Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Graceful Swan

Picture a graceful swan - there's not much activity on the surface, but underwater the legs are going like the clappers. That's how I feel about current progress on Gilbert's War. I'm collecting a mass of info, including books and web pages on WW1, animation techniques, video clips for reference and inspiration - lots and lots of stuff. Apologies for the lack of updates until now.

I'm going to start drawing test material for characters and scenery soon. That way I can perform some style tests and get the footage to look how I'd like. Because I'm using a combination of 2d and 3d, I need to put together an efficient workflow, across different software packages and image/video formats.
More soon.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Music choices

It's never too early to be looking at any aspect of Gilbert's War - and I thought I'd let you in on one of my potential music tracks. The opening bars of this played as my new wife and I left the church on our wedding day - and was heard by a lot of Gilbert's immediate family, so there are wonderful personal resonances there.

So, without further ado...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Animation style

I've just had a breakthrough when looking for a suitable style for the animation in Gilbert's War. I may post up some tests to show the direction I want the look of the film to take. There will be a mix of traditional 2d (drawn) animation and CGI - which can be a very tricky balance. In the meantime, it's back to the sketchbook. As far as the writing goes, my West Yorkshire Regiment war diary should arrive soon - which will be a great help with scripting.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Well documented

Just ordered a 2-volume set on the West Yorkshire Regiment during the Great War years. It covers the troop movements in fabulous - almost total day to day detail. I want to make this story as true to life as possible.


There's no chance of it being dull as a result - the facts themselves are wonderfully compelling and very exciting.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The man himself

And here's Pte. Gilbert Myers of the Leeds Rifles age 20 (or 21). The photo is actually fully split in two vertically - so this is a quick patch-up job until I can properly digitally restore it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Cambrai footage

During my research - I've found the BBC's 1964 series on The Great War to be a fantastic resource. This clip shows the first large-scale tank battle of WWI during which Gilbert was injured.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A fateful signing

Here is one of the few surviving documents from Gilbert's war service. This is the agreement my grandfather Gilbert signed on the 26th of April 1915 to become a rifleman in the 2/8th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment (the Leeds Rifles). His handwriting is almost identical to mine, which gives me a chill. I have a photo of Gilbert in uniform, which I'll post soon - it needs a little TLC first.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I'm a big fan of tanks, as my family will testify. I have several books on the subject of armoured vehicles and mobile artillery. One of  my favourite 'rhomboid' design vehicles is the british Mark IV, which saw action in the battle of Cambrai on November 20, 1917.
This is the kind of vehicle mentioned in Conan-Doyle's account, and would have featured heavily in my grandad's memories of that battle, lumbering on at a stately 3.7 MPH. Somehow I'm going to recreate these steel beasts for 'Gilbert's War'.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Start at the beginning

This blog, and eventually the full website, will document my efforts to produce a roughly 20 minute animated short film about the extraordinary experience my grandfather had in the First World War.

My aim is to have a 1 to 2 minute trailer done for Remembrance Day this year, and the full film ready to show for November 2014, 100 years on from the start of the war.

I've just begun reading about one of the key battles my grandfather took part in, and the following passage is from Arthur Conan Doyle's account:

 "Every company of the advancing units had been instructed to fall in behind its own marked tank.  At 6.20, just after dawn, in a favouring haze, General Ellis gave the signal, his iron-clad fleet flowed forward, the field of wire went down with a long splintering rending crash, the huge fagots were rolled forward into the gaping ditches, and the eager infantry crowded forward down the clear swathes which the monsters had cut.
At the same moment the guns roared out, and an effective smoke-barrage screened the whole strange spectacle from the German observers.
The long line of tanks magnified to monstrous size in the dim light of early dawn, the columns of infantry with fixed bayonets who followed them, all advancing in silent order, formed a spectacle which none who took part in it could ever forget."