Starting to model

This is when the project starts to get exciting, ive started to model the exterior of the environment. Ive based my ideas loosely upon images on Depa's blog of concept work for the house, i felt it needed a very quirky feel to match the personality of the character Depa has in her mind. Ive modelled the house in a very rigid, and wonky way as a deliberate attempt to try to achieve this.

Recieving feedback from memebrs of the group, they all agree that this stle of modelling works very well with what we're trying to achieve.

From here im going to just keep on plugging away at it, adding more layers of detail, and see what happens...


Reseach is going to be key to whether my involvement in the project is good or bad. At this stage in time, 5 weeks into the year i know nothing about Lighting, However i have taken it upon myself to conduct the majority of the lighting for the project. This may be a crazy move, however as i stated before, i wanted to throw myself in at the deep end, and challenge myself to learn. I don't feel i pushed myself hard enough during the first and second years, and if i was honest with myself, i thought i was wasting my opportunity at university somewhat during the first 2 years, down to the fact i found myself too scared to try new things that were outside of my comfort zone.

Lighting is going to be the main research area, i feel i am capable of modelling, and texturing efficiently enough for this project, but lighting not so capable.

It was literally a case of starting from the beginning, researching into different types of lgihts within maya and seeing how they effected the objects around them. I found some useful tutorials online which helped with this.

Whats my involvment?

I am at that stage in the project where we have had discussions about what roles we are all taking on individually.

My main goal this year is to push myself, and to take on responsibility way out of my comfort zone, for example to take on a responsibility for something i literally know nothing about yet. I feel doing this will progress me as an artist and as a person in general.

I have agreed to take on a lot of work for Leap of Faith, however in some areas the responsibilities are shared. I feel that with my roles, the whole finished artistic look relies upon me to get correct, as some stages of the animation will be modelled, UV mapped, textured, lit and rendered by me alone. Particularly the first three shots of the film, which could be argued as very important in establishing the audience interest.

My Roles

  • Interior Environment
  • Exterior Environment
  • Several props
  • Interior Environment
  • Exterior Environment
  • Several Props
UV Mapping
  • Interior Environment
  • Exterior Environment
  • Several Props
  • Interior Environment (With exception to candle dynamics which Depa is doing)
  • Exterior Environment
  • Individual shot light sets (25 shots)
  • Grandfather clock
  • Shot 1-3 (Leaf falling/Leaf sweeping inside/Zoom into bible)
  • Curtain animation
  • Render Passes (with Depa & Alex)

UPDATE June'11

Diogo was having trouble getting shatter effects on to the Ink pot i provided him with, due to this i decided to try to do the shatter effect myself, which i was able to do, and then hand on to him, to add gravity fields and realism to the shot.

The Project Brief

The project brief encourages us to participate across groups, however this is not necessary. We are required to work within a group environment to produce a production standard animated short, we can work on several, or one film, however at the time when it comes to assess our performance, we are required to hand in on disk three folders of work as follows

Animation Artist Technical

The three folders can consist of many different things, however, we must choose one of the three folders to be our strongest folder, in which more of the marks will be designated towards this folder when assessing. Below are the things which can be included within the three folders.

At first glance, there is a huge variety of work that can possibly go into a folder, however looking at it, my first reaction is one of being daunted, although we are not required to fill each of the sub criteria, we are expected to have some work in each of the three folders. Before this year i have had no experience of any technical aspects of the work, however i am very keen to learn lighting and dynamics. The only folder which appeals to me at the current is the artistic, where i feel i can do well with my modelling and texturing, which are bound to only get better as i progress and learn more things this year. The animation folder is looking very uneasy with me also, i do not feel comfortable with character animation. I have shied away from character animation as much as possible since it was compulsory in the first year, however, the prospect of prop animation appeals to me.

Shot Breakdown of Leap of Faith

(Taken from Depa's Blog)


v TLeaf falling from the sky with slow suspense music piano music - 6 second - Fade out qtr of a sec.

v Leaf falls into opening scene of the house as it zooms in. Ariel perspective.

v Camera follows leaf into the Cottage window past the Librarian who is studying her book.

v Pages turn from the book as the breeze enters through the window. The leaf continues to fall past the book and out of the screen.

v Close up of book Ariel perspective. Page of the bible. Close up of bible passage.

v Get a perspective shot of the inkpot camera zooms in as a shimmer moves around the bottle to make it look magical and to sow a seed to the audience that there is something special about this ink pot.

v Long shot of the camera looking up at the lectern. Evening light shines on the book candle flickers.

v Zoom and pans to the owl.

v The camera pans out to the librarian studying and writing in the book. Darkly lit with candlelight. Evening shot with the light coming through the window. Shining on the book.

v The sky changes from day and night quickly – this is to show time to give the illusion of the librarian studying everyday. The librarian studies the bible every day. A routine that has been going on for many years. View of the lectern with the light through the window - evening shot - autumn amazing pinkie/orangey hue emphasizing shadow - Power shot of lectern and glimpse of the owl. Sound clock ticking with calendar months changing.

