Helen’s Animation and Reflection


Perhaps what is most ambitious is that I have eight separate scenes so it took me some time to prepare the assets and separate the layers. Sometimes I needed to use brush tools to draw or make up, especially in a2, a4 and b4. Five characters were killing me as well. Take Leonard the frog for example. After I separated out all the body parts I found I had to let limbs and body overlap a little bit. Otherwise when I rotated them it would be so broken… as if some flesh were missing. (But it turned out to be that I spent a lot more time making them dance naturally—legs rotations and positions must synchronize with all other body parts and they must be strictly committed to music.) I meant to have those characters do morning exercise and one of them responded slower and moved clumsily. “Luckily” I changed my mind. The dancing part was far a lot much more time-consuming. Besides, the dumb ways to die idea was also fabulous.

The scenes I like most are the fruit and the motorcycle scenes. The fruit scene seems to conform to physics law. I used many puppet deform things in the motorcycle scene (motorcycle itself, wheels and Edward the worm) and it was lovely. I also appreciate the ending part. I was not intentional to keep bunny ears and let other things disappear at slightly different times but it worked really well.

Professor helped me with curvilinear motion, shadows and waterweeds and I found that it required some space visualization!

Finally… I can’t believe Thursday was our last lesson. I really enjoyed the semester and am thankful. Bye T-T


What I used in AE:

Transform: Anchor Point; Position; Scale; Rotation; Opacity

Motion Blur; 3D Layer; Parent

Effects: Gaussian Blur; Radial Blur; Puppet


Camera (Expression: Position-Wiggle)

What else I learned but not used:

Null Object

Link one Transform to another

Link Transform to Audio

Stop Motion

What else did I use:

Flash to enlarge the images

Photoshop: Brush Tool; Clone Stamp Tool; Ellipse Tool; Fill; Pattern; Adjustment Layer

Audition: Effects: Delay and Echo; Noise Reduction / Restoration; Special; Time and Pitch


helen's assets



Helen’s Response to Sita Sings the Blues

I have to say, I enjoyed the movie only technically. I think it awkward to combine the elements of Indian epic with those of modern American love story. Also the plot is not completely analogous, so it seems to me more like a desperate woman whose husband abandons her happens to love Ramayana and resonates so much with the sorrow and solitude an abandoned innocent wife has. But all these totally different styles of cartoons, and blues make the picture messier.

However, I want to point out some techniques and creative thoughts in the movie. First, in the shadow puppet scene, that the Indian characters appear and act synchronize with the talk or rather corrections (especially of crazy Indian names), which is vivid and subtly cute. Second, in the music video parts, there’re not only stories in accordance with the lyrics, but also many stages, or platforms, for Sita to sing and perform. Third, I’m curious about how Nina draws the Indian characters in the scene other than the music video where the characters cannot move their limbs. Obviously the texture of the characters is different. Last, the opening sequence intrigues me a lot although it is not that acceptable at least to me. The animation greatly illustrates an atmosphere of ancient mystery.

I recognized some tools like anchor point, rotation, pin, deform and copy. But I’m specifically curious about how the zoom-in and zoom-out and dynamics effects are made.

Xiaoyue, Dongning and Helen’s Sequential Imaging Assignment and Reflection

Growing up Fast

Growing up Fast



After deciding the basics of the story with my group members, I started trying to draw out the figures with a tablet. Drawing with a tablet is really very hard and time-consuming because it takes time to get used to it. But it was also very interesting for me, especially because I have long been passionate about drawing and sketching.

My work and Helen’s overlapped a little. I adjusted the images in the panels and wrote the words in the speech bubbles and titles. I also applied the stroke to one of the panels. I cleaned up the images and erased some unneeded edges.

After the class discussion, I took the many pieces of advice we acquired from our fellow students and Professor.

I increased the distance between the vertical panels and decreased the distance between the horizontal pieces to better indicate the sequence in which the readers should read the comics. I adjusted the size of the speech bubbles and made the bubbles in the first panel extend a little out of the first panel towards the second one so as to create a natural instinct for the reader to continue reading the second panel. I changed the font size so that the words are not squeezed together.

I cleaned out some waste layers and clearly separated the different objects. I made sure no two objects are on the same layer.

I added in the standing Daddy Shark who marked the height of his son and colored him.

I made the coral reefs blend in more with the ground in the first panel. I made the coral reefs in the last panel exceed the height of the panel to add to the contrast and make it easier for readers to understand the logic of the story.

