Archive | April, 2015

First After Effects animation made with Shroom Studios

29 Apr

I’ve always wanted a branded intro to my films. But wanting an animation and doing an animation are two different things. However, with a little bit of luck and networking I finally found a way to achieve that. Cue Music. Enter Christos and Alex Hatjoullis from Shroom Studio in London Fields, Hackney, London.

Now a question: Have you ever considered how long does it take to make a 1 second of animation?

I clearly had no idea. But in the case of the clip below (in loop) it took about 4.5 hours!!! 4.5 hours for one tiny second of a character jumping ! And that was ONLY because I had very detailed instructions and guidance from Alex Hatjoullis, who is a professional animator. I would have probably spent weeks, if not months, trying to work out how to do it myself.


All we started with, was this drawing of a character (below) Alex made after I told him about my idea for an animated sequence. How cute is she, right? A week and a one long After Effects lesson later, she is now bouncing from a trampoline and in the next few weeks she is due to do some other acrobatics too :).

Mallywini by Shroom Studio

Alex paid attention to the final detail. Just notice how her skirt lifts up and goes down and how her body stretches just that tiny bit at the top of the jump. No wonder. After all, I was working with true professionals.

Alex and his brother Christos, who I am lucky to have as my mentor at ZeroOne Creative Hub, have nearly 15 years of experience in branding and animation. They formed Shroom Studios in 2001 and since then worked on an overwhelming amount of projects, from independent art films to documentaries, commercials and political or social campaigns. They had worked commissioned by BBC and Channel 4 and their unique style of presenting content and animation style have been recreated by other animation companies.

Click on the logo to go to their website. There you will find examples of their work together with a blog, where Christos shares some of his and his brother’s favourite animations from all over the world. Shroom Studio

I got to respect and like both brothers very much.  They are both humble and generous in sharing their knowledge and helping others. They are also extremely involved within their community and value their small-business clients just as much, if not tiny bit more, as the bigger companies. They are also incredibly creative and together have an overwhelming amount of hobbies. Christos, I believe, is topping up the scale with his photography of dead insects, music composition, contemporary dance practice and even trampolining, which came very useful in designing our character’s movements. Moreover, they are both appreciative of their family and incredibly proud of their dad’s art work, who despite his advanced age still makes extremely detailed artwork on linoleum. Take a look on the photo where Alex is holding his collection of moths. Prints of their Dad’s artwork can be seen in the background. And check out Christos’ photograph of dead insects. He collects them, keeps them for years and photographs the decomposition process. Death and decay turned into beauty. A true artist.

Christos Hatjoullis from Shroom Studio and his photographs of dead insects

Christos Hatjoullis from Shroom Studio and his photographs of dead insects

I thoroughly enjoyed learning After Effects with Alex. So much so in fact, that I was still buzzing the whole of next day.

What’s more, in the breaks, Alex kept feeding my already overexcited head with inspirations for my other animation sequences. The one I had in mind for the PolinArts, the documentary about Polish Artists in London… Yes, yes, this project is still in progress. I’m clearly not a rabbit when it comes to finishing my projects. I am a turtle; but I will get to the end of the race… Eventually.

New project full of magic: “Hackney Fairy Tale”

23 Apr

I haven’t been writing anything for a while, but today is THE DAY, the day when I’m happily going back to posting.

I’m sitting in one of the local cafes, Lazy Social. It’s a lazy place in its best possible meaning. The large windows let in the sunlight reflected by shiny surfaces of old-school desks. The 60-70’s music coming from the speakers create a very relaxed atmosphere full of positive vibes. A strong and delicious coffee served in dotted cups fills the veins with excitement and new ideas…

I’ve been working on a new project for some time now. Originally it was supposed to be a panto- inspired story but very soon more serious themes started emerging and now the “Hackney Fairy Tale” is being developed as an urban fairytale with elements of magical realism. The idea is to explore the strengths and values of female characters, which traditionally were rewarded for simply being beautiful and not-given much credit for their intellect or any other skills.

This project is already full of magic. As soon as I decided to use Cinderella as a basis for one of the stories, I suddenly found an abandoned slipper on one of the streets of Central London. No. I’m not kidding. What’s more, a friend I invited to develop the script with me, found one too.

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Then I opened an email from one of the Meet Up groups. I usually don’t have to time to even check my group mails, so I found it very telling that the only email I actually read was inviting me to an Immersive theatre show based on… guess!… exactly: Brother’s Grimm Fairy Tales.

The show was performed over 4 rooms adapted to 4 different tales. There were talented actors, wonderfully crafted puppets, realistic costumes and plenty of creatively adapted corners and hidden rooms to immerse oneself in a fair tale world.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 19.49.53

There was of course also a slipper. There had to be a slipper!