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


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


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:

[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=””][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=”″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][/vc_row]