Thursday, September 30, 2010

Revised Story (Cinderella)

As pointed out in class Tuesday, I realized that it would be better to just focus on one character. I decided that Cinderella would be the best since her relationship with the mice is the focus of the original. In this one she still lives in a trailer and she's still a slob but she lives alone. The scene opens with her looking through her closet. As she looks around her room in confusion she notices a mouse with the hat she's been looking for. The both scare each other and the mouse runs away into the kitchen. Cinderella follows it because she doesn't want it to get away without exterminating it. She runs into her nasty, mold infested kitchen to discover that her old mice friends are everywhere. The scenes switch to rendered disgusting views as what Cinderella sees. Even though they look disgusting they are actually trying to help her by cleaning her dishes and trash for her. She chooses to overlook this and reach into the cupboard for the rat poison. She mice notice this and come up to her bearing her glass slippers. She changes her mind as she realizes what they're trying to restore with her. Again the view black mask- focuses on one mouse in the bottom left corner and scales out again to reveal the tea party. Only Cinderella and the mice are at this party. Again a mouse tries to offer her sugar but all she sees is a nasty rodent but tries to ignore it and uncomfortably accept the sugar anyway. It ends on the silhouette of the tea party.

I want this video to really focus on her relationship with her past and her past friends. I want to illustrate how when people get older and reality sets in that they tend to treat their childhood friends differently; they see it for not perfect but for the flaws that they failed to notice. But in order to deal with one's past and see the joys of childhood mixed with the maturity of adulthood you have to put the flaws aside to enjoy a person/situation for what they (it) are/is.

Revised storyboard (Cinderella)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

D. storyboard part 1

Midterm Project Outline part 1

A. Theme: My overarching theme is the dynamic between the perspective of a child versus an adult, how adults seem to have lost their hope along with their innocence, and being able to regain some of that while living in an adult world. Specifically in this piece I'm addressing it thorough these Disney Princesses (childhood memories) who have lost their way and fallen into bad habits and behavior. They ignore there problems and only confront the reality of their situations once the past hopes and dreams are shown as a wake up call (their woodland critters showing them what they were wanting to achieve and what they have given up on). They end up not necessarily succeeding because they are still struggling through life but they have their friends (animals which connect them to their hopes) to try to help them.

