Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Stage Two Prototypes

Having tried out the basic attempts at a running figure with stage one prototypes I realised that I needed to somehow understand how to make a better and more mechanically sophisticated puppet. The most important thing was to give the sense of a shadow puppet that looked like it was running.
Also the metal supports needed better fixings.

I needed to work out how to make the figure look like it was running. I knew the footage did not look convincing but I did not understand why. I looked at the Kate Bush - Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe – Animation to analyse why the movement of the animals and thehuman figures were effective and believable. The human figures generally moved slowly or only had arms that moved.
When I looked at other shadow puppet movies none of them had moving legs that ran. Generally the feet were loose.
In the Kate Bush music video the animals moved and ran convincingly because they had four legs that worked very simply together. The human running figure is much more complex as the arms and legs work in a more complex way.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Street of Crocodiles (1986) - Part 1

Larger scale version than the post below

Jo Jo In The Stars - Trailer

Larger scale version than the post below

Colour or black and white decisions

Colour or black and white decisions.

The issue for the sequence is how to fit the colour.
I have got to make the decision between colour and black and white, the shadow puppet sequence is in black and white and should I make the caption cards echo this and work in a traditional 1890s silent film caption card. Or should I create something more colourful in the way of Toulouse Lautrec’s graphical style?
It’s a case of seeing if it works or not. Black and white caption cards working with black and white shadow puppet footage could be rather dull or it could be very authentic, but I am not trying to make a facsimile of something old. I could adopt some contemporary black and white methods such as the textural black and white elements used in “Jojo in the stars” by STUDIO AKA November 22nd 2003.

Or as used by the Brothers Quay “ Street of Crocodiles” 1986 where they used dark tones extensively throughout scenes of the animation often this was used to simplify the model making process but also within the actual models themselves black was used. The dark elements within the camera shots create mood and atmosphere for the audience allowing them to imagine what is in the dark partially unseen areas.

Making the lettering.
To make it in Indian ink and then change the black to colours in Photoshop for use in Adobe After Effects.

I have made a series of photograms that animate together, I realise now that I can use these in the caption cards. Caption cards from the 1890’s and beyond used decorative graphical elements in the corners. The photogram animations can be used in small scale at the corners of each photogram. Four in total a different one in each corner. I can also use the live action typographic figure in one of the corners.
The Bonnard style lettering will be made with brush and ink for a fluid instinctive visual approach. I can make these look like they are drawing themselves in an animated way using the Stroke effect and Adobe After Effects.

Animated Caption Cards

Introduction to the sequence :- Caption cards in the style of Toulouse Lautrec from Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam “ Printmaking in Paris “
The rage for prints at the fin de siele.
Author - Fluer Roos Rosa de Carvalho and Marije Vellekoop.
2012 Van Gogh Museum Publications. ISBN 978 90 79310 296.

I have seen the original prints in the museum, and was very impressed with the work from the period. It is very “loose”, very free and instinctive looking.
Very few colours have been used, limited to three or four with a very sophisticated modern result. This would be in contrast to work at the time. This may be due to the fact Toulouse Lautrec was twenty one at the time and ambitious at producing A0 posters needing three lithography stones to make one large poster. This poster was produced in a print run of three thousand.

Page 149 Prints Aplenty – Highlights
Plate 144
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
Moulin Rouge: La Goulue
Poster for the cabaret Le Moulin Rouge, 1891
Colour lithograph, 173 x 123.5 cm

At the start I thought that Toulouse Lautrec lettering was going to be the solution but after researching posters of this period of French graphic design I found that Toulouse Lautrec posters had lettering that was not as expressive as I expected.

Researching posters in the book  from the Van Gogh Museum I discovered that the work of Pierre Bonnard were more expressive and sophisticated than Toulouse Lautrec. Two particular pieces of Bonnards were more influential for me

Page 164
Plate 161
Pierre Bonnard
Artist’s Book Petit solfege illustre
By Claude Terasse, 1893
32 photomechanically reproduced colour lithographs, published by Libraries-imprimeries reunites, Ancienne maison Quantin, 21.2 x 28.6cm.

Page 41
Plate 31
Pierre Bonnard
Poster for La revue blanche 1894
Colour Lithograph
80.4 x 61.8/77.7 x 58.7 cm

The next challenge was to design the lettering “1896 Olympics” in a way that would clearly position the visual language of the letter forms to the viewer by communicating graphic design lettering of this Olympic period.
The second challenge, as this lettering was going to be animated it had to work on its own was to make the lettering work without illustrative supporting images as I quickly realised that Toulouse Lautrec posters were a marriage of image and text.
The typography is very free and appropriate to the period I am looking at.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Stage One Prototypes; How do you make shadow puppets and the set ?

I looked on You Tube and found – “Make shadow puppets! Weekend projects” with Bre Pettis for some examples of how to make shadow puppets and shadow puppet theatres. I found some very good examples on how to make a theatre and how to make some basic puppets. The puppets were quite crude but the methods for holding and controlling them using cut down coat hangers and gaffer tape worked well. Later on these were developed in stage two.
The theatre construction ideas found on You Tube worked very well and were adequate for stage two and three.

Shadow Puppet Influences; Kate Bush music video “Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe”

This inspired me to explore the potential of shadow puppets for the 1896 Olympic sequence. The traditional approach of this music video with a contemporary twist using modern visual methods for people, for example using chains on the old lady’s hair, this also attracted me because of my interest in materials and its role in contemporary image making.
I had never made or used shadow puppets before but was aware of them especially those used in India but was much less aware of how they were made.