Saturday, 30 November 2013

Episode VIII

Before you scroll any further, I have taken the liberty in choosing a theme song
to play alongside this post whilst you read. This is an audio-visual-mergey-merge experiment.
Hopefully it shall work. Good luck.

Soaring above the Andes flew the Electric Elkboy. He looked glorious. Ever would he gracefully swoop in and out of the rocky peaks and weave over and under the peaky rocks. The kite was holding together incredibly well in the windy conditions, but this did not surprise the Elkboy for he was the creator of The Electro-Kite. To any rambler or yodeller it was simply a flash of awesomeness before their eyes and nothing more. 

But the most cunning addition to this contraption was the conductor set upon the pinnacle of the Electro-Kite. When the Electric Elkboy would spy a thunder storm upon the horizon he would not be thwarted, but fly straight in to it. The conductor would then pick up any bolts of lightening that may strike the Electro-Kite, harnessing the thousands of volts and sending them down to the Elkboy and recharging his powers. Yet another little splash of genius that reflects our hero's inventive skill and rugged good looks.

Then the winds stopped completely. And unfortunately for the Elkboy and his mode of flight, this was rather bad news. Despite the kite's self-proclaimed title of the Electro-Kite, there was no actual supply of electricity that could power the kite when wind was unavailable. The Elkboy was furiously perplexed at this and it took him all of three minutes to come to the conclusion that wind was not a reliable source of kinetic energy. He took a mental note of this, by which point he also noted that he was falling from a height of three thousand feet...

So I've just been working on a Coca Cola advert that I probably shouldn't talk about. I know somebody involved with Star Wars Episode VII of which they really shouldn't talk about. I'm picking my nose but... you know I wouldn't hesitate in keeping that from you. So sit back and relax; this blog post is completely under control. 

The animation club have finished their first draft of the upcoming Untitled Princethorpe College Animated Movie. The story itself is magnificent, albeit a little insane, as far as a narrative is concerned and I was rather impressed. I did, however, have to ask permission from certain teachers due to their controversial interpretation by the students. For any teachers who may read this, I apologise in advance. The only teaser I can give you, however, is this... robot creates monster chases teachers attacked by mutated rabbits with a dinosaur and an epic car chase. You can tell my class lacks the feminine touch. 

A selection of characters created by the team

Me and Mike doing the final touches for the next
next street sequence with Bart. 

Meanwhile, back at Yamination Studios, there has been significant upgrading all over the (work) shop. So after all the pimping up, we can safely say that we can now tackle a lot more larger scale models and sets. No need to cut that rich mahogany with a junior hacksaw... we have a circular saw! And stop sanding with your stubble... how about this belt and/or disc sander.

With the studio fully equipped, the art department team can not only help Drew finish the At-Issue project but also look into the future at what other projects may be on the horizon. One such project I dare not expose too much (as is much of the content of this blog post) but I shall encourage you to take a look at the Facebook page right HERE. It's a very touching story about a young boy and his collection of beloved carrier pigeons. Taking place in London during the period of the second World War, this tale will unfold and reveal that heroes really do come in all shapes and sizes [Crombie, Sarah (2013) Yamination Studios].

So we've all witnessed the wonderment of the new John Lewis advert. And it truly is something special. But I wanted to include this on my post because not many people realise the type of animation it actually is. And I don't blame them. The 2D animation is so incredibly seamless that you would never consider cut-outs would be behind it all. So indulge yourselves in this fine 'making of' video and see the extensive process behind The Bear & the Hare.


I have also returned again to Factory Transmedia in Manchester for some more work in their studios on the television series Strange Hill High. As always I was blown away with the scale of things. By that I mean in miniature proportion, as they're all 45cm high (that is a complete guess by the way, I don't even have a ruler on me for reference). But as the very wise say, it's not the size it's how you use it! And I got the chance to puppeteer one or two of the characters with that piece of wisdom in mind.

Oh! You need to see this new beautifully edited trailer for the upcoming Laika stop motion feature film The Boxtrolls. It gives a bit more insight in to the making of the film as oppose to the narrative. Such an inventive and different angle for a teaser trailer that still captures the awesometacular character design and animation that you come to expect from the quality of these films. Also, the sets look absolutely bloody marvellous. At this moment in time I'm not even bothered about what the story is! It's all about the visuals my friends.
    I don't think it's out until the middle of next year, but I don't mind the wait. I have learned to be patient with upcoming films, especially with the madness that will ensue when 2015 is upon us. I implore you to find a list for the mass of films that will be released that year. I'll try and put things into perspective; next year me and Lucy are going to be travelling around South America for a couple of months. That's our '2014' epic adventure. 2015's epic adventure will be the cinema. Sweet Lincoln's beard I'm not even joking.

I now have a little weekend treat for you guys. But really it's a cunning ploy to gain more stats with my page views. Tell your friends not to look for online gaming sites, oh no, but rather come to this little niche in the t'Internet. Some blogs have paragraphs and images (I realise that this blog may also have such things) but if you know the basics about HTML then why not throw in a Pacman game to keep your followers incredibly happy. Are you happy? I bloody would be. Why are you still reading?? Go and play...!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Episode VII

The Elkboy's mode of transport was not your regular superhero vessel, but more of a special offer tricycle, complete with honky horn and an extended metal frame due to such long and muscular legs. Luckily for the Elkboy (and anybody who saw such an embarrassing sight) it was simply used to get from his lair to the underground runway where a more suitable vehicle was located. Now, normally a runway would suggest some sort of aeronautical ship. But alas, the paperwork for the Elkboy's pilot license was denied after his refusal to declare where his airspace would be upon landing in his lair, resulting in Government suspicion to why this would be. Things escalated and the Electric Elkboy was officially exiled from his British citizenship. 

But what the Government didn't take into consideration was that this particular superhero cared not for paperwork. This particular superhero was already an outcast, so a citizenship meant nothing to him. And so, without completing any legitimate training programme or participating in a flight simulator, the Elkboy flew a craft customised to what little knowledge he had concerning the art of flight; a kite. 

'Chester, have you calculated the flight plan?' asked the Elkboy earnestly, standing determined at the start of the runway. He was clad in a harness, goggles and a helmet sporting a floral design. He looked like a tit. 
   'Yes sir, but with the erratic winds from the west it makes flying the erm *noticeable pause* kite very incalculable.' 
   'What was the first thing I programmed you to do Chester?!' shouted the Elkboy as the blast doors screeched open at the end of the strip, icy gusts streaming in at a phenomenal speed. He unravelled several meters of rope from the bobbin and took a few steps forward. Chester followed, clearly troubled by his masters persistence (although not that clear at all, as he was a dustbin shaped droid with no facial features).
    'Sir you programmed me to aid you in your timeless battle against anything you find remotely annoying and quashing it for breakfast, realising the consequences by lunchtime and amending the situation by supper, whereupon by chance you come across vaguely heroic.'
    'No, the other thing...!'
    'Oh. Right. To pretend that the kite can fly'. 

And with that, the Electric Elkboy sprung forward with such pace and power, launching himself down the runway and dragging the immense kite structure behind him....

I was allowed an early birthday present!

Yes, episode VII... becoming quite the rage at the moment.

So becoming an official member of the co-curricular programme at Princethorpe College was September; having the after-school animation club grow by three members (bringing the grand total to five) was October. I am so proud. But I wrote that sentence last week... and upon reviewing this paragraph I know have SIX members of my animation club! *sheds a tear*

I have to apologise to all who are involved in this post because it was due for release before I departed on my Croatian holiday with Lucy. Therefore a few sections might not make as much sense (probably more on my account) than others. The kickstarter project, for example, has it's final 24 hours as of watch read on and find out about what I'm going on about...

Yamination Studios has launched a kickstarter project to help fund the final stages of the 'At-issue' short film. I think the best way to describe how this works is not via the medium of reading, but through the beautiful accent of our Yam Yam leader Drew Roper. Enjoy...

A few weeks ago my incredibly chirpy tutor from my degree course, Laura Weston, contacted me with a proposition concerning an alumni talk for the animation department at Staffordshire University. This soon escalated and became a lecture in one of the theatres on campus. And in true student fashion, I left the presentation until the last minute! But in all honesty, because I was asked to talk about what I'd been doing since leaving University... well, I knew all of that anyway. There were some handy links that I attached to the notes section of the presentation, so hopefully they will come in useful (including subliminal kickstarter links for our Drew!).

I finally met Stuart Messinger, the new stop motion course leader at my old Uni, who helped me get set up for the talk along with Laura and Daryl Marsh. I am actually writing this after doing the presentation of course (proving my lack-lustered approach to this entire blog entry) so I do hope that the tutors and the students who attended the talk don't think I've forgotten them. It really was a fine morning and even though I was cacking my pants, I ended up feeling pretty darn comfortable in front of you guys. So many thanks for asking me questions and at least pretending to look interested!

So yeah the presentation went rather well. I stood before a lecture hall of 20-30 students and told them that I had a dream. I yabbered on about work experience, part time jobs, side projects, social networking, contacts, show reels and the like... I was originally going to write something more inspiring here before my holiday but due to my absence I'm afraid my mind has become warped with seven days of sun, sea and wine.

So embarrassed. 

This was one of the opening slides I used to show that I'm just a regular
fellow, albeit lacking any vitals. Just call me Wolverine of the puppet world. 

I have to apologise for my lack of commitment to this post. I am sat here in my Superman 'slanket' (I think that's what they're officially called) having withdrawal symptoms over Angry Birds Star Wars and slowly succumbing to the incredibly mellow sounds of a Mr Scruff DJ set (click HERE and go to 1:10:00 and you'll understand why). So I have decided to display some of my favourite snap shots from my Croatian holiday and build myself up for a much more creative, inspirational and interesting blog post next time!

Finally, I have a little treat for those Star Wars fans out there. And it took place in the stunning Croatian coastal resort Astarea Hotel. Each morning at sunrise we would attend the buffet breakfast and eat like kings, where cooking your own toast was somewhat of a curious feat of engineering. This contraption, however, made a rather nostalgic impression upon me as it sounded just like the carbon freeze chamber from the Empire Strikes Back. I shall let you be the judge...