Edits and Fixes.

Today I started editing different playblasts and animations together to see how shots were lining up, given the change in the animation styles especially for sequence two. I have attached the initial edit I did. There were definite things that needed fixing from the get go, to have to shots feed into each other smoother.

Below are notes that need applied to this edit;

-the camera in shot 02 comes to a hault, making it jaring with how it blends into shot 03. This stop needs removed, and the shot extended in comp to be the same length as shot 03.

-the blending of shot 04 to 05 is not working, there is no link up of why Renny starts searching erratically, it seems to happen randomly. This could be fixed through having him turn to look at the sofa.

-shot 04 needs to have the same face pose/neck pose at shot 03. The eyes need to be round and the head moved over.

I addressed these changes in the video below. I think it’s starting to fall together pretty well. I will need to do compositing renders to substitute these in, to make sure it looks ok.

Creative Futures- Fundraising Pub Quiz

One of the areas I was leading alongside Veronika and Jordan was that of a Pub Quiz, fundraising for the final year show. During the second meeting we arranged a date (Thursday 4th April). Veronikas fiance is a manager at the Hudson which is great, so we got it booked right away.


One of the areas I took as the speciality was finding prizes for the final year show- I made the following table to see what I could get.

Based on the haul of prizes, we came up with two basket/hamper style prizes. The first prize hamper would be a comic book/nerd supreme- this would be made from the comic book bros prizes and the forbidden planet prizes. The second would be a pamper night in- this would include the lush prizes, a bottle of wine and some chocolate and the newbridge items (and possibly a doggy groom hamper).

Another idea to raise money was that of the smirnoff roll. Basically you buy a ten pounds bottle of smirnoff and get people to stand at a distance. Then people roll pound coins to the smirnoff, whoever is the closest coin wins. This is an option- Veronika checked with her fiance and it was ok (as long as no one drank the alcohol inside the bar).


One of the parts of the pub quiz which was harder was that of the advertising. As the branding for the show was not decided upon (but we had a final name of 19 FP/YS) I went ahead and planned a brief poster out.


After our meeting the day after I did this draft poster, Caitlin provided us with a rough logo/show name which was great. I used the rough in the poster, replacing my type. I think it looks pretty well.


Research- Redshift Rendering

Rendering in Redshift was a thing, until now, that I had never entirely understood, and it was getting hard to finalise lookdev with such noise covered stills- so I decided to clear up how to reduce this.

This tutorial was amazing at explaining HOW Redshift works and going through the mathematical sides of things. Basically Redshift is very intelligent in the way it works- you can chose were you want more rays to be fired at, and reduce rays from sources were they don’t need as many. This adaptability can be turned off by using the brute force method- this method fires rays equally at every pixel by making the local samples one while keeping the minimum and maximum the same. This method however is slow and is useless given Redshift’s insane adaptability.

There are certain things that needs to be remembered however to ensure these intelligent adaptive samplers work. Basically you need MORE LOCAL SAMPLES THAN MAXIMUM  SAMPLES. Why? As this allows the unified sampler to focus on things such as DOF, motion blur and Anti Aliasing instead of Lights GI and Specular.

Some definitions given in the documentation that I found helpful,

Minimum samples– Minimum amount of rays fired

Maximum samples- Maximum amount of rays fired

Local Samples- Local Samples fired including Specular, Refractions, Lights, Ambient Occlusion and Brute Force GI

Adaptive Error Threshold- Controls intelligence sensitivity of the adaptive engine.

There is an equation that shows how Redshift calculates samples and it is the following;

Local Samples/ Maximum samples =Primary Rays Per Pixel

(NB Redshift cannot fire less than 1 primary ray per pixel, so therefore the local samples must be greater than the maximum samples). The below graphics shows the different effects the local and max sample has on the render time and quality. The greater the local samples compared to max, the less noise there is on the render. However, although the time increases, it gets to a certain level and then tapers off.


Redshift also has a hidden thing were it fires rays in groups of 4,8,16 and 32 max through RAY SORTING. When Redshift renders it fires multiple ray bundles (known as Ray Bundle Packets) until its algorithm says STOP. The adaptive sampling engine takes each bundle and looks at it and decides whether more samples need to be fired or not. So for example, if there are less bundles, there is less information to work with, so a decrease in speed and noise reduction.


