Saturday, 31 January 2015

Camera Coverage Tutorial

For this Tutorial we had to show two cars moving through an environment and then crashing, whilst using cameras placed in different positions to capture movement at different times throughout the animation. This required a lot more work on our part, placing the car into the thirds layer, keeping it in line throughout the entire movement and switching the camera at the right time to make the shot look consistent.

camera Rig Tutorial

This Tutorial Showed us how to create a proper camera rig to use in our animation's. Although a lot of them are already completed for us. It is handy to know how to add different attributes to change up the amount of movements that a rig can complete.

Below is a series of images from the lesson to show you the process we took to complete the tutorial.

Character Design: Week 4

Our 4th week of character design had us looking at an aspect that we had already covered before and one that we will be needing to focus on to complete our Animation project. The first being character design and the second being story boarding.

To start off Justin gave us a theme and a story idea/ situation, then we had to come up with a character (or characters) and a story to go with the things given. I was given Ghost's and an Awkward date. Something that could work incredibly well together.

To start with I came up with a story idea that I thought was rather funny. A man goes on a date, and the person he is meeting dies halfway through the date. Leaving the ghost of the woman to complete the date whilst other people around them start to freak out. 

Here is the character that I cam up with. It's not my best work by the general design I like a lot. I imagined a woman staying beautiful even after death but still being unable to avoid the obvious side effects of being a (cartoon) ghost. Mainly the spectral type tail that engulfs the legs. So I made the dress shorter and had the tail curling up behind her.

I also wanted to leave here with any personal effects that she may have had with her when she died, in this case a handbag. I also wanted to add a slight comedic element to the character to I added in these little, cute ghosts that surround her as she is sitting at the table. Just something to show the world that she now inhabits.

Enough of the character, we then needed to create a storyboard for the story that we created. As you can see I didn't get very far. I wanted to show a man who feels down on his luck, as his date hasn't shown up yet. Feeling a little disheartened until she finally shows up and the fun can begin.

Final Story Idea: Forgot to Upload Earlier

This has taken me longer then I though to upload due to a late shift at work but now I'm back I can get it out there for criticism. I'm not sure if the tone for this story is good enough. Whether it is too far into horror or not enough so i'll leave that up to you guys and Phil to decide. After writing out this longer story I am going to try and shorten it down and make something worthy of a 1 minute animation. I just felt that getting the whole idea out as it was in my head was the best step to take before trying to compress something from the start.

Final Story Idea:

Act 1
Rain streams down the rusted, patched metal. A dark shadow looms over the unsuspecting town, a force of the unknown that thrives on the twisted. The blackness gives way to bright sunlight, revealing the new arrival to the town. The circus has arrived and the unsuspecting townsfolk are the next in line for the horror that it brings.

A Mother and her two children (still thinking of names, will probably come in design stage) are drawn to the mysterious new attraction. Excited to take part in the fun that hides beyond the gates, they enter full of enthusiasm to be greeted by a suspicious sight. The grounds themselves are empty. Rides seemingly abandoned by workers years ago yet somehow still standing, save for the rough patchwork of metal's and paint that covers them. Before the family can turn and leave, disappointed. A man steps out of a nearby tent. Dressed in a purple suit with a large grin on his face, he reaches towards the Children s mother with long, bony fingers. Whisking her away into the tent, the Children are left, to wander the desolate park.. alone.

As the two move through the creaking metallic structures, jutting metal and colorful buildings, a sense of terror comes over them. They hold each other, reassuring themselves as they continue. The endless silence that surrounds them occasionally broken by the distant laughter of children. Fading in and out of earshot as they move along. Eventually they are drawn to a monolithic sight at the edge of the grounds. Shooting high up into the sky, jutting metal and stitched fabric covers an old bouncy castle, still inflated, unaffected by the wind that now engulfs the area. As they pass, laughter and nursery rhymes (Not sure which one yet) echoes from the blackened doorway. A mixture of intrigue and terror takes over the two and they enter the ghostly castle. Everything goes black and the two disappear into the void.

Act 2
The two awake, in a dark, cold room. A faint bulb swings from the ceiling, barely illuminating the the grisly sight before them. Row's upon rows of half stuffed animals line the walls, their mouths and eyes stitched shut. Reams of thread line the ceiling and floor, creating a spiderweb mass around the children. encasing them in the void. Tables are spread out around the room. Upon which are spools of thread, needle's, various vile's and jars filled with suspiciously thick liquids.

