Projects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here you’ll find a selection of some of my current, past and abandoned projects. As time goes on I hope to add more details as well as more projects to this list. If you have any questions you’d like to ask about my work then please drop me a line at website@subtraction.plus.com
Thanks
Fish Life
This is really my top priority at the moment. It’s a short film about a husband, wife and the fishthat destroys them (almost). Well, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration. I’ve been very slowly making it over the past year or so. Now I have to get cracking. I’m aiming to have it ready for submission to the next Bristol Animated Encounters film festival which will take place early next year. More…

The Secret Project.
Originally this was an idea I had for another short film. However, I’ve since realized that it could work very well as a series. Jane Davies has been helping me with the development. At this stage I don’t want to reveal too much about it. I think it has potential so I don’t want to give the idea away just yet. Sorry. More…

New Kings Of Mountainia
This is my dream project. It’s an idea I’ve had in my head for about five years now. The story has been piecing itself together and the characters have been forming. It’s now at a stage where I really need to write the script. Oh if only I was any good at writing scripts.
It would be a half hour film at the very least. It’s got to the point now that I’m already developing ideas for a sequel. That’s a little bit presumptuous considering that it’s unlikely ever to get made, but I don’t care.
This project is actually more secretive than the one above because I’ve only ever explained the story to three other people and that was a few years ago.

Metaphor Revisited
This is a remake of a film I made at university. Mark Taylor from A Productions really would like me to make this film. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy making the original. It was less creative and more of a technical undertaking. I never felt that the the film worked as well as I wanted it to. This new version might address some of the problems that I had before. However, I prefer working on new ideas so this one often gets pushed onto the back burner.
I’d be more than happy for someone else to make it for me…
Well, it was worth a try.

Encounters Short Film Festival 2006
The Animated Encounters Festival ceased to exist in 2006. Instead it joined forces with its sister film festival, Brief Encounters. Together they became Encounters Short Film Festival.
I had not previously made the trailer for Brief Encounters so there was no guarantee that I would be creating it for the new festival. However, I was lucky enough to be chosen again.
This trailer had to be slightly different from previous years. I was required to not only feature the artwork used in the poster and other publicity material but also a selection of films to be shown in the festival itself. Rather than just show edited clips of the films I decided to present them in a more visually interesting environment.
For some reason my mind hit upon the idea of the festival as a microscope examining the world of short films. I used the rings in the poster image to represent lenses focusing in on little microscopic films as they swim about. It’s all a bit weird and hopefully not as pretentious as it sounds. It’s hopefully just a nice little visual conceit.
BBC Action Network
This was a 30 second ad commissioned by the BBC for their Action Network community help web site.
It was a fun little project. The BBC gave me the script and a general idea that they wanted something with simple character design. Apart from that I was mostly left to do what I wanted, with their approval of course.
Once completed it was regularly shown on the main BBC channels.
Fun Fact: If you look closely you can see that the graffiti on the wall is an altered version of my last name. Also my initials (Pdh) make up three of the arrow shapes around the top.
Animated Encounters 2005
The 2005 trailer was a slight departure for me as I would be directing rather than animating. However, it was still a lot of fun. Every year the trailer seems to get longer and more complicated. This year we follow a character go on a journey through himself. Read more…


Animated Encounters 2003
This is the third year that I have produced the animated title sequence for Bristol’s Animated Encounters Film Festival. This year was probably more of an open brief than usual as I had all ready started work on the sequence before the organizers of the festival had spoken to me.
As in previous years I used the characters featured in the festival’s publicity material, in this case the web site. From there I rebuilt the characters in the computer so that they were suitable to animate for my idea. This year I fancied doing a song and dance routine! More…

Robbie the Reindeer
The second outing for the BBC’s Robbie the Reindeer required two sequences animated in the style of classic kids series Noggin the Nog. A Productions was asked to complete these sections.
Tim Ruffle designed the various characters and scenery required. These designs were then hand painted by Gary Brown. The artwork was scanned into the computer where I could set upon animating it. To try and maintain the authentic paper cut-out style of animation employed by Noggin I had to deliberately roughen my animation. Computers can tend to make animated movements too smooth. To help with the look I built my scene in a 3D space and applied lights to cast shadows from the various levels of virtual paper.
Copyright BBC
Animated Encounters 2002
The 2002 festival trailer again employed the characters used in the publicity material. This time the bird is joined by a fish. During a bit of over exuberant flying the bird ends up in rather close quarters with the fish, who’s always happy to see visitors drop in. More…


Animated Encounters 2001
This was the first year I was asked to create the animated title sequence for the Bristol festival.
Initially I was given the Adobe Illustrator files used in the creation of the festival poster. The poster included a man made up of the various shapes from within the Animated Encounters logo. Using the Illustrator file I was able to split the character into pieces. From there I was able to animate him being startled by an energetic little bird.
I liked the idea of having the background constantly moving with the various coloured shapes drifting across that screen. With that in mind, I built a three dimensional set within 3D Studio Max. I was then simply able to pan the camera past the various coloured shapes.
There were certainly simpler methods to achieve the same results but I find that it is helpful and fun to experiment with different techniques. More…

Plain
Plain was my graduation film at the University of Wales College, Newport where I gained my degree in animation. It was a simple, if slightly too long, film about a bunch of hungry animals on the African plain. We watch as they forage and hunt for their food. It concludes with a chain reaction of events which brings the film back to where it started.
At the graduation screening I was put in touch with The British Council who promote creative ideas from the UK around the world. They helped me to get the film entered and screened at film festivals across Europe. I actually lost count of how many festivals it was shown at. It just seemed to snow ball. An organizer for one festival would see it and want it for their own. I think the reason that it was so popular was that it had no human reference in it. You didn’t have to speak a particular language or understand a certain culture to be able to watch it.
Although my current film Fish Life obviously has human reference I have deliberately kept language and specific cultural references to a minimum as much as possible. This hopefully will give it more appeal to a wider audience.

Metaphor
This film was also made during my final year at university. At the time I was getting a bit fed up with animated films that thought it was really clever to use metaphors. A lot of the time I found these metaphors to be completely pointless. They were either too obvious or horrible confused. An obvious metaphor is redundant; you might as well just come straight out and say what you mean. Equally the confused metaphors just spoilt any chance the audience ever had at working the film out. It just seemed like bad thinking to me.
So, I decided to make my own film using metaphor. However, I was going to be blatantly obvious. I was going to point it out right at the beginning by calling it Metaphor. the whole thing was just going to be one big metaphor for life. I wanted it to be silly.
I had grand plans of using lots of well known metaphors throughout the film but I couldn’t think of many, so I didn’t. I’d decided to have a blue ball as my representation of life and I fixed it in the centre of the screen. The world would roll past the ball rather than the ball rolling through the world. Since the whole thing was animated on my Amiga computer it turned into a technical challenge. Worst of all I was losing interest in the idea. I simply wanted to get it finished.
The end result was never what I hoped it would be. It does work as a film but I wanted to have so much more in it. It really needed to have more development time spent on it. I was already animating it before I knew exactly what was going to happen in it.
Now, as you’ll have seen above, there is the spectre of remaking it. However, I must admit the original experience makes me reluctant to return.

Fish Dream
This was a film that I actually started to animate. I had a few seconds of almost complete footage. However, it suffered the same problem as Metaphor in that it became a technical exercise. The film required one smooth continues shot as a fish’s mind wondered across the landscape and back to the sea. There would be no cuts. Scenery had to seamlessly morph from one thing to another; almost without the audience noticing. This quickly became a headache for me. I realized that I’d have to build part of the film in 3D and then blend it with 2D elements. I just didn’t have the time or the patience to work it all out.
Unlike Metaphor I did have a good idea of the structure and look of the film. I am actually sad that I didn’t get this one finished. Perhaps one day I will return to it.
Fish Dream was actually going to be the first of a trio of fish film. Fish Life, as mentioned at the top of this page, was going to be the second. The third film was going to be called Fish Race and featured a bunch of Salmon as they dashed up river. That film never even got out of my mind and into the sketch book. More…
Penguins
After I graduated from university I spent the summer not only looking for a job but also thinking of new ideas. For some reason I decided that I wanted to make a film about penguins in the Antarctic. So I started doing research into penguins and all their different varieties. I then started to experiment with design and how I could simplify their form even further. I had a whole bunch of odd and silly ideas which I realized would simply be beyond my skills to produce.
The penguins were put to one side as I began to think more and more about New Kings of Mountainia So a film never came about.
However, I did eventually use a variation of my penguin designs on a selection of Christmas cards that I created for friends and family.