Archive for February, 2013


If my character is a sound device , I could have her in a sound proof room so that as well as hidden from sight, she could also be hidden so nobody can hear her too. I like some of these shapes I could use as a type of sound proofing. Could double up as a padded room, like a mental institution or hospital. That would be in keeping with the concept of experimentation too, a sort of merge of the two, sound proof padded room.


padded cell

I also want a one way mirror, some where that she is being observed though. Either one mirror or several little ones all around the room.


The scientists will need to have some way of recording the results, so I have been looking at old micro phones from the 1930-40, not sure yet if I want them around the room or closer to the subject.


For the animation of my character I wish to motion capture it. The animation will be taken from a dancer so they need to be able to move freely. I did consider using the exoskeleton motion capture suit here but it does not allow the performer great flexibility and a very accurate recording.

So I’m going to give IPI Soft a go. It is marker less and can be done with web cameras or Kinnect cameras.

I intend to have a play with this software before doing the real thing, as I will need to learn a few things. There is a human IK preset rig in Maya that I can practice with and some pre-captured data on the website I can use. The website seems really helpful.

Mocap Test

I did a mocap test with Annabeth, showing me how to use it , what the result would be and is it cost effective in terms of time. Do I use Mocap or keyframe.  The results I got were good, its fascinating stuff, a definate interest of mine. I could see the results developing quickly.

We used one camera and got Andy to jump around a bit so we had some footage to play with. But before that we captured the background plate to tell the software that that isn’t the area of interest. Then recorded Andy in t-pose for a couple of seconds which is needed later on and did about 6 seconds of movements and saved the scene. Once we had that data, we sent it into IPI studio and imported the scene we had just recored.

The t-pose is important, it is used to align the skin in IPI studio, with the depth map data recored. The straighter and a more accurate the actor can create a t-pose the better and quicker the skin will retarget the data. You can then track forward in your area of interest creating the keyframes onto the skin that contains a skeleton. Using a free rigged model from the internet we tested it out.

It was quite jumpy, but we added jitter removal and it was a lot smoother

It worked quite well, but the one thing i really took from this was the naming convetions. In order to apply the right data to the right bones you need to name your bone clear and relevent. The model we imported had quite bad naming conventions so we weren’t able to correctly match them up. But we made do as it was a test. Once that was done we tested it in Maya exporting it as an FBX from IPI and importing that to Maya.

I was expecting it to be quite buggy and glitchy but it worked fine and I was quite excited about the result.

The only thing was the tracking time, when it is calculating the data onto the IPI skin. It was going to take a long time, but i still think that mocap is the best option for me. key frame rotomation will possibly take me longer and i wont get as good effect, im not a great keyframe animator and i really want to explore Mocap more.

In 2004 Marc Quinn exhibited a suite of sculptures, portraits of amputees and disabled people.

Marc Quinn stated:

“I’ve made sculptures of disabled people before,” Marc Quinn told us, “It seems to me that they’re some of the most unrepresented people in the history of art.”


Personally when I look at these sculptures they remind me of statues like the Venus de Milo and find the same beauty in Quinns sculptures.


In 2005 Quinn  unveiled a sculpture of Alison Lapper on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar square. Alison Lapper was born without arms and shortened legs and at the time was seen as very controversial. Quinn says that he got his inspiration for the piece from there being ‘no positive representation of disability in the history of public art’

“The sculpture makes the ultimate statement about disability – that it can be as beautiful and valid a form of being as any other.”


Had a little chat with my tutor last week about who I’ve been approaching my project. I had an idea an went with it and if I’m honest I was struggling with the design, mainly because my concept was week and needed padding out and refining. Mainly evident in the fact i couldn’t articulate what my project to my tutor. I was struggling in defining it myself and I was beginning to get frustrated with it! But now I have a whole new angle!

I now have a time period and a back story that works and is based around something factual, so I have plenty to pull from and influence her design.

I needed to find out where and when has there been human experiments? what movies?

The Nazi human experiments was mentioned to me and I have found a few artists who have used the disabled as art inspiration. I’ll will blog more in depth about what I have found and will be taking influence.

