Thursday, 29 April 2010


Just a quick post before I go to bed to let you all know that the latest episode of The Owl and the Pussy Cat is up on YouTube for your viewing pleasure!!!

I was running behind the schedule I made for myself, and so today pulled out all the stops. An 8.30 start to the day with the intention of completing the last piece of animation, and then the whole thing edited together and exported by the end of the day.
Well despite my exhaustion, my determination won out and I've come through at the last minute!

I predicted that the fog was going to be a headache to animate, but I seriously underestimated how time consuming and repetitive it really would be... I think next time I shall leave foggy weather conditions alone!

So without further a-do here is it:

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Animation Update... and some Website designs!

Things have been a little slow on the blogging front recently, and that is because 99.9% of my time these days is devoted to animating.

My days start at 9.00am (sometimes earlier) and straight away I start up my computer, while getting dressed an cleaning my teeth. And then I'm at it until around 12.00pm when I allow myself an hour to get some exercise, because otherwise I'd be sat on my ass all day! Then after a quick wash it's back to my laptop, with a working lunch. And then I'm here until around 7.30pm when my boyfriend prises me away to eat my dinner and spend the rest of the evening relaxing with a DVD (unless, of course, I decide I haven't had enough and go back to do a little more before bed!)
It may make me sound like a work-a-holic, and maybe I am, but to get this animation done within the amount of time I have given myself it needs to be this way. And this way does work!

Currently I have finished animating shots 1, 2 and 4, and I'm half way through shots 3 and 5. That leaves only shots 6 and 7 to start!
I hope to have all the animation completed by Tuesday (I work all day Sunday, so there will be no time to do any then). Then the next step will be to take the final clips into Premier and edit it all together with sound!

But anyway, just so that this post has some visuals in it, I thought I'd post up some rough mock-ups of a possible website layout. I have been attending a series of DreamWeaver workshops to learn how to build my own website, and we were asked to mock up a layout of several pages in Photoshop so that we'd have a base to build our websites around.
So here are mine!

Monday, 12 April 2010

OatPC ep3 - testing transparency

This may not look like much, but this is the stage at which I am at at the moment with my animation...
Although I can import Photoshop files directly into Toon Boom and keep the separate layers, Toon Boom cannot keep any blending modes or opacity changes that have been applied in Photoshop. So I have had to condense each layer down into the bare essentials and treat it more like cel animation, and then re-apply the transparency in Toon Boom using the alpha levels.

So here is just a little test to see how well I can match the transparency of everything to the concept images posted previously, and also see how the waves react against one another when slightly transparent.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Lloyds TSB, Art of Nurture Competition 2009

Okay, so this is a little old... But I wanted to post up work that I've done for various competitions, and I'd just suddenly remembered about the Art of Nurture Competition back in 2009!
We had to produce an image set around a variety of themes provided by Lloyds, stuff like; Specialty, International Relations, Helping People, The Olympics..
The theme for this entry was Teamwork and Support.

My entry actually made it into the Regional Finals, in Bristol!

OatPC ep3 - Concepts

Okay, so here are various key shots within this next animation worked up as illustrations.
I think over all I'm pleased with them, but it's hard to illustrate when I'm wearing the animator's hat. There are several elements that I need to keep simple for them to be able to be animated easily. For example the Owl and the Cat (and the Whale) don't share the same textural qualities as the environment simply because if they did I would need to negotiate by hand each frame and how the texture would look as they moved their bodies... And I think it'd drive me mad! (This is why animation studio's are made up hundreds of people!)

Developments: The water; although it's the same coloured sandpaper textures as used in the previous episodes I've varied the opacity of the layers, so now you can see objects through the water; like the bottom of the boat, the oars and the whale!
The boat; as I mentioned in the previous post the boat was starting to look too simple, so I have re-designed it with the only reference from the poem I have; "Pea green..." I've used that idea quite literally and gone with a sort of pea pod look.

Potential nightmares: The fog.... although it'll look nice, it will need to be drawn frame by frame for it to have a fluid swirly motion. That's 25 frames a second, and a lot of tedious hours in store... But it'll be worth it!
The lantern's glowing light; I'll need to work on how that will work within Toon Boom.
The Whale's spout; same as the light, it'll need to be carefully negotiated to get the right kinda spray/splashy quality as in the last image. (I really wish Toon Boom could use different brush qualities like Photoshop!)

There are still a few more shots to figure out, then these will need to be condensed down into a manageable number of layers in Photoshop to be imported directly into Toon Boom. And then the motion begins!

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Owl and the Pussy Cat - Episode 3

Now that I've posted stuff about the previous OaPC animations, I can start putting up work for the episode I am currently working on!

I seem to be following a weather trend with these animations so far. First snow, now fog! (I had even storyboarded up one for rain...) But anyway here are the storyboards for ep 3.

Here I'm trying to do a little more with the camera. the first 2 animations have a very planar shot throughout (with the exception of the long shot at the end of ep 2).. Here I'm putting together a bit of a pan (hopefully) and some fast close up shots. I'll experiment a bit more with interesting camera angles in another episode where the content calls for it.

Another thing which will be fun to play with are the foggy tendrils I have wafting around the scene... potentially incredibly time consuming to animate, but if I get it right then they should look really nice! Also I intend on trying a little more with the water, possibly try making it slightly transparent and with less of a hard edge against the other elements.
Oh, and there'll be a re-design of the boat too!! It was starting to look too simple and block shaped against the increasing complexity of everything else!

Next step: I'll be working up key panels in the storyboard to determine the colour pallet, layout etc of each shot, so stay tuned

The Owl and the Pussy Cat - Episode 2

In January I completed episode 2 of my Owl and Pussy Cat series.
You'll see a dramatic difference between this episode and the first, hopefully illustrating what I mentioned about developing the look as I animate. Here are the storyboards that I drew up before picking key panels to work up as illustrations in Photoshop.

By piecing all the elements together in Photoshop I was able to have more control over the way that I wanted my animation to look and have a play around the colours and textures. Then I separated each individual element that would need to move in the final animation onto it's own layer in Photoshop (kinda like old fashioned cell animation where each separate moving part is on a different film of acetate). I could then import the PSD file, keeping the layers separate, into Toon Boom and begin making things move!

With this episode I tried to create more of an atmosphere and sense of place, the previous animation was very neutral, and so I concentrated on achieving a sense that the Owl and the Cat were affected by their surroundings.
In this episode the Owl and the Cat get lost in the Arctic Ocean, and so I had plenty of opportunity to play around with shifting colour schemes, as you'll see.

((Audio clips are credited to and I'd also like to thank Kirsty for the use of her textured paper and Ig for his doilies, without those vital ingredients it wouldn't have been able to snow! Cheers guys!! :D))

The Owl and the Pussy Cat...

... went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat.
I've decided it is time to re-visit my series of animated shorts based around the story of the Owl and the Pussy Cat, and let the wolves rest for a bit. The rhyme says "They sailed away for a year and a day", so you've got to figure that within those 366 days at sea this unlikely couple would have come across some adventures. My animations focus on their voyage and each episode tackles a new situation.
But before I start posting up drawings and concepts for this latest animation, I'll just fill you in on the previous episodes. This is where it all began. Here are the character designs for both the Owl and the Pussy Cat, and various colour concepts for the first "episode"

This first animation was just an experiment, a way for me to get to grips with the characters, the environment, and the way everything moved. I intentionally kept the production time for this animation (and the ones to follow) very very short, in fact this first animation took me only a week to put together, after all the initial character and concept design had been completed. This was to enable me to continue with other work alongside (namely the work for my graphic novel that feature in previous posts). Another thing you will notice is that the aesthetic of the animation will continue to develop as the series progresses, this is because I am developing the look of the animation/characters/environment as I animate, allowing me to keep the time spent animating very brief for each episode and not get too bogged down with trying to create one perfect animation. It is much more fun to get stuck in with an idea and learn as you go along, plus I think it's nice to be able to see a progression and exactly how things have developed within someones work, and I hope that you will be able to get a sense of that with my little series.

So here it is:

(November 2009)

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Kaplan Altior Calendar

These were my entries for the Kaplan Altior calendar competition back in November 09. The requirements were to produce multiple images representing various cities/attractions in the UK.
So number one is Bristol Suspension Bridge and Balloon Festival. The robot is also meant to be made out of Bristol landmarks, his body is Temple Meads, his shoulder is the SS Great Britain, and on his back are the horns from the bridge at the Waterfront.
Number two is The Deep aquarium in Hull, as if viewed from inside one of the tunnels through the Endless Oceans tank. They have over 40 sharks of 12 different species, the sharks in this picture (loosely) resemble some of the species that the aquarium has in a kinda kaleidoscope pattern.

And lastly, number three is Redclife Square, in Oxford, with St Mary's church in the background, a nice season specific picture. This image was actually chosen to be printed in the calendar!! It was used as the final image, after December, for the New Year!

Alpha - Portrait

Here we go, a nice coloured up portrait of my Alpha character. I'm really quite pleased with the hand made paper texture used for his skin, kinda makes it look aged... Well he is supposed to be in his late 40's/early 50's.