Friday, 29 April 2011

Final 2D storyboard

Dialogue needs to be added but here is my final 2D storyboard. I've gone for floaty camera movements and "out of" focus backgrounds to add an extra dimension. From here I plan to create detailed digital concept paintings, keeping in mind style, theme and target audience. The live footage at the start and end will hopefully be filmed next Tuesday!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Storyboard - first 40 seconds

Here is my 2D storyboard of the opening for my commission project. It will be a blend of live action (hopefully filming next week), transitioning into CG when we zoom in on the hair follicle on the arm. There is some sound but dialogue needs to be added....

Friday, 22 April 2011

Draft Storyboard and Script

Had a short break seeing family and friends, mainly to recover from Unit 4 and 5 hangovers. I've returned to find Phil has green-lit the live action intro and ending. I'm really pleased as I was able to meet with my friend who said who is able to film it next week! Exciting!! He asked me to give him as much info as possible in the form of storyboards / scripts and animatics so he can film exactly what I want. So today I knocked up some drafts....

Unit 6 Draft Script

I'm a bit embarrassed to put these images up but it is purely my thoughts on page which I can refine into a more polished version. The race is now on to produce a better version and edit it together in prem pro so filming can commence next week!!

Just from these basic images I'm already getting an idea of what I will need to make in Maya, photoshop and after effects. I literally cannot wait to dust off my graphics tablet and start producing concept images.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

HIV research / initial story ideas @ PHIL

Having established the stages of HIV infection with Dr. Klappa, I have set about researching into the various cells and organism's that will appear in my animation.  I have The Hamlyn Encyclopedia of Complementary Health which largely consists of descriptions of a range of health related issues. I needed to find more illustrative orientated books to help drive the visual imagery of my animation. I visited Waterstones in Chatham and was directed to the Bluewater store where I found an AMAZING book called Microcosmos by Brandon Broll. The book contains 203 images taken by a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM). Traditional microscopes uses light and requires the specimen(s) to be sliced thinly, or trapped under glass producing flat 2D images. The SEM uses a beam of electrons, rather than light to scan objects and reveals a microscopic world with outer surfaces and in three-dimensions. Enough talk, check out the images below;

Skin and hair follicles

Bone tissue

Vaccinia virus particles displaying DNA

HIV cells reproducing on a T cell

Absolutely fascinating images, interestingly and another example of science and art crossing over,  the SEM produces black and white images, artists then colour them digitally. With this in mind I don't have to stick to the colour palette used here. I will give this alot more thought.

As my last two projects had a tongue in cheek, humorous feel to them, I want to approach this unit from a different angle. I want it to be as scientifically correct as possible with an adult theme. I want the final animation to communicate with sexually active people (17 + years old) about the dangers of not using a condom during sexual intercourse. I want the images AND narrative story to pack a punch.

Initial Story idea @ Phil

From my research, I have discovered that in the past, drug takers, homosexuals and haemophiliacs were identified as those most likely to contract the virus. In fact, the fastest growing route for new HIV-positive cases is through heterosexual sex, and women are more vulnerable than men.

Therefore, I want to base my animation on a woman discovering she may have possibly contracted the virus. I envisage opening with a tight angle of a woman working at a desk in a busy office, literally just a shot of her arms working on a PC etc. The phone rings and we are eaves dropping on her conversation as the camera begins to zoom in on her arm. The phone call is from a guy she had a random one night stand with. The conversation reveals they had unprotected sex and he is calling to warn her she should get her self tested for "something". At this point the camera takes a roller coaster ride down a hair follicle in her arm, going right down to a microscopic level where we witness the primary infection stage of HIV, corrupting a T CELL.

Camera ride down a hair follicle?

After the HIV has reprogrammed the cell to produce more HIV cells, the camera will start to pan back, revealing other cells being infected. The pan will continue back out of the hair follicle in the arm to a similar shot at the start, this time, the woman is in a Doctor's office as he confirms her CD4 count is dangerously low, and she is HIV positive.

I like this three act structure and I am VERY keen to start producing concept art and storyboards if it get's the green light. My question is: would I be deviating too far from the brief if I interspersed the opening 15 seconds or so with live footage of a womans arms working at a desk, and transitioning into CG as we zoom in on the arm? I am asking because I have a friend who works in TV production and it maybe possible to film the live action, professionally over Easter. Alternatively I am confident I could model various CG arms at different resolutions down to the hair follicle and beyond.

