Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Very Busy Year Indeed

Activity on this blog has been pretty slow lately, reason being I'm on my final year of University and I'm now at the point of making a 3+ minute animated film which all of my time and work is going into. I have another blog on this account where I upload all of my progress, so if you wish to follow my film "Acorns" do have a look.

As 2011 draws to a close, I'm very excited to get into the production of my film. I'm just finishing pre-production now, so designs and story are still being tweaked until they are final for about mid-January. I'm animating, colouring and compositing by myself with assistance from a composer and my housemate who does sound mixing for the post-production soundtrack side of things. It's a lot of work so I'm anxious, but still excited!

So yeah, don't expect a lot here, but do see my other blog for production updates!

Apart from that, I had a fab 21st Birthday seeing the Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony in London... utterly fantastic performance and atmosphere, I have the recorded performance too from the special edition of Skyward Sword which is incredible, but only 8 tracks! It was a great night and I highly anticipate their return next year!

A week after I visited home to catch up with family after my Birthday and to see Tori Amos in Manchester who was stunning, not everyone's cup of tea, but an amazing singer and she did lots of classic songs including Precious Things which my sister did a fantastic music video of in college last Spring.

Then in November, I saw Lee Evans in Cardiff followed by Alter Bridge a week after, which were two more great nights. Lee Evans was hilarious and it was my first time seeing him so it was a great experience. And Alter Bridge were supported by Theory of a Deadman and Black Stone Cherry so that was amazing goes without saying.

Things settled down late November/December as work picked up. I was creating a detailed production bible for my first deadline which was far more work than I realised. It's a collection of my art showcasing what my film and characters would look like and contained my latest animatic, synopsis, schedule, budget, storyboard and other information that would be necessary to make my film. Basically it should be enough information about your film (visual + written) that if you were not able to make it, the bible could be passed to someone else to finish, so it has to be really thorough.

Fortunately I got everything prepared for the deadline after two weeks of non-stop work and then spent the next 3-4 days writing 4000 words for my dissertation first draft, which I so wanted to start in November but kept favouring other work instead. My dissertation is about the portrayal of men and masculinity in animation with examples to Tangled and Beauty and the Beast. It's based on an article by Susan Jeffords called The Curse of Masculinity which spoke about Disney's Beauty and the Beast and how the story was about focusing on the Beast instead of Belle by making him childish and selfish instead of sophisticated but not actually taking responsibility to change himself. All very interesting but I won't delve into it now!

Now I'm home for Christmas and New Year which has been lovely and flying past much too quickly! I've recently rediscovered a love of watercolour that I've been using to paint friends and family personalised Christmas cards. These are my paintings! :)

These are characters from my friend's films, excluding the direwolf 'Snow' and the Moshi Monster 'Zommer'!

These are for my family, the animals are originals (the bunnies and the daschund are based off pets) then there's Link and Zelda from 'Skyward Sword', Cloud from 'Kingdom Hearts', a dragon-esque 'My Little Pony' and a homage to James Hance's 'Wookie the Chew' crossover.
I'm using watercolour now for some of my film's concept art, which I can't wait to upload and paint more of. I've done an expression sheet for my character Amber and she looks very cute coloured... it looks like it would make a sweet children's book, so I might see about putting it together if I ever have time!

I've so much to read at the moment too, I got lots of art books for Christmas... The Art of The Lion King (amazing! My Mum managed to find it on eBay), Harry Potter: Page to Screen (a massive, in-depth look behind the art of all 7-8 films), The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service, Watercolour Impressions of Nausicaä and then The Art of My Neighbour Totoro left over from my Birthday... they are the best inspiration I could ask for, I just hope I have time to read them all! My youngest sister got the art of Okami as well, which is the most luxuriously designed and presented book--utterly beautiful and may just have to get a copy myself! And on top of that, the Game of Thrones book series, so I'm set for the next year!

All in all it's been the best Christmas in a long time, it's been great to be home and I'm not really ready to go back to Uni yet! Hopefully I can get myself back into a working frame of mind soon!

Until then, have a great new year! Ta ta for now! :)
Love Gem xoxox

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Alex's Birthday "Link" Drawing

Below is a drawing I did for my boyfriend for his Birthday... got to see The Adventures of Tin-Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn in celebration tonight which was pretty cool--the animated transitions between sequences and storytelling/flashbacks in the film was fantastic. Still not too keen on the style, but I enjoyed the nod in the beginning to the original artist and style. It was very entertaining with some good laughs and action.

Tomorrow we are off to London to see The Legend of Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony in celebration of my own Birthday (my boyfriend and I are one day and a year apart) which will be fantastic. It's going to be difficult to top this year's outing!

Anyway, here's the drawing of 'chibi' Link as he appears in Wind Waker playing an Ocarina in homage to the Ocarina of Time artwork, I thought it only appropriate and he liked it rather a lot. It's drawn with pen and colour pencils using reference. :3

Monday, 26 September 2011

How to Make a Scott Pilgrim "Plumtree" T-Shirt

Hi all, here's a little tutorial for a shirt I customised for my boyfriend, Alex, to cosplay Scott Pilgrim for a party. Below is a step-by-step of how to make a "Plumtree" T-shirt like the one Scott Pilgrim wears in the movie, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World!

You'll need:
  • 1x blank Yellow T-Shirt
  • 1x sheet of sturdy A4 card that can be printed on
  • A craft knife or scalpel
  • A mat or thick card to protect surfaces from the knife
  • Spray mount/spray adhesive
  • Red spray paint (for fabric)
  • Scrap newspaper to cover surfaces
I had most of the necessary equipment already, but the T-Shirt and red spray paint only cost £6 all together! Look in pound shops and cheap clothing places like Primark! Firstly, print off the Plumtree logo onto an A4 sheet of sturdy card. You can grab the image I used here courtesy of

Once it's printed, use a craft knife and a mat or thick card to protect whatever surface you're using to carefully cut out each letter, removing the coloured letters and leaving the white card to create the stencil. This can also be done as a sticky stencil if you have the right materials, but this was all I had at the time!

Remember when cutting out to connect the inner sections of letters like "P" and "R" to the main stencil to make it easier. Or keep the bits you cut out to stick on the shirt later. When you're finished it should look like this:

Next, stick the stencil to your T-Shirt using adhesive spray on the back of it. Make sure it is securely stuck to the fabric, so that none of the spray paint will bleed through the lettering. Put some card or newspaper inside the shirt (beneath the stencil) so that the spray won't seep through to the back of the shirt.

Before you get spraying the paint around, cover nearby surfaces with some old newspaper to avoid ruining the carpet! Cover the rest of the T-Shirt too as the spray has a large radius!

Now you're ready to get started! Make sure you have a little practice spraying the paint on some scrap newspaper first to make sure it's not blotchy or dripping and to get a feel for spraying evenly. When you're confident enough, spray the shirt from several inches around and move quickly and evenly left and right to avoid blotchy coverage. Don't spray too thickly or the design might bleed through!

Slowly peel off the stencil and place to one side on some extra newspaper.

Ta-Dah! Not bad, though there is some bleed on the letter "P", which goes to show how careful you need to be to avoid messy mistakes like this! I didn't want to risk spraying the sleeves and collar red too, but you can give it a go yourself if you're up to it! Leave to dry and enjoy your new Scott Pilgrim shirt!

As a final note, depending on the spray paint you used, your design may come off in the wash, so definitely wash on low temperature between 15-30 degrees and don't mix with whites!

Enjoy! :3
Gemma xox

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Abstract African Art

New art up on DeviantArt tonight!

An 18x24 Acrylic painting I did as a 'thank you' present for my Nan and Grandad, for all of their support during my Uni years. <3

They love South Africa and their culture and fab animals and art, so I painted this inspired by African colours, designs and creatures (and the land mass itself) for their living room.

It was great to go back to real paints again, though it looked pretty awful to begin with and took many layers of paint to get the colour and shapes right! Just goes to show that I should have planned it more! XD There's a load of gold paint on it too, which looks a lot better in person, but hopefully you get the gist!

Abstract Africa by *AmberDust on deviantART

Enjoy! :3
Gem xox

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

A couple of my Uni animation friends recommended this fantastic graphic novel to me by storyboard artist, Vera Brosgol. I enjoyed it so much I had to write a quick 'nutshell' review and spread the word! :)

Vera Brosgol captures an engaging story with realistic characters (even despite one of them being a ghost from 70 years ago!) in her brilliant graphic novel debut. It tells a modern story of a Russian girl trying to fit in with American culture in high school, get noticed by her crush, lose weight, get popular and of course avoid daily embarrassments to retain the remaining shreds of her dignity, but all that changes when she literally stumbles upon a ghost whose been waiting for a rescuer for 70 years. The ghost, Emily, has the ability to change Anya's life as well as be the friend she always wanted! However, when Anya gets what she wants, she starts to realise that appearances can be deceiving...

