Congratulations! You have a shiny new video. Now it’s time to share it with the masses. However, it’s not as simple as posting it online and waiting for results. At the very least, you need to set some groundwork to get your video noticed, as well as looking presentable.

Are you planning to upload your new video to a streaming service such as YouTube, Vimeo? Or to social media sites like Instagram and Facebook? Read on! This blog will give you some best practice tips to make your video more presentable and perhaps more importantly, discoverable in search results.

Video Title

Don’t just use the default title which may be the filename of the video. It may look like this: “videoname_final_020319_newaudio”, this may make sense to the video creator, but to a viewer, it doesn’t look appealing, and at first glance, it’s a bit confusing. In a few short words, you want the title to explain what the viewer can expect to gain from watching.

Example: “How to protect plants and crops from pests and disease | Animal and Plant Health Agency”

In this example for the Animal and Plant Health Agency, the title opens with a short explanation of what the video will cover, followed by their name for clarity on who the video belongs to – not always necessary, but it doesn’t hurt to include it.

Description and Call to Action

This area is an opportunity to expand on the video content by adding supporting information and providing a clickable ‘Call To Action’.

Think about what your Call To Action is, what do you want your viewer to do after watching. Do you want them to visit a website? If so, back up what was said in the video as to why they should visit (sometimes, people are unable to watch a video and would rather cut to the chase).

It’s important to note that website links on Youtube only work if you provide the full address, starting with: https://

By including this, the link becomes clickable, making it effortless for your viewers to react to your Call To Action.

Tags

Don’t leave this area blank.Add relevant keywords to help search engines discover your video.

For starters, keep it simple. Think about what your video contains that viewers might search for. You may even be surprised about a new audience you’ll accidentally tap in too!

Platforms like Instagram provide metrics on how many people are using a particular keyword/hashtag – try a few out and see who engages with your video.

Thumbnail

Don’t settle for the default. Where possible, choose an image from the video to make it look appealing to new viewers. If any of the thumbnails aren’t working for you, don’t hesitate to create a custom image – just don’t deceive your viewers with clickbait wording/imagery that may not be in the video itself!

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO can require a lot of work and research. It’ll be worth speaking to a specialist to plan it effectively. However, this video gives you a chance to think about what keywords and search terms you’d like for your video to be discovered by. Once you have this figured out, try and incorporate words and phrases into your written content (title, description, tags) to help your visibility.

Analytics

Following on from SEO, keep an eye on the stats of your video. On some platforms, you can find detailed information on how your video was found, how long it was watched and at what point during the video a viewer dropped off. This powerful information can help you fine-tune your videos to what your audience best responds to – perhaps even altering your content to fit in new keywords.

If you’re ever struggling and not sure if what you’re doing is working, be sure to speak to your video author, as we’re sure, after the work they put into creating it, they’d be more than happy to help you get it noticed!

There’s no better way to say it, but wow, what a weekend! After a 20 year absence, Lauren Orme and her team resurrected the Cardiff Animation Festival with a bang. Here’s a review of our weekend experience at the festival.

Dotty the Cardiff Animation Festival 2018 Mascot, created by Sculpt Double
Dotty the Cardiff Animation Festival 2018 Mascot, created by Sculpt Double

Films, Masterclasses and People

We knew, based on the Animation Nights (organised by the same team), that it was going to be a good weekend, but we quickly realised from the programme announcement that we were in for a treat.

We set out to see and do as much as we could throughout the weekend, which resulted in seeing over 70 short films and three feature-length films with masterclasses. We also attended many valuable talks and met a lot of lovely people from within the industry, as well as passionate students from across the UK – The animation industry is full of the friendliest and enthusiastic people.

Each of the Masterclasses gave their unique insight into the industry. Our favourites and most valuable to ourselves came from the Hey Duggee Show and Tell, and the making of The Breadwinner, both of which gave quite an in-depth look at how their production process works.

Grant Orchard, Cardiff Animation Festival
Grant Orchard, the creator of Hey Duggee, gave us an insight to how the show was created with exclusive clips!

The CAF team totally knocked it out of the park for its first year, from the overall presentation of the festival in its branding, the idents before each film, the programming and the contagious passion behind the CAF team, ensured you were part of something special. It’s also important to mention the suitability of Chapter Arts Centre as a venue and the friendly staff, proving it was a perfect host for multiple screenings and talks at once, without having to leave the complex.

