Sword Dance, Shadowgraph.

This is amazing, I cannot figure out how they did this exactly, but I know it involves a hell of a lot of projection. Not sure how relevant it is to my animation brief but it is a good example of how to intergrate two styles together.


Sometimes The Stars animated music video.

I found this in my reader a while ago and only just got round to actually writing about it. It is an animated music video for the song Sometimes The Stars by The Audrey’s. The animation was produced by Luke Jurevicius and directed by Ari Gibson & Jason Pamment.

The story is about a girls journey through a surreal landscape and her want and need to make a connection with this environment. It is really beautiful. I like it a lot.

I think I found this so useful because I found a tone of stuff on it, like the making of videos, interviews and images of character development. It really made me think a lot more about why characters are so important within animation, because you are basically telling a story through visuals. This is what spurred me on to make all my animation narrative based, with a good reference system for them all.

Sourced on motionographer – Sometimes the stars.

The interview goes through how the initial brief came about to the two main guys involved and how they took to approach it – good for anyone interested in pursuing animation.

Polygon Character Development

The character for my polygon is a little girl who is surrounded by a dark and gloomy environment as she winds up a jack in the box of polygons. I took a lot of inspiration from games and films which portrayed children as evil characters, here are the best examples.

For me the start of scary kids beings with Children of the Corn. I have only seen this film once and I don’t intend to watch it again. The original was released in 1984 and has that old style of horror to it, similar to the style in Rosemary’s Baby and Carrie. I guess the style is based on shock factor, the idea that unthinkable things are happening. Which in the Corn is seen through the idea that a society of children is making adult decisions. The fear is created through the idea that children should only do typical children stuff.

The Orphanage is a pretty freaky film, but te main scary part of this I the visual side of it. As you can see from the image, the children in the film are portrayed wearing really scary masks (I HATE that mask), but the idea of it being a child instills mo fear in the viewer than if it was just an adult – The Stranger’s wasn’t scary at all.


Other films that utilise children as being freaky as hell: Grudge and Ring – I won’t ramble about these two, there are better examples of them in games.

The Fear games and Silent Hill ones are some of these good examples, as well as Bioshock. They all portray little girls as being evil characters.

Polygon Colour Scheme

For the character I used a colour scheme that would highlight the dark theme of the animation. I wanted the colours to tie in with the dark background of the piece so I chose dark red and orange for the box – this makes this stand out from the girl as the main focus. The use of yellow in the hair makes the whole scene seem more realistic because it is the reflection of the lamp above her head.

For the other parts of the animation, the polygons in the box, I chose I much brighter colour scheme, using bright blue, lilac and plum. This was to exaggerate the idea of the box containing happy objects instead of a scary jack in the box. I changed this idea from my original idea so that I could incorporate more polygons as most people had said in my crit that the box alone wasn’t enough.

Polygon Animation

I am finally finished =) yay! Good times. It lasts a total of 17 seconds and somewhat follows my animatic/storyboard. I am pleased with the outcome, and amazed that I actually want to continue working with Flash, but only with a wacom tablet =) Yeah, the hand drawn style of animation was really fun to do. It was the best part of this project so far. Hopefully I can explore this in mywalking animation? Possibly with the end section when the cog fall into the acid.

Jack in the box progress.

Been working on my Jack in the box flash animation today, it is going well. I am up to 17seconds and have discarded my animatic because it wasn’t helping with my timing. All I need to do on it now is the actual objects that spring out of the box, I think I am going to do this frame by frame because it worked well for the winding up section. I tried to put in a bounce when the lid of the box opens and I think it looks OK, I’m still coming to terms with the whole flash aspect of animation and I’m half and half with whether I like it or not.

This is my current progress with the box opening sequence.

Polygon progress

I am up to my second scene of my polygon animation. Yay! But also Nay! It is really really hard to make it look like the girl is moving the wind up level. I don’t know whether to continue with the idea of her winding it up…I might change it so that it is winding itself up or maybe so do the side view?

This is where I am so far

It looks really weird, like it is out of proportion? I am going to use the photographs below to help me figure out how the movement will work.

