Saturday, 31 December 2011

'Get to zeee chaaaappa!!!'

, once bellowed a famous mayor.

Here is the finished helicopter paint job for Lauren Knight's 4th Year film, Brain Damage. The model was built by Finlay Pearson. I'm planning on adding a bump map to sink in some of the cracks, and the final lighting will more than likely be flat to ensure the 3D fits with Lauren's art style. I'll also comp it into a scene to give an idea of how it may fit in the final film.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sunset Squad Artwork & Flyboy Ident

Sorry for the severe lack of updates. My whole summer was spent slaving and slavering over my 7,000 word on sexual perversions. Thankfully I exited summer and entered 4th Year unscathed and in one piece.

Speaking of 4th Year - our project, 'Ticked Off' is taking up all of our time at the moment. I'll find some time to upload textured models to our group blog this weekend.

In the meantime here's 2 recent pieces of work I've completed: Sunset Squad artwork for their new 7", and an IDent for Flyboy.

Untitled from Mark Grossi on Vimeo.


Thursday, 30 June 2011

'Monsters under the bed' credit sequence

This is the credit sequence I made for John Fairfield's excellent (very) short film, 'Monsters under the bed'.

I had to drop the quality as the final file was the size of a Soviet housing block.

'Monsters under the bed' credit sequence from Mark Grossi on Vimeo.


Saturday, 25 June 2011

E4 esting entry!

Tom Paxton and myself collaborated on this wee entry for the E4 esting competition. I handled the animation and he mashed up the sounds.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Layout concept idea

I was met with a considerably less than auspicious start to the day as the washing machine decided to shrink my already tight jeans to the blood flow stopping tightness of bulldog wedging its head in a stair gate. They are now property of Lynne.

On a more fortuitous note, a day of reclusive behaviour allowed me to work on Finlay's ambient occluded (is that even a term?) test room.

Its by no means finished just yet, but it gives an indication of what the room COULD look like when textured in this manner. Of course, we'd have proper light sources, different structures and paraphernalia lying around.

I'll continue this tomorrow and post a new version in good time.

Any feedback, comments, or jeans donations would be appreciated.


Saturday, 28 May 2011

New texture for 'Ticked Off'.

Things have been a bit quiet on the 4th Year project of late. With Kieran, Finlay and myself all helping out on 4th Year Degree films over the last month, our own project (unintentionally) took a back seat.

Returning to it with fresh eyes allowed us to re-write some of the script and re-think and flesh out more character designs, character background and story changes.

With so many alterations and additions, the overall 'style' began to meander once more. This has given myself a chance to yet again try out a different but similar style.
We were wanting to keep the stylisation of Samurai Jack, Giorgio De Cherico and the Lucas Arts games, but really add a Team Fortress style painterly texture. From the offset, we never wanted 'defined' textures to represent out models; instead gravitating more towards an art style than a construction style.

An afternoon of trial, error and coffee lead me to this finished piece. I see it as a combination of all our ideas from back in January. Hopefully this encompasses all the traits we've been looking for but not looking too chirpy or cartoony nor too grim or graphic novelesque. I've also built and UV'd a simple3D table to stick this texture onto. The boy Finnigan and myself will be testing out lighting, etc on the said table this weekend.

Stay tuned.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Monsters under the bed!!!

I've recently been asked by John Fairfield ( )to design a credit sequence for his 2 minute short, 'Monsters under the bed'.

He wanted a selection of monsters to punctuate each section. I've scanned in my preliminary ideas/sketches and a few final versions (along with the backdrop design). Thankfully my drawing skills are akin to that of a crayon toting, pencil scrawling child champion, so I took to this like a homeless seal to a fish supper.

The animation should be finished around next week at some point.


Thursday, 12 May 2011


I've been rather lax on sketchbook attention of late, so here are a couple of freshly scanned pages.

Loads of updates involving more sketches, texturing and AE work in the next coming week and a half.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

FX test for Reece

Reece wanted the ape's feet to emit a paint/ink style effect. I'd initially tried using a more slithery ink look, but Reece felt that a more painterly 'splodge' would be more effective.

