Monthly Archives: January 2014

iCollab Map and Hilbre Island Video

I must admit I had forgotten to go and comment on the students work on the iCollab map.  But now I’m glad I did as it cheered me up, it’s been kind of an odd day today with one thing and another.  I clicked on Mr David Renton’s sunscreen 2013 and got to add my own little bit of Hilbre Island wisdom, which in turn reminded me of a little film I made ages ago and have forgotten to upload! More of that later, I clicked through the students and must admit as I was tired tonight, I only clicked on students with website links. However I found an intriguing game on Edward Mc Evoy’s site, an interesting interactive animation so I have asked about the programming side as I am prone to liking things like that!  I also found a really nice piece of animation that is so lovely and really cleverly made, made me laugh as well, Dino Boy by Adrian Fielding. Which brings me back to the piece of Hilbre Island wisdom!

We were asked a while ago to make a mobile phone video.  Hilbre Isand is a bird sanctuary off the coast of the Wirral, it’s quite a walk at low tide but well worth it.  It’s not about the work I’m doing at the moment but somewhere I take a long walk to if I want to think about a project or just simply to clear my head!  It’s the place you can go to wave at seals, so that’s what I put on David Renton’s Sunscreen 2013!  I was trying to think about what to make a mobile phone video about and I was generally looking at all the photos on my phone.  I then realised I have a complete walk to Hilbre Island, taken at different times of the year!  I put them all together in a video.  I love to watch the changing seasons as the walk progresses towards the island, it even features my Mum, dog and little boy!  To walk to Hilbre Island you have to wait until the tide is out, you then walk to Little Eye which is the first Island in the video, then Middle Eye and then onto Hilbre.  It’s one of my favourite places to walk to and stunning at all different times of the year.  Hopefully my phone has managed to capture some of the essence of the walk.  My little boy loves the walk as there are caves and rock pools along the way.  The walk ends at the old lifeboat station on Hilbre and the vague grey blobs at the end are actually seals heads poking out of the water!!  I’ll find a better photograph someone else has taken of the Hilbre seals!

Wildlife 2010 885

(lovely photo not taken by me but by a Hilbre enthusiast, however it is a Hilbre seal!)


I made a Minecraft Machinima! It needs Major Tweaks!

Minecraft Dragon

Today I finished my first draft of a Minecraft Machinima music video. The music, (and full copyright), is by my brother Mr Scorsey and is based on a film he had watched at the time, hence the huge Minecraft dragon head, and why its called Dragontastic!  I did this as part of my research to find out how film making works in Minecraft, the technicalities and complications compared to making a film using traditional animation software such as Maya.

My Survey is still open as I am going to carry on this research for my dissertation so if you are a Minecraft Machinima maker you can fill in the below survey:

My computer is as usual going slow, so unfortunately a few glitches that shouldn’t have been in the video came about, and yes it does need a lot of tweaking, and also the screen capture does lag a bit!!!! It’s definitely harder in some ways for Machinima makers to create their films and they must have an amazing degree of patience. (I would have had a new computer by now which might have helped the process, but the process of getting a Career Development loan in this day and digital age has certainly not caught up with the games or film industry, I shall not go on about this further here or I might succumb to unprofessional language)!  Anyway here is a first draft of my film with initial ideas, I used my brother’s avatar who gets, ‘Minecrafted,’ and trapped in a night club in the nose of the dragon, (I will do a fly through later to the nightclub):

However I just thought I would publish a draft of the concept for the purposes of the research.  I will be making lots of amendments to future versions including trying mods, shaders and texture packs out, and also doing a lot more with post production.

I am currently and in the future continuing to research Machinima, (Machine and Cinema), the art of making films from games. Which after studying and researching I now I think is not so much a hybrid but a whole new genre or way of interacting and creating film.  I have scientific studies to back this statement up!  I am very interested in finding out the future, technology, applications, possibilities and purposes of Machinima.

I have even found they are making Minecraft Machinima films about education and opera, and that makes me happy:

Machinima, Minecraft and Infinate Creativity

I’ve been doing research and writing about Minecraft and Machinima. For all those who don’t know about either, Minecraft is a brilliant game which I have been blogging about, if you want to find out more about it go here: Minecraft Homepage.  Machinima is the art of making films using games. Machinima film makers use a game as a medium to make a film, it’s different from animated films as the, ‘actors,’ are real people controlling their avatars within the game and they are filmed in, so it’s more like standard film making containing real human actors as it’s ‘live,’ action. I have become fascinated by this realm of film making, and mainly because I became very intrigued with the game Minecraft.  My son and his friends all love it and play it, I tried to resist it, but in the end I couldn’t and now I am a fully fledged fan!  For anyone interested in Minecraft, Movies and Machinima you can still fill in this survey:

