The Illustrated Bustard

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Working on the next step I decided to illustrate the Bustards movements, so that I can easily align and check the movement before creating the final handdrawn pieces. I applied my usual style with illustrated graphics to the images of the Bustard that are my keyframes and as with a lot of the stuff that I do like this, I really like the way the wireframe looks – the way the outline looks before I fill it in.

I work in a particular way, as with my rotoscoped film, I have my base image/footage and draw the outline quickly and fluidly using my tablet and wacom pen, it’s like second nature to me now, but I draw the shapes with a view to what I will then fill them with and the order they sit in my layers to give a sense of depth.


So here is how they turned out.. I really like them and now I can use those wireframes to perfectly align the bodies and eyes to make a convincing bird in flight animation. This illustrated style will be used in the AR part of my installation and on the printed materials.

They also look lovely as a set, reminiscent of Muybridge and Marey.

illustrated bustard


Presentation Day – Interactive, Augmented, Audio Installation

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Masters Presentation Day loomed last week and in my presentation I made a positive effort to be less technical , use less jargon and not to dig down into the wires and connections that will make my installation work… I wanted to concentrate on the visual and audio research I had already undertaken and the beautiful animation style I hoped to output for my final piece.

So I put in my outline

“I am interested in line, form and movement, particularly figuratively using rotoscoping, but want to use current technology such as motion sensors and augmented reality to introduce interactivity”

but on reflection it should have mentioned that I want to add more dimensions, whether it’s layering sound or adding extra texture into the animation, I’m looking to use hand-drawn lines using charcoal and newsprint and trying to introduce actual feathers into the artwork/animation/model to give it ‘real feel’ .

and I should have delved into the Augmented Reality and projection mapping a little more to give a  rounded background to the project…


This link if for a PDF version.

Here is the first sound file from Norfolk Brecks

The sound from Salisbury Plain.. unfortunately not clean as the wind sock wasn’t on and the cows made a lot of noise, just outside the hide..

The animatic flight video


Great Bustard Call



and the link to ‘Thought of you’ for animation charcoal style

<p><a href=”″>Thought of You</a> from <a href=””>Ryan J Woodward</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Great Bustards in the wild

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Over the last few days I travelled down to Salisbury Plain to visit the Great Bustard re-introduction site…

When I arrived it looked like this…


So I didn’t hold out much hope for actually seeing the Bustards and after a 200 mile journey down to Salisbury was feeling a little deflated.

Lynne from the Great Bustard Group (GBG) turned up in theland rover and we waited for a while for the last two visitors.

wpid-wp-1399106508274.jpegThe view from the landy as we approached the hide.

Off in the distance I could see a small group of birds, which did turn out to be the Bustards.

Lynne told us that there were only 13 Great Bustards at the moment and half of them – the females – were hopefully off sitting on nests, so the small group of males were the only birds to be seen.
The hide is 300 metres from the release pen area which the birds enjoy coming back to and a particular clump of grass seemed to be their favourite spot.
We could see 5 young males and another younger male off to the left, besides the 2 decoy birds that the GBG use to tell the Bustards that this is a safe area to be. They are fenced in here, although they can fly free anywhere on Salisbury Plain and have been known to be found in France.

As we sat in the small hide, the cows who shared the same field obviously use the hide as a bit of a toy and proceeded to push shove, scratch and eat the wood, especially on the corners, so it made it very tricky to record any useful sound, but I did get sense of the space and what the surroundings should sound like, so below find my best 3 minutes, but please excuse the snorting, rubbing, scratching and general cow noises…

So, it’s an open space with summery background birdsong, the odd crow, but a real sense of a wide open green area.
We only had an hour in the hide and it went all too quickly, but off we went to their little shop and headquarters just back from the release pen.
In here they had the most fantastic stuffed Great Bustard, which Lynne was kind enough to turn round for me to get a good photo up close.

wpid-wp-1399124290543.jpegThe little shop was amazing and stuffed full of stuffed Great Bustards and clothing, and you could even buy Great Bustard beer!

I must say a big thankyou to Lynne, who helped me sort out the visit and has been more than helpful in any contact I’ve had with the group, and has amazing landrover driving skills as we squirmed and slid through the muddy bottom gates!

Interactive art – Aparna Rao: Art that craves your attention

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Looking through some old ted talks, I came across Aparna Rao and this fascinating TED talk about some of the art pieces she was working on last year (August 2013) her art work is playful and puts no barriers between the viewer and the art. The art itself senses movement near it or in the room, Aparna doesn’t talk about all the technical sides to her works, this type of art is more a kinetic art, but the playful way in which she puts the pieces together delight the viewer, making them smile and enjoy the work… Do they see it as art or is it installation, or technology, or is this the beginnings of a new way of experiencing art… For Aparna, it seems the interaction between her ‘shy’ little characters and the random  movement of a viewer in the different spaces it’s all about connection and then disconnection.

Her first piece is Imperial Monochromes the art space has several panels of art on the wall, but they are all messily arranged, but as you enter they autonomously form into a neat grid layout, as if you have disturbed them at play, and caught them being naughty. After some time passes though, they relax back into their disorderly state.

 So here it appears as if it’s the viewerthat’s sort of instigating the sense of order among the panels, but it could also be the other way around, that the panels are so stuck within their preconditioned behaviors that they sort of thrust the viewer with the role of a tyrant.

her second piece is a delightfully innocent ‘sculpture’ called ‘Handheld’ where a piece of A4 paper is held by two delicately carved tiny wooden hands, that appear to tremble with the natural forces of outstretched arms over time, as they start to quake with the effort of holding in the same position

 we’re sort of trying to evoke a self-effacing gesture, as if there’s a little person with outstretched arms behind this enormous piece of paper. That sort of likens it to the amount of strain to be at the service of the observer and present this piece of paper very delicately to the viewer in front of them.

Next is a work called Decoy, which appears to be a very needy household object that desperately tries to get your attention by waving and rocking, but once that is achieved, it gets bored and just wants to wait for the next person…

It appears to be mass-manufactured like it came out of a factory like vacuum cleaners and washing machines…. we like how this consumer aesthetic sort of depersonalizes the object and gives us a bit of distance in its appearance, at least.  And so to us this is a kind of sinister being which is trying to distract you from the things that actually need your attention, but it could also be a figure that needs a lot of help.

Next Aparna introduces a large scale piece called ‘clappers’, the viewer approaches what looks like a  scaled down amphitheater where 996 little figures will clap, or not dependent on their ‘mood’ , they have their own free will.

So to us, I think we’re really looking at an audience as its own object or its own organism that’s also got a sort of musical-like quality to it, an instrument. So the viewer can play it by eliciting quite complex and varied, nuanced musical or sound patterns, but cannot really provoke the audience into any particular kind of response. So there’s a sense of judgment and capriciousness and uneasiness involved. It also has an alluring and trap-like quality to it.

And the last on in this talk is ‘Framerunners’, Aparna took the idea for the frames from a real window in their studio and managed to place inside the frame depth the little framerunners themselves, but she wanted them to have a more realistic puppet like quality and in collaboration with a Zurich firm was able to manufacture a naturalistic hand manipulated movement  which is sweet and comical. But not only are they immediately endearing and engaging, again these little figures react to the viewer, it’s almost as if the watcher has disturbed or frightened them and they dash back into the safety of the nearest frame.

So to us, this work also presents its own contradiction.These figures are sort of entrapped within this very strong grid, which is like a prison, but also a fortress, because it allows them to be oblivious and naive and carefree and quite oblivious of the external world. So all these real life qualities that I talk about are sort of translated to a very specific technical configuration

For me this artwork is the other side to augmented reality as this is real physical involvement, your presence changes the art and what it does, perhaps in the future Augmented Reality will be more like this,   rather than having to use an intermediary device to see the movement… It’s also self contained within the piece rather than an extra screen that could show the film on interaction with someone entering the space.

Food for thought on displaying my artwork…

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

Proposal – thinking out loud

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MA task proposal workshop
In preparation for your project proposal workshop please consider the following subheadings and make brief responses (no more than 50 words to an answer ) to the questions below
. You might choose to bluet point or provide lists as appropriate. These will act as prompts in the first session, so please bring these with you to your proposal workshop.

