Posted in: TShirts

Its the design I get contacted about the most often and I am delighted to announce that it will finally be getting printed again in the near future. Keep your eye out for any updates on my blog and twitter and I will let you know dates when I know them.

Website Pokemon Stitch

(As on Qwertee, chances are the text will not be printed)

Posted in: Other

So, I was lucky enough to be one of the successful applicants to Double Negative’s first ever graduate open day. I’ve been interested in the work Double Negative does for a long time now, especially after a great talk we had during my second year about their work on John Carter. It was a fantastic opportunity to get a closer look at the company and how they operate. The afternoon consisted of a short tour (avoiding showing us anything that needed to stay out of the public eye of course) followed by a really interesting talk about some of their work on Fast and Furious 6. Next there was a Q&A session followed by a chance to network with a variety of the staff.

I had some really interesting conversations about possible career paths and I now know that getting into the rigging team at DNeg is possibly one of the hardest goals I could set myself. Of course, that hasn’t put me off, its merely made me all the more determined to prove what I am capable of.

June 2, 2013

So, Final Major Project is over and handed in, which means my degree is also finished. There have been odds and ends requested from tutors and its left me feeling like I’m in some sort of strange limbo. The degree is finished, but with all these extra hand ins (that dont even affect my marks) its hard to move onto the stage of tidying up my CV ready to apply for jobs.

Anyway, here is my final showreel, which has a variety of my best work from 2nd and 3rd year.
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This is the deformations and rig demo for the elephant rig.
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This is the deformations and rig demo for the toony monkey rig.
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This is the unfinished version of my elephant advert. As I have mentioned previously, this project had a bumpy journey to get to hand in and sadly it never quite made it to completion. However, I thought I would upload it anyway for those curious about the project.
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There is no doubt in my mind that what I have learnt, more than anything else, during this project, is be confident about who you choose to work with. Any concerns or worries you may have about an individual’s ability, enthusiasm or productivity probably exist for a reason. If you choose to work with them, make sure you have a contingency plan in case things fall through. A project is only as good as the sum of its parts. If one, or more, of the collaborators is unreliable then the parts they are creating could well be unreliable too.

Working in a student environment differs from the workplace in one major respect, and that is your ability to replace team members. In the workplace, if an employee is not hitting their deadlines, or reaching their targets, the employer has several options. The employee must be warned and spoken to about the problem, but if their work does not improve, the employer can take action. They can shift the individual onto other, less important, projects and, where necessary, make more meaningful threats. At university, there is a limited pool of “employees” most of whom are already “employed” by someone else. You cannot remove someone from your project if things go wrong, all you can do is look for someone else to also do the work, and use the most successful version. If every other student is already working on other projects, then there is little you can do but try to encourage those you are working with to work harder and produce something better.

In the workplace, it is also very clear what level of authority an individual has. You know who your managers are, who you need to listen to and who you should respect. As a student director, you may be in charge of the project, but you have no more real authority than any of the students working with you. This makes it much harder to put any impact or strength behind the words of a verbal warning. There is very little that you can back it up with.

These lessons were, unfortunately, learnt through the unreliability of those I worked with this year. Trying to pull everything together has been extremely stressful. Last year I promised myself I would leave at least one project that wasn’t a collaborative effort, so that if anything went wrong I had a project I could drop in an emergency so that I could devote the time to whatever needed it the most. For some reason, I forgot that promise and once again, all four of my projects were collaborative. This meant that not only were other people relying on things from me before they could start working, but I was often waiting for work from them. When there is a personal project to work on, this eases the tension of waiting for work, because you still have something to devote your time to.

Some essential time was wasted on this project due to having to find new collaborators at such a late stage and I wasnt able to start rendering until May. This meant that many of my planned scenes had to be dropped and I cut down the advert to a more manageable format. Unfortunately, in the end, so much time was lost that even this shortened version was not achieved. All three shots were rendered and passed on to the compositor, but with only a week to try and complete everything, she didn’t stand a chance. This was made harder as the animation for the final shot did not match up with the movement of the bear. The new animator had been unable to get things any cleaner in the short amount of time I gave her and my compositor was unable to match move the bear without a lot more time, which we didn’t have.

I am disappointed that I was unable to pull the elephant project through to completion, but I believe that I did everything I could to get it as far as possible. If I were to do the project again, I would pick the team I worked with more carefully. I would respond more quickly to late work and give verbal warnings sooner. I would also be faster to look for alternative collaborators if my team ignored deadlines and feedback. However, this final option would be very dependant on other students having projects they could change/drop.

May 10, 2013

Theoretically, rendering should be quite simple. Changing all the settings and creating the lighting can be quite long winded, but the process itself is done very similarly every time. However, when trying to create my depth passes I hit a real problem. It didn’t seem to matter how I changed my settings or which tutorial I followed I just repeatedly ended up with either a white silhouette, or a completely black render.


Even the staff couldn’t find a problem with my settings and they were left as stumped as I was. After about a day of experimenting I worked out that it was only my camera from Boujou that didn’t seem to be rendering the depth correctly. Rendering from perspective, or a new camera, or even in a new file with the scene imported worked fine. However, the moment I tried to render from that camera, I had a silhouette again.

Eventually I was able to track down the problem. Boujou had exported my scene set up extremely small. As my rig could not be scaled, my only option was to scale the scene instead. The scale of the camera meant that the values for the depth pass also needed to be scaled accordingly.

As I wanted this camera to remain scaled so that the image plane containing the footage was in the right place (behind the elephant) I decided to make a new camera. I parent constrained it to the scaled camera with maintain offset unticked and then rendered from this new camera. This completely solved the problem and I finally had a depth pass that rendered correctly.