Hello and welcome to my development blog.

My name is Alex Murphy and I’m currently studying a Ba Honours in Animation.

So I’ll be posting University related work, as well as personnel work for experimentation and fun.


Busniness cards and Cv’s

On Tuesday I spent the day creating my CV and re-designing my business card. With a meeting with my tutor I present my design of my business card. The issue was the cost, my tutor stated due to the look of the design it may cost a fortune to print, so the best solution was to re-design the card. On Tuesday I got to re-designing when an advert popped on TV with ‘Vista Prints’. A service that prints various merchandises, one been business cards, so I checked the website out and it allows you to upload your design, so I did, edit the image so it fits their printing requirements and I then ordered 100 cards for just 5 pounds (although cost a total of 10 pounds due to shipping).

And this little risk actually worked, image above is one of the 100 cards I received and it looks great, you can buy various types of cards, say glossy or matte, the more you pay the better the quality of card (and more expensive it becomes), mine is the standard quality, it came in about 2 days after ordering and it’s a great solution to the cost issue.

So a great solution to my problem and I get to keep my design and save money.

As for my CV design it’s nearly finished, it’s a very simple look but effective, then it’s a matter of focusing on just my set up at University and helping the rest of the group.

Animation Test 19 – No One Will

For this test I needed to combine the previous shots since it’s Rapunzel dialogue and the timing needs to be correct. As for the scene, it’s Rapunzel bellowing at Paige and Edmund. With the help of smears this scene went smoothly, few experimentation with her gradually change, again smears helped massively here. As for her movement it’s the best I can do for the moment, feels a little too wobbly but this isn’t due to the smearing but rather how she’s moving? Hence her arms, feel like they’re everywhere but easily fixable in clean up, I just need to adjust the lines. As for her lip sync, its somewhat tricky due to her moving rather fast, so do her lips, so if you’re not paying attention it feels like they go by too fast but that’s something I can;t help. Overall it works and I shall be moving onto the scene with Paige and Rapunzel’s little scuffle!

Animation test 18 –

Not a particularity difficult scene to animate but feels unfinished and I can’t add much due to the timings otherwise everything will move too quickly if I try adding any more motion. I tried adding extra motions but nothing really stands out. I may need to adjust the close up and shot with the hair falling to the ground, turns out I’ve overlooked this scene, well mainly the background, in the first shot it’s actually meant to be a chair… Where does the chair come from? Originally Rapunzel was sitting there but I removed that, so instead the mirror will take it’s place, easily adjustable which I’ll do when I’m drawing the backgrounds but luckily I picked up on that. The next shot with Rapunzel and the scissors I may need to adjust the whole shot, can’t say I like the choice but I have to stick with what I’ve got for now, however it ends as it should but overall not a great series of shots.

The next shot however will be difficult, it’s the section where Rapunzel reveals the bookworm, so I want to focus on getting this scene right because it’s important and meaningful in terms of actually attempting these types of acting.

As of this stage the animation stands at 1 minute 21 seconds which is over 2 thousand frames, I’m considering cutting to animating Paige and Rapunzel fighting and then going into fix up, clean up and render mode due to the amount of frames I need to work with and since the deadline is the 23rd of May and June, I need all the time I can get for fixing the rest of the animation due to the smears, however if I do complete these task before hand, I’ll likely add more animation however I want as much time as I can for fix up and due to the amount of work that needs fixing, it’s a big task so I’ll be needing all the extra time I can get.


Oresome Galleries – Friday Update

Friday update -

On Friday myself and the rest of the group went to meet with our client to present more of our work and to receive more feedback and how to proceed with the project, the audio record from our group meeting after seeing the client can be heard here:

As for the meeting with the client it’s been very positive, I created the animatic which can be found here:

I worked heavily on the animatic, I used this style of drawing from my previous animatic with the city of culture work, client understood the work, I also explained what an animatic are for and hence why I had the series of renders ready to explain my point more clearly that animatic are rough idea of how animation will flow and making sure everything is working, however having the extra renders and storyboards to show helps the client understand what it will look like and how it will flow.


