Sunday, 29 June 2014

Book It

I just finished the final touches to my "Gilliam Animation", which I've tentatively titled Book - for want of a better name - and uploaded to Vimeo.

(You can see it here.)

It's taken me far too long to complete, what with laziness, tedium, losing a load of work and being put off and having to find the right live-action elements to include. But it's done.

It's almost ironic that the part of the process I knew the least about and had never attempted before, took me the least amount of time. I started this morning and finished a short while ago. (That was compositing the animation with the live footage of the book.)

I think it worked out well too, considering I took the lazy approach and avoided using After Effects and masks - instead winging it with the limited effects in Premiere and a prayer that the clumsy edits won't be noticeable during viewing. (I don't think they are.)

I'm actually incredibly pleased with how it's come out. Especially how well I managed to make digitally animated scans, combined with footage of a blank page, look like closeup shots of an actual book.
It was challenging given the inconsistent colouring of a lot of the source images (that I probably should've corrected at the first stage rather than last) and I ended up using a lot more and far different effects than I imagined when I first conceptualised it.
In particular not being able to chroma key the image backgrounds and having to add digital shadows to mimic those of the page-turn to make them more seamless.

Below are some screenshots to pique your interest/allow me to show off.

I had to write a load of nonsense to make the scenes look more like real book pages. They're not even complete sentences; there's nothing before the left edge of the shot.

I'm not going to pretend that I don't think I'm a genius for adding a layer of mirrored text to emulate the look of the adjoining page showing through the paper.

I think the overall effect is convincing. I'd believe this is a photo of a book page, and I KNOW that I made it.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


In my last post, I mentioned my film The Machine.

It's a dark animated short based on Franz Kafka's story "In The Penal Colony".

There is a complete version of it, that I have submitted to festivals, but I personally think it's too short and unfinished (the time constraints of uni, necessitated severe edits to the script).

At the moment I wish to extend it to the level I think is the bear minimum for release, and then hopefully add a little more until it is "properly" finished - at which point I'll release it again as a "director's cut".

Just so you know what it's like and it exists (many people haven't seen it) here are some screenshots I've taken at various points of production.

An exasperating issue I noticed during early stages, that I posted on Twitter.
An early version of one scene. The linework was criticised and so I moved to the style shown in the other images. (This was part of style that was to incorporate additional heavier use of comicbook-style shading.)

B&W screenshots as part of the festival submission.

The submission also required a poster, so this is a rough design I threw together to fulfil that demand.

Stephen Lives!

Since its inception, I've wanted to revisit one of the films I created for my 2nd year of animation during my degree.
The film was called Stephen and it was never fully realised to the level that I desired. I recently poured through several of my old harddrives, pen drives and other storage in an attempt to recover the original .fla file with which to continue the film.

Unfortunately all I could find was the final, unfinished export of the film and an even further unfinished .fla file. Half the final version was missing, but yet I still had the exported version taunting me and reminding me that it once existed.
I had all but resigned myself to the notion of having to painstakingly recreated all the scenes that I had watched over and over as part of the final export.

The world may never know about this chap's weird muffin obsession.


I got in contact with my father and convinced him to let me borrow his old external harddrive to search for it. It was a long shot, but low and behold, it paid off!

I'm now in possession of the rough early edition of Stephen! Ready to roll into production...

Just as soon as I finally get that damn Terry Gilliam-inspired short out, and also finish the director's cut of my final year film The Machine...

Got my work cut out!

Full scene list from the recovered version of "Stephen". The tick shows the half finished scene I had at the end of the only versions I could find before.