Story: Thursday my story was the Disney girls ending with them all perfect again, which I realize is a horrible idea; especially since I set up this realistic depiction only to go back to fantasy land.
I decided to keep the initial set up but throw out the story book setting. Now they are just roommates that live in a trailer together. I want to open the first scene with Cinderella scrubbing the middle of the floor in this nasty trailer (she is facing the right side of the screen with her back to the left window). Suddenly a mouse appears to the left through the open window and squeaks a note (literally a visual note) which causes more mice to show up. They all get down on the floor behind her and start singing which scares her. She has a huge phobia of her old friends and runs off screen to the right. The next panel is Sleeping Beauty doing what she does best in a nasty bed when Cinderella busts in and tramples on her bed to get away from the mice. This wakes Sleeping Beauty up in confusion and she proceeds to run with Cinderella as they both go off to the right screen again.
The scene changes to outside of the front trailer steps where Snow White is looking bored and she's having a smoke. Snow White is facing the right side of the screen with her back to the front door. As the camera view widens out it reveals that she's looking at 7 little tombstones. It cuts back into a waste up view of her just as the front door bangs open and Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty run into her but fall back (to the left) off screen. Snow White then turns to face them when a deer pops up from theright. It starts to make notes but Snow White just puts her cigarette out on its antlers. The deer is taken back but a bird lands on its antlers and proceeds to sing, prompting the deer to join in. Snow White becomes visibly annoyed and runs past them off screen (to the right).
The frame switches to Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (asleep again) who are still on the ground from the impact. The mice scurry onto the screen and start singing, again causing hysteria from Cinderella and confusion for the now awake Sleeping Beauty. They both run off screen in the direction of Snow White. The screen changes to a shot of some woods when Snow White runs into the frame with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty following.
After Snow White catches her breath the shot closes in on her as she tries to pull out another cigarette and lighter from her pocket. Again the deer and some more birds come into frame and start singing, causing her to drop her cigarette. As she looks at them pisses the deer then holds up an apple in front of her. Her eyes get wide and dreamy as a memory cloud appears over her head (crudely drawn in crayon) of her in her dress and the dwarfs dancing around her in a circle. Then it cuts to a frame of Cinderella where the mice come over to her again. She covers her eyes with her hands and then the mice present her glass slippers. The twinkle off them catches her eye and she dreams just as Snow White about how she used to wear the shoes and dance with her mice friends. The frame then switched to Sleeping Beauty again out, until some birds place her crown on top of her head. She wakes up an then notices the crown and proceeds to dream of her sitting on a throne and a prince leaning in to kiss her. The camera shifts back out to show all the girls cradling their objects and the animals surrounding them. Then the frame (using a black masking layer) circles around a single mouse in the bottom left corner. He turns and looks at the camera and picks up a tea cup.
The black mask circle then widens out to reveal the scene has changed. Now the girls and animals are at a little tea party. The scene changes to a close up of Sleeping Beauty as she's about to dose off. She's got a helmet on thats hook up to a button. A bird presses the button which proceeds to shock her awake (use a layer mask to change between her a a skeleton). The camera changes to show Cinderella sitting on the right as a mouse from the left passes her some sugar. She looks down but the frame shows her looking at a realistic and disgusting render of a mouse. It changes back to cute vectors and Cinderella cautiously accepts the sugar. The scene switches to Snow White as the right end of the table with a deer to her left. The deer is facing away from her and she strikes a match on his antlers and tries to light a cigarette. The deer turns around and catches her. She gives him an annoyed look but throws the cigarette off screen and proceeds to offer sugar to the deer. Then finally the camera again shows a wide angle of them and a THE END.

B. Character Breakdowns:

1. Snow White: She's all about covering and masking her emotions so she won't get hurt get her hopes up when something terrible happens (i.e. her dwarf friends all dying). She uses her addiction to cover her selfishness and refuses to be of service to anyone. She wants nothing more than to forget the life she once had because her fairytale didn't come true and now she feels isolated and alone. She also refuses to bond with any animals because they remind her of her old dwarf friends and how pointless it seems to try to make friends. Her deer friend specifically helps because it establishes that their are those out there that care about her and are willing to help her through her troubles whether she wants them to or not.
2. Cinderella: She has a problem dealing specifically with realizing who her friends are now are not the way she saw them when she was younger. She pictured them as perfect, adorable singing mice who obey her every command. Now she notices things about them that cause her phobia (their faults and problems). They don't blindly listen to her anymore in a similar fashion to Snow's deer friend. They do what they feel is best and even thought Cinderella is trying to flee them (escape their possible faults and indirectly her own) they continue to find her until they confront her with her glass slipper. It reminds her that even she once on the outside was ugly (had faults) but that she was given an opportunity to show her beauty (being accepted as human/faulty but able to achieve her goals and strive for excellence); the idea of the ultimate achievement for anyone is to strive beyond their own faults and setbacks to achieve their goals.
3. Sleeping Beauty: Her specific problem is not paying attention (being awake) to the world around her and has lost her curiosity. She has no drive or will to be apart of anything, social or confrontational, around her and is stuck in her laziness. She has no goals or even thoughts because she'd rather waste it doing absolutely nothing. Her crown represents her role in society and the realization that she once had goals but now that she's given up on them, she has no purpose; not even for just herself. Again by the animals (birds) literally keeping her awake they are constantly trying to remind her of having a will and a purpose again; also having to do or deal with situations in life that aren't comfortable but necessary.

C. Visual Diagram:

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Midterm Project Proposal

After looking through my sources and considering my overall theme of having an adult perspective remember a child like aesthetic and hopefulness, I have decided to tell a character driven narrative about what happens after childhood and how sometimes being reminded helps people improve their lives. I would like to tell a parody character driven narrative about Disney princesses after they've "matured" somewhat and how they can be reminded of what made their lives "magical" to begin with. In my story the girls, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty have forgotten what their storybook ending was supposed to be and have picked up some bad habits. Snow White is chain smoking slob who could care less about anything. Cinderella has picked up a serve phobia of mice which is bad for all of her singing friends. And Sleeping Beauty well, just can't seem to get over her narcolepsy with no prince in sight. The story opens with a little mouse jumping into a dusty old book. The scene opens on Cinderella scrubbing away at the floors when the mouse along with some other come up to sing her a few notes. She freaks out and runs to the next scene where Sleeping Beauty is comfortably snug in her bed but quickly woken up by the commotion. They both run (Cinderella in hysterics and Beauty in confusion) into the third scene right into Snow White who is just standing on her filthy front porch having a smoke. Snow looks annoyed that they ran into her but otherwise could care less. Suddenly the mice along with a couple of other forest dwellers appear behind the princesses and start singing tunes for them. Snow responds with annoyance, Cinderella is still frightened of the mice and Beauty who has fallen asleep is forced awake. They all decide to run further away into the woods to get away from the animals. The animals all decide to approach them individually bearing a present for them to remind them of the role they play and the dreams they once had. Some mice slowly approach a cowering Cinderella to give her her glass slippers whose feet are now dirty. A deer goes to Snow White to give her an apple which reminds her of her now dead curiosity. Finally some birds place a crown on top of Sleeping Beauty's head awakening her. The instant that any of these objects touched the girls they changed from there haggard and tattered clothes into the nice clean dresses they are suppose to be wearing. Aesthetically I was looking for something along the lines of this in terms of the design of the girls. I think it falls in line with the sort of doll, puppet like look that I have already experimented with in earlier projects. Also I was thinking for possibly the trees and ground to have them use written text as a texture to continue with the storybook feeling.
Chris Manfre's "Going Home"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Research Package parts 5 and 6

Part 5

6 Literary Sources

1. Childhood without End: Tieck's Der Blonde Eckbert Author(s): Ralph W. Ewton, Jr. Source: The German Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 3 (May, 1973), pp. 410-427 Published by: Blackwell Publishing on behalf of the American Association of Teachers of German

These pages explained how adults settle into a mode of habits and forget to find pleasure and joy that is found in adolescence.

2. Children's Literature in the College Classroom Author(s): M. Daphne Kutzer Source: College English, Vol. 43, No. 7 (Nov., 1981), pp. 716-723 Published by: National Council of Teachers of English
The entire book is a sort of instruction manual on how teachers should address teaching children's literature
but in these pages Kutzer addresses why teachers need to be careful because adults see the world and stories
differently from children. It gave me ideas about how children enjoy more simple story telling and how adults
gravitate towards myth and higher literature and snub children's stories.

3. Magic Abjured: Closure in Children's Fantasy Fiction Author(s): Sarah Gilead Source: PMLA, Vol. 106, No. 2 (Mar., 1991), pp. 277-293 Published by: Modern Language Association

It gave me ideas about how children approach stories in a different manner and how a lot of our narratives fulfill adult appetites and shy away from fantasy in favor of reality.

4. Happy Endings in a World of Misery: A Literary Convention between Social Constraints and Utopia in Children's and Adult Literature Author(s): Walter Pape Source: Poetics Today, Vol. 13, No. 1, Children's Literature (Spring, 1992), pp. 179-196 Published by: Duke University Press

Again, more ideas on how children still respond to a utopia while adults lie in misery.

