Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Gritty Western-Layouts stuff

Hey! So I've got a few backgrounds here for "A Gritty Western". Lighting is important in this film to create the mood. It's fun to see how it can help bring out story. In the last image, I put in the characters from the storyboard to see how they would look with the background and lighting set up.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ninja Short Film

Hey there, doing the 30 second challenge. Its taken me a while to put up my first post but i'll be adding more and more now that I've gotten started.

My short is about a little boy Ninja and his imagination.

For the back grounds I went for a very simple graphic style. No black lines. I tried to just use colour and leading lines to draw your eyes to where I want you to look.

For an animation style I'm aiming to go for snappy and quick animation because, well he's a Ninja. He will move like a shadow on the walls.

I have all the rough timing and sound effects in my animatic here

Ninja Short Film Animatic from Katherine Ellsworth on Vimeo.

I'll be uploading scenes soon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So now that this 30 Second Challenge thing has morphed into a completely new animal, I'm going to go ahead and post!

I am doing this to prove that I will not just sit around and do nothing with my years of schooling. Melissa has kindly agreed to lend her talented hands to my cause by helping me animate and colour this project.

My film is basically a short story about bullying and revenge.  These are familiar concepts to most people. I guess my last film was a shameful attempt at slapstick, so I'm hitting the other end of the spectrum. Maybe I'm a tear-jerker writer, not a knee-slapper. 

Let's find out!

These are rotations for my main characters. 

They may look pretty rough, but I'm not aiming to clean them up too much more.  Colour and art direction are a stronger focus this time around for me, much more important than the polished television look that I sought after the last time I made a film. (The aforementioned film will never see the echoing tubes of the Internet, not for decades at least).  I want that rough, always moving feel here. 

Whether it's a good idea or not, I'm doing this whole thing by hand. Again. ToonBoom is being kind enough to lend us licenses to their AnimatePro software for this project (you guys are the best!) and I intend to use the heck out of that program for a lot of my post production work. But pencils are still my most comfortable friend and I will stand by them in order to keep my drafting skills from spiralling. 

Which means I get to break out my MacGyver'd masterpiece.

This is my line testing set-up.
It's held together by electrical tape, masking tape, packing tape, double sided tape and DREAMS.

Tune in later this week for an animation test or two. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Surprise Party - First Scene

I'm happy with how this is turning out! I'm trying to keep this simple.

Also, here is an early leica, so you can see where I'm going with this.

There are lots of timing, sound and other changes I wanted to make to this before my hard drive passed on.

Instead, I learned a valuable lesson about backing up files.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blast Off! The Beginnings

I had just finished doing a film with very human proportioned characters and a more serious theme. So Ryan and I were looking to do something cute and lighthearted, but also with an overall message. With jobs in the industry coming up in the near future, we didn't want to bite off more than we could chew. The result was a story about how if you're not careful, your ambitions for the future can slip away from you. I was in charge of creating character designs and Ryan was in charge of designing the backgrounds. Here's one of the first sketches I put together that helped shape what our film looks like today.

Blast Off BGs

Hey People, Lately I have been working on a new short film with my awesome partner Kaitlyn Shepley. We are just getting into the animating part of it and I am almost done the backgrounds. After we finish moving into our new apartment this weekend we hope to start animating in full force and aim to get it done before the end of the summer. Anyways, for now I figured I could post a couple of the BGs that are pretty much done and hopefully soon there will some animation on top of them.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dreamworld, by Kat Shepley

Another Grad film from this past year, by Kat Shepley.

Dreamworld from Kaitlyn Shepley on Vimeo.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gritty Western update, with production art

Here's some artwork from "A Gritty Western".  This film may be the most ambitious of the bunch, and it's required a lot of retooling as we go.  Making it all work in 30 seconds has been tricky, but each time we figure out a more economical way to tell this story, it feels like a breakthrough.
With a western, there's a lot of cinematic language to work with.  We've all seen them, we have a common language we can take advantage of.  It's using that common language, playing with the cliches, without falling into just that, cliche, that's really tricky.
villain design by Tabitha Lambert
stanger, design by Brittany Whittington

Here's what Christina had to say about working on this film: After spending a year on a comedic film “Beam” which had energetic and exaggerated character animation, one day I thought “ I want to do a revenge story”.  I decided a western is a good set up for a new experience.  And it is. Suddenly we’re taking a more serious, dramatic and cinematic approach that is demanded for the film. Because this story has much much more subtle character acting, it requires more attention to storyboarding; triggering SO many feelings! Ultimately I’m glad I took this opportunity to forward my progress in creating stories. “A Gritty Western” is challenging and CERTAINLY a learning experience! 

Brittany, Christina, and Tabitha are really busting their asses to make this film and to make it work.  The board's been worked and reworked a few times over, but we're finally getting somewhere that I think everyone is happy and confident about it.  I'll try to get the animatic posted for you soon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

title animation

My pal Jason McArthur is animating the title card for this year's film challenge.
Here's some rough animation:

30 Second Films, title card from brotherboxer on Vimeo.

Classy, no?

introduction: Caitlin Bourbonnais

Bio: Caitlin Bourbonnais was raised on a farm with other forms of livestock, and trained to read, write, draw and sing. Upon leaving the farm, she worked in many Ottawa restaurants, cooking the very friends she had left behind years ago. The terrible discovery of this fact led her to back to Algonquin College to learn the art of animation. She enjoys fresh carrots and grapes, but please do not feed directly from your hand.

