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.

Monday Expression Workshop
Tuesday Expression Workshop

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.

Joe’s specialism, Marshmallow
Roan’s specialism, Cake and Petrol

You can see more videos from workshops I’ve run on my Workshops page.

I led more high school-age animation workshops this year, expanding on the morphing workshop from last year. This time everyone who took part was in complete control of their own piece of animation between their character and the next person’s. Whether the character melts, explodes, shatters, or morphs, this was planned out in thumbnails before it was animated. I also asked those taking part to begin with simple shapes – this encouraged them to animate the movement before animating the details.

The results are fantastic!

 

Recently I’ve been working on an storyboard about a pigeon who finds the mother of all crumbs, but discovers eating it isn’t all that simple. Here’s the result!

Based on a true story …

Sound effects copyright BBC

Recently I animated a couple of elements for the new Skoog advert, which you can watch below.

I animated the girl’s moustache, plus several ‘flourishes’ throughout the video. I’ve added a couple of examples as gifs below.

BoltFlourish

Recently I taught some animation workshops for groups of mainly high school aged children and youth. This is the first time I’ve taught animation in any depth, though I ran one workshop on pixelation a few years ago. My main goal was to give a basic framework for people to think about animation in a different way, and teach skills that they can use themselves.

In the two and a half hour workshop everyone drew a character or object on a piece of animation paper. This became a key frame. I gave a very brief overview of key frames, breakdowns and in betweens and explained charts so each person could add a chart to their key frame. Using the chart, everyone then created breakdowns and in betweens to morph between their key frame and the next. For anyone who is unfamiliar with 2D animation, this blog post may help if you want to learn a bit more.

I ran two of these workshops, and you can see the results of both in the video above.

At the end of the workshop, I gave everyone paper and clips to make flip books. I left the direction of these completely open, and the results were varied and brilliant.

The final session I ran was a day and a half long specialism workshop, where I began by going much more in depth with the technical aspects of animation. I showed a few short animations as inspiration including The Illusion of Life, which is a brilliant little video summarising the 12 principles of animation in a clear way. As individuals and as a group they worked through a couple of exercises exploring timing and weight. I was impressed with the way people picked up on some of the principles from the video, thinking about squash and stretch and anticipation in particular.

After drawing thumbnails for their ideas, they began animating on paper. I encouraged everyone to key out their animation, using their thumbnails as poses. The group really thought about how many drawings they wanted between each key, and after the exercises they’d learnt a lot more about breakdowns and in betweens, especially the fact that they don’t have to be exactly halfway between one drawing and another.

Given that there was only one lightbox I pushed everyone to learn to flip the pages, and seeing people pick it up in only a couple of hours was incredible. Flipping the entire scene was also fantastic. I think there’s something really tactile and fun about animating on paper, and I’m glad I could share that.

The films that were created are far beyond anything I anticipated. Real thought went into the making of them, and everyone made an effort to put into practice principles they’d only just learnt. The end results are beautiful and funny. I’m thrilled to have been a part of it.

Scots warrior-king, Alpin, must fight to rescue his brother and regain the kingdom of Dalriata.

The Gaelic King is an independent feature I was a story and concept artist on. Truffle Pictures has closed distribution deals for the film across North America, the UK, Japan, Italy and the Middle East. It’s releasing in the UK on the 10th of July, and you can preorder it from Amazon and other retailers.

I also created some motion graphics and effects work for the film, such as the map at the beginning of the trailer. You can see some of my other work for the feature on my Storyboards and Projects pages.

I designed, storyboarded and animated this video for trypraying. The trypraying booklet is a seven-day prayer guide which encourages people to try praying for a week and see what happens.

Some of my concept art for the project is below.

CharacterDesign

I began with some rough character sketches from the script. From the outset I wanted designs that were simple but attractive.

BGDesign copy

BGDesign

I also began to explore the background environments and colour design. For the background, I wanted to have a very flat, “false” perspective. I wanted to tie the colours to the trypraying booklet.

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I created colour keys using the storyboard, finding a range that would work through each scene.

Policewoman2

Once the storyboard and animatic were complete, and the colours approved, I made last-minute changes – like the policewoman’s new hat – and then began building the characters and backgrounds in Illustrator and Flash.

Characters

Characters2

J_02

I drew some sketches of how the characters would need to be broken up for animation.The minister only needed to wave his hand, whereas the main character had to be able to turn, walk and move his arms. The main character’s trousers were simplified as a result.

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Here are some of the final scenes in the video. I’m really pleased with how the colour and designs came out. This was a fun project to make!

And here’s a little extra: I added a caricature of myself sitting on the bus!

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Light shining through clouds. Very cloudy, but little rain.

Using my iPhone I often create slow-motion videos, but this is the first time I’ve tried time-lapse: you can see the result below!

 

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