Cat Abbott's Blog

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By The Way October 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — catabbott @ 1:54 pm

New posts will be made here.


Photographing my Props October 5, 2011

Filed under: Specialist Project — catabbott @ 5:52 pm

Today I set up a small green screen in my room to photograph the props that I have made for my animations.




Cheeky Trip to London September 30, 2011

Filed under: Trips — catabbott @ 10:57 pm

I went up to London today to meet a friend from college. We decided that we wanted some free but interesting things to do, after taking a wander around Southbank we headed over to the museums.

First of all we went to the V&A, we went to an exhibition called ‘Power of Making‘ and it featured a whole host of randomly collated things. There was some quite interesting things like a terrifyingly realistic baby doll, a giant wooden robot and some crazy shoes. The one thing that stuck out most for me though was a dress. It was a piece called ‘QR U?’ and it’s definitely something that I now want to look in to and make something to do with.

Created by Thorunn Arnadottir, the dress was made for a singer and features a number of different QR codes that link to different parts of the singer’s website.

QR Code Dress

This is something that I want to incorporate into a future project, or something to even make in my spare time as work towards a new portfolio.

Afterwards we went over to the Science Museum to look at the ‘Player Festival’. It was described on the website as the ‘Ultimate Live Gaming Experience’ so I was quite interested to see what it was all about. However, upon arrival it seemed to be an exhibition where the most exciting stuff happened after hours. Not to say it was bad, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had (whatever they may have been), the only part that seemed to be open was an FPS game, the idea being that you had to get from one side of the room to the other without being shot at.

I spoke to one of the guys who were in charge of the exhibition to find out how they were doing it. He said they were using Adobe Director and a series of sensors and projectors and they had used characters from Quake2. It was quite a clever idea, but I think that it probably could have been executed in a slightly more exciting way, for example, creating an environment for people to interact with when hiding from the characters. The room was completely black with about 10 screens hanging from the ceiling, one for each of the characters, but other than that there was nothing else there. Perhaps a few made up crates or ‘bullet holed’ walls to hide behind whilst waiting for the characters to turn around might make it a bit more exciting.

Overall it was a pretty good trip, and we went to a good frozen yoghurt place in Angel afterwards.


Making Things September 29, 2011

Filed under: Specialist Project — catabbott @ 5:05 pm



A selection of the props that I have finished so far:

Picnic Basket

Beach Huts

Car parts; inside of doors, rear view window, front window & dashboard
(I still plan on adding a steering wheel and dials to the dashboard)

The Pier

Origami Seagulls

I have also been down to the beach and taken some quick reference photos of the landscapes for when it comes to making my sand and sea compositions so I know what angles I need to shoot from and to make them to.

Beach Huts

Deck Chairs

From The Pier

Towards Pier

Towards Sea



Todays Efforts September 22, 2011

Filed under: Specialist Project — catabbott @ 9:29 pm

Today I painted my small pier railings, made some origami birds, painted the picnic basket and made and painted the main pier. I still need to finish my beach huts but I’ve run out of tea stirrers so I can’t do that for the moment.


Making My Props

Filed under: Specialist Project — catabbott @ 11:15 am

On Monday I started making my props for the animations. I made a deckchair, plasticine fish & chips and plasticine armbands & goggles. I also started on a few other things. I had finished two of my beach huts, started my picnic basket and the car interiors.

The frame of my deckchair

Railings for a Pier close up (need to be painted)

The start of my beach huts

L – R: Two finished beach huts, finished deck chair & started picnic basket

Today I will continue to finish the items that I have started making (the car interiors and the picnic basket). Hopefully I can also get a few more things made during the day, with the aim of photographing them all this evening.


A Little More Research September 17, 2011

Filed under: Specialist Project — catabbott @ 12:55 am

This afternoon I popped in to Uni to take a little trip to the library. My plan was to look for books that could be of use to my dissertation topic but instead I found some books that will help with my animations.

The first one I came across was ‘Designing Sound for Animation’ by Robin Beauchamp. from this I found some useful, quite obvious, tips that I had not really thought about such as the recording rates and how sound influences an audience’s perception of time and emotion. ‘Many of the Disney animations use a narrator to deliver the opening prolog, establishing a storybook quality of the film’.

I also found a useful list of the things to look out for when recording dialogue, as I will be for my narration. I have chosen to make note of it as I will be recording my story within the next month.

  • Sibilance creates hissing sounds and can detract from reading when emphasised. Using the microphone above or to the side can reduce this effect.
  • Plosives produce a rapid release of air and can produce wind distortion. Can be avoided by backing away from the microphone.
  • Proximity Effect from being to close to the microphone. This can emphasise the bass of the voice and creates a boom that is lacking in clarity.
  • Nerve Related Problems. Anxiety signs including exaggerated breathing, hurried reading and glottal shocks can affect the quality of the read.
  • Lip and Tongue Clacks occur when the mouth is dry whilst reading and will create a harsh and unpleasant sound.
  • Cloth and Jewellery Sounds will occur as the voice actor shifts their weight, it is best to avoid wearing jewellery altogether as some microphones can also pick up the sound of a watch ticking.
  • Phase Issues. When the voice reflects off of the script or a stand it creates a hollow or synthetic sounding voice.
  • Handling Noise is when the reader is allowed to hold the microphone, slight sounds can occur when the holder repositions their hand or fidgets slightly.
I will ensure that I keep these things in mind when I am recording my story, and explain them to my narrator as well to try and avoid them as much as possible. This will mean that my recording is clear and concise without having to cause too much editing. I also need to record ambient sounds for the different animations as these will help to establish realism for the audience and make it a little more interesting for the younger children.
I then had a flick through Barry J. C. Purves’ ‘Stop Motion Passion, Process and Performance’. I found a useful quote within this that stop motion needs to have ‘texture, richness, space, depth, movement, shadow, lighting and physicality’. I also found a few of the influences for his own work and had a look into those.
The first is Lotte Reiniger, a German silhouette animator. Her work is comprised of silhouette puppets, there is a great deal of detail within her work and I like the vast contrast between the foreground and the background. I think that this is something I will experiment with when making my stop motions; having the fore- and midground stages fully visible but the backgrounds slightly ‘washed out’. I will try it out on a selection of shots but it may not work on all of them so it may not be something that I use.
Hansel and Gretel – Lotte Reiniger
Whilst reading up on Reiniger I came across Georges Melies, a French filmmaker who was known to be quite innovative in special effects. When I looked up his work I came across the reason why I recognised his name, a short film called ‘Le Voyage Dans La Lune’ (A Trip To The Moon), which I have come across when doing research for previous college projects.
Les Voyage Dans La Lune – Georges Melies
The other influence of Purves’ that I looked into was Michel Ocelot and in particular I looked at his short film (made using stop motion techniques) ‘Les Trois Inventeurs’ (The Three Inventors). The intricate style of the paper is something that I find very interesting, it makes me want to replan my whole project and do it with paper (although I won’t, I’m not very good with scissors so will probably make it look hideous). It would be fun to experiment with but I think it may be too complex a style to fit in with everything else that I am making for this project.
Les Trois Inventeurs – Michel Ocelot