Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FAO CAA Year 1 (+ Sam & P-G!): Friday's Animation Classes / Flash



This is a message for CAA year one.  This Friday, Meg is going to introduce working with Flash as part of your animation classes in the Baseroom.  You'll need to bring your graphics tablets too!  As per previous sessions, we'll keep you all together in the base room and you should all start at the early times of 10am and 2pm respectively.

Use your social networks to spread the word - many thanks!

@ Sam & P-G - sorry, but it looks as if you'll be moving offices for a while... 

Monday Feb 2nd - Friday Feb 6th / Computer Animation Arts Applicant Week


This is a message for all CAA students:  next week is 'Applicant Week'.  In short, Alan and I will be interviewing applicants for the course all week - mornings & afternoons.  It won't actually effect you in terms of classes, because your lives will go on pretty much as scheduled, but you need to be aware that the CAA baseroom is where the applicants are going to wait prior to their interviews.  Now, this doesn't mean you can't work in there as usual - you can, and I want you to - but if you do work in the CAA base room, you need to be prepared to discuss your work with the applicants and represent the course.  We'll have CAA students working as UCA ambassadors, and I'll be asking them to make our applicants feel at home while they wait.  We'll be showing animated films on the baseroom screen (Pixar stuff etc.), but applicants will be encouraged  to talk with you about your work and the course.

I'm looking for volunteers therefore who are happy to base themselves in the CAA baseroom in the knowledge that they'll also be talking with applicants and essentially being friendly, welcoming, and helping them feel less nervous as they wait for their respective interviews.

You also need to be aware, that for the duration of this week, Alan and I will be, inevitably, rather preoccupied...




So, next week is going to be a bit different, with lots of new and unfamiliar characters moving in and around the CAA suites.  Can I ask all of you to be as warm and welcoming as possible, and help us ensure our busy week is also a jolly one.   Can I also ask you to ensure the base room is kept tidy and presentable - and that you avoid eating stinky food at lunchtimes!  Many thanks in advance :)



Please note:  Alan will be interviewing in the office and I'll be interviewing applicants in 'The Blue Room' next door.  This means that this suite of computers will be unavailable while the interviews are taking place, but as soon as I'm done in there, I'll let you know.  Apologies for the inconvenience, but I'm hoping you'll be able to slot in elsewhere (DM5, the base room, the red room etc).

Finally - as we're seeking to entertain our applicants while they wait, I'm hoping I might be able to borrow lots of animated movies from you, as many of our course copies have gone walkabout.  As the movies will be playing all week, I'd like a big selection of animation and VFX-heavy titles, so if I could raid your DVD collections, that would be brilliant: stop-motion / Marvel / Disney / Burton /  3D / 2D etc.  If you bring your films to the office, clearly labeled with your name, we'll take good care of them and ensure you get them back at the end of the week!

If you could use your social networks to spread the word, I'd appreciate it - many thanks!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Noye's Fludde at the Cirque Jules Verne - In Black and White by Tom Beg

On Wednesday 14th of January, I traveled with Computer Animation Arts' Phil Gomm to the historic French city of Amiens, with the purpose of documenting, via the medium of photographic film, dress rehearsals for a performance of Benjamin Britten's, Noye's Fludde at the spectacular, Cirque Jules Verne. Featuring work produced by Computer Animations Arts, the production was an ACT collaboration project combining Britten's original lo-fi, amateur-based intent, with fascinating modern visual production and design. Keeping in spirit with the analogue approach, I took along some classic photojournalist black and white film and also modern colour film hoping to capture the energy and buzz of the event as faithfully as I could. While it wasn't always easy, I hope these photos at least portray that sense of atmosphere and excitement, felt by all the performers, artists and technicians in the lead-up to the final performance. 
















