Friday, 27 December 2013


Work is slowly getting there, I've done a few set layouts/plans, will upload them soon

Next on to action sheets

Tuesday, 24 December 2013


work has not been going well, down to distractions of home and CHRISTMAS! 

 But i have managed to get a couple of bits done, still need to colour up expressions and maybe a quick colour of a background but i'll get that done at some point this week. 

(ignore the mittens, ill change them later on)

Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Secrets precious

Hi again!

i've been having a slow week to put it lightly but hey, its christmas! 

not entirely sure about making this public yet as there are a few things i need to add in/change, but i trust all of the people who follow my blog so you can have a little sneak peek at an early thumbnail animatic for my final film! 

I'm currently at a stage where i know the characters a little too well and it all makes sense to me, but if there are any bits that are confusing to people or, equally and bits that feel unnecessary in the whole thing please don't hesitate to tell me!

the password is 'tailor' (cunning i know!)

will try and work on finishing turnarounds over the weekend

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Updated showreel 2013


I'd updated my showreel a couple of months ago when my mime project was half complete but now that its finished i thought i'd add in. 


Sunday, 8 December 2013


As a result of a fair amount of developmental work and stressful days going nowhere,  i've come up with a narrative for my third year film! putting together a thumbnail animatic later on today to show my class and tutors tomorrow but until then here is some character development. 

Theres pages of it but this is the most up to date stuff. The characters haven't changed all that much since the original drawings, but i'm trying to keep it simple, get to a point I'm happy with and carry on developing a strong story. 

I'm also in the process of choosing a colour pallet to stick to for my film, hopefully making it all sit a lot nicer with each other. 

I'm also tempted to make the actual heads of my characters purely out of balsa wood, giving it more of a weird, hand built and generally stop motion feel to it. Still trying to work out how I would make hands and necks if that were the case but i think it'd look nice in conjunction with the fabrics and real hair i'm planning.

We've also been given the freedom to stick things on the walls in uni! It was a little odd at first having not done anything like this since foundation but its been great just as a method of sitting back and looking at everything at once. Its also a lot easier to talk through storyboards/thumbnails when its sequentially on the walls. 

Fingers crossed my story goes down well tomorrow! 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Breaking Bad drawing


Film progress is going slowly but surprisingly well (touch wood). 

I've recently started doing a fortnightly drawing challenge as bit of fun between a small group of us at uni, I chose the theme for the previous two weeks and at the time i was on a massive Breaking Bad high from finishing the final series, rewatching ALL of the episodes, listening to the soundtrack on repeat and many other things so that is the theme i chose! (spoiler free of course)

I chose to draw Mike Ehrmantraut and had a lot of fun doing so!

Below is the original drawing which i then photoshopped

Fingers crossed if i keep this up there'll be another drawing in a couple of weeks!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

After effects mime project

Hello again! 

I've been having all kinds of fun in after effects the last couple of weeks. well thats not entirely true, its been tough but rewarding. Only broke down the once but there were good reasons behind that!

Here are a couple of screen shots from my after effects file, the overall effects i put on the shot were LOADS of masks to remove rigs and add a ghost effect and directional blur. a little bit of colour correction. playing around with hue, saturation, levels and brightness. A variety of smoke effects that I got from a good friend of mine on the VFX course at my uni, as well as playing around with the particle world effect for creating my own smoke/fire for the meteor. 

Its been, as Marty Mcfly would say, Educational!

Basic after effects lay out

Stock footage smoke keyed out to go behind my character and keyed on hue/saturation and opacity to fade into nothing

masks for motion blur

the ghost effect, a masked moved around the body every 2 (or sometimes 1) frames for around 8-10 seconds of the clip. Each of the tiny keys you can see above is a different movement of the mask. 

So without further adieu, below is the entire Mime project, start to finish. There were a couple of other block outs that I deleted during production just because they weren't worth saving but other than that its everything that i filmed over the two weeks I had to shoot. 

If you'd like to skip purely to the final animation, then go ahead to 1:51 on the video

Am now a little overwhelmed at the idea of starting the pre production of my final film which will run into the end of Uni but there'll be posts about that over the next few weeks.

Until then, stay safe!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Armature upgrade

Back to uni and starting third year with a mime/after effects project. Started by upgrading my summer armature from hard foam to balsa wood. Just to make sure it would survive the animation process. I also made about three pairs of spare hands just incase fingers/wrists broke

In the past, there were separate briefs to do a mime, lip sync, and after effects project that don't link to each other at all. But this year they've all been thrown into one. So the after effects we learn directly influences what we chose to animate.

