Monday, 22 March 2010

NEWS! Headline: Paranormal Activity Out Today!

• Paranormal Activity is out TODAY! Go and get yourself a copy either on DVD or Blu-Ray and see Me and Ollie starring in the greatest B movie ever made; Killer Flies from Mexico! Our biggest claim to fame so far! If anyone gets a copy of it let me know! and let me know what you thought of Killer Flies!

• I've submited my entree for D&AD, unfortunately I can't post it on YouTube or anything after reading the terms and conditions. Shame! Screenshots are okay though. So take a browse through earlier posts to take a look at how its been developing. Hopefully it will be on the D&AD website for you to take a look at later on. So I'll keep you posted on that.

• Today, just had a talk from Shane Walters from OneDotZero at university today! OneDotZero have put on some amazing shows since they started in 1996, and they are real pioneers in moving image. After the initial lecture Shane then came upstairs to the 4th floor and sat and chatted with us about his work. He also got an invite to our next MGA show. Which I hope he turns up to! Would be mint if we got someone from the industry giving his opinion on our work.

• Had a really productive weekend with Ollie filming the last little parts of Hewitt and Walker. We got some brilliant effects shots made. We are really not experts in the field of visual effects, up until now we have made all our gore and effects in camera, so for two people who don't know where to start, we did a brilliant job putting it all together. Also with Hewitt and Walker, I am getting some T-Shirts printed today with Death Chair for Leeds Zombie Film Festival. Should come out nicely!

• Finally! I showed Jamie Smart the various Looshkin tests via Facebook, and its safe to say that he really liked what I have come up with! More Looshkin tests coming soon the more I play with Touch Designer. Its a great character to play with and its been great getting to know it.

Newscast is over, coming up next, weather!...

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Submission Day! (Nearly)

Wow. Been such a hectic past couple of days. Squeezed every minute of the day out on getting this D&AD animation finished. Right now I've got all the compositions to a stage of completion. I just need to sit and colour correct, add elements to each composition, do some promo stuff and boards. And then look back at the brief and hope its an online submission.

So while I've got a spare moment, I thought I would share some new screenshots of what I have made today! The final animation should be finished and uploaded by tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully with some decent sound on. Almost all my animations so far lack any sound at all, I prefer to concentrate on visuals then worry about sound later. With the VJ-ing project coming up my mind might be changed. Anywho. Screenshots!

Will post the video up as soon as its done. Then hopefully it will get something from D&AD. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

1 Day till DandAD!

With only one day to go till submission I am sailing through the project. Probably the quickest I have ever produced anything! I have got all day tomorrow to get everything animated. Im working in loads of different programs to create a mash up multimedia style look, hopefully it will work and not look too messy. The most I can probably expect as far as awards is to get is some "In Book" screenshots, but thats what I get for leaving it till the last minute!

So while some 3D is rendering, I thought I would share how some parts are getting on so far! Quite a bit of progression since I started last night. Im slowly filling up that 30 second timeline!

Spending the rest of tonight getting all the compositions ready and finished so I can put the animations and characters in tomorrow. Overall its coming together nicely for a 3 day animation! Although I am extremely rushed by it, I cant help but feel inspired, that if I can make an animation this fast under pressure, then why can't I usually?

This way of working might have better applications than I thought...

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

2 days till DandAD

Was told recently that the submission date for the D&AD student award was this Friday. With hardly anything done for it, and only 2 days to go, I decided to get on and finish it. I have to have a 30 second animation made by Friday afternoon. So rushing to get loads of elements made to play about with in After Effects. Hopefully Z space and Andrew Kraemer will save me!

Here are some screenshots so far...

...don't think I'm doing too badly considering I started a few hours ago!

Hopefully I should have a nice 30 second animation

Even More Touch Designer Work

Been hard at work with Touch Designer for Uni work. Absolutely brilliant programme. If you are into interactive animation then I highly recommend it. the FTE version is free to download too! I just thought I would post some of my tests I have been working with. I've used Looshkin as a placeholder and to test out some different inputs. Hope Jamie Smart likes them!