Current practice and research in a relevant field of study
Give a brief description of your proposed project
List at least 5 current practitioners or examples of practice whose ideas or interests relate to your own
What form might the proposed work take

Analysis of proposal methodology
List the main research methods you will employ to inform your own practice
Briefly describe how these methods will communicate your ideas/concepts to an audience client
How will you plan the project and what difficulties might there be in achieving your aims…

Thinking in terms of presenting my MA in the end of year show… I would like to move my rotoscope technique forward to create 4 beautiful animations that I can display a single ‘cel’ of as artwork, but which when viewed through a device you see the film itself, adding to the experience.

I would also like to augment the great bustard, but for this I would like to have an empty exhibit case with a floor graphic, or graphic on the side of the cabinet that also comes to life and shows the great bustard , therefore giving me an augmented virtual show, best viewed through a device, a virtual exhibition within an exhibition.

I would like to trial giving people a small device such as an iPod touch so that they can view it without having to use their data, on the exhibit posters maybe I can get a mention so as to pre warn visitors of the required app name etc.
I would need to be in a one door room so that the device use can be monitored.
Could I get anyone to sponsor me for some more devices?

I have seen an email for a an exhibition in March, maybe I could trial it then?
Make sure my business card is augmented…. Have leaflets so that people can take away and take my art and exhibition with them.
A lot of the people using ar in art are trying to be disruptive, I want to look at art a different way and through a different medium. A new way of the gallery.
Jason ohler

Within the four different shorted like them to be quite different even though they will follow the same style of rotoscoping, using a range of colours this time, so much more in depth but following the rules previously laid out – two colours for the tonal range but using four colours in total.. With a live video background, so filming of the original has to be realistic or it has to be static to take one element and then put on top of the other.

I would want to explore movement much more, so a dance piece, could I have a surround sound system with a low beat. that when other images are triggered the sound that they play combines with the soundtrack already playing?

ASU final film

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Here is my final moving image piece for the ASU1 module of my MA.

Roughly titled ‘Just one more place to look…’

 I couldn’t leave my film alone on the final morning, so  please also view this page for a final update that I squeaked in just before the deadline!

ASU Learning Agreement

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Here is my learning agreement for the module of my MA, either download the word document from the link below, or just preview online in the text below.

Learning AgreementASU1_TT


Course  Moving Image and Sound…………….

Name(s): Tracey Tutt……………………………………….

Unit       Award Specific Unit 1 

Date      10/10/2013…………………………………… Full-time / Part-time (delete as applicable)

NB For collaborative projects please complete a single Learning Agreement, clearly identifying the names and roles of all external or internal collaborators.

Section 1: Description of Project

What are you proposing to do? Why are you doing it? What do you intend to submit?

Give references to methods, research and practices that contextualise your project (including texts, images, artists, designers, etc). For collaborative projects, give details of each person’s role in the project. (max. 500 words)


I am going to create a short film using live action and overlaid animation, in this way I will combine a new experience of live filming/editing/working with actors/locations, with my own illustration technique which I will experiment with and transform into animation.


After choosing an actor and overcoming the problems with a live location shoot I will be able to rotoscope over the main character to give me more control of how the finished piece will look, and the connection with the viewer.


With time limitations I will not be making a fully rotoscoped film, such as Linklater’s Scanner Darkly or Waking Life, so concentration on the character and only using two shades of the same colour will allow me to apply my illustration skill, in the knowledge I can complete it in the time given.

I will also use the rotoscoped section by themselves and play with the ability to fade the live action out, so he appears to be walking endlessly, as my core idea for the film is to do with loss of reality.


I will also be composing a short poem to give my character a voice within the film.


I will be submitting a short film, with a vocal narration of an original poem.


Section 2: Learning Outcomes

Explain how your intended submission for the unit will demonstrate that you have met EACH Learning Outcome.
  1. Identify and apply concepts and principles associated with your subject to a range of contexts and environments.

