Purpose of this Blog

24 10 2008

I have started this blog in order to keep a record of my thoughts/ideas/concepts/pieces etc. as I continue through my BA (Hons) Degree in Animation Arts at The University for the Creative Arts in Maidstone.

Synthesis ‘Light’ Part 2 Version 2

19 05 2009

In the tutorial held last monday we discussed the possibilities of changing the soundtrack, using less music (which takes too much influence away from the light streaks) and only using sound effects whilst splicing in some still images that work alongside those new sounds:

The more I watch this one, the more I like it and the more I dislike the old version.

Synthesis Part 2 ‘Light’

9 05 2009

Based on a brief that requires the use of either video or photography (photography in this case) to create a short 20-30 second animation on ‘Portrait and Place’. Following on from my previous animation, I wanted create somethig quite abstract, I have chosen to create a ‘portrait’ of light occupying an unspecified space. I wanted to use this as an opertunity to experiment with sound and music a bit more, using a reasonably simple idea alongside music that reflects it. The tempo of the music and the speed at which the light streaks flow being the two aspects that had to co-operate with one another. This is version 1, please leave any comments and suggestions on improvements, no matter how small.

I wish the brief would allow for a longer film, it would have been more ideal for the animation to be at least 45 seconds long, if not 1 minute preferably. This would have allowed the music and light streaks to have become more rythmetic, as it is so short I get the feeling when watching it that it is ending when it has only just got going.

As a minor note the compression appears to have made the blues a bit pale.

*Later on a few glaring mistakes where pointed out to me, mostly to do with the titles (which are only half-temporary at this point anyway). Where I cut the static from the ‘J Wakerley’ title into the ‘Light’ title, there are a few frames that say ‘J Wakerley’ this can easily be rectified in Final Cut. Also, the dots in the static are too small, and it resembles a carpet (apparently), this can also be changed quite easily. I will also change the length of the pauses after the first title and before the second title, they are both too long.

Photography Electives-Synthesis Research

12 04 2009

As I mentioned in my previous entry, for my Photography Elective, I looked at the details of everyday life that we miss when we walk around. This is part of the research for the next part of our Synthesis project (animation). So I intend to use the work and research from my electives as a starting point here. Below are the final images I created for that Photography elective. There was a deeper meaning to it all, but I won’t explain it here.

I used a 60mm prime Macro lens on my Nikon D70s to get these shots. All shot in RAW, processed in Adobe Photoshop.

AniMaidstone Trailer Final Version

12 04 2009

Below is the final version of my AniMaidstone trailer, other test versions can be found on my Youtube page, but this is the important one:

I am quite pleased with the final version, although if I was to make anything like this that was any longer than 10 seconds I would probably have to find another method of doing it (that’s to say if I was working solo on the project). Having to edit each and every frame in Photoshop individually took a lifetime, especially so when you consider that the majority of the frames had to be re-editted at least 3 times. This is because I had to alter the amount fo movement in the background imagery; originally the hands tore at still images, but then I changed it so that they where tearing at moving images, with other moving images behind them. Everything you see is a photograph, no digital painting was involved.

The next part of this ‘Synthesis’ project is to create a 20-30 second animation, using video and/or photographic media again, looking at the lost details of daily life (something I studied for the recent Electives project, see above).

Animation Test (Reviewed on 16/03/09)

17 03 2009

This animation test was reviewed on the 16th of March, it will become the first part of my animated sting/trailer for the upcoming animation festival in Maidstone, ‘AniMaidstone’. I was going to have lots of hand-drawn animation over the top of these photographs, but I have decided to do the animation entirely out of these hands; pulling, punching, ripping, tearing and scrunching up the paper.

The animation will eventually finish with a re-designed UCA Maidstone logo.

I apologize for the poor quality, when I upload the final animation, and further tests, I shall upload higher quality videos. I shall also loop them next time too.

I have been away for some time now, I have been busy with my Photography Elective, I shall upload the final photographs from my elective soon.

Maya Lighting Test Update

6 02 2009

I have had another attempt at lighting the wine glass, trying to create more highlights and black reflections in the upper part of the glass without having to change the backdrop or drastically changing the lighting.

I wanted the backdrop to remain the same, grey at the base with a gradiant to white, but I also wanted more detail in the upper parts of the glass.

I decided that changing the lights would be pointless as I believe that the image is well balanced and correctly exposed etc. So I changed the material values of the backdrop so that more balck and white details would show. This is the result:


This one actually required barely any Photoshop correction at all, the contrast levels had been adjusted within Maya, so they where close to what they needed to be, and the subtle, but necessary blacks/greys and whites in the upper part of the glass are now present without the rest of the image being affected.

