Sunday, 15 May 2011

Self Promotion

To promote myself at the end of the course I have signed up to a number of sites to help show my work and myself to possible employers. I have found these have already managed help me expand my network and connections I have in the industry.


Vimeo Portfolio:​channels/​ssd

On these I have put all my work I want to show to date but still have some pieces like my Major Project that I have to put up there. This is great for putting my showreels onto, to send to people to show them the kind of pieces I produce.

Behance Network:

This is the online portfolio I have produced to go onto my linked in site based on the Vimeo I have above.


On here I have a professional profile so that businesses can see me, what I do and the past experiences I have had. It is a sort of online CV if you like. It is great and shows that I am not just a student, I am an animator that wants to get out into the working world. On here I also have a link, and an application to my Behance Portfolio.


I have been against twitter for quite some time and didn't want to become a part of it until I found all the studios and designers around the manchester area use it. This is great to keep in touch with them and see what they are looking at and see what openings they have. I have set it up not to keep in touch with friends but to keep in touch with what is going on in my area!

Next Step

I have designed a new business card and other promotional material which I am producing for the show and I also have plans to setup a website and a new blog as I want to continue blogging but I feel as if some other blog sites are more relievant to what I do and are better looking than this one.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Tandem Films Work: The Last Werewolf

This post is a reflection on the work that both myself and Matthew Geeling did for the 'Tandem Brief'. This post has been written by both myself and Matthew Geeling.

This brief came about after our recent visit to London after visiting the Tandem Films studio. Daniel Greeves got in touch with our tutor Christina and asked if any of her students wanted to get involved with a project that they were working on for a client. We were asked as it was felt that we were progressing well with our Major Projects, so that we could devote some time to this. As well as this is was thought that we'd represent the course well and really take advantage of the opportunity.

The brief was to create a few different animations in which we would represent both the transformation from man to werwolf and a victim attack. The animations that we created were an arm bend, a pelvis snap, a rib break and a neck snap. We decided that although working together in terms of ensuring the style was similar, that we would split the animations up and do two each. The way that we decided to split these up was as follows:

Pelvis Shatter
Neck Snap

Arm Bend
Rib Break

We started out by finding imagery and creating some style frames to send down to Tandem, to see if we were on the right page. The response to these was that they looked good, so with the go ahead we started producing some tests.

We continued to respond to the feedback we were given until Daniel was happy with where we were at, then we went into full production and ensured that we continued communicating with Daniel. As we were producing work and they were comping as they went along we felt that it was important to ensure that we planned our time effectively, as we had deadlines that needed to be met.

Here are the final animations that we produced:

Matt's Arm Bend:

Matt's Rib Snap:

My Pelvis Shatter:

My Neck Snap:

Here is a link to the final film:

It's great to be recognised in the credits for a project like this:

We feel that it has been a great experience to have whilst were still students and appreciate being asked to be involved in the project. For more information about the process, please see the supporting sketchbook.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Comping Breakdown

When thinking about making my Major project making of I decided early on that I would create a comping breakdown. I see a lot of Making Of's and Showreels using these methods to show how they have built up they're pieces and this also helps show how much work and time has gone into creating the final outcome.

I am happy with how it has come out and think it done to a professional standard. I have rendered this shot out as it is and I will be adding text over the top to explain each layer as it is added in the making of.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Tweak Week Presentation

This week we all presented to our peers and our tutors to get feedback on what we can improve on in the last week. I always find this really helpful and it gave me a great boost. I have enjoyed the project but over the last weeks have just been getting stressed with it (until I got my poster back printing actually). This was a massive boost though as many people on they're mark sheets said I don't have much to do and how they think it looks great. I am really happy they think that as I can't really tell anymore. I'm just sick of the sight of bridges now I think.

