New Narratives: Reflection

The journey I had this semester was not an easy one. However, I enjoyed every minute of it.

We kicked the year off with our very first research assignment into the Hero’s Journey. I didn’t realise exactly how useful this assignment would be until much later on. It continues to amaze me how I can look at movies, films, books, comics, even my own work, and see elements of the Hero’s Journey in everything. Whilst not the most fun of assignments, it was certainly one of the most useful in preparation for what was to come.

Our next assignment was to create a schematic for the movie ‘Birdy’. That movie will stay with me forever. It was interesting to have to break down the movie into the Hero’s Journey and then figure out what each of the characters were doing at specific plot points, what their role in that plot point was and how they related to the events happening. Did they cause this event? Or were they just an onlooker? Whilst a stressful experience I believe that it will come in handy in the future.

In correlation with the schematic, we had to make an artefact which either represented the movie or had significance to the story. Whilst figuring out the schematic was hard, this was more difficult. This required extensive research into the minds of the characters, the events that were happening around them, their reactions to said events and the symbolism in the movie. It’s so interesting to be able to dig under the skin of a movie and see how much implicit meaning there is in a story. How minute details can change your perspective of what is going on. We created a birdcage that was held together by bloodied bandages and housed a baseball, whilst feathers and a broken mirror was scattered on the surrounding terrain. The bird the cage was meant to hold was free. This symbolised how society caged Al. They caused him to rely on his looks and masculinity which was stripped from him during the war. He then tried to hold himself together by refusing to remove the bandages. However, Birdy was free. He had never been caged by society’s perspectives and through his traumatic experience he became truly free. This assignment held a lot more weight to it than it let on.  It trained us to pay close attention to not only what’s happening to our character, but also what’s happening around them. I hope that this will lead to a better understanding of narrative and storytelling in future projects.

Our final assignment was our fifteen second animation. This was exhausting. It had such a steep earning curve and we had so little time. I thoroughly enjoyed it, however itmade me realise a number of flaws about myself. I have a tendency to hide my ideas and this way of shutting down when I feel that a team doesn’t need me. However, I went through a lot with this team. As much as I had their back through this assignment, they had mine. I truly learnt the importance of communication and team work in this challenge. You can’t just divide out certain sections, slap them together and expect them to work. You have to be communicating through everything you do. My team and I did not have an easy time of it. However I learnt so much from each of them in terms of Maya and work ethic, and I hoped they learnt something from me too.

In conclusion, I have grown a lot this semester. The work load has been stressful but I’ve learnt that I have the strength to not lose myself to stress. I’ve gone from barely being able to model a coffee cup, to being able to rig and animate a simple model. It’s been interesting watching myself grow and become more comfortable with my position within the teams and by extension within the class. I have learned so much this semester, and knowing that there’s so much more to discover only pushes me to be even better than I have been the past year.

The Family Tree: Week 10

Following our feedback from last week we got to work.

Since the snake was Alistair’s model he decided to take it upon himself to model and animate a tail into the scene. I was really impressed with how it turned out as we were scared that the snakes movements would clip through the tail, however it didn’t and we rendered the scene.

We also changed the timing slightly in that scene. We allowed for a longer pause on the snake so that the audience could fully soak in what had just happened, and understand the humour of the next scene.

Whilst Alistair had been working on that I worked on our title sequence. We were looking for a font which gave the same soft, bubbly feeling that we wanted in for our animation. To set the tone of the animation.

Crewniverse Font


This font is used by Steven Universe, a kid’s cartoon directed by Rebecca Sugar. The font itself is simple, with curved edges and a white outline to create a light, bubbly effect for the words. It’s nostalgic to look at because it reminds me of my childhood (which is ironic because I discovered Steven Universe in my md teens). I also love the way that they use colours in their title sequences. The colours compliment the background palette and the pastel tones they use further softens the appearance of the text. It very pleasing to look at,

However, we eventually decided against it as we felt it wasn’t round enough to give the fat, fluffy atmosphere we were trying to create. Even with its rounded edges it was still too sharp.

