Sparky Shower

Over the past few weekends, I’ve been experimenting with animating water. Before I began this project I didn’t really consider animating water in much detail. Before I began, I checked my preparatory notes. A brief summary below:

Figure(s) details: body colour, hair colour, wet hair colour ,dry hair colour, shadow of assailant behind curtain, facial shot close-up, shading, toning, colour gradients ( sketching loosely for rapid movement, line tool for outline).
Background details: tile colour, shower floor, bathroom wall, picture on wall, bathroom door.
Other: curtain colour, shower head (2 angles), shower rail, shower rail holders, plug hole, knife.

No mention of water, so for a few ideas and tips, I began looking at a few animated watery effects and tutorials  on YouTube. First, I used the paintbrush tool as I can rotoscope fairly fast with it.  I achieved some interesting  slushy watery effects. However, I couldn’t find an appropriate sound bite to match the visuals. I even considered omitting animating the water altogether. Therefore, I would put more emphasis on sound to convey  water. I decided to leave everything alone for a few days, think with a clear mind…another day.

Back to the drawing board the following weekend with a new plan of attack. My next approach was to listen through some sound bites. Why have a watery sound? Why not whistling kettle, a hissing cat  or finger scratching a chalk board?  I came across some electric drills and circular saw sound bites. I got mental images of strobes, neon lighting and sparks from a welding tool. I began to practice with more tools in the Flash software until I found a tool which enabled to produce a strobe, sparky effect. After viewing and considering the sound, still I wasn’t satisfied with the overall treatment. The animation appeared TOO mechanical. So, I decided to add splashes (that look like sparks!)  using the paintbrush.

Top left: shower angle 1, line tool (black line) /Top right: shower angle 1, line tool ( white line) / Bottom left: shower angle 2, line tool (white line), edited in online photo editor/ Bottom right: shower angle 2, line tool (white line), edited in online photo editor

1 Black Water.jpg 2 White Water.jpg 3 Grey water White background.jpg 4 Shower 1.jpg

Left: shower  angle 1 with figure ( pen tool/ paint brush) Right: shower angle 2 , (pen tool/ paint brush)

Psycho Shower Scene (frame 91 shower front view) Psycho Shower Scene (frame 132 shower ariel view)

Test 2

Animation Duration: 11 seconds (120 drawings approx) ;  Water effects: shower angle 1, paint brush/ white water. shower angle 2 grey water, white background. Visual effects: ripple effect


Lounge Music: Bruno Nicolai-Spy chase ( music ends before animation);  Sound bite: Deafening Whispers (Overdubbed whispering. Very intense. This sample loops seamlessly. Recorded, edited and mixed using Audacity and Zoom H2) ; shower cues sound bite.



Dont Have Nightmares: Test 2





Test 3

Animation Duration: 11 seconds (120 drawings approx); Water effects: shower angle 1,  line tool & paintbrush/ white water. shower angle 2 line tool & paintbrush, white water, grey background.

Lounge Music: Armando Trovajoli- The Getaway (music ends as shower begins);  Sound bite: Machine Band Saw, (sawing hardboard with a band saw). Pack of power tools recorded in carpenter’s workshop in Savijärvi, Tavastia Proper. Zoom H4n. Shower cues sound bite.


Dont Have Nightmares: Test 3




Italian 1960s Lounge Music

Sound Collaboration (provisional): Jonny C

Over the past few weeks, amidst a busy work schedule, I found time to have a brief meeting with my work colleague, Jonny. I’m hoping that Jon will collaborate on my project as sound engineer. Background: After graduating from Glasgow University, he became interested in experimental sound mainly working/experimenting with analogue synth. Since he arrived in Tokyo in 1998, he’s collaborated with a number of bands, playing the synthesizer. Before we became acquainted, I recall going to see him perform with a band called The Lickerish Quartet about 6 years ago. They played at The Green Apple (below) which is a 60s/70s arty themed café in Koenji (Tokyo) . The café also serves as music venue at night and is well known for performances dealing with psychedelia, mod nostalgia and avant-garde experimental music.

The Green Apple Cafe 1


I vividly recall the theatrical setting devised  by the band before they came on to play. Playing on retro aesthetics, an 8mm film projector silently played Italian 60s film footage onto an orangey, pink coloured curtain while the band played. The band played a mixture of modern chill-out, poppy electronica with down-tempo elements and with the usual characteristics associated with lounge sounds (i.e. jazz, exotica and bossa nova origins). I was impressed by the whole visual spectacle. A performance in both foreground and background. I think I was more interested in the theatrical presentation rather the music. When I became acquainted with Jon, I found out that the stage setting and props were his idea.

During our meeting, we looked at my blog and I conveyed how I envisaged the sound. I informed him that I intend to make an installation of the bathroom used in the 1960 film Psycho. The shower room scene would be edited, animated and projected from a monitor inside the set. I further mentioned the feasibility of this plan and my intentions regarding scale. That is, if I’m unable to make a life-size set, then a miniature set will be constructed. A meeting with a set designer is scheduled next month. It was also noted that the installation/set will not be an exact representation but the finished article should look very Modernist by appearance with expressionistic influences.  Below are some researched 1960 bathroom designs from American Standard.

Example 2 Example 3



We considered the opening audio, which would run for around 30 seconds. I’m keen on the idea of using Italian 60s lounge music themes, so we listed a few composers and tracks such as Armando Trovajoli-Vivere Felici, Bruno Nicolai-Spy Chase and Nico Fidenco.

The idea being that Jon would then compose either sampling, remixing or work on similar themes. At this stage, there isn’t a concrete sound plan, though it is intended for the opening audio to distort into a more sinister theme which would be a cue for the animation to begin. The duration of sound will be no more than 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Sound bites used for the animation will be discussed in our next meeting. We will consider answers from Question 2 of the questionnaire.  The next step is for Jon to view the edited Psycho footage and work on a few audio tests. If we are on the same wavelength (audio wise ), then the collaboration will begin. The big “If”