I remembered an unlikely source of inspiration from Fight Club's opening title sequence....

Friday, 15 April 2011

Infected by HIV - My understanding@Phil and Peter

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) can be contracted in three ways:

  • Infected blood passing through the skin barrier, possibly via a deep graze, needle puncture, a cut or a wound.
  • In the womb or at birth, when a mother who is HIV-positive or who has AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) passes the infection to her baby. This may take place across the placenta during pregnancy, or during childbirth itself. An HIV-positive mother can also transmit the virus to her baby via breastfeeding.
  • Having unsafe sex. (as opposed to 'safer' sex. The term 'safe sex' is no longer used). This is the most common way to contract HIV whether a person is male, female, heterosexual or homosexual. Safer sex is defined by any sexual practice which does not allow the partner's blood or semen inside the body - HIV counsellors say the rule is 'on, not in'.

These pictures are from Dr. Klappa's lecture and are simple diagrams of the HIV cell itself.

Question @PETER - Does the HIV cell 'mature' when it has infected the cell?

HIV Infection process

I will research deeper into this process, as I understand it at the moment, HIV infects cells in the immune and central nervous system's. One of the main cells it infects is the 'T helper lymphocyte', a cell that coordinates the actions of other immune system cells. Question @Peter - are 'T helpers' white blood cells and do you want the animation to be a process of one of these being infected?

I believe the above image is a diagram of a 'T helper' being infected because the cell membrane has CD4 receptor's on it's membrane. HIV attaches to the CD4 receptor and gains entry. Question @Peter - does the HIV cell actually penetrate the cell membrane? I seem to remember you saying that it doesn't but I maybe mistaken?

A healthy cell reproduces itself in it's cell nucleus, which contains the DNA (double stranded 4 bases A, C, T, G). Through a process called 'transcription' the DNA is broken down into RNA (single stranded 4 bases A, C, U, G). RNA is then broken down through a process called 'translation' into protein called amino acids (the basic building blocks of life).

HIV uses 'reverse transcription', synthesizing RNA into viral DNA. Viral DNA then integrates into the cell genome in the nucleus. The cell begins the cycle (viral transcription & translation); virus DNA creates virus RNA creates virus PROTEIN. The resulting amino acids (protein) reconstructs new HIV cells. These new cells go onto infect other cells and the process is repeated.

HIV infection eventually leads to a severe reduction in 'T helper' cells available to help fight disease. A CD4 test (or CD4 count) is used to measure the number of T helper's in the carriers blood. When the count decreases to a critical level, the individual is said to have progressed to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and is susceptible to infections and cancers.

The process of HIV infection can be broken down into four stages:
  • Stage 1: Primary HIV infection - the subject of my animation detailed above. During this stage the body releases HIV antibodies.
  • Stage 2: Clinically asymptomatic stage - usually between 5 - 10 years, free of symptoms but HIV is not dormant.
  • Stage 3: Symptomatic stage - carrier's shows symptoms as theimmune system is severely damaged and unable to fight off infections it normally prevents.
  • Stage 4: Progression from HIV to AIDS - patients may develop increasingly severe opportunistic infections and cancers, leading eventually to an AIDS diagnosis
Stage 1 is the subject of my animation so my next post will revolve around story ideas / narratives along with more research images in response to Peter's answers to my questions.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Unit 6 - Commission

Brief Overview:

I have been commissioned by Dr. Peter Klappa to produce a complete 3D animation to one of the following scenarios:

1. Infection by HIV

2. Making an antibody

3. Fighting infection

4. The Flu virus

Following Dr. Klappa's lecture, I am really excited about either one of the scenarios but the one that interests me the most is 'infection by HIV'.

After Effects - Lesson 1

This lesson was used to play around with images and get used to the UI. I found a background image and a monster image and used alpha channels to put together a funny little clip. I also made a smoke layer and played around with the "Puppet point pin" tool to try and animate it....

Attack of the Snail-man...Thingy

Maya - Felix loose walk cycle

Maya - Felix Jnr Double bounce walk cycle

Maya Tail Rigs

Sunday, 10 April 2011

From Muybridge to Avatar - animation timeline


“Horse in Motion”

Edward Muybridge
B. 9th April 1830. Kingston, Surrey, England.
D. 8th May 1904. Kingston, Surrey, England.

