The Chicken Song | Update 01

I am incredibly excited about this project, and really couldn't wait to share it! Recently, I was approached by Ruth Butler to animate a music video for a song she had written. I'm about two weeks into this ten week project, and I'm happy to say that things are going very well. Ruth has a brilliant sense of humour and a clever way with words, which all poured into this quirky, entertaining little tale about a chicken and a golden egg.

Because the song is such a fun story, because Ruth wanted the lyrics to appear on screen, and because I needed to animate to a high standard quickly, I thought styling it like a comic book would be the best route to take. So saying, I'm looking forward to seeing the final result, and because I've designed everything according to both US Comic Book Dimensions, and HDTV, the story will look good in print as well as on screen when it's finished.

This is just one page in this little story, but there's a lot more to come that I'm very much looking forward to showing you!

PS: If you think that you, or someone you know, would have a good voice to sing a song like this, get in touch at allie22 (at) gmail.com! :)

The Little Black Book - Character Sketches



Click to enlarge it! 

A few weeks ago, I bought a little black sketchbook. I don't know what I intended to do with it originally, but it quickly became a little book of characters. They're generally quick sketches; usually around five or ten minutes, depending, and they're a lot of fun! Here's a collection of twenty-five of them. Some of them are completely original, some of them are characters I created for other projects, and some of them are inspired by or adapted from books or films or TV shows or art that I've come across.

Some of these characters have backstories, and a lot of them are calling out for colour, so you might see a few of them crop up again soon. I've got a lot of other fun projects in the works too, which I can't wait to share!


Kinetic Text | God's Away on Business

It's done! My kinetic text project is officially complete. So here it is! 

Please do click through to see the complete process, from start to finish! 

This project ran throughout the second semester of my second year in LSAD, Clonmel, studying Digital Animation Production; from January until May 2015. The project was part of the Video I module, taught by Michael Kiely. We were given a brief to produce a piece of kinetic text, together with list of songs which we could choose from. Eventually, I decided to work with God’s Away on Business by Tom Waits. I picked it for a number of reasons; I liked it, it has a good, solid beat, it stood out to me as quirky and interesting immediately, and it had a lot of visual appeal to me. 

The first step was planning out my shots and how they would transition from one to the next. I had two major concerns; one was that they viewer wouldn’t have enough time to read the words as they appeared, and the other was that the shots would appear as separate pieces, rather than as one, comprehensive, unified production. The first problem was partially solved with my song choice, whereas the second one was more challenging, especially because I was very unfamiliar, and really lacking confidence with After Effects. For that reason, I was very careful with my planning so that I was completely certain about how I wanted everything to look, and I could focus entirely on learning how to use the software to achieve that.

From there, I moved on to creating style sheets. As soon as I heard the song, I had a very clear image of how I wanted it to look. God’s Away on Business is a dark, gritty, textured kind of sound, with a steady chugging beat, and a slightly old-fashioned feel. So those were the factors that I wanted to try to capture. I used highly graphic visuals, strong colours, and slid text, all wrapped up with a slightly grunge-inspired texture. 

With those style sheets in mind, I started drawing up style frames. The opening few lines were the first test shots I created, all the time bearing in mind that I would need to keep certain elements of the designs separate, so that I would be able to animate them as I imagined and planned.

Once I had those files set up and ready to animate, I ran a short proof of concept. I took out a lot of the textures, mostly because I wasn’t sure of my footing in After Effects. And at that stage, I was becoming very, very nervous. That twenty-second proof of concept took three or four complete re-starts until I figured out what I needed to do. I spent long, frustrating days on it, only to close the program without saving because I wasn’t happy with the results. Eventually, something clicked and it all made sense to me. Compositions in compositions in compositions. It was a bit of a eureka moment. And after that, I felt a whole lot more confident.

From that point onwards, I worked shot by shot, verse by verse. I brought back all the textures, and spent the next few weeks playing with the project. It very, very quickly became my favourite project of the semester. Whenever I got too stressed out or frustrated with other assignments, I’d work on a shot or two here and there to relax. It was a lot of fun, and I felt like I knew what I was doing. It felt really, really good to be working on my own, inching closer and closer to completion all the time. It helped that I liked how it was turning out and I really couldn’t wait to see the whole thing finished too.

Because I had worked shot-by-shot, as I got closer to the deadline I reached a happy point of being finished to a level I was happy with, but also having time to go back and add extra details wherever they were appropriate. At this stage in particular, talking to others was incredibly helpful. Conversations, suggestions, and help with software, certainly influenced the overall product for the better. There were some things that I just wouldn’t have thought of, or wouldn’t have known how to do, if I hadn’t talked to friends, family, and my lecturer about the project.

As a lover of graphic design, typography, animation, and sound, kinetic text is something that very much appeals to me, and as a lover of things that are quirky, weird, and a little bit wonky, I am really, really glad that I could use this song to try it out. Overall, I am very, very happy with the end result. I had a lot of fun doing it, and I felt like I learned a lot from the experience.

Layout Design | Atlantis

Atlantis

again! This will probably be the last post I'll share about this project, for a while at least. The legend of Atlantis is one of my absolute favourite myths, though, so I'd love to revisit it at some point again. But for now, I'm going to leave you with a finished layout design for it. Click the image above to enlarge. 

Click through to see the a simple breakdown of the process.

Animation | Side Step


I have less than a week of classes left in this semester! It's been a tough one, no doubt about it. I've still enjoyed (almost) everything we've learnt, but it feels great to start wrapping everything up. Plus, I've got a whole lot of stuff planned to keep me busy in the summer, and I can't wait to get into all that; it kinda feels like a Friday, heading into a two/three month weekend. :)

Anyway, this is the latest animation I've been working on, and I've been really looking forward to sharing it! We were asked to use our own character (She's somewhat simplified, but does she look familiar?), plan it out, and eventually add colour and a background. Click through to see what I produced, from humble beginnings to the last stand.

Ps: If you stick around, you'll see this again soon! I've got a progression reel in the pipeline!











WIP 4 | Kinetic Text | God's Away on Business



The deadline for this kinetic text project is fast-approaching, and so are the deadlines for everything else! But it's pretty satisfying to see a big project like this one creep ever-closer to the finish line, so I'm pretty happy with it. There are still a few little bits and pieces about this section that I want to tidy up, but done is better than perfect, so right now, I'm planning to get everything finished to a standard I'm happy enough with, and then I'll go back over to tweak it to the best that it can be.

WIP 3 | Kinetic Text | God's Away on Business


I've been feeling a little unwell for the past while, and it's been a struggle trying to balance college work, appointments for this that and the other, and general life. It's funny which projects become more difficult to manage... This kinetic text project is one of the more complicated projects I've got in the pipeline, but it's one of the only projects I seem to be able to wrap my head around lately. Hmm...



Anyway, here's a little update on the project so far! I'm having fun with it!
(Sorry for the kinda terrible quality though!)