But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11
This was a really fun little project I worked on this autumn. I was asked by Trinity Digital to create an animated logo intro for Cornhill Scotland. The logo is a dandelion head with seeds blowing away, so they wanted a figure blowing on the dandelion to lead into the still logo.
My initial pitch
I pitched two ideas at first, one traditionally animated and the other with less movement. In the end it was decided to combine these elements, to have the movement of the traditional animation with the final graphic look.
In my storyboard I drew out the key poses of the animation. As part of the compromise between drawn animation and motion graphics, less of the character’s face was shown.
Colour and design proposal
At this stage I did some research and gathered reference photographs and videos. The final look of the video was also decided. Next, I began animating.
Animated Logo process
Storyboard / Animatic: I timed out the storyboard panels in an animatic, to give a sense of the final video.
Keys / Breakdowns: Once the animatic was approved, I animated the keys* and breakdowns* for the different elements (head, hand, seeds) to show the movement of each.
Inbetweens: The change made at this stage was to add in more time for the dandelion seeds to be blown. I also animated them slowing down so that the eventual pause was not so abrupt. Finally, I inbetweened* everything.
Still of colour builds
Colour: I exported all the animation drawings and opened them in Illustrator. There I drew out and built the final graphic shapes for each frame. Next, I edited these into the final video.
The final animation
In the end it was decided to change the colour of the character to keep more attention on the logo.
I really enjoyed being able to traditionally animate this video, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
* Keys, breakdowns, and inbetweens are names for different drawings (or images) in animation.
Keys are extreme poses, in this case the closed mouth at the beginning (F1), the mouth open (F25), and then the open mouth, mid-blow, (F36) at the end.
Breakdowns show the movement from one key to the next. For this drawing, (F21), I wanted to show how the corner of the mouth stayed fairly still while the front of the mouth opened wide.
Inbetweens are the drawings ‘in between’ all the others. They are usually made halfway between those on either side. These fill in all the gaps in the movement, so it’s smooth.
Last year I had the pleasure of designing the wedding invite for friends of mine. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, so I thought I’d share a little bit of the process of making it.
To start with I was given the theme of succulents and hexagons. It was fun trying out different compositions, some more traditional and some less so.
I also quickly realised that a sketchy succulent (in this case a Mexican Gem) can look very similar to a sketchy rose.
I started with quick sketches exploring the theme
Once the preferred designs were chosen I painted some quick mockups using digital watercolours to give a feel of how the final image would look.
Rough studies of the selected designs
At this stage preferred fonts were selected, and I began painting the final design. I discovered that painting a pale succulent onto a dark background gave a kind of ghostly image which didn’t work very well. The design was reworked to feature a single plant.
In the final stages I created mockups with a kraft paper background to match how it would be printed.
Mockup and final design
It was a lovely project to work on. Plus, I got to see my work in real life when I received one of the invites through the post!
It’s been about two and a half years since I last updated my drawing portfolio (!) so I thought it was time to give it a refresh. What’s been exciting about putting this one together is that it’s all new – nothing from the last portfolio is still in it.
Way back in August, after finishing on Klaus (I’m hoping to post more about my work on that soon), I took a day to visit Edinburgh Zoo. Thankfully the weather was pretty good and I was able to see, and draw, a lot of animals.
And now for something completely different … I don’t think I’ve ever posted any of my photographs on this site, but I’m pleased with some of the ones I’ve been taking recently so I thought I’d give it a go.
In early October I visited Spain for the first time. During my trip I spent a day in Segovia, the old city centre of which is a World Heritage Site.
For the last month and a half on my job in Edinburgh (I should be able to reveal what I was working on soon) I stayed in a flat near Arthur’s Seat. One evening I took advantage of the sunshine and spent a while drawing in the park. Here are a couple of my sketches!
For the third year running I’ve taught animation workshops at a creative arts holiday (ages 12-18) over the summer. The last two years I’ve focused on morphing workshops, but I decided to try something a little different this time. I introduced the idea of emotions in characters and how to translate that clearly to an audience. To to this, everyone animated a character changing from one emotion to another.
The children grasped the concept and ran with it, creating funny and inventive pieces.
I also ran a specialism, which gave participants free rein to do whatever they liked. After going into a bit more detail about weight, timing, and movement (I even introduce charting!) the children storyboard an idea. Over about five hours they then draw their entire animation. With my help it’s photographed and edited, ready to play to the rest of the group that evening.
You can see more videos from workshops I’ve run on my Workshops page.
I’m back in Edinburgh for a few months, working as a Clean Up Artist (if you don’t know what that is, here’s an example) on a feature film I can’t talk about yet. It’s a really exciting project and I’m looking forward to sharing more about that, hopefully soon. One of the tricky things with working in animation is that a lot of what I do can’t be shown for one reason or another, so this is a glimpse at some of my personal drawings!
This afternoon I spent some time in one of my favourite places, the National Museum of Scotland. I went down into the early Scottish history section and sketches a few objects that caught my interest. Here are a couple of them.
Elaborate Viking sword hilt, Eigg
Pony cap and horns (which were added at a later date), Torrs
Sketches of Bea from last week. Even after a relatively short break from life drawing I struggled to get back into it! There are an awful lot of drawings that won’t see the light of day again. However here are a few sketches I am happy with. I particularly enjoyed drawing the study of Bea’s back – the lighting was just right to see all the details.