I started working on the paper cutting for the stomach sequence of my film. To be honest I was a bit worried how long this part would take me, but I was surprised at how quickly I managed to hand cut everything. In fact I feel like the longest part of the process was the preparation: setting up the frames to be printed correctly and the actual printing was a bit of nightmare (thank you for the USB lend Steve!), but I got there in the end.
My highly technical light box
some frames ready to be cut
A finished cut frame
offcuts that I drowned my room in
There were fifty frames of Henry swimming in total, and I was super excited to shoot them. I was lucky to get to use the E101 space, which was massive and empty and gave me lots of scope to play around with lighting. After having spent so long on my cintiq animating the rest of the film it was so nice to be able to hand animate and craft something physical again. I think I need a constant balance between the two, as I really miss one when I concentrate on the other.
What I was surprised by was how long it took me to put the scene together- cutting the frames and shooting seemed to go a lot faster than the actual comping did. Thank god for the fantastic Queen of AE extraordinaire Inês Delicioso who soothingly helped me through the process and every now and then pressed like 4 buttons and did in a minute what would have taken me an hour. The one thing this process has thought me is that I really want to spend more time with After Effects, but for now I am super happy with how the paper scene is looking.
I took a sneaky break from drowning in the abyss that is my grad film and went to the Saatchi Gallery. I always find it refreshing when you’re in the midst of an intensive consuming project to go and experience a different kind of art. It’s like a break from reality but I feel like it also feeds back into the work you make, and I always find myself surprised by how you can find visual and contextual ties with your own work in others art. I find it encouraging seeing someone else somehow visually or conceptually dealing with ideas I find myself struggling and working with. Yet at the same time, stumbling into completely different perspectives and spaces I wasn’t even aware existed can be just as encouraging and inspiring.
The exhibition on was called Known Unknowns, and I quickly discerned my two favourite pieces within it. The first is by Francesca DiMattio.
I also loved her artist statement a lot, hence the photo. The notion of ‘disrupting traditional depictions of domestic space and femininity’ is something I think very much directs how I create my work. I find myself unable to make work without questioning what narrative I am making in terms of femininity and traditional gender roles, in re-appropriating the feminine to be powerful (even while being aware that the word ‘powerful’ has masculine connotations and we shouldn’t need to be masculine to be taken seriously) while also being aware of the restrictions of traditional femininity and masculinity and exploring the space of post-gender creativity. It is in itself a very contradictory train of thought, but I find myself constantly running along it.
While making my film I was hyper aware of the troupe of a ‘strong female character’ and my strange aversion to the phrase- we shouldn’t need to be strong to be taken seriously and just because you’re female or display femininity doesn’t mean we can’t be fully fleshed out characters who can do destructive and sometimes vindictive things. Which is why my film character is quite cutesy and small yet she is doing something inherently strange and absurd and pretty problematic, but she is also fully in control of her own actions. She is the drive of the story, she is creating the narrative, not reacting to it. “Disrupting traditional depictions of femininity.” Yet like Di Maccio’s work I still embrace inherently ‘feminine’ traits through the visual aesthetic choices of the film. These are all half ideas, and something I want to somehow make sense of hopefully for my presentation at assessment so I can try and show my bumbling thought process somewhat coherently.
My second favourite piece were the works by Stuart Middleton. Which, much the opposite of DiMaccio’s work, I was drawn to because they made me laugh.
I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post -the one where I went to the Masters Photography exhibition in the Truman gallery- how I find myself drawn to portraits of people without their faces. I think that’s what initially drew me to Middleton’s work, but honestly I think here my main enjoyment comes from seeing the human body turned into something else entirely (again, tying it to my film by my use of the body as landscape, but I don’t know if I even made that connection until now or if I’m just going a bit nuts with this project).
Once the grad film is finished and (hopefully) fabulous I want to spend a lot of my time slothing around galleries.
Last week I went to see Wes Anderson’s new film Isle of Dogs. I also managed to go see the film sets at 180 The Strand before the film, so it was a stop motion filled day. The sets were increeeedible. They were all at once absolutely massive and minutely detailed and I loved every second of it. I found the fur on the dog puppets really interesting, you could tell that every time the pupped was moved the fur would move erratically too, and I loved how in the film they embraced this aesthetic so that the dog’s hair nearly looked like it was constantly blowing in the wind. I loved the actual film too, I loved the ridiculous-ness of it but also the speed of the dialogue and plot as it chugged along. The character designs were fantastic, I think my favourite was Oracle, a little pug voice by Tilda Swinton.
