Monday, 10 December 2012

PPD Task 1c

Stage 4

Individual Learning Plan


Addressing weaknesses, Pursuing opportunities & minimising threats...

To accomplish this I've set myself a little 'rota,' we'll see if it works.


If I can stick to this I should be effectively on my way to getting where I want to be, work entails all aspects from uni work, freelance and just general 'practice.' I've also set my weekend for reading in order to get through the masses of art, animation, comic, literature & text books I have!

I also want to make sure that every week I do these as an absolute minimum:

  • Observe & draw in public places/ gatherings
  • Animate
  • Keep a written and drawn journal

Wish me luck!

Liam.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

PPD Task 1b

Stage 2

Creative Skill Set



















Using www.creativeskillset.org I researched my prospective job role in the animation industry as a Computer Generated 2D Animator.

Although my ambition is to be a traditional Hand-drawn 'Supervising' or 'Key' animator, especially on a feature length film, I felt that these kind jobs will be harder to procure in the future and so, I felt it wise to research the former, whilst working on the traditional animation in my 'spare time.'

Here are the necessary skills required according to Creative Skillset for a CG 2D Animator.


Stage 3

Map Essential Skills against SWOT Analysis


I feel like the current work I am doing, especially my illustration work is contributing massive amounts to my core design skills and use of colour which I think is essential as a CG 2D or Flash animator. Especially since most of the work has to be produced solely by myself and without the aid of an in-betweener and also in general as creatives are evermore so required to do multiple tasks in the industry.

However I really need to concentrate greatly on animating...

It's been hard juggling my illustration work, client work and uni work as well as finding time to work on some good Acting animation, which of course, takes a lot more time and effort.

In a positive light, I do believe that I have a solid understanding of the core principles of animation and story telling I just need to make more time to put these in to effect.






PPD Task 1a

Stage 1

SWOT Analysis


Strengths

  • 'Good' draughtsmanship skills
  • Focus, passion & hunger
  • Astute, with regards to picking up new methods, ideologies and technologies
  • Self Conscious

Weaknesses

  • Draughtsmanship can always be improved
  • Obsessive passion & hunger can sometimes prevent experimentation
  • Ego

Opportunities

  • A whole remaining academic year to prepare myself for industry
  • Client based work
  • 'Spare' time to go and draw from life i.e. Coffee shops, Bars, Parks etc.

Threats

  • Poor balancing of personal growth, uni work and client work
  • Xbox, Comics, Movies & Socialising

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Channel 4 Ident Practice

We've been working on a compositing module recently at college and our task is to produce either an E4 or MTV Ident.

Here is a little channel 4 Ident practice using frontal mapping in C4D and masking in After Effects, a program I feel I need to make more use of.




Liam.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Steam Puggy

Ok this is DONE! For now... Spent way too much time on these guys...

Had some fun practicing my Photoshop skills and working with light, smoke & dust particles.


Thanks for stopping by,

Liam.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dutch Master's Technique?

Well it's been a little mission of mine to try and teach myself how to digitally paint, I think this up to now is the closest I've ever gotten.

I've chose to take the Dutch Master's route and do my greyscale values first to make sure that the correct value's are in place before adding colour. After all this stage is far more important than colour for adding depth, story and composition as well as describing form, following line of course.

Stay tuned for the final colours!

Liam.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Friday Night In...

It's nice to chill out and just draw people, Here is my flatmate painting her nails while watching Derren Brown!


Thanks once again for tuning in!

Liam.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Variant

Here is the same illustration but with softer lines. Better? Worse?


(fan art) Harley Quinn © DC Comics

Thanks again,
Liam.

Harlot

Another illustration working on ma skillz... Slowly starting to incorporate the 'chalk' brush (see Mallet)


Fan art of Harley Quinn © DC Comics

Cheers,
Liam.



