Thursday, September 30, 2010

"Sintel"

A wonderfull short independent film made by the Blender Foundation. Released just a few hours ago on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRsGyueVLvQ

An amazing piace of work

Maya Hiccup WIth Texturing...

A little stuck on why this box pops up and why it wont place the dots to my dice in the correct areas....



I have redone the texutre process at least three times (with a variety of colours) and still no luck, the alpha colour channel has also been removed.

Any help would be great...

'Colin Fitz Lives!' : The greatest film never released!

A lesson in funding?

http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/blog/article/23996/the-greatest-film-never-released-gets-cinema-date.html

Studio Finances

Based upon a 15 week production run.

Commercial Licenses for key software packages:
Adobe Photoshop CS5: £640
Adobe After Effects: £979
Adobe Premiere: £760
Autodesk Maya (Student Version) £150
Autodesk Maya (Commercial Upgrade) £1500

Total: £4029

Lucid Studios

Staff: £7207.50
Software: £4029
Total: £11236.50

Kled Studios

Staff: £11549.25
Software: £4029
Total: £15578.25

Inspire Studios

Staff: £8535
Software: £4029
Total: £12564

Gremlin Box

Staff: £10060
Software: £4029
Total: £14089

Creature Studios

Staff: £5259.50
Software: £4029
Total: £9288.50

Void Canvas

Staff: £10052.95
Software: £4029
Total: £14081.95

B3D

Staff: £9648.75
Software: £4029
Total: £13677.75

Comparison List:
Kled Studios: £15578.25
Gremlin Box: £14089.00
Void Canvas: £14081.95
B3D Studios: £13677.75
Inspire Studios: £12564.00
Lucid Studios: £11236.50
Creature Studios (3 Members): £9288.50

Troubles with Maya

I have gotten over my last stuggle with Maya and pertruded the faces but when it comes to UV mapping the map is all over the place and I am extremely confused as i have followed everything on the video tutorial please help :(

Sally Menke dies age 56

I forgot to post this the other day but this week sees the sad death of Sally Menke. Menke has become famous as one of the best editors in the business (editor for Quentin Tarrantino, from Reservoir Dogs to Inglourious Basterds) and all those second years will be familiar with her after watching the cutting edge documentary on editing.




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maya 2011- Mac Hotkeys?

I copied the Hot-key information from hot-key editor in Maya 2011, as i'm doing it on a Mac i'm not sure if these are the Mac version of Hot-keys or just a general all user friendly set but incase anybody wanted them, I made them into a jpeg.



Need Help Referencing

I have just been getting quote of different site and I have been looking at the Havrard Ref and it says I need the following:

(Jones, 2009)

and in bibliography

Jones, J. (2009) Tracey Emin is far from a narcissist. In: The Guardian[online] Available at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2009/jun/15/tracey-emin-drawings-white-cube (Accessed on 26/07/09)

The problem is on two quotes one doesn't have the author and date and the other doesn't have the date it was written. In this circumstance what would I do?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Perception? Maybe?

I know for the perception class we were all split into groups, I also got the impression if you went last thursday, you dont need to go to this weeks class? Is this correct?

I think this is the correct timetable:
http://www.myuca.ucreative.ac.uk/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=null&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_13677_1%26url%3D

Any help will be appreciated, thanks...

Ben

Monday, September 27, 2010

CGAA Graduate shortlisted for Anifest 2010 Competition!

Exciting news! David 'Class of 2010' Keefe has just had his animated short 'An Audience With' shortlisted for the Anifest Animation competition and will have his film screened as part of the event on Saturday, October 9th. Dave Keefe graduated with a First Class honours degree from CGAA and was part of the group of graduates who won 'Best Stand' at New Designers 2010. I know a number of students have volunteered to work at the event, but it would be great if the CGAA community could descend en masse and show their support for 'one of our own'. CGAA is sponsoring a screening of The Gruffalo and Daryl Shute, producer of the BBC's cg adaptation of the ever-popular children's book, will be introducing it. For more Anifest info and ticket prices go here.

Meanwhile, for your viewing pleasure: Dave Keefe's 'An Audience With'



And while I've got your attention, I thought I'd showcase two more of Dave's animated shorts produced during his time on CGAA. So, to all of you struggling with those first Maya dice; to all of you working in groups to produce a single film, and to all of you at the beginning of your third year 'epic' - take heart and be inspired. The perspiration is worth it!



CGAA Year One - IMPORTANT INFORMATION - ASSESSMENT

Further to the information given during your Induction Week Presentation, here are the guidelines for assessment at UCA. If it sounds serious - it is! It's really important that all students understand the assessment procedure; please take the time to get your head around it!


GUIDELINES FOR ASSESSMENT 2010/2011

Students who submit work for assessment will normally be given three attempts to pass a unit.

These are described as:

Submission at FIRST ATTEMPT – a full range of marks may be awarded for any component.

Submission at REFERRAL (second attempt) – a maximum mark for any previously failed component will be 40% if the component passes at referral (second attempt).

Submission at RETAKE (third and FINAL attempt) – a maximum mark of 40% may be awarded if the component passes at retake (third attempt).

If a student fails at RETAKE, they will be removed from the course.

Note: IF A STUDENT FAILS TO SUBMIT WORK AT FIRST ATTEMPT, THEY WILL FORFEIT THEIR RIGHT TO A REFERRAL AND WILL MOVE DIRECTLY TO RETAKE. This means that there will not be three opportunities to pass that unit.

NO LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Any work submitted after the submission deadline will be regarded as a non-submission.

Remember! Non-submissions are DUMB!

If a student passes one component but fails another, the rules described above will apply to the failed assessment component. The student’s final mark will be calculated on the basis of the passed component (at the original mark) and the passed component at referral or retake (40%). This will enable the student to achieve higher than 40%.

Students cannot pass a unit unless all components have been passed at assessment.

Students cannot progress from one stage of the course to the next unless all units for each stage have passed and they have accumulated the appropriate number of credits to move to the next stage.

EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES MUST BE SUMITTED WITH ACCOMPANYING EVIDENCE PRIOR TO THE SUBMISSION DEADLINE.




Viral Marketting posts

I see everyone posting viral market videos. I assume it's for a project, so here's one from Chat Roulette. It's quite freaky.

Maya Dice Video problems

I can find the video tutorials but i can not get them to work because it keeps asking for a codec on media player?

is anybody else experiencing the same problem or if you managed to get the videos to work can someone guide me?

thanks
Adam

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Post With The Most 26/09/2010


Okay - as blogged previously, what follows is a ‘Reader’s Digest’, highlighting 'best practice' (in all its guises) from the CG Arts bloggosphere this week…

Year One

Some great in-depth reviews posted for The Fly and its remake; Molly, Jono, Dan, Paul-Arthur and Dayle have all really invested in this aspect of the unit. Many of these reviews could easily be unfolded further to form the basis for the 1,500 word assignment. Some students have posted reviews that, while undeniably interesting and valid in terms of their insight, do not subscribe to the method set out in the brief. Golden rule 1: do as the brief tells you and present your work as requested!

Check out Nat’s sequential drawings of the musculature of her face; not only does she ‘unpack’ its development into a series of incremental stages – which is how I and Phill Hosking want everyone to approach their digital painting tasks - she’s also approaching the anatomy brief from the ‘inside out’, using the unit to refine her understanding of the human body and how to depict it accurately. Max’s sequential drawings from his first digital painting workshop are similarly communicative. ALL students need to get into the ‘save as’ habit when working digitally; not only is it good practice in terms of housekeeping, guarding against crashes and taking a painting ‘too far’, it also offers a fascinating insight into the creative process. For another good example, visit Nat’s sequence here.

Check out Dan’s peacock hybrid sketches; compare them to his very first idea and see how much more interesting things become when you work from the skeletal structure out (as opposed to ‘dressing up’ in the characteristics of your animal). Jono's approach is similarly based around first understanding the innerworkings of the human body - in this instance, his hand.

Take a look at Dayle’s self-portraits – he’s not so sure about them, but I think they’re very expressive, with bags of character.

I was very happy to read about Domantas’s self-directed film odyssey. It is another truism of degree study that students who ‘read around the subject’ tend to develop more quickly in terms of visual literacy. He’s obviously making full use of the library’s DVD collection. Any student who isn’t is missing a trick. You’ve got 3 years to soak your brain in a lake of new stuff...

Meanwhile, the second years have commenced their Studio projects and are busily formulating their studio identities and exploring their group dynamics. I loved these images posted on Ethan's blog - very businesslike and very encouraging. Indeed, I could have showcased any of the newly launched studio blogs - it's all looking very positive and very productive; methinks Retrofest 2010 is going to kick some serious arse...

Congratulations to Final year student, Raj, who has bagged the services of a professional voice-over artist for the first of his final year projects. Students don’t exploit their ‘in education’ status enough. Remember the adage – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. You can listen to the voice-over here.

Visit the blog of final year student, Zack – notice his attention to detail and the branding of his blog – he’s always very professional and creates an inter-connectedness between his work and the way he presents it.

And finally for this week's 'PWTM', visit final year student, Tom: it’s the end of week one and he’s already posting his pre-vis. This can only be a good thing.




'Chance Favours the Connected Mind'

Where do good ideas come from? According to Steven Johnson, 'Chance Favours the Connected Mind' i.e. collaboration.



Spotted this video and thought it be good to share, especially for 2nd years entrenched in our group projects.

