01 November 2010

Pearls Before Swine - Game Trailer

Here's a trailer for the new iPhone app

Just how addictive is Pearls Before Swine iPhone?

27 October 2010

Pearls Before Swine for iPhone

Finally, we've got it together to release a version of Pearls Before Swine for the iPhone.


I have been eyeing off the iPhone app market since it first happened but just been too snowed under with other projects to do anything about it. I made the original version in flash back in 2001 (it was the first game I made in flash) so it seems appropriate that it should be the first thing to be ported to the iPhone.

Hopefully people are into it. I have lost track of how many million times it has been played since it was first released and if just  a small percentage of them go for the iPhone version I've got a swag of other game ideas to follow up with. I've been bottling them up for the last few years now and I'd love to spend a bit of time bringing them all to life.  If this idea excites you as much as it excites me... then get along to the app store now and buy yourself a copy of pearls (even if you dont own an iPhone)

And finally... Hooray for Bart Pindor who did all the recoding to get it up and running on the iPhone. Without a bit of external motivation and coaxing from him it might never have happened.

20 September 2010

Nati Frinj Festival

Ive just been setting up a blog to help promote the upcoming 2011 Nati Frinj Festival and thought while I had the embed vid code in my copy buffer I might as well put it up here too.

The show "Space and Place" was performed on the side of the Natimuk silos as part of the 2004 Nati Frinj Festival. Y-space did the aerial performance and Transience (mostly me) did the animation. I know these days every other building you see has got some sort video installation taking place on the side of it but back in 2004 when we did this I think it was at least vaguely innovative. Also I think the combination of aerial performance and video projection is a niche that still has a lot of potential. We are hoping to develop a new Silos show for the 2011 festival but it is still very much "funding pending" at the moment. Ive got a whole lot of new ideas Im pretty excited about....just need a few dollars to make it all happen.

Also of note...this is the show that inspired the"silo" scene in the Rhyme of The Ancient Merino.

I have been involved in a few other projection type shows as well...I will try and get myself organised to finds some links to a few of these also.

16 August 2010

goats on the silos..at night..in the cold

Another Merino update...just some raw stills at the moment...these shots are going to need a fair bit of post work to remove all the people before they are usable. I carefully took a clean plate of each of these shots but because of the spotlight and shadows cast its not as simple as just "cutting out the people".

We filmed these bits a little while ago at the local grain silo (mostly). Some shots were done with a green screen but, where possible, Ive tried use the actual silos. All had to be done at night...was bitterly cold....and needed lots of helping hands to pull these shots off (thankyou Paul, Doug, Greg, Jac, Kate, Calum, Hannah, Mary, Lynne, Tash).  I really hope I've got everything I need here. I do not want to go through all that again (or put anyone else through it).

For all the potential for stuff to go badly wrong...there weren't that many complete disasters...a couple of expensive bulbs blown. And one puppet dropped from about 10 meters up the silos and smashed to a thousand bits...I'm getting used to completely reassembling them so this was just a one day set back (luckily nobody was underneath it when it happened.)

GrainCorp who own the silos were very generous and very good about letting me access the silos, hang the puppets off them and use their power for the lighting. Thankyou.

07 July 2010

The Rhyme of the Ancient Merino

Just a quick one.

Here are a few more stills from the film.

I will try and get a bit more "making off" stuff up soon but Im more focussed on just trying to make the film at the moment.

And I'm having (another) exhibition of the puppets props, sets, bits and bobs soon at the Horsham Regional Art Gallery.  I'm not sure about the date for it yet ... but when I find out I'll be sure to post it up here.  

09 June 2010

Wimmera CMA ads

Still plodding along with the Merino film and the Yallourn book.....slowly but surely.

Meanwhile here is a series of stop mo ads I did for the Wimmera Catchment Authority a while ago to promote awareness of the Wimmera River. There hasn't been a heap of rain up here of late and the river that used to be quite a focal point for the population has become more of a series of salty ponds. Last year was the first time in a decade that the river had actually flowed. So the ads were about getting people to remember what it was and not to give up on it just because its going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment. Amazingly enough a lot of river life has managed to hang on somehow in those isolated pockets of salty water... biding its time till the river flows again.

Jacqui Schultz collected all the interviews from locals reminiscing about the river, most of the models were made by local paper maché genius Mary French (I made the Egret and the Water skimmer) and the sound design was all done by David Franzke. Most of the interviews were recorded at the Wimmera field day and Jac did a great job grabbing little pearls of wisom with a minimum of background chatter. I think my favourite voice was the muscle at the end of the second ad. He was a truck driver who Jac just managed to nab at the end of the day and as son as I heard the voice I just knew he was going to be a muscle in the mud at the bottom of the river.

For the third ad (with the tree) I did the stop-motion component all in one horrific 30 hour stint as I had to leave immediately after that for a few days. I literally got up one morning worked all day, all night, finished the shot the next morning walked out, hopped in the car and drove off (was driven rather) for a few days not knowing if the whole thing was a complete disaster that would all need to be re-shot.

