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.

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 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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.21.32 PM.png

  • 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.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 6.25.31 PM.png

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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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.

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

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!