Question: Use of Rooms

Looking at the self-study time tomorrow morning, will rooms like the base room, and the DM rooms be open? For example, if I wanted to come in and do some digital painting in the apple rooms, for a change of scene from my little dingy room, would be possible?

Maya Cube/Dice Tutorials

Where can I find the tutorials you've made Alan? I had a look around but i'm not sure where to look so I haven't found anything. I've never used Maya before and fridays workshop was great but I still have no idea where to start. Please guide me to where I can find them and I shall have a go.
Nat

How to turn your blog into a .PDF document in four easy steps!

FAQ... "How do I archive my blog quickly?".

1) Export your blog as an .Xml document.

Go to the Settings tab and click 'Export Blog'. Save the document to your desktop.



Example: http://bloggerindraft.blogspot.com/2008/06/new-feature-import-and-export.html

2) Go to the website http://www.blogbooker.com. Click on .PDF and then Blogger.



3) Connect the .Xml document and enter your blog address. Set the time period (start - end) you wish to extract. Click 'Create Your Blog Book'. This process will take a few minutes.



4) Right click and 'Your Blog in PDF Book' and choose 'Save As'. Save the document to your desktop.




ALL DONE!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Interim Online Review Explained!

There appears to be some confusion regarding the purpose and significance of the ‘Interim Online Review’ process – the first of which commences on Tuesday, 5th October.

The IOR is very simple. It is an opportunity to receive feedback from me in the form of an extended ‘comment’ on your blog.

By now, all of you should be uploading your research/drawings/reviews/technical exercises etc. regularly to your blog. (If you’re not then you’re isolating yourself from the creative community of which you’re part and missing out...).

To prepare for your IOR all you need do is ensure that your blog is up-to-date and explanatory of your intentions/problems/ideas so far. For instance, if you are undecided between two possible approaches to your hybrid portrait, then say so on your blog and include (obviously) all the preparatory drawings illustrating both ideas. Show me what you’re thinking; don’t be mysterious or precious; if you want it discussed, post it!

If you think you’ve got a good essay question figured out, then name it, and I’ll respond by suggesting ways in which it might be structured or referenced or enlarged upon.

Put very simply indeed, whatever aspect of your Unit 1 work you want feedback on, get it up on your blog BEFORE Tuesday 5th (i.e. by the end of the day on October 4th as specified on your timetable).

Be warned: if there is nothing on your blog – if you’ve produced nothing – you will receive NO feedback – which is your loss, as feedback at this interim stage when there is still time for further refinements is often pivotal to greater success and your increasing sophistication.

I DO NOT formally assess your work at this interim stage. You are only formally assessed at the final critique concluding the unit.

The more work you produce and post, the more feedback and support I can provide. There is no need to create a special IOR post – as I will be looking at the continuum of your blogs from beginning to end – BUT, if you do have a specific question, grab my attention by creating a suitable headline – i.e. ‘IOR – Essay Question – Help!’

It takes me an entire day (and sometimes 2!) to complete an IOR for every student; your feedback will appear on your blog throughout Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th.

You should use the IOR to your advantage – it is a deadline before the deadline, so use it to focus your efforts and structure your self-directed study. Your job is to engage me creatively and imaginatively; get my juices flowing with lots of preparatory drawings, research and ideas! Don’t disappoint: the IOR is one very immediate way I have of gauging a student’s commitment to the course – and their long-term suitability too.

The IOR process reflects on YOU – so make work, make lots of it, get feedback, do well, grow in confidence (and then conquer the world).

Nuff said.

See you all Monday @ 4.30 in L1 for Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et La Bete’ …

Gremlin Box Productions

We have a rebranding for studio c and can now be found at www.gremlinbox.blogspot.com

Friday, September 24, 2010

Monday the 4th of October, First Years Timetable

I was taking a look at the timetable, and in week 3, the 4th of October, I saw this:

Important: All work for online interim review must be uploaded to student blogs by the end of

Does anyone have any ideas what work this is?

Argh.. Maya Cube problem

Can someone please help me with this bizzare problem, which is stopping me from completing my work...
There are only two little sides which have this"issue" where the "split .p. tool" won't go straight only diagonal

Introducing ‘The Post With The Most’

In my continuing struggle to find alternate ways to communicate with the CGAA community while minus a reliable internet provider (i.e. creating a generalized feedback post on the group blog), I have hit upon a ‘Big Idea’.

Students are always asking me for examples of ‘best practice’ – which is an academic’s way of saying ‘the good stuff’ – student work that is especially satisfying in terms of method, technique, creativity, innovation, and management. ‘Best practice’ might mean a film review of The Fly that particularly impresses in terms of literary style, use of academic conventions, and critical insight etc. It could as easily refer to an especially evocative image from a life-drawing class, an effective digital painting, or great example of the pre-production pipeline, digital model or final animation.

