Collaboration with Music

Hey Steve,

My name is Alice Geary, I’m a third year animation student looking for some help (my tutor, Dan emailed you recently about help for my FMP). I wanted to send this email to give you some more details on the project and what I am after from one of your Music students.

I want to use the piece of music, to create a character and narrative for a 2D piece of animation. *It will NOT be a dance piece or a music video, but the music will play overhead to drive the character in the chosen narrative / shots. The music will create the narrative and use it to bring my character to life. Essentially the music will determine who the character is. You can make it lively or slow, sad or just play about and experiment.

I need a 40 – 60 second piece of music.

The student will have creative freedom to make a piece of music (which will drive the rest of the animation) – I do want the music to work for animation so needs to be an instrumental piece (have good pacing, using instruments). – but I‚Äôm happy to see what happens – The music can be creative and change throughout the melody (no lyrics just sound ūüôā

So they may be creative and free. I will make a character from the music they have created. And then the animation will begin :)!

Ideally I would need this as soon as possible (in a week or so if possible) we can discuss this too. This is a fun change and have the opportunity to have some animation for their show-reel that their music helped to create!  

Thank you so much for reading this and I would be so grateful for the anyone to help me,

Alice Geary



Collaborating with Victoria

(LO5:) Me and Victoria have worked quite a lot together through our projects. We worked separately but because we live together we collaborated ideas and helped one another to develop little details and etc. For example she would help me brainstorm or help me to solve a problem that was too much of issue for me to solve. We have meetings in the mornings to make sure we have a clear understanding of what we were doing with our days. It helps us to stay focused on those tasks – we also would discuss the work we had made the day before to keep on track. Although we worked separately on our own projects we both helped one another and collaborated minds if anyone of us needed it.



Character Designing

(LO5:) Aside from offering advice, ideas and feedback, we also decided to swap some concept art for one another. It was a nice break from our own work and to get on board each others project creatively.

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My snail designs for Victoria

(LO5:) I created a snail character for Victoria’s animation. I wanted to create a simple character for her because she will be animating multiple creatures and especially in this scene there will be many snails together. I added moss on this particular snail to give him a earth feel and the feeling of dressing up and being apart of the parade.


My sketches for the snail

(LO5:) I first created this very rough sketches and showed them to Victoria for her to pick her favourite for a final piece of concept from (however she is still going to use them all in her work.) She explained which ones were her favourite and why and I try to in cooperate this into the final piece of concept character design.


(LO5:) I created this piece of concept art for Victoria’s At night time¬†animation. Victoria wanted help exploring the colour script of night time. I tried to test myself doing this piece – It was made in 30 minutes as I want to improve the time I take to create concept art. It was fun and more freeing to be loose with the lines and colour. I am happy with the atmosphere that has been created in this piece. I feel that the composition could have been improved but I like the sense of depth created with that snail.

(LO5:) Above is another piece of concept art that I created for Victoria – I created this in 15 minutes; It’s a rough piece to play with a shot that she was working on and trying to work out the action of this scene. It also reminds me of the badger turning back to look at the young girl (who is a part of this story.) I love the sketchy feel of this piece, I used watercolour as Victoria also likes this traditional look.

Victoria’s design for me


Victoria’s Character design (for my project)

(LO5:) I had already created some character designs for the fish but felt they needed another perspective and I know Victoria has a unique style.  I wanted a fish character design with a lot of personality. I asked her to create a design of the brown trout, which is a common fish found in the chalk streams. I was so happy with her work. I explained that I wanted the fish in my animation to be like large slow moving creatures and I feel she captured this well.



Storyboarding for Shadid

Conclusion and thoughts

I was approached by Shadid, with hope to help him create the storyboard for his ‘fight’ animation, ‘Ghosted’. I knew that it was a good opportunity to at least give it ago because I have never attempted a fight scene before. It would be a good experience just to push myself to learn how to tackle an action scene. Now, I wish that I could have more time to perfect the staging and layout more – Shadid had a script which he wanted me to follow the shots listed out. I think if I had more time I would have maybe played around more to present some more of my ideas.

I of course strayed a little bit, and tweaked elements to fit better with the flow of the action. The most challenging part was blocking and working out how the fight would move in the scene. Trying to keep composition and keeping the pace with strong poses. I found working as a storyboard artist for this type of scene difficult because I wanted to give the animators freedom to work on the fight scene – working out the particular moves for the fight. I watched a lot of martial art films and fight scenes to really understand actions and camera angles. Overall I am happy I took on the project – it was a challenge but it has taught me alot. It took longer than I expected because it was a 3 minute animation and the fight had to have more actions to show exactly what was happening.

Final Storyboard sheets

storyboard-4My first two storyboard sheets I created on paper and edited slightly in Photoshop to show contrast within the layout. The light and perspective down the corridor work well, I think as it leads the audiences eyes down the corridor following her path. These shots are more intimate as we focus on points of the characters and scene so there are a lot of close ups and tense dramatic shots to create suspense. storyboard-5

The shots get wider here with more space ready for the action to follow. The characters are transforming and running forward. Infact, maybe more close ups should be included to show details – however it is a fast paced scene of the two throwing force at one another.


I started using Photoshop so I could edit parts of the drawings and move about the composition. Here there is a variety of camera shots Рthe two characters in the close up, are going to be pushing each other out of the frame Рalthough they both are equal weight in the shot, the struggle is their strength matches.


Okay so this storyboard sheet took me a while trying to figure what direction everyone was heading and blocking the fight out on the corridor. I wanted to keep the heroine on the left moving towards the right (as this is how we read the screen.) However this switches when the villain takes control, I then switched it around again when she reaches the lockers and again when she falls and he is above her.

storyboard-8This section was another challenge because of the different perspectives and the fight scene with the long stretchy arms. Also had to introduce another character in a short amount of time.

alice-9These shots were fun to put together but also difficult as I wanted the poses to be strong. The arms were a great tool to pull the eyes towards where in the shot we should be look and that pace – the straight lines especially creating that fast pace action.

storyboard-10Alot of close ups here worked well to reveal the struggles and the thoughts of the character as they are failing to destroy the creature. However both characters are still cool and collected – they are professionals after-all!

storyboard-11The ending had to have both suspense and a great finale to the fight.

Collaborating with Shadid

Originally Shadid and me spoke in class – this is how I got on board to the project. Throughout the weeks I worked on the project we would catch-up in class and at lunch times and review/ discuss any problems I had or any ideas and updates to the project.


Shadid created three documents for me to look at as a storyboard. One was the script and a scrit presentation with gifs of the shots that he wanted for the storyboarding. Another one was character designs and the last a mixture of anime gifs that he liked and the styles of camera work I think he was interested in. He shared this to me on google docs so he could update it live and I could see.


Here is an example of the presentation, with the script, next to it was a gif or reference image that as the director he imaged. I used these alot to create my storyboard – however I also tweaked and played around with different ideas too to find out the best solution. It was useful to have the imagery next to if his script could not completely convey clearly what he wanted.

We also spoke back and forth on Facebook messenger. It is a good way to stay in contact and send over notes or updates about time management and when I would be getting things ready. The storyboard took longer than I expected originally so I had to ask for more time and to push the deadline – Shadid was still modelling and this time so it was okay and it all fell into place. We communicated well on this medium when we could not talk face to face.


After me and Victoria had created the storyboards we put our work on a Google drive folder so we could send over all that we had. We wanted it all in one place and labelled our storyboards individually with out names on the actual sheet, and uploaded the full documents.

hot_02Shadid asked for the images separate to, so we created separate folders inside to place the many single images clearly to the order of the storyboard and labelled like above.

Above you can see on the contents on one of these folders, the pictures all together labelled well so when Shadid downloaded the folder it was in order and clearly labelled. It was important to work clearly so Shadid could easily take the pictures and put them into a timeline.

Thumbnails and sketchbook

After receiving the script I created thumbnails in my sketchbook. I wanted to visualize the story so the first few thumbnails were just a way for me to get an idea of the story and imagine it outside of my brain.

