3D Animation: Bouncy Balls!

Onto learning about composing 3 different bouncing balls and composing them in Autodesk Maya, how exciting! Alec Parkin, our tutor for Maya, was really informative with the information that he gave us on the programme and put us in groups so that we are able to create the 3 different bouncing balls.


I did a bit of research of squash and stretch, this video is by Alan Becker was perfect as he also talking about squash and stretch with ball.

When I first practiced with maya, making a ball animated and moves round the screen, it was really fun, I found that the keys were a little difficult to get used to but it will probably get easier with time. I also made an attempt at a bouncy ball, implementing squash and stretch and found that I over did stretch and would need to go back in and consider that it loses momentum when it bounces back to the top, so it would go back to the original form and then stretch again when it falls back down.

Maya Hotkeys

Maya Hotkeys

I also found a few balls around my house, including a ping pong ball, tennis ball, metal ball, marble and a very old bouncy ball that has hardened up over the years. I used these to my advantage and did some ball drop research so I was able to see in person how different sizes, weights and ball density would effect the way that it bounces.

I am going to bring these balls in to show my team and we can do some bouncy research together! I Feel it will definitely help our team with our animations.

Here is a video of my cheesy research shenanigans;

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More research with the team! We were able to use the Slow-mo feature on my iPhone to see the squash and stretch more clearly and how it bounces overall.


History of Animation: American

(Click for more details)

(Click for more details)

Today a lovely woman called Helen Haswell, who is a final year PhD candidate in Film Studies at Queens University, came in to talk to us about the history of animation in America, Disney and Pixar to be specific. She wanted to show us how Disney is different from Pixar, looking at Disney first. Helen first showed us a breakdown of where Disney is mainly getting their profit from;

  • TV Channels 45%
  • Park and resorts 31%
  • Studio Entertainment 13%
  • Consumer Products 8%
  • Interactive 3%

Walt Disney Animation Studios are considered to be the pioneer of 2D Animation. Their first animation was Alice’s Wonderland which was released in 1923. It features live characters with an animated background, it was also inspired by silent films as the characters did not speak but went along with music.

Sadly this animated film bankrupted him so he went back to his brother and worked with a producer to create the Alice Comedies Series between 1924-1927 and then came Oswald the lucky rabbit in 1927. Another important step for Walt Disney was Steamboat Willie in 1928 as this was the first animation to feature their mascot Mickey Mouse, as well as Minnie Mouse. Steamboat Willie was the first animated film to have synchronised sound to animation (although Helen Haswell mentioned that this could be argued but considered by many as the first) Steamboat Willies used a lot of exaggerated movements, making it very humorous, the animators also brought inanimate object to life by giving them character through movements which also went along with the music.

Then came Disney’s highest grossing film, Snow White, which was first being worked on in 1934 using the 2D cell animation process and then released in 1937. This was the start to their many traditional fairy tale animated films and the beginning of the Classic Era or also known as Early Period.

  • Snow White (1937)
  • Pinocchio (1940)
  • Fantasia (1940
  • Dumbo (1941)
  • Bambi (1942)
  • Saludos Amigos (1943)
  • The Three Caballeros (1944)
  • Make Mine Music (1946)
  • Fun And Fancy Free (1947)

Then came the Renaissance Era 1989-1999, which had aesthetic and industrial growth, and the introduction of the use of digital technology using CGI (computer generated imagery) Using this within the background of Beauty and the Beast in the dancing scene.

(Click for source)

(Click for source)

  • The Little Mermaid (1989)
  • The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
  • Beauty And The Beast (1991)
  • Aladdin (1992)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Pocahontas (1995)
  • The Hunchback Of Notre Dame (1996)
  • Hercules (1997)
  • Mulan (1998)
  • Tarzan (1999)

Then came the Neo Disney Period which was in 1999 to 2004, which was very artistic and experimental for Disney but they did not do well with their animated films within this period. Although I really loved The Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo and Stitch from this period.


