Wednesday, 6 August 2014

EHC Animation - resales

It has been a busy couple of months preparing for the resale of the EHC animation, and currently I'm at work putting the finishing touches on Barking & Dagenham's version - with Oxfordshire County Council to follow. Prior to working on the resales themselves, it was necessary to bring the original animation up to scratch with the latest style! This included adding in the eyes and neatening up the designs. You can find out more about the EHC Animation here.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Information Animations for NCC

I've recently completed my third animation for Nottinghamshire County Council, which helps to explain the "Disabled Children's Access to Child Care" (DCATCH) service to children and young adults with special needs and learning disabilities. It has been important to keep this animation cohesive with the others for NCC, so it feels like they are all coming from the same place and are designed for a similar audience. Furthermore, the animations will all feature on the same webpage - so its good that they will fit well together.

I've found in the process of creating these 3 animations, certain elements of design techniques and animation transitions etc. have become more formalised; so I will be revisiting the EHC animation, to bring it up to the same high standard as the more recent versions (and of course - adding in eyes!)

To view the animations, please check out my website (click here.) I have posted some screenshots of the animations below to give you some idea of the content and style.

EHC Animation

Short Breaks Animation

DCATCH Animation

Filming interviews for NCC

In April, I spent a day filming at a special school in Nottinghamshire. This was followed by several weeks editing; the product of which was a series of 5 videos that capture the views of professionals, parents and students who have all been involved with trialling out the Wiki - technology that has been developed by the RIX centre at the University of East London, which enables multimedia advocacy amongst those with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). The day went well, and we managed to find some good quiet spaces within the school to shoot the film.

The video below captures views from teachers who work with young people with SEND, providing their informed reviews of the Wiki, and the effect that it has had at the school. Other videos in the series reflect the views from students and parents. Additionally, there's a compilation video which features segments of everyone. These other videos can be viewed on Nottinghamshire's wiki pilot page here.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Animations for Nottinghamshire County Council

Just a quick update..

I've recently completed my second animation for Nottinghamshire County Council. This time, for the Children's Disability Service, explaining their Short Breaks and Personalisation service. This can be found on my website here. I'm pleased to say that it has gone really well and that I'm now working on the next animation for the Children's Disability Service.

Alongside this, I will be completing a couple of animations for Dr Clare Bale explaining a Pathway for children and young people with concerning behaviours. Furthermore, I was recently asked to film Nottinghamshire County Councils SEND Conference in February, so the next step for this will be editing and exporting as videos of keynote speakers and vox pop interviews. It's great to be busy!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Filming at the SEND Conference in Nottingham

I was recently invited up to the SEND Conference in Nottingham, by Nottinghamshire County Council to film some "vox pops" (voice of the populi - i.e. people expressing their thoughts and opinions) and keynote speakers.

The content of the conference was around the same topic my previous animation was based on, and it was really nice to see my animation being played at the conference to help delineate the new EHC plan.

The event presented me with some great experience in the area of filming. I found the vox pops looked the best, and I think a DSLR is well set out for this purpose. Since the conference I have put together 8 seperate videos (3 vox pops, 3 keynote speakers, key messages and a summary video.) The summary video was fun to make as it was an amalgamation of various cutaway shots taken thoughout the day with selected bits of the speakers and vox pops. So a nice mix!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Animation for Nottinghamshire County Council

I have recently completed this Animation working with the great folks at Nottingham County Council. It has been a real pleasure working with them and I feel like I got a lot out of the job. From a conceptual point of view this has certainly been one of my favourite projects so far as I was let loose to storyboard the entire piece myself. It was also left to me to source a voice over artist, so I thought of a friend of mine - Laura Bozic who did a great job. For the soundtrack, I came across which is a great website for music which is free for commercial use (so long as you credit them.)

A summary on the development of style..