A change to the polygon idea.

Now I have finally started work on my polygon animation I have realised that it is not very affective for the brief. This was highlighted when I presented my storyboard all that time ago but I had not really taken the advice into consideration. Now, I want to change the idea slightly. The change will be the clown in the jack in the box, I like the idea of it being a polygon or two instead – but I also like the idea of the movement that the spring will create so it may be cool if the clown was created out of polygon’s? Improvisation is the way forward.

Problems with colour

I have encountered a problem. Just been sat doing my design for the girl character in my polygon animation and I realised that her hair colour is the same colour as the background!

This is the idea for the colour scheme. I want to keep it simple as I don’t want to spend ages in Ai then get into Fl and none of it working! If I keep it simple, its safe. Anyways, I have the basic colours on there, but I have done my background separate in flash, which so far looks like this:

Black hair on a black background isn’t going to work…going to play around with the idea of a glow behind the character – like the light glow directional lines etc.

Drawing For Animation

I got this book out of the library at the beginning of the animation brief but have left it to collect dust until now. It has some very useful points in it though.

Animator Joanna Quinn and her use of photographic referencing, she uses it as a base to her work, and takes everything like styles, themes and objects into her pieces, basically whatever she needs. This part of the book stated that “Trying to apprehend a character in drawing often necessitates a degree of imitation”, this means that reference material is essential to any form of character development. Environments are particularly good for this as they can evoke a mood, they set the scene and are often hard to draw without reference material. I suppose this comes from anywhere and could apply to my use of google images for my hibernation machine in the walking animation. Joanna Quinn’s example in the book:

Joanna Quinn seemed to be a good example for a lot of the stuff in this book, as a case study her Whiskers advertisement was shown for anticipation alongside this caption: “The first image shows a high degree of anticipation as it properly signals the nature of the intended leap. The leap itself shows action and reaction by the two cats, and the last image is a clear signifier of the weight and speed of a well fed cat.” I’m not actually sure whether my animations have the principle of anticipation in them but it is a good thing to know, especially how the shot framing is a factor within the principle.

OK, I think pretty much all my references in this are Joanna Quinn’s work, maybe just all the references in the book are? Who knows? This section was about the walk cycle and how it is important for an animator to relearn everything that seems simple to the mind. This probably links to the idea that if one small thing is out of place it wont appear ‘normal’, I came across problems like this when I was using the bone tool in flash, if I didn’t properly follow the walk cycle, the robot just looked crazy, sort of like he was strutting/bouncing as apposed to doing a general walk. He had a little too much kick in his steps. The image for this page was an example of how the stance and body language of the walk cycle had an effect on the personality/theme of the actual walk. E.g. if the head was tilted down below the shoulders it would appear as a lack of enthusiasm, but if the head and neck are straight and above the shoulders it looks wooden. I need to take this into consideration when I produce my walk cycle as I will have to make the walk fit the character and how he is feeling at that moment in time.


And so it begins…

Started work on my first flash animation today – polygon brief. I think I have figured flash out OK, but I seem to be having severe problems with getting my head around having separate layers. I managed to make a test of the girl’s eyes blinking but then realised after working in illustrator for about half an hour, that I would need to have the hair, above the girl’s eyes on my final thing. I tried it in flash and it works =) just had to put it on a separate layer – note to self: figure out which layer everything needs to be on before going anywhere near flash!. This is just a basic shape tween for the girls eyes to make them blink. I know it looks a bit crazy and her eyes seem to squash into themselves…but I tried putting shape hints on and it went crazy, like each eye went over to the other eye, so I’m sticking with this, plus it isn’t really an important factor of the animation!

Adrift, animation.

