Monday, 2 June 2014

End of University Showreel

3 years of Uni life have stormed past!

Here is my current showreel of my university work, including bits and pieces from my final film! I'm keeping 'Cut from the Same Cloth' offline for now so i can enter it into film festivals.

If there was one thing i wish someone had told me earlier in Uni life, it would have been


My work is in no way perfect, but i've improved as an animator since turning off the onion skinning facility on StopMotionPro. It takes some getting used to, but by flicking between the previously captured frames and live view, as well as playing what you've already captured. The animation becomes smoother.

Thats me out for now! No idea what my next post will be about but thats kind of scarily exciting.


Monday, 26 May 2014

I've had a busy few weeks


Lack of posts from the last few weeks are down to general stress of deadlines combined with a brilliant weeks work experience on the television show Rastamouse.

I'm sitting on after effects all day today ready for hand in for Glammies consideration tomorrow morning BUT over the weekend, i finished filming. Incredibly relieving and also really strange to know that the last 6 months work has almost come to an end, let alone three years at uni!

so over the weekend, I did something i've always wanted to do. a time lapse! More specifically a time lapse of me animating my second to last shot. I also did one for my last shot, but a combination of the ceiling dripping onto my laptop and me forgetting to press capture when i had a break towards the end meant i didn't properly finish it.

Anyway! here it is, my second to last shot with the intro music done by Alister Bunclark over the top.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Company Research Part 5, Three Stones Media

Finally for now, Three Stones Media. 

Although not technically an animation company Three Stones Media are the incredibly talented people that produce Rastamouse!

The first two series of Rastamouse were made by the welsh animation company Dinamo. Unfortunately Dinamo closed down in June 2013 whilst a third series was being developed. 

But don't panic! One year on theres talk of Three Stones Media still making the third series. 

I love the hand built children's TV show feel to Rastamouse with the combination of real fur puppets and 2D props and sets. 

This combined with the premise of a crime fighting detective mouse whose also in a band leads to a great show all around!

All in all i cannot wait to watch the next series and beyond that of Rastamouse and the Easy Crew. 

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Company Research Part 4, Famous Flying Films

I am incredibly excited by this next one, 

A few months ago my friend George sent me a link to a pilot episode of a children's TV show called 'Calamity Island'. I fell in love with the stylised character design and damn cute penguin. 

If you haven't seen it yet, watch it here,

Two years ago, David Johnson of 'Famous Flying Films', creator of the hit kids TV show 'The Koala Brothers' pitched the idea and I am SO glad its been commissioned. 52 x 7 minute episodes are in the pipeline with puppets made by none other than Mackinnon and Saunders! (The same people making the puppets for the Clangers and countless other kids TV shows as well as large feature film work). 

I don't know what exactly it is that I love so much about Calamity Island, maybe its the simplicity of the puppets, a distinct style that Famous Flying Films tries to stick to. But again i cannot wait to watch this series! If its anywhere near as good as the Koala Brothers it'll be fantastic!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Company Research Part 3, Factory Transmedia

On to the next!

Factory Transmedia pride themselves (as the name suggests) on working across all media, through animation, television, advertising, VFX and post production. 

MOST importantly, the animation! (I'm bias). Factory TM are incredibly skilled in developing new talent and technology whilst at the same time assisting in reboots of old shows. More specifically...


Officially confirmed towards the end of last year, the BBC has commissioned a new series of the Clangers to be released in 2015. I for one am incredibly excited. Having been a massive fan of the Clangers growing up, potentially one of the first Stop Motion shows I ever watched, maybe along side Oakie Doke?

Factory TM, working closely with models from the incredibly talented Mackinnon and Saunders are working towards creating a show with a similar style to the original, but bringing it to the modern age. 

Its always great to see animation companies or broadcasters choosing to recreate old shows in their original format, when you look at the likes of Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and countless others that (in my opinion) completely lose their charm when transitioned from Stop Motion to CGI. (No offence to CGI, I just don't like change). 

Factory TM's history in Stop Motion children's TV show covers the likes of Fifi and the Flowertots, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band. 

I for one cannot wait until 2015 to get to watch all new Clangers!

Interior Set Build Part 2

Back to regular posts to split up these inspirational companies. 

The interior set!! Once the floor was down and set, I made the walls. Alongside this I cut out more miniature pattern pieces than i can count to hang between the two pillars seen below. 

I wanted to keep the set as simple as possible maintaining the hand built stop motion feel. For this, cardboard was the perfect material for the walls. 

I made the frames with thin pieces of wood which locked into each other and the base using carefully drilled holes, large bolts and wing nuts. 

