Sunday, 29 May 2011

Dynamics 3: Rigid & Soft Bodies

I decided after seeing the suprisingly long list of dynamic tutorials I had missed, I'd power through all of them at once. I found this particular strain of dynamics quite interesting, and useful in a variety of ways, in particular the nCloth ones.

Active/Passive Bodies:
Stand In Object (Chain Links)

Hinge & Spring Constraints (Catapult)

Nail Constraint (Newtons Cradle)

Pin Constraint (Earring)
Had some problems with this tutorial in regards to missing geomettry, will fix this when I get the chance

Soft Bodies:


Snow Step

Water Ripple

Again, I had some problems with geometry going crazy after the collision of the foot with geometry, so I need to sort that also


Flags; nCloth, Collider & Nucleus

Netting; Indirect Transformation

Bouncy Castle

Rope Bridge; Transform Constraints


Balloon; Custom Presets & Component to Components

Sunday, 22 May 2011

'The Sting' Animation and Movement Reference

Whilst doing some initial research into idea's for my project, I came across many video's that had very interesting movements, which eventually led me to the idea I had consisting of combining many elements. As a result, I will be looking at a select few videos for reference to these aesthetics, so the movement of my character's have clear grounding to those elements. Interestingly enough the sound bed I choose (A variation of the Afro's) plays very well in the background when muting some of these clips, a clear indicator I'm onto something.


African Tribal Dance

Brazilian Capoeira

Katy Perry E.T Music Video

I recently watched this video, and just thought wow. Not only is the sound amazing, but the visuals and make-up artwork really blew me away, and felt quite surreal.

I felt quite influenced in terms of character design when seeing Katy Perry's make-up, so I manged to get some reference pictures of the different stages in her transformation. Exciting stuff :)

'The Sting' Character Reference Influence Map

Ok, so just a quick updater here, seeing as I haven't posted anything in regards to my project for a while, reason being I had placed it on hold whilst doing some maya work, as I was still very unsure in what direction to take it. However, this has been remedied now, and I feel I have a very solid idea, which incorporates much of the research I conducted into the company, and it's audience. Without giving to much away, it's quite a turn from my original idea, which consisted of my soft toy character's racing each other, whilst there thread unravels leading to an aerial view of the track, and revealing the e4 sign.

Instead of this, I've taken a more simplified and fun approach which involves the 'voodoo style' of my character more. This will include my nods to African tribal roots, as well as grounding it in modern day society, by combining elements of different cultures that have similarities. Whilst scouting through YouTube looking for funny/crazy/stupid stunts, a lead Alan suggested to make my animation of 'Anarchic', I stumbled upon Parkour/Free Running Street Dancing & Brazilian Capoeira, which are both amazing and fun, and feel to me very nostalgic to movements seen in tribal Africa dance as/rituals in a sense. So with a combination of these different elements I want to create a scenario where these will be grounded in unison, which I can imagine to be extremely cute.

Looking at these area's for character reference, here's a selection of images I put together for research.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Hi-Res Igor Head Model Tutorial

I've began to really knuckle down on the maya tutorials now, making sure I dont allow them to build up on me last minuite. I feel It's aslo more effective if I do a majority prior to my project, to allow myself to become more relaxed in maya before steaming ahead, whilst also techniques still being fresh in my mind.

Here's the furthest point I reached with the hi-res head model. The ear was probably the most frustrating, and time consuming part, looks like an ear, so the pain was worth it :)

Monday, 9 May 2011

'The Sting' Raw Alchemy Character Board

Here's a mixture of different characters I created using Alchemy's Mirror/Shape tool. I found it was very effective to create rounded forms that weren't necessarily anatomically correct, and in that respect great way to escape my natural instinct to do so, a technique I found very useful in my Transcription project.

Following my Influence Map, I wanted to further convey the Cute/Creepy element, that follows the vein of my idea. Although I actually stated what my idea is on my blog yet, the basic shapes and style of the characters will remain the same if any changes are needed, as the stated theme will be the more important aspect of this, complimenting the nature of the company and it's target audience.

