Changing the industry

When people think of Animation, the first company to come to mind is Disney. Starting in the 20’s and now over 53 Feature films, Disney has become a house hold name and has built a fan base. Let’s take a look back to their first film Snow white and the seven dwarfs. Made back in the early 30’s it still has a massive impact to the Animation culture today. This Blog will focus and discuss the impact this feature film has had on the Animation Industry.

Now, Bare in mind, technology wasn’t as great as what we have today. So making an animation feature took talent. It reached world wide status due to it being the first feature film (83 minutes) animated film. It was funded due to the popularity of Disney after making previous short films. Snow white and the seven dwarfs was also the first to have an official soundtrack that was later released as a motion picture soundtrack. Last but not least, the credit sequence at the start was the longest in cinematic history. This movie made everything bigger, better and newer. With the time it took it has been calculated to have had 1,500,000 pen and ink drawings and water coloured. But with all this hard work… how did they make it?

Here is a quick video that goes through the stages of the process
Process video

The movie snow white kick started a new method for Walt Disney’s animators to get formation and perception correct. This method was rotoscoping. Rotoscoping is a technique that animators use where they trace frame by frame of live footage and use it as reference.  Snow white used live action footage to help the animators get everything looking right.


This technique pushed forward into other Disney Productions.


I wanted to test out this progress as it seemed fun and interesting to do. I filmed myself dancing in South Bank. Once i had the footage onto my computer, i then took it and imported it into Photoshop so i could being to use it as reference and paint over the frames. This was really practical when it came to getting every little detail into my project.

Here is the final outcome for you to peruse.

sketch title


Redesigning a design

This course has made me understand the importance of planning and developing concepts. When I have designed characters, I normally improvise as I know what kind of style I am looking for. I was wrong. Through this blog, I want to spend the time analysing one fantastic block buster that was released in 2011. That film is The adventures of TinTin.

Now, I am not saying that the TinTin movie was iconic, but the characters are. These characters have been around for generations. The reason I want to discuss and deconstruct the TinTin film is because our assignment is to recreate a myth or novel. This is essentially what they have done with the Tin Tin films. I will discuss the concept but throughout the blog I may drift off to other fields.

Redesigning an iconic character can be tough as you have a set of fans that will judge the work you produce. The concept artist deconstruct the original drawing of Tin Tin, picking up key features such as the ruby red cheeks, the strawberry blonde hair with cow lick and the ocean blue sweater.
(Insert old tin tin drawings)

implementing these key features meant the character design was on the right track, but now it meant they had to redesign the style and look. Instead of using flat, bland, boring colours like the original comic characters, they have gave these characters life by making them semi realistic looking. I think they achieved wonderful results with their adaptations of the characters, using their own style while sticking to the original style as much as they could. They used reference from the comics and developed such believable characters. Haddock is an impressive design, how throughout the film you can see his anger through his expressions. This was something they couldn’t achieve as well due to the lower detail in the comics.

Once they nailed the style and look of the adaptation, they moved onto the environments. What they did with the process was truly amazing as they used the old comic book environments and covers as references and they painted a replica of the covers but using the style they wanted. The concept gives you a better feel for the mood and scene due to the fact that they added shadows and lighting, which was unfortunately not used in the original comics.

How I have taken what I have learnt from this movie and used it into my work is that I am recreating characters from Alice in wonderland but I am sticking strictly to the details that were key features of the characters. I am trying my best to stay true to the story without copying any other adaptations. Weta did a fantastic job when producing Tin Tin that they focused a lot of their time perfecting that character concept and environments in order to get the right look and not to upset any fans. If i can take anything away from what I have learnt from the concepts in this film, it would be that taking time in designing concepts is a important process towards achieving the perfect look and character.

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Guise, C. (2011). The art of the adventures of TinTin (p. 195). New York: Harper Design.

Modular Workflows

When working on a project, modular workflows are going to benefit not only your workload… but the whole project. I will be showing how i have implemented modular workflows to help me with my CIU project but,What is a modular workflow?

well, a modular workflow is a beneficial way to better your work by being able to recycle or reuse textures, assets etc. This helps since you can recycle work it saves alot of time to rapidly progress in your project.

Modular Workflow tutorials

I found this tutorial above. It helps explain how to set up your photo shop file to a modular file and also gives a brief summary on what a Modular workflow is. The guy running the tutorial worked on a bunch of games such as Batman origins and helps breakdown a few environments and show how he used modular workflows to his advantage.

The importance of the modular texture workflow is not only to rapidly speed up the progress but also to keep the memory low. Using a bunch of textures can eat up the memory and slow down the software at ease. This can all be avoided as you can layer textures on top of each other. Once they are in the software of choice, you can set the layers to an RGB setting allowing them to go on individual channels. This make it easier when you want to swap textures all of a sudden and to easily reuse them.

