Monday, 29 April 2013

Personal reflection: Why does my work look less vibrant?

I can't help but feel that when I ink my rough animation it loses something in the process, I really like the vibrance and the real sense of movement that you get from the sketched animation (Not to mention that since there's no definite lines, the characters don't tend to wobble and become off model), this doesn't really occur with animation created using premade assets, however it does tend to affect hand-drawn animation a lot more.

Looking at it, I think learning how to ink individual frames is important, but I have a much easier time inking single drawings on photoshop than I do in, say, Flash. Switching over to Flash MX to make the final lines is much easier, as the brush tool in later Flash version is actually worse, surprisingly!

Above: Flash CS4. A curved line becomes squiggly when zoomed in, this is made even worse when using pressure sensitivity on a tablet!
Below: Flash MX. It at least looks a lot better, you give up pressure sensitivity but I still think this looks like a much more solid, defined line.
I can't help but feel that's just going backwards. It's something I need to work on, although I do think using Flash MX has at least helped in a small way, but I still feel like my work loses something when I ink it in.

Industry: Animation UK (Not an alliance!)

Animation UK is a group whose aim is to provide tax breaks for Animation within the UK, the group was founded by Animator Oli Hyatt who works for Blue Zoo Animation in London. I've actually met them before because the lectured at Animex 2012, about their initiative to try and improve the climate in which animation studios can survive within the UK.

Animation doesn't really recieve tax breaks in the UK in the same way that movies do, Animation UK feels this puts UK animation studios at a disadvantage in the world market as it means that it will be more cost-effective to produce animation abroad, costing the UK animation industry jobs and money etc.
The aim is to create fairer trading conditions for those who produce animation within the UK and "to help protect or increase the ownership of IP that is of such value to the UK Economy."
 Animation UK is attempting to work with the government to see if they can hopefully implement such tax breaks, having attended several parliament meetings to try and make a push, as well as contacting George Osbourne directly. They have recieved SOME support from members of Parliament, particularly those whose young children watch animation.

Animation UK is a pretty cool thing, if I'm honest, I would like to see the UK having more of a foothold in the industry because hopefully it will mean more jobs, and more opportunities for young creatives to be able to make more of a living in the arts.

Animation Alliance UK

I felt like it was worth making a post about the Animation Alliance UK, who are a group of professional animators, producers and various other professionals within the UK animation industry who band together:
  1. to act as a network and focus for sharing information and discussion
  2. to advocate for the support of independent animation in the UK
  3. to lobby for investment in production, training, archive
The reason I felt the group should be blogged about is it may be a way to gain contacts within the industry, but also the job I posted for Norwich castle within my previous entry was found on this website, I thought that it might be a place to go to find out about people who want to commission animators and possibly to meet professional animators who could provide advice and contacts who one could hopefully use to get a foothold in the industry.

Jobs: Norwich Castle Commission

Norwich Castle Animation Commission

Having found a site called, which is a website which seems to give listings for jobs within the arts, both paid and unpaid, as well as some festivals and competitions.
Having looked, there is this listing for a historical animation for Norwich Castle.

Part of the reason this listing appeals to me is that the brief specifies that they would not like a CGI look to it and would prefer something hand crafted like "Hand-drawn or cutout", the idea of making a historical animation in 2D animation is something I've dealt with before and actually found to be a pretty interesting process because of the amount of research of the period that one has to put into it, rather than the research of techniques.

While I don't think I can enter just yet, as the payrate is too high for someone with my lack of professional experience, it's simple ideas like this that could be where the animation world takes me. As well as big films and festivals, there is also a need for animation in smaller places such as in schools and museums and exhibits to teach and tell a historical story.

Industry: Quay Animation

Quay Animation is a studio created by Mark Jobe based in the North East. Work that quay has done includes Short films, motion graphics, animation, 3D modelling and even Video installations at art exhibits.

The Motion graphics work they've done seems like there are opportunities for 2D work, and I would imagine that even on the 3D elements there are illustration and concept art used in the pre-production process.
A bit more my style, Quay has also created mascot designs for The Great North Air Ambulance as well as other projects. This seems to be character design and illustration, which are an area of expertise I would want to engage in.
 In terms of social media, Quay maintains a blog to talk about what's happening with their projects and films in addition to a twitter account which has notifications about competitions, the local animation industry in the north east and also can put you in contact with the founder, Mark Jobe.

Quay does seem very polished and their work isn't just standard adverts, as they also have more artistic things in their portfolio as well as illustration. Therefore it seems those who work there must be very versatile. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sega's Design a Mascot contest

Being a Sega fan, I felt like it was worth posting about this contest which they are putting on. The task is to design a character who encompasses Sega, and the winning character will become a mascot for the  NicoNico Douga live Show which they are putting on. (Think Japanese Youtube, where the company can host live steams) In addition, any games or merchandise made of your character will be sent to you and you will receive Toshihiro Nagoshi's signature, Sega's Creative director who will be judging the entries live on the show.

Closing Date: June 9th, 2013
Picture format,  Any res GIF, JPG, PNG (File can't be larger than 10MB)
You also have to tag your entry with a specific contest title which is in Japanese.

While it's not stated whether or not contestants have to be Japan-only, the contest has been reported on several of the Sega news sites, with artists and illustrators wanting to take part. For many the ultimate prize is having created a character who becomes part of Sega history and could conceivably appear on games and merchandise. Not only might this be an amazing piece of publicity for the designer, but also would be something to add to the CV.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Industry: Studio Moo

In keeping with the theme of animation studios in the North, Studio Moo is another animation studio based in Gateshead.
Compared with Arcus Studios, Moo appear to have more of an emphasis on CGI and 3D animation, however they also appear to on occasion do 2D animation for clients. Notably they have also done Visual effects for Live-action footage and Stop Motion animation, particularly for the advertising campaign for the game Rapidough, which is like Pictionary but with plastercine.

In terms of social media, Moo operate a facebook page and a Twitter account and have retweeted job classified for other studios around the Newcastle and Gateshead area, although they themselves do accept portfolios.
I once tried to contact them to see what it would take to get hired and was asked to present my portfolio, however I didn't hear back so I can assume that it wasn't good enough.

They are a studio I COULD try to see if I could get experience or work with after Uni, although I'm not sure whether I've got a skillset they want.

Animation practice: Sloth into Digger Morph

Done in Flash, we were supposed to morph within a certain number of frames; I decided to go beyond this because I felt like timing was important. I wanted to gradually turn the Sloth into a digger (With the arm into the scoop) because I wanted to give the audience the reaction of "Oh, well that's a bit stra- WHAT.", viewings from my friends would suggest I got the reaction I was looking for.

The animation is quite simple and rough but I was mainly looking to create a smooth transition between the sloth and the digger. I THINK I've achieved this, although if I were to finish it off for my showreel, I would need to refine it a little more, but the motion is fluid and it has the necessary odd-factor.

Industry: Arcus Studio

Arcus Studios are an animation studio based in Gateshead and seemingly specialize in 2D animation however there is also a lot of 3D animation work they have done as well.

Their portfolio ranges from things such as stings and idents to Public art installations.
Having done work for the BBC, E4 and more, Arcus Studio appears to be a general animation company working on several different kinds of projects.
Lots of the 2D work appears to be produced with Flash which is an area I am familiar with, and in terms of social media, the studio operates a Twitter account.
Looking at the website, it would appear that they themselves (Or at least the person running the Twitter) have used it to find animators who they would like to hire, even if just for temporary basises.

Upon inspection, it seems like something I could try for if I wanted to continue in 2D animation as it appears to play a large part in what they do.