Post-Whitespace Party

We had our Summer Party at Whitespace on Friday, which turned out to be a brilliant night. Considering this was my first experience of a Whitespace party, I'm already looking forward to the next one!

So feeling a little bit tender, Saturday night has become a very chilled night indeed, with some more personal project work on the way. 

I stupidly brought my Cintiq back to Fife with me, only to have forgot the pen. Either way, it means I can focus on a project that I've been working on for ages now.

Getting into the swing

I've managed to get into a slightly better routine of doing my own stuff. Just on Sunday, I spent the afternoon learning Cinema 4D. Although it was just a basic tutorial on how to make cel shaded mountains, I did still learn a lot about HOW cinema 4d is laid out and how it works in general.

I'm proud of that shit! Building mountain-like structures seems to be quite easy, but it's the texturing and colouring that seems quite tricky. I also find my mac doesn't seem to cope all that well, the more effects I add to my objects. So after a while of messing around, I ended up making a fury cube.. As you do.

Not only have I been doing some 3D stuff, but I managed to get some more illustrating on my breaks and at night. At a snails pace mind you. But it's still progress none the less. I'm hoping to have a series of portraits finished and uploaded to my website fairly soon. In the mean time, more in progress snaps!

Less thinking, more drawing

One problem I'm having at the moment, is having the motivation and energy to do my own shit. To be fair, it's pretty hard if you've been working all day on different projects, to then get home and open up the laptop again. It's hard but rewarding if you can. SO instead of thinking big ideas all the time, I'm just going to do smaller, manageable personal projects. As in a drawing here or there or very small bits of animation and even some graphics.

Here is two of 5 drawings Im planning on doing, as a series of art directed characters. Courtesy of the all godly Wacom Cintiq. I do wonder how I ever managed drawing on a tiny Surface Pro for so long.

Shadow Over face tiny version.jpg

Sunday 'Thoughts'

I spent my Sunday afternoon, in a corner of Costa, reading a book and listening to spotify (as hipster is that sounds) and contemplated alot of things. For starters, I realised I've only been aware of the graphic design practice for about 6 years now. Albeit, I was doing it before I even realised I was; forum signatures and even some film editing. But when I finished 1st year, I still didn't have a fucking clue why typography was so important. So years later, I'm in a place where I love design and everything about it; As if it had always been in my life to this day. Weird right?

But I think whats important is how I got there. Working alongside your peers is one of the biggest motivational kicks. The first couple of years don't really matter; you're all trying to fit in and make friends (well, thats my take anyway). But once 3rd year starts and you finally have grades dangled in front of you, shit gets real. Not only is your grade being put forward to your final degree, but you're also competing with other peers. It probably wasn't until the second half of 3rd year that I realised I didn't quite fully understand good, effective design. My grades were inconsistent. If you make something that works really well, it doesn't matter; you have no idea why. It then just becomes a game of chances; You make something and just hope for the best.

My old boss from a previous part time job, explained his take on learning how to do a task. In my old job, I worked in the cash room, where all the money is kept. Part of the job was inputting all of the figures and information into this computer that collated it all on a daily basis, to keep track of the income of the business. As he explained it to me, he said that there is people who seem to pick it up instantly, where as others take a bit longer. The reason being was that some people just hear the instructions and learn that if they input a, b and c, then the task is complete. However, they don't understand why they just inputted a, b and c. This is why others who take longer, are wanting to know exactly what and why they are inputting the information they are. So if something did go wrong, then they would understand the process. I thought this was an interesting analogy for design of any kind; there's the very black and white solution to what you're doing but you really need to understand why it works. Because if you don't, it's a game of chances. Hoping for the best.

My second 'thought-of-the-day' was, are graphic designers artists? In a lot of ways, I don't think they are. Not in the same way other traditional artists are anyway. Considering art is constantly at battle with public popularity, graphic design is almost the opposite. Depending on the purpose, graphic design can be used to generate more public interest. Good typography is invisible right? But that is ofcourse, depending on the purpose. Graphic Design could also be used in very different ways. Provoking alternative ways of seeing something. Pushing the boundaries of public taste and opinion on matters. So perhaps that means we as designers, have a responsibility to test these waters and to keep pushing design in new areas.

From my experience so far in the industry, there seems to always be that safe option, open to designers, whenever tackling a brief. Ofcourse, not every brief that comes your way, is suitable for this kind of exploration. But the ones that can, should be exploited and pushed further!

