Tuesday, 6 November 2012

127th Place

So I finished 127th place in the 11 Second Club competition with an average score of 3.64 stars; but then again, there was some really strong competition this last month.  Overall, I would say that the feedback I received was generally positive and constructive.  Everyone that commented on my video had the same set of criticisms regarding my animation, which were that I had to many camera movements and shots for what was supposed to be such a mellow scene.  Furthermore, many of the poses were very exaggerated and repetitive, particularly the reaching out hand gesture.  Next time I attempt this, I will be sure to incorporate exaggeration, as ever, but I will need to balance it with a bit more anticipation and subtlety.

Anyway, I don't think I have posted this up yet, but here is my entry for the October 2012 11 Second Club competition.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

11 Second Club. Take Two.

So my previous attempt at the 11 second club got pushed to the wayside and was not completed.  This is mainly because I got caught up in other projects, which are fairly exciting.  The first of which is a film called Minotaur which I have been doing some 2D Character Animation for over the past few weeks and is currently in post production.  The second is an animated web series that I am currently developing with two university friends and I shall post more details about as and when I can.

In the mean time, I have decided to enter this month's 11 second club and to make sure that I complete this one.  I have already got quite a strong concept here and I have done some sketching of some poses and camera shots and I have visualised it by putting together a 3D Animatic.  It does not look very exciting yet but here are the shots that I have worked out.

I originally had 7 shots but after having a look at this in Premiere Pro, I decided to remove one shot as I felt that the pacing was too quick.  Once I have started animating, I will have a better idea of the timing for each shot and I will be able to make more changes to the camera work if necessary.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

11 Second Club Entry so far

So I filmed myself reciting the lines for this month's 11 Second Club competition and I chose the best poses from each time I recited the lines.  I put those together into one video file, that I used as reference for the old man character.

I have not yet worked out the animation work for the boy, nor have I fully settle on an environment, but I am thinking of a hilly field at night time.  Here is the blockout of the animation that I have come up with so far.

I like it so far but I still have a lot of work to do.  In the mean time, I have posted it to this forum to get some initial feedback: http://www.11secondclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=19414

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Building the old showreel

Decided that I should try to keep this blog rolling for as long as I can and as long as people are still following.  Anyway, lately I have been job hunting while simultaneously trying to build up my showreel.  I have already started building my showreel as I have included clips from the Synaesthesia film which I am particularly proud of.

However, much of the work that is still on my showreel is fairly old now, such as the Ace Ventura piece and even the 15 seconds left short I produced.  I really need to generate some more work to put on my showreel in my time off so that I can demonstrate my ability, specifically as a CG Character Animator and ultimately get a job.

The first method that I chose to go about setting up personal animation projects for myself was to root out all the issues that I had of the magazine 3D World and then scan through them to find any tutorials. Unfortunately, the majority of the tutorials in there are modelling and texturing tutorials, which although they may come in a mega useful in the near future, they are not relevant for building a Character Animation Reel.  Having said that, I did find a very good tutorial on producing Secondary Animation, using rigging and a basic dynamics system on a Grim Reaper character.  I am quite pleased with it so I may post up a little demonstration soon; plus it will be useful for my portfolio as it shows the versatility of my rigging skills.

Anyway, I have now decided to enter the 11 second club competition for a third time.  I have found that whenever I end up at a loose end when it comes to my animation work and I struggle, the 11 second club proves to be a fantastic source of inspiration and means for a well planned animation project, along with being a terrific place for getting constructive feedback from other animators.

If you take a look at this month's piece of dialogue from the 11 second club, you will find that it was taken from an episode of Doctor Who and consists of Matt Smith saying that he dreamt of the stars and has lived his dream; he is presumably saying this to a young Amy Pond.  Initially, I did not care for the choice of dialogue this month as I found that it did not lend itself well to a wide range of poses.  I tried doing some sketches for my concept, but I did not really get anywhere.

I had already decided that the concept would revolve around an elderly man and a young child and that they would be sitting next to each other cross-legged.  The man would tell the child that he once dreamt of the stars and that he has lived his life his way.  With this concept in mind, I decided to film myself a few times reciting the dialogue and working out some poses for the character.

I think that I could probably do something pretty good with these poses.  It probably won't be very animated or dramatic, but I could go for something subtle in the animation, to see how well that will work.  What I intend to do is look through this footage and pick out the best poses for each bit of dialogue to come up with the final set of poses.  I will then put the best series of poses together into one video file and use that as reference for animating the CG character.  I will need to work out some character animation for the mute child character soon as well.

Friday, 20 July 2012

So I passed my degree

...with a 2:1.  I am pretty happy about that result.  Now I just need to look for a job; I've handed out CVs to everyone that I can think of, but I have also applied for a few runner jobs and a few character animator jobs.  I hope I don't have to wait long before getting a job.

Friday, 15 June 2012

So long, Ravensbourne 2008-2012

Well, as of today I cease to be a student.  This week has been particularly euphoric as we have just had our degree show, Ravensbourne2012, and I am proud to be able to say that the Animation show was a MASSIVE success and that our tutors have actually told us that this was the best year that Animation has ever seen in terms of both films and of course, the arrangement of degree show space that we had.

In case you haven't been following my BA Blog, I did work for numerous projects as both a Character Animator and a Rigger.  I spent much of the year working on a project called 'Cat and Rat', in which I contributed Character Designs and I also did rigging for the project.  I was supposed to do animation, but sadly around April, the project got shut down because we had many technical errors that hindered our progress severely and caused us to fall about 6 weeks behind schedule.

Thankfully, I joined another project after this called Synaesthesia in which I did all of the character animation for the main character Alex.  This piece was based on a real girl called Alex who had a condition called Synaesthesia which affects around 1 in 2000 people and involves the merging and crossing over of the senses; for example, sounds can be seen as colours and patterns.  This was a great project to be involved in and also challenging on various levels.  First of all, I had to gain a real understanding of what it was like to have the condition; I had to read up on the research that the director had already compiled and then have a few listens to the recording of the girl's dialogue to figure out how she deals with the condition and what kind of character she was.

As well as getting to know the character and how she relates to her environment, I needed the character's movement to be highly realistic as this was a real person that was being portrayed.  This meant that I really had to make use of what I know to create believable movement and it also involved quite a lot of redoing shots and going over shots to achieve realism, this was quite a challenge as I only had 6 weeks to animate in.  However, we managed to get our film completed just before the deadline and to a great standard.

The film was incredibly well received during its premiere at Ravensbourne2012 and we feel as though we succeeded in raising an issue as many people had not heard of the condition before.  Furthermore, we got a lot of encouragement from various guests and delegates who suggested that we should consider showing the piece in schools to inform children on the condition.  I personally got a lot of encouragement for my animation from people within industry, including one guy from Double Negative who said that I should really pursue "naturalistic animation" and that I should keep in touch with them as that is what they go for.

The director of Synaesthesia is reluctant to put the film on the internet, understandably, as he wants to submit it to several festivals, which usually forbid participants from putting more than 10% online.  However, if there are any screenings, I will try to list details on here.

In addition to working on Synaesthesia, I did the rigging for a dog character in the film, Fools Gold, which also premiered at Ravensbourne2012.

So the degree show was a big success and virtually everyone completed.  Now, after four years, I have completely finished at Ravensbourne and now the next stage is trying to find a job.

Friday, 11 May 2012

This video...

Just came across a video that really inspired me today to get back into painting.

I hadn't necessarily given up painting like she had, but I have not been doing as much as I should be because of all the degree work that I've had to do.  But after seeing this, I was so taken by her talent that I have decided to do more painting once I finish my degree work a few weeks from now.  You'll be sure to see some more painting and drawing work from me soon.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Dissertation... complete!

The research process for my dissertation began in November of 2010 when I found an article in The Sunday Times about how motion capture is applied in the film, TRON: Legacy and actually only came to an end last Monday (27th Feb) when I tried out some motion capture gear with some first year Animation students.  As for the dissertation itself, I officially began writing stuff up around August and I actually started writing up my chapters around Christmas.

I can now happily say that today, I finished my dissertation!  I am really pleased with how it has turned out and how it came together.  If you would like to see it click on this link below.  To download it, just right click and select "Save Link As"

If you read the dissertation, you will come across a few images that have links to video attached to them. If you click on them, the video will open up in Youtube.

The dissertation has a CreativeCommons-Attribution-NonCommercial licence, which means that I am MORE than happy for you all to share this, take it apart and use it in your own work.  The only conditions are that you must give me credit if you use it and please don't use it for commercial purposes, unless you negotiate it with me first (I might make allowances).

Anyway, I am very proud of my work and this dissertation has actually made me very enthusiastic about the concept of motion capture and I think that it will be something that I will pursue when I leave Ravensbourne 3 months from now.

For the time being, I am working on a film called Cat and Rat, which I have been doing character designing, rigging, UV Mapping and blend shaping for.  I am eventually going to be doing Animation, which is my main specialism, so I hope that this will be my time to shine.  In addition to this, I also wrote the adapted screenplay and I designed and built the website for publicity.  Web Design is something that I have really been getting into since the Christmas holidays and it is something I will do as a freelance alongside my animation stuff.

If you want to follow my progress in this project, be sure to follow my BA Blog: jameswatersbablog.blogspot.com