Tuesday, 26 October 2010


We're about 3 weeks into term now, this is week 4 of our time table & Gant chart that now haunts the digital animation studio, the days are being crossed off as we go along. Yesterday I felt a bit run down so headed home to do some contacting of external sources for use with the "Bap" group.

Bap Group

As it stands, since Andy's big production meeting things have been going a lot lot better. Also after speaking one on one with Andy, and getting down to the nitty gritty on things. I feel a hell of a lot better. Things are organising themselves, and I feel the group is just pouding through all the work. This is now week 4 that I have worked with this group, so I've been with them from the start, I wrote the script and pulled together so much for them, and I'm again pretty stoked with myself. But to be fair, the praise goes out to this group of talented individuals.

Matt Luxton our resident modelling expert who spent so much time last year working away at home, never really to have his work critiqued or evaluated, is flourishing at the moment, especially with all the hints and tips from Georg Finch. Everyday he's throwing himself into the work and even when we go home he's pounding away at the modeling just because he enjoys it so much. I think if Matt keeps a quality check on our models then we stand to make a very aesthetically pleasing and technically sound group of models for use within the animation.

Our less confident modeler Matt Butler, is again doing me proud, and I hope doing himself the same, he is again plowing through the models he's been assigned to work on, and he's doing a great job of producing quality looking models. Again I think this is because of the dedication he is showing, and I think if he keeps this up he would make a promising asset to any team, the only problem we have had has been with UV unwrapping, but that's something we all have to learn and whenever I look at those sheets, I feel a little sick. He is currently working on the character model for 'Bap' the creature character in our short, and is again doing a great job, so far his topology is looking very workable, and I hope that Matt will take an active role in the rigging to help him also work on his modelling and knowing how our topology will work when animated and weighted.

Emma Taylor has spent the three weeks prior to this week working on our pre-production bible, Emma came into her element here as she does some amazing backgrounds and concepts. her Jungle scenes that are integral to our project and the aesthetic of the film have proven well worked and she puts a lot of time and effort into these. Emma this week is beginning to work on her animation as she seems to be quiet interested in that aspect of the production. As I have never seen much of Emma's 3D animation, I wanted her to work on the same scene that Oddne and Holly had been working on. Thus she has the time to get back into that aspect of the work. I think this will be more beneficial for her than working on environments that she is already very good at. I also think working next to Oddne and Holly will really help her.

Simon Acty, who has taken the role of Internal Art Director for this film is doing an amazing job also. Although we have had our clashes with certain timing and bits and pieces. We've worked very well together and look to each other to finalize what the team will be doing during the day, week or month. He is sharing this role with Roy. Simon has also worked very hard on Character concepts, and has really flourished with his ability to lead a team, I don't think he was pushed or given the chance to really do this and I see him as naturally taking up this role, and I think we all can respect him in this given role. He has pulled together the pre production well. And is currently working on modeling the hunter character. We have had clashes on what certain members of the group should be doing and prioritizing at certain points throughout the production and have had little meetings when required to discuss the production, but as it goes, everyone in the group is acting very professional.

Now for the people I haven't had the chance to work with before, and to be honest feel very lucky to be able to work with them, as is the same with the above individuals, are all very talented in their respective areas, and all approached me to work on this project.

First, I'll start with a man with more internet presence than Tom from Myspace.... (That may be an overstatement) Roy Nottage, Roy approached me at the end of last year to work on the game idea I had, I was pretty excited to get to work with Roy, as we are not only good friends, but I think his work is always pretty special, he works really hard to be the best he can be, and it's pretty inspirational, especially with the way his drawin developed from the first year. I think without Roy, our group would have had a much bigger job on our hands, not only has he worked on concept designs for props, which have been skillfully modeled by Matt B and Matt L, but he has started to piece together the animatic from storyboards that Simon worked on. He is currently adding sound effects to our Animatic as I speak. and Will be one of the Animators to go on into production.

Holly "Bird" Tselikova, again a skilled designer and artist who I have yet to have the opportunity to work with, Holly wanted to get her hands on some 3D animation, and we are more than willing to provide her with this, one of the things I admire about Holly is how headstrong she is, and that she will work and work and work to be as good, if not better than anyone else around her, and with the high amount of talent around her at the moment, I think she's really flourish, and with the talent that's already there, that's a pretty scary concept for me, who's only talent is being me. Holly is a hard worker and we do clash from time to time, because we're both very strong willed, and I know how hard it can be to work for someone you feel is on the same level as you, but as with all the people mentioned here, and within' the class, I have a massive amount of respect for her.

