Friday, 9 April 2021

Writing

Here's another character rotoscope piece, this time of a man writing on an iPad with a stylus. I used some 16mm film I scratched several years ago (2013) for the background, but never did anything with it at the time. I've used it in various short pieces such as this, since. I like how the background colours and shapes work with this clip. The whole thing just looks really aesthetic for some reason (or at least I think it does)!

Saturday, 3 April 2021

Lancashire Photography Festival

Lancashire Photography Festival kicked off yesterday (April 2nd) in Preston. It is a fantastic outdoor (free) photography exhibition, with photographs pasted on walls at various locations around the city. You can download the map and see the line up HERE.

It is up until 23rd May- I highly recommend visiting. Here's a few images from my visit yesterday evening, though will be going at least once more as I didn't get time to see everything!

Festival organiser Garry Cook (@gazcook)





Friday, 2 April 2021

Book

Here's a super short clip of a woman turning a page in a book! I really like the colour scheme in this one, along with the super textured background. I created the BG by sponging a few colours of paint on a number of paper frames (as in animation frames/ cells, not actual frames where pictures are hung inside!) and then scanning them in.

I mainly read non fiction these days as I usually find them a lot more interesting than fiction. Plus I get my narrative/ 'made up'/ escapism fix from all the films I watch, so maybe that's why I don't really enjoy reading fiction? Who knows...



Saturday, 27 March 2021

Cereal

The next clip in my 'every day' series (I mean in terms of what the characters are doing in each shot, as opposed to what I create every day [even though I do animate every day]) is a woman eating cereal. Action packed as that might be! But I just love animating people doing 'normal' kind of things, but then playing around with style and technique to see which direction I can take it. Animation aside: porridge is totes my favourite breakfast cereal (can't beat something warm to eat first thing IMO), flavoured with cinnamon and a few sultanas. And I have the cooling time down to a 't', so Goldilocks, HANDS OFF!


There aren’t loads more of these clips I'm intending to share despite the fact that I have a fair amount left. This is because I completed them in autumn 2020 and although I felt they were, at the time, a ‘jump up’ from some of the earlier work I created that year, having metaphorically ‘jumped up’ another level or so since, I am not pleased with all of the clips and therefore won't be publicising them. Even though I enjoy sharing the work I create, I don’t feel the work is ‘wasted’ if I decide not to share it anywhere. Each piece I complete is something I learn from, thus enhancing my practise and making me a better animator, whether anyone else sees it or not. I guess it’s a bit like the whole ‘if a tree falls in the forest’ thing, maybe..?!


Saying this, at times you might see a post on this blog where I do write about work I am not that pleased with, but that is more for reasons of personal reflection and it is usually something current, rather than digging through older, ropier stuff purely so I have something to share on social media. On the whole though, I prefer to put out work which I feel best represents my skill set or level of competence at the time of sharing. But I am fine with leaving my older work up, so I can see a clear path of progression to where I am at presently. I love learning! 


Thursday, 18 March 2021

Letraset + Roto #2

Here's 'Letraset + Roto #2' (see version one here). This time I'm using different Letraset and paint colours as the background and a different character doing something different. Definitely overdid the 'different' in that previous sentence!

I will try and write a longer post at some stage soon about newer work (apologies if you haven't found the written parts in these last few posts that interesting or varied), but I have been super duper busy with my amazing new job at the moment and haven't found a lot of time to create much of my own work during evenings and weekends. I have been working on another hand painted piece, but the progress is quite slow. Hopefully it shouldn't be too far off though!

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Coffee Rotoscope

Yum, coffee! Fun fact: I only drink decaf these days (perhaps rare for an animator person)?! This clip is of a man drinking coffee whilst walking (spoiler alert, I'm sorry). I really like animating people walking for some reason- maybe because I like walking and do it a lot or maybe as it's a nice action to draw. Who knows?! Anyway, the background of this one is some 16mm film, which I inked with Indian ink and scanned in way back when. You can read more about the process of that in this post.

Sunday, 7 March 2021

Letraset + Roto

As stated in this entry, I said I would be posting some clips which I made in autumn last year, over the next few months or so. Here is the second one: the background this time is Letraset transfers (love those), combined with acrylic and emulsion paint. I really like how this one turned out. Enjoy!


Ps. I watched 'Your Name.' (2016, Makoto Shinkai) yesterday and oh wow what a brilliant film! Would super advise checking it out if you've not already.

Sunday, 28 February 2021

*New Reel Update*

I usually update my animation showreel in spring and autumn for some reason (perhaps when I realise I've enough new pieces to add), so here is the spring 2021 edition! Enjoy!



Friday, 19 February 2021

Rotoscope Paint Test

I’ve been wanting to do some rotoscoping using analogue techniques for a while now and I finally was able to do so as I now own a printer (yay). Probably a little more excited about that than I should be, but I’m an artist type person and stuff like that gets me excited, so there! As you know if you follow my work, a lot of what I do combines both analogue and digital techniques, so creating some rotoscope pieces not using the computer (or at least not fully) seemed like the next logical step. I often use paint and other analogue methods as backgrounds and/ or to add texture, though never rendered a piece fully by hand.

