Friday, 21 December 2012

More Lego Research

The following videos and information are things I found that I thought would be in relation to this brief.

I liked this video because aside of the music, I thought the pixelated images could somehow tie in with the brief. Perhaps build the lego doing something, moving in this fashion.

I remembered I wanted to add a song to the animation once it was complete, and my first thought was this video below.
This is because to me it sounds up beat and appropriate [Give or take you cut some of it up. I've done this to my video.]. The idea of making it fun like a game was what I got from the song. When you see the animation alongside the song, it feels like it has a Transformers look to it. Like the two couldn't of been more suited in a way. But that's just my thought on it.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Lego Research

I love lego 'Brick' animation, so much so that I want to have a go at making some myself.
I've just had issues trying to find a way around it in the technical department, because a few years ago, I bought a camera that iStop Motion and DragonFrame do not like.
I was quiet naive though when I bought the thing. I thought it would just work. That and I think I was being sold anything at the time, as shop assistants try to do.
I got a Nikon D3100. So far, it has served more of a purpose for my dad than me, because I take pictures of the boxing lads at our boxing gym. 
Still, it has it's qualities and I'm not keen on the idea of sending it back anytime soon. I've took a good few pictures from it, but I'm not expert with it, so I recently bought a book that I hope will help a lot:

So far, I've only had a glance through it, but it really does look simple to use and understand. It features comparison shots, diagrams and loads of info. I'm hoping that during the christmas holidays, I can refer to this and get a better understanding of my camera.
It's just been a bit of a pain really, feel like I've been mis-sold a product for what I originally intended. On the other hand, I can't say I regret buying it either, as I've taken some lovely pictures from it.

This video is another okay reference I found when animating with SLR cameras.
I thought some of the tips from this are quiet useful too, been looking for remotes for my model since I saw this.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Reflective Post: Maya Tutorials

As an Moving Image student, I want to be able to use the software available to me.
I can animate in Photoshop and After Effects. But Auto Desk Maya is a little beyond me. I do want to learn it, but I've not had enough tutorials or time to put into it. I've not been able to keep at it because of college work and home life. The last time I used it was before going to New York.

But a few months ago, I came across this link.
It's a website that shows you how to build and things in Maya. But it takes you through it step-by-step using images.
There was a tutorial on the website that showed you how to build faces. Sadly, I can no longer find it now. The images below are what I created at the time though:
The head went from humanoid to an animalistic fox. I was experimenting with the design and trying to familiarise myself with the programmes tools.

Once I began to understand more of the software, it became more fun to use. I wanted to see what else I could create.
Unfortunately, I've not been able to use it as frequently as I'd like too, so I've lost what I've learned again. I think it's going to take some time before I am fully confident with using the software.
I'm hoping to get to grips with Maya during my holidays and when I graduate from college, as I think it will give me a better chance of landing a job.
It's just so daunting to look at, but I felt the same way when I first used Photoshop and After Effects. Hopefully this fear will pass too.

Reflective Post: Deviant Art

Deviant Art is a website where creatives are free to exhibit their art work.
I joined last year in January and haven't looked back since.
It's great because you can see how many people view and like your work. You can ask for crit feedback too.
Professional creatives use Deviant Art too, like Tom Bancroft [ex Disney animator, who animated Mulan's Mushu]. Although, I think it acts more like a fan-base for them, but who doesn't want their work to be appreciated?

Great Artists I follow...
On the left: Facial expressions by VixieArts.
On the right: Doodles and illustrations by *Phobs
[Names are Deviant Art Usernames] 
I only found VixieArts last night, but their work is already influencing my style.
I did this doodle today to show how I felt about the pressure of college at the moment, though unfinished, I think it gets the message across, haha.


On the left: *tombancroft
On the right: 'alohalilo
[Names are Deviant Art Usernames]

Overall Thoughts...
Deviant Art is a really great resource. I refer to it a lot. If I'm not looking at others work, I'm posting my own. And the work on the website can be almost anything, from commissions to scraps.
The only downside I guess is not all the users are 'mature'.
I had a kid 'lecturing' me on the Dreamworks 'How to Train your Dragon' Toothless dragon, because I decided to make it look grey instead of black. It was only a doodle thing, nothing special, Fan art, end of story.
I wouldn't mind, but other people have done this as well!
Oh well, suppose you can't please everyone.
Here's the examples of the 'Toothless' drawings:

 On the left: Neko2Stardust [Mine]
On the right: RubyDaSquirlz
[Names are Deviant Art Usernames]
Getting back to the point though, it's great for competitions, articles, feedback and networking. I think it's a fantastic resource.
The work I've found on there certainly has inspired me and influenced my art style.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Reflective Post: Inspiration and Originality

I watched this video roughly about a month ago and remembered it, hence posting about it here.
It's a person I follow on youtube like how you follow on twitter, He's called Tom, and he does a lot of video blogging as well as animating.
It's one of many that he's done, but what intrigued me about it was that he talks and gives advice about originality and inspiration in a creatives art work.
Whilst discussing this, he includes some clip examples of ideas he has taken from others and made them into his own.

