Marc Godfrey Animator

Monday, 10 November 2014

What Have I Learnt So Far From Aardman?

I was wondering what I should write about for my next blog post, and whilst browsing through my Learning Diary of what I've learnt on my Character Animation course at Aardman (yes, I do keep a diary of all the things I'm learning each that tragic?), so thought I'd share with you some of my biggest learning triumphs (or Eureka Moments, as we've affectionately started calling them) from the first couple of weeks. So, here they are:
1) Lines of Actions and Posing.
If you have good poses, you will be on the way to making good animations. Life Drawing has really helped developed my eye for posing a character, and ultimately creating the right feel for weight and balance. Finding the lines of action in the body, and putting them into my characters have really improved the way that I'm working, and ultimately animating!

Some of my simple Lines of Actions Drawings from Aardman
Some of my simple Lines of Actions Drawings

2) Check the Silhouette.
It's all very well posing a character, but does that pose tell your story? If you're not sure, check the silhouette. Is the body shape that has been created readable to the viewer? Is the attitude of the character clear? A simple way to check, is to look at the silhouette and simple ask friends or colleagues what they think is going on. As long as you haven't set up any lights, a super simple way to check your silhouette in Maya is to press 7! Easy!

3) Favouring.
If you're transitioning a character from A to B, a much nicer way to pose the body is to make the lines of action in the body favour one side, over the other. So, if you're moving across a plane, lean back from where you came from, then as you cross the half way point, maybe lean towards where you're going, or still towards where you came from...but just don't create a straight line in the middle...ever (well, hardly ever, at least)'s boring.

4) The Bouncing Ball is Everywhere!
If you've studied animation, undoubtedly, you've animated the bouncing ball. It is a vital part of the animation learning process. The bouncing ball is everywhere. One of my biggest eureka moments, was realising that the bouncing ball is all throughout the body. Especially in the pelvis, or the hips. Of course, it seems obvious, but it wasn't until my tutor pointed at the hips on my rig, and simply said "there is your bouncing ball", that I realised. Keep dem hips moving and a'bouncing!

5) Plant Your Feet.
This is another obvious one, put if you're going to be shifting your character's weight, to make it convincing, make sure the feet are firmly planted to the ground. They can't be floating or sliding. They need to be solid, and supporting the weight, before any weight is moved. Got it? Good!

I'll add more snippets of my learning in another post soon, but for now, that's all...hopefully you can take something away from this. If you do, drop my a line and let me know, and let's share the glory of learning!

Marc :)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Personal Development, Continual Improvement...and Aardman!

Back in May 2014, I applied to join a Character Animation course with the National Film & Television School, based at the Aardman studios in Bristol. I didn't really feel very confident in getting a place, but this summer, I was invited onto the course! Right now, we're half way through, with another six weeks to go.

I ummed and ahhed about whether I was doing the right thing in becoming a student again, but right now, today, I know it was one of the best decisions I've made in regards to developing my animation career. The skills I had already acquired were a great starting point, but now I really feel like they're being polished and honed even further.

The course content is fab - whilst working through weekly assignments, we take part in life drawing classes, acting classes, as well as numerous masterclasses from professionals in the industry, such as Aardman's Nick Park and Dreamwork's Shelley Page. In our first week, even the legend, Glen Keane came in and talked to us about his new project "Duet". Needless to say, we're being inspired left, right and centre! I had to pinch myself when I realised that at one point, I was in the same room as Peter Lord, Richard Williams and Glen Keane!

Glen Keane Duet Print
My fabulous Duet print, signed by animation legend, Glen Keane.

At some point, I'll add the work I've been doing to this blog - at the moment though, it's all a bit rough and in need of some more edits and refinement. For more updates, you can always subscribe to my blog, or look out for me on twitter.

Excitedly yours,

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Final Shot: Like A Dream (Rachael O'Connor, auditioning for The Voice UK)

I realised in the last post, I didn't include the final shot - so here it is, in all its glory:

I hope Rachael O'Connor gets to see it - I'd love to know what she thinks...or any of the fans from #TeamKylie...the more the merrier :)


Character Animation from Real Life Reference Footage

You may remember a few posts back, that I was working on a Character Animation shot, using real life footage? Well, it's now finished, and up and on my showreel. I'm pleased with it, although I'm sure in a few weeks time, I'll be wanting to edit and refine it some more.

I created a playlist on my youtube channel showing the progression of the work. I think it's really cool, especially when you go to the last video and see where the shot started.

Find my Character Animation Process Playlist here!

I've also created a pinterest page, where I store all the cool animation finds from the internet...including some of my favourite tutorials. I've been teaching myself how to animate using After Effects and Flash - I found that making playlists in youtube, not as fun as curating a "board" on pinterest. To see my links and pins visit and follow my page here:

Monday, 31 March 2014

Find me on BlogLovin'!

