Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Gilliam's Wish Wellingtons

So, it was brought to my attention (by my good friend and fellow artist/animator, Sajan Rai) that the British Library have released a veritable digital treasure trove of old book illustrations that are now public domain.
Thus anyone can use them for any purpose without need for royalty payments and the like.

He suggested that he, I and another friend (Ben Wingrove) have ourselves a small competition to see who can create the best Terry Gilliam-style animation based on some of the imagery available. I'm quite excited by this concept and can't wait to dive in.

Immediately I'm getting ideas from images on the first page. I think I may go a little more towards the style of Mister Harpoon (as he is calling himself now) and the work he did on The Elegant Gentleman's Guide to Knife Fighting. It's an Australian sketch show, which I guess is a modern spin on Monty Python's Flying Circus (live action sketches interspersed with humorous animations).

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Website Business

This Spielplatz job is taking far longer than I anticipated. I get very little feedback on the actual site design and inundated with requests for more functionality.
I'm more versed with the visual aspects...

I've decided that progress is going to halt if I rely too heavily on the client to provide details of the original site structure and use of third party sites.
The initial plan was to recycled the original wordpress site into an RSS feed for the news and events page of the new site.
Instead I have opted to create a brand new email address as well as a Tumblr account with two blogs and a Flickr account. These will all provide the necessary feeds for the events, property listings and photo gallery respectively.
That way, the client can update these regularly shifting aspects without having to fiddle with the code or (more likely) bring me back in to tinker for them.

I'm not sure about the video page (another addition that has been requested) or the shop. I think I may just have to link to an external Youtube account. I know there is a sort of playlist/gallery embed player Youtube provides, but I don't know if that will update automatically with new uploads.
Autonomy is the name of the game here. I need something I can leave in the hands of people, whose level of computer literacy is unknown, without issue.

Meanwhile I made a massive revamp to the site (making everything far less chunky) and attempted to make it more visually stimulating.
Once again I am awaiting feedback...

Still not sure about the colour, though I changed it a bit, especially now as a sun is involved.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Spiel Updates

It has been some time since I first spoke of my work on the new website for Spielplatz. It took a considerable amount of time for me to receive the go-ahead on the site, and once I did I was incapacitated with illness for a couple of weeks.
Nonetheless I am now full steam ahead with the project.

Unfortunately for me, I cannot seem to build the ideas that are within my head. The current version of the site-in-progress follows the initial plan I drew up well enough, but it doesn't match the vision in my mind.
I'm not sure as yet how I'm going to get there. But I shall try.

I also have very limited resources and a completely open brief as regards what is required. I am literally making decisions as wild stabs in the dark with the hope that what I produce will please the client. It doesn't please me, though.
Having said that, as I include more elements into the skeleton it starts to look less heinous and more like a proper website.

The unfortunate fact that a lot of it is feed-based means I'm hovering around deciding whether or not to just build the feeds myself and hand over the keys, or leave them open ready to discuss the idea with the client.
At the moment the homepage has a Yahoo news feed as a placeholder for Spielplatz event updates.

The iffy skeleton of a website I could one day not despise.
 I don't know why it's so green. I think I was going for "verdant". I might swap it to something more neutral. But I'm afraid the client will think it's "bland". "Interesting" and "exciting" were the closest to instructions I got. Also a tour of naturism websites.
Of course you remember the hideous yellow of the current website... I really hope I don't have to do it that colour.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


I was recently presented with the opportunity to redesign the official website for Spielplatz, a naturist community residence in Hertfordshire. The existing design left little to be desired - a basic Wordpress template layout, haphazardly thrown together:

The original website design, in all it's limited glory.
After an initial meeting with the site's webmaster - wherein we discussed the shortfalls of the current layout and compared it the websites of competing UK naturist clubs - I laid out some preliminary ideas and notions.
I drew up a basic layout plan for the homepage (which will also be used as a template for subsequent pages) and investigated the feasibility of some of the proposals.

Annotated layout design for the new homepage
Proposed features of the new design include: a large carousel gallery showcasing the surroundings at the grounds, a feed-based event widget showing the latest upcoming event being held, drop-down menu navigation buttons, more prominent location details and integrated feeds covering news, events, photos and properties for sale - each of which should be updateable independantly of the main site itself (not pictured).

At this stage I am awaiting feedback on these initial designs before I progress to further page design and a prototype build.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Yes I Kafkan

My final year project is partially an animation project. For it, I am adapting one of Franz Kafka's short stories In The Penal Colony. It's set on a remote island, where an explorer is being introduced to the strange archaic methods of torture and capital punishment being used in the land. The characters are a zealous Officer of the old regime that is very much behind the process, his soldier assistant, the explorer who is against it but feels torn between his morals and his ethical need to not interfere with foreign cultures and the unwitting prisoner who is to be put to death. The machine that is to carry out to procedure is also a major feature.

A rough storyboard capturing the scenes I see in my head and the major plot developments.

Preliminary sketches of the machine. The design on the right is the one I prefer, but carefully reading the descriptions in the text, it will probably end up looking more like those on the left.