Friday, 30 November 2012

Animation Production: Animatic Sweatbox

My projects were in the second hard of animatic sweatbox sessions that were spread over Thursday/ Friday. I did not get the chance to speak to him but I wanted to get advice on Little Loud off him (im not letting that die) which is a shame as he preferred to discuss it face to face rather than email. He suggested I talk to Andy about having him come back but in the back of my mind I have a feeling that that was the last time i'll see him. It was brilliant to to get his feedback today.

Below are the animatics for the projects I am working on. I have out the feedback under each video. The feedback was harsh but true and I took notes from a subjective view, easier when the project is not your brainchild, so I can analyse it properly. My biggest regret/ annoyance is that this feedback had not come sooner. having Luis Cook 4 weeks ago would have been a game changer for some projects.


Infinitus Artificium:
Animatic By Lauren Jansons & Amber Hyde

Luis Cook Feedback: (and some of my own notes/ observations/ ideas)

  • Audience will be able to pull narrative from abstract pieces. Its innate.
  • As a result the 'story'/ peice does not read well. Audience getting completely different message.
  • Comes across like a stab at men disguised as a dance piece.
  • music seems to sound more positive at start than at end. Should other way around.
  • Consider relationship between male and female
  • By default audience will begin to shape meaning just based on male and female interation; sexual connotations.
  • Try to find the story within the dance.
  • How do you represent emotion in dance? color, shape/ form, texture, lighting
  • Watch: Pink 'Try' (Music Video) Amber Hyde: "good example of contemporary male and female dance in a song. But is more dominating than male."


Orbit Strange Animatic:

Animatic By Tom Hughes

Luis Cook Feedback: (and some of my own notes/ observations/ ideas)
  • His abilties has not been sued for the right gags.
  • No need for construction site gag, does not 
  • individual gag needs to build on itself.
  • each gag needs to build on the last.
  • level of reality/ logic needs to be established and kept constant throughout.
  • what is the radius of his gravitational pull? what is the lightest/ heaviest object he can pick up?
  • what does he want? how does his ability stop him from having it?
  • Mr.Tibro should could start off young and get older as the story goes on. We see him from birth, school, first date, ect to death (where he finds his purpose)
  • Gravitational pull gets stronger.
  • Love story? Does he meet a woman who's head is a black whole? They complete each other?
  • wants intimacy but ability keeps people at a distance!
  • use title sequence to set up origins of oversized head? Titles could include orbiting text?
  • Read: Dan Martin Comics (Mad Magazine)
  • Watch: Captain Awesome (comedic timing) 
+ production schedule
+ shot schedule (based on animatic)
+ prop modelling list (based on aniamtic)

Animatic (based on feedback)
Character turnarounds

Mark & others:
Help with story developemnt

Animation tests (in Tom's style)


Hook, Line & Stinker Animatic:
Animatic by Freddy Pooley & Luke Ridgeway

Luis Cook Feedback: (and some of my own notes/ observations/ ideas)
  • Clarity. Shots need to be made clearer; action and background. use shades of grey for readability.
  • Ensure everything that is set up has end. Some gags and over arching story felt open ended.
  • Allow gags to have three act structure like 
  • Whats is the purpose of the Murman? How does he help to resolve their relationship? How does he make them feel about each other/ themselves?
  • What does each character want? Why cant they have it? (obstacle?)
  • Keep father & Son as 'double act' then introduce Murman as the 'wildcard'.
  • Make arguing happen gradually throughout 
  • Watch: Lupe The Butcher

First Act Ideas:
  • Set up ideas of large 'catch'. large fish that has only been seen a by a few old, drunken fishermen. Most believe it to be a myth. This could be and old man talking or even a poster hanging on a wall, a newspaper?

Second Act Idea:
  • Father & Son argue during rain (pathetic fallacy)
  • Meanwhile fishing mechanism goes crazy. its has clearly caught something of massive wight
  • Father and son do not notice boat tipping as they argue (dramatic irony)
  • hey reach peak of their argument as murman flops up onto deck
  • The murman's presence though comedic must threatens their life as they boat could sink. 
  • They are not on a time limit to get the murman off the boat before the boat sinks and they loose everything.

Third Act Idea:
  • They see twisted version of themselves in the murman. They do not like what they see.
  • Father & Son realise have to let go of the thing that makes them so hard to love
  • Father and Son forced swap roles. father is forced to be creative, Son is forced to do something fisherman like?

To Do Week Commencing: Week 10: 03/11/12
Monday Morning Meeting/ Story Session. All to Attend.

