Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Pencils to Pixels and other animations and my own stuff

On Monday we watched a documentary; Pencils to Pixels. This went from the beginning of the 1900s till recently. It was interesting to see animation in the beginning, however I did think that technically from an animation point of view (with the principles of animation in mind) that the really early animations weren't true animations, merely moving images or characters. Ie not much attention was paid to timing. Having said that, it was all new stuff back then and none the less is still entertaining and interesting. After the documentary we were shown three animations in full by Winsor McCay. The first one was called Little Nemo (1911). The actual animation doesn't start till about 9 minutes in as it has real actors to start with.

The second animation we were shown was Gertie the Dinosaur (1914).

It may look simply drawn but the way the dinosaur moves, I think is great. This is clearly the first decent animation so far. However the last animation shown was just as amazing, if not, better. this is called The Sinking of the Lusitania (1918).

This animation was based on a historical event, where a German submarine torpedoed this ship. It sank within 18 minutes. I got that information from here ( Although the film was a bit slow, the motion was very fluid. I supose it would have to be, with all the smoke and water.

The very next day we were shown some rather different animations. One of them wasn't even an animation at all. Anyway, the first one, was a very abstract piece of video timed cleverly with with some music. It is called Begone Dull Care (1949) by Norman McLaren. The sounds in the music were expressed but a variety of patterns on screen. The next one was again, a piece of music accompanied by this almost hypnotic (as Jackie described) pattern of horizontal lines, moving up and down the screen, multiplying in numbers. Near the end I could almost see depth in the patterns.

Pas De Deux by Norman McLaren (1968) which wasn't an animation, was clever. It consisted of two ballet dancers, dancing around the screen in darkness. They used a camera technique of multiple exposures to echo themselves so that they almost looked like ghosts. You could actually see how they were moving around the screen.

Towards the end, there were times when you couldn't even see the dances, but just a blurry smudge. Although entertaining and clever at first the novelty soon wore off, but was still interesting to see the way in which they moved.
Norman McLaren has appeared to have done a wide range of abstract film making with animations.

One of the last animations we were shown was Disney's Fantasia (1940). (although not in its entirety) Again, there's a music theme going on here. The type of animation varied from the abstract to the traditional Disney character styles, such as in the The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

The day ended with life drawing. The first drawing, I felt a little out of practice, and I completely messed up on the second small drawing where the model is leaning over but the others came out well. I'm afraid these weren't taken on the best camera in the world so don't bother to view them any bigger. They look much better at this size.

40 minutes

Three 10 -15 minute drawings

30 minutes

I've been having some more ideas on my story for my aristocratic standard lamp.

I'm thinking that this standard lamp, having been placed in this messy flat full of junk, can wake up and turn its nose up in disgust at the mess, but then sees this amazing lamp shade (the standard lamp seeing it as a fancy hat) and being aristocratic, it only wants the best, try's to get it. Unfortunately, with all the junk around, it makes a lot of noise and falls to the ground. the owner comes in and props the standard lamp up, sees its lamp shade on the standard lamp ruined and switches it with the better one. That's a nice happy ending.

I'm not yet satisfied that it is a final idea but it is one that is floating around in my head.

As for the design and look of the character, I've been thinking that it is actually going to be more difficult than I first thought. I have essentially got a stick with a hat on top. I have done some quick sketches having looked at the video that Phil posted to me as reference.

Two of the drawings are of basic people. I was trying to get the posture correct in them and then translating that into the standard lamp. My two favorites are the bottom left and bottom second to right. They're both leaning back and have a dangley light switch. There is still the difficult decision of having three legs or one base.

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