There's a high possibility that there will be a 'number' of character's involved in my actual piece, and in regards to the actual character design, my next step will be to discuss possible developments and routes for my idea to grow into. This will allow me to take my designs into the next stage and save any time wasted on correcting them.

Sticking to this idea, my next direction for my character, will be to find a balance between the most effective elements of each character,and combine them into select few, whilst blocking in more asymmetry and texture.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

'The Sting' Influence Map

Since starting this new project and weighing up the work I've produced so far, there seems to be a very strong element of style, particularly focusing on textures. This was evident from my final project last year, which I sadly didnt quite finish, however there was some weird aesthetic in that felt world that just seemed right. I feel as though in this project, I want to chase that style and improve it further, whilst considering the tonality E4, it's target audience, and past 'Stings', this seems a perfect oppurtnity to explore it.

I have a few idea's, loosely based around one another, however I feel as an artist, I often approach a breif with style and art direction in mind, and let the rest unwrap, so here's the influences I feel will...

As you can see, there is a huge amount of focus on the cute aesthetic, however I want this balanced with an element of creepyness too add more depth, and even out the tonality of the 'Sting' so it fits the overall target.

Carlos Grangel - Character Design

Again whilst working for Animate & Create in the Easter holidays, we were able to have an exclusive insight into some of their pre-production stages, and finalised productions whilst giving a talk about the inner workings of studio life. One of productions that featured in the presentation, which is still in pre-production stages, included hand outs of some character designs for the short, by an artist known as Carlos Grengel.

Instantly falling in love with his work, the Spanish-born artist can be recognised for films such as Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and many other films that appear to have lovable characters. Here's a few examples of his work.

I really love how exaggerated some of the shapes can be on certain characters in his work, that seem to just resonate their personality traits effectively and stylistically.

Check out his website for more information on shorts he has featured in, as well feature films :)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Animate & Create

Whilst working for Animate & Create during the Easter holidays, me and a few classmates were commissioned to help out in the some exercises involving animating with more a traditional media, using photography and plasticine, we were able to help younger kids interested in following animation as a career path, to create stop-motion animation shorts advertisement absurd products. It was very rewarding, and a huge learning experience when helping 16-17 year old's to achieve a finalised product, which they presented to a board of 'Dragons' who judged there work, giving them feedback on how effective there pieces were.

Please check out what these guys are doing as well as their workshops, they have some amazing stop-motion and mixed media work of their own.

Here's a great example of the work the produce, a recently finished peice as part of an Easter 2011 send out :)

Models & Metaphors: The Old and The New

I feel after taking some time into really understanding the target audience, and tonality of E4 as a whole, the next stage into research would be in fact to touch upon some of the existing 'Stings', to gain developed idea of what sort of aesthetics I should head for, as well as helping to divert away from past idea's to create something new and unique, being very wary of snapping existing idea's from them.

Here's a selection of 'Stings' I felt were very successful from the official site:


Addicted To Light

Bird Likes Pop

Dizzy Dave

And here's a few random collections compiled together:

As you can see there's a consistent element of fun and laughs, some cute while others are quite causal, which is portrayed by simplistic deliverance of every short. The 10 second time frame seems to do a great job in complimenting the tonality, and encapsulating the target audience very effectively.

'The Sting' Material & Intro Research

After taking some time to understand E4 on a background level, I can begin to craft some idea's that fit the companies aesthtics. However to take this further and intergrate E4 as a entity into my idea's better, researching into some of the intro's of shows they air, will help me understand E4's tonality and direction on a more visual and pratical level.

Brittish Programmes Broadcasted by E4

Skins (Comedy Drama)
The Inbetweeners (Comedy)

Misfits (Supernatural Comedy Drama)
PhoneShop (Comedy)
School of Comedy
Hollyoaks (soap)
Shameless (Comedy Drama)

Imported Programmes Broadcasted by E4

One Tree Hill (Drama)
90210 (Teen Drama)

