Wednesday, December 20, 2006

nearly chrimbo

hi there -

long radio silence was because of EXTREME business - its just been mental. But we are winning I guess.
We have been trying to be more organised about getting stuff sent out to the studios overseas in as "bulletproof" a way as possible - makings ure the packs are correct, the posing works, the x-sheets work and all that stuff.
Heres a sketch of me (on the seat with the pen) , Nora (back to us) and Fabian (leaning on the cupboard) by Virginie a new posing artist from from France, we are discussing the sequences that are going to Hungary in January.

Its very hectic, with all the animation and layout and Bgs to look at here, posing to do, aniamtion from Brussels to check, rough composists of posing to check before they go, colour bgs from Spirit in Angouleme to check, and so on. But everyone is working like crazy and its going to be alright on the night I think.

Tootle pip and merry Chrimbo,


Thursday, November 23, 2006

brussel sprouts


barry ,fabian, jeremy and myself have been in the lovely city of brussels at the lovely studios of Walking the Dog and digital graphics.

Fabs and Barry have been helping teh animators here get into teh pose to pose method that we are using and helping them get on model and all.
Seems to be working and they are a nice bunch to be sure....

the new studio Digital Graphics have is probably the nicests tudio I've ever seen - they even have alittle cinema there - the Ume Brothers are doing some cool work on their ink and paint software and some cool digital effects...

we are all tired now and ready to go home but surely only more work waits us there...


Saturday, October 21, 2006


howyah, yeh its been hectic and stressful lately, little time to scratch never mind blog.
anyway I remain resolute to try and update this as regularly as I can.
some nice animation getting done, I really do promise to post some as soon as I have time to compress it and watermark it and all that craic.

So, Allesandra and Alfredo ex-skunkateeers have joined us and have begun making some top notch animation for the sequence i boarded during the summer of Brendan meeting Aisling. Mighty stuff.

Caroline Piochin has joined the team too and has done a nice scene of Pangur Ban , we have decided to cast the characters a bit more, Tom Caulfield is doing all the Brother Aidan stuff hopefully. Aisling is being done by Allesandra.
TomC and Lionel are lashing out the first argument between Aidan and Cellach, doing some nice stuff with the lines Brendan Gleeson ad-libbed and with Mick Lallys take on Aidan. We are keeping it subtle and simple - its lookin good.

Daan - an intern from Holland has begun helping out with the ever swelling load of scanning, pre-composisting and so on thats hit us - he's a stand up feller. Even said he dug the animatic which makes me all warm and fuzzy. Good to get an outside opinion.

We will begin working with a French editor , Fabienne soon, she has a background in live action so should bring a good perspective to it. We have previously gotten some good notes from Joe, the editor on Skunk Fu.
Speaking of which - some beautiful stuff going on on that production lately. classy.

In the past month we have stepped up the development of new projects - I have begun developing a feature film with Adrien and a tv show with Lily. Some other artists in the studio have gotten options with us and are developing shows with us. Its exciting seeing that stuff. But i have'nt a huge amount of time to do too much yet. Still its good to start thinking of the future.

So, the nights are getting more sleepless, the managment issues strained and the studio more crowded , and its really all go go go. The Belgian crew have started animating and the French team have begun painting the 1000 extra backgrounds , following the ones Stewie , Adrien and Lily are doing.

The most exciting thing I feel is the buzz of having 70+ cartoonists suddenly converging on Kilkenny. Someday I guess , not too far away we'll be back to being the Cartoon Saloon we once were , but for now theres an exciting college campus type buzz and it feels great to think how these two productions are effecting and changing so many peoples lives, most people are from other countries and have travelled to live and work here and its great that they were willing to do that.

happy daze.

howdy doody

Saturday, September 23, 2006

september rains

its been a while since I had a chance to post anything ..things seem to be going well, everyone settling down and getting into the project. I'm reasonably confident with the latest version of the animatic. We've had some hectic days - especially Remi and Nora getting started with the new Hobsoft software, but in the end I hope it will make things easier and prevent problems.

We showed the latest animatic to Benoit Feroument the animation director from Belgium who is here for a few weeks trying to get his head around the style. He has just finished his latest short in 3d computer animation so we are dragging him back into flat land! He felt the story was working and that was a relief , as there are less and less people to show it to that are coming to it fresh. We made a lot of cuts and its still a little long , but seems to be heading the right direction.

We have been joined by two new Bg artists working on the final Black and White artwork to be painted in France - Julien and Niall. Its exciting seeing some of the work they are doing - I'll post some soon.