Anya's Ghost is a mature story that doesn't patronise or talk down to the reader, (like some teen books do!) and is entertaining for any age, but particularly teen girls, like Anya, who may identify by their current or past experiences. The artwork is carefully rendered in a simple, but very expressive way which relates you to Vera's lovely characters even more.

It's an utter page turner from beginning to end, and I remember savoring the last pages, taking everything in slowly in my attempt to make the book last longer! I didn't want it to end and sincerely hope Brosgol has a sequel in the works!

I highly recommend this to graphic novel lovers and teenage girls/young women everywhere!! If you need further convincing, the book is available on for £7.61 (and for $13.59 on in America) and you can check out Vera's amazing art and style on her blog here:

And of course it comes highly praised by critically acclaimed writers, Neil Gaiman and Scott McCloud... need I say more??

Enjoy! :)
Gem xox

Monday, 29 August 2011

Sunset Colour Studies

Here's a progression of a sunset outside my window yesterday, as a rough colour study. The first image took around 10 minutes in Photoshop and the following two took just over 5 minutes each to change colour, mood and make tweaks to the original painting.

I had to be very quick as the colours vanished in just a few minutes! Enjoy! :)
Gem xox

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Final Film Idea 'Seedlings'

Hey all, (not neglecting the bloggin's today, hurrah!)
So, as previously mentioned, I've been racking my brains ALL summer trying to come up with an idea for my Final Film for the third year at University. This has proved unimaginably difficult as it's got to be a story that..

A. Has entertaining characters and story
B. Has personal meaning to me
C. Is actually FUN to do, otherwise I'm spending a year developing and animating (at 24 drawings per second!) something I don't even like!
D. Makes a statement
E. And (hopefully) displays my abilities as a character animator, designer and storyteller so I can get some kind of employment after Uni

So I've been really stressed out about this, though it's not like I haven't been coming up with ideas, the problem is coming up with the right idea.

After writing a couple of shorts that would work well as storybook animatic videos (but not my final film) I came up with a short animation idea about the creation of Earth, but from the perspective of twin creation students (or Gods-in-training). One (sister) is creative and passionate, while the other (brother) is wise and logical, so, naturally, they bicker and everything goes wrong. I also dabbled with the prospect of them creating humanity too, but eventually I decided against this one as the characters just aren't involving enough. Perhaps I will reattempt it at a later date.

Fortunately, just the other night I was hit by a brainwave while trying to get to sleep (isn't that always the way?). I'd been watching a DVD of Pixar shorts with the Director commentary on which was really interesting. I wrote a list of what I thought each short was trying to say, for example, For the Birds is about bullying and peer pressure, but not condoning it of course! Later I wrote a list of messages that I would like to say, such as self-acceptance and the grass not always being greener on the other side.

Eventually it hit me: I'm a very sentimental person and nostalgia the loss of treasured possessions means a lot to me, which is why Pixar's Up, really gets to me! Thus, I wrote a story that centered around sentimentality. Without further ado, here is an image illustrating my three favourite ideas (some old, some new) I'll explain them below. Open the image to view it at a larger size if the text isn't readable enough.

1. The first, Princess-in-Waiting is all about a short-tempered Princess who is fed up of waiting for her Prince so she travels on her very own pet dragon to seek Mr. "Charming" for her revenge! She's a modern, arse-kicking girl who much prefers black glasses and leather jackets to her embroidered dress and tiara! It's a bit of a joke short as just when she thinks she gets what she wants (peace and quiet) suddenly there are Prince Charming's everywhere, all desperate for her hand in marriage!

So this is a fun short, but it's not particularly personal to me and a little too "Shrek-like" for my liking, so it's more of a back-up.

2. Second is an untitled film where I was thinking about self-acceptance through physically destroying your inner demons. This would take place in a surreal world, perhaps in this girl's mind, where she has trapped herself with her own thoughts and fears. I thought a series of trials would be interesting to see her tackle them in different ways until she at last realises the answer lies in eliminating the negative aspects of her personality, rather than killing the demons her mind has conjured around her.

