My specialism in Next-Gen Year 2 & Synoptic Project

The first week is coming to an end and we are being told about the entirety of the course and that includes the practice and real synoptic projects where we are all in groups to develop either a game, VFX piece or an interactive environment.

We have chosen the ‘world of Vert’s’ challenge where we make an entire environment alongside a playable character, we now have a solid Idea alongside a 5-team and boy its turning out to be better than expected.

Continue reading “My specialism in Next-Gen Year 2 & Synoptic Project”


Establishing shot

Establishing shot ‘Wild west landscape’



Establishing a shot such as this landscape concept drawing of the wild western landscape where a horse drawn carriage is moving towards a mysterious building…

This drawing is fully representational of the western landscape, and is a simple introduction into where the story is and what time this story is taking place.


This image of the first season of the HBO series ‘West world’ is introduced with the old western town that strongly influences the viewer to know where the story is at what time. Atmospherics and capacity of the scene is ballaced but also a force on the viewers eyes.

The bottom of the shot shows two characters on the bottom right corner, but the camera slightly pans upwards towards the background being the establishing shot.

A Change in scenery

Let’s say in a film, there is a scene which simply takes your breath away. Maybe a storm brewing above, the atmosphere changing in the environment. pretty interesting right?


This blog shows the magic of a changing in the skies and the feeling in which it brings to the environment you are trying to imply as the developer of VFX artist. First let me show you this image…


Firstly, this composition may consist of a JPEG image and either a still, panning or any other footage for the effect to really take hold. To start off, the linear wipe tool needs to be used to add the feather effect on the horizon as most would see any other sunny day. Applying this will show immense realism and give the audience extra to look at rather than a blank canvas.

Next, the ‘Linear color key’ will keep the JPEG image from being show on anything but the ground and by doing this there will be more room for safety and less for risk of positioning images or effects.

Finally, adding colour balance to your composition should give the overall effect and footage a more natural feel and with the right adjustments; everything should look more natural.

This video should show many other tutorials about Linear colour key and sky changing tutorials;



VFX – Skinning Effect

Like in Iron Man 3?

Tony stark flying about yet again whilst fighting of hordes of enemies which seem to look pretty steamed up… literally.

Skinning example (Iron Man 3)

This effect gives an immense amount of depth in the characters face from within, the effect mimics that of a photo shot of a hand with light shining through revealing the inner skeletal and vein structure.


Skinning effect shown in real life photo

Applying this effect required a MP4 sequence of a face in any view preferably being;

  • Front facing
  • Side facing
  • 3/4 View
Skin clip
After effects composition setup.

This alongside a JPEG image of veins and the fractural Noise which can give the cloudy effect between the veins. Furthermore, the use of the external software of ‘Mocha AE’, movement can be tracked using the bezier tool and the data from that process will then be copied and moved to the mask & pre-comp.

Skin Bexier
Bezier Tool

Going back to the tracking for the scene, this can be explained with a short gif that I made in another composition  to show of Mocha AE tracking capabilities within any environment;

Tracking Feature

Using the Bezier tool I can select a specific point on the video, preferably with contrasting colours and hit the track forward button to begin gathering tracking data and this tracking data can the be applied to the masks within After effects of the image layers.

Block animation in the industry

When starting an animation, you will have to take into consideration the pipeline of development from beginning to end and for animators to do this they have to start with either one of two methods and this is how I will lead on to the main subject of this blog which is the use of block you will have to animation within the games, animation and film industry.

The first step in the pipeline of develpment is to either drawer out concepts for a storyboard of your scene which can make it visually easier and better to tell the story you are trying to show. These drawings must match up with positioning of characters or effects and also the position of the camera within the scene and the frame.

Another way to start developing animation for the characters on scene is to actually go out, rehearse and act the specific actions which the characters will undergo during the animation regardless of camera movements. The aim is to simply get the key poses for the characters on the timeline and to also find out how long this scene will take and this is why I block animation lends a hand.

By using the method of block animation, animators can analyse those key poses and place them specifically where they should be when they should occur. And with use of the graph editor tool in Maya animators can fine tune the movement of the animation and this means going into such detail as the X Y and Z axis also known as the ‘vector movements’.