This has given me a great boost for the last week and I think that I am happy with the titles and will not change them at all. The text in the credits is still hard to read so in response to that I sorted out that problem with timing and too much movement in the shot. It has been rendering overnight and should be good to test this afternoon. I have experimented with motion blur and hoping that helps the interlacing problem I have had with the text moving so much in the shot. This last week will be an interesting one where I am mainly focusing on the support material making sure that covers all the decisions I have made as well as attempting to finish designing the App I have spoken about in my sketchbooks.

Not long left, and I want to do the best I can so just got to stick at it!

Credits Style Tests 2

These images are tests for how I want the base of the bridge to look in my credit sequence. I wanted to play with textures and after visiting the Humber bridge many times when younger when visiting family. I have tried to translate what I have noticed of that bridge back then to my bridge. When stood by the base of the Hummer Bridge years ago I noticed it was build of layers concrete as opposed to one big solid form. It is for this reason why I wanted to emphasis and stylise this for my piece. These photo's underneith show what I mean by this:-

The Humber Bridge:

I wanted to take this and translate it into the style I have been using. For example, I don't want the base to seem as smooth as I have seen it. I want it to seem weathered, like it has been through a lot and like the bridge has a lot of stories to tell.

My Rendered Images:

When doing the credits for Max he wanted to make a big deal that the sound was done by Skywalker Sound and in the first draft we had a separate section in the credits for the staff there. For this reason, I found the logo of the company online and made a 3D version that I could mount on the base making a real point that that is a big part of the production. I need to play with texturing and how I am going to make the logo stand out but I am happy with where it sits in respect to the bridge.

This is where I have inserted the water layer over the top of the bridge base to see how I can control it, the lighting and the shadowing against the concrete. It works really well here and I think I just need to do some colour correction so there is an obvious change between the air and underwater.

The idea for right at the very end of the credits is to have the name of the film written on the base of the bridge where no-one would usually see it. I also think as the last thing you see from the film this will work well, especially if it is being put into film competitions. You want the audience to remember the name of the piece and this is obviously the perfect way to help that.

Credits Style Tests

These are the initial shots of starting to texture and set up my camera for the credit sequence. I like how they have come out and I need to test how well it works with the time-laps sky that I will be using in the final shot. I am using dark text at the moment as it seems to stand out well against the current backdrop but may have to be revised depending on the final sky comp.

Here I have been playing with how the texture sits on the bridge. I obviously want he images to be interesting to watch as the text goes by and I also want to emphasis the shapes used and the heavy shadows they cast. It has been great playing with this and after managing hide where the texture tiles meet I have a great opportunity to play until I am satisfied.

I have also been working on the support cables on the left. I want them to be textured well and by using occlusion I have managed to emphasis them and how they are formed wrapped around each other.

I have started looking at all the space I can use in the shots and have been playing with some different coloured text. For example I have done it here for the music on the base of the bridge and I think it works well. Plus everything is not so compressed together on the felt hand side. I am happy with how it is looking and I need to start looking at what I am doing with the base and how the credits will end.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Credits Playblast For Timing

Titles Reveal Composition

This shows some of the stages I have been through to create the final shot my title sequence. I started with a playblast from Maya to make sure I had all my timings and movement right. After these where finalised I could then move on the set the whole shot rendering ready for me to comp together in After Effects. This is shown in the second clip and then for the final shot in the post I have positioned and scalled everything as to produce a change in the depth of field which I think will help produce more focus on the title of the film itself.

Playblast of Movement:

Shot after rendering textures and inserting Time-Laps sky:

Final Compostion:

This is the final composition I have come up with but after showing it to the Neighbourhood, we started brainstorming how I could improve it for the final deadline and the show. I like the speed of the shot and along with the others the whole piece has a good tempo to it. This last shot seems to take quite a while though so I was thinking of animating something in the scene to create some more interest in the shot. I can also use this method to move the focus of the audience around the screen and therefore emphasising separate areas of the composition.

Fences Composition

Fences Composition: First Layer

Fences Composition: Second Layer

Fences Composition: Final Composition After Texturing and inserting Time-Laps Sky

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Final Movie Poster Design

Here is the design that I have just completed for the Fall North movie poster. It will be A1 in size and printed on matt paper. I can't wait to see it that size!

