• Charlotte Grant

Last Notes Approved! Moving forwards

So some good news today is that our project has been approved to move forwards! All of us passed the CAPT assignment and there were no major issues found with our proposal or pre-production so from today onward, we're going ahead with the film!

We had one final hand-in today related to production which was a SWOT test on things that could go wrong with our project. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) the areas we've identified are below. I thought it'd be an interesting thing to share here, because it'd be nice to compare these areas identified to the final outcome and see what actually happens!

Last Notes (formerly Beauty in the Beast)

Group Masters Project consisting of: Will Wardle, Charlotte Grant, Ana Paula Pezzolo, Chris Ioannou, Cheng-Lin Yu, Vlasis Gogousis, Nathalia Sanchez Moya, Huy Bui

A short description of the project:

Last notes is an animated short film that intends to make use of strong character design and cinematography in a stylised enclosed world. We are aiming to utilise dramatic lighting, strong animation and acting subtleties to tell a dark and emotive story that falls into the gothic genre. We will be following and building upon the plans set forth in our CAPT development document during the duration of this production.

What you expect to submit for assessment at the end of the Masters Project:

Our final short film as a H.264 format quicktime movie file and Individual Production Support material.

SWOT analysis:


  • We’re a big team with skills that cover every stage of the production pipeline.

  • The film has 3 animators, the work split between us will allow us to make our shots of a high quality.

  • The production is geared to suit everyone in the group, so everyone gets what they’d like out of the project for their showreel. Everyone has one or two roles that they are confident in, which means everyone is playing to their strengths.

  • We have two modellers on the project, each dedicated to either environment assets or character assets. Our environment is enclosed, so this gives us the opportunity to refine it as much as we require.


  • We’re a big team, organisation and communication will be vital for us to succeed.

  • We only have 1 person dedicated to character rigging and 1 person dedicated to lighting/effects on the team at this time. Time management for these two areas is vital and we need to ensure most of the pipeline can run alongside each other.

  • Our project is ambitious and will need careful planning to ensure we’re able to complete it on time.


  • To really push our abilities and make a final project we’re proud of.

  • To learn and implement technology such as fur simulation, that is current to the industry and can enhance the visuals of our film.

  • We intend to make our film stand-alone, so it could possibly be entered into festivals upon completion.

  • We have a lot of opportunity to expand or shrink our project as needed. Our recently abandoned town can have lots of world building props and assets barrels/market stalls/carts/lanterns etc or not as many, depending on time constraints.

  • Because of the ability for our world building to scale up as appropriate, everyone in the group has the opportunity to assist with texturing and modelling alongside their specialised areas if they wish.

  • We have multiple cuts of the previs, ranging from 1:44 in length to 2:30 in length. If we complete work on the short previs to a high quality before the deadline, there is an opportunity to expand the project and add some of the deleted shots.


  • Render times for our film will be high due to the dark environments and the high sample rate we will have to use to prevent noise.

  • Everyone in the group needs to be on the same page as the project continues. FIle Naming Conventions between 8 people will need to be kept to ensure that we keep things as streamlined and we run into as few preventable errors as possible.

  • Technology such as fur simulation has the potential to cause problems, if we’re not careful about how we implement it into our pipeline.

Opportunities presented by threats:

  • Because we’re aware of how long our render times will take to achieve the quality we’re after, we can plan ahead to give the rendering side of our pipeline the time it requires.

  • Our current pipeline has been built around the requirements of xgen fur simulation and we have backup sculpted hair for our characters, if things go wrong.

  • Everyone in the team has basic knowledge of most areas of the pipeline, including modelling and compositing, so if we do get behind in those areas, there are people who can step in to help if needed.

  • The threat of not finishing on time prompted us to create multiple versions of the animatic, we are now aiming for a smaller project in length, but we have the opportunity to build upon it if we have time.

How can we convert weaknesses into strengths?

  • Production Co-ordination will be vital for our project, regular meetings and weeklies will be beneficial to ensure all of us are on the same page.

  • Many of the effects we’d like to use in our film, including fog can be done in post-production, to reduce render times.

  • Our rigger is only working on rigging for this project, so she can focus all of her attention to making them the best possible. We are using the referencing system to work with proxy rigs, so animation can run alongside rigging, whilst she refines the skinning.

What assets from the CAPT assignment will be reused for the submission of the Masters Project:

  • The character and environment concepts finalised for CAPT will be used when building the final models for the master's project.

  • The production co-ordination sheets set up will be used to track the progress of the project as it continues.

Clearly identify, as appropriate, where other people will be creating some aspect of the project (if, for example, you are asking someone else to produce the models, rigs, etc):

  • The sound design and music for the project will be done by Gianluca Romano from the MA Sound Design for Film and Television course.

Either way, that's all for now! This is likely going to be the last post I make until the end of the Masters Project now. This is a hugely ambitious project and I highly doubt I'll have spare studio time to dedicate to blogging, as I have previously!

See you on the other side! :)