This then is TutorPhil’s ‘Big Idea’.

Each week (or thereabouts), I’m going to feature on the group blog a summary entitled ‘The Post With The Most’, in which I’ll highlight and hyperlink exemplars of ‘best practice’ from the CGAA community – a digested read of a week’s creative activity.

If you’ve been particularly impressed, inspired or helped by a classmate’s work or example, then nominate it for a feature in ‘The Post With The Most’ by emailing the post-specific url and your reasons to pgomm@ucreative.ac.uk.

I want to celebrate and champion excellence, innovation, imagination, professionalism and scholarship.

Watch this space!

Simple question.

Is there any way to get some files that I have saved on university's computers during the weekends?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Question about Friday!

Checkin' the timetable for this week and all i see is that Groups A and B get some attention. I'm in group E. Do we have anything tommorow? Or it's self study for the rest of us?

Squid

Postmodern teenage angst!

Something for you 2nd years...


MAYA MAKE-UP CLASS.

Due to a Uni-Wide server crash Thursday afternoon there will be a 'make-up' Maya class for all those who were disrupted. This will take place on Tuesday (28th) in the afternnon. Therefore the groups for Character Design will be as follows:

Tuesday 28th: Character Design Class - Groups.

GROUP A: Tuesday morning (10am)

Ruben
Elliot
Earl
Matt M
Godwin
Dave
Ethan S.
Chris
Bob
Jack
Leo
Alex
Richard
Simon
Shabhir

GROUP B: Tuesday afternoon (2pm)

Bharathi
Adam
Laura
Dan
Charlotte
Jordan
Kin
Ethan C.
Sam
Matt H.
Aju
Jolanta

Maya Make-up Class:


Group A (as Above): Tuesday afternoon (2pm) in DM3

Please Note: These groups are for one week only.

Study group on Wednesday

Hello I am Paul Lemarquis, first year student.

I have talked to a few of you about organizing a study group on Wednesdays.

Their will be no set subject, only what people need to work on.

Contact me through my UCA address to tell me if you are interested.

plemarquis@ucreative.ac.uk

New Blog Address Studio G

As we now how a certain comapany name i felt it was appropriate to change the blog address to match. So here it is again...

http://creature-studios.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Incase you missed some...

Chris Rogers @ http://chrisanimation-bringingideastolife.blogspot.com

Adam Webb @ http://www.thevistor.blogspot.com

Domantas Lukošius @ http://www.domantasinn.blogspot.com

Sam Tremain @ http://s-tremain.blogspot.com

Paul Lavey @ http://paul-lavey.blogspot.com

Dmitrij Polukarov @ http://insanityshock.blogspot.com

Nat Urwin @ http://skygecko-nat.blogspot.com

James Fisher @ http://jfisher-animation.blogspot.com

Jonathon Pearmain @ http://www.jonathanpearmain.blogspot.com

Oliver Fowls @ http://ofowls.blogspot.com

Lyn-Dae Stewart @ http://pixipui.blogspot.com

Alex Pinnock @ http://alex-zepherin.blogspot.com

Max Rogers @ http://dragsterwave90.blogspot.com

Michael Holman @ http://mickeyholman.blogspot.com

Ben Harris @ http://benharris1990.blogspot.com

Sean Banford @ http://seanyb-art.blogspot.com

Sean Smith-Derizzio @ http://niftysean.blogspot.com

Molly Bolder @ http://mollybolder.blogspot.com

Sasha Hart @ http://sasha-hart.blogspot.com

Orisakolade Orisadamilare @ http://orisagbemi-olorun.blogspot.com

Charlotte Binnie-Thompson @ http://phatpinkpanda.blogspot.com

Katy Negus @ http://ktartwork.blogspot.com

Roy Efe @ http://legzy-royefe.blogspot.com

Daniel Rolph @ http://drolph.blogspot.com

Kayleigh Dean @ http://kay-dean.blogspot.com

Justin Easton @ http://jutsblog.blogspot.com

Dayle Sanders @ http://daylesanders.blogspot.com

Aidan Codd @ http://aidancodd.blogspot.com

Kaylie Haywood @ http://im-a-smooth-criminal.blogspot.com

Naomi Somai @ http://zeaxil.blogspot.com

Jonathan Sharples @ http://sharplesdesigns.blogspot.com

Andriana Laskaris @ http://andrianal.blogspot.com

Conor Bishop @ http://conorsblog2.blogspot.com

Tien @ http://atibui.blogspot.com

Paul-Arthur Lemarquis @ http://www.paularthurl.blogspot.com

Void Canvas Studio

Hi everyone, just here to let you know bout our new Group, Void Canvas Studio, which consists of:

Ethan, Earl, Yola & (Me) Bob

Our aim is to create a Retro-Styled, 2 Minute trailer which conveys the title:

Attack Of The 50ft Alien From Toyland

Feel free to follow and track our progress as we take on the challange

http://voidcanvas.blogspot.com/

TutorPhil's 'Happy Face'!

