Meet the Team Project: Animation Research

In the first week of this trimester at SAE, in my Studio 2 class, we were told that our main assignment was to be a Meet the Team video that was to introduce new characters into am existing franchise. We were split into teams based on whether we had chosen to do 2D or 3D animation, and then we decided on a franchise to create these original characters for. My team elected the cartoon “Samurai Jack” as our franchise.

This blog post has been made to discuss how I am to be going about animating the shots I’ve been assigned, however to do that, I should first show and explain my character.

Samurai Jack MTT character model sheet FIXED

This is my character, she is an ice mage. Of our characters, she actually has the shortest screen time. In the video she will be the apparent villain. And though I have designed four different views, she will only ever be seen from front on.

One of the requirements of the brief is that we rig our characters so the group had to then research 2D rigging, or puppet animation. That required to break my character a bit, so that she could be rigged. Here is her sprite model sheet.

Samurai Jack MTT ice mage sprite sheet

Now she can be rigged. Currently, she is rigged in accordance to Robin Fuller’s video on puppet rigging, using the second technique mentioned; parenting.

It works for me, and is easy enough to use, and makes the most sense. The set up is easy to. At least, in my opinion, it is so. It does everything I need it to do for this animation. It most likely wouldn’t be the technique I would use if I had more scenes to do with my character, or if I needed to animate some more complex movements, however, and there are more efficient ways of setting up a 2D character rig. Like the Duik tool add on for Adobe After Effects, which contains many advanced tools to make for easy animating.

However, for this project, I shall just stick with my parent rigging, where I have attached all the pieces of my ice mage, in a hierachy, starting from the torso, working outwards to her hands.

Here we have some of my reference images of my own hand in the position that I was drawing my casting hand in. Twenty photos and two videos got me the movement and poses that I needed, to have the ice mage casing magic. I can’t embed my own video’s to my blog post however, so I can’t show you the video reference.

Another piece of reference I used, was Khadgar, from Warcraft, in the Warcraft movie, when the main characters have their first altercation with the Orcs.


Now that’s magic. It is a good example of the hand movements in casting, although with magic, it’s hard to come up with an exact casting stance, since it would rely on the character’s personality and the situation that which they are in.

And now that all of that has been adressed, I’d like to leave off here by sharing some of my thumbnails for a few of my shots that I will be animating. The order is up down, left to right.

MTT Thumbs

I didn’t feel like drawing the mage again, so I took her model sheet and reconstructed her in each frame. With the arrows, I think I’m going to have to discover a better way of representing the movement through the air.

Well that’s all I have to say on this. Thanks for reading! And I’ll see you all in my next post!


Blackburn R. FrostieHeart on DeviantArt. DeviantArt. 2015. Available at:
Duik – Rainbox. Rainboxprodcoop. Available at:
Fuller R. After Effects puppet rigging tutorial. YouTube. 2013. Available at: 
Jones D. Warcraft. Universal Studios, Blizzard Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Legendary Entertainment; 2016

CIU211 – Self-Refection of Creative Project

The following is a critical self-reflection of my creative project in the module CIU211 in my Animation Bachelor’s Degree. I am not criticizing the work of my teammates of this project, and should they be mentioned, it is only to add to the reflection of the project and choices I made during it.


The major project in CIU211 was to propose, and then create, a piece of media, that would then be shared online. The topic of this piece of media had to be related to one of the weekly topics in class, and we could chose any form of media to present it.

I proposed a poster, challenging stereotypes and self-image, having read the lecture on mainstream media. My teammates liked the idea, and we began writing out the proposal for this task. When it was first submitted, our lecturer told us that the plan was vague and needed to be fleshed out, with facts, not just ideas. I had trouble finding the information that I was told I needed from scholarly websites and other reliable sources, I simply had no idea what to search for. My lecturer did however send useful texts that helped a lot.

When it came to creating the actual project, I, as the one who originally proposed the idea, became the project lead of sorts, and I delegated jobs. One of my teammates offered to make the poster, and so I gave her that job whilst myself and our other team member would do whatever other research was needed as well as find images to be placed in our poster. On paper, this was a well thought out plan, however this didn’t work in practice.