Desperate Housewives (Comedy Drama)
Smallville (Superhero Drama)
The Cleveland Show (Animated Comedy)
How I Met Your Mother (Sit-Com)
The Big Bang Theory (Sit-Com)
Being Erica (Comedy Drama)
Life Unexpected (Drama)
Make It or Break It (Teen Drama)
Friends (Sit-Com)Ceasing October 2011, Moving to Comedy Central (UK)
Gilmore Girls (Comedy Drama)
Samantha Who (Sit-Com)
Scrubs (Sit-Com)
Veronica Mars (Drama)

As you can see, a huge variety of the programmes mentioned above revolve around

teenagers and the comedic values that are apart of everyday life. Here are some visual examples of the shows through there intro's:



How I Met Your Mother:

The Inbetweeners:

A quick example how lighthearted and fun the intro's seem to be both visually, and musically. The relationship between the two convey the target audeinces nature effectively, setting an example of what the programme usually consists of in terms of tonality. This will be a key element to keep in mind when thinking about idea's and audeince in relation to the imagery used, and the 'soundbeds' supplied.

'The Sting' Audience Research & Anaylsis

As soon as the brief started I realised the most important begining would be to understand the what the company's policies are, the age/style of the target audeince, and the material they show on the network. This will help me to understand the tonality of the company and gain a fuller picture of how to ground my 'Sting' into the said company aesthetics, making it more appealing overall. As a result, this post will contain some background information on the company, as well as area's mentioned above.

Background Information:

E4 is a free to air, brittish digital television channel in launched as a pay-TV in partnership with Channel 4 on 18th January 2001, and is broadcasted in the U.K as well as the Republic of Ireland. The "E" stands for entertainment, and the channel is mainly aimed at the lucrative 15–35 age group.

Upon searching for E4'S about me section on there website, to gain a better understanding of what there aim was, however instead, I came across this paragraph, that wasn't particularly informative, but definatly supported my idea of them as a viewer.

In 1975 E4 invented the internet. We just didn't bother telling anybody. Years later - and after everyone else had a pop at this web malarky - we returned in 2007 with a sparkly new online home that was much, much funner than every other website in the world.

After a hefty brainstorm that cost us two weeks, one billion dollars and the lives of two sacrificial swans, we decided to call it

In this respect, in regards to the material they show, it completly shows that the company doesn't take it self too seriously in comparison to others, and are indeed all about comdey value, in another instance, here's an example of an adevertisment on their site:

Supporting the idea that E4's Main audeince is based around...and agreeing with this as part of the demographic, here is an extract from some of the notes a blog made about a question the guardian posed:

Has E4 cracked the formula for youth drama?

• Teenagers don't know everything. But they do know a stinky script when they hear one. Skins made great use of young writers, but only by teaming them up with seasoned telly veterans such as the father and son team Bryan Elsley and Jamie Brittain, who created it. In the same way The Inbetweeners and Misfits are both written by relatively older writers who conciously imitate their own youthful voices (rather than today's slang) so that the dialogue isn't strained and, like, really obviously aimed at today's kids, bruv.

• Teenagers are filthy. There are characters in Skins, Misfits and The Inbetweeners that are both morally reprehensible and, yet, quite lovable. Like a lot of real teenagers. Finding that balance without it sounding exaggerated and crude (or, as is often the case, outright Joey Tribbiani-stupid) is the first step in getting young audiences to believe that a show is for them. Take note, Two Pints and Coming Of Age

• Less is more. Both Skins and Misfits look like they've had the luxury of time and budget. E4 can of course fill most of its schedule with cheap syndicated repeats and concentrate on the occasional homemade hit, while BBC3 has to keep churning it out. But when it comes to digital TV it's much better to have a few good shows than a handful of alright ones sitting alongside some complete stinkers.

• Great youth telly is just great telly. It might be obvious, but E4's current roster of new shows are/might be adored by teenagers but they're more than enjoyable for adults too. Making funny, sad, believable programming for those with tiny attention spans is difficult. But if you make it, and make it well, viewers will come to you regardless.

On this note it's clear to see there definalty is a concetration on the youth of today, by immersing itself in shows that have relative points and issuses that the viewer can react to on a personal level, as well as being entertained, taking the seriousness out of life in a sense. My next step into understanding E4 on a deeper level will be to do a little research into some of the shows they air, and perhaps take a few nods to their intro's, to gain an idea of the tone they use.