Sebastian Castagna

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Sebastian Castagna was our visiting lecturer this week, composer and sound artist, his interest is in electro acoustic music and he enjoys the analysis process when listening to music.

He gave us a short piano piece to start our analysis on, and walked through the first three sections, in the first section there is a repeat of three notes, when we then examined the second section, we could see it was a mirror of the first three notes, instead of going down then up, it went up then down. The third section then had the same note pattern as the first but all of the notes were held twice as long, this was the extended version. This is an interesting mechanic when producing music, more can be created from the material by a simple process of original, mirror, extended.

Sound is not always speaking about itself, but about the room and space it’s in. This is a very poignant line for me, as I need people not only to see relevant audio, but to make them feel they are out in the open, not in an exhibition space.

If mixing sound in stereo the speakers have to be placed correctly to replicate what you want people to hear, ie, for me, the Great Bustard sculpture will have it’s own noise, but when triggered the sound needs to move from the sculpture over the wall and away, so thinking ahead about the placement of speakers is something I must not overlook.

Musical Gestures can add movement to your piece, Texture is a background feeling to the sound, much like Pollocks paintings are a visual texture.

One of the slides showed Sebastians breakdown of sound analysis…


nature sounds (sea, rain, wind, etc.)
city sounds (cars, people, etc)
industrial sounds (machinery, etc)
timbre (colour)
shape (contour)


Spatial Behaviour: foreground/background   –   stereo image/placement


density (layers)
pace (fast, slow)
dynamics (loud, quiet)
spatial treatment

This was great to see it all laid out as a list, things to consider when putting my sound together!

For the last part of Sebastian’s talk we analysed section by section a piece of Javier Alvarez electro-acoustic music called Dorcoba Aureispina. Again breaking it down bit by bit..

Very useful to think about the sound in this analytic way.

He also recommended the Michel Chion book – Audio Vision, Sound on Screen.

Thanks Sebastian!




Go Bustard!

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Thinking about the need for a model of a bustard to put into my exhibition space I was looking online for any sculptures that perhaps others have made and I stumbled across a Go Bustard event which happened in 2012.

Public Art Trail

A community arts project featuring giant great bustard sculptures has been set up to raise the profile of the Wiltshire town of Warminster.

Go Bustards! is organised by Warminster Art Society and the local Development Trust (an affliate of the local Community Area Partnership).

The glass fibre resin sculptures will form an arts trail around the town and the group are looking for businesses to sponsor their own bustard.  Those already taking part include The Organ Inn, the Minster School a handicraft shop Think Outside the Box which is to be decorated with 22kgs of multi-coloured buttons.

Lesley Fudge, project leader said “Our aim is to associate the magnificent great bustard with the lovely market town of Warminster and its surrounding areas . . . The bustard is on the Wiltshire flag and on the guide and scout badges, and they are being reintroduced to Salisbury Plain.”

“We want all different parts of our community to be involved to bring people from Warminster and the surrounding villages together, and raise the spirits in what is such a difficult time for many.

The sculptures will also be used to raise money for charity, as they will be auctioned off when the project is over.

Go Bustards! is set to run throughout 2012 and will be on display in Salisbury for the Queen’s visit.

Unbelievably this was in February of 2012 so I just missed it, but these sculptures were huge!



This Go Bustard is in residence at the stonehenge brewery nicknamed 'DRATSUB'

I contacted Lesley Fudge brainchild of the Go Bustard ART trail in conjunction with the  Warminster Art Society and asked if it was possible that they did a life-size sculpture to base the larger ones on,  but unfortunately they only ever made the giants and a couple of 8″ mini models. But the shape they have is simplified and will work well if I can closely follow it for my own sculpture.

Wiltshire has obviously taken the Great Bustard to heart as it also features the bustard on it’s flag!


Wiltshire’s flag was registered on December 1st 2009, following a declaration of support for the design by the Wiltshire County Council. The flag is the creation of county resident Mike Prior and his daughter Helen Pocock. The flag features a Great Bustard (Otis tarda) at its centre, a bird native to the county, which had been extinct since 1832 but was recently returned as part of an intensive ten-year breeding programme on Salisbury Plain. Several of the elements in the flag were present in the coat of arms awarded to the Wiltshire county Council in 1937


The old crest has a Bustard on it too!


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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


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?