1878 - 1880
“Study in Human motion”

Thomas Eakins
B. 25th July 1844, Philadelphia, USA.
D. 25th June 1916, Philadelphia, USA.


"Dickson Greeting" using the Kinetoscope
William K. Dickson
B. 3rd August 1860, France.
D. 28th September 1935, England.

Thomas Edison
B. 11th February 1847, USA.
D. 18th October 1931, USA.


“Pauvre Pierot”

Emile Reynaud
B. 8th December 1844, France.
D. 9th January 1918, France.

“Le Livre Magique” (The Magic Book)

Georges Melies
B. 8th December 1861, France.
D. 21 January 1938, France.

“The Humorous Phases of Funny Faces”

James S. Blackton
B. 5th January 1875, Yorkshire, England.
D. 13th August 1941, USA.

“The Teddy Bear”

Edwin S. Porter
B. 21 April 1870
D. 30 April 1941


Emile Cohl
B. 4th January 1857, Paris, France.
D. 20th January 1938, France.

“Battle of the Stag Beetles”
Ladislow Starewicz
B. 6th August 1882, Russia.
D. 28th February 1965, France.


“Gertie the Dinosaur”
Winsor McCay

B: 26th Sept 1867, Spring Lake, Michigan, USA.
D: 26th July 1934, Brooklyn, New York, USA

“The Artists Dream”

John R. Bray
B. 25th August 1879
D. 10th October 1978.

1916 – 1917

“Rotoscope Patent”

“Koko the Clown”

Max Fleischer
B. 19th July 1883, USA.
D. 11th September 1972, USA.

“The Pied Piper of Hamlin”
Lotte Reiniger
B. 2nd June 1899, Germany.
D. 19th June 1981, Germany.

“Feline Follies”
Felix the Cat

“The Lost World”

Willis O’Brien
B. 2nd March 1886, USA.
D. 8th November 1962, USA.

“Steamboat Willie”
 Walt Disney
B. 5th December 1901, USA.
D. 15th December,1966, USA.


“Mighty Joe Young”

Ray Harryhausen
B. 29th July 1920
“Begone Dull Care"
Norman McLaren
B. 11th April 1914, Scotland.
D. 26th January 1987, Canada.

“Dimensions of a dialogue”
Jan Svankmajer
B. 4th September 1934, Czechoslovakia.

“The Snowman”
Raymond Briggs
B. 18th January 1934, Wimbledon, London, England.

First CGI Character

 “Stained glass Knight” from Young Sherlock Holmes
Industrial Light and Magic
“Streets of Crocodiles”
The Quay Bros.
B. 17th June 1947, Pennsylvania.

“The Tune”
Bill Plympton
B. 30th April 1946, USA.


“Bullet Time” invented

The Matrix


First computer generated feature length film.

“Toy Story”


Highest grossing 3D film of all time


Friday, 8 April 2011


The art of the Lascivious Broom

The Art of The Lascivious Broom

Animation exercise

For this class exercise, tutor Meg asked us to draw the start and end frames of a movement, (in this case standing up from a chair). We then had to fill in the frames in-between from memory.

Animation Essay Intro

Is Andrew Stanton part of a “second golden age” in animation with Pixar?
This essay will explore the life and career of animator, story teller, film maker and director Andrew Stanton. It will investigate his work at Pixar Animation Studios, the company where he has achieved most recognition and success, and the rise of Pixar itself. It will compare the ‘golden age’ of cinema achieved by Walt Disney from (1920 to the mid 1940’s), to Pixar’s commercial and critical success throughout the 1990’s to present day. For references it will be sourcing; ‘Screenwriting Screencraft’ by Declan McGrath and Felim Macdermott; ‘Animation Art, from pencil to pixel, The Illustrated History of Cartoon, Anime and CGI’ by Jerry Beck; ‘The Art of Finding Nemo’ by Mark Cotta Vaz and ‘The Fundamentals of Animation’ by Paul Wells.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Amended 2D ball exercises

Tutor Meg asked me to extend the frame rates on both the ball bounce exercises, to emphasise more weight on the bounce.

Lascivious Human Walk cycle

Tutor Meg asked me to do a human lascivious walk cycle. I used a basic character outline for speed.