Showing posts with label animation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animation. Show all posts

Sunday, December 01, 2019

New Music Video: Tot Taylor 'Featurette'

Well it's been bloomin' ages since my last blogfession; over a year it seems! I've been pretty busy in the meantime, scrabbling around making a living and not always making things I can write much about.


Here's a music video I just made for musician, gallerist and novelist Tot Taylor. The track 'Featurette' is a somewhat autobiographical number, in which Tot addresses his teenage self circa 1973.

When I first met Tot a few months ago, he told me a story from his teenage years. Like me, (as it happens) he grew-up in Cambridge. As an aspiring pop star, Tot bunked-off school one day with his teenage bandmates and took the train down to London. Armed only with a demo cassette and an AtoZ street map, Tot's band tracked down all of the record companies they could and proceeded to 'knock on doors'. After many rejections Tot's crew ended-up at the offices of Island Records where miraculously they found a sympathetic ear... Amazingly, Tot and his band of schoolmates recorded a session for the legendary Island Records label. But then and there, the dream kind of hit the buffers. Cut to the present day and Tot decided to revive his song 'Featurette' and rework it as a wry 'message to his naive but ambitous teenage self'.

For such a story of retro pop ambition, I decided to make a film in the style of a naive 1970s era teenage film-maker. The animation is rough and wobbly and the live action footage is mostly shot on 8mm and 16mm cine film. Not such a leap as it turned out ;).

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

New Video: Simon's Cat BTS 'Clean-up Animation'

Here's the second in a series of short 'Behind the Scenes' videos I was asked to make for the Simon's Cat YouTube channel. In this episode animator Setareh Seto describes her approach to the clean-up work.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New Video: Simon's Cat BTS 'Rough Animation'

Here's the first in a series of short 'Behind the Scenes' videos I was asked to make for the Simon's Cat YouTube channel. In this episode animator Laura Nailor describes her approach to the rough animation work.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Explainer Video made for IFRS

I have just delivered this short two minute explainer video for IFRS. International Financial Reporting Standards provide a way of reporting financial data that is rapidly gaining acceptance worldwide as the defacto standard for financial reporting.

Needless to say the subject matter has it's complications, but I think the client did a great job in honing their script down to the essential messages. The result is a video which explains IFRS to newcomers in just enough detail to hopefully stimulate their further interest.

Above is the link to the English language version, but I have also delivered a version with a voice-over in Spanish too.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Digitoids: A Work in Progress #004

Well, in my 'spare' time I'm continuing to find my way around Cinema 4D. Keen readers will remember I bought the full 'Studio' edition earlier in the year and that I recently upgraded to the latest r16 version too.

As for the subject matter: I was playing around with this Digitoids concept a few years back, possibly as a stop motion / After Effects hybrid, but I'm now trying out this CGI / After Effects technique instead.

Just to try something new, I decided I would post updates of this project from time to time as I go along. So once evry few days I am replacing the file on Vimeo to show a continually evolving 'Work in Progress.' For anyone that wants to see how the work is progressing, click by here again soon and hopefully you will see the clip move on a little.

Friday, January 31, 2014

'Hat Trick' film for Mr. Plastimime

Here's the sixth webisode of the Behind The Scenes series I've been shooting/editing at TANDEM in support of Daniel Greaves' Mr. Plastimime project. In this episode, after a discussion with the director, we see how animator Steve Edge creates a scene in stop-motion animation.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Transport for London Film Released

I mostly use this blog to document my personal film-making endeavours, so there is normally much to read here about cameras, tests, super 8 and generally experimental film-making stuff.

I don't usually write quite so much here about my 'day job', working on commercials and promo films etc. For reasons of commercial and client confidentiality it isn't always possible to write about the things I've been working on. However, a short promotional film I co-directed with Tobias Fouracre a couple of months ago at TANDEM films has just been put online by the client, so I feel happy to embed a YouTube link to it here.

'Start Your Own Journey' is a short minute and a half film commissioned by Transport for London to introduce and promote the latest version of the website. The TfL site is well-known to Londoners who use the site to plan their journeys around the capital. The team at TfL have been working hard to release an updated and improved version of the site so asked us to come up with an entertaining short film to highlight some of the main features on offer.

