28 December 2010

Hello every one, i'm back with a full update

Hello every one! I know it has been a long time sins my last post but I have been really busy with uni work, but I have got lots of news to tell you all.

I will start off with saying a big thank you to everyone who has watched Viv & Mandy in the big clean up Part 1 and for all the very positive Feedback and comments on it. The film has only been online for just over 2 mouths and it has all reedy had over 13,300 views on the Wallace & Gromit website, over 620 views on YouTube and over 45 likes on the Viv & Mandy Facebook fan page. 

I am now working on Viv & Mandy in the big clean up part 2 at the same time i am working on all my work for uni. This has been a lot harder then i first fort at the start of the term to get the free time to book out an animation rig. At this moment in time i have got over 25 seconds of V&M Part 2 completed. To keep myself busy over the weekends when i am not doing uni work, i have been storyboarding and building and new top secret set. This will show what it behind the sliding doors at the end of part 1 cliff-hanger and introduce a new character to the film.

On the 23th of October we had visit and master class form Aardman Co founder Dave Sproxton. This lasted most of the morning and he told use a lot of behind the scenes secrets and news. In the afternoon he did a Q&A, in this he told use the best way of getting into the industry and how to produce a good eye caching show reel. 

After the Q&A people could go up to him ask him questions and get your Aardman goods signed buy him, so i of course went up to him and asked him to sine my Aardman Cracking Animations Book, gave him my business card and asked if he had spotted the Viv & Mandy hallway set when he had a tour of are uni studios and what he fort of it. Unknown to me one of the tutor had picked up my set with the Mandy and the Old woman puppet still fixed to it and placed it in the centre of the animation rig and put a big shining spot light over it so he did get to see my set and he said he liked the look of the set and puppets.

In the middle of November we had a surprise visit from award winning animator Barry JC Purves who was passing by stoke on the train and fort he would pop in to see the tutors ad he is a guest tutor about three times a year at my uni.
He asked if any of the students would like to show him there work and get some feedback on it. i asked Barry if he would watch Viv & Mandy Part 1 as i no its not uni work but would be nice to get some feedback on it, “he said yes of course that’s why I’m here”. So after a very nervous 5 minutes of playing the film he turned round and just said “what’s in the room?” “Are you doing a second one?” He then went on to give me very helpful feedback in saying some of the camera work can confuses the audience at times and the scene shot over two years ago with Viv & Mandy in the shop were a little ruff in the animating and movement of them, and i need to do more over the op movement so it comes across better. But as i said the stuff was animated over 2 years ago and the animation in the house with the old woman is where i am now and he had nothing to say about that stuff, so i said “thanks very much for watching and feedback” then got back to my work happy with what he told me and know what i need to do and change for part 2.
As part of my uni work we were asked to do a short animation where someone answers a phone call. As I was working on Viv & Mandy in the big clean up Part 2 at the time he asked I did this animation task with Viv. I should mention that as part of the task we were not allowed touse talking or lip sync as the tutor did not want it to be over complicated. I hope this will give you guys the Viv & Mandy fix till a clip or a trailer is out for Part 2 next year.

P.S sorry for the long delay in news posts agen I’m hoping I will get better at doing uni work, animating and keeping the blog up to date in the New Year.

20 November 2010

Animation Encounters Bristol

 This week I got to go to my first animation festival, and the Animation Encounters in Bristol was an amazing one to start off with. I went with my guys from my class mates from Staffs uni from Wednesday to Friday.
On Wednesday we went to see the brilliant film / documentary.

Waking Sleeping Beautywas about how the Disney Animation studios almost were shut down and how they pulled it back to the top.

On Thursday I got to go to 5 different screenings / master classes.

Emerging Animation Talent 1. BBC Shorts. Master class: Stop-Frame in 3D. Best of British Animation. South West Animation.

On Friday i got to go to a further 4 different screenings / presentations.

Short & Sweet 3D. Preparing for the Market. Emerging Animation Talent 2. BAFTA presentation by Andy Serkis.

As well as going all these brilliant events, we all could go around and chat to ever 1, which was really good as they all give you advice on what sites to join and how to make the most of your time when at uni. 

