Items where Subject is "Animation"

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Number of items at this level: 23.

B

In the early 20th century, the techniques of collage and film montage were linked with the cultural production of political radicalism. The assemblage of new wholes from existing parts established a critical method for negotiating the social world. Driven by technological and cultural developments, the practice of combining separate images is now applied within a broad range of art and media forms. Through its assimilation and concealment within the popular and commercial, collage has been detached from its political origins.

This practice led project lies at the intersection of documentary, archive film, animation and history. It’s philosophical framework is critical realism, a position that sees reality as a plurality of interdependent structures and mechanisms operating in stratified systems. The research deploys collage as a practical form of critical realism to explore the history of ‘Welsh Wales’ (Balsom,1985), along with the region’s political, cultural and social identity. The investigation is conducted
through engagement with film collection of the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales.

Theories of Welsh history and identity are used in the analysis, interpretation and composition of the archive materials as evidence of a complex and layered culture.
In the creative mediation of factual material, realist collage addresses the non-physical levels of reality that are not directly visible in the archive film. This is done through using temporal and spatial juxtaposition as a method of realist inference to represent the causally generative domain that determines actual events. An imaginative sense of a non-empirical, complex whole is inferred through the temporal and spatial composition of image parts.

The originality of the research is in development of collage as a visual and practical research method that offers a novel form of critical realist inquiry. The thesis will reflect on the political implications of the practice, advance critical theory of collage, and provide new insights into the function of collage processes in non-fiction film.

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G

Herein you will find a fascinating variety of material. The ways we perceive the landscape, and what it means to us, reflect the diversity of our humanity… From the slums of Beijing to the rich urban spaces of Barcelona, from the Malvern Hills to the Green Belt – landscape in poetry, planning and art – you will be captivated.
Merrick Denton Thompson, OBE. Former President of the Landscape Institute

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M

This research looks at the evolving space of animated documentary production in the UK, with a focus on its community of practice and the related communities of
practice that overlap with and within it. In recent years there has been an increase in scholarly attention paid to the history of animated documentary, as well as to the legitimacy of its documentary status. Less research has addressed its diverse production processes or the distribution of power within its production culture. The originality of this research lies in my focus on these areas, and in the synthesis of social research methods with reflection on my own critical practice as an independent animated documentary filmmaker.

I approach animated documentary as a ‘conjunctional’ practice (Ward, 2003, p.7), taking place at the boundaries of other communities of practice and governed by both the formal systems of the commercial media industries and the informal systems of social interaction and identity. As objects of cultural capital, films carry, through their production
histories, the traces of the exchange of other forms of capital – symbolic and economic. By analysing case studies of animated documentaries, I shed light on some of the ways in which power is distributed in the environments from which
they emerge.

My methodology synthesizes multiple qualitative methods to observe and analyse production culture, including: semi-structured interviews; textual analysis of documents; field observation of production and exhibition spaces; theoretical and historical research; and reflection on my own practice, as well as analysis of trends in animated documentaries recently programmed in key film festivals. It includes biographical and production- focused case studies. I interpret my findings using perspectives drawn from concepts of ‘forms of capital’ (Bourdieu, 1986), ‘legitimate peripheral participation’ (Lave and Wenger, 1991), and ‘boundary objects’ (Star and Griesemer, 1989). Through these research methods I engage with both academic and production
communities, aiming to create new avenues for knowledge sharing between these.

I propose that animated documentary is multivalent and elastic, allowing filmmakers to work across
industrial boundaries, to access new skills, audiences and relationships, and to develop rich,
interdisciplinary identities. However, the boundary-crossing nature of animated documentary means
that it lacks a set of standardised methods and an industrial lexicon. Because of this, animated
documentary production can be hampered by communication and production issues. This can lead to
inefficiency and wasted creative opportunities, and it is in part responsible for the difficulties that filmmakers encounter when trying to find support for larger scale, longer form animated documentary work.

As part of this thesis, I begin to reify processes through the identification of two broad modes of animated documentary production: a ‘linear’ process in which animation is commissioned as an illustration to an existing soundtrack, and a ‘dialogic’ process in which sound, story and image are developed in parallel, each element in dialogue with the others. I contrast these modes,
looking at the risks and advantages of each.

I conclude by proposing ways in which animated documentary production can grow in scale and ambition, through establishing systems of knowledge sharing, and developing an industrial lexicon. I suggest that this endeavour is best taken up by academics working in dialogue with industry, with a flow of knowledge passing between these worlds and approaches to production being reified into
named systems and techniques. As part of the conclusion, I suggest simple guidelines to support practitioners approaching an animated documentary production, and some words and phrases that could form the beginning of a lexicon of animated documentary production.

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A story team’s journey on an animated feature such as Corpse Bride (2005) is similar to that of the audience. It is emotional, full of story and character, has astounding visuals – and it is unlikely you will have experienced anything like it before.

When agreeing to work on Corpse Bride, you are agreeing to wholeheartedly embody Tim Burton’s imagination. By signing the contracts, you accede to keep production secrets and leave your life at the door for the duration of your stay. In exchange, you enter the Burton world – you become a ‘Burton Body’, a crew member. You become dedicated to Burton’s incomplete vision, you enter the ‘dark, edgy, and quirky realm of the “Burtonesque”’ (Salisbury 2006: xviii), and with this agreement there comes glory ‘but also its own, unique set of difficulties, not least in the expectations that both studios and audiences now have of him and his output’(Salisbury 2006: xviii).

Sixteen years later I can reflect on my experience and the processes and write with hindsight. I hope to give a fair account of what it is like to be a ‘Burton Body’ and to explain what story development means on an animation feature. This essay provides an overview of how story teams and their ideas inform the final script, observing that the screenplay is not the beacon of light in stormy seas, but more like a large ship loosely anchored nearby.

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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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The Queen of Spades Project is an experimental collaborative project by Joel Lardner and Paul Roberts, Illustration at Arts University Bournemouth. The project explores Alexander Pushkin’s supernatural tale of obsession and risk, The Queen of Spades (1834), and expands on the visual language of Joel Lardner’s 2011 illustrated picture book of the same name. The picture book has always appealed to Illustrators in that it encourages the expansion of a particular visual language and provides a platform with which to build, explore, and examine imaginary worlds.

The research imperative throughout the project has been to harness emerging games technology in order to transform how storytelling and picture books can be understood and reinterpreted. VR technology provides the potential for readers to inhabit a story and offers multi-dimensional insights from within a text. The ability to alternate between characters or intervene at points within the plot opens up new insights as to how stories will be enacted and experienced. Illustrators are uniquely placed to adopt and occupy this new fascinating and portentous field of study -
whether as games makers, or interactive storytellers. An animated experimental film completed in 2016 forms part of an ongoing project exploring the potential for storytelling and illustration within the digital environment.

This film was awarded certificate of Merit in the category of Animation in the 2016 Three x Three International Illustration Awards, USA. It was also selected for screening during the Motion Commotion event on July 11 2018 at ICON 10 International Illustration Conference in Detroit, USA.

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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 henomenological 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 building 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 in the world.

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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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World-leading filmmakers and scholars come together in Introduction to Screen Narrative: Perspectives on Story Production and Comprehension to offer the reader cutting-edge insights into how screen narratives work. This collection explores a variety of mediums (e.g. feature film, television, animation, video games) and how they have evolved. It also explores how major artists have innovatively subverted narrative conventions (David Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard, Bela Tarr), and how academics from a variety of traditions (film scholars, philosophers and cognitive psychologists) have shed insight on screen storytelling from different disciplines.

Books on screen storytelling have traditionally fallen into two separate camps. This first is screenwriting manuals, which are designed to help the reader with story construction, building characters and writing dialogue, along with formatting scripts and finding agents. The second camp is books on film narratology, which aim to make the reader aware of the broad norms of moviemaking and how particular films relate to those norms, currently and historically. This collection is the first of its kind in drawing a bridge between the two domains.

Offering state-of-the-art surveys of narrative from internationally-renown researchers, theoreticians, and media practitioners, this collection is a key text in understanding contemporary research from a range of disciplines in a single, accessible resource designed to engage both novices and experts in the field of screen storytelling.

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This book chapter introduces the reader to the field of experimental animation by surveying various definitions that have been proposed, offering an overview of some of the key figures, explaining the history of visual music, and exploring the theme of medium expansion. It ends by offering three original case studies of contemporary experimental animations.

W

In the late 1980s and early 1990s the presence of a large American animation studio in Ireland, under the stewardship of ex-Disney animation director Don Bluth, played a pivotal role in the development of the indigenous Irish animation industry, and constituted a colonial moment in Irish animation history. This paper aims to discuss the nascent Irish animation industry prior to the arrival of the Don Bluth studio, and to consider aspects of indigenous production onto which a global North American industrial model was imposed. Aspects of postcolonial theory are used as a method of describing the historical circumstances that have determined the emergence of an indigenous Irish animation industry in the late 20th century, and also deployed to illustrate how the social and historical aspects of animation production in Ireland reflect the postcolonial conditions of Irish society itself. In considering the pre- Bluth period of animation production in Ireland this paper offers insights into models of production, aesthetic expression and processes of cultural transmission, and provides commentaries on work of Irish animators overlooked by Irish film studies.

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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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