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Just a Doodle

Just a little doodle while listening to the radio, trying to learn new things in photoshop, trying to add texture and a more natural feel to my illustrations. First time doing this so not too spectacular a piece and done in a relatively short space of time to try and stay loose and make as many 'mistakes' as I can to get that traditional 'feel.'


Cheers,
Liam.

Monday, 15 October 2012

P-P-P-Polkadots I mean err... Poison Ivy!

Man I really need to stop drawing polkadots now, really poor excuse of an uncreative background... But anyways here is a little piece I've been working and practicing on! Tried printing this today but the printer just destroyed it... Need to come up with a plan to tackle this, time to start printing Pantone colour references to get perfect result when printed!


Poison Ivy © DC Comics

Cheers,
Liam.

Monday, 8 October 2012

FIRE


Here be digital things...
A guy, breathing fire...
Stood on polkadots...

Cheers,
Liam.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

ParaNorman

Man what an awesome movie!































I have so much respect for these stop motion animators and especially with the way they animated this movie, stylistically and visually the film was breathtaking.






I love how creative the movie was, none of the characters were symmetrical and all had their own little nuances and 'crookedness' which made for a more intricate and believable world. The movie managed to stay fresh throughout and the way they turned the zombie genre around was exciting and new, especially in such a zombie saturated culture!

Here's a nice expression sheet for "Norman" handy as inspiration for my current character project.


Heidi Smith worked as the character designer for this movie and I love how she doesn't get tied down by formalities and really gets the essence of the character down on paper, she draws the way the character would feel and I think it's just perfect for this movie and they did an awesome job of translating that to 3D.



I haven't got any images of the end credits from this movie but I stayed behind to watch them and I have to say, even the end credits were a joy to see! The end credits inspired my own work more than the actual movie! At least in terms of visual aesthetics, as the end credits were in a 2D style and had a wonderful sense of design and colour which I am striving for in my own 2D projects.

Thanks for tuning in,

Liam.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Off to Comic Con...



More foolin' around, playing with style and technique #LearningPhotoshop

Ninja Wasp II

Fooling around today in college revisiting an old sketch.


Still trying to get rid of line work and work on my painting skills, happening very slowly...

*sigh*

Liam.

Monday, 3 September 2012

NUPD

Newcastle University Pole Dance Society have a new 'logo!'


I have no idea who designed it :P

Hoodies will be available soon and for anyone who attends Newcastle University and is curious about the sport check out the award winning society here: NUPD 

Liam.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Thank you Kilogramme!

Hey guys,

Well, my work experience at Kilogramme has come to an end (almost cried when I had to leave) here's a little 'thank you postcard' I felt like sending to them, plus it will do nicely filling up some space on my blog!


 Well, hope you dig

Liam.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Squish Ball

Just a little update as it's been so long!

Here is a little screenshot of an animation I'm working on featuring Squishy, the sleepy bear...


Hope you like it and thanks for stopping by!

Liam.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Portfolio

Hi guys,

Been working on my portfolio recently and it's been a while since I've posted so I thought I might as well! Here's a quick sneak peek of my PDF portfolio.


Well all that's left is to send the whole thing off to some animation studios, wish me luck!

Peace

Liam.

Friday, 11 May 2012

1st Year Over


A Ninja Wasp with Dreadlocks o.0

Man this is what you scribble after staying up till 5 in the morning writing an essay...

I like dreadlocks

I don't like wasps

They are getting angrier

And confused, like bullets hitting my window...

Peace

Liam

See ya next year.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Standing Tall

Well, it's almost hand in!

Updating with my progress on modelling my final character and a plan of action! Kind of...


Bad times... But here are some screen shots of my progress with my character Ealhdun.






Thanks for tuning in,

Liam


Sunday, 6 May 2012

Character Model Sheet

Yo man...

Back with another update. This time I've got my 'close-to-finished' model sheet for my 3D character which I'm pretty sure is finished but you never know until you test print! Anyways here it is:


Hope you dig & feel free to leave some advice if you have any!

