Major Project Updates!

Ok so I've got quite a lot of work to update on here, so I'll start with something simple:

Here's the link to my new website!  www.artofalexandra.co.cc

Now, it has been working fine this whole week, but for some reason today the servers seem to be down, so please bear with me and hopefully they'll be up and running again soon >.< nothing I can do myself, other than keep my fingers crossed that it'll get fixed!

If you do get a chance to see the site, please be patient and let it load for a little bit first - I haven't yet put the preloaders in so there's a bit of delay, and if you select some of the larger pages before they've loaded it tends to just stop working XD but if you use Firefox or similar, it'll tell you as soon as the whole site is ready :)

Anyway, next up...my Pop-Up book is finished :D yaaay ^_^ ideally I'd like to have put a finishing page on, but I don't have time now, so perhaps I'll add it in at a later stage. Here are all the complete pages in their before and after stages:

There ya go :D hope you enjoy looking through that! I'd love to have a paper version but that's just not possible right now. Maybe in the future I can look into getting it printed though :)

I'll put some more updates in a separate post - this one's getting a little long and I need to go and get some lunch. Sigh...not long left now >.< and I need to get the portfolio book together! Dear dear...


Apologies For The Silence (and for this post!!)

I've not updated for a little while, things have been pretty hectic!! I guess I'll start at the top:


Woooooo :D

Yeah, I'm super super super super happy ^_^

I'm so grateful to Lucy who never stopped fighting my corner and pressing the issue whenever she could, so thank you so much Lucy for getting me my first and most wonderful full-time position in the animation industry!! I promise I'll be dedicated and hard-working each and every day to try and help make the series completely amazing!! I also owe so much to Fatemeh for being so patient with me and looking out for me every day, making me feel so welcome and accepted ^_^ And of course Nia in the Rastacrew for giving it that final awesome push and letting me work on the amazing Rastamouse series! To be honest, everyone at Dinamo has been so great to me that really I need a huge scrolling credits list!! None of them will read this, but if they do happen to, I hope they know how much I honestly appreciate the effort they've gone to just for me ^_^

Anyway, enough gushing! The placement details are hopefully going through soon and on the 23rd I'll be signing stuff and starting my first full-time week!! Amazing :D So excited!!

Funnily enough the 23rd happens to be the next weekday after our FINAL MAJOR UNIVERSITY DEADLINE!! Yes, capital letters are necessary, it's that scary!

I've been powering through the work recently so I'll have some work updates for you later. I thought I'd just get this lovely info down first (sorry for those of you who dislike text!) and now I'm going to get back on with the artistic business.

But I do want to add, while I'm gushing with the thanks, one more mention.

University hasn't been as smooth a ride as I hoped it might be, and opinions might have changed back and forth a lot over the years, but there is certainly no way I can in any way say that the tutors haven't always done their best for us. It probably doesn't show, but I'm honestly so incredibly grateful for all the extra work and effort that all the tutors have gone to in order to accommodate my niggling preferences and awkward choice of career path. While the Dinamo crew helped me secure my job, I would never even have gotten work experience there if it wasn't for the tutors doing everything they could to bend and shape this year around my work needs.

So thank you so much - Graham Griffiths, Matt Morgan, Gerald 'M&S' Emanuel, Brian Fagence, Pete Hodges, Nicola Marlborough - even if this job lasts a year, a month, or a week, it's because of your incredible patience and continuing effort that we students even make it out to get jobs at all!!

I know I sound daft, but people rarely bother to thank those that have put in a genuine effort to help them, and I don't want people to think they go unappreciated!

Anyway, enough text for now - back to work!!


Opening Shots and London

So firstly, the opening shots for Trail of Crimson. Due to editing and sound design, the opening shot needed to be cut to 20 seconds, so I've done my best to fit everything in!! Here are 4 different options, though I think the final one is the best:

I also have a version that has 5 seconds extra either side for editing purposes :)

Secondly, LONDON!

Jeesh, how hard can it be to plan a simple route in London? Very, apparently. I have to go and pick up a special file for Dinamo, all very important, so I'm happy to be trusted with such a responsibility!! It's all very exciting, but no details, you know the score :)

But planning the route has been hard, as I'm rubbish with London as it is ~_~ but I think I've finally got it sorted!! So I'm going to go and have a shower, prepare everything for tomorrow, then perhaps have an early night so that I'm fresh for the journey, as I'll have lots of time to work on the coach!!