I, and I’ve been told that my teammates as well, prioritized Studio 1 (ANI210) over CIU. The studio unit was the bigger one, where there was teammates relying on me for assets, lecturers reminding us of our learning outcomes that we needed to have completed, and the emphasis on doing our mini-specialization projects. As a consequence, there wasn’t as much effort being put into the poster, it had been pushed to the side for assessment in another class. Because of lack of effort, the poster was not as good as it most definitely could have been.

In the last lesson of trimester, the class presented all the projects made, and we all marked each others works. Common comments on this poster were about the lines being too thick, the text not being necessary, the subcultures that we were trying to show not being clear enough. And to this, I completely agree, the lines were too thick, we, my group and I, acknowledged this when it was first posted into our slack channel, but my teammate who was making it said that she couldn’t fix it. I also agree that we probably didn’t need the text there, and it covered up a fair chunk of the image that could have been used as more of the image to help in bringing forth the point. And yes, I agree that the subcultures, and subsequently our main idea, were too hard to make out, there should have been more diversity and difference in each image that was placed in the broken mirror.

One idea suggested in that last class was to create a series of images to help convey our message better. This idea intrigued me, and I believe that it is a good idea, and if we had of had the time, we could have created a series of posters, a set promoting the question of “who do you think you are?” instead of just the single image.

In future I shall try not to present forward half-formed ideas and try to have a more solid idea to work from, or help someone else with their idea and leave my half formed ideas for a later date, at which time they would be better developed.

This ends my critical reflection of my creative project this trimester in CIU211. I hope I didn’t bore you all with this.

Also here:

ANI210 – Aftermath Post-Mortem

For the whole trimester, my teammates and I have been working on our Aftermath project. The brief for this project asked us to create a game environment in Unreal Engine that showed the aftermath of some event. My team chose to create the aftermath of a bar brawl (come on guys! What’s wrong with the aftermath of an office Nerf war?) set in the Wild West.

Plans & Pitches

First; let me show you my concepts.


Wow, it has been so long since I looked at these images, it’s almost jarring to see. These images were born from much research into Wild Western saloons. As you can see, I was quite bad at perspective at certain angles, but I do like to believe that my perspective skills have improved.

The research process felt a little chaotic, as if we were just collecting images without actually knowing if they fit with the style and time period we were going for. But we managed to figure out the style we wanted for our saloon, and our group leader told us the year that we were looking for and we were able to start piecing together our style guide.

We wanted – note; wanted – to create and texture our assets in an Overwatch style so we got a whole lot of images of the Overwatch map ‘Hollywood’. (For those who don’t know; Overwatch is a game made by Blizzard Entertainment.) This map has wild western buildings that we could use as reference, and we grabbed images of other Overwatch maps to get a feel of the style.

With the rest of the images on our style guide/mood board, we collected images of the interior of saloons from the time period and other small props that lay around the saloon, such as bottles, barrels, spitoons, wanted posters etc. From these we could keep concepting and finish pre-production.

We typed up a project plan we continued to draw concepts and/or started modelling. However during our project, we never looked at the project plan, it just sat in our Google Drive, not being touched and we progressed. We should have followed this plan closely, perhaps then we would not have handed the environment in so late. Without the project plan, it is most likely safe to compare our progress during the project to a blocked up funnel. We needed better planning for this project and we needed to stick to it.

Creative Work & Processes Used

From there we went onto modelling. One of the main problems faced was backwards compatibility between 3dsMax 2017 and 3dsMax 2016, for when we were modelling at home and at uni. I, personally, kept forgetting to save my files in a format that could be opened in 2016 version of Max, which really impacted how quickly I could finish assets. I also discovered that an asset you create in 2016 doesn’t stay in the 2016 format once you save a new version of the asset in 2017, that caught me up a few times while I was working.

There’s a few of my assets. It was interesting trying to work out how to make the round tables (I made a small and large one), and chairs. It was also interesting trying to work out how to break the crate. I didn’t have many problems with the modelling part of this project, and my favourite asset that I made was this one:


For some reason, I just really love this model, it’s so amazing! *hem hem* Enough self praise. From modelling come texturing, and well… you’ve seen a few on my models, so I’ll show you some of my texture maps.