Oddne Madsen, to be fair this was a bit half and half, the group had been wanting to approach Oddne about working as an animator with our piece, we were all a fan of his 11 second club entry and know how hard he works. With even the first bit of animation I gave him to do, I was pretty blown away by his talent and efficiency from the start. There's not much else to say here, but I really do thank whoever kicked Oddne out of Norway every minute of every day for him approaching us to work on this animation.

Pete "The German" Stache, Even though it's not very apparent, I think me and Pete have a Massive mutual respect for one another. Even though I know he would say something like "Dowler's Useless" I know Pete's got a soft spot for me really, Pete's someone I wanted to collar for help with Post Production and Effects from the start, because it's an area I'm interested in, I really admire the passion that Pete has for the area and the skill he shows, and his ability to learn. I know where I stand on this front, and I understand it, but I am in no way, anywhere near as Talented as Pete in the area, So I'm really glad to have him along for the ride as well. Currently Pete is testing some effects for our piece.

Jake Jones, who I have worked with before, and is a good friend, has worked on our "Apprentice" concept, he did a really good job, but had to take time to concentrate on his own idea. I really appreciated not only his art and concept work for us, but also the critique and help he gave us with story development from the start, Even if as a writer myself, who sometimes struggles with word meanings I get a little flustered when I use the wrong word in the wrong context and Jake picks up on it, I have a lot of time for Jake's help in this area, even if he could be a little less blunt haha. Again, I've had the chance to be close to Jakes work in the past and see it develop, and I love his art style. I think his designs worked for me a lot better than many others. Even though as a model we've had to change things a lot to make it work in 3D. Jake is an asset to any team and I know he'll go on to do some amazing things, maybe even with me in the future in the gaming industry, in an Ideal world, even if we clash, I know I would really like to see Jake in the same industry as me.

(Ps. I'm saying all this now before I want to blow all your heads off....... Simon Acty, this already applies to you. )

Important Disclaimer - Rant Ahead, in the nicest possible manner.

Now, I know this group is massive. I understand a lot of people may be pissy with the fact it's so big. But like I said earlier in my post, I have the upmost respect for everyone in the third year of animation, I've spent 2 important years of my life working toward this year with everyone, and everyone is so talented in their respective area. I was even worried for this big group when I heard the pitches, I mean, there are some amazing idea's being thrown around, and with the talent on the course, there is absolutely no reason every idea shouldn't go ahead. But Andy and Georg are correct, we need ideas that are feasible, and that a group will want to work on, something that's going to get finished.

I know a lot of people don't see it, but I've done a lot of work to get this group to where we are now, And I'm ridiculously proud to be a part of it, especially being the one who has driven it, and will drive it to completion. This isn't MY Group. This group developed the story from scratch themselves, I let them develop the concept, I just wrote it up for them. They refined it, Derek Hayes Refined it, Andy Wyatt Refined it, and Kathy Nichols Refined it, and it's still being refined every time it is scrutinized and every time it is, we work as hard as possible to patch up the holes in the work. I work hard trying to schedule it all in and make sure everyone's on track, and yes, we're ahead of my schedule, and no doubt we'll hit a time when we fall behind. But I'll be there pushing through each individual in this group, helping them to over come whatever trouble we have and finding the solution.

I have approached course leaders from music composition, I have acquired a music student to work on the original score for the piece, I'm currently in contact with a Foli & Sound scape artist, I have arranged meetings to finalize designs for the pitch, I have Gant Charted, Sheduled, I have written letters and as production goes on, and we have a certain finishing point, I will be getting in contact with people who can further push our production out there. I am pretty much taming a very odd, lopsided, but scarily large, 9 legged monster. This is my job, this is what I want to do, I've grown up a lot since even the first and second year of BA (hons) Digital Animation at UCF. I am a Producer, and I will always do my best for the production, like the boy scout I once was and pretty much got dismissed from.

I've also been helping Leah Gayton, Alex Joliffe and now Gareth Sharples, and I really thank them for helping me to feel like I'm needed within their production, Even now Leah has realized she doesn't require a producer for her group, but I was glad I could help her as far as I could, even when I shot her idea down a little, she fought back and has done amazingly.

