The Spine

So, after looking at the designs we had already, Ryan and Eoin liked my idea of incorporating the spine into the world itself. One of my designs incorporated the base of the spine into the middle of the world, with the front and back parts of the spine as the wing like vertices around the base. When designing the original sketch I had looked at the flag of Rome, trying to replicate the shape of the bird crest.

roman flag

The flag of Rome which my design actually is similar to. (Alternative History, 2016).

original idea

My original design.

I wanted to do a bit of research into the bones that I had incorporated myself (the ex biomedical science beginning to come through again).

The Sacrum and Coccyx

The base plate that I based my concept on is made up of the sacrum and coccyx. The sacrum is used for a variety of functions; locking the pelvis together, support of the spinal column, protection of the spinal nerves at the base  and separation for child birth in the female body. (InnerBody, 2016). This gives quite a good metaphor to our world- Rome is the birth of civilization or reviewed as that.

A 360 degree view of the Sacrum. (Getty Images, 2016).



A labelled diagram of the Sarcrum and Coccyx. (, 2016).

I really like the appearance of the sacral foramina in the bone- these indents look like passages that could be used for transport or something. We decided to play further with this design itself, looking at the use of Roman armor in our designs.

Roman Armour

Roman armor was made from iron and attached to the body with leather straps. Different legions of the army wore different types of body protection. The heavy infantry (principes), front- line soldiers (hastati) and the veterans (trairii) wore a 20cm breastplate (a pectorale) and a single greave. Soldiers with a bit more cash would also wear chain mail shirts, but these were heavy to wear. Both the principes and hastati soldiers wore a bronze helmet adorned with a ring of purple or black feathers. This helmet was typically 45cm high and its function was to make the soldier appear a lot taller.

Senior officers would have dressed in a more Grecian style, with a muscled cuirass, helmet and greaves. He would also have worn a leather tunic with leather strips hanging from the shoulders and waist. To display his rank, the officer would have worn a sash knotted at the front of his uniform with the loose ends tucked into the sides.

There were three main types of body armor used by the Roman empire. The Lorica Hamata was a chain mail that was used at the beginning of the empires rise, but was too heavy to properly maneuver in. The Lorica Segmentata was a breast plate made up of layers of iron formed together. It was only in circulation for a brief time due to budgeting constraints. Finally, the last type, was the Loricae Squamatae. This translates as literally translated as ‘armor of feathers’ and was made of pieces of iron, steel or leather into a plate that resembled feathers. (, 2016).

When planning the armor itself I tried experimenting with different elements of Rome in the main body. However, the more characteristic architectural features would be used in the spine parts of the world.


Roman armor examples.

The designs below were based on the various elements of the city itself.

This one I experimented with the fashion knowledge that Rebecca had provided for us, including that of the Toga. I draped the fabric over the top of the armor itself as if a hidden shroud, like the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter.



The robe would act as some sort of force field. (GIPHY, 2016).

This next design, I looked at playing around with the armor look itself. I created a layered look like that in the Lorica Segmentata (above) but played with what the textures on the metal could look like. I pictured it rusted- maybe a mosh of different paintings and road signs, as if pulled together from anything.

Eoin had mentioned that in Rome, animals were used to indicate wealth and rank among gladiators. Snake and Lizard skins were used as the highest indication, and in this piece I wanted to try and create the shape of a snake/ lizard head hybrid. In Roman mythology, Lizards represent resurrection, which is the premise of our world. Rome rising from the ashes of the rest of the world. (, 2016).

This was my final idea- the use of the Roman nature aspects apparent again. The daffodil was brought to Britain by the Romans and was given as a medicine. In Rome, it symbolised ‘Rebirth’ and was believed to have healing properties. This is like our planet itself, healing for the mistakes made on the polluted world below.

We all agreed the daffodil idea had the best aesthetics and incorporated a few more of the stereotypical Roman elements.