+ model son/ student (deadline monday)
+ contact oggymen band >> arrange meeting
+ shot schedule (based on animatic)
+ production schedule
+ arrange mocap session with Jens

+ Animatic with…
+ sound
+ elapsed time
+ shot count
+ overall frame count

+ Asset management (dropbox folder)
+ render tests
+ animatic (with freddy)

+ prop design
+ mobile, fish, Helm sterring wheel, metal bucket, flip book, pencil, door sign
(w/logo), palm tree sea weed,
+ Animatic from storyboards

rigging body (14th Dec)
facial rig/ GUI

+ bucket of water simulation (Monday 3rd Dec)
+ rain simulation (software renderer)
+ render test
+ finish the model of the merman

+ color script from storyboards (various time of day)
+ Mood board for water >> send to Phoebe

back ground from previous artwork
concept including water based on sash's mood board

Alex Beadle:
Ship concept design (deadlineTuesday 4rd Dec)
(note; please thin about light sources on the boat/ environment)
Seagull concept (Thurs 6th Dec)

Heidi & Stu:
test animations; walk, run cycle based on footage/ mobcap data

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Project Development Meeting

I think quite a few people took a blow today in the project development meeting as well as individual feedback sessions. I think people are starting to feel that anyone could go at this point. I honestly can't look at any project and say they are on solid ground. My biggest worry is that we won't be lest with anything that I can really feel invested in or actually care about this is a big thing for me I can't commit to ideas I don't believe in. Simple as...

Orbit Strange:
Lots of feedback from Helen and Derek following up from Andy and Amber's feedback yesterday. The feedback was conflicting and convoluted but what is clear is that everyone knows Orbit Strange has potential to be amazing and even award winning but we need to milk every gag for all its worth and keep getting fresh pairs of eyes on it. 
Just to keep you up to date over 50% of the story has been scrapped and we wil require a complete reworking of the scratch track. This also means that two of the background design that have been worked up will now be scrapped so I have had to put that on hold until we know what we are doing. 
I have managed to pull back in Sam Ellery (who is now producing 'Goonight Bear' for Alice Holmes) to work on the animatic in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro based on Tom's thumbnails which will be edited in various ways by amber to see what works. I need to get the animatic to Jamie Romp for Monday so he can work up a scratch track for us.

Infinifus Artificium (IA):
Based on Helen & Derek's feedback they know AI has the potential to be good. I trust Helens judgement as well as the other lecturers but I and weary of Derek as he clearly prefers solid narrative instead of things being interpreted as he suggested to Lauren, the director, that it become a comedy at one point. This will not be happening. As soon as we have this mocap data we can move things forward it is just a shame the mocap data has taken longer to come through.
We are trying to find a time this week to meet the dancers and 

Hook Line & Stinker (HLS):
I have been a little more removed form this project as I have spend most of my time on Orbit Strange and AI. Previz is less of a bottle neck for HLS as they still need a solid animatic before I would even touch Motion Builder of Maya software. The characters need more development and 

Mocap for IA and HLS:
The mocap data from Jens is coming through slowly but needed a lot more cleaning that we first thought. Using mocap was my idea and I have been the spearhead of this for both projects but just for this week it will be their biggest bottle neck. Once the data is through and cleaned we can test; camera positions, camera movements, staging, composition, lighting, texturing, particles among other things.

In Summary:
As if all of this was not enough we now have the Aniamtic Sweatbox Session handin on Tuesday 27th November at Midnight. The feedback from this will determine weather the project goes through. The catch is only two projects will be cut. The judge is Luis Cook. Now don't get me wrong Luis Cook is the director of the peice sisters and his work is incredible I was just hoping that we we would send them to the same judges we pitched to; Dave Unwin, Erica Darbey and Jess makes sense right? I have been researching him for obvious reasons. Hopefully he likes the ideas we have I would be absolutely gutted if two of the projects that get cut are mine.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Production & Motion Capture

Tuesday and Wednesday have been very long days.

Orbit Strange:
For Orbit strange the focus for me has been on schedules, shot schedule/ sign-off list, design & modelling list and well as an After Effects (AE) template for shot count, frames, length, etc to go over the animatic. Tom has done a great job on the animatic but Amber has been brought in to work on the edit as once we showed it to Amber and Andy they had a lot of comments for its improvements. Sp todays lesson "Don't work in a vacuum".

Motion Capture Hook, Line & Stinker/ Infinitus Artificium:
Tuesday night from 6pm-10pm was entirely motion capture. We worked on Hook Line & Stinker (HLS) first from 6pm-8pm. Had a 30 min break than from 8:30pm-10pm it was Infinitus Artificium (IA). Luckily Jens Milner who worked for Centroid down here at the university and runs the mocap studio has some improved markers for feet and is in the process of updating for the rest of the suit.
Luke and Freddy played the Fisherman and his Son/ Student while myself and Seb supervised the process. Jens is currently cleaning the mocap data and will send it to us at the end of the week.

Infinitus Artificium: Behind The Scenes

Career Aspirations & Feedback with Andy:
We also had the feedback sessions from our career aspirations forms today. I explained to Andy that I am dead set on being an animation producer but would also like to dabble in Live Action. We discussed having to start out as a runner of a production assistant working under as a best a director as I can.

Andy told me to look at the Advertising Standards Agency and the amount of rules and regulation that govern what they can and can't do. Despite all of this they manage to produce some amazing advertisements.  I should also keep my software/ hardware/ technology knowledge up as a producer that does now know how long things take will be taken advantage of at production stage. Alson with this he advised me to look at the most effective ways of motivating a team; 

I began reading a great book called Producing Animation by Catherine Winder & Sahra Dowlatabadi. Brilliant.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Schedules, List and Development

I spend most of today in the Library/ Exchange working on my dissertation readings. I also found two very good books one called 'Producing Animation' and 'The Business of Animation' which I plan to buy. I used these books to move forward with the schedules  for Orbit Strange and I will be working on the schedule for Infinitus Artificuim (AI), Lauren's project. Freddy, Luke and Seb were practicing the roles for Hook Line & Sinker mocap session tomorrow in the TV studio/ green screen room. Luke is focused on the animatic that needs a lot of work

This is the latest version of the Orbit Strange Animatic.
Animatic by Tom Hughes & Sam Ellery. SFX by Jamie Romp.

I also spend today finalising the variables of the shot schedule for Orbit Strange, you can see the development below. What really helped with this schedule was my work placement at Spider Eye at the end of my 2nd year as I took not of the type of things they have in their schedule such as notes (for animators from director), shot description, shot animator was assigned to, etc. Among other things I have added render passes, estimated render times (for which we can use the math based tools in excel) so just about everything from the key frame animation to final creative color correction. Animators were also assigned shots that follow the same continuity as much as possible for example I was given shot 14-18 but shot 17 had already been started by someone else. So I then had to give up shot 17 and 18 to avoid any issues. We will take the same approach come production time... its just common sense.
 I will have to make some changes base on the animatic above for which Jamie Romp out sound FX guy has just added a rough scratch track too.
Orbit Strange Shot Schedule (in development)

As you can see it has been color coded. Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production Delivery/ Distribution. At the moment is it a bit of a mess but you can see it coming together. Luckily for Orbit Strange we can afford to let some of the pre-production slip over to the 1st week of Christmas if needs be. The most important thing for me is having a pre-production bible to give to animators on January 6th as Tom will be the one to set the standard for the animation tests.
Orbit Strange Weekly Production Schedule (in development)

Little Loud Development:
I have done some rough sketch ideas for Little's grandfather as well as some more concepts for Loud.

I came across this video over a year ago on the internet then found it again today. It resonated with me more because of the shadow in Little Loud. I don't know why I didn't look at this sooner. the creature is not so much a shadow as a monster but its movement with smoke trails and expressions is something I envisioned Loud, the shadow, would have to a some extent. You can watch it here and see the making of below.

Animation Production

Have not been as productive as I would have liked this weekend. Spent all day working in Asda on Saturday and have spent most of sunday making schedules (pre, prod, post), shot schedules for Orbit Strange and arrangements for mocap sessions for both Hook Line & Stinker and Infinitus Articifium on Tuesday witch will be tricky. At the moment I am most excited about Orbit Strange as we have ideas that go beyond a short film the other two feel like mountains but I know we can do it.

On Thursday I agreed with Seb he would be the producer and I would work under him but i'm thinking that was possibly my dumbest move of 2012 so far especially after some of the chats i've had with Helen Brunsdon about it. I think one of the reasons I let him have it is because I have a lot on my plate taking on two projects never mind three. Will have to have a chat with them on Monday.

I was thinking the other day that both the pitch and animatic sweatbox should have come way earlier. by this time we should really be in our final teams but I feel all the projects are spread thin 

I found out about this man called Kevin Geiger who I am trying to get in touch with. His career is something to aspire to. He currently works for a division of Walt Disney over in China and is consulting animation companies over there too.