Keiichi Matsuda

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Starting to reinvestigate Augmented Reality for my masters project I came across Keiichi Matsuda, an Architecture graduate who has created films that look at how we might see things around us in the future.

What is most amazing is that he started visualising this AR enhanced world 4 years ago…

Augmented (hyper)Reality: Domestic Robocop

The latter half of the 20th century saw the built environment merged with media space, and architecture taking on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism. Augmented reality may recontextualise the functions of consumerism and architecture, and change in the way in which we operate within it.

A film produced for my final year Masters in Architecture, part of a larger project about the social and architectural consequences of new media and augmented reality.

From the website

Cell is an interactive installation, made in collaboration with James Alliban. Commissioned by Alpha-ville for the 2011 festival, cell plays with and proposes alternative landscapes in the technological ether surrounding our everyday movements. As our identities become deliberately constructed and broadcast commodities, our projected personae increasingly enmesh and define us. Cell acts as a virtual mirror, displaying a constructed fictional persona in place of our physical form. Composed from keyword tags mined from online profiles, these second selves stalk our movements through space, building in size and density over time. The resulting forms are alternate, technologically refracted manifestations of the body, revealing the digital aura while simultaneously allowing us escape from our own constructed identities.Cell uses Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect to track visitors as they interact with the installation. It was built in openFrameworks, an open-source toolkit originally built to teach artists and designers creative coding. Microsoft have supported the project from the early stages, working with Brighton based company Matchbox Mobile and the openFrameworks community to build a new code library (or addon) specifically for cell that supports the Kinect For Windows SDK. This is an important development in the field of interactive art. Providing openFrameworks users easy access to the official Kinect For Windows SDK, places the technology directly into the hands of a large international community of interaction designers and new media artists.

first full rotoscope sequence

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After the short test I was so pleased with how it looked I wanted to get a full 30 second scene totally animated, concerns over whether it would work for a longer section were on my mind, considering the amount of time I would need to put into a full test, but I decided to put the time in as I have ideas of overlaying the digital ‘cell’ animation over separate and different sections of the film, so it should be worth it.

To start with I edited down the section I wanted in premiere pro, this ended up being a 36 second piece from the subway footage. Then I imported that edited section into Photoshop getting it to render every third frame as a separate layer resulting in 300 layers and to each and every layer I undertook the process below.

Stage 1 – layer control

first of all I added a new layer above the layer I wanted to illustrate, so that I can use my digital cell with and without it’s original background, working in a  non-destructive process.


Stage 2 – vector path



Then on this empty layer using the vector pen tool I trace around the area I want to fill with colour, obviously starting with the full outline shape, which will be a lighter colour.



then the inner shadow areas, which are to be filled with a  darker colour. I work with a wacom tablet and pen for this quite precise result and like the clean edges it gives you, you have to make definite decisions about where the light and dark will fall on your digital graphic. I have used this style of vector drawing for years, usually in Illustrator to great effect.

Stage 3 – shade and light fill



Then you select all elements in the path that you want to appear as shadows, make it active in the path tool toolbox and fill it in using your darker colour and the paint bucket tool.



then select the lighter area, make it active, which will switch the areas and fill the outline shape with your lighter colour, occasionally small dart areas didn’t fill and would need to be done with a little more accuracy, but it’s easy to spot.



Stage 4 – save out



Set photoshop up to save as into the same folder, to minimise clicks, and save the ‘cell’ layer with it’s film layer as a single jpeg, bearing in mind the finished number would need to be 3 or 4 digits so start at 001, or 0001, as this will help keep them in the right order when you bring the images into your video editing program to put back together as moving images.

Stage 5 – repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat



I found on average it was taking me 20 minutes to complete this whole process for 10 frames and over the week I managed to fit in the 10 hours it required to digitally ‘cell’ animate my 36 seconds of footage.

I did split the photoshop file into 2 sets of 150 (original layers) at one point as with over 400 layers and 2.3Gb is was making my computer slow a little…

But, once they were all transformed into jpegs, I opened up After Effects and imported the 300 files, selected them all and right clicked to create new comp from selection ( this is where the numbering comes into its own) and after a bit of trial and error with how I selected them all (it did at first run backwards 😦 ) they came in perfectly all on seperate layers and for the right duration and this is how it came out…

During the long hours spent over my wacom I came across a piece of music by Bonobo called a beginning, an ending and it had the right mood, so I placed it over the video to give more of a feel to the piece.


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