SENIOR ANIMATION PRODUCTION LAB I
Senior Animation Production Lab I supports technical aspects of production methodologies for animation filmmaking. The course supports the progressive development of 4th year animation projects, and covers design and prototyping of animation materials and methods, animation, production workflows, colour management, design for colour grading and output media formats, and sound design and production. Students learn to connect creative research with known and emerging technologies, and to scope and design an animation film project using industry production standards, in preparation for a variety of exhibition settings.
Prepare an informal presentation (up to 5 min) on your current project status and needs.
What is the current state of your project?
What ideas are swimming around in your head?
What are your successes and challenges so far?
Do you have any concerns (e.g. technical, workload, risks, organizational, resources)?
What kind of support do you think you'll need going forward?
How might you expect, anticipate or hope this particular project could impact your next career steps?
What significance do you anticipate this project could have for you five years from now?
Simon Sinek's Golden Circle
Simon Sinek, thought leader and author of Start with Why, discovered remarkable patterns about how the greatest leaders and organizations think, act and communicate. Emphasizing that “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe,” he also highlights that beyond the what and the how, "Very few people or organizations know why they do what they do." Simon's concept has been widely adopted across personal and professional practices throughout the decade.
Simon may be best known for popularizing the concept of WHY in his first TED Talk in 2009, one of the most watched in the world. He presents a simple but powerful model for how leaders inspire action, starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers -- and as a counterpoint Tivo, which (until a recent court victory that tripled its stock price) appeared to be struggling.
Make a Golden Circle for the Why/How/What of your project by drawing a diagram and/or making an outline. Then, prepare a well-formed presentation (5 min).
Any creative direction or production problem may have multiple solutions. Navigating how to decide which solution to choose circles back to the intention of the director -- in other words, their why -- the compass that best guides decision-making each step of the way. Working without it could lead not only to losing time in production, but also losing the audience who will be wondering why they should be taking their time to experience the work.
A variety of influential thinkers have endeavored to describe methodology through writings such as Michael Foucault's The Archaeology of Knowledge, others extending from Marshall McLuhan's well-known phrase "the medium is the message," and performative lectures by Dr. Chris Jones such as Picture Time. We will tentatively derive that method is what you do, and methodology is the why behind how you do it.
"The frontiers of a book are never clear-cut: beyond the title, the first lines, and the last full-stop, beyond its internal configuration and its autonomous form, it is caught up in a system of references to other books, other texts, other sentences: it is a node within a network."
Michael Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge
This is a sample "system of references" created by a particular artist to define their methodology. It consists of practical references, theoretical references, and sociocultural context.
Other creatives in the field from past to present whose work in similar mediums aligns with your work or deviates from your work in ways that inform your approach. This may include any audiovisual artists.
Thinkers and studies across fields that you align with or that deviate from your perspective in ways that inform it. This includes philosophy, social sciences, applied sciences, and other theory.
Aspects of society and the political climate in the past and present that are relevant to your work, and implications or speculations for the future. This includes local, regional and global contexts.
Make a Methodology Diagram for your overall creative practice by gathering references and visualizing how they relate to each other and your work. Then, prepare a well-formed presentation (5-10 min).
You are joining a long tradition of practitioners and thinkers, in a rapidly evolving world. Describe where you place yourself in the historical context of the field. Are you repeating what works, adapting it, building upon it, following relevant trends, joining others at the bleeding edge of well known limits, forging the future, joining a niche, carving a new niche altogether? Identify how your work interacts with today's society, and what it means for the future.
*Give your methodology a name, such as a new artistic movement.
Praxis (Theory + Practice)
The process of defining methodology involves Research (dissecting theory and practice separately), and then establishing a sense of their interrelation. When they come together to form a creative work that affects sociocultural context, they together become Praxis.
It's important to acknowledge 'the methodology of methodology' across sectors, as each sector may not only inform each other but also inevitably converge. The Praxis Project, an established non-profit, has methodologically defined their Model for Change, their Principles, and the Social Determinants that impact their work.
What do you think is the relationship between Research and Practice? Make a diagram to demonstrate.
Does one come before the other? Do they alternate or interact over time? Are they fully integrated into the creative process so that a new name for this relationship could emerge, say..."Reactice?" Is any of the above sometimes, always or never true? Is it universal or does it depend on the artist?
Creativity is like a journey. You bring a compass and sense of direction, choose from limited resources to assemble a travel kit, make plans, scan the maps of previous explorers, explore various pathways, get lost, find your way again, discover things to examine more closely, involve others, share ideas, seek out both the familiar and the new, accumulate references like pins on a map, and document the process.
Write a draft Artist Statement about your overall approach as a creative, or a draft Director's Statement about the project you are currently creating. How do you 'navigate' your work? (300-500 words)
Figurations are figurative or allegorical representations, and have been used to grapple with complex concepts from Plato's Allegory of the Cave about the nature of perception to artist/writer Randy Lee Cutler's Ruminations comparing Praxis to the digestion process.
Transcend the 'journey' analogy for the creative process, and develop your own. For example: rumination, a star system, an ecosystem, animal behavior, a piece of technology. Make a diagram to demonstrate.
Then, revisit and revise your Artist Statement or Director's Statement with this refined perspective in mind.