Adrift is an animation produced by Matt Smart, Ben Clube and Ben Casey as a graduation piece from the university of Hertfordshire. I came across this piece in 3DWorld magazine and found the article quite useful. It depicts how the team choose to work without any dialogue  so that they could test their animation skills, they had to ingest life into the characters so that they would still be lovable with out any connection to them through voice. This is a really important part in any animation, for both my animation part 1 briefs I have chosen to incorporate characters into them to help the narrative aspect that is a requirement and seeing as we don’t need to include sound, my character development will be really important as well. The three students had 8-months to create this production, and they used the character design as a starting point and influence for the film. The article stated that they knew they had to push nature and personality into how the character looked, as this was the main communication of what was going on in the animation. I think I may need to develop my character for my walking animation a lot more than I have, especially his movements etc. Just so the audience can get a feel of who this strange little robot is from watching the animation.

Under The Oak Tree

Under the oak tree is a stop-motion animation by Aardman Animations. It was produced as an advertisement for Swedbank. My main use of this is the quality of the animation, it is created so precisely that you can’t actually tell where one frame ends and the next begins. This flow allows you to take an in depth look at the characters of the animation. They are quite interesting characters. All animal based creatures taking a human stance, this obviously takes inspiration from The Wind In The Willows. It is a really nice animation, that should be viewed by anyone interested in this subject plus the making of video is inspirational and gives insight into the working progress in frame by frame animation.

The Making Of:

Thursday Trailer by Matthias Hoegg

As we are currently using flash in our animation brief I have started to look into a more graphical style of animation, due to my normal style being realistic, and usually painted in Photoshop, I thought I would find some references that use Ai based images. Thursday by Hoegg is a perfect example of this, it has a a cutout style of animation and is flash based. I especially like the walk cycle shown when the people are queuing up for the train station’s barrier, it is a tad quick but works well with the unusual ‘square’ style of animation.I should keep this in mind for my Walking animation, because in Thursday the characters walk cycles/movements have been effected by the design of the character. If I proceed with my storyboard of the Robot I will need to make sure that the walk cycle of him, makes him seem robotic, even though he is sort of like an android…hmm, I have a lot to think about.

Flash – Induction

Finally know how to use flash! I have uploaded some .gif’s of the animations we have tested out in flash. We started by looking at motion paths, and motion tweens then moved onto looking at classic tweens and shape tweens. I’m still unsure how exactly I will be using my newly acquired knowledge to produce my animations, still need to fiddle about with the idea of a jack in the box. Click on images to see gif.


Classic Colour – the disappearance of objects through the use of a motion tween and opacity.




Classic motion path –  using drawn lines to control a shape’s movement.




Ease in, Ease out




Frame by frame








Rotation Point



Shape hints




Shape Tween – werewolf




Shape tween

Jan Svankmejer

Found out about Svankmejer in a stop motion presentation yesterday, I found his work really interesting due to the ‘obvious nature’  of it. By this I mean you can see exactly where he has used pixilation, he doesn’t seem to  hide the process of his work for the final piece. I like this, its very raw and adds to the grotesque style of the animation. It is freaky when you watch food:part 1 and the people seem to just skim across the floor. It is very staggering for the flow of the animation but works really well to un-nerve the audience. After watching the Food:Part 1 I watched a couple more of Svankmejer’s and a few clips of his film Alice. I found it an interesting thing to watch, especially the clip when Alice grows to the size of a house and gets stuck. The animals that come to rescue her are all made out of skeletons and move in a way similar to the animated skeleton army in Jason and the Argonauts.

A Little Love and Attention.

Mandy Smith was art director on a beautiful paper puppetry animation called The Move. She used the process of moving house in Amsterdam to inspire her idea. I know that for our animation brief we aren’t doing stop motion but I really like this. Plus the part in it where they are hoisting up the box is a good example of anticipation. The music does help with the anticipation that builds up due to its chaotic nature. You can see the care and attention that has been put into this animation, each model made is hand crafted out paper. The composition of the shots is especially nice as well with the shots of the car, they add the sense of movement to the car by showing it driving past trees etc. The flow of the narrative is done really well and the music helps move the story along but also the general ‘happy’ feeling of the story links to the general aura of the animation. It is a very bold animation, the use of colour emphasizes this but I think it helps to have a background story that relates to a lot of people, as I said they used the notion of moving house in Amsterdam to fuel this idea. Anyone who has moved house will be able to relate the chaotic yet beautiful theme that runs through the story.