Monday, 15 December 2008

* Merry Christmas *

I'm not doing paper cards this year so have put together my Christmas greetings in the form of an ecard. Phillipe has switched from his usual flower to something a little more festive. :)

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all enjoy the holiday season!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

My first paper-cut...

...in a long time. Nice and simple little birdy.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Drawn to Life

So I got this new game for my DS Drawn to Life which I thought would be fun because you can draw all your own characters and props etc... and it turns out that it is fun!! ^-^ I have been addicted to this game since I got it! I like it so much I had to share it! So I got to create my little character and then run around collecting coins... kinda feels Mario-ish but I like that kinda thing. :)
Then you have the option to create three different characters which you can change throughout the game, I guess this is so the drawing and creating stuff doesn't get too old. So I drew my little Phillipe and even though he doesn't have tail I've still had loads of fun playing around with him battling cute monsters and saving villagers! hurrah!


It's kind of a simple game but the fact I just made my own character and was instantly playing with it makes it great. It's a nice way to spend my free time playing games with something I made. Which reminds me I really need to get my hands on Little Big Planet... that will be my next time filler :)

'Little Leap Forward' - Design Ideas #1

I have been busy the last couple of weeks so haven't had a chance to work on this project until today. I am currently trying to get the design of the bird right and then plan to animate a short wing flap cycle.

New Bird Design based on the puppet which will be used in the production.





Dragonfly concepts



Sketchbook






Wednesday, 26 November 2008

'Little Leap Forward' - Birds

I'm going to working with Bob Frith on the animation and film for this production. My main focus will be the animation. I am currently working on a piece to be used at the opening of the production featuring birds, dragonflies and fish which will look like Chinese paper cuts. At the minute I am working on the designs for the bird so I thought I would update with a couple of sketches I've done so far.



Monday, 24 November 2008

Manchester & Nottingham screenings this week.

For anyone in the Manchester or Nottingham area this week my graduation film 'Xiao Xi' will be screening at Exposures and the Bang! Short Film Festival.

Wednesday 26th Nov - MANCHESTER

2pm screening 'Of Mice and Men' 52mins at Cornerhouse cinema.


Sunday 30th Nov - NOTTINGHAM

6pm screening 'Bangimation' at Broadway cinema.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

'Little Leap Forward' from Horse and Bamboo


I have recently come back from a visit to the Horse and Bamboo Theatre where over the next few months I am going to be working on some animation for use in their production of a story called 'Little Leap Forward'.


The show is based on a book which tells the story for Chinese flute-player Guo Yue and his experiences growing up in Beijing during the Culturual Revolution in the 1960's. There is actually an interesting video on You Tube with an excerpt from the book featuring photographs and illustrations from the book. The illustrator Helen Cann really created some wonderful images for this story.



So a little more about Horse and Bamboo. They are a theatre company based in Lancashire and work on productions based centrally around story-telling and music. Their productions are made up of a mixture of puppetry, masks and film. More information on their work can be seen on their website. Although I have been unable to see any of their productions I was able to watch a DVD of the production 'In the Shadow of Trees' and I have never seen anything like it. I don't have much experience with theatre but this show had a certain charm to it and the set and mask designs were wonderful. If you ever get the opportunity to see one of these shows I would highly recommend it. I can only imagine seeing it live is 1000 times better than a DVD. 'In the Shadow of Trees' is showing throughout December at The Met Arts Centre in Bury.

This is turning into quite a long post so I'll leave it for now. I will update with some more information on the animation I am going to be working on for the 'Little Leap Forward' production soon.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Disney: Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel


Sleeping Beauty is one of my all time favourite Disney films! I have loved it since I was a little little girl and I think this is where I developed my search for a prince complex. Anyway the DVD re-release came out a couple of weeks ago and I bought it straight away. Special edition with extras of course! What I recieved in the post however was so much more than I expected! It came with a hard back book full of information about the development of the film with dozens of examples of the artwork from the pre-production stage and the film itself.

The design supervisor for this film was a man called Eyvind Earle and I am disappointed I never discovered his work earlier. His paintings are wonderful and he pays such a high attention to detail which can be seen throughout Sleeping Beauty.

After watching the making of documentary it became clear how much work went into this film over a 7year period. The high attention to the design of the film makes it so much different from any Disney film created before or after. I loved it so much that I felt inspired to blog about it. This also brings we round to my next point. Disney are currently working on a CGI production of Rapunzel. The aim here is to create a CGI film which has the look and feel of painted traditional Disney animation. I really hope they can pull it off. I am quite behind with the times here considering this test footage was released in 2005 but I am still excited all the same. ^-^ Although I love CGI films I do feel a lot of the art is being lost and its such a shame. I miss the feeling of traditionally drawn and painted films, like the ones I grew up with.


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Exposures Screening - 26th Nov


'Xiao Xi' is going to be screened on the 26th November as part of the Exposures Film Festival in Manchester. If you are in the area it would be great if you could check it out! It is being shown alongside some of my fellow NSAD graduates work which is worth checking out if you haven't seen any of the NSAD 08 Showreel so far. ^-^

I am going to try and make it to the event as I'm sure there will be lots of interesting people to meet! ^-^ It's strange how my film is showing in the animal themed sectioned... I never really thought of my film in that way before. Although now that I think about it there are many many animals in my film so it seems quite obvious it should be in this category. ^-^

Friday, 31 October 2008

* Happy Halloween *


I love Halloween! well I generally just love fancy dress and we got to do fancy dress at work today so I was extremely happy. I feel slightly sad I am not at uni anymore as I will be missing out on some big halloween parties >.<

There has been a serious lack of updates on this blog the last few weeks and the Phillipe project is currently on hold. I have started a part time job now and have been trying to do as much overtime as possible due to my dwindling overdraft. Also this week has been half term week so I have also been doing a fair bit of babysitting :) Hopefully after the next few weeks I will be able to get back into animating Phillipe.

I have however found a bit of time to have a go in Flash this week as I made my friend a nice e-card for her birthday. I feel like e-cards are going to be the way forward this Christmas. Saving the environment 'n' all that. ^-^ So I'm hoping to have a lot of fun messing around in Flash making lots of lovely Christmas animations! ^-^

hurrah!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Phillipe progress...

Phillipe has a skeleton... it took me a while to get it in and now I am just trying to get my head around skin weights. I haven't had a chance to spend much time on this as I've been working on other things but hopefully I'll have him moving by the end of this month! :)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A few hours later....


So this is what I have completed so far. Its just the model and I'm not really sure what I am doing with the flower on his head or how I am going to animate that. I also have no idea where to start with rigging so I'm going to read now ^-^ Hopefully he'll be moving soon. I also want to make him a bit smoother... he looks a bit point in places o_O eek! Well there is plenty of time, off to the books now!

The Return of Phillipe!


I have decided to bring back Phillipe! My little flower kitty cat from the Encounters Project last year. Everyday his cardboard cutout looks at me from on top of my pinboard... so I decided in my attempt to learn character modelling in Maya I will use Phillipe! :) He has a simple body shape so shouldn't be too difficult to model and then with help from tutorials etc I am hoping to rig him up and get him dancing around like he was meant to do!
Updates of this process will follow. ^-^

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Bringing out the paints again :)



I decided to get the paints out after a very very long time of not doing any painting at all. My paint box was very dusty and lots of my acrylics had dried out >.< very annoying. Anyway I painted something for my sister to take to university with her to put in her new bedroom. I used this reference photograph I found from the National Ballet of Canada and attempted the change the girls face into my sisters... it kinda worked... o_O Anyway now I've got my paints out again I wanna start painting much more. It's a shame I haven't done it for so long! So from now on I am painting! wee!! ~~~

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

4mations

4mations Giraffe Egg Soldier

I have recently signed up to the 4mations community. It is run by Channel 4, Aardman Animations and Lupus Films and is another community outlet for animators and flash designers :) It's pretty cool ^-^ Plus they gave me the fancy giraffe badge above, so hurrah!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

BBC Big Screen Event, Icewhole.com

The Norwich School of Art and Design 2008 Animation Showreel is going to be screening in Norwich on the BBC Big Screen on:
Sat 27 Sept, 6.30pm – 7.30pm at Chapelfield Plain.
So if you are in the area and haven't seen the reel already you should try to get down there :) I am going to try raise some funds to get back over to Norwich for that weekend also :)

'Xiao Xi' has recently won an award on the website icewhole.com. This site provides a place for film makers to upload their work and also gives them a chance to win prizes every month in 4 catergories, Best Film Under 5 Minutes, 5 to 10 Minutes, Over 10 Minutes and Most Viewed.