I went through a lot of different starting styles and processes until I came to my chosen one of rotoscoped illustration – what I call a ‘digital cell’ – over live film.

  1. Employ appropriate methods, processes and materials to produce experimental and finished work relevant to current and alternative practice in your area .

Once my style of film had been selected I took a look at what was out there and chose to push it slightly further by using the alpha channel on the digital ‘cell’ animation rather than always overlaying it.

  1. Examine complex problems in your area of study and articulate a range of solutions.
  2. I found Rotoscoping to be extremely time consuming and to make sure I could complete my idea I trimmed down the look to two colours and minimised key presses with shortcuts and the use of a programmable wacom tablet.
  3. Evidence your understanding of contemporary practice and the creative industries relevant to your subject area.
4.I will be logging all of my research and experimentation in my online blog, which makes it easy to reference outside influences and demonstrate findings.


Section 4: Resources and Schedule

Provide a plan outlining your project schedule and indicating resource requirements where applicable (this may be attached as a separate sheet).


Week 1: story ideas. Week2: location recce. Week 3: photographic storyboard, Week 4: test filming with equipment, (steadicam, DSLR), Week 5, 6: live shoot, editing. Week 7,8 & 9: rotoscope and export images (all 2572 of them). Week 10 & 11: convert back into footage, edit together, produce sound and final render.


Section 5: Risk Assessment

Outline any potential risks, particularly Health and Safety and/or ethical issues that could affect the project. It is recommended that you seek the advice of your tutor and relevant NUA staff, eg the Health and Safety Officer, before completing this section. Continue on a second page if necessary.


I must take care when filming at night, for my own safety and others, fortunately I will be with my main actor for most of the filming.  Also camera equipment does not perform well in the cold, so will need to take extra batteries.


Section 5: Tutor’s Comments




Student(s):        Tracey Tutt………………………………………………….   Date:13/01/2014…

Course Tutor:    …………………………………………………………………..   Date:…………………

Personal Evaluation of ASU1

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With hand in day tomorrow, I have finally given my film a title, as a nod to the original script that I tried and tried to write, my films title is ‘ Just one more place to look’.

When we started back in October doing our soundwalk, I only intended to try making a film, after all, I may not get the chance again to script, film and edit my own cinematic piece. The things I over heard influenced the whole feel and tone of my intended film, my favourite soundbyte being the two guys running past me, and all I heard was, “there’s just one more place to look Danny..” what was Danny looking for, would they find it? It seemed exciting and full of opportunities for me to make a script out of this golden snippet.

But try as I might I couldn’t put together a script for this to work in.. I had visuals and scenes popping into my head, the main character and that it should be filmed at night, but no real substance to plan to film, not without a completed script anyway… So rather than struggle on I went and did a photographic recce and pulled  a loose storyboard together.


This shot summed up what I was after, visually at any rate.

My script went through different stages and changed and came back, but I just wasn’t happy with it, I couldn’t find a reason why the character would have a reason to use the line, there’s just one more place to look…


I had such a clear vision of how I wanted the film to look that I started doing some test footage with a main character. This was a great testing ground as I discovered many little problems that I hadn’t thought of. Firstly the small and light camera with the little lens that I wanted to use on my steadicam rig had no manual control over the video side, which I only discovered out in the freezing cold with my actor jumping up and down to keep warm. Then the battery only lasted about half an hour as the temperature just zapped the power, and trying to use my fancy HD mobile phone video discovered that you can’t control the focus or exposure, so got shots flicking in and out of focus, most annoying.

I had to rethink my rig (merlin Steadicam and Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens), light though it was, it couldn’t cut the mustard

So the next night I could co-ordinate a shoot saw me taking out my pro Nikon, the D7000, but I could not manage – or balance – my beautiful pro 18-55 f2.8 lens, so took my nifty 50mm prime to cut down on weight.

This was a much more successful shoot,  although the 50mm meant I was much closer to the figure I realised that these were the shots that worked the best in the previous recce, nice and tight, not giving too much away about the character.

I got all of the night shots I wanted done after a third night out in the cold, and planned to include cutting in some daylight shots too, to ‘remind’ the character what life was like before the constant searching in the darkness took over.

