Thursday, 21 May 2015

Dragon Flight Cycles...

I've worked with a dragon before (Concerning Dragons) but recently I've been wanting to get back to the basics of 3D animation. I haven't done many cycles and wanted to change that, as they can be very useful as a base when animating, and then using animation layers.

Also recently I've been working on ideas for a short animation piece that would cover some animation that I feel are missing from my showreel. This includes an action scene. I was searching Creative Crash and came across this free awesome dragon rig, which I tested out with a flight cycle. Dragon shaththan Rig 4.0.0 by Revanth Ravi available at

Before these I researched references for dragons, including shots from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Game of Thrones. There were also these amazing videos of bats in slow motion on Youtube which were incredibly useful because of the similarities in their wing structure!

These are drawings from my sketchbook based on dragons from film and television references:

These are some rough thumbnail storyboard sketches of ideas for an action sequence involving a dragon:

I also read through and took notes from Brendan Body's detailed blog post on flight cycles ( This was very useful before I started animating the flight cycle, just to get my head around some of the technical knowledge of how birds actually fly:

So hopefully there will be a kick-ass action sequence ready to be added to my showreel in the near future!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Safari Day Out!

Had a fun day out at Blair Drummond Safari Park, on what seemed to be the only day of the week that was good weather! Which meant that I could do some outdoor observational sketching :D

I always love watching the sea lion shows and managed to capture the big jump at the end in slow-mo. Forgot I have this option on my phone - great tool for an animator! :)


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

ATYN Life Drawing

Went along to a popular life drawing club in Glasgow at The Flying Duck called All The Young Nudes. The music they played was great and it was good to be drawing in a different and new environment. The poses ranged from 2 mins to 30 mins and there were 3 different models in the room. I used pencil and pen to draw with, but would really like to get some new charcoal pencils as I miss using those!

Friday, 6 March 2015

11SecondClub February 2015

February's 11SecondClub audio clip was rather different from last months! This one felt more serious and philosophical:

"See, everything outside of our dimension... that's eternity. Now, to us, it's a sphere. But, to them, it's a circle."

My first thought was "Whattt..." but then i got brainstorming and listened to the clip a lot. There were quite a few pauses in the dialogue and i thought this was a great opportunity to challenge the acting skills where there was no dialogue.

My first idea, and the one I ended up using, was this was a lecturer in front of his blackboard. I also liked my audience at the end idea, which is a shot of the students in the lecture theatre, and all of their different reactions to this professors unusual theory, which I thought would add some more humour to the shot, but I decided it was best to stick to one character for now to create as high quality an animation as I could:

I also had some fun creating the texture of the blackboard and the drawings on it:

For the final shot I rendered out an Ambient Occlusion layer as well, as I think composited with the the master layer it created a better look, especially as his hand comes in contact with the blackboard, so it added some more shadow there:

This month my animation ranked 65th out of 205 entries, which overall is better than I did last month, so I'm glad I'm moving up and not going backwards! :D The comments were nice and constructive this time so I would like to revisit this piece of animation and make some improvements to it:
-Malcolm character courtesy of

Friday, 6 February 2015

11SecondClub January 2015

During the month of January I gave myself the challenge of completing an 11SecondClub animation and submitting it into the month's competition. And that's exactly what I did! :D

After listening to the piece of audio at the start of the month I knew it was going to be a fun one!
To me it sounded like a drunk women giving a speech - and i tried to think where would her speech of 'feeling excited and wanting to party' be the most inappropiate and therefore amusing... a memorial service! These are the pages from my sketchbook, writing and drawing out ideas:

I also had the idea of a second character to react to the main character to make the situation even more amusing and understandable. It also added the challenge of animating a character interacting with another.
I shot some rather funny reference footage which became very useful!
(used a water bottle and a pen as my wine glass and microphone...)

With my more elaborate idea this time, a more interesting background environment was needed:

This lead to me creating an older looking version of 'Malcolm' - therefore all the characters in the scene looked like they are related:

I submitted my animation and it ranked 67th out of 179 entries which wasn't too bad for my first submission! I also took part in 11SecondClub to see if I could get some critic and advice from the others on the site. Overall the comments said I had a good idea and a funny scenario which was great to hear; and things I need to work on is polishing my animation and looking out for things such as 'floaty arms'!
- Malcolm character courtesy of

Monday, 2 February 2015

Supervising A Life Drawing Class

I was asked to supervise a life drawing class for the 2nd year animation students. For this class the theme was portraits and different angles of the head. As I have always been the student sitting down drawing I have never had to concentrate on what the next pose would be. Therefore I had my Moleskine notebook with me to keep track of what poses had already been done and how long the poses were, so the students ended up with a variety of drawings by the end of the session. I also called out the time left for each drawing. From past experience I know how much you can get caught up in a drawing, not realise the time is up, and to not have that last minute warning to add the finishing touches your drawing! I also went around the students every so often to see how they were getting on and give advice where I could :)

Notes and quick sketches from my notebook to keep track of the poses:

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Life Drawing 29/04/2015

Went along to a life drawing class in the morning. The first half of the class was quick poses followed by 2 longer poses in the second half: