Sound Concepts for Group Evaluation

After reviewing the group’s animation sequences, Carl would like us to make specific recommendations for sound design:

Please also write down ideas for sound design for the two other members of your review group (see below), noting potential sounds and placement of sounds that could be used to strengthen their visual storytelling, add mystery, comedy, suspense or other value.  Specifically, please list ideas for:

  • 1 synchronized sound-image relationship
  • 2 singular off-screen but diegetic sounds 
  • 1 metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship
  • 1 diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

Following the in-class reviews, groups will get together and discuss sound design possibilities.  Each member should post to their own research blog a summary of input they received from the rest of their group and directions which might be pursued.

Allison: Apple Bomb

Unfortunately, the sharing permissions for your video block me from viewing your animation again, but I do remember what the sequence looks like:

Synchronized sound-image relationship

  1. At the end the character takes a piece of the apple into their mouth. I think this could be enhanced with a “slurp” noise
  2. EXPLOSION!!! This is pretty self-explanatory, but the more dramatic the sound, the better.

Singular off-screen but diegetic sounds 

  1. SCREAM!!! When the apple is thrown off camera, and during the animation of it rolling, I think the character might scream, in a panicked kind of way
  2. Your character isn’t working in a vacuum. I’d expect subtle things like footsteps, or other kinds of body movements to be heard, but not seen. This will add value to the explosion and scream.

metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

  1. Music. For some reason, I cannot help but imagine something akin to Looney Tunes accompanying this animation sequence. Maybe it’s the fact that an exploding apple fits so well within that Genre.

diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

  1. The obvious choice here is to go fully atmospheric. Give us some weather sounds (wind, nature, etc), so that diegetic sounds have more depth and context. This shouldn’t compete in volume with the background music.

Ryan: Fairy Tale

This sequence needs to be edited down to just five cuts/panels so it’s possible that these recommendations will make less sense going forward.

Synchronized sound-image relationship

  1. In the opening scene, the woman in the forest moves in a sort of glide, or prance. We should have some kind of shuffle or other sound accompanying these movements.
  2. The opening of the door, the drawing of the curtain, the poisoning of the apple: all of these actions call for sound.

Singular off-screen but diegetic sounds 

  1. The most compelling off-screen sound would probably be a cackle of some kind, as the villain celebrates the death of her visitor.
  2. I think that your protagonist has a “singing” quality about her. Obviously drawing from Disney tropes, but I digress. Perhaps this singing could continue even off-screen.

metaphorical (non-literal) or symbolic sound-image relationship

  1. Music. We have a contrast in mood between the woman in the forest, and the woman in the house. I think that two pieces of music could enhance this contrast greatly.

diegetic territorial sound to define background or sense-of-place

  1. As with Allison’s animation, the obvious choice here is to go fully atmospheric. Give us some sounds of the forest, cheerful and bright.
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Reflection Response #4

In Walter Murch’s “Stretching Sound to Help the Mind See”, we are invited to think about the role of sound in cinema and in our own lives. He makes reference to recording prototypes by Edison, and early 20th century films, some of which may be too obscure for a younger generation. For example: the last time I watched the Godfather Trilogy, it was playing on a Laserdisc – everything is better on Laserdisc. What I found most compelling was Murch’s idea about sound and three-dimensional perception as a hallucination:

…the depth we perceive is not a hallucination. But the way we perceive it — its particular flavor — is uniquely our own… And in that sense it is a kind of hallucination, because the brain does not alert us to what is actually going on. Instead, the dimensionality is fused into the image and made to seem as if it is coming from “out there” rather than “in here.”

As much as there is a rift dividing the generations and their tastes in movies, there is an even greater rift dividing the generations in our ever-expansive field of technologically induced hallucinations. In the span of homosapiens’ arrival as a species, it has only been a blink of an eye since we clever apes invented devices to trick our ears into believing in a virtual world of sound.

Specifically, I’m reminded of another classic film, George Romero’s Day of the Dead, when the zombie “Bub” hear’s music for the first time in his (undead) life.

There is a mixture of joy and terror, living in a world filled with synthetic sound.

