Friday, 4 December 2009

End Of Term... Future Plans..

I will be going home for the Christmas period on Monday, and over that time I will be concentrating mostly on my dissertation.

Yesterday, Pete, Alex and I handed in our pre-production dvd which holds all the files of art work that we have created over the past ten weeks. It is clear to see we have a strong style, and I am now looking forward to beginning production.

We have eight mini productions to complete, which are being produced between the three of us and have a small crew working on each. Here is a summary
1. Dance shoot - Greenscreen - Producer: Holly
2. Motion Graphics - After Effects - Producer: Pete
3. Experimental Designs - Mix media - Producer: Alex
4. Fashion Photography - Pixellation - Producer: Pete
5. Brand/Club Logo's - After Effects/Maya - Producer: Pete
6. Filmed backgrounds - Film - Producer - Pete
7. 2D Viral - Flash - Alex
8. 2D Illustrated characters - Photoshop/Flash - Producer: Pete

I will be working on a number of these projects but my main task is to produce the dance shoot, where we will film dancers on green screen ready to silhouette and manipulate the footage. I have contacts to organize the shoot, which I would like to take place in January. First I need to find out how to get the dancers on to separate alpha channels so they can be used as we hope. The deadline for all of these productions is March.

Yesterday I also had a tutorial with our lecturer Kathy. She is great for helping find influences from original material, as so far I have been looking at graphic designs created in more recent times.

She advised that I look at 1960's textile design and here is an image that I really liked:


I think this era could be quite influential on abstract designs. She also advised me to look at designers such as Ben Nicholson and Miro. For the illustrated 2D characters she sugested we look at fashion design, which is a route we previously discussed going down as it would be great to VJ at fashion shows. Some designers she suggested were Zoltan and Mats Dufastan.

I hope to research these people over Christmas so that I can come back bursting with ideas and start making some abstract loops.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Some More Graphics..

I have been experimenting in photoshop making some more graphics. I have been looking at images of foliage and made this composition:

I then began layering it onto some of the backgrounds I have already made, look at how it would work as loops layered on top of each other.


I love how the colours work, and how the image is made so much more abstract and interesting just by adding another layer.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


I was so inspired by the images I uploaded on my last post that tonight I have been trying to produce something in the same style as the bright coloured one. Seeing as we haven't yet produced any proper designs for graphics I thought this would be a good starting point.

First of all I layered coloured dots into a pattern. I have been doing something similar to this on my background designs, but this is far more detailed and looks really funky on its own.

I then tried adding paint splodges. This could be done by actually flicking paint, scanning it in and enhancing it in photoshop but I cheated and used the paint button instead, again splodging dots to get the flicked paint effect.

Finally I added one of the silhouetted images that I also uploaded on my previous post. I think this would look amazing as an animated loop with somebody dancing, or even blended in with the footage of club signs and lights that we hope to film next year.

I think the dots would be easy to animate, and we could make a series of loops where the dots expand, grow apart, or even just have flashing lights behind them. They could easily be made in a day.


As I am working on backgrounds and graphics, I have no major character design to do. However, as we are planning on getting dancers to come to the university to film on green screen I have made a turnaround-like page of how I hope the outcome will look like. We are going to silhouette the dancers so the loops can be used over and over.

Whilst I was looking for images online, I came across two pictures which really inspired me. I can really imagine these as animations in clubs, and would love to make some loops similar to these:

I have already been adding circles and basic graphics to some of my concept art images, and think I could easily make the above image into loops to create a really funky set. I also love this image:

I want to begin designing some amazing graphics which could layer up to make animations in a similar style to these images.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

New Plans..

Over the past week or so I have been introduced to some new technology which we now hope to use to create some loops. The university has a grey room with thousands of pounds worth of equipment. It is similar to the green screen room, except you can build a 3D environment and film a person in that environment. This would be great for making lots of loops of the environment, as well as some with people dancing. The only problem with using this equipment is that the environment has to be made in 3D, and nobody in our crew can use 3D software to a high standard. We have pitched to the students in second year, and some have shown interest to help us out which would be amazing.

We have also decided to visit London (and I can hopefully get to Manchester over the
Christmas break too) to film some shots of lights, club and bar signs, crowds, and general urban life. I have began experimenting with the combination of my colourful 2D style with photographs of things that we hope to film. Here is an example:

I think it works really well with the mixture of style and colours. I also think the silhouette works well. I am going to contact the college in Truro, the nearest city to Falmouth, to try and organise getting dancers to the university which we can film, silhouette in after effects, and make some quick easy loops.

