Final Reflection – TechnoNature

In the making of this animation, I decided to convey a message between the relationship of nature and technology. Since this project is my last one, I wanted to put quite a lot of effort into it. Thus, I learned a lot of new methods to animate not only through Prof. Marianne classes in Adobe After Effects but also through Youtube videos about cinematic effects, partial 3D facial animations, and walking cycles. Additionally, I found the twelve principles of animation very useful during the making. This project took my photoshop, premiere, audacity, and after effects skills to the limits.

I began with the creation of my scenes through simple sketchy panels telling where, what, and how the main character (which I called S4M or “SAM”) moves around the animation. Basically, the main character is a robot that wanders around the corners of a city, finding an unusual item never seen before, a leaf. After the panels, I started with my character design through photoshop and separated each movable part into layers; I have done the character sketch in a small notebook. S4M was divided into 3 sides: front, sides, and rear. The background of S4M was also divided into those three. What I have found very convenient is that After Effects allows the conversion of 2D space into 3D space, simplifyng the creation of the front and back background scenes. Then, I began tediously animating the scene according to what I have learned overall in After Effects. In the beginning, S4M’s walking cycles were quite horrible (it seemed like he was flying on the ground), so I did the scene all over again. The second time, I noticed a pattern in walking cycles — the time that one leg takes to reach the opposite end is the same as when the other leg moves towards the other end. Although this idea seems very obvious, I see that forgeting it is quite usual. After finishing all my scenes and compiling them in premiere with music and sounds, I noticed that my final animation looks drastically different from what I sketched in thepanels before, but I am still quite happy with it.

I had quite a lot of fun in making this project regardless of the fact that it took days to make, and I think everyone as well. Sometimes, I animated S4M doing some hilarious movements that can bring a smile to anyone. However, as I will not have any IMA’s classes next year during study away, it saddens me a bit. Nonetheless, I hope that everyone in IMA has a wonderful time, and I will be looking forward to the senior year.

Storyboard for animation project

The story begins with a robot named S4M, who explores the vast deepness of a technologically advanced city that protrudes all kinds of mechanical pillars over its lands. As S4M wanders into the darkest parts of the city, he finds a lonely leaf shone by a dim light. He is curious, so he proceeds forward to examine the leaf. As he grabs the leaf, his mechanical hand turn into an organic one. He becomes amused and studies the leaf even further. S4M “feels” the smoothness of the leaf; he had never experienced such feelings before. However, as he stroke the edge of the leaf, he accidentally “cuts” himself, feeling pain. Therefore, he releases the leaf, and the leaf flies away as his hand become mechanical again with a small scratch. The pain vanishes, and he realizes that the leaf is flying away through the wind. S4M chases the leaf, wanting to know more, but the leaf flies away into a precipice. He does not notice the fall, so he fell and destroyed himself in the process.

Nevertheless, I am thinking of the ending still. Maybe I can give him a happer ending.

Below is a quick sketch, but it’s subject to change.

Frame 1 Frame 2

 

Response to Sita Sings the Blues

The entire animation is amazing! Even though the animation style were particularly different from scene to scene, the overall story flowed very smoothly from different points in time and settings. A lot of the main scenes are musicals that portrayed accurately (and sometimes hilariously) the situation in which the characters, Sita and Rama — as well as the modern couple, undergo. This animation can be interpreted as how the relationship between the two genders can change through the outside circumstances that affect them and their thoughts. The narrators within the animation were vital figures that discussed and expounded The Ramayana to the audience in a fun and interesting way, and I think this element was absolutely necessary to the audience, because some of the audience might get confused if the narrators were not portrayed.

A few things I have noticed within the story. A high correlation persists between the story of Sita and Rama and the one of the modern couple. The circumstances, such as the couples being stripped away by others and even themselves, lead from the initial burst of their love to the end of their relationship. Additionally, I wonder what was the motive behind Dave’s “Don’t come back” message, is he doubting her like Rama to Sita? Or is he cheating on her? The message is rather obscure and leaves some questions.

Furthermore, Rama’s voluntary monkey servant, Hanuman, is quite similar to the man-monkey, Sun Wukong, portrayed in The Journey to the West from the mayor Chinese literatures. Both of the monkeys are able to “jump” from places afar, and they have an entire army of monkeys ready to do anything. The main objective of Sun Wukong was to protect and follow a monk to India for Buddha’s teachings, while Hanuman was to support Rama in his journey. Maybe, both characters are the same individual but at different points in time, since a significant part of the Chinese beliefs in Buddhism was borrowed from India’s beliefs. I think it would be quite interesting to see that Hanuman is Wukong. Nonetheless, this was just a short side theory.