v Librarian looks at her watch - 1 sec - Blacks out 8th of a second

v Librarian yawns - 1 sec -Blacks out 8th of a sec

v Stretches her arms out

v Close the book to show title (Bible) Close up

v Climbs down the ladder Ariel shot of her climbing down

v …As she climbs down stretch her foot to find the next step…the step breaks and she manages to grab hold of the side of the lectern suspended hanging on to the edge. Camera shake as she grabs the lectern

v Close up of the owl steps out of the dark as his face begins to look shocked.

v She slides along touches the inkpotthe shimmer around bottle again…

v Close up of Inkpot as it wobbles perched on the edge it tips over… in slow motion to start fall. - 1 sec - Blacks out 8th of a second

v She knocks the inkpot and it starts to fall. Towards the screen getting larger and larger it finally covers the screen to a black out.

v Pause

v She begins to loose grip and one by one her finger slides off then she falls –

v Close up of face looking up scared Ariel view of her falling then fades out as she falls to the ground.

v Shot of owl eyes widening - 1 sec - Blacks out 8th of a sec

v Shot of owl Eyes wide open - alarmed! - 1 sec - Blacks out

v Bottle falls…she falls

v Bottle smashes 2d effect- 1 sec - blacks out 8th of a sec

v Ink Turn into doves. They fly up around her like a whirlwind and then the screen whites out as the doves protect her.

v Passage of bible

v Fades out to white

I thought it was important to have a script breakdown in this blog, for when referring back to references and comments in other posts. I am responsible for shots 1-3 personally.



Why is our team communication so important?

Communication is vital in the way our group works, it allows us to all stay on the same page, and ensure we all turn up at the right times, in the right places, with the right work done. other than this fact, communication is vital to us because of the nature of Leap of Faith, the project is very stylised piece of work, and communication is going to be essential in keeping the continuity running throughout the project, whether it be the way the props are modeled by different people, or the way the lighting is done throughout the project, we must ensure that every aspect of the collaborated work looks like it fits together.
It would be a massive mistake to disregard communication as non-important, it is well known that work by groups who have poor coordination, is generally worse than those with good communication, because the different parts of the work seem to belong separately rather than as a unity.

How are we communicating?
  • Email

Our teams main way of communicating is through Email, this is the best and fastest way to connect with all the individuals in the group. One email can reach many people, and we encourage each other within the group to check email regularly as it keeps us on task and up to speed with what's happening in the project.
The images of my emails throughout the year show a very regular contact between director and others within the group. Personally i feel that this is one of leap of faith's main strengths, and without this mount of communication, i feel we wouldn't be able to finish the film.

  • Scheduling/Shotgun

In the second term we were heavily encouraged to schedule using a software called Shotgun, it allowed each of the members of the group to participate in the same schedule, regularly updating and uploading your work to one main schedule hosted online. We were able to utilise this tool pretty well, i uploaded all of my current progress during the second term, this included all of the props i had modelled, this allowed the director to log on to the same schedule and view my work, ensuring i was up to date with work, and the work was of the standard that was needed. Below is a sceen shot of this tool.

We also utilized many other methods of communication. I found different methods of communication worked well for different people, for example, i find myself in constant contact with Depa via text- message and phone, however, if i need to contact Diogo or Alex at short notice, i am able to do this through Facebook or Skype.
  • Text message
  • Facebook
  • Skype

Group Choices

The project was underway, and i had chosen the project i wanted to work on. I made a specific conscious choice to work on Depa's project, however at this stage i wonder whether or not i will have enough work to fill out the criteria needed for submission. There is always the options of working on other people's films or produce my own film, however this will greatly limit my artistic input on Leap of Faith.

I have decided after talking with the group and establishing my group roles for the third year that i will have sufficient work to support submission at the end of the year. I have purposely taken on a large quantity of work for the project, and Depa has ensured me that she will work along side me to try to translate her concept work into my own 3d design, however leaving me with enough room to stamp my own artistic style and input on the project.

I chose not to pursure any other group project after speaking to a couple of people who were on the course last year. Although we are encouraged to diversify, and branch out and work on more than one film, they told me that there is really no point, and it will just add more stress, and not necessarily up your grade. I also like the responsibility that comes with working on Leap of Faith, because it is my sole project, i am taking on the role of producer, and help to make exective decisions with the director Depa, about what happens in terms of the artistic style.