I wanted to show the footage in a slightly unconventional way so had  a play with visual placement of the footage but binned this idea as it didn’t work, although some of the group liked the daylight shot I showed in the crit, but I think it’s best for the film to leave this idea behind, which I did.

Still trying to work a script, which by now had turned into more of a narration it was suggested that I try the cut up poetry technique by Burrows, which I duly had a go at, but found it came out with most unsatisfactory results… I now endeavoured to actually write a poem, specifically for the piece.

At this point, inspiration struck, one of the parts of the film that I was really unhappy about was the way that my actor’s jacket had branding on the back that occasionally would really show up, this bugged me and I couldn’t think how to change it as I had already used up a lot of pre production time, struggling with the script and cold issues. Then one of the guys showed a film which was rotoscoped, about a teenager with autism which had been given to many different artists to interpret the original footage in a graphic way… entitled Snack and Drink it sent my imagination into overdrive and I really wanted to use it in my film.

Knowing how long it takes to animate though, I didn’t now if I would have time to complete it, but again, eureka moment, I could just rotoscope my main character, thereby removing the nasty branding and going back to animation, but using my own personal style of illustration to do it – perfect!

See post the digital ‘cel look:

Then it was just  a case of time and effort to edit my footage down so that I would be animating economically, and drawing my character on each and every one of the 1286 layers that I ended up with in Photoshop.


Time raced away from here and I was all absorbed with the rotoscoping process, and whilst working my way through them I visualised different parts of the film, with no background at all,  just the figure walking lonely in the midst of nothingness, mirroring the mental state they were in.

The poem was going well and I had 5 verses complete, and a backing song I really liked, so once the rotoscope marathon was over (approx 60hrs for the 2 minutes!) I put the separate images into after effects to make a full sequence that I could show to others in the final crit. Feedback  mostly came from the sound, ie, it’s too quiet and there is too much audio space so I revisited the poem and tweaked the rhythmn of it and inserted another verse.

I re-trimmed the visuals, losing about 10 seconds of footage and made the decision to remove  another short bit entirely (which I used over the credits) this took the film down to just over 2 minutes in length, the longer audio (re-recorded with my voiceover guy) and the shorter body of film fitted really well together, and I even got to add in a bit of text tracking.

So what do I think overall? It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, I’ve reverted to type and gone on the visuals but doing the rotoscoping actually made me smile – apart from the bit where I realised I’d missed a whole section and had to restart the whole video into layers thing in photoshop – and I love the way it looks. I’m proud of what I have achieved and I would love to use this style and technique, for something else. I just wish I could have had a better script, as I’m unsure of the quality of my poem, or if it’s all gone a bit too arty…

ASU Film complete? – maybe

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I am just rendering out my final film for this ASU module, I’ve re-recorded the voiceover and as well as adding in an extra phrase I have separated the verses of the poem out so that they sit in a better rhythm with the visuals.

Tweaking the visuals in after effects to lessen the greyed out sections so that the viewer is not too disorientated.

When analysing the film today I decided to remove the section where the character walks away from us down the small alleyway, it just didn’t fit with the look and feel of the other sections, so not to totally discard the hours rotoscoping it, I used this as my end credit sequence and motion tracked the walk in After Effects with my name and the piece of music that I used in the background of the piece.

ss_tracking ss_trackingText

I really like the way the film looks, I love the style of the animation itself, all sharp lines against the out of focus bokeh of the background.

Hurrah it’s finished rendering.. oh blimey it’s come out at 21GB.. better re-render that then…

I’m not sure if I want to put in tracked text sitting in the background, firstly against the poem I don’t know what to put, even though I really like the idea Mark Wilsher had for using the narration as the main character’s internal monolgue and the appearing text as another voice, or question, but secondly I don’t know if it needs it now the extra narration is there.

If I have time I may do a short test, I only envisaged the text being one or two words at the most and now that I’ve tracked the credits it will be a similar process, although it does add more nested comps into the equation…

Left to do…

Evaluation proper

Learning Agreement

Hand in!

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