I enjoy texturing a lot, and the floor, dartboard and the texture for the saloon sign were some of my best this time around. The yellow texture in the corner there is for some gold bars that were in the environment. The floor was the hardest out of all my textures to make, the dartboard being the second hardest, as I had to determine the length of the floor plank, however, once I had worked that out it was a simple matter of copy and past to get the rest of the planks there.

When everything was textured we then began to place it all together in Unreal Engine, though in all honesty, we should have started this step sooner, while we were modelling and texturing. I had a problem with my broken crate pointed out to me, in which the inside of the crate was invisible due to the way I rendered out the image. Unfortunately I did not know how to fix this until yesterday, when our lecturer showed me the settings that were incorrect, as such, it was not fixed in the environment.

We discussed what triggered events we would add to the environment, and at the beginning of the project we had a lot of triggers, unfortunately, due to us running out of time, and a lack of assets, the only trigger we ended up adding was a proximity trigger on the piano that would begin playing “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin when the player moved near the piano.

From the screenshots above, you can see that we didn’t end up sticking to our planned style of Overwatch. This is because when we began texturing, some of us tried to stick to the style, whereas others went with a more realistic style, so our textures ended up being mixed matched. However I think our environment turned out alright anyway.

Project Management & Teamwork

Our project was handed in well past its due date. This happened, first, because we overestimated how much work we needed to do to create the environment, and then later, because we all decided to focus more on the next project; our obstacle courses, over finishing our environment.

While working on this, we never realized how close the due date was or how long it would take to put the environment together in Unreal. All the weeks up to the due date were filled with modelling and texturing, and a week to import it into Unreal, then export and upload. Our project was almost too ambitious. We should have noticed the amount of backlog in assets that was happening and cut less important assets from our list.

Another problem was communication and misunderstanding. Using Slack to communicate is both harder and easier than talking face to face. While, yes, it was easier than waiting till we could meet up to discuss the project; over the internet, you lack everything you use to communicate except your words. The group would discuss details in the group chat on Slack, trying to explain their ideas, but since we were unable to gesture to images effectively, these discussions grew more heated. We should have organised to meet up at uni more often to have group meetings so that these details could have been sorted out properly.

Near the time when we were meant to hand in our environment three of us were discussing the possibility of asking out team leader to step down as it was felt that she wasn’t doing her job to the best of her abilities. I had noted that it was far to late to be considering a change in leadership, and while my teammates conceded to my point, it was easy to see that they still wanted to press the point further. Any problems with leadership should have been dealt with in the first weeks of of the project, not talking about it towards the end of it.

But aside from this, I enjoyed working with them, and I am happy with the end result of the project. I hope I have more chance in the future to work with an amazing team.


Updated: 9th of May, 2017, 11.45am. 1.15pm. 4.12pm

2D Obstacle Course Assignment – Part 2

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post about this assessment, detailing my research into the movement of Papyrus from Undertale and Obelix from Asterix and Obelix. During that month I have sketched, lined, blocked out, and finalized my obstacle course animation. It was not a simple task to complete, and there are parts that I wish were different, as well as the several mistakes that I have come to notice.

In the thumbnailing process I first was just simply sketching the characters on a blank photoshop document, trying to work out who would be the easiest for me to draw, and it became clear, quite quickly, that one character was simply impossible for me to draw.

Papyrus and Obelix sketches 01

As you can see, I was unable to draw Obelix, and as much as I would have loved to animate him, I simply didn’t have the time left in the trimester to work out how to draw him, so I had to abandon that idea. I moved onto trying to make the supplied rig work with Papyrus.

Papyrus and Obelix sketches 02

There’s what I managed to come up with. I am inspired to draw Papyrus now. Before I do that however, I shall finish this post. When I was interpreting Papyrus onto the Normi_ *hemhem* Norman rig, I tried to find the perfect blend between the two. In the end, I just kept the scarf. Had I of had the time, I would have most certainly made the animation solely Papyrus with no sign of the supplied reference.

