Like with Campbell & Suzannah, this week we've had the pleasure of Kevan & Robyn Shorey joining us from Dreamworks. The approach to the week has been much more enjoyable for me personally as it wasn't completely aimed at animation, but animation production which techniques could then be translated to your specialist area.. say lighting, texturing, previz..
What's hit home most so far this week is not actually to do with production but in how you approach presenting your work. Kevan & Robyn watched us on Monday present our WIP reels for our major pieces and the feedback we got was really honest and useful. I need to always think WHY I'm presenting something, what has changed since the last time we presented and always with confidence. Kevan pointed out that the confidence in how you present your work can affect your relationship with your director, or in our case, with our lecturers. This can have impact on how much they'll be willing to help, what feedback they give. If you're presenting something and pointing out all of the things that you haven't yet done then potentially that is all they will focus on. If you take the approach of talking about all the things you have done then it can be easier for a viewer to think of the big picture.
That comes on to the most important part of the week: think Big Picture. Us students tend to get so bogged down with little details and Kevan advised us that if there are little mistakes in our assignments, not to let solving them take up too much time. At the end of the day, we're creating a 2D image and if it comes to having to paint-fix a few frames at the end if your rig pops or something, so be it!

Anyway, with some tips in mind we started our first exercise: The Blank Page. We had the choice of a few animals and the brief was to plan approx 5 secs of motion for this animal going from A to B (fixed cam).
So with this vague brief, first things to think of were:
-Specific direction?
-Intent of the shot?
-Is there a subtext to the shot?
-Where was the character before?
-Where is it going?
-How can we make it unique?

YouTube delivered some pretty handy reference footage for the mouse that I chose. I observed that this mouse sniffed around everytime it changed direction, it looked pretty inquistive due to it darting around in a zig-zag.
I doodled some thumbnails of poses I liked and thought I could use.

Next exercise was beginning to explore our ideas. Kevan showed us how easy it can be to convey an idea to a director without spending a lot of time..which can obviously be expensive.
Here is my 10 minute go at staging of my mouse's movement using just a cube.

Obviously, my animating still sucks BUTT I'm keen to apply this technique to my areas of interest. Next time we present our project, it'll be with hella gusto and we won't be mentioning anything we haven't done yet..

In addition to creative advice, I spoke to Robyn about getting employed in the US which is ideally where I want to be. After talking to someone in recruitment before they came over, she advised me to first work in London, ideally on a big-name film and then try the States after that so that they have some point of reference for me and be more willing to sponsor a visa etc.. Life-plan sorted, dead happy. Anyway back to work. Safe x

*EDIT - feedback from Kevan & Robyn: when presenting, don't actually avoid talking about what you are yet to complete but be thoughtful in the way that you do; be positive. Even when presenting on shot level think Big Picture. Awesome week, many thanks!


One of our briefs for this year is industry-set. Out of a choice of assignments I chose Sony's games environment. I have not intention of going into the gaming side of CG however I figured it offered a mix of all of the things I enjoy: design, modelling, texturing and lighting.
The assignment was to choose a location in Bournemouth and give it some sort of narrative and then to design and create a cut-out diorama of the location. I chose Russell Cotes' Art Museum which is a pretty neat building in itself but I decided to treat it as if it had been taken-over by Pirates (being so close to the sea and all). The general look I want to achieve is similar to 'Tortuga' the pirate port in Pirates of the Carribean. I designed Russell Cotes' as if it had been made into a Tavern.

For our first hand-in we needed to hand in a perspective design (right) and a colour study (below). The feedback I got from this was positive and suggested I play on the theme more by introducing more 'piratey' merch..treasure, swords, rum, etc and also to collect some good reference of peeling paint and damaged plaster. Going to hopefully find some abandoned house near Bournemouth (open to suggestions..)

Tonight I started on the modelling. I started with a the timber frame as I wanted to make all the beams lined up properly and for the major beams, this will be less render-expensive than displacement maps, however I'll most likely use bumps for the less important beams.
As this assignment has games in mind, I'm trying to make sure everything is as low-poly as possible so I've been going through a mind-numbing process of merging verts and edges and believe it or not the model below took over two hours (JEEZ) Once this part is all set then Everything else will be able to be slotted in and will all fit perfectly. With any luck.
Vertex-merging aside, this assignment is pretty ace so far and I'm hyped to continue, texturing this bad boy should be super fun!
-- Laters


Well Happy New Year to start off, feels like the holidays have just flown by but still managed to squeeze a fair amount of work in alongside trying to earn my rent for January and eating more turkey/ham/beef than I prefer to disclose.
Anyway before I came home for the break I had just started rigging the Diva character and Matt completed modelling for both of the sets. I am still on my third revision of the rig after plenty of swearing, screaming and beers I'm so glad it's nearly done. The painting-weights is the bit that always goes wrong however, nearly there now and have sent over some quick sketches to Matt for the face blend-shapes so with any luck we should have a read-to-animate rig for the Diva by Monday.
Talking of Monday, we have Kevan and Robyn Shorey from Dreamworks coming to spend next week with us at the NCCA for another intensive week of master classes. On Monday, they'll be attending our Major Project WIP Screenings so I really want to some awesome stuff to show them.
I have begun texturing the bathroom too and here's a screenshot  of it so far. I totes want to get into the bath, it looks dead comfy!
Happy 1st Tuesday of 2012! Peace x