The only issue with the cardboard is the colour, it was difficult to commit to a colour at this point as everything sits in the same sepia toned theme. I tried multiple colour swatches and in the end decided (with help from twitter) on the blue. 

However, when mixing the final paint colour I made it slightly too dark, this combined with the brown of the cardboard showing through made for a much different colour but overall I'm still happy with it. 

Below is an example of how the frames were made for each wall. this time in order to fit the door, which was made for my by Saeed, a 2nd year model maker. 

see his blog here! 

Extra props were made to generally fill out the tailors cutters. and make it look more aged and used. Fabric rolls were simple enough to make and luckily Saeed was nice enough to make some miniature cardboard boxes, visible under the table in the photo below. 

I also folded various fabrics and glued them onto a shelf to fill the blank wall space. 

Finally the outside wall! One of the other reasons for using cardboard was that it was easy to cut out a hole in a wall to insert a perspex window. 

This was simple enough to make, simply two pieces of cardboard with the same cut taken out of each, a sheet of perspex was glued between the two and balsa wood glued around the edges. The exterior wall was made by peeling off the first layer of brown paper on the cardboard, revealing the corrugated card. This was then painted a light grey.

Company Research Part 2, BlinkInk

Part 2! 
As promised, a look into 'BlinkInk' 


A company based in Soho London, creating breathtaking and innovative commercials, short films and music videos combining both live action and animation. 

Their most recent commercial work being 'Barry the Biscuit Boy'. An incredible seamless combination of live action puppets and stop motion animation. 

It's always great to see that companies are still working in the hand built world of stop motion animation. And even better to see Stop Motion developed into the modern world combining it with live action, 2D and CG. In a time when some people might think stop mo is dying out, its companies like BlinkInk that are helping not only to keep it alive, but to help it evolve. 

As well as 'Barry the Biscuit Boy', BlinkInk were also involved in the production of John Lewis' Christmas Advert 'The Bear and the Hare'. A beautiful combination of Stop Motion sets with 2D (3D printed) characters. 

BlinkInk are also very encouraging when it comes to short films, as shown by Joseph Mann's 'Sandy' and Mikey Please' 'The Eagleman's Stag'. 

Finally, BlinkInk are an inspiration due to their willingness to nurture 'fresh young talent alongside well-established directors'. 

Until next time! 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Company research, Yamination Studios

Hello again!

As part of our business studies module we've been encouraged to research and write about animation companies you are inspired by, and maybe even someday be considered for work at. I wanted to start by looking at Yamination Studios. 

Run by multi award winning animator Drew Roper, Yamination studios are a stop motion animation company based in Birmingham. Being from the midlands myself, its great to see an animation company set up outside of London, Bristol, Manchester and Cardiff. 

Their current project, 'At-Issue', a short film combining stop motion, 2D and CG animation through sneezing has been funded by the Sky Arts Ignition Series as well as an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. 

I absolutely love the style of this film, using an offbeat naturalism, largely associated with Laika feature films, utilising angles in straight lines and having a great hand built quality to it. 

Most recently, alongside Blink Ink in London (will be posting about them next) Yamination Studios had a helping hand in the recent 'Barry the Biscuit Boy' advert for Cravendale. 

Overall its great to see that you can do what Drew has done, set up your own company and be successful, receiving funding from multiple locations and gaining sponsorships from other companies. 

Thats all for now! I promise i'll post about my set building at some point, don't want to spam up too many blog posts though

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Finally, some actual animation.

I'll post again about building the interior set over the next week but for now heres a sneak peek at some of the animation!

I've gone home for easter for a few days and have put together what i've done so far and i've animated about a minute, with a little over 2 minutes left to film (as on track as i can be to finish by my deadline) 

The first shot is a block out initially followed by the actual animation and the one below is the first piece i shot.  

I've got a feeling i'll fall behind on blogging over the next month due to busyness BUT i'm still pretty active on my instagram account, so head on over there to see more frequent updates. 

back to it come wednesday, wish me luck!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Interior Set Built Part 1

i'll tackle this one in a couple of parts, first off the floor! My interior set has wooden floorboards, I decided to make them out of balsa wood as they are easily drillable for tie downs, and easy to cut up into smaller scale appropriate pieces. 

Before i bought the wood, i measured out the space i would need, and double checked by laying out the sheets to make sure that there was physically enough to cover the entire floor with a little extra on the edges. 

I then cut all of the pieces into equal parts, something like 150mm by 25mm (don't quote me on that) resulting in a stop motion timber yard. The only issue with this though is to get the randomly placed quality they were all too organised, I didn't want any two pieces of the same wood to be touching each other (within reason) 

So i had a little jumble! and all was well. 