The video then moved onto how to alter sampling in Redshift. To fully optimise the render times, it was advised the overides be used for things such as reflection, lights etc. In the different shaders, there are sample settings with can be done manually.

Looking around the interface was a lot of guess work and testing- I actually did a render test for Flickerpix using Redshift as a way to learn the render engine. On my laptop, I got this scene to 3 minutes, which isn’t too bad.

test_2_2.58min (1).jpg

The next tests will be to continue on the scene itself.

I set the living room environment to brute force GI for both primary and secondary rays. I then followed the formulas above, imputing the information until I was able to get a clear render. I included some images below, using the method from the above tutorial.






Animation- Shot 05

Shot 5 was a bit of a tricky shot, despite not having much animation, due to the different poses and making sure they read well. I recycled a lot of the poses for my previous animatic. The idea was that as the poses increased, they would get more frantic as the poses continue. I typed a list of the following poses;

1)reaching between two middle cushions.

2)Looking under the middle cushions while not leaving the sofa.

3)Looking under the sofa

4)lifting the two middle cushions while standing

5)standing on the sofa, lifting the cushion up.

One keyed, I was really feeling the poses were working, however I was wondering if I should include a bit of a crazier pose. I send the following one to Michael for feedback, he really liked it.


Jesus Fernandez suggested that I make it even crazier and have the characters arms and legs from behind the sofa. I really liked this idea and pushed to copy his notes.

Although I really like this pose, I found it to be maybe too far when in the sequence of poses. I worked on having a compromise, having the character to pop up between the two cushions. As I looked back at this movement, I found it was felt incomplete. I decided to add a head turn to the shot, having the character look left and right before looking at the camera, raising an eyebrow.

Another suggested Jesus suggested was that the shot have some sort of change of pacing Either the shot slow or get faster with the poses. To make it feel more manic, I decided to go faster with each pose.

Below is the final animation for this shot. I really like it, I am a little uncertain with the speed of the shot, but once it’s in the edit, I’ll have a better idea.




Jesus feedback -speed





How to Animate

The first step of animation is the blocking key poses.

To start the first step is to change the key frames in Maya to remove the interpolation (this can be done in the preference -editing- f’curve defaults – setting to stepped. This will keep the animation type on stepped and stop it changing to spline with each keyframe.

Animation-shot 07

After completing shot 4 to a point that I was happy with I decided to skip to shot 07 to have some sort of easy win, and to break from the character animation. In this shot Renny throws in a ball and a car from off screen.

There were two animations that I needed to breakdown for this part, the ball and then the car.

I started with the one I had done some off before, the bouncy ball. I referred to the Richard Williams guide and other resources (including the 2d breakdown video below) to understand how a ball bounces, it speed and its shape. As I didn’t have a ball to reference, I animated primarily through my head.


I found the below videos insanely useful, especially when explaining keyframes and how to move them for the bouncy ball movement. I have always struggled to understand ease in and ease out. I get the basic principle, however when I have to apply it, I struggle greatly.


My first pass of the ball was too fast, and the stop was too slow. When showing to Michael Cauchi, he recommended adding a ball roll at the end of the balls journey, to use up the energy from the fall. He also suggested adding a wiggle on the lampshade as the ball made contact.


The roll certainly helped, and I liked how the weight of the ball was feeling as it made contact with the sofa. The next step was to approach the squash and stretch of the ball. Due to the style of the animation, I didn’t want to exaggerate it too much, but enough to give the idea of the cartoonish movement. I also had to keep in mind the physics of the ball- that the volume of the ball had to remain constant during the squash and stretch movements. I also added rotation to the ball, so it’s directionality made sense as it changed direction bouncing off the lampshade.

I really liked how this ball animation looked, thinking I had followed the principles enough so it felt believable. The next step was to approach the car.


I didn’t really have a toy car for my reference footage, so I used a box of cup of soups and filled it with items to make it heavier and then taped it. Low budget student films am I right?

I recorded primarily the ground movement, as the ‘car’ struck it. I really liked the roll that the second contact did. I wanted to include this in my own animation.

However, I noticed when animating my car, this roll wouldn’t be possible, due to the shape of the car. I instead let the car slide to a halt. I was actually surprised at how well this animation turned out, and it felt pretty real!

