Archive for November, 2010

Gantt Chart v1.2

Here is the Gantt Chart, updated to reflect my workflow over the past couple of weeks.

What it doesn’t reflect is the numerous cups of coffee I have been swallowing this past week. I wasn’t a coffee drinker until about two weeks ago and now I can’t work without it. Productivity is up 150%, as is teethgrinding and shaking in my sleep…

Face Ideas

Just been looking at how I will make this more humanlike. I’m struggling to find a mouth. I may have to rig the needle and light of the VU meter to respond to the machine’s ‘voice’. If anyone is reading this I welcome your suggestions.

Can you see the face?









Eyes & Eyebrows






Interesting features




Week Ten – Overview

A little late posting this (2 days late) so I’ll just recap what’s been going on.

I finished the chapter on Digital Storytelling Techniques. Amongst countless web research I got a few of books to help me with this from the library.

Vineyard, Jeremy. (2008). Setting Up Your Shots: Great Camera Moves Every Filmmaker Should Know (2nd Edition). California: McNaughton & Gunn.

Block, Bruce. (2008). The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media (2nd Edition). Burlington, MA: Focal Press.

Fabe, Marilyn. (2004). Closely Watched Films: An Introduction to the Art of Narrative Film Technique. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press

To be honest the first one was by far superior to the rest and was invaluable to what I was specifically writing about.

There’s less than a week until I have to hand this up so it’s all engines go this week! Believe it or not I have only now got around to writing the chapter on filming stop motion. I felt it nessecary to nail down the chapters on photography, animation principles etc before I got to this. A sort of crawl before you can walk plan if you will.

I’ve begun to get in touch with animators and will continue to do so over the coming weeks. I will inform them of what I am trying to achieve with my animation and that I would like their insight on various aspects of stop motion. Thankfully my research does not hinge on me being able to get interviews but hopefully I will manage to get a few replies.

I have not been blessed with the luxury of being able to focus 100% on this project as I have 2 other demanding projects so I have divided up my hours over the coming week. I aim to finish the chapters by Thursday. Then I will proceed to tidy up references, the bibliography, and insert pictures. There is still an introduction to write and a small paragraph that will follow each chapter that details how it relates to the final deliverable. It’s quite a lot to do in a few days. But it doesn’t stop there. I also want to get a rough story together and some storyboard ideas to submit with my literature review.

I aim to have it proofread before I print it as well.

It’s a busy week ahead so I will not waste anymore time blogging and get back to it! Next task is to try and look for the anthropomorphic qualities in this fella…

I may have to remove a few features as I can see eyes and a nose but the mouth might need to be made more obvious. Lighting will definitely be key to bringing these features out. Here’s a quick Photoshop lighting experiment…

Week Ten – Supervisor Meeting

Although I had been working on my literature review up until now, I wanted to discuss the story ideas I have with Richard. Inspired by a youTube vid of John Lassater, I realised that I would have to think “If I was a tape machine, how would I feel?”. The answer is derelict and outdated. I was thinking then that the animation could involve the tape machine being compared to a modern day  music device such as an iPod.

When trying to come up with a story I like to start at the end and work back. I’m thinking I would like the tape machine to have a happy ending and getting one over on the iPod. I went through the pro’s and con’s that separate the two and the advantage of the tape machine is that it has a constant supply of power whereas the iPod can run out of battery. That might work as an ending. Richard suggested that as the tape machine is much larger, it could easily crush the iPod. The problem here is that as the tape machine is the protagonist and the iPod the antagonist, I want the audience feeling sympathy for the tape machine and giving it a streak of aggression may detract from that somewhat.

I also suggested a flashback sequence where the machine recalls its heyday when it was the centre of attention and extremely popular. This also gave me an idea that I could do an animation about the birth of the machine (with its instruction manuel as a birth certificate) right up to its current stage. It could go through various stages of dilapidation and decay. Colour could play an important part of this cycle but I would like to end up at a happy resolve.

