Monday, March 27, 2006

Vernic in Warrington!

There seems to be no stopping Vernic. The latest tour date is at the Warrington Film Festival, taking place on the 7th/8th April 2006. For more information, check out the the festival website.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Super Short Film Festival over at last!

The mammoth 2005/06 Super Shorts Film festival is finally over, with so many films it made your eyes water. From premieres, to classics like Puleng, (Dir: Ali Taylor, Nexus Productions) and How to Cope with Death(Dir: Ignacio Ferreras, Tandem Films) the latter of which I received an effects animation credit on.

It was a rare opportunity for audiences across the country to see films absolutely free. A true people's festival, with lots of films you're unlikely to see anywhere else. I'd like to take my hat off to Andrew and the Festival Team for providing a great showcase to the short film format and new talent. The good news is (A) the 06/07 festival is on its way and (B) most films (including Vernic) will be staying online till at least the end of the year.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Joseph Gilland on hand-drawn Special Effects

There is an interesting article on AWN at the moment by effects animator Joseph Gilland about the virtual extinction of hand-drawn special effects. What sets this apart from the usual 'end of an era' reporting is his observation that the classical skills that made effects animation an art from; design, exaggeration, posing and dynamic timing, are not being carried over into the visual effects industry like the classical skills of character animation.

For me, effects animation has always been about sharing with an audience the wonderful elements of nature, that fascinate me so much, in a creative and artistic manner. I think Gilland's words resonate in the world of traditional 2D and mixed media animation. I've seen so many examples of drawn animation over the last few years that have been diminished by replacing hand-drawn effects with unimaginative particle simulations which not only look out of place, but fail to bring the richness in design that drawn animation can.

It is not limited to TV projects with limited budgets. Tim Burturn's "The Corpse Bride" is an example of a film that, as great as it looked, would in my opinion would have looked richer still with drawn effects. In his earlier masterpiece, "The Nightmare Before Christmas", smoke and fire took on highly abstract shapes that complimented and enriched the stylistic world Burton created. I certainly miss working on animation projects like this and I miss seeing them in the cinema.

The title sequence for "Thunderbirds" made brilliant use of drawn animation to support the design. Trying the find a spare place to put my light box amongst all the computers (really!) I felt like something of a museum piece even then.

There is a huge amount of exciting work being produced at the moment. Exciting design is being pushed like never before, and I don't think I'm being hopelessly old fashioned to sugest that drawn effects could have an exciting role to play in that. But without, I suspect, all the needless tones and shadows of the 90's.

You can read Joseph Gilland's article here:

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Smith & Foulkes scoop 3 BAAs

I got an email this week from my friend Reece Millidge at Nexus Productions, proving that directors Smith & Foulkes are a truly unstoppable duo. Having worked with them on the 'Thunderbirds' title sequence, that's really no surprise. They scored a hat trick this week at the British Animation Awards winning the Award for Best Commercial: Direction for their Honda ‘Grrr’ campaign- above (which they actually directed at the same time as 'Thunderbirds') picked up a BAA for Best Film/TV Graphics for Motorola Classics and gained the Public Choice Award for Favourite Ad for the Observer Monthly Music Magazine: From ABBA to Zappa. Congratulations to all!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wedding Photography

It was my absolute joy to act as the unofficial photographer for my cousin's wedding. Katy wanted me to take photo journalistic images that reflected the atmosphere of the day. It was a wonderful day to be able to share with them and I wish them all the love and luck in the world. I adore photography and I've set up another blog dedicated to the wedding which you can access on my profile page if you are interested in seeing some of my photography.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Voodoo Magic

I really enjoyed creating this company branding animation sequence for TV company Voodoo Magic. Bringing to life an anaconda snake was a monumental challenge I relished. I thought I'd share this still from the final sequence with you.