Here’s my contribution to world culture for the occasion. Yes, I know. As an idea it’s about as original as a 1970s sitcom, but at least I tried!
[I did try and capture the full majesty of it later, lit up at night, but I only had my phone camera on me and it turned out shite]...
[ Read More ]Roll of Dishonour
18 Oct 2014
A list of staff members from within our small department alone, who have left over the past 5 years, since “You’ve Been Quango’d” and “The Rottweiler” took over:
Mark Helen Graham Dan Maxine Sian Mike Johny Simon Paolo Ricardo Sweeney Yours Truly Hey! –I’m just saying. Don’t read anything into it. They were probably all just a bunch of useless employees who didn’t appreciate the open, honest and fair way in which they were being managed....
[ Read More ]End of an Era
16 Oct 2014
Well, today I trundled off on my bike for the last time from the old TMC mothership. For a number of reasons, I’ve decided to take Voluntary Severance, in the latest round of such redundancies and throw my sixteen years of teaching practise onto the scrapheap. Extremely tempted though I am to bow out with a valedictory rant, I shall resist the urge: my lovely students and the many lovely members of staff who I leave behind know the reasons I’m going, the management don’t give a shit and the rest of the world cares even less....
[ Read More ]Introducing Project Mini-Me.
30 Jun 2014
Wherein our humble author attempts to recreate a caricature of himself through the medium of silicone.
If all goes according to plan with regard to our equipment requests for next year, we should [amongst other things] be getting some new materials to work with for the Character Design unit and doing a bit of silicone casting.
Now, back in the black’n’white days when I was a young jackanapes at art college and subsequently a slightly older jackanapes working in design, things like casting silicone were a futuristic pipe-dream, like hover cars and self-removing trousers....
[ Read More ]Meet BoxComp
20 May 2014
It’s been a while since I posted anything here.
In my few minutes of ‘me time’ during recent weeks, I’ve tended to do do more ‘left-brainy’ stuff than ‘right-brainy’, so there’s not been a lot to show for it, outside of my vacant skull.
Anyway, part of my weekend tinkering of late has been to do with cryptocurrencies: I’ve become quite intrigued by the whole ‘digital goldrush’. As well as working on my own altcoin, I’ve been itching to do some hardware tinkering too....
[ Read More ]Character Design
26 Mar 2014
This week, it was time to roll out the new Character Design unit, or Introduction to Methods, Materials and Making Processes, to give it its show name. We kicked off with the old classic 25 Expressions worksheets.
Before springing it on them, I gave the students about 25 mins to come up with a character and then draw him/her/it [head only] from the front. As I’m not a complete bastard, I did give the students a few clues before they started, which would make for more “expressionable” characters, such as advising them to use the full complement of facial features and maybe also include eyebrows or ears, etc....
[ Read More ]BBC IPlayer Without Flash on Mac OSX
15 Mar 2014
The other day an old work buddy asked me if there was a way he could listen to BBC Radio on iPlayer, without having to install that notorious collection of security holes known as Adobe Flash.
I thought about various ways this might be done, ranging from installing Flip4Mac [hmmm… a Microsoft plugin to replace an Adobe one. Talk about ’out of the frying pan into the fire!] to using VLC to try and open the live streams, but everything I came up with seemed to be almost as dodgy, or more of a pain in the arse to set up, than even using Flash would be....
[ Read More ]Nostradamus Corner 2014
02 Jan 2014
OK. The bones have been rattled. The entrails have been studied. The huge balls have been stroked. It’s time for the latest round in my occasional game of making a few predictions for the year ahead. So here, in no particular order, are the first ten visions which manifested themselves to me through rips in the very curtain of time itself. Remember to check back in January 2015 and marvel at how uncannily accurate these were:...
[ Read More ]This Is the Voice of Your Conscience Speaking...
18 Dec 2013
This morning as I stumbled bleary eyed from the shower, I spotted this tiny piece of paper on the bathroom floor and bent athletically to read it. Even allowing for the apparent ‘txt-speak’ of the ‘U’ it seemed to bear :
“Infinity Will Speed You”.
“What can it mean?” I thought, stylishly. “Who has carefully cut out this tiny missive and left it here on my bathroom floor? What are they trying to tell me?...
[ Read More ]Feet of Clay
05 Dec 2013
Time for some more ‘WiPs’ or ‘works in progress’.
I like that phrase. It neatly combines an impression of having had to be dragged kicking and screaming away from where you are straining to give birth to a work of monumental genius –with the removal of any expectation whatsoever on the part of the viewer that s/he is about to see is anything worth writing home about, at this stage....