In the process of creating this animation, I have learned that it's important to get the style confirmed early on in order to save time later. I knew that style/concept visualisations were an important part of pre-production but in this case, time was a limitation. I had my hands full working on and making suggested changes to the 6-7 minutes worth of content for the animatic.

My initial animatic was met with a surprising amount of enthusiasm, given that it was the result of quick photoshop sketching from a storyboard I had drawn by hand. Some were even questioning whether it was the final product. I had found that my standard procedure of doing things, co-coincided with the style/concept that they were looking for, but I hadn't yet realised this.

Still from original animatic

I thought "great - they will love the final version," and got cracking. Previously they had provided me with reference from - the black silohuette characters - to provide me with a final finish to aim towards. I had always wanted to get more experience with vector graphics and using Illustrator so I saw this as an ideal opportunity. Here is the first "final look" I created for them ( I spent several days on applying this look to a portion of the animation, before our scheduled feedback session.)

Whilst I was quite proud of this - the subtlety of tonal change to define the horizon, the texture, the smooth motion blurred motion and the perfectly symmetrical characters, I sensed in the Skype feedback/development session with the chaps at Notts CC, that they were slightly disappointed with it.

So later that day, I emailed the client to ask whether there was anything they didn't like about it. This was then followed up by a call which was the turning point of the project. I had a massive "aah ha!" (eureka moment) when I realised what they liked about the animatic was the simple naivety of the style; the way it looked like a child had drawn it. We discussed ideas around this theme (e.g. using a pencil texture and keeping with the stickmen) and it was also suggested I physically draw in the character (or create the impression I'm doing this.)

The audience (0-25 with special educational needs & learning difficulties, their families and linked professionals) became a prominent part of my understanding on how I should approach the style. I researched and found that the key things that appeal to children are: characters clearly depicted in their environment, colours and a simple, accessible style. I remember the maths books I had at school with the squared paper. So, I threw all these elements together and hey presto! Everyone was happy again!

New technical/business skills gained

So aside from learning to nail down the style as soon as possible; I've also picked up some new technical skills - such as using the pen tool in Photoshop to create smooth lines and curves then applying a brush texture to fill the length of this line. Also, filming my hand drawing in the character. For this, I printed the already-created Photoshop stickman onto green card. Then I filmed my hand drawing the character (only the pencil isn't touching the page but just following the printed line.) I removed the green in After Effects and replaced it with the background and character. I applied a stroke effect to make it look like the character was forming as a result of my pencil.

A final positive outcome from this experience is picking up new business skills, including working with a large client, making proposals, subcontracting other professionals (i.e. the voice over artist and her agent) and communicating via Skype. It has been a fantastic project to work on and I look forward to working with them again in the future.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Monsterophians - Illustration

This is my design for the first "Keeping It Brief" brief. A blog set up by Gareth Sharples for Falmouth students and graduates. This month's brief was to create a music band of monsters. I sketched out many potential characters beforehand which helped inform my final designs here. I'm quite happy with the character designs - if I find time I'll add in a bit of colour. I imagine them to have a carribean sound.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Blender - completed spaceship!

I have now completed this tutorial from Andrew Price. It was great to learn the ins and outs of Blender in terms of modelling, applying materials, lighting and compositing. I'm quite happy with this final result :-)

Friday, 23 August 2013

Blender spaceship model

For those who are unfamiliar with Blender, it is a completely free 3D program, open source with a lot of free resources available.

I found this cool spaceship tutorial online by Blender teacher Andrew Price from Blender Guru. Over the past couple of days, I've spent a few hours modelling this spaceship. Blenders interface is nice and intuitive which makes it nice and quick to learn.

Here are a couple of pics of my work in progress:

For those who know Maya or 3ds Max, you are well catered for in Blender as you can use all the same hot keys. My next step will be to do the 2nd tutorial, texturing and compositing to create the final image.

In the mean time, here is some Blender Inspiration!