Credits Trackmatte and Angle Test

Fences Trackmatte tests

Test 1:

Test 2:

Test 3:

Test 4:

Test 5:

Trackmatte Tests

These are the trackmatte tests I have produced to try and get my head around how I can get the textures to sit on the bridge but still giving you that graphic novel style look. I started by rendering out a short sequence from Maya that I was thinking of using for the final shot of the titles to reveal the name of the short.

Test 1 - Rendered Maya Sequence:

Test 2:

Test 3:

Test 4:

Test 5:

Test 6:

Test 7:

Monday, 2 May 2011

Possible Soundtracks

After looking through my music library and online I have managed to find these 4 tracks which I think would work well with my piece and the message I want to get across. The piece is supposed to be quite dark and noir, and I want to help that with music that can mirror the mood.

Track 7 - Nine Inch Nails - Ghost

Fraternity Suite - Danny Elfman

Artifact - Lust Murder Box

TechBlast - Rau

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Safety Videos Freelance Job

After our portfolio visit with Matthew Davies he got in touch with myself and Matthew Geeling while we were in London to see if we were interested in working on 4 animations for a safety video he was working on. After discussing fee's and what would be asked of us we accepted and began some tests. The safety video was loosly based on one that was already out there doing its job and we were asked to produce some animations that would go between footage. These are the 2 I worked on:



Matt created the character for the first and we both came up with the colour scheme based on the reference safety video. I was happy with how my particles and fluid dynamics worked considering it is one of the first times I have tried to use them. I used Realflow for the liquid in the syringe and it was great to try. We had a short space of time to produce these so over a weekend we managed to put these together which went well and is good practice for future jobs in the industry. I'm sure now I could probably produce better results but at the time with other stresses going on I think it went well and did what it needed to. Matthew Davies was very pleased with the results and hopefully there maybe more work with him in the future.

My response Style Frames

These are the style frames I have come up with for my approach to the Fall North Titles. I focused one one of the angles I found when animating the titles for Jon Maxwell and then treated the image to get that grungy, dirty, gritty feeling much like the "Walking Dead" stuff I looked at earlier in the project. That was the style I wanted to stick with and that was the stylised look Jon Maxwell wanted to go back to towards the end of working with him.

When thinking of producing a body of work I was going to make a series of posters and postcards so I could create the identity for the film based on the titles and the type I have decided to use. This image could be great for a poster and I think could be an ideal image to advertise the film. It gives you a sense of mood for the film and obviously the location but without giving anything away of the film. This is what I want and this is ideally what is needed for a film poster. Something that would stand out as well as being memorable

First draft

Second draft

Third draft

Final Style With Text

Jon Maxwell's Recommendation

After quite and exciting and eventful Major Project I have received a recommendation from Jon Maxwell who I was creating the titles and credits for.

In the end he didn't end up using my titles and credits but I took the chance and the time to create my own response closer to what I had planned originally. This is what I have been working on the second half of the project and this is what I am currently working on. This way I can show how I would have created the titles as well as how I responded to instruction and how and adapted to a clients needs.

I feel like this has helped prepare me for the industry I am entering and I feel like I have had a real world experience. My 3rd year has been so exciting and life changing. I feel like this year more than any other in my education has helped shape me and point me in the right direction. Hopefully I can use this momentum when the course comes to an end.

The Neighbourhood Placement Review + Portfolio Presentation

Over Easter I spend my 2 week holiday working at the company The Neighbourhood and honestly I can't think of any better way I could have spent it! What an experience and I don't think I could have got anymore out of it. I have made some fantastic contacts there and friends which I am hoping will help my future and I will be able to keep in close contact with. If I was to write up about the whole thing this would be THE mother of all blog posts so..... I kept a day by day diary while I was there, recording my thoughts and experiences.

A cracking read!