Part 2 'In Colour' Coming Soon

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FAO CGAA Year 1: Unit Storytelling & Commission/Project: From Script To Screen - Your Online Greenlight Review 2 - Wednesday 4th February



Wednesday, 4th February is your 'From Script To Screen' Online Greenlight Review 2 (OGR)

Your OGR is to be presented as a single Scribd presentation on your blog, beginning with your name, date, and project title. Save your documents as PDFs before uploading to Scribd, as this should mitigate against formating glitches. Your OGR presentations should be uploaded to your blogs by 9pm on Wednesday 4th February Written feedback will follow as a comment on your OGR post and will take between 2 - 3 days.

From Script To Screen OGR 2: What do you need to present?
  • Final script (as written using Adobe Story).
  • Completed storyboards (with illustrated camera moves etc. in accordance with storyboarding conventions).
  • Your definitive 'Production Design' influence map.
  • Final concept art for Character(s) / Environment(s) / Prop(s).
  • Your creative partnership archived (so far) 

In addition, your OGR should evidence that you are up-to-date with your film reviews and ongoing CG Artist's Toolkit project work (life-drawing/Maya tutorials/Meg's animation exercises/Justin's character exercises etc). Your OGR might include links to the corresponding posts and/or images. Historically, students who use their OGR to manage their weekly tasks in this way manage their workloads more successfully. Please note: your OGR should be a professionally presented, spell-checked, with an emphasis on graphic design, layout and project branding.

You have a lot to do in a short period of time.  This means you need to work efficiently. 

Please use your social networks to ensure everyone has seen this message.  Many thanks!

CAA @ Cirque Jules Verne / Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde / Amiens, France, 15/01/2015


Noye's Fludde - Cirque Jules Verne, Amiens, France, 15th January, 2015

As regular followers of the Computer Animation Arts blog and PWTM will know, the students, staff and alumni have been involved in a series of exciting 'extra-curricular' projects, challenging us to think about the contexts for CGI in new and speculative ways. 

By way of a fitting finale to these European-funded ACT collaborations, the course worked alongside a multiplicity of different collaborators in the staging and performance of Benjamin Britten's mini opera, Noye's Fludde - an opera intended for largely amateur performers.  Think of it as being a little like a school nativity play - a performance not characterised by high polish or showy stagecraft, but rather by lo-fi charm and ad-hoc energy.

With this in mind, we approached our brief (the design and execution of a flat-pack, fold-up ark, rainbow, and various celestial bodies), with the same emphasis on keeping things very simple.  We wanted the various objects to look as if children might have created them at school in an arts and crafts lesson, so we looked at simple folding mechanisms and paper boats.  CAA alumnus, Ethan Shilling, created a series of visualisations that were sent to kite-maker, Karl Longbottom, whose job it was to turn our CGI proof-of-concepts into performance-ready physical props.

Animated visualisations by Ethan Shilling



The physical props as created by Karl Longbottom

The Ark

The Ark upright with stepladder mast

The Ark

Kite-maker, Karl Longbottom with our fold-out rainbow

Our sun, moon & stars

On Wednesday 14th January, CAA alumnus, Tom Beg accompanied me to the Cirque Jules Verne in Amiens, France, to document the rehearsals for Noye's Fludde. Tom's photographs will showcase soon here on the group blog. I'm sharing here images taken during the Thursday dress rehearsal, which was the first time all the component parts of what has been a complex collaboration came together.   Needless to say, it was an exciting moment, and as these photographs show, the venue was magical in terms of sheer theatricality.


The foyer of Cirque Jules Verne


The venue's glorious ceiling!

Before the orchestra arrive...




Lighting tests

The Dress Rehearsal - Thursday 15th January 2015


Our 'Pop Up' ark 'popped up'!


Arie Van Beek conducts (and last seen transformed into seven pieces of sculpture!)

The arrival of the animals




The coming of the flood, as created by children holding tiny LEDs




Close Encounters of the Theatrical Kind!








The sun comes out after the storm

The sun, moon & stars, as created by artist, Tine Bech.

Final tableau with rainbow and celestial bodies