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.

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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.

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  • 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.

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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 Evaluation, Shelby’s animated short

Tonight, we reviewed student’s final project. I was in Group A, reviewing the work of Shelby and Gaku.

Here’s Shelby’s video for reference.

  • synchronized sound-image relationship

At 0:10, you can heard the sounds of feet stomping/landing on a hard surface. This accompanies the image of a young girl’s silhouette moving/jumping up and down.

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At 0:14 you can hear the sounds of a bouncing ping-pong ball, echoing as it lands on a hard surface, reinforcing the movement and collision of the apple onto a hard surface.

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  • singular off-screen but diegetic sounds

At 0:22, there is the sound of an egg-timer/stove-clock ticking away. Although we cannot see this, it enhances the idea of waiting for a pie to cool while it sits on the counter. This is a very nice compliment to the rising steam. At 0:26 we hear the bell, as the timer “goes off”. Again, this is not seen, but it improves the sense of place.

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

I think that the sound of the apple landing is somewhat metaphorical. On the one hand, it synchronizes in a very literal way with the landing of the apple, on the other hand, it doesn’t sound anything at all like an apple. It has a kind of nice hollow snap-pop to it, which seems to imply that this one apple isn’t really enough, but also is happening not in the orchard, but elsewhere, in a closed space.

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

Starting around 0:03 and ending around 0:13 you can hear the sounds of wind, leaves rustling, and birds chirping, this amplifies the orchard setting and makes for a more believable and immersive environment.

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At 0:17 through 0:21, there are ambient sounds associated with a grocery store checkout. Not only does this give us a better sense of place, but also adds to the idea that these are separate events, happening at different times.

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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.

Next, I’ll review Gaku…

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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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: 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: 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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Project 2: Cezanne Deconstruct / Reconstruct

Here is the final image from Project 2: Cezanne Deconstructed

geiger-project2-cezanne_v011

Here is a link to the Photoshop .PSD file.

To recap the details of this project:

This project is making use of an image in the public domain: Still Life With Apples, by Paul Cezanne in (1890).

You can download the original source image here.

Deconstruction: You can read my earlier post about this process here. The goal was to take the individual elements (pieces of fruit, plate, flower pot, table, and wall), and create new layers with the completed forms (since there is overlap, the Healing Brush and Content-Aware Fill are extremely useful for restoring these elements.

 

Reconstruction: First, I recombined these individual elements with an emphasis of recreating the original as close to a per-pixel level as possible. Here is the result:

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The unseen apple: How many apples do you see? Four? My answer was four when I first saw this image. After spending dozens of hours on this image, I’m convinced that there is a fifth apple. Here’s how I discovered it:

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Notice the gap in between the apples in the above image? This was the result of my reconstruction, but the original image does not have this gap. At first I thought that I was just not following the edges of the four apples. Maybe I was trimming off too much? Nope. That space is not only filled in, but it has a shadow. This can only mean that there is another apple behind the bottom two apples in the background.

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This is the only visible part, but if we assume an average size apple (compared to the others), we can assume a basic shape. Unfortunately, Adobe’s Content-Aware Fill is pushed beyond its limits:

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This just doesn’t quite look right. And it would take great artistic license to “reconstruct”. It would practically be an original drawing, even if it was heavily stylized to match Cezanne’s. And this isn’t important enough for this project to pursue. Ultimate goal is to synthesize an entirely new image – one with an illusion of depth.

Let’s get messy!

geiger-project2-cezanne_v001

In order for this work to be considered Fair Use, I need to create something transformative.

First, we need to create some space. I’ve decided on a simple room construction, using assumed dimensions:

 

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In order to increase the sense of surface lighting, I used a series of gradients on masked layers. This mimics the reflective and shadow casting elements inside of a room with moderate backlighting.

Then I decided to play around with the other elements:

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Uh oh… I don’t think that plate is going to survive the fall…

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I used the Free Transform Tool to stretch the plate to a top-looking-down-angle, and then used the Eraser Tool to “shatter” the plate. I then used the Magic Wand Selector Tool to isolate individual “shards” as new layers – which I moved around to create clusters. This caused the size of the .psd file to balloon to over 1GB in size. Worth it!

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Cezanne must have been a very frustrated artist.

The final steps: involved depth of focus, additional (failed) works of art, and more manipulation of light and shadow.

geiger-project2-cezanne_v011.png

This depth of focus effect does cause a considerable loss of detail, but is accurate to the way our eyes focus on different objects and varying distances. The perspective here assumes your focus is on the fine detail of the nearest apple’s core, under a light-source.

Don’t worry, the full detail is still there:

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Strangely, without the soft unfocused effect things do not look as realistic.

Fair Use Considerations: Is this a fair use of a creative work?

  • This work is noncommercial: it was made for educational purposes, and I am not financially benefiting from the use of the original material.
  • Cezanne’s Still Life With Apples is in the public domain
  • This work is transformative in nature – I think. I didn’t just take it apart and put it back together as is, I transformed the image into something new. By synthesizing a scene with transformed elements, you can reimagine  the circumstances behind the original work. This is not a criticism of the original, but perhaps it qualifies as “fan art”.
  • This new digital terror certainly does not “compete with the original or have any negative effect on its market.” No one is going to regard my homage to Cezanne as a counterfeit. For one thing, it’s not a painting, it is contemporary, and referential.

What do you think about this use of Cezanne? Is it Fair Use? Is it a good use of Photoshop? Leave your comments below!