I am also intending to download a trial of Cinema 4D soon, it seems like every motion graphics job out there has it on their job description so it would be wise to learn it.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Release of our 3D Grad film - "Kernel"

It has been over a year since I graduated but at long last, our fantastic 3D animated film "Kernel" has now been released on Youtube! Be sure to check it out with the lights turned off, the sound turned up and in full HD!




Olly Skillman-Wilson: Director, Writer, Lighting Artist (3rd from right)
Laurence Nairne: Creative Producer, Script Editor, Animator (1st on left)
Charlie Minnion: Lead Compositor, Editor, Storyboard Artist (5th from left)
Hugh Herbert: Writer, Animator
Dan Emmerson: Animation Director
Luke Jefferson: Rigging, Texturing, Technical Director (5th from left)
Kai Fraser: Dynamics, Stereography (2nd from left)
Liam Fraser: Dynamics, Stereography (4th from left)
Jake Jones: Modelling, Texturing, Compositing (4th from right)
Ryan Mace: Modelling, Texturing, Compositing (2nd from right)
Nigel Kitts: Lead Texture Artist, Animator (1st on right)
Alan Matthewman: Fluid Dynamics, Cloth Simulation (3rd from left)

KBS music video pitch

Recently, I pitched for a music video on Radar Music videos for a North London rapper by the name of KBS (Kainee Boi Set.) You can listen to the tune here: "Just A Ghost" by Kainee Boi Set.

Unfortuantely, the pitch fell through. Here is the pitch document I sent with my written treatment:


In retrospect, I ran out of time to come up with an idea for the chorus & I think the initial KBS font in the intro is a bit to tame! Also the Tetris idea is a bit too obvious. I quite like the style I put together though.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Fin. "The Incomplete Activist" with CreativeConnection

My role

As it was a small creative team, my job was not restricted into one small area, but traversed many roles. I was bought in from the start, to collaboratively engage with what the client was after, brainstorm ideas and help put them into action by producing the first bits of stop motion animation with the team. From then on my job was to work remotely with all the stop motion footage they recorded.

The work involved animating, compositing, adding effects, creating smooth transitions, working to a voice over and editing. Whilst being given plenty of stop motion material, backgrounds and precise instructions to work with, I also had a fair amount of creative input in terms of applying some of my visions from an animation point of view to their ideas and visual output. In this respect the work was very symbiotic. Generally speaking I was very happy with my position in the project as I found it to be dynamic, diverse and interesting.


Throughout the production of the animation, I received constructive feedback after each EIP (Edit-In-Progress,) which allowed me to continuously improve on the work by making changes and bring about further cohesion. At these points they would also supply me with more stop motion material to fill in the gaps of the script. Throughout the course of the project and through applying their feedback, I have improved on my editing technique - more specifically, the art of joining together a voice over with text, sounds and visuals whilst maintaining a good pace and flow.

It has been a good learning process in terms of working with others. I have learned to respond to criticism constructively, to be flexible about changing things that are not working and to accept that not all my ideas will be implemented. On the other hand, it has been highly rewarding to receive very positive feedback and I have gained a huge sense of personal satisfaction on fulfilling what has been required of me. The CC team and the client have responded positively to my output so all in all it has gone very well.

There has been a high amount of creative input in this project from all involved and it has been great to work with such enthusiastic and skilled artists, as well as a talented writer (script) and actor (voice over.)

What is it about?

The film is designed to educate people and dispel the myths of what activism involves, how it comes about and what activists are like. It is full of interesting visual metaphors which takes us into the heart of the activist.

The client who commissioned it, is currently doing his PhD and writing a thesis on the subject. We listened, as he explained his thesis to us, following this, our mission was to condense the content of this thesis into some key bite-sized chunks of information that can be manifested and absorbed in animation form.

Purpose and audience

Hopefully, the film will resonate with audiences across the spectrum, enlighten them with knowledge which is otherwise not obvious or explicit and inspire discussion and debate. It will be shown to hundreds of communities across the U.K. and uploaded onto an intellectual virtual space as well as Youtube.


