Inspired by experiments earlier this year from course peers – Yvonne Opalinski’s fragmented animation and Emily Skinner’s Vector Art, I thought it was time I too started experimenting more with the various functions and tools in the software. I’ve been using the Abobe Creative Cloud software for my rotoscope animations. A few months before I started the course, I briefly experimented with motion tweens. I was fascinated by the smooth floating line trajectories. In Abstraction One, I can see similarities in shape, colour and line to Joan Miro’s work, especially Landscape (The Hare) 1928.
A vast landscape engulfed in orange and red though my terrain is a sea of rapid, intertwined, linear movements. Abstract Two represents fragmented portraiture. Here, I’ve traced very minimally over a black & white photograph. Areas are then colour-filled, skin (white), hair (black), glasses (grey) and lips (red), using an icy blue stage background. I was curious to see how these would appear visually if both abstracts were merged. On first impression I thought all looked very musical (a Kandinsky abstract?). Still on a musical theme, I’ve punked it up a bit using a ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ pink as the stage background colour. I’m pleased with having such a productive afternoon (just for once!) and I hope from these experiments I will become a little more audacious in my practice for future projects.
The footage has been edited and assembled into the software. I begin the usual systematic approach in the process. First, by looking at areas of footage which are clearly visible and areas which are not. When footage is difficult to render, a great deal of improvisation is involved in this process. Usually facial areas offer the most problems such as eyelashes, corners of lips and hair curls. This is where line thickness is a big consideration. For the aforementioned intricate areas, the footage is enlarged, this gives me greater control when rendering . For this animation I’m taking each sequence in stages. The first sequence involves 46 drawings. Frames 1 and 47 has been rendered and then textured. In my last animation, I textured the whole animation after completing the drawings (337). I’m hoping by using this approach, I can make better choices during the drawing process.
Public Information Film Project: Frames 1 & 47 (non-textured/textured)
Spent most of Monday and Tuesday in the Underground on Metro lines. Managed to gather miscellaneous underground footage of passenger actions, the masses on their way to work, train rushes and more passenger pans inside trains. I was surprised to find so many commuters as it is Golden Week (public 3/4 day holiday). It’s so true! There’s so much guilt over here about taking a bit of time off! Anyway, today, started filming around 7:00 in the morning. Got some interesting footage which appears to be a sea of black and white suits moving along in droves. I’ll time my run slightly later tomorrow, around 8:30 just after the rush hour has past its peak. I feel I’m steadily building the footage which will be useful later in the project though I still aim to capture more of a characteristic which conveys intensity and chaotic movement.
Other than that, I continued to experiment with footage from earlier experiments. The edge detector effect makes linear form visibly prominent, clearly defining shape and form. As in experiment 2, the film speed stays at 48-frames per second which prevents, but not entirely, blurry and strobbing visuals.
* Experiment 3 (b) has audio included. An underground ambient though there is nothing to suggest that the footage has been enhanced by the audio. Visual familiarity?, nothing really to add other than that. (* footage not uploaded )
While editing, I was interested in isolating frames which offered more possibilities and explorations. The frames have been randomly textured using textures such as grunge, nature, fabric and material. In fig 4 I get a texture & colour clash whereas in figs 1 & 3 I feel there is more of a relationship between texture and image. So are darker, grungier textures more appropriate? Should I be considering appropriacy?
I feel I’ve got more out of today’s experiments and fortunately earlier than expected. The ‘contriving’ aspect of today’s tests has really opened up possibilities.
The animated rotoscope and motion picture footage were played on a loop while I filmed the interior of the maquette. Around 10 sequences were shot in total. Each sequence being between 15-30 seconds in duration. For continuity purposes, I intended to film all the footage on a tripod. However, difficulties arose with cinematography issues (i.e. framing, filming (blurred vs in focus) and obtrusive light getting into shot). Though filming hand-held gave me more freedom, I wasn’t particularly pleased with the overall tests and as a result, I scraped most of the hand-held test footage.
By filming an area of the bathroom, I could focus on other objects; moving away from the animated/motion picture shower scene. By doing so I could build a tension between object and subject. The inspiration came from Repulsion (Roman Polanski, 1965). The black and white film is predominantly shot in an apartment. Polanski builds psychological tension focusing on inanimated objects for lengthy periods of time. I experimented in similar style using a penetrating buzzing sound to enhance the tension and to create a disturbing fusion with the soft lounge music and the fierce electric saw audio.
Watercolour and Lighting
The watercolour paint and lighting failed (gloriously!). My intention was for the watercolour paint to slowly drip down the cling film. Slow moving slimy liquids are considered a cliché in contemporary horror films. To fulfil my aim without involving digital effects would be something of an achievement. However, while filming I continually kept painting on the cling film. Due to the heat from the monitor, the paint just dried in seconds. Also, the monitor light was too bright that the paint became silhouetted. I had far better results using the PET bottle. When constructing Maquette No 3, I’ll use the same technique again but employ alternative strategies such as a lighter interior, acrylic paints and my daughter as an art assistant perhaps? As for the decoration lights, they were far too weak and didn’t have any overall impact though I was encouraged with subtle gentle flickering.
To make the base sturdy, the wood chipboard and shoji paper are taped onto the polystyrene (Fig 7). The wood chipboard side being the base of the maquette (Fig 8).
Holes are made into each corner of the polystyrene (Fig 9). The wooden sticks are cut 30cms in length (monitor screen height) and are inserted into each hole (Fig 10). The Vinyl decoration sheets are used as partitions. They are measured, cut and placed onto the wooden sticks (Fig 11). The tin foil lid acting as a shower head is taped to the roof of the maquette (Fig 12).
The cling film is painted with watercolour paint (Fig 13). The film is wrapped around a wooden stick 45cms in length (monitor screen length) and is suspended horizontally from each partition. Interior angle views (Fig 14&15). The decoration lights are arranged around the roof of the maquette (Fig 16).
The props are placed inside the maquette interior and the maquette is positioned in front of the monitor, side view angle (Fig 17). Watercolour paint is put into the PET bottle and a little water is added (Fig 18). The PET bottle experimentation process will be filmed later.