Also my twin sister sent me a link to this on twitter. It made my day.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Producing & Co-Producing

I am now producing Tom Hughes Orbit Strange, Lauren Jansons Infinitus Artificuium and Hook Line & Stinker, the brain child of Freddy, Luke and Seb. Below are the recruitment list for each project.
I had a chat with Helen Brunsdon today about developing Little Loud as a series alongside my final year projects. If I can take my time throughout the year to turn it into a pitch bible  then when I graduate I can send it to several studios.
This weekend will be busy as I am working early Friday and all day Saturday so I will have to do most of my work tonight and late Friday night. Wish me luck.

Orbit Strange:
Helen was pleased with Orbit Strange animatic and did not say much. This is good and but I wanted a bit more direction. I guess we will see what she says next week. All the really mentioned was that

To Do For Monday: 
Omari: Schedule, Shot Signoff list, prop list (already started these!), aslo recruit for animation tests
Tom: refine Storyboards based on feedback, draw high res closeups
Sam: refine Animatic based on Toms direction, add shot number and length to each shot
Potentials to recruit: Perry Hall, Laura Normansel, Kylie Burrell  We need to pull in these guys next week to get some animation test done.

Little Loud schedule being adapted for Orbit Strange 2D/ 3D mashup. (Colourful I know.)
Orbit Strange Animatic Version 1
Storyboards by Tom Hughes, Animatic by Sam Ellery

Infinitus Articifuim:
We have a mocap session tomorrow with Jens. I am bring Seb (Hook Line & Stinker) along to encourage him to use mocap for the 3D previz as it will be faster.

To Do for Monday:
Laure: continues to work up the animatic (see below) adding extra frames
Omari: Schedule, Shot Signoff list, prop list (I have made templates from other projects.)
Stu: clean up mocap data shots
Dave: model and male and female character, give to teddy for rigging (to be rigged by thursday?)
Softimage/ XSI TDs (2nd yrs): get used to interface, render test for next week thursday aiming for ink and smoke

Hook Line & Sinker:
Only the 1st acts of the animatic was shown today because thats all that was complete. They will be cutting it down and getting start into the story.

To Do For Monday:
Freddy & Sash: character models made of clay or foam board
Freddy: Animatic
Luke: boat concept interior/ exterior, give to Michale for modelling
Omari & Seb: schedules, we have already done shot list/ schedule
Omari: finish the model of the son!!!

Little Loud Development:

I just saw this MTV Dream Big 20s ident on vimeo. I really like the way the shadows have this smokey, fluid look to their movements. I may adopt this into the design and transitions of Loud throughout the series. Along with thats the post production effects really caught my attention; chromatic aberration around the edges of the shadow, soft edge shadows as well as light leaks and lens effects.

After watching this film a few times I started doing a few sketches. yes I know I need to buy a sketch book and stop using animation paper. I think im on to something with the smokey look for the shadow but it needs a lot of development.

Looking at the screenshot from the MTV spot.
Trying to work out body proportions has been tricky. I spent way to much time on her head shape and hair.
I think facial expressions will be my next trick once I have the body down.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Little Loud Stops Production

I met Andy, Georg and Derek on Friday morning at 10am in the animation studio. I met them early because I had to work in Asda from 11 - 5 and would miss the 2pm session. They sat me done and asked me about how I felt the pitches went. Personally I thought the pitch went well but in the slides I should have dedicated a single page to each of phoebe's concepts Andy, Georg and Derek sais that helen will have a load of notes for me but the genreal ideas is that I should develop it as a series Its seems it was the story that sold me short in the end. They could not see how it would work. I honestly think if I had shown then storyboards/ animatics sooner I could have sold some of the gags but it is difficult for me to stand in front of people and be funny. Obviously I am gutted. I feel like I have just wasted the past 6 weeks of my life developing something that will never see the light of day so excuse me if I sound a little bitter. It wil pass. And I will probably edit this post to sound less so. I still have yet to email Fraser McClean (consulting storyboard/ layout artist) and Melanie Coombs (consulting producer/ mentor) and I know what they will say. They will tell me to make it anyway regardless.

I plan to develop it throughout the year and approach Cartoon Network and CBBC with the show when I graduate.

The following is pretty much all the work that had been done on little loud that I can show visually.

101 Dalmatians Mood Board
Jon Klassen Mood Board (plus Up and Monsters Inc Screenshot)
Living room Maya mockup
Living room Maya mockup (reverse angle)

Living Room Concepts: (Phoebe Herring did all of the following concepts unless otherwise stated.)

Kitchen Layout:

Kitchen Conceps: (Phoebe Herring did all of the following concepts unless otherwise stated.)