Not a lot of development on this one, but might be interesting at some point to do a crazy Alice in Wonderland/Labyrinth style tale.

3. "Great Oaks From Little Acorns Grow" or "The Girl Who Won't Grow Up". This is my favourite story so far (not to create bias or anything...) as it's personal and has an emotional character arc. It's about a little girl, Amber, who grows up in and around this majestic oak tree, it's got a tree house, a swing and her friends would go there to play. We see snapshots of her life as she grows up, but she remains as childish as when she was young. It's gonna be all about growing up, letting go and moving on, but in an emotional and maybe touching/heartwarming way if done right.

There's a bit more to this story, which I'll cover in future posts, but for now, I hope you guys like what I've come up with, and if you don't please leave a comment with some constructive crits as any feedback will be appreciated!

Now I can relax and focus now I actually have some ideas! Many thanks, I'll be posting again soon!
Gemma xox

Friday, 5 August 2011

Summer, Sonisphere and Stuff

Hi all, and surprise, surprise, another massive gap between journals. I'm really gonna have to break out of this seeing as I'll need to keep an up to date blog for my next film!

So, last time I updated was April, when I was developing a group film at Uni: Dimensionality. Good news is, we just about finished the film and passed, bad news is, we handed in late and lost a lot of marks for it. Moral of the story? It's better to hand in unfinished work ON TIME than it is to let it get overdue to finish it.

Unfortunately the film isn't online yet as the effects are still being finished by one of the group members, but here's a compilation video of all the animation I did for it.

Here's a matte painting example of the look of each shot... hopefully the finished film will be online soon!

And here's the stack of paper I went through... 1277 sheets!

Fortunately the rest of my work went well, I got a high mark for my essay about Masculinity in The Incredibles (using Susan Jeffords' The Curse of Masculinity 1995 as my source), helped third years in making three films by doing 2D animation and even a voiceover (!) and designed some new business cards below!

I asked family and friends and members of DeviantArt to vote for their favourite, turned out the giraffes won, so that's what I printed at for my cards, although I will probably redesign it again to correspond to my final film next year!

I also applied for work experience at Beryl Productions in Cardiff with Joanna Quinn where I enjoyed three days of animating, drawing matte lines (for colouring the muzzles and tummies of the Charmin bears!) and learning from the talented animators and clean-up artists there! I can't wait to work there again next term!

Here's a lil' frame from a walk cycle I animated with help from Joanna for a pre-commercial... I don't think I can put it anywhere until it is broadcast though, so enjoy this taster! ;)

Now my second year is over, I'm spending the summer to gear up for my third year, in which I'll be writing my dissertation (similar themes to my previously mentioned essay) and making a short animated film, solo, with some help from second and third years (with luck).

No plans for my final film just yet, I've been actively writing stories and getting back into painting, it should just be a case of sitting down and writing a film idea that I want to produce and is personal to me... I've been putting it off for far too long, so this month I'm going to have to write it before my next semester starts in September so I can present it! I'll be posting progress up of course, either on this blog or a new one which I will link to. All I really know so far is that it will be a 2D film, possibly to do with gender roles! (Like my dissertation!)

And in addition to this, I'm drawing comics with a director/writer I'm working for, doing an animatic about a short duck story for a friend of mine and attempting to do some personal work while I have the "time"!

Other than that, I've been to the Sonisphere Festival in Knebworth last month, camping with friends which was amazing... it was probably the biggest amount of people I'd ever seen in one place! I saw the Big 4 with Metallica, as well as Sum41, Airbourne, Weezer, Biffy Clyro and Bill Bailey... who were all awesome. I even got to high-five Rivers Cuomo--whooo! :D

Here's the four of us at the campsite! (I'm the short one!) :P

Apart from that, things have been fairly uneventful, I've been on the South Beach diet for a few weeks now and I've already lost a stone! I don't have much to lose, it's just a case of cutting back after having too many carbs at Uni! :P Will have to eat healthier this year! >.<

I've got some new artwork that went up on DeviantArt recently... here's the linkage! I submitted it to ImagineFX's 'Rising Stars 2011' competition, so wish me luck! :)