Animating with Live Action

I have had the recent pleasure of meeting Campfire Agency; a team of filmmakers based in the Biscuit Factory, in Edinburgh. We have been collaborating on a new film that will hopefully be live in the next month or so. It's very exciting to see how dedicated film agency's work and the footage they produce. It was like christmas day when looking through all of the clips! With these sort of projects, there is also a lot to learn. For example, working with RAW footage, that is very large in size. One solution to this I found, was just creating proxy files, which act as substitute, until you finally come to rendering the final piece and you just replace them with the hi res ones. Works like a charm and saves you a lot of space on your harddrive. I also realised that animating over 25 frame footage, means you better animate 25 frames! Because if you don't, it looks shit. And I learned that today, when creating the animatic. For example, drawing over someone who is moving past the camera; if the animation is lower frame rate, it will miss out frames in the footage, making it look delayed and naff. It might cost me more time but it's worth it in the end, to have a much smoother film.

More to come!

SDI - Tourism Animation

So having finished this a while ago, you can tell how eager I am to slap this in the portfolio. So far, I still can't share the rest of the project. However, here is the animation, in all it's raw looking quality.

This came to about a week of filming and a week of post editing. Having created all the assets for the photoshoot, it was just  matter of repurposing them for stop motion. Ofcourse, a few more things were designed specifically for the film. 

I used a Nikon D800 with a 50mm lens. A camera I wasn't entirely familiar with until after shooting this. But there's no better way of learning than doing.

The entire project will hopefully be live very soon.

Still Here...

...Although not sure if you are. But if so, then stay tuned, more work and stuffs is coming. I've had my head in one big project since the start of December, but now that it's finally finished, I'm onto new things. With some talks recently about getting some new toys to play with in the office, some more new possibilities may arise. Such as more frame-by-frame animation. And also my current project, that may include a form of light painting.

For now, here is a very inspirational animation I found during the week.

Epic; to put it simply.

2016! The year of unknown opportunities

So 2016 has rolled in and I couldn't have more excuses to be excited! Starting the year with my first step into the Creative industry, with a studio that I have grown to love already. For the past year, I've been constantly on edge, with the pressure of my final year at Uni, to avoiding the dole afterwards. With that very minor anxiety and pressure however, I managed to keep myself working right up until that long awaited offer came in; a permanent position at Whitespace.

The biggest change and skill I have acquired, was not how to use InDesign more efficiently, or how to set up documents for printing, but to have confidence in myself. The one thing I felt  shaken up after uni however, was my confidence. When there's a battle of whether to design for your tutors or to design for yourself, it really takes it's toll. Sometimes it's not as easy as: if you get straight 'A's', then you'll be employed instantly! If the work you do at uni, doesn't relate to the work the employers do, then how could they employ you? As a fellow designer said recently, it's about selling yourself and selling your goods. Doing a big abstract, 'acrylic' model of something is great and looks impressive, but who is that for? your tutor?  and is that the path you want to go down? If it is then great, but if you secretly love illustration, or typography, or photography, then don't do a frickin sculpture!

Now having my confidence, it feels like I can certainly relax a lot more and produce work that is anxiety free. It's been a great year, but I already know that 2016 will be better!

Hopefully now that I am starting to settle down, look for my own place and get stuck into my new job, I can start focusing on producing more personal projects, trying new things and pushing my skills further! 


My first animation at Whitespace

So I was given the chance to stretch my legs and do a nice little animation project, at Whitespace. I had two weeks and was given the storyboard and all of the illustration assets, already pre designed by Katie McPherson. My job was just to give it life! and it was certainly another learning experience for me. For one, I've never been put in a disciplined scenario where I had to finish my animation, within alocated time (a week to be precise!). I have also never done animation that was so complex, even I started contemplating life as we know it. It put Inception to shame! But with all of these new experiences, I also learned from them and realised, if I just did this and that, then the next time will be a breeze. Even though I knew I had never done an animation in this conventional sense of the word, I was willing to challenge myself. I never did quite think of what if I fuck it up, or what if my computer has a melt down or I lose all the files. It never really occurred to me.. But then perhaps thats a good thing? Just running at it and tackling it as you go. Cos it seems to be the best way of learning. 

Kudos to Katie McPherson for the awesome illustrations.


I do wonder sometimes, whats the right choice when deciding to use colour or not. There's no doubt it's a lot easier to use black and white. To get rid of anything in the colour palette, that might not get the reaction you're wanting. There's no doubt too, sometimes it's necessary to have black and white. I love black and white editorial designs! And I love it in illustrations too. But then I see it used in places where it's totally unnecessary. For example, saturating all of your photos. Especially photos of your project. Why drain colours from a project that  clearly was designed with colour in mind? It's not good presentation. It then becomes a strange self assurance that you are indeed a designer. As if it transforms your work into a more edgy, contemporary style.

I think it's great if you've taken a series of photos that have a reason behind the duotone effect, or you love to take casual snaps on Instagram. But I don't get the instant trend, that is turning everything into black and white, for the sole reason of a more edgy face value. If there was a rule book on how to be perceived as a trendy designer, it would definitely have somewhere, "Turn everything black and white".

As I said though, I love black and white designs, but only when it's used right. It's very easy to use methods and techniques in your work, but if you can't explain why you used them, then what the hell are you doing?