Data Visualisation: Concept art

After doing my research of concept are I began my attempt. When doing my concept art I found that I needed to look more into perspective as I don’t think I got it right at all. I would Have loved to create better concept art for this project, there was a lot of potential for it but time constraints had a definite part to play in this project.


To try and improve the concept art I looked into perspective and remembered this great article on Kotaku which was very useful as it went in depth about perspective, the artist who created it is called Thomas Romain;

Tips for Drawing Backgrounds

Tips for Drawing Backgrounds

Tips for Drawing Backgrounds

Tips for Drawing Backgrounds

Romain, Thomas. “Tips For Drawing Backgrounds”. N.p., 2016. Web.



Animated Short: Choices

When we had our team meeting I caught up on everyone’s ideas and discussed any new ones that our team members came up with. Robert has a very interesting idea using different materials to create a bird character flying through the air and creating a love heart in a symbolic way, it would look really pretty and would require a lot of particle work, which would be a pretty risky and adventurous thing to go for.

Michelle also had some great ideas including; A tortoise finds a bird fallen out of the nest. The tortoise helps the bird back into the nest, when doing so an apple will fall from the tree. The implicit meaning would be “A good deed will be rewarded.”

Michelle and Robert also had a good idea of using simplistic shapes with different characteristics to determine each one, like a bean. Michelle came up with a story for them about the baby bean getting lost and the rest of the bean family help rescue the bean baby. The implicit meaning is that “Family sticks together”. Kristina talked about her idea about a rat after cheese and showed us her animation that she had done back in college for one of her projects which was very cute.

I think we were all leaning toward a happy or cute story, one which would lift the viewers spirits. I feel like going for a cute story would allow us to tell a good story within our 30 second time frame and make it read well and loveable.

I then showed my team after getting caught up with everyone ideas and they all seemed to like my idea. The audience could relate to the characters interactions in the story as it could be the start of a love story. It also follows the writers journey you have the start of a normal say, the call to adventure, a moment of panic and wonder as to what will happen next, with a nice happy ending, return with the elixir.

We then all took a vote on what we wanted to story to be and the team decided to go for my story of the ice skating birds. I’m glad we could get the story agreed on sooner rather than later because that means we saved a lot of time for any problems that we may come across, as well as time for other projects as well. This also meant we can stay looking at the story and making changes to it so it can be more desired by the rest of the team

Speaking of time, we all knew that time management was key and that we NEEDED to make sure that we grasped time management from the beginning because we had all been in teams where time management hasn’t been so good and we wanted to make sure that it would not happen with this project. That being said I immediately created an Asana for our team, we all sat together and listed all of the areas that we would need to cover and then decided on appropriate dates for those things that needed to be done. We also knew that this would be perfect for Easter break because then we wouldn’t have to worry that no one is working as everyone would see if everyone was doing their tasks through the use of Asana and if anyone needed an extra hand.

Time management will also be perfect as a less stressed team gets more work done and gets along as we will just see whats next to do and get stuck in. We wanted our Asana to be very realistic with our time management as we gave ourselves room for failure, other projects and time for tweaking when planning out our timetable. Every team needs to do this and stick to it, I learned from the Floating City project that if all your team isn’t taking time to look at Asana or time management tool then this can be a weakness in your team and could end up in everyone not following it because plans were not met. Even if the deadlines that you have set your team changes due to problems you will still have time to get back on track. It’s good have an approximate length of time for each task with your limited budget.


According to what our team had decided on Asana next on our agenda was to get character concepts and scenery concepts down. Time to research! My guilty pleasure is to watch Bob Ross every Monday on Twitch, he really is an amazing painter and I have actually improved in my background art due to watching him so much. So when I was thinking about background and scenery I immediately thought about one of his snowy frozen lake paintings that you can see below;

We also talked about how we wanted the setting to take place at sun set, this meant we would need to look at how that would effect the colours of our scene. We all agreed that this would also give some really nice reflection in our ice as well as a lovely colour scheme to work with, also adding to the romantic setting we wanted to implement.

Robert also mentioned about the northern lights and what if we were to incorporate this as it would create some beautiful lighting for our scene and would also add to the romantic cute feel we wanted to go for. This made me think about where would this place actually be? so I looked up the main places that you can see the northern lights in winter and found this website. One of the areas that we liked was Northern Canada which you can see below;

Robert then suggested that the location should be in the french alps which I completely agree with as it would would well with the romance iconography that we want to go for as France is known to be one of the most romantic countries in the world. This also meant that we would also go for the sun set backdrop instead of having the northern lights, which was probably good as having the northern lights may have taken away from the character focus. This was also a good idea as in one of the lectures we had our tutors stressed that it is important that you know where your animation is taking place.