We next split the world into its three components- the two spines and main bulk. Eoin took the regal side to the world, Ryan the grim and I took the bulk. We’re going to break off, come up with some finalised ideas to incorporate it together. Tune in next time to see our progress…



InnerBody, (2016). Sacrum. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Getty Images, (2016). A full anti-clockwise rotation of the sacrum. Areas visible include…. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016]., (2016). Exercise 9 Flashcards | Easy Notecards. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016].

Alternative History, (2016). Roman empire flag.jpg. [online] Available at: [Accessed 19 Feb. 2016]., (2016). Legionary Weapons and Equipment. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016]., (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016]., (2016). SNC294ZP – Chainmail Lorica Hamata – Butted Mild Steel – $159.95. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016]., (2016). [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].

GIPHY, (2016). Harry Potter GIF – Find & Share on GIPHY. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016]., (2016). The Henna Page Journal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2016].



Our Final Presentation


So we had our final presentation and after a minor breakdown (sorry) I thought it went really well. I knew my stuff, and so did everyone else in our team, and it showed in the way we talked about it.

The presentation itself, I thought, was well explained and we were able to get our game across.

Overall, I’m sad to see this week come to a close, and this semester too. Next semester I want to progress more and improve my dealing with stress- it got to me when presenting. (Sorry again).

Module Assessment

Coming from a scientific course (Biomedical Science) this was going to be a complete change from what a lecture was. It also gave an idea of what to compare it to.

The course itself is well structured, each week’s lectures are relevant to what aspect of the world we were working for and they opened my eyes to how to approach each week. The information is so interesting and hearing the first hand stories from both Michael and Conánn showed how things like graphic design, story-boarding and even photography played a huge part in the way we needed to think.

Exploring all these things was amazing and the presumption that we were confident in things like Photoshop and After Effects gave the drive to work hard and develop these skills. My work has come a long way since week one and the urge to catch up with the skills of the rest of my classmates (?) is the thing that drives me to do better.

The dynamic of this course is unreal and it’s something all others should have. It’s like a family- everyone works together and pulls each other through.  We can all meet up and all have a laugh, and everyone is glad to help each other out. I’m glad to have met such amazing people and can’t wait to be with them in second semester.

The course itself is stressful- without a doubt. Something my parents aren’t used to (“Why are you working! Its 12.30am!” Nicola Blair). Yes, it could be a bit over the top but after speaking to second year students, it appears not to be. Balancing this work and actual life is hard and can pile up (crying in a presentation is a side effect of this- very sorry). Sometimes it isn’t down to individual effort, but the fact team members are lower in their efforts (for perfect reasons of their own may I add). Pulling the group out of the metaphorical mud can be hard but worth it when presenting.

Presenting each week has allowed me to come out of my comfort zone and it’s something that really helps overcome nerves. Not being a shy person to say the least, it is easy to see how others struggle with talking to a large group of people. However, trying to convince people about the ideas your group have come up with, no matter how bizarre, is hard and these passed weeks have greatly improved this. It has also taught me of the importance of being prepared- internet cuts, corrupted files- these are desperate times. (Ask Alec- I did a wonderful reenactment of Tiger for our 12 Principles of Animation presentation).

Life drawing is another aspect that is new to me and something thoroughly enjoyable. It is completely beneficial and the looking back on my sketches shows how much I’ve progressed. Hopefully it will continue into the next semester.

Well, that’s it for now I (yes I used it) believed. This is Rebecca Blair signing out, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!




Concept Artwork for Our Story

When trying to explain the world to Jakub, he found he was really struggling with understanding our world. I decided to do a bit of concept artwork to go with our story, as by way of explaining the story to him.

I created the picture below as we explored the idea of what the arena for our world would be. We had previously discussed the use of the world as the arena itself. All the inhabitants meeting in the centre of the world and as each person dances the world would build around them.

I thought this piece by Dmitry Kalischyk was very beautiful, and would link in with Jakub’s idea of incorporating tattoo work on the world that would match up with each character. Jakub converted that the characters would have individual artwork on their bodies and if they win the game, or show the most control, this artwork would be conveyed onto the world itself. In the piece above I experimented with placing this work over the moon.