Minecraft and Machinima Survey

So I have been doing some practiced based research, I have made my own skin and one for my son, and the other day I made a server for us so that we could play on the computers as well as the Xbox.  I did this because I want to make my own Machinima, but also so I can understand the technicalities of film making within this game. However I have to say here I have been having major problems getting the 1.7.4 server running on my PC, however I set it up on my brothers borrowed Mac with no problems!  It’s not as simple as many games to set up Multiplayer, however there are loads of great tutorials on YouTube that will show you how on PC and Mac.  And I have to say I like that aspect of the game. It makes you think and learn, even if only to set up your own server! It’s open source and has I have said before and it means people can develop their own ‘mods’ for it.  ‘Mods,’ being modifications so if a person has a good knowledge of Java, they can add to the game anything they like, (I covered this in my last blog post for more detailed info on Java and Java script etc).

When I first realised I would have to write a scientific paper I must admit I inwardly groaned. I am not a great writer, I love to make things, I love to create 3D models, I love to create anything amusing and silly. So this part of the course I thought I was going to find hard, however I’ve been watching a lot of Minecraft Machinima lately and I’ve really been enjoying all the diverse creativity and the different genre of films. I have found my niche in researching and it’s given me new inspiration! Because I am studying animation, the Machininma side of Minecraft naturally appealed to me.  I want to find out why it is so popular with fellow Minecrafters as well. For me the appeal is the ease of building structures to make a film set, (and also the lighting, this side is always a tricky one in eg Maya or 3DMax). However the thing that impresses me most about Minecraft Machinima is the diverse creativity. I was trying to pinpoint why I liked the game and the Machinimas so much, and then I realised why. The game once bought requires no more financial input. There is a huge friendly community that will help with anything. The films, (Machinimas), are made by fans of the game and fans of films. The Machinma’s are not made for any profit. They are made for other causes and mainly because the game players are fans of a certain film or they just want to be creative and they love to share their creativity.  Also the nature of this creativity is not stifled by clients or monetary gains and therefore knows no bounds.  This is what I have found I fundamentally enjoy about these Machinimas, they are open-ended in creativity much like the game. Everything is infinite!

I drafted this a while ago,  and my Machinima is now nearly ready however enjoy the below.  These are some of my favourite Machinimas I have found so far, there are more I really also like and I will post in due course:

Paradise Decay makes some amazing Star Wars Minecraft Machinima and his movie sets have the wow facter:

A Festive one a bit late!  Mrs Claus Machinima, by Spitfire25565 love all the snowmen, the background is great and the video made me laugh.

This channel makes the most amazing sets to put their film themed roller coasters I think the creativity and timing in these films are brilliant, they are from Nuropsych1:

Sometimes I Get to Draw Cartoons Again!

When I was at school I loved nothing more than doodling cartoons of my friends and our exploits all over any spare piece of paper I could find!  Sometimes I forget how much I do enjoy illustration and drawing, generally because I am mostly working in 3D programs etc.  However I do always try to include graphic and illustrative elements to any new project I am working on.

Recently I was asked to design a cover for a Kindle book for an anthology of short stories.  It was a remote online collaboration between myself and four writing students, one of whom is a very good friend of mine. We have kept in touch over the years and through the internet we have also worked on some projects that have been very interesting and also fun to work on!


The book cover I have worked on is by The Flash Mob, it’s a collection of short stories that are,”Quirky, chilling and funny, this collection offers something for everyone with its mix of Sci-Fi, Horror, fantasy and dark humour.”  So I have to say I really enjoyed them, and I had the privilege of reading them before I designed the book cover!  I incorporated elements and overtones of the stories into the authors, ‘cartoon characters,’ for the cover.  The Flash Mob is available on Amazon, a good read to get rid of the post-Christmas blues if you have them or if not it’s a great read anyway.

If you are interested in The Flash Mob, these are two blogs I follow by the writers: Cathy White, (for lots of funny/quirky humour and The American Psycho business card poem), and also Lisa Richardson – Blog of the Dead – Sophie, (a must for all zombie fans like myself, the book cover is a great design in itself as well)!

For all those who like to get out and about and do some mad thing called exercise everyday in January I recommend Janathon, or since this is a bit late maybe this years Juneathon.  I did the design for the banner on the website and all the participant logos so have absolved myself of the guilt of not making it through an, ‘athon,’ yet!!  (oh and yes I do know that the snowmen’s scarves are blowing in different directions, I needed to keep out the cold with a bit of wine during the production of the banner……..)!!

Janathon Final