Wannabe – July & Maddie

July:

The idea came from this:

http://designtaxi.com/news/361998/LOL-Hilarious-Animations-Bring-Famous-Classic-Paintings-To-Life/?interstital_shown=1

We then decided to animate Chinese classical paintings, and we spent a while searching for the right paintings and the background music. After that we divided our work and started to prepare the assets, which was not that easy for me because I had to separate a lot of layers to enable the arm movements.

After we animated our own part, we had a difficult time putting them all together because the size and color tones of the three paintings are all different. Taken a few advices from the class feedback, we decided to put the compositions in 3 frames and do color correction.

Then the biggest challenge came – my hard drive failed and I lost the after effect files of my part. We then tried several alternative ways to finish our animation including putting in the exported video instead of the composition and adding the background of the close ups in premiere.

Anyway I had a lot of fun doing this animation, and I am very lucky to have a teammate who helped a lot when my hard drive failed. If we have more time I’ll redo the ending part, because now the third singer is a little bit off since I added her part after I had exported the ending and lost the ae file.

 

Maddie:

This project was both the hardest and most fun to complete. July came up with the concept, and together we worked to choose the best paintings and songs to go together. Once we settled on those and made our storyboard, we divided each verse of the song (about 15 seconds each) between the two of us. Each of us then used Photoshop to transform our assets, which included separating our body parts and replacing the background of the images, as well as color correction.

During the Photoshopping process, I ran into a slight limitation; the movement of all the body parts we wanted wasn’t easily feasible, and after several failed attempts to separate out more than just the heads, mouths, and hands in a aesthetically pleasing way, I settled on just the aforementioned body parts.

Figuring out a way to compile so many compositions with different dimensions was difficult, but we were able to easily and successfully use the frames idea that someone gave us in class. Making the frames on the wall asset was not too difficult, but figuring out how to layer all the compositions together and make the camera zoom in and across took some time.

Animation proved itself to be extremely time consuming, tedious, and frustrating, but also exciting, new, and inspiring. Overall, I am quite pleased with the results, especially as this was my first time animating anything. If I had more time to edit a few tiny things, I would, but mostly I am happy with what we have accomplished. July was a fantastic partner who pulled her weight, and she was a champ when her hard drive failed right before the due date!

Final Reflection

After a successful semester in Communications Lab, I am happy to say that I have learned several skills that I can’t wait to further explore in the future. Photoshop was the only program I had worked with before this semester, so a large portion of the class was completely new to me. This meant that almost every project took some time to begin, since I had to get used to a new program, but I felt that usually I was able to catch on quickly enough.

Over the course of the semester, I do feel as though the time it took for me to grasp the features of a program decreased, which was a nice benefit. I assume this is mostly because the features sometimes overlapped with previous programs. I enjoyed that we were able to take what we learned in previous projects and use that knowledge in new ones, rather than having one thing we learned be applicable to that project and that project only.

Working with so many different people in class was a great aspect of ComLab because everyone always had something new to bring to the table, plus I was able to experience everyone’s talents behind the scenes – not just witness it in their final projects. Every partner I’ve had was extremely supportive, ready to help me with a feature I didn’t understand, and ready to learn from me as well. This is also true of in class critiques; I found them to be greatly beneficial and productive. The creativity of this class was amazing and inspiring; I loved that all the projects allowed me a glimpse into everybody’s lives and minds.
Now that it is the end of the semester, I am sad to be leaving such a lively, engaging, creative class, but I can’t wait to use my new skills in future endeavors!

Video Project Response – The Roommate

Billy:

My first reaction upon the making of the film was a bit uneasy, because I did not have any idea of how to plan for the film. However, thanks to my group members (Nancy and Maddie), we have come up with an initial idea of a story  that involved quite awkward and hilarious situations after a hangover. Nonetheless, as time passed, our film ideas evolved into something very different due to circumstances: a roommate to roommate situation that involves death. We also modified quite a lot of the panels around the beginning and the end of our storyboard.

I acted as the protagonist of the film, and I also modified and corrected most of the sounds that were recorded with film. I modified some of the movie in premiere as well. Madeleine and Nancy worked as the cameraman and sound recorder person during the shooting of the film, and they did most of the editing job in the making.
In the end, I was quite satisfied with the results, and I experienced many new things (such as frustration and self-achievement) — I think my group did as well — that were unknown to me as a newbie in filming.

