29 January 2012

Staffordshire University is screening the British Animation Awards:

My uni Staffordshire University is screening the British Animation Awards (BBA’s), a selection of the best of British Animations over the last two years.

They are being shown at the Film Theatre in the Flaxman Building on College Road next week
Screening 1 Monday 30th January 5pm – 7pm
Screening 2 Thursday 2nd February 12- 2pm
Screening 3 Friday 3rd February 4pm - 6pm 

I am selling tickes for this event at a very good price.
£2.00 for each screening
Or buy all 3 screenings for £4.00 

if you are interested email me on: djstuidos@hotmail.com
Better yet you can email Laura Weston on: l.m.Weston@staffs.ac.uk
Or Adrian Tooth on: a.tooth@staffs.ac.uk
I hope to see lots of you guys at the screenings :D

8 January 2012

Animated interview:

As part of my audio production and lip sync module at university I was asked to make a stop motion animated interview. To get the required recordings I went out with a two class mates Joel Townsend and Jennie Lee to interview some people in and around the university. I then took my favourite recording and cut it down in to a 15 seconds clip. 

Once I had my 15 second clip I then had to start coming up with ideas for the character and set design. When doing this I wanted to match the interviewers’ voice and make the character look normal and average, set with in a very basic plane walled office room with hits of a personality with the posters. I did three different designs and I decided to use the third one as the first two were too over the top and cartoony. I then did a quick sketch of squirrel related props and how they would fit on the design.

Now that the character design was completed, it was time to make the puppet. As this puppet will have replacement mouths I started making the head first. I needed a solid head to be made before I started to design and make the extra 13 replacement mouths. To make mouths I covered the solid head in cling film and sculpted the mouths straight on to the head, I then used the cling film to peel the mouth of the head as a whole piece without any damaging. 
When all 14 mouths were made I added the hair and eyebrows to the head, then I made the body. When making the body I decided to get rid of the “I love squirrels” writing on his t-shirt because I could not get a way to add to the plasticine without it getting spoiled when animating.
The set was very simple and quick to make, the main walls were made out of a cereal box. The desk was made out of card board and glued to wooden base the puppet was sculpted on to then painted. I then realised there was no way to tell where the character was, so I came up with the idea of a plate that can go on the back wall saying “Boring Jobs R US”, so you know he is in a very plain and boring office. 
With the puppet and set all completed I now had to fill out the dope sheets before I could start on the animating. The sound clip is 15 seconds long and I was shooting on ones, this meant the dope sheet was 6 pages long. In doing the dope sheet I planned out what mouth shape I will be using by numbering the mouths and writing the number for the right mouth in the box next to the letters. I also put in some of the big head and body movements that the puppet will do, but some of the movements will be made up on the set when I am in the moment. 
When it came to animating I was very concerned about the time I had left and the amount of available animation rigs free in the university. To make things a lot easier for me I decided to animate this clip in the free room at my house using the same camera, laptop and lights I used when working on Viv & Mandy. The only down side to this is that the lighting and picture quality would not be as good as it would be if I animated on the university rigs and that I would have to animate the whole interview in one go. 

This took me around15 hours giving myself 1 hour to do a second, I’m very happy with how the final animation turned out.
I hope you all enjoy it and your feedback is all ways welcome!