I also plan to do some online tutorials to refresh my skills in after effects so that I can make some really nice abstract motion graphic animations.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Getting a bit more abstract...

Today I have put together a quick piece of work in photoshop. I was experimenting with squares and ended up doing this grid:

It really reminded me of the clubland font and the way the text is made up of lots of little squares:

I have also seen this sort of thing used as signs or logo's, made up of lots of little LED's. Below is an example (although I don't have a clue what it is!)

Although the colours aren't perfect in my grid, it is something I would quite like to experiment with further as I think we could create some really funky loops.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Concept Art...

I have been making some more pieces of concept art and feel like I have really developed a style. Here are some of the pieces I have completed:

Pete is working on some more characters which will complete the pieces of concept art ready for the book.

We would like to be able to create five loops for each piece of concept art thinking about a character, abstracts and shapes, and a background design.

Not all of the loops will be made in this simplistic 2D style. We hope to get some dancers from Dartington university down which we will be able to film on green screen. We will also be open to other styles if people wish to make loops for us.

I have also been working on a piece of art today just as an experiment. It is out of the bubbles pack that I uploaded a few weeks ago. I really like the clean lines and how it is almost abstract yet recognisable:

Here is an image that we put together for the presentation which shows mine and Petes work together along with Alex's which has a completely different style:


Last Friday the university held an animation forum where we were given the chance to pitch our ideas to the class, the second years, and a panel of three industry professionals; Felix Massie, Pippa Best and Trevor Ricketts.

The feedback we received was excellent. The panel really liked our idea, and said the presentation that I had put together was very professional which was really great to hear. The students also seemed to take an interest in what we are doing and some have approached us about making some loops for Us+Them.

Now the presentation is out of the way our focus needs to go back to designing beautiful concept art ready for the design book to be published and for us to go into production straight after christmas.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Making a Breakthrough?

The past week has been very stressful and a few decisions have been made in terms of the project and style.

Last Wednesday, we had a production meeting where Pete the producer was unsure about our plan and feeling as though we had been far too ambitious. He proposed that instead of making 50 loops for Con Artists, we actually only made five. This panicked me as I want to have the best show reel of work as possible for when I finish my degree. I disagreed with his idea to change the project and managed to explain to him how brilliant our project could be. Luckily, he seemed to find the enthusiasm for the project that he had lost.

We have also had some issues with Anomaly over a disagreement with the logo's but the US+Them team have agreed on their favoured choice. We are now thinking instead of spending more money on a splash screen for the website, the money could go towards production and help us to create some really interesting loops using models and dancers from the university, and shooting footage around London.

Although we would still like to show some narrative in our collection of loops, we are considering using other styles of film and animation, which could lead to a much more abstract style and set of loops.

We have a presentation this Friday to a panel of people from the industry, as well as the rest of our class, the second year students, and the Animation staff. We hope to get some positive feedback and enthusiasm about the project, but and constructive critism may help us. I think the project will continue to change over the next six months, but as long as we maintain a high standard of work I think we will be able to pull it off.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Backwards and Forwards

Backwards and Forwards is the working title of the next pack of designs I will be creating concept art for (I know its not a very exciting title...yet!!)

This pack contains a mixture of scenes and abstract backgrounds which will be panning or moving backwards and forwards. For example, the city scape will be panning backwards so if a character was placed on top doing a walk cycle it would look like they were walking forwards.

The city scape and suburban scape look fairly realistic, but the buildings will be bopping and flashing to make them a bit more surreal for the VJ loops.

Sparkles and Bubbles

Here are the original designs for the piece of concept art and other four loops in the Sparkles and Bubbles pack:

The drawings are very simple to demonstrate what will be happening in each loop, but also to give the animator a bit of creativity when it comes to making the loops.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Concept Art..

Last week Pete and I bought 50 postcards and sketched exactly what would be happening in each animated loop for Con Artists.

We then arranged them into catagories, so the loops now come in packs of 5. For each pack, we must now make 1 piece of concept art, which will be arranged in a book to be sent to Anomaly.

Our aim is to produce 2 pieces of concept art a week over the next 5 weeks. Pete will take charge of character design, and I am designing backgrounds and abstracts.