5. Hildegard Westerkamp's Moments of Laughter: Recording Childhood, Performing Motherhood, Refusing to Shut Up, and Laughing Author(s): Andra McCartney Source: Perspectives of New Music, Vol. 38, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 101-128 Published by: Perspectives of New Music

This one was interesting about how children have yet gained the habit of censoring themselves which is important but sometimes limiting to people's full potential.

6. The Study of Children's Folklore Author(s): Sylvia Ann Grider Source: Western Folklore, Vol. 39, No. 3, Children's Folklore (Jul., 1980), pp. 159-169 Published by: Western States Folklore Society

This continues with the ideas of how children form stories and are less fussy with structure in favor of feeling that adult stories.

4 Internet Resources

While the six literary sources were more concept oriented these sources are more visually driven to aid me.

This is Nick Jennings portfolio site. He's an animator that has done mostly work for Nickelodeon shows. I really enjoy his retro infused style and his line work. He hints back to traditional animators of the 40s and 50s.
Chris Manfre is sort of a mixed bag because even though he's an Audio Engineer he has dabbled in digital art to audio. I really enjoyed the texture usage for his digital art and hope to draw further inspiration in the future.
I looked to this blog for images when designing my creepy doll girl in projects 3 and 4. This site has a lot of really nice vintage photographs and advertisements and using them to create digital art. I like the execution involved with the layering of photos and using "found" objects as symbols for your art.
This is another blog site I used in my last two projects for ideas about designing characters. It's specifically a blog about vintage paper dolls and I find the whole collecting phenomena interesting. I like the idea of using the internet to focus specifically on a out of date (and beautiful) subject and how this lady is keeping the dolls alive in a way.

Part 6

I plan to explore the differences between children and adults view and perceive the world around them by focusing on a fixed view or child like elements in my projects. I specifically want to address how children do not have a realistic view of reality but that it is important and still relevant but they loose this view point as they mature. I want to play with ideas as to how adults can still participate in a childlike manner without having to fully revert back to children and still live in society. I look to artists like Nick Jennings and Chris Manfre for inspiration; with using Nick Jennings for his flat retro inspired environments and Chis Manfre for is use of layering texture in his digital work. I feel that utilizing these elements expands upon a childlike aesthetic by drawing from visual memories of a child (cartoon styled work and memory driven textures). Also by utilizing the imagery with for instance, paper dolls, it specifically uses a child's toy to tell a story but also demonstrates the idea of looking to the past literally that an adult is forced to do when looking through a child's perspective.

Project 5 Masking

We had to make a video utilizing masks in After Effects. I decided to tell a a little narrative of someone (the audience) looking through a telescope at a boat on the water. Then the telescope disappears and suddenly a map pops up. It becomes animated and points in around about way to get to the X. I wanted the environment to be very texture oriented with a watercolor texture applied to all the waves and the sky. The outlines for everything were done with a crayon brush tool to look as if its a children's drawing. I was wanting to get across the idea that the audience who is assumed to be older is forced to look at the way a child sees storytelling and adventure archetypes. I had many problems with the map animation because of the masks. It wasn't difficult to have a stroke dotted line mask appear to show the "steps" on the map. What was difficult was when I wanted to have the boat follow the motion path of the dotted line. I had to finally end up drawing the path in illustrator and importing it onto the boat's position to get it to work and then manually go about editing the path so that it lined up with the dotted line. For some reason it just would not let me copy and paste the mask path of the dotted line onto the position of the boat. I need to look into it and figure out what exactly prevented that so I won't have to waste time going through backdoors to get the same effect.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Project 4 version 2

We critiqued our project 4 videos in class. I decided to redo my little creepy doll girl trapped in a video game. I reworked the entire After Effects file from the beginning and it was much more successful this time around. I was finally able to nest the composition in a manner that would actually help the video making process and able to successfully loop cycle her walking that again made nesting easier. I don't know what I was thinking that other night but I guess it was just trial and error and that night was definitely an error. At least I feel I have a better understanding of the rules After Effects follows and how fast things can get tricky; and what to consider beforehand so I don't make it harder for myself. I tried to make my character interact with the environment more. Originally, as she was walking along, she just kicked a ball off to the side and continued walking past these row of jacks. I changed it to where now she kicks the ball, which rolls and stops at the jacks. Then she walks up to the ball, jumps on it and uses its bounce to propel herself over the deadly jacks and onto a raised book like a higher ledge. It makes it much more interactive within its own environment and shows more of the goal reaching and laws that govern video games.

