Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Splendidity.

I wrote this blog entry after watching Totoro:



For some reason it has triggered a memory in me.
One of wombats, many wombats.
A 'swarm' infact. A 'crew' of wombats. What is the
right term for these funny beasts?
I think a 'babomba' of wombats.
I was surrounded by a babomba of wombats whilst
camping. They were everywhere (at least
50)......munching on the surrounding lushious
grasses. It was a really pleasant symphony of close
and distant munching, mixed with the odd grunt.
Quite a relaxing sound to doze off to really.
Suddenly something disturbed them and they
babombared away across the grass and down the
surrounding ditches! The ground shook and
rumbled as they went!
It was really quite scarey... and amusing.
There are moments in Totoro that feel so similar to
this memory. The bus stop scene in particular.

I am too tired to ravel today's waffle up into some
kind of pertinent point.
I think perhaps I am avoiding all of my posed
questions on purpose because I am poised to drop
the 'improvisation in animation' ideas and venture
off in a slightly different direction. How do comics
relate to animation? Thats a bit broad
really......but another beginning..
I say 'pish' to this blog today.
...this 'wombatblog' was written afewweeksago........

========things in need of ponderment======
Ma presentations at AIM
research, research, research+wotnot
2 Svankmajer films:


'Otesanek'(little Otik)



'Alice'



2 French animations:

'Triplets of Bellville'




'Raining Cats and Frogs'


Packing and moving.
House and dog sitting for three weeks.
Anges the smelly itchy dog.
noooooo internet connection for three weeks.
bh (for furture reference thats short for
'bloodyhell', which is really quite an
awful term when you think about it.
Which more often than not I don't.
Words are so different when they're
on a page/screen. )
Guitar Favourites by Norbet Kraft-theme music for the moment. Classical guitarist's hands are quite intriguing. I wonder if I could animate such hands and capture their splendidity.
Names....
'Norbert' describes his face most certainly, and 'Kraft' describes his guitary hands.
(looking at the picture on the front of the CD)

Maybe we grow into our names......?
Perhaps I'll change my name to 'Caramel Flan'


bh

Friday, March 19, 2004

.......

Currently I am rendering out a small quicktime of Toots. Yes. It is the final, final ,final version.


I don't have too many words today.
However I have a vision of a deep dark space with occasional sparks flicking out randomly.
Perhaps I've blown a fuse.

I watched the 'Pink Elephant' scene from Dumbo today. It is just magnificent.
Olster MacInness keenly
inticed me into viewing it.
The pink elephants are so haunting and so stretchy, and they thump and rabhumba along like some child's chickenpox fever.
wow.

...no more words

Thursday, March 18, 2004

The proposal.


Kirrily Schell


Title: Improvisation in Animation


Summary:

In this paper I will investigate the possibilities and outcomes of improvisation within the context of 2D drawn animation.
In particular I will focus upon improvisation within the narrative.

I will be using comparative analysis and the trace method to research this topic.

Brief description:

Is the straight-ahead technique the same process as improvisation when animating in 2D?
What is improvisation?
What is the straight-ahead technique?
I will give brief examples of improvisation in other art-forms, draw questions related to those art-forms and address them to the idea of improvisation in animation.
For example:
In the actual event of a musical improvisation, the creation and outcome exists in the moment. All of the musician’s knowledge and experience and/or pre-production, including factors such as the musician’s personality and unique sensibility, come together intuitively. Often with other musicians. There can be a certain spirit or spiritedness to the music that is virtually impossible to recreate in a composition. If you tried to compose and capture that moment again with the same song, would it hold as rich a spirit?
With my own experience in creating comics, why does the first draft of my comic story, albeit a little messy, look so much more alive than the second draft. Is this only the case when I am improvising a comic?
How do my characters differ when I script, storyboard and draft the piece carefully?
How does this relate to my own experience with animating?

In the case of improvisation in acting and/or theatre, the improvisation process brings a certain spontaneous life to the story. (Can one “method act” through an animation?)
Can this same set of questions address the animation process?
Can these same improvisation processes be utilized when animating?
IE: Can an animator start with a concept or idea then explore this through the process of animating?







What are the different elements that can be explored through improvisation in animation?
-Visuals How the animation looks, eg: the drawn mark the animator makes.
-Movement The way the characters, objects or marks move.
-Narrative Improvising the idea or the journey of the story in the moment.

In this paper I will focus upon improvisation within the narrative. What kind of results have improvising animators achieved, and what kind of processes did they use?
Initially I will focus on the animator and cartoonist Bill Plympton.
Are his animations one great big animated flow of doodled ideas, where he knows not what next his character will do? I am thinking of one called “Hair” or “Thread”. Or does he stage it all with storyboard and other preproduction necessities?
Which brings me to the question of how to go about improvising in animation.

