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You are in: Norfolk » Going Out » Films

11 December 2003 1730 GMT
Animation students get into going out
Picture: Blobit
Blobit twins created by Dan Upton
Students from the Norwich School Of Art and Design jumped at the opportunity to create an animated trailer for the BBC Norfolk website.


Enjoy the animated trailers for the BBC Norfolk website from NSAD students.

Blobit by Dan Upton

Vikings by Abigail Wood

Karinha by Pedro Tavares

Students talk about BBCi project to Look East

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The world of animation is everywhere you look. From blockbuster movies like Monsters Inc. and Finding Nemo to cult TV shows featuring The Simpsons and Southpark characters.

In May 2003, BBCi in Norfolk approached students at the Norwich School Of Art and Design with a project to create an animated short to promote the entertainment pages of this website.

Suzie Hanna, the senior lecturer in animation at the NSAD, said she was excited about the partnership: "I thought it was a real opportunity for the students to do something professional rather than purely academic.

"The BBC has been hugely supportive throughout the project. Always available to the students with help and advice about the practical requirements of television, explaining issues regarding music usage, copyright and helping to find the right voice-over artists," she said.

Picture: Abi Wood
Abi works at creating her cartoon Vikings. Watch trail

The NSAD has students from all over the world, but Abi Wood is from Norfolk and she knows her local history.

"Norfolk was once a huge area for Vikings so I went with this medieval feel," she said.

"I had this thought, where did medieval people get their information about where they could go? This is how I came to Vikings searching the internet for ideas. I did a lot of brainstorming before I got to the Vikings, but they just seem to work.

"As the trail was for Norfolk, I also added music from The Darkness when you see the Vikings dancing at a gig. It's a subtle touch, but has made a lot of people smile," she added.

Industry boom

The animation industry is booming. The console games sector alone now rivals Hollywood in size and there are more TV channels needing content than ever before and web design features more and more animation.

Graduates from the NSAD course are already working in fields as diverse as special effects on Lord Of The Rings to 3D character design for computer games and model animated kids' TV like Fireman Sam and Bob The Builder.

"The audience expectation of animation is now so high, I think people are beginning to be connoisseurs of it these days, " said Suzie Hanna.

"A few years ago 90% of the British public would have said animation was cartoons for kids, but now with companies like Ardman, Disney and Pixar it's much more in the public eye.

Picture: Dan Upton: link
Dan Upton puts down the sound of Blobit's voice

"I think also the overlap of animation and special effects in films like Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings makes the public far more educated and far more interested in what animation can do," she added.

Get into Going Out

The trail brief from BBCi producer Martin Barber was to concentrate on the Going Out section of the website.

"As a format, animation seemed the perfect vehicle for promoting the site and our entertainment section in particular - especially as the medium is used so much in television at the moment.

"Having visited a few end of year shows, I knew the students at the NSAD had amazing talent and I wanted to give them an opportunity to work to a live brief and as a result showcase their work to a BBC ONE audience in the East region.

"The project has been a learning process for us all and we're all delighted at the final results. The different styles of animation and student interpretations of the brief is brilliant."


Dan Upton specialises in the field of 3D animation, creating virtual environments and characters inside the computer.

Picture: Dan Upton: link
Blobit gets ready for some serious tunes. Watch trailer

"Blobit came from a few drawings I was doing. Martin from the website loved this idea when we were breaking down the possibilities and treatments for the trail," he said.

"Blobit looks like he's made out of plasticine, but he's entirely created within the computer.

"I hand drew the character from as many different angles as I could and then loaded them into the computer to create Blobit and his world in 3D. It took quite some time to get everything down," he added.

Pedro Tavares comes to the NSAD from Brazil. He has called his character Karinha, the Portuguese for 'Little Dude'.

"I had this idea for a computer moving around and then Suzie suggested we created a dancing computer, more like a pet. The computer then became the main character of the film, supported by the guy he was interacting with.

Picture: Pedro Tavares with his character Karinha
Pedro and Karinha. Watch trail

"I love to do hand-drawing and cell animation, but I want to work with stories, to create something that passes on a message.

"As a result of the project I feel more confident in actually being able to finish something, that's been great for me," he added.

Scores on the doors

Whilst the project has been a unique opportunity to showcase the work of all the students involved, it also plays an important role in their academic work.

"All the students will be assessed on this work as part of their degree," said course lecturer Suzie Hanna.

"The initial brief was to just come up with ideas, but they've all gone on to create a completed work. As third year students both Abi and Dan will have this film on their graduating showreel this year so it will count towards their final degree.

"The students themselves are really proud now they've done it. They can't quite believe their films are being screened on television and that thousands of people will see their work," she added.


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