Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Experimental Animation

Here's a project I recently did on experimental animation. The brief was to produce 3 short animation pieces and one long piece all without using a computer during the actual animation process.

The first piece I did was using film. I scratched into each frame with a needle. Honestly I found this process very boring and limiting but it was interesting to do a very different method of animation. The film was run through a Steinbeck machine and filmed with a P2 camera, thus the camera's reflection.

My second piece I was more excited about. I wanted to try doing animations that could not be done easily on a computer, so for this one I made use of different paper textures and patterns. I definitely see potential for this method of animation as it allows very stylized aethetics and the inclusion of human hands which is very interesting. I suppose it is a form of self - reflective animation and relates back to Gertie the Dinosaur and Duck Amuck.

I thought this technique would be very simple and generic but I actually really enjoyed working in a tactile medium such as plasticine as it inhabits the same 3D space as we do. It seems easier to give them life. In this clip I tried to add the animation techniques we learnt in 2D such as overlap and anticipation so as to give more life to the shapes.

So having decided I wanted to work with stop motion clay I wanted to make the animation much more planned. To this end I made an animatic on Flash, this also meant I could time the movement to the music we were given. The music was supposed to be a big factor in the animation so I wanted to pay special attention to that element. 
I animated the balls so that they appeared to be dancing at a ball, and I'm really happy with the sense of life and joy that is created just by moving shapes.

When I came to actually animate the piece however it was so straight forward as just following the animatic. The animation process took a very long time, I was animating for 8 hours non-stop, using a P2 camera in one-shot mode. I also had to make dozens of colourful balls and due to a lack of clay shot in scenes so I could remodel balls into different shapes depending on what was needed for a particular shot.Although I started out filming close to the animatic, I deviated after realising how long it would take.  The most difficult thing was keeping track of how many frames I had shot in order to keep matching the music. Giacomo helped me a lot with this process, and I used his hands in the film as I wanted to remain behind the camera directing shots.

Although I struggled with this piece and didn't stick to the plan I was very happy with the outcome, the balls express happiness and seem to be dancing. All the effort counting shots paid off as it fits very well with the music. I'm not sure I want to do this method of animation again though as even though the outcome was good, I just prefer other methods but it was still interesting to try.

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