Cheers, Liam.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Andreas Deja!?

Hey guys, bit of an exciting post (at least for me)

Andreas Deja, Supervising Animator at Disney (Scarface, Lilo, Gaston, Mama Odie, Jafar, Roger Rabbit, King Triton etc.) Replied to a post I made on his blog about the future of animation, and he replied! And Agreed!


Ok Starstruck moment over, back to some 'real' work...

I've been working on a 'trio' of illustration's as part of a personal project to try and improve my photoshop skills as well as professionalism. It is basically going to be a collection of 3 'pin-ups' consisting of Catwoman, Poison Ivy & Harley Quinn. I've got a rough ballpoint pen sketch for you to see of Harlene Quinzel.

And I've also got a very quick sketch (also done in ballpoint pen) of Batman, I have been watching a lot of Batman: The Animated Series lately and I was aiming for simplicity and to be honest pretty much the style that they animate with, however it turned out rather well and I was impressed with the style that I conjured up for it, simplicity is the key in drawing, it adds strength and appeal to drawings, because after all Good drawing is Good design, and vice versa...



Anyway Guys thanks again for watching and I hope to see you back again soon

Liam.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Robin's Reckoning


Batman: The Animated Series...
                                                                        I decided not so long ago to invest in the first two series on dvd and rediscover my childhood years. I've been meaning to make a post about the series for quite some time now and after watching the award winning episode 'Robin's Reckoning', I felt that now was the time. But before I get into the episode I want to talk a little about the technique and texture used in this series





When the series was in production the creators came up with an innovative method of painting the backgrounds. The overall vision and style became known as 'Dark Deco' and aiding in acquiring this effect was the painting of backgrounds on black paper, so instead of adding darker values to white paper, they were instead 'pulling' out the 'lights' from the black which, of course, is more realistic and also fitted with the genre of animation perfectly.

TEXTURE.

Watching this series really cemented the idea of using texture for me, I'm sorry that I haven't got any great examples here to show you but they were hard to find on the internet and I couldn't screenshot any for copyright reasons. But hopefully if you ever get the chance to watch these episode's you will be able to see the excellent use of fine 'splattered' paint in providing texture to the 'dark deco' world of Gotham City and the dramatic lighting accentuated with bold brush strokes. It is such a wonderful idea and a helpful 'tool' at your disposal in taking the 'ordinary' to something a little bit more 'extraordinary'. Little things like that just add depth and richness as well the difference between a professional piece of work and for want of a better phrase 'a silly youtube animation'.


What an episode....

Robin's reckoning was an emotional masterpiece and one that I have learned a great deal from. Such wonderful storytelling and great use of 'symbols'. The writers and storyboard artists did an awesome job here and they had so many ideas that many had to be left out! The scene where Robin's parents are murdered is such a strong and resonating moment. It's hard for me to describe without the appropriate screen shots so that you are able to see for yourself, but this scene is a good example of the use of silhouette and the importance of music to create impact. And even though this is primarily a children's programme, it is still greatly appreciated by an older audience and still brings a tear to my eye. In this scene you get a clear understanding of how to tell a story, something that is a simple concept but rarely understood properly or executed well, that is. Show what you are about to do, do it, and show them that you've done it.
The rope about to snap and the agonising close up of robin's face, set's you up for whats going to happen as the moment approaches where his mother will leap out and grab his father's hands, un-aware of the sabotage at hand, all in silhouette against the spotlight with such a dramatic musical ensemble, showing you the pivotal moment, as she is caught, both acrobats hanging high above the ground with no safety net, they swing out of shot and as the music and the crowd quietens, against a held background, the snapped, frayed rope swings back into shot with an intense operatic 'punch', showing you exactly, what has been done...