Here's a test for it. We're going to opt for slower forming paint in the final one.


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Building and Sky textures

So we're coming very close to a style that we all agree upon.

The buildings will be less stylised and more uniform, with the textures for them being either painterly or slightly grimy.

Next step is to apply this style to Finlay's 3D buildings and objects and engage in some lighting and rendering malarkey with Kieran.

The concept piece above is using one of my more recent sketches (hence why it isn't as stylised as the others). I think that the painted white and blue lashings of sky is pretty much bang on to what we all envisioned.


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Friday, 1 April 2011

More Concept Art pt 2



It's reached the point where I have to expound my art, film, literature, drug and pet influences.

Film and literature has more often than not played a huge role in the way I approach my animation and art.

Videodrome, Blade Runner, Alien, Dune and Jason & The Argonauts were the films that snared my interest in special effects, movies and animations when I was 6/7 years old.

The imagination, style and sheer inimitable charm of Harryhausen's stop motion in J&TA was so enchanting and creative. So much so that I used to cry when Talos' Achilles heal was breached. What made them so appealing was not just the wild, spectacular design of the mythological creatures such as the Harpies, Medusa et al, but the way he managed to effortlessly flesh out the characters' personalities, traits and mannerisms by using such an eclectic & exaggerated selection of animations; from the rickety, sneaky skeletons to the erratically violent flapping and diving of the Harpies.

The work of David Cronenberg (who my dissertation is partly focused on) inspired me from such a young age. His films always fascinated me more than any others. Perhaps it was because his work was so self aware that no matter how absurd the plot of Rabid may be or the ending to Scanners, he manages to convince you and make it unsettling (and with his use of really dark comedic undertones and social commentaries). With the ambiguity in his films steeped in Surrealism and Burroughs, and the duplicity of Film Noir, Cronenberg's work was even more cerebral than it was visceral. The Mcluhan inspired theme in his older work of the effect of technology on organic life still tickles my brain to this day; and with the intense rise in technology of recent times, Cronenberg's work is timeless.

Bladerunner introduced me to Philip K Dick. His novels are still (if not MORE) frighteningly relevant today. My 3rd Year project was inspired by 'The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch'.

Ridley Scott's concept art and final environment designs are revolutionary and were heavily inspired by genius French artist Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) who incidentally helped with design in Dune and worked with Giger on Alien. Both of these artists' work (especially Giger) play on the Cronenbergian theme of the effect of technology on organic life but with sometimes more extreme religious connotations and symbolism - very unsettling by making the familiar unfamiliar.

Other influences of mine are Henry Fuseli, Bosch, Yoshitaka Amano. 3 incredible painters. Swiss born Romantic painter Fuseli's dark satirical paintings have long been a source of inspiration. His love for painting fabulously exaggerated scenes from Greek mythology and famous literature is what attracted me to his work. One could argue that his style gave birth to stylised character design - exaggerated muscles, block shading and angular lines. This may also have been a clever social commentary, as the end of the 18th century saw the beginning of the rise in consumerism; with men spending more time and money on clothes, make up, frivolous belongings and materialistic possessions.

I was introduced to Amano's slick, dark work in the anime adaption of the Vampire Hunter D manga. His Klimt esque style fused with gothic and Japanese culture has seen him collaborate with Neil Gaiman, SNK and Square.

Others more than worthy of a mention are illustrators James Jean, Dave Cooper & Erica Eyres. Also, The Chapman Brothers and the late, great Henry Darger.
They're just a few of the incredible people who inspire me. I constantly look for new music, art, animation and literature to hopefully find new ideas or old ideals re-invented.


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Concept art for Lauren

Lauren is currently (excuse the pun) 'fleshing out' a gratuitous zombie splatter extravaganza for her 4th Year piece.

Her style is incredible - think Tank Girl meets Metal Gear Solid. She asked me to design a 3D plane to be duplicated for the outside airport scene.

I kept the geometry low in the model, feigned a toon shade / cell style using a ramp shader, some tinkering and a vector texture, then throwing it into Photoshop to add some added grit.

Here are 2 slight variants.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

More Concept Art

Here are a couple of new concept art pieces.

As I mentioned in the last post, Samurai Jack has been a huge influence on us. It really was one of the few cartoons (possibly even programmes) that managed to beautifully gel high art, comedy, sincerity & compelling storytelling.

The style is certainly one which I'm not used to designing; my work is mostly inspired by darker, gloomier films, literature and art. However, this departure allows for all new experimentation and its something Finlay, Kieran and myself are really looking forward to getting our teeth into.

I'll post a breakdown of how I designed, coloured and textured these for those who are interested.

The next step will be to apply this to our 3D models. I've been trying out texture tests on a plane for Lauren's project (which I'll post up soon also).


Thursday, 17 March 2011

New Concept Art

Here are a couple of new concept pieces for our 4th Year film. We've been watching a lot of Samurai Jack re-runs of late, along with a brilliant Danish students' short animation, 'The Saga Of Biorn.'

We still want to retain the isolated atmosphere of The Shadow Of The Colossus and the dauntingly angular angles of Giorgio De Chirico's work, but fuse it with a colourful palette and slick textures so that we have plenty to play with in post-production.


Rango vs Django

Ok, he's no Franco Nero, but the Don Quixote-esque Rango is quite the unexpected is the film and everything about it. Countless Leone references, really invective, despicable bad guys, and plenty of brilliant jokes.

However, the visuals are something else to behold. The textures, environment, effects and colours are incredible; words honestly can't do them justice. The creatures are as beautifully gritty and ugly as the cast of Once Upon A Time In The West and animate as convincingly as actors move in a Terry Gilliam film.

It is a must see.


Friday, 28 January 2011

4th Year Project

......and so it begins: our first steps into a year and a half of perpetual mental Maya torture.

I'm working with Kieran Duncan ( on an idea which we've spent the last few weeks fleshing out. It began with us considering doing our own take and re-imagining of the classic Sci-Fi short story, 'Time Enough at Last', by Lyn Venable. However, it began to take its own shape and transformed into an original idea that we're both extremely proud of.

Here is the synopsis and some early concept art.

"A young inventor sits aggravated and dumbfounded at his faltering time machine. His continuing attempts at success seem futile. He places his watch into the machine, throws the switch , resulting in a fantastic explosion of light that fills the room...

However, as the dust settles, he finds that the watch remains on the time machine's platform seemingly untouched. Indignant, he furiously and repeatedly cranks the massive lever activating the machine over and over before collapsing - defeated - in his chair with a mug of tea.

In a last ditch attempt, he grabs the watch, pulls the lever, and slips through the doors into the chamber. He watches in amazement as the world around him rips apart into infinite expanse, before reforming before his eyes.

He slams back into reality, stumbling off the platform onto his knees. Staring at the ground confounded, he finds himself surrounded by watches… all of them identical to his own.

Perplexed, he stands up to find himself in the same room, although not all is what it seems: the d├ęcor diminished, neglected and dusty… As if hundreds of years have passed.

The time machine emits a lonely spark as it lies destroyed behind him; he’s trapped in the future.

After climbing the rotting stairs, the inventor steps out of the doorframe and into the outside world, only to be confronted by a vast, barren landscape; the remnants of his former city, now a desert wasteland.

He wanders aimlessly through the city streets looking for any signs of life. Suddenly, a loud clang echoes from the distance. He spots the figure of a man through the dust rummaging in a pile of scrap.

Shouting, he walks towards the figure. The man flees, tearing through the city streets and down alleyways. A chase ensues, culminating in the exasperated inventor tackling the man; wrestling him to the ground.

He turns him over onto his back and recoils in horror as he sees himself staring back. Standing up, he’s surrounded by duplicates of himself seemingly non-phased at his presence. One of them pats a chair - inviting the inventor to take a seat.

In the background, several other clones are building what seems to be another time machine.

Present Day: The inventor sits down once again at his desk frustrated, with a cup of tea. He’ll try again tomorrow."