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 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!

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.

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.

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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.