We both remarked how, when we discussed the tape machine, we both refer to it as ‘him’. The process of anthropomorphising has begun!

I mentioned that I planned to contact various people to conduct further research in the field of animation. Richard did a quick search and found some local people/companies that may be worthwhile contacting. Red Kite Animation in Edinburgh, Axis Animation in Glasgow and West Highland Animation in Balquhidder.

I finished the meeting by quickly showing Richard where I was at in terms of writing. He reminded me to keep it to the point and not to write too much, which I have a habit of doing. Richard recommended a book to me, The Visual Story by Bruce Block, as I mentioned that I wanted to write a chapter on cinematic storytelling. I managed to grab the last copy of it in the library on the way home.


Week Nine – Overview

The pace is quickening and the work is building up. It’s getting to the point where there is too much work to be done for the time left (2 weeks). An image of a square peg and a round hole come to mind. All I can do is truck on! I completed the chapter on Photography with the phrase ‘keep it relevant’ looping over and over in my brain.

And keep it relevant I did. It is very hard to compress the art of photography into one single concise chapter but I hope it accomplished just that. I kept it to just under 1,500 words but it took a very long day to write all that. I’m finding that everything is new so in order to write about it I must learn and understand it first, which is very time consuming when you have just one day to learn the principles of photography. But enough of that.

Next chapter is on cinematic storytelling. It should have been before photography but I am waiting on a book to be returned to the library in order to go ahead. I’m keeping this post short in the interest of saving time! It really has come down to trying to save a minute here, and a minute there…

Week Nine – Supervisor Meeting

I was apprehensive about today’s meeting. I had missed last week’s one and have done quite a bit of writing since the last one. Today I wanted to show Richard what I had written and ask him to tell me where I was going wrong/right. I had a suspicion that he would tell me that I was writing too much and was getting off track.

He did mention that, if anything I might be writing to much but not to worry too much about it at this stage. If I feel it is important to the review and can’t work without it then I should include it. To my surprise he said my writing was coming along quite well. He was happy with my style of writing and was glad to see that I was making efforts to keep a track of my references. We did discuss changes and improvements and I will list them below.

  • I am including too many examples in my chapter on the different styles of stop motion
  • Although I do talk about it, I never actually mentioned what Replacement Animation actually is
  • For the Anthropomorphism chapter, I should discuss expressions and gesture as these will relate to my final deliverable
  • I will not need to go too in-depth with the chapter on photography
  • The lighting can be included in the chapter on stop motion sets
  • Richard feels that a paragraph or two at the end of each chapter, explaining how it relates to my final deliverable would be of benefit

We talked about referencing and hpw to reference things like pictures and DVD’s. I will need to email Colin Smith, the module leader, about these.

I mentioned that since I am nearly at 8,000 words and maybe not even half way through the Lit Review that I might go over the 14.000 max word count. Richard expressed that it may be exceeded if I feel that all the information contained in my final literature review was necessary.

Week Eight – Overview

I finished the chapter on The Principles of Animation today. There was a tonne of reading to get through and it took a while to condense it all. I still managed to write over 3,000 words on it though. As it stands I have 7,777 words in the literature review and 5 out of a proposed 14 chapters drafted. I am well aware that half of what I write will need to be axed and the other half will need revision. I think it will be easier to cut down on words than have to write more. I know the adage is quality over quantity but I’m going to liken it to making a pasta sauce – you bang all the ingredients in the let it reduce so you’re left with a nice viscosity without all the watery nonsense.

I’m getting concerned though that I am to far behind to catch up with my original proposal and the only way to get back on track will be to fire out sub-standard chapters over the next few weeks. Being a perfectionist has meant that up until now I have been thoroughly researching all the topics and only then will I write about it.

I will meet Richard this week and present him with what I’ve done so far and see what advice he has. I must also bear in mind that I have a story and accompanying storyboards to produce for the week 12 review.