On Tuesday the 16th April Will Becher, lead animator from Aardman came to Staffordshire University to give us a talk about himself and working in a large animation company like Aardman. Followed by a master class for several lucky individuals, me being one of them (YAY). I was glad to see a variation of animation students turning up, not just Stop motion but other specialities ready to see Will and enthusiastic to see his presentation.
Animation Students (Can you Stop me...?)
Will Becher animating Wollice & Gromit on set
Will began by telling us more about himself, and working at Aardman. Showing us various images and tips on how the industry works and way they complete a small commercial or a large feature film like Pirates. Then went on to talk more about his individual work, and how he got into the industry.
He decided that he want to concentrate solely on animation of stop motion over, the other aspects. So for his final project he created a simple story called 'Boxed in' full film shown below. He made the story and set reasonably simple, and then concentrated on creating a brilliantly smooth animation, using various animation principles to make his film appealing. Its amazing how much character he adds to the character.
Another film Will completed that he showed us and I fell in love with was 'Off Beat' another simple but beautiful piece of animation. I personally didn't expect the ending to this, brilliant little twist, please watch :) Shown Below:
To finish the talk, Will retrieved an actual Gromit puppet from his bag. (Keeping it hidden tut tut) and went on to show us how the puppet works, moves and even constructed slightly. We as a group were unable to touch Gromit, as we probably would of messed up the plasticine with our mucky hands. But just looking at Gromit is a great thing, I didn’t need to physically touch it.
After the talk, Will Becher wanted to look at various Stop Motion students work. When coming to look at our Final major Project, he seemed to be rather impressed at our sets and puppets. Even holding little fat Domovoi for a long period of time, I’m sure he didn’t want to say goodbye to the fat puppet. We showed him various part of our animation so far, hopefully he liked what we had done. I managed to talk to Will some more about, producing a portfolio of my work. Telling him that I wanted to focus more on puppet fabrication or Set dressing. He advised me to continue designing and creating various sets props and puppet, making sure I take pictures every step of the way. Showing the different craft methods, and the overall end product. Also when trying to get the CV out there researching the company and the area I wanted to go into, then contacting individuals directly rather than the entire company
Will & my little Domovoi puppet
Will admiring our sets & watching Lily in action
NO RAGE (unless it is productive) Lily's Positive influence
For the workshop aspect of the day with Will himself, we began by splitting up into teams of threes & fours. After Daryl gave each team a ball and socket armature, he gave us a valuable tip. Ensuring we check the armature before using it, making sure the legs and ankle parts are very tight. Because the bottom half of the armature has to support the entire thing. We then in group created dynamic poses with the armature based on feelings. This activity was based on Gromit, how a puppet that doesn't talk can communicate how he feels by body movements and gestures allow.
I just wanted to say Will Becher, thank you for visiting our University. I really appreciated the advice and kind words about our work, It was lovely to meet you. I hope I will have the opportunity to speak to you again sometime.