Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas Y'all!!

Hello dear readers, it's at this time of year that you look back on the past 12 months with rose tinted glasses, all the ups and downs, the highs, the lows, the laughs, the tears, goddammit even those pesky dreams about giant Edam cheeses chasing you down a dark street, dressed in only a bowler hat somehow brings a lump to the ol'throat....ahhh....memories........well, they mean sod all coz it truly has been the most hectic year I can remember.

A trip to Annecy for the Farm with Niel, coping with Mr Bling for almost an entire week.(trying me hardest not to sing out the Bob the Builder theme tune whilst happy slapping him for inadvertingly making me buy hundreds of pounds worth of Bob toys for my oldest daugter) My freelance work has literally been non-stop this year. Sorting out secondry school, one million nursery events to attend, PC's exploding with 2 years worth of artwork locked in them, car dying on me....the list could go on. So in all honesty, I feel like I've let down our characters a tad on The Farm, the guys at Qurios Towers have done sterling work though to make up for my all I can add is wishing you all a very Merry Chrimbo and a fruitful New Year, keep checking us out for more updates soon and more new stuff to show you all!!

....and as a final gesture of desperation, heres an ancient illo from the Farm I did eons ago....I was aiming on doing a new Xmas one...but....well, you all know now!


Monday, November 05, 2007

T-shirt tales

This was me just over a month ago on a crisp sunny day in Newcastle having fun in the Great North Run.
What's this got to do with Farmageddon? Well I was running to raise money for Cancer research who sent me a very bright T-shirt to wear on the day. Well, the t-shirt was a tad on the snug side and made me feel quite uncomfortable. So instead I wore one of the Farmageddon T-shirts we had made for our trip to Annecy earlier this year. This design is Dalton smacked into the front of a plane. On the back of the shirt in large white letters is
I managed to complete the run in 2 hours 38 minutes and 10 seconds. It was bloody hard but I'm hoping to do it again next year. I'm still getting in the last bits of sponsorship money so its not too late, if you'd like to donate you can do it online here.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rufus Voice test

This test, animated by Matt, uses a short audio clip of Nick Frost in Hot Fuzz.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Big Breakfast

Hello there me dearies! Many apologies for my utter lack of posts, I could bore you with tales of having to take a certain Ring on a dangerous journey to the land of Morder, where I should cast it into the mouth of Mount Doom to save all of the North East of England....but I'd be lying. Truth is I've had a shed load of freelance work on which I'd started before our trip to fair Annecy and have just about finished as I type!

No matter though as the crew at Qurios Towers have been beavering away like a ...erm...pack of beavers doing some sterling work on the Farm and its characters! Well done you lot!

Here's something that I finally managed to finish...the character was done many a moon back and at last he's been placed in all his glory where he belongs....ON A BOX OF THE FABLED CEREAL 'NUK'EMS'!

Niel and and I did a couple of the newspaper strips where the gang were sat at the breakfast table and for some reason I did boxes of Nuk'Em cereal. Of course, it was all Black and White in those days (they hadn't invented colour yet), I seem to remember having a tiny character of me on the box instead of our new full colour hero, Captain Nuke.

I was heavily influenced by the works of genius of a certain Mr Dunn who's cereal boxes where a definate 'inspiration' for me. I love the way he managed to get the 'yellowy' retro look. Anyway, this box is for you Mr D! Stand up Sir and take a bow!.....(Don't sue me.....)

Who knows.....I may post something new in another year or so!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Farmageddon - the book

Want to know more about the origins of Farmageddon? Well now you can! We've put together our first collection of comic strips, available for the first time ever! Over 100 pages of madness! Click on the button below the image to buy your very own copy!
Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Tractor Tom-foolery

Following on from the earlier tests Ciarán has been working on a new version that has helped to determine some of the look for the environment. We have had many discussions on clouds and smoke; the clouds are 2D artwork positioned as required, the smoke is still a particle system but we've tried to make it a simple style that fits in with the comic origins of the show. We like it but what do you think???

Friday, August 24, 2007

Cool Bob model turnaround

I know things have been a bit quiet on the blog lately but there is plenty of development still going on here. Chris has started to build Cool Bob and here is the first 3D render of the model.

Also ,you can see a little interview including some Farmageddon work here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Screaming Tom

A still from the test posted earlier. Proper updates on their way.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Nick Frost voice test

As well as doing some tests with Mark Benton we have tried out Nick Frost's voice for Tom. While we don't think it's quite right we still like his voice and I'd like to try him on one of the other characters some time soon. This audio clip is from Hot Fuzz.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dirty Tractor Action

We've been playing around with methods of pushing the tractor around our world. We want to have some real world physics but not be too bogged down by it. Ciarán has set up a system that does just that, and here are some nice tests!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Tom's new Tractor

Ged built this model from a fairly vague brief, some mood board reference images and a pretty basic sketch! We are very pleased with the end result - its a tractor but its got some nice twists that make it a bit special!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Annecy pictures

Here are Gordon's pictures from Annecy! Hell, we're not going to win any awards from photography but we had fun. This first picture is the view from the front of our hotel looking over the lake. Unfortunately our room looked out onto the steep hillside at the back of the hotel. Curtis swears he saw a deer at his window but we have our doubts.

We really enjoyed Curtis' Frankenstein's Cat stand, there was a lot of activity going on around it and it seemed to be getting a lot of positive nods from passers by. The only other stand that really caught our attention was Uli Meyers.

We had a fun afternoon at Dreamworks picnic, thanks to Shelly Page. We made some new friends and I bumped into one or two old mates from long ago!

As part of my Great North Run training I went for a 30 minute run by the side of the lake, it was a lot harder than I expected due to the higher temperatures. Gordon was waiting to snap me on my return up the VERY steep hill to our hotel! Thanks a lot! I can return the favour by showing you this lovely picture of Gordon relaxing on our flight home - he has a thing about the great silver birds of the sky and wonders why they don't flap their wings. I think he's been watching too much of Bill Shatner in the Twilight Zone!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Madness of Annecy

I've been pestered by TV's Curtis Jobling to update our blog with our many adventures at this years Annecy animation festival. I've been holding back on an update because Gordon has all the pictures and he's being a bit of a girl in getting them to me! So you'll have to conjure up beautiful images in your head for now!
The trip was very eventful, the keyword this year seems to be 'serendipity'. We managed to be in the right places at the right times, talk to the right people and make the right impression (mostly). Even my own backwater ways didn't seem to stop us.
It was great to see some old friends again, like Uli, Matt, Jean-Paul and Mark Broecking. We were looked after in style by the ever courteous Chris Williams who happily drove us around the fair town of Annecy. TV's Curtis Jobling was always on hand for a giggle, moral support and bottom burbs.
There is a picture floating around somewhere of myself and Mr Bling sitting in a bar, me holding the fattest cigar I've seen in many a year. If it ever turns up I'll post it here.
Farmageddon got some serious attention which we are following up on, as did a second project in development with the aforementioned Mr Bling. Gordon and I threw some ideas around for a new pre-school show we'd like to develop further, its early days on that one but we are both optomistic. Another contender for development features a character who started life on The Funny Farm but didn't make it into Farmageddon. More on all of this very soon I hope!

Monday, June 04, 2007


I've added a link to Jampix blog, or Jean Paul Vermeullen as he's actually called! I worked with Jean Paul back in the 90's at Uli Meyer Studios in London. Jean Paul is a funny guy and a talented artist, so check out his blog!!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tom facial animation test

We've spoken to Mark Benton about voicing the part of Tom. This test uses a piece of dialogue from Mark in the excellent Early Doors. The animation was done by Ciarán. We've found less mouth shapes seems to give a better result rather than trying to hit every single inflection. We think the voice fits Tom pretty well, what do you think?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rufus takes shape

The 3D model of Rufus is taking form. He's changed a bit along the way, see the artwork below, but he seems to be working well. We're trying out the copper hair as his name means 'red hair'.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tom Walk test 2

A slightly more finished test render.