I need to constantly be aware I think of the sensitive nature of some of the things i will be looking into and how myself as an artist will be portraying them.

So down come the old moodboards and up go some new ones.

Strike a Pose

When you create a character, you have an image in your head of what they look like. One image for me was this arch, created by her podium and body. So i think i would really like this as the first shot.

Scan 020pose

I’m sure I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of the surrealist H.R Gigers. He has a very signature style in his painting. But what i am looking for from Giger in my project it the strange factor. He does a lot of pieces around the female form. Biomechanoid is the word used to describe them, although some pieces are very erotic I really like the bizarreness. They mix between mechanical and biological is a concept I really enjoy doing. For my piece I dont want to go too mechanical, I still what a human character but have mechanical augmentations.

hr_giger_biomechanoid_II url-1 url


(Feb 4th 2013)

I am following All Animated on Facebook and a post from Distance Future animation studio had posted about some voluntary learning placements. Having attend their talk in 2012 and being feasible for me to actually financially be able to attend, I have applied for a spot. I have sent an E-mail, with a cover letter and links to my work. Hopefully I will be in with a chance and gain some valuable experience. Fingers crossed.

(Feb 6th 2013)

Got a really nice reply from Distant Future. Although I am not able to go for the work placement currently, Bill was more than happy for me to pop down to the studio for a couple hours and have a chat with them about my work and listen to any advice they give me. Looking forward to it!

As part of the PPP brief, we are required to enter a competition of some sort. I took a look at the D an AD competitions and considered the 4seven indent. I was concerned about time and this was quite a intense brief, it required a lot of research and time to reach something of the standard of channel 4. Then the Creative Networks competition opened and seemed a lot more feasible and I already know quite a bit about what it is they do, having attended a few evenings. This seems a lot more doable, it has a good time frame and could be done well without doing anything too flashy. So Andy and I have teamed up to come up with an sting for Creative Networks podcasts and general digital publication.

It is the first time I really have collaborated with anyone, an not taken on everything myself. So straight away we thought 3D, being 3D lovers. We took a look at the Guardian sting they had used as an example in the brief, and a few other channels that have a similar style to that.

Guardian sting


The Ident gallery

The ones we looked at were simple, colourful and had a clear path to displaying the channel. They aren’t too flashy.

So I quickly modeled the logo and text in 3D using Maya and forwarded the obj to Andy to add some effects to it in C4D.

Screen shot 2013-01-27 at 12.04.073d render

While Andy was having a play with effects, I did a quick mock up of a idea I had of a CN dice rolling on screen.

I now realise how much more i need to learn in animation.

Andy sent me some really nice graphics he had applied to my 3D model and that was defiantly the way to go.

Once the 3D graphics were done, he handed the render back to me so that I could work the transition back to the original 2D CN logo. We then worked together on the transition, tweaking it and making sure it looked effective on a projector as well as a hull HD screen.

By putting this on the projector we noticed that there was a problem with the resolution of the 2D CN at the end. But we soon discovered it was when i made it a separate alpha channel. The magic wand tool would give it a jagged edge, so we used just the supplied log and imported that and the resolution came out fine. Andy put on the finishing touches with sound and sent it a day before the dead line.

So it turns out we won!! happy days!

<p><a href=”″>CN competion sting</a> from <a href=””>Lauren E Sharman</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

There was just a slight amendment requested, to add the Creative Nextworks text at the end and that only took a few minutes.

I enjoyed doing the competition and working with others.I t has given me the confidence and taste to apply for more in the near future.

Professional Feedback

I had a meeting with a friend who has many years experience in the animation industry and showed her my concept and idea for my FMP.

I got some really nice comments and advice. I was quite nervous about explaining my idea, it is quite dark and I do worry about how people will perceive it but it seemed to go down well. One thing I would like to have done, that she suggested, was to do like a animated time laps of the environment starting clean and becoming more dark and dirty over time. I have kept that I mind, ill just see if i get time towards the end to do it.

In a follow up email they even commented that my idea had stayed with her so it must have made an impression and a good one by the sounds of it. I also sent a few screen caps of my rendered environment and character and got a very positive ‘wow, they look fantastic’