Nan:
To complete this video project, team work is really important.
First, since when we started doing the project, it was during midterm period, so everyone was busy that time. But we figured it out finally. Maddie and me did the first version of story board. And considering about the danger of shooting fight scenes, after I discussed with Billy, we had the second version. And of course, we changed our plan during shooting to ensure a more reasonable and also exciting story.
During the shooting, Billy acted as the main character and leading. And Maddie and I were responsible for shooting, lighting and recording.
And for editing the film, Maddie did a major part of editing videos and I was responsible for music editing and re-editing the video for adding some scenes we shoot later. For me, to find right songs, which can make the story more impressive, was hard but also interesting. And I was very happy that finally I made it.
Billy modified the whole video at last to ensure everything is ok.
I learnt a lot from this project, not only how to make a video but also how to work with team buddy. We did have some schedule problem, but we made it at last, and when we shooting, we had a good time, especially in familymart. 🙂
Thank to my team member!

Maddie:
Having never worked with Premiere before, this project was a challenge, but also very fun. Our original idea was slightly different, as Billy mentioned, but after reconsidering, we changed the storyboard in a way that helped tighten up the film and make it better.
Finding time that we were all available might have been the hardest part – especially after coming together one night and deciding that using only one LED light to simulate daylight just did not work out – but in the end we were able to find daytime hours that suited all of us. Once this happened, the filming came together nicely; Billy and his roommate acted and Nan and I filmed and managed lighting and sound. Billy was also able to help us set up the shots, as well as review them with us in the camera and recorder before moving on to the next scene.
One we shot all the scenes, Billy worked with the sound to clean it up and remove room noise, Nan found and integrated music into the film, and I edited the shots together and color corrected them where needed, then added the cleaned up audio. Nan also added a few scenes we shot a little later, and Billy and I did final small tweaks just before and after the critique.
The overall process was very time consuming – as was expected – but very fun and entertaining, and it was great to see it all come together in a video that the class seemed to enjoy.
*We took into account the critiques from class and lowered the volume of the plastic bag in various shots. However, we chose to leave the sound out of the transitional door closing scene because of personal style preference, and kept the roommate hidden until the final scene in order to maintain the air of mystery and hold the curiosity of the viewer.

Response to Sita Sings the Blues

I had not had any prior knowledge about this film before watching it, so I was very surprised when it ended up combining so many drastically different styles together to tell one story; I was instead expecting one fluid style throughout, like many of the animated movies I’ve seen in the past.

I have mixed feelings about this choice. On the one hand, the use of several different styles made the movie engaging and helped to hold my attention. There switching of styles seemed to occur when I didn’t necessarily expect it, which made the movie even more interesting to watch. However, I felt at times that the constant switching was distracting to the story itself; I was more focused on the animation styles than the narrative.

I did enjoy the use of the narrators a lot. It was a successful, I think, way of telling a religious story that was relatable and captivating. By having these laid back narrators, it felt more like we, the viewers, were sitting in a room with the narrators, hanging out with them as they recounted this narrative.

Overall, I definitely found Sita Sings the Blues to be a fascinating animation that was enjoyable to watch, but in my opinion, Paley could have tightened up the film a bit to make it more cohesive and comprehensible. I realize that the use of so many animation styles is a personal choice, so again, this is just my own opinion.

Arctic Cent – Dani, Dave, & Maddie’s Sound Project

Dani:

For the sound piece, we began by recording the Rugrats theme song played by Maddie on the piano. We then tried to layer it into a rap/hip-hop beat. Our goal was to take two very different pieces of music and mash them together. It was really difficult to mix the Rugrats song with any other sound piece, so we decided to look for two songs that shared the same bpm. We came up with Arctic Monkey’s “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High” and 50 Cent’s “21 Questions”. We took the instrumentals from Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High, and layered it with 50’s cent’s acoustic rap. The majority of the project was done on Garage Band, but we did try to trip the instrumentals from Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High using Audacity. This was extremely difficult and unsucessful. In the end, we were able to adjust the song so that the instrumentals of Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High matched with the original version.

Maddie:

After finally finding two songs that we wanted to use together and deciding that we’d use the original Arctic Monkeys’ song instead of the acapella version, I went in and extracted the clip where they sing “Why’d you only call me when you’re high?” and integrated that into the 50 Cent rap. To do that, I had to take out part of the rap, then move the second part of the split rap a bit further in the song by a second or so. Additionally, I worked on the beginning part of the song when 50 Cent first starts rapping to make the entrance a bit smoother and less awkward. Also, I moved where 50 Cent sings “Giiiirl” a little so that he came in slightly later, since in the original the speed at which he comes in was too quick for what we liked. Since I’ve never seriously worked with sound or any sound editing software, this project was quite time consuming and frustrating at times, but after working in Garageband for a while, it became easier and more satisfying, though equally as tedious.