We’re proud to have sponsored this festival and given it the support to help it be the best it can be for its first year. We’ve come away from the weekend inspired, enlightened and excited to get back to work to make the best animations we can – and hopefully have a film to submit for next year!

Isle of Dogs Masterclass at Cardiff Animation Festival
After a screening of the amazing Isle of Dogs, we were treated to a behind the scenes masterclass from some of the crew

Highlights

Apart from the many short films, some of our highlights from the weekend included:
– Hey Duggee Show and Tell
– The Breadwinner & Masterclass
– Isle of Dogs & Masterclass
– Chuck Steel Exhibition

Chuck Steel Exhibition - Cardiff Animation Nights
The ‘Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires’ exhibition gave an in depth look at the crazy detail of the models and sets from the upcoming feature film

Lastly, the JC team each picked out one favourite short film from the weekend – which was no easy task!

Late Afternoon

Emily exists between two states, the past and the present, but she struggles to connect them.

Dir. Louise Bagnall

Catherine

A tragic comedy of a sweet little girl, who grows up to be a crazy old cat lady.

Dir. Brit Raes

 

Death of a Father

Caught in a web of age-old rituals post his father’s demise, Babu realises the banality that surrounds death.

Dir. Somnath Pal

Notable Mentions

As difficult as it was to narrow down our favourites, here are the other films we loved for one reason or another:

Did you attend?

How was the weekend for you, what did you see and do and what was your favourite film?

On behalf of the Cardiff Animation Festival team, they’re asking for feedback which will go towards putting on an even better festival next time. If you can spare a few minutes, you can help them out by filling out the feedback form here: http://www.cardiffanimation.com/feedback

Cardiff Bay-based animation studio Jammy Custard will be a proud sponsor of the first Cardiff Animation Festival. The 4-day event held at Chapter Arts Centre will showcase some of the best animation from all over the world, as well as Q&A’s, Masterclasses, Workshops and Industry events.

Cardiff Animation Festival 2018 Passes on Sale

Cardiff Bay-based animation studio Jammy Custard will be a proud sponsor of the first Cardiff Animation Festival. The 4-day event held at Chapter Arts Centre will showcase some of the best animation from all over the world, as well as Q&A’s, Masterclasses, Workshops and Industry events.

It will provide local animators and creatives with an opportunity to meet and share work with like-minded individuals travelling from across the UK and further afield, to Europe’s youngest capital city. 99 short films will be screened as well as highly acclaimed feature films.

The festival is organised by the same team that has run the Cardiff Animation Nights in the city since 2014, a non-profit, community-based organisation that wanted to go one step further and showcase the region’s talent to the broader industry.

Dani Abram, Co-Organiser and Head of Marketing for the festival, is encouraged by the potential for Cardiff to continue making its mark on the industry:

“We’re so excited that Cardiff is becoming such a creative and supportive hub. The animation industry has long since thrived here, and it looks set to grow and grow, the addition of a dedicated animation festival is yet more proof of that!

We’ve been holding animation screening events in this city for well over 3 years now, bringing independent animated short films from around the world to a growing community of artists and fans. We hope the festival will attract the focus of the wider industry, with guests and filmmakers travelling from as far as India to attend, representing some of the industries most exciting studios!”

Early Man Screening at Cardiff Animation Festival
Aardmans Early Man will be showing followed by a Q&A with the Animation Director Merlin Crossingham

Cardiff Bay-based animation studio Jammy Custard will be a proud sponsor of the first Cardiff Animation Festival. The 4-day event held at Chapter Arts Centre will showcase some of the best animation from all over the world, as well as Q&A’s, Masterclasses, Workshops and Industry events.

It will provide local animators and creatives with an opportunity to meet and share work with like-minded individuals travelling from across the UK and further afield, to Europe’s youngest capital city. 99 short films will be screened as well as highly acclaimed feature films.

The festival is organised by the same team that has run the Cardiff Animation Nights in the city since 2014, a non-profit, community-based organisation that wanted to go one step further and showcase the region’s talent to the broader industry.

Dani Abram, Co-Organiser and Head of Marketing for the festival, is encouraged by the potential for Cardiff to continue making its mark on the industry:

“We’re so excited that Cardiff is becoming such a creative and supportive hub. The animation industry has long since thrived here, and it looks set to grow and grow, the addition of a dedicated animation festival is yet more proof of that!

We’ve been holding animation screening events in this city for well over 3 years now, bringing independent animated short films from around the world to a growing community of artists and fans. We hope the festival will attract the focus of the wider industry, with guests and filmmakers travelling from as far as India to attend, representing some of the industries most exciting studios!”

Jammy Custard Animation is looking to obtain larger productions in years to come. Matthew Creed, Head of Animation at Jammy Custard said that supporting the festival was an excellent opportunity to connect with others and work towards the development of the local industry:

“We’re thrilled to be a sponsor of this festival and impressed with the work that’s already gone into it. The support they have managed to arrange from organisations like the British Film Industry Network and BAFTA Cymru is something we’re all proud of.

The team have been hard at work with their Animation Nights for some time now, which in turn has strengthened the animation community/industry in Cardiff. I always come away from those nights inspired and eager to get animating the next day so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the festival.”

4 reasons why you should go to the festival, even if you’re not an animator:

  1. First and foremost – it’ll be fun. There will be films produced for a range of ages and tastes
  2. Demand for animated content is growing – If your business is looking for talent, this may well be the place to find it
  3. Have a go – there will be workshops available so you can try your hand at animation, whether your 8 or 80.
  4. A chance to network – there will be social opportunities to meet creatives from across the city and from some of the big UK production studios.

For more information about the festival and purchasing full festival or event-based passes, please visit: http://www.cardiffanimation.com/

Family Fostering Partners, based in South Wales, commissioned the animated Welsh-language piece to explore the potential for a series of cartoons.

Family Fostering Partners, based in South Wales, commissioned the animated Welsh-language piece to explore the potential for a series of cartoons.

The cartoon’s development is the start of a much broader campaign, that will see the main characters “Bwtwns” and “Blw” feature in a suite of resources which will be made available to fostered children through an online portal, currently under development, including e-books. Family Fostering Partners commissioned two celebrated Welsh poets to write three ‘therapeutic’ stories to work from, with one intended for the cartoon pilot, while the other two will become supporting eBooks.

The project has been part-funded by the Welsh Government’s Cymraeg 2050 initiative programme.

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said:

We want the use of Welsh to be a routine part of everyday life so that speakers at all levels feel confident in using it in formal and informal situations. Encouraging families to use Welsh is a vital part of this. It is especially important for foster families where children are first language Welsh speakers and will find it much easier to adjust to their new surroundings if they are able to use their Welsh

‘Bwtwns a Blw’ is one of many Cymraeg 2050 projects that will make it easier for people to use the language, whether face to face in the community and in the workplace or through digital platforms.

Curon Howells, Business Development Manager for Family Fostering Partners said:

We’re incredibly excited about seeing Bwtwm and Blw being brought to life on the small screen, not least of all because we believe that the animations are the first of their kind to offer Looked After children the opportunity and choice to access videos with a therapeutic theme in the Welsh language.

We want to normalise the concept of foster care and foster families, encouraging more people to consider becoming foster carers for vulnerable children in Wales. We’re looking at ways of opening up access to the brand, so other organisations, learning establishments and foster homes can contribute to this vital campaign.

The characters Bwtwns (a child) and Blw (an adult) are based on elephant characters that were initially created as part of the agency’s branding, even making it to toy form.

Curon Howells with Buttons and Blue

Curon explains why they chose elephants to lead the branding and the stories:

“As a relatively new but growing independent fostering agency, Bwtwns and Blw have a special place in our hearts. They have been an integral part of the agency since its inception. While creating our brand, we recognised that elephants in the wild are great parents who will take collective responsibility for the young of the herd. This fact is an excellent parallel for foster carers who share the task of caring for Looked After Children. Bwtwns and Blw’s first incarnation were actually as stuffed toys designed and created by the Managing Director, Judith Rees’ mother!”

Jammy Custard’s Creative Director and Lead Animator Matthew Creed reflected on the potential success of the project for all involved:

“To have the support and confidence of Family Fostering Partners to carry out this work is a great honour. They’ve been great to work with. The Jammy’s team, in particular, Kyle, who has been leading the creative direction for this project, are incredibly excited to be working on a commissioned cartoon which is not only great fun but holds real value for the audience. The storylines have been simple but effective, and we know what style of visual we’re trying to achieve. It’s a fascinating project, and we can’t wait to share it.”

Curon of Family Fostering Partners concluded:

“Seeing the work that Jammy Custard have done to transform Bwtwns and Blw from our original stuffed animals to animated characters has been a wonderful experience, and we can’t wait to share the final project with the world!”

The official launch of the campaign, including the cartoon pilot will be on the 11th of April.

His new live project is much more dynamic, working alongside ‘5th Spear’ a solo artist with a huge electronic sound and live drums, Matthew now stands on stage and performs the visuals live as a VJ, meaning the visuals are even more of a performance instead of a careful orchestrated event. After already playing a few gigs, including a huge turnout at Swn Festival 2015 and a headline slot at FreeForAll Festival 2016, this is an exciting new venture exploring the realms of interactive and dynamic visual performance.

Who doesn’t love an animated gif? Well, like mediums of communication it depends on the context and timing, but as a means of grabbing someone’s attention as they perform their 30-minute routine social media check; snappy, short video is an incredibly powerful tool, one that we at Jammy Custard feel is not exploited nearly enough by businesses.

Marketing savvy businesses have become comfortable with using promotional and explainer videos, lasting around 1-2 minute duration to woo audiences. But with social feeds being dominated by moving content, what does the rise of the Pop-Culture gif, specifically, tell us about social feed comms?

Most social network comment sections are primed with .gif libraries. The content in these libraries is usually a scene from a TV show, film or a pet. These libraries exist so users can emphasise an emotion and use a memorable, often humorous anecdote to support their thoughts. There’s a big, flashing, neon sign in the previous statement that should be grabbing your attention, and it reads ’emphasise an emotion’. That is one of the most significant reasons why short video will grow in popularity and why you should consider creating and using short video.

Look at the key benefits:

How can a business use ‘branded’ short video?

Here are two points businesses are beginning to understand about short video usage:

1. By conveying emotion, you can humanise a brand – this is what drives most gif and short video usage; a means of expression, likely with a dash of ‘light relief’.

Businesses can already use the standard free-to-use gifs of famous film, tv and meme characters, and used well; these can be a great response.

How can a business take this one step further?

Take a look at sports. Lots of teams and personalities use gifs and short videos to tell the story of a sporting event. For example, Red Bull Racing’s Formula 1 Team have a fantastic bank of video gifs to provide anecdotal responses to moments their driver’s face during a Grand Prix. It shows their drivers ‘showing off’ a mood or reaction. But importantly, it ties into their brand and brand’s journey through the championship’s highs and lows.

Daniel Ricciardo Gif
Max Verstappen GIF

Businesses are still exploring how short videos such as the above can add their brand story, but as ever, research into different industries can provide a wealth of inspiration. How about saying “thank you”, “celebrating a big win today” or simply “have a nice weekend” in a way that is unique to your brand? What could that mean to your customers and your team?

2. Remove the audiences ‘effort’ to take in something important

Let’s imagine you have an event or an important deadline for a competition coming up. You need to boost the attentiveness of your audience and get them to act. A post that prints the objective truth that ‘time is running out’ would be well supported by an animated short video that either:

Either response taps into a person’s behaviour and is more likely to create a reaction to the situation.

When it comes to selling a product or service, we will stick our neck on the line and say, sometimes, a short video with one clear definition can sometimes be money better spent than trying to pack lots of things into a video (it’s why we created our social video package). It’s also worth thinking about how splitting up messages into individual points gives you fodder for social content. Quantity and Quality!

(caption: When social media account managers have a full posts schedule all worked out)

Take a short video campaign we did for Cawdor Vauxhall dealership. They could have gone for an explainer video that explained they had new car offers and then went on to explain who Cawdor was and why they are worth the visit. They didn’t need to. The hero message that people are interested in is a new Vauxhall offer. Qualifying Cawdor as a good dealership can come from other content sources. The point is, the audience is hooked.

(caption: a short ‘moving billboard’ social video for new Vaxuhall car deals. By Cawdor Cars and Jammy Custard Animation)

Context is everything. Use short videos if the message is simple enough to explain, or to support other content. For the latter, they are there to suggest that the post’s material is vital enough to stop the audience scrolling past. Finally, short little slick videos and animations are another opportunity to present your branding and show you invest in your image and therefore reputation – a point that’s not seemingly picked up on very much.

Beware the pitfalls of short videos

Finally, be creative

Don’t forget, limitations such as duration can provide the perfect opportunity to create something genuinely original and compelling. Not all big marketing problems require big solutions.

If you are interested in exploring gif content, we at Jammy Custard are just a phone call away. Thank you for reading.

This post is an insight to the various steps involved from brief to final animated piece, and how even though this was a short animation there’s still a lot to consider upfront to create an efficient workflow and deliver on time.

Kingfisher Animation Brief

Web designer Ryan Gittings contacted us to create a looping animation of a Kingfisher diving for food as a background video for his new website. Excited by the opportunity to animate a kingfisher, we accepted and created a gorgeous scene for it to live in.

Watch the final looping animation below:

Research

The focus of this piece is the Kingfisher and working out what can be done to make this an interesting looping animation. First and foremost was studying how a Kingfisher moves and acts to help dictate the narrative of the video. Various segments from documentaries on Youtube helped us to piece together the action.

One of videos we took reference from was from David Attenborough’s ‘Rhythms of Nature in the Barycz Valley‘ (See below from 0.49 seconds). This clip became the foundation we built the animation and scene composition around.

Key Poses

The images below are the initial pencil sketches of the Kingfisher’s key poses which shows how the animation would loop. Each drawing is followed by a new pose going in a clockwise direction to create the loop. These initial sketches were scanned and put into Illustrator where the body pieces were colour coded to work out what pieces could be reused and save on drawing new assets. Once this was decided, it was drawn up with a colour set (that would later be built upon) to create a rough model to test the animation inside After Effects.

Preparing for Animation

When creating an object that’s going to move, you need to think about how many parts does it have that will need to be animated. Once you work out all these pieces, it’s then working out how to best control it as an animatable rig. The first test was done by putting in the separate body pieces (head, torso, left wing, right wing), with each body piece having multiple variations e.g. the wings flapping at different stages.

At this stage, that’s enough to test the animation from the key poses. After this test, it was down to fine tuning the rig to create a more efficient workflow. When animating, you want to have as few layers to work with as possible, as it can easily get into a mess, and a messy, unorganised timeline can disrupt your flow of animating when you’re having to look through a lot of layers to find the one piece you want to animate.

Not all rigs are the same, it’s down to understanding what needs to move and how best to control it to make an efficient workflow. You have to think far down the line as you don’t want to end up hacking your rig to do things it wasn’t built to do because you didn’t plan for a particular action. This adds unnecessary time and effort that could be used to perfecting an animation.

Rig Breakdown

The Kingfisher was broken down into body pieces inside After Effects. Each body piece was it’s own composition, which had all the positions of that piece laid out in a timeline, which was then controlled by time remapping. With me so far?

This meant, the main composition had only a single layer per body piece that could be switched out to a new shape/position by changing the frame number within the precomp.

Scene Design

The overall scene composition was based on the Richard Attenborough video we used for initial reference. Although the design evolved to become grander and allow room for text at the top, it didn’t move far from the original layout.

Here are screenshots on how the shot developed from the original sketch, to how it currently sits on Ryan Gittings website with header text and navigation over the top.

Creating a living scene

With the core animation in place of the Kingfisher, it’s time to bring the scene to life. To do this we animated small details within the scene, some of these details are so subtle, you may not consciously notice them on 1st glance. But brought together with other subtle movements, they collectively make the scene feel alive. Take a look at the fish in the water, the chimney smoke in the distant, the ripples in the water and the reeds in the foreground.

One of the secrets of post-production in animation is adding light. For this, we utilised Video Copilots Optical Flares to brighten up the sun, which adds a haze over the footage along with a subtle flare on the lens.

TL;DR Breakdown Video

Here’s a 1 minute video that quickly breaks down and shows all the stages involved to create the final animation.

Conclusion

Thanks to the upfront planning and research, there were very few problems encountered throughout the project. There are times we took shortcuts in the animation (such is the nature of animation) but we didn’t have to break the rig to achieve what we wanted. There are perhaps some elements we’d do differently next time, which is a great thing to take away after a project as you’re always learning and always improving.

International Animation Day

Dating back to October 28th, 1892, International Animation Day commemorates the first public performance of Charles-Emile Renaud’s Theatre Optique in Paris, where he projected the first animated film in public called ‘Pauvre Pierrot’ (Poor Pete).

In 2002, the ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d’Animation) announced that October 28th would be a global event to celebrate the art of animation.

Our Top 5 Favourite animations

To celebrate International Animation Day, we’re looking back at the animations that shaped and impacted our childhood, planting ideas in our heads that inspired us to do what we do today.

Transformers The Movie (1986)

There’s only one Transformers movie and it’s the original from 1986. The original that had no idea how popular it was until the backlash they received from killing off their main character ‘Optimus Prime’ to make way for a new line of toys. Featuring an amazing score by Vince Dicola and songs including Stan Bush’s ‘The Touch’, a great lineup of actors that had Orsen Welles final performance as the planet destroying Unicron, before he passed away.

Land Before Time

A Don Bluth classic, a film about dinosaurs separated from their families in search of the Great Valley. It teared us up as kids and hasn’t lost its effect today.

The Secret of Nimh

Another Don Bluth classic, though under rated in comparison to his bigger hits. This is a great example of a childrens film of science, magic and fantasy rolled into one, as we follow Nimh and her family who’s land is threatened by the farmer who owns it. A dark and magical film, with the most terrifying cat ever!

Ulysses 31

Greek mythology in space with a fantastic catchy opening soundtrack, how can you not love this?

Sherlock Hound

Probably our earliest introduction to the marvel of Studio Ghibli in the west. One of best things about Hayao Miyazaki is his ability to make various modes of transport and the engineering involved look exciting and wonderous. Even more so at a time, when as a child there were a lot of cartoons looking to the future with robots and space ships.

These are but a taste of some of the films and shows that shaped our childhood, it was extremely difficult to choose our top 5.

What did you watch as a child?

100 Years of Roald Dahl

To celebrate Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday, Cardiff went a bit mad (or should we say ‘Gloriumptious’) with people of all ages expressing their admiration throughout September. From children dressing up as their favourite characters in schools, to fan art and theatrical performances throughout the city.

It was a wonderful sight to behold (see WalesOnline article: 15 truly magical moments from city of the Unexpected).

We wanted to get in on the act and share our thanks to both Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, who’s iconic illustrations are just as important as the stories they came from. Stories we grew up with and would happily say influenced our childhood. This little animation is a small tribute to these great men for the magic and the imagination they conjured up in our youth.

Have you ever wondered what the RBS Six Nations would’ve been like if it were a beat em up video game? Wonder no more as we went ahead and created a series of animated videos that followed Wales fighting it’s way through the Six Nations Fighter tournament.

Have you ever wondered what the RBS Six Nations would’ve been like if it were a beat em up video game? Wonder no more as we went ahead and created a series of animated videos that followed Wales fighting it’s way through the Six Nations Fighter tournament.

The idea came from a ‘what if’ conversation that escalated into a campaign to support Wales throughout the Six Nations. There was no doubt about the art direction, it had to be based on the old 16bit fighting games like Street Fighter. To pull off the style we wanted, we knew that the attention to detail was key. We studied and mostly took inspiration from beat em games on the Super Nintendo and Sega Mega Drive with subtle nods to other video games we’re fond of (can you spot them all?).

Designing with Pixels

To do this, we would be working up close on a tiny image that we’d blow up later when it came to animation. The final size of the dragon is approx 4cm.
This was a learning curve that we got better at as the project went on. We studied and referenced a lot of video games in order to understand how sprite artists added detail.  By the end we understood how to add a lot detail with only a few tiny squares.

Animating The Six Nations Fighters

When animating these characters we used a modern approach of creating a puppet that we could easily manipulate i.e the limbs are separate pieces we could control and reuse, whereas traditionally each character is a single image redrawn for every frame of animation (see Ryu image below) – This is likely due to how games process sprites.

We animated the characters inside After Effects, but due to the nature of how they are animated, the movement was too smooth and clean. We would then take out every other frame (using time remapping) which made the animation stuttery but look more authentic.

Ultimately the animation needed to look slick and have a lot of detail, but at the same time look like it was done in as few frames as possible.

With a character designed and assembled, it’s a case of working out the choreography of the fight itself. If you watch through all the videos you may notice a homage to many video games. When we weren’t referencing other games, it was a case of acting out the moves ourselves around the studio.