I enjoyed the animation and now I’ll go onwards to the development of mine!

Response to “Embrace the Remix”, “Everything is a Remix”, and Lethem’s “The Ecstasy of Influence”

After watching Kirby Ferguson’s video series and Lethem’s excerpt, I found that plagiarism is not necessarily something wrong to do but something that we need to be aware of. Since our birth, we imitate and learn from our parent’s basic behaviors, such as eating with a spoon/chopsticks and making sounds with our voice. Later, we adopt the culture surrounding us, such as how to greet, how to dress, and how to speak. Of course, everybody is different in personality and characteristic; thus, we not only copy what our society provides us but also reform these traditions slightly to suit our tastes, making each of us special. For example, different writers like to write with different hand shapes and with unique handwritings, but the idea of using a pen/pencil to write words is the same. In perspective, a copy is not longer an imitation when we apply our own preferences and choices. Therefore, the copy becomes the “original” when other copies similarly copy the copy. (I am playing with words here.)

We usually connect different ideas together to create and discover something new. As presented in Kirby’s Everything is a Remix, many films, such as Stars Wars, created their scenes by recreating other films’ scenes in order to entertain the audience. Big corporations, such as Apple, imitated the idea of the Xerox computer to create a personal computer, the Mac computer, for households. The configuration of present keyboards may have originated from the piano, and the printing technology was invented through the availability and existence of other materials such as ink and paper. Lethem’s work presents various examples in literature and music in which famous works can be found as a combination of other famous works. In essence, our plagiarizing nature enable us to make original things through the reformation of the copies similar to the mutation of the DNA in organisms.

However, we also suffer from loss aversion as mentioned in Kirby’s series and implied in The Ecstasy of Influence. We can feel that we have lost our “original” work when others try to copy and recreate it, and we often say that our work was “stolen”. This case can be represented in Apple’s strategic aquisitions in which Steve Jobs practically fought against others who have a similar idea to his inventions with lawsuits, when Apple also clearly copied and used others’ main idea for profit. Nonetheless, this loss aversion is just an illusion, because owners are still practically owners of their work, and fulfilled ideas cannot be easily “stolen”. For what I know in my experience, our works are the source that provides inspiration for others to advance what we have created, since I, too, have copied and reformed countless times.

 

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road? Comic – Maddie, Nancy, and Billy

Why did the chicken corss the road

Billy:

We began our comic with simple ideas, such as chickens, science-fiction, and wormholes. In the beginnning, we thought about the joke of the chicken crossing the road and spiced this joke with a bit of space and time and a mother’s natural behavior. I thought the idea was great, and Maddie made an eight-panel storyboard for this comic.

After the storyboard, I sketched the entire comic with simple, light brush strokes while transforming the lines into a figure that can be interpreted as an object. During the process, I found very intriguing the question of how can simple lines represent something complex in our brains. The different views that my group members had into my drawn lines was very fascinating, although I had a different perspective and reason of each drawn line. Afterwards, I assigned the lineart to each of our group members; Nancy made three panels, Maddie made two, and I made the rest three. I knew Maddie was new to the development of a comic, so I slightly decreased the workload for her while increasing Nancy’s and mine. I never made a comic too before, but I have certainly seen a lot of artists making them in my experience.

After finishing the linearts, I drew the background for each panel in the comic, because I used to draw a few sceneries with my ol’ tablet pal before. I always feel relaxed when drawing sceneries and ambients of all kinds (this has been going for four years!), although I kept this comic simple and brief. Then, Nancy added the character’s colors inside the comic, and Maddie placed the “sounds” and noises in it.

Finally, I checked the comic and made little changes before posting. Overall, everything went smoothly.

Maddie:

When we were brainstorming story ideas for our comic, we happened across the timeless joke, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and decided to play off of that. We bounced the idea around and decided to create a comic that told this story of why the chicken did cross the road – but with the twist that the chicken was in fact in space and separated from his babies, and the only way to get back to them was to cross this busy road.

Billy created the original sketch of the comic, and afterwards, I was in charge of the first two panels. I took these panels and redrew the outlines of the objects in photoshop. To do this, I used a tablet and a combination of freehand curves and curves created with the pen tool. This was a very new experience for me – it was my first time using the tablet, as well as my first time translating a sketch into line art with photoshop – and it took a lot of patience, but over time it became easier to control the line. It was very interesting to see the process, however, and was definitely satisfying once I finished a panel!

After we each completed our panels, and Billy filled in the color for the background, I then added in text in each panel to represent the sounds to accompany the action. For this, I downloaded two new fonts and experimented with placement and size.

Having three people work on a single comic was a challenging task because we needed to combine three different skill levels and drawing styles into one cohesive comic. Agreeing to one storyline, style, etc was at times a process that took a lot of working out, but in the end it was only trust in one another that was necessary to create our final product.

Nancy:

When we started thinking about what kind of story we may tell, Billy said that, “chicken!” From this, everything start forming to a whole story. We combined chicken, high-tech, wormhole together and make it a real story, which may happen in another universe.:)

Billy first finished the sketch of the comic. Then i was responsible for lining three panels. It’s lucky to have my own tablet, and I tried to make fluent line. I found that it was hard for us to have the same style even when we redrew the outlines. For myself, I would like to make the brush pressure, while Billy liked pressureless line. Team cooperation is quite important here. We all tried our best to make the style similar.

Also, I filled the color of characters. This job is not as simple as I imagined. I have to first try the colors to make them fit with each other. And when i was filling the colors, small stuff like not filling color outside the line can be challenging. Therefore, after I finished it, i really felt a sense of accomplishment!

Now all of us think this comic is pretty cooooool! Thanks to our cooperation~

Response to Understanding Comics

Scott McCloud provides a fun expository and descriptive explanation about comics, since he essentially uses a comic format to simply expand our limited knowledge about the same (very interesting!). Before reading Understanding Comics, I thought that comics were simply frame by frame pictures that tells a story that is particularly fictional and sometimes childish. The pictures are expected to be cartoony, and the sequences of these pictures “move” through our imagination. I have read a few comic books during my childhood, but I have never permeated deeper into the historical and artistic factors that constitute modern comics. After reading McCloud’s comic book about comics, I learned that comics are not simple to make, because they require ample of human intuition and few standards to make them worthwhile to read.

What I find interesting is the historical and categorical applications that McCloud use to define comics. I never knew that ancient Mayan and Egyptians hieroglyphs and some carvings could be categorized as comics; his explanation about these ancient artifacts unveils that comics spanned thousands of years ago rather than few decades. His interpretation of one of the ancient Egyptian pictorial sequences — depicting the labor laws of ancient Egypt — is one of these examples. McCloud also categorized comics into a triangular taxonomy of comic styles (realistic, figural, and fictional), which I found most interesting. His taxonomy of comics probably fill the entire world of created comics until the present.

McCloud also implicitly provides another form of teaching. Rather than using a long prose to explain his ideas, he uses sequential imaging to do the same. However, the effects to the reader are widely different. If he would have written his ideas in prose, then we might get easily bored simply because imagining words into pictures takes a toll in our brains. Through the usage of comics format, we are free of this labor, and we can easily enjoy the “reading” while effectively learning from his creation.

Response on “On the rights of the Molotov’s Man” – Billy

The case of the Molotov Man reflects the difficulty of establishing the rights of artists to express their artwork without copyright infringement. On one side, artists want to freely express their own ideas with their work on certain events, things, or other’s work; while, on the other side, artists want to preserve the idea behind their work and avoid others changing this notion. The case of Joy Garnett and Susan Meiselas captures this dilemma.

Conservative ideals hide behind the curtains of freedom of expression. When artists can freely express their artwork about a certain subject, other artists can easily change the original artist’s ideas through the reproduction of the original work. Joy wanted to capture the extreme human emotions by re-painting an original photograph (The Molotov Man) with a different context; however, she was liable for copyright infringement, because she did not credited nor asked permission to the artist of the photograph, Susan. Susan’s lawyer requested a sum of money from Joy for licensing the work afterwards, giving incentive for Joy to delete his work from the internet. Given this scene, we can observe that freedom of expression (when used inappropriately) can ultimately change the original expression of others; thus, conservative ideals kick in to protect this original expression.

The preservation of an original work is a difficult process for modern artists of this era. After Joy’s case, many other artists started to use Susan’s work for their own ends. For example, Pepsi Co. used a different version of the photograph to advertise its products as a “revolution”. However, the original idea of the photo conveyed the Sandinistas movement in Nicaragua against Somoza’s power — not just any revolution. Even though Susan did not sue Joy nor collected Joy’s fees, Susan needed to bear her outrage stemming from other people that uses her work for other purposes.

I personally think that both sides – Joy and Susan – did the right thing for such matter, for finding a solution for such problem proves somewhat complex and difficult. If we fully support on Joy’s viewpoint, then Susan’s original idea is unjustly thrown in the sea of interpretations. If we support on Susan’s viewpoint, then other’s freedom of expression is partially breached. Joy did give credit to Susan but did not ask for her permission simply because no one can control art and his viewpoint of the picture differs from Susan’s. I think Susan would agree with this reasoning but would disagree with the ideas behind other’s reproduction of her work.