You also see a lot symbols used in this series, in one example, there is a wide shot where Bruce Wayne consoles the young Dick Grayson, as they are 'framed' within the foreground composition composed of toys (this is bruce wayne's old bedroom in the manor) and there is such a striking theatre mask with a sad face that is held amongst these toys, I say it is striking but really, it's because I am aware of these contrivances as an animator, but really it is subliminal and adds to the mood of the scene. Along with the 'cool' blue shadow and subtle moonlight they are captured in, give's you a powerful feeling of loss, but also the comfort and safety, in expressing these feelings with someone who has felt the same pain.

All of these things that I have 'researched' and 'acquired' are tools, and the more of these 'tools' you have, the more you can set about using them to create more interesting piece's of storytelling, because after all that's what it's all about! We are telling stories with visuals as animators, as comic artists, in fact in a vast majority of the 'arts'. Without story, you would have nothing to draw...

Anyway I hope you found this somewhat informative, I have learnt a lot from these episodes and can't wait to put them to good use in my future projects!

Stay Tuned

Liam.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Headless Productions


Man I love these guys!

Headless productions are an animation studio based in spain run by Adrian Garcia, Alfredo Torres, Victor Maldonado and Julien Bizat.

They are doing really exciting things with traditional 2D hand drawn animation and are definitely one of my favourite studio's right now. I just wish I had the confidence and creativity to draw character's like these in such a fun and expressive way. To show you what I mean I've got some clips for you to peruse.

video
My Family And The Wolf

I just adore this trailer, it capture's everything that 2D animation should. It's got wonderful story and feeling, absolutely gorgeous texture and vivid colour, not to mention the actual animation technique itself, along with the charming and fun character designs. I am definitely thinking of pursuing this sort of style for my second year film, not only do I feel it is true to animation as a medium and as fine art, but also something that I can see flourishing in the future, with possibly more feature length films being released from small creative teams like these guys over at Headless Productions.

video
I'm A Monster

Another teaser trailer and again sweet character designs and an interesting story, in films like these you can just see the love of 'life' that these guys have, with their innate feeling for humour, entertainment and sense of fun. Also just the sensitivity and acting that you can get with a pencil is unparalleled in any other form of animation, at least to me personally.

video
Nocturna

And finally a trailer from their 2007 feature film release "Nocturna", I think the idea behind this film is just great and again a return to traditional animation but in a new and stunning way, or in their words "classicism with a modern perspective" which is a beautiful way of putting it, because after all, all art work is just that, most ideas have been represented in the past, but it is just a way of saying what you want to say from your respective that makes things fresh and appealing, humans will always have the same emotions. Love, fear, jealousy, hatred, humour... It's just a way of tapping into those but from a new angle that's so intriguing, we all love cute things, we all like to laugh, we like to cry, we love a good underdog story, we need love scenes and being affected or 'entertained' by these animated masterpiece's helps secure our feeling of being human, of being connected, of having a place in the universe. It helps us to feel alive, especially in this ever digital age of Facebook, BBM, Twitter and Blogging where people spend increasingly less time talking to each other in actual person!

Anyways, that's all for now folks

Cheers, Liam.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Rise & Shine

Just a quick update regarding my practice/pre 3D animation run for my digital skills module at college, this little guy's starting to come along.

Animating subtle actions is so hard compared to broad action, trying to get the right timing and emotion whilst using slow subtle movements is very hard, even when using 3D software! The beauty, or I suppose repulsiveness in some viewers eyes in 3D software is the ability to have practice runs without actually ruining your animation, just *click* place keyframe and see what happens, then change the timing up with a well placed in-between... You can constantly 'line test' your scene with ease compared to shooting all your frames individually with a camera only to find your timing is off or your line quality is messed up. Still, it will always lack the same sensitivity you can achieve with a pencil, the simple reason is that the drawings are made by a human, not a machine...

Anyways that's enough talking! Here's my progress.


Thanks again for watching!

Liam.