Here are a couple of still which show the detail a bit better.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tom walk test

This latest test by Matt shows the Tom model in action. We've spent a long time getting the rigging to work, its something that will be ongoing but we are fairly happy with the results so far. We widened Tom's hat a bit too and his shirt will be getting a bit lighter shortly.

Oh, Matt said to look at the footprints in the grass, he was very pleased with that, (and rightly so!)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The outside world - full of green stuff

I managed to get some time away over the weekend and spent a very sunny day at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Right now it has some fantastic work by the very talented Andy Goldsworthy and is very much worth a visit. It made me realise just how rich and textured the British landscape is. I would love to capture some of this essence but without grinding our 3D scenes to a standstill. I think what I'm talking about is those Summer afternoons of endless possibilities, that feeling we had as kids where you were free to explore, sit by a stream, think, explore or just throw stones into a river. Calvin & Hobbes captured this feeling perfectly, as does My Neighbor Totoro. Thats what I'd really like to capture on screen. No small order!
Hope you enjoy the pictures, if you like the outside world take a look at Gretel Parkers blog, it's a magical place which often is full of lovely pictures of the countryside, (don't let the skip full of books convince you otherwise!)

Friday, May 04, 2007

Gordon's Run

I mentioned this a while ago and have just re-discovered it. This was for Gordon's 30th birthday. If you are familiar with Logan's Run you'll understand why! Sorry Gordon, guess I owe you a pint or two!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

T-shirts & Book mockups

***UPDATE*** I've put two T-shirts on Ebay, tell your friends. Here are the links: Ka-boom design, Wump Wump design

Thanks to everyone for sending in their colour choices, its been really interesting. The red shirt seems very popular so far. I'llp ut up some new images soon to see how that might look.

I've just ordered some sample T-shirts for our first range of designs. They are all black & white and use a single comic frame as a front image. This is a mockup of how the final t-shirt will look. Please let me know what you think - and if you want to order one that would be splendid!

I've also got some mockups of a book collection made. This features about half of the 400+ comic strips as they might appear in a published book collection. These will be going out to some publishers shortly to try to generate some interest in doing a book for real.

We are also working on a website and shop front which can feature all of this stuff. In the meantime we are preparing stuff for Annecy and working on our trailer. We'll post more images shortly.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Morph slider test

Chris has been testing out a system for using a set of sliders in the viewport to control the morph targets of the characters. This isn't something we've devised from scratch, there are plenty of examples of it around but Chris is doing a great job of getting it working for our characters. Given that animators and artists are primarily visual people this seems like a much better system than inputting values to control the face morphs. Plus its can easily combine two morphs onto one controller which gives some great results, for example the eyebrows on Tom are seperate objects to the rest of the head (this is so we can make sure they don't cast ugly shadows over his face) but by using the slider control system we can combine their seperate morph animation into the one controller.

Monday, April 02, 2007

More Tom development

Tom continues to evolve. We feel this is getting close but he still needs some subtle tweaks.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Night in the kitchen

We are testing out the interior under different lighting conditions. We posted a test earlier of it in a daytime setting.

... now here is the same scene at night.

We've also done a small test render to see how it might look. (The orginal render was done at full HD size but youtube tends to mush it all up!)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Over the edge!

Gordon came over last week for a catch-up and a story meeting. He loved what we had done with the farmhouse on the hill. Then he said "wouldn't it be cool if it was almost falling off!" Everyone liked the concept so we went to work on a revised version which tiltled the house almost over the edge.

The theory is that the house was built at least 100 years ago when the hill top was probably much bigger and safer. Since then the cliff edge has eroded away making the hilltop much more of a dangerous place to be. Rather than move house Tom and his family have used wooden props to support the Farms receeding base.