As we currently push the limits of computer-generated images, virtual reality, and augmented reality, I cannot help but wonder if I will simply be too old to appreciate the benefits. I’ll admit that getting my first iPod turned me into a zombie of sorts, and who wouldn’t want to fill the doldrums of everyday life with their own personal soundtrack? This welcomed distraction was not without consequence, because my primate brain was too poorly equipped to tackle the nuances separating the real from the virtual – I’ve walked out into traffic on more than one occasion because the sound in my ears was too engrossing for me to keep my wits about me.

What will become of sound, now that virtual acoustics are entering the market place, creating virtual, interactive audio environments in a mobile platform?

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Coming Soon, to a Nightmarish Dystopian Future Near You!

The progress of cinema as a means of escape, is not that different from our organic evolution. From simple paintings on the walls of caves to MegaPlex 3D Movies, every step has required humanity to sacrifice a little bit of what we consider to be “real”. As Murch pointed out:

King Ndombe of the Congo consented to have his voice recorded in 1904 but immediately regretted it when the cylinder was played back: the “shadow” danced on its own, and he heard his people cry in dismay: “The King sits still, his lips are sealed, while the white man forces his soul to sing!”

The next evolution of sound will not provoke thoughts of spirits or souls, but will create space for sound that is hyper-real, and cleaner than the sounds produced by our natural environments. Coupled with other electronic and synthetic facets of reality, we’ll be forced to reconcile our world with one that is unreal, but ultimately a stronger reflection of our internal perception of the world.

Project 3: Final Sequence

This is a video rendering of my final animation sequence for Project 3: Cezanne Multipane Animation.

As you can see, the Stylization filters are used heavily to create a greater sense of unity with the original source image of Cezanne’s Still Life With Apples. Other source images were heavily stylized to better match the look of Cezanne’s painting. All materials were used for educational purposes, under Fair Use.

Special thanks to: Robin Esrock (mentalfloss.com), Utah.edu, Soviet-Power.com, MB Productions (video: Launch Tribute to those who have fallen), Nikita Kozin (The Noun Project), CitizenSfitz.com, Gracefulspoon.com, and Kenneth Lu. All of these fine folks provided me with either material or inspiration, and I appreciate the opportunity to transform their work into a new creative endeavor.

Adobe Photoshop has many limitations when working with the animation/timeline feature. I especially found it difficult to perform certain tasks when using Smart Objects. I’d often work in stages, first with Smart Objects, but then down-converted to rasterized layers, and merged layers. Doing so ensured much higher frame rates when compiling, but I’m sure other optimizations would be beneficial (due to scheduling for this project, I don’t have time to go back over the original .psd files, but you can download them here.)

Just a word of warning: these files are bigger than you’d likely expect – over 800MB total.

Photoshop Shortcut

While working on Project 3, I came across a very useful shortcut: ⌘+F

Suppose you’re applying a Stylization Filter to several layers, the workflow might look something like this:

  • Select the top layer
  • Click on Filter from the menubar
  • From the dropdown menu, select the desired Filter
  • Make adjustments, preview, apply
  • Select the next layer, and repeat

One of the neat features of Photoshop is that it remembers your choices, and keeps track of all of the changes you make to your image. You can quickly apply the same Filter to multiple layers by simply selecting the Layer, and pressing ⌘+F. This will apply the last used filter with the same settings. It’s much, much faster than navigating between Layers, and Filter menus.Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.44.58 AM

 

Project 3: Animation and performance in Photoshop

Before doing any animation work in Photoshop, be aware that some effects can drastically reduce you performance speed. I ran into an issue early on that dropped my framerate to 0.23 fps. If this is happening to you, then the first recommendation is to reduce your rendering resolution:

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Don’t be alarmed when your animation looks somewhat Nintendo-esque…

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This is temporary. Check your framerates again.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 6.15.44 PM.png

Better, but not great. You may also need to rasterize your layers if you are applying heavy imaging effects, or make sure that your layers/objects are not retaining higher resolution images.

Sadly, I had to give up on a depth of focus effect:

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…and all that could have been.

 

Project 3: Demo

You can read more about this process here.