After the sketches came the thumbnailing of Papyrus across the course. We were supplied with two courses and told to do both. So here they are:

Rebekah B Obstacle course papyrus 1

Rebekah B Obstacle course papyrus 2

This consisted of a lot of copy and paste of the march frames. Ultimately I chose the first one, I felt that I could do more with it, and there were more unique actions in it. From this came the block out of my animation. A few differences from the planned course, but still mostly the same.


I particularly like his start/end pose, and his jump animation. They are quite cute. My lecturers told me that Papyrus couldn’t clear obstacles with his bones as elevators because that was almost the same as him clearing the course by jumping over it and bypassing everything. Well Papyrus would hate to be that lazy! So I made him climb the wall instead. My father also suggested that Papyrus slide down the slope on his butt instead of surfer like, and it did make more sense.

Papyrus Line

Next we have the lines. He’s climbing up bones now, isn’t it cool! Anyway, there are a few timing issues in this, mainly the fall down after he hits the wall and then when he’s sliding down the slope. If you can notice the other mistake I made, I will applaud you, as I am told that it isn’t actually that noticeable.

Papyrus Finished

And here is the final gif. Yes, I forgot to colour parts of Papyrus on some frames. It is hard to fill colour when the colour you are filling is almost the same colour as the workspace behind the character you are animating. In this gif, Papyrus’ fall after he hits the wall is faster and his slide flows more smoothly into the stand-up and crouch for his first jump onto the poles. When I coloured Papyrus, I didn’t want to make him pure white, but I was restricted by the colour swatches of Adobe Fla_ *hemhem* Animate, so he is cream instead. And his scarf, of course, had to be bright red.

Next time I do something like this, I want to make the character likeness more accurate, make it look more like the character I am animating and less like the images of the supplied rig. If I had more time on this project, I probably would have gone and fixed the frames of the march cycle so that he is marching a full cycle instead of a half cycle.

What I learnt about animation during this assignment was a new way of animating a character. Instead of making each moving part a separate layer in the Animate document, I animated Papyrus on one layer as solid line. This was really hard to do, but also easier for me. It was hard because I couldn’t erase lines madly when I made a mistake or when I was getting rid of guides, so this made my progress slower. However less layers meant that I didn’t have to scroll through the list of layers to find the layer I was working on, and I didn’t have to pull my timeline up to see all my layers giving me a larger workspace on my laptop’s screen.

While doing this animation I learnt that copying all required frames is important, lest you make a cycle only half complete, that there are several different ways for different characters to traverse their terrain depending on their abilities and personality, and that there are no bones in bananas.

Okay, that last point was a joke.

I really enjoyed animating Papyrus’ scarf, and working out how it would flow behind Papyrus as he moved. It was certainly easier than animating the folded wings of my walk cycle in my second trimester, but still hard, none the less. This was a fun endevour, and I’m happy with the way this turned out.

See you all in my next blog post.


Link to Part 1

First Game Environment

Let it be said that I am a 2D animator and have no joy for 3D modeling or animating. However, messing around inside Unreal Engine is fun, especially when I can test whatever I piece together by shooting it with the default gun supplied by the program. For the past week and a bit I have been working on a game environment at the prompting of my lecturer as a “Bootcamp” to teach us the basics of Unreal Engine so we can use the skills in later projects this trimester (and in our following trimesters).

To start off with we modeled a wall section, a roof section and a floor section. We were also supplied with boring, but somewhat interesting textures that showed how big each asset was in square metres.


These textures graced the models that were made for a while and we moved onto building the environment in Unreal. This was interesting, dragging all the assets around to create a game level of sorts, no matter how weird and incomplete it looked. It was also fun discovering how high the default player character could jump and experimenting with my different assets to create platforms and stairs.


As can be noted in the images above… I might or might not have messed with the light colour and made it a blood coloured tint.

After we finished blocking out the environment we were told to create our own textures for the blocks we used. I was unable to work out how to attach the different maps to materials in the material editor in Unreal, that will require some extra research in the future. These are two of the texture maps I created, however they are not present in the final itteration of this environment.


They are meant to be wall panels, however I preferred the supplied textures in Unreal, and because of due dates, I didn’t have the time to mess around in Photoshop to create my own. So instead – this is what my final environment looked like:

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EDIT: I forgot to add this when I first typed this, so I shall add it now. Continuing on about textures, the most common texture properties used in material shaders in Unreal Engine are the diffuse, roughness, normal and metallic maps. The diffuse map controls the colours of the asset and this works alongside the normal map, which governs how light reacts when it hits the object. The roughness and metallic maps control how shiny an asset is and whether or not the asset is meant to be made of metal or not. Roughness and metallic maps are either black, white or a shade of grey. Normal maps are usually a blue, with darker blue and purple patches that show depth.

This modular approach to building game environments is interesting, I’d love to see what my group and I manage to create with Unreal for our Wild West themed “Aftermath” project. This Bootcamp to making game environments is useful, and I’m glad to say that I learnt much.

See you all in my next post!


Animation Bachelor Update + New Projects

Okay, so I’ve been wondering for a while how to post this, which do I talk about first? My animation degree or a new personal project I’m planning (and have started). Well I decided to start with my degree.

So hello everyone!

First off: my Bachelor in Animation. I am now in my fourth trimester and I have two classes, one of which is my first Production unit. I am required to post progress updates of all projects I do in this module on my blog, so you will be seeing some more of that soon. Another thing I am meant to do for this class is refining and developing my own skills, so I’m going do be working on my drawing skills, such as anatomy and character development. Leading of from this, I now have an excuse to continue a 100 theme challenge I started a while back where I restricted myself to one of my OC’s as to develop her character. So that’s what’s happening this trimester.

Now onto my own project, somewhat unrelated, but still somewhat relevant to my degree. I had this idea a few weeks ago to make a Hunger Games and Tales of Series crossover. So I did it basically. I used a Hunger Games generator to reap selected characters from the Tales of Series and then I just generated the events that happened and screencapped them.

Here is my reaping:

First I’ll be drawing just an image with all my tributes. Personally; I’m rooting for District 1 or 6 here. I will post the arena events when I get up to drawing them. Here is the progress of my first image:

To link you to their wiki pages, from left to right we have: Giselle Oslo, Jade Curtis, Zelos Wilder, Raine Sage, Rita Mordio, Yuri Lowell, Alfred Svent, Elize Lutus, Fylk Zadeya, Alisha Diphda, Uphim Welkps, Velvet Crowe, Leon Magnus, Ilene Remembrant, Reid Hershel, Farah Oersted, Cress Albane, Arche Klein, Saleh, Claire Bennett, Emil Castagnier, Marta Lualdi, Asbel Lhant and Pascal.

In future blog posts I will be using the names that are most said in-game, not their full names (or in the case of Seraphim/Malakim, true names). Comment below to tell me who your hoping to win.

That’s all I have for now, I will post again soon when I have more of the image above complete. See you all soon!


Reflective Blog Task – Collaborating With Fans

Blogging my gained knowledge from class is a very interesting thing – something I haven’t really done before. In my final assessment for CIU111 (Overview of Industry) I have to write three reflective blog posts, each one on one of the weekly lectures that we have received in class during this trimester. This post will focus on our lecture two weeks ago, on collaborating with fans.

Related image

Old DA logo

I thoroughly enjoy interacting with other fans of media works that I myself am a fan of, as well as communicating with the fans of my own work, be it fan art/fiction or my own personal stuff. The fans are a large community of people who, for lack of any simpler term, stalk the social media profiles of creators, looking to comment on art, talk with other fans or simply discover the next big project of the creator. There are many places to do this, like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and my personal favourite at the moment; DeviantArt. The popular art sharing website allows fans to follow each other, and the profiles of any famous artist who has an account, as well as keep track of popular trends in the DeviantArt community, through DA headquarters.

However in the lecture, I took note of three subtitles in particular:


Fan Approval

Fan Response

These three titles stood out for different reasons.