As you can see there is a nice D.I.Y. feel about it - most of the elements were made by hand, and once they were sent to me I comped them together, adding animation and effects where necessary. A big part of the animation was creating smooth transitions which, with the help of a computer - one can be ridiculously perfectionist about! This is a big part of animations charm though so I feel it is worth the time.
I am proud to have been a part of this great project and I anticipate it's release into the world (this September/October.) This has been a different type of animation project to the kind CreativeConnection normally work on - so hopefully more like this will come, as I would love to work with them again!


Voice Over --- Philiph Bosworth
Script writer --- Dann Casswell

Director --- Ariadne Radi Cor
Producer & Co-Director --- Jessica Harvey

Illustrator --- Lara Popovic
Animator & Editor --- Charlie Minnion

Made by CreativeConnection :

Fin. "Love Soldiers" @ the RCA - Screenshots & Learnings

Over the last few months I have been spending a couple of days a week helping out Chloe Feinberg on her 2D animation "Love Soldiers" at the RCA. I am pleased to say that the film is now complete and has screened at the RCA shows.

My job has mainly been scanning in the hand inked frames, colouring sequences in Photoshop and compositing in After Effects. More specifically the compositing involved putting in camera moves, time re-mapping, generating effects, creating the animated film grain, bringing together several seperate layers into one scene, and embellishing the look of it. Chloe had a very clear vision in her mind of what she was after, so my role was very much acting as a technical support and following her direction.

It has been a really interesting project to work on, and great to work with such a passionate and driven director. Chloe has worked tirelessly day in and out on the film, it has been a massive labour of love and I am happy to have contributed towards making her vision come to life.

As you can see - it has a really nice aesthetic quality to it - a great quality of drawing, line, colour and texture. The film itself is one that keeps the viewer engaged, curious and entertained. The style has captured a surreal dream-like essence which works symbiotically with the content and nature of the film.

Chloe's statement:

" I see animation as a way to re-invest in representations and impart them with something strange and intoxicating. It enables me to create narratives that weave a kind of personal mythology out of dreams, fantasies and memories. My degree show film explores images that are born out of excess, and the project is a synthesis of many personal interests, including; erotic comic artists of the 1970s and ’80s, surrealism, perfume segments on home shopping channels, male sex idols of the ’80s, and the work of artist/animator Suzan Pitt. "


I have learned a few little things (some of which are thanks to some helpful RCA students - cheers chaps!)


Learning a method for producing a boiling effect (i.e. making the lines wobble a bit - like in Rugrats.) This has been achieved by using a loop of 3 frames. So it goes 1,2,3,2 then this is on a loop. The frames have been hand drawn, with the intention to simply copy over the exact same line again - this produces a nice subtle boiling effect. Alternatively, a similar effect can be achieved with turbulent displacement though it seems much less effective.

Time remapping

Getting used to working in the time remapping graph to re-tweek the timing of a bit of animation. I was asked to replicate the timing of a bit of animation to match a reference film clip and was able to work it into a tee using time remapping.

Consistant frame rate

I have also learned that it is wise to keep things all at the same frame rate (i.e. if the lines are boiling on 2s then any other animation or effects should be in sync on 2s as well), otherwise you get a bit of a weird strobe-ing effect which isn't so good on the eyes.

Motion paths + natural camera movement

Working directly with motion paths seems to be the clearest and easiest way to manipulate the movement of a camera. Alternatively, you can parent the linear/bezier movement of a camera to a null, then use motion sketch to apply a subtle natural camera move by hand (ideally with a tablet) in real time.

Photoshop actions as an indispensible colouring aid

I have also learned how to colour a sequence in Photoshop quickly by utilising actions. This has had a significant impact on speeding up workflow.

