Monday, 30 July 2007

Busy Busy Busy

I haven't posted anything for a few days because I've been so involved with getting this Eisteddfod animation finished. In the end, a group of staff from Cyfle and S4C got together to decide which animation they were going to use. They chose mine.

This was quite surprising, considering it's rather cheap-looking and features a one-eyed alien (not the first thing you'd associate with Wales, but there you go). So over the weekend I've been tweaking the animation and grabbing some simple sound effects to use. Now I've given Mike the .fla files, and it's up to him to come up with a t-shirt image. Me, I'm just happy because over the weekend I found my DS, and we saw the Simpsons film yesterday; it was freakin' sweet.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


Like I said, we're meant to be doing animation for these mobisodes: 3 segments of 10 second animation that link up sequentially. I don't really know what's going on regarding the finished animation; we're all kind of working separately on different things at the mo'. Here's one of my little bits of animation (the second one). It's pretty poor, because I went with using graphics and stuff (why not eh?) rather than drawing each frame and because it's on 12 frames a second, in order to be used for mobile phone downloads.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007


Er, okay. It's wednesday and the middle of the week, and on Monday we started this Flash project to create 'mobisodes' for the Eisteddfod and whatnot. I'm okay with Flash - that is, I know how to do drawn animation, and I know my way around the software quite a bit, and when putting the two together I can usually come up with something decent. I'm not so hot, though, at using shapes and tweens and graphics and other such things of that nature. That's where Marc Lewis comes in: another ex-GCADTer, he knows his Flash. He went through some basics of using graphics and mask and paths and things with us, which is great because now I'm starting to fill in some blanks with using the software. Yesterday we got to grips with some lip sync, but I've done lots of that already and I used some sound from my Digital Storytelling Project, so I don't think I'll bother putting that up anywhere. Anyhow, I shall continue with the Flash stuff now, we're meant to be putting these things together by the end of the week.
Finally, seeing as I like to accompany as many posts as I can with at least one picture or video, I've uploaded a bit of some test I've done; they're utterly pointless, this was just me getting to grips with using nested graphics and tweens.

In any case, here's the finished digital storytelling:

Monday, 23 July 2007

Digital Storytelling Stills

Here are a few stills from the project. The whole thing qas done on my laptop - which is at home - so I've grabbed a bunch of images. I will upload the finished video when I've got the audio levels adjusted properly.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Fight Through The Pain

I've just about done my digital storytelling project, though I had to stay up till 5am to work some stuff out (plus my computer sucks). I just thought I'd stick up a sample of some of the limited animation that I've included in the project.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


Weird 3D avatars at

Work in Progress 2

Starting to make progress with the digital storytelling; now editing sound and producing finished Flash images. Here a a few of them.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Work In Progress

Alrighty then, here's a few development sketches for my digital storytelling project, together with a sample of what the finished style should look like.

Hooray for Polls!

Last week Blogger added a polls feature to Blogger In Draft. And after almost seven days of eager anticipation, I was finally able to add my own poll! You can see it on the right hand side of this blog.

.....Hell's teeth, I'm such a geek.

The Sheer Unmitigated Horror

Oh hells. We've just had our audio recordings back from Gareth, and Oh My Shits. I know people generally don't like the way their own voice sounds when it's recorded, but mine is particularly bad. I should be used to this, because I've done plenty of voice overs and voice acting, but my normal voice, in playback, is horrific. Having said that, I look forward to haring everyone else's recordings, though I'm sure everyone else will be cringing too.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007


It's just occurred to me that I haven't put up any animation on this blog. So here's my most recent showreel, which I used to apply for Cyfle.

Terminator 4: Rise of the Funk

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Media & Stories

Time for a new post, methinks. Yesterday we popped over to Atticus Media, to have a look at another local company working in graphic and advertising. It was actually a very swich looking place, and apparently they did printing work upstairs (though we didn't see that). We also had a presentation by Richard Webb, from Moseley Webb. Apparently they specialise in making visually arresting presentations, and from what we saw they do a damn good job, too.
So, this week we began our two week digital storytelling; after coming up with ideas for a two minute story about a personal experience, we have to record a voice over and then set it to a sort of comic-book style video thing (it'll make sense when I've done it and uploaded it). To that end, Ian Staples came in, to do a creative writing workshop and help us thrash out some story outlines for our project. It was quite interesting; let's just say that I won't be able to look at Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater in quite the same way again...

There Is No Point To This

But it sure as hell is fun!

Friday, 6 July 2007


Good grief. Yesterday, we went to see Shrek the Third as a group. What a waste of time. Apart from the fact that the Odeon cinema is outrageously over-priced - just because it's in Cardiff Bay - it was one of the most ruthless exercises in sequel cash-inism I've ever seen. I mean, the first Shrek was quite original in it's way, but by the third film the whole 'turn the fairy tales on their head' scenario is a bit stale, and we're left with horrible over-acting, poor characterisation and little to no plot to speak of. So, what about the animation? Well, it was... okay. Apart from the normal CG-looking bouncy unrealistic elasticsm you get whith most CG films, it was pretty decent, but having to gaze at a 20-foot tall cinema screen version of shrek's head, complete with fully rendered eyelashes, pores and stubble, is not an experience I'm keen to repeat. Thats' the trouble with films like this; any sense of artistic style is eschewed in favour of trying to make everything look so damn 'realistic'. For a start, they could have tried looking at the shape of the characters they created - every human character had exactly the same weird long-torso'd proportions, and the same movements. Possibly the only visually interesting characters in the whole thing are the dragon and the donkey. And don't get me started on the 'charcter' voiced by Justin Gimperlake. Ugh.

Having said that, I have to admit that there were moments that really made me laugh (such as Sleeping Beauty attacking the castle guards by falling asleep on the ground and tripping them all up), but they were rather few and far between, and didn't save it from an entirely predictable plot.

Oh, and on top of all that, this afternoon I have to do a presentation on Diana Walczak. Marvellous.


...Just did my presentation. Not bad I thought, just a bit anaemic due to the lack of real information I could find. We're meant to link to these things so.... here it is.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

There's Something About Collins

Exciting day today. Mike Collins, whom a few of us first met at the Glammies recently, came in to talk to us about storyboarding. Although Mike started out doing comics about 20 years ago (which he still does really), and actually has a BSc in politics and history, he managed to get into storyboards some time ago because he "though they were a bit like comics". In fact he's done storyboards for short films like Scratching and On The Beach (which was nominated for a BAFTA apparently), and at the moment does storyboards for Hana's helpline over at Calon. He brought plenty of material for us to pore over as well; big-ass storyboards from Hana's Helpline; folders of pages from various comics he's worked on (including Doctor Who, Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper to name but a few); a bunch of colour illustrations; and a (highly groovy) sketchbook. He talked a lot about working as a storyboard artist, the pros and cons, how he'd like to storyboard for films... but mainly we talked about comcis and the famopus people he knew! He might be coming back soon when we start doing storyboards for our projects.
And later on, we'll be going to see Shrek 3. Yay! I think. It looks pants.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


It's nearly here!


Day of awesomeage! Joanna Quinn and Les Mills of Beryl Productions came round for a small chatette today, and brought a DVD of Good Stuff and a portfolio of drawings and stills from films and commercials they've done in the past. And what a selection of work! I mean, I've seen some of her drawings before, but this time Joanna had a bunch of painted cels from Girls Night Out, the Whiskas adverts, and stuff like that. The only time I've had anything to do with painting cels was in high school when I inked and painted a bunch of drawings on acetate for my A-Levels... and I hated it. But seeing all this work kinda made me want to trash my computer (metaphorically of course) and go old school again, with pencils and inks and paint and pain, because at Beryl they still hand draw and colour all their animation. It's nice to know that as all media trundles inescapably towards digitisation, someone is sticking their fingers up to the computers and wacoms and scribbling all over their monitors (okay, so they still use computers to composite and edit all the stuff, but that just means they have more time to draw stuff). Oh yeah!!

Pub Shoe Salesman

Okay, so yesterday evening Kei and I went to catch the train, but obviously it was rush hour and the platform was packed. So, we headed to the pub for a drink to kill some time. While there, some random, scruffy scottish-sounding guy came up to our table and asked: "Whut size feet are ye? Eight?"
"Seven?" said I, because although I take sevens or eights, I could see that he had a plastic bag with trainers in, and wanted no part in whatever he was trying to foist upon me. In fact, for a few milliseconds I was afraid he was going to ask for my shoes. As it turned out, he apparently had these "brand new" Nike trainers, worth £120, but he was trying to sell them for 15 quid because he's got a "pregnant wife" to look after. Leaning over me, ginger whiskers brushing my face and trying to entice me into buying apparently legitimate expensive footwear for next to nothing, I attempted to explain that I was broke. This disturbing gentleman moved on to other patrons, continuing his quest to sell some shoes that he probably stole from someone's feet. The bar staff soon clicked, and began following him across the room, whereupon he left. I was able to enjoy my Newcastle Brown unmolested and quickly render this sketch upon the back of a steak menu.

Anyway, here are our cats doing what they do best: stupidity.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Setting the Bait

Hidilee-ho, neighbourinos. This morning we headed out of Mount Stuart Square to visit The Bait, a graphics company whose notable work includes title sequences for Bandit and doing promo work for Gruff Rhys and Super Furry Animals. It was kinda cool, because the work is done in this little studio space thast's like an attic bedroom filled with media and editing equipment, run by two guys. on the one hand it's neat because they're a small independent company, but then again they have to do all the financial stuff themselve (eek).
Later on we had a talk on freelancing by Rick Villeneuve, who some of us know from GCADT. It was a highly informative presentation - he looked at some of our showreels, gave us plenty of advice on getting freelance work, and even gave us some sheets with info on. very cool... although the room is getting ridiculously hot. I think I'm starting to lose weight in here.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Man of Steele

So, today we were visited by Bruce Steele, formerly of Glassworks . The man's a fountain of knowledge when it comes to compositing CG effects and lens sizes - it's actually rather frightening. He showed us a bunch of commercials and stuff done by glassworks (including the Stella Artois pilot one and that weird Sunsilk Monsters thing), which featured "making of" segments for each one. It was pretty informative stuff, and quite daunting. According to Bruce Steele, the way to get into the industry and get ahead is to have, well, balls of steel. He and I were definitely in agreement about one thing though: the CG effects for the Spider-Man stunts in the films were, well... rather poor.

Later on we met a few more important people involved with Cyfle: Delyth from S4C; Iona Williams, Chief Cyfle Executive; Nadine Roberts, the Cardiff office manager of New Entrants; and Gwawr Hughes, Marketing and business development. All in all, it's been pretty intensive with the meeting people today. And now, I must settle down to do some serious research on Diana Walczak for a presentation on friday. It's alright though, because we get to use Zoho Show - a kind of basic online version of Powerpoint - to create these presentations. I just wish it wasn't so flipping hot in this office....