Bubble Writing

We all know the text that is bubble writing, it was an artistic staple of our primary years and early high school years. I decided to experiment with some bubble writing of my own. I thought the text made it look childish and soft, and the closeness of each letter to the next was meant to represent the closeness of a family and the support system they had. However, the closeness was this font’s downfall as it made the text look uncomfortable and squashed instead.

Soft Puffy Font


This is an actual text which I found online. I thought we could download it and use it for our animation, however when I wrote the title out in the font it just didn’t look right. It was too far apart, the letters too thin, despite its childish and fun appearance it just didn’t suit the  atmosphere of our animatic.



Bumbazoid is a royalty free text sent from heaven. After many hours searching the internet for that perfect text, I stumbled across this gem. The fint is designed to look like a ballon, with the capital letters even having little strings hanging off the sides of them. However, I found that if you typed in lower case the effect was a lot nicer.

We decided on Bumbazoid because they are close enough to seem familiar to each other, but not close enough so the letters look like they’re trying to suffocate each other. Its appearance is fat and soft and reminds me of a marshmallow. Its very appealing to look at and we feel it fits right in with our animation.

Trying out the different fonts with our title

Colour Palettes

Having decided on a font I went hunting for colour palettes to test with our font. Since we would be working with a purple toned background due to the lighting of the first scene. I worked around color palettes which complimented the background instead of clashing with it, taking inspiration from Steven Universe. However, we did not wish to lose the font to the background either.


This using the reds and oranges on this colour palette I did a quick colour study using the font we wished to use. Although it is a nice, complimentary colour palette, we found it a little boring. It was too mature for the light hearted, fun animation we were trying to create. It was too grown up.


Using the light pastel pinks at the beginning of this palette I did another colour study. Whilst this was a lot more pleasing to look at and it gave the text a very light, fluffy appearance, we feared we would lose it amongst the pastel purple tones of the background due to the fact that we agreed not to have an outline around our font.


Using the middle pastel yellow tones I did another colour study. Whilst these colours still complimented the purple background, they very much held their own against the background, It was clear what you were looking at without becoming overwhelmed by a clashing of colour, or too bright a combination of colours. It held just the right amount of pastel tones to be refreshing and give the text a candy-like appearance, whilst being bright enough to stand out against the background.


Another palette,another study. However it was alarmingly obvious we would not be using this colour palette for or final text. It was too strong, too harsh, it is designed to bring out passion and get the udience hyped, however we wanted a more sweet and calm atmosphere. incomparison to an angry, firey one.


This was an interesting colour palette, using the last three colours I experimented. I really enjoyed the way the colours seemed to both clash and work in harmony with each other, it was very interesting. However, it did not give that warm, fuzzy effect we were looking for and so we decided not to use it.

My experimentations with the colour palettes
My experimentation with the colour palettes


In the end we went with colour palette number 3!

I opened Photoshop and set to work on colouring the Bumbazoid text. Getting a gradient was a lot harder than I thought it would be, and I eventually asked Lydia to help me, although I’m pleased with the results.

The Family Tree Text

Here you can also see the credits which I had originally done. However, there was a problem that occured every time w tried to insert the credits, which meant we couldn’t use the Bumbazoid font for the ending credits. Thankfully the title was imported into the scene without a hitch.

Finally, Bardley added a sky and finished editing the rendered sequences together.