When looking into what our scene should have and look like a great artist that I looked at was Lisa Keene who did very beautiful concept art for the animation Frozen, as well as different trees that they looked into using, including how they wanted the ice to look which you can see some were stylized while some was semi realistic. She is also really talented at showing how light would effect it as well which I hope to learn from;

We also remembered the snow scene from Bambi and Michelle told us some really interesting information on the backgrounds in Bambi and how it was inspired by the Eastern American woodlands. A Disney studio, Maurice “Jake” Day, spent several weeks in the Vermont and Maine forests, sketching and photographing deer, fawns, and the surrounding wilderness areas. However his first sketches were too “busy” as the eye did not know where to focus. Tyrus Wong, a Chinese animator, showed Day some of his impressionistic paintings of a forest. Day liked the paintings and appointed him art director of the film. Wong’s backgrounds were revolutionary since they had more detail around the center and less around the edges, thus leading a viewer’s eye to the characters.

I felt that this scene related massively to our ice skating scene within our story as it shows Bambi struggling on the ice and Thumper being able to ice skate easily over the ice and tries to help Bambi ice skate. It was create to see the animation and how they made the characters move.

I also looked into Sukhbir Purewals concept art for Angry Birds Go as I absolutely love the style and colour palate that he has used for these. Kristina also said about making our scenery low poly when it came to modelling them and i felt that Sukhbir’s art style was a great representation of this and inspired me greatly.

Taking my research into consideration I did some quick concepts of scenery that we could use;



Floating Rome: Finalising ideas and plans

So I got the team together as I felt that we needed to get a move on and start finalising ideas and start planning on what our next moves will be to meet the deadline and create something that we were going to be happy with.

We decided that our city was going to be a utopia based on the designs of Leonardo Da Vinci, we wanted it to be a vision of pastoralism and for it to be at harmony with nature. We wanted it to be self sufficient, yet also keeping the importance of Rome throughout by including its historical architecture and landmarks throughout, so that we could create a perfect place for the people of Rome to live happily.

We then talked about the finalised layout of the city, and I quickly drew up some finalised layouts of how it was to look so that my team to get a better picture into what we all wanted to include and how it should look when it came to modelling it. Therefore there would be no confusion and our idea would be more clear.


I then went on Asana to assign the new tasks and to plan ahead on what we wanted to get done and when we wanted them to be done for. Sadly not everyone in the team used Asana much but me and john where both persistent with using it and it helped us to try and keep the rest of the team on track with what needed to be done.

floating rome

We then came together and organised who wanted to model what for the floating city and here is what we decided on;

Gardens and farming area – Rebecca

Overview of the whole of Arcadia – Rebecca

Bath house – Rebecca

Housing area – Cliodhna

Living quarters – Cliodhna


City defenses- John

Historical area- John

Port area – Hollie

Entertainment area – Cliodhna

Airships and transport- John and Rebecca

When we were looking into transport I looked into airships and saw a live stream by Sam Peterson who was drawing sketches of different airships so I started sketching along with him and get a few ideas for them and wanted to make them look more roman like. Here are Sam Peterson‘s sketches of airships;

So that we could create Rome styled boats I looked back into their architecture and we also looked into actual roman boats which was also incredibly useful for the airship transport designs.

1. The merchant ship (navis onerarius)

Even before they built their navy the Romans had a good number of merchant ships. They were sailing ships and had no rowers. This was because they needed the greatest possible amount of space for their cargo. They were broad-beamed and had a large square sail, made of linen, papyrus, or byssus. This last was a very fine and valuable textile material, usually made of flax. The sail was usually white. The hull of these ships was made of pine or fir wood. The keel was constructed with great care, since it had to be solid and watertight. On the outside it was lined with tarred wool, and over that was put lead sheeting. With this protection, the water could not penetrate into the hold and the merchandise was kept safe and dry. On the stern was a kind of figure-head, shaped like a swan’s neck.

With these ships the Romans developed their trade, especially in the ports of the Tyrrhenian Sea, to the west of the Italian mainland. They transported oil, wine, fruit, grain, and cattle. When the Romans began to fight at sea, the merchant ships served to carry foodstuffs, troops, horses, and war-machines such as catapults and rams.

2. The three-banked galley (trireme)

This was the type of warship used most by the Romans. It was from 100 to 120 feet long and about 18 feet in beam – about the size of a river pleasure steamer today. It had a mast which supported a large rectangular sail. Embroidered on this in gold were the name of the ship and the insignia of her commander.

The soldiers were stationed in a superstructure at the forward end, which we would call the forecastle. In the ship’s waist were the mariners and rowers. In the stern, in the so-called high castle, were the captain, officers, and steersmen. The ship was steered by two very long oars.