40 words and 40 antonyms

1. idealized

2. grief

3. mystery

4. hallucination

5. baggage

6. searching

7. belonging

8. loss

9. phantasmagoric

10. torment

11. sympathy

12. comfort

13. hazy

14. transcendent

15. material

16. included

17. bygone

18. dream

19. glow

20. linked

21. memory

22. simple

23. homesick

24. quaint

25. miniature

26. care

27. graphic

28. pain

29. smell

30. encounter

31. exhilaration

32. tense

33. collywobbles

34. contempt

35. complacent

36. hope

37. tangible

38. distant

39. tranquil

40. reborn

1. reality

2. pleasure

3. illuminate

4. truth

5. lighthearted

6. found

7. tossed

8. gain

9. dull

10. bored

11. apathy

12. needle

13. clear

14. grounded

15. soul

16. separate

17. present

18. sickness

19. concrete

20. unfastened

21. disappear

22. grand

23. adventure

24. unusual

25. scale

26. forgotten

27. ordinary

28. joy

29. repulsed

30. flee

31. stop

32. expanse

33. calm

34. wanted

35. swallowed

36. despair

37. smoke

38. skin

39. aggravated

40. decay

All the highlighted words are the ones I sketched quickly in the previous post.

80 words and 40 images

For this assignment we had to come up with 40 words relating to our topic and then 40 words contrasting those. Then we had to pick a total of 40 words and come up with visual sketches. I think I misunderstood this be assuming that the sketches had to be from the 80 words. On top of that I assumed that if you picked one word from say the related word list then you had topick the corresponding antonym. My overall theme that I got these words from was the idea of nostalgia and looking at it from an adult and kid's perspective. Also I just tried to thinkabstractly of as many words that quickly came to mind when considering this relationship.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Project 4

For this assignment we had to take our characters we created (project 3) and animate them in an environment in After Effects. We had to utilize the null tool and expressions. I decided for this project since after looking at my baby doll character (and her slightly disturbing gaze) that any environment would have to have some sort of creepy factor. I decided to look at some old 2-D side scrolling video games from when I was a kid. I looked to Ahh! Real Monsters and Toy Story for the SuperNES and Nightmare Ned for Windows 95. I really think the artwork by Nick Jennings for Ned inspired me for this project. Its as if he mixed Chuck Jones and Tim Burton to create his artwork. I found that unfortunately it was very difficult to animate my character in After Effects mostly because I'm still such a novice. I also had a rough time figuring out composition hierarchy and the best way to order compositions. I'm planning on going back at some point and probably redoing the entire thing from After Effects. I think I just wanted more than I could handle at this point. Also I accidentally knocked one of my files offline and had to find and replace it which wasn't fun at all. When I do this project over I'll remember to be more organized. If this project helped me learn anything, it was the real amount of planning involved to make these projects (especially animating them).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Project 3 articulating a character

For this assignment we had to design a character to use in class to introduce parenting, expression and null techniques in After Effects. I was (and still am) having problems designing a character that would keep in line with my theme about rediscovering childhood from an adult standpoint. I finally decided to go for a paper doll baby-doll aesthetic. I realize now that it doesn't have any sort of textures applied but just flat color. On top of it not looking connected to my theme, it really doesn't have enough of a meaning behind it that isn't short of stretch in relation to my overall concept. This weekend I need to do more brainstorming and come up or improve upon this character design. Also for project 3 we are going to have these characters doing some sort of task in a animation so thinking or certain tasks will probably help in the overall design department at the beginning.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Project 2 follow up on After Effects and my Process

