Animation from a Small Island

I thought it would be nice to post the first animation by Small Island Studio here, with character design by Paul Newell, animation and props by Stefan Le Mottee and yours truly. The music and sound effects are by Nick Storr. Narration is performed by Susanne Schantz.

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A Blast from the Past!

Sometimes going through your old art work can be a bit cringe worthy. Things you thought were really good back then are… well, not so great when you’re carrying the hard earned experience you have now.

Then again sometimes it’s just fun, and makes you realise you haven’t changed much at all. You still like the same things and probably always will.

This was the feeling I got when I was thinking of posting an old animation of Lleallenasaura
I’d done in association with a new artwork of the little Australian dinosaur. The only place I could find it was as part of an old demo reel, in amongst some other quite fun stuff. I was going to edit and just post the Lleallenasaura, then caught myself smiling at much of the stuff I’d put on the reel and thought it would be fun for more people than the 2 companies who gave me work back in the day to see it.

So if you like dinosaurs, a journey through the least carbonated beer in history, bathrooms with dodgy plumbing, rockets or fish have fun watching my Demo Reel from 1996!

Technical details: Made in Alias/Wavefront Autostudio on a Silicon Graphics Workstation.(was worth in the hundreds of thousands of $ range, lucky me got to sit in front of it!)

Chinese Dragon spotted in the Mountains of Tasmania

Hi, just a quick post with a couple of frames from a test animation of the Chinese Dragon flying over Mt. Cameron in the North of Tasmania. The original photo was taken by Julie Martin who’s also running the project.

I was hoping to add some camera movement to the shot but time restrictions and tight framing of the original photo conspired to make it static except for a bit of camera shake as the dragon flies over. Instead I made sure the Dragon cast shadows on the mountain, a bit more important selling the shot.

I did have time to cut out and paint in some extra sky so I could make the clouds move, which for some reason I found really fun.. go figure. All the preparation work paid off as I turned the shot around in a day, nice.

So, animated in PMG Messiah, rendered in Lightwave and final processing in After Effects. Matte work in Photoshop.

Stay tuned, soon another episode of the adventures of Prehistoric TV Reconstruction Kitteh.

Creepy Forest colour fix…

Stef visited yesterday with footage from the film which is looking freaky in the way only short film can!

One thing we did notice was how saturated my forest is looking compared to the footage and setting in the film. So while it’s a fantasy element in the film itself, it needed a tweak to sit better with the footage.

As usual sucking the colour out meant a few other tweaks to the levels etc, and I thought the  difference was big enough for anyone curious to have another look.

I think it feels a bit less ‘friendly Disney forest’ now, hopefully it’ll give the right impression of menace in the film.

You may have noticed it’s been flipped horizontally. This is the old trick for taking another look at the composition, when painting in the real world you can look at your work through a mirror to get the same ‘fresh eyes’.

Creepy Forests our speciality..


My good friend Stef over at Bowwow Graphics is doing some animation as part of a short film.
He had his hands full doing the animation itself so he needed someone to paint a background for him, in this case a menacing forest. Stef liked what I’d done with the creepy forest images in my ‘Unhappy Tree Friends’ concepts and wanted a similar feel.

The only other considerations were that the trees would form a dark tunnel with patches of light and have enough detail to sustain a camera track which started in very close. As a result the painting has much more detail than I usually would have put in, and the values are a little static across the image instead of lightening so much in the distance. Here’s a bit of the image at its full resolution, there’s a fair bit of detail in there!

The film is still in production but as my painting doesn’t give anything away they’ve been kind enough to allow me to post it. I sent Stef a thumbnail(below), which was approved by the Director and gave Stef something to start using straight away in Flash.

Stef’s early animation test were looking great, there was something pretty freaky coming down the tunnel and….. well let’s just say I can’t wait to see the final result.