Thursday, November 27, 2008

Animation to Save The World

I gave a short speech on screening night. In it I summarised that my class have been given the tools, skills and education to animate. What will we do with these things?

A week later I found that I was questioning the personal morals of becoming a games animator when researching the current dominant themes of computer games. Unfortunately, games animation is the main employer of animators and I have bills to pay and food to buy.

But within the screening night speech I also spoke about our teacher Jane and in summary of her lessons I said something like, "Jane has taught us animation, not for personal gain, but for a greater good. She has sought to facilitate our learning so we can use animation to help save the world." Along those lines I found this clip and web site:

To be able to question, based on a shiny, new skills set, on which path to take the first few animation steps shows the value of the SBIT course.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Screening Night Showreel

This is the showreel of some of my work collated for the end of year screening. It contains 5 EAPS = jump, walk, dialogue, punch and kick. There's also a bit of Flash animation and traditional 2d work from the Tropfest film we made in 1st year. This is goal is kicked but there is a lot more animating to be done.

Screening Night Showreel from Frank G on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Combining 2D & 3D elements

This is a further installment in the 2D to 3D connection. I started this exploration a few months back with a Flash animation. This is my second attempt at a dialogue sequence using Maya.

2D 3D Fusion from Frank G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hey, who is that kid? ~ Life drawing class

In August Jane organised a zoo to come to Southbank. It was for life drawing classes. What a great day. First and second year students were plonked amongst the farm animals. There was lots of interaction and energy. This picture came from it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Surfrider Foundation Australia ~ Community Group Project

As part of Jane's classes Roman, Dan, Noel and I made an interactive web animation for Surfrider Foundation Australia, for our community project assignment. It has now been modified into a short film:

Surfrider Foundation + animation students = film from Frank G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brisbane International Animation Festival 7

Mr Chipman Gravyarms invites you to "Where's Chipman" him at BIAF 7. BIAF 7 starts Tuesday October 28, 2008. See your groovy media for details. Get yer tickets!

BIAF 7 from Frank G on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Enviroexperimantal ecoanimation #2

Butt Naked Swimmer from Frank G on Vimeo.

Enviroexperimental ecoanimation #1

Doing some cool stuff in Jane's class experimental animation.

I wouldn't advise animating with cigarette butts, they stink!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

End of Year Screening shirt design

Click on the pic to see the designs more clearly.OK, we picked number 5. Thanks Robyn (colouring) and David for the excellent design!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Punch Kick ~ EAPS #3 & #4

punch kick for now from Frank G on Vimeo.

A little less conversation...

This is the colour palette I came up with for the end of year t-shirt and DVD cover design (designed by "Whitie"). David has done a much better colouring job. I'm just showing myy attempt to be part of the crew. And I think the white outline lifts the design off the black background. I reckon it would look best big on the back of a shirt rather than the front. I think the text should be included in the design as well as the central logo. Click on the pic to see more detail.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Punch, no Judy

throwing the first punch

First Punch from Frank G on Vimeo.

early play blast

Punch from Frank G on Vimeo.

later playblast

punch II - more punch from Frank G on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

2D Flash to 3D - time for a break

3D - leaving it for now from Frank G on Vimeo.

I'm going on to a short 50 frame animated action. I'll see if I can get back to this one later (needs some arms).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Lip synch pass

Gift ready for polishing WIP from Frank G on Vimeo.

The 2D to 3D experiment continues - technique

I've been working on lip synch and blinks to complement the acting:

3D and 2D reference overlay from Frank G on Vimeo.

The playblast of just the character is being converted at the server. I'll post it when it's done.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The 2D to 3D experiment continues

Eye blinks and some eye brow animation to enhance the acting.

The brow run from Frank G on Vimeo.

Animation Workout Troll

Today the troll grew a head and some legs. This is an 'animation workout', an in-class exercise to work on animation principles.

Animation Workout Troll from Frank G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Flash Showreel 2008

I've had a go at building a showreel aimed at applying for a Flash/2D animation job.

Flash ~ 2008 Showreel from Frank G on Vimeo.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Shudder tests - using a 'graph editor'

This time I converted the shudder frames into a motion tween, as I am working in Flash. I selected the motion tween and opened the "Ease In / Ease Out" tool and created a shudder using the chart. This is animating via graphs and mathematics, rather than "by eye".

click to enlarge

shudder ~ using Flash's 'graph editor' from Frank G on Vimeo.
---click to enlarge-----------------------------------------------------

shudder ~ graph editor ~ tiny shakes from Frank G on Vimeo.

Shudder Test

As part of an animation "workout', we've been told all animators should be able to animate a shudder. I haven't got this one correct... yet. It is a heavy object landing shudder. Most recent attempts are at the top of the pile.

shudder ~ maintain object volume from Frank G on Vimeo.
shudder experiment ~ overshoot style from Frank G on Vimeo.
shudder - WIP from Frank G on Vimeo.
shudder_solidball from Frank G on Vimeo.
shudder from Frank G on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Animation workout ~ heavy jump ~ WIP

A work in progress. Allegedly every animator should know how to animate a shudder and know where to apply it. In this workout, the shudder is meant to imply weight.

Heavy Jump ~ timing/spacing ~ WIP from Frank G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Animating in 3D using a 2D Flash animation as a guide

I'm learning a lot (the hard way) about animating in 3D compared to animating in 2D.

Don't let the computer be the animator! It's a tough struggle and teaching me about persistence.

Here is the 2D Flash animation I'm working with and a 3D 'blocking pass' that I'm just starting to break down. Keeping the arcs and spacing in the body turns are a real challenge.

My Son has a Gift - 2D from Frank G on Vimeo.

My Son has a Gift - 3D blocking pass from Frank G on Vimeo.

Friday, July 18, 2008

My Sun has a gift

The 11SecondClub has a monthly competition. The dialogue is from the July comp. I tried to take a simple character design and focus on the animation performance. This was a test run with just the main character's head. The colour idea came from the Adobe "Kuler" web site. When I played the animation, it made me think of a planet talking about his sun. Inspired by Chuck Jones.

Solar Pow Wow from Frank G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Home made peg bar - animation and scanning

We have a hole punch at school that matches the pegs on our light boxes, so I go to school and punch 500 sheets of paper (recycled)at a time.

Last summer holidays I ran out of punched holy animating paper, so I made my own peg bar out of a plastic ruler and some sawn off paint brushes, and taped it onto the light box disc. The home made pegs matched a standard 2-hole paper punch you'd find in any office. The result isn't as stable as the 3-peg hole punch that matches the animation disc pegs, but it still worked and kept me "moving forward".

The benefit of making the peg bar from a thin plastic ruler was that I could take the peg bar to my scanner and tape it on. So when I scanned my drawings into the computer they stayed 'registered' (in place, held by the pegs). That sped up the scanning and kept the animated movements to the ones I had drawn, not movements due to the drawings being out of alignment.

At school we make registration bars for the scanners out of thin plastic rulers. We punch through some plastic with the animation 3-peg punch. Collect the punched out plastic bits. Then glue them in place on the thin ruler. The punched out bits are only a few millimetres thick but thick enough to register the drawings being scanned in alignment.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Gran - line test

I had a good look at the "Gran Scuttle" line test (below), and realised that Gran just launches off into the walk. I guess that covers the physical action I'm after. But it doesn't show her thinking or preparing for her scuttle. In this line test, I've added a rough background to give her a motivation (get to the gate). The obstacle that she has to overcome is her own age limited physical restrictions. Her infirmity. So she takes 4 seconds to: Do a walking stick check, take a deep breath and ... place her stick (ready for the first step).

gran prepares from Frank G on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Narrative Comic - Chess

In our narrative / comic book class, we had to develop a story for 2 to 4 pages.