The workflow for separate scenes is fairly straight forward:

  • After completing your panels, select all Layers and Convert to Smart Object
    • File -> Save as -> filename_copy.psd
  • Create new psd file.
    • File -> New -> filename_compilation.psd
      • Dimensions: 640 x 480,
      • DPI: 72
      • Color: RGB
  • Video Group: -> Add MediaScreen Shot 2016-05-16 at 6.56.26 PM
  • Drag and Drop Fades
  • Cut and trim video segments to preference
  • Export video: File -> Export -> Render Video…Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.00.51 PM.png
    • Format: H.264
    • Preset: High Quality
    • Size: Document Size
    • Frame Rate: 30 fps
    • Range: All Frames

Enjoy your video.

Project 3: Ideation Phase

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the process for creating time based art. About 90% of comedy is …

 

 

 

 

TIMING!

Get it? Okay, that was a bad joke, but it gave me an idea for how to approach this design challenge: I should stick to comedy as a theme. There are just too many difficult decisions around timing each of the five panels. Comedy is a static target, and I can use it for the entire decision making process. Here are a few simple ideas for including each of the three apple animations created earlier.

FOR THE ROLLING ANIMATION:

IdeatProject3 2FOR THE FADING ANIMATION:IdeatProject3 1

FOR THE FALLING ANIMATION:IdeatProject3

These last two are incomplete. I couldn’t figure out a good denouement for the first sequence, so I decided to do another, but then couldn’t figure out the denouement for that one either.

Project 3: Animation in Photoshop – Cezanne’s Apple

You can read more about this assignment here.

The goal is to create illusions of physics using keyframes in the Timeline Window of Photoshop with Smart Objects. Using Smart Objects is key, because you can interpolate more effects using this method (Free Transform vs Position only)

geiger_Apple-Drop2

geiger_Apple-Fade

geiger_Apple-Roll2

I’ve added a few additional elements into the mix to increase realism:

  • Notice the “shine” reflecting off of the rolling apple’s surface.
  • The subtle shift in shadow beneath the rolling Apple indicates a stationary light source.
  • The bouncing apple casts a shadow directly below itself. As it get’s closer, the shadow is deeper and more well defined, it is almost invisible when the Apple is at peak height.
  • The fading apple also casts a shadow, and this appears and disappears with the apple as well.

So, which one should I use for my narrative?

I’m thinking about different scenes from television and movies. Perhaps the apple drop can be used for dramatic effect? Like the “coffee cup scene” in The Usual Suspects?

usual-suspects

Or should I go for a Science Fiction motif and use the “beamed in” apple with some source material from Star Trek?

spock-ohh

Or maybe I should go for something more esoteric, and reuse the apple for a simple cause-and-effect relationship?

RollingBabies.gif

Reading Response #3

“I never take claim to any of the photos. which is really important, that that’s not my work.”

– Cassandra Jones

In “Send Me A Link,” digital media artist Cassandra C. Jones, used digital photos she’d gathered from the internet and compilation CDs (Image Collections) sold on Ebay, and then transformed them into animations or wallpaper collages.

In her BoinBoing interview, she also likes the term, “money shot” and uses it quite often.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 4.33.22 PM

Here first example of a still-life “wallpaper” is a floral pattern made from hundreds of pink flamingos. She noticed that there was a typical kind of pose for the birds and that this pattern was repeated across several different sources. Here first example of time based art is a sunset created by stitching together hundreds of images (1,391 images, to be exact) of sunsets and then arranging them in order of their proximity to the horizon. She got this idea from reading Susan Sontag’s book on photography and the idea that (3m:14s) “sunsets are cheesy because there are so many photographs taken of it.” Cassandra related to this idea because while she was visiting Greece, she realized that everything on that island has been photographed thousands of times.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 4.34.41 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-04 at 4.34.56 PM

What’s truly interesting about her work is the source data – the internet. She is able to find so many iterations of any given thing that it is possible to construct a coherent animation sequence from it. The use of amateur photography was important to her art because it demonstrated a connection to everyone’s experience with a common thing.

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Back to her wallpaper work: she bought a compilation CD for $2 on ebay that contains images of cheerleaders. According to Cassandra the (6m:17s) “crotch shot is the money shot of the cheerleaders. It was the perfect combination of (American) family values and pornography.” To communicate this idea more strongly, she arranged the cheerleaders into the floral (“wall flower”) arrangements and scaled them down to a point where an echoing pattern appears, masking the source image through rhythm and repetition. These images are wholesome and innocent, but with a vulgar undertone. If you don’t look closely, you can easily miss it.