The Results

Before and after each match Wales played, we put up a video on various social networks. Depending on the result of each match, we would put up a video of whether the Welsh Dragon had defeated its opponent or not. This meant we had to create both outcomes beforehand, so each match had three videos: The fight, the Dragon winning and the Dragon losing. However after the first Six Nations match of Wales V Ireland, the result was a tie which we foolishly hadn’t anticipated and quickly posted a picture instead in bias of Wales.

The results of the campaign has been documented on the Six Nations Fighter landing page. The video below shows what would have been if the results were different.

Ellie Makes Music is a singer-songwriter from Cardiff and ‘MOUNTAINS’ is an animated music video we made to promote her second EP ‘Are You Listening? (2015)

Background

We were approached by Ellie to create an animated music video for the lead single ‘Mountains’ to promote her forthcoming EP Are You Listening?’.

The song is about empowerment and resilience, It was discussed early on that the video essentially be a literal interpretation of the song and follow a scenic journey of overcoming obstacles.

Our aims for the video was to reflect the song and make it feel big, colourful and up lifting. Focusing on Ellie as the protagonist, the animation follows her as she overcomes varying obstacles of size. Starting with tying her shoelaces, jumping over a river, to ultimately succeeding in climbing a mountain.

Ellie along with Bounce publishing were terrific to work with, making it a fun project to work on.

Animating Ellie

To create Ellie as an animated character, we called upon the DUIK character rig for After Effects to bring her to life.

Ellie was designed in Illustrator, then imported into After Effects where she was rigged for animation. The DUIK rig is a huge time saver that’s built upon using Inverse Kinematics for it’s movement.

Using IK helps to add little nuances to the movement that you’d perhaps miss if using Forward Kinematics. This is especially useful when you’re animating to a deadline and wouldn’t otherwise have time to spend on those little details. To give an idea of it’s efficiency we’ve included a time lapse of a scene below.

Ellie Makes Music Links

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text el_class=”lead” css=”.vc_custom_1455666450880{padding-top: 30px !important;}”]Animator, visual artist, music fanatic. However you want to describe him, Matthew is our music fuelled, animating machine and this is what he gets up to.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”2113″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]

Background

Born and bred in the mythical land of Cardiff, Matthew grew up hypnotised by the moving pictures on Saturday morning TV instilling a desire to tell stories and create his own adventures. Stories he would re-enact with his Blacktron Legos, Star Wars figures and G1 Transformers, this guy was obviously cool.

Ever since working out how to change the time on his VCR and setting up his first games console, there was a fascination with technology and finding out how things worked, hoping one day we would be living in a technology based future of flying cars, holodecks and lightsabers.

After graduating from studying Animation at UWCN, Matthew went on to find his feet taking on various creative freelance jobs he could find ranging from animated stings, building websites and even designing posters for the legendary TJs in Newport. It wasn’t until collaborating with Patrick that the early days of Jammy Custard started to form.

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Role at Jammy Custard

Here at Jammy Custard, Matthew leads the video and animation projects, which means sometimes having to shy away to a different room to act out the characters he’s about to animate.

He’s also our Technical Director which involves not only overseeing the tech in use throughout the studio, but also employing new tech ideas to improve performance and workflow. Combine that with the video side and you end up with time saving resources like this Motion Elements pack he created. Pretty cool huh?

Whenever he get’s the chance, Matthew is fond of telling stories through Music Videos and sharing animated shorts across our social media channels

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Life Outside The Studio

Matthew is endlessly practicing and pushing his creativity, combined with his obsession of live music, he collaborates with two Cardiff bands as a live visual artist.

With ‘Albatross Archive’ he has created animated backing visuals that synchronise and complement their music. His first outing with the band consisted of a 30 minute narrative taking the audience on a live journey of sight and sound. The shows later progressed to experiment with multiple screens and projection mapping as a means to explore ways of enhancing the live experience. This collaboration has taken him to be part of winning a battle of the bands as part of Nation Radio’s Big Gig competition, performing at variety of festivals and venues around Cardiff as well as performing on Made In Cardiff TV.

