So, I'm Sam, and from this point on I will be blogging about my projects as an Illustrator and 2D Animator.
My plan is, I will update every fortnight on whats going down in my life as a final year student at Falmouth University, studying Animation and VFX.
Firstly, let's catch everyone up!
Over the last 2 and a half years, I've illustrated, designed, researched, directed, animated in 2D using TVPaint, alongside developing my skills as a digital, commissioning artist. I've even tried my hand at 3D animating and modelling, as well as some stop-motion!
I quite quickly dropped 3D as a pathway; I didn't feel it was my strongest area of work and I struggled to grasp the software we were taught to use. I did enjoy stop-motion; I thought it was an interesting and intricate art form that deserves the patience it takes to get it right. However, I found that I, myself, was much too impatient for it and found it difficult and stressful for me to animate straight ahead. So, I quite easily settled into 2D animation, in particular 2D pre-production and design.
In my first year, it was very much just learning the basics of 2D animating. But once we hit 2nd year, we started producing our own films and developing our skills in artistic research and development.
Memories of Jubilee Pool - Oct - Dec 18
My first, full University production was a short film for a local, live client Jubilee Pool Stories, alongside local media company Awen Productions. I took the opportunity to direct the project and was lucky to come out of the term with a completed film that the clients loved. It was a difficult term with lots of learning curves, but the quality of work that our small team achieved is something to be proud of.
Despite this, the area that I thrived in was character design. Our module that focused on it was a great experience to practise with shapes, storytelling and learning about design for animation.
I chose to base my characters on a bear and a moose. For this, I particularly enjoyed the research and experimentation; doing studies of the animals and practising with different colours and brushes to achieve the style I liked the most.
Despite this, my feedback for the module wasn't the best; in the excitement of the art, I'd failed to focus on making sure the characters were animatable, which is where I lost some marks. Luckily, I learned from that feedback and now am extremely shape-focused and always keep in mind how difficult a character would be to animate.
During that year, I was also sure to keep up with my own development and style. This often took the form of commission work for family and friends.
Doing commissions and keeping up with my own interests meant I regularly took much-needed breaks from Uni work to keep enjoying my craft and, in some cases, earn a little cash to keep myself afloat.
This last year has taken me on new adventures once more, as our year group heads into our final productions!
After having a go at directing over my years, I decided this year that I would take a step back and focus on crewing to establish my communication and team working skills ready for the big, wide world that grows ever near...
I also wanted to take this opportunity to hone my abilities to accurately copy a specific art direction, and to do this it was best if I work on multiple films at once.
Case Closed - Sep 19 - Now
My biggest workload so far this year has come from Case Closed - a film about a spy and a suitcase. With a crazy art direction, graphic animation style, and fun story line, Case Closed had me hooked, so when the film got green-lit, I couldn't wait to start work!
So far, my primary role on the project has been in character design. It's been super fun and exciting to get to play with this style and to also see my designs start to come to life!
GameKid - Sep 19 - Now
GameKid has also given us some practising and 2D tests to do. Their workflow started off small, but am hoping it picks up over the next 8 weeks to work on this great, sweet film!
With a split screen set-up, the film takes a lot of inspiration from Nintendo-esque gaming, like The Legend of Zelda, Pokemon and Animal Crossing - a design focus that's very close to my heart.
Our very first task from the team was a quick test of the 2D style, which was incredibly fun. Their process was intricate to get the pixelated style at full HD, but is well worth the effort.
Our next task was to test out some action poses of the main character, Ash, and some facial expressions. These were super fun, and super useful too! Hopefully, once production is well underway, I can pick up some more work from these guys and really get to play with this art direction.
Aerwyna - Sep - Oct 19
Aerwyna was a pitch idea of a friend of mine. Unfortunately, the pitch didn't go through so the film wasn't going to be made, but the small bits of pre-production work I did for them was, I believe, some of my best work from the past year. It's an art style I've thought about bringing into my own work more often, and it's a shame I didn't get to work a little more on this one!
Of course, on top of my University work over the past 5 - 6 months, I've continued with my own artwork. This is probably the work that I am most proud of.
At present, I am aware I have no consistent art style. This is something I'd really like to tackle over the next few months. My ability to replicate styles is great for animation, but if I want to pursue a career more leaning towards illustration, it's important for me to have my own, recognisable style.
And with that, we are all caught up! From this point onward, I think I'll start by just updating every 2 weeks with what I've been up to on the course. Then, maybe once I'm a little more in practise, I'll start to do more regular updates on my own, personal explorations, as well as more in-depth pieces on my process.
But for now, I'll be back again in a few weeks to let you know what I've been up to!