Using Final Cut
I have now scratched the surface of this lovely and intuitive editing program, perhaps one day I'll get it myself but until then I will make do with my trusty Adobe Premiere.

Using a Mac

It has to be said - whilst I have used Macs on rare occasion before, my computer at home is a PC with Windows and this is what I have become used to, so I feel like I have got much more used to using a Mac - I'm now bi-computeral :-)

Interestingly, it has actually changed the way I use my PC. I have downloaded a plug in which allows me to colour my folders - I highly recommend this as it enables quicker navigation through windows explorer if you have a large amount of files and folders to navigate in one project. Also using a Mac with 16GB of ram has inspired me to start jumping between different apps on my computer with more confidence and efficiency - no longer strictly keeping one app open at a time but working more simultaneously across apps - unless it slows down my computer! So yes - next step is to upgrade my PC to 16gb ram which I hope to do imminently.


I really enjoyed my time working with Chloe and Filip (Fil inked all the frames) at the RCA and feel like I got a lot out of it. At times, there was a lot of pressure on and things could get a little stressful, but equally there were also some great moments where we were all "in the zone" and it was a laugh. Alongside Chloe and Fil, I also had the privilege of working with other artists on the project and I was chuffed to be part of the RCA scene. Meeting other animators on the course and attending a couple of fascinating lectures. One from animator Michael Dudok de Wit who has won a BAFTA for his film "Father and Daughter" and another from Ed Cooke - an expert on memory and imagination. Good times :-)

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Rigging a puppet in AE + Moodboard

Rigging a puppet in After Effects

This character was provided to me by Lara Popovic from Creative Connection and she enquired as to how I would animate it. Using puppet pins was the thing that jumped to mind.

I used a couple of resources to learn and apply the process of rigging - a page from ae tuts+ which has a complete set of tutorials by a dude called Daniel Gies, and this great free plug-in - DUIK which creates Inverse Kinematic movement in just a few clicks once you have the pins set up.

Rigging a character with IK allows for its movement to be key framed by animating just a few controllers. It means that the knees and elbows bend automatically as a result of moving other parts of the body. Once rigged in this way, animating is a much simpler process then it otherwise would be.

Expressions utilised (mainly for my own reference) 

The expression used to connect puppet pins to their respective nulls:
 n=thisComp.layer("layer name"); nullpos=n.toComp(n.anchorPoint); fromComp(nullpos);
This makes it easier to control as nulls are directly accessible and also are not just limited to transformation - i.e. they can be rotated as well.

If using the rotation movement of one null to drive the Y transformation of another null (both attached to puppet pins); the following expression could be used in the affected nulls position:
PosX=transform.position[0]; PosY=transform.position[1]+thisComp.layer("layer name").transform.rotation;[PosX,PosY
I used this to make elements like the sides of the shirt move up as the legs are rotated.

Incidentally, I am keen to get my head around JavaScript - and I have started to go through this page found on Motion - written by Dan Ebberts - this is a fantastic resource for learning expressions and scripting.

Mood board

I created this mood board to serve as visual reference for the animation I'm currently working on with Creative Connection. It is themed on community activism. The images are from several sources - Banksy, Modern Toss, The Mighty Boosh and a book called Traveller Daze.

visual attributes -  earthy colours / graffity / stencils / DIY style (torn newspaper etc.) / simple + effective. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

CBT promo film complete!

It includes time lapses, a composited news room, a sound track and some nice motion graphics. The image below the embedded video provides some idea of the content.

Sketchbook work 2012/13

Thursday, 25 April 2013

"The Incomplete Activist"

Alongside the work I'm doing at the RCA, I have also teamed up with the fantastic group of artists at Creative Connection. We will be creating a 3 minute animation - "The Incomplete Activist" - that reflects a thesis currently being written on the theme of incompleteness and contradictions found within community activism. It's an exciting and creative project to be a part of and I'm looking forward to seeing how we progress with it.