[ Read More ]Primary Lesson
26 Nov 2013
Yesterday I metaphorically ‘broke the sod’ on a wee project that’s been rattling about in the nether regions of my otherwise vacant skull for a while now. I’m not giving away too much at the minute –mainly because the idea is still in the embryonic stages– but if I say it involves a reindeer with a red nose, you probably get some idea of where this is going.
Anyway, as the following sketchbook scans show, Initially I stupidly tried to draw a cartoon reindeer from my imagination, with the result that it ended up looking like someone had chewed up a load of pencil shavings and projectile vomitted them onto the page....
[ Read More ]Naming Conventions for Doctor Who Episodes in XBMC
25 Nov 2013
As alluded to in a previous post, I had a right oul’ palaver at the weekend, trying to name my Doctor Who episode collection in such a way that XBMC would catalogue them properly.
After trying various combinations of folders, subfolders and file naming conventions to try and cater for the fact that each ‘season’ is made up of several multi-part self-conatined stories, I eventually hit on the correct naming formula which is as follows:...
[ Read More ]The Best Doctor Who Story Never!
25 Nov 2013
At the weekend –inspired by the 50th anniversary shenanigans, I spent many an hour transferring my entire collection of original Doctor Who episodes from DVD onto the external hard drive on my media server, so I could access them directly through XBMC instead of faffing around with discs.
Much fun and frivolity ensued, as I wrestled for quite a while, trying to find a naming convention for the files that would allow XBMC to index the episodes [about which, more in another post]....
[ Read More ]More From Bradford
14 Nov 2013
Of course, there’s more to the National Media Museum than just the BAF and, whenever I get up there, I like to have a mosey around at the other exhibits as well. Being the gadget freak that I am, I love sticking my nose into all the old broadcasting equipment, cameras, and computer gadgetry too. There is also an interesting section on the history of animation. Here are a few of the things which tickled my fancy from that particular department....
[ Read More ]REVIEW: Bradford Animation Festival –Student Showcases
14 Nov 2013
Yesterday I made my, by now annual, pilgrimmage to the Bradford Animation Festival at the National Media Museum, to check out the latest goings on in the world of student animation, through the two Student Showcases.
Overall, I found this year’s offerings a pretty mixed bag. There was some great stuff and some not so great and on balance I think the quality was ever-so-slightly better last year. However, it was a pretty decent show and –with so much production-line CGI about these days– it’s always nice to see some good ol’ fashioned hand-crafted animation and imaginative use of materials and techniques, for a change....
[ Read More ]MOSI Try Harder
23 Oct 2013
Today we sent our entire first year and Alex’s Level 3 Art & Design students off to the Museum of Science and Industry [or MOSI to its mates], to have a gander at the exciting sounding Creating the Illusion: Animation in the North West exhibition. To quote the blurb:
Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall met at Granada Television in 1959, and founded Cosgrove Hall Films 20 years later. Without Cosgrove Hall, there would be no animation industry in Manchester today....
[ Read More ]Ollie the Ostrich
22 Oct 2013
Nice start to the day today, as someone of the managerial ilk arrived to do an unannounced Lesson Observation on me. No doubt in a couple of week’s time I’ll get the habitual feedback report telling me what an awful teacher I am again, because I didn’t have a lesson plan sitting in pride of place on my desk, formatted to official college standards on the official college spreadsheet and written in government issue edu-babble....
[ Read More ]It's Muybridge Time Again
21 Oct 2013
After several weeks of practising their drawing and mark-making skills, our hard working first years have finally reached the point were it’s time to start making things move.
To this end, today I introduced them to the larger-than-life colourful character of Eadweard Muybridge, who was one of the first people to use photography to study how people and animals move. Thus making his ‘oeuvre’ a great source of research and reference material for budding animation students –especially those studying at a college which doesn’t have eleventy billion quids’ worth of MoCap equipment to call on....
[ Read More ]What an Old Bag!
The world of animation was rocked today by news of the tragic death of Mr. Mannfred B Mannekin, charismatic male model and Room 222 regular. Mr. Mannekin plunged to his death from a 3rd storey window at The Manchester College’s Fielden Park campus around 09:00 this morning.
Police have refused to comment on eye-witness claims that jug-eared tutor stíobhart matulevicz was involved in the tragedy, although he was later seen being clubbed at truncheon point into the back of a police van and driven away at high speed, through crowds of jeering onlookers....
[ Read More ]