Final Review, Gaku’s animated short

Here is his video for reference. – I reposted it so that it can be viewed fullscreen. Domo arigato, Gaku-sama!

  • synchronized sound-image relationship

From 0:07 to 0:10 you can hear footsteps that reinforce the idea of the character running.

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From 0:19 to 0:24 you can hear chewing, which greatly enhances the final scene. The first time I watch this animation (without sound) I thought that the snake/creature was talking to the boy who climbed down into the cavern… Now, the lip movements are clarified.

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  • singular off-screen but diegetic sounds

After watching this video a few times, I still have not been able to identify any off-screen sounds. Sure, there are birds and water drops present, but these seem to be territorial sounds, used to enhance the environment.

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

In the opening shot, we hear a frequency crawl pan left to right, which enhances the throwing of the Apple. This sound is non-literal, but implies a kind of “fly-over” effect, similar to an airplane in flight.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.28.18 PM.png

At 0:12, we hear an “ow” sound from the apple itself. Again, clearly this isn’t meant to be literal, but reinforces the idea that the apple fell and landed hard.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.28.57 PM.png

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

Starting around 0:05 you can hear birds chirping, which makes sense, given the setting of a park, with trees. At 0:14 you can hear water dripping, and echoing reverberations to give us a better sense of the size of the cavern in the following scene.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.28.18 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.29.06 PM

What do you guys think? Are there other sound elements worth noting? Am I missing anything? Are these sounds adding value to the animations? Comment and let me know.

 

Final Project: Cezanne’s Cold War

This is the final animation sequence for ART119 Digital Media.

This project was challenging for a number of reasons:

  • I really don’t understand Adobe’s UI Design. There is little continuity from one program to another.
  • Switching from one CC app to another was jarring, but also necessary.
  • Time-based design from Audition is very different from time-based design UI in Photoshop.
  • Audition is buggy. It crashes more than a Ford Pinto, driven by Nick Nolte and Ted Kennedy. I became a habitual saver during this project, and am still uncomfortably paranoid. The iMac I used in the lab was actually less stable than my home-brew “Hackintosh” machine at home.
  • Tyranny of choice. I had dozens of audio files to choose from, and often compromised by combining the best elements of separate sources into a single continuous sound.
  • Editing. I had over 20 iterations because some aspects required more rework after making changes to separate sections of the animation.
  • Credits. Even though my animation was only 40 seconds, I needed almost two minutes to roll the credits.

Overall, I am pleased with what I’ve done over these last couple of weeks. For a first timer, I think this is a relatively polished sequence. What do you think? Leave comments!

Update on Final Project

I’ve been trying to balance the performance of my sound elements between speakers and headphones and one of the most challenging aspects of this is the acoustics. Headphones allow for a tight integration of sounds between left and right channel, but as soon as you go out through speakers in a room, there’s a noticeable cross-talk between left and right, and it becomes less distinguished. Audition has tools for expanding the stereo effect, and this helps a little bit, but if you push it too far, everything seems a bit muted through headphones, so it’s a difficult balancing act. Some sounds need very little of this effect to draw contrast between left and right, while others seem impervious to the effect — especially when reverb is factored in.

Hopefully I’ll get some lab time on Monday to address this, but for now I’m relatively pleased with where this project is, and will post a pre-final version tomorrow evening – stay tuned!

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Reflection Response #4 (Condensed)

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. 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.”

There is a mixture of joy and terror, living in a world filled with synthetic sound and the progress of cinema as a means of escape. 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!”

My focus for this final project will be to synthesize a new reality by combining sounds out of context with my animation. Specifically, I will focus on creating sounds to supplement that which is not seen.

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:

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 7.19.00 PM.png

…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