How To Improve Capitalism

Or at least, here are some ideas on ways that we could change it – I always feel that a video like this works best if it prompts you to at least think about the questions being raised, even if you don’t necessarily agree with all the answers – thinking about these problems (rather than just accepting the status quo) is the first step to finding workable solutions.

This is also the most recent project that I’ve worked on. The client in this case was Alain de Botton – a contact that I picked up through Twitter.

Starting with the script and voiceover provided by Alain, I had a chat with him to go over the project, check what his requirements were, who the intended audience were and so on. I was also able to ask if he had any specific themes or styles in mind for the piece (he liked the Guardian piece that I’d worked on with Alex Purcell, so I went with a similar art style). From there I created all the concepts, worked up the art direction for the piece, built all the art assets in Illustrator, and animated everything in After Effects. Sound design was done by Jonny Elwyn.

One thing that I specifically wanted to avoid was the use of maps when talking about countries – it’s used everywhere (as it’s frequently the shortest distance between information and understanding) but ultimately it’s just not that interesting. I felt the capitalist machine concept, with different countries being represented as machines painted in their respective flags, would work well for the subject matter (and I was able to play around with it a little bit – for example, Sweden has a lot more furniture on it’s conveyor belts).

It was a fun project to work on, as it’s always great when you have a bit of creative freedom. The release into the wilds of the internet has also gone well. At the time of writing, it’s been viewed over ten thousand times on YouTube, with likes far outweighing dislikes (always a good sign!).

Rufus Hound seemed to like it.

rufusHoundTweet

But the main thing is that the client was happy with it. It’s always great when you get feedback like this:

“The film is terrific, everything I could have hoped for. You’ve done a fantastic job. Thank you so much.” Alain de Botton

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Glen Keane – The Duet

One of the great things about being an animator is that every now and then, you get to sit back and just lose yourself in something that’s utterly masterful – someone producing stuff that’s heartfelt, beautifully rendered and just perfect.

I know, I know. I’m gushing. That’s because I finally got around to watching Glen Keane’s new short film ‘The Duet’, entirely animated by Glen himself, and you can see his style in every frame. Enjoy.

Who Are The Pioneers?

Well – these guys. They’re a new London startup who hired my brother and I to produce a number of short animated films. These films were to use the characters created by the graphic designer who put together their branding, be super-simple 2D in terms of aesthetics, and be relatively light and funny where possible. They’d be providing the scripts, my brother would do the sound design, and I’d do everything else.

The process was straightforward. After receiving the script, I board the film out and those boards are then signed off on by the client. This is usually happening concurrently with the recording, with two or more scripts being recorded on the same day to keep costs down. At that point it’s a matter of creating all the artwork (put together in Illustrator) and doing all the animation (all done in After Effects).

Creating the different characters based off the original designs was fun and an interesting challenge. I think I ended up producing better stuff building off the initial framework than if I’d had to design them myself from scratch.

I’m currently working on the next film and will be updating with that in a week or so. The “Shot A Week” project I’ve been doing will return once I have a bit more time in my schedule.

Ten Keys Project

Working from the titles of the different chapters of a guide to creating successful projects; each shot was conceptualised from the title, working to find fun and entertaining ways of opening each short film.

Shots were then storyboarded and the initial concepts signed off on by the client. Assets were then created, animated and composited together. Final renders were then handed off to the editor who added sound fx and completed each shot. Each title sequence begins with the same motif of doors opening before moving into the original animation for each key. A fun little project to do, and one where I got to do some 2D hand-drawn animation; the magic trick of drawing a few lines and then seeing them move never gets old.

Life Drawing – Week Three

Midway through the course and happy enough to be getting three hours to draw every Tuesday – pleas excuse the rather bad photographs of the sketches, but there’s not really any other way of getting them online.

Drawing 12 (as I’ve called it anyway) is one that I’m quite pleased with – foreshortening is a real pain to get right and that’s a decent stab at it (about 45 minutes, pencil on paper). I’m British, I feel deeply uncomfortable with any kind of self-promotion for fear of appearing arrogant (maybe that’s not such a British thing as a me thing).

Life Drawing – Week Two

Back to the life drawing class – finding it extremely beneficial to have to go somewhere and focus on nothing but drawing for three hours. Wasn’t in a great position for a lot of these sketches, so thumbnailed quick five second studies of the other students to break up the time a bit.

Life Drawing – Week One

So this evening I had my first life drawing class in about a decade, probably more – it’s a part of my skill set that I really want to work on and improve. For the first week we were doing long poses, maybe 15 to 20 minutes for each drawing of the model standing, expanding up to 45 minutes for the last two of the model seated.