Here are a couple of animations that our client helped to create previously, themed around the concept of 'Church' and its current form in society:

Monday, 8 April 2013

Drawings + Love Soldiers update


I got stuck into some drawing yesterday - really enjoyed getting into 'the zone' with it all..

Hands are a tricky thing as they are so versatile so I practiced sketching my own hand.

These sheets contain some drawings of my g/f Nina and some things I drew without looking at any reference including a small self portrait.

These sheets show my visual interpretation whilst listening to some podcasts at Radiolab - one on inheritance and another on speed. Both very interesting! Anyway, it's good practice for drawing quickly + aiming to get information across efficiently.



"Love Soldiers" update @ the RCA

Here's a pic of our studio with director Chloe in view.

"Love Soldiers" is slowly but surely coming together, and the way that we are working is fairly organic. Some shots are nearing completion whilst others are yet to be animated.

Recent tasks I've completed

- Inking over some animation of a face falling into pieces.
- Colouring a sequence in Photoshop (here the Photoshop actions have come in as a great time saver.)
- Utilising a turbulent displacement effect in After Effects to make it look like the clouds are warping/moving.
- Rotoscoping over printed live action shots of walk cycles.
- Compositing layers of animation together.
- Producing (creating a time schedule.)
- Scanning the inked animation.
- Updating the edit-in-progress.

I'm aiming to keep doing a couple of days a week here, though I try and do more if my schedule allows. It is a fun project to be working on and these are great people to be working with!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

CBT promo complete + Luksus Ident for LS

I have now officially completed the Clear Blue Therapies promotional video! It feels like a good achievement, and I hope it does well on the Kickstarter page. It is not up there live yet, but I will be sure to post it when it is.

Here is an ident I coloured/textured and animated (The drawings were provided from Chloe.) This is the fictional film company ident that precedes the animated film "Love Soldiers" that we are working on at the RCA. Chloe was after an 80s style (I think the light rays could be a bit post-80s but it is quite a nice touch!) This took around half a day. I got quite into the timing of it - as soon as one effect stops another one starts.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Kickstarter CBT promo video update & making of

I have almost finished this project now! It has been a bit of an epic and has drawn on my skills as a motion graphics designer, compositor, camera man, editor, 3D artist, time lapse recorder and musician! If anyone has any ideas of one word that I could use to fit these different roles, I would appreciate it! Audio-visual artist could be a good umbrella term.

Just a quick reminder - this work is for a promotional video made to represent Clear Blue Therapies on Kickstarter. Clear Blue Therapies is a therapy business founded by Saskia Griffiths-Moore. The video utilises motion graphics and draws on a news broadcaster theme to promote interest and help delineate Saskia's four phase plan.

Here are a few screenshots showing different parts of scene 2 on which I have created some nice bits of animation / motion graphics. The actual film itself will be out on Kickstarter soon - I will keep you posted. I just have a few final bits and pieces to sort out following some final feedback from Saskia.

I enjoyed getting the pencil out and drawing this piece to represent a conference.

Following this, I worked over it in Illustrator, then animated it in After Effects. Playing with the opacity of the fills adds a nice element of visual interest to the image. Also, conceptually, I reckon it enhances "the meeting of minds" element.

I also found it quite rewarding and satisfying working in 3D for parts of this project. The spinning logo and the books turning. Simple but effective!

And - this is a bit of an odd one - I'm quite proud of the train style LED text I put together. The font itself is called LCD Dot, and was created by Omer Kose --- I downloaded this off Dafont.

The bit that I'm proud of is the nice repetitive dot pattern I created in Illustrator for the LED light background! This lines up with the dots of the font. Then of course the colour and glow effect. It mimics the train style LEDs quite well. As things have turned out, I have been asked to change this style as it could be confusing, and takes away from the cohesion of the other fonts in the video. Think I may have taken Saskia a little too literally when she said 'text like you see on train displays'. Nevermind though!

Watch this space! The promo video will be out shortly....