Thursday, 6 October 2011

Go Go Gadget Head Turnaround & Production Blog!

I'm finally relatively happy with the head model for our film. My main production role for the past couple of months has been the modelling, texturing and blendshapes of the character. We're scheduled to start the body any day now, just waiting on the final designs from our ever talented pre production artist Lynsey, who's done a stand up job of helping us out with the 2D side of things. Then I've got the blendshapes to sort out, which are essentially the character's expressions for the non-animation folks. Luckily, we've got a Masters student on board to do the rigging for us, which will be a great help... so all in all it's coming together rather smoothly. 

You can check out the 3D model below, best viewed in full HD here.

There's still some tweaking required, and we've been given some useful feedback which we'll look into if time allows, but chances are it's not going to change too drastically from here on out.  

In other news, we've finally uploaded a team production blog which we'll be updating regularly with our progress. You can find the current animatic on there too for those of you who've not had a chance to see the story yet. For those of you who have, it's changed a lot over the past 4 months so if you could check it out and give us your feedback that would be cool.



EDIT: Here's some wireframes as requested by Mr Boyd, be gentle.

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Salutations! It's been a shamefully long time since my last blog post, I'd like to say it's because I've been too busy partying with salty wenches and copious quantities of alcohol, but alas... my summer girl has been the ever-angsty heartbreaker that is Autodesk Maya. 

In an effort to make a super-badass degree film, the motley crew that is Team Ticked Off have spent the entire summer locked away in the animation studio to get a head start on production. We've paid for it with some loss of sanity and considerable weight gain. The good news is, we've made a lot of progress and are well into the swing of things! We've got our first peer review on Monday, so expect to see a production blog complete with our work so far coming next week. 

That said, it's been a summer of two extremes. There were a couple of small but epic adventures to be had, primarily blindly heading out on a 212 mile trek across Scotland in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. Myself and 5 other equally unprepared but determined comrades (including fellow animigo and Heavy Sprinkle Tom Paxton) raised something around the £3,500 mark in donations. I genuinely can't really explain the hardships and do them justice, but suffice to say it was fucking difficult. There was blood, blisters and broken feet (seriously...) beyond belief, but we all made it to the finish line fashionably late. There are a couple of snaps below, but you can view the entire set here.




The other big adventure was cycling up the French Alps and seeing Le Tour De France with my old man, which was fantastic. I've never been to the Alps before and I was absolutely blown away, my definition of mountains was promptly rewritten. We spent the week hanging with half a million other cyclists powering up some colossal peaks and then cruising along velvet roads at 45mph during the sweeping downhill descents. Check out the relatively small set here.


Col Du Galibier Panorama 1


In other news, I'm still continuing my Picture A Day Project and I'm somewhere around photo number 600. I doubt this year will be as exciting as the last, purely due to the amount of time I'm going to be locked away in the studio, but I'll keep going with it regardless. It'll be great to document my slow descent into complete and utter madness, maybe they'll show it as some sort of PSA about the dangers of studying animation. I don't think I ever posted the finished video of last year on here, check it out below. 

The amount of history captured in a single year boggles my mind, it's interesting to see how much my life has changed in different ways. I still watch it all the time.  

So that's pretty much my long overdue update, like I said earlier... there'll be a lot more project related posts to come so stay tuned. 



Tuesday, 26 April 2011

D'Ark Compositing Breakdown & Updates


As some of you know, I'm doing a lot of compositing on D'Ark at the moment, this was the first test composite to finalise the look that Jamie was after. I decided to make a breakdown of it tonight to share with you guys.

I went for a different approach with this breakdown from the previous Lava one, by having the passes unmask on top of each other... you can tell me whether it's successful or not :)

As for the numbers, this one was originally at 1080p with about 25 layers, but I had to reduce the size and pre compose a lot of the elements to try and reduce the render time and stop my laptop from biting my face off. 

Finally, I highly recommend watching it in full HD on youtube here, but for those of you too lazy I've embedded it below. 

In other news, WE'RE ALMOST FINISHED 3RD YEAR. Huzzah! Soon there'll be cider, BBQs and sunshine aplenty and I can't wait.

Our final hand ins are tomorrow and we're all pretty well prepared for a change. We also got out sexy production bible printed out, I'll upload a digital copy in due course.

Here's to 4th year :D

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Pre Production on our films is coming along pretty well, I'm just starting to compile all of our current work into a production bible. I made the cover today, and we think we've decided on a title. What do you guys think?

I'll post a big update with some tests and goodies another time, we're pretty swamped with all the 4th year work, our work, dissertations... not to mention the fact we're waaaayyy behind on our Worms quota. So stay tuned.

Click for full size HQ

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Naked middle aged men & Characters!

