Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Updated "The Deep" brief story structure.

This can also be found on Mel's blog. She was kind enough to point it out to me to look at.

kid swims to meet penguin.
kid takes photo of penguin.
flash causes eel to attack.
camera falls in the water.
penguin sees this.
...penguin swims down into the water after the camera.
kid finds himself alone.
he is looking around very scared.
flash from bottom of screen kid and eel look down.
penguin is swimming with the camera back to the kid.
eel attacks penguin.
kid gestures to the penguin in a moment of horror.
kid looks up to the weapon on the side of his submarine as a moment of hope and anger.
kid collects the harpoon gun inter cut with eel attacking penguin.

This is the general storyline now. This helps me a lot in terms of getting an idea of the penguin's role in the story

*D* Animation reference for sword fighting

Just found this brilliant animation on youtube. Take a look!

*D* Smitten - Reference for Don Juanova

After an intense discussion with Dan on how to improve my animation tests, I have a lot of leads on what to look at, in terms of reference. I need to do my next few animations tests using reference, rather then animating straight ahead without much thought about why he is making the moves he is doing.

Matt Vadis, our group leader, posted some really valuable material for me to use. Here's a link to his blog post below:

Matt Vadis: Don Juanova Reference

I'm going to repost the most important vids I wish to look at more closely below.

Slow motion Ballet!


I'd really like to take a fragment of the dancing and use this for close study. I will try and animate Don waltzing around like a lovestruck casonova

Dan gave me and Matt a good lead to follow for sword fighting reference. Errol Flynn. Here he is, among some other sword fighting greats

Sunday, 28 November 2010

*D* *M* Penguin again... Shape experiments and expressions

FIRST OF ALL here is that expression sheet I did for the old design of the penguin. He looks a little to exaggerated and human-like here perhaps, but here it is incase we go back to this design.

Anyway, moving on, I have been trying to make the penguin character look a little cuter my trying some different body shapes. The top left diamond shape is what Andy suggested last Thursday. I tried a few other shapes too. Here are the line and colour tests below. These were done in Photoshop

I showed my pictures to Mike, and he said they were nice, but he was still very keen on the concept drawing I did a while ago (See older posts). I then showed him the pictures below. He said he was more fond of these then the pictures above. I agree.

So I did a few more pictures along those lines. Here they are below

I really am not sure which direction to go in now. I'm going to send this post to Andy and see what he thinks. :D


♥ it. its very cartoony. im not sure if its what andy has in mind. If it was up to me i like the recent shape of the penguin as it will be the animation where it will truly come to life and simple to rig

defo gna use those mouth shapes. Epic :D

getting there, try taking the legs out and just doing feet that are attached to his main body, u cant really see penguins legs cos its all in the main body mass

Andy also linked me to an article to "Happy Feet".

I think that I can conclude that I am getting closer with the design of the penguin. I think the last images of this post are the ones to keep going with. I agree with Andy, the way I've done the feet is a little rubbish. Flat short feet will be better. Rigging the feet will be a pain, I expect, but I let the riggers worry about that. I'll make sure they are aware of that issue when it comes to it.
I should also watch Happy Feet again, because the penguins are very real and are animated beautifully. Might be good reference for how the feet should be too.

*D* Smitten research - My Dog Tulip

As we were talking at length with out Tutor Mike about our Toonboom animation project, he suggested a film to research called "My Dog Tulip" I did a youtube search for it and found a trailer showcasing the story, completely animated in the program Toonboom

I must say that I was not disappointed when I saw this video. It certainly displays some very strong 2D animation. I must say it can look a little rushed and scruffy, but I think that is the whole idea of the style of storytelling the film was going for.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

*M* Beefeater mourns - revisited

Almost forgot to mention in my last post! Above is a window design Alex came up with for the Beefeater to peer out of. I used both of his designs to come up with how the scene should look roughly.

I altered the window design slightly by combining them both into one. I liked the raven element and the unfussiness of the right window, but I also like the pointed top part of the left window too. So I took all these bits and pieces and came up with the below pictures.

