Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Aaron Barschak

Look what iv found..
Whist doing some research for my 1500 word essay for Critical studies, I was reading J. Careys' WHAT GOOD ARE THE ARTS. There is a whole chapter in this book which debates, What art is?(very interesting).

Reading on I came across an example to challenge what is seen as art, It said that in October 2003 a man called Aaron Barschak who calls himself the 'comedy terrorist' tried to pull a stunt which he had a reputation for, this time in the Modern Art Gallery in Oxford.

Apparently Barschak was up in Oxford magistrates court on charge for criminal damages for splashing paint all over the walls of the Art gallery, which also splashed the work of the Chapman brothers and Jake Chapman.

In his response to this he stated he had over heard a conversation the Chapman brothers were having over the exhibition 'The rape of Creativity' which feature cartoon heads drawn over a series of etchings of Goya's 'disaster of war'. He further stated at the point of splashing the paint he was merely trying to recreate he own work of art, using someone else's work and that he would enter it for the turner price draw. Which in effect was exactly what The Chapman Brothers did with ' The rape of Creativity. His story didn't work and the judge gave him 28 days in prison.

In my opinion after reading this and the rest of the chapter, I find it difficult to find where Barschak went wrong except for the fact that he splashed Jake Chapman. OK, it was amazingly cheeky and damaging to walk into a gallery and splash paint everywhere, but to say its not art and to disregard it simply because of the way it was created is wrong. I think the way it was created is part of the art and I think it was Genius. It challenges what the world believes to be Art, something which has created much of a stir for many centuries.

The judge should have been put in the box and asked, In your opinion what is art? maybe then Barschak would have got his way.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Sand Pit: Conclusion

I feel whilst doing this Com Tech brief I have been allowed to experiment and develop my skills in other areas I wouldn't have necessarily attempted without a reason.
Working with and researching into animation has given me a better understanding of the art form and the technologies behind it. I have been allowed to be creative, experimental, and expressive through my ideas with different softwares which I have thoroughly enjoyed.
Animation is there to create narrative and to entertain different people with different tastes and ideas, but it is also there to be challenged. Its an ever changing art form and the softwares used to create it are well established and more readily available.
After working with animation I can now appreciate the art form for what it is, it is very precise, and complex which focuses highly on timing and innovation. Even though animation and the softwares have developed dramatically the core skills and principles of this Art form are still highly important.
Overall I have learnt a lot of thinking, technological and experimental skill from this brief which I will use within my future works. P.S I'm totally Blog 'loved up'...which is another thing Ive been forced into doing since starting this brief.

The Sand Pit: creating a storyboard

Group activity
In groups of 3 plan, draw and physically create a storyboard using 3 different shooting angles.

Close up
Long shot
Extreme angle

(Think about how the storyboards are drawn to communicate the narrative as the film will be edited by another group).

This is the storyboard which we created before the next activity

After doing this exercise our group of three, acted the storyboard out. Me and Steph acted out each scene whilst Hayley filmed us using a mini DV Camcorder. Doing this exercise was very valuable to me it taught me alot of things that I wouldnt usually take into consideration if I was to film something. Having to think about whether a shot was long, short or extreme made the storyboard and film more interesting and 3 dimentional. It also introduced me to how shots are thought up and its for this specific reason. Different shots belong in different places within a storyboard and film to bring something to attention or to build up a sort of tension or energy within the narrative. As the storyboard was going to be used by another group to edit our film, we had to be very careful to illustrate the drawings well enough so they could compare each clip in the film to each illustration. If the narrative was communicated properly on paper and on the film then the other group would find it easy to edit it. I think as it was our groups first attempt at the story board we did well. We also had to edit someone elses film and as it was also our first attempt at using Final cut, it was really hard but we managed to create a very simple sequence which we presented infront of the class. I really enjoyed this short exercise as it introduced alot of communication and technical processes to me that I wouldnt normally come across which I later experimented with whilst doing this Brief.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Sand Pit: Examples of different types of animation techniques and softwares

Stop Motion

Where objects are used to create movement. The process is very long and time consuming because you have to move the object bit by bit whilst taking photographs of every single small movement. The photographs are then put together to create a movie sequence. Clay is often used for stop motion as it versatile and easy to manipulate.

The is a stop motion video by Kristoferstrom I found it on YouTube.

This video reminds me of the carphone warehouse advert, I love it. The first instance of stop motion was in 1898 and so its quite an old technique with a long history. The first Stop motion technique was object animation but has developed right to time-lapse. Although the facts show how much technologhy has developed, old fashioned techniques are still used and are highly valuable to animators, which this video shows.

Strata-Cut animation

Which is also a form of stop motion animation but is done using clay. The technique is similar to the one above only an object is created usually in the shape of a sausage which is well put together using different coloured clay. when the object is formed a slice is cut of the oject and a photograph is taken. when the suasage has finished the photographs are put together in a sequence to create movement.

I think this kind of animation is really theraputic, hypnotic and relaxing, I nearly feel asleep watching it.

Cell Shaded Animation

Cell Shading animation was used in early animated movies such as Disney classics. Its a process where a 3D model is used as a silhoette, and from that a 2D computer graphic is rendered to look like a drawing which is usually in the style of a cartoon or comic. These 2D graphics are done using acetate which are called Cells. Although these animations are like simple drawing the Cell shading technique is very complex.

This example of cell shading animation is called Spirited Away

The animation by Disney is not at all like the usual western type that everyone knows, it a japanese style of animation.

