Creative Elements Reflection

In the beginning the anxiety about coming to University of Ulster to do Animation was at its peak, walking through the university doors was a whole task on its own, but the determination and support to not let anxiety get in the way of being able to do something that you love, allowed me to experience a stupendous amount of joy that came from achieving something that someone would find so small is phenomenal.

Talking to people was my number one problem but coming to this course and being able to push myself to talk, make friends and getting to the point of communicating to them without worrying was an achievement on its own. So far this course has been a miraculous journey for me, it has had its ups and downs, thankfully more ups than down so far and every minute of it has been cherished. The university, the course, the people and the lecturers are all fantastic, would not have asked for any better way of starting my first year of university.

The feeling of surprise of how some students do not take the Animation course seriously, yes you can have fun but to not do the work and waste your time there is sad, especially when it really is a privilege just to be in this course, being taught by professionals that have been in the industry and to be able to have the opportunity to do something that you love is really something that you should not take for granted. All of my lecturers have been extremely helpful and absolutely lovely, they are supportive and know what they are talking about which is very inspiring, they make me feel more passionate about animation and that I can make it in the industry. They definitely inspire me to do better, to improve and create more, to find my own unique style that I’ll be able to apply in a future project.

Something that has been a real struggle within the course has been the presentations, they make me want to curl up into a little ball and disappear. In my head everything that is going to be said is planned out but it never comes out that way, it ends up were one gives off the impression that one does not care or is not making an effort. It is a struggle that needs to be improved, my confidence has been battered so much throughout the years that all that can be done is improvement, so I look hopefully to the future.

This course has been one big learning curve, it has allowed me to improve my skills tremendously and being able to learn all the different aspects within animation is definitely a treat. Life drawing has also played a huge part in my improvement, especially because poses were always troublesome for me, making a pose look natural and not stiff has become somewhat easier but it’s something that needs to work on it a lot more. Next semester is something to look forward to, to continue growing and learning all that one can. Being able to become better when doing projects, coming up with ideas, researching, sketchbooks and blogging is definitely something to make my goal to improve.

Looking through my work it is easy for me to see how far I’ve came and how much improvement has been made, its inspiring just seeing how much progress there has been and it’s something that is truly looked forward to seeing throughout my time here, one ponders what they’ll be like in 4 years’ time and how much progress that have made since day one.

Thank you so much for accepting me into Animation!


Create a World: Marble Presentation

We presented our presentation to the class and Conánn Fitzpatrick said; “I thought it was really good. Some very nice work in there with a high level of originality.”




In the end for the animation I did the line art and background colour, as well as music and putting the whole thing together between using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premier Pro. This is our final animation;

and here is our presentation;

Create a World: Marbilles

We decided that the game should be called Marbilles a play on the word marvellous and how to say marbles in French.

We also talked about a new slide design to fix the size issue while keeping the game to just one slide rather than have them create two slides of different sides, this would then make the game more of a time trial game. So I suggested there could be a smaller slide indent down the middle of the bigger one so that the smaller characters that have smaller marble carts would go down the middle one without swaying around the larger slide, which would also make the race unfair as it would slow them down.

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slide size

Since I am putting the animation together I wanted to be able to get the hand writing effect on the title of the last scene of the animation for our game saying “Marbilles” and have it be wrote in so I looked up ways of doing it and found a way through after effects;

I then found a lovely font from dafont that I felt suited the game;

Megan also worked on the model of the marble cart in AutoDesk Maya, this was the final result;

Create a World: Marblicious Technilicious

Me and Eoin decided that it would be a good idea to go with a Gyrosphere inspired marble cart, being that the outside glass is clear with a bit of coloured glass representing the look of an actual marble and we also loved the idea of it being stationary inside so that passengers aren’t forever getting dizzy when the marble cart starts rolling, as well as they would be able to see the questions and be able to answer.

Having sorted that out we then looked at how it would work with the different slide ideas that we looked into and found that the normal rounded slide would work best with the design of the cart. Megan’s going to colour, while Philip is working on poster designs hopefully.

Idea for the marble, Eoin suggested having different designs for each character to represent their layer, which is inspired by Mario Kart.

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Sadly Megan couldn’t colour the scenes that I passed on to her due to personal problems so she passed them on to Eoin who was happy enough to finish them for her.

I did a test for the slide within Maya to see how it would flow;

Slide design;

When figuring out how the slide would look I was trying to wrack my brain, Eoin suggested it should have jumps in it so I thought that the wrong answered lane would be long but also have jumps in it to make it scary. Becca Blair then found a game called Marble Blast (game video shown above) and passed the video on to me and it was really useful as it had a slide looking map in it that made me think of the design shown below.


After checking with the team to see if everyone liked the design, which they all agreed on, I then went in and cleaned up the lines making it sleek and professional.



