Category Archives: New Narratives

I Love procrastinating

For once I’m glad I put something off. I had meant to delete my Maya files off of my USB stick after I got them back off Alec, but  didn’t do it at the time and then forgot.

And a good thing it is too.

Now I have all my maya files from before Christmas again. Happy times.

Final Animation- With response to feedback

This is our re-rendered animation.

I have to say that I’m quite proud of it now that the sound has been added.

There is still a slight jump between scene 2 and scene 3, and we noticed that it seems to go slightly fuzzy as well but at the minute this is it finished. Amy had to sit and render the third scene frame by frame because when she batch rendered it for some reason the parasaurolophus would float off.

Ryan, Amy and I sat together and ensured that we had identical lights and ground textures so there should no longer be any inconsistencies. The day before we had tried to incorporate as much of Mike’s feedback as we could. Matthew wasn’t able to be in as he had to mind his brother, but we kept him up to date on what was going on and what we were going to do.

As he had put his files on the shared Dropbox folder we were able to quickly make the changes to his files as well as our own at the same time. It wasn’t really necessary for him to come in at that point as it was really just superficial changes that needed to be made and then we were setting the scenes to render.

I rendered scene 1 and scene 4 (which used to be scene 5 where the T-Rex is beaten with multiple rocks), Amy did scene 2, and 3, and Ryan rendered 5 (used to be 4) and 6 (used to be 7).

The following day, Amy and I came in and edited it together. Ryan was going to do it, but had an appointment s and wouldn’t be in until later, so we let him know and he sent us the scenes. By 12.30 it was almost finished, only the titles and credits needing to be added.

Amy had made a fantastic split screen in scene 3, which Mike had suggested, but it was awesome the way that when the T-Rex turned its head it almost looked as though it was shoving the Parasaurolophus out of the way.

For some reason when we tried to use Premiere to edit the scenes together the sky went black in our scenes. I put it into iMovie instead and found that the sky was still there so I put all the scenes together and then made up the soundtrack for it.

The background noises were from, the splashes were a water balloon from and the rest were simply taken from Garageband.

I then put the movie file on to Dropbox and Amy added the credits.

Tyrannical Terror


Blouhond. (2012). Calm Morning Outdoor Ambience. Available: Last accessed 12th May 2015.

Steveygos93. (2010). Water Balloon. Available: Last accessed 12th May 2015.

Some shots

Below is just some images of our landscape and character that I liked the look of. Some of them show issues we experience and how we overcame it, some I just like and cannot really recall the reason for screenshot-ing them. Is that even a word? Is it screenshooting? Hmm…

Final Presentation

This was our presentation for our 15 second animation.

Presentation: 15 Second Presentation Final

issues we were aware of prior to presenting:

  • Rendering scene seven (flag scene) it only showed one frame when put into FCheck but it had actually rendered each frame? It also had the sky missing but it showed up on my Mac
  • Jump in camera between scene 2 and 3
  • Matthew managed to make his scene over twice the length it should have been, I had showed him the table with the length of the scenes in it but he must have forgotten because he said that we had never decided on a set length for the scene.
  • I helped him retexture the dinosaurs and importing the scene into the landscape, but having keyed all the values of the rocks he wasn’t able to move them into the correct position and had to reanimate them, which he put off doing until the second years told him that there wasn’t another way around it. It was understandable that he was reluctant to redo something that took him ages but it was frustrating at the same time. He also didn’t have a set camera so I added that in for him, although seeing it later once Ryan had put it together I saw that it was a poorly thought out position.
  • Then the scene had to be rendered which held up Ryan editing it together.
  • Matthew was responsible for sound but said that day that he didn’t actually have software to create any music or add sound effects to the animation
  • Since Matthew’s scene was longer, we cut scene 6 and scene 7 was left out due to the rendering error so Ryan had to try and work the scene’s we had into something presentable.

NOTE: Feedback for this presentation is under New Narratives > Task 4

Things I forgot to say when presenting:

  • Parasaurolophuses were both bipeds and quadrupeds and a breed of Hadrosaur (duck-billed dinosaur)
  • Their name means “near crested lizard” in latin
  • Tyrannosaurs, whilst having short arms (1m) relative to their height, had extremely thick humerus so that means their arms were actually rather powerful as the bone was thicker to support large muscle tissue
  • Both dinosaurs would have inhabited what is now know as North America but at the time was part of a larger continent known as Laramidia, so the continents had begun to separate from their original mass of Pangea
  • Parasaurolophuses were known prey of the Tyrannosaurs


General Feedback on the class’ animations:

  • Work with technology not against it
  • Dislikes physical sun and sky
  • Maintain your vision in Maya, if it works on paper it should work in that
  • Test animation on target audience
  • Make sure the presentation works
  • Movie first then breakdown of process
  • Have one video per slide – and go full screen
  • Ask those with more experience for advice
  • Seasons to show long passage of time, night and day for short
  • Use an x-sheet to know what happens on each frame
  • The whole class is a team
  • Eyes are the window to the soul
  • When given feedback work with it, don’t ditch an idea

This is the feedback which we received for our presentation on our 15 second dinosaur animation.

