Saturday, 13 April 2013

Some knowledge and advice from Tom Bancroft

I found this Journal post by Tom Bancroft on Deviant Art. Every now and then he posts something in relation to his work/animation.

Figured this post would be interesting, as he gives out some advice/knowledge about the way the business world dominates animation styles/jobs, etc.
He points out the duality of both sides of the argument, that there's more to this than what we would perceive. 


Trying to finish the storyboard i have in mind, I'm looking into supermarket gags and family guy references.



Like my previous work ('Lost and Found' video), I want my animation to be a little like HISHE (How It Should Have Ended) films. The way the characters are animated mostly.

I like how certain things are animated in this. Subtle movements like the raising eyebrows. I believe they use 'bezier warp'  to do this. I've applied this to my film and so far it seems to work really well. Wish I discovered it before!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Studio Hemisphere Visit

Yesterday, I went to the Northern Quarter in Manchester to visit Studio Hemisphere (Link).
It was nice and relaxed when I got there. Three other people from my college attended this visit too. Creative Director Grant Windridge and two of his other co-workers guided us through the work they recently did.
Creative Director, Grant Windridge
He showed us the Manchester Metrolink Carts Designs. The blue carts basically needed re-vamping, and Hemisphere were commissioned to do so. They didn't have any say in it's physical exterior, but rather it's design.
They came up with the yellow carts we know today. They said they wanted to use some bright, positive colours like yellow. I liked that they also integrated the dot visuals, so it would look good when the cart was in motion, look right, appropriate.

Hemisphere also had to redesign every Metrolink advertisement. I like how they've retained a sense of continuity across all the works using the same colour schemes and visuals.

When Grant finished showing us their' work, we asked them questions and advice on work experience/placements, how to approach a studio, etc.
They said to keep working hard, as it is more competitive finding a job nowadays. To try and stand out from the crowd, but not pull any crazy stunts like throwing a brick (with a business card/details attached) through a window.
Before we left, Grant gave us each the studio's business card.

Their' business card

It was lovely being there, the people were lovely too, had a good giggle with them over work. The studio felt a little like a flat, nice and cozy in once area, the other office work space. I think I'd like to visit again in future.

Monday, 8 April 2013

CING April Meetup

Earlier today I went to the Brew Dog bar for my second CING [Creative Individuals Networking Group] meetup. I'd like to say I was a little more prepared this time, to which I was. However, I didn't charge my computer up enough, so I couldn't show as much of my work as I'd like.

Networking cards I got.
Like some meetups, you write your name on a sticker. I thought I'd draw a cat's head on mine for a bit of a laugh, [seeing as that's what I'm called] and see how people reacted when they wanted to know my name.
It ironically worked in my favor. One person that I spoke to there said she would remember me now because of that. Other people thought it was funny and witty.

The event at the Brew Dog bar in Manchester. I'm in the middle [Link].
The event didn't seem as busy as last time, but I made my way around the room feeling more confident in myself. In the end, I had a good talk and laugh with some of the people there.
Having no cards yet, I gave out sticky notes with my details on to people instead. I spoke to someone who said they were working on projects that may need some animators help with. Another told me of a group I could join that is specifically for animators/motion designers, etc. Apparently they have a meetup lined up soon [I think]. I need to do more research into it.

Another person I spoke to there, Gerardo Schettino [Link] recommended that I check this out:
Gerardo said it's great for finding film/television related creatives. I think I might sign up.
Overall though, I had a good productive night.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Red Riding Hood: Varied Stories

So many posts I've wrote today have been long overdue!
A month ago, I made a poll and questionnaire about the Red Riding Hood tale.
I asked the public:
  • What they remembered about the story, which variation they heard and/or preferred.
  • Given that the scenario in the story could change, how would they want Red and Wolf to behave and interact with each other.
  • What kind of personality traits would the public want to see from Red and Wolf. Was Red smart? Mouthy? Feisty? Was Wolf cowardly? Egotistical? Dim?, etc.
These were the following results below:

A problem with the questionnaire now however, is I can't access the answers unless I upgrade my account. Thankfully, I read the answers the public wrote a month ago and mostly understand what they remember and wanted.
  • The majority remembered the version where the wolf was stuffed with stones.
  • They wanted Red to be smart and mouthy and I think for Wolf to be easily irritated and comical.
The generic idea behind this was so I could get a better understanding of what the public remember and what they would preferably want in terms of the characters' performances.
I found this was helpful and at the same time, a little irrelevant to the storyboard I have now. Still, I've not finished it yet, so these answers may come in handy at a later date.

Advice from Tom Bancroft

I forgot to put this up!
February 21st, I asked Tom Bancroft [an ex Disney Animator], if he could possibly give me a portfolio review. I even asked about the game 'The Act', he helped make. I wanted to know if the game was a one-off project or if there was more to it.

On the 7th of March, I got a response from him.

Even though he couldn't help me with a portfolio review, I was thankful that he could give me some advice. Especially given in this current climate, that some people/places you write to for feedback won't give you a second glance.

Book Ideas/Inspiration...

About a week ago, I got this book after watching the film 'Hotel Transylvania'.
The book itself contains a lot of character designs of the infamous monsters and ghouls, as well as background concepts.

Reading it, the book roughly goes through the films story with you. What I found particularly interesting was it talked of the relationships the characters have with each other.
For instance, Dracula and his daughter Mavis have a similar cord with my characters Red and Wolf.
The book said that Dracula emotionally grounds Mavis from leaving home because he refuses to acknowledge that she's grown up. In turn, Mavis doesn't want to leave her farther for worry of how he'll cope without her, despite her dreams to see the world.

With my characters, there's a power shift between them when their situation changes. In the beginning, Red dismisses wolf's behavior toward her as smoke and no fire. Feeling in control, she then plants a seed in his mind, convincing him not to each her. Doing as she says, Red then presents Wolf with his award, only for him to act up, rendering Red powerless in the scenario [can't tell all of the story yet].

Also, the book features some character designs of Wayne the Werewolf by Carter Goodrich. I thought his work could help me be inspired:

To see more of his work, here's the link to his website:

I also had a quick read of this, hoping it would shed some more light or potiental ideas on the tale [the title caught my attention].
It went a bit deep into the psychology of the story, and had some poems and illustrations about Red and Wolf. I didn't find it particular useful for my project, but I'm not knocking it either. I don't think I gave it enough time to decide properly, but it was interesting. Maybe I need to give it another read because of the power struggle the characters share.

Noise Festival: Work Experience So Far (Post 1)

Since beginning my work experience at Noise Festival on the 7th of March, I have now become accustomed to my work routine there; giving up one day a week to help them out and gain some experience in this field of industry.
All things considered, I think I have adapted well to their ways of working. It's a bit fast-paced, but I've found it to be fun. I've worked at Noise four times now. Personally, think I needed this experience. I don't want to feel like I'm being thrown in the deep end when I actually graduate and get a job. My CV definitely needed this too, as it didn't have a great deal of work experience on it anyway.

My role there at the moment usually consists of me Photoshoping promotional images.
This week, I had to stitch together a video slide show for them, featuring imagery for the up-coming event 'The Art of Protest'.

As an added bonus for working with Noise, I was given a free portfolio that should have been more than a couple of quid. You get a portfolio on the Noise website anyway, but are able to only put up 5 pieces of work. With this upgraded portfolio, I think I can put up a few hundred pieces.

Here's a link to my noise portfolio if you want to have a look. I've not uploaded many pieces though: Link

Portfolio Review from Studio Distract

On the 2nd of April, I received some brilliant portfolio feedback from Studio Distract. I hadn't been able to write about it until now.
I was hoping I could come into Studio Distract's workplace to discuss my work. Unfortunately I wasn't able to because they are currently busy working on their own projects. However, Director Steve Hanton of the studio said he could email me feedback instead if that would help, to which I happily agreed.

Director of Studio Distract, Steve Hanton

Steve began with my 'Lost and Found' animation.

Lost and Found from Catherine Egan on Vimeo.

He wrote:
  • The lines of perspectives and moving camera shots generally are tricky and usually are avoided.
  • He liked the textures applied to the characters and background objects.
  • The closing in transition cut shots of the toddler work well.
  • The scene of the busy crowds worked well.
  • That the sound enhanced the work, that I shouldn't be too hard on myself over wanting to tweak it. Also I should be cautious when using songs in case of copyright issues.
  •  That it was short and complete, but didn't whisk him off on a journey. It felt more like a teaser for something more.

Olympic Ident Sequences from Catherine Egan on Vimeo.

He thought my Olympic Ident Sequences were 'fantastic', that he loved the hand drawn approach to the work and congratulated me.

As for my tests, he thought they were good, that 'they show promise' for works unfinished.
He finished the email with some advice for me: To not stop working and keep experimenting. That I will get better is if I keep practicing, saying I should have seen some of their work a few years back.

I'm just grateful I got some feedback on my work from a studio. I've sent emails out to other studios without any responses from them.
With the way the economic climate and job market is at the moment, it feels ever more imperative for me to do this now, in hopes of making some kind of impact on animation industries when I graduate.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Red Riding Hood Animation Visual Concept Idea

This is a look I'm hoping to achieve for my Red Riding Hood animation. Unlike my 'Lost and Found' piece, I want the animation to have less line work and more 'colour fill'. This will probably conflict with some of my other character designs of Red and Wolf, but I don't think it'll be too much of a problem.

Crayon Dragon from Toniko Pantoja on Vimeo.

This animation was by one of my old college friends who graduated last year. I like the look of his work too. I'm finding myself referring to this piece for some motivation as well as inspiration, as I'm sure it was a pain-staking process to animate.

Feel Good Birds from Tom Mathieson on Vimeo.

Sainsbury's Visual Concepts