Scan_20170328 (7)Scan_20170328 (6)

After choosing the final thumbnails from my experiments below I created the above chart with every frame so I could cross them off and pace myself. These are just two examples of these pages. There’s probably only me that can understand them – they were only a to do like list.


These page focuses on the first chapter of the script which in the end Victoria took over because I didn’t have enough time to complete. I wanted to capture the emotion of the character when she wakes up in the middle of the night.

combine-2These thumbnails were initial ideas and drawing out the script that Shadid had in mind. I returned to these thumbnails and the following pages when completing the final storyboard.

combine-3Above are lots of small thumbnails to jolt down quickly the action shots. Again just to get an idea of how the story flows currently.

combine-4combine-8Thumbnails really trying to understand the movements that the characters can go through during their fight. And understanding the complicated sequences.

combine-10combine-9Above are two floor plan layout of the corridor. I have mentioned above that one of my difficulties was working out the staging of the character and where they will be placed in the scene. One way was to jolt this down and try and imagine the most effective route.

combine-11Lots of drawings of wheelchair to get used to drawing them an working out how it moves where the person sits and where the knife can sit on her wheelchair.

combine-12Refining thumbnail sketches and figuring out composition more.

combine-13Some of the following pages contain final stills from my storyboard. These are the refined rough drawings. I was playing with water to the ink to give contrast to the shots.

combine-14On the left is the problem I faced was fitting the wheelchair and the demon in one shot but keeping the same composition. The wheelchair should stay on one side throughout so the shots were not confusing. I was just experimenting until I found a solution.

combine-15More experimental shots of the demons smile. Trying to capture the evil look of the demon.

combine-16combine-17Lots of action thumbnails – I wanted to capture strong action poses and expressions of the characters.

combine-18Rough experimental thumbnails working out shots and ideas.

Scan_20170328 (2)Some more sketches of the wheelchair and playing around with shots.

Scan_20170328I made some drawings of the lead characters from the character designs Shadid gave to me. I wanted to get used to drawing their features and characters. I also created some layouts of the bedroom and van after reading in the script to get a better understanding of how to block the scene.


Part of my research for the storyboard was watching martial art films. I wanted to get an understanding of the movements and the camera angles used for their filming. Above I drew out small scenes from several films and understanding how these complex movements are show. It also let me explore how I could draw out gestures for the storyboard. I learned alot from this exercise.


As well as understanding the camera movements I had to create several fight scenes which need to be interesting and powerful. I watched these martial arts films and drew the gesture poses of the actors to understand their flow-lines and some poses I might incooperate into my storyboard. It let me think about the movements I want for my own fight scene too – they need to be interesting and powerful.


The protagonist is meant to have won trophys in the Japanese sport Kendo. I decided tor esearch a little into this sport and understand the strikes and movements of this art. I wanted to make sure the character still held onto this and used it in her defense, especially how she would hold the sword with two hands. My storyboard tries to capture the upright and strong poses of this sport.

I feel its important that we capture her character РKendo was apart of her life before she lost her legs and I think this would still be apart of her and the incredible way she fights these ghost demons. Above is a video I watched on kendo Рits informative and was interesting to research. The poses and the speed of the moves at time its slow and then quick. It was important to understand this to know how to approach her fight mode.


I watched so many martial art films and fight scenes that I made my own playlist on Youtube where I could refer back to them. It’s a great took to keep all the videos together – I don’t think I can share all the videos but I looked at a lot of martial art films because of the clever cheorography and camera angles (and Shadid I think liked the Anime style).

Related image

Ip Man (2008)

I watched Ip Man a really good martial arts films – what I liked about it is the pace and the clever movements of the protagonist who fights incredibly fast and cool. I think it was incredible to watch and I watched it really studying how the camera and staging worked so it improved my knowledge for the story boarding.


Chocolate (2008)

When I got stuck on particular movements I referred to the videos and helped me with the poses of the character. Above is like a shot I was creating – I just couldn’t imagine how I could make it work and this helped me. Also,¬†Jeeja Yanin the female martial artist (above) was incredible to watch her fighting the men and her strength. A great reference!