An unexpected and inexplicable consequence of my 'dongle hell', is that I'm mysteriously unable to post any comments on your blogs... I can read them (dongle-permitting), but I can't respond. This situation looks set to continue until the 7th October when I get my broadband re-activated... Anyway, lots and lots of exciting traffic on the blogs; very exciting!

@ CGAA Year 1 - great to see those film reviews percolating through, and your life-drawings too. It seems from reading your blogs that you enjoyed the experience; great stuff. At risk of causing embarrassment, I'd like to single out Molly's film reviews of the 2 Fly movies; students always want to know what their tutor is looking for and Molly's approach is a nice model; quotes blended with her own analysis + hyperlinks; some further advice though; consider introducing your sources - e.g. before including the quote, preface it with 'As film critic, Kim Newman observed in his article entitled 'The Fly as Metaphor for Sexual Anxiety...' Take a look at Molly's reviews here and here.

@ CGAA Year 2 - very exciting to see those group blogs going live! I'm particularly impressed by your willingness to create your own timetables and get the management issue sorted; it will be the secret of your success. Hope Kill Bill wasn't too gory for you? (I think some of the theatre girls may never attend one of my lectures again). Great to see some reviews too; I suggest you all use your blogs to gather together reviews/articles/sources that will help you ace this challenging assignment; just google search combinations of 'Tarantino/Kill Bill/Postmodernism' to get straight to the nuts and bolts of the subject; for example, I just did a quick search and the first hit gave me this. David Lynch next week - film noir, menacing cowboys, an occult blue box and some lesbianism... gulp.

@ CGAA Year 3 - I hope all your primary tutorials went well on Tuesday? Remember; now that you're in your final year, your blogs should more and more channel your professionalism and 'brand identity'; keep an eye on your 'public' face and make them image rich and vital. Also, please include your thoughts/queries/ideas/problems re. your dissertation. I'll advise/be a sounding board where I can.

Work hard, you lot - see you next week. Be Amazing :-)

Important! CGAA Year 1 - Your Thursday Theory Lecture


Some students are confused about the time/place for your Theory Lecture tomorrow (Thursday 23rd); see below!


LECTURES START @ 13.00

LECTURE THEATRE 1

Incoming CGAA students 2010 - The Blogs Part 24

... and one more: welcome to CGAA new recruit Paul-Arthur Lemarquis @ http://www.paularthurl.blogspot.com

Retro Fest: Another blog to follow

Hey, this is mine, Alex, Aju and Lauras blog....

>> Clickety <<

B3D Studio (studio F)



This is the blog link for B3D Studios: b3dstudios.blogspot.com
B3D is the inderpendant company of Chris, Ethan, Ruben and Shahbir.
Follow the link to get some updates for our projects ranging from idea and story development, concept art and design to storyboarding, pre-vis and the trailer for our films.

Retrofest: Group D Blog

Mine, Charlotte, Bharathi and Mat's blog.

Faint Drawings...

For those of you who don't know, I had my first life drawing lesson yesterday, and to say the least it was a great experience...

BUT

Im having trouble uploading images of my drawings due to them being quite faint, and I was curious if there is a easy way to get around this?

At this time I dont have a camera so im borrowing my mums which is a 10.2 mega pixel, im not a whizz with cameras and I dont know if this would make a great deal difference, but I was wondering if any one had any suggestions? If so they will be appreciated!


Also if you have any recommendations on what camera I should buy that would also be helpful!
Thanks
Ben

Narrative - Studio G Blog Address

Heres Studio G's blog address (the names sure to be changed). It consists me (richard), sam and matt.

http://studio-g-retrofest.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Narrative Project - Studio B blog

Studio B's blog for the Narrative project is live. Be sure to follow! The group consists of Dan, Kin, Elliot and myself.

http://kled-studios.blogspot.com/


Create a Video Game Level

I don't think this currently affects any outstanding units for any year but it is an interesting read. Found over on The EU Playstation blog, it chronicles the creation of a level of upcoming PSN\XBLA game Blade Kitten from design to programming.

http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2010/09/21/blade-kitten-behind-the-code/#more-24233

NARRATIVE: RETRO-FEST TRAILER EXAMPLES



http://www.youtube.com/user/trailersfromhell

Hi Guys,

Check out this youtube channel for some background and analysis of some of the worst trailers in film history.

AUTODESK ONLINE EVENT



Register Here

Hi Guys,

This event is worth staying up for. Its a repeat of the software demos shown at Siggraph. I recommend the 'Look Effects' showcase too.

Incoming CGAA students 2010 - The Blogs Part 23

... and welcome to CGAA Yr 1 Tien @ http://atibui.blogspot.com

A tutorial how to draw an Owl.