As they sit in  the darkness, cowering tiny pattering begins to surround them, like small children s footsteps running along a concrete floor. Laughter echoes around them, large smiles and bright eyes emerge from the eclipse, staring then slowly sinking back into the shade. Everything goes silent, plunging the sibling's back into the quiet terror that has engulfed them.

Act 3
Heavy footsteps come closer and closer, behind them comes the scattering of the same little feet, as if following behind. From the corner of the room comes a man, Seemingly huge in height and incredibly thin. Just barely illuminated by the light he steps forward, his round glasses glinting in the from the dim glow. His shirt is old yet perfectly pressed. Red and brown stains cover him. Hanging from his waist are patches of dry, brown leather, long, tapered needles. Skin covered in stitches, thread still hanging down as if the job hadn't been finished.

He lays a long, bony finger on the faces of both Brother and Sister. Inspecting them, peering into their eyes. Examining their mouths and teeth. He lets go. Turning and walking away he whispers. "Welcome to the family.....Meet your brothers and sisters". He exits.

Bones crack, Tiny feet scatter along the floor. Electricity hums. The Faint light illuminates the animated bodies of previous victims. Some small, some larger. All children of different shapes and sizes and ages. Their bodies covered in stitches and bolts. Conductors protruding from various body parts. They move toward the children. twitching and jolting in all directions. Eager to reach the new additions. Laughter and humming fills the room, covering screams of terror as the room goes black.

There we have it the final Idea that I have for my story. As I said before I'm not sure if the tone is right. My OGR left me with an opportunity to create something that could scare people, and although this is one of the most interesting things that I could come up with. I feel that there is more that I could do. Or even some stuff that I could remove. When I get to story boarding and scripting I will need to reduce it down to make it work, so we will have to see. Enjoy the story and I would greatly appreciate the feedback.


Wednesday, 28 January 2015

New Story Idea: Horror part 2

As promised here is the next development in My story. This time I decided to Bullet point the three different acts and try to tone down some of the details, whilst retaining the same themes as the original draft. 

 Act 1:

  • Circus Appears in Town Overnight
  • Creates an unsettling/eerie vibe in the town
  • Two sibling's and Mother Enter
  • It's quiet, seemingly abandoned
  • Faint sound of children singing, echoes around the grounds
  • Approached by the owner of the Circus owner
  • Whisks the parent away
  • Children are drawn to a monolithic Bouncy castle
  • Enter the doorway and the world goes black.

 Act 2:

  • Children awaken in a dark workshop (Half stuffed animals lie everywhere, a layer of dust covers them)
  • Reams of thread is strewn across the ceiling and floors like spider webs.
  • A faint bulb beings to swing 
  • Tiny pattering can be heard, the two children back into a corner, sister shielding brother.
  • Dozens of little voices giggle and whisper in the darkness.
  • Wide eyes and smiles fade in around them
  • Voices begin to hum, "I've got no strings on me"
  • Song gets louder and louder then stops, as heavier footsteps appear,
  • The footsteps get closer and closer
  • Taxidermist appears out of the void, barely lit by the failing bulb
  • He inspects the children then whispers "Welcome to the Family"
  • The light goes out. "Meet your brothers and sisters"

Act 3:
  • A group of what appears to be children begin to clamber forward, over each other
  • Twitching and spiraling, falling as they move. (each child, scarred and stitched together, Electrodes protruding from their skin)
  • They clamber over the two children, clawing, biting, separating.
  • Both brother and sister are strapped to tables.
  • A bright light hangs above, blinding them
  • Taxidermist stands over them, produces a knife then smiles. The camera fades to black as screams are covered over by humming and laughter. 

As always some feedback would be really appreciated, as I want to get this component out of the way as quickly as possible and start designing. 

New Story Ideas: Horror notes

After receiving the feedback from my OGR, Phil recommended that I go horror this time round, rather then going for what I had originally planned on doing. So going off of this suggestion I spent a few days writing out a new story that I am quite proud of, seeing it as more successful then my first story. 