Terry asked us to challenge ourselves with the design. My aim was to produce a greyscale comic that gradually gains colour as the story unfolds.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

EAP 1 - "Gran 2 Step"

gran scuttle - line test from Frank G on Vimeo.

This is my first attempt at an Essential Animation Principle (EAP). It is a perspective walk of an elderly lady who requires the support of a walking stick. The line tests shows about 8 steps and some added thinking as she sets off. But to get this assessment task done on time with key frames, colour and inbetweens, I have animated Gran only taking two steps. Hopefully you can see her personality in the way she moves?

Gran 2 Step from Frank G on Vimeo.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Jelly Shots - Interactive Flash Animation

I promised myself I wouldn't make a shooting interactive game. From that point, it was all I could think of. The original concept was to have jellyfish change colour when clicked by a box of jelly crystals. But that got boring quite quickly.

Some added influences that came into play were an Aardman jellyfish animation on, and that I was in a group of animators making animation for Surfrider Foundation Australia for one of Jane's class assessments.

I thought combining the interactive Flash assignment with the production of animation for a community group, or non government organisation (NGO), made sense.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stop Motion ~ "Road Kill Flowers"

Road Kill Wombat collects up the dead bird. Click to see the short filmThis is a web version of the stop mo' short film experiment.

This time I converted the AVI file to an FLV and uploaded to

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play
I think the most challenging part of making a stop motion film is animating the pauses (the 'mah'). There is such a compulsion to move the puppet on every frame when in the animating groove. This film could have used a pause, a moment of reflection, once the bird is buried. So the puppet doesn't die, an eye movement and maybe pushing some facial clay into a subtle expression change would have worked.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Life Drawing

chalk and charcoal on unprinted newspaper I was chatting with Jane our teacher about how good it is to stand up at an easel and draw for two hours.

Drawing big and using your whole body. Moving rather than sitting still with only eyes darting and hands moving as has become the animation student's life. It's nice to get out of a chair and away from a screen, mouse, tablet and keyboard to make some marks directly on to a surface. It's so immediate and textured.

chalk and charcoal on unprinted newspaperSometimes I feel the technology, while being the tool, is also the barrier between us and our imaginations appearing in the pixels.

A return to organic, to tangibility, is like drinking a long, cold beer after staring into a furnace all day.

Hopefully life drawing, and studio life drawing, will remain integral to the drawing with my non-preferred sideanimation course at SBIT.

Stop Motion - 252 painstakingly posed images

For our main assessment for "Create 2D Digital Animation" (Wednesday class with Jane), we are experimenting in, "learning by doing", stop motion animation.

The process has been to produce a short narrative idea to build into a film, produce some thumbnail drawings and develop a storyboard, design and build/sculpt characters, then animate.

A step that could have more time applied to it, that may have aided in planning, would have been to work on timimg out rough animation 'tests' in Monkey Jam. Either by doing these as paper and pencil line tests, or short sequences of stop motion.

The animation part is the most challenging, trying to work out how much to move and not move a puppet to get an idea of timing. Other challenges have been set design, achieving camera angles and framing of shots within the limitations of the set design, lighting and technical details with working with cameras and software.

This film was made using my digital camera (BenQ DC S30), the teacher's tripod, the course's 1Gb memory card in the camera. The set is a cut down, painted, polystyrene foam broccoli box. The poor lighting is ambient light plus a halogen desk lamp. The 'grass' is green fur. The dirt is from the banks of the Enoggera Creek in Brisbane (and what fine red dirt it is!).

Individual frames were captured on the digital camera. They were transfered to a computer. The frame images were adjusted in Photoshop using a "Batch action" command. The resultant smaller images were imported into Monkey Jam, viewed, and an AVI file exported with Microsoft Video 1 compression. The rough film was uploaded to Vimeo (further compressed) and the result is below (once it's ready on Vimeo).

Road Kill Wombat from Frank G on Vimeo.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Interactive Flash - test #1

Yesterday, Terry got the 2nd year's started with some basic action scripting. Then he left us to discover how to apply this new knowledge to a basic interactive Flash idea.

Unfortunately, I was sitting next to an unmentionable but highly influential first year who fancies himself as a creative director.

The result is Jelly Shots v.1.0.

It's therapeutic.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life Drawing - Cats

I have a cat character appear in a short film idea. So I sketched some cats. I like seeing construction lines.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Stop Motion - another test

This is a short stop motion test. Made with a digital camera taking still images. Then loading the image sequence in Monkey Jam and exporting as an AVI. This time the camera was on a steadier tripod. The lighting needs some work.

Stop Motion Test from Frank G on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Life Drawing - 2

Sometimes it's nice to get away from the Wacom tablet and pen to push some paint around a canvas. I wanted to extend the curved line of action through the model's back (but doing that threw out other anatomical proportions, stretching her back, to interesting effect?).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Life Drawing

During the course in 1st year we spent some time in the studio doing life drawing of nude models.

Once there was a requirement for animators to show life drawing skills in their portfolio for traditional animation jobs. But maybe that's not such a key requirement these days?

Anyhow, during the course of the life drawing classes I found a technique that worked pretty well for me as an average draftsman. So I'll share it with the three people who visit this blog.

My main obstacle was that I tried to hard to draw. So I chose a medium that I had no control over to make the first marks on the page. An ink wash worked well for me, as it goes on to the paper broad and fluid and under influences other than my mind and hand. Wash over wash gave the figure depth. Then I could add some defining lines (I like the feel of charcoal or conti crayon across the paper) to complete the study.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Background roughs

Next term we start, in earnest, on our major project, or building our show reels.

I'm going to have a go at making a short film.

As part of the process, I would like to get a 'Brisbane' feel to the background, so I've been looking at the quintessential architecture of the Brisbanite psyche.

It's wooden and roofed in tin. This is just a mess about with some water colour wash on nice textured paper... mmm... nice texture.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Stop Motion Experiment

As part of our second year classes we are doing a stop motion exercise. Model making, set making. It's all very tactile and dare I say, therapeutic. I have shot this one second test in black and white to check tonal contrasts.

Wombat test from Frank G on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The power of a showreel - 1st year work

At the end of first year, I had the chance to apply for an animation project job. A producer had found me through the Queensland Animators web site.

My student philosophy: " The best way to learn about animation (the whole shamozzle including getting paid) is to do it".

Not knowing how to plan and build an effective a showreel, I built one anyway, to present to the prospective client at our first meeting. Despite all that, I got the job!

If any grade ones are visiting this blog. I reckon you should try to make appealing work* at every opportunity, every assessment task, and keep updating your showreel with the "best of".

There's some more hints on making an effective showreel here and here.

*rough work can still be 'appealing'.

A mini showreel made after first year @ animation school from Frank G on Vimeo.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Industry Knowledge: Brisbane Map

View Larger Map

I'm just going to try something out here. One of our classes is "Industry Knowledge" and I found it difficult to visualise the animation industry in and around Brisbane. So I thought I'd try to map it as a visual exercise using Google Maps.

There already is a Brisbane Media Map developed by QUT. I'm refining my map down to animation related sites using the resources from the Queensland Animators web site (thanks, Terry!) and the BMM.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Friday, February 8, 2008

11SecondClub - January Entry

The 11SecondClub is an online animation contest. Competing animators have to animate an 11 second dialogue.

It is beneficial to enter as other animators give feedback on work. My animation scored 3.7 out of 11 and was placed 44th out of 85 entries.

Anim8 - Scene 8 - Creepy Customer

Anim8 Scene 8 - Creepy, staring guy from Frank G on Vimeo.

ANIM8 - Cat With Many Skins

In 2007 a collaboration of 1st year animation students at SBIT decided to make a film.

The result was "Cat With Many Skins".

The story was based on a 19 year old shop assistant who starts to realise his part-time job is becoming his permanent gaol.

The final film did not make the cut for the Tropfest competition, so it is available to view.

My sequence is the one with the creepy staring guy as the messenger.