Friday, April 29, 2011

Movie Influences

To help with trying to get across in my animation the narrative of hunt and destroy, so taking Phil’s advice I looked at several sequences in movies, which use the same narrative. The clips below are just some of the few films that I looked at. Looking at these sequences has help me understand how that create some kind of will they or won’t they suspense, in my animation. All the films that I looked out use several ways of doing this but the many two ways of are with the use of dramatic music and using camera movements/angles to add suspense.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Initial Influence Map

I think that all these images I have posted before but they pretty much sum up the way that I am thinking about going with my animation with simple shapes, detailed textures and bold colours.

First Draft of The Treatment

The Treatment, The Step Outline, The Premise, The Logline (Draft)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Research into Target Audience

With the many different types of audience range will could choose from I decided to go with 11 to 13 year olds who would be in the beginning years of their secondary school. Now thinking about it I realise that this could be a difficult target audience because I remember my science lessons where the images in the texts books were boring and too complicated to understand and the videos that we were shown being the same. So to make my animation meet my target audience I will have to find a way of making my animation appeal to this age range. 

So at the moment I have two ideas on a way that I could do this and they both come down to the style of my animation.

My First thought was to make the animation seem as if you were inside the human body. With the use of detailed textures and bright and bold colours, which make it seem as realistic as possible to capture the viewers’ attention. Also to make it appeal to this age range I would have to make the scientific as basic as I could do but still getting the point across. This idea inspired from the images that I posted in the post before and some of these images as well.

My second thought I had was to turn the style of my animation in to a computer/video games. I thought that this would be a good idea because today nearly every child plays some form of video/computer game. Also the theme that I have chosen to base my animation around, in the research the descriptions make it seem like some kind of war zone with things killing and destroying each other. So my animation would become part of a video game but at the same time being educational. 

At the moment I am drawn to my first idea of making my animation about the use of texture, colour and environment to appeal to this target audience, as well as to get the scientific message across to the viewer.

More Reseach: Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

After further research and looking at a book that Phil showed me which had some interesting images of the cells inside the body which expressed a lot of colour and texture. It was this book that I come across a method that scientist use to take photos of the inside of the human called Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).

SEMs are used to study three dimensional objects and first become widely used in the 1960s. Basically it is a type of electron microscope that images a sample by scanning it with a high-energy beam of electrons in a raster scan pattern. But what I am interested in is the way that they have been used to see what is actually inside the human body in 3D from.


But digging further into SEM I found several images, where this method is used were instead of the dull colours the use of bold and bright colours have been used somehow. Allowing you see the variety of textures in these images.

I found these images quite inspiring because the shapes are really basic and simply but is the use of colours, texture and lighting that make these images so interesting. This is something I would love to capture in my animation.

Begining of Ideas.....

After finally getting my head around my chosen theme which was theme 3 how the body protects against an infection, which is quite a big process. With several things, that I could base my animation around I decided to go with was the beginning part of the second line of defence where the virus has actually entered the body described in the description below.

How the body protects against an infection.

The immune systems job is to keep out dangerous viruses, bacteria’s even parasites and fungi’s that could cause damage to your body. With the use of cells and tissues they work together to protect against these pathogens, that are able to get into your body and form a type of disease which would then damage the body.

The body is protected by two lines of defence the first and second. The first line of defence is to keep these pathogens out of the body and the second line killing and eliminating the pathogens that were able to get into the body. Both of these two lines of defence are non-specific/inmate meaning that they don’t know what type the pathogen is but they know that they just need to respond by either keeping it out or killing the pathogen.

The first line of defence is used as barriers to keep out the virus out of the body. With three different barriers the skin, mucous membranes and stomach acid trying to stop these viruses entering the system but sometimes the viruses are able to get through these barriers and entry the body. This is when the second line of defence begins when the viruses are actually inside the body. Firstly there is an inflammatory response that will bring other cells to fight to help damage or harming the virus. Ending with the Phagocytes the white blood cells (Leukocyte) that are a type of cell that can eat up the pathogen before it does any further damage to the body.

So here is a rough step outline that I put together. I believe that there is very little content and that I might have to add more to it in when I am refining my idea.

Rough The Step Outline

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time Machine Essay Proposal

For my time machine essay, I have decided to go for Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer. Known best for his surreal animations and feature length films. In terms of relating it back to the ideas that were discussed in the lecture programme. I was thinking about return back to Freud and his theory of the uncanny. Much of Švankmajer’s work relies on images of the uncanny and the grotesque that sit just as easily in the Gothic area. Also I could discuss how and why Svankmajer work has greatly influenced other artists such as Tim Burton and the Quay Brothers. Also with more research into Svankmajer and his work, I may be able to relate back to other ideas that were discussed in the lecture programme. Here are just a few important quotes that I have found from my initial research into Svankmajer and the uncanny.

Maya Tutorial - Visual Effects (Blendshapes: Operation Order)

Maya Tutorial - Visual Effects (Blendshapes: Mirroring)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ater Effects Workshop

In our first After Effects workshop we were introduced  to the basics of the program. We got the chance to play around with Alphas, Masks and puppet pins.  So here are my attempts of using after effects for the first time ............

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Further Research.....

After researching into antibodies and white blood cells I come across these three videos. The first is a pretty basic, short 3D animation showing the bodies reactions to a virus.  

The second video is actually a video clip of a real white blood cell trying to capture a bacteria. Why I put this video up was because it actually shows what happens inside a person.

The third video is an animation about the immune system. This animation is really wired and to me it has no relevance to the immune system but the thing that caught my attention about this animation is the dramatic soundtrack. Which is something I have took note of for my own animation and how an big effect a soundtrack could have to the audience and the animation itself.

Beginning Of Research

One of the first books I come across in the library was "Anatomica The Complete Home Medical Reference". This book has several pages of each of the chosen themes from our briefing, but also there are several illustrations that I have found useful becasue their use of colour and texture.

Image.1  "Anatomica The Complete Home Medical Reference" front cover

So here are just a couple bits of important information that I found the most helpfully from this book.... 
  • Viruses are between 20 and 100 times smaller than bacteria and contain either DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) or RNA (Ribonucleic acid). Virus are not considered to be alive, since they cannot reproduce outside a living cell. However a virus itself can reproduce by entering a cell and using the cell's parts to make more copies of itself. Which it then leaves and spreads elsewhere in the body, causing a disease.

Theme 1 - HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)  
  • The illness is characterized by severe immune deficiency, leaving the body vulnerable to life threatening illnesses.

Image.2  HIV Virus Structure
  • The HIV virus attacks and destroys certain types of white blood cells called T4 lymphocytes, which are responsible for patrolling the body and destroying foreign invaders. HIV destroys these cells, making them no longer available to fight common bacteria and viruses which normally would not cause disease. The body lowered defences, then, eave it susceptible to these invaders which cause opportunistic infections. The HIV virus is transmitted, among other ways, through sexual contact but it is also transmitted via blood transfusions, needle sharing or accidental needle stick injury. It is also possible for a pregnant woman to pass the virus to the fetus and the mother could infect her baby through her milk.

Image. 3 HIV virus attacking a cell

  • HIV infection is confirmed by an HIV anti-body Text, which looks for HIV antibodies in the blood formed in response to infection with HIV. If the test I positive, a follow – up is always performed to confirm it. The test becomes positive within three months of exposure. Someone who has been recently exposed, yet has a negative result, should be tested again three months after exposure. Progress of the disease can be monitored by regularly measuring the T4 cell count in the blood. The lower the count, the further the disease has progressed. Serious infections are likely to develop at counts of below 200 cells per cubic millimetre.
Theme 2&3 - Antibodies and infections

  • Throughout life the body faces on going assault from thousand of viruses, bacteria and other microbes.The first line of defense the skin keeps most of these potential invaders out but the few that make it through to deeper tissue to cause disease face a attack from the waiting white blood cells.
  • There are five major type of white blood cells: neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, monocytes and lymphocytes 

Image. 4 Showing how the body protects against a virus

Image .5 The Variety of White Blood Cells

One thing that this book has done, has help me with making an decision, of what theme I would like my animation to be based around and that is theme 3 fighting an infection. In the animation itself I want to express how with the use of the white blood cells and antibodies, fight against a virus. There are several ways that the body fights off an virus and I thought that showing the different ways our body fights of virus, would be be a interesting way to go with my animation. But I think further research into the different ways the body protects us will help with my ideas.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life Drawing - Lessons 18 & 19

Lesson 18

Lesson 19

Unit 6 - Commission

During our brief on Monday with Dr. Klappa he specified four scenarios/themes that we could choose from, all related to threatening virus to the human body. Then after decided we are required to go through all the stages (pre-production, production and post production) which we have learned through our pasted units, to produce a complete animation. So the four themes are

Theme 1 - Infection by HIV or the life cycle of HIV

Diagram.1  HIV virus attacking a cell

Theme 2 - Making an antibody
Theme 3 - Fighting an infection

Diagram.2  Antibodies

Theme 4 - I got flu !

Diagram 3. The Flu Virus

After the briefing I am drawn to both  theme 2 or 3, but I believe that all the themes have the potential to make a great animations with the right style and aimed at targeting the right audience. I think that further research into the subject will help me narrow my choices down.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Maya Tutorial - Rigging Progress so Far

Maya Tutorials - Walk Cycles

Down Pose

Contact Method

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Art of The Ebullient Pepper Mill

The Art Of The Ebullient Pepper Mill

Final Animation For The Ebullient Pepper Mill

Animation Timeline - Sylvain Chomet

Fig. 1 Portrait of Sylvain Chomet

Sylvain Chomet (1963 - Current) is a French animator and film director, that freed up future animators to go in directions that the animation had not gone in before. Chomet found himself fascinated with art and animation from a very young age and following from his graduation, Chomet began working on a graphic novel that he called The Secret of Dragonflies. Released in 1986, The Secret of Dragonflies paved the way for a number of other graphic novels and comic books. Sylvain’s growing reputation as an artist worth watching gave him the incentive to try his hand at animation, and in 1989, he started production on his first animated short film.

Fig. 2 The Triplets of Belleville Film Still (2003)

Chomet first feature-length animated film was "The Triplets of Belleville " (2003). Animated films rarely come as quirky and stylish as "The Triplets of Belleville " did. A wonderfully tale of club-footed Portuguese old lady, Madame Souza, and her quest to rescue her Tour De France-obsessed grandson from the Mafia. It is this feature film that Chomet owes a debt to because it was this film that started the 40-year-old French animator career off. Chomet’s main object, off making "Belleville Rendez-Vous" was because he wanted to things in animation that had not been done before. In an interview Chomet said "It's a very rigid medium in what people think it should be. It's always got to be for kids. It should bring good feelings, have bad guys and good guys, and end with a moral. But this means there are lots of subjects and things you can't show" (Bullock, 2003) In "The Triplets of Belleville "his aim was to go against that, and do something that wasn't aimed at kids. It's great that kids can enjoy the film, but it freed us up to go in directions that the animated movie hasn't gone in before.

Fig. 3 The Illusionist (2010) Film Poster

In 2010, Chomet released his second traditionally-animated feature "The Illusionist" based on the script by Jacques Tati. Though the films release was stalled for three years, the film is still heralded as a masterpiece of some of the cinematic brilliance of his previous work. This was the Chomet that everyone had come to adore and fear - a mind as brilliant as it was twisted and disturbed. "The Illusionist" "cemented Sylvain’s place as a one-of-a-kind filmmaker, with the movie called "delightful" by Variety and "beautiful" by The New York Times." (Nusair, N/A)

Bullock, Saxon (2003) Belleville Rendez-Vous. (Accessed on 04/04/2011)  
Nusair, David (N/A) Sylvain Chomet Bio. (Accessed on 04/04/2011)

List Of Illustrations

Figure.1 Chomet, Sylvain (1963 - Current) Portrait of Sylvain Chomet. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 2 Chomet, Sylvain. (2003) Les Triplettes de Belleville Film Still. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 3 Chomet, Sylvain (2010) The Illusionist Film Poster. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)

Animation Timeline - Bill Plympton

Fig. 1 Portrait of Bill Plympton (2009)

Bill Plympton (1946 - Current) is an American Oscar-nominated animator and cartoonist, who is lauded for a career that goes back to 1968, prolific in that it has included almost one film a year with a style that is instantly recognisable. Bill Plympton animations have a way of amusing and provoking audiences with his surrealist, off-kilter take on everyday life for years. Born in Portland, Oregon, on April 30, 1946, Plympton developed a fascination with animation as a young child.

For Plympton, it wasn't until 1983 that he was approached to animate a film. The Android Sister Valeria Wasilewski asked Plympton to direct and animate a film she was producing of Jules Feiffer's song, "Boomtown.  Immediately following the completion of "Boomtown," he began his own animated film, "Drawing Lesson # 2." Production of the live action scenes was slow due to inclement weather. So Plympton decided to start on another film with which he would win an Oscar nomination for best animated short in 1988. Suddenly over night he became very popular, especially in the commercial business, his distinctive style invaded the world of advertising, doing spots for such clients as Trivial Pursuit, Nike, United Airlines and Mercedes-Benz. His work also started appearing with more and more frequency on MTV because His oblique, off-center sense of the ridiculous in everyday life.

Fig. 2 "How to Kiss"  Film Still (1989) 

After a string of highly successful short films "One of Those Days," "How to Kiss," "25 Ways to Quit Smoking," and "Plymptoons", he began thinking about making a feature film. “His shorts were winning prizes like crazy and he wanted a new challenge - and, as he puts it, "I'd wanted to make a full-length movie ever since I was a kid." (Plympton, 2003) "The Tune" was Plympton's critically acclaimed first full-length feature running animation. Featuring ten songs that each paid homage to different forms of American popular music of that time. "The story and characters are most definitely outlandish, but not abhorrent, and are often charming and funny. The allure this film exhibits is aided by very memorable and catchy songs that you will be unable to get out of your head once the movie ends" (Burke, 2010)

Fig. 3 The Tune Animation Poster (1992)

Plympton’s sharpness of his humour and satire and the almost unspeakable charm of his drawings have given much to animation as it has moved into the 21st century.

List Of Illustration's

Figure. 1 Plympton, Bill  (2009) Portrait of Bill Plympton. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 2 Plympton, Bill (1989) How To Kiss Film Still. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 3 Plympton, Bill (1992) The Tune Animation Poster. (Accessed on 07/04/2011)


Plympton, Bill (2003) Biography. (Accessed on 04/04/2011)
Burke, D (2010) The Tune (1992) Reviews. (Accessed on 04/07/2011)

Animation Timeline - Jiri Barta

Fig. 1 Portrait of Jiri Barta (2008)

Jiri Barta (1948 - Present) is a Czech stop-motion animator, artist, director and is one of the great inspiring personalities of the world of animated film.  Revered as one of the world's most significant figures in animation. Barta has made a career fashioning stunningly gothic worlds of horror and fantasy, infused with sublime humour and intense moral examinations. Mixing the aesthetic traditions of his influences such as Kafka, Poe, Fritz Lang, The Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer.  “Like Svankmajer, Barta leans toward the grotesque in his imagery; sound is heavily emphasized, whether it is blood sloshing or a guttural, nonsensical tongue, providing a tactile quality to his characters and their universe.” (Jediny, 2007)  Barta's films are amazing creations that go far beyond mere children’s tales. His work has regularly taken Grand Prize at prestigious film festivals; indeed, films such as “The Pied Piper“ and “The Extinct World of Gloves“ are among the hidden treasures of animation.

Fig. 2 “The Pied Piper“ (1985) Film Still

Initially his work with cut-out shorts, but later into his career Barta later experimented with stop-motion and puppetry. Within seven years of, he has created and completed his first animation short in 1985 “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”. An animation that is still even to date is considered as one of the masterpiece of Czech animation. Quickly it become a phenomenon within Czech cinematography and was one of the most ambitious projects in the history of Czech animation.
 In the opening shots of “The Pied Piper” there is a close shot of an astrological clock and Barta himself even states that it is a symbolism in an interview with Jeremy Clarke “ It is an element of medieval philosophy, which is the basis of the story and an organic part of the whole thing. It is a story about the fate, the destiny of a town, or a city if you wish, or a society, and that are why I have used this symbolism.” (Clarke, 1988) Barta uses symbolism in many of animations to great effect.

Fig. 3 “The Pied Piper“ (1985) Film Still

The film is an adaptation of a medieval German tale about a pied piper from Hamelin. Most of the animated film adaptations of the pied piper are children's films.  For example Walt Disney made two films using the theme of the pied piper at the beginning of his career. In his series of films about Alice,, there is a film called Alice the Piper (1924) and a couple of years later in his famous Silly Symphony (1934). “Barta's film creates a striking contrast to the Disney conception of the pied piper legend as a children's comedy. Barta's adaption is a challenging and metaphoric morality that continues in the Czech tradition of Pied Piper adaptations.” (Košuličová, 2002) Barta, created a new morality that reflects the decline of socialist society in the mid-1980s.