Scan_20170328 (12)These are some sketched I made while watching some high school films. I wanted to better understand the corridor and filmic language. Just a quick study to improve my own storyboard.

Scan_20170328 (10)This was list of all the different elements I had in my part of the storyboard. I was ticking them off as I finished them.


I was struggling with how a sword and claws could fight one another. This scene from The Wolverine features the X-men Logan is in Japan, he is fighting a samurai sword. I watched this to understand how the two could fight and interact Рhow each weapon acted to the other.

When creating my storyboard for Shadid I wanted to research into fight movements and camera angles already out there to understand how a fast paced scene takes place. Buffy The Vampire slayer was a good reference as it focuses on a teenager/young female (like in Shadid’s story). She fights otherworldly creatures therefore it is good reference to see how she fights and how she acts.

I decided to look at¬†The Incredibles¬†for reference, since the villain in Shadid’s story can stretch it’s limbs like Mrs. Incredible. This particular scene is fast paced action and climax of the film. It was a goof reference to see how the limbs were in-cooperated into the film scene.

I like the perspective in this video. As Elastigirl / Mrs Incredible gets trapped in each door she must continue to travel forward in order to escape. In particular I like the perspective and the layout of the shots. A good study for me to see how I can use such poses / camera work to be as effective as possible.

This scene from the Quest for Camelot features the protagonist running away from large monstrous creatures. I think I decided to look at this to see how the male character fights them off with his staff and how this scene plays out.

Ed’s Film colloboration

 Conclusion and summary of project

I collaborated with a film student at Ravensbourne on his Final major project. I was asked to create some concept art from the script that he had written. The piece is a crime detective series with several strange murders. This the first time I have worked on a TV series / live action concept art an a first for creating the murder scenes. I was very intrigued by his concept (the murders being scenes from the Wizard of Oz) and felt like it was a great opportunity to try making concept art.


Final Concept art 1

Above is one of the final concepts for Ed. Ed was happy to have a mixture of styles and looks. I decided for this shot I wanted a very dark and eerie feel. I wanted to work with Biro for this two shot look at the witch melting scene. This man has been tied to a chair and will be melted with hydrochloric acid when someone opens the door. So I have a shot of the detectives opening the door and a view of the man melted in the chair. This is actually one of my favourite pieces because of the drama and the darkness of the short.

Scan_20170328 (13)Above are some very rough thumbnails I quickly made to explore different angles and looks for this concept art.

I created these drawings to explore the layout of the room and how the trap would be set. As well as figuring out how the victim would look and react, what part of the shot was I going to do, before it has happened, as it is happening or after the murder?

Scan_20170328 (16)Testing different looks and feels for the concept.


Final concept art 2

Above is the final concept art (2) that I created for the murder scenes. This scene was based of the Tin Man from Wizard of OZ – the victim being a human statue performer. I am wanted to to create a digital piece to explore this and improve my skills. I had a lot of problems trying to work out the staging of this scene. But in the end I am happy with the placement because it shows the location well. I like the traditional feel to. However if I could have had more time (and learning from my research) I could have placed the man and tried to draw the viewers eye to him more – even though I like he bends in with the embankment dolphins and become apart of the landscape.


This was a colour study and composition attempt – that I wasn’t happy with. I just wanted to explore the staging. However looking back I think it was a good attempt and very interesting to see the green of the Thames and the colours seem to work well together.

embankment study

I love the iconic lampposts of the Embankment in London. The dolphin shaped lampposts have such personality that I felt that I needed to include it in my concept. I decided to create the page above as experimenting and studying the shape – and exploring how I could create this piece of concept.


I created this rough watercolour – I wanted to explore using watercolour to create a concept, I wasn’t happy enough to use it as the final piece but it has a charm about it. I like the sad and groggy atmosphere conveyed by the cloudy London day and I hope I can include this in the final part.


Working out how I could digitally create the look of the statue. Above I looked at making the face with a blocky pieces of colour and shade. And also spreading particles / splashes of colour in order to get the effect the metal had been thrown at him. 4

The above sketches were unsuccessful in my eyes, I don’t like the look of either – I look at that the human statues from below to try and create a statue that had the folds and colours of the actual human statue performers but for me it didn’t work.


