Monday, 31 January 2011

Research (via Blackboard)

I watched 5 of the recommended animations and wrote these mini reviews:

Federick Back has been winning awards for his simple animations since the early 1980s. I watched a few and they look like children's book illustrations that have come to life. Their naive, simplistic style lends itself well to stories about children playing and cosy family scenes. They remind me a bit of The Snowman.
Watch Crac! here

John Kelly uses a mixture of real objects, mixed media, and drawn images to illustrate the concept of 'Procrastination'. He effectively uses a monotone, human voice (presumably his own) and sound effects along with everyday examples, to create humour. I actually prefer 'The Seed' which combines simple drawings with folded paper in a simpler way than before, and doesn't rely on speech to tell the story.

Gili Dolev 's 9 minute long 'Happy Duckling' is a multi award-winning children's film about a boy and his duck. Though digitally animated, the characters and sets are made to look like they're made from paper and live inside a pop-up book. The characters control the set using tabs which I think is a novel idea and looks cute.

Nexus Productions is a site which showcases a variety of commercial animators' work.
My favourite is Jonas Odell who has made music videos for Franz Ferdinand and Goldfrapp. I also like Mighty Nice's 'kinetic typography' (a change of subject means a change in typography)
Watch them all here

Ferenc Cako uses sand to cleverly create simple scenes in front of the camera. He skillfully scatters sand from his hand to make dark areas then works quickly into it to create lines, destroying them with another wipe of his hand as soon as they are finished, to move onto the next scene. He manages to shift focus and 'zoom' in and out seamlessly to tell stories. This is not stop-motion in the strictest sense, it's really film, but I like it the most out of all these videos.

5 more coming soon...

Haunch of Venison/Nicholas Provost visit

On Friday we went to the Haunch of Venison gallery to see a small exhibition of work by video artist Nicholas Provost.
I hadn't heard of Provost before I went to the gallery, so it was interesting to go in with no knowledge about his work at all.
The gallery website calls says: His work is a reflection on the grammar of cinema and the relationship between visual art and the cinematic experience.

A piece that really stood out was the disturbing 'Long Live the New Flesh' which recycles gory scenes from well-know horror films (Alien, The Shining etc) and splices them together with disorientating and psychedelic moving pixels to create something truly disturbing.

Even scenes of more favourable subject matter (kissing scenes for example in 'Gravity') were unsettling as the 'stroboscopic' frames shifted too quickly for my eyes to focus on any one character, however I liked this film as the choice of 50s romantic film footage worked well.

The last piece I saw was 'Stardust' in which Provost imbues ordinary hidden-camera film footage of everyday scenes with intense drama by adding music and dialogue, making it seem like a crime story. This was an excellent piece to show how different sounds can transform visual material and I will make use of this idea when starting the first project.

MORE (Nicholas Provost's website)

What we did last week (week 1)

Everyone's first animations! Harriet, Grace and I made the Mr.Potato Head one (at 1.50)

and a 2d animation about a butterfly

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Week 1

Today we were introduced to the animation lab and the two different types of workstation:
the rostrum camera (for making 3D stop animation)
and the camera for 2D animations, linked directly to a computer/stop motion software.
This very simple software allowed us to try working with 'onion skinning' and timing.

We also watched some examples of work which the tutors liked and which other students found inspirational. My favourites were...

Little Dragon music video by Johannes Nyholm
I like the simplicity of this one; it focuses more on the story and less on the skill/technique involved in making an animation.
The puppets and scenery are so minimal but, along with the wafting backdrop, still manage to evoke a lot of emotion.

Oren Lavie music video (directed by Oren Lavie)
A lot of stop motion has been done with real people, enabling them to appear doing things usually impossible (flying etc). However, I think this one is particularly successful as it's interesting the whole way through and looks carefully considered e.g. when the model 'runs' it looks real; they must have looked at slowed-down film of people running. The video also works well as it's short, being a music video, and the lyrics/musical style match the visuals; the high number of views on youtube is testimony to this.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

My previous experience quite limited. Here's the short stop-motion I made for my Christmas card project