Wimmera CMA 1.

Wimmera CMA 2.

Wimmera CMA 3.

18 May 2010

let them eat cake

Here's another chunk of animation from the Rhyme Of the Ancient Merino.

Most of this will likely not make it through to the final edit but I thought it made a nice little clip in its own right.

let them eat cake

This was all done with actual cake (not the easiest of stuff to animate with). I managed to score these after the Centenary Ball for the Natimuk town hall and what you see here absolutely pales in comparison to the actual spread. I mananged to get shots of a couple of tables groaning with the good stuff before the hoardes descended upon them.

My daughters were delighted when I turned up with the box full of left over cakes ... and then appalled when I announced I was going to feed them all to the goats. Lucky for them ...and me, there was still plenty of cake left for everyone after the shot.

26 April 2010

In My Day

On a completely different topic... here is a film I made this back in 2005, working with the kids at Natimuk primary school. The older kids did the interviewed some of the older people in the town and then the prep/grade one kids illustrated the stories. The interviews were actually done in the same old school building that they had done their schooling in some 70 years prior.
All of the drawings were done by the the kids ... I talked to them a bit about walk cycles, lip sync etc and then they interpreted that just as loosely as they did the interview material.

I was surprised and delighted when this film went on to win "Best Animation" at the Melbourne Film Festival that year and "Best Australian Animation" at the Melbourne Animation Festival the next.

I love the drawings of kids at the age where they've just mastered the use of a pencil. They always seem to produce these very raw, very honest, very original designs. It seems that once they get a little bit older and develop a little bit more control over a pencil, the drawings start to become a lot more derivative. You start to see lots of Bart Simpsons, Spongebobs or whatever else happens to be on telly at the time. But right at the start, when they're just getting the hang of it all, they seem to consistently come out with these amazing drawings. I've made about 5 films in this style across the country and it seems to be the case everywhere. 5 year old kids do great stuff.

I have been meaning to upload for years now... And when I get a chance I'll upload some of the other films in this series.


 Here is a short clip from the film. It's only been roughly composited at the moment... Im hoping to go through and get the whole film done to this level and then come back and do a second pass to clean it all up.  So please try and ignore all the glaring background issues and just be happy that this goat is managing to hoist an actual piano up on his wee tiny thin legs.

If this video embed business isn't working for you ...
Here is the link (http://www.vimeo.com/11223027).

25 April 2010


While Im in blogging mode I thought I might as well put up a few more merino piccies...with a few behind the scenes shots too.

Here are a couple of shots from the piano scene. Yes it is a real piano and yes it was bloody heavy. It has been partially gutted (courtesy of Erik Pootjes) but it still weighs a lot and made me nervous whenever I was lying underneath it. Here's a couple of raw shots with all the green screen stuff still in place.
 That's Erik on the left and Doug Hockly in the extremely fetching leopard skin pants on the right (this scene was film in Doug & Tash's shed).

You can see a rope fixed to the top of it....this runs up over a pulley and then down to a 44 gallon drum chock full of weights to try act as a counter balance. So it was possible for one person to move it up and down without having to actually lift the weight of the piano.

As you can see...terrible, terrible green screens....but luckily for me I'm working with very monotone models....sometimes it has been easier to key out the brown models rather than the background and then invert the matte.

An animator friend of mine (Al MacInnes) on seeing this commented that he thought the whole point of animation was so people didn't actually have to lift real pianos anymore...

I'm going to attempt upload some actual animated footage soon and will post again when I manage to do this.

the Wheeler Centre

I spent the weekend down in Melbourne at the Wheeler Centre
where they were having a conference of sorts on graphic novels. I couldn't tell you specifically what I learned but I heard some interesting ideas, saw some nice work I hadnt seen before, met some great people and above all came away completely inspired and fired up about my "Yallourn:Decommissioned" project.

So here are a few more Decommissioned images to celebrate that.

These are just attempts to work out how stuff might look....so do expect to see any of them exactly like this in the finished work.

At the moment I'm really just trying to get the story structure nailed so I've stopped making pretty pictures for the time being. I suspect my next Decommissioned post will be a bunch of rough sketches and footnotes.

Thank you for a good time Wheeler Centre... and great to see you getting behind graphic-novels/comics/etc as a valid form of literature.

15 January 2010

Lighting tests

Here's a couple of shots of the models before the filming starts in earnest. These are just lighting tests really.

Making a bird

A couple of shots here of the bird model from the Merino film. This is by far the smallest of the models (being a life-sized crow as opposed to a life-sized sheep or goat).

You can see it here ... in construction (before the feathers have been added to the PVC pipe and armature wire skeleton)

Here it is all feathered up (it could maybe do with a a few more on the wings).

And, finally, here it is being held by Lani in a high-tech, green-screen suit that will allow it to be seamlessly comped into whatever background we choose. Fancy!