How I picture this is that the flash of light will pop up intermittently to represent the explosions.

I'm going to send these designs to Sophie now, for a critique.

EDIT: Sophie - "A.W.E.S.O.M.E!"

I think that's a thumbs up for the time being! Ace!

EDIT2: Unfortunately, this scene was cut from the final animatic, because the scene wouldn't have flowed well with the rest of the clip. However, it gave me some practice with staging, lighting, and storyboarding in general.

Back to the drawing board...

Well, I had an intense Thursday sesh. I have to do a lot of redrawing and rethinking for the projects I am working on. Here's a brief summary of what I need to do:

The story and personality of the penguin has changed, so I need to redesign him to fit his new persona. Instead of him being cheeky and more human, he is gonna be acting more like a penguin, and slightly more inquisitive.

My animation tests have received a lot of critique. Dan told me to avoid impulsively animating anything (He didn't like the end bit of the animation test, too "MC Hammer"!) and to concentrate on looking for reference (Waltz and fencing videos in particular). I have to keep animating. I should play with timing, and try and really get into the character.

The shots I did were good, but again they were not what Sophie was looking for. I think our communication of what we both envisioned for this shot was lacking, because I should have drawn the beefeater inside looking out the window, but the camera is outside looking up at the window. However, after much discussion about lighting etc, I am simply going to have the Beefeater looking towards the window, with the camera looking at him from behind, inside the room.
Sophie also told me that the shot depicts a war time scene, so there needs to be explosions in the background and stuff

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

*D* *M* Ballet!

Just had a major art frenzy. By gum. Drawing Ballet dancing is just so fun! I love it! It's like doing life drawing all over again. I have LOADS of pics to upload, but for now, here's the vid that inspired it all

EDIT Here are the doodles I did!

*D* *M* Penguins Swimming

*D* Storyboards - Epic Beefeater Shot

Yiggity Yooo Ya Yay!

Well, these are some little shots I've worked on for the Raven Project. Sophie wanted some pics drawn of the Raven master silhouetted nicely, his action being taking his hat off and holding in front of him in a regal pose. This is the first pic I did.

A few problems with this pic is that he is standing with his arms beside him, which makes him look a little awkward in my opinion. Also, Sophie checked it out and said she preferred it if he were inside and infront of a window.

Here's the result of this new criteria that Sophie set me:

I feel much happier about these shots. I think the wall is slightly out of perspective, but I think the shape the sky forms around the Beefeater's head works really nicely. Having his arms behind him like thata strikes the right pose for his character, too.

I have a feeling that the bg may need changing again, but I will see what Sophie says. :D

EDIT:  The shots weren't quite there. Explained in more recent post showing redrawn panels

Sunday, 21 November 2010

*D* Animation Tests - refining keys

I've been having trouble getting Toonboom to behave itself as I get futher with this animation. Whenever I try to drag the pointer through the timeline to review my work, it jumps frames. It's very frustrating! Hopefully it will cease its irritating ways for when I continue tomorrow.

So here's what I've got done despite the issues I've had. I'm fairly happy with it, though I keep seeing more and more glaring issues.

I'm not sure whether you noticed, but I took out the spin, because I realized he was spinning in the opposite direction the the way he is crouching on one knee, and I could see that this didn't flow too well. So I have him doing this sweeping motion instead. I'm not sure whether this is much of an improvement, because it looks a little unnatural. *sigh*

Oh well, I'll continue or start a new practice test. This has been fun, I have to say!


Wednesday, 17 November 2010

*M* Ed Reference Sheet EDIT Old Ref sheet

Expression sheets to come!

EDIT: Revised red sheet can be seen in more recent post

*D* Don Juanova animation test

Hurrah a rather unfinished test that will hopefully be finished soon!

Here we see Don Juanova doing a little dance. Yeh he isn't really waltzing, but I just wanted to get used to drawing him some more. Plus I've always wanted to see a knight do a little knee shuffle thrust dance move.

