Animation – Week 1

During the first week of animation, we explored stop motion and read “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud.

I worked with my partners Stacy and Tito to create a stop motion film using sticky notes. The use of sticky notes was inspired by our interest in pixels, which we had just finished talking about in our computational media class.

Here is us on set:

I promise I’m only yawning as part of the acting!

To create our film, we used DragonFrame and the Canon 5D. In the beginning we had a few technical difficulties, namely trying to get the camera set up to do live view, but we were able to solve that issue. Also, some of our deleted frames still exported but we were able to edit those out in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Now, here’s the premiere of our stop motion video!

After filming, I began to read “Understanding Comics” and found it to be pretty interesting and relatable. It gave me a lot to think about in terms of how to navigate visual projects and also how to think about what styles I gravitate towards.

For instance, McCloud describes a triangular structure that communicates different pictorial forms which is “described by these 3 vertices – ‘reality,’ language and the picture plane,” and these all come together to represent the pictorial vocabulary of the visual arts. Here we learn about abstraction and how that corresponds to reality, as well as the tendency for humans to project themselves onto images and force closure.

What interested me the most in this discussion, however, was the talk about how cultures and ways of thinking may effect length, movement, and different prioritization. In a lot Japanese comics, they often first appear in enormous anthologies, run for thousands of pages, have slow cinematic movement, focus on setting a mood, and have a belief that elements omitted from the works are as important as elements that are included. There also is an underlying belief of how things are continuous and connected.

At ITP so far, I’ve been struggling with how fast things seem to be moving and how even when thinking of interactions and interactivity there’s a prioritization of very specific kinds of goals over the journey. There’s a prioritization of something quick and cool over slow and present. How does this impact the art we make here? What does it mean for something to be cool? What if we used time differently? I wonder how I might continue to explore these elements and more in animation projects regardless of the time constraints that are already in place and enforced.