The closest I’ve come to doing so is this short test piece:



As you can see, I printed out the frames and used different media to mark make. I liked the effects I created, though never since took it further than this clip.


Introduction over, I will now talk through the process of creating my first hand coloured piece. Note: everything I do in the computer is still done by hand, drawing every frame using a Wacom tablet, but it basically cuts out the step of scanning everything in.


For this piece, I decided to draw the outlines on computer first, then print those out and do the colouring by hand. This decision was because after printing out some frames as a test I found it hard to trace each frame accurately. As my printer is only monochrome some of the shading was hard to make out when printed. I also printed 4 images on each page, so they were quite small and therefore a little pixelated, which again made it harder to trace the outlines accurately. Yes, I could have printed out one frame a sheet, but I’m quite conscious of being environmentally friendly by using as little paper as I need and not wanting to use ink unnecessarily.


Going into this, I wasn’t quite sure which medium I wanted to use, as I had quite a lot of ideas and didn’t know which one would work the best or to depict what I had envisaged. To help with my decision, I printed off eight frames: four with a solid black outline and four with a light grey outline. This was because I didn’t know how each might look when printed- would the solid black outline look too harsh against textured, analogue colouring? Which is why I thought I would print off one in grey too. With these outlines I was able to create some style frames using various media (below).


All the techniques I tried:


Sharpie (regular colours)

Biro + gel pen

Pencil

Water colour pencils

Sharpie (unnatural colours)

Watercolour paint

Acrylic paint

Black felt nib


My findings:


It turned out that the black outline looked much better for what I wanted to achieve here- the grey one wasn’t very visible and didn’t give a strong enough image.


The pencil and watercolour pencil didn’t scan very well, so needed altering in post, whether that be by Premiere or Photoshop.


The Sharpie’s bled a little, especially on the second one- not sure whether that was the effect I wanted to create. I do want it all rough looking (well hand rendered/ textured) or I may well have done it by computer, but I still want it to be appropriately neat for each medium. If that makes sense. Probably not!


I added the original frames over the acrylic paint one and the ‘graphic novel’ kind of style one with the black felt nib, to make the outlines stronger. I felt with the original frames brought back in, it really made the image stand out and definitely will be a technique to take forward into the final version.


After studying each image carefully, I came to the decision that one of my favourites was the one which I painted. So I decided to start with that. The pencil came a close second and I think I might use that technique in a future piece (yes, there will be more)!




The painted one had a fantastically bold look to it which I loved, especially when overlaid with the original frame. I also thought having brush strokes on each frame would add lots of texture and a boil to it, which you rarely get when colouring by computer. This is why I wanted to do it by hand- to get a look which is as far from computerised as possible.


So, now for the fun bit: painting! I do enjoy painting a lot, but hadn’t done much for a while, so it was a quite refreshing task. With the added bonus of not being sat at a computer for the 24 hours the paint section took to complete. I used a combination of acrylics and emulsion (didn’t have enough colours of either to do it in one medium) and used one coat of each. I wanted the paint to have large brush marks on it as I wanted it to be as textured as possible.



I went over the lines a fair bit, because I didn’t want there to be any white gaps on the character and I knew I was going to overlay the images with the original outlines I made on the computer anyway. When scanned in, I took each painted frame into Photoshop and matched each with the corresponding outline. Once in the swing of things, this didn’t take as long as I thought it would and before I knew it, I was able to import the image sequence into Premiere to export. TVPaint lets you export the animation frames with the frame number surrounding each one if you check the ‘slate’ box when outputting your animation. This was super useful when using printed frames or else I would have no idea which ones would go where.


The whole piece took 41 hours and 20 minutes for 4.5 seconds of animation.


I am really pleased with what I created here, though if I were to do something differently, I would have liked it even more textured. This is something I can build upon for future versions of this, but for a first go, I am super happy with it. I think it turned out a little better than what I was expecting. It would have also been nicer if it was a longer piece too, but I had no idea how the thing would pan out, so didn’t want to do a ten second clip to find out it would look terrible!


As always, watch this space for semi-regular write ups about my creative processes. Here’s the clip:


Thursday, 18 February 2021

Man in a Suit

My latest animation clip: 


I say latest, but I actually completed it last August, though had not got around to posting it anywhere (besides Twitter) before now. It was going to be part of an experimental short film I was making last year, but I think I've decided to leave that project as just a test/ experiment as it wasn't really going anywhere. So over the next few months I'll be posting what I created on my various social channels (and this blog, of course), as I still want the clips to be seen as I am pleased with what I created.

The background for this one was lots of photocopied pieces of paper, photocopied over and over until the image was completely distorted and unrecognisable, but produced (in my opinion) fantastic texture and pattern. Lots of this project was character animation created in TVPaint, juxtaposed with collage backgrounds created from several different media. So if you think this is exciting, then keep an eye on here and on my Instagram over the next few moths as there's plenty more coming! Hold onto your hats!