When you are working on a game or film, you trick the audience to believe you have made everything from scratch, but the truth is you have made 1 asset and just repeated it in believable, realistic areas.

How i am using the modular workflow?

I am working on a motion comic in CIU and we have alot of 3D assets and not enough time to make unique textures for each one of them. I will be creating a texture pack for us to recycle onto various 3D assets when we are ready to do so. Some of the textures will include Wood, Glass, Grass and Carpet.

Here are my textures i have created in PS below. They will be really useful when texturing the assets for the motion comic as they will be needed in various scenes.

CarpetWood textureglassGrass texture

These textures above will be really helpful when it comes to assigning textures to models for my CIU330 project. I will be needing a simple, basic texture that will make the scene stand out but also be easier for us to assemble. Especially since we have wasted a lot of time planning the story. Some examples of where they will be beneficial are in the environment rooms. This will save us from texturing each room as we can use the same texture but change the levels to make them look different.


Helpful Painting tutorials

I have been researching some helpful tutorials for me to expand my skillset. Since i am still a beginner and have a very basic skill set towards digital painting, i found a few tutorials that go through the basics.
Blending object


I have noticed in my concepts and environment, i am struggling with blending objects. This is something i NEED to work at. i found this helpful, quick tutorial that goes through the basics on blending  edges on objects.

Understanding colour

Choosing the right colours


I don’t think i have a bad understanding with colour, but it is always good to refresh your memory. I actually found out a thing or two i didn’t actually remember or know while watching this tutorial. I never took to account that colour can be the biggest giveaway that the picture is fake.
Another tutorial that focuses on colour that i found useful was how to choose colours. It is very important to know what colours work with one another. I always neglect the colour wheel and then realise i have to go back to it as my colours don’t match nicely.

Last tutorial i found to be helpful is this one.

Making your composition better

This video goes through everything! from colour to painting techniques. He also goes through various ways to plan out a picture. Although this is a fast painting he still goes through alot of details and important techniques to make your digital painting a beaut.

I plan on testing out various styles and attempts throughout the holiday so hopefully these videos turn out to be useful for me.

Value structures

During one of the digital painting classes we had a deep look into value structures. This class was very interesting to me as i had previously sturggled with shadowing and lighting. I would take a wild guess where the shadows and light source would be seen. This made my environments pretty bad. We worked on one in class and i enjoyed spending the time to deconstruct the scene and reassemble it with the shadows and lighting.

Here is a look at the value structure i attempted in class that day.
Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 10.33.02 am
This environment above is set at dusk, so i had the light source coming in 1 direction, leaving majority of the scene either grey or black. I started to paint this scene but left it as i wanted to get stuck into my concept drawings. Here is the partially coloured attemptScreen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.56.04 am

along the background of this attempt you can see abit of atmosphere beginning. After this class i begun to understand the importance of a value structure. I did happen to apply this to my final digital envrionment.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 12.00.04 pm.png

This is very basic, but it did it’s job by helping me understand where the darker spots would be. Since i attempted a Film Noir vibe alot of the scene had to be dark. Here is how the final piece turned out.
Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.04.58 am

I have since found a few tutorials and pages that will help me expand my knowledge and skills when it comes to value structures. Below are a few pages i found useful.

FloobyNooby link

Sketching with Values link

FENG ZHE tutorial


Digital brushes

Recently i have looked at a few tutorials that will benefit me on future illustration projects. These tutorials focus on the importances of brushes and how different brushes will help create a different mood and a more aesthetic look.

Not too long ago, i bought this pastel brush pack. I haven’t had the chance to use it on anything worth while, but i have painted little things with it.

Shaun’s Pastel brushes

His environments and characters really have an appealing look to them. I am striving to work towards a new pathway choice, that being an illustrator for children’s books. These brushes would be useful as they have a fun, creative style that brings out the characters.

Another unique set of brushes i have found and am ready to use are by Kyle T Webster. These brushes use water colour techniques. I have always been terrible at water colouring as the paint leaks everywhere, but it has been a style i have admired for a long time. This brush pack will help me create some illustrations i will hopefully be passionate about.

Kyle’s water colouring video
Brush website- $9 set

Water colours are used a lot in children’s books, so it would be beneficial to start to learn how to make stunning illustrations without the leaking of paint all over the page.

I can’t wait to be able to show everyone some of the characters and environments i work on over the holiday. It is unfortunate that i have left this til the last day, otherwise i would have been able to show how i have demonstrated these brushes


n the digital painting class, we were asked to produce a concept for a adaptation of a novel or myth. I chose the classic novel by Lewis Carroll, Alice in wonderland and it was required of us to recreate a character, a creature and a environment. I chose to design The White Knight, Blue Caterpillar and The rabbit hole (with additional character, Alice).