I also present several render tests, the colour versions seems most favorable with the client.

And the storyboards:

Overall the client likes the work however they’re some adjustments that are required:

  • The flux section needs adjusting, you don’t dunk the whole ring when adding flux, in fact you use  a type of instrument for that when applying, so that needs re-fixing.
  • The client would like the polishing section added, I removed it due to timing, so I then discussed with our client with what and how they can use our groups work.
  • The purpose of animation can be used for: Advertising, displaying a process of how each jewellery is made, send as an e-card as a form of advertisement with links added but the main purpose t will have I suggested is that to sue it as a front page video, visitors are morel likely to click it, also what’s unique to our work t’s animated, jewellery companies are usually filmed with live footage, so we’re lucky we have that ‘unique’ approach. The animation can also be condensed down or cut down if the client wants to have a sting, the sky is the limit at this point.
  • Client would like to have their colour scheme added, which originally were instructed to not use but now that isn’t the case.
  • Experiment with colour more.

As of now I’ll be making adjustments to the storyboards and I can begin animating shots.

Overall as a group it went very well since this is our first time presenting as a group, when presenting we took turns, it wasn’t rushed, nicely paced and each one of us communicated well enough that the client understood what was going on. Overall very successful, more can be heard in our group meeting above, the next meeting will be after half term which I’ll be phoning up when half term is over.

Animation Test 17 – Smears

A lot of experimenting this week so sadly it’s slowed down producing Part C, however this experimentation has been very valuable, the result is each scene can be produced faster (hopefully) and even able to fix certain issues with previous animation shots I’ve created and overall improving quality. The issue been the animation feeling too technical and isn’t really looking that great. The technique I’m currently applying is frame by frame and pose to pose, meaning each shot is drawn and planning is done before hand using key frames. Now the issue is the animation doesn’t look very interesting at all, although certain areas feel fine, some do not, other areas been  difficult to animate and although solved, it looks off, to fix this was smears and it was something I accidentally applied while working on this shot

The first clip I applied with her turning to the response of Rapunzel, it was as you can say a ‘happy’ accident, the second is when I applied smears into the whole shot. The most difficult shot here is the door closing and Paige turning around, when applied technically it’s not very interesting when you compare the shots, adding smears adds extra motion and then the rest comes natural, ease in, ease out, bounce, squash, stretch, naturally all the basics of animation then can be applied which results in more interesting animation, smears also helps with trouble solving certain motion which normally can take a while to animate, smears can speed that process up (although not much but allows you to cut out extra frames where they’re not needed), when it’s needed and when it isn’t, overall I’ve built up a new way of tackling animation which now makes difficult scenes more approachable and solvable. What’s even more impressive is the speed, solving the door problem (when Paige closes it) and her turning around would normally take 2-4 hours, making sure everything works that is, however it took a matter of 30 minutes to fix certain areas, which basically means inbetweening can be sped up, however I still need to test this with the up coming scenes, so I won’t jump to the conclusion that everything will be finished incredible fast but the animation looks better. Overall this scene took over the course of 3 days of experimenting, I researched further into  ‘smearing’. Not something I’m new to, its something I rarely ever used purely because I though it was used to have very exaggerated animation (although my test has result in the animation more exaggerated, which is a good thing). The particular artists I looked into Paul Robertson and Joshua Palmer and various animation pieces by Disney, specifically Aladdin. For Paul Robertson work I looked at these 3 specific characters (although I looked at all of them, there isn’t any need to show all the animations):

You can find the rest of Paul’s work here:

These pixel animations are from a game called ‘Mercenary kings’ which I recently bought, while playing I was looking at certain actions and how they were animated, smears can be very obvious or hidden, hidden smears is what I’m looking for,what caught my eye is the pike-man unit (guy in the middle), it’s actually difficult see therefore, I had to copy the animation into flash and go through keys to understand the motion and hey I found a smear, the purpose for myself is to add smears which hopefully will improve my animation. In featured animated films like Aladdin have smears hidden and it’s usually what improves certain motions, certain with mine with Paige’s page holder, the door was easier to animated by adding the smear, if not adding it feels rather boring, which is the current issue I have my animation and I’ve found a progress which allows me to test the animation on seeing if it works.