This film was shot in TANDEM's basement studio using A Canon DSLR camera and DragonFrame stop-motion software running on an iMac. Almost all of the 'travelling' shots you see in this film were realised by moving models towards a stationary camera to create the illusion of a continual journey. Tobias came up with the main concept of shooting the film from the first-person perspective of a traveller undertaking a journey through London. I helped out a bit on some model preparation and shooting, but my job was mainly integrating the client's website functionality throughout the film and compositing the piece to make a seamless film.

We fortunately had the services of Gordon Allen for the model-making and the very versatile help of Nicola Viargiu who greatly assisted us at all stages of the production. The music and effects for the film were created by Russell Pay of Shrooty. The producer for TANDEM was Emma Burch.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

This Is Me On French TV!

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo

Well, let's say it's a very select group who have discovered my typographic web series The Futura Gold. Fortunately, amongst the people who have found it, were the team who put together L'Oeil de Links; a rather special TV show about web creativity shown in France on the CANAL+ channel.

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from Jeff Tinard the scheduler for the show, asking if they could broadcast my films and record a Skype interview with me. The resulting programme was broadcast yesterday and I'm pleased there's already an online record of the show on the CANAL+ website. The clip above gives an excellent introduction to the history of the Futura typeface, then follows with Episodes 02 and 03 of The Futura Gold complete with an interview with the director. Hmm, is that really me grinning like a madman through all this?

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Some Maths For Animators

Here's a little real word maths problem that's just come my way...

A stop motion animator is moving something on set by 25mm for each frame taken to create movement at a steady speed. Over the next 20 frames he wishes the movement to decelerate smoothly until a rate of 10mm per increment is achieved.
Calculate the distance the object is to be moved for each of the 20 inbetween increment positions to achieve a smooth deceleration.

Well, it's taken me a few hours over this Bank Holiday weekend, but I think I've worked out the solution for this in time for tomorrow's shoot. I've drawn on some school maths and a few Excel spreadsheet tutorials, but I've knocked up a calculator that can figure this out. i.e. Calculate the in-beteweens and print out charts (to scale) for the animator to use as fairing rulers on set. The sine wave based equation I've developed, spits out these figures for the increments.

Maybe this graph looks pretty, but it wont help the animator too much...

I've then added another column to the spreadsheet to aggregate these figures and give the actual (cumulative) measurements in mm.

I eventually found that Excel's 'Scatter Graph' could be formatted to give something like a useful chart, which when printed to the correct scale can be used on-set as a useful ruler.

So this is very basic stuff for anyone involved in the science of Motion Control, but I offer it here in the hope this might come in handy for anyone (like me) needing to work this out for themselves.

Oh, and the answer to the question is...
25, 24.9, 24.6, 24.2, 23.6, 22.8,21.9, 20.9, 19.8, 18.7, 17.5, 16.3, 15.2, 14.1, 13.1, 12.2, 11.4, 10.8, 10.4, 10.1, 10.0 (mm)

Thursday, March 07, 2013


My 2009 short film TXT ISLAND has just been selected by Vimeo as a STAFF PICK.

+++ UPDATE 08/03/13 +++

After a day or so, I can say that having this film selected by Vimeo has come as a very nice surprise. Although the film has been online for three years with only a trickle of views, it suddenly spiked to around 12000 views in the 24 hours following the selection. The film has received a good few hundred Vimeo 'likes' and 'followings' too. Many thanks to all those who've supported the film and helped 'spread the word' by adding it to their blogs and sites etc.

Oh, you've seen the film ... now buy the T-shirts!

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Déjà Vu All Over Again...

I was browsing in the Enfield branch of Waterstones yesterday and saw this new novel 'This Book is Full Of Spiders (Seriously Dude Don't Touch It). Something about that cover artwork gave me a distinct frisson of 'hold on a moment, I think I've seen something a bit like that before...'

Yep, those spiders made out of book pages, don't they look a bit like the ones I made and animated for the 'Little Hands Clapping' promo film I created for Canongate Books back in 2011?

You can watch my 2011 Little Hands Clapping film for Canongate here if you like.

I like to think I made my little paper spiders with some ingenuity. Here's how I went about creating them and getting them to move...

1: I first drew a short cycle of Flash animation to create a guide animation to figure out the legs moving correctly. I worked out that a walk cycle could be made using nine different poses of the spider.

