Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Updates on projects!

It's been a bit quiet on my own blog recentlty but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy! I found that i was posting the exact same things on this blog as i was on the 'Jurassic Jess' blog and repeating myself. So all the project work I am doing for Jurassic Jess can be found here:
So do check it out! I have just finished texturing all the props that i modelled and will be rigging or doing blendshapes for our Jess character. We aim to start animating next week, which i'm really looking forward to! And have waited a while for! We have fallen behind schedule but we still have enough time to get everything finished, and it WILL be finished!

We were given out the brief for the Visual Effects Module on Thursday 27th October. And the brief is to composite a 3D object into live action footage. It must be between 15 to 30 seconds long and there must be a minimum of 2 shots with 15 seconds of visual effects. We are working in pairs, so I have teamed up with Sarah Rettie. We got some ideas down on paper straight after the briefing and both came up with lots of different ideas. I then thought of the penguin statues on the wall just outside the Overgate centre and thought it would be really fun if one of the penguins came alive!

Here are some rough sketches of the "Penguin" idea:

So we wasted no time and went straight over to the overgate with Sarah's camcorder to do some test filming of the location and penguin statues in the afternoon:
1. Walking towards penguins
2. Walking around penguins

3. Shot of back of penguins, nearest penguin comes alive, stretches wings

4. Sarah's boots representing penguin as it waddles off, and camera follows

Here's the rough storyboard that I sketched out last Thursday (3rd November) to help explain our idea to our tutor, who liked the idea very much and gave us some good advice for when it comes to filming the final footage that'll we'll be using:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Jurassic Jess update

Layout drawings for the environment from my sketchbook for 'Jurassic Jess' and also some drawings to show the placement of background props within the environment.

Prop designs for Eygptian Canopic Jars (done in watercolour and coloured pencil):

Concept artwork for the light streaming through the window onto the T-Rex skeleton (done using digital paint):

As a group we are currently finalising designs and are getting on with the storyboard. We aim to have an animatic by the end of next week. :)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Environment and colour concepts

The two pictures below are environment and colour concepts done with watercolour, coloured pencils and digital paint. The first is cold light (like it's overcast outside - dull) and dark room to represent when the T-Rex is sad, lonely and broken. The second is warm sunlight and a lighter room to show the T-Rex in a happier mood once he has been fixed and has "warmed" to the girl:

Monday, 26 September 2011

Character and Prop Designs

Here is a turnaround of the character Jess that I drew:

And here is an expressions sheet I drew up, i think the last two - 'grrrr...' and 'laughing' are very much Jess's personality:

This is a colour block concept to see what colour combinations work best:

And here's a quick sketch of Jess in the T-Rex's jaw (the end of the story):

Now onto Prop design! Here are some random objects i thought you might find in a forgotten museum storage room:

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Script for Jurassic Jess

Here is the finished script for the newly titled ‘Jurassic Jess’. Our tutor suggested a different ending as the original felt a bit too drawn out; we all think the new ending works much better.

INT. Museum – DAY 

A young girl named JESS runs past a doorway with rope barriers. She doubles back to the barrier, as she spotted a big dinosaur tooth on the ground just inside the barrier. She checks no one is around, ducks under barrier to pick up tooth. As Jess stands, she looks up.


Gasps in shock and surprise.

A giant, menacing T-REX skeleton looms over her in a dusty, disused/in-repair room, filled with storage boxes and an array of historical artefacts. The girl’s initial shock turns to excitement, mouthing ‘WOW’. She starts to imitate a T-Rex, growling and stomping.

1.                                            JESS

“Grrrrr, rawr, rawr.” 

T-Rex suddenly comes to life and yawns.

2.                                            T-REX


Jess looks on in wonderment. It sees her and moves timidly down to her and breaths her scent in.  

3.                                            T-REX

Big breath in.

Her hair is drawn towards the skeleton’s nostrils and tickles them causing T-Rex to sneeze.

4.                                            T-REX


T-Rex shakes head in surprise. Surprise then turns into irritation. T-Rex starts to advance towards Jess.

5.                                            T-REX


As the growling becomes louder, there is an impending sense of danger. T-Rex opens jaw wide. Jess defiantly stands in front of T-Rex, looks thoughtfully at the tooth in her hand, then back to T-Rex. She puts the tooth in an empty gap in the T-Rex’s top jaw.

T-Rex moves back in astonishment, snapping jaw happily as if testing its fixed jaw out. Stomps feet in joy causing room to shake and swings tail accidently knocking over things. Jess joins in, happily jumping up and down.

6.                                            JESS


7.                                            MUSEUM SECURITY GUARD (OS)

“Oi! Who’s in there?”

The Guard’s flashlight passes over Jess’s startled face, but when the flash light swings back she’s gone. Move up to see static T-Rex. No sign of movement or Jess – Light goes out. SFX Guards footsteps recede. Cut to T-Rex head, jaw is lifted open to reveal hiding Jess.

Giggles all round. 