I've always felt a little baffled about it, the fine line of trying to be unique and original without border-lining to copy right issues from an idea. I guess every creative endures this from time to time, I can certainly relate to this. Past projects that I've done or ideas I've suggested in group discussions have at some point or another come across contradictions, design, ownership and use in relation to what has been asked of us to do within a brief.

Another thing Tom does with his video is including this link below:
It takes you to a website with this vimeo video below. As Tom says in his video, it basically says what he said, but in greater detail, referring to past examples of creative work.
I've watched this, found it quite interesting. Probably will need to watch it again to get a better understanding of it.

Everything is a Remix Part 1 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

As I wrote further up the post, this is something I would get confused with. So watching what Tom said and the link he shared 'Everything is a remix', it's nice to know I'm not the only one who has felt this way.
It's also easier to understand what the issues are when someone is willing to show you examples of the do's and don'ts.
I kind of wished I came across this sooner, at least the remix video.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Reflective Post: The Act

I never thought I'd be writing about applications you get for your iphone, pad, mac, etc. I suppose this is naive or narrow minded of me, as some apps consist of animation.

This all started when I was checking my messages on DeviantArt.
On the website, I follow an ex Disney animator called Tom Bancroft, who announces some interesting information from time to time.
This post caught my eye a few months ago in the summer holidays.

Bancroft explains that there's a game called 'The Act' which he and other ex Disney artists made. You as a gamer are given the options to control Edgar the character's emotions.
Moving left makes him shy, whereas moving right makes him confident.
The video below shows a walk through of how the game works if you play correctly.

Reading an article about the game, it was intended for the arcade scene, but issues arose with how the user would play it. So the game was adapted for touch-screen devices. A theme in the story is said to be based on the film 'Cassablanca', as shown below.

This is the kind of animation I want to do, at least this is one style I like.
I thought this style of animation would become a dying art again, due to the increase of CGI effects in games and films. But it seems it's been revived through popular culture again.
I really hope hand drawn animation retains enough recognition to be something that isn't lost, that it stays. It inspired me as a child and still does today. I would love a career in this field.

Reflective Post: Lego Animation

A few weeks ago, we were given our competition assignments. I began experimenting with ideas for Bacardi in my sketchbook. But when I checked the YCN website again for the other available competitions, I came across Lego and thought I would do that instead.
For a few years, it's been a small ambition of mine to animate lego, but I've struggled finding the right technology to create my animations.

Whilst researching other animators on youtube, using a Nikon D3100 camera like mine, I came across Brotherhood Workshop, founded by Kevin Ulrich.
What interested me about Ulrich's animation aside of the lego, was that he uses a Nikon camera in stop motion software. I've seen a few other people on youtube doing a similar thing, but his work is one of the best I've found so far.
I think this is because of the great quality we see that a camera of this caliber can offer, compared to the likes of a webcam.

This video parody's the Lord of the Rings scene, where our heroes venture in the Mines of Moria and upset a certain troll.

This video shows how Ulrich works and offers tips and tricks to other animators.

I've found out that his Nikon model is different from mine, but I've messaged him on youtube, asking if he knew any ways around animating with the model I use. I'm currently waiting for a reply, but I doubt I'll get an answer soon, as his youtube channel is becoming rather popular. But I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask anyway.
I just want to get more use out of my camera other than photography, even if it means animating 'blind' [without the guidance of live previews, onion skinning, etc.].
I originally bought the camera for the sole purpose of animating, two years later, still no luck.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Reflective Post: Corner House, David Shrigley's Exhibition

Yesterday, I went to see David Shrigley's Exhibition at the Corner House in Manchester.
I haven't heard of this artist before, either that or I've vaguely heard him in college conversations.
I just wanted to see what was on at the Corner.

3rd Floor:
The room was 'interactive'. There wasn't a great deal on in the room, there was 5 things situated within it: a mirror, a white board, a 'napping station' [a matt], a giant gong and a projected animation of a cartoon painting a naked cartoon.
I'm guessing the goal though was to have fun and interact with the installations though, because I took my sisters and they got stuck in. Eventually, I went with it too and had a bit of a giggle with them.

4th Floor:
On the 4th floor, we walked into a space that sort of resembled the magic corridor in the 1971 version of Willy Wonka:

[L: Exhibition pic, R: Willy Wonka scene.] 
This is because the walls are illustrated nearly head to toe in Shrigley's drawings.
The some of the drawings look like political cartoons, or at least take on some aspect of that form.

I can relate to these images as I'm constantly jotting down ideas for things, even if they're not a part of my college work.

5th Floor:
The room looked like an art class/art studio.
There was a few people there drawing the statue/figurine. I think they were students.
When people finished their drawings, their work was posted on the walls.

In the end, I found the exhibition wasn't too bad. I liked the 4th floor best because of the reflective doodles. My sisters had a good time too.
I'll have to visit the Corner House more often.