When I was walking out from seeing ‘Waking Sleeping Beauty' i looked over and i spotted Peter Lord heading out. I decided ill never get a chance like this and i just walked over to him and said hello, told him who i was and that he may recognised me from twitter. he said “oh it’s you!” and i chatted to him for a while, and then gave him 1 of my business cards. We shook hands and i said it was great to finally meet him and introduce myself face to face to him.

21 October 2010

Viv & Mandy in the Big Clean up Part 1 is here!!!!

Well it’s been a long time in the making but here is Viv & Mandy in the Big Clean up Part 1 hope you all enjoy it and show all yours m8 :D

i will be doing a new full blog post that will bring u all up to date  with what iv been doing over this last mouth so please do keep a eye out for that over the week end.

17 October 2010

Viv & Mandy in the Big Clean up Part 1 is now completed!!!

Viv & Mandy in the Big Clean up Part 1 is now completed!!! and will online from the 22nd of October!!! 
here is the final trailer for Viv & Mandy in the big clean up Part 1.
To keep a eye on the production on parts 2 and 3  for daily updates you can also follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DJAnimations there is also the Viv & Mandy Fan page on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Viv-Man...
Written, Directed, Animated and Edited
By Daniel James

26 September 2010

Sorry for the delay it’s been a manic 4 weeks!!!

Well where do I begin it’s been a mental 4 weeks iv been editing, animating, packing, resetting computers and moving out of my house and in to my uni room, Well I will start off from where my last post left of, editing on Part 1 of Viv & Mandy had been going very well I had all the music and back ground FX in place.

As the editing was going so well I decided to get on with some on the animating on Part 2. As the hallway set was the only 1 that is 100% completed I made up my mind to shot as much of the scenes that were on that set. The thing I animated was a big wide shot were the old woman walks over to Mandy.

This was a small scene up a good little one to get back animating with, as there was no dialog I really got to add a character in the way she walked over. The second scene I got to animate was with Mandy moving all the piles of newspapers into 1 big pile.

This agene was a scene with no dialog in it so I got to do a good bit of acting with Mandy. This seen took me 4 hours to animate and lasted 11 seconds, I may need to do some pick up on it off. I exported the 2 shots and when you go and add them in to a new editing document but when I did things went very very wrong.

I opened up a new document and put in the video files and when to go press play and nothing happened, so I closed it and restarted and nothing still was happing. Then I fort “Oh NO” and I when to go check on the final cut of Viv & Mandy part 1 and the software refused to play the footage back! So thing I’ve lost everything I uninstalled and reinstalled the program 7 times to try and get it to work and I was having no look what so ever.

The only thing I could think of was wiping the computer back to its factory settings. This ideas had to be put on hold as I then had to spend all my time getting reedy to go to Staffs Uni were I will be doing a full time Stop Motion animation course the only 1 in the UK.

When I finally got in to my room and 3 days without a fully working internet conetion I used my recovery discs and restore my laptop to it factory settings. The next 3 night were spending installing update and all my programs agene. The good news is I have not got my editing software working now and I can carry on editing on Viv & Mandy Part 1.

I showed the rough cut of Viv & Mandy to my course leader and he really liked and has given me permission to carry on with the production of part 2 and maybe ethane part 3 while doing my in work in my free time. So in about 2 weeks I will have to arrange a big trip back home to clear out the work shop and bring all the sets down to Stoke on Trent.

In more good new now I have the edit program full working agene I will be work really mad to try and get Viv & Mandy part 1 finished by the end of October; I will right a special blog post with a poster and a date closer to the time of completion.

Sorry agene for the big long delay in this post and come back in 2 week and find out how things are going with my Uni work and the production of Viv & Mandy

31 August 2010

Editing is going well!

First off all I must say sorry for the 2 day delay in posting my up date is been a funny old last 2 weeks, the first part of the first week was spent doing self portraits of different facial expressions for when I start uni on the 16th. The second part of the week was spent recoding pick up lines and importing all my sound FX CDs on to my hard drive.