I apologise in advance,but i couldn't bare not to share this with everyone.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Narative Project blog_Studio C

I think I can say with confidence that we're all happy with the group and the title we've been allocated. Attack of the Horrible biker from the Black Lagoon. This is Studio C's project blog up and running and awaiting posts. http://retroincorporated.blogspot.com/ so get following.

Incoming CGAA students 2010 - The Blogs Part 22


... welcome to CGAA Yr 1 Conor Bishop @ http://conorsblog2.blogspot.com

Retro-Fest Studio Film Tiltles

Sunday, September 19, 2010

TutorPhil in 'Dongle Hell'

I've just moved house.

Why is this relevant to CGAA students and their studies?

Simply because it's going to take BT 2 weeks to reactivate my phone line/broadband...

As a substitute, I've bought a dongle (very stupid word!), which, in the few hours since purchase, has nearly been jettisoned out of several windows on account of its snail speed and general uselessness. I predict that my ability to respond quickly and efficiently to student questions and fizz enthusiastically over exciting preliminary sketches of human/animal hybrids etc. is going to be sorely impeded over the next few days.... Don't feel neglected if I'm slow to respond; just picture me instead, gnashing my teeth, tearing my hair and succumbing to dongle rage... Next time I pop up on this - or your - blog, I may be doing it from any establishment (other than UCA) with Wi-Fi; my consumption of over-priced corporate coffee and crap lukewarm burgers may increase to dangerously high levels...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Critiques.... some pointers.

I found this article a while ago and have been meaning to post it for a while, so a new semester is a good place.

Feedback improvement.

Critique is a very important part of learning. No one is born with godlike skills in any field, and improvement happens both through passion and constructive feedback given by other people. The majority of amateur artists do not have a well-developed capacity to objectively view their work and on their own understand and fix any mistakes or improve a more or less good piece of work - this is when the outsider opinion comes to help. Looking at one’s work through another person’s eyes can literally do wonders.

A truly outstanding comment is always hard to compose, always hard to receive, and always hard to come by. For an artist however, a comment is of the greatest importance. It provides feedback on an artwork that will continue to remain unmatched by that of a single word or emoticon. To an artist, a comment is the difference between progression and refinement of ones skills, and continuity of an undeveloped style.

The unique situation that online art communities are in, is that they are composed of artists, therefore, each member should be somewhat qualified to give feedback to others and expect others to give advice to him. In a real art gallery it’s not so easy since most observers are not in any way qualified to give constructive critique, but even then, there are guestbooks where people write to the artist their thoughts and emotions left after being in the gallery.

Thesis: while not many are able to give thorough, technical advanced critique, anyone is able and is qualified to give feedback.

Many people think that they are not qualified or respected well enough to comment on a work of art because their own art isn’t up to the standard. They think that the artist will jump on them or dismiss their opinion. But it’s not so – if the opinion is given in a decent manner, is logical and makes sense, it can never be dismissed. More so, it would be cherished by the artist even if it’s negative and in the future, all the good you have done and shown your interest would return to you.

Thesis: The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.

Some people, and here too, think that it’s an artists job is to provide visually appealing material and that he should be grateful just for someone looking at his art. Like, what more would you want, I looked and you should be happy.
People show their art to other people to gain recognition and share a bit of their inner self, emotions and ideas. They want it to be discussed and shared. It’s natural. Those who don’t want to do it, put their art in the table’s drawer and never take it out.

What a Critique is NOT
1. Critiques are not something that can be rushed. You must take time when writing them, or they will come out haphazard and of no benefit at all.
2. Critiques are not written in chatspeak or leetspeak. An example of a bad critique would be: “OMG!!!!111 FYI, I <3 ur art! C I BTDT, and u r0x0rz imho!”
3. Critiques do not use emoticons solely to express feeling as these do not explain why the work is desirable or undesirable.
4. A critique is not a summary. A summary reports what the art piece is about. A critique, on the other hand, analyzes, interprets, and evaluates the art, and searches with the goal of answering the questions why? what? and how well?
5. Critiques are not just limited to positive or negative words. Critiques are a synthesis of positive and negative points.
6. Although they may run contrary to the thousands of other comments you get, critiques are not a form of flaming. Flaming is destructive; critiques are designed for the improvement of art.
7. Critiques will not always be agreed upon by everyone. Art is very much a matter of taste and not everybody likes everything.

Discouraging critique/feedback:

QUOTE
“That looks awesome/is a nice work/pretty good job”



QUOTE
“This just sucks!/is uninteresting/I don’t like it”



These types of feedback are useless and discouraging because they do not specify why the product is good or bad. If the product is okay, what’s good about it and what could the author change? Without specifying they are more likely to change the wrong thing. Your comment basically constitutes to nothing.

