Items where Subject is "Animation"

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R

This paper examines notions of truth in relation to fictive modalities and discourses presented in animation and constructed imagery. It explores how notions of minimal departure and recentering of the audience are utilised within fictive depictions as narrative devices that allow the viewer to integrate truth statements into an understanding of their own world.

Drawing upon discussion of documentary animation, it considers how constructed images utilise a range of modalities in order to posi- tion discourses and make statements about reality that can affect the audience through emotional connections. Following this, the paper con- siders Lewis’ and Marie-Laure Ryan’s examination of possible worlds within literary texts. It examines how constructed images negotiate the telling of truths via truth clusters, and how the recentering of audiences in relation to the fictive worlds through those clusters allows for truth to emerge in the bridging between their world and the fictive world.

The paper proceeds to question whether texts combining low modalities or high fictionality are able to present truths through a collusion between the audience and authors’ worlds. It explores this notion through an analysis of the animated film Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared and Scavengers. The paper suggests that such texts utilize playful relocation and recentering towards fictive worlds in order to articulate truth claims about our real-world experiences, and can do so through the utilization of lower modalities and significant departures from such experiences.

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S

This practice-led thesis proposes that the stop-frame animation process can be used as a practical means to perform Husserl’s theoretical method of phenomenological investigation, including transcendental epoché, variation and description. It details two studies using this approach, firstly, into the practice of stop-frame animation and, secondly, into observations of stillness in my studio space.

Firstly, using the practical, ritual epoché proposed by Anthony J. Blasi (1985) and Mario Perniola (2011) I suggest that the ritual nature of creating stop-frame animation enacts a reflexive epoché on the process itself. This allows a series of practical variations, enacted during the set building stage, in which I question the presence of a puppet, the three-dimensional nature of the set, its level of detail and the amount of control it allows the animator. Following this, variations are performed on frame-capture, which examine the requirement of separate frames, change between frames, what can be manipulated between frames and how many frames are actually required. These two stages of variation allow me to arrive at the essence of the stop-frame process: a set space must have three dimensions; allow the animator a level of control over what happens within it and provide enough detail to register on camera, no puppet figure is required; frame-capture must consist of sixteen separately captured frames using a six-second exposure time with thirty-second gaps between the capture of each frame, it is not necessary to depict overt movement. This new, simplified approach is termed

distilled stop-frame, expressing the pared down nature of the process and the stilling of the usually kinetic medium.

Secondly, the resulting distilled; puppet-less stop-frame process is then employed to perform a phenomenological examination of my visual perceptions of stillness in the studio space. Following Steve Odin (2001) I contend that these observations enact a lived, aesthetic epoché in which I directly experience the world in its phenomenological essence from a bracketed, irreal viewpoint. Subsequently, during the set buidling stage, I perform visual, eidetic variations on my perceptions in which I investigate their detail, form and structure. Variations are then performed during frame-capture in which I examine the temporal nature of the observations. These two stages allow me to create sequences of animation that visually and temporally describe the essence of my experiences.

These two strands of research aim to widen the scope of Husserl’s phenomenological inquiry, relocating the theoretical methods of investigation and description into the practical realm of the stop-frame animation process. Further to this, by getting to the essence of the stop-frame animation process it expands the boundaries of the medium from a means to express narrative and movement into philosophical contemplation of any phenomena i

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T

From the inception of sync sound in the late 1920s to the modern day, sound in animation has assumed a variety of forms. This article proposes four principal modes that have developed in the commercial realm of American animation according to changing contingencies of convention, technology and funding. The various modes are termed syncretic, zip-crash, functional and poetic authentication. Each one is utilized to different aesthetic effect, with changing relationships to the image. The use of voice, music, sound effects and atmos are considered as well as the ways in which they are recorded, manipulated and mixed. Additionally, the ways in which conventions bleed from one period to the next are also illustrated. Collectively, these proposed categories aid in understanding the history and creative range of options available to animators beyond the visual realm.

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Narrative comprehension, memory, motion, depth perception, synesthesia, hallucination, and dreaming have long been objects of fascination for cognitive psychologists. They have also been among the most potent sources of creative inspiration for experimental filmmakers. Lessons in Perception melds film theory and cognitive science in a stimulating investigation of the work of iconic experimental artists such as Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer, Maya Deren, and Jordan Belson. In illustrating how avant-garde filmmakers draw from their own mental and perceptual capacities, author Paul Taberham offers a compelling account of how their works expand the spectator’s range of aesthetic sensitivities and open creative vistas uncharted by commercial cinema.

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Experimental Animation: From Analogue to Digital, focuses on both experimental animation’s deep roots in the twentieth century, and its current position in the twenty-first century media landscape. Each chapter incorporates a variety of theoretical lenses, including historical, materialist, phenomenological and scientific perspectives. Acknowledging that process is a fundamental operation underlining experimental practice, the book includes not only chapters by international academics, but also interviews with well-known experimental animation practitioners such as William Kentridge, Jodie Mack, Larry Cuba, Martha Colburn and Max Hattler. These interviews document both their creative process and thoughts about experimental animation’s ontology to give readers insight into contemporary practice.

Global in its scope, the book features and discusses lesser known practitioners and unique case studies, offering both undergraduate and graduate students a collection of valuable contributions to film and animation studies.

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As uncompromising as it may be, learning to appreciate experimental animation yields a world of provocative, visceral and enriching experiences. We may ask, what does one need to know when first venturing into this style of ani- mation? What are the first principles one should understand? This chapter outlines some of the underlying assumptions that can serve as a springboard when stepping into this wider aesthetic domain.

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W

Contemporary stop-motion filmmaking is the repository of the special effect, i.e. the physical effect enacted within the camera as opposed to the visual effect generated by computer software and dependent on post-production processing to appear in a final cohesive image. This chapter will consider how special effects operate as part of the Aardman production process, both in practical terms considering how sequences with effects elements are planned and executed, and also in conceptual terms; how do these effects serve to connect stop-motion processes to a Hollywood neo-Baroque? Or can they be seen to constitute performances in themselves, requiring animators to engage more deeply with the ephemeral nature of their subject matter? It will investigate how the performance of the effect relates to what animator Barry Purves has called the ‘instinctive performance’ deployed by stop-motion animators. And in relation to the claymation aesthetics of the Aardman film in particular, it will consider how these effects as a form of fata morgana are rendered materially imminent in the context of a tactile set and what Cordelia Brown has identified as the ‘viewer’s subjective tactile knowledge’, i.e. the haptic perception of the audience. How does the tactile nature of physical effects animation relate to notions of artifice inherent in the aesthetics of stop-motion imagery? And what can this tell us about the organicism of clay as it plays a key role in interpreting Aardman’s animation aesthetic?

The chapter examines how animated documentaries represent temporality in relation to their subject matter, with a particular focus on the concepts of 'recollection' and 're-enactment' and how they structure animated nonfictional forms. In particular, the term 're-enactment' is more complex than it might first appear and, on closer inspection, raises all sorts of questions about temporality, viewer positioning, performance and agency. The discussion will focus on two main examples - 'Andersartig' (and animated short) and 'Children of the Holocaust' (a television documentary that includes live-action 'talking head' interviews and animated sequences) - and examine these in relation to notions of the 'fantasmatic' and 'atavistic' dimensions of the animation.

The chapter examines the ways in which affect and emotion are channelled and challenged through animated documentary. Murray Smith (1995) usefully distinguishes between alignment and allegiance in his discussion of how viewers identify with what is on the screen when viewing fictional characters and scenes. But there are clearly different moral and ethical registers at play in how such feelings and alliances are mobilised in nonfiction. Once we start talking about how films make us feel, alongside how they try and persuade us to root for particular (real) people, or find their specific arguments convincing, we are also in the realm of rhetoric.

But a further problem arises if we are watching something whilst knowing that elements of it are not real, that is, that there are certain fabrications involved: the long-standing debates about how dramatisation and re-enactment can be mingled with documentary are evidence of such a problem. I have discussed elsewhere (in the anthology Drawn From Life, forthcoming, 2017) the specific problems of thinking about animated documentary as a form of re-enactment, but there is a more fundamental way in which animation foregrounds its constructed nature. Various philosophers of literature, drama and film have discussed the ‘paradox of fiction’ – that viewers will respond emotionally and authentically to something or someone they know does not exist – but animated documentary is a special case of a ‘paradox of nonfiction’: an expressive act, directly connected to real events and people, but peculiarly attenuated by its constructedness.

The idea of animated documentary as an expressive act is something I connect to a discussion of philosopher and linguist J. L. Austin’s concept of ‘illocutionary force’ in his ‘performative’ model of language. The illocutionary force of a speech act is concerned with effect and intention: it points to what something means and what you mean by saying it (in the way that you do). Animated documentary’s power, poetry and potential can therefore be understood by thinking about its illocutionary force – how it communicates and expresses certain things in certain ways. Central to the deeper understanding of animated documentary proposed by this chapter is an interrogation of how the emotional ‘charge’ of viewing something we know to be real-yet-fabricated is underpinned by a series of paradoxes that are built on belief, emotion and affect.

This article examines how animated films re-present and re-interpret real world occurrences, people and places, focusing on an area that has been overlooked to date: the process of performance and how this manifests itself in animated documentary films. Not simply a notion of ‘performance’ as we might understand it in an ‘acting’ sense (someone playing a role in a re-enactment), but that of the animator performing specific actions in order to interpret the factual material. The central questions addressed are: how does an understanding of ‘performance’ and the related term ‘performativity’ help us to frame animated/nonfictional acting? What ontological questions are raised by thinking about notions of acting in animation (and the performance instantiated in the very action of animating)? How do viewers relate to, interpret or ‘believe in’ animated films that are asserting real/factually-based stories? The article uses a recent film, the ten mark, as a case study to explore possible answers to these questions.

Storyboards are not simply boards that tell stories – they are “a material contract between the artist and the future film” and “‘boundary objects’ that bridge different knowledge and development states” (Blatter, 2007: 4; 5), thereby connecting the activities of a range of personnel in the overall production pipeline. They are therefore key pre-production assets that need to be understood across a variety of contexts – not all of which are directly (if at all) to do with “telling the story”. Stahl (2005) examines how a deeper understanding of storyboarding in animation production enables us to discuss individual labour activity in a collaborative production process – in other words, to allow us to ask the question: “Who is the artist who has the contract with the future film?”
In this chapter I use Blatter and Stahl’s work to examine the role of storyboard artists and examine some of the ways in which this historically ‘analogue’ process – often paper-based, on boards that are physically shuffled and re-ordered – has been changed and remediated by the shift to digital techniques. The main focus is Aardman Animations and through discussions with key personnel such as Luis Cook, Ashley Boddy and Michael Salter I will discuss how the boarding process works and how individual and collective labour are realized in the finished projects in what is now a post-digital era for animation production.

In this article I shall explore the position of animated films in the first decades of the cinema's existence. This will involve outlining not only how definitions of "animation" changed throughout this period, but also how these changing definitions were signs of major shifts in production, distribution and exhibition. One of the key points of this piece will be to trace how different kinds of film the focus being on animated films came more and more to be recognised as precisely that: different. Issues of product differentiation have been discussed before in relation to the emerging Hollywood studio system (e.g. Staiger in Bordwell, Staiger and Thompson, 1985). Such product differentiation works together with industrial standardisation and streamlining, and is a defining characteristic of modern capitalist business practice, which operates around the apparent contradiction between repetition and novelty. A similar process can be seen to be at work in relation to the increasingly sophisticated exhibition practices adopted by the people showing films: the refining of the early period's (i.e. up to c. 1906) "variety" system of presenting films, into the "film bill", where the range of films on show was emphasised. Crucially though, there was not only an emphasis on range and variety, which had been there from the very start anyway, but also on some types of film being more important a greater attraction than others, which were subordinated. Thus I shall be tracing the historical moment at which longer, fictional films became the chief attraction on the film bill, but the main focus will be on how this shift impacted upon animated films. Indeed, the impact was such that production moved away from certain types of animation technique, such as the "retracing" method used by Winsor McCay, and the cel process became the standard. The main reason for this was that it was a system that best suited the new conditions of exhibition, providing a regular flow of short, animated cartoons, often as part of a split-reel package with other "supporting material" such as newsreels or educational shorts. The argument is not that these films were unimportant: on the contrary, they were vital to the system in that they added emphasis to the primary product, the narrative feature film. As we shall see though, the ultimate positioning of specific types of film was the result of complex historical forces. In many ways, this essay attempts to delineate similar terrain to that covered by Eric Smoodin (Smoodin, 1993). Or rather, it wishes to outline some of the issues and developments in this area in the period just prior to where Smoodin's excellent study begins.

In using case studies such as Touching the Void (2003) and the films of Nick Broomfield, this introduction to the growing field of documentary explores the definition and understanding of the form, as well as the relationship between documentary and drama, specifically the notion of reconstruction and reenactment. Paul Ward also discusses animated documentaries, the fertile genre of comedy, and feature-length contemporary works that have achieved widespread cinematic release.

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The article examines a particular instance of animation practice through a reading of how Bob Sabiston’s Rotoshop software was used in the 2006 film A Scanner Darkly. By discussing the notions of ‘communities of practice’ and ‘legitimate peripheral participation’, and contextualizing the film in relation to different modes of working, the author excavates the ways in which a range of people came to work on the project. Moreover, he outlines some of the production history of the film to argue that certain assumptions and expectations about accepted working practice point to wider perceptions of ‘independent’ and ‘studio’ animation. Questions of division of labour and standardization, and how they relate to creativity, autonomy and animation production will be addressed; Rotoshop’s position in the history of animation forms an interesting case study for interrogating these issues.

This collection is a study of the value of craft as it can be understood within the study and practice of animation. The book reconsiders the position of craft, which is often understood as inferior to ‘art’, with a particular focus on questions of labour in animation production and gendered practices. The notion of craft has been widely investigated in a number of areas including art, design and textiles, but despite the fact that a wide range of animators use craft-based techniques, the value of craft has not been interrogated in this context until now. Seeking to address such a gap in the literature, this collection considers the concept of craft through a range of varying case studies. Chapters include studies on experimental animation, computer animation, trauma and memory, children’s animation and silhouette animation among others. The Crafty Animator also goes some way to exploring the relationship craft has with the digital in the context of animation production. Through these varied discussions, this book problematizes simplistic notions about the value of certain methods and techniques, working to create a dialogue between craft and animation.

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