I updated the timings slightly so that there is a gap between the ball and the car falling for SFX to occur, and give more time for Renny to break things off screen.

Overall, I am happy with this shot. The next one to approach is shot 06, when Renny gets off the sofa and walks of screen, the lead on to this shot.

Creative Futures- CV

When looking at CV’s I first decided to look at general layouts and stylings to see how I could best lay it out.

I found that from looking at examples, I was drawn more to the ones that split the page into two sections, one for contact info, the other side having the more indepth details. I thought this was a clean way to layout information and was easy to read.

From this, I then went on to look at what information was needed to included in a CV. There were some areas I was unsure of myself but I’ll explain as I type.

1)Personal profile/about me

2)job experience/relevant experience- including placements

3)extra curricular/achievements outside of work- this includes clubs/associations etc

4)hobbies and interests- this was a bit of an odd one for me as I didn’t see it as that relevant. Obviously it makes you appear more human, however, I have decided to not prioritise it as much as other areas

5)Education- GCSE, Alevel and University

6)Contact information

7)Skills- most CVs I had looked at had some form of bar or chart showing proficiency in different softwares. However

Personal Profile

The about me section was a really hard for me write- as I had no idea how approach it and what to include. I was sent this link by Michael Cauchi to have a look at, they included different examples of profiles for different jobs etc. The below example was given for a student and I found it extremely helpful.

I am a hardworking and ambitious individual with a great passion for the transport and logistics industry. I am currently in my second year of studying BA Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Aston University. I have excellent communication skills, enabling me to effectively communicate with a wide range of people. I am seeing a part-time position in the industry in which I can put into practice my knowledge and experience, ultimately benefiting the operations of the organisation that I work for.

I then took started writing my own profile;

I’m Rebecca Blair, a recent animation graduate from Ulster University. I have excellent soft communication skills and I am a driven worker, allowing me to excel in studio environments. I have primary interests in modelling, lookdev and production alongside a strong desire to learn new skills.

I think that this is working well and encapsulates everything I want to get across.

CV Language

The next thing to approach is the language used in CVs. When showing Henry my WIP CV he recommended I look into using more assertive language. I did a bit of research into what this meant.

CV Creation

Working with these ideas I first gave a very basic layout for the CV. I multiplied the clay shader on the background of the document to match my business cards.

Once I was happy with this rough layout I added the information. I chose the same font for the headings as my business card, I found it easy to read and kind of fun. I noticed things such as the text alignment in the LHS looked out when left aligned, and looked cleaner centre aligned. I also altered the spacing on the car so all the words matched. I didn’t want to add a photo of myself on the CV, I remember Greg MaGuire mentioning some companies did not like it due to gender laws etc, but I wanted to include something to make it look more friendly. I posed Renny in a waving position and added him to the piece. To make him blend a bit more I added a border to his photo.

The next stage for me was the colour scheme at the beginning  I had just been using a stock one for the mean time. I decided it would be an interesting idea to incorporate Renny’s colouring into the scheme. Using a website, I picked the two main colours (the yellow and pink of Renny) and saw the complimentary colours. I used these in the CV to add a pop of colour. You can see the end result below. Overall I am pleased with how it looks at the moment.



Creative Futures- Poster Designs

Poster design was the next thing for me to tackle. I had a few ideas for what to do. The main one was to recreate the famous Jaws poster and replace the elements with that in my scene. So the shark would be the remote, the sea the floorboards and the swimmer would be Renny looking confused or looking in the sofa.


When I presented this idea to Henry he wasn’t too keen on the idea, he made some fairly good points. He pointed out that the poster didn’t match the tone of my film, and that it wasn’t greatly creative as I was more of less riding off other’s ideas.

Henry got me to start thinking about elements involved in my plot, thinking about the main themes and symbols that when looked at would make my film easily identifiable. For me the main genre/theme is comedy. The main elements are forgetfulness, the tv remote, lost items and human error. Henry said that it would be good to give a rough plot suggestion without giving too much away, showing or hinting at Renny looking for the remote.

When thinking of other visual ways to approach the poster, I had like the use of text and the title to be played with. I had a look at a few examples where text is used in the poster in a witty/interactive way.

