Ireland seems to have finally received it’s much needed summer with the past month being generally warm and filled with blue skies…I could get used to this! The reason I bring it up is it affects my day so much, what with a walk to work along the canal, lunch there and walking home along the tree-lined avenues. If it’s sunny, it’s so much better!
I have around 3 months left on the first series of our children’s TV show. It’s coming along well, lots of great work being done by all and the animation is really flowing after several months of getting to know the characters. We’re at the stage where we don’t have to think what to create so much and interpret what the character would do. It’s good fun!
In non-career related news, I’m heading off the the USA for Christmas and New Year. It’s all because I met a really great girl over here and she’s now had to return home due to her visa. It’s tough being away from her but she motivates me to work hard and inspires me to capture things I see around me, so she’s worth every ounce of waiting! I’m really looking forward to a Vegas new year too. Should be fun
I thought I’d give a little intro as I’ve sent her a few things in the post and one was a watercolour I did of her. I can’t believe it was so cold that we needed coats only a month ago! Crazy weather, the world’s ending I tell yer.
So here’s the update I’ve been meaning to write for a while now! I’ll try and be a bit more regular with the posts, it just threw me out of sync with a new country, job, people and all.
I’ve been here over 2 months now and so far it’s whizzed by. When everything was new the first few weeks felt like I fitted a lot in and made the most of every day, but as you get used to your surroundings and fall into patterns an extra effort has to be made to continue to make the most of the situation!
First of all to work, as that’s why I came here. I’m working as a 2D animator (using Flash) on a children’s TV series and it’s going really well. The main area of note is that it’s more fun than I expected! We’ve just ramped up to full blown production right now, so no doubt it will get more stressful occasionally, but the way how the team has been introduced to the workflow, series style and characters has been pretty impressive. I’m looking forward to seeing the episodes roll in and watching the various parts form together.
I’m enjoying the animation process and learning a lot about the production pipeline and what the director is looking for (especially when you consider the production schedule during the planning of your scene). It’s a constant lesson in visual communication! One of my favourite parts so far was recently. We’ve been working on the many jaunty songs plotted throughout the show and each one is like making a music video for kids…about space! There’s rockets, high energy and generally a load of fun. I go into my 5 year old mind for around 8 hours a day! Maybe the youthful nature of the work will affect my looks as the years progress…
As for Ireland and living in a new country, it’s not so different to back home. There are enough changes to make it interesting but not too many that it’s hard work to sort out life here. The evenings out are really great and there’s a general friendly nature to people when you’re having a pint after work. People talk outside their ‘groups’ which makes nice change to where I’m used to.
I’ve had a visit to Belfast and a fair old look around Dublin by now, but nowhere else much yet. I’m planning on doing some trips in the coming months. Hopefully there’ll be a bit of sun too! Oh and my new place is cool, I get a relaxing stroll along the canal on the way to work in the morning with the southern hills in the distance, so a pretty good place to be situated (especially for greyhound racing or the Aviva stadium…they’re practically next door!)
That’s about it for now. So far it’s all going well. Next stop, finish a few side projects and get some video work under way!
I had an idea about gift wrapping…so here’s a quick animation on the subject.
(note: his hat gets ‘stuck’ for some reason..but it looks quite funky)
I’ve just recently finished off a few nice projects so I thought I’d post them up.
Viz – Channel 4′s comedy blaps
A project for Channel 4 called ‘Comedy Blaps’. I worked under the creative direction of Baby Cow with my immediate go-to-men being Alex Collier and Dennis Sisterson. At the risk of sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, they were both great to work with and extremely positive throughout. Plus my hats go off to them for the hours they put in to get this thing done..I believe it went to the wire! No thanks to Adobe for the version control though The animation was completed in Flash and the style was of a limited nature, mainly due to the time constraints. It definitely added to the fun of it. I finished around 2 minutes of final animation, including work on the Fat Slags, Sid the Sexist, Biffa, Mutha, Fatha and Elton John (!) Well, 2 minutes if it doesn’t end up on the cutting room floor (not that there is one of those anymore).
I’m pretty sure I can’t post my animation I did yet as it’s not been released, but I can say you will be suitably shocked if you think animation is just for kids. I’ll do a brief write up or tweet when I know the release date.
GPi – The importance of feedback
This was a low budget project as part of a new venture to produce a certain array of services to corporate clients. I worked with a very nice chap called Rhys who wanted a demonstration video producing, mainly as an example of what can be done on a lower budget. The project was a learning curve for us both (the audio ran over what it was initially intended to be) but the voice over artists did a sterling job. I’d happily recommend them both (Nicky Barber was the narrator and Nick Radcliffe acted as both Sam and John).
The project had little actual animation in, just many creative problems to solve, including how to visualise certain ideas. I went through the script, helped with an edit and sourced the voice artists to record the audio track. I then cut together a working animatic and began to experiment with ways to get the ideas across. The budget restrictions meant that I couldn’t spend long on each idea, but this actually made the project fun as I had to find ways around some of my initial, more extravagant ideas!
Overall the production time was low and I’m looking forward to expanding the visuals with the next project like this early in 2012 (with an expanded budget too..always helps!)
That’s it for now. Christmas is not far away and I’ll be sending out some cards in the not too distant future (the price of stamps nearly made me faint the other day…I can see why people use email)
I did this as a quick competition entry to loosen myself up with digital drawing again (it feels a bit strange after working on paper for a while!)
The entry had to lead and finish with the text you see in the video, and had to say why a bowl of soup is…well, nice to eat. I’m lucky, I quite like soup, so it wasn’t too difficult in that department. the hard part was keeping it simple as I only had two days to come up with the idea and make it. The sound was provided by the competition organisers. I would have liked it to run for the whole piece but it was good enough to get the idea across to them. I’m releasing it now as I didn’t win (none of the winners for any of the brands were animated..possibly not a good sign!) One other comment about the wiggly lines…I don’t know what is going on with Wacom’s calibration, but it seems to be worse now they’ve updated (aside from it being more accurate). It seems to do a bit of the shake rattle and roll when I’m trying to draw a smooth line, even when playing with the smoothing settings. Paper is so much easier!
…and this is the animation I was working on.
A quick bit of fun for an 11 second club soundtrack from last year.
A popular exercise that most animation students will have completed at some stage. I hadn’t however, and so I thought I’d have a go too. It’s only rough and done in Flash, but it’s super bouncy (with a TWIST. Amazing)
Here’s all the chef piece coloured with background/foreground elements added in. I’m moving on to something else now as the shape changes in the animation are mainly down to tweening a looser keyframe animation (it looked cool when it was just keys, now it looks a bit wierd).
Software used: Flash (animation, character colouring, ruffs), Photoshop (background/foreground colouring), After Effects (composite, masking, layering, colour correction)