Wednesday 26 September 2012

Pre Masters Activities...

Prior to starting my MA i had two tasks and here they are, hope these offer some insight...

Task one
You have chosen to study the combined topic of puppetry and digital animation, which includes both traditional puppetry / object theatre and digital character animation. To prepare for your course, please begin to investigate the area of the creative practice in which your subject sits. Try to identify work and practitioners which you feel best represent your personal interests in the specialism of puppetry/object theatre and/or digital animation. Record your findings and your thoughts in a personal journal. Describe what you think about the work and what it represents to you in terms of the theory and practice of your subject area.

My specialism is Digital Animation. I will be investigating how sound can be controlled by the animator in order to improve their animation. I am going to explore sounds relationship to Timing, Spacing, gesture, expression and performance.

Superfan Unknown by Simon Eltz on behalf of the band Goodron offers a good synthesis of the above mentioned, and a good example of a working relationship between them. The walk cycles generally all move at the same beat regarding the footsteps contact time with the ground – some have been offset on the bigger scenes containing more characters – presumably to keep the illusion of believability. Some also have slightly longer beats, I’m guessing for the same reason. I’m in the process of producing interview questions with the artist to then approach him so will hopefully obtain more conclusive answers soon. Each character then produce different walk cycles involving the above principles to generate personalities and express difference, which itself produces a non-linear narrative exploring difference, and pays tribute to what animators spend their careers perfecting. In this example, it would be safe to presume the sound was produced first in the production pipeline – an important aspect that will be an important reference once I have built up more contextual studies.

Task two
Your first assignment, after the commencement of your course, will be to prepare a presentation of your project proposal. This is a document in which you will explain the purpose of your work; who it is for, what it will achieve and how it will be done. Please begin to work on a draft of this proposal, and bring it with you to your first workshops session (a full schedule of events will be provided at a later date).

The chosen area of research has been initially informed by my previous research that produced results that shown sound to have a huge influence on the form, structure and synthesis on the animator and their resulting work. Further investigation this summer has led me to see that there is very little literature produced on the relationship between sound and animation film. Furthermore, even less on the relationship between sound and the animator. Rebecca Coyle et al, in the book drawn to sound, have highlighted this issue – at least between sound and animation film. In the book they have produced a series of small essays to discuss the issue from various different angles – Stop Motion, Japanese, Disney, Tim Burton, to name a few – in order to establish a basis for further research and analysis. Other publications tend to be based on technicality that theory such as the book Designing Sound for Animation by Robin Beauchamp.

My research will focus on the sound and animator relationship, making it firstly for animators and hopefully join the wider discussion of sound in animation. The central issue, or question, will be what type of sound (if any) is most suitable for character physiological structure (Timing, Spacing, Beats) in animation?

This will be achieved through a qualitative as apposed to quantitative methodologies. This will be predominantly by producing small artefacts to test techniques and receive feedback through discussions with current animators. So far I have identified the following questions as a means to obtain the background research for techniques and processes I will need to produce the artefacts.

   1)   Establish production pipelines; when does sound enter production (what pipelines/workflows are companies using)? And when does the animator come into contact with sound?
   2)   What are the central discussions in the sound – animation film relationship?
   3)   What techniques do animators in the relationship use? (Metronome?)
   4)   What type of ‘sound’ is best for character beat control?
- Breath? (Influenced by speech breathing cycles if talking)
- Heart Beat? (Record real life beat rates and apply them to virtual)
- Music?
       5) Establish the limitations of the techniques
- E.G. Can a scene animated at 60 beats per second work against sound of a different bps?

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