Also we have finally added two long time Skunk fu animators who were waiting patiently for over a year to join the crew - Allesandra and Alfredo from Italy. There are links to their blogs over on the Skunk fu Blog.

There are about 90 seconds of Okayed animation in the animatic now and that was a glimpse of how the film should feel animated - that was exciting in and of itself.

Jean has done some lovely work on the scene where Brendan first sees the book and Tom Caulfield has really gotten into the style now and is doing gorgeous stuff with Brother Aidan. He even has already done a scene where he uses the head cold Mick had doing the lines as part of the animation and its really cool I think.

Lionel did a cool little scene of Brendan scrambling through the half built roundtower .

Fabs and Barry have been posing out the goose chase and theres some funny stuff in there for sure. i hope the crew in Belgium get a kick out of animating it.

The whole production has been set up to sort of try and control everything from here but we are learning how much its good to put into the posing and where its just to restrictive sometimes too.

Precompositing the animation in Animo is a great help to visualise the scenes and we have twp new ADs helping with that stuff - Cliodhna and Kevin.

Lili, adrien and i have begun working on some development for possible new productions as well, its cool to start thinking about that stuff now.
CS is starting to try and build a slate of interesting projects and we are optioning some cool shows in the hope of producing them over the next while.

We hope to produce Remi's feature A Long way North too, which will be a big challenge but worth I think!

So exciting, exhausting and interesting times at the moment.

Thats all I have time to talka bout for now, I'll post some new artwork too ...

Slán anois,


Sunday, September 03, 2006


here are some photos by Manu the layout checker.
He's from France - its nice to see the old town thru' the eyes of a visitor!

soem of the blurry guys and gals in here - Remi, Telman, JB, Ray, Gav Nora and me looking at a linetest......

the final

ahh tis the final today between kk and cork, bit sure I'm in here all busy and all. I'll have to go and see it later in a pub or soemthing.
gwan the cats.

anyway things are trundling along, its pretty messy as per normal, the best laid plans and all that.
still a couple of weekends off gave me fresh eyes and I had a look at the animatic again yesterday.
Theres still soem tidying up to do, and I really do think we could have done with more screen time but I think its holding together okay. I gotta just get the intentions of the scenes we keep as clear as possible and try not to loose anything along the way.

The hardest thing so far has been trying not loose any info in regards to composistion between boards and also acting in the posing, its really tough, and theres a lot of retakes everytime.
So much can be lost between those two stages and those stages are so crucial to keep the intent of teh past 9 months boarding.

the film is packed full of stuff, I hope it'll be entertaining, its actually ahrd to get a bead on it when you get this close. I think the performances from the kids are great and I love Mick Lallys delivery of a lot of the lines.

We are looking at the moment for some help for Gavin the 2nd assistant director, whos been doing alot of teh precomposisting and line testing, we need someone asap and I advertised elsewhere on line. Soemone whos gonna be happy working a lot with AVID, Animo and AfX.

We precomposist each sequence with teh posinga nd animation, its agreat way to check how it all works, and helps us see the wood from the trees.

Aniamtion is starting in earnest next week and in a few weeks we'll be up to a full crew.
Its more crucial than ever that I lock the third and fourth reel now!

So better get to it!


Sunday, August 13, 2006

clean up

In the previous post i have shown some examples of the final clean up model sheets for some of the main characters.
The bold outline on these is done in photoshop. The Ume Brothers in digital graphics in belgium are still working on the software to automate this process - I'll post the first successful test here with glee - its going in the right direction but the colour lines are tricky - once we make the outline bold, they become very obvious therefore any pops or changes ion the inking become very noticable, expecially presumably on the big screen.

Anyway these drawings - roughs by Barry Reynolds, clean up by martin Fagina nd colours by Lily Bernard are very handsome in my opinion and I hope we can get that look on screen in motion.

We have had a hard few weeks but the people who are hanging in here are getting the style and thats great. Jean Morel has animated a nice scene where Brendan first sneaks into teh scriptorium and we have made a quick pre composist with teh clean Bg and had it playing on teh tv in the studio the past few days - its nice actually to see the imagery on a big widescreen tv as apposed to a monitor - gives a sense of how it will be seen by the audience eventually.

Telman is doing soem cool layouts with teh abbots room and Nik is tackling the mammoth task of teh goose chase at the start of the movie - establishing all teh key locations at a breakneck speed with loads of comedy ...hes making a nice job of it too.

It looks as though we'll have to delete a sequence to get the running time down to 75 minutes again.

At any rate I'm just about finished the last of teh boards - the hopefully dramatic Viking attack on Kells , the climax of the film and all in - shhhh - PERSPECTIVE!
We are trying to throw extreme perspective into teh dramatic and scary shots to really jolt the audience with a sudden shift - teh far background remains in teh medieval style of the rest of the movie but suddenly familar things will be coming towards the camera.
Its a bit of an art direction risk, but seems to work in the scene illos we've done so far and cut into the movie.
And its a bit of craic to try and draw in perspective again after walloping everyone over the head with the super flat style.

I'll post some pics soon to show the effect.

Next week I'm off on my hols for a day or two in Cork. Staying in Cafe Paradiso - one of the best veggie restaurants in the country - and then off to Cape Clear in the gealtacht for a bit of the wild west experience before the summer evaporates on me.
Can't wait.

slán anois a chairde,


clean up

Thursday, August 03, 2006

skunk fu blog

I added a link to a blog I was only just made aware of started by Aidan Harte upstairs!
Its a Skunk Fu Blog and full of awesome art from that show.
some real talent on there.
hoo yeh.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

welcome to my little world

Well, its gettin harder thats for sure!

We've had a "little world" of own for soem montsh now, in preproduction and now the hardest thing is bringing all the ideas and energy from that into full-production . Trying to communicate all those months to the "new guys" and get them on the same buzz as us is hard but rewarding as its starting to translate into the work they do.

With all the new staff comes the challenge of trying bring everyone up to date with the ideas we've been discussing as a small group for so long and try to find a way for it to be interesting for them despite the fact that, really ,its quite a controlled stage.
We really know what we want and we are really going for controlled - pose to pose type stuff in the posing , using the boards as a starting point, without too much re-invention, same with the Bgs, the scene illustrations are the "keys" we are trying to have everyone follow.
For some people, its just not suiting them, and thats difficult.

The style is very specific, and theres not a lot of room to manoeuvere , which I guess is frustrating for some of the artists, all of whom are very talented and good at what they do.
Slowly though people are getting to grips with what we are trying to do.
Probably , also, our preparation could have been better and a lot of fixing is happening at thsi stage too.

The animation will begin in September and we are trying to have very tight , pose to pose stuff figured out in this layout posing stage.
I'm going through the layout packages with a fine tooth comb with Nora trying to really help everyone get to grips with what we are after now, so when the real pressure hits they will be able to communicate it to the rest of the crew abroad, easily.

For techinical alyout we are coming to grips with trying to get whats planned on teh boards exactly on screen without losing anything in the fixes and even in the simpel process of including more people. Its hard because sometimes we want it EXACTLY as its boarded other times its cool to find better ways to show things or improve cuts and so forth, so its a real scene by scene process with lots of retakes.

Anyway we struggle on! I think we'll get there in the end and we'll have soemthing to be proud of and a bucketload of experiences to help with the next one!

We had an inspiring talk from Mike Nyugen last week , really giving us the gusto to try and raise the bar and really get into our scenes. He's a really great guy and I look forward to seeing his film - My Little World - completed.

It was great to see Barry O'D as well , down from magnificent offices of Barley Films, and Tom Caulfield, a Salooner once, many moons ago, has just joined the team again.
Also we had a visit from Darragh of the famous Brown Bag Films in Dublin and it was great to be discussing the "problems" of having such a Boom in Irish animation at the moment! Long may it continue.

anyway sin é ,

Slán anois,


Saturday, July 15, 2006

colour models

I love these - makes it look like a REAL production - hehe - really sort of professional looking or something - yeh i know thats dumb but theres this sort of fetish for the artifacts of production is'nt there? Like rough model sheets and things that most people never see?
I love that old Bob Clampett bugs Bunny model sheet - its so nicely laid out and presented - i'm sure most animation fans know the one I mean - and I mean its just a working document - not intended for public consumption - just a means to an end, yet for fans its as interesting as the final cartoon in many ways.
When Lili was doing these I remembered the visit I made to the Bluth studio in dublin when I was 14 - I remember being impressed and depressed by the enormity of the endeavour it was back then to make an animated film.
I remember a room full of paint pots, specially mixed, for each colour of each character!


Last year Jean Baptiste did some really great concepts for the Vikings - a few of which I post here.
The roughness of their line in contrast to the stained glass type line on the main characters is something we really wanted to keep.
For a while we even thought of doing them CG.
Anyway we decided to do tehm 2d but we are trying to find a way to have a cool rough outline on them. One test we are doing with the Frere Ume in Liege in belgium at the moment is this test of a drybrush type outline.
The idea is to have the computer track the red line on the clean up (by Martin Fagin) with the drybrush ink-line.
It might be a bit of stretch. But failing that we can always go for that "rough animation" pencil outline look. I'll post how the tests go...