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2016 Reel

This is my 2016 Creature Animation reel! Most of it was created at Alt.vfx with some external personal shots mixed in.

Please free to contact me in regards to my work via my ‘About’ page or the email provided.

Thanks for watching!

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Plane and Simple

Steel yourself for 2 seconds of AWESOME PAPER AIRPLANE. It’s going to change your life and hopefully mine when everyone realises all my animation skills are wrapped up in those precious few frames.Praise will flock in from every corner of the globe and I will ride on the back of this paper vessel into the future of awesome.

Ok, ok, so it’s just one simple arc of it travelling between 2 floating houses, but you know what? I’m still pretty proud to be apart of the team that helped pull the whole thing together. I can’t claim a lot to do with getting to the finished product (that credit goes to the rest of the amazeballs people I work with) but I can say I helped out with some layout, basic animation of the house and the little origami wonder that probably contains some message about how awesome ‘Game of Thrones’ is. I mean, what else WOULD it say?

The amazing VFX (and that paper airplane) can be viewed here in the new spot for Optus promoting Unlimited Broadband:

And in addition, the glowing reviews we received can be found HERE!

Source: Photobucket.

Source: Photobucket.

Yes it is cat. Yes it is.

Post-Production Terms

In the 3 months since officially becoming a junior animator at Alt.vfx (woo!), I’ve realised that I have also learnt something else: I can now sprechen ze language of advertising.

Yes, let's review the Cool "Hwip". Source: Precision Nutrition.

Yes, let’s review the “Hwip”. Source: Precision Nutrition.

Now this may not seem like a major thing for some cool whoozits out there, but imagine me in my all noob-ness wading into these kind of doozies: 1. “Hey, we’re having a WIP review at 1pm.” -OR- 2. “Can you just cache out me out an alembic?” – and having no idea what anyone is talking about. It’s like everyone is speaking Klingon while I only speak all things pertaining to cake. So I took note of some of the terms I’ve come to understand while working in post-production and turned them into a Venn Diagram, because let’s face it, WHO DOESN’T LOVE A GOOD OL’ VENN DIAGRAM?

venn_tvcanimvfx_terms_square

Click to enlarge!

Here are some of the confusing terms I’ve learnt and how they can relate to each other across the animation department, the VFX department and TVC’s in general. Now putting them in Venn formation doesn’t necessarily make them easier to understand, it just shows how terms relate and what arenas they concern most. But never fear! Your translator is here. Prepare for a blabbering list of explanations: TVC = Television Commercial. They’re the things that break up a 90 minute movie and turn it into a four hour marathon. CAD = Commercials Advice. In Australia, they’re the service that classify the ads before the ad is broadcast. Here’s a gem that didn’t pass through CAD according to the video description:

Spot

I swear Spot the dog used to have more than 1 spot. Source: Unbound.

SPOT = Another term for advert. Some campaigns for the same product may have several spots cut to lengths ranging from 15sec to a few minutes. Also, it’s the name of an adorable dog. SUPERS =  Text that is superimposed over the main image eg. “The Small Print”. ARCHIVE = When the ad has been broadcast and the files are not currently required, the project files are taken off the server and stored on a tape. The project goes from being “live” to being “archived”. POS = Point of Sale. At Alt.vfx, sometimes we supply images from the ad to be placed in a store near the cash register . V/O = Voice over. FYI: Morgan Freeman voice over is the bees knees.

Make “frames” not “love”. Source: Dangerously Fit

FRAME HANDLES = Uber important! If a shot is 80 frames long in an edit, the animation and visual effects department may in fact be working with 100 frames (10 extra frames either side of the 80 frames) so that the final edit can be extended or slipped if required. These extra frames are called “frame handles”. GRADE = A nickname for colour-grading the image. When footage is initially retrieved from the camera, the colours look like my hair when wet (“flat”, dull and washed out). It is up to Compositors and Colour Graders to “nourish” and “revitalise” the colours to the correct hues that suit the mood of the ad. WIP = Work in Progress Client Approval = The client could be a director, an advertising agency or the media team of the company being advertised, but either way, they need to give the tick on different elements along the way. Massive Rig/Custom Rig = Alt has done a few ads requiring software called “Massive”. It specialises in creating digital crowds of whatever you need (in Alt’s case, deer and human armies). Any animation/motion-capture animation created for Massive needs to be exported for the simplified Massive rig. However, it is possible to modify the Massive rig to include extra controls. Modifying the rig is known as a Custom Rig. RX, RY, RZ and TX, TY, TZ = Rotate in the axis X,Y,Z and Translate in the axis X,Y,Z. I’ve carried these over from Animation Mentor because it’s so much easier to understand if you want a character to move in TZ space rather than saying: “move him forward” if the character’s “forward” direction actually means it moves left on camera.