Looking at the posters above, I drew a few rough designs using the movies title (Out of Control) and the title. I grew to like the idea that the character would be looking in the title for the remote (and it could be one of the letters or hidden at the bottom of the work control). I did a test render to show Henry (below).


Henry wasn’t that in love with this poster, however when he talked though it I totally agree. He said that the poster had a huge amount of white space, and that the layout of these text would not look great in a portrait A2 poster format, and the composition would look very empty. I asked if he had any other ideas for the short.

Henry brought up that when visualising my poster, he kept thinking of the fish tank from Rango. He imagined having the remote in another unusual place that it would be lost- in the case of Rango in a fish tank. I really liked this idea, and was immediately drawn to the posters for early man.

The fish tank from Rango.

This series of posters for EarlyMan were not main character or scene photos, in fact they were objects that identified the universe of the film (Cavemen times with a twist) and gave a sense of the characters themselves. I additionally liked the use of the puns in them .

I started coming up with ideas for the poster (see the list below).


Although I came up with a few ideas, I still loved the fish bowl idea. I am bad at designing general layouts for thing until I start working, so I jumped in and just started working.  Below is the render I came up with after a day of tweaking. I was really happy with how this was looking.


After this render, I then took it into photoshop, playing with different fonts. I wanted something that was quite playful, but clear enough that can be read ok by anyone. I found this font LOVELO and it was great. I started adding things such as the Vignette and found myself really liking the poster.


Showing different people, they suggested I play with the curves to get a more blue look. I then added a vignette to complete the look. I definitely like this poster a lot more with the colour, and the feedback from Henry was great- he really liked it! The next stop is the CV!



Creative Futures- Business Cards

Business cards were the part I was most excited for developing for this project, as I think they are such a fun but small way to show personality and skill in a tiny piece of paper. I looked back on cards I had previously created, using two character renders as my ‘hero’ shots for the back of the card. They were designed to be single sided, however I liked how they showed my work.


Looking at these, I decided that I wanted to go for a two sided design, so I began searching online for inspiration.  Below are some examples that I looked at and quite liked, I have included a brief reason as to why I like them below.

Focusing on General Layout of Design


This is my favourite card of the lot, the rounded edges is a design I really thought would compliment my work, given the style of stop motion short, and the softness of the media. I also really liked the display of the artwork here, showing the ability and design work of the designer in a clean way on one side, but then playing the details in a clear to read obvious way on the reverse.

I then started thinking about possible layouts for the image on the other side, either the image taking up the full side of the card or leaving a border like the one below.


This card dimensions are thinner than other card, something I didn’t really like. I also wasn’t a fan of the text being the opposite direction on the card. I did a text with one of my renders on business card format to see how it looks.


I wasn’t a fan of the border, it was looking too clinical, so thought that the render to the full edge of the card would work a lot nicer and match the mood of my funner short. I grabbed a few renders of my short and added the rounded edge look to see how they would look on the rounded edge shape of the card.



I really like these cards, they definitely have a ‘funness’ that goes alongside the mood of my piece, and will definitely be looking into format. Cost wise, I know that the rounded edging is more expensive as they have to be aligned and cut, however it would be worth it.

The Contact Side

The next thing is to approach the contact side of my card, or the side with all the information on it. I compiled a list of what sort of things I need to include on the card itself. This article gave a good list of things to include;

  • Identification/ contact information- including your name and name of business, phone number, website, email, something to tell people what you do, website url or portfolio link.
  • An image to show what area you are in/ what you do
  • White space- not just for design, allows people to write comments on the card.

I started by writing our details I need to display;

  • Rebecca Blair
  • Production, Modelling, Look dev
  • reblairanimation@gmail.com
  • 07719017603
  • website (if created)

I then started looking at different ways in which cards displayed the text to take advantage of the negative space. These were the two I kind of like the most, so I started to arrange my information into the two formats.

Below are the two formatting tests. that I tried. I am drawn more to the second layout at the moment, I think it reads better and overall looks neater.


When talking about business card ideas to my class, Megan Conlon suggested I should play with the clay look that is iconic in my project, and maybe I could write my Name in clay or something similar. I took the images above with the type and made them into a displacement map. The tests are below.