Here we have my first idea for the story that I want to create into the final animation. You may not be able to see the writing clearly, thanks to my handwriting so ill explain my ideas here instead. 
The story starts off with a circus that mysteriously arrives overnight in a seemingly normal town. During the day very few people enter the attraction except for a Mother and her two children. A young boy and an older girl. Upon entering the circus ground's the trio are struck by the eerily deserted circus, there are no attendants or patrons to be seen, They are approached by a man who seems to be the circus owner who whisks the mother off, deeper into the circus, leaving the children to wander by themselves. 
As they walk further into the strangely deserted circus. Occasionally the sound of children laughter echoes around the park, frightening the children as they keep walking. Eventually they are drawn to a monolithic bouncy castle, sitting on the outskirts of the circus grounds, As they stare into the dark entrance, the sound of Nursery Rhymes and laughter begin to echo out, drawing the siblings into its clutches. As they enter the void, everything goes black and the two are whisked away into a nightmare that they will never escape.
Upon waking up the two find themselves in a dark room, barely lit by a single, flickering bulb hanging from the ceiling, Too frightened to scream out, the siblings sit in the dark, waiting for something to happen. Not long after, small pattering can be heard, like tiny footsteps on concrete, Laughter begins to echo throughout the room, terrorizing the children. Bright eye's and stretched smiles appear out of the darkness, their pupils piercing the souls of the poor children. The occasional twitch and snap is heard, like bones being broken and rearranged, thread being pulled through dry skin. 
Heavy footsteps appear, quiet at first, but getting louder and louder as they approach the two cowering children. A man emerges from the darkness, barely lit by the failing bulb. He walks up to the two children and inspects them. His clothes are stained with old blood, clotted and dry. Patches of skin like material hangs from his belt, thread and needles protrude from the  parched material. After inspecting the children he whispers. "welcome to the family" and walks away. Leaving the children to their fates at the hands of the creatures residing in the blackness. 

This Idea is much more creative then the first, as I am much happier when writing stories designed around a Horror theme. Although as this was the first draft of this story there are a few things that I have changed in the next draft, which I will uploading soon. I want to include more evidence that the man that has kidnapped the children is a Taxidermist and has more of a sicker idea in mind for the children rather then just killing and stuffing them.

I also have changed the way the circus feels upon first entrance. I want it to obviously deserted yet less brand new and more like it has been, patched together over the years. Constantly being repaired, but never replaced, resembling a Taxidermist's practice before he starts with his final work. 

I could really use some feedback on this idea, as I want to continue to develop this story and make it truly terrifying. 

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

La Jetée: Film Review

La Jetée: Movie Review
Chris Marker

La Jetée (The Pier), an interesting story told in an even more interesting medium. "One of the best of all SF films is this haunting, apocalyptic 27-minute French short by the great Chris Marker" (Rosenbaum,2007).Told entirely through still frames, this 28 minute masterpiece has been acclaimed to be a true landmark of science fiction film making, laying the benchmark for some of the best Time Travel based movies ever produced by Hollywood. Opening with the voice of a narrator, explaining how the world was destroyed and the memory of a character that we see later on in the film. How he remember's a pier, a woman and the death of an unknown man, a memory that has haunted him his entire life. 

Figure 1: The woman from memory. 

Set in a post apocalyptic near-future, La Jetée tells the story of a society trying to survive after the Outbreak and destructive end of the Third World War. Living deep in the underground tunnels below the city of Paris are a group of people, who are at the whims of a group of scientist's researching the art of Time Travel in an attempt to prevent the Outbreak of the War that destroyed the world. The survivor's in this film are more guinea pigs and test subjects then people, being used for the scientist's experiments against their will. This is a very similar situation to the way that scientists and researchers use animals in test's today however, in this ravaged world where the animals may have died off or returned to their natural habitat's, humans are seen as expendable and as worthy test subjects. Many of the people that are chosen to be experimented on are unable to survive the mental strain and shock that Time Travel puts onto the brain and body. Starting an endless cycle of failure's and the dwindling of an already shattered population. Resulting in a race to find a worthy candidate before all of their "resources" are used up. 

Figure 2: The Time Machine

Later into the movie we finally have a worthy subject. An unknown man is strapped into the makeshift Time Travel machine and sent on a journey into the past. To a world that he has not known for a very long time. It is here that we begin to see the way our memories can effect the way we act and the things that we believe in and do. "It's a stirring, emotional film about the unique hold memories have over people's lives " (Melin,2012).  Melin talk's about how memories effect and mold us as people, influencing the way we act and feel on a daily basis. The key to the past in this movie is retained in the mind of our unnamed character, the prisoner who hold's a vague memory of a woman from the pre-war world. Using this memory He is able to overcome the strain caused by the machine and sent back in time. Eventually meeting with this same woman. 