The second week is where all the editing really started. The first step was to finales all editing on the animation its self, making share it all cut together ok and all the shots I needed were there. After that I then when on to add in the opening and closing titles to the animation, I did these on Flash and exported them and imported them in to the animation.

I then went over all the sound FX I imported to find music for the postman scene, loading up the van scene and the closing credits. As well as looking for music I also went over all the FX for sounds I could use in that animation it’s self. After going over all of them all I realised that in order for my animation to have a sounds that would really fit in with my style I would have to record 70% of the sounds myself.

After editing the 2 music tracks I found from my copyright free CDs. I then add in all the sounds that I found will fit in with the style of my animation. i then add a meeting meting with my dad were we chatted about what music he can play that I could use in the finally animation. After the meeting we had come up with 4 themes that can be played in all 4 parts on this story.

The first one was a slower and cleaner version of the DJ animations theme that you can here at the start of my show reel and end credits of Morphs cake hunt. This will play at the start on film we also recorded a theme for Viv & Mandy, the house and the old woman.

As well as editing and Part 1 I have also been recording voices fixing models and story boarding on a scene with Mandy and the Old Woman that will be in part2 of Viv & Mandy in the big clean up. As of to day I have got all the music edited into the final cut of Viv & Mandy, and my plans are to spend the week recoding more background and props sound and add then in. I also plan on starting on this new scene with Mandy and the old woman.

I only have 2 more weeks left to get as much animation as I can done before I head off to uni were I don’t know if I will be abele to keep working on Viv & Mandy in my free time or not. If not I will only have time to animate when I come back home in the holidays.

As the editing is going so well I will be doing a new post by the end of the week showing a new poster and a realise date on when Viv & Mandy and the big clean up will be out!

16 August 2010

Animating on Part 1 is now completed!!

It’s been a crazy last 2 weeks, I started it off by making the set for the van dashboard with the built in Sat nav. To make this set I  took the dash board out of the old car I used fort the full size van and melted it , cut it up, added parts and painted it to get final design. 
I spent the next 3 days animating and editing on that set and removing blue screens. I used the same over sized hand for Viv that I used for the shots when they are picking up the cleaning props.  To add in the sat navs screen I had to go on photo shop and repainted over the entire blue screen.  I did this so when I removed it would have a reel screen look to in and not as fill it had jus been painted over. 

The scenes with the sat nav were the last shots I had left to animation form the footage IV all reedy animated. So now I finally get to animated new scenes that IV been really looking forwould to animating. Before I can go ahead and animated new scenes in the messy house, I had to remake the puppet for the Old Woman. I did the beause the puppet I used before I did not had a good full wire frame in it and I wanted to give it the same one as Viv & Mandy have. 

Now that the new puppet was completed it was time for me to animate the big reveal shot were you first see the Old Woman in full. I animated all the shot facing the Old Woman firs and spent 3days on them. I have grate fun when I get to animated with Old Woman from using the voice track I have been able to get some really good acting in to this character that I think u all will really enjoy watching.  

When all the shot face the old woman was completed I then did a very big wide shot were you will see the hole set. to get the shot I had to put two sets togever the hall way set and the front door on the street set , this mad it the biggest set I have used and it took up most of the work shop  not letting me have much room to get in and animate. 

After the big wide shot was completed I then went on to do all the shots facing Viv & Mandy. This was the first big scene I got to animated with Viv & Mandy talking to each other for a long time, and had a really good time getting in some good acting in them, in a way I have not done before and I now think that this scene has some of the best acting and performances I have put in to them.   

I then had to separate  the hall way set from the street set so I could get the camera in so I can animate the Old Woman walking other to the siding doors. I then when on to animate the close up on Viv & Mandy saying the finale line of Part 1 of the story. 

All the animating for Part 1 is now completed and all that left for me to do now it editing , sounds ,fx, music and add a title sequence  and end credits, the relsice date for that will be told soon so all keep ya eyes out for that 1!!!!.
Thank you for reading my blog and I hope u will enjoy ‘Viv & Mandy in the Big Clean up’ when it’s out.  See ya in 2 weeks
Daniel James

1 August 2010

Still going strong

Sins my last post I have been very busy with animating on Viv & Mandy. I stated the last 2 weeks off with animating all the scenes with Viv & Mandy looking and walking up to the messy house and knocking on the door. I spent 2 days animating on them shots, after they were completed I stated setting up for the Boy & Girl talking to Viv & Mandy. Playing the boy is my little brother, and playing the girl is my step sister.

