Assignment 3: Animating in Situ

TASK: Make an animation that responds to a place in some way.
Find a particular place or ‘site’ and draw inspiration from it. Make an animation in response to its particular qualities and contexts.
You could use a personal, shared or a public space. The type of space and your approach to it is entirely up to you. You could develop your own ‘landscape animation’ by working directly in and on the space (see further below), or you can respond to the brief by working digitally, drawing attention to the context, history or other aspects of this place.
Once you have chosen your site, do as much research as possible – both visual research and conceptual. Make short animated tests to try out techniques and ideas. Pull together diagrams, writings, rough storyboards and a scratch track.
Place all of these into an animatic and work into this animatic making different drafts as you go along.
Upload your animation, animatic(s) and any other supporting material to your learning log.

https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/art-exhibitions/among-trees?eventId=855751

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/avis-newman-1698

E3.7: Keyframing Exercise

TASK: Do some research about what keyframing ability your editing software has available (including the ‘ken burns effect’ if you have it).
● Explore this technique adding key framed movement to a single still image.
Once you have mastered this, return to the editing project of exercise 5 (garbage mattes and basic compositing).
● Can you apply a key-framed move to one of the layers (either the chair or the object that you introduced as a new layer)?
Explore Bezier curves and direct movement if your software offers this.
Upload a short experiment demonstrating that you have come to grips with basic digital keyframed movement to your learning log along with any notes on how easy or difficult you found this process and what resources you used to help you.

Tip: Ken Burns and keyframing
Stories can be told using just still images, for example, in Chris Marker’s 1962 film La Jetee. The use of still imagery is particularly prevalent in the documentary form. It is almost a cliché now to have slow zooms and pans of historical photographs accompanied with a narrated voice over. This is partly due to the ease with which such panning and zooming has become with the use of digital editing. American documentary film-maker Ken Burns is synonymous with this approach to documentary film-making. So much so that Apple have named their ‘ease in ease out’ tool after the film-maker “The Ken Burns Effect” (this effect is found in iPhoto, iMovie and Final Cut Pro X but it is also possibly in many professional and home software applications under a different name).

What the “Ken Burns Effect” does is zoom or pan in an ‘ease in, ease out’ way. That is to say, the movement starts smoothly and slowly comes to rest. This smoothing and altering of the pace of an overall movement is normally achieved by manipulating a ‘Bezier Curve’. The Ken Burns Effect does this Bezier work for you. You set the first ‘key frame’ (where you want the movement/zoom to start) and the final ‘key frame’ (where you want the movement/zoom to end). The software then interpolates the inbetween frames.

E3.6: Document a process

Make an animation documenting the different tasks involved in a daily action. Such as baking a cake, cleaning a room, folding the washing etc.
Try to work impressionistically to capture the energy of this process and it’s particular qualities (in other words it need not function as an instruction manual).
Make use of sound, if you want to, but not voice over for this exercise.
Use any animation technique or combination of techniques you choose.
Upload your short film onto your learning log.

A nostalgic male voice over and atmospheric music drive this narrative about time and death. High contrast, soft focused and textured black and white still images are sequenced as action footage. There are occasional dissolves and zooms, but mostly cut with movement between black and white shapes in opposing parts of the image. Throughout these images shake very slightly to give the feeling of movement.

Tip: Ken Burns and keyframing
Stories can be told using just still images, for example, in Chris Marker’s 1962 film La Jetee. The use of still imagery is particularly prevalent in the documentary form. It is almost a cliché now to have slow zooms and pans of historical photographs accompanied with a narrated voice over. This is partly due to the ease with which such panning and zooming has become with the use of digital editing. American documentary film-maker Ken Burns is synonymous with this approach to documentary film-making. So much so that Apple have named their ‘ease in ease out’ tool after the film-maker “The Ken Burns Effect” (this effect is found in iPhoto, iMovie and Final Cut Pro X but it is also possibly in many professional and home software applications under a different name).

What the “Ken Burns Effect” does is zoom or pan in an ‘ease in, ease out’ way. That is to say, the movement starts smoothly and slowly comes to rest. This smoothing and altering of the pace of an overall movement is normally achieved by manipulating a ‘Bezier Curve’. The Ken Burns Effect does this Bezier work for you. You set the first ‘key frame’ (where you want the movement/zoom to start) and the final ‘key frame’ (where you want the movement/zoom to end). The software then interpolates the inbetween frames.