Trail of Crimson Credits

Well I'm pretty sure these are the final ending credits for Trail of Crimson - all that was needed was a quick name change and hopefully it's all good now :) I've exported a H.264 file as well as a MOV, just in case.

I'm just rendering some tests for the opening shot and will post those asap :)

Early Bedtime Methinks

Well it's only 12.30pm, so I may yet stay up and do a bit more work, but I'm still feeling a bit peaky from earlier and my eyes are starting to melt from staring at a screen for 12 hours a day...sigh...

But on the brighter side, here are the textured layouts for my book - please bear in mind that the text has still to be added, and some of the pop-ups aren't shown (most are done, one or two yet to finish), but there will be full before-and-after images soon...ish... >.< or perhaps an animatic if it turns out to be easier XD

Here ya go:

So sleepy....was going to do some flash expression sheets but not sure if I'll manage...perhaps I'll get ready for bed then just work til the Sandman takes me :)


Dear Brain,

Why oh why have you been telling me to export all these files as MOVs? Huge, chunky, flicker-y evil MOVs?? When you know full well they all needed to be H.264 - how many times have we gone through it in Uni?

I have come to the conclusion that you suck.

Yours sincerely,

Yes, brain = suckage. Oh well, here's the nice, small, high quality H.264 file of the opening shot. Please note I've left a long bit of black on the beginning because I'm not sure how long they'll need for music, and this way they can edit it to their liking. Also, for the lovely director who will hopefully read this, I do have an even longer version, where each bit has a little more time, so if you need any part longer or shorter, just let me know ^_^ hope this is ok!!

NOW I'm going to start the rest of the pop-up pages, get all the main textures done for pages 3 to 8 - hopefully won't take long, but I've cracked open another Diet Red Thunder drink to take the edge off!

Urgh Brain Fail

Ok so apparently the failing of After Effects to export the file was not, as I had hoped, due to some silly computer error, but in fact the far more common human error of my brain, trying to export it as mp4 format instead of H.264 (which comes out mp4 ANYWAY but whatever...still a different choice on the menu -_-).

So yes, that should be exporting all nice and lovely and I'll pop it up on here when it's done. I'm referring to the final version of the scrolling credits for Trail of Crimson, by the way. Well, hopefully the final version, though they may ask for tweaks, which is fine. I'm about to go into the opening credits file and just change a few things there and then I'll upload that here too.

Ooo here's the credits:

Two more updates:

Dinamo was fun again today, though a bit painful on the old back (yes, am already an old woman XD). Twas mainly audio cuts and some production filing, nice and easy, soothing almost. Plus the kids are great so it's easy to get the audio. I chopped up about 46 minutes worth of audio for Abadas today - wooo! ...that doesn't sound like a lot does it XD but it is if you think that it takes about 10 minutes to cut like 5 seconds... ~_~ trust me, you can fit a lot of words into 5 seconds!

Also, look, drawings!! Like, real-life pencil-y done-by-me drawings!! It does happen now and again XD they aren't great sadly. These are three poses for Niamh's action sheet. There's two more I haven't scanned, and two of Rae to scan as well. Still need to draw the rest....still need to do a lot of thing >.<

Right, let's get that opening shot done.

Also, I'm listening to the Ocarina of Time soundtrack. Be jealous. :)

Pop-Up Book Work

Well I'm waiting for the final few changes to the Trail of Crimson work to render on AE, so I thought I'd put a quick update of some of my own work in progress - I've been working on my pop-up book a lot, and it's finally starting to take shape :) Originally sketched in pencil, all the designs were then drawn over in Flash and last night I was texturing the elements in Photoshop. I'm hoping to finish all that tonight, as I'm just going to use the same few textures so that it doesn't get too crazy XD I do love my textures!! Of course, all the ones I'm using are royalty free from wonderful texture-providing people across the web, but sadly I was given them in a collection so I have no links to the original downloads.

Of course, a lot of these won't make sense yet as they're just the separate elements, but hopefully the two more finished (ish) pages will give more of an idea. I've left most of the mechanisms out for now, but will either be putting together a before-and-after style set of the final images in Photoshop, or, if I have time (which I really don't -_-) I may animate each page in After Effects. Anyway, here's some of the pages so far:

And yes Luke, that is you on the last page =P

Anyway, hoping to finish all the pages tonight and maybe even start the before-and-after images...it's only 9.30pm after all, the night is still young XD

Right well something is wrong with After Effects, not exporting in mp4 right now, so will finish here and restart my beloved Mac -_- If all goes well, I shall be back with more updates and hopefully the finished shots for Trail of Crimson!


