Shaun the Sheep comes to Falmouth, and luckily for us he brought Aardman's Head of Features Animation, Loyd Price, with him.

It was an otherwise ordinary Tuesday. Lectures started as usual at 9 a.m. and the still-slightly-sleepy students stepped off buses, climbed the steps to the campus and settled into the day's work. Unbeknownst to them, at a little past elevenses, a very small sheep (around 5 inches tall) was disembarking the train from Bristol with several of his friends, who were also making their way up the hill to the Penryn Campus.

Very luckily for us, one of the friends that Shaun bought with him was Loyd Price, Head of Features Animation at Aardman... and Loyd knows a thing or two about animation.

While Shaun relaxed in the staff room Loyd was shown around the animation facilities, and after a spot of lunch he talked to a packed audience of animation, visual effects and film students about his work with Shaun on on his recent movie, the aptly named
The Shaun the Sheep Movie. Loyd talked at length about all stages of the production process, from storyboarding, through the design and construction of the puppets and extensive sets, to the post production process and some of the CGI techniques that seamlessly interweave with the stop-motion footage.

Following the talk there was a Q&A session and then students took the opportunity to say hello and to take selfies with Shaun, Blitzer and the Farmer. Later, Loyd spend some time with our third year animation students in the studio, looking at and discussing their nearly completed graduation films.

We'd like to say a huge thank you to Sean for bringing Loyd to see us - his talk was absolutely fantastic and hugely valuable to our students.  It was also good to meet Shaun and the others. We would love to see you all again sometime soon.


3rd Year Film: Alphabet Patch

Alphabet Patch is a pre-school children's television series and is the creative achievement of undergraduate student Leonie Isaacs and her team of animation & VFX students. For her third year film Leonie is directing and producing a pilot episode for the series.

The show follows the adventures of Paddy the garden gnome and his animal friends who learn a different letter of the alphabet each week as they explore and have adventures in their home on the allotment. In this first episode the friends learn how to work together in order to acquire a rather juicy looking apple that hangs just out of reach in a tree.

Fellow third year student Sophie Rippington is assisting Leonie at the helm of the project, working alongside a team of  dedicated animation students. The film is being created in a cut-out style, using Cel Action, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects.

We look forward to following Leonie's career after graduation, and hope to see more episodes of Alphabet Patch on our television screens very soon.

You can read more about Alphabet Patch and see more of Leonie's work on her website and blog.

MfA Student Film: The Heaver

The Heaver is the final project of MFA student Adam Taylor. Adam completed an MA in Illustration at Falmouth in 2014 and went on to join the University's MFA course, specialising in stop-motion Animation. The Heaver is produced by second year animation student Cecilia Hay.

The film is a cautionary tale involving bearded lumberjacks, trees, and... the Heaver. The happy tree-chopping hero, Lumberjack Jack, soon realises that there are some trees that should just be left well alone; he chops the one tree no lumberjack is meant to mess with.

Adam has animated the film using stop-motion puppets and sets, shooting in front of a blue-screen (there are too many trees on set to use a green-screen) in the University's stop-motion studio. The blue-screen is then replaced with mountains, trees and sky in post-production.  Lip-sync, eyes and the rest of the facial expressions are added by a team of second and third year student animators using 2D animation software Toon Boom; this is why the chap below currently has no mouth or eyes. If you want to find out what happened to his beard and why he has no pants (or trousers for us Brits) you will have to watch the film.  

Adam and his cheerful check shirts will be sorely missed when he graduates. The staff on the course have hugely enjoyed teaching and working with him, and his presence here has enriched the experiences of the undergraduate students on the degree course. We look forward to following his career and hope that one day he will return to Falmouth to talk to our future students about what is sure to be a successful career in animation.

... this last image does not look like Adam at all... not one tiny little bit.

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