Some colour tests of the backgrounds. I am pretty sure I want to stick to my turquoise blue colour, but have been playing the the backgrounds and colour line combinations to see what I come across. Some of the shots I prefer being all blue, but some like the breasts I think I prefer the negative space being blue but the actual body being white. I might play with the colour balance fluctuating between scenes
Myself and Sacha went to the first Punanimation meeting on Thursday evening, celebrating the launch of their directory. Punanimation is an inclusive online group for women, trans and non-binary people. It was such a great night! It was really inspiring to meet and listen to so many women working in the animation industry. There were talks from two lovely 2D animators from Sciberia, Angie and Phoebe talked with us about working in a studio that’s largely female and how they handle clients and the work they’ve been up to. There were also talks from Agathe Barbier (a fantastic film editor) and Katee Hui (a strategist, and the creator of Hackney Laces). Hearing from such a range of roles from within the film industry and how they coped with the gender divide in the day to day, was actually very uplifting, it was such a supportive encouraging space to be part of. Here’s me and Sacha being very eager in the front row of the talks.
I’ve been playing around a lot with kyle’s brushes and colour schemes the past few days, trying to figure out the colour weighting of the film. These are a series of rough tests~
I’ve found myself very attached to a turquoise and orange colour combination, complementary colours always make me very happy. I like the idea of the character in the film being a completely different colour than the body she’s exploring, to amplify the difference (physically and emotionally) between them.
I stumbled across the site Coolors. The site is a colour scheme generator, so I locked in my blue & orange and let it generate around it. It was a nice way to get a lot of ideas very quickly.
We finally went to see Eno’s performance of Satyagraha! For me the best bit of the show was the puppets and how they were set up. The performers would take what looked like trash or discarded wood from the sides of the stage and then they would arrange them together in such a way that they turned into working, gigantic puppets. It was really cool to see this kind of performative puppet movement, and the potential of ‘animation’ in a different setting than a screen. There were also animated words and projections that interacted with the backdrop, again displaying the possibilities that come with bringing animation into a physical space; but for me the puppets were definitely the highlight of the show.
To start this project off I’ve been stalking through tumblr and pinterest, trying to define the aesthetic I want my film to take. I feel pretty confident in my simple little story and what I want to express, but obviously the overall look of the film is what is going to make it appealing to an audience. I’ve always been drawn to creating work with large amounts of negative space, usually white with little splashes of bright colours where the focus should be. I have a general sense of where I want the film to go, but it’s going to take a lot of playing around to actually solidify the style.
Things I know I want:
-Negative space – be it white or a flat colour, I want my work to have space to breathe
-Bright limited colour palette- I’ve always been enamoured with bright childlike colours, but I want to restrict my palette and have a handful of colours that work well with each other to keep the film visually flowing.
-Texture- Lots of it. I don’t know exactly what yet, but I want some sort of painterly/papery/grain feel to the film, not for it to be flat coloured.
-A part of the film to be paper cut. My practice has revolved around paper-cutting for the past few years, and I want to incorporate it into the film. I was toying with the idea of making the whole thing out of paper, but for the sake of the project schedule and timing, I figured having just one scene of the film paper cut would give me enough room to explore the technique visually. I know I addressed this aspect in the CS project, but would really like to build on my pre established techniques, and get the character moving out of paper as well as the backgrounds. Eek. I’m excited for this bit!
I am worrying about this a lot at the moment, I feel hesitant to start fleshing out the story and animatic without knowing what I’m working towards visually, but I’m trying to plough away at both and realising that I won’t get anything done if I just keep mulling over ideas in my head. So to start with, I’ve collected a bunch of stuff other people have done that visually hint towards what I want to achieve.
While the colour scheme in these illustrations are vastly different than my desire pallete, the colour weighting reflects what I want to achieve using 2-3 colours.
I find myself being drawn to a lot of work that use large amounts of soft blue while I think of this project. There’s something soothing about them.
Blanca Gómez Charlotte Trounce
All the above images reflect instances of bright colour against a very minamilistic background. I find myself drawn to these large expanses with their little splashes of colour, particularly the work of Cécile Hudrisier, her use of watercolour with line drawings over it.
Amandine Piu’s characters reflect what ideally I would like my character to look like, full of texture and hand drawn. However I need to be aware of the reality of animating a character like this, and dealing with the conversation between the hand drawn aesthetic and not taking away from the action by having all the textures boiling too much.
Finally I happily stumbled upon Nader Sharafs illustration series above by accident! Tiny figures exploring a larger body is what my grad film is going to explore and it was really inspiring to see the same sort of idea being portrayed so differently than what I plan to do. I love love love these, they are super beautiful!
Last week Sophie Koko Gate came in to give us a lecture. It was super helpful and lovely to meet her, her animations are so hilarious and inspiring. She gave me some lovely feedback about where my film was heading. We did a little rough character sketch exercise in the class, these are my initial rough sketches of my film’s character.