Here is our final animation:


This journey has been insane. If you had told me at the start of this project that I would be animating a fully rigged bird and actually understandin how I’m doing it I would’ve called you crazy. Yet here we are. Our group had its ups and downs, hwever we all pulled through in the end. I am so grateful for the modelling skills I gained out of this experinece, the small nuggests of knowledge on rigging I have scrapped together and my better understanding of how to animate, use lights and cameras on Maya. It was truly a steep learning curve, but with my amazing team behind my back we all powered through. I was honestly astunded as I found myself relatng things back to lectures that we’d had, found myself able to point out inconsistencies in camera angles and timings and actually having a helping hand in the rigging of the mama bird. This assignment really pushed me, it was stressful, I found it diffcult, but if you asked me to do it again I’d say yes in a heart beat. I found it extremely useful in terms of pushing my boundaries and coming to terms with myself as a person, I did take something personal out of this and I feel that my work in the future will really benefit from it. I want to say thank you to my amazing team; Alistair, Bradley and Nuala, we wroked well toegther, we had a good bond and toegther we made this and I’m extremely proud of us.


“Colour Palettes”. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 May 2017.

Font, Bumbazoid. “Bumbazoid Font By Boba Fonts – Fontriver”. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 May 2017.

“Page 2 – Font Samples – Various Fonts For Sale – Artistmike.Com”. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 May 2017.

“Steven Universe Title Card / Credit Font? – Forum | Dafont.Com”. N.p., 2017. Web. 12 May 2017.


The Family Tree: Week 9

Last week was hectic. Completely mad. At times it was stressful, but honestly, I’ve never felt more useful or had more fun.

After receiving the new file with the slightly altered landscape and newly textured mama bird I began animating. I redid mama snoring first (however I haven’t made a lblast of this scene with the new bird).

The next scene I worked on was an anticipation scene. The shots cut beteween the mama Bird’s expecting gaze to the shaking eggs to create suspense, and make the snake popping out even funnier. This scene was not to difficult to do thankfully, as all I did was make the Mama Bird’s eyes wider and have her lean forward in anticipation. However I did have some trouble with the timing, having to move everything around slighlty so that it was an even movement. And so in the final cut this scene is longer, I also edited the camera so it is further away allowng you to see the mama bird breathing and to make the close up of her face more dramatic.

The next scene I shot was the close up anticipation scene. Although the movements were simple, I found that contrlling how open the eyes were was crucial to this scene. There was a fine line between anticipation and shock which we did not want to least not yet. However the most difficult part was aligning the camera. In the last scene it had not been troublesome to postion the camera, however due to the staging needed for this close up, getting the right angle proved a challenge.

This was my first attempt at antimating the shocked facial exression for the bird. As you can see she’s too abrupt, too unatural and the joke wouldn’t land if she reacted in this way. Its so stiff andmechanical that the flowing element is not there.

However, my second attempt went a lot better. We made her head recoil more naturally, adding in a folllow thorough motion as a secondary animation. We also made her eyes less open, she still looks shocked thankfully, just more organic than the previous attempt.

Alistair and I actually got into a wee disagreement about this scene. We couldn’t decide how to make the happy emote look more natural. The riginal idea was just to have her head keep still and her eyelids turn up into a smiling face. But because she does not have a mouth which connected to smiling mscles in her face this did not work, looking dead ad lack lustre. After a brief disagreement on how it should be animated we agreed that there should be a secondary motion to her head, so that her emtoion becomes clearer. Which is why she does a happy wiggle.

After Alistair had his scenes done, we set them up to render, Is truggled with the render settings but with Alistaor’s help we managed to get all the scenes rendered.

We first attempted to put the movie together in Adobe After Effects, however we came across many challenges. We would lose entire scenes, entire scenes would seed up and we couldn’t slow them down, renders would be removed from sequences. It was a big mess. However, Becca came t the rescue and taught us how to use imovie to edit our short. This worked very well and we wrapped up the main animation.

Over the weekend, Alistair and I attempted to do artwork for the final credits,unfortunatley I did not get my pieces finished in time and we used Alistair’s amazing artwork.

On Monday Alistair and I put together a presentation, we filled it with our ideas, our concept art, our inspiration, our models and our thought process. Later that night we researchedand practiced what we would say.

