Tadpole eggs


Reverse throw


(LO1:) You can see the arc that I have captured in this scene which is an animation principle, the arc is used to create a better flow and direction, and creates a more natural and realistic action. In this case it captures the throw and the impact of hitting a hard object. I feel like this scene is nice because we follow the arcs around the scene, our eyes directed towards the eel in the this movement.

(LO2) For this reverse shot, I had a flower thrown to the camera and the character falls backwards when her foot fall into the flooded lily pad. It was a difficult shot as it played on perspective, a fall, and multiple actions. I tried to get as much reference as possible above are two different pieces that helped me to create the final shot. I am throwing the umbrella as I fall back and also a shot with m foot falling down. I had a lack of space in where I could capture but this footage really helped me. I used the grids to make sure that I am working in perspective.

(LO1:) I really like this footage from Snowwhite, in where the character is in a strange and scary place. This reminds me of the middle section of my animation. Snow white is horrified and the different perspectives remind me of the work I want to create. It’s truly horroofying to watch, partly due to snowwhites reaction. She also falls in the middle part of this animation – so I wanted to understand the animation principle ‘weight’.

Head shot

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

(LO1:) Luna Lovegood is one of my case studies on character. In this scene she has just returned from being help captive by Voldemort, she is more sad but still stays in character appreciating the shells while in deep thought. Her expression and her movements till remain soft.

(LO1:) This scene from Sense and Sensibility (1995) has a nice use of the head shot to express the character’s overwhelming emotions as she sees the house where she would have lived with her first love. It’s emotional and sad – and this close up it still yet expresses so much to the character. I think that there doesn’t need to be a lot of action to get across the emotion and inner turmoil of a character.

(LO1:) I could not get a good video of this shot, but this scene from the film Shallows (2016) is so expressive. The character has witness a shark attack and is shocked. The head shot is used to see her reaction and capture that moment of disbelief and horror.

(LO1:) I want this first shot to feel intimate and squished in. The character will be reacting to being shrunk, as the audience we do not know what is happening and why she is acting this way. This shot from It happened one night (1934) pushes these two character closely together in one shot, it feels tight because they are so close and they have been cut. I like how soft this scene is too, scene is alive through the eyes.

Image result for tess of d'urbervilles runs into alec again(LO1:) Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Tom Hardy (BBC series 2008), has a lot of great reference for a girl feeling frightened. Great performances by Gemma Arterton as Tess – the book revolves around the consequences and especially those of a women. In the start of the book Tess is raped by a respectable man and the impact on her life from this one event. In the image above she is taking in and reacting to the event. It’s a great reference acting wise, as my character is meant to be reacting to being turned small. I also like this camera angle, she is directly in the middle, negative space points our eyes directly to her and her emotions that flood the scene.

(LO1:) In this scene she has run into the attacker again. The look of distress and defensiveness is within her as she prepares herself. I like the hair turn as well as we are drawn to her. This is not a close up but her reaction is what interest me. Her fear and strength both shine.

(LO1:) Another scene from this series in which Tess looks sad and drained of life – the gentle and slow reactions; She is accepting of the events.  She looks cramped into the scene as she has been cut off. In a way this reflects her sadness, she is placed in a difficult place in the plot and on screen. It’s an intimate moment that is captured best with the head shot.

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(LO1:) Lastly this shot from Spirited Away (2001) the character’s reaction to the dragons scales disappearing is shock and an honest reaction. I like how she is covered it shows the amount of scales that are falling away. I also like the wide shot straight after – I am doing a similar idea to show the actual scale (excuse the pun) of the scene!

Leaf Shot

(LO1 / LO2:) One of the shots from my animation, the character holds a leaf to cover herself while she is thinking of a way to escape and to protect herself against the eel. I filmed reference of a real leaf being let go (like in my scene) to watch and observe how the leaf bounces back – research into how I could animate that leaf. These videos were very helpful in figuring out how I could place the water plant in the scene too.

Framing the eels shots


(LO1/2:) I wanted to experiment with this shot. In my storyboard this shot is flat on and so I wanted to see how a canted camera angle could increase the tension and unbalance the shot in the moments of panic and danger my character feels in this scene. I also played with the amount of ground vs sky to see what has the most impact. From my research I’ve realised that camera angles can make the audience feel a certain way (aside from the character performance / plot) – unconsciously we react to a canted angle, it pushes us off balance. Or having the eel dominate a scene will make it look large and scary whereas the girl look small and vulnerable. These photographs were a way for me to experiment and visualize it further than drawings and thumbnails.

(LO1:)In this scene from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Bilbo must try to receive the precious stone from a domain where the large and villainous dragon Smaug resides. I remember watching this scene and realising there is only one scene where the dragon is completely in frame, he is so large that throughout most of this we see his face of wide shots where he is cut off. To fit both the small hobbit and the dragon we have to slice the dragon off frame however it gives this illusion of size and power still.

(LO1:) Another great scene where a villain is large and the victim small is this scene from Moana (2017), where we meet the crab villain. This gives me an idea of how I can frame them together and to make the larger creature intimidating.

Eel study – A large part of the middle section for my animation is dedicated to the eel. I researched in the European Eel, the species found in English Chalk streams. They start their lives as small see through eels known as ‘glass eels’ they travel through the ocean into our waters. I wanted to focus on the eel because it’s a creature that doesn’t get enough attention – its beautiful fish that I have only appreciated after my research and study.

(LO1:) This is footage of a European Eel in UK waters. This video was great reference because it had a variety of camera angles and captured the movement of the eel well. It showed the eel in it’s natural habitat. This has helped me when animating to think about how they swim.

(LO1:) This is another video that captures the eel in this one the eel is feeding so remains still and it’s nice to see how it stay a float and also how he swims away. The eel looks very majestic and mysterious. I also really like the colours of this shot. The eel swims like ribbon, graceful and fluid.

(LO1:) This video of the Anguilla Anguilla (Latin name for the European Eel) in a tank is good reference because it shows a playful eel that moves and twists it body all over. It’s lively and captures little details of the eel’s nature. They move in a unique way to move underwater with their snake like bodies.

(LO1:) This reference video is not of the European Eel but another breed. However it’ts great reference because they move is a similar way. This large crowd of eels all move and swivel around each other creating interesting and spectacular movements. I also like the amount of close ups of the face front on- I have a scene for my animation that uses a close up and this is good reference for when I need this.

Close up hand and feet


(LO2:) I created this very quick test to show how I will animate the water flooding the Lily pad. I was worried that it would be difficult because it’s a water effect but from my previous concept art I figured just using this darker colour of green creates the illusion of water flooding – it’s quickly animated to show the speed of the water flood. I will use this to base my final animation water test.

(LO1:) I filmed my own feet with the same boots of my character. I used a wonky patio tile to try and capture the girl falling back after slipping on the edge of the lily pad. It took me a few tries to capture the right movement. The character in this scene is slowly moving away ‘from the eel’. I will use this reference a general idea of where the feet should be positioned – I’ll edit and give it more personality with inbetweens and exaggeration.

(LO1:) Hitchcock is well known for his focus on the hands. His characters often have close ups to the hands, which reveal intimate details about the scene. There is a lot of personality and character. We can get a sense of who these two characters are. The hands can reveal just as much expression as the face.

Research and Development – Swimming

(LO2:) For my research and development project this term I decided that I wanted to create a swimming scene in my animation. I have never attempted a swimming scene before and I thought that it would be a challenge for me. I feel that I need to improve my locomotive animation skills – as I have mostly worked on character expressions and less active motions in previous work that I have done. If I am going to work in the entertainment sector for animation, I need to improve my locomotive skills. I think it will be challenging because it’s underwater, a full body shot and will be tough to film reference for, so my research is crucial for this mini project.



I made this quick pose to pose sheet of the character’s journey collecting up the tadpole egg and swimming away. I thought about a different swim move than the final action, she would roll forward and swim to the side. It was a quick way for me to experiment and too think about the key frames of a shot before committing.


This was a very rough drawing that I made that I decided to put on here just to show the way that I work when I have need to figure out complex movements. This scene the arm falls down, I wanted to consider how the key frames and spacing- thinking about how I can break and bend the arm so the animation still looks fluid.


Above is the final layout of this shot that I planned out before committing to the final animation. I am also experimenting with the pose and how the girl falls through the eggs falling I want her to be lively and own the scene. She has just entered into this bright and new underwater world.


After creating the gesture poses I experimented with the pose of my character and how she will move under the water. Will she be playful and turn around a lot or be more practical and simply move to where she needs to go. I  also wanted to get use to thinking about underwater posing and how different it is to being on land. Her legs and hair can rise and go in all sort of directions.


I created these sketches from to explore the particular actions that my character will make when trying to grab the tadpole egg that wonders off. I want her to be precise – she is an intelligent character and kind so she carefully will grab it. I like these sketches on the right the pose is strong. I have made a small timing chart on the left bottom of the above page, where I am beginning to plan out each stage and the different effects I will need to add aside from the character such as water, lighting, bubbles, tadpoles,  and the egg,

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21Above is a pose sheet that I created from watching lots of videos online on swimming. I wanted to understand the shapes that the human body makes when it is swimming and gliding it’s way through the water. I need to have a strong pose to carry out my action.


Here is another gesture pose sheet I created. I feel like I have been able to capture the feeling of a character swimming in these sketches. A lot of these poses are very fluid looking, as the body must become stream line to excel forward. The movements are slower and more controlled than out of water.


I’ve posted thee drawings full size below but here you can see the vast many poses that I experimented with and practiced to learn more about the human body when it swims. I spent a day working out the movements to accompany these poses and the science behind swimming.

22aAbove is another gesture pose sheet I created from watching underwater swimming videos. I really want to understand how the body moves so when I come to animating I can have a better understanding. Also exploring different perspectives and movements. Each of these people were heading in different directions and trying to achieve different movements – turning around, falling in to the water, touching the bottom or simply swimming, its important that I understand how people move underneath the water.


Some of these poses didn’t work out and I think the problem was the perspective of the legs and kicking away from the camera. I tried to draw people from below and in different perspectives to see how effective this could be to translate into a drawing or animation.

19Another few pages from my sketchbook looking at the poses of swimmers underwater. I The arms are much more important underwater for giving the swimmer force to move forward. Every limb is used when swimming – which I guess will mean a big challenge for me.

After identifying lots of videos of women swimming I wanted to break some of these videos and understand how the body moves underwater. This collection of stills show the rotation of the arms to force her to stay under the water and turn to the camera. I like the arc of the movement and how lively it was. This was completely for research reasons to investigate how the arm moves in the water to create that force. The arms play a large part in determining the direction and movement that needs underwater. They keep the body afloat while the legs create the force behind the action. A lot of kicks and sways with the legs mostly.

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Animator’s Survival Kit, Richard Williams

In water, the body uses almost every muscle to excel forward and ‘swim’. In this swimming sequence my character will be moving alot and her arms will be as important as her legs underwater in helping her move forward or turning and etc. I was worried about this large amount of movement and keeping the arms fluid and correct. I researched into the Animator’s survival kit (Richard Williams) to explore this challenge. Above is a page for this book that I scanned in, it explains how to break / bend the arm and keep the movements fluid (while avoiding the rubbery arm style animation). And how to break down arm movements – including the overlap of the hands, keeping it interesting.

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Animation Survival Kit, Richard Williams

This page from the same book, made me start to consider where the action derives from. Which part of the body drives the rest of the movement. In the example above, there are arrows to where he movement occurs, the body leans forward preparing action. I would like to consider what part of my character leads in the swimming – underwater it could be any limb therefore I should think about the movements thoroughly.

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Animator’s Survival Kit, Richard Williams

The elbow leads in these first set of examples, and the rest of the arm follows. This will determine the entire movement and overlaps. Broken limbs are used to continue the flow of movement to the arm and big movements to create that exaggeration that is so wonderful in animation. Researching through these pages and more from Animator’s Survival Kit is so helpful when I get confused it’s clear and helps me to break away from the shot I’m working on – I’m attempting locomotive moments so I need to consider body actions and putting character into the actions.

Unfortunately, I was able to film myself to gather reference underwater because I don’t have the facilities or tools. However, I researched on YouTube to find research on the swimming movements I require and stumbled across this reference video an animator had recorded of  similar looking shot as mine. It was create reference because there is so much emotion and movement in the shot. One part of y swimming scene I got tuck on was the turn of the body to swim forward, and I used this reference to help me.

The Song of the Sea (2014) is an animated film that features around the folklore of Ireland. Above are three GIFs that I could find from this film, they feature characters swimming under water. In the first gif we see the brother and sister swimming in different patterns. The boy uses both of his hands and legs whereas the girl swims similar to the deals , treamline  and confident. I also really like the perspective of this shot, swimming towards the camera offscreen. You get the sense of depth and movement. The bottom GIF also has this similar sense of depth as the characters swim round toward the camera. This swim has little movement (limb wise) the characters appear to flow around. The second gif (with the boy falling) is very flat on and long

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Ponyo (Source)

(LO1:) Underwater we move completely differently than on land. We move slower because water is denser than air molecules. It is a liquid and so the water molecules are closer packed together compared to air –  therefore when an object passes through water, it passes through the close water molecules and there is more drag and friction, leading to that object moving slower. (Source) Above is a gif from the Ghibli film Ponyo (2008), in this shot we can see how slow Sosuke is travelling pushing the boat. The water is more dense and so he trends softer but slower with less impact.

What I really like about this pencil rough animation from The Little Mermaid (1989) is the personality and character that Glen Keane can capture in such a short amount of time and with the action of swimming. The expression and shoulders driving the emotions into the performance. I also how she swims past the camera and her face looking up to the surface where she want to be apart of. Her character completely drives this scene – I’m worried that I will not be able to do this with alot of locomotive and action, so I would like to look at this video to give me inspiration to always keep in mind the character and how she expresses things and why?

These pose to pose drawings of this animation really shows the exaggeration and movement of the character. She may not be performing the act of swimming like a human but her movements sell the character and this sheet shows us all the key-poses well. I think laying out the shot like this is helpful and clear seeing it on one page of the arc and slow.

Another rough animation test from The Little Mermaid. I love the arcs and flow of this simple shot. The overlap of the hair that continues to move forward in the water, and her capturing it is so perfect in animation underwater.


(LO1:) I’ve collected alot of different swimming research as seen above each brings something different and I have seen some helpful observations from. I created a playlist on Youtube to keep them all together.

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Atlantis (Source)

My character’s hair will help to create the illusion that she is underwater. I want to consider being playful and creative with the look of it. Although in this concept art from Song of the sea, this character is actually underwater I love how her hair rises above her head with these pencil details and swirls. It looks impressive and stunning.

I love how the hair can have so much movement and life to it underwater. The motions and shapes follow the actions of the body. The shot above from the Little Mermaid (1989) shows how her hair falls in this large mass before slowly falling back into place. I hope to capture as much life and body in the hair of my character.

(LO1:) Although this is just a piece of concept art from The Little Mermaid (1989) pre-production. I like the flow of the hair in this image, it suggests movement under the water. And it makes the shot more interesting to look at. It looks fluid and curves with the water.


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After creating my rough storyboard which pinpointed the main points of my story the next step that I took was exploring different and interesting shots. I thumb nailed different variations for each shot to think about what worked the best and added to the story. From my research I learnt that camera angles and composition are an important part in the storytelling…

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Using plants to create depth



Understanding my character


(LO1 /LO2:) I created a few of these mood-boards when creating my character (post below) this is my final one – I collected these images of people that captured an expression or existing character to take inspiration from for my own character (based on the music.) This mood board is the final imagery and shows some of the places where my character derives from. I want her to be mature but childish, she is 14-15 years old so still growing and learning, she has this innocence and naivety – childhood stubbornest too. Yet she is mature as she steps away from childhood. I want this character to be gentle and kind – I’ve never before made a very gentle and sweet character. She will however still have strength even if it is a softer kind she will stand up for herself and be protective. I want to explore all of this and let it drive my animation choices / story.

(LO1/ LO2:) The character’s that remind me of her softness is Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) she is sure of herself, pure and kind, Sybil (Downtown Abbey) her sweet nature (but she can still stand up with passion), Jane Bennet (softness) and even Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice) mature and intelligent, Rose (Titanic) mature and childish together, with strength. And there are some photographs that captures expressions I would like my character to possess as well.

(LO5:) My character was originally going to be a bit older in her early twenties however feedback from Dan made me reflect on this agree that this was a lot older than the music. The music is mysterious and magical. He felt that the character should be a child – (LO2:) however having researched into the music the character I felt she was more complex and mature so I decided a good age was 14-15 years. A character that is progressing from a child to an adult and is still naive and learning and discovering the world. She is finding who she is from a child emotions to maturity. I think that this age group is better and explains the changing of the music and range of different characteristics she is developing her self. (LO1:) Above is a song by Judy Garland that explains this in-between age. Of course age is just a number though and her character is a large part of how she acts – but age is the reason behind some of her qualities too.