This was a very quick piece to demonstrate the use of tattoo work further on the buildings and characters. Clíodhna suggested we look at the artwork from the ‘Tangled Storybook Deluxe’ application. This illustration of Rapunzel and Flynn under the lanterns is very beautiful and I wanted to create a quick piece showing the three species in harmony together. I then added the tattoo artwork based on Jakub’s tattoo work.

This, finally was based off of the line “the city itself was a glitch” from our story. Although in Champion’s piece the blues are used to create a calming atmosphere around our couple, I wanted to reverse this feel but with the same colour scheme. I tried to emphasis the movement of the buildings with the exaggeration of lines, as obviously in the painting they would just appear static. I tried to incorporate an almost motion blur look to the lights.

Our Completed Animation

So our completed animation looks great. With a bit of help from  Clíodhna and some feedback from Michael, Jakub tried to hold some of the poses for longer, so the eye could get a jist of the movement.

As mentioned previously, I did colour the animation however Jakub proved so much faster at completing the character over the top. He also created his own music for the piece!

When the final piece itself was created, we felt a background would help with visualising the dance battle.

We had a lot of fun with this project- especially filming our dance reference videos. I had a bit of fun creating a blooper seeing a Gianni tried to kill Clíodhna.


Compiling the Book..

Once Clíodhna provided us with her page layouts and Lina with the typography, we next needed to edit the pieces together.

When completing the actual pages Jakub helped me put together the square species page, while I put together the other to. We all agreed to change the original triangle page layout as we felt it left out the actual feeling of the dance style from the character.

With a little spare time, I created a little title page for our book. I wanted it to be simple and show the three species of our world, while hinting at the general composition of the world itself. I like how it turned out, especially with the blue standing out against the black background.



How to Dance- the Book

After looking back at our drawings we realised we need something to tie both the game and characters together. How would these characters learn the different dance styles? Would there be a school with lessons? How would they know which genres even existed. Bingo. A book. I remembered as a child my little sister used to have hundreds of ballet orientated guides by Osbourne. We thought that in this book we could maybe include some of the history of each species, as they may not have come into contact with on another before.

Lina,  Clíodhna and I decided to work on the book as a trio while Jakub focused on the animation. I tried to help with the colouring (I did the colour blocking for the two separate dance styles) but Jakub was a lot faster.

The three of us decided to have a look at various books and textbooks for examples of their layouts.

The books that we thought were like what we had in mind were the following:

-The Young Dancer: A Young Enthusiast’s Guide to Ballet by Darcy Bussell.

-Tap Dancing For Beginners  by the Johnson Smith Company.

-Little Ballerina Dancing Book by Fiona Watt.

We decided to complete three main pages, one for each species. Kind of like a brief introduction for the other species. On these pages we would include small footnotes on the history of the species’ dance style and music types.

After looking at these designs we realised we had three main tasks. The illustrations, the typography and the composition of the books again. We then split the three tasks between us. I was tasked with the illustrations (I requested this as I wanted to have a go at developing my digital painting skills).

Based on the our previous adaptations to of the characters to the gesture drawings, I selected the ones that I thought captured the characters the best. I first created the outline after drawing the basic gesture shapes on photoshop.


When colouring the characters I wanted to make sure they still looked like they were moving so I thought a water colour style would look best.

From a young age I’ve adored the work of Stephen Cartwright and his style is one that I wanted to replicate in my own illustrations. The book ‘The Usborne Book of Fairy Stories’ was one I cherished and the fairy illustrations match the graceful look of the dancers perfectly. Cartwright’s work looks to be done in watercolour and gives a lovely softness to the characters themselves.

Some of Stephen Cartwright’s illustrations.

Video courtesy of Usborne Publishing.

Another artist who I wanted to try and replicate was that of M.Srta. Manoli uses watercolours to create her hand painted work but this style is also reflected in her digital illustrations.

When completing the characters I decided to stick to the original colour schemes are reflected by the previous groups.

Triangle species- green.

Square species- blue/green.

Circle Species- pink/yellow.

