Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Too busy to blog?

That's what I've been telling myself over the last few weeks. As a small business half the job is getting out there, marketing your services efficiently and hopefully finding work. At this moment at Mannimation we have more than half a dozen projects in various states of progress. If a deadline is shifted forward it can put pressure on other areas - which can squeeze out time allotted to other less vital activities like blogging.

Our weekends and evenings have often been taken up with overflow work - leaving us with not much downtime. We managed to take the bank holiday weekend off - which was great. Those three days were just enough to recharge the batteries.

Looking forward, we are progressing on the book jacket for the Manx translation of Murder on the Orient Express, we've done some T shirt designing for the TT season and there are ongoing animation projects with Culture Vannin and the banking sector.

I'm continuing to teach at college, advising the students on their final major projects which we'll be assessing in late June. I'm also attending Code Club regularly and will be producing a short introduction to Blender (free to use 3d design and animation software) for them in July.

We received a nice surprise in the post last week - a certificate from the Celtic Media Festival acknowledging Manannan as a shortlisted entry in the animation category. Although we didn't win, it will look great on the wall - and spur us on for next year.
Gary at Mannimation.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Opportunity Knocks

Having just finished two weeks of principal photography as 1st AD on Manx feature production 'Flavian - Essence of an Idiot' it was off to St.Ives, Cornwall last week for the Celtic Media Festival 2014.

That was an extraordinary experience, and I shared the journey with Culture Vannin's Adrian Cain. Meeting so many media professionals over the three days we were there was wonderful. We came back with plenty of ideas.

Mannimation has had a couple of new leads too while I've been away, so I'm busy chasing those up. At the moment there's a new animation project beginning, a classic Manx fairy tale, which I'm in the process of scriptwriting from the original.

As I write this, another graphics project has just popped into our inbox. Exciting times indeed.

Work continues on planning the conversion of Douglas's Market Hall for the College's arts degree courses, which I made some 3d sketch visualisations for.

On Saturday I visited the Isle of Man Code Club for the first time. This is a fantastic venture, run completely by volunteers, to cultivate interest for both youth and adults in coding for computers and other devices. I'm all for demystifying programming and will lend my support however I can and I can heartily recommend it to anyone curious about coding.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Horses for courses

It's true that time speeds up as you get older.

We have a couple of new things going on at Mannimation. One is that I've been testing a CGI horse rig to use for Gilbert's War. We've only just started with that, and the rig will need some amending but it looks very promising. WW1 was the last time that cavalry was used in battle so horses form a major role in any battlefield on the Western Front.

The other 'new thing going on' concerns a film project by a friend of mine. It's a low-budget feature film and we start two weeks of principal photography in a week's time. I said I'd help in any way I could - so I'm performing 1st AD (Assistant Director) duties on days that I can. That involves organising everyone on location and more or less getting everything where it needs to be - in front of camera for the director. I'll be doing some animated work for the film too. More about that later.

The filming schedule means that I may be out of touch for a while - but hopefully I'll be able to find time to let you know how it's going.

Otherwise, everything else is ticking along here at Mannimation. We go to St.Ives for the Celtic Media Festival as soon as I've finished the film shoot - so that will be a nice break before diving back into the fray.

That's all our news so see you next time!

Gary at Mannimation.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Must...Type... Faster...

I've just done two art sessions at the Family Library to help celebrate 100 years of Brownies (girl guiding - not baked goods!) We had a 40 strong class on the first evening, and 70 on the second! There are more planned including some structured groups of classes for all ages in the near future and I'd like to thank Mary and the library team for their support and enthusiasm.

Work on Gilbert's War and the visuals for Douglas Market Hall continues and we're progressing on a couple of as-yet-secret projects too. It's confirmed that I'll be attending the Celtic Media Festival in April along with the insanely talented Manx language officer Adrian Cain.

Saturday sees the start of a fantastic free-to-join initiative called Code Club which, although not directly connected to animation is a great opportunity for kids (and adults) to get used to programming on a computer. Any serious digitally based animator needs a basic knowledge (or at least an awareness) of scripting/coding for their chosen animation program.