The first quote on a first glance, isn’t discouraging as it won’t hurt the artist’s feelings. But it’s only on the first glance, and is still useless. You should specify WHY you think the work is good. On a deeper level, what happens is this – the artist feels cheated. With all our fragile egos, a person can think “well yes, I know it’s good, but why? Is my work so soulless and dull that nothing can be said about it apart from it being nice?” Such feedback just states: “I didn’t really like your work, but left a generalized comment so you’d do the same for me”.


The second quote is discouraging because it knocks down the author’s self esteem. There is no encouragement for the artist to keep on trying, it as well might say “you suck, give up”. Yet again, the comment constitutes to nothing. It doesn’t tell the person how to improve, guide him to techniques or sources that might help him in his future works, etc. It’s completely useless and downgrading. This kind of malicious feedback is something that still is rampant in online art communities.
This doesn’t mean you need to sugar-coat your opinion – just that while pointing out the negatives, give solution to how improve the situation.


Thus the goal of a critique is to determine the significance and artistic merit of an artwork through careful appraisal and study of its merits and demerits.

Where Is Critique Appropriate?

The golden rule of critique is always to ask yourself "is it appropriate to this work?" There are many examples of work here where it is not necessary to give a massive comment, or where it is impossible to sit and analyze a piece of work for techniques. On the contrary, giving a one-liner comment to a work that obviously is complex and rich, may too be inappropriate Make sure you ask yourself that question before you start to comment and save yourself wasted time.

How To Give A Good Comment

A good comment is almost always composed of three important key topics. These are:

Techniques
Effects
Improvements

A good comment will always touch on one or more elements contained in these three areas, and will be highly beneficial to the receiving artist.

Techniques

To most people, this is the element of commenting that is hardest to perfect and understand, and is often the reason why both givers and receivers of good critique are often confused.

The key step to this part of a comment is to look before you write. It is always tempting as a artist to jump in and comment right away, but a good comment requires more than just a quick glance at an artwork.

Look at the work and ask yourself the following questions, which all refer to techniques the composer has used deliberately:

What are the colours like?
Do the colours blend together, or do they stick out? Is the piece comprised of a small number of colours, or does it utilize many?


How are the elements of the piece arranged? (This is called composition)
Where does your eye first move to? From what angle does the scene appear to be portrayed from? How light or dark is the picture?

How big or small is the subject of the picture?
Is it very far zoomed in or a great distance zoomed out?

Is the picture warped or realistic?
Are there lots of definite shapes in the piece, or is it very indefinite (often a technique of surreal or abstract art)?

What sort of focus does the piece use?
Does the composer use intricate detail, or is the picture very blurry? Does the shot highlight a small part of the scene, or does it capture a vast area?

Does the work contain textures?
If you were to touch the texture, how would it feel? Rough? Soft? Sandy?

These are six questions you should ask yourself every time you look at a work. Make sure you take an appropriate amount of time to inspect the piece for these techniques.

You could go even more specific along these lines:

Objectivity
Do you like what it’s of? Do you like how it is being depicted? Why?

Subjectivity
Do you like what it’s about? Why?

Rhythm
Are there patterns present? Do you like them? Do they add to the feel of the image successfully? How?

Movement
How did your eyes move over the image? How do they travel over it after you’ve taken it in? Is the movement too divided? Does it match the image’s theme? Why?

Shape
Does the image contain overall interesting shapes? How do these shapes affect the image? Could shapes be added/subtracted? Which ones and why?

Attention
What is the centre of attention for you? Why? What is it supposed to be?

Refinement
Did they work long enough on the image? Did they work too long on it? Did they go overboard with what they were trying to say? Could the message/forms be refined? How? Why? Could it do with/without a border of some kind?

Details
Are there hidden packets of detail that make you want to come back for more? Do you enjoy the detail of the image or is it too busy to look at? Is the image perhaps too sharp or too soft? Is it supposed to be?

Figures (animals):

Body Language
What can you read of the body language of the character? Was it done well? Does it make you feel better/worse about the image? Why?

Expression
What does the expression of the character tell you? How does this make you feel? How does this alter your perception of the image? Why?

Balance (body)
Are the characters in balance? How does this affect the feel of the image? How does this change your disposition towards the character?

Appeal
Do you actually like the character’s appearance/personality? Why? What do you think of the character in regards to appearance and/or personality?

Accuracy
Are the details of the character how the artist wants them? For example, do they match the style the artist was attempting? If not, what can be improved? Why?

Association
Are you able to connect with the character? Why? Are you supposed to be able to? Is there a way to improve the intended connection?

Background (non-figures):

Detail
Is the background busy/calm enough to suit the mood of the image? Is it too distracting/plain? Why? What could be improved?

Realism
Does the background look accurate to life? If it is supposed to but doesn’t, what could be improved?