Once the summer was up, it was time to go back to uni, We had a presentation to pitch our potential third year projects to the course leaders. I had come up my windy day pitch, however I knew that my heart wasn't set on working on the project. I had been collaborating all summer with Depa who had initially come up with a very extensive project plan and idea for a third year film. She named it Leap of Faith. after briefing me on it during summer I had immediately agreed to work on the project with her during the third year on the consideration that the film was green lit by the tutors. Once Depa had pitched LOF to the tutors and we received feedback, the film was not initially green lit, maybe because of the extensive detail that the film went into and maybe some of the ides were not clear to the tutors at this point in time, However Depa received very positive feedback from many of our classmates and there was a lot of interest surrounding the project. The project would have to be limited to a shorter running time so we had the idea to make it into a short trailer for the actual film. We started research In to who would be interested on working on the films with us. Yeti approached us within the first hour saying that he would be willing to collaborate with us. And there was also interest from marries, however he was keeping his options open due to wanting to work on his own individual project. We now had four people on board, and we knew we were capable of coming up with something good. We designated job roles on the project, and personally I wanted to work on environment modelling, texturing and lighting. With Depa taking on the role of director, and character modeller, and Yemi also saying that he would provide character modelling, we still needed a person to deal with the majority of the character animation as well as a person to deal with the visual effects. Depa had previously seen some work from Alex., and knew that he was more than capable of good character animation, so she approached him to ask whether he would like to be on the project. He agreed, and this was a excellent result for us because he was very enthusiastic about the project, as well as being very professional and accomplished in character animation. The only role left to feel before our group was fully assembled was somebody to deal with the visual effect and dynamics within Maya toasted the later stage of the project. Depa had been keeping in regular contact with Diogo since last year, and heard news that he would be coming back towards the end of the first term. This was Dieogo's area of expertise so this was a great result for the group.
The group had now been assembled and the majority of the Concept work had already been produced during the summer. I had also done some test visuals for the project to see if my way of thing was in sync with what Depa was looking for for the project. She was happy with the results of my modelling, and from here on we could start to model the environment and character immediately because all of the concept work had been previously done. Me Depa and Yemi started to model and the project was underway...

Some Emails UPDATES


This email from November is when we set up as a group, there are a few people in this email who dropped out due to other commitments, we needed to cut the group down also, as originally we had far too many people on board for the size of the project. Depa made team cuts, and we made the group smaller.


This email is form Depa outlining the individual tasks needed to be complete by a certain date, the team collaborated very well through email, and Facebook, we found this was the best medium to stay in contact, although Depa was contacting people on a regular basis through text/phone calls.


This is an email from march, we took on board another person to the group, Diego was now on board as well as Clym who was doing some rigging for us, this email shows the collaboration between the group, clear precise messages about what is expected from each team member.


This email is from April, another update to show the progress of the collaboration, and another Email from Depa outlining what is needed by what date. This way of contact i found very efficient, it allowed everybody to stay in regular contact, and everybody had eachothers contact details which was vital in ensuring the collaboration along the animation pipeline stayed in sync.

The Summer...

This summer i was assigned the task of coming up with a project idea that i could take into the thrid year. Initially i met up with people who i wanted to work with in the third year and later on found out that we could not start collaborating this early on in the process, so i had to come up with my own brief idea.

I wanted to keep my story very simple, and have an aspect of comedy. i I came up with a very simple storyline of a hat that comes to life, to torment his owner, in a cheeky and lighthearted mischevious way. I wanted to keep the cheekiness very lighthearted to make sure the story didnt turn dark.
I set to work on an idea for a third year film, I came up with a quirky, and simple idea of producing a short animation about an old man, who one day when on the way to the shops along his road, has his hat blown off by the wind. As he goes to retrieve the hat from the floor, it shuffles along a little more in the wind, so it is always just out of his grasp. Soon he comes to the realization that the hat has a personality, and it is infact alive! the hat then goes on to mock the old man and play silly games with him, teasing him because the old man can not catch him. The old man soon retires, and looks upset, and he retreats to a nearby park bench. This is when the hat has the feeling of regret, and looks upset that he has caused the old man distress, so he leaps up on to the man's head, and the two sit there happily together with a smile on their face.
This idea came to me one day when thinking about how inanimate objects may have a personality of their own, as if they were alive. In my idea i felt it was important to try to convey a sense of personality to the hat, and also try to give the story a little bit of a moral, as well as just being about a bit of fun, short animation.
Along side this project, i was also in the stages of collaborating with other people. i knew from the previous year that i wanted to work with Depa, as we made quite a good working team the previous two yeas we had worked together, i felt we were efficient, and the work we did had a nice balance of her ideas, and mine interlinked. For the first term pitch however, we were unable to show collaboration, and we had to have our own idea, and it was after this point that my Windy day idea about the man with the hat took back stage, and i continued to work on Depa's idea.
The summer was fruitful in terms of what work i got done in preparation to the third year. I was working along side Depa throughout the summer, and producing concepts, and models for her to look at in preparation for a third year film pitch she had devised. Her plan was to make a film loosly based on religion, and emulating in a moral of when sombody is at their lowest point, they still have the capacity to be saved, and redeemed. I produced a schedule in the first term which can be seen above, this was a loose representation of what my third year would be like, and how i was going to break it down, this schedule will be reworked some time later in the year, for more precise dates/times.

Below are some pictures of my research, and work that i conducted during the summer, as well as this i produced a story board.