Edinburgh Jazz Festival TV Advert

October 17th, 2013

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My dream of being paid to create a Norman McLaren-style ‘Begone Dull Care’ animation (1949) for the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival was thwarted here when alas the notion was not to the client’s liking. It was probably just as well as I believe Begone Dull Care must have taken a near lifetime to produce and I’m generally working to eye-wateringly tight broadcast deadlines.

That said, if anyone fancies painting and scratching directly onto celluloid, let me know.

Categories: 2d Motion Graphics, Television Graphics | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments

CD Album Cover Artwork

September 7th, 2011

I haven’t done any cd sleeve designs for a while, but then I was asked twice in a short space of time to come up with some packaging. Given that the reason I wanted to be a graphic designer was so I could create record sleeve artwork – I’m talking LP’s here, remember them? Big things that folded out with lots of cool graphics and lyrics you could read – I’m always happy to turn my hand to CD sleeve designs, even if I need a magnifying glass to see them.

The two bands here are both Edinburgh-based, but musically they couldn’t be more different. The Sunshine Delay have an alt-country vibe at their heart but they mix it with a rootsy rock and pop to create their own distinctive sound. Easy Tigers are fronted by Craig Ross – who also moonlights with Broken Records – and specialise in rustic, warm soundscapes. Both bands are well worth hearing.


My friend Neil Sommerville is a percussion tutor and runs the Edinburgh Schools Rock Ensemble (ESRE). You know, for kids? Every year the kids put out their own CD recording and every year I produce the sleeve artwork. Neil tells me this is the 10th year we’ve been doing this. I figured some of these kids must be getting a bit long in the tooth by now, but it turns out there’s a new batch every year. It’s only me that’s getting long in the tooth. With this logic, the secret to eternal youth would be to be a member of ESRE.

As it was their anniversary year, they decided the new CD should be a double compilation of the best tracks from the nine previous discs and Neil suggested a Sgt. Pepper pastiche in order to build a collage of members past and present. That sounded fine but this band has had more members than the Drifters. Soon I was suffering from cut and paste exhaustion and had to have a lie down. Anyway, this is the result. Neil is the one with his back to the camera, bottom centre. He’s very tall.

Categories: Miscellaneous Graphic Design | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

3d Architectural Modelling – Multi-Purpose Hall

July 5th, 2011

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This animation begins with the exterior of the new Edinburgh International Conference Centre atrium extension, currently under construction. After moving through the ground level, the camera travels to the subterranean levels and that’s where the unusual features are. Because not only is the main hall built directly under the building next door – the also under construction 7-floor EICC office block – it also has a technologically innovative engineered floor which allows the space to be used for many different types of events.

I followed the architects’ plans showing how the floor was subdivided so that with the touch of a button the space could be transformed from a flat floor banquet to raked banquet to full arena, with many other variations. Despite the challenges, I think it was a lot easier for me to build in 3d than it would be in reality.

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3d Architectural Modelling – Interiors

June 15th, 2011

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The new office block extension to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is a seven-story building but also has three sub-zero levels. These connect through to the new atrium extension next door and ultimately to the EICC itself. It took me some time to get to grips with the architects’ drawings but once I had an understanding of the floorplans and all the associated information I started building the 3d model from the inside out.

This sequence dispensed with the usual 3d flythrough procedure of a single camera perspective, instead opting for a multi-camera edit. It’s difficult to create internal and external lighting in the same scene but that’s what was called for, as well as 3d figures to populate the scene. We rendered the animations in HD, which certainly kept them crisp, and the result was projected onto a huge screen in the EICC.

It will be very strange for me once the building is complete and I visit for the first time.

See also 3d Architectural Modelling – Exteriors.

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3d Architectural Modelling – Exteriors

June 1st, 2011

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This is an architectural rendering of the new extensions to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, currently under construction in Scotland’s capital and due to be unveiled in 2013.

Building the 3d models in itself was quite a challenge. The glass atrium building connects directly to the existing round-turreted EICC, but the seven-story office block to the right of it also connects to both buildings through a complex series of underground corridors and halls. (I’ll upload the interiors in a seperate posting.)

These exterior scenes try to illustrate the level of detail that the architectural plans demanded. Even once the modelling was completed, there was still the lighting and texturing to work on in order to try and replicate what the architects had in mind. Not to mention rendering. (The completed piece is 5 minutes long.) Every time I thought I’d cracked it, it turned out there was another corner or nook that I hadn’t noticed. Like the roof garden for example. Oh yeah, then there was a little thing called Edinburgh Castle in the background..

See also 3d Architectural Modelling – Interiors.

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SEO Scotland

October 26th, 2009

Having a great website is one thing but unless you’re getting a reasonably high ranking in Google and the other search engines, it might not do you much good. You can pay Google for a sponsored listing, but who really wants to pay Google? That’s where search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in.

I’m a search engine marketing consultant based in Edinburgh, Scotland. SEO is the art of increasing your website’s visibility by raising its ranking in the major search engines like Google and Yahoo. Here’s a case study:

Around this time last year I was approached by Ampersand, the Edinburgh based stable of advocates, to tackle their SEO. They had a very attractive website that did everything they needed and everyone was very proud of. There was only one problem – it was very hard to find in the search engines.

I ripped through the Ampersand site applying a wide range of ‘white hat’ SEO techniques and put a number of measures in place that would, given time, boost their rankings considerably. After a month we were beginning to see a marked improvement – I kept a log of the progress being made on individual search terms. Later I was delighted to be able to tell them they had a page one ranking for virtually all the terms they were interested in.

Anyone who says they can guarantee a top position ranking is not really telling the truth. There are too many factors that are taken into account in Google’s massively complex number crunching. Also I wouldn’t believe anyone who says they can fix this for you overnight. It’s a slow process, but as long as you’re not a fly by nighter and are in business for the right reasons, it’s a job that’s well worth doing.

My number one tip for anyone  looking to boost their website ranking would be – have a website with interesting and unique content. And if you’re interested in taking the next step and finding an SEO consultant in Scotland, give me a call.

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Edinburgh 3d Animation

March 9th, 2009

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This is an excerpt from LA Media’s excellent corporate presentation for the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. At one point in the script there was a need to show the centre’s close proximity to all Edinburgh’s main landmarks and most thriving tourist spots, so I was asked to create this whirlwind tour of the city. In terms of geography, it’s actually reasonably accurate!

To close the presentation I created the fairly simple but effective animation of the EICC logo with it’s square-set forms and letters.

Categories: 3d Animation, Business Graphics | Tags: , , , , | No Comments

Edinburgh International Conference Centre

January 30th, 2009

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The EICC is a regular Scottish venue for events such as this one. This was a case where the client needed to see how the space would look with all the branding elements in place. They also wanted to contruct a false wall at the entrance of the main foyer area, which had cost and lighting implications. These are things best visualised with 3d design before spending a lot of money.

Categories: 3d Animation | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment