Thursday, 17 November 2011

Red Bull Animation Competition

Please watch my red bull animation entry and help me win a laptop!


Catch up

Ok not much has happened since my last post. Thats pretty much why I havent posted.

  • Box legal - There were only 2 entries in total, mine and Nile Plumb's. Nile was in the year above me at uni. We were both given £250 and told that what we did wasnt what they were looking for and to try again when they relaunch their competition in a few months time. I think that they are just looking for a cheap alternative to supporting the animation industry and getting a professional advert.
  • I did email them saying I could animate what they wanted but it would cost more and be longer than the 2 mins they wanted. They said they didnt want to work with anyone directly.
  • No one will give them what they want through a competition because its just too long and complicated!

In other news I went on holiday to Greece and it was good.

I was unemployed so signed on to the dole but as of this afternoon I have been hired and now work in the Pawn industry, please read that carefully. Not animation but at least I can fund my work and goal of learning to drive.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Box Legal Update

Well it turns out that I was the only person to enter to comeptition, as far as I know. But despite this, I didn't win. The Box Legal website I originally saw the competition advertised on has completely changed. I noticed little changes cropping up towards the last few days before the closing date. When I first read it back in June, the brief was merely too create an advert promoting Box Legal and what they do max of 2mins long. As time went on I noticed more and more detail being added, but I had already started on my film, until all of a sudden a script appears that is miles long with voice overs and is talking about kids toys on a kitchen table. It was too late for me to go back and would proabably cost me an arm and a leg so I continued with my idea hoping to offer something different. Then the day of the deadline, I see that it has been extended to the end of august. They obviously didnt want something different.
Im just so frustrated. It always happens, the RSPCATV comp I entered got extended by 6 months!

Its not fair on us that get our act together and get it in on time.
I think its safe to say I havent won.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Box Legal link

Here is a link to my entry for the Box legal animation competition. I read the suggested script the other day and it was MASSIVE! Alot going on and a whole lot of voice overs, way too much for the 2minute maximum they set themselves. Hopefully they'll like my simple take on things, hopefully it will intriege its audience to look these people up to see what they do exactly, instead of give them too much info and put them all off. Maybe....... but I've done it now,
Wish me luck, first prize is £1500 and a contract to do a second advert!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Box Legal

I have recently been using my time to enter a few animation competitions. This competition is for a company called Box Legal, an after the event insurance company, used to cover lawyers if their clients case looses and they cant pay. Or at least that's what I gathered from their website. Well I decided to play on the name box, and thought I would go for a good vs bad angle. Starting with an evil jack in the box, a man has a nasty surprise but luckily he finds the good box legal box and is covered and everything is happy!
Here are a few pics. You may recognise the star puppet as Barney from The Money Tree.
I need to do the sound editing so I'll post the finished thing when I'm done and let you know if i win the £1500 prize money! and a contract to make a second ad. Annoyingly when I exported my film from Stop-Motion Pro 7.5 it but a thin black line through every frame! And I don't know how to get rid of it, short of photoshopping them all out. I cant re export it because the studio is at uni in stoke and I'm now down on the south coast, hopefully they'll see past it and I can sort it out later after the summer. Any helpful tips on avoiding said lines would be useful!

Saturday, 16 July 2011


Yesterday marked the end of a very big chapter in my life. I am no longer a student as yesterday was my graduation. But I wasn't alone, along side myself and my fellow animation students there was one man that was bestowed an Honoury Doctorate of Staffordshire University, and that man was none other than Mr Barry Purves. Awarded this honour thanks to his work with the university, I was lucky enough to be among the students Barry worked with and he has always been an inspiration to me. Working with Barry was awesome and graduating with him and my class was even better. I Wish everyone graduating from Staffs uni this year the best of luck for the future and hope everything works out alright for them in the end.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Staffordshire University's Degree Show

This is for all of you who couldn't make it to my end of year Degree Show at Staffordshire University. This was a show of all of this years graduating students from the Arts, Media and Design courses. Roughly 300 students had their work on display altogether, but here are some photos of the Animation cohort's work, including my own.
I would like to say a massive well done to everyone who is graduating this year, we've all worked so hard and I think it shows in some amazing pieces of work.