This wasn't the first time I had to change my idea for a project because I realized quickly it was way too complicated when learning a new program. Unfortunately it probably won't be my last. My original idea had the camera (viewer) moving back in Z space between different scenes. For some reason at the time, I didn't even consider the depth movement and how we're only working in the X and Y axis; that was completely stupid. So I took the same content and just put it on a horizontal X axis movement. So my idea turned into an idea of almost a scrolling scrapbook in the mind of a child. There is a foreground, mid-ground and background (sky) all moving at different speeds. It starts off with a scene of a sketchy city in the distance and then scrolls along a "stitched" countryside into a forest area where a tea party is set. For this project we only had to have the first 10 seconds animated. At the bottom of the screen in a "dirt" layer is a rabbit who moves along the bottom to the end of the scroll where there is a hole for him to exit unto the tea-set.
Some problems I encountered early was this project I made for myself allowed for me to get really comfortable again with Photoshop since it had been awhile since I had done more than a little cutting out. I found it hard not to just make the project but to order it in a way that when I import it into After Effects it would work. It was 10x harder to figure out than I originally thought it was going to be and required a lot of backtracking a tweaking. Once I finally had the files built and structured in After Effects I learned that for it work that I shouldn't ever have grouped folders in Photoshop. For some reason it just makes things go a little crazy; a least my experience told me. What I ended up having problems with for some reason is editing the position points along the timeline. When I edited the position of one asset and then decided to edit a second asset, for some reason when I played it back it was if the original asset was never touched even though I was sure I didn't highlight both of them. This lead to a lot of tedious backtracking that in the end left one of my assets extremely jerky and off balance. It seemed like every time I'd try to edit the position points or start the asset over it either didn't change or made things worse. I wonder if I have some sort of mode checked that is making the program do this, but because I'm such a novice I've have no understanding of what's going on. I found that it was extremely difficult to even get my assets open and in the correct camera view when it should have been relatively easy. I almost wonder if I should just start over from the beginning with the After Effects file and see if it works better a second time instead of trying to edit in possibly questionable preference settings of this current file.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Funneling Concepts for 2-D Animation Fall 2010

So I had a hard time racking my brain to come up with some ideas for this semester's Animation class. I decided to start listing things that visual stimulate me to want to animate in the first place and see where that would take me. In terms of picking an overall style I decided that I'm interested in flat geometric shapes representing characters and landscapes like in the video by Lois van Baarle or by Eran Hilleli. In Between Bears just shapes are understood to represent ideas and things which I find fascinating. Alsotheir chromatic muted like color palettes are superb and I'd definitely on some level want to utilize them. In a very brief unfinished summary of my idea I'd like to have the story involving a girl (of course) who lives in a city but finds that she doesn't fit in (quite literally in terms of color). The city would be very geometric and derivefrom an Art Deco feel like those in Geogia O'Keefe's City Night (1926). I was wanting the city to be mostly black, blue, and touches of red. The main girl would be done in a retro like aesthetic like but her palette would be mostlybrown, opaque, and beige. She finds a flower blowing through the city that is a pink salmon color that she's never seen before. She decided to follow it which takes her on an adventure through a strange forest. The forest would be designed similar to the Sundance Old Fangs(winner ).The color palette here would be more purples ,yellows and oranges. Finally I would want her to end in a sort of neither-world where everything is a very muted beige with pools of water. The last seen would be her finally catching the flower. When she opens her hands to see it it changes to the color of dark blue with a miniature version of the city inside and she closes her hans. Again she opens them to reveal a purple flower with the forest insidewhich she closes. Finally she opens them to reveal a beautiful light blue color and decides to put it in her pocket and walk off screen.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

picture ideas for Project 1

textures for trees:
tea set on table:
fox running through forest:
textures for ground: