Richard Williams

Richard Williams –

What does he make and how? 

Richard Williams was passionate about animation from the age of ten. He started with cell animation, moving onto in recent years computer animation. He is most famous for his work on ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’, a film combining  acting and animation.

What is the idea behind his work?

Richard animates fictional characters in an extremely life-like fashion. He captures expressions, personalities and characters all with humour in his films. Also, he is very detailed in the movements that he shows in his characters.  The way Williams shows animals with human characteristics (anthropomorphism) is unique.

Abe's Laugh

Abe’s Laugh Williams, R. (2001)

What can I extract from his work to help in the development of my work? 

Richard Williams was given the great advice from Disney Guru Dick Kelsey:

“First of all kid, learn to draw you can always do the animation stuff later.” p25 Williams, R. (2001).

This is really important to me as I don’t have knowledge of editing work, but I do have the drawing techniques! He was told this at fifteen. From this he has become very stylised with perspective, colour and detail. Reading this made me ‘re-realise’ that drawing is essential to have good quality animations.

Dressing

p 255 An exam in flexibility Williams, R. (2001)

“Emery Hawkins said to me ‘The only limitation in animation is the person doing it, otherwise there is no limit to what you can do. And why shouldn’t you do it?’ “ p20 Williams, R. (2001).

You can have no boundaries in animation- you can make the most ridiculous and impossible idea come true- this is what I find inspiring about this field.

How and why is he important in his field?

Williams has over his career, won three Oscars and three British Academy Awards (as well as 250 other achievements).

In the 1960’s he could be described as having saved the industry by hiring experienced animators when other companies were letting them go. Richards hired key personnel from DIsney to Warner Brothers to work with his company.

Recently, he can be credited with revamping modern animation and saving it from becoming outdated. His animation masterclasses were turned into a best selling book, series of DVD’s and now a Ipad App.

Are there any related practitioners who are relevant?

Within Cell animation the studios of Hanna Barbera and Disney are directly comparable. However, it should be noted that The Pixar team, having just finished Toy Story , attended his Animated Workshop Series (Wroe, N.   (2013)).

Movement

Body action Predominating Williams, R. (2001)

What has been said about his work, do I agree?

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was the first feature length movie to blend live action and animation. At the time the critics were very excited about it:

“Dense, satisfying, feverishly inventive and a technical marvel…” (Benson S. 1988)

Still to this day, I watch and enjoy this film, not just due to it’s intense and smooth animation but also the fantastic character design. Not forgetting Jessica Rabbit…

jessica-rabbit Click on Jessica for the trailer….

I agree that he is a  “pioneer of hand-drawn animation” (Wroe, N. (2013)).

Benson, S (1988), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Critic Reviews writing for Los Angeles Times, At: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096438/criticreviews , (Accessed on 26.10.13)

Williams, R. ( 2013) The Animator Survival Kit online, At: http://www.theanimatorssurvivalkit.com/biography.html ( Accessed on 26.10.13)

Wroe, N   (2013), Richard Williams: the master animator for The Guardian  At: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/apr/19/richard-williams-master-animation,( Accessed on 26.10.13)

Wells, P (2013) , Williams, Richard (1933-), Written for the BFI Reference Guide to British and Irish Film Directors, At: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/people/id/868599/ (Accessed on 26.10.13)

Life Drawing- Mixed Media

My first life Drawing session since 1997. I was nervous of being quite rusty at this! This was a life drawing exercise that didn’t solely focus on pencil skills- we had to use graphite sticks, charcoal- crushed and normal, white paints and indian inks.

Challenges for me throughout the day included: successfully remembering and implementing the measuring method, setting up a stable easel, drawing quickly and with precision. Life drawing is normally time bonded – but we only had 3 minutes per pose! Our final composition was a longer session involving all the materials and techniques.

Successes: I feel I captured the models proportions and position accurately, I completed them in time ( and for those of you who know me – you understand how little I like to be rushed!) and it was well placed on the page- unlike my other attempts at life drawn pieces his feet didn’t hang off the page.

My prelim 3 min sketches.

Life Drawing

 

 

 

 

Using Inks- you brush water over your sketch, then drop in ink using a paintbrush.