Badger Bailifts
Original maquette for Jack the Dog that we attempted to 3D scan but failed
Replacement Jacks used in The Money Tree
Steam Punk Puppets made for an earlier project by Alex Young

The star of The Money Tree Barney
Arabella, the star of my previous work, 'Feathers' watch her here:

3D models of characters from the CGI film Robots, from Blue Sky, mine is Aunt Fan, the pink one.

Unlucky duck from Abi Lloyds thriller crocodile film
 Here are a selection of photos of the work from the wonderful Emma Bulpitt and Sarah Lawrence, 'The Full English' was a really cool film, watch it here:

This master piece is a life size robot made from bits of lego and wood, by the very talented Sam Edwards

These cheeky chappies and their uptight PE teacher are from the hillarious film 'Detention' by Ashley Lightfoot and Richard Cheung, really nice subtle animation in some parts, you must watch it:

And taking pride of place at the show were the two sets from my final year film The Money Tree. My team and I had to dismantle them and carry them half way across campus to set it up for the show, but it was worth it to see everyones reactions when they came to see it and saw the detail and scale of the piece. Well thats the best bits of the show, once again, if you haven't seen my film The Money Tree yet, go and watch it now!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Well as the film is completed  so is my time at university.
you can see the finished film on my vimeo page. If you're reading this and need an animator/set builder/prop maker, let me know and we can work something out!
I'm making my first few steps into the unknown world of being a fully responcible adult getting a job in the real world, no more student antics for me! well there is friday night... thats gonna be fun.
let me know what you think of my film people, any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Filming is going really well, but the deadline is just around the corner!
I wont give you any clips as I dont want to spoil the final film but it's great seeing it all come together. Tom is doing a great job of editing as we go along and both him and Alex are having great fun making all the sound FX. Jon has finished filming all the fox's shots, the puppet just about made it through!
Our deadline is on tuesday and then we have to present it to our tutors on wednesday. I'll post up a link to the finished film on my vimeo page sometime next week, but in the mean time, here is my vimeo link anyways so you can see other projects I have done during my time at university.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Barry Update

As you may have read, Barry Purves has been working with my fellow students and I at Staffordshire university.
The Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra project is now in its final stages. Each student is involved on a different section of the project and I have the finale. This week I was able to film my part. I collected parts of everyone elses work so far and projected the animations on to the body of a very brave male model Matt, to whom I am very grateful for agreeing to do.
It was a bit difficult to round up everyones work as the majority of people were in Stuttgart for the FMX animation festival, but they were able to upload their work on vimeo and so I could download it. The shoot went really well, I was well prepared and Barry and Matt were easy to work with. I'll be cutting together the footage some time this week.

Just before Easter I was incredibly privilaged to spend a day with Barry on the set of his Tchaikovsky project, assisting with bar sheets and more projection work. I made some cookies as a sign of my appreciation for this oppertunity, which went down really well! It was really insightful and I learnt a great deal. I even got to see my swans in action and they look great! Barry loves them too and told me that the producer from Russia commented on them too. When we went to lunch at a local sandwich bar, I was introduced to half the crew of MacKinnon and Saunders puppet makers, whose workshops were just down the road. It was a great experience and hope to go back for another day in the future!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Lighting Tests

With the woodland set litterally one step away from completion, we decided to test out the backdrops and some dappled lighting rigs Alex had made out of some net curtains. This slide show was put together by Tom and the music over the top was written especially for our project by Tom's brother. The sound effects are just examples to get a nice sense of atmosphere. Let me know what you think!

Animation Tests

This last week has been about testing the puppets and getting a good feel for them, but not working them too hard incase they break before we even start filming the real thing!
Firstly here is my test of Jack the dog. Instead of a puppet, Jack is animated using a series of replacement figures. I sculpted them individually out of supersculpy (a clay you cook in the oven to harden) and it was tough to get them all to look the same.
Here is the test walk cycle I animated for Barney. Made by Tom, Barney is a foam latex puppet with a wire armature and a supersculpy head with changeable mouths to give him different expressions. His head isn't fully attatched yet so please excuse its shakeyness,
And last but by no means least, is the test walk cycle for the fox. This is animated by Jon, as he will be animating the fox in the film. This is a bit small, to view it on a larger screen you can find it on you tube

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Barry Purves

As promised, more news on the projects Barry is working on with us.
The Young Persons Guide project is in full swing and starting to take shape, here is a basic animatic for you to have a look at. Each section is being animated by a different student and is meant to reflect a different part of the human body/mind represented by the instrument played in that section.
I have the Fuge, the finale of the piece and my plan is to project the other students work on to a live male model and then have a big reveal at the end where everyone involved in the film, including Barry will be there.
Barry is also working on another film outside of the university, all about the life and works of Tchaikovsky. He asked me to make him a paper cut out cycle of a swan flying slowly. Here is my test of the swans which I traced from a video I found on youtube, sort of rotoscoped you could say.

Long Time No Post!

I really didn't realise that it had been this long since I posted last! My apologies, let me give you a quick recap of the last 4 weeks,
I turned 22
Alex turned 22
Much puppet, set and prop making.
The major changes are with the sets. such as, the mud or mulchy woodland floor. I first built up a bit of a slope using pink insulation foam to help the set look less flat then I added the mud.
I got this effect by mixing hamster bedding sawdust stuff, PVA glue, paint, a splash of water and a sprinkle of paper leaves. The PVA glue will make it all set nice and stiff so it doesn't move around if it's touched. The path was done using sand instead of sawdust because Barney only ever walks on the path so the magnets need to be able to get through it.
I left some gaps to add in the trees which i will then cover over the bases with another thin layer of mud, this time of a different colour to get a nice effect.
Talking of trees, we have begun to add a few branches to them, and branches mean leaves!! luckily we found some nifty craft punches which did most of the work for us, except for the glueing on!! Quite a relaxing job in a mind numbing kind of way. We made the branches out of twisted florists wire, you know the stuff that has the paper over it, and then glued each leaf on one by one. There are still many branches to make.
As far as puppets go, paint seems to be the issue. Alex did a test on the not so great badger puppet with acrylic and an air brush, which looks really nice until you move the puppet and the paint cracks. Whereas Jon used latex paint which essentially gave the fox a thick orange skin that creased really badly when the puppet was posed. Jon is currently experimenting with recasting the fox with ink in the foam latex mixture, hopefully that will work. In the mean time, I told Alex to stick with the acrylic and any cracks can be editted out in post.
Tom has made an amazing start on Barney's front room especially as we have 2 lots of props to make for it. The before and after money furniture is looking great! Barney goes from having a manky bean bag to a lush leather sofa. It's all starting to come together now and it's all down to the fine details.
Barney himself is not looking too shabby either. Tom did a few test animations and he's looking good.

Right now I'm working on Jack the dog. Instead of a single puppet, he will be a series of replacements, and boy is it hard to get them all looking the same!
More news and picks as I get them folks so stay tuned!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Week Four and Five

Sorry for the lack of posting last week, but it's been all systems go!
Not just with this money tree project but with a very exciting project I have the privilidge to be working on. It's exciting because I get to work with the legend that is Barry Purves! More about that later ;)
Alex has been very busy with the foam latex Badger puppets, and here is a test animation he has done, as well as so before and after photos of the woodland trees.

 This is the Badgers mould and the armature inside, ready for the foam latex. Below is what the puppet looks like when you first take it out of the mould, a bit like a flying squirrel badger!