All the shots facing the Boy & Girl talking to Viv & Mandy were shot over 2 day with the boy talking 1 day and the girl talking the next day. So I could get the right depth and space I wanted to the shots I had to place the camera fare back in the street set looking out the door and have a very large set on its side so it took up almost all the studio. I did come across many problems have the set like this when animating these scenes, manly getting reaching over to the puppets so I can animate them with out knocking props and parts of the set.
After completing all the shots on the street with the Boy & Girl I spent the next day doing the shots of Viv & Mandy going into the house and the letters been posted and falling to the floor. After that I spent the next day repainting the hall way of the messy house set. I did this because I never did think that the first way the set was painted never did show the level of mess what I wanted to. I repainted the walls, the photo frames, all he wood work and the sliding doors.
After the set was completed to a standard I was happy with I then had to make the 8 piles of newspapers that will be scattered around the hallway. To make theses I had to a full newspaper cut it in to long strips fold them, stake them up on top of one and other and tie them up. In total it took me over 7 hours to make the piles of newspapers. As I was using normal newspapers the size and scale of the text was not right for the set. To get passed this I made a newspaper on photo shop and gulled it to the top paper of the pile.  
Now that set is completed I final got to spent he next two days animating the first scene with the old woman on the phone to Mandy. The shots I used for this scene were very tight close up shots of the mouth and the phone, as the shots were so close up the lip sync had to be spot on. As the old woman has no teeth I really had to use the shape of the mouth to show what she was saying, I I spent to days working on this scene and had to reshoot a line at one point I do feel that this is the best and most detailed lip sync I have done to date. 
After the to days of animating the Old Woman on the phone I then when on o animate the Old Woman walking up to the Door and picking up the post. As the puppet of the Old Woman did not have the final completed wire framing that hero puppet will have. To animate it leaning down and going back up took 3 take in the end to get it looking right.
Now I have edited in all the footage I shot this week the total animation now last 4 mins and 15 secs. With the animation running well I now have to tack a brake and make a new set for the car dashboard with a built in Sat nav. I’m still making this set and there will be images of this set in my next post. To day I spent 3 hours making 8 different cover for magazines. These are the front page that will go at the top of each of the 8 piles of newspapers.
Thanks for reading my latest blog post pleas come agene in 2 weeks for a new post on how the production is going on the new Viv & Mandy.

19 July 2010

I meant to say this in my last post

It’s hard to remember what I did over a 2 week period and here are things I forgot to put in my last post. On a Saturday I had a recording session with the woman who will be play the old woman (Catherine) and also with the girl who is playing a little girl who lives on the street. On Monday I will be have a second recording session getting the voices for the little boy will be with the little girl and I will also recording new lines for Viv & Mandy.

I also meant to say you may have spotted that the layout of this blog has had some changes made to it. Not all the pages have been fully set up yet but the photo gallery and concept art pages will be updated soon. So keep coming back and cheeking for any updates to them pages and the production of the all new Viv & Mandy.

18 July 2010

Busy two weeks and got many more to come!!

It has been a busy 2 weeks here at, I started it off by picking up were I ended the last post. I finally got the large size houses street set finished, I add the fences to the street with clay and wood I then painted them so they are the same colour as the small size full street set. 

Now that he basic look and colour to the street was completed it was now to time to the more detailed painting the sets. This manly consisted of adding the mess and dirt to house number 6 and the fencing. When I was happy with the paint job I gulled the house to the set so it won’t move around when I’m animating. 

Now that the set was completed it was time for me to start animating. The first thing I animated on this set was the close ups of the post man posting the letters. I did this as it was tight close ups and would give me a good length of time to get used to working on this set. I hat to shoot three letter boxes, the first one was done in one day and the last two were done on next day.

After I finished animating the posting letters were completed I redid the full postman puppet. I had to remake the full size puppet because with the new street set design it did not fit in with the scale of the set. It took me over 4 hrs to make the body, and it took me 3 more hrs the next day to make the head.    