I dramatized a little the growth of the size of the Baby Shark and make him swim a little outward from his Daddy as he grow up to symbolize the process of growing up and becoming independent.

I also changed the color of the speech bubbles and made them consistent with one another and not transparent.

The main take-away from this project, apart from all the fun we had, is that it is important to understand that the readers may not comprehend the comics in the same way as the authors do. We need to give more hints to point to the reader where we would like them to go next. But just as “Understanding Comics” the guy said, “But I can only point the way. I can’t take you anywhere you don’t want to go”. We need to take the readers’ many different sets of minds into consideration.


It is pretty interesting for me, a manga fan, to create a comic with others. The assignment reminded me of a series of comics called “Father and Son” created by a German cartoonist. In each of this series, he uses four slices to tell a funny story that happened between a father and a son, talking about something on education. Xiaoyue and Helen agreed with my idea and decided to make a story between a shark father and a shark son. I think this just shows our improvement based on a “remix” of ideas. This is why after watching the video “Everything is a remix”, I feel familiar with the idea the video brings to us.

Besides, I was responsible for looking for backgrounds and adding color to the shark and coral as well. I used to believe that backgrounds should be beautiful pictures. Not until Helen added the sharks and corals to the pictures did I realize that the backgrounds with too much content might cover the main characters of the picture. It is quite easy to add color when I selected the sharks and use the paint bucket. Though at first I tried to fill everywhere in the shark with grey color, I finally stopped doing that as I feel some blue in it didn’t look bad.



Basically I chose half of the background pictures, blurred them and added adjustment layers of level, hue and photo filter. Then I designed the layout and made every panel into the same size and applied stroke. Then the hardest part came. I put the drawings into panels, a lot of command+T, and added shape ( talk1 and starburst ). I set blending options of the headline and “WHY?!”. I found a pattern as a background and also pattern overlay of “FAST”. After critique I resized the baby shark in the third panel to highlight the contrast and erased something that shouldn’t be appearing.

Thanks to the joint effort, we’ve managed to carry out our conception smoothly. It’s really wonderful to see the real scene combined with 2D paintings without any awkwardness. Every one has done a significant part. I trust my group members more.

Something I learnt from class is that, most importantly, we should make ourselves clear and understood, in other words, not confuse readers. So the connections between each panel and the picture itself really matter. In last class many students commented that they couldn’t understand the story, which should definitely be avoided. Second, bubbles and fonts can directly affect the emotion and reaction of readers. Third, the size of the panel should be arranged accordingly. Last, colors usually have stronger impact.

Helen’s Response to The Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism and Embrace the Remix

Strictly saying, nothing is created on our own.

All sci-fi movies are just a combination of certain elements. I was very impressed by dozens of movies scenes the second video demonstrates. Some of them are so similar. But isn’t that a plagiarism? And why are they still Hollywood blockbuster?

All inventions are based on former discovery. Newton stood on the shoulders of giants (which I know is a sarcasm toward Hooke, but, anyway). Lifetime is too short to accomplish something until someone has got some groundwork or fundament. But thinking of intellectual property, is it true that the final scientist possess all? Or somehow he should thank to pioneers of that field?

All literatures are discussing one ultimate topic. Some may even have the same story. In the case of Lolita in the reading, does it really matter that [whether Dabokov adopt Lichberg’s tale consciously? Or whether the earlier tale exists for Nabokov as a hidden, unacknowledged memory? Or whether Nabokov, knowing Lichberg’s tale well perfectly, had set himself to that art of quotation that Thomas Mann, himself a master of it, called “higher cribbing”]?

I would say no. By copying, transformation and combination, we remixed a better new piece. Perhaps we changed our thesis or focus; perhaps we changed our way of depiction; perhaps we changed all but the structure. So much evidence has proved the claim that everything is a remix.

But I would like to talk more about our attitude and the degree, or how far is too far. One couldn’t just adopt something without understanding its original purpose and ideas regardless of that whether he is to further the main idea or to make it seen through a totally different lens. This answers the second set of questions I raised. A Nobel Prize for Chemistry winner can’t neglect others’ help and effort despite that they are not on the list. Anyone who has contributed to his idea and thought should be remembered. That’s the reason why the society and the technology advance.