Create a World: Marbio Kart

Eoin and I both had the same idea of the marble cart and instantly thought of the gyrosphere from ‘Jurassic World’, the gyroshpere is a spherical car that navigates the characters within Jurassic World around the herbivore sanctuary. We really liked the idea of the rotating exterior while also having the passengers inside completely still and not rotating, unless they need to turn around of course.

Here is a more in-depth video that Eoin found on how the gyroshperes actually work, it seems that realistically they will be coming to us sooner than we think;

This was also useful video that Eoin found, I just really love the fluidity of it and the design, we will have to decide whether the slide with be roller, this bar type slide or just a normal rounded slide.

As an experiment I did a model of the main character, Lorna, using Sculptris. I plan on making the actual final design of the slide in Sculptris too so that you are able to see the design of the slide better and maybe even animating a marble rolling down it to show how it works.



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I am working on the storyboards and line art for the projects animation and then passing them on to Megan and Eoin to add colour to them, Philip said he cant colour properly using his tablet and doesn’t have a computer at home so he said he’s going to work on some poster designs for the project.

Here is a test animation that I did;



Create A World: Sliding Marbles

After showing my team, Eoin, Megan and Philip, the slide design that I thought of and drew out in my sketchbook it seems my slide idea has stuck and went down well with the team, so we are going for that for the game.

The slide is a puzzle slide, based on the Marble Run game and also taking the puzzle type of theme from Mouse Trap, that I did some research on. The players, that would be from the 4 different layers, would do things like answering a question correctly to get down to the bottom faster than the opposing player, so if you hit a certain button it can open a new pathway to get to the bottom faster but if you answer it wrong it would lead you down a longer path and if you don’t answer at all it will keep leading you round in circles until you answer one, the player that reaches the bottom first wins. There will also be a bigger slide for larger creatures to fix the size problem.

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Eoin did some research and found that the slide idea reminded him of Mario Kart, the Rainbow Road level. I really like this idea and the challenged of it because of it having no railings at the side of the track, as well as it being aesthetically appealing with the multitude of colours, hence why its called Rainbow Road.

I also did more research and found the Brain Wash slide from Orlando. I love how there are lights inside the slide, I think it would be atheistically nice if we could implement this into our slide game idea.

I also remembered the roller slides that japan has and thought it would be really good to implement because I was thinking about what if they lose momentum if they don’t answer the question for a while because they would just keep going round in circles until they answer. This also means they would be able to slide down in the marble karts because to go on the roller slide you need a mat to sit on and it keeps the momentum. The marble cart could also have the buttons for the answers inside so that they are about to have time to answer the question rather than going round in circles trying to hit the answer if it was on a sign and not being able to.

Sketching my thoughts out:

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Create A World: Marbling

Our team decided that the main mission of the game is that Lorna has a goal to bring the layers together using the game. Here is the main story of the characters that will help us figure out the main idea of the world and its culture.

Problems: They layer 3 creatures are MASSIVE compared to the other layers and not all the characters have hands so it would need to suit them too.

Possible solution: The layers could select one person from their layers that would suit the game best to compete.

Ideas so far:

Slide – like a puzzle slide, based on marble run, the player would do things like answering a question correctly to get down to the bottom faster than the opposing player, so if you hit a certain button it can open a new pathway to get to the bottom faster. Bigger slide for larger creatures to make up for that problem.

Olympics – Lorna is like “hey guys lets bring the Olympics here” and the creatures are like what even is that?! So then Lorna thinks of a couple crazy games and then try’s to get each layer to play and then it comes to Mr evil chicken and all she has to say is “chicken breast is going to be there” and he’s in.

Could make a back story animation/storyboard for them. Use all the techniques that we have learned so far, showing that we have taken in to consideration all the elements.

So far I have been keeping everything updated on Trello;




Create a World: Going Marbles

Another new team another new world, I have to admit I feel burnt out and well I really do feel like I’m going marbles, hence that I’m now on the Marble World but I have to keep trucking, I can’t let my team down. I’ve created a Trello group in hopes my new team will use it like my last team did, so that we are able to stay organised and on track of things.


So for this project we have to create a game considering the world that you are on, what the culture is like, have a back story to the game, the game needs to be multiplayer and most importantly it needs to be appealing. The one thing that scares me about this project is the 15 minute presentation at the end of it, I really hope I don’t screw up, I really hope our team does well.

For the first issue of business I looked back at the previous teams and found that the marble world is made up of layers, 4 different layers with the same sort of layout but different danger levels and look to each;

1st layer – Light blues and bright colours. Happy and overjoyed feeling. Buildings in tact and mountains make up background

2nd layer – greens/blues. buildings slightly damaged, characters more animally. Mountains turning more bumpy and dark

Layer 3:- reds, blacks. buildings with clear demolised features. Characters have become slightly eerie and evil looking (chicken guy lives here). Mountains have turned into mild volcanoes

Layer 4: – dark blues and purples. Forest. Characters dangerous and move in scary way. Volcanoes more violent. Buildings basically non existent.