Went to life drawing for the first time in a while last week, I was pretty happy with the results! There's a couple in there from this morning when I went into the 4th year session to catch up on the weeks I'd missed. They range from about 5 minutes to 25 minutes. 

Also, we got back some of the character designs from Lauren for our time traveller! Here's some sketches from her which look awesome, what do you guys think? We need to make sure the character is appealing and likeable form the start. Feedback would be great, I also done a colour test too which we'd really your thoughts on. 

Stay classy.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

3's a crowd.

Happy to announce that the ever talented Finlay will be helping us out with a lot of our modelling on the film, which is great! We're currently working on making a pre-vis animatic for the end of this semester, and finalising the style and design.

Here's a quick model of the Lab we're working on at the moment, there's no texturing in it and not all models are finalised... we're just having fun with the layout. Only the top half is populated at the moment, the bottom is going to have some sort of shape to it, and include a spiral staircase to the surface. I think the plan is to put a bit more character and style into the shape of the environment, think Monkey Island.

In other news, after taking on board the feedback, I made a second Time Machine design for your consideration... at first I preferred the hulking big one, but the new sleek one is growing on me. What do you think?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Go Go Gadget Time Machine!

Mini progress update. 

Here's the first design for the time machine... we liked the idea of having it as an archway to make it a bit more original, as opposed to your typical chair/chamber setup. I'd really appreciate some feedback on the design actually, I want to do a couple more but I'm not sure what to change. 

This is another quick concept piece too, we started looking at a lot of more simplistic styles such as Samurai Jack and similar cartoon network animations. We loved the shapes and textures in those, but we're not sure how well it'll translate into 3D. 

A great animation we found that really got us going towards the simpler side of things is The Saga Of Biorn, a hilarious 3D character animation piece. Check it out! It's got a great simplistic look to it, we love the textures in the sky!

The Saga Of Biorn from The Animation Workshop on Vimeo.

We've finished the first draft of our storyboards, and we're going to pass them onto the ever talented Lynsey Schaschke who'll take our mindless, scrawled doodles and re-draw them to make them pretty :D

So yeah... PEACE!

Monday, 28 February 2011

Look! Work!

Today (amidst countless hours of Worms, Tetris and Half Life) I've managed to cobble together some actual material to show you. Huzzah! I'm just messing around with possible looks, so far we're leaning towards quite a graphic, simplistic style... I'm not sure how well these pieces actually convey that. The look of the film is really important so we're not going to rush it. These are very early concepts and will no doubt change a lot, we're still not sure how big to make the city, or it's design, but feel free to give us any feedback or thoughts you might have on the matter. 


Monday, 21 February 2011

Me, Myself and I

Being the narcissistic prick that I am, I've been experimenting with self portraits over the past couple of days. I've not had this much fun with a camera and photoshop for ages! Here's what I've got so far, I'm going to do a series of the clone photographs... I'm already brainstorming cool, challenging scenarios to do. Again, there's high-res uploads on my flickr, but I'm not sure how many of you guys use it... if any.

I like to tell myself these are research, as the whole cloning idea relates to our degree film... but it might be pushing it. 

I'll hopefully be firing up some concept art soon, the style of our film is crucial. We've not settled on anything concrete yet but we've got a few ideas. Stay tuned.

Inspiring Quote Du Jour:

"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions."
- Dalai Lama

"Me, Myself, and I"

"Confidence Boost" 

"A Splash Of Colour"

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

If it ain't bokeh, don't fix it.

So in my infinite wisdom concerning student finances, I decided it'd be a bloody good idea to blow a load of the bank's money on a shiny new Canon 450D. Hello noodles, it's been too long <3

Je ne regrette rien.

Check out my Flickr account here, and feel free to add me as a contact if you're a member. Also big thanks to DoJ on twitter, who linked my last P365 post, you guys are awesome!

On a school related note, pre production on the degree film is coming along smoothly. We're still ironing out the creases in the storyline - time travel is not as simple as one might believe. We've timed it out by filming it live action (stellar acting from Mr Grossi) and it's sitting at around 3 minutes, that's the heavily edited version. It's a daunting length, but it paces really nicely so I think we're sticking with that until we panic and hack it up into a 30 second nonsensical short a month before the degree show.

Some fellow dedicated 3rd years and I are also helping out on the ever delightful Flying Duchess 4th year production, which keeps us nice and busy to say the least. It's worth checking out! Between that and our first dissertation hand in this week, it's all hands on deck in the animation studio.

Not to mention the shitloads of Worms and Half Life 2: Deathmatch we've got to deal with too...

Inspiring quote du jour:
"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans"
 - John Lennon

Sunday, 6 February 2011

A picture says a thousand words - P365

Which puts me at 365,000 words...

