Trial by Jury, Judge’s song

Here is a post on progress on the Judge’s song from “Trial by Jury”.

This is a line test of the first verse. The Right arm and some of the body is still missing as well as the earlier frames of the pigtail and the pupils.

The animation was completed on the Harmony/toon boom system though I note the production of the brilliant and recently-screened “Ethel and Ernest” on BBC was done with TV Paint which seems to offer so much more opportunity in terms of textures and usability. Harmony was a wonderful tool when it was run by the Vogelesang family, particularly Lilly and Joan, but they were taken over by Corus entertainment in 2014 or so and it does not seem to have been the same ever since. I have been teaching in a school in Moscow that apparently promotes the software and it was a devil of a job to get it actually to work at all on the school machines. So much for Industry standard! I note the company also acquired Animo, Pegs’n’co and the Cambridge animation system, rival 2d animating software and has not made any effort to update any of these since, effectively smashing the opposition and leaving precious little choice.

Here is an earlier version:



This is the finished “look”-

Screen shot 2016-12-31 at 13.54.36.png

First combined image of background and character…



another day and a few more seconds of Bertie

there is alot about harmony that is good, though I must confess to some frustration over shadows where there remains a clear distinction between the outline and the painted shadow when the image is generated… very difficult to see this distinction ion real life!  Quibbles maybe but quibbles are the food of animation. When you concentrate on an image that is only projected for 1/24 or 1/25 second, there is a tendency to start nit-picking.

I shall be adding Bert’s bow tie and hat at a later stage. I will also redraw the walk down the stage wings soon so that the character remains “on model”

Before “Harmony”

my name is zontul 2

This was the original pencil drawing (pegs at the top)

my name is zontul 1

This is the corresponding cell (pegs oddly at the bottom)

my name is zontul 3

this is from the final composite with the background and a foreground painting of a bowl of tulips

About two years ago, I was introduced to ToonBoom Animation and Storyboard and their integrated studio system called “Harmony” developed for films like “The Princess and the Frog”. It has taken a while to adjust and I am sorry not to be using the old-fashioned paint and trace, but Harmony has certainly speeded up our workflow!! Here are some older pictures though…..just for fun!


fei_bigger_jpg reduced smaller


alternative titles
alternative titles


The end of last year, Henry Astor asked me to do a title sequence for his film “Aubade”. He is an old friend and I was very happy to get involved. The film was beautifully put together telling the story of the making of a guitar, a song that is written specifically for that instrument and the performer playing it.


Here is the Youtube link and a screen capture:

aubade 4


The following frames are from an earlier version with a more elaborate font



aubade 2




Paul_bigger reduced 42 nothing

There was an initial screening in the theatre at Chipping Norton where once we did Figaro- more on that very soon.

More Burlington Bertie

Some progress this week in animating a walk cycle for the Burlington Bertie film.




bert walk cycle


side view theatre1 SMALLa

Much of the walk is hidden behind stage scenery, but the process of getting that movement right is still necessary. Two things emerged in the week- firstly trying to get a walk working makes some very odd shapes in a 2d drawing that perhaps would look very wrong in 3d, and secondly, drawing up background scenery, I realise how important it is to draw a building to fully understand it. So I have now spent 3 days struggling with Big Ben and the house of Parliament. One thing I should add is that animation is genuinely easier with Toonboom/ Harmony, but these big tracking shots remain tough.


Pugin provides such complexity. Next week we are off to Ratcliffe to sketch the new prep school that is being built there. Oddly, the architect is a distant relative of the original Pugin. It is some sort of poetic justice. Here is an image of the cloisters at Ratcliffe and of the Pugin facade. I will post images of the new Prep school shortly of course.

ratcliffe cloisters

3 ratcliffe