I know it's been a couple of weeks since I posted last. Hope everyone is keeping well?

Since I last blogged, I joined BlogLovin. If it's not something you've heard about, I recommend checking it out. It's a neat little way of putting all the blogs you love in one place - a bit like Google Reader. You can find me here:

Not only is it the simple way of putting my blogs together in one funky social media platform, but you can also have a look through the blogs that I read. Cool huh?

To find me on Bloglovin', just click here!

Friday, 28 February 2014

Some Animation Shot Updates...

I've been working on a quite a number of shots lately, the thing is, I'm in that awful stupor of thinking that my work isn't good enough. Well, the time has come to just post them and collect feedback regardless! I'm the type of person who is proud of my work, so don't really like showing things off unless I think they're really, really good. And now that my training is finished (...although you're never finished learning, yadda yadda blah de blah) the work I produce should be top notch - I don't have the safety blanket of it-doesn't-matter-if-my-shots-aren't-THE-best-because-I'm-still-learning I just have to swallow my pride, put on my thick-skin rhino hide and just do whatever I'm working on, and get some sort of feedback.

This is the latest piece I've been working on. I'm actually editing it right now, but taking a quick break to show you what I've done so far.

Here it is:

It's taken from a clip of BBC1's The Voice. The girl (Rachael O'Connor) just got through first round of auditions, and this is her backstage reaction. The rig I used is the Bonnie rig, by Josh Sobel - it's so nice to work with, and it looks really cute too.

I wanted to show you the original clip here too, but it looks like it's been taken down by youtube (boooo!), but I have some screen caps, that I used as a starting point for my thumbnails:
From the clip, I put together my thumbnails, which hopefully you'll be able to make out here:
Right now, my biggest problem/feedback is that I'm not hitting the accents. Which in this case, are the words dream, real and in. So, that's what I'm working on right now...also I need to sort out the right hand and fingers.

When I get another edit put together, I'll post it so you will hopefully be able to see a vast improvement. 

I'm also working on a Willy Wonka clip, as well as a Ball Throw idea which has taken a bit of a back I'm kinda juggling shots as the moment. It's keeping my mind fresh, at least. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014


I seem to have deleted this important bit of news...

So far this year, I've learnt to animate in 2 additional software programmes: XSI Softimage and Flash (2D).


I hear you scream at me; "Marc, that's a crap post". Well, yes, I guess it is in terms of bloggy bits for your visual stimulation, but there are things going on in the background...I'm working on a few shots that I'm hoping will be good enough to add to my show reel. I'm focusing on lip sync and human characters. Hopefully my work will be good enough to show you in the not too distant future :)

Monday, 13 January 2014

FROZEN wins the Golden Globe!

The Golden Globes 2014 were last night, and I'm super pleased to see that Frozen won the Best Animated Feature award. Not surprising really, it's a great film (although I did love The Croods too). Not only is the animation superb, but the story and the music is fantastic. Critics say it's the best Disney feature since Beauty and the Beast. I can see why, interestingly, it doesn't contain your typical love's a beautiful tale of friendship, family and sisterhood, with two strong female leads. If you haven't seen it, go and see it now!

It's also no surprise, that there's news of Frozen being turned into a Broadway musical too - according to!

For a full list of Golden Globe winners, check out the Telegraph's run down here.

To buy FROZEN from, go here now or if you're reading this blog from the United States, you can buy the film from here too.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Brushing Up On My Core Skills

Last weekend, I began a google hunt for Life Drawing classes in Edinburgh. I mean, this is Edinburgh, there MUST be some classes somewhere! And yup, there were plenty. I was nearly going to sign up to a 10 week course, costing £170 (!!!) and then read a BBC article about this little group in Glasgow and Edinburgh who hold weekly, drop in Life Drawing classes...for a bargainacious £4.50 per session.

I went along to the City Cafe on Tuesday night, and joined in All The Young Nudes class. I had a great time, and it felt super good to get back into Life Drawing again! You can find all work from the evening on my Sketch Blog, but here's a sample of what I did.

"But Marc, why are you doing this?" I hear you cry... well, one of the things I've learnt whilst job hunting for junior Animation positions, is that studios and directors like to know that the people they have on their teams, do have the basic, core art skills too...and whilst it's easy for me to say "hey, well, I studied at the Cambridge School of Art, y'know", that's not enough. I need to keep practicing, and honing and developing my craft (for want of a less cliche phrase).  Plus, it looks good on the CV if I can say, I regularly attend art classes and-for-that-to-be-true! Sooo I'll be a-sketchin as much as can...and animating, of course.

In other news, the studio in Edinburgh have got back to me, and I'm going in over the next days to learn their software (...horror of horrors, when I rock up for a meeting before Christmas, the bombshell that they don't use Maya, gave me a bit of a stumble).

So, my New Year is off to a pretty good start - in that I've started Art Classes and will be learning a new piece of Animation Software. Lovely.