Guardian Spirit of the Forest by ~AmberDust on deviantART

And I'm thinking of investing in a new iMac 21.5" for my work and Uni, particularly after my sister got one a few days ago... but still mulling it over... And of course there was the epic Harry Potter conclusion recently, which I've seen twice but that's me just about up to date for now... I'll be making myself update more regularly for the next year to get into the habit of doing so... it's quite therapeutic really! ^.^

I hope this update wasn't too overwhelming... I'll be posting something (shorter) again soon though! Ta ta for now! :)
Gemma xox

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

So-Called "Break"

Hi all! Time for another infrequent update! I'm back home now for the Easter break, along with all of my Uni work of course! I actually hole-punched over 600 sheets of animation paper ten-at-a-time to begin animating my group project, (working title, Dimensionality) during the weeks "off". I've started some tests and will be moving onto completing rough animation later this week.

The short film is all about the relationship between 2D and 3D and how one is always trying to be the other in modern films, when really they should celebrate their differences! The film is for a brief called Recoding Conventions, so we do actually have to bring something original to the table which we're doing by showing (without dialogue) that 2D and 3D are equals but could actually better themselves by simply learning from each other.

The concept got quite complicated, so we've gone headfirst into production to make sense of it all! I'm working with animator's Ben, Vikki and Rob, all very talented people! Everything's looking great so far, I'll be posting progress when I can.

In the meantime, you can check out our blog where our script and pre-production is getting updated every day!

Dimensionality @

At the moment, I'm on a juggling act between getting something like 35 shots animated for this project and spending time with family and friends. It doesn't seem to be going too badly, but I'm really going to have to knuckle down with this work as soon as possible! I saw Rio today with some friends which was a very enjoyable film, cliché at times, but fun and bright and colourful and very funny! Jemaine Clement as the bird Nigel was fabulous and he even has a song! <3

Other news... I met amazing artist and animator Joanna Quinn a couple of weeks ago, and what an extraordinary lecture and meeting it was! She's based in Cardiff and is the creator of a wonderful character called Beryl and the bears on the old Charmin ads! She's an incredible person and with luck I may have some work experience at her studio in the summer, I simply cannot wait! :)

I finished a short piece of animation for a third year animating some birdies. It may look short and simple, but was actually a beast to put together because of all the layers! D:

And I completed a quick commission for a friend's University project where King Arthur returns to a post-apocalyptic London... that was 6-8 hours work.

King's Awakening by *AmberDust on deviantART

I'm currently working on a collaboration with my friend Jess, drawing a lovely poster of Ariel from The Little Mermaid and Ponyo! Here's some progress...

It's very nearly done now and I'm hoping to get that online very soon!

Apart from that, things are busy and things are good! :)

Also, if you haven't checked out Feeder's new single, 'Side by Side', please watch this powerful and emotional music video of theirs of the recent events and if you like the song, please download it here as all proceeds go to help support the Japanese people during their time of need!

Ta ta for now! :)
Gem xox

P.S. So EXCITED for seeing the Winnie The Pooh movie this Friday! :DDD

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Megamind and Summer Wars

Having been short of some blog updates, I thought I'd post up some thoughts on two films I've been able to see in the past few days.

First up, Megamind (2010).

Since Dreamworks have begun producing original films instead of the usual franchise sequels and spin-offs, the quality of their animations have soared! Following 2009's How to Train Your Dragon, Megamind certainly had a lot to live up to, and while it doesn't have quite the same storytelling sparkle as Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, it certainly delivers.

The story doesn't come across very clearly in the trailer or promotional material. It's made out to be a standard good vs evil affair between Megamind and Metroman, but this conflict doesn't take up a big portion of the film and in fact twists and turns in several directions before reaching the final sequences. It's largely a romance genre with superhero films mixed in and even gets into a existential discussion when evil has nothing to fight against.

A top quality voice cast really shine with the film's quirky and hilarious script. Will Ferrell plays a unique but still comedic role as a blue criminal mastermind with a speaking disorder, and Brad Pitt, Tina Fey and Jonah Hill also perform some great lines without distracting from the characters with their personalities.

The music is incredibly prominent, but not in a bad way. It swaps from classic rock tracks like "Bad to The Bone" by George Thorogood & The Destroyers, and Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" to light-hearted "Mr. Blue Sky" from ELO and even "Lovin' You" by Minnie Riperton.

Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe compose the film's soundtrack which is of equal quality to the tracks they pick for particular story moments. The main theme is particularly catchy and gears you up for an exciting and entertaining film!

The cinematography is also stunning, some really great composition and camera angles bring the action to screen brilliantly, though my favourites are the slow camera tracks introducing the city, Roxanne and Metroman walking on water.

My only issue with the film was a decision to prevent the street-wise Roxanne Ritchie from becoming an intriguing story point and remaining the film's love interest. I feel that would have added interesting character development as well as raise certain gender issues and promote equality, like in Monster's Vs. Aliens in 2009. Instead, they have unfortunately perpetuated the 'damsel in distress' character that is still so common in modern films!

Anyway, rant over! Megamind is a fantastic flick full of playful humour, great animation and storytelling, definitely check it out if you haven't already! It's also very quotable, my sister's and I often greet each other with "Olo!", or "Minion, you fantastic fish, you!"--my favourite  is Megamind's mispronunciation of melancholy into "mel-on-golly"!

On to the next film, Mamoru Hosoda's Summer Wars (2009).

This is the next film from the master behind The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006), which I somehow haven't been able to see until now! The DVD was only released in the UK last March, which my boyfriend, Alex, picked up and recommended to me, so that probably has something to with it! (Promote the industry folks!)

Summer Wars is all about the culmination of ancient Japan colliding with modern Japan, in the futuristic concept of a completely virtual world whee you can make your own avatar, play sports, play games, battle and communicate through an instantly translated dialogue system with anyone in the world. This world is called OZ, and everyone is a part of it.

Without giving too much away, the story starts with an introduction to OZ, which then translates into a modern Japan, where a young girl, Natsuki is searching for a boy (Kenji) to charade as her boyfriend as a summer job for her Grandmother's 90th birthday. Starting as what looks like a family drama of 30+ people it escalates as conflicts arise between characters and a vicious virus attacks the virtual world of OZ, wreaking havoc and flinging the Earth into chaos.

The film speaks volumes about the dangers of putting too much responsibility on technology, but it also has real family values that stay at the true heart of the story, filling it with charm and making it an emotional journey for you and the characters. Using a cast of over 30 main characters, it brings home these messages from every possible perspective.

There is pretty much nothing I can fault in this film. It truly speaks for our generation and is a vital watch for any anime fans, Internet users or those with family, basically I think everyone should see it! The animation is beautifully styled and drawn and combines 2D and 3D elements in OZ that brings to life this digital world where nothing actually exists.

The film's climax is emotional and dramatic, bringing together the disasters of technology with the importance of family. Music, characters, plot points, animation... everything, comes together to deliver this must-see film! I could not recommend it more...

Some comparisons have been made to Mamoru's Digimon: The Movie back in 2000, which is understandable as it's the same director, but Summer Wars brings something new to the themes raised and combines it with this old-fashioned family descended from a samurai clan. It brings it bang up to date with current technology such as iPhone's and DSi's and the futuristic technology behind OZ, which we are not far off ourselves!

Mamoru has stated that his next animation will probably be more orthodox and with less main characters... I look forward to what he will make, but a part of me wanders if he will be able to surpass this gem of a film! Go check it out! ^.^

Saturday, 12 February 2011

End of Semester and Nutshell Reviews

Hello again bloggers, it's that kind of post again where the sheer amount of work has taken my time away from blogging and I have to come up with some sort of apology.... Except this time there was such a swamping of work that I haven't prepared one! :P

Anyway, stuff for me has been good! My last deadline was on Wednesday so I've been free to draw and play Mass Effect 2 to my hearts desire!

In the space of a week after a semester's worth of work, I had to submit and present a: 1-2 minute soundscape project using sound and animation to make a statement (see below); a 2000 word essay about the holy grail of CG, the photo-realistic human; 4 cleaned-up character animations doing something specified in our brief using 2D techniques and After Effects/Flash/Photoshop/Illustrator post-production methods (see below); as well as Power Points documenting the entire process.

An external project I was working on last November really took it out of my work, so I was quite behind on the animation for this, but I think I've made up for it on the explanations/documentation of my 2D animations... We'll see in my feedback tutorials next week!