Lets start with crowdfunding. I first heard the term when watching a video from YandereDev, talking about his different solutions to speeding up the creation the game currently designated ‘Yandere Simulator’. In this video, YandereDev talks about how he plans on using a crowdfunding service such as the website Kickstarter, a site that is purely for crowdfunding projects. YandereDev’s video was the first time I ever heard the term ‘crowdfunding’. On Google, the definition of crowdfunding is as such – “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” At the time that I watched the video from YandereDev I didn’t pay much attention to the term, not really seeing how it related to me. When it was mentioned again in this lecture, I came to realise that crowdfunding is


With this revelation in play, I paid more attention to what crowd funding is and how it does truly relate to me and the Animation industry, and see it as a future  way to fund projects once I have completed my degree.

yuki_no_hana_cover_by_frostieheart-dagsgv9Fan Approval and Fan Response are things that I have always recognised as important, but not really from a creator’s perspective. Fan approval amongst the fans is heavily based on comments and other responses to the creative works of the fans. I have received my fair share of positive and neutral responses, as well as constructive criticism on my own fanfictions and fanart, as well as an overwhelming amount of no response. As an example of this I shall use my own fan fiction story, Yuki no Hana (translates to; Snow Blossom), which is my current work-in-progress on My constant reviewer to this story, presea221, often asks questions in their reviews that make me realise when I have erred in my typing or thought process and had to re-evaluate my story to fit in forgotten points, such as when they brought up a character they couldn’t wait to see and I noticed that I hadn’t planned for that character to show up, even though he was integral to the main plotline.

However in the industry, fan approval and response is quiet different to the interactions between fans. In the lecture I note that fan approval applies to pre-existing media, where a continuation of events in a piece of media is carried onto the next. It gets the audience involved with a media work in a way that brings the final product out in a form that the majority enjoy. Of course, one cannot please everyone, and most of the time there will be at least one person expressing their dislike of a particular aspect of the presented media. This is a part of the ‘fan response’.

wildhammer-fact-checkerFan response isn’t just negative comments however. As stated in the lecture, it is positive feedback, which sometimes can help with the decision making process when working out both where the story goes, and what happens to characters. The fans can also point out discrepancies in stories, like at BlizzCon2010 where someone stood up to point out a problem in the lore which had been overlooked by developers, or they can find bugs and glitches, an example of this being YandereDev who puts out his debug builds to his audience and asks them to email him bugs and glitches with his game, which he then fixes. Blizzard Entertainment, after BlizzCon2010, fixed the lore by putting correct characters in their places and adding an NPC, the Wildhammer Fact Checker, as a reminder to not make the same mistake.

I, too, have also had my own stories thrown into my face (nicely) as reviewers point out problems with my versions of events and where I forgot certain parts of the lore I was already writing around. My unofficial beta reader, Defiance-of-Fate, will often point out mistakes I have made in a chapter before I post when I show him the document from my laptop or Samsung tablet. Defiance-of-Fate and I often go over my chapters before I post them to make sure that I still adhere to the plotline of the game/book/anime that I am writing fanfiction for, as well as not contradicting my own plotlines that I create for my stories.

world_of_warcraft___worgen_warlock_by_sandara-daf35cgThis lecture on ‘Collaborating with Fans’ also assisted me a great deal with my assessment for my CIU210 (Media Studies), where, also two weeks ago, I had to get up in front of the class and give a presentation relating to the weekly lecture for that class. Coincidentally the topic of that lecture was about Audiences, Fans and Fandoms, which had several overlapping points with this class’ lecture. I was able to draw points from this lecture into my presentation, especially when I was discussing fanart contests and events. One particular event that I brought up was the Celebrate the Classes event that happened on DeviantArt on August 19 – 31. The image to the left of this paragraph was commissioned from one of my favourite artists on DeviantArt, by DeviantArt for Blizzard Entertainment for this event.

All up, the lecture on Collaborating with Fans was quite interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It drew my attention to terms and services I had previously ignored. Now that I know their use, I shall endeavour to act upon the knowledge.

See you in a few days for my next post!


– About — Kickstarter. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from
– YandereDev, A. (2016). Yandere Simulator: Past, Present, and Future. YouTube. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from
– Week 10: Collaborating with Fans – Self-Directed Practitioners. Medium. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from
 – DeviantArt Headquarters. (2000). DeviantArt. Retrieved 1 December 2016, from
Wildhammer Fact Checker. Wowhead. Retrieved 2 December 2016, from
– Red Shirt Guy – World of Warcraft Red Shirt – World of Warcraft convention. (2010). YouTube. Retrieved 2 December 2016, from