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University of Portsmouth animators plan unique feature film

Published: Friday, 17 July 2015   Category: All Graduate Jobs News

Two ambitious animators from the University of Portsmouth are hoping to create the first full-length CGI feature film created by a British university.

Senior lecturer in animation Paul Charisse first had the idea to develop a short film based on some music he had created with help from students at the university.

He has extensive experience within the film industry, having created facial impressions for Gollum in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

Charisse then approached Alex Counsell, principal technician in Portsmouth’s School of Creative Technologies and teacher of motion capture techniques, to discuss the idea.

This led to the creation of a full-length screenplay titled Stina and the Wolf – the tale of a young girl living in “a superstitious and oppressive army town” with her “disabled uncle and unforgiving aunt”.

Counsell explained that the pair wanted to keep the project separate from the main curriculum and invited students to get involved on a voluntary basis.

It was fitted around work commitments as a practical film-making experiment and attracted students from many different faculties, including architecture, fashion and computer science.

The two academics have created Foam Digital – essentially their own production company – while support has also come from the wider industry.

Animation students have been encouraged to find clients when working on final year projects and many have opted to be involved in Stina and the Wolf.

This has attracted the interests of employers in the sector as it highlights that students can work collaboratively on creative projects while possessing vital solo animation skills.

Motion capture and computer animation are forming the basis of the project, as the pair approached Vicon for help with the technical aspects of production.

Other firms also provided software alongside a set of motion capture cameras that will enable the creation of the piece.

Counsell believes the project could be completed in three years should between £10m and £12m funding be available.

However, as that is not the case, the pair have created a cinematic trailer and a short spin-off film for use at festivals.

Counsell believes the project will benefit any student that is involved, saying it is valuable as an educational work.

Grad Plus has a number of graduate schemes and opportunities for those interested in media or other sectors

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