Opening Shot Test

Couldn't fit the MOV file on here as it's like 2GB!! So here's a H.264 encoded mp4 instead. Not sure if it'll come out ok -_- But it's a test for the bleeds in and out on the opening titles of Trail of Crimson. I'm hoping to be all finished with this project soon, just a few changes to make here and there, so that'll be good :)

SO much to do...and now I'm at Dinamo FOUR days a week, it's going to be even more difficult! But I'm happier as this is what I wanted - to be at Dinamo as much as possible :) Lucy has been fantastic and even bought me lunch the other day!! ^_^ Fatemeh and Nia have been supporting me through all the production work, and all the guys at Dinamo are so friendly too - I'm never without someone to chat to or have lunch with ^_^ I really hope I can keep improving and get a job there after the degree is done!!

Anyway, before that I need to actually finish this work for Uni, so I'd better get back to it! >.<


Another Quick Update

In the middle of working on my website for the Business Module and the animatic for Major Project, but just wanted to put up some scrolling credits for the Trail of Crimson film :)

Not sure if they'll be what they're looking for, but it wouldn't be hard to change. I was thinking of trying still plates as well and letting them bleed in and out, so maybe I'll do a test for that tonight.

Short and sweet :)


Quick One Before Scream Night :P

So I've been back in Dinamo two days a week on work experience again, and I'm loving every second of it ^_^ I'm in every Wednesday and Thursday til the end of my degree!! Yay :)

On Wednesdays I'm on the Abadas project and then Thursdays are for Rastamouse, which is super exciting as they're both awesome series at very different stages and with a variety of media and tasks involved, which means there's a lot for me to learn and work on ^_^

As a quick overview, here's some of the things I worked on this week and last:

Abadas - asset clean up and QA; 2D asset checklists; script and asset tracking for 17 episodes; voice recording in English and Welsh; audio cutting in English and Welsh; etc

Rastamouse - set sanding, painting and other misc hands on set building work; using the Rastareader to make clean plate shots; reorganisation and labelling of all location storyboard files; printing and organisation of storyboards; etc

There may have been other stuff but we're about to start a Scream Marathon night in my flat so I'm a little distracted at the moment! But yes, I love Dinamo and I really hope I can continue working there when the work experience is over >.<

Will update with some actual visuals soon!!!


A Few More Tests

So I've been doing a few more tests for the MA film Trail of Crimson. The first is trying to get a bird to blink, which has been a lot harder than anticipated -_- I think the movement and timing are ok now (after many many tries!) but the shading on the half-closed position is not right - it needs to be lighter on the lid, so I'll be fixing that shortly.

EDIT: here's a newer, hopefully somewhat better one ~

The next is the final shot which will lead into the credits. I don't yet have a list but when I do I'll be trying different things with the text. For now I've just tried a sink into the blood and then fade to black, nice and simple. But of course, it'll depend on the music and feel of the scene, which the Director will be able to enlighten me on soon. EDIT: for some reason the fade to black doesn't seem to come in, so...will have to check that out -_-

Another shot I'm working on is a death shot that I don't really want to put up as I don't want to spoil the film! But for that I'm going to have to do a frame by frame edit of the colour, adding in a red tint for each part. 

Of course I've been working on the write-on effect with the text, and have now added a reverse bleed to give it a nice way of fading out. Below is the basic test.

For some reason it won't let me upload a decent quality video of the scene itself. I'm going to try making it smaller to see if that's an issue. For the effect itself, I was trying a few things with the mask - putting the text in a way that suggested it was being written on the mask itself, but it just wasn't working at all. So the title is larger and visible here, with a bit of a red blur/glow and subtracted so that it fades into the scene itself....

Ah so it may have been the size issue, as here is a much smaller one. Unfortunately this means the quality is veeeery low -_- but hopefully you'll get an idea and I'll try get a better quality one up soon :)

EDIT: for some reason the dot on the i disappears and then reappears, causes a flicker. I think I know what the issue is, so I'll fix that and then re-upload ~_~


Last Day on Work Experience

Sadly another week has gone rapidly by and it's Friday already!! It's been so busy again, hence the lack of updating, but this week has been very much art based in contrast to the production work I did last week.

