Saturday, 8 August 2015


Well Bugger me its been a long time hasn't it since i've updated on this blog. Guess its only fair to inform you all as to where I've been all this time.

Firstly the last few months have been an amazing journey for I have been attending the Annecy film festival in... Annecy. Had an incredible experience whilst in France as well as having the opportunity to meet and network with some many incredibly talented animators and film makers. 

On some occasions even getting character and animation discussions from professional animators in Disney, Dreamworks and many more! 


Secondly and probably the most incredible event of the year is that I have finally Graduated with a 1st Degree in BA Animation! AHHHHHHH!

I have to say that the journey I have been on whilst attending the university of South Wales has been the best 3 years of my life and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. 
Where my life leads from here i do not know but shall ensure that my work still continues.

.....Speaking of which

Despite now applying for jobs in the industry and even considering a Masters in 2D animation, i am now beginning pre-production for my next upcoming animation titled 'World War Dragons'.

What is this about you ask? Well I shall save that for another blog update as I still have a lot of blog catching up to do so I shall just leave you with this ickle teaser piece I quickly threw together.

Until next time cherubs!!!!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Gravestone building

 For the Graveyard i decided to make 6 gravestones of varying shapes and designs. These are meant to resemble graves that look as though they have been abandoned for decades. I started by marking out the shapes that i wanted to cut on a piece of bolserwood.
These were then cut out delicately using a hack saw and a stanley knife for precision.

On of the gravestones however was shaped like a cross, which was too thin to be cut out so I used a stick of Bolserwood to create this specific piece. 

Each gravestone was then sanded and smoothed before I used a wood filer to etch in imperfections such as cracks and stoney textures. 
I also etched in a R.I.P onto each Gravestone.

Here are all 6 stones now with extra details and ready for the fun part...PAINTING!

I added 3 coats of grey paint to each one and then went over the imperfections in much darker colours to bring out the cracks and the R.I.P text on each one. 

Each was then given a very fine layer of rock textured spray paint for added look.

Whilst producing this I decided to have a little fun with these props and add the names of various animators on my course as a little cameo.

Below is each grave with the name of its apparent buried follower.

Bethan Davies

James Stafford (Myself)

Laura Jones

Tad Davies

Josh Cranton

Julia Young

So here we are. All together and ready to be planted in the ground. Rather dark and Macabre I know... but thats my style really. Next will we looking at various props and accessories for the graveyard. See you soon!!

Lets make a Graveyard!!

Now that puppets are all out the way we can finally begin working on sets for the animation. Bloody Mary consists of four sets:

The Graveyard
The WorkBridge
The Cauldron/Potion room
The Mirror room

The graveyard is the only set I will be building while the other 3 will be constructed by the set design department.
 I began by laying out a few sheets of Mod roc that had been dripped into water. this is going to form the top of the Graveyard. 

I applied about 6-7 layers of this while also placing blocks of foam and polystyrene in between them to act as rocks and uneven ground. 

The top was coated with plaster to fill in the gaps and make the set look more like dirt.

While that was setting I prepared some paint mixtures for laying the dirt in. I used two colours that resembled dirt and gravel to try and make the ground look as earthy as possible. 

Whilst attending the workshop where my other sets will be produced, I found a small piece of fake moss which was used as part of a farm set they had produced. I asked if I could take the moss and they obliged so it was an ideal find for my set. 

 Here is the moss sheet which I ripped into smaller sections and glued down on across the set. 
While prepping the graveyard I also came across this small playmobile spade. It was an ideal scale so I decided to modify it for the Graveyard.

I cut it in half using a rotary tool and fitted a piece of round K&S to lengthen the handle. 
Using white spray paint I then gave the spade a light coat for painting later. I sadly forgot to photograph the spade with its final details so I shall use descriptive language to assist you.

 "The handle was a muddy brown indicating plenty of use while digging. The head and the end of the spade were a dark grey but showed signs of withering and age for they were caked with rust and dirt".

The grave now painted and with moss added as well really helps enhance the look that the graveyard has been abandoned for years. Hey look Gravestones! We'll be having a look at those in my next blog post so STAY TUNED!!