After the postman was completed, I when online and ordered 8 new super strong magnets so the puppets will stay still and for walk cycles. After I ordered the magnets I went into the work shot / studio and started to animate my first scene with the new postman puppet. i spent the rest of the day animating all the shots of the postman going up to and waking away from the all the clean houses. 


The next day I picked up from were I left of the day before and shot all the shot of the postman going into and from the messy house. To get the shots were the camera will see the houses on the opposite side of the street I had to use the small scale houses and use perspective so hey don’t look to small and out of place.

The next day the magnets arrived in the post, when I opened them I went into the studio and set up the full scale house set for the postman puppet and the magnets. When every thing was set up I spent the rest of that day animating my first walking scene with magnets.

When the walking shot was completed I then exported all the completed shots and edited them in to the final animation shot so fare. With the new animation added in I now how the opening sequence of the film completed lasting over 50 seconds, I now have 4 minuets over all completed.

With all the shots with the postman completed and edited I can now start shooting with Viv & Mandy them selves. This will be the first time I have animate with then sins April and the first time I have done any animation with lip sync sins before Christmas. Before I can do any of that I needed to spend almost 4hrs getting them ready for animating. As of now this is how Viv & Mandy are in the studio reedy for a full day of animating with them tomorrow.

So that’s you all up to date!, please do come back in 2 weeks time were I will do another update on the production of the all new Viv & Mandy.

4 July 2010

Now In full production!!

I left college last Friday with the finally grade of DDD (distinction, distinction, distinction) the most I can get on BTEC course. So now I have been in full production on Viv & Mandy for a full week.
All this week I have been making a set of two houses and the street that are at the right scale of Viv & Mandy.

This is the largest set I have made as to date, the set is not yet completed as it taken such a long time to do but will be bye the middle of next week.

Here are some images shows how I have made this set.

I got the wood and marked out were all the parts of set will go and were the holes that are need to fix the puppets to the set will go.

From there I went on to add the long over grown grass that would be outside one on the house. To do this I had to sit there and glue in the grass blade by blade I don’t know how many are there but as u can see from the image there a lot.

From that a started making the two houses for the street, one will have a big role in film and has to have a working door and be decorated on the inside, the other one is there for close ups and wide shots so not as much detail on the door and the inside is needed.

I used the same wood as I did for the street, marked out and cut out the wood into the shape of the houses. As you can see one house has the full outer house cut and the second one only has the first floor cut out.
I then glued on the sides and painted the houses.

To make the door so it fully works I nailed in a small set of hinges to the door its self and nailed in the he other side into the door frame on the inside of the house so it would work as a reel door.

I then painted the doors on the houses, the second house dose not need to open so its only wood gulled the house. In cut and panted strips of wood and uses them for the window and door frames on the houses inside and out.

For the house that will be used a lot in the story I decorated hen inside of it with wall paper and skirting boards, there will be more details added when the set I glued to the street set.

With houses now completed it was time to glue them to the street set and do all the final touches with paint and set design. To the insides of the hoses and the street it’s self. These are not completed and will be finessed off next and I will begin animation on this very large set.

So come back in 2 weeks time when I will do a new post and see were I am in the production of the new Viv & Mandy.

20 June 2010

Not long now!

Its not long now till I finish college I’m in my final week and very busy trying to get all my work up to the best standard I can as of now I have got 6 distinctions out of 18 unites hopping to get 4 more by the end of week.
As for Viv & Mandy I have been trying my best to get some work on it on in my free time. I got the shot the post man on the full street set completed and now I am spending my time making a new full scale house set from scratch which is taking longer then I first fort.
For much more information check back in two weeks for a new update I would have left college and will be working on the new Viv & Mandy full time.

7 June 2010

Had my week off animating now back at college

Had my week off animating now back at college

Had a grate week off college no only did I go to Lego land which is were 7 years ago I got the Lego studios kit started off my whole animation film making. But I also got 7 seconds of good quality animation completed.

The week started off making a small scale boy and girl that would play out on the street in front of there house with a ball. After I had finished making the puppets they when striate into the work shop and animated them.