Thursday, 12 April 2012

Understanding Composition

Hey Guys,

Man It's been a while since I posted anything! Or done any work but keep that on the down low... So I thought I'd do something a little more, 'scholarly'.

As well as trying to get back in the swing of writing because I've still not touched my essay! At all! Aw man, hate essays...

Greig Rapson an artist that I admire, recently (maybe not so recently now) posted a piece of work called "In The Hills" that I felt had some solid composition and intelligent use of colour and I thought I would share with you my understanding (or lack of understanding) of composition with you.

To the left here you can see the image as the artist posted, and below you'll see how I 'dissect' the digital painting with a series of overlays showing you my thoughts and realisations.



In the first image you can see the armature of the rectangle in which the image is 'sculpted'. I have used dashed lines and solid lines where the composition is more appropriate. First we see the strong and dynamic 'Baroque' diagonal running along the dragons back from the bottom left corner to the top right corner, not only grouping the figures below it but also balancing the positive and negative space within the image. We can also see how these lines 'relate' to each other and predict where certain elements of the image will lie such as the position of the girls back leg, also the height and position of the character's eye level's. There are strong diagonal's running through this composition interlocking and arranging these character's in a confident and pleasing manner. The artist has used lots of diagonal's in order to subconsciously affect the viewer, you can feel the impending action and tension, their eye's alert and transfixed.


The second image allows you to see specifically the arrangement of the character's themselves, it is this method of 'organising' the individual elements within one another and so forth that you can create images that are easily read and satisfying to look at, your brain isn't fighting the mess on the page. Here you can see also how the girl's pose holding the sword directly mirror's the dragons right leg, this bold statement adds strength and unity to the character's. Serving to direct your eye as well as understanding the emotion of the character. Symmetry is a very powerful tool when used correctly. In animation you should try to avoid 'twinning' or having things move at the same time, but if used intelligently you can make strong statements.
And finally the third image, here it's all about the rhythms. Not only can this image be broken down 'mathematically' using divine proportions but it also inherit's beautiful s-curve like flows or 'arabesques'.  Achieving these in any image always serves to intensify your work. This holds true for all the arts. But here you can see how these run through the entire piece, from the dragon's wings and horns as well as entire group of figure's themselves. These serve to not only add harmony and tempo to an image but here also it aids in leading your eye through the image, I have also indicated a line in which the characters heads fall in a pleasing arc, all these tricks are imperative to strong story-telling.

I would like to say, that all of this can be achieved through studying the human figure from life, it is proportionate to the golden section and has its own fundamental rhythms. It's how you manipulate these to your advantage which allow you to say what you want to say, subtly affecting the viewer.

Anyways thanks again for looking, I wonder how many actually read all that! Haha quite intense, but hopefully it will start you on your own path of understanding composition.

Liam.



Thursday, 29 March 2012

E4 Progress

Hey Guys!

I forgot that I never got the chance to post my Esting progress, so here it is in all (or none) of its glory! This is pre-editing and pre-characters so the sound and transition is a bit off.

This also needs to be re-rendered at full quality because I didn't have the time before my college hand in, the mac towers were being a bit temperamental! But hopefully it will be completed and something I can be proud of by the time I come to submit to the E4 competition!

Still debating whether to animate the characters in 2D and composite them or in 3D now that I know how to rig, hmm decisions man...


Cheers,

Liam.


Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Working towards success

I recently listened to a very interesting and influential podcast by Chris Oatley who is currently a character designer and visual development artist for Disney. He also runs the podcasts and website "paperwings" with fellow artist and web comics creator, Lora Innes.

The podcast was entitled "why NOT to pursue artistic growth" which at first sounds funny because as an artist it is our main goal, to improve and become increasingly better as a professional, however I have come to realize that for too long I have been setting myself the task of becoming "better" as an artist my whole life! When in fact, this is immeasurable, unfathomable and an intangible goal to set for success. It is a life long endeavor in which you never truly become perfect as a creative person, you are always growing and evolving as an artist.