How does the way the preproduction process is set up reflect in and inform the quality, look and feel of the final animation?
My questions about animation have been with me for many years as they pertain also to the creation of comics.
When animating Toots my own preproduction processes varied throughout, thus the quality of the animation also varied throughout.
Preproduction is integral to the final quality, look and feel of an animation so therefore
how the preproduction is set up will inform the kind of animation created.

Can preproduction be set up in such a way so as to provide a framework for improvisation within animation to occur?

If so then what kind of results could be achieved?
Are there negative aspects to improvisation in animation?
Is it impractical?
If so what is the solution?
Computer technology offers many software animation programmes, such as Flash, and digital drawing tools such as the Wacom, thus giving new options and processes for today’s animator. Does this allow for quicker, more productive and practical creation of improvised animation? (Is the Internet a more practical realm to ‘publish’ these kinds of animations?)









Rationale:

Why would an animator choose to improvise and what are the benefits of doing so?

If preproduction is set up in such a way so as to provide a framework for improvisation within animation to occur then this would optimise the animators flow within the process, thus giving a truer sense of life to the animation.

Setting up the preproduction process in such a way would allow for spontaneous creation within the narrative, or within the movement of the subject or within the “look” or “mark making”.
The animator could then:

explore ideas visually in time, in the moment.
work intuitively.
- use the animation process in the same way an artist uses a sketchbook to spontaneously collect and create visual references and ideas.
- allow for more spontaneous development to their skill/technique/craft and artistic explorations.



Methodology:
Trace and Comparative analysis.
Survey animators.
Interviews and questionnaires.
Research documentation.
Review literature, comics, and film/video/dvd/web.
Research Webb logs.
Comparative analysis. Flash/hand drawn.
Comparative analysis: preproduction/ improvisation in comics.
A brief comparative analysis of improvisation in other art forms
Review my own production process and outcomes from animations in 2003.



Bibliography:


Books:
-Animation 2D and beyond, Jane Pilling, RotoVision SA, 2001
- Evasvankmajerjan, Slovart Publishing, Ltd., Prague, 1997
-The Animator's Survival Kit, Richard Williams, Faber and Faber Ltd, 2001
-Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud, DC Comics, 1993



DVD/Video/Film:
Bill Plymton
Liquid Television/archives
Bruce Petty
Drajic. Animation, improvised. Called Diary. Masters of Animation - v. 3 USSR, Yugoslavia, Poland & Hungary.


Keywords and URLs:

Anijam

Bill Plympton
http://www.awn.com/plympton/
-31/03/04
Animation improvisation art
HYPERLINK "http://www.acmefilmworks.com/" http://www.acmefilmworks.com/
-3/04/04
HYPERLINK "http://www.bitterfilms.com/" http://www.bitterfilms.com/
-31/03/04
Straight-ahead animation
Wacom and Flash animation
HYPERLINK "http://pub51.ezboard.com/fbuddinganimatorfrm14" http://pub51.ezboard.com/fbuddinganimatorfrm14
-1/4/04
Surrealist animation
Comics
HYPERLINK "http://scott@scottmccloud.com./" http://scott@scottmccloud.com./
-31/03/04
HYPERLINK "http://scott@scottmccloud.com./links/links.html" http://scott@scottmccloud.com./links/links.html
-1/4/04
Bruce Petty
HYPERLINK "http://www.abc.net.au/dimensions/dimensions_in_time/Transcripts/s614495.htm" http://www.abc.net.au/dimensions/dimensions_in_time/Transcripts/s614495.htm
HYPERLINK "http://www.abc.net.au/contraptions/credits/pettyb.htm" http://www.abc.net.au/contraptions/credits/pettyb.htm
-1/4/04
Wendy Tilby
HYPERLINK "http://www.acmefilmworks.com/" http://www.acmefilmworks.com/
-1/4/04
Koji Yamamura
HYPERLINK "http://www.jade.dti.ne.jp/~yam/" http://www.jade.dti.ne.jp/~yam/
-1/4/04

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Sunday, March 14, 2004

...........Off with their heads.


just watched two Svankmeyer films.
P made a comment during the dueling Jack
cards scene in Alice.
something like "...I wonder how much he improvises when making this ...because it is just beautiful"
as the cards continue to duel flat on the ground after their heads have been 'offed'.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Not Much


There is not too much to add at present.
Why do I want to know if one can improvise in animation..?

The man accross the road who stole the peaches from my peach tree in January just came home.
I'd like to throw a peach at his head.