The complete crew of the trireme was 250 men, divided into rowers, sailors, and soldiers. It was the soldiers who did the fighting, which consisted mostly of boarding enemy vessels. The trireme’s weight was nearly 50 tons when loaded, and it was capable of a speed of 5 knots. There were also ships with five banks of oars, called quinqueremes, but the Romans seldom used them. They were too difficult to maneuver and too slow.

“Roman Fleet”. N.p., 2016. Web.

We also looked at the map of Rome an noticed that all streets eventually lead to the center of Rome, this was really interesting as we started thinking about how we could implement this with having our most important structure in the middle of each area of our floating city and having everything lead to the center.

Since we want our Floating City to be self sufficient we looked into renewable electricity and different ways the city could get it its power source. We looked into solar panels, as well as solar light bulbs that can last for 5 to 10 years. Nokero solar light bulbs charge by day and provide hours of light each night for about a year and a half before the battery must be replaced.

I also looked into bikes that can power your home, Manoj Bhargava, the founder of the Free Electric hybrid bike, shares in the video below, it is possible to generate electricity at home while simply doing a daily workout routine. This a great idea as you pedal for an hour and you power your house for 24 hours. Having access to clean, free energy will enable poverty-stricken communities to not only light their homes but to connect to the internet and get educated. Bhargava says the reason the majority of those who are poor stay poor is because they have no power. He aims to fix this with the free energy bicycle.

This is something that would be great to implement into our floating city as the people of Rome will keep the city running, causing no pollution as also staying fit. It is truly amazing. Why isn’t this every where by now?


Animated Short: Ideation


Our next task given as part of the New Narrative Module is to make an animated short using Autodesk Maya. This animation can be between 15-30 seconds, including 5 second intro and 5 second credits. I’m very excited to see what our team comes up with and how we do throughout our time working together to make our very first proper 3D animated short.

When it came to our team meeting up for the first time I ended up having the flu that week so I made sure to keep in touch with them and keep on working at home and brainstorm some ideas to show them in the next meeting that we have. To get the cogs turning in my brain I decided to look at different animated shorts and trailers.

Nebula by Gobelins is a beautiful short that I absolutely love, its a mix of 2D and 3D art with beautiful visuals. This brought me to Camille André who did concepts, designs, texturing, background and parts of the animation.

I also looked at the Angry Birds Hatchling’s animated short which I though was completely adorable and loved the idea of animating kids voices, as well as the characters being a simple shape.

As well as the classic For The Birds by Pixar:

I also loved the animated short Taking the Plunge created by the talented Thaddaeus Andreades (lighting and animation), Marie Raoult (modeller and rigger), Nicholas Manfredi (layout, animation and camera), & Elizabeth Ku-Herrero (character design, CG visuals). It has a great story, great sound effects and beautiful lighting, plus the octopus was incredibly cute.

Jinxy Jenkins, Lucky Lou by Michael Bidinger and Michelle Kwon is another animated short that I loved. The story, character design, scene design, camera and sound effects were all something that I would like to learn from.

Since I thought we had a theme 0f hard and soft I looked into how we can make a story out of this but later we found out that we could basically do anything and to have fun with it. Although thinking of that theme it made me immediately have the idea of ice and water to indicate hard and soft. Its about a curious bird who discovers a frozen lake, and then notices a girl bird watching him from a tree, so he gets the idea to impress her by skating along the ice, but this does not go well as he ends up slipping and falling making his beak crack the ice and him to fall in. The girl bird quickly flies down from the tree to help him out of the icy water.

I sketched the storyboard out digitally so that I could get the story across to my team easier once I recovered from the flu and meet up with them again. However before I drew out the storyboard I needed to do my research for style and how I was thinking I wanted the characters and the scene to look. One artist that stuck out for me the most was Claire Keane who does absolutely beautifully styled art works for the visual development for Frozen. I loved the stylised look that she gave it and how she did the icy particles that I wanted to try and apply to my idea.


When I was creating the story and laid out the storyboard I needed to take into consideration these key points;

  • A narrative – Start middle and end, taking what I had learned from the writer journey
  • An implicit and explicit meaning – This could be ‘Always help those in need’ as the girl bird didn’t laugh and leave him, she helped him.
  • Characters – Two simplistic characters that resemble more of a rounder flour sack.
  • Character and audience connection
  • Controlling audience emotion – Good story with good acting
  • A strong storyline – A clear readable story
  • Scenery and locations
  • Music – Music is a very important factor as you should always do it before the animation.

Here is the story board;



Life Drawing: Rotation


We started this life drawing session with the regular warm up poses.


We then moved on to focusing on rotation, where the model was rotated three times but still in the same position. This allowed us to see things from different angles and at a different perspective and how this effects how you see the body. It is also important that to keep the scale and form the same throughout which can be tricky.

Imaging and data visualisation: Tomorrowland

“What if there was a place where nothing was impossible, where you can build whatever you are crazy enough to imagine, a place where you can actually change the world.”

