Saturday, 26 February 2011

Animators unearthed

Just took some time out - had a bath and took the book with me: animators unearthed by Chris Robinson. I already knew of a few of the animators highlighted in this book, for example: Chris Landreth - I adore his film Ryan (2004), its one of my favourite 3D animations, also Michaela Pavlatova, I just love Reci , Reci, Reci (1991), PES, Joanna Priestley, Chris Shepherd, Konstantin Bronzit, Jib Jab and Joanna Quinn; but there are a few animators in this book that I had not heard of and one of these were: Theodore Ushev, so I had a little read about him and immediately checked out one of his films as soon as I got out of the bath - Tower Bawher (2005). You can see the influence of Bauhaus, Constructivism and El Lissitzky. In the book it says he was influenced by constructivist artists like Dziga Vertov and the Stenberg Brothers. It is pretty powerful and synchs so well with the dynamic soundtrack Time Forward! by Russian composer Georgy Sviridov. It brought to mind an idea that I had for the Red chases Blue animation that I did in Year 1 of the MA. I had the idea of the red circle chasing the Blue triangle, taking inspiration from Lissitzky's Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge. I didn't go with my original idea and did an animation about a baby dressed in red, chasing a blue balloon. Watching this film makes me see the great potential in abstract animation and makes me think that one day I should return to the more abstract idea that I had.

I am going to search for Ushev's earlier animations, as Vertical looks interesting too, but in his website, he states that: 'There are some experiments before. But I consider Tower Bawher my first professional film'. So it seems he is more proud of Tower Bawher. His Father was an abstract painter, and it mentions in the book that his main objective after creating it was to go home to show his Father.

Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge - El Lissitzky

Friday, 25 February 2011

Social Media and fixing web glitches

I took a look at my website today as I've had a day off from work and although I've got loads to do in preparation for next weeks classes and for OFSTED (I've also been updating my skills in using Div tags and css in Dreamweaver), I was making a real hash of the handouts I was trying to create, (on the aforementioned topic), so I took a break from the slog and decided to check out my website gallery to see if a fresh pair of eyes could work out why it wasn't scrolling or showing all of the images.... I ploughed through the script in the Flash file, then went into the xml file in Dreamweaver and I saw straight away that I had duplicated words in the xml - I didn't dream that this would be the solution.... seemed too easy for once.... but hey - it now works! That made me happy :). I then thought I would add a link to this blog, seeing as the site is about the animation for my final module and this blog is all about the journey getting there - they should have been linked all along!

I must admit that I recently purchased Inbound Marketing a book by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah - and this got me sidetracked into researching how to get rss onto my website and consequently on to fixing the gallery glitch that I previously could not fix. I have been trying to dip my toe into the book at the end of very long days - but finding it hard to focus - but it is interesting to try to read up on aspects of Social Media. 

Over Christmas I searched long and hard to find some kind of help to create a social network for the animation students at my College. I came across Social Go and took time to set it up for myself and the students. We now have our own animation social network and so far the students have joined and uploaded some of their work and have been communicating effectively with it. I'm glad it was worth the effort, just need to take the time to keep it up to date :).

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Some thoughts about the final module animation

Pondering thoughts:
  • The primary character could be waiting for someone to return
  • A secondary character could be edging them on to go out of the door to look for the missing character
  • The secondary character could be the one who ventures out on the primary characters behalf
  • The primary character is looking through the window - not wanting to go out through the door
  • The viewer needs  to sense the primary characters longing for the missing character
  • The primary character is solitary, continuously looking at the door
  • They could be suffering from agoraphobia...
Still trying to get some kind of structure ...... nowhere near yet! Here are the only sketches so far - they are ideas for houses in a cityscape based around the magic city line of the poem:

Go and open the door
Maybe outside there’s
a tree, or a wood,
a garden,
or a magic city

The image below is from a photo taken at Kentwell House. I liked the texture of the wall and found it inspiring for the interior of the house in the animation. I was thinking of adding an antique style key to the end of the string. I have removed the string from the background of the photo in Photoshop, so that it could be moved to sway on a hook to tempt the viewer to click the key and I can then add an interactive element. I will need to take it into Flash to play around with it.

Green screen impulse purchase

I ordered a green screen and a stand last week from Amazon and it has was an impulse purchase as I was originally thinking that if I needed green screen for my animation, it would be possible to use what we have at College, but I started browsing just to see if there were any reasonably priced ones and there was one (the green screen was £24) and it had great reviews too - so I went for it. I know it will be a very occasional use, but for convenience sake it should be worth getting.

I've never used Chroma key before, so I will need to do a tester shoot. I found this tutorial on YouTube and it seems pretty straightforward in Final Cut, so I will have to give this a go.