  • Vector 3 – X, Y, Z ‘Axis’
  • Vector 2 – X, Y
  • Vector 1 – X

As soon as block animation is finished the movement of the characters is then made to be smooth and given a more natural look to them. So basically hand movements and footwork will look more natural have more Curve/arc and anticipation which are a few of the many principles of animation that I have learnt over this year.

I have been working on and IDent which either promotes myself or the next gen course, I was told to put the block animation method into practice which I did but didn’t find it easier to use as some of my tangent Lines why not being ‘blocked or stepped’, this made it incredibly hard to add efficient timing into my work and also made the animation design seem a lot more harder to work with. I finally chose to not use block animation and therefore cube with the smooth estimated movement which Maya calculated for me and then fine tune the animation movement later if needed.

Blocked and stepped – a method used to show key poses of a character or scene without estimating movement within frames of those poses. Keeping animation very clean and organised.

Throughout the time learning about block animation, I have realised the benefits and drawbacks of using this method such as timing, preparation between key poses and making it either easier or harder to animate a character step by step to give it more natural looks and movements.

VFX – Tracking ‘Eye see you’

This is something I have wanted to post for a while as I have also wanted to do this type of small project and thanks to a few lessons in VFX, I have finally done it. And to be fair it was easier than I thought.

Our recent lesson was a catch up on 3D camera movement and tracking points, sounds like mumbo Jumbo let me show you what I mean.

First off I recorded a small video of my partner looking directly into the lens and by keeping still, I can track the eyes movement frame-by frame so the tracking points can hopefully stay where they are placed rather than moving all over the frame.

trackeyeThe golden position for attaching a tracking point is to having it where there are two completely clean breaks in colours. By doing this the trackers should stay close to where you assign them.


This is what you should have after running the tracking system…

null5trackThese small compacted red dots are exactly what you need when tracking movement, this will make applying the effect a lot more easier on the animator and the actual ‘Null’ which the motion has been applied to.

Finally you would need to create a solid within your timeline and use the pen tool to cut out the exact shape you want, in this case I wanted to cut out the solid shape to the colour of an eye but only the inner part or more scientifically the ‘Sclera’.

Yes I did look that up to sound smart…

Anyway, after all that was finished. I had more time to experiment, looking at the entire scene. It looked too nice and original to have such an eerie looking eye so I then continued to add adjustment layers such as a black  and white filter and also apply contrast settings which gave my partners face a more natural look in connection with the eye itself.

This is the result of only 15 minutes work which is really good considering I havent had much experience with tracking.

giphy (1).gif
Final Result ‘Eye Effect’ Model: Jacky





Movie Review: Finding Dory

Last night I was trying to find a film to watch whilst I was chilling and having a snack. As I looked through the list of movies, my eye caught Pixar’s ‘Finding Dory’ I immediately thought that this should be good as Finding Nemo was a dear childhood memory and my first ever 3D animation movie alongside Monsters Inc.

Yet again, another top-notch movie by Pixar!

As the movie began, I saw the whole meaning of the movie unfold. An introduction to Dory’s parents show that Dory is not just any fish which appeared in Finding Nemo. Instead Dory is a very peculiar fish with a memoir and she is someone who has been brought down, shut out from her life and social interaction with other fish due to her ‘short term memory’. And throughout the beginning, I was intrigued by the small hints which surround her, sparking her memory and rebuilding what she set out to initially find.

Later on, I found shots of the movie which I can strongly connect to Finding Nemo, such as the shipwreck scene, seeing this made me infer that Pixar must have had thought about what fans could recollect and relate to predecessor Finding Nemo. The meeting in between protagonists and the menacing octopus left behind means if communication where as Bruce was more chatty and had more tied up personality when you’re supposed to see a shark as a killer without mercy. My point is that I saw a moment of flash back with the octopus scene even though both movies show different build-ups and different threats towards the moment of each scene.

Finally, throughout the movie. Alongside all the familiar faces of Mr. Ray, Marlin and Nemo. We have the new fresh set of new faces of Hank, Destiny, Bailey, Charlie and Jenny. I loved this idea as it created more story within the movie and more connection between characters, furthermore. I enjoyed the many different personalities which had been implemented by the writers to give a wider range of emotions over all character that I think keeps the movie interesting and engaging.

And to conclude … this movie is brilliantly set out to succeed its predecessor and can also enrich and introduce a new generation to follow through with Pixars legacy of moviemaking and story telling.