Before our presentation , Bradley came in and added sound to our animation using previous sound recordings from Alistaor and Nuala, as well as a royalty free soundtrack which I had scoped out. We used hapy ukulele music, we felt that it would set the tone for the bouncing, hapy animation.

(Its the first few seconds).

The feedback for our presentation and animation was mainily positive, however we were given some critiques.

We are aware that we need to add in a sky, the title and the credits. However, it was pointed out that we had not used the uncracked model of the egg, having the uncracked model of the egg would’ve fueled more anticipation so we will be sure to tweak this. Conann mentioned having spiral eyes on the snake to charm our mother bird  into relaxation, like the snake from the Jungle Book, however we thought that this might make the snake look threatening, whilst we were trying to create a cutty, fluffy story about acceptance. So because we feel that it goes against the story we are trying to tell we shall not include spiral eyes. Mike did mentioned that he wished the snake had a tail as the way it looks at the moment is slightly unatural, to which we agreed, Alistair has taken this upon himself to do. We were told you could see the eggshells when they popped off the babies bodies, however we did not understand what they meant by this and no matter how many times we replay the scene we still cannot.

We are gong to act on these critiques before our hand-in.


The Family Tree: Week 8

Over the week I attempted rigging on our models. There had been a problem with the rigging when we had tried it, in that the skeleton wasn’t bound to the skin. This meant that the controllers weren’t working for the bird. Despite my best efforts I could not get my head around the rigging. I did try many times but unfortunatley it wasn’t happening for me. Thankfully Bradley came to the rescue with the Mama Bird, and Alistair with the snake and baby birds. However, it was not smooth sailing and on Monday we had to send the rig to Alec so he could figure out what had gone wrong.

However I did not waste the weekend and did a couple of colour studies as I felt I was lacking in concept art.

We got feedback from Mike tday on our very first rendered and animated scene…of course there was a flaoting tree. We are very grateful that he caught it as we were able to start re-rendereing the scene that day after adjuexting the timing of the shot. The original shot moved qite quickly and left too long at the end of the shot for it to be interesting. With this in mind we were advised to have the camera stay at the beginning lnger so that we can focus on the title that will be added later and allow the focus to shift from the title to the Mama Bird.

We had recieved the model back from Alec, and after a lot of difficulty with resizing it and fitting it into the scene I was ready to start animating! Or so I thought. However, when we watched the animation I made we discovered that the newly rigged bird was a different colour to the bird in scene 1. Alistair and I also made slight adjustments to the enviornment in a different scene and thus my original animation was rendered useless. However I’m not annoyed because all I have to do is enter the same positions into the newly edited scene with the retextured bird.

Seaking of the new Mama bird rig, it had not been painted with the weight tool, so this job was allocated to me as Alistair did not know how to do it. This allowed me to feel a small sense of pride as I was useful in some form with the rigging process.

The Family Tree: Week 7

This week I created the egg for the scene.

Making an egg was a lot harder than I though. First of all I had to get the baby bird model off Nuala. Once I had the baby bird model I had to figure out a way to make sure I could work on the egg model whilst still being able to see the baby bird. So in the beginning I got a cube and placed it beside the bird model. With the two side by side, I began to model the egg from the cube to avoid triangles.

Once I had the correct height for the egg I had to place the bird inside the egg, I then discovered that it was too tall for the bird, and too slim for the baby bird’s pudgy body. I had to manipulate and move the edges I had created, whilst in wire frame mode, so that the bird was comletely covered but the egg didn’t look too stupid.


For the next part I needed my teams input, I had to wait until they were free before I could d the crack on the baby bird. They wanted a clean break with no pieces flying off, owever I found that to be difficult considering how big the baby’s eyes were and I didn’t want the egg shell to cover the baby bird’s eyes.

After a lot of deliberation it was decided that it would be a clean break and the baby bird would pop up, sending the top of the egg shell flying off. Having decided that it would cut off beneath the eyes I stated the long process of making the crack. Honestly this was harder than I feel it had any right to be. It was a lot of working in wire frame, accdentally cutting a face I did not mean to, deleting and starting the process again. It was actually quite diffciult but I am pleased by the result.

eggg birb
Cracked Egg

Having the two eggs, means that you can simply hide the whole one once the crack is needed to appear.

Alistair had finished colouring the scene this week, and it looks gorgeous.

It looks darker rendered on my laptop in comparison to the rendered shots on the macs

Whilst I was struggling with this, Alistair and Bradley moved on with the opening scene, calling me over and asking for my opinion, allowing me to change details, it was a very inclusive process which I greatly enjoyed. I was told that I should I should make a sun for the scene, so you could physically see the sunrise. However, it was not used in the end.


The Family Tree: Week 6

This weekend I was at a convention so I did not get as much as I would’ve liked to have gotten done. However, I did model an extra piece of vegetation for our scene and looked at colour schemes and colour insiration for our scene.

Bird’s Nest Fern

bird's nest fern

The bird’s nest fern gets its name from the fact that the centre of the fern looks like a bird’s nest, it grows on other plants and organic material and thrives in low light. I decided to try and model this because of its name. However, due to the wrinly nature of the leaves and the waves in them I couldn’t use my normal techniques. And with the help of Alec I managed to work out a way to get the leaves to twist and bend without clipping through the mesh.

fern death.png

Colour Inspiration

I looked at several mediums which contained the colours or colour schemes we may want to use. We had previously agreed on pastel tones.

Steven Universe

Steven Universe has an extremely refreshing colour palette. They never use dull colours, the colour work is simply beautiful. Easy on the eyes and relaxing I felt that Steven Universe wuld be a good place to find inspiration for our scene as we are trying to create a light, easy on the eyes scene. We wnated the scene to have that beautiful paste aesthetic with refreshing colours to signify a new life. Pastel colours are often used for baby clothes and items steered towards young children so this also influenced our decision.

Monument Valley 

Monument Valley is a mobile game, where the user figures out puzzles with perspective to advance. I was looking at this particular game because at the atrt of the sunset in our beginning scene we wished to have a purple tint to the scene and I felt that the use of colour in Monument Valley would give us an idea on how to incorporate this into the scene, and how to match colours to the lighting.


(I do not like love scenes, but the lighting in this scene is gorgeous)

Avatar has already been mentioned in previous posts, however once again we looked at the glowing plants and the blue tint that the entire movie had and how the colours were reflected and how they interacted with that light.

Charlie Chalk

Due to Charlie Chalk being the main inspiration for the art style we were going for, it only seemed right to look at the colour scheme as well. And this actually turned out to be our favourite. The use of lightened primary colours and slight pastel tones gives Charlie Chalk a very childish atmosphere and is nostalgic as it has the colour pallette of all big tubs of chalk which I used so much as a child in my back garden. Overall, it just warmed my heart and sat well with the scene.

Alistair had already set up the scene by this point, so he set to work colouring it.

Team Blogs: Alistair, Nuala and Bradley.


ART ‘n STUFF. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

), Webspring. “Asplenium Nidus – Birds Nest Fern – Fronds New Zealand, Suppliers Of Native New Zealand Ferns, Nz Plants, Nz Trees, Nz Shrubs, Landscaping Ferns, Nz Ponga, Nz Ferns, Exotic Ferns, Nz Tree Ferns, Nz Ground Ferns, Nz Ponga Pots, Nz Ponga Troughs.”. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

“Cite A Website – Cite This For Me”. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

Fern, Bird’s. “Bird’S Nest Fern Plant: How To Care For A Bird’S Nest Fern”. Gardening Know How. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

“Monument Valley: An Ios And Android Game By Ustwo”. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 May 2017.

