Leonard Paisley Character Concept.
The pitch for our final major projects is over and done. All that remains now is to find out which 10 of the 27 is to be chosen, we are waiting, as if paused. The pitches, as everyone has already said, were amazingly consistent in the quality of the presentation and artwork. Looking through the brochure now I wanted to give some of my course mates their due. Miguel's 'Escuridao Decente' had the most phenomenal artwork of all the pitches which blew me away, stunning colour and use of light, I think the term is chiaroscuro. Insa's 'Eighteen Ninety' had a cool premise based around the lack of a platform for female BMX riders to compete, its nice to see an animation with a purpose. Sian's 'H0le' had an iconic visual style and a personal premise that seemed to resonate with both the panelists and the audience, hopefully we'll get to see it realised. Dan's 'Fentil: Another Life' came across well with Dan assuming a fictional persona to raise funding for the project, though the fact his pseudonym can be broken down from Adden Mesa to 'a-dan, me-is-a' I think is hilarious. Another idea that the panelists loved. Alberto's 'Stream' was one of my favourite pitches, the idea was intellectual, well thought out and constructed, exciting in implementation and I hope it gets picked just so I can see whats possible with the techniques he proposed. One of the panelists insisted on belittling it to the status of 'chill-out video' but it seemed much deeper than that.
'Wow' Image
The panelists asked some great questions getting to the heart of each idea and uncovering the detail which couldn't fit into the pitch, but they did seem to have an irritating penchant for simplicity. 'I like the simplicity...' 'Nice and simple...' 'Too complex... 'Keep it simple...'
Don't anyone try anything elaborate or intricate, god forbid we raise the bar for animation as a mature medium for storytelling.

"Congratulations to you all for presenting fantastic pitches on Friday. The panel thought your professionalism and creativity was exemplary. Well done!
The panel have given us their feedback and we are now collating the feedback forms before releasing the information to you about which projects were successful in being put forward to the next stage. There has been some ferocious debates and some hard decisions to make. I'll have this available as soon as possible by the latest tomorrow, and will put the results up here.
We will then be giving each project constructive feedback, and tell you how the next stage commences"
-Andy Wyatt
Thrilling stuff, I'm desperate to find out. Though I've made my peace with not getting chosen I now can't imagine what that will feel like. There may be tears?
Charlie's Concept Piece
For the pitch some bespoke artwork has been created and it looks great for the most part, especially Charlie's concept piece that took a lot of preparation work on his part. He went to great pains to recreate the correct perspective, I then went in and graded the image also adding some lens and grime effects just to create a cohesion between the disparate styles of the pitch imagery.

Also for the pitch I created a head turn around to show the rendering style and even got a question about it! (To which I smugly got to boast my 90 second render time per frame.) I scrambled together a texture using the ambient occlusion, displacement and diffuse maps which looks pretty good but managed to screw the eyes somehow, might have been the giant white sphere I was using for reflections that blows out the specular on the eyes. What's remarkable here is that I actually nailed the hair at long last, the secret here being to turn off final gather for mental ray's volume fur shader, this both removes the blocky artifacts and blown out lighting for the hairs. Observe:

Pixel Propaganda

Batman Arkham City came out last month and some were perturbed by the needless sexism in its language and characterisation. Here is a fantastically well reasoned piece of writing on the subject.
The internet, it turns out, doesn't like to have important cultural issues raised about its favourite new toys. Here is the same authors response piece that starts as a point by point reply and ends with a rousing call to reason.

Uncharted 3 came out. Uncharted for me, is the one piece of fiction I dive into regardless of any analytical or conceptual reservations I may have and just immerse myself. So here is the review that nearly brought a tear to my eye, and here is the review that made me see reason, and points out how Uncharted falls apart when the player deviates from the script the game has laid out.

The co-lead game designer on Uncharted 3 was Richard Lemarchand, an idol of mine, and he recently gave this enlightening talk at Game City in Nottingham.

Here is a video I found when researching lens effects for my wow image that illustrates just how transformative they can be. Turning a render that doesn't look much better than playblast into this sci-fi cityscape: