Sinead Animation

Stop Motion/ Model Maker Freelancer

– Why am I blogging?

I first decided to make a blog for my third year project. I hadn’t kept a blog since my first year at UCA Farnham, so I treated this as more of an informal yet organised way to keep track of my workload rather than a formal upload.

After Gradating I decided to keep my blog as I really enjoyed blogging about animation. Now I blog about my job(s) – freelancing is full of them!

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Week 10 at UCA Canterbury: “Girl In Green”


So today I continued the lighting workshops with the Second Year Illustration and Animation students at UCA Canterbury. It was only when I got into the studio that I realised my wardrobe pallet matched the green gel selection we have! It certainly was a good job we weren’t using the green screen or I’d fade into the background… although that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea as I could Key Colour myself out the picture.


Anyway as today was meant to be my last session running the lighting workshops for the second years I had to cut my workshops short to around 40 minutes each so that I could have a quick turnaround and get through all the students. Last week I only got through roughly 12 because not everyone had their models and there was only so much space in the studio. Learning from last weeks difficulties I took out an extra battery pack for the camera so that if the battery died we could swap to a fully charged battery pack, whereas last week I had to go back to the store, halfway across the building to get a new one and waste about 10 minutes of the workshop.


Today I had to get through twice as many students as before to make sure everyone had a session in the studio. This did mean that the quality of my workshops dipped a little as I cut out the first 20 minutes of the workshop where the students could play around with a light each and see how it interacts with the gels, diffusion paper and how this all effected their character. Instead they had to learn this on the go as they went through the ‘time of day’ exercises I had set. I noticed that this made the workshop more challenging for them as the students were less familiar with the process than the previous students.

The other problem that I experienced this week was that some students had still not finished their models or had forgotten to bring them in. This was rather disappointing as the students had the christmas holidays to finish as well as an extra week at University if they hadn’t have brought their models in the following week to do the workshop. However as they needed to do the workshop this week, some of the students used their ceramic pieces that they had made from the previous unit so that they could at least use their own object in the lighting workshop. Although these ceramics were not glazed so did not set of a reflective glow, they did have a green paint-gloss which did interact interestingly with the lights.

IMG_1431(As you can see with the small figure on the right )

I was pleased however with the variety and texture of the models that were brought in today. It was lovely to see how many students had experimented with materials, one model had wool for hair and a patterned cloth for a skirt. Another student had used leggings and black gaffa-tape for a cloak and leather boots. Other students painted in such detail on their models to make it look as if their character was wearing real material which had crumpled to fit the shape of the body or blended paints fantastically together to make shadows and highlights on the character’s clothing to look more 3D. These characters looked fantastic under the lights and I could explain how using material can effect the shadow on a character in comparison to painted clothing and how you need to watch the clothing’s shadow as well as your puppet’s when you animate.


At the end of the day I had run 5 workshops and I still think there are the odd few students who have still not spent time in the studio. This may mean that I need to run another workshop next week but that choice is not up to me. It might mean that these students have missed their chance to spend time learning about working in the studio.

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“Girl In Green” – Blue Rodeo

It’s not that Easy being Green…

When your wardrobe colour palette matches the green gels in the studio…must mean it’s time for more lighting workshops with the Second Year Illustration and Animation students at UCA Canterbury. Good job we aren’t using the green screen or I’d fade into the background #wecreate #ucacanterbury


Rainbow Motivation

Today I am in need of motivation whilst editing in AfterEffects so that means it’s time to bring out the yummy colourful snacks as I work on my laptop! Crispy M&Ms all they way as I work for several hours on AE editing rigs out of footage and animating eyes onto puppets and other fun things.

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Screening Announcment

Rather pleased to see this email when I got home from work today

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Uncanny Sculptors

“From now on these eyes will not be blinded by…Editing

I’ve just realised that I’ve exported months worth of work wrong and need to export it all again before I can start animating over the top of it in After Effects…

Well at least I’ve got a fantastic soundtrack to listen to whilst I wait. I’m starting to know the lyrics really well now. 

