Well with all deadlines behind us, here is my finished experimental piece,
I'm really happy with this little animation.
My original idea was something much darker and surreal, revolving around the theme of parasitism, and using raw meat for some of the stop-motion parts.
One of the major problems that I found with this idea was that it seemed far too complex and difficult. I managed to do a few tests, but ultimately I just wasn’t happy with the idea, and so I ended up changing my idea at the last minute.
My new idea was admittedly less experimental, but I still tried to make it mostly new techniques.
The last time I did some paper animating was the ‘Paper Love’ short. I quite liked the simple style of it and I wanted to do something visually similar, but different in style. Initially it was going to be just black and white, but I felt it was too bland, so I added a mid-tone background.
Only about a third of the way through shooting I realized that I had chosen almost the exact same colour as the Paper Love background. I guess I just like those colours.
The main inspiration for the piece was the idea of swarming animals such as birds and fish, and how the individual units move together, split off and rejoin again. I wanted to take the idea one step further to make the amorphous swarms form solid objects periodically, which animate then split off again.
From the beginning of the animation, I had decided to do it all straightforward, with as little planning for the actual animation as possible, as it would make for a more fluid movement of the swarm. I did make dope sheet for the animation, and made some basic plans for what happened. However, once I started moving the bits of paper around, the plans started to crumble, and the intricate dope sheet only became useful for telling me where the beats in the music where, which was all I ended up needing.
The bomb was inspired by the beginning of the short movie, PIXELS, by Patrick Jean, which begins with an 8-bit bomb inside a TV which explodes, sending out a cloud of floating 3D pixels. I guess the more I think about it, the more I see the inspiration. The bomb itself went well; the fuse burned away exactly how I wanted it too. As for the new fuse growing, I simply shot it in reverse, cutting small bits off at a time and then reversing the frames to give the illusion of a growing fuse.
The border of the animation serves two purposes. The first and foremost is to widen the frame to make it fit into a 16:9 window, as the camera only shot on 4:3.
The second was for aesthetics. I chose intricate, baroque patterns, which were contemporary to Vivaldi, himself, so it all fits together. The blend burn effect of the border resembles an old silent film vignette, which helps fit with the old feeling.
The Shrapnel logo was designed to convey the visual style of the animation, and so is made of lots of shattered pieces. However, simply having sharp, angular shards overlooks the gentle overall tempo of the animation and the music, so I added a more stylized, baroque ‘L’
I’m very happy with how the finished animation came out, especially after adding the extra border, which made the footage have a sense of place, as if it’s being projected in an old theatre. I was tempted to add a film-grain effect to give it a more aged appearance, but I decided against it as most of them look a bit cheesy and are generally overused.
I feel it was quite ambitious to shoot it at 25 frames per second, especially as I was already halfway through the allotted time. I managed to condense the actual animation into 4 days of solid work, clocking up about 20 hours work.
Despite the tedious nature of this cut-out stop motion, I do enjoy the outcome. I’m probably most happy with the tentacles, I managed to give them the whipping, twisting look that I was trying to achieve.
Next time I try some experimental animation, I feel that I will definitely have to branch away from paper animation, because it won’t really by experimental by this point.
Here are the two, rather messy dope sheets for the second half.
As you can see, few of the original scribbles and ideas ended up in the final piece, but the red waveform was vital in timing the little pieces of paper.
Finally, one more of the many icons I've been dabbling in:
This is my one for Flash.
It's been a good term overall, and I'm really happy with what I managed to get done.
I'll probably still update this blog over the holidays.
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