Synopsis: What the Duck? Pt I
The first installment in a series. Our main character – Barkington Fitzroy – is introduced alongside some easily scared costars, and we are given a small window into a truly tortured soul.

Caitlin can be found online here.

grad films: One Less... by Tabitha Lambert

Here's Tabitha Lambert's grad film.  She's working on a very ambitious 30 second western now, but you can see she's got some solid foundations to build on.  Tabitha is known for taking on very ambitious projects, and I haven't tried to dissuade her of that.  The trick has been to take the big, ambitious project, and distill it down to something do-able.

ONE LESS... from Tab Lambert on Vimeo.

Introduction: Brittany Whittington

BIO: Brittany Whittington is a recent grad of the Algonquin College animation program. She has been known to moonlight as an arch-nemesis for hire, but had to stop due to a sudden outbreak of superstitious driven cowardism. Will work for rocket boots.

Brittany is working with Tabitha Lambert and Christina Chin on: A Gritty Western

You can see more of her stuff here.

Including her grad film, which was part of a larger film, done kinda jam-style.

Final Film from Brittany Whittington on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

You're Invited!

Ms. Strawberry Cupcake formally invites you to Mr. Souffle's surprise birthday party!

When: Sept. 1st 2011

Where: this blog

Bring your own sprinkles.

Being freshly graduated and new to the animation industry brings lots of energy drains, like frustration, excitement and I'm too tired to think of a third thing. Dumping a new film on top of this is certainly no less than a challenge; one I entered with a sparkle in one eye and a twitch in the other. That's part of the appeal though. Finding something you want to devote lots of time and energy to is always special.

Above is a background minus some elements that will be animated. Below is a quick animation experiment. More to follow hopefully soon.

Surprise Party Animation Test from Scott Lewis on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Here's our group at last week's meeting.  We've shifted from my apartment to our local Bridgehead coffee house, since we didn't feel hip enough in my living room.  We're getting together again tonight.
We're about to hit a wall.  Most of the group are at the stage where they need to start animating, so the really tough work will commence.  At this point, it's up to these guys to just start doing the hours.  I'm hoping they can see it through, but this is where they could begin to drop off the radar.
Wish us luck.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

grad films: the Restricted Section, by Kat Ellesworth

Third year film - The Restricted Section from Katherine Ellsworth on Vimeo.

grad films: Jackpot, by Ryan Wright

Next up is Jackpot, by Ryan Wright.  There was no deliberate intent to post the films by the only guys in the group first, it just kinda happened that way.
Apologies to the ladies.

Jackpot from Ryan Wright on Vimeo.

grad films: Dr Decapus, by Scott Lewis

I'm going to post the grad films that were completed this past year by our participants.  At some point I'll organize it enough so that everyone's stuff is collected together, but for now, you'll see it as I post it.
Here's a quickie: Dr Decapus, by Scott Lewis.

Dr. Decapus from Scott Lewis on Vimeo.

Introduction: Rebecca David

Bio: A survivor of the Traditional Animation program at Algonquin College, Rebecca hopes to animate in the industry and learn as much as she can so she can make real cartoons someday. If she could do anything for the rest of her life, she would sit around in her pajamas and draw robots fighting dinosaurs.

Rebecca is working with Melissa Courville on: "Your Imaginary Friend"
Synopsis: A troubled boy finds help and comfort in his imaginary friend.
More of Rebecca here:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Introduction: Kat Shepley

Here's Kaitlyn Shepley, another of our participants.

Bio: Kaitlyn Shepley is a recent traditional animation grad from Algonquin College. When she's not animating, she can be found posing majestically with her iguana and talking about the fruit du jour.

She's working the previously-introduced Ryan Wright on;
"Blast Off"
Synopsis: A short film about how dreams can slip away from you if you let them.

You can find her blog over here:

Introductions: Ryan Wright

And here's Ryan Wright.

BIO:  Ryan is a recent graduate of the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology Animation Program. Cartoons and video games occupy most of his time whether it's for work or entertainment.

Ryan is working with Kaitlyn Shepley on:
"Blast Off"
Synopsis:  A short film about how dreams can slip away from you if you let them.

You can find Ryan's work here:

Ryan made a very cool film this past year, I'll post it soon.

Introductions: Katherine Ellsworth

Her's one of our intrepid film-makers, Kat Ellsworth:

BIO:  Katherine Ellsworth is an emerging animator from Hallville, Ontario. A recent grad from Algonquin college, she is currently working on her second short film and blocking out backgrounds in her spare time. She enjoys dressing fancy and going to movies. She dislikes green peppers and MMA.

And here's what she's working on: 
Untitled Ninja Project
Synopsis: A young ninja breaks into a palace looking for the greatest treasure, but appearances can be deceiving…

And here's where you can see more of her stuff:
Sketch Book