Reflective Post: Manchester Art Gallery, 'The First Cut' Exhibition

A few hours ago, I went to the Manchester Art Gallery to see 'The First Cut' Exhibition.
This exhibition holds many delicate works constructed from paper.
I heard about it from my friend before my tutor and was quite excited because Rob Ryan's art would also be featured there.
I went to one of his exhibitions at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park a few years ago.
One of the reasons why I went at the time was because I was studying Graphic Design, [before I went on to study Moving Image]. I was writing an essay on his work, so I thought it would help if I went to see his exhibition. This time, I went for the love of it.

The gallery was fantastic, it displayed several paper designs and constructions.
 I wasn't there long though to look properly. My sisters were getting a little impatient and I couldn't stay too long in town with them. I'm hoping to go and look again when I have some free time.

A few good things about the gallery is it's currently free entry and you can take photographs of the work.

Rob Ryan's Mural like piece in the Manchester Art Gallery, 05/10/12 - 27/01/13.
Whilst in the gallery, there was a room you could sit in and watch interviews of the paper artists.
This video shows Rob Ryan explaining how and why he works the way he does.

The First Cut - Rob Ryan Interview from Manchester Art Gallery on Vimeo.

I really do have a great respect for Ryan's work, as it retains the same quality you get from a child's story book. The hand-made feel and innocent narrative weaved into the image.
Having had experience in Graphic Design I think is what binds me to his work.

The rest of the images I took at the gallery are on my Flicker:

Friday, 7 December 2012

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities...2

This post is about my reflection on how I've coped over this semester in college. I'm actually finding it therapeutic by getting it off my chest.

Honestly, I don't think the word 'coped' could cover it.
I've struggled managing my projects like any other student endures from time to time. But this semester, my work and work ethic has suffered more so than usual. I've had a mental blockage for weeks and a lack of motivation.
The reasons as to why I believe are:

Portfolio Reviews & Job Stress...
It was a great learning experience going through the motions of professional practice and presenting oneself. In fact, I think I enjoyed it despite being very nervous. 
What got to me though was when I received some critical feedback on my work from a director, Chris Gaffey. He was very fair in what he had to say. It was after reflecting on what he said that I think my confidence got knocked. I wasn't expecting gold stars or anything when it came to my portfolio work; but I felt like it was no longer good enough for the industry.

For a few years, I've worried about what I will do once I leave education and look for a job. The stress has built up more with the current economic climate and depleting jobs; I keep hearing stories of how people are struggling to land a job at MacDonald's right now. 
I figured: if people are struggling with that, then what chance have I got in getting a job that I love? I personally don't feel ready.

Fluctuating Ideals, Lack of Motivation & NY...
I structured roughly what I was going to do for my Self Initiated Project. But any ideas I had the advice I recieved was that it was too complicated or ambitious to pull off. Fair enough, so I kept changing what I wanted to do to ideally fit it in within the constrains of what was required. 
For a while, I had a fairly structured plan of what I was going to do; but then we went to New York. I was dreading going due to the fact that we were flying which is not my preferred method of transport.
When I got back from New York, I didn't know where to begin on my work. 
I tried working on it, but things kept cropping up at college and home, so a lot of it got postponed or delayed.
Eventually, my motivation depleted. I guess I burned out. 

In the end?...
I've felt really upset, stressed and a little depressed.
I think the multiple factors that have occurred simultaneously, have made things feel impossible and have had an impact on my working practise. 
I know I can improve on how I work. Perhaps when I work on my other projects, things will run more efficiently in future.
I wonder if this is the effect of being in my third year of college, because it's the make or break year.
I'm hoping my next semester will be more productive and enjoyable. 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Reflective Post: New York

On the 9th of November, I went to New York with my college. 
Whilst we were there, we went to visit a few studios. Unfortunately, some of the visits were cancelled due to hurricane sandy. But the studios I was able to visit were Watson & Co, Karlssonwilker and Method.

Studio Visits:

Watson & Co.

At Watson & Co, Creative Director William Richmond-Watson showed us some Graphic Design work his company has produced for past clients.


 Jan Wilker, the founder of Karlssonwilker talked to us about what his studio does, but didn't show us any past works. Instead, he asked and answered any questions we and he had about each other, any creative queries and his generic take on the culture of New York.


Method was my favorite studio visit, because it had such a laid back atmosphere. 
We were shown works that were graphic design orientated, but were adapted for tablets, phones and other devices that had some form of moving image in them. They've also worked on films and animation.
A recent graduate who's now the latest addition of [the New York] Method Studios team, said it's a great place to be. Creatives work ethic and happiness, in a sense is put first before anything else.

I didn't particulary warm up to the first two studios, but I really liked Method. It was so short a visit, I didn't want to leave.
Infact, I think a part of me would have loved working there, or at least do a little bit of work experience. The staff were so welcoming and friendly.
It felt like such a lovely environment, hard work of course, but not without it's liberties.
If I had the option to do some form of studio work in New York, I would choose Method.