Now that the script is finished, we are all working towards the final designs for characters, props and environment. Here's the link again for our groups blog

Here's some character sketches i did, the "grrrrr-face" pose i based off of a concept sketch of Bonnie from 'The Art of Toy Story 3' book - it's a great book :D

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Museum script draft 1

Jess and her T-Rex skeleton are going into production! I am now in a team made of my brilliant fellow animators; Laura, Slava, Erin and Claire. We all sat down to had a brainstorm and contributed ideas to come up with a new and improved story with these characters. And you can follow all the goings on with this project over the next few months, as we bring this story to life in 3D, over here at our new team blog:
Here is the first draft of the script:

The Museum (Title due to change)

Museum – DAY
A young girl runs past a doorway with rope barriers and a ‘Do Not Enter’ sign. She doubles back to the barrier, as she spotted a big dinosaur tooth on the ground just inside the barrier. She checks no one is around, ducks under barrier to pick up tooth. As she stands and looks up, she is shocked and surprised.

A giant, menacing T-Rex skeleton looms over her in a dusty, disused/in-repair room, filled with storage boxes and an array of historical artefacts. The girl’s initial shock turns to excitement, mouthing ‘WOW’. She starts to imitate a T-Rex, growling and stomping.

T-Rex suddenly comes to life and yawns. It sees her and moves timidly down to her and breaths her scent in, her hair is drawn towards the skeleton’s nostrils and tickles them causing T-Rex to sneeze.
T-Rex slowly moves closer to her while opening it’s jaw wide and then stops right in front of her. Girl looks thoughtfully at tooth in her hand, then back to T-Rex. She puts the tooth in an empty gap in the T-Rex’s top jaw. She smiles and pats the T-Rex’s nose.

T-Rex moves back, snapping jaw happily as if testing its fixed jaw out. Stomps feet in joy causing room to shake and swings tail accidently knocking over things. Girl joins in, happily jumping up and down and giggling.
Oi! What are you doing in there?
Girl swirls head round to see a museum security guard, then looks back at T-Rex skeleton to see it back to its original position. Girl turns and walks back towards doorway to follow guard back along corridor. She turns round one more time before she exits and the T-Rex turns head to look at her, and waves. Girl smiles and waves back, then exits.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Museum idea for pitch

So I have survived the first week back at uni as a 3rd year, and now that I have pitched my idea for the semester 1 project 'World of the Story' (a project which must feature an environment and a character or characters, to create a convincing and consistent world), that I developed over the summer, I can now show you what it was... meet Jess:
I drew her near the start of summer and thought she was interesting and had an instant likeablity. I wondered where was she going and saw her fitting in well within a museum environment. How did she get to the museum and why did she go in? I answered this by introducing another character, Grandma:

They enter the museum together to escape the rain. Jess helps her gran into a seat to rest and goes off to explore the museum. And the rest of the story was following Jess as she went around different departments. Peering into glass cabinets, running away from the Egyptian department in fright, coming across a giant T-rex skeleton and not being afraid of it, instead she imitates it, and then goes back to her gran to explain her grand adventure. I soon realised this story was way too long, and there was too much that would need to be modelled if this was to be a 3D project.

So the story I pitched was this one:

The Museum (Title not final)

Museum – DAY

A young girl and her Grandma enter a museum looking wet and dishevelled. The view outside is raining and dismal. The girl helps her grandma into a seat. Girl turns and wrings water from her T-Rex jumper, then looks up. She sees a sign at the other end of the hall for Dinosaurs. Excited she turns round to check her grandma, who has fallen asleep. Girl runs in direction of Dinosaurs.

Girl gets to a doorway and stops in her tracks, mouth opens in surprise. Camera zooms out to reveal a giant T-Rex skeleton. She walks slowly to the front of the T-Rex. Girl stretches out her jumper, looks down at T-Rex motif, and looks up, looks down, looks up and smiles in delight at seeing a real T-Rex.

The cold colours cast by the rain gradually change to warmer colours as the rain stops and the sun comes out. The sun’s rays from the window in the room dance and twinkle over the T-Rex skeleton, giving the effect the skeleton is moving slightly. Girl squints her eyes at T-Rex.

T-Rex then slowly appears to come alive. Girl puts her hand up, palm facing T-Rex as if reaching up to touch it. T-Rex timidly and gently moves head forwards. T-Rex nose and girl’s hand are almost touching.


Cough, cough.

Girl swirls head round to see a museum security guard, pointing to a sign saying ‘Please Do Not Touch Fossils’. Girl looks back at T-Rex skeleton to see it has returned to its original position. Girl is surprised, her disbelief then turns to awe and mouths ‘WOW’. Girl turns and runs back to her Grandma, who is waiting in the entrance in the sun. Girl jumps up and down with excited explaining her encounter to her Grandma as they turn to leave. Girl turns back around one last time. The T-Rex skeleton is waving at her from the doorway, girl smiles and waves back happily.

The End.

