Category Archives: Animations

Flicker

I recently found a number of stills from a film I made a few years ago and it got me looking at some of my old work. Flicker is an analogue film montage I showed in a couple of exhibitions in 2013, below is an expert and some images from the film:

Flicker – 2013 (excerpt)

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Super 8 Cinemagraphs

A little while ago I did a post about Cinemagraphs, animated gifs that look like living photographs. I loved how, by introducing a subtle amount of movement, they seemed to heighten the sense of suspended animation inherent in still photographs:

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At the time I mentioned I was keen to see if I could use this approach to animate sections of some old super 8 film I was working with. I’ve since had questions on how that went, and having just found a few of my early tests on my old hard drive I thought I put them up. They’re not great, I found the innate flickering nature of celluloid film that we know and love means it’s technically pretty difficult to create a seamless link between static image and animation. However, I think they were an important stepping stone in developing a body of work combining analogue film and printmaking techniques and digital editing methods which would eventually become Flicker, an analogue film/instillation piece I will do a longer post on sometime.

I’m happiest with these first two, I love how the figures spring to life briefly in a ‘blink and you miss it’ kind of way. However they need a lot of refining before they are seamless.

crowd

Crowd2

In these final two you can see the problem with trying to make cinemagraphs out of footage you have not shot yourself. You really need the stability and consistency of digital equipment to make it illusion really effective. Although maybe using footage shot it the cockpit of a WWII german bomber was being a bit ambitious to start with!

Talking-pilotbombs-away

These are from a body of work I created while looking at ways of reusing old analogue film, you can see more work in my portfolio.

It formed the basis for a film Instillation Flicker which was first shown during my MA show, and excerpt of which can be watched in my portfolio.

If you’re interested in making your own I used some of the tutorials you can find in this Inspiration Feed Article.

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Print Books

Here are three printed books that I have submitted to Print International 2013. The material was drawn from a range of sources, found photographs, old films and a bit of Super 8 footage thrown in for good measure.

Ceasar's awakening

‘Ceasar’s awakening’ is a 2 sided 4 colour screenprint concertina book. One one side it shows the iconic moment from the film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920) in which Caesar, a somnambulist, is awakened to the amazement of the crowd. This is offset by footage of WWI soldiers going ‘over the top’ on the reverse. While both are considered iconic imagery I believe they share more than this; an almost symbiotic relationship intertwined by the various histories of photography and film.

Incoming

‘Incoming’ is a screenprint flickbook, recreating footage of a WWI pilot running from a diving aeroplane.

Bildungsroman

Bildungsroman‘ is a concertina book with monoprint and photocopy transfer. The photograph of the cheeky chapy on the cover came from a glass plate negative I bought in a Berlin market. The drawing inside grows on each page like the frames of an animation. Bildungsroman is a German term for a coming of age novel in which the protagonist undergoes the psychological growth associated with the transition between adolescence and adulthood.

Our obsession with creating the illusion of movement far pre-dates film itself, film merely facilitated it in the way that zoetropes, flickbooks and shadow puppets have done and digital methods like cinemagraphs do now. Presenting imagery derived from film in a book is a way of placing it back into a sequential viewing mode, maintain this illusion, however, with the power to govern the pace of the imagery and even stop the flow now in the viewers hands.

The way in which we can disseminate imagery digitally is uber convenient but it risks divorcing us from some qualities of work, it’s that tactile and intimate quality that books have in shed-loads. After seeing some great examples (by the likes of We Make Books and others) when we (me, Elysia, Corinthia and Chole) were skiving off from our stall at the alternative press fair over the summer I was keen to make my own. It was a workshop with printmaker Wuon Gean Ho that gave me the confidence to try.

Bookmaking workshop with Wuon Gean Ho at Aberystwyth Universty School of Art

Bookmaking workshop with Wuon Gean Ho at Aberystwyth Universty School of Art

Currently exhibiting with us at the School of Art, Aberystwyth her exhibition Beyond the Moon is a enticing and eclectic mix of prints, animations and artist books, not to mention a spectacular sound installation by Andrew Mcpherson that I hope to cover in more depth in a later post. If you can’t get to Aberystwyth before it comes down on Friday you can see some photos and a video of the exhibition on her blog, as well as some pictures of us hanging it, seriously, you need to see the size of some of these prints! Incidentally, one of my first posts on here was in response to Wuon Gean’s work, little did I know in a years time I’d be helping her hang a pretty amazing exhibition!

Hanging Beyond the Moon

Hanging Beyond the Moon

 

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Cinemagraphs

If you asked me yesterday about animated Gifs, this would have been what came to mind:

psycho gif animation

funny frog gif animation

Now I love a drumming monkey as much as the next guy but, as hard as I try, I can’t seem to justify these as serious research. However these are the predecessors to the collaborative cinemagraphs of photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg. Cinemagraphs present themselves as photo’s with moving elements. The results can be subtle and captivating.
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Somewhere between a photograph and a video I think what makes these cinemagraphs so effective is that it maintains photography’s innate ability to capture a moment, freezing it in time. The introduction of movement to these images seems to enhance this rather than dispel it. I believe this is in part down the the looping of the animation, whether the effect is hilarious or relaxing there  is something satisfying about seeing it over and over.

