Sunday, 1 February 2009

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.

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