The reason I wanted to get the lighting as good as possible in Maya rather than doing loads of work in Photoshop is because when it comes to animated sequences, Photoshop can’t help you. SHake can be used to correct colours and other such things but it’s not quite as intricate as doing a single image in Photoshop.

I shall post some close up details that I quite like later, such as the interesting areas around the base and top of the neck etc.

Maya Lighting Tests

27 01 2009

I have been learning AutoDesk Maya for more than 5 years now, I mainly use it for experimentation and just simply learning the program itself. It takes so much time to make an animation in Maya that it’s not always a good thing to have a project running alongside school/college/uni projects. I tend to leave it for the summer holidays when I have plenty of spare time, using at least two evenings a week to practice.

But since starting uni I have baring used it, having so many other things to think about. Now I am settled in more, and the Electives have started (5 weeks to build a photography portfolio), I should have more spare time to work with Maya. Below are just two of the simple lighting exercises I have been working on, using a diamond and a wine glass in two completely different lighting set-ups that mimic realistic photographic studios. Or at least, that is my aim. The wine glass and diamond, as well as all the materials (making the glass look like glass, etc.), lighting, backgrounds, everything are all created by me.

One of the most common things that people seem to assume about 3D computer graphics and animation, is that some of what imagery they see was already in existance before I started working. Everything has to be created by the artist in 3D cgi, every aspect of everything. From the geometry, to the lights, to the background, everything, and every little detail within. For instance the lights aren’t simply there, illuminating the object/s by default, they must be correctly positioned, the intensity must be set, the colour must be set, the type of light that it is must be set. There are hundreds of different aspects to creating lights, and then you’ve gotta go and do it again for the second, third, fourth, fifth light in the scene, each with completely different settings to cater for the different postion each light must take. Just as in real photography, lighting is extremely difficult.

For this I used a basic three light set-up: A Key-Light, a Secondary Light, and a Fill-Light. Various virtual reflector boards where used to bounce the lights around to create subtle highlights etc. Shadows are laways a problem, so a very low intensity ambient light was used to soften them off slightly more so.


On the larger Hi-Res images that I possess, the detail in the glass and diamond is very intricate, unfortunately it is lost in these smaller lo-res versions.


I shall post better versions of these as I progress and improve.

‘Drawn By Hand’ Joe, Edd, Matt

16 01 2009

An animation created by Myself, Edward Gould and Matthew Hargreaves (of Eddsworld). We are all studying Animation Arts at The University for the Creative Arts in Maidstone, Kent, England.

The order in which our segments occur is: Matt, Edd, and then my part.

The animation, as the title suggests is hand-drawn. Each part shows a significant point in each persons individual lifetime that shows how or why each one of us got into animation. Matt’s part is quite literal, as is Edd’s, whereas mine is quite abstract (and unfortunately, due to a formatting problem, one of the most important shots of my part is sped up). Although each part is individual, they all come together to fullfill one common concept.

Some would agree that this has worked, others not.

The music has been removed from the final cut as it we music creation was never one of our strong points. The music that had been created changed the viewer’s perspective on the animation, so we’ve left it out.

Many thanks to Edd and Matt for all their work.

Animation Update

6 01 2009

The animation that myself, Edd and Matt are working on is on schedule for completion on the 9th of January (this Friday). An updated animatic with parts of the final animation will be on Youtube (and linked here) within a few hours from now.

some of the timing will be changed for the final animtion, but only tweaks here and there. For the most part, this animatic will be very close to what the final animation will look like.

The majority of animation was completed over the Christmas period, and shooting/scanning will take place over the next few days. A DVD will be created and burnt for the deadline on friday.

Essay ‘Drawing the Line’

8 12 2008

Recently, for our Visual Theory studies, we had to write an essay based on one of a selection of eight questions (that were actually statements to be responded to). I chose:

‘Discuss and analyze the work of one or more animators who have used drawing as a ‘Dynamic Form’ in their animation.’

For this I looked at the work of Paul Klee, who taught his theory of ‘Taking the line for a walk’ at the Bauhaus, which was of great interest to me concerning my essay. I also researched Hans Richter and Viking Eggeling, two members of the Dada movement and I briefly mentioned the works of Lottie Reiniger.

I’m reasonably happy with the essay, and if it is given a reasonable mark (which I do hope for), I shall post it on here perhaps.