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(Especially as I am now onto the third time listening to ‘The Greatest Showman’ this morning)

Award Posters

Today I worked on creating a poster for my two Award Winning short animations One Too Many and Munchies which I made in the second year of my Degree at UCA Farnham.

OTM AwardsMunchies Awards

Week 9 at UCA Canterbury: All is Bright and Colourful!

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I love teaching at UCA. Every time I come home on the train and I am asked how my day was I can’t help but smile and say “It was brilliant.” Even when the day has come a cropper because of one reason or another, it still does not dampen my day. I feel that teaching is where I am meant to be…

Quote of the day:

“Can you move the sun for me? Just a little bit to the right.”
– Student from the Second Workshop.

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So anyway today I did the first half of the set Lighting Workshops with the second year Animation & Illustration course at UCA Canterbury. Like usual Andy and I split the class in half, being in a small studio space I was running the workshop for 4-6 students at a time. I found that 6 was the prime number of students as it meant that 4 people could keep control of a light, one could be in charge of cinematography and one could direct everyone. This worked really well as it meant that they had to listen and work together as a team to create the light required for these set times, and by having someone who was a few steps away they could then see both how the lighting looked on set and compare it to how it looked captured on screen as these can be two very different lit environments.

However before they could work as a team, they had to have a brief understanding of how to work the lights themselves and what it did to a character on set. The lights in the studio at UCA Canterbury are brilliant as they are bright LEDs which have barn doors that act as masks to create hard edges to mark out light where it is not wanted. Before they begun the set tasks of ‘time of day’ I had prepared for them, I got the students to play with one light placed on their own character. If they found that the light was too harsh and glaring on their character they had the option of changing the light from bright to dim with the turn of a switch. They could also turn the light from neutral to warm – slightly yellow, or cool – slightly blue. If the light was still too much the could then add a sheet of diffusion paper which disperses the light more evenly across the stage. When they had the hang of what to do with the lights it was then time to start the set tasks I had for them. They placed all their characters in the middle and positioned the 4 lights so no character was left overshadowed by another.

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For the first group I simply put a student on each light and I took the photos when everyone said that they were happy with the lighting. The problem with this I realised after the second group, was that without putting someone in charge to direct in the first group, there was a point where some seemed a bit lost in the discussion as voices were spoken over and someone who might have challenged a decision then did not have their thoughts heard.

This is where trial and error are key in a workshop, carry forward what works and drop what does not.

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So for the second group I let everyone have a go at everything, everyone directed a time of day and they had to do one in the summer and one in the winter. This meant that they had to consider what to do with all 4 lights: when to make them warm, cold or neural. How bright or dim they wanted them set. If they needed to use a coloured gel, a mask or diffusion paper, what was the placement of the sun during this time?

I felt that giving everyone a chance to direct, they all had a taste of what it is like to run a studio, how to make their thoughts into reality and direct how to get it done. This was particularly interesting with the second group as they worked through the time tasks so quickly (in half the time of the first group!) this I felt was because the director was able communicated the idea they had clearly and without having to fight to be heard.

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So we did a second round of ‘musical director’ and each person had an emotion that they had to create through lighting. They then had to use their new understanding of lights and gels and use it to create abstract and experimental lighting where they might use unnatural lighting to communicate a characters emotions to an audience. This was rather cool to watch from an outside point of view as someone thought anger was red but another felt that love was red. This was when they had to play with darks, lights, harsh shadows, soft edges, bright and dim settings and think about how the visual image on the screen would effect the audience viewing it.

Well even though I personally don’t enjoy lighting, I know how important it is a as a key factor of stop motion. However in todays workshops I felt enjoyment towards the subject that I had never experienced before. It was fantastic watching students tackle the tasks I set, using their creativity to make a visual image in their head and turn it out onto the 3D space around them. One student even came away asking if they could use the studio space to shoot some photos of their ceramic work they made last term as they wanted to see how the glaze would reflect the lights and gels onto the white background.

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 Seeing the excitement a student experiences when learning a new technique: that is the reason I want to teach.

Final Girls Film Festival

Tone Death is showing in Final Girls Berlin Film Festival in February 2018. Munchies was fortunate enough to be screened in the festival last year too!

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