Danielle Rescues a Mouse (Trying to open an object that refuses to do so)

Hyacinth and Richard Try to Keep up Appearances (Dialogue between two characters)

Missing a Bus (A Groom tries to get the bus to his own wedding)

Lost and Found (A change from one emotion to another)

In addition to work I've been doing, I've seen a few new films recently, which I'll give some "in a nutshell" reviews on so as not to bore you, but really they deserve more!

TRON: Legacy

TRON: Legacy is the 28-year late sequel to the original Tron in 1982, but fortunately the story realises this and places it 20 years after the original film, starring oldies Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner, and newbies Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde. It's an entertaining adventure with state-of-the-art visual effects and funky light suits that does a great job of bringing a film that hasn't aged particularly well to new audiences. Everything's been updated and the difference between the film's real world and digital world has been highlighted with the use of 3D. All real world events are shown in 2D, but everything in the digital world is in 3D, which really adds another level to this film and shows that the creators really thought about it!

The soundtrack is completely composed by French DJs, Daft Punk, who craft a intricately beautiful atmosphere to the entire film, but is still able to get into the beats and electronic feel of the world. So top marks for sound... and see if you can spot their cameo!

My only difficulty is the de-aged Jeff Bridges (Clu) who is is brought to the screen 20 years younger using CGI which hasn't quite shaken off the uncanny valley phenomenon yet. I actually wrote my CG essay on this subject, so that's quite enough about that right now, just go watch this film when it comes out on DVD (preferably with 3D capabilities) and see for yourself! And pump up the volume for those amazing tunes!

The King's Speech

I went into this film expecting a good film, but instead got a great one. It's no surprise it got so many nominations. It's engaging from start to finish and full of inspirational acting. It's a real feel-good film with honesty, character, humour and a wonderful message. It's based off of the true story of King George VI and was written by David Seidler who had to wait years to write his screenplay after the Queen Mother requested that it not be made before her death as the memories were too painful.

Colin Firth plays the king with Helena Bonham Carter as his wife and Geoffrey Rush as his Australian speech therapist. The acting, music and script are all superb and it's a truly beautiful film from start to finish. The speech itself was a wonderful moment, but I won't say anymore in case it spoils it! It's definitely worth a watch, if not at the cinema then definitely on DVD later in the year.


Ok, so the second Disney movie on this list, but please bare with me! I finally saw this film last weekend after the long wait for UK releases... And. It. Was. Beautiful! I thought I'd seen most of what CGI had to offer, but this film blew me away! Ok, so the story is flimsy and loses a lot of darkness and intrigue from the original fairytale, but the characters are wonderful and Rapunzel is just too darn cute! I was so surprised how full of life the 3D models were, they moved just like 2D Disney classics and this was probably because of Glen Keane's involvement. I read in interviews with him that he literally drew over the 3D animation to get the animators to push poses and get the most life as possible out of the animation.

But it's not just the characters, it's the environments too! I was a little skeptical that they had pulled off the 'oil painting' look that they were originally going for, but the lushness of the scenery and all that hair (!!!) made me see otherwise. It was also nice to see the classic musical numbers make a comeback and the songs were lovely. It's a shame that Disney are going to think now that audiences want to see 3D movies and not their 2D stuff after The Princess and the Frog didn't make a very good profit last year, but it's mainly the marketing and feel of this film. The story may be weak, but it's fun! That's what makes this film good from my standpoint, and Rapunzel's little face! I'm obsessed with drawing her right now! Sqqquuuuueeeeeeee!!! [/fangirl]

Ahem. I've also started that classic sci-fi, "Firefly". I bought the box set cheaply as I heard it was good and I'd ironically already seen "Serenity". Fortunately it was a long time ago, so I don't remember how they wrapped up the prematurely canceled series. The pilot started poorly in my opinion, but the series has really got into it now and the character interaction is really engaging. I'm loving the unique sense of humour too! I can see Mass Effect got a lot of cues from it. I'm on episode 5 or something now, so more on that when I've finished it!

I'm nearly done on Mass Effect 2 as well, I've recruited all characters but for Legion and completed their character quests, so all is going well! I'm quite apprehensive for the suicide mission--I don't want to lose the characters! :(

Well that's all for now, hopefully my next update won't be so far away! I'll have to post my feedback for my animations when I get it next week! :)
Gem xxx