The next day I rebuilt complete the Hogsmeat Lane which it massive and takes up all most the enterer Workshop and is very hard to set the camera up on, set lights up on, movie around and to animate on. I set up the set in the opposite direction as I waned to shoot the van driving down the lane to the messy house, with the boy and girl playing on the street and a man mowing his lawn. All the animation form that angel was shot in day.

After all the shots of the van driving the lane were completed I spent the morning rebuilding the street set right direction. I did the so I can get the shots that will open the animation of the postman walking down the street.

2 days later I went back into the work shop and animated the first shots of the post man walking down the street. I had to stop animating halfe way thought the next shot as the heat in work shop got to much for the models and they started to fall apart.

I plan on finishing those shots in the next week or two so check back in two weeks time when I will up date this blog with more new and images from the production of my new Viv & Mandy film.

23 May 2010

Will be getting back to full time animating soon

Will be getting back to full time animating soon

I am still working hard a way with college work so not had any time to animate. But from the 31st of may I will have a week off so I will be making sets and animating as much as I can.

Although I have been busy which college work I have still been doing my best to network. I have been Twetting Peter lord the cofounder of Aardman animations, been chatting to a animation producer from America and I got a very nice email form the world classes animator Barry Purves.

And iv been doing bits of concept art for Viv & Mandy

That’s me all up to date will be back in 2 weeks time will lots more up dates and the production of Viv & Mandy

9 May 2010

keeping the production on Viv & Mandy going

I have been very busy with college work but I have still managed to keep the production on Viv & Mandy going. I have animated a wide shot on the street of a man mowing his lawn and van parking up.

This week I also completed making the new boy and girl puppets that will have a small part in bulling up the mystery of the old woman’s house to Viv & Mandy.

The script is very near completion as of now it is 14 pages and a 2429 worlds long. It is shaping up well and I’m confident it will fill my expiations on how I wan this animation to be.

Check back agene in 2 weeks time for a new update and news on the production of Viv & Mandy

Until then pleas do follow me on twitter for daily updates.

26 April 2010

Back at college!

The last week of the holidays was spent working on the script making models and working on set designs, cant show you all photos yet top secret. Now I’m back at college so most animation work has to take a back step:-(

But IV still got some rely good concept drawings done for the inside of the houses and making 2 new characters models

I have also re-casted the part of the old woman (Catherine) with a grate new voice that I think will bring a whole new dimension to the character.

So keep checking back here for all he latest’s new and pitchers

11 April 2010

What a week!!

Its been a very bizzy week finally with 2 weeks off college iv been spending all my time on Viv & Mandy and getting as much done as I can.

I went to B&Q to get some wood for a new set of the large scale house I won’t be starting work on the building of that set till next week. When I out I also when to town and got some ink for my printer to print off logos for the van. When home I stated working on finishing off all the sets that I will be using this week. Here are some pics of the set and van that got completed this week.

After taking up the finished sets from yesterday into the work shop. I started work on very complicated scene it only last for 1.5 seconds but took a whole day to. I won’t tell you what it’s for because you will have wait and see but here some pics of that vey long day of shooting.

After the long day yesterday I now had to animate the shot that follows on from the last one. This shot was animated in the same way so it was a full day of animation ahead.

Today was a full day in the work shop agene animating all the shot with the van getting ready to drive out the building to the house. I shot the van driving out about 4 times from as many angels as I could get.

As all the shot with van getting ready were completed I had to clear out the work shop completely and start on rebuilding the old Hogsmeat Lane set that has been stored away from over a year. This took longer then I thought as part had to be repainted and rebuild.

With Hogmeat Lane all rebuilt I started animating the van driving down it from as many angels as I could. I all stated using my large tripod for the camera so I could get nice big shot of the street showing off as much as I could.

To day I animated the postman walking down the street. This shot was a retake as I was never happy with the way he walked. Now this shot has been shot agene I am rely happy with the final walk.

So as you can see its been a very bizzy week and I still have one more off so hoping I can get lots done in the week to keep look out for next weeks post with more pics and info on the production of Viv & Mandy.