I haven't really been getting up to much else recently. I have been looking at working on two interesting projects which is fairly exciting and spending most of my time working on some personal projects.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

August Update

I realised I never posted my finished film onto my blog... so here it is!:)


My film has also been reviewed over on AnimationBlog.org. It's really great to know that people have been reading my blog and like my work :) So thanks to Ian over there!

I also want to mention I discovered the use of labels in my blog :) hurrah! so now all the posts related to my final major project have been grouped together to anyone who wants to access them :) I'm suprised I didn't sort that out earlier but never mind, better late than never! ^-^

I have currently been a bit of a festival entering machine. It's really exciting sending my film out to be viewed in different places all over the world :) I find is really fun putting together the little parcels to post out :)


I am still looking for jobs. It seems there is no work around at the minute. :( I am also looking out to get involved in any local art projects. I managed to arrange to get our NSAD Showreel shown at a local arts and music festival called AMEF. So thats pretty cool. :)


Also my film and a couple of others from my class have been chosen to be screened at the upcoming Exposures Film Festival in Manchester in November. So that is very exciting! :)

That's all thats really been happening at the minute. So I am off now to look for more jobs and send out more applications :) Lets hope something comes of it soon :)

Friday, 1 August 2008

Okay.
So I haven't updated for a while.
I've been very busy at home trying to organise myself and find a part time job.
I have been applying to lots of festivals and trying to find any kinda of temporary part time work so I can make a bit of extra money.
My current problem is not being able to drive... It's making everything a little difficult when it comes to looking for a job. So this is something I need to sort out and pass so I can start my real career.
In the meantime I've just been helping out a friend with his After Effects and continuing to learn Maya. :) So there is still some animation in my life.
Tomorrow however I am off to Paris for four days! ^-^ I am very excited!
A nice mini family holiday / graduation present. I have never been before so I'm really looking forward to it! woo!
When I return the job hunt will continue.........

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Tailcast

So I am just settling in back at home and still looking for some part time work at least :)
Just thought I would post to plug a pretty cool art community site
TAILCAST

My showreel has been spotlighted on their You Tube account which was really awesome as I do want to get my work out there to as many people as possible! ^-^ So now I want to encourage all you guys to get your work on there too!

So TAILCAST is this new community site where you can post any kind of art. Images, Films, Writing, Music pretty much everything you can think of. There are things for everyone on there and lots of new creative people to meet :) They also run competitions and the latest one involves collaboration :) I'm quite up for entering but I need to find a project that I'll have time to do. So if you haven't checked it out already I really recommend you do! Sign up and then hunt me down and add me too ^-^

Saturday, 5 July 2008

We Are Graduates!

Graduation is over.
Well done Everyone!


Our London show is happening next week ^-^ This is all very exciting! So I am looking forward to that... If you're about you should check it out!

CFC Framestore, 19-23 Wells Street
8th July
6 - 10pm

Screenings at 6.30, 7.30 & 8.30


Next step the mad job hunt begins!! hurrah!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Showreel 2008

I finally managed to finish my showreel and get it up online. ^-^



For a better quality version see stefflee.com

I also realised I haven't uploaded my graduation film to my blog yet or youtube for that matter. Hopefully I will get it up in the next week or so. I need to compress amov down so it doesn't take all day to upload.
Graduation next week and the Grad Ball... so it's busy times... and then us animators will all be going our separate ways :( *sob*

Saturday, 21 June 2008

stefflee.com
My Online Portfolio is now online! ^-^

Results!


Yesterday we got our results. We now all officially have degrees :) We survived!

*PARTY AT THE PLAYHOUSE* tomorrow night starting from 8:00. We are screening in the bar and having a DVD playing in the snug ^-^ Should be another nice get together and a chance for people to see our work.

Also I'm hoping to get my website online by the end of tonight. Had a few problems with hosting etc... but it seems to all have straightened out now so watch this space.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Exhibition Phase One!

So we had the opening to our first ever screening tonight! ^-^
How very exciting! We have a lovely room with a great plasma tv and lots of bookshelves :) I would post a picture up here but the photo I took on my phone camera makes the room look pretty rubbish... so the picture will come later!

So yes :) Our films are going to be screening in 'The Library Restaurant' Norwich for the next month. We also have several other screenings and events which will be happening over the next month. I will list the details at the end of this post :)

So... it seems everything is over... or almost... I did some background clean ups for my film so I need to reburn the DVD to update it to the new version. But apart from that I am finished with it. It's such a strange feeling... I don't really know how I feel right now o_O

We do have other things to get on with. There is a lot of preparation going into the show and we need to print business cards, postcards, posters and invites to our exhibitions. There is also the online portfolio I am supposed to be working on. I did start it last Monday but I have decided I no longer like my designs and want to change it. So I think I will be spending the weekend doing that :)

Apart from that I have been spending a lot of my time relaxing and sleeping... and it feels good ^-^ Lots of things to look forward too like the private view parties, graduation and the graduation ball :) It's gonna be lots of fun! :)


NSAD ANIMATION GRADUATION SHOWS

THE LIBRARY RESTAURANT (upstairs)
(That is the old library on Guildhall Hill NOT the FORUM!)
Norwich
12th June - 6th July
Open 12-2pm and 6-10pm 7 days a week

PLAYHOUSE SCREENING (one night event)
Norwich
22nd June
8 - Midnight

NORWICH SCHOOL OF ART AND DESIGN:
DEGREE SHOW

Second Floor, Guntons Building
Opens 6:00 25th June - 3rd July

LONDON SHOW
CFC Framestore, 19-23 Wells Street
8th July
6 - 10pm

Friday, 6 June 2008

The Last Day....

Stuff has been mounted... The screen is up... we're all ready to go!





We have another week and a half to make any adjustments to our films before the private view opens but everything has gone in for assessments now ^-^

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Almost there...

The DVD has been handed in...
Tomorrow we will mount the exhibition and watch all the films to check everything is okay.... how exciting! ^-^

...watch this space...

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Title and Chart...

I think I have a title for my film. It is 小希 Xiao Xi, it means small hope. I figured this would also work as the main characters name. I did want her name to be something like little light.... but the chinese for that is 小光 which is a boys name. So never mind..... I think xiao xi has a nice sound to it anyway :) quite small and delicate.

I made a chart last week... based on Martin's chart to see how much stuff I had left to do. I was very excited to make the chart because I love organising things! Anyway it has proved to be very very helpful as I can see everything that needs to be done in my whole film all at once! ^-^ I thought I would be nerdy and scan it in and put it on here ^-^



I have had a fairly productive weekend. Got most of the animals finished off, I just need to animate the tiger... which if the worst comes to worst can be left out if I run out of time. I also managed to complete a fair bit of hand drawn stuff. :)

The deadlines approaching fast so I won't be updating much for the next couple of weeks. My next post will probably be my almost finished animation with sound.... we'll see though... o_O who knows.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Must stay positive!!

I spent all day cutting up footage of the bluescreening and putting it into my final film. I had managed to get quite a lot done but a last minute mistake at the backing up stage caused me to lose everything I had done today >.< gah!! This mistake was followed by a lot of staring at the screen and a few tears. BUT It's okay! I must not get down at this point in my project! I MUST be positive! I did some maths and figured I only really lost 4-5 hours work... which isn't THAT much really. And since I have done it all today I'm sure I'll be much faster working on it tomorrow :) So this is the way it will be :) I'm going to stay up a little later than usual tonight and work on some other things then make the most of the DV suite from 9-1 tomorrow! EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY! :)