Okay maybe I'm exaggerating

Right well there's certainly a lot of room for improvement. Some of the perspective is a little off, and he looks a bit too big at the end. I find it kinda hard to keep the size of things the same size throughout when animatiing. Also, the animation goes off the top of the screen, which is irritating. I'll need to check the dimensions and make sure the whole animation is seen. The part where he spins around is giving me a right headache. Gonna have to look at reference material for that. I think my line quality could be better.

Other then those things and a few other glitches, I think this is going down the right path. The keyframes are fairly good, and there is a good flow in general. The timing is okay, though I could edit it a bit, so that there is more of a rhythm. The cleanup looks pretty cool as well.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

*D* Toby Shelton is totally boss

Oh hey look another random link to an awe-inspiring blog!


Again, looky and likey! He is such a prodigy, when it comes to storyboarding!

Dissertation Research class today!

Right, I had an epic discussion with my tutor (Ian, I believe his name is) about my dissertation question, and how I can continue with it. Man, let me just say that Ian is like one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable guys I've ever met. I thought my Aunt knew a lot, but apparently she has a rival when it comes to brain functionality.

I digress. I'll put all the info in bullet points and expand on what I noted down if I can. I had to take a lot in from that discussion, so I might not remember everything as clearly as I like.
  • Tuppy Owens (sp?) - Ian knows this lady very well. Helps support charity called "Outsiders club". Helps people with special needs match-make. Exhibitions in connection with this
  • "See Hear" - to do with blind and deafness
  • Mick (Nick?) Scarlet - Wheelchair bound individual
  • Thalidomide birth defects (sp?) - People born with hunched arms and legs, due to drug of same name effecting growth during pregnancy
  • Maybe stick to view of Britain because looking worldwide will be a little too broad.
  • Talk to Leonard in LRC.
All a bit vague, I know, but this is stuff i can look into more, absopositively!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

*D* Don Juanova Rehearsals!

And now on to drawing the knight in shining armour! Here is the original ref sheet that Matt drew up.

... And here are my sketches!

I'm pretty happy with them, to be honest. I even had a try at some dynamic poses. I've tried hard to make him look like a handsome chap in love, though I'm worried some of the shots look a bit gay haha!

He's a joy to draw though. He reminds me of Linguini from Ratatouille, gorky and lanky. I can see great potential for some really fun animation with this guy!

EDIT: Feedback from Matt:-

Great stuff Emma, really nice poses and expressions! All i'd say is that he won't have his eyes open until the very last scene when he becomes disillusioned, so he's not going to have a very readable face, maybe an eyebrow raise here and there or a self-content half smile, but apart from that his character will come across through his movement rather than face. Maybe not as goofy. That's just knit picking so apart from that you're doing a good job of fleshing this guy out. Keep it up.



*D* *M* More Finished Penguin Ref Sheets

Here we go! Ed is coming together rather nicely I think!

I've done two versions, because I remember Andy Kinnear saying that he wanted to see a version with a dark coloured coat with a blue shimmer. There isn't a huge difference, but it does change his look a bit. I think the one above looks cuter and more childish. The one below looks a little more serious, for some reason. After talking to him about these two concepts, he said he preferred the darker skinned penguin. So I will do a ref sheet with the colour change

I will probs do some more detailed reference sheets for this guy, but yeh this is how I think he'll look. I even did a little picture of the little dude over the top of an environment picture Andy picked out and put on his blog. I had a lot of fun working on this, and I hope Andy and the rest of the team think he looks okay. I'm sure there's things that will need editing, but this is still good progress.

In terms of turning this penguin into a 3D animated model, I tried to make the design as easy to cope with as possible. No hair or feathers to worry about. His feet have slight leg bits, so they can be rigged to bend and stuff, which will help when it comes to walk cycles. His face is fairly straight forward. His beak will be "rubbery" so you can change the size and shape to match his mood. He has a little tail too, for added character and flow. His flippers have no hands, so no tampering with rigging fingers. Oh and his mouth opens and closes, and has a tongue.

Here's some livestream footage of me drawing the penguin critters!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Friday, 12 November 2010

*IPP* Work experience opportunity - continued

I got a response from Lorna Hamilton-Brown about the storyboarding position. Here's my correspondence with her:

Hi Emma,

I've heard back from the company their feedback was they liked your work. However they are looking a different style. They are looking for a more realistic charcoal sketched storyboard.

I'll keep you informed of any other opportunities.


Hey Lorna!

Thank you very much for letting me know the situation. It's a shame that they haven't taken me up, but I'm glad they liked my work all the same. If you could you let me know if you find any other work experience opportunities in the future, I would greatly appreciate it. I am keen to meet and work for some talented industry people. I am a very strong 2D artist, and can do concept, 2D + 3D animation, storyboarding and animatics, so if you find anything in that area of the animation industry, that would be fantastic!

If ever you want to meet up and talk more, let me know


Hi Emma,

Yes it is a shame, but there will be other opportunities. Let's meet up sometime. It
would be good to go over your CV.

Have a good weekend.

All in all, fairly positive

It's a shame it didn't work out for me, but maybe that shows that I should try and provide more of a variety of work. This experience makes me want to work with a variety of media, so that if another opportunity like that arises, I will have more to show for myself to cater for any situation.

I'm glad that Lorna wants to go over my CV, because I think it needs some improvement. It can so much better. I'll try and arrange a day to do this shortly

*D* *M* The Deep concept

I have been lucky enough to be asked by Andy Kinnear to do some work for his project "The Deep". I have warned him that I may not be able to do huge amounts of work for him because of the other work I am doing, but I have been able to find some spare time to do some concept work of his penguin character.

Here's some concept work he presented me as a basis to work from.

So once I had an idea of what he wanted, I got to work. I am under the impression that this little dude is a rather cheeky penguin. He has been accidently transported by a stray iceburg to unknown waters. He has decided to make his home there, since he likes it more then the cold wintery lands he came from. He comes across the hero of the story, and aggravates him because of their rivalling need to catch fish.

I know for a fact that "The Deep" is undergoing some story repairing, so this brief bio of the penguin may change.

Here are some drawings I did to start my exploration of the character. Most of these are just me practising drawing penguins, since they are an animal I haven't drawn a lot of in the past. I looked at a lot of different penguin pictures, so I could go for a variety of different shapes, sizes and markings.  The ones with blue arrows are the ones Andy greenlit for me to continue developing.

Here are some more designs, based more on the greenlit ones I did above.

Lol smiley face for filler!

I'm currently working on some more finished concepts of the final penguin design. I'd upload them now, but I want to do some more drawings to really complete the penguin.

But yeh I almost forgot, here's a little character design brainstorm I did for both the raven and penguin designs

Please take some time to read this, it contains a lot of my deliberations about the designs, including colour, shape, and personality.

I plan to animate the finished 3D model of the penguin when it is done. I will do some little tests of him swimming soon, though I'll probs be doing stuff for Smitten first.

*D* *M* Raven concept

The Raven project has been going very swiftly, in terms of first hand research. We went on a trip to the Tower of London (Sophie Lodge, Steven Pender, James Ferdinando and myself) and got to see the Ravens and their masters in person. It was a fantastic visit, and really fueled me in terms of material to work on. Here are some drawings I did.

Early concepts. I rather like the design in the middle left. He looks kinda kooky, but a little like the vultures in the Jungle Book, a reference Sophie highlighted in her pitch.
These odd things in the pic above are the ravens without their beaks, wings, and talons. Sophie remarked at one point about how she'd like to see what they would look like if they took off their "uniform", so I considered how they might appear without the things that make them birds. They look very odd and a bit too comical, so we kinda scrapped this idea in the end. However I'm glad I tried it out!
The Ravenmaster in his uniform. I did a study of his face profile as he was talking to us

Here's some more early concepts I did. Sophie Lodge said that she is looking for something a little more realistic (However she likes the bottom raven in the above image)

I have done some more sketches going for a more realistic approach. Here they are below:

I also have the task of doing storyboarding and animatic for the team. At the moment we have lots of ideas and routes to go on for this project. Here's what I came up with for my brainstorming. Most focus on the Raven we love to hate - Munin, the black widow.

The fact that we have so many ideas is really encouraging, but we are having problems finalizing ourselves to just one proper chiseled framework for a story. So until we have a proper script, I am unable to do storyboarding and such until Sophie has decided on the direction for this project.

*D* *M* Research into how to achieve a successful animatic

Hey again!

I have a lot of work to upload, but for now, I'll post up some inspirations I have when building a decent animatic. Since I may be doing a few this year, I feel it is necessary for me to write a bit about it. When I did my animatic for my pitch, I received a lot of positive feedback, and I think the way I did my animatic helped me a lot. I was inspired heavily by The Incredibles animatics by Pixar. Here's an example of on bit of Pixar animaticness. This is an alternative opening to the film they did.

I don't go into as much detail as the vid above, but I really like the way this flows. It gives a clear idea of what the story is going to be like. The shots are well established, and the lighting and poses are well thought through.

I have also been reading a lot of the graphic novel series called "The Walking Dead"

The books has currently been made into a drama series, and the first episode aired on Oct 31st. It has become a big hit, and I have taken a great interest in the zombie apocalypse story.

I love the way the story is told in the books. However I feel it is important to note that the people who produced the drama serieshave used these comics as a kinda ready made storyboard to follow. They stick closely to the way the books tell the story. Below is some behind the scene footage of the drama series production. They speak briefly about ways in which they remain loyal to the books.

Another example of a graphic novel I love that has been made into a film is the "Scott Pilgrim" series.

I love these books so much. Bryan Lee O'Malley is one of my idols now haha! I even had the pleasure to go to his book signing in London and congratulate him on his success!
But yeh anyway, these 6 books he made were turned into a film by Edgar Wright (Responsible for such films as Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead). It has won critical acclaim, and will be released on DVD very soon.

The reason why I write about this is because Edgar Wright looked closely at the books when making a cinematic version of the story. They were the basis for his storyboards. Many of the shots in the final film were taken directly from the books. He even went to the places that Bryan drew for inspiration to shoot some of the scenes! Here's a video exploring this more.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

*IPP* Work experience opportunity

Lorna Hamilton-Brown approached my BA class about a nice opening for some to do some serious storyboarding. Here are the e-mails that have been sent between us so far:

Hi Emma,

See below:

A local company is looking for a student to work as a storyboard artist in Pre-Production of a feature film. The student will work closely with the Director and assist him to realise his visual aspirations. You would also gain a screen credit.

Duties and responsibilities: To deliver materials on time and to have fun and be creative.

Essential skills required: Good drawer. Good visual eye and good collaborative skills. Punctuality on deadlines is essential.

Travel expenses will be covered.

You will be working on a professional level and must commit yourselves accordingly.

If you are interested in this position email Lorna Hamilton-Brown <l.hamilton-brown@rave.ac.uk> with a sample of your storyboarding and your CV.

Hey Lorna! Thank you very much for getting back to me on this fantastic opportunity. I'm sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner, I haven't had access to internet up until now.

I have some storyboard examples that I did for a pitch for BA animation which you can look at here:

I can give you some more examples if you would like to see more work. I have a showreel as well that displays some of my work, though it predominantly shows my animation skills. Hopefully it helps show you my knowledge of how to structure a scene well, and my drawing skills.

You will also find attached my CV. Let me know if it needs some work, I've been wanting some advice on how I can improve it.

I would like to hear more about the project that you would like me to work on, so I can prepare myself for the work I need to do ahead. If you have any details about where I'll be working, who I'll be working with and when the deadlines will be, that would be helpful too.

Thanks again, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Emma Wyton