24 February 2014

Soldering Armatures

Earlier in the mouth I got to try out soldering a ball and socket armature. Using the armature parts from AnimationToolkit I cleaned them all up with nail polish remover to remove the dirt and grease so they can fuse together perfectly. Using the silver solder and flux kit and a chefs gas torch I started heating up and soldering away
It took me a just under 3 hours to compete the full Armature, I found soldering the ball and bar sections to be relatively easy. The joint sections took a longer time to heat up and a bit tricky to apply the solder to at times. The most tricky parts I found for me were the feet plates because of the size and shape of them. 
Once all the parts were soldered together I cleaned them up in vinegar to get the burnt scorch marks off and built up the armature itself. I have to say that soldering an armature is brilliant it feels so solid and much more professional, I will be doing this with all my armatures from now on and I cannot wait to get animating this fella!! 

23 February 2014

Piper screenings

Good news! My graduation film The Piper has been selected to play at 2 screening events in March. 
The first screening is overseas at the Montreal Nuit Blanche on the 1st of march 1st. This is a one off screening of selected highlights from the Stop MoMontreal festival, that The Piper was screen at last October. More information on this festival check out the site here! 
The second screening is the 2014 Animation Showcase Chester International Film Festival on 6-15 of March. This is the first time that the Chester International Festival has had an animation section and I’m very proud to be apart of it! For More information on this festival check out the site here! 
If you get a chance to go to any of these events and see The Piper please do get in-touch as I would love to here your feedback. 

6 February 2014

Working on Compost Corner

Over the last 2 years I have been lucky enough to do 3 weeks’ worth of work at CITV working on the Stop Motion Shorts Compost Corner. If you have not seen Compost Corner before check some out below.

TWEET ME from weswood on Vimeo.

CONKER DASH from weswood on Vimeo.
Compost Corner - 'Speed Date' from weswood on Vimeo.
INCY WINCY CLAUDE from weswood on Vimeo.
DO THE WORM from weswood on Vimeo.
BIRD TABLE TFOR TWO from weswood on Vimeo.

I’ve worked on the shorts for a week at a time over 3 sets of 12, 30 second episodes, in the May - November of 2012 and in the November of 2013. My main job role was making the new props for the episodes, this can be anything from making conkers, snails eyestalks, bunches of cherries, corn on the cob and even a Chinese style gong. I also helped out with the setting up of the new shots, set dressing, placing props to look the best on camera and assisting the animator with shots when I'm needed.
Behind the scenes photos of what I got up to taken by myself. 

In the last year Compost Corner has been nominated for a BAFTA, screened at the Bradford Animation festival and most recently nominated for not one but two British Animation Awards known as the BAA's. I'd like to say now a big thank you the Wes for letting me be a very small part of it all and a massive congrats to him and all the team involved, it grate to see a small production getting recognised and I have my fingers crossed for you!
The second time I was at CITV I was asked to animate a little short for them called Roswell. This was for a workshop they did with a bunch of kids where they spent the day creating a storyboard for a short story. The puppet, props, and set had already been made and was all set up for animating. I spent the afternoon animating the puppet on set with a green screen background, although I had to follow the storyboards I was allowed to come up with my own ideas within the boundaries.
Once I finished animating I gave the image files to the CG guys and in 3 mouth I got sent over the final file with grate 3D FX and brilliant sound FX added the just brings it all to life. Check out the final Roswell below and as all ways your comments and feedback are very welcome.

7 January 2014

Working at Second Home Studios

Back in September / October of 2013 I had the chance of getting to do just under 3 weeks of work experience at delightful and very welcoming Second Home Studios in Birmingham. Where I got to assist on a project for CITV's Share A Story, This is a yearly competition by CITV where children get to make their own storyboard for a 30 second short. The winners are selected and local animation studios are then given a short to make in their desired format.
To find out more about Share A Story check out the in-depth article from skwigly here!
The Share A Story I got to work on is called 'My Motorbike'. Made at Second Home Studios. Written and read by 8 year old Alex Holt, Directed and Produced by Waldemar Werbel and Chris Randall.
I joined the project on the last 3 weeks of production right when the animating side started up. This was a perfect time for me to join as most of the job roles I got involved in were prop making, set dressing, help setting up shots, lighting and overall studio assistance. The job that I'm most proud of getting to do was making the characters scarf and red cape. I made 2 of etch Item as they had a habit of getting a little grubby from been used and moved around a lot to simulate the wind as he rides the bike.
One of the more amusing things I learnt was making the trees. To do this we used a number real tree branches, glued together to make the tree trunks. For the green foliage we used bunches of Broccoli screwed and glued into place. This would of never of crossed my mind but it is something I will most definitely be keeping in mind for a project as it has a brilliant look on camera. 
To read the skwigly interview with Chris and Wal on the making of My Motorbike Click here!