Dave:

I mainly helped out with the ending of the song and with streamlining some of the rough parts of the song. What I tried and failed to do was to take out the instrumentals of the Arctic Monkeys song so that we were left with the only the vocals. That proved to be extremely hard and way beyond my skill level. I downloaded tons of software and VST plugins for audacity but I still couldn’t extract the instrumentals without it sounding really bad, and even then some of the instrumentals were still present after the extraction. We decided to compromise with technology and Maddie was able to hide most of the disruptive beats that were left in the Arctic Monkeys sample. Overall this was a frustrating and hard experience that felt a little rewarding.

Response to “Everything is a Remix” and “The Ecstasy of Influence”

I find it interesting that in a time of such commotion around copyright that there are so many others who do believe that everything is an appropriation of other works – and that that is just what art and “invention” is. Both Lethem and Ferguson believe that this mimicry is part of cultural production; Lethem states, “It becomes apparent that appropriation, mimicry, quotation, allusion, and sublimated collaboration consist of a kind of sine qua non of the creative act,” following up with the assertion that “If these are examples of plagiarism, then we want more plagiarism.”

The objective of copyright, as Lethem indicates, is “‘to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,’…[which] encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work.” This is exactly how people should see how artists work; the artists are merely paying tribute to others who have inspired their own work, and are not simply ripping them off. This, however, leads to the need for credit where credit is due. It is different if an artist pays tribute to another and admits to it, and completely another when they insist that the idea was entirely original. This point is emphasized by Ferguson’s example of Steve Jobs, who was known for being candid and accepting about his “stealing” of other ideas, but in later years when others were “stealing” from him, found the act appalling and unforgivable. Ferguson puts it nicely when he says that Jobs is essentially saying, “Great artists steal, but not from me.”

I think that in modern times, it is extremely difficult to find a completely original idea – if possible at all, as much appropriation is subconscious – and Ferguson just emphasizes this point. Many of the examples he gave, including Led Zeppelin and Star Wars, I had no idea sampled so much from other sources of media. The success of both of these examples, I believe, is an affirmation that copying is acceptable, and even encouraged, in all forms of art. Without borrowing from other sources, media today would largely be dull and, honestly, would probably still be borrowing from such sources without anyone noticing.

 

Response to “Understanding Comics”

Comics have never been something to which I reach for entertainment—presently or as a child. I would consider the drawings in comics art, but never considered the comic as a whole as an art form. I feel like I am exactly the target audience Scott McCloud has in mind when he calls comics an “invisible art.”

There is much complexity to comics that I honestly never thought of. The idea of closure—observing the parts but perceiving the whole—for instance. Like McCloud says, I depend on closure everyday (McCloud, 63), but it is not something I ever gave conscious thought to, and certainly did not know that some storytellers intentionally use closure to “produce suspense or to challenge audiences” (McCloud, 63).

Furthermore, panels in a comic are connected by the reader through closure. This is an idea that, again, makes sense, but is not something I think about. The ability the storyteller has to choose how to jump in the story between panels is really interesting, because with this decision he is giving a particular level of freedom to the reader in how they interpret every transition.

The entire art of comics is, I think, much more intricate than I ever imagined. Reading Understanding Comics has made me reconsider other mediums that I may have not truly regarded as art in the past.

Response to “On the Rights of Molotov Man”

“On the Rights of Molotov Man” addresses an issue that seems like it will never be fully solved: what is classified as plagiarism and copyright violation where art is involved? This issue can be broken down into several questions regarding copyright and appropriation, and is especially relevant in this era as technology, both current and that which is being developed, allows artists to easily manipulate current works in many ways. At what point in this manipulation does the original work of one artist become original work of a second artist?

Furthermore, is anything really original anymore? Who is to determine what is original and what has been “copied”? New art is generally inspired by other art, whether this inspiration was consciously observed by the artist or not should not make a difference; the new work of art has been developed from an old work nonetheless. If an artist pays homage to another artist by recreating their work, is this an infringement on the original artist’s rights, or should this be accepted as an original work of art?

There are countless questions that stem from this article that can be argued, and I don’t think that everyone will ever come to an agreement on any of them. When an artist creates something themselves, whether it is inspired by or based on another work of art, it is difficult to tell them that what they have produced is not original, since it is technically their creation. For now, we must rely on laws that are explicitly in place to solve artistic disputes, but also hope that artists realize that they are all alike in that they are simply trying to create.