I had a big billowing conversation with a(n actor) friend last night. One of the 'actory' type ventures he is involved in is the Playback Theatre at Gasworks in Albert Park. They intice someone from the audience to give them a life story and then they act it out. They improvise and don't neccessarily stick to a conventional interpretation of the story that the audience member has given them.
How does improvising compare to a scripted and rehearsed play?
Well even though he knows the story, how it unfolds and how it resolves, he doesn't know what he's going to say, how he's going to move or how the other actors are going to respond to him.
Therefor even though there is a story, essentially it is being created in the moment. Which is really quite exciting for the audience and the actors.
This improvisation process in acting brings life to the story.
hmmm
So whats animation about?
Am I sounding a little twee?


Am I actually trying to structure some kind of argument here?
No not realllly, I am still just thinking.
I have always been fascinated by why one of my drawings looks so much more spirited than another. For example why does the first draft of my comic story look so much more alive than the second..albiet a little messy. Is this only the case when I am improvising a comic. How do my characters differ when I script, storyboard and draft the piece carefully?
My questions about animation have been with me for many years as they pertain also to the creation of comics.
Why were my brother's comics always so much better than mine?


Am I still talking about preproduction? How to utilize preproduction......
Or.
Am I talking about the drawn mark the animator and comic artist makes?
Or am I talking about improvising the idea or the journey of the story.........hmmmm Bill Plympton for example.
Is his animation one great big animated flow of doodled ideas, where he knows not what next his character will do?
Or does he stage it all with story board and other preproduction neccessities.?

I'm sure he works both ways, as do I in my comic making...and seemingly so in my animating also(but theres more of that to come....that is if I stop this waffling on and on)

Still these are just thoughts.

I am just thinking about how lovely the little white bunnything (chibitotoro) in Totoro is, when Mei first sees him....he sort of walks through the surface of the ground. I'd like to do that.

Friday, March 05, 2004

So.
Here are my questions. They've settled.

a) How does the way the preproduction process is set up reflect in and inform the quality, look and feel of the final animation?

b) Can preproduction be set up in such a way so as to provide a concise vehicle/environment and set of tools(so to speak) for improvistation within the process of animation to occur?



a)
Well. The answer is obvious... on the one hand.
Of course it is integral to the final quality, look and feel is it not? It is essentially the spine of the final piece so therefor 'how' the preproduction is set up will inform the 'kind' of animation that comes through in the latter stages. I think it would also be an interesting question to toss into a pit of animators so as to listen to the kinds of thoughts they have on the matter. They may well provide afew 'other hands' to this paragraph's opening statement.
Whenst animating Toots my own preproduction processes varied throughout, thus the quality of the animation also varied throughout. Which somehow fits in with Toots and her funny little brown papery world....so I don't mind that fact.

I could actually do some research, and snuffle out some writings and see what other folks have discussed in the past about such things.
However..before I do that I shall address the next
BIT.

b)
Well.
I believe the answer is yes (why?...later).
Again this would be an intriguing question to ask and research.

One could say......Well isn't this just
straight ahead animation. Or isn't this precisely what it is to animate?.. To set up the preproduction process in such a way so as to optimise the animators flow within the animating process, thus giving a truer sense of life to the animation?

------hmmm. I'll just take a break because I am a little frustrated with all of these words, as they house many a question amidst them that I should perhaps extrapolate on or upon at some point, so as to at least make a little more sense. (Especially if you happen to be reading this and you're not an animator, I'm sure you would'nt have reached this point if you weren't.)

However the aim of this blob entry is to quell this flow of querries about improvisation in animation and embark on a fresh, minty new flavour of ideas....thaaaaaaaat hover somewhere in the realms of comic arting, animating and how and why they relate to one another. This all relates to my production last year of course.

It seems I have gone on a little more than initially I had planned for.
The next waffle shall be pared down to a haiku.

If my memory serves me correctly, I have heard that before...
.





Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I watched Totoro.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Svankmajer and Herel


Had a chat with P Herel today about a Jan Svankmajer film...not sure of the title, or whether or not its available in Australia. It was made in 2001.
I am curious to see it (ofcourse) for many reasons....
It is based on a Czech folk tale, and combines live actors and animation. Its about a tree. There is dialogue (in Czech....)
Perhaps I can get some live narration if I watch it with Petr.
I bumped into an animator today. Her student film (from afew years back) sounds interesting (it is of a Svankmajer(y) animation proccess).
Funny little coincidences.
Am I still interested in improvisation in animation?
Harvie Crumpet probably would be. I'm sure he'd go absolutely nuts if he had free reign, what with an oscar and all. O. Keep him under lock and key Mr Elliot, I say!
So to round this 'faff' off, I did come to some conclusions in the last few days...but I will not let them settle just yet....I'll just pretend I didn't conclude (it wasn't in public anyway) and leave the questions to their own devices for afew days in the hope that some stealthy new thoughts will waft in from somewhere and evoke new life in these querries.
I am sure I could've made that point in about 4 words.

.