List Of Illustrations 

Figure. 1 Barta,Jiri  (2008) Portrait of Jiri Barta. (Acessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 2 Barta, Jiri  (1985) The Pied Piper Film Still. (Acessed on 07/04/2011)
Figure. 3 Barta, Jiri  (1985) The Pied Piper Film Still. on 07/04/2011)


Jediny, Jenny (2007) The Animation of Jirí Barta. (Accessed on 03/004/2011)

Košuličová, Ivana (2002) The morality of horror Jiří Barta's Krysař(The Pied Piper, 1985). (Accessed on 03/04/2011)

Clarke, Jeremy (1988) Jiri Barta and The Pied Piper. (Accessed on 03/02/2011)

Animation Timeline - Jan Švankmajer

Fig. 1 Jan Švankmajer Portrait (2009)

Jan Švankmajer (1934 - Present) is one of the great Czech filmmakers and surrealist artist. He is known for his surreal animations and features with the use of several different media. He made his first film in 1964 and has gained a reputation as one of the world's foremost animators. Švankmajer had gone on to be a great influence on other filmmakers/animators such as Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, and the Brothers Quay.  

Fig. 2 Dimensions of Dialogue (1983) Passionate Dialogue Film Still

Stylistically, Švankmajer’s films are full of richness and are diversity in the use technique. With the use of Live-action, puppets, collage, drawn animation, montage, clay and object stop-motion animation mingle together throughout his work. His brilliant use of clay motion is shown best in his 1982 film "Dimensions of Dialogue" divided into several different animations.  The first section, dealing with ‘Exhaustive Dialogue,’ shows us three different human heads eating, digesting and regurgitating each other. The second section deals with ‘Passionate Dialogue’ featuring two human figures molded in clay, a man and a woman. Finally the third section is ‘Factual Dialogue’ Here we have two male heads, molded in clay, facing each other. Each opens their mouth and offers an object which the other compliments with an object of their own. "There’s a wealth of ideas running through this 12 minute short film but even if these are of no interest to you Dimensions of Dialogue is simply a sublime showcase of the possibilities of stop-motion animation." (Eason, 2010)

Fig. 3 Dimensions of Dialogue (1983) Exhaustive Dialogue Film Still

Svankmajer has moved further away from his roots in animation towards live-action filmmaking. But his films still remain as strikingly surreal and uncannily inventive as ever. In 1987 Svankmajer completed his first feature film, ALICE, a characteristically witty and subversive adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. Švankmajer combines live action with stop-motion animation to create a startling effect for the audience. Švankmajer is a major artist in the surrealist movement, who has inspired many film directors, including Tim Burton. Who would go on to direct his own version of the story Alice in Wonderland years later. Compared to Burton’s version whose film was directed at a family audience, Jan Švankmajer’s himself takes the story back to its twisted roots, with a surreal interpretation of the novel ever to have been made into a film.“The movie is unabashedly indulgent in many of Švankmajer’s recurring themes (visible in nearly all of his short and feature films), such as his obsession with routine and his dismissive observations of the process of eating. The act of eating always seems to be a fruitless exercise in self-preservation (since the food ends up exiting us anyway), and the food itself is usually fraught with hidden dangers (nails, bugs, and magic that makes Alice change in size).” (Heilman, 2002)

While a majority of his films are animated, Švankmajer refuses to be called an animated filmmaker. “"Animators tend to construct a closed world for themselves, like pigeon fanciers or rabbit breeders." Švankmajer stated in an interview, "I never call myself an animated filmmaker because I am interested not in animation techniques or creating a complete illusion, but in bringing life to everyday objects."” (Jackson.1997) Švankmajer has done exactly what he has said and has brought everyday objects to life in his films, which can be seen as symbols and interpreted in many ways.

List of Illusrtations 

Figure. 1 Švankmajer, Jan (2009) Jan Švankmajer Portrait. (Accessed on 02/04/2011)
Figure. 2 Švankmajer, Jan (1983) Dimensions of Dialogue - Passionate Dialogue Still. (Accessed on 02/04/2011)
Figure. 3 Švankmajer, Jan (1983) Dimensions of Dialogue - Exhaustive Dialogue Still. (Accessed on 02/04/2011)


Jackson, Wendy (1997) The Surrealist Conspirator: An Interview With Jan Svankmajer. (Accessed on 02/04/2011)
Heilman, Jeremy (2002) Alice (Jan Svankmajer) 1988. (Accessed on 02/04/2011)
Eason, Jack (2010) Dimensions of Dialogue. (Accessed on 02/04/2011) 


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More