I watched a movie called Tomorrowland a while back, i’ve been told its not as good as the book but being someone who hasn’t read the books yet I quite enjoyed the movie but will have to put it on my list of books that I need to read. You can see the trailer below. This was very inspirational for my when it came to this project as it shows a world with endless possibility, with crazy inventions that you could only dream of become a reality. I wanted a world similar to that when I thought about a Floating City.

I recommended my team to watch it for inspiration but I don’t think that ever happened to be honest, but that’s okay, life goes on and so does the ideas and endless creation that comes with it.

After watching it I immediately wanted to look into the behind the scenes for it which you can see in the below video. There is one particular scene in the movie that you can see at 1:00 that I was very inspired by for a roman bath house, it would be awesome if we could implement pools like this in the floating city and styling them with roman architecture, looking at the likes of the the Trevi Fountain in Rome as well as their actual bath houses.

New Narratives: We Presented!

We presented! When our team presented it went really well, even though i’m not very good at them, but having such a great team as backup was really reassuring. Although we did have some technical difficulties, as we couldn’t get the audio from the video to work from the projector to work, so we had to just put it on though my laptop which isn’t very loud when trying to project it to the room. We also found out that our schematic was done incorrectly, which is heart breaking although Conánn was very positive about it and said that although it was wrong it was beautifully done and presented and gave us a 1st overall for the presentation which we are ecstatic about.

Karate Kid Presentation

Feedback for our teams presentation from Yuan and Conánn:

  • Loved the final outcome
  • Excited from the beginning
  • They thought the schematic wasn’t really a schematic, it was more so representational but they thought that it was a very beautiful and culturally accurate representation of it, wrong but beautiful.
  • Themes well identified
  • Interesting and ambitious
  • Great teamwork

“This year was by far the most consistent, you all did really well, there was no one below 50% on this one.”

We were given a solid 1st for our presentation, I’m so happy with this, all our hard work and planning paid off even though our schematic wasn’t exactly correct!

Conánn Fitzpatrick then gave us a presentation on planning based on Vogler’s the writers journey. A project is made up of a client, the client has a number of demands, in this case out tutors are our clients and we get paid in grades.The clients are the problem that need to be solved, equalling to the project. We were told that we need to give a status update at least once a day to show where we are with the task at hand, and meet up regularly so that we can see what jobs are done and what jobs still need to be done. Maximise the amount of time you have on the project so that you have time to have your own down time.

We were also recommended to use project management website Asana which works a bit like Facebook and also seems a lot easier to use, this might make it easier than using Trello because I have had no success on getting people to use it.

Here is a scrum chart that we should go by;


Conánn then talked about how we need to plan taking in consideration the ‘disruptive forces’ that may happen during the course of working on the project. Well how do we deal with this emotionally and intellectually, well you need to look at your variables, which include the money, time, people, scope, mission and project. You need to be prepared, have a good team, if one of them has a life occurrence then you can rely on the team to push harder to make up for the loss until they are back again.

This talk brings me back to A-Level when I was doing business studies, as well as a outside course where you create your own business with a team and go head to head with other teams businesses. Both the courses took us through this leadership and time management process, it was a nice reminder.

Different types of flowcharts

It is important to keep thinking about your show reel and portfolio throughout the course, you need to be able to show this when you go on placement, so we should research different show reel and look at the ones on this course show reels.

But its all not just work work work, it is important to look after yourself too, if you manage your time well, plan and have your team in order, you will be able to have time to look after yourself, to do your own thing and to work on your own projects at home.

It is very important to break the project down, this can be difficult! “Projects have projects and tasks and actions” tasks do not have projects, tasks with more than one action are projects. The tasks are not split up so everyone can work on the tasks if they are waiting for the main projects to be done. If you plan it right it will be less stressful, you will get a lot done, while getting the main project done.

Value add or non value add task, you want to keep your work updated, have it backed up in three different places which comes under the non value add task, you just do it, you don’t want to have to re-do all of your work because you lost it. While value add tasks are the tasks that you write down, things that need to be done.

How are you measuring performance, how do you know if you are doing well or not. You can measure this by the task completion rate, are you getting it done on time. The standard in which you are getting things done, is it good quality or not? Outcome is another way, this shows how you are learning this is demonstrated by the impact of research on outcomes, like the experimentation that you do, if you take risks with your work and if you are working well with in your team, are you able to agree within the time frame.

“People don’t fall into the potholes of their predecessors. More often they make original mistakes” – Donald Rumsfeld

After the presentation Conánn told us that we needed to start thinking about who we are going to be in teams with for the next project and that we have a week to do so. So then Michelle, Robert, Kristina and I all decided to be in a team together. I really like this team, I think we are a great group of workers that are always striving to do more than we can and will hopefully do well within the new project.