With this in mind, the basic premise for my mime piece is that my character is hit by some sort of meteor, stumbles around and unfortunately, dies. He then sits back up as a Paranorman/Ben Whitehouse inspired ghost, and floats up and around his body. 

I now have all the raw footage from filming, which has been ridiculously stressful and tough at times but i'm happy with the way it looks. (if you want a sneak peek at how its looking then click on the 'Instagram' tab at the top of the page. Otherwise i'll upload a full video, start to finish with all tests when i've added after effects.) 

 I have two weeks to add all the after effects to it and i'll post some screen shots from that next weekend.  

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Potential Idea

I've done no animating in the last couple of weeks, but i did go to the Harry Potter experience in London earlier this week! WHICH WAS AMAZING. I would highly recommend it to any Harry Potter fan with 3 hours on their hands.

While in London I visited Savile Row, the old tailors street where they still make bespoke suits by hand (they're incredible). Long story short the part of the whole making process I love the most is the teeny tiny clothes. So my logical thinking is to make a film about making clothes. Massively inspired by a stop motion film called "The Maker", see the full film below, which is also insanely great and shows how cutting and sewing is possible in stop motion with a simple character (hands wise)

Anyway, while wandering down Savile Row, I walked past a young tailor on his break. He had a curly ginger moustache, pink stripy shirt, green braces, basically the character i needed for a potential film idea for my third year at Uni. Brainstorming on the coach back to Cardiff, my girlfriend and I came up with a scenario he could be in, involving an old tailor and a young tailor working in the same workshop. 

Its in INCREDIBLY early stages at the minute as the first designs for Arthur my fisherman were nothing like the final puppet, and I could get back to Uni at the start of October and my tutors could completely shoot down the idea, but here is a couple of coloured photoshop characters just before i  forget what the young tailor looked like. 

Anyone that's followed my other characters i've designed might notice that every single one has a moustache. i wasn't going to do one on this idea.... BUT i don't care. This one will hopefully be different because in my head I want the hair to be real/synthetic hair, not silicone or latex or anything because I want it all to have a real hand built quality to it. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013

summer animation updates


after animating a walk last week, i started this week with the intention of doing a run, but I couldn't get the camera wide enough with the background I have to do a substantial run. And running on the spot was a nightmare, So with the help of Ben Whitehouse on the old twitter, I was sent a list of fun things to do as animation tests which was a god send! I also put together a showreel of stuff i have already, and from that found out what I don't have at all.
(heres the list if you're interested)

SO, long story short, i've been doing lifts! 

In my first year, we had to animate either a lift or throw, and a push or a pull. I animated a throw, which i kind of still like so there isn't much point re-animating one. 

I started by making a miniature cardboard box, The cardboard was still too thick on the ends when it was made so i used hot glue to press together these bits. 

Anyway, I seriously cannot stress block outs enough in animation. I had no reference videos for this lift so all of the movement came from a series of block outs as well as physically doing the action in the studio with a plastic box that was conveniently the perfect size! I have no idea what so ever how I animated my entire film this year with no block outs at all.

Also i've found its great to just animate what would actually be happening instead of worrying too much about how the individual frame looks. If you get the movement right, it SHOULD all work out! (don't quote me on that)

Without further ramblings, here is my weeks work, pretty happy with the outcome considering how i started.

Won't be animating next week because im going home for a week but i'll be back the following week.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

Walk Updates

Update o'clock!

Walks have been developing nicely since the last post. Another video here just to show the last of the block outs before a couple of full animation tests shot on 2s. 
Theres still a lot i want to change about it, the last walk repeated three times is the most recent/developed one.

I think, still undecided, that i'm going to leave the walk there for now, as theres always something to change. If anything, I wanted to exaggerate the twist on the shoulders more, bring the hand coming forward further up and maybe tone down the amount of head bob.

Once again any feedback positive or negative is much appreciated. 

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Back to basics


its been far too long since i've animated anything and the big plan this summer was to go animation crazy with a basic armature. Its taken me a lot longer than i wanted to actually get started BUT i've finally got the ball rolling. As you can see in my previous post, i've bulked out the professional H1 armature from Malvern Armatures 

And I figured what better place to start than with a walk cycle. 
Generally horrible things consistency wise but to start i've only blocked him out. Using contact points, passing points and two inbetweeny bits i've got the following video. 

