03/07/14 - Zoetrope Update

Hello, I've finished building and filming (pretty much) the latest Zoetrope! Yay!
It's not quite ready to be shown off in all it's glory yet as I'm collaborating with artist Sam Spreckley (he's working on some sound design for it) on a little abstract (very) short film with it. I'll go into more detail on it once the film's done, but here's a photo for now to get you excited!

Also, I've been doing a bit of blogging over on my Film Annex profile about my development of the zoetrope technique over the years, as a sort of build up to this film, with added hindsight, regrets, highs and lows - I'm hoping they might give a slightly different perspective to the generally of-the-moment ramblings I tend to post on here, so please do check them out if you're interested.

Here's a link!

- Some Smallpetitklein Bits

Just thought I'd put a couple of things up that I did for SPK over the last year. First up, The Adventures Of Isabel, a dance piece for kids, interspersed with animations and currently in the R&D phase (hence the lack of info in that banner image) but coming to schools in and around Dundee soonish. The gif below is part of the intro sequence, but on a loop.

And this is a poster I did for Dundee Dance Partnership's Dance Trail last year, which takes the audience on a tour of Dundee, with people dancing all over it. It was a 50's theme.

29/04/14 - I Have Been Working On Stuff, Honest

Bloody hell, it's nearly a year since I posted anything!
It's been a busy year, it's just I've not really done much I've felt belongs on the site for one reason or another.

I've worked on a couple of projects for Norwich Puppet Theatre, both of which were really good fun, but I totally failed to capture any footage of the shows that would do them justice, and the animations just wouldn't make sense on their own, out of context. And the same goes for the two or three jobs I've done for dance company Smallpetitklein. I should get my act together really.

Anyway, I have been slowly but surely plugging away at my latest zoetrope effort in between jobs, so I thought I'd stick a few images and a video up here for anyone who's curious.

This is the mock up I made in After Effects, so in theory the final thing should look something like this.

Having filmed just the few layers in the images below, I'm a bit scared that I'm going to have some major issues when it comes to lighting this thing. The parts of the acetate that I've roughened up with sand paper are possibly too opaque, so I've stopped that part of the process for now until I've got all the layers in place to see how they work together. I'm hoping that a strong enough back light in combination with some projection from above will solve any issues, but I'm not overly optimistic. This could end up being a rather time consuming lesson to learn...

Fingers crossed though, I'm sure I'll sort something out.
I have plans to collaborate with a sound designer mate on this one, so keep an eye out, should have something to see before the year is out.

29/05/13 - TED-Ed

I've just finished working on this animation for TED's educational website, and it's just been published. I was given the voiceover track, written and recorded by Ron Shaneyfelt, a high school astronomy teacher and educational program manager for NASA, and came up with the animation in about four and a bit weeks.

The TED-Ed website is designed as a resource for teachers, and if you go to the individual page for any of the animations you can use the video as a starting point to devise a more in depth discussion or lesson based on the subject.

18/03/13 - IPT2 Projection Animation

I uploaded this to vimeo a while ago and forgot to post it here. It's the original animation that was projected onto my balsa wood 3D Zoetrope for the IPT2 Battles music video.

You can make out the seperate circles pretty easily here - these are the shapes that I mapped out first of all, projecting the after effects composition onto the zoetrope as I was doing it. All I did then was figure out what colors and patterns worked well and then synched up the transitions with the music. I kind of like how something so shitty looking is so completely transformed when it's projected onto it's intended surface - without that, it's a pretty embarrassing piece of animation :)

- 20 Layers Of 3D Zoetrope

It's been a while since I've posted anything, but I've been busy over the last couple of months trying to push the zoetrope stuff forward while I had some spare time. This is the first quick test of the new system that I just filmed, trying to create an overall parent shape and movement before focusing in on the individual surfaces of each layer...

So I decided a while ago that I wanted to construct some sort of base that would allow me to accurately place multiple layers of animation in the zoetrope, and after quite a few false starts with various laser cutting, CNC routing and aqua cutting companies
(all of which said my plans were too delicate for their machines), I finally arrived at 3D printing as a solution.

This is the final design, in Sketchup, that was printed by 3D Creation Lab. After a couple of re-designs (mainly to get the cost down, as the price is based on the volume of the material being printed) I decided to go for this modular approach, which allows me to replace any of the 33 'spokes' that plug into the central piece, should they break.

And ^ here's ^ the actual base - I'm pretty happy with it, even though my massive hands do find it a bit tricky and fiddly to insert all the layers. I'm just trying out various designs for now to determine the best materials to use and how far I can push them with regards to height and weight etc. and I'll be playing about with transparencies and printed animations on each of the 20 surfaces as well.

06/08/12 - Sonis Web Advert

I made this little web advert with Garry Whitton about a year ago for Sonis' Compact security device, but unfortunately it didn't get used by the company (hence the unfinished sound design). We're still quite happy with it though - Garry did the character design and animation and I was in charge of art direction and compositing as well as the effects and rabbit animation.

26/07/12 - Within This Dust

I've just finished work on a piece of animation for Dundee based dance company Smallpetitklein and their dance piece 'Within This Dust'.

Within This Dust is a dance theatre piece which explores Richard Drew's iconic photographs of a man falling from the World Trade Centre during the 9/11 attacks. The animation will be screened in between two of the dance pieces.

As you can see, I took some pretty direct inspiration from the famous photo, but decided to focus on the patterns and structure of the buildings rather than the falling figures, mainly because I was too scared to tackle such a delicate subject head on like that (especially given the relatively short time I had to make it). I was quite happy to concentrate on creating and experimenting with more abstract imagery, and the crumpled paper (an idea taken directly from the design of the dance piece) provided a great visual metaphor that neatly allowed me to avoid having to tackle a more literal interpretation.

Within This Dust will be performed at this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe from the 7th to the 19th of August at Dance Base (Venue 22) 14-16 Grassmarket, Edinburgh. More details here.

07/07/12 - Dundee Dance Walk

The guys from Scottish D