Titles

It’s the last few days of the project eek! After barreling through the stop motion animation (still a few nitty gritty bits to do) we’ve all started working on some of the minor details of the film. Sacha has been doing a lot of editing, and Chen has been compositing the bead scans. I spent today hand stitching the opening title sequence. So much still to do, but I feel like we’re all working super well together and feel on top of things. Excited to see the final film now!

 

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Recently I went to see the Wildlife photographer of the Year awards in the National History Museum. As I’ve started doing while at any form of exhibition, I took snapshots of the pictures I felt most drawn to, and tried to figure out what it was about the subject matter that interested me the most. I’ve attached the two photos below.

Both photographs focus on the natural world and the manmade world colliding. An earbud is not intended to be in the sea, while in the bird photo nature is reclaiming a manmade space. I think what it is I find interesting is things out of their presumed or preconceived context. I think this is a notion I would like to explore further in my graduate film, placing something every day in a completely different environment and seeing where that leads, or equally placing something ridiculous in an everyday environment and see how that plays out.

I know the notions and ideas I’m talking about are extremely simplistic and the basis for a lot of stories and narratives, but for the past few months I’ve been really trying to find the bare bones of what it is I’m naturally interested in, and therefore what kind of film I would enjoy making for the final months. Naturally from my BA practice I have very set ideals of what kind of issues I enjoy addressing, but I feel the graduate film gives scope to be extremely self-indulgent and pander to all those little purely aesthetic things I want to try play with, and incorporate into my animations. While a lot of the time I struggle to analyse my own work (at least without an obvious sense of bias), I find I come more quickly to conclusions about what it is I want to make by examining what others have made first.

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year runs until May 28th 2018, more details here.

Stitching

Hand stitching the backdrop character’s expressions. Sacha’s designs are so ridiculously fun.

I’ve been trying to play with the idea of hand stitching different frames of Blue Giant’s facial expressions! These will go from grumpy to extremely angry, and I’m excited to see how they work out when we shoot them. Hopefully it works!

Blue Giant

For the past few days I have been working on remaking Blue Giant, our main puppet within the film. Sacha’s design is beautiful, but the puppet made for the style frames have needed some editing to make them more functional for animation. I’ve had a lot of fun stitching him up and making him a bit more sturdy! He started off without hands or feet so I started there.

 initial hand structure

process and attachment 

For the feet I had to wrap large amounts of thick wire to support the puppet’s height, and so they would properly clamp to the magnets while animating. The wire within his legs was also too malleable to properly support the body, so I had to open up the legs and reenforce them with much heavier pieces of wire.

The Breadwinner

Myself and Inês went to see Cartoon Saloon’s new feature film The Breadwinner as part of the BFI London Film Festival last Sunday.

Images found here

The whole film was painstakingly beautiful from start to finish, and I of course was particularly enamoured with the internal story sequence, which was shot in the style of cut paper animation. I was disappointed to learn that this was actually digitally done to replicate the aesthetic of paper (obviously the images had been digitally retouched but I was kind of hoping the did the actual animation with physical paper), BUT the animators did work with a paper artist to achieve the right effects.

still from the paper story world of The Breadwinner found here

It’s like everything I love having a little baby together and hopefully if similar projects pop up in the future I could utilise my paper crafting skills alongside my animation skills. It was really inspiring to see something that encompassed everything I enjoy doing on a film screen. Go see the film if you get a chance it was so so gorgeous and heartbreaking and lovely.

Edit: Watch the video on the making of The Breadwinner on the official Facebook page here.

Photomasters

I went to the Photomasters Exhibition in the Old Truman Brewery last night. I found myself drawn in particular to the work of Lorenza Demata, who is completing her MA in LCC. According to her artist statement, her work deals with:

“ …notions of identity, distance and displacement in the migration context of London”.

“It is estimated that expatriates constitute approximately 40% of London population. At the same time, almost 50% of the total consumption of food resources in the UK relies on the importation of fruits and vegetables from other countries” 

What drew me to the photographs (aside from the obviously striking block colours) is the notion of a portrait being faceless. This idea is something I dealt with a lot within my BA practice, and I think greatly enhanced my desire to study the MA specifically dealing with characters. What you can tell from a person’s clothing or the objects surrounding them to me is more interesting than straight ahead portraits.