My plan is that through summer I chuck practically everything i animate up here, no matter how bad, so that (fingers crossed) some sort of development can be seen. 

Anyway, here are my tests from yesterday, just simple block out walks shot on 4s, just to try and get the general movement. 

I could've done another test yesterday but went to see monsters university instead (great film) and wanted to take the sheet i was using as a back drop home to iron it. 

As with everything else any feedback whatsoever is more than welcome in the comments section below

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Finally getting some work done

Time to do some work again! its been far too long since i've animated anything and over summer my main goal is to get some nice animation through a basic armature. 

SO, i took my armature from those lovely people at Malvern Armatures (with the professional ball joints) and added on some rigging points. In the past its definitely been more of an after thought to get rigging points put in but this time i've chosen to get it all right from the start. So each of the three rigging points are notched on the top surface which corresponds with a notch on a smaller piece of K&S which can lock in place when needed. 

I've also knocked together 2 pairs of hands so that if anything breaks during animating I can just throw another pair on.

I still need to add some hot glue as a palm for the hands so that he can hold things.

I then bulked him out with hard yellow foam (fire place insulation) on the chest, hips and head and hey presto, he looks borderline human! i'm not 100% happy with the head, I dont think it has enough depth, looks a little thin from the side BUT thats all detachable as well so i'm going to animate a little and then see what it looks like. 

Thats its for now, hopefully have some tests up by next weekend. 

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Fishing for the Future film

So here it is! Fishing for the Future is now online. Its had more good feedback than i could have ever imagined.

Its also being show on the Skwigly Showcase, from the online animation magazine, which can be found here! If anyone could click that little vote button it'd be much appreciated. 

See you over summer!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The worlds most awkward rig removal

Filming is over and the glammies are fast approaching. I've been lucky enough to be nominated for the "Best Stop Mo" category. 
One of the last things i've had to do before wednesday is take out the last couple of rigs in a couple of shots. 

This shot was particularly difficult to take rigs out of, as, being the clever, level headed forward thinking person that I am, I decided to put the rig in Arthurs shadow, meaning I couldn't simply mask the rig out. 

After talking to my good friend and after effects wizard Ted Oliver (see his blog here) and Jake Harvey (link to blog here), they suggested I mask out the entire character on every frame, luckily there were only 22 with around 5 or 6 on twos, then add in a new shadow from the masked out shape. 

So thats what I did. with each of the yellow squares (there are so many it looks like a solid line) being individually moved on each frame

around 8 hours later i'd done the 22 frames (a little under 1 second of animation) but he looked incredibly floaty without a shadow. 

this is where I handed over to Ted, whose done the majority of the after effectsing on my film and has done an amazing job! His film "Under the Weather" has been nominated for the "Best 2nd Year" category at the glammies so keep an eye out for that. 

The mask layer I had created (all be it on completely the wrong layer, but it was easily copied to the correct one) was copied again, then layered underneath the mask of the character, filled, opacity turned down (a little, i think) and feathered on the edges to match the exact shape the character is making on each frame. Ted then animated the shadow frame by frame corresponding to where it would actually be. It was then angled to match the light source (from the left) and, 


Its there, I promise, and looks miles better than it originally did. Not bad for around a 10 hour days work and 1 second of my film!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Filmings almost finished

Only one more day of full filming before my deadline. Once again I will catch up on blog posts at some point over the next couple of weeks but for now heres some more sneak peaks!

These are probably two of my favourite frames of my film. The TV and Set students have done a brilliant job on both the interior and exterior sets, matching the props i'd already made and the general rustic style. 

Through pre production I had planned the kind of light I wanted for both interior and exterior, and after getting some friendly advice from the talented Ben Whitehouse (Link Here) about how to light a scene to make it look moonlit, i'd say i'm very happy with the results. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Filming test teaser

blog posts on the build will follow when i've finished filming, started yesterday, it was fun! Got some great advice from an Aardman animator who basically said the most important aspect of animating is having fun. If you're enjoying what you're doing it'll come across in the final piece.

this is what I got done yesterday, Its far from perfect but I'm going to crack on with the rest of the shots for now and hopefully have time to come back after.

This is the only shot i'm going to upload before the finished film so call it an incredibly low budget teaser trailer. 

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Film update

Howdy howdy howdy! 

No major blog posts on character/props/general work recently (sorry) 
Like everyone else on my course life is getting pretty hectic with 3-4 weeks left until final hand in for our major projects. 