Color and Light
Core concepts of color and light will be demonstrated through Nuke compositing software, however the concepts are applicable to any color and filter management software, so it is only necessary to watch the demos unless you would like to use Nuke. To learn compositing in Nuke, go here.
Color Match by Channel
Applying compositing knowledge and techniques across software platforms and practices.
Similar to @colorpalette.cinema, sample and extract the color palette from a shot or sequence in a film or animation you have seen and present an analysis of how the palette is being used to serve the story.
Then, propose different ways color could serve your story using proven color theory.
Adapting proven color theory, draft color palettes and color scripts for your project.
Folder Structure + Naming Conventions
Schedules and Tasks
Gantt Charts are great tools for mapping out long term visions and milestones. However, customization is needed to stay accountable on a short term basis, and to arrange information in ways that adapt to the unique context and needs of any project.
Re-vamp, re-design, enhance or customize your project management system for your current project.
In visual culture, the public eye is accustomed to seeing the way images are affected by the way video cameras behave, even without necessarily understanding the technical details. 2D animation 'shots' aim to simulate this camera behavior. Without understanding this behavior, an animator may produce shots that fall short of their 'accuracy' or intention, and just look flat. For example, a 2D animator may attempt to compose what they intend to be a 'wide' landscape shot without including enough visual information in the frame. Therefore, it is important for 2D animators to understand how video cameras work in a cinematic context.
Understanding Image Compression
Putting it together
One of the many pleasures of Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” (2011) is that the shots feel both tightly composed and weirdly unpredictable. Even though most of the images follow a simple quadrant system, Refn puts plenty of subtle touches within the frame. Let’s take a look.
It's worthwhile to consider how you can curate every aspect of your production including sound. A common pitfall is to simply pass a film off to a sound designer or to see a sound designer as just a 'contractor.'
Explore case studies to imagine the dynamics, sensitivities, and nuances of sight and sound.
Whole worlds can be built with sound
A moving painting with sound - David Lynch describes his transition from painter to filmmaker. The director-artist then discusses sound design, the role of sound effects, and music with Bryn Mawr Film Institute's Carrie Rickey. (On the b-roll, David is working with composer Angelo Badalamenti, and sound mixer John Ross on Lost Highway.) In the last section, the American filmmaker recalls his cooperation with sound designer Alan Splet on The Grandmother in a chat with The Paris Review.
Making 'The Big Dream'
Making of The Dark Night Soundtrack
In this lengthy 9-minute featurette focusing on the sound and music work of The Dark Knight Rises, composer Hans Zimmer and supervising sound editor and designer Richard King discuss Bane's voice, The Bat, the "deshi basara" chant and more!
Making of the Inception Soundtrack
HECQ (BEN LUKAS BOYSEN)
Hecq forges music from noise
Whether under his artist moniker Hecq or as in-demand sound designer for film and tv, Ben Lukas Boysen has made a career out of transforming unusual sounds into compelling music. We visited Ben in his studio for a fascinating look at how he gathered and transformed the unconventional audio material for his latest endeavour, The Forge - a hugely versatile Pack that's part of the exclusive sound content in the upcoming Ableton Live 9 Suite.
Mazda - Heightened Senses
Music: Hecq Audio (Ben Lukas Boysen), Berlin
The car makes its way through mystic, sometimes dreamy surroundings and gradually seems to absorb the wild creatures' special abilities which accompany the driver on his way, finally embodying the perfect fusion of the qualities provided by these animals’ extreme senses.
Year Zero - OFFF Barcelona 2011 Main Titles
Music & Sound Design: Hecq
Written by Mischa Rozema and British graphic designer, Si Scott, the opening titles reflect their dark thoughts on a possible future. Directed by Mischa and shot on location in Prague, the film guides the viewer through a grim scenario embedded with the names of artists appearing at this year’s OFFF festival. Says Ania Markham, Executive Producer at PostPanic:
“The images created by the crew of people working on the titles has been unbelievable, with nationalities represented including Dutch, Czech, English, American, Polish, German, Swedish and Belgian. It’s been a great opportunity for all of us to work together on a non-commercial project we’re passionate about and we’re so proud of the combined effort and final result.”
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
The Sound of Suspense
In their 2007 neo-western film, No Country for Old Men, the Coen Brothers and their sound editor, Skip Lievsay, made the decision to let the vast majority of scenes play out without any accompanying music. This resulted in scenes which feel much more suspenseful and leave the viewer unaware of how the scene might play out.
Song of the End Credits
Behind the Soundtrack
For many, the music in the end credits grabbed attention. For some, it went unnoticed that this was the only "song" featured. The rest of the film featured carefully crafted sound design.
Working at the legendary Schneiders Laden synthesizer store in Berlin has immersed JakoJako in the world of modular synthesizers, which is clearly born out in the juicy sound she coaxes out of her machines, spanning all the way from the experimental and esoteric, right through to the highly melodic. This unique tonal quality gained the attention of Leisure System, who released her debut single last year, and more recently Bpitch Control, making her very much an essential producer to check out.
Having solicited external feedback to get a variety of perspectives regarding your Artist Statement or Director's Statement, take them into consideration to create a final draft that is representative of the work you are doing today.