I then painted the base of the floor with a darker brown to the wood, this way if there were any gaps in the floorboards, it would look darker underneath. 

Then it was just an incredibly long saturday spent gluing and placing each individual floorboard, trying to get them as straight as possible. I think i went through about 4 tubes of UHU (in a well ventilated area of course). 

I then placed my props on there to get an idea of the final layout of the set. All looks a bit clean but I'm happy with them for now. 

Sunday, 6 April 2014

ultimate image & business card

as part of our business module we've had to put together a business card, CV, cover letter and ultimate image. 

It was cutting it close but i managed to finish my set (i'll post about that this week) just in time to take the ultimate image below, also the image on the back of my business card. 

Waiting to get feedback before i get them printed but fingers crossed it'll be something very similar. For some unknown reason the back of the business card is showing a lot lighter than the actual image, but this will be the same as below for the final. 

Monday, 24 March 2014


I got a little carried away when i was making props so the amount of progress photos is limited. 

I started by making the mannequins. I wanted to have a few dotted around the tailors cutters and due to the style of my film it didn't matter if they weren't exactly identical. Also in order to keep the hand built feel of everything, I decided to make as many of the props as physically possible out of wood, balsa or other. 

The fact that everything could look slightly different/off meant that i could churn out four mannequins incredibly quickly. 

On to the broom! Being the incredibly professional person i am when it comes to my blog, this is the only photo of the broom in production. That and the fact that I used super glue to attach real broom bristles meant that my hands were gluey, therefor i didn't want to use my phone. 

I also wanted to make tiny wooden sewing machines. again it wasn't important to keep items identical meaning i could make then quickly

After a little bit of sanding, a few more buttons and the bottom of a pin i had this! A quick paint job (which of course i didn't photograph until it was finished) I had a sewing machine! I then made three more. 

This is when things went a little hazy with photos. 


Then this happened, I made a LOT of stuff, pretty damn quickly. All very similar in technique, the two desks and cabinet were made out of a more solid wood than balsa so that it wouldn't snap when thin. 

You can just about see the mannequins and sewing machines fully painted. also on the far left there are rolled pieces of fabric, some wrapped around wooden dowel  

In order to paint the props I used very watered down acrylic paint as a base colour to get rid of the raw balsa wood. I then used a dry acrylic brush to age everything and generally rough it all up. 

I then regained photo taking consciousness and started making chairs. with the more solid wood to again be more stable. The four pieces of balsa wood are to stabilise the legs. 

LEGS! these were slightly stable but still not enough, 

I've added some extra supports across the middle to make the legs more sturdy. 

And the two backs! the gaps between each are big enough to fit a rig through to go into the back of Richard when he's sat down. 

I then made another as close to the same as possible but again it not being important if they are slightly off. Again, i used a watered down acrylic paint to colour the wood before 'scumming it up' again. 

Last but not least the clock!

I started by making the frame out of balsa wood and the back of it out of the thicker solid wood. 

I then took it into photoshop and erased the middle in order to design my own in roman numerals. 

Initially taking a photo from google so that i knew exactly where each number would be....

I took this image into Illustrator and used the path tool create my own at the exact size. This was then printed off, stuck to the solid wood and drilled through so that a nail could be used as the centre.  

The set'll be next at some point over the next week! Watch this space. 

Monday, 17 March 2014

Roy Clothes

Richards clothes were made in the same way as Richards, pattern pieces were cut off of the puppet and hand sewn together

I then sewed this weird, suspicious shaped pattern on, hoping to represent a fly, but it didn't look right AT ALL so i took it straight back off by unpicking it.  

I then wrapped the upper body in cling film and masking tape, same as before, starting with a cross over on the shoulders. 

As Roy has a small, rounder shaped body, the pattern wouldn't lay flat when it was cut off for the back piece. In order to make it lay flat, I cut a line up through the middle as seen below, which would be cut out of the fabric and sewn together so that it would fit properly. 


Below is one of the sleeves, which, being the intelligent person I am I made about 5mm too short, but I can put a cuff on the end to extend it. 

It was then a long night of sewing to get the shirt to the same level of Richards. 

And Here he is! in some sort of, religious/American gangsta (same thing (disclaimer: they're not the same thing, it was a joke)) pose.

The waistcoat was made from the same pattern as the shirt, altering it slightly to allow for a lower V neck on it and allowing for the shirt underneath.

All clothing is held together with painted sewing pins so that it can be taken off whenever necessary to tighten joints. 

I also never posted about this! or did I ??

I wanted the noses to look separate from the faces and all hand-built-y, mainly done through the colour. 

thats it for now! will crack on with props next