The story is about the power of imagination and is quite a simple, sweet story. With lots of character performance, which is what I like!
Here is a very rough thumbnail storyboard I drew out:


Here's a sketch of Jess with her T-Rex dinosaur jumper (she is quite geeky and tomboy-ish and has a passion for dinosaurs and fossils) and also a very quick concept painting done in Adobe Flash of the moment Jess is looking from her jumper to the T-Rex in recognition:

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Well That’s Not a Light box!

No, it’s not. It’s a sewing machine. A thing that I’ not normally acquainted with but have become not too bad at due to the long hours I spent on it. What was I, a trainee animator, doing you may wonder? Well my friend is part of a local Church that wanted to commission an artist to make these fabric falls for their Church and me being the “arty friend”, they came to me. And so that is what I have been doing a lot of this summer.

Some of the finished designs (mixed media including dye sticks, fabric paint and felt):

Not just that though! I did have 2 weeks down in England visiting family, camping out in the middle of Trafalgar Square, going to York... wait wait wait – camping in Trafalgar Square!?! Yes – it was the craziest thing I have ever done! But it was for the World Premiere of the last ever Harry Potter film ever, so I figured it was worth it!
I've also been working on my idea for the 3rd year animation film, which I'll be pitching to the rest of my year when uni starts back again. I'm looking forward to going back even though I know it's going to be busy and stressful this year! I'll be uploading all the concept artwork, designs and idea for the 3rd year project after the pitch in September so stay tuned...

For now, here is some of my observational drawing:

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Degree Show 2011

Last Thursday I went to a most awesome lecture given by the co-founder of Pixar and a pioneer of computer graphics, Alvy Ray Smith. Before he went up to speak there was a showreel of work from students on the Animation programme at DJCAD from over the years. Two of this years animation films were shown, one of them being 'The Flying Duchess'. During semester 2 of second year I was given the chance to do some colouring for this animation. I had never done colouring before and was quite nervous about taking on someone else's work, especially as it was for their degree show film. However, after a few frames I found it quite easy and coloured a total of 52 frames. I followed the charting in the corner of the frames and put them together in windows movie-maker to see how it looked animated. The result can be viewed below:

All of this years films can be viewed at
I went to the open night of the Degree Show on Friday night to have a look around - never seen the place so crowded! Went back on Saturday to have a better look and watch all the animations again - they really are amazing this year and I wish all the fourth year students Good Luck with whatever they go on to do next!

Another of the films I did some work for was 'A Sweet Disposition'. I was given some inbetweens to do which can be viewed below:

Again this was the first time I had worked with someone else's keyframes to do the inbetweens. A few frames were cut during the final stages of editing including the frames I inbetweened. This happens in the industry all the time and I appreciate the chance to have contributed in any way and increase my experience and skills within Animation. I wish I could have helped out more, but during the semester I became swamped in my own work - yes you Marlo the Magician!

We were recently sent out our summer brief, which is to come up with an idea and conccept art work for a 1 minute long animation. It has to have an environment and 1 or more characters and we will all have to pitch our ideas when we go back in September as 3rd Years for Semester 1!
I also plan to increase my skills and knowledge by teaching myself more about AfterEffects and Maya.

And also... Disney's 'Tangled' is out on dvd and blu-ray tomorrow - excited? YES!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

And thats a wrap!

Handed in all my work today for assessment and Marlo the Magician film was finally completed :D
I used After Effects to composite the animation with the effects and sounds, so turn up those speakers and enjoy!

Sarah also added in a black hole zoom at the end, from taking it from program to program the quality was lost a bit and the sound is slightly out of sync, but here it is:

Roll credits:

Character Description: Lilly Durrant
Character Designer: Claire Roe
Storyboard Artists: Lilly Durrant, Charlie Lodge, Sarah Rettie, Claire Roe
Animatic Production: Lilly Durrant, Sarah Rettie, Claire Roe
Background Artist: Lilly Durrant
Sound Design: Lilly Durrant, Sarah Rettie
After Effects Compositing (light effects and sound): Lilly Durrant
Flash Compositing (black hole zoom): Sarah Rettie


Thursday, 21 April 2011

It's magic!

I watched quite a few video tutorials today trying to work out how to add some effects to our animation. And then I just tried playing around in After Effects and managed to do this:

I think this test worked out really well. And it wasn't that difficult to do! :D Once we have it all filmed, added sound effects to the animation as well, i think it's gonna look pretty grand! Monday is our deadline... but i think we're gonna get there - feeling good today! X

Semester 2 Lifedrawing

Been going through a lot of my work today, organising it all for the assessment. Thought I would post a small selection of photos of the lifedrawing from this semester. Life drawing is very important to Animators in improving drawing skills, observing and capturing lines of action, movement, volume, weight and emotions. The poses range from 2 minutes to 15 minutes long. I have tried this semester to use normal pencil less, as i was told a softer medium might be better suited for me, so i tried charcoal pencil and think it worked quite well.