Stan Brakhage

E3.5: Garbage Mattes and Basic Compositing

Returning to one of the first exercises of this unit, the rotating chair, bring this into your editing software to use as the basis of a compositing exercise.

Find a still image from the internet of an animal or object, or photograph your own.
Bring this in to your editing software as a new layer and use the matte function to overlay this image onto your rotating chair.

You can work as simply or as intricately as you like. The result need not be slick or believable. The purpose of the exercise is for you to explore the basics of using matte’s and to gain an understanding of compositing. If you like you can bring in a moving image to apply the matte to, but a still image will suffice.

Bear in mind the matte feature may be called ‘mask’ in your editing software (in iMovie it is often referred to as ‘green screen’ or ‘blue screen’). Almost all editing software will have some level of basic matte or masking that allows you to work with at least two visual layers.

“A video matte is the electronic equivalent of two pieces of
construction paper in the hands of a talented child wielding a pair of
safety scissors.
If one piece of paper is blue and the other is yellow, little Johnny can
simply position the blue on the yellow, or the yellow on the blue. Unless
the top paper completely covers the bottom, the result is going to be a
blue/yellow composite picture.
If Johnny knows his way around those scissors, he can cut a shape out
of the yellow card and place it over the blue, or cut a hole in the blue
and position it over the yellow.
If Johnny is really creative, he’ll ask the teacher for more colors of
paper and build himself a collage – layers of colored paper stacked and
arranged into a pleasing picture. Add a little colored tissue or
cellophane scraps and Johnny’s visual construction tool kit can even
include partial transparency.
If you transform the construction paper into video signals, you’ve
entered the world of electronic mattes and masks. And just as a paper
and cellophane collage can consist of any combination of shapes and
forms, the possibilities for building electronic mattes are equally
infinite. Depending on your editing software, you’ll have a wide variety
of convenient matte-generating tools at your disposal.
These include geometric mattes in squares, circles and diamonds,
along with customizable shapes, such as four- or eight-point garbage
mattes. These are so named because they’re particularly useful as
quick and dirty ways to mask out stuff you want to hide in the
underlying video. Text and titles, which you can think of as masks
shaped like fonts, are variations of a geometric matte.
You can, in fact, make a matte out of anything from static shapes to
moving images.”
Bill Davies, Computer Editing: Keying, Alpha Channels and Mattes (2002) Videomaker.com
Once you are comfortable using a matte/mask, you can extend this exercise
further by exploring other ways of compositing. For example, try bringing in a
line drawing and use a ‘multiply’ function to overlay this drawing onto your chair
animation. Upload any extra experiments onto your learning log.

E3.3: Accumulation, destruction or trace

TASK: Make a quick 30-90 second animation exploring one of the following three animation techniques: accumulation, destruction/erosion or trace.
To start, you may want to restrict the materials you work with, so your animation can explore the possibilities of accumulation, destruction or trace by experimenting with mark-making, objects, or physical materials. Alternatively, you may want to explore these themes through image-making and metaphor by drawing, photographing or using found materials. Either way, be playful in your approach, and log all of your experiments on your learning log as well as your final piece.

sandart

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/newman-the-wing-of-the-wind-of-madness-t07164

E3.2: Gestures

TASK: Choose a simple gesture that you or another subject can perform. For example, a hand movement, pose, or facial expression. Represent the same gesture through static and moving media: for example a photograph or drawing, and moving image or a short animation.
Compare the results. Are there different aspects of the gesture that you are able to capture in each of these media?
Write a short caption for each that tries to capture these differences. Upload them to your learning log.

E3.1: Animation Light Study

TASK: Observe the passing of natural light in a room. Think about how you might photograph aspects of this light. Setup a camera and take repeated time-lapse-like photographs of shadows and reflections of this light over the course of a day (the earlier you wake, and the longer you stick at it, the more interesting the colours).
You can approach this exercise in several ways; recording subtle shifts in colour, tone and shape or by interfering with the light, manipulating reflections and casting shadows. The purpose of the exercise is to employ the animation principles you have learned such as ‘ease in ease out’, looping, eye trace and anticipation to manipulate the time conveyed by the natural light in the room.
Sound-track optional.
Upload your light studies on to your learning log.

Here are some examples:

Anne Harild, Taking Time (2014)

Jane Cheadle, Swimmer (2012)