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His new live project is much more dynamic, working alongside ‘5th Spear’ a solo artist with a huge electronic sound and live drums, Matthew now stands on stage and performs the visuals live as a VJ, meaning the visuals are even more of a performance instead of a careful orchestrated event. After already playing a few gigs, including a huge turnout at Swn Festival 2015 and a headline slot at FreeForAll Festival 2016, this is an exciting new venture exploring the realms of interactive and dynamic visual performance.

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Connect with Matthew

If you think Matthew’s a swell kinda guy you think you’d get along with, pick his brain about animation, geek out about music or simply just want to stalk him. There are varying ways for you to do so:

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @mcjammycustard

Instagram: @mcjammycustard

Linkedin: mcjammycustard

Tumblr: mcjammycustard

Last.fm: mcjammycustard[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1455052354206{padding-top: 30px !important;}” el_class=”lead”]When we’re editing videos, we often pull from a library of various elements and presets we’ve created and downloaded to help speed up our productions.

We feel it’s time to give something back to the videographers, animators and visual artists who have shared resources that we’ve used and benefitted from.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Motion Elements

Behold, the Jammy Custard Motion Elements Pack free to download and use.

Whether you’re a professional or just starting out, these elements will no doubt help with your productions in both saving time and adding that extra detail in production value.

In the pack there are 26 motion elements and transitions designed to add that extra flair to your videos. The video below gives you a look at the elements which include various pops, loops and transitions rendered in 30fps, 1080p with alpha backgrounds. So you can drop them directly into your NLE of choice and use them right away.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/Q8Ydd9P9kqw”][vc_btn title=”Download Jammy Custard Motion Elements Pack” style=”custom” custom_background=”#f71b78″ custom_text=”#ffffff” size=”lg” align=”center” link=”url:http%3A%2F%2Fwww.mediafire.com%2Fdownload%2Fd67jcctu6yke3qq%2FJammy_Custard_Motion_Elements.zip|title:Download%20Jammy%20Custard%20Motion%20Elements%20Pack|”][vc_column_text]

Creative Commons License
Jammy Custard Motion Elements Pack by Jammy Custard Studios is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at jammycustard.co.uk/motion-elements-pack/.

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Instructions for After Effects

After you’ve downloaded and unzipped the pack, create a folder in your After Effects project and drop in the elements to keep your workflow tidy.

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”1931″ img_size=”full”][vc_separator][vc_column_text]We’d love to know if you’ve used this pack, so don’t hesitate to drop us a tweet or a comment on Facebook to let us know what you think.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

[vc_row css=”.vc_custom_1450282072943{padding-top: 40px !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″ css=”.vc_custom_1450185039003{padding-top: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text el_class=”lead”]To celebrate the release of The Force Awakens, we’ve dug through our (4 year old!) Star Wars Lego animation ‘A Merry Christmas You Must Have’ to give you a little insight in to how it was made.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]

VFX Breakdown

Below we’ve created a video that shows a side by side comparison of before and after VFX (visual effects).

The left screen is the raw footage taken in camera and the right is the result of Post Production when layers of effects, clean ups, colour work and audio is added.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/a69D4RuHMIs”][vc_column_text]

Making Yoda Jump

The most common question we get asked is “How did you make Yoda jump?”

Well firstly, the action is choreographed in storyboard form and then acted out with the minifigures on set to work out the best placement for the camera. Once that’s been decided we need to capture a clean plate. A clean plate is just a shot of the set without any of the characters or anything that’s likely to move which is used later in Post.

Next we continue with the animation, using rigs to position the character. In the photo below we’ve used a bit of transparent plastic to hold Yoda in the air, this is a two person job that requires stamina. One person is in charge of holding Yoda, whilst another is animating Santa, making sure Yoda has moved correctly and then captures the frame.

In post we mask out any rigging and shadows and use the clean plate to fill in the gaps. After that we can then add the lightsaber effect, sparks, lighting and anything else we can think of now the shots are locked in.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”1609″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” onclick=”link_image” css_animation=”appear”][vc_column_text]

Lightsaber effect

If any of you budding VFX artists want to know how to make the lightsaber effect, we used VideoCopilot’s Lightsaber preset which comes with a tutorial on how to use it with AfterEffects[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]

Final Film

Here it is, after weeks of work we present the final film ‘A Merry Christmas You Must Have’.

So sit back, enjoy and have a Merry Christmas from all of us at Jammy Custard Studios[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/Vm9bpE-9384″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]