This alone, is the best thing I have found about doing the PDP. This experience has been the best thing to have happened to me in my design life. Everyone at the studio were so helpful and so welcoming. You can't have a better compliment that someone saying that you fit right in to their family and that they hope you can go back, visit and work in there studio again at some point.

Thanks again to everyone there and hopefully see you all again soon! All the best,

The Neighbourhood Portfolio Visit 2:

On the last day of the placement we sat down with Stuart (Animator) and Jon (Director) who we sat with last time we had a portfolio visit to look at our work and how we had changed over the year. They were in very impressed with the changes made over the year. Stu said that he was impressed with the work last time but there is noticeable changes this time and that I have upped the quality. This was a great confidence boost as I thought going back with not a lot of different work could be weird.

My Newest Showreel

After looking at this we then went on to look at my final major so I could get some feedback on that and see how I could improve it in the last few weeks. After being there for 2 weeks and sitting through a few presentations I decided to present it properly so they could see that I also think about that aswell.


They gave me some great feedback about how I can improve my final pieces and how I could get the most from it possible, so that is something I can definitely work on. It was a great end to a great fortnight and hopefully thats not the last time I will see them all as I would like to take my stuff back in once it has finished to show them what we have managed to create. We have been invited back to show them and they are going to come to the end of year show which will be great for them to see how everything has ended up.

Tandem Film's Studio Visit

One of the group visit's we had in London was at a studio called Tandem Films. When we got to the design studio we were pleasantly surprised to find it was a converted terraced house located in a really nice area of London. We were all meeted and greeted by the Oscar winning Daniel Greaves! It's one thing to visit his company but it is another for Daniel to show us around himself. We had a great couple of HOURS there and it was a great experience to see what they have to offer. Well look at these photo's at how cool the studio looks and make up your own mind! :-

We were all shown around the studio at the workspaces everyone had. As you can see from the photo's above the studio is a kind of dated greenhouse with parasols inside to keep the sun off the employees and sun/rain off their work. It helped give the studio a relaxed feel and everyone was chilled out. After the tour of the studio we had the chance to chat with some of the freelancers and designers about what they were currently working on. These were jobs for companies such as Nokia, William Hill aswell as working on the Simon's Cat comic strip that Tandem are famous for.

After this we went down to the editing suit downstairs where we all sat around and watched their newly edited showreel. It was great to see how companies still change showreels and keep them up to date and its not just people trying to get into the industry having to do this. Plus it is just the chance to show off. Part way through though I sat up and noticed that they had a piece but The Neighbourhood in their showreel which I was a bit like "What's going on here?!". But little did I know they are the London representatives for The Neighbourhood. This I found very interesting as I have been in contact a lot recently. We then sat and watched more of the work that Tandem had completed and got the chance to speak to another director. One piece of information I was very interested with was that the directors were welcome to go and work at other companies as long as they weren't directing the pieces. This was because Tandem didn't always have enough work to keep them busy so instead of paying them when there was nothing to do it made sense to let them work for others and keep they're hand in.

It was a fascinating visit and great to meet Daniel and have an insight to see what working somewhere like that was like. It was completely different to a company such as Rushes or The Mill as it was on a smaller scale and much more relaxed working environment. Hopefully this is a good contact and hopefully I can keep in touch with all the companies I have visited and maybe some of our paths will cross again someday!

The Mill Portfolio Visit

The last portfolio visit London was at the world famous Mill. After the timings and struggles of finding the last 2 visits I thought I get there very early. Find The Mill then hang around the area until it was time to speak to someone. When I arrived I saw the building and how fantastic it looked. Now I had found where it was (funnily enough it was near the Pizza place that Goolge told me was Rushes studio) I had a little wonder round to see what else was around as I know how close all the studios are together. After 5 minutes I stumbled across the studio of BBH which was another of the companies I asked to visit as they produced the advert I used for my research for my Nexus project.

BBH Studio

ANYWAY... Back to The Mill. I went back and turned up a little earlier than arranged but I thought being early just shows how keen I am, hopefully working in my favour. I sat in the reception area waiting for my contact Kate Hopkin to meet me. I sat there and watched the hustle and bustle of the vast studio. Even the customer area I was sat in (next to an Oscar) was huge with space for tenants to work and just gave me a clue into the scale of the whole company. It had a great welcoming feel to the company as people were asking after me and making sure I was ok. This is great to see even in a company that is world renowned.

I was then joined by Kate and Lisa and we sat in the tenant area and they asked about me and what I did and where I saw myself in the future. I'm not sure if they do this with everyone but it really made me feel like they were trying to get to know me before they started to show me around the studio. I asked what they did and they were there to look after the new talent in the company and make sure everyone was happy in what they are doing. Immediately I knew the opportunity this was to impress and see what the industry was like.

They passed me onto one of the runners at the studio called Robin who took me around the whole studio and showed me what to offer. It was a great opportunity, he showed me all the different sections, right from the underbelly/technical side right through to the smoke and flame suites. I used this time to ask him about the experience of being a runner and where he came from and how he got the place. I was really nosey but you have to be to get the most out of the experience. One point that really stood out to me at this studio was that it was a 24 hours a day studio, they work day and night as a lot of their customers are overseas with huge time differences they want to be flexible to the customer. This is great for their customer relations but must be hard on the staff. I was told about the rotation they were one and the kind of work they do. They are basically there to ensure the welfare of all the employees. They make food for people all over the studio, take people around, move things from different sections of the studio and then they also get to sit with someone and actually learn from them too. Robin mentioned that in they're spare time they are welcome to find space to work and work on they're skills and that they are asked which area they are most interested in and that is the area in which they can learn.

After this I was taken back to Kate and Lisa's office where they had obviously had a little chat about me and what I was like as they offered me a week's placement commencing the 20th July. What an oppertunity that is, Kate offered to give me details of places to stay and they have offered to pay for my travel on the tube so this could be a fantastic experience that I snapped up. It's something I can really look forward to and I have found when I have mentioned it to people in the industry it really makes them sit up and listen so hopefully this could help me in all kinds of ways.

Rushes Portfolio Visit

While in London I had a portfolio visit at the post production house Rushes. After walking around the centre of London following Google maps I decided it is probably best to ring the company to find out exactly where they were as they were not the Pizza shop Google was telling me it was. Anyway after a nice chat with the lady on reception she informed me I was 10 mins walk away.

Once I arrived I was directed up the stairs to the customer area and sat waiting to be met by my contact Warwick Hewett who started off as the VFX coordinator and was now a VFX producer. While I sat there I saw the new showreel Rushes had put together and realised they had been involved in much more than I thought. The technical breakdowns in their showreels really stood out to me as I started to think how I could show how I was going to layer up my final piece. Warwick came to collect me and took me up to the animation studio upstairs. I didn't realise the scale of the company until I was walking through it. It was vast and as we walked through all the different sections I realised all the different areas they operated in from print right through to animation.

We continued through the rooms until I met the guys in the one of the animation studios. The MGFX studio here I sat with Mark, Costas, Seb and the guys. Here I spoke to Mark about where I saw myself in the industry and where I wanted to end up. It was interesting to speak to him and all the guys. This was without shadow of a dowt the most helpful portfolio visit I had had. All the guys were genuinely interested in me, what I do and where I wanted to go. I spoke to them about where they had come from and how they had got to the level they are at at the moment. One thing I really wanted to ask about as it is somthing I needed to start thinking about was how do I get into the industry? How do I stand out? What stands out to them? They answer these questions and so many more. Like I said they wee so helpful and brutally honest with me which is exactly what I was after.

Official Website:

I showed Matt my showreel but all the other guys stopped what they were doing to comment on it and see what I actually did. It was great to feel that welcomed and to be told that I would fit in there, with they're team is the biggest compliment I could have hoped for. I have made many contacts on this visit, got so much feedback and the confirmation that I am going ito the right business for me. What more could you want from a portfolio visit?