3 January 2012

Green Screen character Interaction

As part of my conflict of self brief I was asked to film myself acting out an interaction with my dark side character, in front of a green screen. To do this myself and a course-mate Nicola Everill booked out the university’s green screen room. I did around 5 takes with myself acting on the green screen with Nicola controlling the movements of the hat, with it attached to a piece of string tied to a pole. Once I was happy with what I had recorded I imported the multiple takes into the After Effects, cutting the best take down into the required time of 15 seconds.
 With the main recording of myself completed, the next stage was for me to record back plate. As I want my clip to be set in a park, I went to Hanley Park with a friend’s DSLR camera and recorded a single tree that I knew would be the right one for my stop motion puppet to hide behind. I took the clip from the camera and imported it into After Effect so I could edit the green screen and the back plate together.
 To remove the green screen from the footage of me I cropped out the parts of the frame I did not need using the pen tool. I then used the chroma key removal tool called keylight 1.2 to take out green colour itself. In order get the best result I removed the green using the MattView only. Once the green was removed I realised that I was too large in the frame and I had to resize the layer with the free transform tabs so I would be right in size and scale next to the tree.
I then exported this clip so I could use it as a reference when animating my puppet with Stop Motion Pro on the blue screen roughly to the video clip. I had to use blue screen instead of green as the puppet I was using has green skin and would key out in the editing. For me to be able to animate the puppet coming from behind the tree with a sense of depth to the movement, I set up a blue board so that the puppet could interact with it and would also key out in the editing.
I then exported the finished animation as a full quality QuickTime file and imported it into After Effects to start on the editing. I keyed out the blue screen in the same way as I keyed out the green screen. When organising the different layers I realised that I had to do a lot of moving around and doubling up with the layers of me sitting down. I had to do this as the arm of the puppet had to be behind me, but the hand of the puppet had to be in front of me so it could grab my hat right.In total I ended up using 4 separate layers of me to get the final result.
 Once I was happy with the final editing I exported it out of After Effects to put the sounds and titles onto the videos.Here is the finished animation I hope you enjoy it and your comment and feedback is always welcome

1 January 2012

Conflict of self part 3:

Its time I gave you all on update on how the conflict of self project went now that it’s all finished with. After I did the animation test that I posted in the last update on the project, I carried on making the bad side puppet by adding the extra foam and body details to it with copydex glue and shaping it.
With the body now completely finished I then started working on the head of the puppet. To make the head I used supper sculpy with a ball of tinfoil in the centre to make it lighter for animating. I made the upper part of the head as one piece with the tassel for the hair sculpted into it. When I was happy with the sculpt I covered the hair in foil and to stop it from burning and cooked the head so it was a solid piece.
As the head is now a solid piece I could now drill in the holes for the wired jaw and eye browse. I put the pieces of wire into the holes and started sculpting the jaw over them with sculpy. When I had the basic jaw shape made I then cooked it solid, re-drilled in the holes, glued in the wires to the jaw and head, I then sanded the jaw and neck down more into the slim and pointed shape I needed. 
The next step for me was to drill the holes into the upper and lower jaws in order for me to glue in the wires for the lips. I had to do the lips twice as the first attempt I did made the lips look like the head was smiling and was sad at the same time and it did not work out well. 
When I was happy with the lip wires, I took the head and covered it with spray glue, once the glue was tacky I then cut and placed 1mm thin foam bandage over the wire to make the lips shape, I then placed more foam over the wires on the jaw itself, so there were no caps. I then covered the rest of the head in foam so the liquid latex would have something to stick to when coming to painting it. 
With the head all made, I then glued it to the main puppet body. The next step for me was to paint the puppet in liquid latex. This is a technique I have never tried before and I did not want to do it wrong and mess the puppet up, I decided to ask a good online friend Richard Whillock who I knew had lot of experience working with liquid latex as I have seen the amazing puppet work on his blog. 
Richard was very helpful and gave me some grate hints and tips on what I need to do so I will get the best results, so a big thank you goes out to you mate. I gave the puppet a first cote of dark green. When the first cote was add and dried an interesting thing happened to the foam that gave it a brilliant texture that relay helped to give the skin a grate look once the other 5 cotes of latex paint were added. The last 4 cotes were added to highlight and show the shape and mussels of the characters body from different camera angels.
With the puppet s paint job finalised I just had the small tasks left, adding  the eye browse with milli put, painting them, cutting and gluing the hair in place so it won’t move when animating. As soon as I had the puppet finished I took it straight into uni and did an animation test with him to see how everything worked and looked on camera before I came to animating the green screen character Interaction with him and final conflict of self animation. 
Here is the animation test I never got to finish the walking test as it got too late in the day and the rigs got closed. Hope you all enjoy it and as always you feedback and comments are welcome.