Emotion
What does the background make you feel? Which parts make you feel this way? Why?

Figures
If the image has no figures, could it do with some? Why? If it has some, could it do without? Why? How would this affect the theme of the image?

Connection
Do you feel an affinity for the depicted scenery/background? Does it affect how you feel about the image? How?

Effects

This part of a comment is perhaps the easiest, and surely the most practiced part of commenting around the online art community.

Describing the effects of the techniques upon you is as easy as saying how the piece makes you feel as the viewer.

Next, consider your perspective first.
1. What emotions and feelings well up when you look at a certain artwork?
2. Why do you feel those particular emotions?
Write down your perspective, and the emotions you felt on your paper, and the reasons why you feel them.

Next, consider the perspective from the artist’s viewpoint.
1. What might they have been thinking and feeling at the time? It sometimes helps to read the artist's comments at this time as this can occasionally enlighten this question.
2. Get to know the artist. Check some of the other works to see if you can isolate the common theme that this artist focuses on. Do any other pieces this artist has shed light on the feelings in the work you are critiquing?
3. Do the emotions and feelings that I felt match those of the artist? Or are they different? In this way you can determine whether you are able to relate to the art.

There is nothing hard about listing your emotions. However there are some questions you can use to make sure what you are saying is relevant:

How does the piece make you feel?
Does it make you feel happy or sad? Does it make you want to cry or burst out laughing?

Does the piece remind you of something?
Does anything in the scene remind you of something from your childhood? Do the objects look similar to something you’ve seen somewhere before?

What do you like about the picture?
Is there a colour that you like? Do you like how the piece is arranged? (Refer to the techniques you’ve already listed). Be careful not to focus on a really minor element only, but try to speak also of general themes/tendencies.

Make sure your passionate about what you write in this part. If the piece does not make you happy, try not to come across too nasty or unappreciative.

Improvements

This is where the comment can get personal and often get an artist off side with you. It is important to remember that the artist spent their time making this piece. However tempting it is to be nasty, don’t ever just write that you “hate the piece” or “dislike it” without having some evidence to back it up.

The purpose of providing the techniques and effects in parts one and two of the comment is to provide this evidence, and if done correctly, it should accurately reflect you attitude to this part of the comment. If it doesn’t, go back and rethink the questions we asked ourselves earlier on.

Offering improvements to an artist is often going to end up with a sad receiver. Everybody adapts to their own style after a while, and it often hurts to be told that it’s not that great. On the same token, offering improvements to an artist can be the greatest gift you can ever give.

Here are two questions to ask yourself while giving improvements:

What would make this piece even better?
Always refer to the techniques you used in part one. This will make your comment sound much more professional, and come across as helpful rather than forceful. Find techniques that you think could have been done better, and if possible, post links to another work that examples what you’re referring to. This can be inspiring to the author and give them a great example to bounce ideas off.

Why do I think you’re a good artist and why do I like your work?
All this time we’ve been professional and offering tips and examples. This is the part where you get to give some real praise. Leaving a comment ending with just improvements would leave the artist feeling down. A kind word never goes astray, so tell them why you liked their work, and why you think they deserve your help! Don’t shy up, nothing will make an artist happier to hear how much you appreciate their input to the community!

Writing the Critique
Now, it's time to organize your notes and get around to writing the advanced critique.
Some tips to follow when doing this:
1. Organize your thoughts so that when speaking about a particular element you cover all the things you have written about that element.
2. Try to give your critique a introduction, middle, and closing. The introduction can be a summary statement or paragraph and this summary can be repeated at the end as the closing statement. The middle should be where the comments on your in-depth appraisal and study of the deviation are. The ending should provide a polite summary of your thoughts with a closing statement so that the critique is wrapped up and complete.
3. Use complete sentences, punctuation, and good grammar.

Next, look for a few negatives. Write down a few elements of the deviation that you feel could use improvement. and include specific explanations that cover the following questions:
1. WHAT can be improved
2. WHY you didn't like it.
3. Suggestions on HOW to improve that element
4. Only aim for a few areas in this. It's easier to be negative than positive, but an advanced critique does not concentrate solely on the weak points, but tempers constructive criticism with acknowledgment of a works good features. If you have more negative than positive notes written down, consider organizing the negatives by their severity (what you feel needs the most attention) and cross out the low-ranking problems

Never forget to revise what you've written! The best comments are not only honest and well written, but they actually make sense!

Spelling and grammar may not be your thing, but you can at least do the artist the favour of making it legible. They'll love you even more.


Remember, don’t be shy, don’t be indifferent and that when you write a good feedback comment or critique you’re helping not only the artist, but yourself too)

I can't credit the original author because I think it has done the rounds with possible additions and edits, it was certainly on Deviant however I found it elsewhere. Hopefully it will prove a useful read.


Simon