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Animated gifs have been around since the late 80’s, and are a way of combining multiple frames played in sequence into a single image file. Previously seen as a bit of an internet novelty, their ability to capture your attention and question what you are seeing could have a large impact on an area as saturated with imagery as online advertising.

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I can see this as a potential way of re-animating some of my Super 8 films, by reintroducing a small amount of repeating movement into the frames this will enhance their ‘stuck in time’ quality. here are a few of the stills I am thinking of using from a documentary film of WWI depicting soldiers in the trenches and a bombing raid on an airfield.

Still from WWI film showing Soliders in the trenches

WWI film still showing soliders going over the top into shell fire

A WWI film still showing a soldier running across an airfield

More film stills can be found on my website.
For more info see this video by PBS arts’ Off Book.

Cinemagraphs from Inspiration feed, check them out for more examples and useful links.

Also worth a look of your into  films: IWDRM (but not if you want to do anything useful with the next hour of your day!).

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Straight 8 2012

What seems like a very long time ago now I spent some seriously long nights in the School of Art shooting a short Super 8 film for Straight 8 2012. Just found out it’s going to be featured in the soho short film festival at ICA.

It’s being shown at the 6.30 screening at the Straight 8 event on the 18th, details can be found here

Super 8 short film still

Straight 8 is a film competition that requires you to shoot a single reel of Super 8 film with no retakes or post production editing, you submit the film undeveloped (and unseen!) for judging. Its such a ridiculously restrictive way to try make a film it borders on genius; the resulting films have a rough around the edges feel that emphasizes the raw creativity behind them.

My film ‘Where’s Ruth?’ incorporates stop motion and live action and is shot in Aberystwyth School of Art. I work there during the day so as a result I do most of my own work at night. I think the long winter nights spent in such a amazing looking (and kinda creepy!) building took there toll and the film explores what happens when it closes for the night.

Super 8 short film still

As I haven’t even seen the film yet I can’t post a link but here’s some very early test footage of me getting to grips with stop motion.

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Massive thanks to Ruth Hayward for staying til stupid o’clock every night after a full days MA rehearsals, Rowena Jordan for easel moving, pictures taking and general moral support and finally Ian Nicolson for being willing to take his clothes off for free with a hours notice, that’s right nudity, now you want to see it!

(images C of Rowena Jordan, p.s. amazing Illustrator, check her out!)

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Raj Bunnag – Animated Linocut

When I first started considering how to animate my work, my thoughts on analogue animation stopped at flick-books and zoetropes but this impressive lino-cut by Raj Bunnag proves that photoshop isn’t always the answer.

The print is animated by a large-scale crank driven thingy (technical term) that resembles a printing press turned on its side, I like how its mode of display echoes its mode of production. The print itself is a mash-up of mythical iconography and contemporary pop-culture; AK weilding skeletons fight dragons on a ocean of nike trainers.

Here’s a ‘trailer’ of the work followed by a more in-depth video of it in action.

You can read more and find some pics of the work in process on Printeresting

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Animation drawings

I’m beginning to incorporate drawn material with my photographic work and animations. I wanted to capture a sense of movement within the sketches and develop a way of drawing that would lend itself to animation. I found it a really free way of working, by disregarding the end product you really to begin to engage with the process, much like eye-trust drawings or absent minded doodling. These were done in biro in my sketchbook.

animation drawings

I’m trying to link the photographic and drawn elements of my animations, so these have been influenced by things like WWI aerial photography and the work of War artists like CRW Nevinson.

CRW Nevinson - Explosion - 1916

CRW Nevinson – Explosion – 1916

WWI Aerial Photograph from the Imperial War Museum's collection

Aerial photograph from the Imperial War Museums Collection – 1915

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La Faim – Animation

One of my favourites, La Faim (Hunger) is a 1974 Canadian animation directed by Peter Foldes. There’s so much going on in it, I could (and do!) watch it over and over, one of the first examples of Key Frame computer aided animation, it took a year and a half to complete.

The style and soundtrack are unmistakeably 70’s but I don’t think the quality or the relevance of the message have diminished over time. Contains some stunning drawing, which borders on the grotesque in parts and an ending that manages to scare the pants off me every time I watch it!

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Stop Motion Workshop

Here are two videos of a stop motion workshop for undergraduates I held on Monday. It was seriously fun to do, which was mainly down to the awesome group of  students that came along, so muchos thanks to them!

The videos are a combination of a time lapse I set up to record the whole session followed by the animation the students created. It was really interesting to see the different ways they approached the exercise and how their different drawing styles combine to make a really eclectic animation. Also made me realize that my mum was right, I really need to stop slouching!

Both videos are identical except for the soundtracks, can’t decide which one I like best…

Cheesy funk?

or chilled out folk?

Any Ideas?

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