Bedroom Concept: (Phoebe Herring did all of the following concepts unless otherwise stated.)

Pitch Document:
Pitch Bible:


I am producing Tom Hughes Orbit Strange project.
Title: Orbit Strage
Length: 2 - 3mins
Format: 2D & 3D CGI (floating/ orbiting objects)
Software: Toon Boom/ Maya
Production Team:
Dir: Tom Hughes
Prod: Omari McCarthy
Script Writer: Perry Hall
Character turnarounds/ expressions:
Environment blueprints/ cam positions:
Story/ Layout: Tom Hughes
Animatic: Tom Hughes, Sam Ellery
Voice Actors:
Lead Anim: Tom,
Animators: Sam, Alice, Lydia, Lee,
3D CGI/ Toom Boom : Teddy

I am also still producing Lauren Jansons' Infitus Artificium (IA) project.
Title: Infitus Artificium (IA)
Length: 2 - 3mins
Format: 2D Digital & 3D CGI (motion capture/ particle simulation)
Software: Maya, Motion Builder, Softimage/ XSI; ICE, Lagoa
Production Team:
Dir: Lauren Jansons
Prod: Omari McCarthy
Choreographer: Katie
Dancer: Kassa, Emily
Character Modeller: Dave McDonald
Character Rigger: Ted Whitehead
Consulting Mocap Co-Ordinaor: Jens Milner
Motion Capture/ Animator: Stu Whitten
XSI TD's (Particles): Omari McCarthy, Ted Whitehead, Sean Bone, Adam Wint, Alex Watkins
Nuke Compositors:

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Pitch Document & Pitch Presentation

Just in case you missed it here is the pitch I did for Little Loud today (ill post the pitch doc after). 
The logo for little Loud was designed by Tom Hughes and the background and main concepts were by Phoebe Herring. I purposely put more time into pitching the characters than the story as I have stronger characters than a narrative at the moment. Go easy on me as I spend Tuesday and Wednesday night pacing up a down my room reciting this like a crackhead so this is best i've got. Enjoy.

"Hi my name is Omari McCarthy and the short film I’m going to pitch to you today is called Little Loud.  Little Loud is a 4 minute 3 to 4 minute 3D CGI animated short for 7 and overs. At its core Little Loud is about the relationship between a good little girl and her big bad shadow."

"The short film revolves the life of Little.  Little is an average, obedient 8-year-old girl. As the only child of her workaholic parents, she is often left to her own amusement and keep herself to herself. But she has a secret… her shadow is a living, breathing and uncontrollable monster called Loud..."

{About the character Loud:}
"Loud is the oppose of Little in almost every way. Although Loud is scary, mischievous and unpredictable Loud also has big heart and can also be charming and sweet when needs must.
Loud finds it difficult to distinguish between right and wrong, always seems to have a hidden motive and enjoys playing practical jokes on Little and others such as pretending to be other people’s shadows.

{then on to the relationshop between Little & Loud}
"White Little is good by nature and has a strong sense of right from wrong Loud is naught by nature. But what they have in common is their love of food, more specifically their love of chocolate cake.

"Together they are a classic comedy double act, reminiscent of a sibling rivalry with their conflict serving as the main source of humor throughout the short.

"Loud does the things Little wishes she could do but would get in trouble for. That’s what makes them so fun to watch. Little desperately tries to be good but Loud is forever getting little into trouble but as much as Loud causes Little stress she would not have it any other way and loves having Loud to play with when no one else is around

{then on to the story}
"Our story begins on her fathers 40th birthday, during a thunderstorm, when Little and Loud decide to play a game of hide and seek. But things quickly spiral out of control when Loud spots her fathers chocolate cake which is coincidentally just happen to be their favorite food. Can Little resist her favorite food and tame her shadow all before her mother come back from the supermarket?

In the end little loud is a story of brain vs braun and friendship. Little’s struggle must use her intelligence to outsmart the brute strength of Loud."

"The style of little loud has been inspired by visual development artists Jon Klassen, more specifically his work on Coraline.  It was his their work that resonated with us and the world of our story the most. We felt adopting this illustrative line work, limited color palette and hard lighting would be the best way to tell this story. Although Little Loud is 3D CGI 2D compositing techniques will be used to achieve the illustrated look in postproduction."

"Thats all from me, thanks for listening. Are there any questions...?" *big smile* / *applause*
I cant remember the specific questions I was asked but did take some notes:
  • Develop final piece of concept art that should look like a still from the movie.
  • The resolution of the short needs to feel bigger and 
  • Re-consider the target audience as aspirational character are best to aim for