 Here is Tom, to give you an idea of the scale we're working in. Before the paint, looking like greek collumns and after the paint, looking more tree like!

This tree will be used as the Fox's fallen tree, log desk.

Tom and Jon's foam latex puppets came out wonderful too, minus a few air bubbles, I think they were both great successes. Tom also created a foam board mock up of Barney's front room for us to start visualising the space and scale of the set.
All in all a very productive week, stay tuned for a link to the Barry project animatic I've been working on.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Week Three

The mod roc forrest is becoming ever thicker, as we have made almost 20 trees!
Alex failed his first attempt of foam latex for the first badger, but will try again next week. Although it was tough finding an oven for us to cook it in in the first place! For some reason, the ceramics department at uni doesn't want are stuff in their kilns, even though they have like 25, and dont even use all of them! Luckily, the plastic workshop has an oven and the lovely Keith is letting us use it.
Hopefully it will all go to plan next week and we can start getting some paint on those trees!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011


This is our animatic. Gives you a basic idea of the plot and some camera angles etc.....
Hopefully Jack the dog will feature more towards the end as well.
Thanks again to our Storyboard artist Ade Tooth!

Please leave comments and tell me what you think!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Week Two

This week was all about sculpting and mould making.
Alex and Tom took their finished scuplts into the ceramics department to make moulds. These moulds will be used to make the foam latex puppets.
While they were doing that jon and I were building a mod rock forrest! right now the trees look a bit like greek coloumns because they haven't been painted yet. so far we have made 10 trees of varying sizes and widths, and we're hoping to have about 25 over all so we have a few more to go!
Also this week our 2nd years Chloe and Emma came in to plan out the backdrop for the forrest set.
But most importantly the lovely Adrian Tooth finished drawing the storyboard out for us. I will be turning this into an animatic to show you all next week, so watch this space!
In the mean time, you can check out Adrian's Cartoon and comic arts blog:

Friday, 28 January 2011

Week One

This week was all about research and design.
Alex and I started out by visiting some local woodlands to get some good refference for the set.
Later on in the week we visited the Potteries Museum in Stoke and looked at all the stuffed animals they had there.
I gave Alex a brief outline for what I wanted the Badgers and the Fox to look like and he set about designing them. Also through the course of the week a new character came about. A little jack russel dog, imaginatively called Jack. Jack was thought up as a way of explaining why the man (now named Barney) was in the woods to begin with, he was walking his dog.

This week we had our first team meeting. Alex Young, Tommy Grainger, Jon Colenso and I all met up and discussed who would do what within the enitial stages of the project.
We agreed that Alex would be in charge of the Badgers and Jack, Jon had the Fox and Tom has Barney. I am in charge of getting the storyboard and animatic ready, and recruiting 2nd years.
My first port of call was Adrian Tooth's office. Ade has agreed to draw the storyboard for me so I can make it into the animatic.
For now, here are some pictures of the research and the designs we have done.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Cast and Crew

Happy New Year people!
Here is a first draft of a cast and crew list. I've split it into 2 sections +25 and -25. This is because of 2nd years assistant module and also because Tony mentioned that as well as our own project us 3rd years have to spend at least 25 hours on another 3rd years project.

+25 hours
Lead Director - May Jay
Art Director - Alex Young
Character Designers -
Lead Puppet Maker - Alex
Additional Puppet Makers x2 -
Set Designers -
Set Builder - May Jay
Additional Set Builder -
Lead Animator -
Additional Animator - May

-25 hours
Storyboard Artist -
Costume maker -
Assistant Set Builder -
After FX -
Sound and Foley -
Credits and Titles -
Editing -

More positions may open up as the project evolves so watch this space. But if you are interested in any of the positions here, or if i've missed anything out, let me know. Send me an email or comment on this post saying what position you are interested in and a link to your work to show me what you've got!
Thanks everyone and see you all soon!