  • Presented well, but turned back on audience
  • Issues with composition, texturing and lighting
  • No sound
  • No real evidence of how research influenced design
  • Nice to see application of the conventions of comedy
  • Have the T-Rex hold the flag e.g. using it’s tail, or hand?
  • Nice rig (all Amy’s work)
  • Hitting rock with tail is a nice sequence
  • Good character design
  • Issues with staging (scene 5)
  • We got a laugh for the first time, it was longer on play-blasted version

Additional feedback from Mike:

  • Titles on the opening scene obscure the characters, fade it out sooner and also have it fade in at the start
  • Horizon line in scene 2 jumps
  • Prolong the shot of the splash in scene 2
  • Parasaurolophus’ arms raise as his head moves, correct this, keep the stationary
  • Have close ups of the parasaurolophus anticipating the rock hitting the T-Rex’s head and the T-Rex’s reaction to being struck on the head (scene 3)
  • Swap scene 4 and 5, so rock attack precedes retaliation
  • Where does the rock the T-Rex tries to throw come from? Insert a shelf or something that it will come from.
  • When throwing a lot of rocks, have camera to the other side, and at the end have the T-Rex looking off towards rock that it will throw with narrowed eyes
  • For failed throw zoom out from bouncing stone to angry face- don’t have it getting angry
  • Have more pull back on the arm prior to throw
  • Cut to face tracking stone’s fall
  • Cut to ripples in water
  • Cut to disheartened face- could end it there
  • There is no real need for the flag scene at the end
  • Maybe should of had something jump out of the water and eat the parasaurolophus or have a pterodactyl swooping down and crying it off
  • The timing is what makes it funny to him

Media Influences

Some films and television series that influenced us in the genre and overall direction of the animation are cited below.

Both Cheaper by the Dozen and Laurel & Hardy are in the slapstick comedy genre that is really relevant to the plot of our 15 second film. We intend to have our T-Rex getting slapped in the face with a rock by the Parasaurolophus. These examples are great examples of comedic timing.

Furthermore, Laurel & Hardy, is similar in to our animation in that it is accidental conflict that sets in motion the chain of events that leads to the T-Rex throwing a stone. This also links into the conventions of comedy that we have been learning about in our lectures as conflict is a key component in this genre, along with bright colours, upbeat music (Matthew is researching that), quick camera changes to emphasise the comedic timing- the pace is key in making things funny quite often in comedies- it has to flow quickly, and hopefully shots that highlight emotions that the characters are experiencing.

Land Before Time was really just a film that we all enjoyed watching when we were younger and they had full body dinosaurs too. I didn’t actually realise this at the time but we have a Parasaurolophus which is the same species of dinosaur as Ducky in the film (coincidently my favourite character).

I also just really enjoyed the TV show Primeval and I’m still annoyed that it was cancelled. I did get to meet Hannah Spearitt at Comic-Con last year though so that did make up for it a bit. Anyway, we decided that it was worthy of a mention.

NOTE: I forgot to say this, or maybe I said it earlier, I can barely remember anything at the minute. Our characters are darker to contrast and make them stand out from the background like in Rayman, taken from what Andrew said in his talk, and linking back in to our original inspiration.

Box set
Box set


Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) VHS. Directed by Shawn Levy. United States of America: 20th Century Fox.

Laurel & Hardy: A Chump At Oxford (2004). DVD. Directed by Alfred Goulding, USA: Universal Pictures Ltd.

Primeval (2007). Episode 1, Episode 1. TV, ITV Studios, ITV, 10th Feb 2007. 19:00.

The Land Before Time (1988) VHS. Directed by Don Bluth. United States of America: Universal Pictures.

Animation Tests

Some animation test that I completed, using the T-Rex model Amy modelled and rigged.


Tail up:

There is a slightly strange deformation at the bottom of the T-Rex’s spine when the tail is raised passed a certain point. This can easily be corrected by altering the amount of rotation on the tail.

Tail swish:

There is a nice side to side movement of the tail, I can’t see any problems with it, so pretty pleased.


This is the T-Rex opening and closing his mouth from a few angles, there is no unnatural deformation, however there is a hard line where his mouth stems from.





I quite like this head movement, having the T-Rex appear somewhat timid as he looks around.




We were wondering the best way to pan into the scene with dinosaurs, as the Titles have to appear on the way in.

I tried to have the camera pan across the landscape but it seemed to move too quickly, so I had it pan down, and I didn’t like it.

Now we have the camera panning down, but instead of translating on the y-axis it, rotates on the x-axis.

Scene 01 Test 01 (pan across):

Scene 01 Test 02 (pan across):

Scene 01 Test 03 (pan down):

Scene 01 Test 04 (pan down):

Scene 01 Test 05 (rotating pan down) :



Testing the flag deforming along the sine wave. I detaches from the flag pole.