I was really happy how these guys turned out- I think they really capture the personality of each of the characters. I experimented with keeping the line art from the original gesture drawings under the characters and found it looked better with it included. It gave a better sense of movement. I included an example of with and without the gesture drawing below.

When speaking to Clíodhna (as mentioned she was in charge of the page set up) she suggested I draw some diagrams of different feet positions/poses for the pages. The books that we had looked at included quite a lot of these.

Our next step is to complete the book by adding the images together!

Dance movements and life drawing

So our next step was to create motion drawings from these dance sets. We decided to take a ten second snippet from each dance style to show how a move would progress.

Video courtesy of Hamilton Cline.

I showed my group the video above by Hamilton Cline on how to animate a walk cycle, to help us create the frame by frame drawings that would form the basic movement of our character. We wanted to create a basic frame by frame animatic of sorts to lay down the key poses for each step. Inspired by the motion drawings of Glen Keane (I originally was made aware of him through Facebook) I thought it would be a good start point for the look for the movements.


Ballerina by Glen Keane.

For this process I wanted to have a look into life drawing itself. I had a look back at the previous life drawing sessions with Mike that we had, more specifically at the 60 second sketches. The line of action and movement was a lot stronger in these than my longer time period drawings as I had to work with time to demonstrate the movement.

Keane used the gesture drawings as shown above to create this beautiful video based off of a ballerina. After studying this we realised it would be important to get a grasp of these poses. We therefore did a bit more research into gesture drawings.

Video courtesy of Opéra national de Paris

After further researching I found ‘Duet’ by Glen Keane too. I loved the scene in which the ballerina goes from graceful dancing to a fall. Her elegance subsiding completely to clumsiness- possibly like our characters as they move from familiar dance styles to unknown ones.

Video courtesy of Pedro Daniel Garcia Perez.

tumblr_n7swt41nz11rekr9fo4_r1_500Movement from graceful to careless.

Sorcha saw me watching these videos and suggested I look at ‘Thought of You’ by Ryan Woodward. I thought it was very beautiful- you can really capture the love of Woodward for his wife from this piece.

Video courtesy of RyanWoodwardart.

The idea of a gesture drawing is that it captures the movement of a character in its distilled form. Each drawing acts as a keyframe, put together they form the overall animation. These drawings convey the emotion and character of the person, what they are trying to show as they move. Fluidity (as told to use weekly by Michael) is one of the key aspects to this. It brings the action to the piece and combines the action of each limb together in harmony. I used Clara Lieu as a guide line, her blog provided good insight into this drawing type.

I also looked at the art of Matt Jones and Alex Woo for their guidance on gesture drawings. They even had a section on dancer sketches which was really interesting! My favourite thing was the quickness to these drawings- you could actually feel them as if the dancer is moving passed you.

Finally, Jakub found this video below on life drawing and gestures too!

Video courtesy of Sycra.

I have a lot of the gesture drawings in my sketchbook based on the reference videos of  Clíodhna dancing.  After we felt confident enough, we then went to the reference videos and added frames to create the movement for our character in the little animation we wanted. Clíodhna worked painstakingly to do this for Jakub to work over.

My first attempt at blocking in the poses for the ballet video.

Clíodhna’s gesture drawing for the hiphop video with the added frames to make it more fluid. Jakub had begun to block in the key poses for our square character.

I did a very quick brief animation of the gesture drawing alongside the character to demonstrate to Lina what we were doing.

From these initial drawings and the frames from the animation tests, we then wanted to place the characters in the poses, based on the designs from the previous groups. (Even, Jack, Samantha and then Kirstin’s take on these designs which was the style I focused on). Although we knew we were using the square character for our final animation, we wanted to show all the species and how they moved, as all partake in the game.

3I was inspired by the graceful look Kirstin managed to capture in these frames from her groups animatic.

While we worked on these, Jakub worked on the animation, adding the keyframes between each pose to create the square character.


An Animation for Our Game

OK so are game, as mentioned from our story is a dance game. It takes place between the three species of the world, competing to find one person who can control the world. As a group we decided it would be good to have a little animation of this competition based on our characters. We wanted to show one of our characters acting the two opposing dances, or the two it is not used to. We decided that since the square guy was used in our story we would use him, and have him transition from say a ballet move to a hip-hop move.

Jakub is well used to animating on flash- but when creating this animation we wanted to have a look at  some that have been previously created.

Niamh suggested these two videos to be by Vivziepop. I love the bouncy look to character, her moves reflect her personality. So sassy. In fact, I love all the videos below. They capture the personalities of each character so beautifully and the transitions from move to move are skillfully done.



Videos courtesy of Vivziepop

We kind of had a basic idea of what we wanted to show in our animation after looking at these videos. So our next step was to record some of  Clíodhna dancing to decide which moves to use.



The Jive.



Gianni kindly lent himself to aid in some lifts. As you can see, not all of them went accordingly to plan.

Almost killing Clíodhna part one.

When we didn’t kill Clíodhna.

We decided to use the ballet and hip-hop video for our two moves that we will incorporate.

Rules of Dance Battles

So for our world it is like a dance battle we realised we needed to look into actual dance battle rules themselves before designing our game, to come up with the basic structure of how it will be played. The judge itself is the world, i.e. the person who has the biggest impact on the world structure will be the winner of the game.

Dance Battle Rules

I found quite a lot of research into dance battle’s rather than just say individual styles being judged. I did a lot of research online and through books, (Judging Dance Battles by Daniel “MaGNuM” Maliy was very helpful).

The ukstreetdancechampionships and gave the following rules;

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 15.06.11.png

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 15.07.57.png

From a lot of research into these areas, online and through books, I found that the key elements in judging are the following; rhythm, musicality, creativity and difficulty level. Other areas that can be judged, dependent on the dance style of course, can include facial expression and costume.

I then had a look into each individual dance type and how these are judged.


Dan Radler summed this nicely on his website for the amateur looking into judging with this sport. The judge listed the following things as being key aspects when judging ballroom competitions;

`’POSTURE – One of the most important aspects. Good posture makes you look elegant and exude confidence. It improves balance and control, and allows your partner to connect well to your body in the smooth dances. One’s competition result is often directly proportional to one’s postural correctness. Hence the old adage, “Persistent practice of postural principles promises perfection.”

TIMING – If a couple is not dancing on time with the music, no amount of proficiency in any other aspect can overcome this. The music is boss. 

LINE – By this we mean the length and stretch of the body from head to toe. Attractive and well- executed lines, either curved or straight, enhance the shapes of the figures. 

HOLD – The correct and unaffected positioning of the body parts when in closed dancing position. For instance, the line of the man’s arms should be unbroken from elbow to elbow. Also, there should be symmetry of the man’s and woman’s arms coming together to form a circle, which, although changing in size, should remain constant in shape so that the dancers remain in correct body position relative to each other. The silhouette of the couple should always be pleasing. 

POISE – In smooth ballroom dancing, the stretch of the woman’s body upwards and outwards and leftwards into the man’s right arm to achieve balance and connection with his frame, as well as to project outwards to the audience. 

TOGETHERNESS – The melding of two people’s body weights into one, so that leading and following appear effortless, and the dancers are totally in synchronization with each other. 

MUSICALITY AND EXPRESSION – The basic characterization of the dance to the particular music being played and the choreographic adherence to musical phrasings and accents; also the use of light and shade to create interest value in response to these accents and phrases. For instance, in foxtrot, the stealing of time from one step to allow another to hover; or a quick speed of turn in an otherwise slow rumba; or the snap of a head to suddenly freeze and then melt into slowness in tango. 

PRESENTATION – Does the couple sell their ballroom dancing to the audience? Do they dance outwardly, with enthusiasm, exuding their joy of dancing and confidence in their performance? Or do they show strain or introversion? 

POWER – Energy is exciting to watch. I’ve noticed that, in a jive, it always seems to be the most energetic couple that wins this dance. But the energy must be controlled, not wild. For instance, powerful movement is an asset in waltz or foxtrot, but only if it is channeled into the correct swing of the body, and not just by taking big steps. The lilt of the music must be matched by the action of the body. In a waltz for instance, the dancers’ body action must clearly show the influence of the one down beat and two up beats. So the release of power into the beginning of a figure must be controlled and sustained during the rise at the end of the figure. 