Figure 3-4: The protagonist running towards the memory woman and his foreseen death

Figure 5: The death of the unknown man

The power that memories can have over the human mind is suggested in the final act of the this short masterpiece. Upon discovering the key to saving the future our unnamed character is met by a group of technologically advanced beings from the future, who offer to bring him to their own time and away from the newly restored world that he now resides. Instead of agreeing, he instead ask's to be sent back to the pre war time, hoping to find the woman of his memories. Upon arrival he finds the woman on the same pier he remember's from his childhood. This shows us that memories, whilst are considered to be little things in the back of our minds that many of us ignore, are incredibly powerful. Leaving the chance to explore the world of the future behind and going back to an much younger time, just to be with a woman you love is an incredibly strong, and influential idea. 

The ending is what truly make's this film. We find out that the memory that has haunted our main character for the entire film and his life is actually the his own death, that he witnessed as a child, ending the film on a somber and macabre note. After watching this movie, I noticed many themes that have been repeated in newer Time Travel based movies, like Back to the Future(1985) and even the much newer Looper(2012). This movie really is a masterpiece and the story that the narrator shows us is one of struggle, love and intrigue. "The narrator's own haunting story is what makes this film truly mesmerizing". (Mapes,2002) A story that started off slow, but by the end of it I was taken by the world that had been created and the underlying plot, hidden away by more obvious imagery shown. 


Rosenbaum(2007) Chicago Reader [Online Blog] in: At: (Accessed on 27/01/2015)

Melin(2012) Scene Stealers [Online Blog] in At: (Accessed on 27/01/2015)

Mapes(2002) Movie Habit [Online Blog] in At: (Accessed on 27/01/2015)


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Thursday, 22 January 2015

John Romero Talks Doom

Here is an interesting series of Video's that I have come across. The developer and co founder of Doom, John Romero, playing through the entire first game talking about how it was developed and the design ideas that went into it.

An amazing watch.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Like for Like Storyboard

Almost forgot to upload this. For my Like for Like storyboard I chose to analyse one of my favorite scenes from a series of films that I feel to be the best That I've ever seen. The Lord of the Rings.

The scene I chose is the famous "you shall not pass scene" in the mines of Moria during the final hour of the movie. Initially when looking at this scene I thought there would be more frames then there actually were. All in all there were about 18 frames, so not as many as I thought.

I'm quite proud of this storyboard, as I drew it in around 5 minutes, which is incredibly fast for my self. Lets see what you guys think.

From Script to Screen: OGR 1

Here is my first OGR for the From Script to Screen project. There are a few things that are still being worked on, such as the premise but other then that everything else is decided upon.

Over the last few days of this week I will be seeing if I can adapt my story anymore and change a few little things if needed any feedback or advice would be really helpful.

Edit: Upon looking at the upload, it seems that messed up the layout on some of the pages, I apologies for that and will try and fix it in the meantime.

Continued Story Developments.

(This post has been saved as a draft for a few days due to a mistake on my part, sorry about that)

Over the past few days I have been thinking more about the story that I want to try and convey in my animation. My initial ideas, although not terrible, still feel into some of the more generic ideas of story telling, oppressive parents and all that. So I decided to take one of the ideas that I came up with, that wasn't as generic a story and continue to adapt it. 

The idea I have chosen to focus on was the third idea from my first post;

"Taxidermist who is proud of his job and loves everything he does, acts rather whimsically when working, often dancing with the animals and statues he creates. Once his work is complete, he cleans himself up, changes clothes and walks out of his house to reveal an amazing circus with the animals that he created dotted around the grounds. He then proceeds to enter a bouncy castle with some more of his creations which appear to be moving now, bouncing in sync with him. The animation end’s with this scene slowly fading out. Creating a sense of a dreamlike state. Leaving the audience to decide if the man has gone insane or is living a dream."

Reading back over this Idea now I can see that although it isn't that generic, the story as a whole isn't as interesting too me now so I decided to change it a little bit and try to make it a more compelling story. 

My improved idea for this story is that of a Taxidermist who is in bad mental place after the death of his wife. As a way of coping with the grief and the idea of losing the one he loves, he creates this imaginary circus type world, which is inhabited by the creatures that he has been working on over the years. A common theme throughout this world is the subtlety places images of his wife, weather that be on a poster, dressed as a performer or the owner of the circus, or represented by certain items in shown in the area. Coming back to the taxidermist, this world he has created is one of happiness, and he shows this by dancing and playing with his pieces of work, that seem to come alive in this world. 