I have began concept art on my pack which is named 'sparkles and bubbles.' The Con Artists style is going to be very girly, very cheesy, and very bright and colourful to oppose that of VIA. Therefore, this particular catagory is all about cocktails :)

Here is the concept art I am currently working on:

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


Tomorrow, Pete, Alex and I have to do a presentation to the class showing what we have done over summer, our concept art and ideas, and our future plans. Here are some of the powerpoint images which really show off the work put into US+THEM:

These are the logo's which are still work in progress. The photograph shows the original members of US+THEM and was pieced together using photo's from a photoshoot we did in July to use as part of our pitch to Anomaly. We wanted the photo's to present us as a young, cool collective of fun people. The image below shows some more pics from the shoot:

In the presentation we are also showing how we have developed as a business, from applying for funding to pitching to Anomaly. We also have Brendan Byrne on board which is a huge honor and a massive achievement for US+THEM.

Finally we are showing some of our concept art to show our progression in the creative process. In June, we pieced together an example of how we hope to work in layers. We have since developed more artwork to figure out exactly what the Con Artists style will be. We want colourful, clean and tidy images that can be played in clubs across Europe. Below is our original concept:

And the image below shows a much cleaner picture using a more intense but gorgeous colour palette. The background was done by myself and the character art was produced by Pete. We hope to develop this style even further:

Sunday, 11 October 2009

VJ Workshop..

This weekend Pete Wood, producer of US+THEM, held a workshop where all members of the collective got together and ran through business plans and the schedule for the next 6 months.

Whilst eating salmon bagels and drinking juice, we ran through the ins and outs of what the next year could hold for us, including plans with Anomaly, production of animations, and life after university.

After a long day, we cracked open the wine and moved on to the more fun side of the project... VJing!

With all of US+THEM gathered in one room, we had to make the most of having the four members of VIA (who already VJ at gigs and festivals) and all of their equipment at hand. Duncan, Dean and Paddy set up their computers, projectors and decks and introduced the rest of us to some of the best VJing software. Although we have our own specialist software, designed and made by Brendan Byrne, I found Resolume the most simple to get to grips with.

We each took turns playing out the visuals which were projected on to the wall, and mixing them and abstracting them using the software. We didn't realise that two hours later we would be making our debut performance in a local bar!

Paddy made a phone call to a mate, and that was that! The equipment was packed away and we were out the door heading in the direction of Q Bar, Falmouth. On arrival, Paddy set up his equipment alongside the DJ and began the set. He quickly ran through the dials and keys with me again, and left me on my own, in the corner, VJing to round about 100 people. And it felt AMAZING! The Q Bar is quite diverse, so it meant I could play around with the software and experiment.

I feel this experience, being thrown in at the deep end, has made me that little bit more excited and passionate about the project. This is something I could be doing for work in the coming months. It has inspired me creatively, and I now know the quality and standard that we have to aim for whilst in production.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Summertime Inspiration...

Over summer I began a folder of visual research to help me with ideas for concept art and animations for the VJ loops I will soon be producing.

I visited clubs including Sankeys in Manchester, ranked 13th best nightclub in the world! I also went to Creamfields, the UK's biggest dance music festival to check out visuals other people were producing and the standard US+THEM will need to match to make it big in the industry. It opened my eyes to how much people really do react to the visuals.

The team have also been researching the popularity of this industry and if there really is a gap that we could break into. We have discovered that there is only one club, Matter in London, who have their very own in-house VJ's to perform and create specialist visuals. However, visuals in clubs are very popular in Europe and America. This means that although visuals in clubs and bars are not overly popular in England at the moment, there is space for other artist collectives to expand on this idea and build on the clubbers experience.

We are also looking at performing at corporate events, including brand promotional events and fashion shows.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Welcome to my blog...

I have just began my final year at University College Falmouth, and decided to keep a blog on my animation and art work.

I study Digital Animation, and as my major project will be working as part of the VJ collective US+THEM producing animated loops and learning how to VJ. We have recently pitched and got a contract with Anomaly, who will be advertising and marketing us. If all works out, we will be travelling Europe doing gigs next summer! Watch this space!

I also have a dissertation to write, and an innovation project, not to mention extra lectures, screenings and life drawing. I am interested in abstract animation and art, and sound production and editing. I will upload my work as it is produced.