This one is a clock I made! Based on the time controlled man I made earlier, I decided to make something that looks a bit more aesthetically pleasing, rather than a guy made of cubes.

Click HERE for a high resolution version

This is something a bit better. This is based on the same Looshkin character, but this one is really basically controlled with a PS3 controller. Hopefully I will get a better looking movie up later on

Click HERE for a high resolution version

Again, these are just tests I am working with, Hopefully my end project will work a lot better!

EDIT: Ive also made a rotating Looshkin head in Maya and AE, thought I would put it on this post too.

Click HERE for a high resolution version

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Killer Flies Update!

Got a email from Ollie today, block capitals, that gave me a link to a review on of the Paranormal Activity Prepare To Be Scared competition! Here is what they had to say about the competition, and Killer Flies in particular...

"Two of the finalists, however, do deserve some credit; Ollie Bostock and Johnny Eveson's Killer Flies From Mexico, a funny, well-filmed Grindhouse homage, and Andy Macpherson's Pigment Of Imagination, a beautiful animation that shows more flair and imagination than Paranormal Activity and Heebie Jeebies put together"

... which is probably the best review we have got so far! Thanks to Pete Stanton at Read the full review HERE

We are gathering together a nice collection of reviews for Hewitt and Walker already, and it's yet to be released! If you remember we had Adam Buxton comment on our film back in November, he said...

"The DVD, was beautifully put together and highly enjoyable... Keep on keeping on!! and give us a part when you are famous"

...only a short one, but we really appreciate that he got back in touch with us after sending him an advanced copy.

Hopefully once the DVD is finished, shot, cut and printed, we will get some response back. And any reviews we get we will be sure to let you know about them.

Remember to get yourself a copy of Paranormal Activity, if not for the fright of your life, but to see Mike as a Scientist, Ben as a Mariachi, Ollie covered in Goo and Me kicking the shit out of a Killer Fly. With an axe!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Alice In Wonderland, Film Review.

I haven't posted a film review here since I tore apart Monsters Inc a while back. But after coming back from watching Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, I thought I would have my two cents and tell the blogosphere what I thought.

Beware, before you read this. I don't like Tim Burton. Here's why.

This film could have been brilliant, probably as magical as the trailers made out, if it had taken a leaf out of The Wizard Of Oz. The advent of 3D film making could have been made out to be the best thing since colour, which the Wiz took full advantage of by making real life black and white, and Oz colour. I think the initial WOW of Wonderland was dulled down by the opening being in 3D. If the opening in the real world was made 2D, then Wonderland 3D, this could have really brought out that kick that it was desperate for. But the alternate reality Victorian London and Wonderland seemed to mesh into one big 3D congealed universe. I get the feeling that this probably was the vision of Tim Burton, but jumping on the 3D bandwagon meant making the entire film that way. Disney's Influence was useful, being able to reference the old animated film, but Its shafting is a bit too much when the castle reeks of the Disney Cinderella Castle...

And often the case with Tim Burton films, it felt really claustrophobic. If you compare this to Lord of the Rings, Middle Earth felt totally vast and open, like there where places yet undiscovered, and you where dying to just get out and explore. Wonderland just seemed like a set, and there was only one path to follow. And the characters seemed to be just biding their time until Alice got back. With no lives of their own. It just wasn't the expanded universe it could have been.

People walking into Alice in Wonderland thinking that this is the wonderland they had in the original, won't feel that this is the Wonderland that they knew when they where younger. Sure its gone to rack and ruin since the apparent threat of the Red Queen has taken over, but without knowledge of what Tim Burton's new and exciting 3D Wonderland was like before the Helena B Carter took over, its hard to think that this world is in such peril. We have a small flashback into what it was like when se was a young girl, and we are teased with a bright and colourful Wonderland, if only for a few minutes. But it comes too late. It could have probably done with a Lion King style scene where everything goes back to how it was.

