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.

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.

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: 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.