have always postponed because I felt like I don't have enough material. But I finally decided to put one together with what I have to show, and will then add to it as I progress.

Overall, I know that my work still needs that "oomph" to really help me land a job in the field. However, that is why I'm putting myself through a Masters degree at my own expense. Being from Scotland, where most undergraduate courses are paid by another organisation, this step has been a big gamble financially, but I hope I may reap the benefits in the not-too-distant future.

We now have a week break in studies whilst the lecturer finalises our grades for the PG Certificate stage of the course. In this time I hope to finish work on the first scene of "Dog Daze" which I have continued to work on as a pet project and will get uploaded (hopefully) some time next week.

"Larry" Animatic

For this group project in our narrative class, we were tasked with creating an animatic for an animation, as though we were going to animate at a later stage. I personally worked on the firing scene at the bosses office up until Larry throws the flamingo's wine glasses away and also the drug-taking toilet scene. The other scenes were created by team mates Anthony Gallagher and Pooja Priolkar whilst Iain Symes-Marshall, Ariane Jackson and Henry Puspurs (sound students) were in charge of the sound.

Character Sketch that I did for Larry prior to starting the project. Initially Larry was going to be a sympathetic character, in which case the design would have been completely different. However, once we decided to make him a rude and obnoxious character, this design was settled upon.