In short, I should hopefully be getting the first of my two sets from the TV and set design students i've been working with by the end of Wednesday. I've currently been working on the harpoon and coat for the external scene, with the intention of filming that first. 

ANYWAY, i've got various other deadlines over the next 2 weeks so there won't be an awful lot happening on here (if anything) 


if you click that attractive looking "instagram" tab just below my header it'll take you to my instagram page where you can find the development photos for my film as they happen. 


if you don't feel like doing that (im not here to judge) heres a photo of what my characters looking like at current, i'm half way through making his coat.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Credit for Whale techniques

Just realised i'd forgotten to say in the previous two posts that all credit for the process of making the Whale for my film this year goes to Reuben Loane, who used the technique to make his planet rotation machine for his 3rd year film 'To the Heard of the Matter' (online soon) 

See his blog and website here!

Thanks Reuben!

Whale finishingness

When we left off I had a very happy looking whale. 

The next step was to take my trusty 'Gold acrylic' spray paint and move to the 'top secret University of Glamorgan' (technically now the University of South Wales) a.k.a round by the wheely bins apparently looking suspicious because someone made a complaint to reception!

Once he was sprayed, I put him next to Arthur at his current state, i'll catch up on his blog posts soon!

I then used a dry brush and a lot of brown, red, orange, white and green paint to make it look rusty and closer to my photoshopped colour. 

He still looks too happy......

Instead of jagged shark teeth, I decided to take my classmates advice and make more whale like teeth out of a garden broom. 

I also made an eyelid to make him look more angry and less like he's having the best day of his entire life. 

I also covered each corner with painted milliput rivets and made a basic tongue out of painted soft foam

He looks a lot more angry now!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Whale update

I will get my blog up to date at some point with everything to do with my character! But until then I'm having way too much fun making this whale! (still un-named and looking for suggestions (please help)) 


The next stage was to make the carvings on him more defined. Before they were simple filed out of modrock and the edges were all frayed. To do this, I filled the carvings with quick drying pollyfilla (not all at once) then redefined the edges with a piece of sheet aluminium. This left me with a much sharper edge on the gaps between panels (i'm avoiding writing 'cracks' as much as possible but its proving difficult)

On each of the corners of every panel on Mr Whale (i genuinely need help naming this guy) there will be 4 rivets. To continue the overall theme of 'wonky' in my film, as in, I don't want everything to be perfect and symmetrical or the same size etc, I rounded around 144 (feel free to count them if you dont trust me) rivets out of milliput as it eliminated the bake time that would've come with using sculpey. In order to make them flat on the one side, I pushed them slightly onto my desk. 

Below is Captain Whalen (Smithers) with all 'cracks' cleaned up. 
I've also cut out a basic tongue and teeth just for the time being. My good friend George (link to blog here) suggested that I get a broom or dustpan brush and cut off the bristles to use as more accurate whale teeth which I might play around with over the weekend. 

I also went to the spray paint shop today to look for colours for Admiral Whale but couldnt decide on one there and then so threw this together to get a basic idea of what colour I want him to be. The background is taken off of google and is not going to be the one I use in my film. Im still not 100% sure that he wont blend in too much into space but for now this is what i'm working towards

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Advert progress

The advert for the start of my film is almost finished! (Link to Jake Harvey's blog here) Its all looking great! The font used on "Fishing for the Future" might change to all be one font instead of the two different styles but other than that I'm incredibly happy with it.

Other than this I have a lot to catch up on blog wise for my character, props, set etc but i'll do that over the next couple of weeks. Only 5 weeks until my deadline for this project so its going to be hectic for a while but i'll try and keep updated. 


Sunday, 14 April 2013

I've been having a WHALE of a time

I have a confession to make, the whitty title of this post wasn't even my own, it came to me in a tweet from Joshua Flynn, I just couldn't do this blog post with a guilty conscience. But now that i've got that off my chest i feel i can continue 

Everything started going a little slow with props and character work so i decided to have a couple of days off to start making my whale!

Firstly, I took this lovely whale shaped piece of wire to be the spine and tail

I then cut out multiple pieces of cardboard to attach onto the wire, giving me the basic frame. I also added the fins and a jaw separately so they could still move

Once these were glued in place, I covered the whole thing in masking tape as a kind of skin 

To make the whale solid, I covered the masking tap in a couple of layers of mod rock

The whale will be mechanical in appearance, so I've started carving these panel shapes into the surface, To make the whale smoother I used quick drying poly filla, which was then sanded down, The next stage will be finishing the carving and spraying the whale a dull grey colour