It did have its good moments, the final battle felt a bit like a playground scrap, but overall its an enjoyable film. The 3D works for a conversion, and the colours in it are lovely. Just try and leave before the Avril Lavigne number kicks in at the end.

Rant over.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

More Touch Designer

Touch Designer sounds like a bit of a perverse bit of software (not to say that you can't make something with it that IS perverse) but the name aside, it happens to be a very intuitive piece of technology. There is something that I like about things that have a particular order to them. And Touch is no exception. It uses a series of Nodes to make things! and you can trace each node back to its origin. Its really quite lovely. Nonetheless, its still really really difficult to use, and I know I'm only scratching the surface of its capabilities.

I had another go on it the other day, this time making a character that was controlled by time! Not in the DeLorean sense but a character that shows you what time it is by where his arms are. And to make it more lovely, his head moves with each second that passes. I made two versions, one out of cubes to start with, then started modelling with Metaballs. Which I keep accidentally referring to as Meatballs. Take a look!

Just another step on the tedious ladder to creating a lovely interactive character that looks like this:

Wish me luck!

Some final thoughts on the DVD cover...

As with most designers I know, the more you stare at your work, no matter how much you loved it last week, it somehow doesn't measure up now. Your design might be brilliant in the eyes of everyone else, but to you, it will never be finished. And thats the dilemma with Hewitt and Walker. Part of me doesn't want it all to be over! Im simply having too much fun making all the artwork and motion graphics to go with it.

Looking again at the DVD case prototype, once it is opened up you get THIS poster on the inside. But now, looking at it, it doesn't seem to match the aesthetic as the rest of the THIS DVD case.

So after playing with some textures and with my new Hewitt and Walker poster, I came up with THIS...

...I was thinking about the Cinema once it had burned down, and how someone now might stumble across it and find the reamins of some old posters from the 70's. Although as nice as the textures are, it doesn't have the same sort of punch that the first one I created had. Probably needs an explosion or two. What would make a great poster would be that poster actually pasted up somewhere and torn a bit like it has been there a while. Might do some experimental print work sometime soon when I get to the printers on Monday.

Again, let me know what you think! Cos my opinions on my own work are useless.


Hewitt And Walker Posters

Hello. Had a weekend of getting the DVD menu's done for the film. As my After Effects has quite a few compositions to render Its going to take at least overnight to get it all rendered out. So i have to make sure its perfect before it goes out.

Also Ive been finalising all the posters, going through them all for spelling corrections, ironing out the textures and typography. Ive also put together one final poster to encompass the whole film! Might even give this one away with the "elite edition" DVD

Ive been watching quite a few films recently, and one thing that always baffles me about DVD's, and Blu Rays even more so, is their DVD menus. This is a major touchpoint of a film, and something that always gets left out of the design process and often gets ignored. Either that or the artwork wasn't made by the same graphics people but at at the production company for little money.

When you open your DVD, from holding the packaging in your hands, to the disk, to the DVD menus, all these are points that someone takes in when watching a film. Anyone can notice that a film looks cheap when it comes in a regular black DVD case with a silver disk in. And being a designer I would think that film makers would take that into consideration when producing a film.

Especially with the decline in people buying films, opting to download them for free instead, DVD and Blu Ray manufacturers should be looking into new and creative ways to get people back into buying DVD's again. People arn't fooled by just whacking "Special Collectors Edition" on the cover of a regular DVD box. Something that has some real design, thoughtfully laid out, something that someone would treasure.

That is what I've always felt while making Hewitt and Walker, from a design point of view. Thousands of people make films and send them away to production companies, always just their film on a blank DVD from tesco in a regular DVD box. And it gets ignored, because producion companies get thousands more each year. If I can make our film stand out from everyone else's with just design, that would be fantastic. To give the illusion that its more than just 5 people, would make it all the more impressive when they know its just us.

Hopefully anyway!