(Click for source)

  • Fantasia 2000 (1999)
  • The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
  • Lilo And Stitch (2002)
  • Treasure Planet (2002)
  • Brother Bear (2003)
  • Home On The Range (2004)

Next was the Digital Disney Period from 2005 to 2007 which was just bad, it did not do well, I feel they jumped into digital CGI because every other animation company started to do it and it did not create the best result for them.

  • Chicken Little (2005)
  • Meet The Robinsons (2007)

Post Pixar Disney is 2008 to now which has all been thumbs up in my books, I especially love The Princess and The Frog (2009) as they went back to their old 2D routes and created a great animated film where the girl is a business driven woman which is different from the other protagonists.

Click for source

Click for source

Pixar is considered to be pioneers of CGI, bringing together art and technology. Their first animated film was Tin Toy released in 1988, which I have to say was kind of horrifying, the baby looked scary and wrinkly! Pixar has come a long way from then! They then moved on to more Research and Development in 1998 to 2006 and came out with Presto which was very funny and charming.

Pixar is still pushing the boundaries with their animation since 2010 and have came out with some amazing animations, including their short La Luna, which I referenced in another post about light.

Learning about Lighting

Today in class we learnt about lighting and watched a video by photographer called Peter Hurley, who is a New York based headshot and portrait photographer specializing in advertising, actors headshots, corporate photography and fashion. He covered a range of techniques including the inverse square law, hard and soft light and natural light.

This was all really interesting and made me think about the picture that I had done for the project and realised that I would need to relook over them and see how I could apply better lighting to them using the techniques that we learned today.

Our tutor, Conánn, gave us a good tip for portraiture saying that drawing women, draw their shadows on the face instead of the line work of their features as this will give them a softer look, feminine look. For men you draw the line work of the features to give them a more masculine look.

The History of Animation: Chinese and Japanese

YuanYuan Chen taught us the history of animation in Asia, starting with Chinese animation. She talked about the Chinese school of animation, which is a group of painters, writers or poets, basically a group of creative people, and how the early days of Chinese animation it is mainly artistic animation due to the fact that the government pays for the making of them  because of how it is cultural, so they did not have to worry about the amount that will be sold.

I found when looking at Chinese animators, such as Wan Laining, they use a very classic Chinese style, incorporating Peking Opera which is traditional Chinese theatre which combines music, vocal performance, mime, dance, and acrobatics. This really shows though as a lot of the characters movements are not realistic, they move like they are performing.

Here is Wan Lainings animation called Havoc in Heaven

We also looked at Japanese animators where we looked into the likes of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, whom founded Studio Ghibli together. I found that their animations had a more western feel to them but also incorporated their spiritual background, their most famous working being Spirited away showed this.

They also weren’t afraid to show death, violence and blood, as well as mainly focusing on emotion, unlike the likes of Walt Disney. Miyazaki and Takahata see it as sad and beautiful, which is why they get so much more recognition because of the emotion and relatability that the implement into their animation.

Create A World: Bringing the colours together


Our team first started looking into warm and cold colours and looking at the appropriate colours that would match the Dragon Tree world. We looked into basic tree colours like blues, greens, browns and oranges but we also wanted to give the work pops of colour, possibly through the creatures that inhabited the world.

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I started experimenting with different scenes and seeing what colours would match them, applying the warm and cool colours as well to see what would match the scene best. When looking into this our team discussed that it would be cooler near the face and the back of the dragon tree while the chest would be red due to the glow of the heart and the fire within the stomach or the Dragon Tree world so we considered this when choosing if the rooms would have a more cooler tone of light or a warmer tone to it depending on what they were close to.

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Our team also looked into what the actual colours of the dragon should be, so I did a study into looking into the texture of the bark and took a photo of a tree to help me with the texture and painted it using water colours. I thought it would be a great way to experiment with colour by painting it in warm and cool colours and comparing then side which I loved doing, I felt like it gave it a nice presentation.