Other works I looked at Joshua’s work from Team Fortress parody which he showed his smears:

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 21.07.54

The animation can be found here:

Again great work to look, the idea is to find variations of smears and apply them, Paul’s work I followed more closely but by doing so I’ve found a way to apply this technique, again I also looked into Richard Willaim’s survival tool kit, which he has a chapter that goes into smears.

And hence why this scene took a long time to finish. But to note smears can’t fix everything, timing, drawing and the actual action itself needs to feel right or otherwise you’ll get a unsettling feeling that it doesn’t move or look right, smears can only help so far.



AS for the process of animation for this shot, I went with the same process when trying to fix this scene, as for this post I’ll go into detail of how I’ve been animating for this project:


First I add the key frames, here are some of example of Edmund turning to Rapunzel. Same goes for Paige, she’s also key framed in.


Paige movement is animated in Maya, then rotscoped in Flash, however due to her motion feeling too technical, a’lot of her movement was re-drawn and I added smears. Sadly 3D does not fix everything something like this takes hours to rotoscope, clean up and fix until the animation feels right,  although not a lot of creativity, it does take up a lot of time and also working to get the quality right is difficult.

Smears, not only fun to draw but also funny to look at. This is basically th process I;ve been using but the smears have helped me a’lot and I’m excited to see where this will take the project.

As for this project I aim to animate as I can towards the end of April, then I’m going into clean up and fix up stage and hopefully have this ready for the degree show.

Oresome Gallery update – Monday -

I arranged to have a meeting this week so that everyone in the group is preparing for Friday for the client meeting. Also as of now on, when our group has a meeting, we’ll be recording, its a lot easier tehn trying to track minutes which although in our blog updates we’ve done, the problem is keeping track of all the information, recordings, its all done, it’s a matter of uploading them.

So for our first recording can be heard here:

As of content I’ve finished my aniamtic, it however needs to be re-synced and I’ll be tweaking and adjusting over the week until Friday comes along. Again I’ll be presenting my work on my Ipad. For extra content I’ll be showing 2 storyboards, various colour tests and render shots of how will look (this is due to Flash and Photoshop technique I’ll be using)m this is needed since it be accurate look of how the animation will look when rendered, it was also a texture test I was experimenting with, I aim to have various other shots rendered in the same style.



Also another reflection I haven’t looked into code of conducts, which is a work ethic that creatives work by, each profession has their own way of tackling work with clients, which includes how to approach, how much to charge and in general how to work as  a professional and a dependable creative, while also able to work with clients and spot any problem that may occur. Something I wasn’t really aware of, although to some extent is common sense, just be polite but certain information can make you become aware of certain situations, for starters pay is big area, however when charging you have to take into consideration holiday pay and sick pay when clients commission you, you’re not going to be working all the time, certain acts will happen which will be completely out of your control. So later this week I’ll be posting a post on certain work codec ethics from various guilds, specifically animation since that an area of profession I’m currently trying to get into, also various others like design guild, illustration etc.

Oresome Gallery Render test

Not sure what to make of these, possibly the pencil drawing that’s throwing me off, I prefer the first render, the shadow isn’t as intense, also the pencil looks better drawn, however it’s more difficult to get the same effect that I did with my storyboard drawing and I’m not sure why, I’m using old presets and experimenting to see if I can get more of the ‘sketchy’ look. The problem I also have is the pencil, feels like it’s just floating there, no real dimension, so I may add an extra dark and more shadow to make it feel for 3 dimensional but as far as tests go these are successful, I’ll likely make more of these this week.

AS for the animatc, I’ve decided to adjust certain shots to be extended, I’ll be posting the animatic later this week