And so, I've begun the task of setting myself small projects in which I have a measurable means of control, something that is tangible, possible and realistic, but most importantly, something I can complete! Something I can "win" as Chris put it. Gaining a "win" is so invaluable to building confidence and the more "wins" you can achieve the more you are going to snowball and move forward as an individual.

The kinds of tasks I'm talking about aren't such like, "draw in my sketchbook every day" or "paint more" because again these goals are unbounded and interminable in that they don't have a specific target, or a specific end. These types of intentions are just setting you up for a loss.

Really then the kind of tasks you want to be setting are things like "fill my sketchbook by this date" or "publish my webcomic by this date" or "complete my personal short animation by this date" these goals have a definite and concrete target that are setting you up for the "win" and naturally the more wins you can accomplish the closer you will be progressing towards that big dream or that broader horizon.

Conclusion...

It is important to dream big, but in order for our dream to not become stagnant or bleak, we must forever take one step forward at a time, successfully completing the small things in order to reach that "final" goal, or apotheosis.

Liam.

(P.S. sorry for such a long winded post I promise more visuals the next time around!)

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Nice To Meet You

Here is a little short walk cycle test of my character "Ealhdun" in preparation for an assignment at college! My first time animating a foot roll! Was annoying at first but I managed to get my head round it. Was nice to rig and animate an 'actual' character instead of a shoddy box to! Animating things in 3D is so EASY! It actually makes it quite fun because you can just focus on what you want to do, contrary to traditional 2D animation, where I just get annoyed at my severe inadequacy and inability to draw... But learning these things in 3D can only be good for my career, perhaps the Hand drawn animation will have to remain personal until I feel confident enough to apply to a certain major studio, like that day will ever come!


Once again thanks for watching guys!

Liam

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sexy Martian MuthaF*cka

Hey Guys,

We got given a task in class to create and animate a simple, segmented 3D character from primitive objects such as a cube. After "rigging" the character with a "skeleton" it allowed me to animate the character using Inverse Kinematics, here is the result of my experimentation's!

Hope you enjoy it :)



Thanks Again for Watching

Liam.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Cake?

Well, while my opening scene is taking it's sweet time rendering, here's another update on the construction of my "cake world". Still needs candyfloss clouds, sweets, textures, icing, hundreds and thousands, gummy bears, lollipops, sweeties, a chocolate river, character's... What!? character's as well? Fuck my life...

No sleep for me...


Again wish me luck :(

Liam.

Monday, 27 February 2012

With a Cherry on Top

Man Cinema 4D is annoying with the render times! But anyways this bad boy is DONE! Well at least this opening scene, finally animated and ready to be rendered on the Mac Pro Towers!

Here is another screenshot to keep you updated,

if you're interested...


Eyes are melting...

Liam.

This Week's Targets

Just a list of things needed for completion by the 2nd March for "Work Based Learning"




  • Finish animating opening scene and render
  • Build "Cake World" and render
  • Animate characters and Composite in After Effects
  • Add Sound and finish final video 1024 x 576
Wish Me Luck!!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

I need some planets...

Hey guys,

Started creating my environment for my E4 animation, starting on the opening scene in cinema 4D, this baby is still a work in progress but she's not looking too shabby!

On another note been playing with the sky tool, that thing is sweet! You can change the time of day and everything, make a rainbow, create fluffy clouds ;) paint distant moons on the horizon line.

Anyways here's a screenshot of my progress.

P.s That big grey lump of rock WILL be my cake world lol just not got round to it yet! Thought I'd build my confidence setting the environment up first! Enjoy


Cheers for watching,

Liam.


Monday, 20 February 2012

Untitled

Most def finished now, well and truly done with this image and ALL of it's alternative's! My first digital painting in PS CS5 with alternative background, Painting spaces cape was a bit annoying and a pain.


Cheers

Liam.





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