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Phoebe also had different colour variations which gave us a broader choice and push into a more vibrant colour choice for the dragon tree. So as a team we came together and decided that we liked the cooler look to the dragon, so I suggested that we could made the cracked between the bark a vibrant blue while a keeping a simple look by choosing the have the bark just a cool toned brown, which everyone agreed with and then we started to discuss how the blue would then change moving into the warmer colours of the chest as well as the glow of the eye effecting how the colour would look as it would bounce on to the surrounding area. To give everyone a better idea of the detail of the bark I moved onto using Photoshop and did a quick sketch of how the bark would look like, also giving it colour variants to see if the blue undertones was truly what we wanted to go for.


I finished up a watercolour painting for the final look of the dragon and then moved on to the characters within the world. These characters were in the more cooler coloured areas so I made them more cooler colours and took into consideration their areas and if they need to be camouflaged into the background. The firefly creature that lives in the eye is a great example as I took into consideration the colour of the glow of the eye as the glow is made by the fireflies and because we all decided on green for the dragons eye I coloured the body green.

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I looked at the scenes within Photoshop and worked with tonal colours first and looked a what it would look like with cold and warm colours and then used this to come up with the final design the that scene and how the light would effect the things.

1dragon colour panels 3lungscene

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I also experimented a lot with colour with the creatures which was a lot of fun, I mainly like how the teeth (monkey looking) creatures turned out personally. I definitely see room for improvement within my digital drawings, which I feel doing these projects will definitely help.

9stomach 2 8teeth 2 7creaturedragonfire 6characters D

Life Drawing: Perspective

In this life drawing class we focused on perspective. One helpful trick that Michael Bass showed us is to put our hand straight out in front of us and move it up or down so that we no longer see the top of the hand, that is then where the horizon line is, this is a useful technique.

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Create a World: Dragons and Colour


After presenting we were switched again and we are now on the Tree Dragon world with a different team, how exciting. I really want to do well after the not so good presentations we had with Dyson’s Sphere and Hell World, mainly due to the lack of work that was produced by the team, it kinda knocked the little confidence that I had but I must push on and try harder.

I’m so grateful that this team is very motivating, we started researching cool and warm colours, making colour charts for the world. We also researched how cool and warm tones are used within animation and in most you can see the colour tones changing depending on the moods of the characters or just from the different light sources. We also researched different dragons to see their colour schemes, including Smaug from The Hobbit.

Smaug from The Hobbit (click for more details)

Smaug from The Hobbit (click for more details)


La Luna – Pixar Short Animation (click for more details)

Prince of Egypt Concept Art

Prince of Egypt Concept Art

I also looked at posts on colour theory made by Mark Kennedy, who is mainly a storyboard artist mainly known for his work on Frozen (2013), Tangled (2010) and Tarzan (1999).

Color Theory by Mark Kennedy; http://animationideas.com/color-theory-by-mark-kennedy/

Draw something that isn’t there?

We were given a task to draw a character that was not there, this was due to Becca Blair and her awesome character that she saw in her dream that she implemented into the world that she was on, saying that the character is super creepy and you would not know was there until it was right in your face.

This was my depiction;

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I got the idea for this from the Windigo from Until Dawn and Scarlet from Silent Hill.

Until Dawn: Wendigo (click for more details)

Until Dawn: Wendigo (click for more details)

Silent Hill: Scarlet (Click for more details)

Silent Hill: Scarlet (Click for more details)

Create a World: Dysons Sphere Compositions

When looking into tonal I found that I did struggle, its something that I definitely need to work on more. The light is very important within tonal drawings, it is crucial to know how light works, so when applying this to the Dysons Sphere world the main light source within the world was the sun in the middle. I then decided to look up how light acts underwater? which lead me to this very helpful video about how light can bend underwater and allowed me to see the how it looked within the water;

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Dysons Sphere Tonal

I tried to apply what I had learned to the sketches and digital drawings that I had done, when working on the stand off panel of my Photoshop tonal work (the last panel) it reminded me of Heavenly Sword animated by Ben Hibon, which I love the style of. Its detailed but also monochromatic, which really suits the story that is being told. Overall I feel that I need to practice a lot more on tonal, I definitely want to improve and work harder.