2: I imported the guide animation into After Effects and used the Path Text to get the writing to run along along the legs (I used passages from Dan Rhodes novel of course).

3: I printed out my sequence of spiders onto thin card.

4: I cut out the printed spiders and folded them a bit to get a more 3D design.

5: I shot the stop-motion animation of my paper spiders using a replacement animation technique to get the scuttling action. I figured that it would be easier to replace the whole spider model each frame rather than trying to bend and shape eight fiddly little paper spider legs! I shot all of the animation using StopMotionPro software and found the previewing features invaluable for positioning the replacements accurately.

It's entirely possible that the artists, photographer and publishing staff working on 'This Book is Full Of Spiders...' never saw my Little Hands Clapping film. Even if they did, I think that people who design and make things for a living are to some extent often drawing on things they may have seen before. My 'Little Hands Clapping' film certainly has a rather Tim Burton-esque vibe to it; this wasn't a concious lift on my part; it just seemed to result from the black humour of the subject matter and the stop-frame aesthetic. Maybe we all tend to see things and add bits of what we've seen into our own ideas and work.

I made another book trailer film for Canongate in 2011. 'Our Tragic Universe' was a very different kind of novel. I really enjoyed making these book trailer films and would certainly welcome the chance to make more in the future.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Futura Gold hits 3k

On October 26th last year I posted the first of the Futura Gold films to YouTube. The first episode (seen here) has just hit 3000 views. The subsequent two films, nothing like so many.

Releasing some work in a series was something of an experiment really, just to see if this idea might gain some momentum. The curve isn't really heading the way I'd hoped, so I'm taking a little time off this project. I'll work on a few other things and take stock for a while.

This isn't to say there won't be any more; just don't be expecting another one soon...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

THE FUTURA GOLD : episode 03

Here's the latest episode of The Futura Gold. This is my new typographic animation series in which all the characters and backgrounds are made from the letters, numbers and symbols of the Futura typeface. If you like this stuff, you might like to head over to the TheFuturaGold facebook and twitter pages too.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Student animation from Alghero

A couple of posts ago I mentioned my December trip to Alghero Sardinia to host some animation workshops for the Masters Students there. I've just seen that the short films made by the students have been posted on to YouTube, so you can see them here. With only three days, the 20 students split up into 4 groups, spending about a day on each project; they turned in some really interesting and experimental work.

To the students from this workshop and the staff of the University too for making my stay both enjoyable and inspirational... Grazie mille!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Return To Alghero III

This weekend, I've just got back from Alghero Sardinia where I've been teaching a three day animation workshop to students on the Masters course.

Thanks to Prof. Ceccarelli for inviting me back (for the 3rd time!) and to all of the students and other staff too for making me feel very welcome.

I'd devised three new projects for this workshop, using stop-motion techniques to bring typography and some 'found objects' to life. Thanks to the dedication of the twenty students we saw some strong short films/exercises; the groups spending a (long) day on each project.

Once again I was really inspired by the inventiveness of the work and how effectively the students worked together to make these films.

Monday, December 10, 2012

THE FUTURA GOLD : episode 02

Here's the second webisode of my new web series THE FUTURA GOLD. If you like this, then head over to The Futura Gold's very own FaceBook page join up for behind the scenes info. and news of future releases etc.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

FUTURA GOLD in Creative Bits & TypeSpec

Another nice write-up, this time (completely with lots of lovely links) from

Oh and another one from

Thursday, November 29, 2012

FUTURA GOLD is 'awesomeness'

One of the first web reviews of THE FUTURA GOLD has come in, and it's a good one...
 from Mike Rankin of

Thursday, November 22, 2012

THE FUTURA GOLD: episode 02 preview

 Here's a little preview/trailer for episode 02 of THE FUTURA GOLD series...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

THE FUTURA GOLD : 1000+ Hits!

Nice to see that my new animation short THE FUTURA GOLD : episode 01 has now clocked up over 1000 views since its YouTube debut on October 26th. Viewers are subscribing to the channel too, which bodes well. I'm also pleased to see that the FaceBook page I set up for the project is shaping-up nicely.

It's always great to get some online coverage for the launch of my project too. Thanks especially the fine typography website