Projection experiments

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Starting the animation process requires a bit of set-up organisation.

A projector, this is a dinky Phillips pico with 55lumens



An easel and a large board



Paper, my favourite newsprint


Conte Crayons, just in 3 colours

Sprinkler – to create the coloured powders


So I set all of these items out next to my computer so I could control what was projected and started on the newsprint paper that I love using for Life drawing… and here was my first problem, the newsprint really doesn’t take the powder I sweep onto the feather and onto the paper to make the relief imprint…


So I needed different paper, the only large paper I had was A2 size cartridge paper, lightweight and fairly smooth..

wpid-dsc_0372.jpgSo I began working in the feathers and simple lines and another problem rears up, because I am working on an upright easel, the powder tends to ‘drip’ down the page, unlike my primary experiments when I was working over the top of my page.



It doesn’t turn out to bad…


Then I look at another of the flying reference images I have…


beginners mistake! I will need to re-set out my easel and space so I keep in mind the top and bottom of my projection images.

Also will need to test different paper, to find the best feel for the feathers and powder marks I want to get into the frames…

I will be testing watercolour paper, thick cartridge, cream cartridge, craft paper and something called student cartridge later.


I really like the way it looks with the projection

wpid-dsc_0368.jpgThere may be an opportunity to colour the areas digitally with a light transparent fill once the animation is perfected – I did want to keep it minimal though.



Charcoal, Feathers and printing…

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After testing out getting feather texture into plaster, I wondered how much texture I could get into the hand-drawn section of animation, so with my trusty charcoal and feathers in hand set about experimenting..

I was very pleased with the results, now I have to figure out how to consistently incorporate this beautiful texture into my animation..

One thing I need to bear in mind though, the last set is on the newspaper that I like, and it doesn’t fix quite so well, or have the lovely texture of the cartridge paper…

wpid-dsc_0282.jpg wpid-dsc_0281.jpg wpid-dsc_0283.jpg wpid-dsc_0291.jpg wpid-dsc_0290.jpg

Flight Animation

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This short animation about the shapes and forces on a  bird wing gets really interesting after 2 minutes, but introduces stages and extreme keyframes to the bird flight cycle. The only problem is I think it looks like a bat flying at the end, not a bird! This may be due to the size of the body and that the edges of the wing are completely smooth, i.e., not feather like, so this will be something I really need to work out when starting to animate the Bustard, I had hoped to make smooth gestural lines, but if you lose the feather feel, it won’t work. Also the body of the Bustard is huge, it’s 8 foot wingspan needs a lot of effort to lift it…

I have only found one short live piece of footage of a Bustard taking off… it’s low quality and stops at the point of lift-off.. Frustrating..

check out 1:43 to see the start of flight.

I have been in touch with the Great bustard photographer Dave Kjaer and he has no video footage and also says it’s quite tricky to capture them taking off, so it’s going to be tricky…

Mark Making #2

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I’m pretty happy with my choice of mark making, charcoal on Newsprint, but I couldn’t miss another opportunity to go to one of the open access life drawing session. I felt that it didn’t go quite so well as before, but, the quality of line and feel of movement, shape and contour are still evident and this reaffirms my media choice.


A short 1 minutes pose


Standing Quick pose



This pose has my favourite type of charcoal mark made, angular, strong, but with a smudge of contour and shape.


My favourite pose, although a little weak in execution compared to others, it has a nice feel to the shapes and definition.

I know need to find some footage of the Great Bustard flying and transpose the technique.

Beautiful Figurative Animation

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One of the guys on my course pointed out this animation which the Arctic Monkeys have used for one of their songs, but I wanted to know who had done the original animation.

Turns out a chap called Ryan Woodward created the animation a few years back in 2010 for a personal project.

With a different original song.

The movements are beautiful and the drawing is fluid and simple yet the soft touch of the hand-drawn line brings an element that is indescribable and unattainable through digital drawing, this is just the sort of feel I want for my hand-drawn section.

I love how he plays with the animation and enhances movement with ‘unreal’ and impossible physicalities.


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This is a cinemagraph

New York City-based photographer Jamie Beck and Web designer Kevin Burg “hand-stitch” together her photos and his Web design to make animated gifs they now call “cinemagraphs.”

Simple and clever they started making them in 2011 and have become extremely successful with this technique. The washington post article explains all you would ever need to know…

and find their own pages here…

My particular favourite is of the chap reading a paper in the middle of a park, it looks like a static photo until, hey, he just turned the page, witty but subtle.

It’s playful, but of course has it’s limitations, if you wanted to have an exhibition of these, you would need computers and ipads as you can’t print and mount them like traditional photos, so they are very much stuck in the internet pages, and they repeat the small movement over and over, it’s not interactive it’s passive.