I collected reference images of human statues. This concept piece focuses on a human statue being covered in hot metal and becoming an actual human statue. I wanted to look at the appearance of these performers and understand the poses and the locations.


As well as looking at the human statues I have gathered these images of the location where this murder is set so I can in-cooperate that into my design. I wanted to get an idea of the staging and blocking (to give me more ideas) – plus a good look at the details like the lampposts iconic of the Embankment at London.

Scan_20170328 (15) Thumbnailing ideas and camera angles for the tin man scene.


Final Concept art 3

I found this shot to be the hardest for me. I created so many different versions which I hated all so much. I decided to then do a speed paint. Giving myself a certain amount of time to finish the entire picture. This murder scene is based on the wicked witch of the west being crushed by Dorothy’s house – in this case a palette of bricks has been dropped on a women. I didn’t want to make a gory scene – so this I hope captures more a sad and dramatic tone. I wanted to use colour to create a mood too. Although I’m not completely happy with it, I feel it expresses the scene well and this is what Ed was after.

I created several different versions of this scene. I wanted to really explore different styles and shots to capture this scene. I found it difficult at first because the scene was enclosed in such a small area. I used both traditional and digital mediums to explore and experiment with colour and look.


Above is a study I made of a blood covered brick – I wanted to see how I could use a digital medium to produce the concept. This test was to play around with the colours in the brick and how the red blood would balance. I am happy with this test.

These were more versions that I created that look more like thumbnails. I was exploring how to set the scene – I was going to include the characters but later decided the concept’s purpose is really to show the murder scene. You can just see me exploring and experimenting with ideas.

Scan_20170328 (14)Very rought thumbnailing to explore ideas in my sketchbook.


I was struggling to begin with imagining how to composition this shot because it was a small tent – so I felt like there was no room to explore the scene. I decided to use Maya to create a 3D version of the murder and move the camera around to explore how the scene could be captured.

17I created the tent around the body too to get a sense of the size and space I had to play around with. I added some of the characters as described in the script (because originally I was going to place the characters in the shot.)

Above you can see the array of shots that I created to understand the murder scene – it also let me explore the filmic language, what I wanted to say with the piece. What particular details did I want to show. This exercise was a great way for me to explore different shots and not be restricted by my brain. constructionThis scene is set on a construction site – I decided to gather some reference of a construction sites (especially in cities). I wanted to understand what the environment would be like in this setting, what the floor would look like and the texture. And the equipment that these construction sites have laying about. This way the shot will feel more authentic.


This piece of concept art is set inside a police tent. I think light is very important as it can set a mood to the piece. I created the moodboard above to collect images of lighting inside of a tent. To get a sense of the mood and how light works. I really like the light spread over the tent in dots and the shadows in the different areas. It’s actually very beautiful – I would like to explore similar lights in my final concept too.

Colour Mood boards

(L01): After creating some small sketches and tests for this project I decided that I needed a better understanding of what colours I needed to really tie the image together. And to understand the importance of the role colours can have in a piece of concept art. They can represent so much and point out important elements of the art.brown(L01): ¬†I created this ‘brown’ mood board because my first murder scene is set on a construction site. The scene is dirty and cold. I imagine a cloudy and ‘lifeless’ day and a dark earthy ground. The little tints of reds and yellows are a nice touch to this scene. The mood board will let me understand what colours work together and to create an atmosphere.

blue-and-re(L01): I decided to make a second mood board (for the same piece) to explore, instead, the blue and red tones of the scene. The murder tent is blue and white Рits a gentle colour palette that represents the sadness of the murder and the eerie atmosphere of death. The red is also important to the scene. The red will be the puddle of blood (and should be the focus point in the murder scene). The hints of bright red contrast to the blue. I want the scene to feel mysterious and strange, especially since this is the first murder of the series. I feel this colour palette has a thriller, crime feel to it Рthe dark shadows make it feel dark.