Rant/Motivational Talk Over

I will be posting up soon about Gareth Sharples' work. Again another member of the third year Animation crew I respect and look up to, and generally love his work, He has an amazing style, and again I'm really pleased he approached me to further an already amazing Idea.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Production Reports for Week 1 & 2

Week one

As I have scheduled,. Week one as I am calling it was not week one, we had begun concepts and other bits and pieces before returning to uni, but to continue with our plan and what Andy and Georg had set out guidelines wise. I chose to start our scheduling from that point forward, so within' week one we began to finalize ideas, run them past Derek, Andy and Georg, gaining ideas for the technical aids we would need. I also began to write up the script as drawn concepts went about being drafted up. Our team at this point consisted of

Myself – Producer, Writer, Editor, Direction

Matthew Luxton – Modelling, Lighting

Matthew Butler – Modelling, Rigging

Emma Taylor – Concept art

Simon Acty – Concept Art, Storyboarding, Modelling, Direction

Roy Nottage – Concept Art, Animation, Art Direction

I also drew up gannt charts that week and began sheduling modelling the characters in a bit more detail.

Week two

Week two I began chasing up music and our modelling was well under way in the props department with Matt & Matt, the two of them have implimented a system suggested by Georg, to model, unwrap, model, unwrap, instead of saving all the unwrapping to the last minute, Simon continued to storyboard, Emma with concepts and Roy working alongside the modellers at this point doing technical drawings for them to work from. We also expanded our team with Animators, a Rigger, a compositor and another modeller/maya buff.

Oddne Madsen – Animation

Holly Bird – Animation

Peter Stache – Compositing/VFX

Scott & Ollie from Second Year – Maya Buffs/Riggers.

The team seems to be becoming a monster, one that I have to tame, but with some of the best people I could have wished to recruit, I'm proud of how our organisation and dedication seems to have brought these people into our wings.

So far we haven't really come across many problems and there's a lot of initial learning going on for all our members.

Being in the studio from 9 – 5 each day is also helping out a lot, as we are in constant contact with Derek, Kathy, Georg & Andy, who have all helped in their own way with our project, thus the writing has furthered, and the project has come into it's own. It's been really good to get the feedback and at this moment in time refine the story, shots and general theme of the film and pitch.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Boys of Summer

It's been far too long. The majority of my mind has been spewed over on my Tumblr as of late @ http://TomDowler.tumblr.com But here's an update on how things have gone.

Over Summer I spent a lot of time working, mainly to keep myself alive, due to not getting the research job with the writing company in Penzance. I was working at WHSmiths over the first half of the holiday, and working hard. I actually mean it. I was pretty damn proud of myself. When I finally got away from that I visited home for 2 weeks. Unfortunately not seeing as much of my parents and family as I could have done. Then returning back to Falmouth for the remainder. I spent a lot of time researching where I wanted to go, figuring out my options. I am very much so a person who has to know "What's Next" I don't just live for the now. I live for my future. So I began researching a lot. Picking up Edge Magazine more often than not, and e-mailing recruitment companies. all of who gave negativity on the games industry in the way of students and even producers.

Later on in the holiday I decided I would like to get to know 2D animation software a bit better just incase I ended up producing an animation for the third year that may have to be developed in this way.

I began using sprites to create a small animation for pitching at Jimmy's shop Loading in Falmouth town, and intend to do some work for him in the near future. but here's a quick demo of what kind of thing I was messing around with. along with this I also looking into action scripting a small platform game and checked out using software such as game maker for the same purpose to make an interactive website for professional practice.

I found the hardest thing is rendering out nicely, as you can see, remnants appear in the work, which aren't exactly critical to the piece

Final Year Project
Ok so. The Final year project took a bit of a twist the week before we returned to university. It was decided the initial plan was no longer to be continued with, between Emma, Simon and Matt. Thus I joined the creation of a new Idea.

This new idea was for a pretty Generic chase sequence, a tried and tested story of sorts, set in an odd steam punk like world. I have currently helped further the story and I'm currently writing the script. As I do this my team members are creating props and assets we know will be required for the piece. Simon & Roy have also been decided as internal directors for the piece. Mainly due to needing people to know the aesthetic and to actually give the idea some kind of individuality.

Tomorrow I intend to have the script finished and have a timetable drafted up for our production meeting monday morning at 9am.

(more to come tomorrow)