FOOT AND LEG ACTION – The stroking of feet across the floor in foxtrot to achieve smoothness and softness; the deliberate lifting and placing of the feet in tango to achieve a staccato action; the correct bending and straightening of the knees in rumba to create hip motion; the extension of the ankles and the pointing of the toes of the non- supporting foot to enhance the line of a figure; the sequential use of the four joints (hip, knee, ankle, and toes) to achieve fullness of action and optimal power; the bending and straightening of knees and ankles in waltz to create rise and fall; the use of inside and outside edges of feet to create style and line all fall under this most important of categories. 

SHAPE – Shape is the combination of turn and sway to create a look or a position. For instance, in Paso Doble does the man create the visual appearance of maneuvering his cape? Does the lady simulate the billowing flow of the cape through space? In foxtrot, does the man use the appropriate shape on outside partner steps to enable body contact to be maintained? 

LEAD AND FOLLOW – Does the man lead with his whole body instead of just his arms? Does the lady follow effortlessly or does the man have to assist her? 

FLOORCRAFT – In Ballroom dance, this refers not only to avoiding bumping into other couples, but the ability to continue dancing without pause when boxed in. It shows the command of the couple over their choreography and the ability of the man to choose and lead figures extrinsic to their usual work when the necessity presents itself. 

INTANGIBLES – such as how a couple “look” together, whether they “fit” emotionally, their neatness of appearance, costuming, the flow of their choreography, and basically whether they look like “dancers”; all have an affect on a judge’s perception and therefore on his markings.”


Ballet (a dance type that my sister has Grade 6 in) has another set of rules included for this style. provided some of the additional knowledge into this type of dance.


Ballet dancers are known for their beautiful feet. Some dancers refer to perfect ballet feet as “banana feet,” as the curved arch and instep somewhat resembles the shape of a banana. Notice how their toes are always pointed, especially when they leave the ground. Excellent ballet dancers have incredible arches and flexible ankles. Watch for their crisp, clean footwork. A good dancer will not take any noticeable steps in between the bigger steps. 


One of the first things a ballet dancer learns is how to properly hold the body. Notice the incredible, unwavering posture of each dancer. Look how their arms and legs form graceful parallel and perpendicular lines with each step.


One of the most amazing qualities of a ballet dancer is the appearance of being able to float through the air. Notice how the dancers appear weightless as they glide effortlessly across the stage.

Pointe shoes can make a dancer seem weightless. They also emphasize the gentleness of the dance. The ballerina appears to gently dance on her toes. Also, watch the men leap high into the air and complete countless rotations before their feet hit the floor.


Classical ballet is meant to be dramatic. Romantic ballets often feature themes that emphasize intense emotion as a source of aesthetic experience. Notice the emotion on the faces of the ballet dancers as they dance. Excellent ballet dancers seem to speak volumes without uttering a single word. Ballet mime is a set of conventional gestures that allow dancers to speak without words. After you have watched a few ballets, you will become familiar with the basic mime gestures and find it easier to understand the underlying themes.”


Diddlyi provided the information on this genre- there’s a whole website dedicated to rules.

Facial Expression was one I would never have thought of – it states to insure the head it tilted and a smile is always present as it helps with posture- who would ever have thought of that?

Overall Rules

  1. So what are our overall rules? Well we decided to have a general rule set based on the dance battle rules, and then the different dance styles would be judged as they are above.
  2. No fighting among competitors will be tolerated
  3. No additional props or costumes to be worn
  4. Each dance section will last thirty seconds, the World will decided at random which to dance to
  5. The competitor’s performance will be judged on the following : skills/accuracy of dance moves, musicality and how they interact with the music, the creativity of moves, the performance itself.
  6. The performance will be judged by the World, skill and ability will be reflected as how the equalizer reacts with each competitor.