Merry Christmas Everyone!(a bit of animated cheer!)

A little bit of Christmas animation for the season!


MiThought Promo


The new video from my animation company Small Island Studio!
Mixture of 2D and 3D animation, created in Flash, After Effects and Lightwave 3D.
Music & Sound FX by Nick Storr, Narrated by Matt Hunt.

Small Island Studio Launches!

Optimistic Painter has been a bit quiet lately as I have been working hard to launch our new business venture: Small Island Studio

Small Island Studio originated as a desire in me to connect ideas and education with people using images and animation. As an animator I’m aware of the power of the visual to help people understand the complex.

Thankfully I met my business partner, Susanne Schantz, who saw the value in what I was trying to do and felt that it was both worthwhile and that there was a market for this service.

I’m very lucky to be surrounded by talented people, among them people like David Orr, who bridge the scientific and illustrative fields. I saw many of these people being under utilised, and really wanted to show off what they can do and reward them too!

Of course I know quite a few scientists as well, so there are lots of opportunities for collaboration. In fact, we’re hoping to produce something very soon along those lines.

So please visit Small Island Studio to see our first Explainer Animation and visit the gallery, I hope you enjoy it!

Queenstown Memorial Animation

Hi, just a quick post between many other things to show off a bit of 3D animation done recently to visualize a 10m tall sculpture proposed for a Park in Queenstown, Tasmania.

Proposed to commemorate a disaster which claimed 43 miners lives in 1912.

For the 3D enthusiasts out there, all work was done in Lightwave 11, it was my first test of using the new instancing feature in that software. Compositing and polish in After Effects.

Animated Mr. McGee narrated by Hugo Weaving!

One of the projects I was involved with earlier this year in house at Blue Rocket Productions was development of an animated version of the Mr. McGee children’s books by Pamela Allen.

To my surprise I found the trailer we’d done online at the Youtube channel of Australian TV producers Blink Freehand, who produced with JDR Screen.

In a star move they enlisted Hugo Weaving to do the narration. To be honest I did do some fairly lame Matrix/McGee jokes around the studio. I’m pretty sure only I was amused.

It really was a team effort with Paul Newell doing character design and Stefan Le Mottee rigging and animating. My job was trying to emulate Pamela Allen’s illustration style and adapt it for animation. So the line work, colours and design of the characters and backgrounds all had to work in motion but still reference the illustrations by Pamela. In the end we all did a bit of everything. The youtube clip compresses the texture work quite a bit, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

This was all then taken and animated beautifully by Stefan Le Mottee with direction by Blue Rocket’s David Gurney.

Animated Idents

I had the pleasure of doing a smattering of smaller animation jobs here and there over the last few months. These have been fun as often they call on a variety of skills and the whole project needs to be put together quickly, so you’re usually with it from start to finish.

The two Idents (essentially moving logos) in this post were produced at Blue Rocket Productions under the direction of David Gurney. David is fun to work with and has a spontaneity that can take projects in fun directions.

The first is for Tasmania’s government funding body for film Screen Tasmania.

The soundtrack in the Screen Tasmania Ident was produced by the talented Nicholas Storr.

The second animation is for The Australian Script Centre. There is no established audio for this one so I grabbed some music from

Both of these Idents were made using 3DS Max, After Effects and Photoshop.

Little Tip: I really like adding grain to the things I do but find the film grain in After Effects takes far too long to calculate. I’ve found making a grain loop created in Photoshop does the trick, simply overlaid on top of the footage in Multiply mode then adjusting the opacity to taste. For all I know this could be the oldest trick in the book!