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I wanted to recreate the vibe and aesthetics of Wonderland by implementing the Film Nior style. Film Nior tends to set a vibe of mystery and suspense with the help of lighting, which is shown in every Film Nior painting and movie. Using a low key lighting it provides a sense of mystery with the help of shadows and lighting, making various figures unidentifiable. Each scene has a fog or smoke look to it which also provides a sense of suspense and mystery.
film_noir_lighting images noir-4031

Using big, stretched out shadows that tend to take more screen space than the actor lets the audience know that this character has importance’s to the story and they will be followed along the way. Bounce light is used heaps when it comes to film noir. You can see in these shots that bounce light has been used to effectively tell a story. These scenes make use of walls, ceilings, doors to reflect the light which helps soften up a scene. This helps provide enclosed areas such as the interior of a building with available light.

Hard-Shadows-600x855 index
In these pictures above, you can see that the brightest light is centered on the focus point. Although i plan on having my concept coloured these techniques will still apply. You can see below, the lighting still provides the same effect in these pictures.

27efa66302d3dee812a08396778b3c42 imagesdede index3332Here is how i have implemented my research into my design.

Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 12.04.58 am.png

The light is in the corner of the scene bouncing off the objects that show importance to the scene. For example. The light is shining on the mushrooms which represents the crossover between two worlds (ours and wonderland). These mushrooms are important and because they are brighter colours than the rest of the scene, your eyes draw attention to them. Next is the silhouette/shadow in the window. This was a little added character and is supposed to be the Cheshire cat, which would also represent the crossover between worlds.

One thing i have learnt while painting the light is that it still needs to stay in perspective with the rest of the scene or it looks odd and out of place. I think i have applied Bounce light, but i would like to further my research on Bounce Light as it is something i haven’t thought about with previous drawings before.

fixed version!

Screen Shot 2015-12-23 at 10.45.05 am

Overall, what i have learnt during this painting is
.that Bounce light is also as important as the light source.
.The lighting used in film noir helps identify and raise importance to a character or Object.
. Shadows and Silhouettes enhance the mystery and mood towards the scene.
– Dull Colours are also needed to work on the vibe aswell.

(n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2015, from
(n.d.). Retrieved December 18, 2015, from
12 Simple Ways to Bounce Light and Capture Better Portraits. (2014, July 4). Retrieved December 18, 2015, from

Rotoscoping is cheating!… said no one ever

Recently, i did a short project using rotoscoping techniques but what is rotoscoping? Well, Rotoscoping is the technique that has been around for quiet some time and is still relevant in today’s industry. It involves a simple way of using reference to create an animation. The animator of a project can use the reference footage and paint over each frame with the character’s they are using. Originally the footage was projected onto the celluloid paper and the actors traced what they saw, however, now it is much more simple as it is all on computer.

This technique backdates to the early cartoons such as Betty Boop, snow white and other various Disney films. It is also used as a type of Visual FX’s process. They used rotoscoping in a range of live action films such as Star wars (the original ones for the light sabers),Space balls (for essentially the same thing) and Who framed roger rabit (for toon town and the iconic toons)

How it is used today?

Today, it is all done on computer by digitally painting over each frame.
The principal is still the same today and it is used to create visually appealing and very arty films. The great thing about this technique is each time it has been used, it still feels original and fresh.There isn’t much to say about the technical side to it, as it is really just like tracing. Here are some examples of productions it has been used in.

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Juno- Opening sequence

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Adieu-Hit. Record
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Going on 16- Daniel Johns

Adieu and going on 16 were really creative in the process of making the final product. Both of these films handed out short parts of the footage to a number of animators to get a different style every so often.

I tried out the rotoscoping technique and i made a intro for a hypothetical show about myself. I started by filming some footage with Toby in Southbank and i have had this footage for awhile with no use for it. When i decided i wanted to do some Rotoscoping, i dug it out of the folder it was hiding in. I took the footage into photoshop to begin the digital painting side to it (which was painful) and once that was done, i animated it. I took it into After effects to animate it using the expanding tool to hide everything and then expand it out over time.

Here is a look at the final project.

My Rotoscope test

Cross dis! (can it be over now)

This trimester i worked with a wonderful film student. The project was nothing but fun to work on, although it has been a long ride. We had to make a car crash and make it look as realistic as possible. I worked on the post crash scene, giving the scene some smoke and sparks to make it look more believable. However, James was unlucky and had to model the cars. this has taken him some time due to them having to be really realistic. Once they are done, my second task is to rig them, animate them, texture them and add the finishing vfx touch.

With the car scene, i used action essential materials as it was very short notice and i didn’t have too much time to make a bunch of assets for the director (hopefully i can still meet this LO). Here is my first test render

Test render

The scene was too bright and the smoke needed to be feathered and masked a little more.

Here is that shot

Final render

Although i didn’t make assets, i still made a few test renders to see how the shot looks.