Testing the movement of the flag, when it appears form behind the bush. I think it needs to be less smooth.


Trying to make the lifting of the flag less smooth, and more imperfect, as it is supposedly lifted by the T-Rex.


This is me trying to have the flagpole rotate from side to side as if it is being swung. Matthew pointed out that the rectangular shape of the flag looked too perfect, so I changed it to a triangle and slightly off white. The movement of the flagpole from side to side seems a little to slow though.


I increased the speed of rotation of the flagpole from side to side, I think it may be a little too fast now. Also, the flag is still detaching from the flagpole.


Happy medium. I think the flag still detaches at some points, but that is easily rectified.

Scene 07


I think that the flag is a little small for the scene so I will scale it up.


So this is scene 7 with the characters in the correct position, although I will need to scale the bushes up in order to conceal the T-Rex’s head more, also, our group thinks that it is rather comical having it unable to properly conceal itself due to its size.

Floundering Flag

I was  speaking to my granda about our animation and about the idea of the T-Rex flying a little white flag to symbolise it’s surrender, and he thought it was pretty good. So, I went about trying to make it.

Initially I was going to use nCloth. Everything had appeared to work perfectly well, it was acting like silk and crumpling nicely with the gravity, then I tried to move it.

I still don’t know what I was doing wrong, maybe it was just a bad day to use Maya, but it would not move. Anytime that I tried to move both the flag and the flag pole, only the pole would move. I tried to find out how to fix this and it said about parenting the flag to the pole before adding cloth and then another one said about trying to parent the nucleus of the cloth to the pole, so I was confused and decided to try and find another way.

Initially I started adding joints into since we had just had the lecture on joints, then I figured that I was making this far more complicated than it needed to be. Amy then suggested using a lattice to deform it and I was about to when I clicked onto the deformers tab and saw the wave deformer tool.


I applied that to the flag and ended up with a nice wave, then I played about with the amplitude until I got an proportionate displacement for the size of flag. I then went to animate this by changing the different translate values before realising, that again, I was making this more complicated than it needed to be. So instead of doing that, I simply switched between 0.1 and -0.1 in the amplitude and keyed that at regular intervals to get a good looking movement on the flag.

Then came the fun of animating the swing of the flag. I started off with it rising up unrealistically smoothly from the ground, so then I added a little bit of a stutter I suppose to the movement, making it more clumsy and befitting of our T-Rex character. Once I was satisfied with that, I then had to do the side to side wave. The rotation of the flag pole was fine to do, but the flag itself seemed to detach and pass through the pole for some reason so I had to key the translate values once I had imported into the correct position on the landscape.

Upon Matthew’s suggestion I changed the shape of the flag as the perfect rectangular shape looked rather odd, I had tried to make it look ragged but it didn’t react realistically so I settled for making it off-white and to triangular.

"Ragged Attempt"
“Ragged Attempt”
"Final Result"
“Final Result”


ArtFusion Media School. (2012). How to Create A 3D Waving Flag with Autodesk Maya. Available: Last accessed 26th Apr 2015.

Hermes, M. (2014). Maya tutorial : How to create and animate a flag with nCloth in Maya. Available: Last accessed 26th Apr 2015.

TheCGBros. (2011). Maya nCloth Dynamics Tutorial: Creating A Tattered Pirate Flag (Intermediate Level). Available: Last accessed 26th Apr 2015.

Wong, T. (2013). Moving nCloth with Model. Available: Last accessed 26th Apr 2015.


Updated Animatics

2D by Amy:

Amy created this 2D animatic for a few weeks ago, which was pretty awesome.

2D by Me and Amy:

Having received feedback from the last presentation, I created another animatic and then asked Amy to put it together in Premiere because I got lost. She then put it on dropbox for our group to see and sent me a link to a tutorial on how to solve the problem I had.

3D by Me:

We needed a 3D animatic pretty urgently, so I sat down last night once I got home and quickly made this. You can tell at which point I got fed up because I could even manage to arch the stones as they flew at the T-Rex.


Ryan took over creating the landscape when my Mac started playing up and he created this.

899617_10206440062740017_293617588_o 11169053_10206440053619789_1291869225_n

I said about creating the mountains for it and came up with these as the result.

I downloaded a greyscale image of a mountain range from above and increased the contrast in Photoshop before saving it as a .png in SourceImages. Then in Maya created a plane, (in surfaces) opened sculpt geometry tool, selected pull mode and then imported the map onto the plane creating a quick mountain range which i scaled up and then pulled some vertices higher.

Ryan put his landscape onto Dropbox for us to access and since our story involves stones getting thrown into a river I looked into adding water to it.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 17.13.36
First attempt
Preferred Version
Preferred Version

These are the settings I used on the Ocean shader, in case I forget.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 17.24.00 Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 17.24.37