 

Pacific Vortex – Reflection

If you didn’t go, you missed out. Check out this blurb from Carl Diehl’s Class Blog.

Pacific Vortex is pleased to plunge you into a multi-channel miasma orchestrated by Ben Glas and Joseph Wells.  Here you will find a formidable constellation of quadrophonic arrays and computational creativity that activates, in new ways, the architecture of the Mediatheque and your own mind! Sine-waves accompanied by generative visual abstractions will segue, sojourn, soliloquy, or, in other ways, play perceptively on the audience’s sense-abilities.

 

 on his customized16mm projection systems.  An outgrowth of projection arts and ad-hoc animation trajectories cultivated in San Francisco’s vibrant 1990’s musical scene, Manning physically conjures a phantasmagoric environment  using celluloid selections that are dyed, inked, bleached, cut up and compiled on large reels.  These elaborate illuminations hybridized with handmade slide and overhead transparency projections and mixed by hand are improvisational and articulated without electronic expediencies.

 

@PNCA 511 NW Broadway, enter from the Park blocks between NW Hoyt and NW Glisan.

pacific-vortex-series.tumblr.com

Part 1: Multi-channel Miasma Orchestrated by Ben Glas and Joseph Wells.

This performance was a great way to answer that classic question we’ve all had during our more formative and vulnerable years: “what would it be like to have severe tinnitus while tripping on acid?”

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“You are freaking out… maaaaaan…”

I do not believe that this was intended to be a pleasant experience, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable as art. The installation was well planned, and included three distinct visual fields, all based on monochrome oscilloscopes: Linear, Circular, and Sequential. By connecting these visual indicators to separate microphones in the space, the audience was provided with a real-time visual representation of the generated tones. Initially, the space was flooded with high-volume, low frequency tones that overlapped, this was a kind of “carrier signal” for the soundscape. The tones shifted independently, and were divided into separate channels. Combined with the space’s acoustics, this created a physical sensation that is adjacent to migraine pain, but decorative in nature.

The rising and falling walls of sound, combined with visual representation are entirely abstract, and not a simulation of anything specific, and my description is only meant to be as informative as possible. This time-based art might be “art for artist’s sake” but was still an interesting combination of different digital technologies and A/V equipment. Perhaps if I had earplugs I would have gotten a richer, but less intense experience. The pleasure wasn’t in the grinning and bearing, but in observing the feedback between visual and audio information, and seeing sounds transformed into shapes. The frequency and amplitudes occasionally combined to create familiar linear forms (sawtooth, sine wave) and geometric shapes (octagons, squares, and even triangles with rounded edges). It was compelling to be able to “hear shapes” but the experience was probably too intense for casual audiences.

Part 2: Out of time, place and scale, by the polychromatic Pond Mind Pulp, a live artwork carried out by Colin Manning.

If the first performance was an appetizer, then this was certainly the entree.

IMG_2237The first sequence was entirely digital in its presentation, but the second part included analogue sound and 16mm film projection. I couldn’t help but turn the viewing experience into a game of “Name That Film”. Some of which were esoteric educational films of yesteryear, and nothing too remarkable from that selection. Others however, were true blue classics – Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Battleship Potemkin, and even Heinlein’s film adaptation Destination Moon) I’m sure there were others worth mentioning, but those were highlights for me.

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Even though the source material was often recognizable, the results were nevertheless quite abstract, and it is difficult to construct any literal meaning or narrative from the presentation. Sequences were arranged in an almost reckless manner, moving backwards and forwards through time, overlapping, mirroring, and mocking the past and forgotten future, like a  mocking riddle with no satisfactory answer. The audio component, while more discernible than the first piece, was still persistently abstract in its use. While there is no doubt that a relationship exists between moving pictures and time, it did not appear to follow a strictly linear pattern of past-present-future, but instead seemed to meander in a way that reminds me of what it was like a young child with the flu, watching old movies while laying on my side, volume up, comprehension low, while metabolizing the finest generic-brand, over-the-counter drugs that money can buy.

Nothing quite like the feeling of something familiar and strange. Time well spent.