• Ellie Riley

Welcome to my MSc Animation and VFX Progress Blog!

Here I will be sharing my progress as I take on my Masters in Animation and Visual Effects (VFX) from September 2021 to September 2022.

My Background

The foundations of what I will be building this knowledge up from are mostly elements I have taught myself. Doing a Fine Art degree for my undergrad, we were open to focus on whatever art practice we were interested in, as long as it could be linked to the contemporary fine art world and produce a significant final exhibition towards the end of it. This process required there to be a lot of understanding from the tutors to what you wanted to deliver and in my final year when I proposed something more narrative led there was a push for me to drop that idea for something more contemporary and less “whimsical” and “illustrative”. Whilst they were not against the idea of me pursuing animation in my project it was clear the preference of the tutors to what they considered more interesting was going to influence my grade, so I adjusted.

The only taught animation experience I managed to find on this undergrad was in my Study Abroad year in the US. I managed to get a place at the State University of New York, Upstate in Binghamton, and it was to my delight that they offered classes in Introduction to Animation. On this course I was able to experiment with so much, from stop-motion, lightboxes, Dragon-frame, to Photoshop animating and the basics of After Effects. In the semester after this I also signed up for the Experimental Animation class which ended with an exciting projection animation project that the whole class collaborated on. I had most definitely caught the animation bug and, despite the tutor’s pushback from narrative led animation I was still able to complete my 3rd and final year of my undergrad with an animation installation which I was very proud of.

After graduating I was among the fortunate who knew exactly what they wanted to do next, and that was to take a master’s degree specialising in Animation! I was however not among the fortunate who could afford to get straight into it. So in the 2 years I spent working and saving for this master’s degree I attempted all I could to enhance my animation knowledge and skills. For this I had a limited range of software available but lucky that some was from the adobe suite. This was when I first started taking YouTube tutorials in Animate (previously known as Flash).

The drawing frame by frame aspect of animation has always been appealing to me so that’s where I started and have since been enjoying working up in a way similar to the progression of animation technology itself. I moved from drawing frame by frame to using puppets, tweening between movements and even attempted rigging. It is now that I have access to a wider world of 3D software's on my master’s at the University of Dundee that I am excited to enter this exciting stage of animation technology.

My hopes for this year

Whilst there are so many amazing paths that I could potentially go down with this year, learning 3D and finally being able to concentrate of narrative led projects, I am still attached to the aesthetics of 2D animation. So with this year I am interested in learning how I can develop both my 2D animation skills and my 3D skills to combine them in one hybrid animation. With this I hope to go through the pipeline of the whole process and complete a short film by the end of the course. Now I understand this ambition, combined with learning the software as I go may be quite the challenge to fit in to one year. But I am hoping to exercise skills in honing and focusing down ideas to make this time worth each second.

I will be sharing my starting ideas in a new post!

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