'CGI' computer generated imagery

There are many different softwares used to create CGI, a few being Maya, Lightwave 3D, Blender and many more which are very complex, (an example has been given earlier on where I used Maya). Because of the availabilty of these CGI softwares and because computers are becoming faster it has been possible for individuals to create these professional 3D projects for games or film etc. Its said that this has now created a subculture on the internet. CGI in the past was used to create special effects for instance in Jurrassic Park the creators used CGI to create the 3D illusion of the Dinosaurs. But in later year its become more popular with films created using full CGI. (Toy Story being the first which iv mentioned).

This animation has been created using CGI software, but the reason iv made it an example is the creators have made it look almost like a cell shaded animation, and like its 2D. I think it defeats the purpose of using CGI in a way but then its even better because its added another dimension to the movies profile. Also it really shows of the current styles and softwares available. I really like this one.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Sand Pit: My experience using Maya

As 3D animation is also something im interested in looking at I thought it would be a good idea to have a go at working in Maya to create a cartoon character. Wow it was the most complex advanced software iv ever worked with if thats what you could call it. Creating simple things such as the shell of a mobile phone in this software is difficult you have to think about all the axis and remembering its a 3D model was easy to forget at times. I worked in the program using all 4 authographic veiws which made it easier to model as you could see the component at all points. I started off with a simple component such as a sphere which in Maya are called nurbs (objects with a smooth exterior) then I used the 3 colour coded axis which were for scale, rotation and movement to manipulate the component. This was the hard bit having manipulated one part of the component left the other parts of the component out of shape getting my head round all this was way too difficult at this stage. I tried creating the model of my chicken but it wasnt happening as you can see from the picture but having a go was really fun. The instructions I followed and the process I used are in my sketchbook
Toy story was the first full movie to use this software:

The Sand Pit: Animation

As I looked at animation for the Chinese whispers activity, I became quite keen to look at different aspects of animation to see how it works and to see how it communicates using different softwares. Im sure using different animation softwares and techniques can manipulate and even change a narrative.

The prinicples of animation:

Set up by Disney in 1930 which has helped transform animation from being a novelty to being an art form.
The principles range from

Drawing in a praticular style looking at balance, composition, weight ect of the characters. Creating ARCS- movement of the character
Appeal- giving the character a personality and chrisma

There are a few more but I have metioned the ones im going to look at.

After looking at examples of these prinicples such as the drawing board from the Disney character Betty Boop, I feel it is very important for the creator to follow them despite what software they decide to use to put the animation together. I think following them would allow you to convey and communicate your narrative easier. I also think a good communicated animation always makes the viewer feel the characters are interesting and realistic. For instance, even in old time animation you can see these principles.

Short film by Winsor McCay 1914
McCay used 10,000 illustated drawings which were inked onto rice paper and mounted to create this film. Although this is a narrative of a Dinosaur taking commands from her creator to 'perform'tricks. I believe it was a mere example of the potential animation had at the time, I think McCay was simply showing off.

The reason I made this video my example of the animation principles is because although this was done at the time animation software and techniques weren't really in full swing the elements are still apparent. The dinosaur has life. If you look closely you can see the dinosaur breating in and out, you see it rolling over and behaving almost like a child. All this has made the dinosaur have charisma, although it is just a 2D cartoon. Because it has these life like traits we can relate with it in our own minds giving the dinosaur a more realistic presence.

From this initial research I decided I wanted to create a short animation using these principles. I wanted to work in photoshop using a graphics tablet to create the illustrations, something im not too familiar with. Although I could have drawn them in pencil and scanned them in,using this software will allow me to experiment and develop my skills in photoshop. I also believe using photoshop will give the illustrations a cartoon type style.

I think using an up todate programme like photoshop was a good idea for illustration. As I learnt whilst using the software I could use the layers to my advantage. Being able to recreate the background and the chicken several times made the whole process alot quicker than if I had to draw them all from scratch. Also you can keep an eye on composition, colour balance and scale whist using this software something thats not so easy to get right when drawing the same picture over and over again. Also using the graphics tablet was just like working with a pen to paper once I got used to it. This story board is about a deluded chicken who is sick of the abuse and is trying to escape, I illustrated the chicken to look slightly crazy because the ideas he comes up with to get out are disturbing, iv tried to put the animation prinicples to some use.
All I have learnt and the tools I used to create these illustrations are written down in my sketchbook.

This is the animation I created from these illustrations. Its called Free Roam

This sequence was produced using Final cut, a software I had never used before. As I worked on my sequence and also had some introduction classes into the software I eventually gained quite a bit of experience on it. Im hardly a pro but I certainly know how to put a sequence together editing it, adding audio and effects in the process. I think using this software made me aware of time and movement something which is very important in animation. I did have a lot of problems trying to syncronise the movement of the chicken with the audio, and also whilst adding key frames but with time it worked out okay. I am not really happy with the outcome of the sequence the music does not run as smooth as it should because I cut into it a few times by mistake Whilst editing and also the timing of the music has changed when I compressed the video so the chicken isnt timed in with the music which is an important thing in animation. The other problem I think with this small project was the fact that I think I spent too much time on it instead of just doing a small experiment I opted to finish the whole thing because I wanted to see if my narrative worked. But on the other hand Im glad I finished it because I gained a better understanding of the process and software. The instructions and process I used are in my sketchbook.

The Sand Pit: Chinese whispers

Create a story using Chinese whispers and visually communicate this narrative through photography using a mobile phone.

The Narrative:

1 BANG the lights went off
2 SHUFFLE the lights came on
3 The sausage had four eyes
4 Micheal Jackson came in and took his coat off
5 An Eagle flew in from the window
6 Mike was there as well, and hes from Wigan
7 He got the shits and sick for christmas
8 and he died

I think the narrative created for the activity was very weak and hard to communicate with much imagination. Although we did try this out, the end result was far from visually stimulating.