The Family Tree: Week 5

Whilst I worked away on creating models for the environment, I will admit that my maya knowledge was behind that of Nuala‘s, Alistair‘s and Bradley‘s, however I am proud of the models I have produced thus far an I feel as though I have been useful to the team.

The river reed was simple, however it still took me a little while to work out how to use the curve tool to create a smooth curve. Once I had worked this out however, it became a lot easier for me to complete the model. This was because the thicker part of the reed was made in a similar way only thicker with a more rounded bottom and flattened top. Whilst simple, I think it looks clean.

Hot dog - Copy
River Reed

Once again, although this appearas simple I did find it difficult to extrude the top faces, as I couldn’ work out how to get the edge loop to work on the top face. However, I eventually managed to work it out and made some tweeks to the edges in order to give it a clean finish.

Lily pad - Copy
Lily Pad

I started and restarted this flower, so many times. However the effect that I eventually achieved was worth it.  I used the tutorial I showed in the previous blog post to create the basic petal shape and then duplicated and positioned each petal so that it would take the shape of a flower. This flower was detailed and it took me a number of hours so I’m glad it turned out so well.

lilypetal - Copy
Water Lily Flower

Pictured above are my models, which took me longer than I had hoped.

We all helped to design the Mama Bird, I also took some inspiration from the bird’s in ‘For the Birds’, ‘Owl’ in ‘Winnie The Pooh’ and ‘Archimedes’ from ‘Sword in The Stone’ to hep with the basic shape of or Mama bird:

Alistair was modelling our baby snake and Mama bird, Nuala modelled our baby birds and Bradley was experimenting with rigging and lighting with temporary envirnments and bird models.

We hope to have a sunrise to open our scene. This will be achieved by  parenting a light to a locator in the scene, and rotating and key framing the locator to create a sunrise.

He also experimented with rigging the face and explained the basics of it to us, but honestly I’m a little lost on exactly how it works, I only know how to operate and animate using the controllers, however I am confident in my ability to do so.

The Family Tree: Week 4

This week I researched various plants which I considered modelling and begn modelling.

First off though, I modelled some simple tree designs to flesh out our forest with.

tree1tree2 - CopyTree3

This was inpsired by the circular deisgns used in Charlie Chalk. Although simple my group seemed to really like them.

Then I began researching different plants which we could put into our scene.

Amorphophallus Titanum

Amorphophallus Titanum.jpg


This plant is a large flowering plant, known as a carrion plant, for its odor which smells like a rotting corpse. I don’t think we will end up sing this plant though, its a little pointed for our taste.

Rafflesia Arnoldii


Another type of carrion plant, is the Rafflesia Arnoldii, which is the largest plant in the world, but also extremely endangered. They look rather comical and round, almost bouncy, and so we thought it world fit the tone we were going for in our animation.



Are carniorous plants situated in warm climates. They have the power to dislodge rain drops, causing the lid to snap shut and trap ants sheltering underneath into the acidic liquid stored inside them. Despite their carnivorous nature, we thought their design was appealing.



Whilst Orchids aren’t as exotic as the plants above they are extremely beautiful and in the language of flowers, it is the chinese symbol for many children.

After finding out that Alistair was also looking at these plants, I focused more on water based plants.

Water Based Plants

River Reeds


River Weeds look like corn dogs, however what captured my attention was that they are commonly seen around river banks, offering cover for more vulnerable creatures. I also like how soft and round they look.

Water Lilies


I was concerned about the lack of ‘pretty’ flowers we had in our scene. So I loked at our river and decided that it might look a little bland without the addition of a few water baswd flowers. Water lilies not only fit the aesthetic of our scene, they also filtered the water so that the water remains crystal clear which we want our river to give the appearance of.

Whilst I started dabbling in terms of making these models, I kept running into problems until I found this quick and easy tutorial, which I could easily manipulate into my own shaped leaves and creations.

The Family Tree: Week 3

After speaking with Mike, Alistair  redid some scenes in the animatic and with our help he added sound!