As I'm sure most of you know, for the past year I've been taking a photograph a day. A documentary of my day to day life , a diary, an exercise in photography, but most importantly it was a motivation to really live. Well, as of the 5th of Febuary my year is officially finished. 

I'm pretty proud of myself for finishing it. Not long after I started it caught on with a number of people, but the vast majority of people lasted a month or two before giving up. (Thankfully there's a couple of dedicated snappers still going strong!) There were so many times when I couldn't be bothered myself, but then you think about how amazing it's going to be when you look back in 20 years time... to see every single day captured for eternity in a picture. I can see how my relationships with people have grown and changed, as well as all the new people I've had the pleasure of meeting, and the experiences we've shared.

I've had so many people tell me how cool an idea it is, and I can see other P365 albums cropping up on Facebook. To clarify, I'm by no means the first person to do it, but inspiring other people to start taking photographs and go on cool adventures of their own gives me such a sense of purpose, I really can't even begin explain how happy that makes me. It's something that I think everybody should do because not only does it document each day, but it gives you a completely fresh outlook at your own life. I wouldn't have done half the things I got up to this year if it wasn't for this project, I wanted to make each day as interesting as I could which resulted in the genuinely happy young lad I am today. 

Alas, I'm really sad that it's finished. It's had such a positive impact on the past year, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to let that go. I'm genuinely toying with the idea of doing it for the rest of my days. Would it get stale? Probably... but maybe that staleness would just inspire me to change something. I think it'd be quite interesting to have a hard copy of my life in a photo album after I've kicked the bucket, but I might just be being overly self centred by assuming anybody would actually care.

At the very least I've decided to keep going until the end of uni, these are probably the most eventful years of my life. It'll be cool to see my steady financial decline and slowly increasing stress levels captured :D

I hate to sound like a big fairy, but it wouldn't have been the same without you. Sure it's had it's ups and downs... but you inspire me, and make me who I am.

Finally, here are a few of my favourites from the past year which sum it up relatively well. I'm in the process of getting them all printed, and compiling them into a video... but I'm a lazy prick so who knows when that'll get done. I spend most of my time trying to pick music for it. Expect that soonish.

Keep being awesome,

Kieran x

Inspiring quote du jour:
"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, 27 January 2011

4th year synopsis

So we're cooking up ideas for 4th year at the moment, and had our pitches on Wednesday. They went pretty well, I'm excited to see how some of the projects progress. Exciting times! Here's the first draft of the synopsis for Mark and I's idea, we'd really really like to hear your feedback... positive or negative. Time travel isn't exactly the simplest of ideas, so it's important the audience understands what's happening. Don't be afraid to give us your thoughts, it'd be much appreciated.

This is the "long" version I guess, we'll fire out a more blurb-esque one in time. 

Also, here's to the first animation related blog post in 3 months... HUZZAH!

"A young inventor sits aggravated and dumbfounded at his faltering time machine. His continuing attempts at success seem futile. He places his watch onto the platform, throws the switch , resulting in a fantastic explosion of light that fills the room...

However, as the dust settles, he finds that the watch remains on the platform seemingly untouched. Indignant, he furiously and repeatedly cranks the massive lever activating the machine over and over before collapsing - defeated - in his chair with a mug of tea.

In a last ditch attempt, he grabs the watch, pulls the lever, and slips through the doors into the chamber. He watches in amazement as the world around him rips apart into infinite expanse, before reforming before his eyes.

He slams back into reality, stumbling off the platform onto his knees. Staring at the ground confounded, he finds himself surrounded by watches… all of them identical to his own.

Perplexed, he stands up to find himself in the same room, although not all is what it seems: the décor diminished, neglected and dusty… As if hundreds of years have passed.

The time machine emits a lonely spark as it lies destroyed behind him; he’s trapped in the future.

After climbing the rotting stairs, the inventor steps out of the doorframe and into the outside world, only to be confronted by a vast, barren landscape; the remnants of his former city, now a desert wasteland.

He wanders aimlessly through the city streets looking for any signs of life. Suddenly, a loud clang echoes from the distance. He spots the figure of a man through the dust rummaging in a pile of scrap.

Shouting, he walks towards the figure. The man flees, tearing through the city streets and down alleyways. A chase ensues, culminating in the exasperated inventor tackling the man; wrestling him to the ground.

He turns him over onto his back and recoils in horror as he sees himself staring back. Standing up, he’s surrounded by duplicates of himself seemingly non-phased at his presence. One of them pats a chair - inviting the inventor to take a seat.

In the background, several other clones are building what seems to be another time machine.

Present Day: The inventor sits down once again at his desk frustrated, with a cup of tea. He’ll try again tomorrow."