Animation Week 10: Mood Board Animatic 2 (Szetela)

This week I roughly finished the first part —— heart and city. It is composed of two elements: the heart and the cardiogram. For the heart, I drew the picture in Photoshop and made it zoom in and out with After Effects. In terms of the cardiogram, I used the effect of vegas so that the line could “flash”.

heart&city

I also started to work on the walking cycle in the part of eyes. I drew six frames of the character and put them into Animate, but the walking was not natural enough right now. I need to add some in-betweens later to make it walk more smoothly.

document of walk

Here is the link to my moodboard: https://francief.tumblr.com/

Animation Week 9: Mood Board Animatic (Szetela)

All right, so I have completely changed my idea of final project, and now it has somehow become more abstract. In my animated film, I would like to combine various organs with city life (because I was so obsessed with the idea of eyes appearing in the street). I have decided seven scenes, and each of them implies negative features of modern life.

Originally I planned to make the animated film look dark and freak, but my drawing style is kind of “cute”, which might be hard to establish the atmosphere.

I have also updated my proposal in my moodboard. However, there are only six scenes so far, and I am going to add one more in a few days.

Here is the link to my moodboard: https://francief.tumblr.com/

CL-Week 8: Response to “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (Vasudevan)

In this article, Benjamin mentions various types of mechanical reproduction: painting, photography, film and stage performance. And throughout the discussion, he tries to show that the mechanical reproduction of art is controversial. On the one hand, mechanical reproduction can free arts from rituals. As he says: “for the first time in world history, mechanical reproduction emancipates the work of art from its parasitical dependence on ritual” (6). The work of art obtains more freedom and development, and it gradually becomes accessible and popular to the masses. General people can be writers or creators, and they can express their emotions and ideas with art. However, on the other hand, the mechanical reproduction overshadows the authenticity. When the work of art can be reproduced over and over again, the original existence lacks its value. It would be easy to understand this change if we think about the masterpiece in famous museums. They are priceless, unique, and unable to be reproduced.

Sometimes I consider whether the work of art will lose its essence after mechanical reproduction. According to Benjamin, “the stage actor identifies himself with the character of his role. The film actor very often is denied this opportunity. His creation is by no means all of a piece; it is composed of many separate performances” (9-10). That is, stage performance has less technical reproduction, and thus it is closer to natural state. Meanwhile films are viewed as more artificial due to so many post-operations. As far as I am concerned, though different works of art may have different features, they still belong to the general category of art, and will never lose their essence. Art is a tolerant area, where artists can always find a place regardless of themes, genres, or values. Films do have more artificial operations, but this should not reduce their authenticity.

CL-Week 7: Response to “The Danger of a Single Story” (Vasudevan)

“The Danger of a Single Story” is really impressive and profound, as it unfolds a common social issue encountered by a lot of people. Adichie describes her experiences in both Africa and America, where she compares the single narrative with the reality. As she says in the talk: “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.” The single story here in fact implies a kind of stereotype that results from incomplete recognition. With such type of stereotype, people tend to misunderstand others, and even do harm to their dignity.

When I listen to Adichie’s talk, I start to reflect on whether I also have committed similar mistakes. Unfortunately, I sometimes believe the single stories as well. I know almost nothing about African life, and the only impression is similar to the roommate’s mentioned in the talk. So many images and reports from media have brought pre-set concepts to us, and we even forget to explore the rest part of the truth. Then the recognition becomes simple, sole, and unequal.

How can we avoid the single story? From my perspective, it is necessary to keep curious and thoughtful before we confirm that we “understand” it. The single story phenomenon in the society will never disappear, and people will continue being exposed to one thing over and over again. However, we can decide our attitude towards the stories. We can choose whether or not to believe the single story. We can be more wise and mature to deal with the stereotypes, and to create an equal environment for people from different backgrounds to respect each other. One more time I would like to quote what Adichie says in the talk: “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

CL-Week 7: Audio Project Documentation (Vasudevan)

Partner: Haven

http://192.168.50.184/~hq313/audio_project/

The core idea in our audio project is to create a piece of dialogue that can fit into different background sound. Through this project, we want to prove that how important the background sound can be in order to make a story engaging.

In the beginning, we struggled a lot to write the script of the dialogue because it must be vague enough.

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After we determined the script, we designed six scenes to present different stories. Here is the brief draft of the scenarios.

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Originally we wanted to only record the dialogue once so that we could maximize the effect of changing background. However, later we decided to record the dialogues for every scene because it might be impossible to change the emotions in the speaking with software. We invited Prof. Mirrione who taught acting class in our school and some of his students to help us. We really enjoyed the process of recording, as we were amazed at how talented our cast was.

Next, we started to work on selecting suitable background sound. Our sources mainly came from freesound.org, youtube.com and NeteaseMusic. We chose Adobe Audition to edit the sound because we were more familiar with Adobe system. Our operations were very simple, like cutting, combining, adjusting volume, etc. Here I would like to introduce the adjustment of pitch. Due to lack of an old lady’s voice, Haven played her role with his normal voice, and I was in charge of transforming it into female effect. I cut his part out of the dialogue, and changed their pitch. Though it was still a little unnatural, the audience that I invited did not recognize this trick.

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Also, Haven figured out how to add echo to voice, and he might introduce this part in his documentation.

When all the stories were ready, we created a webpage to interact with users. Basically it was designed according to the sample in class. Here is what our webpage look like.

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In the middle there are six buttons, each containing a piece of sound track. When users click on one of them, the sound file will play, and the button will have a tiny change. All the sound files are loop, so users need to click again to stop it.

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It is my first time to deal with audio processing. I tried my best to make the combination of sound more natural and engaging, and I have learned a lot about editing sound during the project. I know that there are still some flaws in our stories, and thus I hope to explore more and do better in the coming projects. Moreover, the collaboration is very successful, and thanks to the recording activity, we get a chance to know much beautiful voices.

Animation Week 7: Assignment of Pixilation (Szetela)

After watching the samples in class, I felt that it might not be easy to use green screen well. Also, due to the stereotype that human could move, pixilation of real people seemed not surprising enough. So in the end we decided to use inanimate characters to maximize the effect of pixilation. Our assignment was about toys, and the plot was around sleep. First, Stitch fell to the bed and set up an alarm clock for tomorrow morning. Then a hedgehog and a hamster moved to the bed. Afterwards a quilt unfolded by itself, and finally it got dark.

Our most satisfied part was the alarm clock. We changed the perspective of the lens to focus on the phone, and tried to shoot the in-between of unlocking. It turned out that this was a good scene.

The dark scenes in the end were completed in the way of adjusting the light exposure of the camera. It inspired us to explore different methods of reaching the effect that we wanted.

However, we met a lot of obstacles as well. The toys were so soft that it was hard to keep them still. What’s more, the jump of the hamster was not natural. We used a string to hang the hamster in the air in order to mimic the movements, but the process was too fast to be coherent. We would like to know how to shoot the suspension in the midair.

CL-Week 6: Response to “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” (Vasudevan)

Before reading “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, I had little knowledge of Jamaica. Now this article has given me a general impression of this Caribbean country, especially about its music. Reggae music, and later Hip Hop music that was derived from it, can both find their origins in Jamaican ghettos. Living in China where music is often influenced by politics, I am not at all surprised at the relationship between music and politics in Jamaica. Due to the conflicts between different parties along with the economic decline thereafter, Jamaican citizens chose reggae to express their feelings and wishes. In the mean time, politicians noticed the power of local music, and they wanted to use music to maintain social harmony. I am not against connecting music to politics, but I also do not encourage this phenomenon. During the election of American president last year, I admired that American singers and actors could freely present their standpoints. For them, music seemed a neutral art that could not be controlled by politics. Under the specific background, Jamaican music has developed into what we can observe nowadays. However, different from Chinese music affected by politics, the Jamaican music has much more passion and flexibility, which is very interesting to make further research. In terms of the story of Clive (later called Kool Herc), I really enjoyed reading about his growth in playing music. It is like witnessing the flourish of a new culture.

Animation Week 6: Assignment of Visualization (Szetela)

It was difficult to design an animated film for my recorded sounds because I was clear what items created them. So I tried to jump out of the constraints and come up with unrelated subjects. In the beginning I wanted to draw abstract geometric shapes to visualize the sounds, but after drawing several frames I gave up this idea. It turned out that drawing a lot of shapes in each frame was too annoying, and the visualization effect was not satisfying.

Later I was inspired that one of the sound tracks, the water flow from a tap, could be connected to a crying emoji. Then I decided to make the animation around an emoji. The sound of the microwave could be used to fill in the transforming process. In terms of the keyboard sound, I drew many circles and let them flash. However, I had no idea of the toilet sound, so I used it to clean the screen.

In general, the match between the sound and the visual parts is a significant point. I am still struggling with which one should be made first. I may need more practice in visualization. Also, Adobe Animate is interesting software, and I have learned how to properly use f6 and f7.

CL-Week 6: Response to “Theft & Artistry: Coldplay + Beyonce” (Vasudevan)

Appropriation has become an increasingly controversial topic in the music industry. In usual situations, it is associated with different types of remix in lyrics, melody and tunes. As for the similarities in works of music, it is quite difficult to define plagiarism because the standard is ambiguous. However, in this article, another kind of appropriation is introduced, and it is related to different social issues.

The appropriation mentioned here is around the cultural elements appearing in songs and their music videos. Most of the examples in the article use backdrops that belong to other cultures. Some regards such combinations as “a type of cultural colonialism”, which sounds an offensive appropriation. Those musicians are then opposed for taking advantage of dominated or color groups to make money.

Here the question from “On the Rights of Molotov Man” appears again: who owns the right to take control? Though I agree that appropriation sometimes does cause plagiarism problems, it seems oversensitive to find fault with borrowing other cultural elements. A certain group of people can create culture, but they have no rights to prevent others from borrowing, as culture in my opinion is more like an atmosphere or a common conception. I do not think culture is the same intellectual product as works that always require credits. As long as the borrowers respect egalitarian principles, and they do not discriminate minorities, appropriating cultural elements should be accepted.

If we consider the film industry, the so-called cultural appropriation in music videos may become ridiculous. Contemporary films include much more elements from different cultures than music videos. Directors with various nationalities choose different sites in different countries to accomplish their creation. I feel that it would be more relaxing if people could hold a relatively tolerant attitude towards cultural communication.