Onto the last puppet, the ghost. These little characters are the ones who collect the pumpkins once they are carved. I wanted them to have a traditional Ghost look to them.
I begun by producing a sculpt of how i wanted the Ghosts to look. A lot of people were very fond of the idea of one eye being smaller than the other.

Once sculpted i then produced a small box out of foam board around the sculpt which I then filled with plaster to create a one part mould. 

Half a day later and the mould is complete and ready for casting. The idea is to paint a thin layer of white Silicone on the inside to resemble a sheet Ghost.

 Sadly the sculpt did not survive... but its Ghost it can't die again!
 I then set about mixing up a batch of white silicone which I poured into the mould. As it set I occasionally gave a mould a slow turn to make sure an even and flat coat was produced. 
Ready to go into the mould!!

First attempt.. didn't quite work. The layer was so thin that it broke as I pulled it out. So lets try again!

Second attempt... SUCCESS! There was a small air bubble in the smaller eye but once the eyes were painted in with black silicone, no one seemed to notice.

One little ickle Ghost ready to go!!

Now the idea for animating was to have the ghost on a rig arm and animate it separately from the other characters on camera to allow me to add in post production effects to make it see through and more Ghost like. 

This is the rig which the Ghost will sit on as it is being animated against blue screen.

A small K&S stick was attached on the inside which allowed for the rig to slip on and off of the puppet for easy rigging. And just like that the Ghost and indeed all the puppets are all ready and prepped to go.

Next time we will be looking at props and sets after so long!! SEE YOU NEXT TIME!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Bloody Mary Ultimate image

Well here you go folks! I present to you my ultimate image for Bloody Mary. This took me a good few hours to finally put together and involved many photoshop works of magic. 

The puppets were built by myself while the sweet props were made by the lovely Sophie Lewis. The set was produced by the set design department and i must say they have done an amazing job!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Mary head Assembly

Onto the final part of Bloody Marys construction. The head. I had already begun work on certain parts of the head such as the face and shape but needed to complete such aspects as the hair, hat and facial details. 

Lets start with her iconic large rimmed hat. I begun with a circular piece of foam which was supported with a similar sized sheet of aluminium for strength. This was then coated in the same Magenta fabric used for her coat.

To make the top of the hat I was a bit puzzled for a moment as I had to figure out how to have the hat be attachable and detachable to access other parts of the head and face. I chose to use sculpy which I sculpted into the crown of the hat. 

I then had this piece baked before painting it with a Magenta acrylic to help it match the rest of the hat. 

I chose to add some details such as a leather stand similar to what hats have normally and I also chose to had a small veil for extra detail.

Now that the hat is sorted lets get back to putting together rest of the head. 

I took the face that i had made earlier in the blog and decided to paint in additional details which included:

Sculpy eyebrows for expression

All these details immediately gave her much more personality and gave her a rather gothic look... which I like!

I mentioned earlier before that her eyes would be cut outs which would be moved about on her eyes, however this meant I needed to be able to access behind the face to do this. 

I added two small magnets to the back half of the head so that the face could pop out but whilst animating it would be securely stuck on. 

Her hair was probably the most complex thing I had tackled in my time at South Wales University as i wanted it to be animatable but also wanted it to actually look like proper hair. 

The technique I applied as inspired by a mixture of techniques used in Henry Selicks Coraline and in Tim Burtons Corpse Bride.
Both used the process of laying the head with real hair which had been streaked with glue and then had  tiny stands of wire (electric wire thin) in order to make certain clumps of hair animatable without ruining the look.

To lock the head in place I added a K&S slot to the head for easy access. This didn't end up working so over all I chose to stick the back of the head to the rest of the head.
So above you can see Marys head assembled with a few sections of hair already glued and wired for animation. In the concept she is depicted with a huge fringe piece similar to Jessica Rabbit where by the hair covers one eye.

The fringe was attached to the base of the hat so that while accessing the face and eyes I could detach the hat and wouldn't have the hair in the way.


Now to finish her head off by adding her eyes and mouths designed and then of course attaching her to her body.

SO here she iss all ready and looking rather... stoned. Well at least she is all together now and ready to go!!

 Well thats almost all puppet work out the way! Just one more thing to talk about and then we can move onto set and props.

See you next time!!!