I like interaction and hope to incorporate a physical interaction into my Masters project…

Chris Landreth – 3D maya

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Chris Landreth joined Autodesk in 1994

where he defined, tested and abused animation software as it was being developed.  Chris’s work was a driving force in developing Maya 1.0, in 1998.

His 2004 film ‘Ryan’ (with the National Film board of Canada and Seneca College), pioneered a style he calls “Psychorealism” which he uses to show the psychology of the characters.

Chris’s mastery of Maya in his film is mind blowing, not only has he got fully rendered 3D figures and characters of real people, but he has then removed areas to translate psychological problems into something visceral, that we can all see.

The way that the characters warped and grotesque defects change with their mood and what they are saying perfectly emotes what can be hidden by psychological problems, Chris does an amazing job through the 3D world he has created, that draws you in, but never lets you forget the underlying problems people have.

Showing what is normally unseen, to be seen.

 Ryan received the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and over 60 other awards, including prizes at the Cannes Film Festival and Grand Prize at the 2004 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

The film itself is an interview between Chris and Ryan Larkin, an Academy Award nominated animator (walking 1970) who learned his animation from Norman McLaren.

Animated Classical Art – retrofitting animation?

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Rino Stefano Tagliafierro has created this amazing animated version of classical paintings.

Startlingly beautiful to begin with, as it progresses it seems to become slightly more macabre, and a little bit disturbing. The paintings are beautifully rendered and only here and there can you see a slight hint of where Rino has had to make up the art behind the moving element. Erotic and sensual the animated movement adds to the scene in some paintings, but only detracts from the beauty in others. If the thought of movement was behind the original creation of a painting I think the outcome would be different, but for these classical romantic images as the film moves on, it just makes me feel less. The image itself is so well known, that to see it move is almost unseemly, the paintings are perfect and my imagination has always given flight to it’s own thoughts about before and after and the caught expression, that moment held on canvas. Beautiful though beauty is, I’m not a fan.

But because it is almost retrofitting the images, if forethought and the end result was to move the image, as in my Masters proposal idea, perhaps it will fare better?

A little like the 3D films that have been made for the sake of a sword pointing out of the screen at you, it’s not what the intention was and it doesn’t add to it…

The intention must be the whole finished result, not just for the sake of the technology.

Carravagio, Vemeer, Rembrandt and Rubens are amongst the artists in over a hundred paintings.

A full list of all of the featured classical artworks can be found here


Born in 1980.
Italian experimental animator and director.
He graduated at the ISIA of Urbino and IED -European Institute of Design in Milan.
He has made many music videos for major Italian and international artists: FourTet, Stumbleine, Digitalism, Mobbing, M+A, ORAX, Fabri Fibra, Big Fish, Morgan, Eva, Mario Venuti e Vittorio Cosma. Collaborated with studio Bazzani for the production of fashion video for designer Antonio Marras and Kenzo and with studioN!03 for videoprojection and interactiveinstallations for exhibitions, museums and special events. Over the years he has had experience in visual art and videomapping with Claudio Sinatti and assistant director, art-direction and compositing with the study K48.

Max Fleischer – rotoscope

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A small explanation of Max Fleischer and his technique and patent for his invention of the rotoscope…

Max Fleischer The Rotoscope and Koko the Clown – Koko’s Earth Control

Amazing to think that in 1939 he was using 3D diaramas for his painted cels to be filmed in front of to give real depth!

Betty Boop – Snow White and other Fragments POPEYE – Max Fleischer



When the Disney short ‘Paperman’ came out last year I watched it and thought it looked great, but not until now have I investigated how it was made.

Fascinatingly they created it in full 3D cgi animation and then hand drew the lines back over it to give it a real feel, harking back to Disney’s heyday.

I couldn’t put my finger on  the visual look at the time, but watching the behind the scenes films (below) meant I understood the process fully, some comments at the bottom of the youtube page question why they went to the trouble of CGI if they were just going to draw over the top, but it wouldn’t have the same effect, the 3D makes all of the shadows and perspective motion perfect, whilst the handdrawn lines seem to reduce the perfection of the 3D over the top, whilst adding lovely pencil texture, it’s a beautiful combination.

This link shows how they combined the cgi with the hand drawn.

Full film on The Movie Blog.

Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with the Oscar®-nominated short, “Paperman.” Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him. Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction. (from The Movie Blog)

Behind the scenes – the drawings, fascinating snippet clips of original hand drawn Peter Pan

The Look, making a believable immersive world to tell the story.

The idea


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