I started off with an animatic for Soli and Mo, just a test so Lucy could see how I managed. It took me most of the day so that was Monday done, but when Lucy checked it she said she was really pleased ^_^ As Soli and Mo has been aired already, she said it was fine for me to put it up here (though if there are any problems I can take it down anytime)

On Tuesday I was introduced to the new show The Abadas and spent the day doing character sketches to get used to the style and shapes so that I could spend the rest of the week storyboarding. I worked on the second scene of episode two, though of course it won't be used or anything, it's just so Lucy can again see how I manage. I'm not the biggest fan of storyboarding, and it's certainly not a talent of mine, but I love the characters so I enjoyed doing it. I did about 30 pages of elements which took me all of Wednesday. My biggest issue was that I chose to do it traditionally as I can't draw digitally, which meant it needed a lot of compositing and clean up in Photoshop, which I spent all of Thursday doing - 43 final panels.

Of course, as Abadas is a new show I can't put up any of the sketches or storyboards on here, but Lucy's been very kind and allowed me to take what I've done to show my tutors, meaning that these two weeks can go properly towards my degree ^_^
This afternoon I'm going to put my storyboards into an animatic, as I was going to continue storyboarding but someone else needed the script. I may get a chance to continue later, but for now I'll try timing out what I've done in Premiere.

Overall I've adored my time at Dinamo - it really surprised me how much I enjoyed everything I've done and how great a place it is to work. As I mentioned before, everyone here is so awesome and made me feel so welcome, and I really appreciate all the help everyone gave me. It was cool meeting artists that I've admired for a while on places like Deviant Art and stuff, and seeing how relaxed and yet focused and hardworking a real studio is. It's got a very different atmosphere than University, but at the same time everyone is happy and friendly, and it feels like it would be very easy to become part of the team ^_^

As far as myself goes, Lucy has mentioned a few things she wants me to look at, though nothing is concrete yet, but I know that as soon a chance arrives, I'll be trying my best to get back in to Dinamo!!


Dinamo Update :)

Ok so it's Sunday and thankfully I took the day off work - so tired!! Dinamo has been very busy and I had a family reunion yesterday, so this is my first chance for a break really >.<

But yes, Dinamo. So as I mentioned I was doing a lot of audio cutting, which continued til Thursday lunchtime, at which point I finished all the current recordings for Soli and Mo ^_^ The next job I was given was to transfer all of the schedule for the new show Abadas over onto Lucy's personal schedule, week by week, for every job throughout production (outlines, scripts, layouts, audio, dialogue, animation, cg, comping, etc etc so many!!).

That took until Friday lunchtime, and it was quite relaxing and really informative as I got to see exactly how each part of the process is structured and arranged, working with each other section and of course, how each episode's production relates to the next.

After I'd finished with that, Lucy showed me how to do the script breakdowns for the animators - using an example episode that had already been animated for the Welsh version, I had to go through, time each shot, write out what format it was in, and then write down everything that happened in it - dialogue, actions etc. Well, I think that's what I was meant to do anyway - I finished it just as the work day ended so I haven't had feedback from Lucy yet. I'm hoping I did ok!!

Anyway, Lucy said she'll go through the entire production process with me at the beginning of this week, so that should be awesome ^_^ I'm hoping then that I can just get on with more work and show how much I really want to be there!!

I'll be very sad when I have to go back to Uni...Dinamo is just such a great place and everyone there is awesome ^_^ Roll on the time when I can apply for a job!!


Dinamo Update

I said I'd blog every night after Dinamo but as of yet I don't have much to put up on here. I have been reeeeeeaally busy - currently cut audio for about 5 episodes of their children's cartoon Soli and Mo, and the actors are so cute with their lines, it's been fun ^_^ though hurting my back a lot -_- Also being doing bits of research and things, but hopefully I'll have more variety after the audio has all be done.

Dinamo itself is awesome - I love the place and everyone's really nice :) been having lunch in different places - there's a lot more around that industrial estate than you first realise!

Anyway, that's all for now. I'd planned to do some Uni work in the evenings but I'm so tired, I haven't done any yet. Hopefully I'll get used to the routine and can catch up soon :)


Character Work

Well I was uploading tests for Trail of Crimson, but Blogger seems to have decided that videos are the devil's work and cannot be uploaded -_-

So, seeing as how I haven't updated my character work in an awfully long time, I figured I'd do that instead ^_^ Below are the development and colour keys for Rae, Lucian, the Monarch and Niamh, with annotations that you can hopefully still read (not sure on the resolution of the uploads on this -_-).