Sunday, 8 March 2009


It’s been a while since my last post. Hope everyone is good. Thanks to all who commented on the last post. Before I go on, just want to give a shout out to Michael Plummer who I’ve worked with for over a year now. He finally has a blog so check him out. I’ve also updated my links.

Thought I’d do a little progress report on my project...

I decided while I’m In Scotland for a year, I’d try and finish my (or start depending on your point of view) my student film for the following reasons:

To learn something.

To keep the creative muscles working (Though I’ve learnt a hell of a lot at Ink, there’s not much room for creativity in inbetweening).

To finish something (ahem)

(Click here, here and here for related links)

Character Design.

Seeing as I didn’t get too far the last time, I thought I’d give some of the characters a slight redesign. I supposed I could talk about each one but generally, I thought their shapes were similar in some ways or rather their postures didn’t really say much about who they are or how they move. I also wanted to push the designs a bit further but even now I still feel like I held back. Previously, I never reached a final design for Aeneus but when my nephew was born, I wanted to base it on him. Ok, my nephew is black Caribbean an Aeneus is Caucasian with blonde hair, but people who’ve seen my nephew will (or should) see where I got my inspiration.

The model sheets and redesigns were done relatively quickly, and usually when I’m designing something, I worry far too much about drawings. In this instance getting the design done was my main goal so right now, I’m really cringing looking at these, and the fact they were done almost a year ago doesn’t help. I did slightly more drawings of Father Time because he was to be the most animated, and also because friend and colleague Robert Robinson agreed to do a sculpture of Father time for me so I had to give him more information.

It’s actually was the first time I mentally pictured the characters in 3 dimensions and I mean really pictured it. I know that might sound weird to some but it’s true. Since then, if I find it difficult to draw a pose, sometimes I might sketch it from another angle to help me understand it better.

As u can see, beautifully done. I think he captured him better than I can draw him.

Bob then surprised me with another sculpture; a bust of Venus (fits in the palm of my hand)

Seeing it in 3 dimensions showed me that the earrings wouldn’t really work. Bob said I should just cheat it :)

Can’t thank you enough for that Bob. (The 2nd sculpture I mean)

Animatic and storyboard.

(Apologies for the unbalanced sound)

Untitled from Libra Bear Vids on Vimeo.

Redoing my Animatic (click here for old version) might seem like a waste of time but I had a couple of reasons for doing so.

1)I was able to time my shots better and have it closer to what the final thing would look like.

2) I changed the aspect ratio making it 16:9 instead of 4:3.

3) I could use the panels as a rough layout knowing how many levels etc I’d have to use in after effects

4)Practice with brushes in Photoshop

5)Helped me figure things in after effects early on so that I could predict the types of problems I’d have in compositing.

Having the title in the middle where the camera pans up was an idea given to me by Michael Plummer.

Now before anyone says anything, in context of the story and how long the film is Michael and I know it doesn’t work but it was fun to do. Seeing as I had no intentions of entering my film into any festivals, I thought breaking a few rules here and there is fine as this was purely an exercise for me to grow and learn. Besides it stopped people asking me “why does it pan up to the sky at that point?”

Another major change was the lack of music at the beginning. This was of a happy accident when I was putting in the temporary wind sounds. I wanted the first part to be more of a mystery and sometimes music can tell you what to think without you realizing it. Keeping it quiet (in my mind) gave nothing away about father times intentions.

Looking at the animatic now, there are things I would have done differently in terms of timing and shots e.g. Father time approaching the platform clearly doesn’t work.

I still think the Animatic it needs more drawings and less of the rendered backgrounds.


I'm having some problems uploading the music. If anyone can help let me know

Maurizio Malaganini, a student from the royal college of music, composed a score for my film (this was while I was at Central St Martin’s). I really loved his music but the Father Time theme at the beginning felt very warrior-ish and as I said before, I wanted a question. Back then we spoke about him changing it and he agreed but I’ve yet to contact him. I think this piece took him about 2 days, and there wasn’t much conversation between us during that time.

Maurizio did an amazing Job and I just wanted to thank him for his work. Check out his website.

I really hope I’ll get to work with him again one day.


This is Part where I always seem to trip up on. Working on the illusionist I feel I’ve learnt a lot about animation. Taking that knowledge, I planned to do the whole thing hand drawn and seeing as I hadn’t animated in over a year I thought I’d take the least complicated shots first. I started by doing a test on my laptop at work over my lunch break. It took me about 40 minutes maybe be less. Probably took that long because I had to get to grips with flash.

Untitled from Libra Bear Vids on Vimeo.

It’s very rough but last time I tried something like this, it took me about 2 days. So that gave me a real boost of confidence. I even remember talking to Timothy McCourt on the phone with excitement. Now I was confident and ready to approach my first scene, but on paper this time. It took me about a month to do just the keys and that was on my first pass. (Taking into consideration I had to keep testing at work, and I could only do an hour or 2 a day). I drew roughly 80 key drawings. I then started thinking about scanning inbetween etc. Just thinking about these things started to drain me. Sorry I don’t have the rough test here.

I remember while we were at CSM, Tim suggested I do my project flash. Bob also suggested the same recently and judging by the Amount of time my previous attempt took me thought I might as well do it in flash save time. So I did a clean up test of one frame in flash, with some noise and blur effects in Photoshop, and I was happy with the results.

So I set up flash in a way close to how I work at ink I even put peg holes in So I had a guide to animated off pegs in order to keep volumes consistent. Then began animating.

Untitled from Libra Bear Vids on Vimeo.

This took about 3 weeks. Bearing in mind I was working an hour here, an hour there. There are still lots to do. Breathing, spacing issues, follow through, timing, etc

So why am I talking about this now? I’ve decided to stop working on my film.

I don’t want to be working on this for another year or 2 because that’s how long it will probably take especially with the manpower and time limits I have. I really wanted to see this animated, because I like the painting it’s based on and I also wanted to fulfil the promise I made on my blog a while ago.

A lot of how I went about telling the story was due to the limited time we had to do it in the first place. 3 months to be exact. So I compromised on it from day one which is probably why I’ve been so conflicted in my decision making. (Limited animation, animating on 3s, colours etc)

Knowing what I know now, I probably would have just concentrated on Keys breakdowns and done the whole thing in black n white. So, why don’t I just do that now?

This project is killing me creatively. It’s on was on my mind constantly, giving time to nothing else hence the lack of other things like posting. I would go back to it again providing I could work on it full time and with the help of 1 or 2 others.

If I’ve learnt one thing about myself is that I’ll never take on a project like this or rather approach a project like this by myself again.

I planned to write more of a conclusion and speak about the numerous things that lead up to this decision, but I’ve spent far too much time preparing this post (if you really want to know, I’ll update). I’ve already put off posting for about a month wondering if it’s a good idea or me to expose myself like this, but I needed some kind of closure and to let people know what’s going on.

I’m really sorry for wasting the time of those that were looking forward to seeing this. I’m especially sorry to anyone who helped me or gave me any advice, but I can’t do this now... I will do a short one day when the time is right; I may even go back to this short, if the circumstances are right, but the opportunity to make this film was 2 years ago. Time to move on.

And Again...