The degree problem is rather complicated. First, we ought to admit that a similar movie scene is not a serious problem. There’re no more scenes in real life. And they may even be the source materials that every director major student will learn in class. Then, is Bob Dylan’s music allowed? I don’t think it’s a totally new song piece but it’s a totally new and successful remix. He merges his own thought and emotion in it, paying enough respect. People enjoy it. It’s good enough for a song and a folk singer. But it did affect the sales volume of his rivalry. I hold neutral views because someone is loyal to origin version while others prefer innovation. So, where to draw the line? (Jacko has mentioned the question in response to the Molotov Man.) As far as I’m concerned, if the piece exceeds the old one or find another value, it is fine to adopt something. By contrast, if someone, especially small company, just wants to make use of the fame of the original one and borrow some features and create a really annoying and meaningless copy, it is absolutely wrong. There’s a very silly TV series in China called Love Apartment, in which I can see every hilarious plot are copied from popular American TV sitcom.

Another interesting thing I noticed is the loss aversion. It seems natural for human that even Steve Jobs cannot escape from this. He first claims that “good artists copy great artists steal”, but after Android has taken up the market for a little bit, he is angry and he wants to destroy Android because “it’s a stolen product”. Human are selfish and seldom realize their wrong opinions. Therefore we should be willing to give as well as take.

Another even more interesting thing I found is that three materials have covered so many examples in common! Bob Dylan, Steve Jobs, intellectual property, all of which further prove their assumption- admit it that everything, even every passage aiming to persuade readers same idea, is a remix!

Helen’s Response to Understanding Comics

First of all I just find how dedicated McCloud is to his book. All the illustrations, as are part of the content, are drawn by himself. A subtle thing I noticed is that the word description is hand written-Every letter is different and not a type of font!

I have never read a textbook in the form of comics. It’s not boring at all and it truly helps me better understand the author’s points. I burst out laughing at the last picture on page 36 where he finely draws his portrait and says no one would listen to him compared to a simplified one. The latter figure is more abstract thus more kind and friendly. I don’t feel like I was being preached.

On top of that, I am totally amazed at his thorough involvement in the book. He sits on the edge of the word balloon; he leans against the panel; he appears in the every scene where he introduces new notion and adoption of comics, which suggests that he is creative and still got childlike innocence, and he works really hard! Besides, in some introductory chapters like the first, he creates different forms in order to avoid monotony. When he tries to give comics a definition, he is giving a presentation on the stage, holding a board, and interacting with audience, or readers. Through conversation he adjusts and supplements it again and again. I am as if an audience who were fully engaged in the address.

Apart from some structural things, I learn a lot from the book, especially the last chapter. There should exist so many ways to make a pause longer! By adding more same panels, by widening the space between panels, or by lengthening the panel itself, he is doing a magic trick to us. I’ve never paid attention to the technical things when I read comics. Now McCloud makes me to focus on not only the plot but also the skills. A change of a single panel could change the entire idea of presentation to readers.

Now I start to be curious about whether there’s a book like “understanding films”. It’s important to know about techniques in various art forms rather than merely content or purpose. McCloud just inspired me so much.

Helen, Sarabi and Shawn’s Digital Imaging Assignment and Reflection






I cut out the panther’s head and put two of them on men using eraser tool with 0% hardness(a lot!) and command+T, and enlarge and redden the other using adjustment layer. I also used blending mode and opacity in certain layers and applied burn tool to the area under the sofa. Finally I created new adjustment layer of level and added texts.

It’s hard to put three totally different elements of panthers(Sarabi’s idea), universe(mine) and Star Wars(Shawn’s) into one image but we did it. Although the theme and information of the image is still not that clear but it’s not as messy as the first edition! Let’s assume panthers dominating the world. I tried diagonal composition and hid a layer in a volunteer extra round but it reappeared anyway~

I really appreciate the group effort. Shawn added some interesting elements; Sarabi solved a huge technical problem. This is how communication and cooperation work. Some other things I’ve learnt in class is that first, there should be a focus (or center) in an image. Second, the image must follow the law of physics, for example, the rule of perspective. Last, although I do photoshop since I was in junior high, it was the first time I had learnt how to use pen tool! It was magic.


This project was my first experience with Photoshop. My limited experience made it difficult to make meaningful edits to the group photo, but I was still able to do a few things here and there like add an outer glow to the panther head and add drop shadows to the words. As our group passed the project around, we kept adding more and more things. It occurred to me several times throughout the process to take away pieces of the image (especially as the image got busier) but every time I tried to delete Darth Vader or one of the pictures, the image as a whole seemed empty. Now I understand the picture seemed empty because it wasn’t balanced when I hid those layers. All we had to do was more things around to take away the loneliness.

During the second phase of the editing process, I’d gone through two more classes of Photoshop and was able to do more with the image. I was slow to start the process because at that point, I was starting to detest Photoshop, because it has such a steep learning curve. Modern technology is so easy to use now that I’ve grown to dislike anything technology that is difficult to learn. I got over my distaste for the sake of the project and made the edits. I burned the credit panther so the light was only coming from one direction and I changed the blend type of Darth Vader Panther, as well as redrew his light saber. It was almost like magic, and I was quite proud of how quickly I’d learned to use the program. I don’t have any doubt that I’ll be able to use the program pretty proficiently in the future.


This assignment is really unforgetable because it is my first time using photoshop.

For the techenology part, I learned a lot. I realize that it is not that difficult to use all the tools. What really matters is how to choose the best way to achieve the goal. I practiced a lot of pen tools this time which is fun but time consuming. For the most difficult part I met is about light and shadow. Due to the black-ish space background, I feel it very hard to light the exact part and make it not feeling awkward. Later my partner did a good job of that and I learned more skills of layers.

For the team work part, I feel it is interesting that none of us delet or remove the things that the last person added. I think it because we appreciate each others work and do not want to waste anyone’s effort. Instead of redesign and deleting, we just put things on and edit it to be more good looking. This cuases the problem that we can not tell a whole story of our work finally. I realize that as a team work of photoshop, we need to discuss more about the story telling of our work. In another word, think it in a whole picture.

Anyhow, I believe our group did a good job and I appreciate thier work and coorperation a lot.

Helen’s Response to On The Rights Of Molotovman

I enjoyed reading it. It was really amusing to see the same photo image vary in completely different art forms and products ranging from paintings, murals, posters, T-shirts, even to Pepsi ads and matchbox covers! But when digging into the purpose and meaning of this passage, I found the passage serious and worth thinking about.

Indeed, through appropriation we see the magic of diversity of art. The Molotov man, who is fed up with oppressed life and yearns for freedom, has obviously become a symbol of rebellion against brutal rulers. The photo is widely spread in various interesting art forms. Generally, I’m happy to see that because my view is that, the more recognizable a piece of art is, the more valuable it is. The goal of photos (or other art forms) is to present and share the historical event and, more importantly, the ideas and thoughts. Although the context of it has been extended, it can be applied to more fields, which would possibly make it classic. In addition, a well-known figure would help promote the conception of an organization or the product of a company. People tend to accept things they are familiar with more quickly. And the modified artistic figures won’t bore them, at least me, at all!

But I understand Susan’s concern too. The copies ruin the context of the photo which was taken not for propaganda or entertainment but for documentary and inspiration purpose. She is worried about that people will gradually forget the past event and only remember the movement or spirit it implies, in her words, decontextualize. It reminds me of Benjamin’s text, in which he introduces the uniqueness of works of art-the presence in time and space.

Then, how to make a compromise? I think it depends on whether it’s a serious and formal issue or not. If it records significant event, we’d better show respect and not appropriate them. But if it comes to a funny image from manga, then it is absolutely fine to print it everywhere (but with permission definitely). Art embraces all.

Helen’s Response to The Machine Stops

Overdevelpment of technology makes it not only almost omnipotent but also horrifying. Vashti does literally everything in her tiny underground space, which initially impressed me a lot. I was too lazy to get out of bed and grab some food outside in summer holiday! And I have to praise the medical apparatus in the fiction. Numerous lives could be saved thanks to that amazing invention. What’s more, we can get rid of traffic jams, ridiculously expensive transportation fee, unhygienic public areas and etc. The world seems so wonderful and “advanced”.

But, unfortunately, what we have to pay for that highly-advanced technology is much more. Firstly, we would be extremely lacking in face-to-face communication. To quote the text, it was robbed us of the sense of space and of the sense of touch, it has blurred every human relation and narrowed down love to a carnal act, it has paralyzed our bodies and our wills. Secondly, we lose the diversity of the scenery and culture. I love traveling, but the concept of wasteland tour with “respirator” appalls me. It’s really hard for me to imagine Paris without Eiffel Tower. Furthermore, we no longer celebrate traditional festivals, speak dialects and emend laws since all the cultures and customs are gone. Finally, we are content with second-hand ideas and do not pursue creativity anymore. We aren’t aware of how monotonous life is. Instead, we just stick to our daily routines with no novel ideas surprising us. Worse still, we begin to worship a Machine with subservience.

We human dominate the world thanks to technology. But it’s crucial to have a bottom line in order to avoid being slave of it. Otherwise, technology will take advantage of our ignorance of its overreach and become a problem, if not calamity, in the future.