We decided to  look at some natural and movie environments for inspiration for our own environment as we were undecided.

We originally had the idea of having our birds perched high above the rest of the forest which led to me looking in the australian outback. In particular the image of the singular tree in the Outback.


However, we decided that that was too isolated and gave off a very hostile enviornment, the opposite of what we wanted to create.

We then looked at local forests, especially ones containing rivers after Bradley did a lot of research on the symblolism of water, which you can read here.

However, we agreed that we were looking for something a little more exotic, like a rainforest! Mainly so we could explore all kinds of interesting flora and trees.

Stemming from real life examples, we began to look at  forests and enviornments in movies and cartoons.

The Jungle Book (2016)

Alistair has a master post about the Jungle Book on his blog, however I did wish to mention breifly what we really loved about the concept art and environment in this movie.

What we really loved about the concept art for the Jungle Book, was how homely the environemnt looked. The jungle adopts Mooglie, and we see it through his eyes. Its his home. We loved the richeness of the enviornment, how full of life it appeared to be, filled to the brim with vegtation, trees and flora. We have a desire to make our own environment seem wam and welcoming, and have the rich colors and full scene reflect this. Its also familiar, exotic yet familiar.



The environment in Avatar is breath-takingly beautiful! We were in awe at the bioluminescent plants and rich atmosphere created by the environment.

We were inspired by the twisting trunks of the trees and the exotic plants. There was never a dull moment on screen during Avatar. The environment itself was alive and breathing, drawing you in and capturing your attention. However, not enough to distract you from the main focus of whatever scene was playing out, just enough to keep your eye entertained . It draws on the real life elements of rainforests from our own world, however the colour scheme makes the environemnt so alien. We wished to add interesting shapes to our own environemnt, such as the twisting trunks and full environment.

Bradley in particular was insired by the bioluminescent colour scheme during the darker scenes of the movie and wished to include this in ur animation at some point, even if was just a slightly purple tinge to the lighting.

Charlie Chalk

Charlie Chalk was brought to our attention by Alistair as we were discussing maybe simplifying the environment to creat a softer more round and family friendly appearance. The pastel aesthetic and soft felt textures, mixed with the soft, rounded shapes of the environment make for perfect inspiration for our cute aniamtion.

Based on this we all attempted some beautiful (I am disappointed in mine) concept art:


You can see Nuala, Bradley and Alistair’s work on their blogs respectively.


The Family Tree: Week 2

Whilst we thought our team had agreed to take one night off after presenting our idea, Alistair was on a very different wave length. He created an animatic all by himself, only needing us to edit it together for him! Which we greatly appreciated.

This allowed us to focus on our next course of action concept art for our birds.

We all agreed that our birds should be soft, fat and round. I researched this description and found a few cutie pies that I think would be perfect as a base for our birds.

Eurasian Wren

The Eurasian Wren is known for its small structure and soft body. It can fit into a teacup, and its appeal definitely comes from its soft, fluffy appearance, caused by a round body and fluffy feathers.

Eurasian Wren


Dunlins are a widespread species of sandpiper. They are fluffy, and round on lanky legs, but its the fluffed up, round appearance they take when nesting.


Their cute appearance also allowed a flock of them to take centre stage in the Pixar short ‘Piper’. Which tells the tale of a young bird over coming their fear of the sea, and becoming independent and dependable.


Sorry for the small frame, this was the only copy I could find online.


The Firecrest is a very small bird, found in Scotland, they are only arond 9cm long. I put them on this list because their lack of neck and funny little mohawk, give the derpy, yet fat and round look that we’re trying to achieve.


Cartoon/ Film Influences

We looked at a few short films, clips and cartoons which featured birds and one of our favourites were the baby birds from ‘Angry Birds’.

Their round, egg-shaped appearnace paired with massive eyes and small limbs and beak, add to the element of their cuteness.

