This is a selection of the shots I animated on “Chicken Run” – I was lucky enough to be a key animator on Aardman’s first feature film
Directors: Nick Park & Peter Lord
Production Co: Aardman Animations
More Chevron spots – this time we’ve gone CG!
“MAKING STUFF MOVE IS EASY…BUT…MAKING STUFF MOVE YOU IS HARD”
The line came to me while pitching on some commercial or other & trying to explain what I loved about animation, & what was particularly hard with certain kinds of animation – trying to get that emotional connection out of a basically inanimate object. I think I was also attempting to explain to some agency people that, yes, I could animate a particular foodstuff (even though I didn’t have that on my reel ) because, guess what…I’m an animator!
Rather than try to tell a particular story I decide to animate the actual words, & in as many ways as possible (by the way, I love typography). I wanted to include every kind of ‘traditional’ model animation technique that I could within the framework of the film – from modelling clay balls to pixilating human hands & bodies, from animating food (the chopped peppers) to timelapse (the scene in the woods), from 2D drawn animation to moving sand, etc.
The whole thing was shot in camera using the Canon Eos 5 (I really wanted to keep that certain ‘feel’ you get) with a bit of cleaning up in AfterEffects in post.
I would like to give a big thanks to everyone who helped, especially:
Sam Morris (cameraman)
Gary & Cat at Scareycat Studios (where I shot most of the film, & who gave me a huge amount of help with modelmaking)
Kev Harwood (who helped me with production)
Emma Kingsnorth at UN1T (for post work)
Dave Reynaud (for composing a fantastic piece of music especially for this film – I’ve always loved the juxtaposition of electronic music to stop-frame animation)
Mcasso music production ltd. for providing the audio track
This is one of the ‘Change 4 Life’ spots I animated (I worked on 3 in total), not directed – I think Luis Cook directed this one.
Here’s a little test film I made a few years ago. The idea was to use a style of model design I hadn’t done before & to create a kind of ‘flat’ 3D world. I shot these characters on glass, so that they could have these huge unwieldy heads with tiny little legs & distorted arms (something that’s always been easy with 2D, but maybe not so easy with models). I’m planning to expand on the technique on a bigger scale short in the coming year or so.
Here’s a little test I did for a pitch – amazing what you can do with a couple of hands!
This was my first ‘proper’ short film – a bit ropey in places, but still, it’s not bad!
This was a little piece put together by an editor friend (thanks Duncan) to showcase a few of my sculpts & models.
“INTO THE COSMOS” is ChopsyAnimations first foray into the world of music videos, a tie-in with music maker Architeq from Tirk Records.
Originally it was conceived as a short film by Chopsy (director Darren Robbie), with a simple premise: “what happens to all the old vinyl people used to play? From out of attics, rubbish bins & forgotten shelving, the records are summoned to an old warehouse by a mysterious ‘collector’.”
Using a combination of stop-frame, pixilation, live-action & time lapse animation, it was shot in a variety of locations around Bristol & was created by shooting entirely in camera whenever possible (at other times multiple passes were combined). By shooting each frame within a specific timescale for the external shots, we see vinyl records interacting with the ever changing natural light & weather (dry or wet, sunny or cloudy) – if you look closely you can even see puddles drying out in a couple of shots.
The short film was created on & off over a period of 7 months by a bunch of friends between paid work, a real labour of love (it had no budget to speak of). It was shot in late winter earlier this year with the spring & summer being used to do all the post (mainly rig removal). All the records you see were cut before shooting, with new centre labels stuck onto them to create the desired visual effect of them spinning & bouncing through the ground, they were then animated on location using weighted rigs.
Architeq added the music & sound effects after filming finished & the first edit was completed. Rigs were removed, different passes combined & shadows cleaned up in AfterEffects. Motion capture on location was achieved by using Dragon software on a laptop, which was in turn powered by a portable caravan battery. Cameras used were the Canon Eos 5 & 7.
This is a 30 second TV commercial I made for Irish International BBDO. We completed the whole thing in 4 weeks, with just 7 days for the actual shoot (which is pretty amazing for a model animation job). I’m really pleased with it, not only for the quality we achieved within the time, but also because I managed to design the whole thing, from top to bottom. To save time we built the sets (& cars) out of foam-core & stuck enlarged prints of the designs on top.
Here’s a little piece I made that was commissioned by the Bristol Animated Encounters Festival (specifically for the ‘Graffiti Animation’ section) & featuring two of Bristol’s most famous sons. There’s been a lot of media speculation over the past few years on the subject of Banksy’s real identity & maybe this animated short will reveal the truth behind the mystery?
The idea was to film it as if secret CCTV footage had been found showing the enigmatic artist hard at work. The whole spot was animated in a few days, with model-making & prop building completed the previous week & finished off with a couple of days post in After Effects.
The Guardian – Radiohead
This is an ad I made a few years ago for the Guardian newspaper.
Another very tight schedule, but we made a creditable homage to Jan Svankmajer with the use of pixilation, modelling clay & judicious editing.
Coca-Cola / Nascar – Thanks For Driving
This is a 60 second commercial I co-directed with Tomas & Johan from Acne films in Sweden, which was also released on cinema screens in the US. This was fantastic fun to shoot; we wanted to make a ‘Thunderbirds’ type film with loads of classic chase scene movie shots. Everything was shot in camera wherever possible & had a real DIY ethos (we used cigarette smoke for exhaust fumes, etc.). Three different car scales were used to achieve the various scenarios.
PG Tips – Cupboards
Here’s a commercial I made for the anniversary of PGTips!
AT&T – Gingerbread
Chevron – Turtle
MS Society – YOU’RE FIRED!
I made this short animated film for the MS Society which hopefully graphically and powerfully depicts the reality of living with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Launched during MS Week (23-29 May), the idea was that the 35 second film, a first for the charity, would raise awareness and cash for this much misunderstood and potentially devastating condition, most commonly diagnosed in people’s 20s and 30s.
The film uses a busy workplace as a metaphor for the human brain to educate people about how the condition affects human motor function. Instead of workers we see different body parts losing their jobs and being fired, to represent the way body functions can unexpectedly be lost or impaired when someone has MS.
“Thankfully I had a great bunch of people supporting and helping me in the making of this film, especially Di Tansey and Rachel Foley at Irish International BBDO; Gavin Little at Echolab; and a whole host of folk at Aardmans in Bristol (who really are too numerous to mention).”
Chevron – Pizza
Here’s one of the many commercials I’ve made for Chevron – model animation, stop-frame – old school!
This was one of the first commercials that Wallace & Gromit appeared in.
I was approached to design / animate / direct the opening & end sequences (& the playing background) for a children’s games app called Voyage To The Moon, based on the classical music piece. The client had a story to tell & it was my job to simplify & visualise that story in an appealing way. After boarding I created all the required assets in photoshop, which were then animated using code (we were very keen to get away from the flash ‘look’) under my direction. Something completely new for me!