This page showcases various animation projects. Please click on the thumbnails to view larger images.
2009: Solar System (Animated Fly-through)
The following is a NASA inspired animated fly-through of the solar system I created in 2009 as a personal project using the now old software 3D Studio Max 3. The 3D modelling and animation was created myself. Some texture maps were also created myself and others downloaded from JHT's Planetary Pixel Emporium: http://planetpixelemporium.com
2005: Ben Joel - Instrumental
In 2005 I worked collaboratively with well-known Western Australian artist Ben Joel creating digital versions of his artworks - in the form of two 3D animated films and a number of prints. These were displayed at the John Curtin Gallery as part of Ben Joel’s exhibition ‘Instrumental’, on display 16th September - 9th December 2005.
The thumbnails to the left illustrate the comparison between the original artworks and the 3D versions. Displayed are both the original artworks from which the 3D versions derive and a screenshot from each of the 3D animated films. The top row displays the painting ‘Gracie’ and a frame from ‘Gracie At Large’ - which is a three and a half minute seamless film loop that is intended to play continuously. The bottom row displays the painting ‘Breeder’ and a frame from ‘Breeder At Large’ - this film being a two minute seamless film loop.
The thumbnails below are prints that appeared in the exhibition (the last three being omitted from the exhibition due to space constraints). The first four ‘Gracie Inner Life’ prints are actually printed frames from the ‘Gracie At Large’ film. ‘Gracie Intersect’ and the remaining digital hybrid prints captures 2D meeting with the 3D - symbolic of the project as a whole.
The following is a description of Ben Joel’s ‘Instrumental’ exhibition:
Over the past decade Ben Joel has run his interest in digital and painted images in tandem, with frequent merging and interconnections. The ability to generate and/or hybridise digital with physical images has been instrumental in his most recent experiments exploring the visual, musical and structural possibilities of his paintings. This is an interesting cohesion of a variety of elements.
To view more of Ben Joel’s artworks (many of which were in the exhibition), please visit his website: http://www.benjoel.com.au
2002-2003: Lech, Czech & Rus
As detailed in the Research section of this website, I completed a 100,000 word dissertation entitled ‘An Approach to Independent 3D Animation Production’ completed as part of Bachelor of Arts in Design, which received 1st Class Honours.
In addition to the theoretical component, the Honours project included a practical component which involved the planning, development and creation of a presentable prototype of a pilot, the first episode of a proposed animated series.
The series concept is entitled ‘Legenda: The Realm of Eastern European Legend’, a definitive anthology of Eastern European legend in chronological order. The pilot episode is entitled ‘Lech, Czech & Rus’, the first episode of series one, which will focus on Polish legends. ‘Lech, Czech & Rus’ is a story about the three brothers who founded three Slavic peoples; the Poles, the Czechs and the Russians respectively. I chose to animate the Polish version of the legend (other versions include Czech, Croatian and possibly Russian).
The images displayed at the top of this project section are a few of the many 3D modelled natural outdoor environments created for the film. Displayed directly below are still images from the first part of the ‘Lech, Czech & Rus’ film.
The following are some animation tests created during the production stage of the pilot episode 'Lech, Czech & Rus':
The following is the presentable prototype of the pilot episode 'Lech, Czech & Rus':
The following is the script I prepared that my narrator and historical adviser Longin Szymanski used in the film. I believe this to be a very acceptable version of the ‘Lech, Czech & Rus’ tale:
Lech, Czech & Rus
Around one and a half thousand years ago during the great Slavic mass migrations, around the same time when Barbarian tribes invaded Europe from the east and the Roman Empire had already perished, three heroic brothers were travelling westwards through Eastern Europe towards the land that is now known as Poland. Their names were Lech, Czech and Rus. They were brave leaders of their Slavic tribe, in search of a permanent homeland.
One day after tireless travelling, when the day was coming to an end, the three brothers and their tribe decided to settle for the night in a clear area not far from a forest.
The three brothers were hungry, as was the rest of their tribe, and after hearing an animal noise coming from the forest, Lech and his brothers decided to venture into the forest to try to find something to eat.
The three brothers sank deeper and deeper into the woods until they came across a dead end. Suddenly, a noise of a bird filled the forest. Looking at the direction from where the noise came, Lech noticed that light was peering through the trees. Following the light, the three brothers were lead to a clearing within the forest. Among the tall grass of that clearing was a great big wide oak.
Within its branches, there was a nest of beautiful baby white eagles. Lech, becoming overwhelmed with joy, said to his brothers “I have never seen such a majestic place in my whole entire life.” As Lech approached the great oak, he ordered one of his brothers to remove one of the baby eagles from the nest and pass it to him.
Lech looked at the baby white eagle with pride as he held it in his hand against the wonderful colour of the sky, which was red from the setting sun.
After Rus had put the small eagle back, its mother came to feed its young and perched proudly at its nest. It was at this time Lech decided to make the decision to stay here with his part of the tribe. “This is the place I will end my journey my brothers”, he said. “I will stay here with my part of the tribe, and our symbol will be a noble white eagle on a red background!”
The two other brothers, Czech and Rus, decided to keep travelling and settle elsewhere. At daybreak they said their final farewells to Lech, and moved on. Along the way, Czech decided to travel southwards, and Rus decided to travel eastwards.
Lech was the first person to establish a dukedom on the soil that is now Poland. He built a grand fortification around his settlement which was based around what is called the ‘Hill of Lech’. He named his settlement ‘Gniezno’ which means eagle’s nest, from the white eagles he found there, on that fateful day. Gniezno later became the first capital of Poland and it is thought that the Poles are the decendents of Lech and his part of the tribe.
Meanwhile, Czech and Rus also settled in places they liked with their parts of the tribe. From these two brothers came the two peoples that neighbour Poland. The Czechs to the south and the Russians to the East.
It is fact that Poland was known as Lechistan by the Turks or ‘the country of Lech’. It is also true that the Muscovites often called the Poles ‘Lachi’ and throughout the rest of ancient Europe, the inhabitants of Lech’s Dukedom were known as ‘Lechites’. The original name for the Polish gentry was ‘Lechici’, and the commoners were known as ‘Kmiecie’. The Lechici’s descendant’s were later known as ‘z Lechcicow’ or ‘from the gentry’. This term later evolved into the word ‘Szlachta’, which is used today.
If you ever happen to visit a certain part of Wielkopolska in Poland, you will find, in a forest, three grand old trees given the names Lech, Czech and Rus, to honour the heroic brothers who planted the seeds of three proud Slavic peoples.
For an extensive illustrated overview of the pre-production, production and post-production of the ‘Lech, Czech & Rus’ film please visit my Honours Project website: http://www.andrzejb.net/honours
2001: Smok Wawelski - The Legend of the Wawel Dragon
This was my 3rd year university Multimedia Major project which was part of my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Multimedia Design. The project was to create an easy to understand, educational 3D animated short film about the famous Polish legend ‘Smok Wawelski - The Legend of the Wawel Dragon’.
My aim was to use 3D animation to tell the famous Polish legend as close as possible to the original storyline which will give both entertainment and information to an audience, who should gain knowledge of the story and acquire greater understanding of Poland’s rich folklore, history and culture.
This film was part of the ‘Showreel’ nominated for Best Animation & New Media in the 15th Film & Television Institute (FTI) WA Screen Awards in 2002.
The images displayed at the top of this project section are selected still images from the ‘Smok Wawelski’ film. Displayed directly to the left are images of the 3D modelled characters.
The following is the script I prepared that my narrator and historical adviser Longin Szymanski used in the film. I believe this to be a very acceptable version of the ‘Smok Wawelski’ tale:
Smok Wawelski - The Legend of the Wawel Dragon
Once upon a time, many centuries ago where the city of Kraków now is in Poland, there lived in a cave at the foot of Wawel Hill under Wawel castle, a most horrible fire-belching dragon.
His name was to become The Dragon of Wawel.
The Dragon slew the innocent towns-people, and devoured their grazing cattle in nearby meadows. Nobody could stop the dragon and prevent his hideous deeds.
King Krak, The King of Kraków, desperately worried by the tragic situation in the city, promised whoever could slay the dragon would, as a reward, marry his daughter and sit on his throne after his death.
In vain the bravest knights and other contenders tried to kill the creature. But even before they could draw their swords, they too were destroyed by the flames of this horrible beast!
The King gave himself up to despair, while the king’s daughter wrung her head in her hands as she could not expect to ever be married. But, one day a poor but valiant shoe-maker named Skuba hit upon a brilliant idea.
After spying on the dragon, Skuba saw that it would eat almost anything. After much thinking and experimentation, he decided that he would use all his skills to prepare a special meal for the dragon by stuffing a ram with sulphur and tar. He then quickly placed this specially prepared ram at the cave’s entrance and ran to a safe hiding place.
After waking up and being hungry for breakfast, the dragon came out of its cave, and looked at what he thought was a nice tidbit. He greedily then gobbled the treacherous gift up in the twinkling of an eye.
The dragon’s throat burned from the sulfer and tar, so he ran to the nearby Wisła river for relief. The dragon gulped down so much water that he burst with a great bang, thus setting the town and the surrounding countryside free from its grip of terror.
The town was saved! And as promised Skuba married the King’s daughter and the pair lived happily ever after...
People say that dragons do not exist and are merely products of human imagination... But I would not be so sure about The Dragon of Wawel. If you ever happen to visit Kraków, go to the dragon’s cave at the Wawel Castle and listen carefully to the whispers and voices of the old walls... Perhaps they will tell you the truth about their notorious companion.
1996-1997: Bobtales - Meeak Mia (The Moon’s Cave)
In 1996 I conducted credited work for Gripping Films & Graphics as a trainee animator performing 2D computer animation on ‘Bobtales’ - a television series on Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime stories.
The animation was carried out on the Amiga computer, the imagery being based on children’s illustrations of each story. The episode I worked on is entitled ‘Meeak Mia (The Moon’s Cave)’, a Western Australian Noongar Aboriginal Dreamtime story that gives a mythical explanation of how the moon came to be in the sky.
Completed in 1997, the series was first screened in Australia on SBS Television in 1998 and has been screened internationally in countries such as Taiwan and Norway. Included in my Honours Project dissertation is a case study on the selling and financing of the Bobtales series (see Chapter 5.11). To view the illustrated on-line version of the dissertation please visit my Honours Project website: http://www.andrzejb.net/honours
The following is a brief story outline based upon the Bobtales episode:
Meeak Mia (The Moon’s Cave)
A long, long time ago, there lived the moon in a cave on top of a hill. The moon could see down into the valley below, but he could not get out of the cave. He watched the Noongar people, who where free to travel back and forth. They seemed to be having a good time moving about and playing.
This made the moon restless. He wanted to be free to roam about too. He used to stare at the rocky walls and try to think of a way to get out. He thought and thought all the time longing for freedom.
One day his need to get out became too great for him to bare. He gathered all his strength together, then he ran up the wall of the cave and pushed hard against the rock, trying to break out but it did not work.
Next, he flung himself against the roof. He flung himself so hard that the rocks gave way and the moon went right through the roof. Higher and higher the moon went until he reached the stars. When he finally stopped he looked about. All around him was open space. There were no walls to hold him. He was truly free. With joy in his heart he set off to enjoy his new place and made friends with the stars. Today the moon still lives amongst the stars and he still roams back and forth across the sky.
The Noongar people say that the handprints that the moon made as he pushed his way out of the cave can still be seen on the cave wall, and on the roof of the cave is a jagged outline that looks like the shape of the moon.