On another note... my computer has decided to play up again... so I am going to have a fun weekend of reinstalling things o_O eeskh! The bad luck all comes now >.< Lets hope tonight was the last of it! ^-^

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Three weeks left.... o_O




I have almost finished rendering out my scenes animated and static ! hurrah! :) Been having a few problems today rendering stuff out large enough to print, but I have an idea which might make it happen tomorrow :)

Made a final list today of the work for the next three weeks. It is four pages long... o_O and it doesn't include sound or clean up o_O eek! I only have a little more drawn animation today and then I will be back into the world of after effects. Lots of compositing to do >.< plus lots of fireworks to make :) should be fun.

My animal scene is having a few set backs... mainly because of the Ox. Having a few problems with his run cycle but will be showing it all to Suzie tomorrow to see what she thinks. Tomorrow is our last crit/tutorial also cleverly known as critorial ^-^ I have put together all the animation I have completed so far with a small portion of the sounds I have been recording. I would upload it but I was having some problems rendering it out small from home... I don't know why... o_O I'm planning to work quite a bit on sound and crowd shots this week so I'll try to post some kind of animation up in the next couple of weeks.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Animal Scene

I have been spending the weekend and will be spending this bank holiday trying to finish off my animal scene. It has taken a lot longer than I initially thought. The Maya stuff turning out to be the easiest bit and the run cycles turning out to be the hardest... something I thought would be the other way around.
I have cut up and started animating the pig, ox, horse, goat and rabbit and just have the tiger to start on. However the animation side isn't so good.
I have finished the pig and I am happy with the horses run cycle. The other three are causing me some problems... no matter how many pictures/videos of cows, goats etc I look at online I still can't get them to look right >.<
Just thought I would post with two little tests I have put together so far ^-^
video

Other updates....
I still haven't started rendering my backgrounds or the dragon and lantern scenes yet as I have had a few set backs with lighting and was getting sick to death of sitting for hours not getting anywhere. So I decided to take a break from that until next week. I have done some more hand drawn animation and have completed the scene where the girl first meets the rat.

Sound is slowly coming along. Last Friday I recorded lots of papery sound effects which I can mess around with to create all kind of lovely things ^-^ I have booked out the sound room tomorrow and hope to get a start on some music tomorrow with the help from Phil of course :)

I need to have a look at the crowd scenes and finish off Zainals intergration into my film which I might have a look at tomorrow afternoon... who knows o_O
Anyway... It's back to the animals now ^^

Monday, 28 April 2008

Opening Shot... almost complete....

video


Nearly finished with the Maya backgrounds and lanterns....
Just need to work a little more on the lighting tomorrow and I should be all set to go! Then I can get back to the actual animation! hurrah!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Sparkler...



Just thought I would mention that I have been having lots of fun in Maya creating sparklers :) Initially I was going to use tissue paper to create them but as time is running out and the paint effects in Maya are so much fun I think I might use them :)

Rendering.... Rendering....

I pretty much have my scenes completed I am just trying to figure out how to render it.
Maya Software and mental ray are both good and bad in different ways.... I am thinking about combining the two. See my example below...

Maya Software
The Maya software shows the detail on my textures a lot more and the colours are much more vibrant.


Mental Ray
This is using the physical sun and sky so I can get a really realistic look which i s much softer... but at the same time I feel like I'm missing the kinda brightness that I think would work well with my girl character.


Combined
This is a quick combined version so I can get the affects of both of them. As most of my backgrounds are going to be statics it would be quite simple to layer the two renders out on top of each other with a filter in after effects... however it could be more troublesome when it comes to the dragon scene, unless he also looks good with the combined effect.


I know I could spend time messing around with the lighting effects and the textures but that is the problem. I could mess around all day with that kinda stuff when there is other important things to be done so I guess this combining this is just a shortcut for me. If anyone has any opinions on the above images or ideas with what I can do then let me know ^-^
I've once again had a pretty slow week... now is not the time for slow weeks! eek!
I'm working on the opening shot of my lantern again... but as always maya is causing me some problems and confusion... best get back to it o_O