Check out the final short here:
 

Credits:
Written and read by 8 year old Alex Holt,
Directed and Produced by Waldemar Werbel and Chris Randall.
Animation: Ian Whittle, Chris Randall, Waldemar Werbel
Production Assistant: Omari McCarthy
Modellers: Dominic Madden-Kennedy, Abbie Williams, Charlotte Clare, Amy Dodd, Ian Whittle, Omari Mccarthy Josh Taylor, Daniel James
Post-Production: Waldemar Werbel, Jardine Sage, Frank Mansfield, Chris Randall

I hope you enjoyed It, this was great fun to work on and a brilliant team to work with, I hope to get the opportunity to work with them again! To find out more about Second Home Studios click here!

10 December 2013

Bradford Animation Festival 2013

I had the joy of been at the 20th Bradford Animation Festival, this was my first time going and what a year I picked to go. As there was a lot happening over the week I will focus this post on my personal favourite events from the festival.
On the opening night of the festival I got to see a screening of Nightmare Before Christmas, the film was been screened To celebrate that like the festival it's the films 20th anniversary. Now of-course I have seen the film A LOT but I have never seen it on the big screen, seeing it like this was brilliant and I was amazed to see new props and details in the sets on almost every shot. Iv you ever get the chance to see it on the big screen do it! 
Independent Animator Lee Hardcastle gave a very interesting talk on how he to become a success from posting his animations on YouTube. I first noticed see Lees work when he posted the evil dead in 60 seconds, Pingu's The Thing and it's grate to see that he is doing so well. I Found it fascinating that he has managed to turn his crating animations for YouTube hobby into his full time job and it.s something I'm very interested in looking into my self. Take a look at some of Lee's work here.



My highlight of the festival was getting to see the brilliant Ian Mackinnon and Peter Saunders receive their lifetime achievement award. For you guys who may not know Ian and Peter are the owners of Mackinnon & Saunders the UK's leading stop motion Puppet makers and they could not be nicer guys.

photos from BAF Flicker
You will mostly know them from their work with Tim Burton on The Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie and with Wes Anderson on Fantastic Mr Fox. They have mostly been busy working for over 20 years on countless children's TV shows including: Bod the Builder, Bill & Ben, Postman Pat, Engie Benjy, Fifi and the Flowertots, Raa Raa the Noisy Lion and most recently Toby's Travelling Circus.
They are a true inspiration to me and it was brilliant to see them getting honoured for their very hard work.  If you have not do take look over there site here!! mackinnon and saunders

On the last day went to see the brilliant Oscar winning independent Australian stop motion animator writer and director Adam Elliot in conversion with the grate Barry Purves. I first saw Adams work when I got to see Mary & Max and Harvey Crumpet and I became fan of this unique style of film making right away.

photos from BAF Flicker
Apart from seeing his films I did not know all that much about Adam so it was grate to final get to find out more about the man behind it all. For you guys who may not have seen Adams work cheek out the Mary & Max trailer here

Before the talk started Barry and Adam were talking in the caff where I was also sat, this was where Barry spotted me came over and introduced me to Adam. I got to have a good chat with Adam and I also got to show him The Piper puppet, biggest complement he gave me was when he asked if Mackinnon and Saunders Made The Piper for me!!
Big thanks to Barry Purves for taking the photo.
The Pipers Having a good week at BAF.
My self @BeyondCraft and @catch_ch and The Piper working hard on the @skwigly animation quiz @OsgoodBAF we came 10th and I got an awesome CITV goody-bag (photo from BAF Flicker)

For my first time going to the Bradford animation festival it was a brilliant 4 days and I am very excited for BAF2014 so roll on next year and Ill see you then!