He dances and moves around them, eventually ending up falling onto the floor of a large bouncy castle that is frequently seen throughout the "dream", as his head hits the base of the castle, the world begins to revert back to the darker confines of his office, where he sits up and see's a picture of his wife on a table, bringing a sad, smile to his face. 

1. The ending of this idea has changed a few time's in my head, I originally wanted it to end with the circus converting into a padded room in a mental ward, with the character surrounded by items such as a picture of his wife and a few select stuffed animals that he worked on with his partner. I eventually thought that this idea may be a bit too dark for the kind of story that I am trying to tell so I decided to change it for a more fulfilling and beautiful (perhaps not the best word) ending. 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Dolly Shot Maya Tutorial

The final tutorial during our last Maya session was the dolly shot tutorial. This camera imitates a piece of equipment that is on real life film sets, the dolly. It is basically a small cart with a tripod and a camera attached to it, making it easier to film tracking shots. Its nice that we have access to these sorts of camera modes, as it will make my final pre viz animation much easier to film and render. 

Here we have a few of the progression shots from the tutorial, as is the same as all of the other tutorial post's I have uploaded recently. 

Pitch Shot Maya Tutorial

The pitch shot tutorial had us focus on a superhero flying through the air toward the camera and then away into the distance This tutorial involved much more camera movement the the last few and seemed much more complicated at first, however after a few minutes and some guidance from Simon, it eventually became much easier to complete. 

Here are a few of the screen shots I took which showed the lining up of the thirds layer during this scene. 


Roll shot Maya Tutorial

Our next Tutorial was a roll movement. This included vertical movement and a rolling motion in the camera.

The images below show some of the progression shots from the first scene we were trying to animate, they mainly include the rotating of the camera and key selecting all of the frames to make the animation run properly and smoothly. 

Pan Shot Maya Tutorial

Finally I am able to upload the first set of camera tutorials that we completed during Simon's lesson last week.
The first Tutorial we completed was a basic Panning shot. The Idea behind the tutorial was to have one character move from one side of the frame too the other,exit the frame and then have another character come in from the opposite side and complete the same movement, all while the camera is following their movements.

 This is the setting for our panning shot. It resembles a hallway from the starship enterprise from star trek.

These two images show the Thirds layer that was an important part of framing the shot correctly. Each of the character's needed to move from one third to another over the course of the animation to keep the framing of the shot correct.

 The next few images are some of the progress images from production on the animation. The first shows how the character is lined up with the thirds layer and the other two show the two different models in the middle of their movements.

Here we have the final animated video, the quality isn't amazing as for some reason my computer wants to render in low quality, I will try to get it fixed in future uploads.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Week 2: Life Drawing

Our second week of life drawing brought in another new model. One that is much more unique then then the previous two models that we have had. This week in terms of my drawing skill and speed has been very surprising. Although I didn't completely finish a few of the drawing's, I have managed to get further then all of the other times that I have tried.

Hopefully you will also begin to see some improvement in my work. 

This is the last piece we completed during the session. This time we needed to use colour in the image to bring the drawing out, make it look more lively and interesting. Other then the hair which I didn't quite finish, the rest of the body is quite an achievement. It looks like she is almost ethereal and fading into the paper.

 These images are a combination of some longer poses and a few shorter poses. There isn't much really to say for these one's that hasn't already been said in other Life drawing posts.

Week 1: Life Drawing Class

For our new term of Life drawing we have a new model. This is a nice thing to experience as we are finally moving onto different body shapes and types, whereas last term we had the same model the entire time and it got a bit repetitive.

Now these images are my drawings from the day. although I'm still not perfect at Life drawing, I have definitely improved and am starting to draw much quicker then I used too. Although I still sometimes focus too much on details rather then just getting the whole body into the drawing.

 These two drawings are the first two poses that we had to focus on, they were longer poses which meant I could focus more on some of the detail of the body, as well as fitting the whole body into onto the paper.
I'm rather proud of these drawings because at the time of drawing, I was working much faster then I would normally have. Meaning I have begun to improve thanks to the course.

The sequence of images here, show the various quick poses that we had to draw. Although I said in the last paragraph that I was getting much quicker when drawing, I went back into my old habits and began to focus too much on getting the proportions right and the detail rather then quickly fitting the whole body into the pose. However I still like the drawing's as they can help to remind me to speed up in the future and not care too much about the detail on the bodies.