Another influence was ‘For the Birds’ from Pixar. We believe that the design of the ‘Angry Bird’ chicks were based on these short, fluffy, dumb and chubby little creatures.

I personally looked at ‘the Owl’ from CBBC, however his design was very quickly written off as it was too angular and sharp for the soft appearance we were striving for.

In the end we sketched a few designs, and I did a few sketches of well known birds in order to get the basic shapes down:

However, Nuala‘s was by far our favourite!

Nuala's Bird

When it came time to present again, we had a finished baby bird design and animatic. They do agree with the direction we are taking, however they are curious about the mama bird’s design and the environment in which they will reside. Which will be our next goal. To research environments and finalise the mama bird’s design.



The Family Tree: Week 1

So for this assignment we have to create a 15 second animation with 5 seconds on either side for credits and a title sequence.

In my team I have Alistair, Nuala and Bradley. All stellar students and hard workers.

So this week we decided to brain storm ideas and come up with a finalised story.

Conann told us to stay away from heavy hitting story lines, such as suicide and depression, which we all  agreed you wouldn’t be able to portray correctly in 15 seconds. So we decided to head down the lines of comedy, however we also wanted to keep character designs simple and easy in order to lower are work load. This was already going to be a hard enough challenge to begin with, and since we were only first years we didn’t want to create life like transformers (no mattter how cool that would be).

I began by looking at bad jokes:

  • The past, the present and the future walked into a bar. It was tense. (We decided against this as we would have to tell the joke instead of showing it which defeats the point of the assignment).
  • What did the big chimney say to the little chimney? You’re too young to be smoking! (We had the funny idea of having the big chimney turn away for two seconds, a little puff of smoke stream up from the little chimney whilst big’s back was turned. However, the big cimeny suddenly spins 180, grows and leans over the smaller chimney with angry eyes).
  • Two flies are on a poo. Fly 1: Wanna hear a joke? Fly 2: Nothing disgusting, I’m trying to eat. (Once again we would have to tell this joke instead of showing it.)
  • Solar Flare. The sun farts and destroys the Earth. (Funny, toilet humour, however doesn’t show off what we’ve learned this year).

I then saw some funny jokes about teeth (which we didn’t go with (thank goodness because Conann was not impressed)):

  • A tooth slowly moves closer, despite the other’s protests. It ends with the two being seperated by a brace. (It was boring, and nothing imaginative animation wise).
  • A tooth is sitting happily, only to be attacked by a wisdom tooth. (Once again, rejected due to the camera angles boring nature and lack of animation needed).
  • Two teeth in love are separated by a slowly emerging screaming adult tooth. (No imaginative camera angles.)


The two ideas which captured our attention the most would be two ideas about birds.

Alistair and Bradley’s Idea:

Alistair and Bradley had an idea where a wee worm poked it’s head out of the ground, only for a fat, derpy looking bird to swoop down and start trying to pull the worm out of the ground. However, the tables are turned when the worm pulls the bird into it’s hole in the ground and eats the bird instead. The comedy in this short, comes from the unexpected twist the story takes, the appearnace of the bird and th final scene which is a loud burp and feather blowing up into the air.

Nuala’s Idea:

Ultimately the idea we loved the most was Nuala’s idea. A mama bird is waiting for her three chicks to hatch. Two do so without a hitch and she’s excited for the third, only fot a snake to pop out. Despite being shocked, the mama bird accepts the strange creature as one of her own. The comedy in this comes from the unexpected, but also the mama bird’s facial reactions to the snake. Nuala came up with this idea after a lecture on implicit meaning in narrative, and thus Nuala came up with a heart warming comedy about adoption, and accepting those who are different to you.

We then came up with a rough story board to present it to Conann, Mike and Yuan.

Thankfully, they seemed to really like our design and saw it as interesting and fun, however they did express their concerns with timing. Which is why our next task is to create an animatic for our idea.