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! :)

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.

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.

Ballpoint Pen Illustration | Origami





Remember: These illustrations and more is for sale on Society6. Check it out!

The other night, I took a playlist of delightfully questionable taste, a ballpoint pen, a Moleskine sketchbook, and two hours to illustrate this. It felt like I was coming home, and it felt SO good. Ballpoint pen is still my jam. I've missed it oh so much. I missed drawing just for myself, just to get a tiny snippet of my own thoughts out on paper. Click through to read more, and see the rest of this mini collection!


I'm calling this illustration "High Hopes," for a few reasons. It was inspired originally by the legend of a thousand origami cranes. The myth is that anyone who folds one thousand paper cranes will be granted a wish, or will be granted eternal good fortune, by a crane. I like the idea of it, and the image of the paper crane has stood out to me as a symbol of hope since I first heard that story. Over the past few months I've felt a lot of negativity, but things are starting to turn around and I'm feeling optimistic about the future again. It feels good to be making some positive changes, big and small, and so drawing a crane to express my hopes for the future seemed apt.

This illustration is also becoming a part of my mini origami series, which I haven't shared here before. Here are the others in the collection (remember to click to see them bigger!).




Also: I don't know why these images are showing up darker than they should... will try to fix!

Remember: These illustrations and more is for sale on Society6. Check it out!

1916 Easter Rising


I'm a little bit late, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter! In Ireland, Easter is significant both religiously and politically. I'm not going to go into detail (knock yourself out on the 1916 Easter Rising page on Wikipedia if you feel that way inclined), but I thought it would be an appropriate time to share this still video project.

You might remember last October I shared the colorization project above. Well, at the beginning of this semester we were asked to add movement to those photographs. So I came back to this one, separated out all the different layers within it, and added a bit of camera movement. I'm pretty happy with the end result!


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!)


WIP 2 | Kinetic Text | God's Away on Business



Okay, so here's the first "proof of concept" I can show for my Kinetic Text Project. I took out a lot of the textures for the sake of simplicity for the proof, but I will definitely be bringing those back, as soon as possible. (I miss them!)



This is actually the - what? third? - time I've tried to pull this little section together. It's been frustrating, but now that I've figured this out, I feel like I'll manage the rest of the project without too much stress. It's just a matter of sitting down and getting it done, second by second. 

Animation | Lightning Bolts

What's this!? A new blog post? With many more ready and waiting to come very soon!? How shocking!



Sorry. It was a bad joke begging to be told, and I didn't put up much of a fight.

In all seriousness though, while it's not a strict resolution for 2015* I am going to make a conscious effort to give a little more time to my work and my websites from here on out. This community and network is hugely important to me, not least because I worked hard to develop it, but between the twists and turns of everything else that's been going on in my life, I let things slip. So, I've done the work, and I've gathered the files, and I've made the promise. Posts are on the way! Concept art, games, animation, photography, illustration; the works!

So without further ado, here's a short animated set of lightning bolts, created in Toon Boom Harmony last semester. I actually really enjoyed the controlled chaos of it, and also the fun glow and after-burn effects. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope ye come back here next Tuesday to check out one of the biggest projects I've completed to date. See you then. :)


*Long story, short: I don't believe in waiting for a new year, or a new season, or a new anything to make positive changes. If you think something needs improving, start working on it as soon as you can. "Don't put off until tomorrow, that which you can do today" and all that jazz. And thus concludes that tiny tidbit of my brain, as encouraged by my secondary school assembly speakers...