Thursday, 30 September 2010

I've moved!

The blog on this page is no longer being updated.
I've now got a wordpress site so I've imported previous posts and will update if from there from now on.

Find me at laurennewman.co.uk

Friday, 11 June 2010

Climate Cat Final Film



Half resolution for internet streaming

Enjoy :)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Website

I looked at a variety of different websites which similar climate change themes. Most climate change websites are fairly serious, here aren't too many out there that are entertaining too.

I want to try and present the information and tips in an entertaining way. One idea was to have an interactive website where the user discovers the tips for themselves by exploring the interface. It could be accomplished in flash but I'd need to know the coding/ get somebody else to code for me. Also it would be fairly difficult to update, regular content adds more interest and returning users so I want to be able to add new content with relative ease.

I decided then that a blog format would be best suited to what I want to achieve. I could update and archive occasional tips, combining the serious stuff with video's, games and funny images to keep the audience entertained.

Looking back on this video I thought it might be fun to talk about climate change from the point of view of a cat, adding humor through the cat's take on things. There are plenty of examples where a made up character has an online presence, such as the meercat in the compare the market adverts (has its own facebook page). Of course I'd have to make sure that the humour and entertainment come from a variety of other sources too and not just the fact that it's a cat, that type of humor works well for a first impression but can easily get old and is unlikely to attract regular users.

Hopefully, coming from a cat, the tips wouldn't appear as preachy as if a human were giving them. It's a different perspective and not a completely serious one. Through the tips would be completely valid, they wouldn't be a strict set of rules. For example for travel tips Climate cat could evaluate all the different modes of human transport (even the ridiculous ones) and decide on the best according to his own view on the world (which would also happen to be the view of official climate change organisations such as Act on CO2).

Logo design



Website working progress

I commissioned the L5's to produce short (10-15 second), entertaining animations for use on the website under the categories Water, Energy, Waste, Travel and Diet/Lifestyle. I wrote them a brief so that they were clear on what they had to do.

I achieved mixed results, some were more entertaining than others. Some told the information in a plain way, others had a humorous twist. A few were great too look at, others not so much so I will have to pick and choose which to display and which to leave out.

The content will be from a variety of sources, found links and resources, climate change news, fun games that I come across, other climate change films that I find. I will commission some content and make some myself, the rest will be found from elsewhere on the Internet. Eventually I'd like to get to the point where people come to me asking for their film/ game to go on the site rather than me asking them if I could use it.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Floating Cat

More work in progress...



I'm pretty happy with the timing of the animation and most of the acting. I like the man's double take, the motion of the cat floating on the waves and all of the camera angles. I just need to improve the ending a little, have the man stand up a little sooner and smoother, and show a bit of anticipation before the movement.

I've begun rendering some of my scenes, refining the lighting before doing so. Lighting my scenes properly has been an interesting learning process, especially when it comes to light linking as I'd not used it before. It allows me to set up or remove the light links for specific lights and geometry. I used it on the light responsible for the underwater caustics, making sure it only lit up the sea bed and nothing else.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Kitty wants fishy

I like the cat's reaction to the fish and the way his eyes follow it. I also like his poses and the way he moves his tail as it looks very cat like. I'm not too sure about the final camera angle, it could probably do with being a bit closer to the action, then again I like that the cat looks towards the camera as if asking to go out.



If anybody reads this, let me know what you think :)

Friday, 21 May 2010

Work in progress

Here's my current work in progress, I'm still to animate the last scene (where the cat's inside looking out) and make a few improvements to the other scenes but its looking good so far.

Reference videos

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Adding sounds, even if they're rough really helps to see how the final composition might feel. I think the man's shocked reaction could be exaggerated a bit more, perhaps by having him do a double take.

I veered slightly from my original storyboard where the cat is on the other side of the glass looking scared and trying to get in, by having the cat come in through the window. This was mainly because after modelling the house, I realised the shot couldn't quite work in that way without having the cat stand on something, only there was nothing for him to stand on, only water.

After watching this though my tutors gave me the idea of having the cat float by on something- a bin lid perhaps looking pretty scared. The next scene could still show the cat inside, without the need for actually showing him jump inside.

Another suggestion was to (between the scenes of chucking the cat out and waking up) have the man dream of water or fish, something to hint at the ending without giving it away completely.

I still need to find someone to do the voice over 'Don't let climate change take you by surprise' and 'Find out more at Climatecat.co.uk'. I don't think I'll have time to actually make the website before the deadline, but its on the books, I'll design a few sample pages to how it could look.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Kitty gets dropped

Here's a playblast of the first few scenes. The man kicks the cat but the cat doesn't budge and instead tries to sneak back inside. The man picks the cat up and drops it into the wet outdoors.

Reference videos

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Story wise, I've followed Ed hooks, each character acts to achieve an objective, overcoming an obsticle. The cats objective at first is to go outside, its obsticle is the door. When he sees the rain, that becomes his new obsticle, new conflict with the situation. His objective changes to going back inside and his obsticle is now the man, who he has to sneak around. The man's objective is to put the cat out, his conflict/ obsticle is with the cat itself, who doesn't want to.

For this one I really tried to get across the mood of the cat, cats swish their tails for lots of reasons but mainly when they're angry. I also tried to represent the weight of the cat when picked up and dropped. I've noticed that when picked up around their belly they tend to just go fairly limp and not struggle. And obviously when dropped, cats always land steadily on their feet.



I like the movement of the cat, and the weight of it, I think the drop could be sped up a little though, at the moment its a little feather-like. After showing it to my tutors they also made a few suggestions including have the cat turn around more before cutting for continuity.

No cats were harmed in the making of this animation, a few people were though...

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