When thinking about what would be game that would be played within that would I thought it would be a good idea to start with marble games. I’ve never actually played an actual game of marbles before so I thought I would be a good idea to look up how to play it and see it will spark any ideas.

Marble Run is a game which allows you to create fascinating structures for the marbles to then be dropped in and follow the paths that the user has created. Building a marble run encourages children to use their imaginations and problem solving skills. To construct the marble run, they use both fine motor skills and logical and sequential thinking. Galt toys are designed to meet each stage of a child’s development and encourage learning through play. Galt began as a schoolbook seller in 1836 and is now a brand leader in quality developmental and creative products for children.


(Click image for source)


I also remembered the old TV game show, The Crystal Maze, which had some really creative games that may inspire some ideas to pop out of our heads for the marble world game. Below is an episode showing a couple of the games that were in The Crystal Maze.

Possibly have the game not marble based? look into the world more.

Create a World: Breaking Egg

To help our team with managing our project we used a website called Trello, which is a website that allows your to organise your tasks within a project, so all of our team signed up made a group and put down the categories for us to put our research, work and experiments in. This was really helpful, especially when it comes to blogging because you are able to see what everyone is doing and the jobs that needed to be completed.

We’ve divided this project up into five areas:

  • Mood
  • Style
  • Music
  • Type
  • Imagery

After discussing the world we decided to prioritised mood on top, style, then the last three weigh equally.

We were given some starting points to research typography such as Jan Tschichold  Kimberly Elam, Saul Bass and Kyle Cooper, as well as Massimo Vignelli and David Carson, which I already know to well having done a lot of research on them for the group presentation. For this project I mainly took inspiration from David Carson’s works as I love his style and the fact that he loves to just go crazy with the typography that he does, he loves to clutter pages, not follow the grid and does not mind mistakes within his work.


David Carson (Click for more details)


We found this awesome crystal gif animation by Matthew Divito which was a really good interpretation of what we were thinking the egg crystal world would be like if it were to spin, and also to be like at the beginning.

mr divs rotating crystal

Matthew Divito (Click for more details)


Me and Phoebe worked had the idea of doing Claymation, so we decided to experiment and create 2 of the characters that are within the world and I then took the characters and the spare plasticine and did a wee experiment using our title for the world, Breaking Egg. This was a lot of fun but we decided that maybe it wouldn’t be the best idea to do it for the title sequence. I guess we wanted a more creepy, eerie feel that we didn’t think we could achieve with Claymation. We also worked together at creating a back drop for the Claymation that we also thought we could turn into a map, a bit like the introduction scene from Game of Thrones but it was done in the wrong type of perspective to do a map.


I also looked into typography for the world and came up with a few designs. I really wanted it to relate to the world so I incorporated a crystallised effect and I also had the idea of the typography coming out of the animals;

I decided to experiment with creating the models of the characters in sculptris. I sculpted the crystal deer, jowly and a crystal tree which I found was really fun to do, I’m especially happy with how the deer turned out. Our team then thought that would be a really interesting and crazy way of creating a title sequence (whaaat first years using maya to create their title sequence, that’s a crazy idea) so the rest of the team jumped in to sculptris, Phoebe tackling the actual world landscape sculpture while jack did a couple crystals. We then import them into Maya and were able to add basic colours and manipulate the camera to zoom into our world. Jack also did some texturing on my deer sculpture which looked amazing.



deer texture

Our team also experimented with Caitlin’s photos of the eggs breaking and edited them on iMovie, jack is amazing at music so he took control of the musical elements while giving him input on how the music should sound. I suggested that it should be eerie and have a glassy sound to it to represent the crystals, I also wanted it to suggest that there is a mystery to the place due to the creatures that live in the dark forest and the team seemed to agree with my suggestions, jack allowed us to hear prototypes so that we were able to make suggestions. I looked into eerie music trying to find a good fit for the world, I found that Kevin Macleod had the perfect music for that, here is what I found;

Here is our groups experimental egg smash;

I then took the crystal deer character model and had my first ever try at rigging a model using the Mastering Autodesk Maya book, as well as some tutorials to help me (shown below) and got a basic spine down that allowed me to turn the head but unfortunately it looked fine until I added another frame and  it decided it wanted to turn the whole body rather than just the head.

So I ended up seeking help and gaining a helping hand from Molly Murray who helped me not make a total mess of it, yay help, the legs are now moveable but the head doesn’t move properly but oh well it was a fun learning experience, I’m just glad the legs move. It turned out kinda derpy looking but good for my first try if I must say so myself *pat on the back* its can only go up from here, right?

Our team decided they would use the model with the rig in the final video, only moving it a bit adding a nice touch to it at the end. We only play blasted the animation so its kinda bad quality, we using a mix of jacks and Caitlin’s music, I directed each of the scenes looking at placement of words and how things should plan out and phoebe used her awesome camera and animation skills in Maya.

I also worked on the storyboard for the opening sequence, taking into consideration the different elements in the world and the feel that we wanted to portray as well as a title/poster design for the world:

Final sequence