Muddle Earth nominated for a Bafta!

CBBC’s Muddle Earth, on which I was the lead Compositor and VFX guy, has been nominated for a BAFTA!  How crazy is that?  This wonderful show that took up 18 months of my life has received some sort of industry recognition, which, humbly, I think it deserves.  Animated by a small team of amazingly talented British animators, designed by some of the best industry talent from the past twenty or so years, funded entirely by the BBC – i.e. the British Public – this show has been nominated by industry peers for a Bafta.

Well, you know, I want to say well done to all the people who worked on it.  We should be very proud.

Just to prove it, here’s the link to the BAFTA website:

http://www.bafta.org/awards/childrens/2011-childrens-awards-nominations-winners,2169,BA.html#jump0

Yippee!

Trichrome blue

I just had the pleasure if stumbling upon this little treasure.  A piece created as a final year animation from a student of the Utrecht School of tha Arts.  It’s a beautifully executed story of a young woman who picks an odd fruit from a tree and, on opening it, finds a button that allows her to experience an imaginary world that turns her sorrowful face into a smiling one.

Lois van Baarle is someone I think we should all to keep an eye on.

Peter Kay’s Children In Need Single.

I have been wanting to blog about this for ages!

When I began working at Hullabaloo Studios on what was then a secret project for CBBC – which is now known to be an adaptation of the Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell’s “Muddle Earth” book – I was told in no uncertain terms about another very secret project that NO ONE could be told about. Yep, the Peter Kay single. Over the last four months I have been privy to more backstage stuff than I could have ever imagined: Sitting between George and Zippy, eyeing up FAB 1 and Lady Penelope, being staggered by the real size of a Teletubbie (Tinky-Winky is about 8 feet tall all suited and booted) and actually being allowed to hold one of the Wombles.

It’s been really amazing. We all became acutely aware that something was happening when a muffled medley of original songs began to drone repeatedly about the building. This brought most of us out of our rooms and into the main area of the unit we work in. Imagine our surprise and joy to see an orange head with a zipped mouth and a pink hippo dancing just above a blue wall to this cacophony in front of a small camera crew. No sooner was the recording over than I had the pleasure of sitting between my two heros and, after an accidental impression of Zippy in front of him, getting a swift knock on the head from the zippered one.

Over the course of about three weeks, we got to see Muffin the Mule, the aforementioned Teletubbies, Thunderbirds, Postman Pat and Jess – in Pat 3, not Pat 1 unfortunately, the original Fireman Sam, Bob the builder, Andy Pandy and Tedy, Bagpuss, Little robots and so many more. An awful lot of people did an awful lot of work and produced something magical. I even managed to help out myself in a a tiny way. I created the lava in the lava lamp using Blender’s metaball system made to look like wax thanks to a liberal amount of Sub Surface scattering.

Here are three pictures taken at the tail end of the project when everyone was finishing up. Until this point, only official photographs were available. Apparently, I’ll get the one of me, Zippy and George tomorrow. Can’t Wait!

 

 

Pudsey About to Step on One of Andy Pandy’s interchangeable heads!

Big chris showing them all the green screen on his iphone – to be filled in with angelina Ballerina I think!

Paddington in his Cool dudds and Pingu pulling some wicked shapes! – 😉

One Final Word:

GO AND SUPPORT CHILDREN IN NEED AND BUY THE DVD SINGLE AS SOON AS YOU CAN!!!

So much for top secret…

Just doing a search on the web, to see if anything had come out about the job I working on…

…talk about me being out of touch.

http://feeds.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2009/08_august/21/animation.shtml

This came out on the 8th of August! Well, roast my chestnuts! It means I can talk about it, which is great, but I can’t show anything or really explain much at all. Not to worry, at least I can talk about what’s going on a little bit within the bounds of an NDA, of course.

Anyway, here’s the deal. I am working at Hullabaloo studios as a VFX guy and compositor on CBBC’s commission of “Muddle Earth” based loosely upon the story created by Paul Stewart and Chris Liddell. And it’s a blast. The team of animators, both remote and in the studios office, are producing some amazing animation, the backgrounds are stunning and very painted in their feel and I am having a wonderful time putting the two together. I have no intention of giving anything away, but the dialogue is tight, the vocal talents are well up there – there were some re-recordings today, in fact – and the gags are really well performed. In all honesty, I know this sounds like a love-in, but in the words of Confucius:

“If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life. ”

As and when I can tell you stuff, I’ll put it up. For now I’ll just say that After Effects CS4, a 64 bit PC with more processing power than I’ve ever seen in one box and an Wacom Intuos 4 are my weapons at the mo. Oh, and Maya 2010. Not gotten round to even looking at TOXIC, sorry, Maya Composite, and if this goes the way it seems, It’ll be a while until I do.

Speak to you soon

Fire and Ice

Well, the first two days at my new place of work – albeit for about a year – has already thrown up some interesting things.

Firstly, the first episode of this show that must remain nameless is probably going to be the hardest. I have met the animators – serious cred to these guys, they are animating in Flash and they’ve got to get up to 8 seconds a day! – and they are all really great people. And I have broken down the VFX that I have to create. There are around 183 shots in the first episode, and around 50 of these are going to be quite effects heavy; the most biggest stumbling blocks being the fact that everything begins frozen – except for the characters – and then after one thing or another there is a resolution that includes fireballs.

So, no pressure there then (gulps).

And, due to the imminent release of Maya 2010 – come on Autodesk – I have been denied a computer. Great joy. It will now be on order since, as of today at Siggraph, people now know the approximate required spec for this Matchmoving, Toxic wasteland of Autodesk’s bundled creation. So, I will be After Effecting and Dynamic making in no time. I hope so, the schedules not getting any longer.

Erk.

Seven years and six months ago…

…I started working for 422 Manchester. It was quite a time of change for me; my wife was pregnant, our house back in London was sold one minute then not sold the next. We had already bought the house in Derbyshire and our finances were all over the place. Everything was in a state of flux.

422 was a wonderful rock that helped to stabilise us. And the last seven and a half years have been amazing. But time waits for no man, and I’m not getting any younger – despite the painting of me in my loft looking older by the day – and for one reason or another today is my last day at 422 Manchester.

It has been great. The years have flown by in what feels like a couple of weeks. I will always have fond memories of this place – I am sitting at my desk here as I write this – but I decided to change my path. A little for now, but perhaps a lot more in the not too distant future.

I am going to be working on a bit of a hush hush children’s project for the BBC over the next year. I’m not entirely sure what I can say, but I will be keeping this blog a little more regular.

I’ll still be writing for 3DWorld. They’re not getting rid of me that easily. 😉

Anyway, I’ve got a few things to finish up, so I had better be getting on.

Speak to you soon

G