Although I didn’t think this was really working,  I decided I really wanted to include the clay backdrop as I felt it spiced up my image a lot. I then decided to try just using type face on top to see how it looked.


I thought that this was starting to work, however I felt that the name and role would need to be more bold and stand out. So I decided to place a drop shadow under the name.


I send the above image to Alec for some feedback, the main things he addressed where the shader on the background (it look more like plastic) and the alignment of the text. I first addressed the shader on the background of the card.


I showed the card so far to Henry, and he really liked it. He then showed me the ruler tools in photoshop that would help with aligning the text etc. This definitely came in handy.


This is the final info side of the card- I am really happy with it so far, can’t wait to get these guys printed for real!


Shot 01 Animation- Prep for Oleksiy

As a non animator, I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t stretched for time when animating. With consideration of my animation, there is one shot that is proving a problem shot- due to the long animation all on screen for 45 seconds to a minute. This is shot 01.

I decided to outsource this to an animator while I focus on the other 1.5 minutes of animation. The animator I spoke to (Oleksiy Popov) currently works at Blue Zoo and has worked on various stepped animations there – so he has a great understanding of the style I am going for.  His reel is available below.

I prepared the following document to send to Oleksiy to describe the shot and the action needed. I’ve been informed Oleksiy is a very good directorial sense, so I tried to give him as much creative freedom as possible.

As the shot is created- he will send me updates at the different block out stages, inbetweens etc, which will be great for ensuring the character is consistent.


The first pass from Oleksiy came today (2/4/19) and I attached the video below. The block is great! I love the character Oleksiy gave Renny- the poses are fantastic. I had a few notes for him. I requested that he hold the animation on the pose where Renny looks at the remote, to allow it to lead onto shot 02. This removed the 3/4 seconds after this pose (timestamp at 41 secs). I was then able to relocate this to other areas of the animation. Oleksiy agreed that this was very doable and so we wait on the next update.


Oleksiy is really killing it with the animation (as expected). The movement of Renny and his general sense of character is incredible- he’s really captured the grouchy clumsy bird! I only had one note for this scene- I sent him shot 02 so he could match the hand position so the shots line up. Now to just wait on the next update!




Animation Progress- Shot 04

Shot 04 was the first shot of full body animation that I have ever done and was definitely a challenge. Before starting this, I wanted to ensure that I understand how to animate ‘properly,’ to ensure I could get a good solid clean animation, with minimal stress. I have included my research into animation in another post.

Using this research, this is how I went about animating shot 04.


Shot 4 was the first main animation shot by myself that required full body animation. The first stage was blocking, and to help I recorded footage of myself (below). When animating my first kind of pass on this, it was explained I wasn’t going extreme enough with my posing, and that I needed to think of how the audience would be able to read these.

After working on the blocking passes, I then worked on the timing. Originally, as seen in the footage, the character sighs before looking for the remote. However, upon review, I moved the sigh to the end of the shot, as it would make more sense for the following shot/set it up; shot 05 is the quick posing cuts which show Renny searching the sofa.

Below is the posing block that I created.

Once I had the key poses in (above), I wanted to ensure they read well. I sent the sync sketch to Mike Bass for some comments. Overall he was happy with the posing and how it read, but offered some changes. This included;

-making sure the eyes are not hidden when the character is looking down the sofa, instead making his eyes more diagonal towards the screen.

-lifting the hand on the LHS in the extreme pose of Renny reaching into the sofa, to make it funnier and give balance to the character.

-the addition of poses at the beginning of his shot, have Renny look under his right arm, before looking under the left and reaching into the sofa; again for comedic use.

Taking these comments; along with some other feedback; moving the feet more and the LHS arm when the character is searching in the sofa, I then worked to tune the posing, this can be seen below.


The next step was to add the in-betweens, this will help with the timings and pauses etc before heading into the spline. I showed Alec the animation that I had so far- he made some suggestions, for adding gags, He suggested when Renny places his hand into the sofa and comes back up, that he pull out a random item such as a fish skeleton etc and then sigh. I really liked this idea and decided to add this in. As I scrubbed through the animation, I realised that some timings were off, such as Renny turning to the LHS, before putting his hand down the sofa.

At present, I’m really liking how this shot is looking, given it’s my first full character animation. For now, I’m calling this shot ‘done’ and moving on to next one.