This notion of clothing containing a character within itself is at the moment the only thing I know I definitely want to address in my graduation film. I want to examine who you become in different clothing, and how much of you can be defined by what you cover yourself with. I also want to deal with the life clothing takes on outside of a body. This seems like a natural extension of the thoughts I was dealing with back in Dublin in my textile degree, and I’m excited to see how they progress with my newfound animation skills, while at the same time a little confused as to where this is going to lead. But I do always find it reassuring when I’m drawn to work that I feel echoes these notions, even if it wasn’t the artists intent. This is a story I want to explore, and it is relaxing to know that I can see echoes of that in other’s work I gravitate towards.

Check out more of Lorenza’s beautiful work here.

Bead Shopping

Today before we had our meeting at ENO, our team went bead shopping. We spent a fun few hours deliberating over the beads, in terms of their colour scheme as whole and also for their potential visually on the scanner for the box interior shots we plan to do! 

We also wandered up to Berwick street, where I have spent a lot of my time previously sourcing fabrics for Textiles, and is one of my favourite streets in London. We got a large cut of some durable, good quality black felt for the backdrop so hopefully we can start embellishing that soon! 

Crafty Animator Conference

I attended the Crafty Animator Conference in Rich Mix in Shoreditch last Thursday. It was a great way to ease back into the animation mindset post summer. I’m still processing a lot from the whole experience, it was a day full of talks and lectures on the various aspects of craft within animation, with a wide variety of speakers.

my view for the day

The main note I can’t seem to get out of my head was something that Birgitta Hosea said within the day’s opening lecture, regarding nostalgia vs productivity. She was discussing the impact working on a film in which each frame has been painstakingly hand-crafted and how productive you could physically be within that kind of constraint. She made an interesting point about the current fetishisation of technique, which makes the ideas behind the work nearly forgotten as the artist is so focused on the labour-intensive aesthetic.

I’m still unsure how I feel about this. She was discussing how some students deliberately take longer routes purely to achieve an aesthetic they could have replicated more quickly within an adobe programme, which I agree seems slightly unnecessarily pedantic if you could achieve the exact same effect within a computer aided programme. But I still think that hand crafted work and computer aided design do not need to be at odds with each other, and that the hand crafted process can be enhanced and eased with the aid of using more contemporary programmes. I also feel like this dismissal of slow, purely hand crafted animation takes away from the process the director and maker goes through. Obviously this kind of process isn’t suited to working within a fast paced industry, but within the scope of a personal artistic practice I don’t think we can by any means regard something as inefficient or unproductive. The textile artist within me I don’t think could ever not be crazily in love with painstakingly handcrafted animation, but I am fully aware that going into this final MA year and within the scope of my grad film, I will have to completely embrace the point where hand crafted and computer programmes intersect in order to get anything done.

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Time

For next year I have 100% learnt how important time management is. I feel like with this project I let myself take my time with the paper side of things, and then was rushed to try and get all the frame by frame work done in time. I had a loose schedule planned out from the start, but once I went over on my paper schedule that all went a bit out the window. I think also deciding that my characters jumper and hair had to be coloured in individually frame by frame with the pencil tool did not help, but I am pretty happy with the movement and texture his tiny body manages to hold!

All in all I feel like this whole experience has made me entirely more aware of how much pre-planning I need to do for next year. Knowing my physical limitations in terms of space and equipment available before building/cutting would be a huge one! Also have each shot figured out to the very nitty gritty and having a daily schedule rather than a loose weekly one I had would be extremely beneficial, especially for next years longer film project. But overall I am surprised at how much I have enjoyed the process; regardless of the sometimes unavoidable stressing in general I’ve had a blast this whole year. I am really excited to keep up with some personal doodles and projects over the summer which I shall post up here as I go! But for a bit I think we all need a definite break and maybe some wine.