EDIT: Great news from Culture Vannin today (Tuesday March 4) the second half of our two part special Manannan web cartoon episode 'Come Dine With Us' is now live on YouTube.

That's about it for now. Till next time!

Gary at Mannimation.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Bronze Torc Shortlist

I've known about this for about a week - and it's been really hard to keep it quiet!

Our web series Manannan has been shortlisted for an award at this year's Celtic Media Festival to be held in St. Ives, Cornwall during the first week of April. Culture Vannin's Learn Manx app is also up for an award - called a Bronze Torc.

I'm hoping to be able to go along, at least for the awards - to soak up some festival atmosphere. :)

Elsewhere on Mannimation, we've been working on some 3d visualisations for IoM College's Market Hall site - soon to be the home of the arts degree program. We'll shoe some progress of that on here soon.

We've also been busy with teaching animation at the college and running various workshops at the wonderful Family Library in Douglas.

We missed a blog update last week, so sorry for that - just too much to do! Consider us told off.

Back next week,

Gary at Mannimation.

Monday, 3 February 2014

It's aliiiiiive!

..as Baron Frankenstein would say.


That's been a lot of work over the last few days and it's not finished, not by a long way. I've still got a showreel to complete and now the site is up I really have to start pushing the promotion.

We now have a twitter account, a facebook page, a youtube account (no uploads yet - soon though) a website and of course this blog. I can already see where I'd like to make changes but we'll attend to those later on.

So, now the real work starts - putting the word out! I'd best get back to it but there's lots to look forward to, including regular Mannimation progress updates, CGI and animation news, simple how-to articles and lots more.

See you back here soon!

Gary at Mannimation.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Business meeting goes like lightning

I was so busy yesterday that I forgot to post a blog update, so sorry for that!

We (Manannan Studio that is) had a meeting with our small business mentor yesterday which went very well as he picked apart our business plan. Fortunately it all made sense to him in the end and we got the thumbs up, which is very satisfying. Luckily for us he's very straight talking - being an ex fighter pilot and told me he flew the fabulous English Electric Lightning amongst other fast jets of the 70's and 80's. (Sorry for going off-topic, but I love the lightning - it's my era of kids dream, to fly one). We now have an action plan to work on prior to our next meeting.

Back to the business - I've rendered out a cool backdrop for the web site header (well, I think it's cool!) and added some of our completed projects to the portfolio section. The showreel is being edited and lots of admin bits and bobs are getting their boxes ticked.

We'll soon have some nice furniture and a theme for this blog - we're on standard template at the moment - although by the time you read this, that's already happened. ;)

That's about it for this week - so here we go, diving back into it!

Gary at Mannimation.

Monday, 20 January 2014

1 week old and growing..

Things are moving ahead for us here at Mannimation. I'm gathering material for both the web portfolio and online show-reel. I have to remember to be very picky - there's lots that could go in there but I want it to be short and snappy.

Also, the requests for testimonials has been 100% positive - everyone I asked has said yes which is a little overwhelming and very humbling, so thanks to you all. We'll get those sorted and on the site as soon as poss.

The logo and other artwork is coming along nicely and Mannimation will soon be online. We're planning lots of content including tutorials to get budding artists/animators started - but let's get the site ready first.

Can't wait. :)

Monday, 13 January 2014


Quite exciting this, our first post on a new blog.

Mannimation is an Isle of Man based animation studio. Our staff has experience in traditional and 3d animation for television and the web, computer games production, news videography, set design for television, web design, advertising for web, and teaching - to name a few core skills.

We're a fairly new start up with big plans for the future. Acorns into mighty oaks and all that. We're currently working on our logo, a facebook page, twitter account, a fully responsive (mobile/tablet friendly) website, a showreel and tons of other editorial content. We've had work coming in from the get-go though, which is great but it means this promotional stuff takes longer to compile.

From here on out we plan to detail how Mannimation grows, what we're up to and we'll also share the occasional tip or handy hint to help out our fellow creatives. We're all in it together!

So for now, Slaynt!

Gary at Mannimation.