Thursday, 4 March 2010

Uni Presentations

As I said before, lack of recent blog posts is due to University project mid term presentations. So I thought I would share what I am up to with these and the projects I am working on.

The first is Character Design. This involves creating a character, taking inspiration from my Berlin sketchbook, and fleshing it out in all directions and stretching the concept. Then finalising it so it can be translated into a few mediums. I keep track of this module in my sketchbook.

The second is Character Animation. This ties into the Character Design Module, we take the characters that we have and test out how they would move and animate. The outcome of this is to produce a Sting or Advert, showcasing the animation advertising a brand. I keep track of my ideas and tests on another smaller blog. Click HERE to see it.

The third is Interactive Animation. This one is probably the most experimental of all the modules. Here we have to create a music track based around an acronym of our choice from the word FEAR, and take samples from the Ian Brown song if we feel. Once we have created a track we then have to make some live visuals, or interactive visuals, that work off the midi outputs from the music. The software we use for that is called Touch Designer, and its a pretty awesome piece of technology. I keep track of this module and keep everything together on another blog, click HERE to see it.

Ill probably post a few tests that I like later on. Hopefully these will turn out great! I already have a few pieces on the blogs and on my YouTube for you to take a look at.

More Hewitt and Walker Stuff on the way! Should be getting the footage any day now to add the effects to and send off the rest of it. Also, Monday is Printing Day! where I will try out another prototype for the Hewitt and Walker DVD cover. Can't wait to start promoting this soon!

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

March Is Lacking

Absence from blogging is from my Uni Work, had some mid term presentations to deal with this week. So sorry about the lack of content so far!

Have no fear though! Ollie is in the process of editing the footage ready for effects to be added by me. Can't wait, going to be brilliant being able to make our film come to life in a whole new way. Hopefully I will be showing you some screenshots in a week or so.

As far as uni work goes, I have been playing with a program called Touch Designer. This is a realtime animating software for PC, whose posibillities are literally endless. Been so brilliant being able to have a play with it. I had a character animating in realtime with Midi sliders. Take a look at my little demo!

Click HERE to see the video in higher quality

I always try and add something to each post, whether its an image or a video :)

Monday, 1 March 2010

Johnny Burdock

Just thought I would upload some screen shots of my opening for Johnny Burdock and the Strange Incident of the Lights in the Sky. The whole 30's feel is starting to look pretty sorted. Need to work on the 3D models of the UFO's, didn't think that anyone would see them up close.

Just a tester for the opening so far. Got a long way to go. Was feeling really inspired from the weekends film making and cracked on with corrections on the posters and also writing a first draft for Johnny Burdock. Really looking forward to getting started on this one. Especially for the epic UFO fight scene at the end :D

Back to Hewitt and Walker, Got all the posters finished and the DVD case all re-sized and ready to print. Just the film to finish now! Best get cracking!


Making Of Hewitt & Walker

Spent a weekend down in Yorkshire filming some final bits for Hewitt and Walker. Odd to think that we don't have to film any more! Maybe some additional Foley and sound effects later on. But the rest is up to me and graphics!
Another thing we are finishing up making is the Making Of Hewitt and Walker. Ever since me and Ollie started making films we often just keep the camera on or set up another small camera just to take in all the out takes and to capture all the little moments. Often we forget that it is there. Since beginning Hewitt and Walker, when Ollie is either done editing or getting a little stressed with the edit, he will open up the Making Of and have a bit of fun editing that. Part of me thinks that the making of Hewitt and Walker will only be funny for us. But we always love seeing how films are made. The first thing I usually do when getting a DVD is watch the bonus features. Hopefully we should have the DVD packed with extras.

Our making of has the same theme as the film, that 70's Grindhouse look. Just to tie it in with the feature. Ill probably add in loads of production stills, galleries, art and all the posters in glorious high res.

So far the DVD is coming together really nicely. Ive got all the design work finished for the DVD cover and the cards, I just need to finish some motion graphics for the opening! Then all we have to do is get printing! Our deadline is the end of March. So not long! Wish me luck!