Mmm, my kind of layout.

Mmm, my kind of layout.

LAYOUT = Laying out tracks and 3D elements required for a shot with little to no animation in a 3D scene ready for an animator to animate. TRACK = A 3D representation of the actual scene that was shot with a live camera. A track should include the camera’s movement and any object tracks. Object tracks are tracks created for any moving objects that will need to interact with 3D elements. For example, in the Honda ad, we were given an object track for the hands to attach a 3D wheel to. ALEMBIC FILE = A file type that animation is exported as so that it can be used in other software like Houdini or Soft Image. MEL/PYTHON = Scripting languages. MEL stands for “Maya Embedded Language”. If you speak MEL and Python, you can control more within some softwares and eventually rule the world! CACHE = In computing, a cache is a way of storing and accessing data. Within visual effects, a cache is an exported version of a 3D element that only stores the element’s 3D vertices and doesn’t export any skeletons or rig controls. This is a much lighter and less fussy way of importing animation into programs outside of Maya. COMP = Composite. Each layer within a shot will end up here and when it’s exported out, I like to say it’s Straight Outta Compin’. MATTE = An image element that will be layered with 1 or more other images. ROTO = Rotoscope. Within animation, roto means to trace over footage frame by frame. In VFX, it’s a similar concept, except that they are only concerned with the silhouette. If you have the roto of, say a person, you can use that silhouette as a matte to outline the person, cut them out and place the person on their own layer. This is super useful if you have to layer that person in front of or behind sections of the image. PLATES = Footage. I believe it’s a throwback term to how film was once processed using glass plates, but now in VFX we use the term to describe a background image or a foreground matte. Particularly within animation, you need a background plate of the live footage within your animation scene so that you can see how your animation lines up with the geography of the scene.   PHEW! That was a lot of explaining. It may not interest everyone, but for those out there who may be a little confused about studio terms that are thrown around like hot cakes, this might help you out! And speaking of hot cakes, I think I know what I’m having for breakfast tomorrow.

Pancake-venn-diagram

Source: Flowing Data.

We Made the Shortlist

2:30am – for whatever reason, I can’t sleep. Then like a little Dobby that appears out of thin air, the thought hits me: “Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts! Oh and Stephanie, DID YOU CHECK WHO WON THE SCHOLARSHIP?”

Yeesh, the winner’s been announced since yesterday and I’ve been too busy with animation and this “new” restaurant –

Yes. That is a yellow Ashes' KFC you're seeing.

Yes. That is the yellow KFC we pulled into.

– to have even checked!

Fumbling in the dark for my phone, I flick to the World Nomads Travel Film Scholarship page. Here it goes, the first scroll down.

WINNER peaks out…….don’t bring your hopes up…read part of the name…”Andr-” – DANGIT. Not us.

The first thing you feel is this guy:

Just your typical AA meeting.

Just your typical AA meeting.

– but then you watch Andrés’ video and read his story and realise he’s a real travel go-getter. Like long-hair-part-beard citizen of the earth. He totally deserves it!

But still – dangit. Then begins the slow scroll-down through the RUNNER’S UP (in no particular order). Where are we, where are we, well we didn’t get a bloody email so we’re probably not here……nothing.

Shoot. Then it’s the mad scroll of insanity through the final group: Shortlist (again, in no special order). Quick scan…come on!…nothing, nothing, noth- AHA!!! In small beautiful letters:

Doth my eyes deceive me??????

Doth my eyes deceive me??????

Ok, so they spelt the name ‘Brisbane’ incorrectly and we didn’t win but WHO CARES!? WE DID IT BABY!

We (my boyfriend Jonathan and I) had entered the competition at the beginning of November. Get this – if your 3 minute film entry is chosen, not only do you win a 10-day trip to New Orleans, you get to make short travel films about the city and events like Mardi Gras. Our thoughts: Umm, making films, free trip AND huge party? Where do we sign up!?

This was our film:

– and out of 224 entries from around the world, we’re ecstatic we beat 200 other films to make the top 24 films!

Last year, we received a brilliant graduating speech from a ballet dancer who imparted wisdom that went something like:

As artists, we should not seek recognition for what we do. Often we will work hard and achieve something great but it will go unnoticed. We should do what we do not for the accolades and recognition, but because we are passionate about our art.

I agree with him 100%.

However I do have to say, for someone like myself who has thought they could only excel in academia, has watched friends enter Cannes Film Festival, seen her brother bring home piles of plaques for cinematography and in general is surrounded by AMAZEBALLS  human beings, being recognised for your passion with a silly little duck film feels preeeetttyyy damn good.

Take THAT jealousy.

Take THAT jealousy.

3-Point Belt Review Vol.6: Bear With Me

Marky Mark learns a lesson.

Marky Mark learns a lesson.

Ted (Seth MacFarlane, 2012) *WARNING – TERRIBLE PUNS*

Guess Who's Back?

Ted’s ballin’. DON’T FORGET IT. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Ted himself is balllllllin’! That’s what the rapper 50 Cent would say. That bear is brilliantly composited into the shot. Then Fiddy would invite Mark Wahlberg to his Candy Shop to tell him –

2. “Yo Marky Mark, you’re bear-ly making eye contact”. Seriously Mark, haaaavveee you met Bob Hoskins? He could make “eye-contact” with a 2D Roger Rabbit, why can’t you make eye contact with Ted? I mean, he’s right next to you on the cou- what? Whadda ya mean Ted’s not really there? He’s a mo-capped CG character?! THAT’S IMPAWSIBLE!

3. Ok, not to have a grizzly view on everything, but the sound is tinny and the plot is bear-ly there. It’s one of those stories where you can’t totally identify the obstacles. You start losing focus and thinking about what’s for dessert. Pretty claw-ful right? If MacFarlane had just thought about building a paws-ible climax, I wouldn’t be stuffed from my distracting brownie dessert; I’d be all stitched up from paying attention to the jokes along the way.

“Hey Stephanie, hit us with one more terrible teddy bear pun.”

Ursus arctos middendorffi /kodiak bear/ Kodiakbär

Someone maul her. Make it stop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fur sure. What to do you want to hear?

 

Alt vfx

Latte anyone?

Latte anyone?

Yup, I’m working at this beautiful studio called Alt vfx! They specialise in creating awesome VFX for TVC’s (television commercials). Wow, the more you get into the ‘biz’ the more acronyms you acquire.

Like PA (Production Assistant). Although I’m not doing VFX yet and mainly do client service, when I do clock off from my shift, the VFX crew is nice enough to let me watch them work. FREE LEARNING?! Boom! I’m there.

If you want an example of one of their ads, check out the one where Australian athletes transition into each other. Sure they’ve won awards for other ads, but this one’s my favey! Simple idea, well executed and when it’s on, everyone has a chip halfway to their mouth as they stop to watch. Enjoy!

3-Point Belt Review Vol.5: Sparkly Warp Speed

Benedict Cucumberatch hands out today's special.

Benedict Cucumberatch hands out today’s special.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (J. J. Abrams, 2013) *SPOILER ALERT*

1. “Captain Zulu, proceed to new and improved warp speed.”

Instead of ye olde lens distortion, there’s a trail of warp particles left lingering behind. And when I heard how you travel through the trail with stereoscopic vision, it’s one of the only times I’ve regretted watching a film in 2D.

"Smooth Criminal" music video. Shows...

What happens when gravity malfunctions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. Great action scenes that use VFX appropriately: The “roly-poly” scene (where the ship’s internal gravity malfunctions) wouldn’t work without CG props falling to indicate the direction of gravity. The garbage barge, “can of whoop-ass” scene? Wouldn’t work without awesome keying and flying barges (obviously). Let’s not forget ANY SHOT INVOLVING A SPACESHIP.  Shield your eyes people, the rays of awesome are blinding!

3. I wish I had something to complain about, but I don’t. That’s not to say it’s the most amazing film ever, but it’s definitely a safe sequel that ticks the boxes for entertainment.

VFX? Great.

Soundscape? Excellent.

Storyline/pacing/cast performance: all up to scratch!

Sure some people found the underwear scene offensive, but seriously – who cares? At least it wasn’t a Megan Fox crotch shot. Hmm, need something to poke at…ooh, ooh, I know! Cumberbatch! Great name, huh?