 

Response to “Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” – Billy

Here’s the website that I made for this particular complex reading: (I know there are few grammatical mistakes here)

Billy

 

And here’s the code:

<!DOCTYPE HTML>
<html>
<head>
<title>
“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” Response
</title>
</head>
<link rel= “stylesheet” href=”StyleA2.css”/>

<body>
<font face=”Arial” color=”white”>

<h1>From the Mechanical To The Virtual</h1>
<p class=”quote”> “In principle a work of art has always been reproducible.” – Walter Benjamin </p>
<p class=”pic”> <img src= “http://www.mathacademy.com/pr/minitext/escher/drawing_hands.gif” alt=”Reproduction of Art” /> </p>

<div class= “texting”>
<p> Photography extends from the painting, while the film extends from the photography. However, the extension of the film that relates with an event or movie is wrapped further by the invention of virtual storage and communication. </p>
<p> In this contemporary era, the wonders of technology have pushed us further into the reproduction of art through virtual means. The storage disk, the USB, the hard drive, RAM, and other means of preservation can easily copy and reproduce documents, artworks, films, photography, images, and recently objects with unparalleled precision. Indeed, complementary technological devices, such as the cameras and printers, are still needed to aid with the reproduction of any work of art from the virtual realm to the physical (as well as inversely). </p>
<p> However, from all these technological advances, what distinguished the availability of reproducing art as a visual form for a humungous audience is the world wide web. The virtual space of the internet allows us to search for any piece of art, sculpture, or film conveniently through a computer; however, the downside is that the physical experience is vastly differentiated than the experience of the actual piece of work. Watching a film in a movie theater or touching a sculpture possesses different experiences than doing these actions on a device. </p>
<p> Nevertheless, the early times of the internet had a different <a href=”http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-09/04/h-bomb-and-the-internet”> purpose </a> — the advances we made today stemmed from the necessary measures of war. </p>
</div>
<p class=”pic”>
<img style=”height:auto; width:700px;” src=”http://news.art.fsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Nick-Rivers.gif” alt=”Nope” />
</p>
</font>

</body>
</html>

For the Visuals:

body {
background-image: url(“http://backgroundhdwallpaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Cool-Backgrounds-Background-HD-Wallpaper.jpg”);
background-repeat: repeat-y;
background-attachment: fixed;
}
h1 {
color: #9c9c9c;
text-align: center;
}

.quote{
text-align: center;
font-style: italic;
font-size: 18px;
}

.pic{
text-align: center;
}

a:link{
color: #4493ff;
}

a:visited{
color: #f044ff;
}

div.texting{
margin: 20px;
background-color:#ffffff;
border: 2px solid white;
opacity: 0.5;
filter: alpha(opacity=50);
}
div.texting p{
margin: 1%;
font-weight:normal;
color:#000000;
}

When Power Depletes and Cogs Degrade – Response to “The Machine Stops”

“The Machine Stops” shows us a questionable futuristic impression that humanity has shied away from environmental problems, such as pollution, and proceeded to live a comfortable life beneath the surface of the earth in a humungous machine as a solution. Since the inhabitants of this machine-city accept and gradually accustom their dependent lives with the machine, they admire and revere the machine as an omnipotent being that guards them all. Remarkably, the events of the story are similar to the real historical religious events during the years between the Middle Ages and the Enlightenment in Europe.

 In many cases within the story, technology and science has merged with the essence of religion. We could see that one of the main characters, Vashti, a mom who is deeply convinced of the Machine’s “power”, embraces the Machine’s Book (the manuals of the machine) as meticulously as the Bible were in the past. Another example is the protests of the inhabitants when the machine-city is failing. They said “Punish that man to Homelessness… [and] avenge the Machine!” These quotes surprisingly resemble to the demands of the religious people against heretics in the past when they were in similar trouble (black-death anyone?). Through this poisonous ideology, the inhabitants suffered severe losses as the machine and its services stop working. Thus, as shown in the story, despite the fact that technology has the ability to progress our quality of life, we are still liable to fall into the abyss of blindness that obscures the reality of events.

The story tells us that we should be aware of the consequences behind the general usage of technology and that it is not the only means to achieve a better life. Technology can also imprison us if we are completely dependent towards it, while it can transform the very essence of what consider us humans. Certainly, we would not have our convenient present lives without technology, but we cannot fully rely on it. After all, without electricity and maintenance, a computer is a useless piece of scrap metal.Artwork by Hideyoshi