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Feb 26, 2008
Getting a Little Gritty
This week we finished up our cutout animation projects, and boy am I exhausted. We also experimented with sand (or paint, our choice). It's such a difficult medium to work with, and after seeing the incredible work of its masters, I am completely in awe of their level of patience. We didn't get around to animating as we were working on another project, but I've preserved the image I created in case I have time later on to do something with it. The aforementioned cutout animation will never see the light of day. It's one of those animation exercises that nearly kills you, teaches you a lot (namely cutout animation is HARD), but turns out hideously.
Anyway, I chose a to use a conceptual drawing by Glen Keane as the basis for my "sand image".
This is how it might appear on film:
Original drawing by Glen Keane. Man this guy is amazing...
This week we're exploring cutout animation in class, and I have to say how enthusiastic I am about this form of animation. What a way to show you understand the principle of silhouette value, a principle I've always been meticulous about implementing well. I'm not always successful, but it's a principle I understand and one that I'm constantly aware of. Perhaps that's why I've found new inspiration in Lotte Reiniger's 1926 film, "The Adventures of Prince Achmed". This is quite an old film, and even in 1926 cutout animation was considered passé. But that still didn't stop a few clips of the film from showing up on YouTube.
Reiniger's designs are amazing, and they really create the characters before they start moving in their own unique ways. You can see what I'm talking about in this screen cap:
It was a real treat to be able to watch the whole film, partly because of it's rarity and inaccessibility, but also because it really shows how many films and film makers of today and generations past were influenced by this film. I constantly had to remind myself that this film came first when I thought to myself, "Hey that's a lot like the (blank) scene from (insert movie name)." A couple of examples that come to mind are The Sword and the Stone and Sleeping Beauty. Take a look at the following screen caps to see if you see the similarities and/or connections.
The Wizard's Duel from both films. I'd recommend seeing an actual clip from each if you get the chance.
This scene made me think of Sleeping Beauty immediately. The prince in both scenes is being attacked by an onslaught of demons on a steep incline.
Now I don't know the exact history and whether or not these are in fact influences, but it certainly seems like it. Perhaps someone can fill me in on this?
Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about doing my own cutout animation next week. I'm full of inspiration and anticipation, who knows what I'll come up with, but I'll be sure to post it here.
The second assignment for experimental animation. Very simple, and very short, but we gotta start somewhere. At least I had fun with this one. I'm looking forward to getting into to some more complex stuff so I can see what I'm capable of.
This morning, bright and early, I ventured out to do a little amateur photography for the first time in over 4 years. I can't believe it's been that long since I sold my camera to buy a plane ticket here, but I guess it has. Anyway, my mom got a new digital SLR for Christmas, and I've been dying to try it out. I went to the barn with my friend Justine, and took a few hundred pictures of her and her horse, Cecil. The first hour or so was me getting to grips with the medium again, or for that matter all together as I previously owned a film SLR and have never shot digital. Anyway, here's the few half decent pictures (after heavy touching up). I'm very rusty, and I look forward to easing back into photography over the coming years. I forgot how much fun it is.
I'm finally animating at school, albeit back to the basics. But let's face it, I really need to do this stuff again, it's been so long it seems since I've considered things like this. Here's some of my first assignments from the class, my first foray into stop motion. I'm hooked, I love it, I could easily move into traditional, computer, or stop motion animation for the rest of my life. Hopefully further study at the Academy will help me decide which, though it would be nice to consider the possibility of pursuing all three somehow. Anyway, enough dreaming.
Just some basic bouncing ball exercises. These were created with a digital still camera on a tripod shooting down to a light table. The bouncing ball is just a kneaded rubber eraser. As you can see we also created Thaumatropes to study the persistence of vision, and the phi phenomenon. A great start to a highly anticipated class. First there's a bounce, then we gave the ball a little life with a jump, followed by a skidding stop. Very basic, very rough.