Life Drawing

Life Drawing Life Drawing Life Drawing

The completed image once dried. I was proud of his arm.
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The final life drawing of the day. For this we had to use a graphite pencil in a stabbing method to create texture and depth. We were advised to think of something that had recently annoyed us. The noise of fifteen angry artists was deafening! Life Drawing

When I next do life drawing I wonder if it would be harder to draw a woman? It might be interesting to draw a person drawing objects. A future post is on Richard Williams who advises every artist to do as much life drawing as possible as it’s important for artists.

Xmas Projects

Over the the Christmas holidays we all had some homework to do. Storyboards, photos for a project on marks & traces and my essay.  On the plus side, this made me feel young again, and that I was ported back into my youth.  It also gave my brain some exercise after all the booze and Xmas food.

The project consisted of creating, drawing and mounting up three A1 storyboards based on a five minute event in your life.

After using brainstorming strategies, I finally chose the event of my engagement as it’s a wonderful experience for us.

The storyboards were to be shown in three different ways of which one was the event, one focusing on the light and the other signifiying sounds.  The use of materials or medium was left up to yours truly, so I went for one of my favourite style of a comic book format, in black & white and then mounted on black card as I found this effective.

My main influence for this project was Frank Miller of whom has such a powerful unique style for his graphic novels.  Even though my engagement story didn’t go along the lines of Sin City, I had his superb use of angles and view points in mind as well as his strong, bold comic images.

The Spirit by Frank Miller

The Spirit by Frank Miller

Frank Millers amazing works are often distinguished by his fine contrast between the use of black and white with a small section of red in places to bring out certain points of interest.  As these combined together, it really gives a dramatic visual impact.  I was originally going to have this same effect for my storyboards, as a tribute to his style, but after I drew out all my storyboards I figured that it might be too dramatic for what my projects subject.

Storyboard: Event

Storyboard: Event

The Event- focussing on clarity of the story and how it would fit.

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Sound – Focussing on sounds of St Ives- seagulls, seashore, seaside village atmosphere. More realistic in style than the other two- this was to have a ‘comic book’ feel.

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Light- Focussing on reflections/ glass/ crystals. Both this, and the event storyboard were to be more abstract.

Even though I’m proud of all three, I did find developing them taxing! My personal favourite was the second board, based on sound, as I liked the different viewpoint filming from a birds eye view could allow. If I were to have more time to improve I would firstly add more shading into the pictures – blocks of black or textured shading could make the images stand out more. A second improvement I’m tempted to add would be to add red hints- but I feel that this may mimic Frank Miller too much! I might trial adding green or blue to these, as they might add to the atmosphere.

My next post will be on the second project we were set over Xmas- Traces!

PES

PES

This is a copy of some work I have in my research file on the Artist PES. More updates to follow on all the work I did over Xmas holidays.

What did he make and how? 

Adam Pesapane, known as ‘PES’, makes witty and cleverly thought out ways to create animated short films. Each of his twenty stop-motion shorts and over twenty commercials, made since early 2000, has it’s own quirky characteristics and peculiar taste (Roof Sex and Pee-Nut for an example).

 

PES Guacamole

Click image  above for video Fresh Guacamole

What was the idea behind his work?

I find that PES’s work gives inanimate objects life and character.  His videos also makes you realise how many items are scattered around your own living environment that can be used in creative ways.  I have noticed that in a lot of his animations he re-uses particular objects for certain effects.  The good use of Halloween Candies (image below) are frequently appeared to capture flames- could be seen as his signature.

These sweets are commonly seen in his works, such as: ‘Fireworks’, ‘Game Over’, ‘Western Spaghetti’ and ‘The Fireplace’ (aka Yule Log).

Candy-Corn

Halloween Candies – not jut great to eat- but useful for animation- click above for the link to one favourites ‘GAME OVER’

What can I extract from his work to help in the development of my work?

Because of my love for animated cartoons I grew up watching from a child, I tend to stereotype animation as being mainly of a drawn form, but of course it isn’t. Animation is a vast, wide ranged creative process that involves all types of mediums and materials.

PES said in an interview about the items used in his works saying:

“It’s all stuff most people are trying to throw away.  There is beauty to be found in these objects” (p68 Robinson, C.)

Therefore I could use this idea for future project ideas. It could be a way of building the animation, or a story around random objects?

“PES’ INVENTIVE USE OF HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS BRINGS A NEW LEVEL OF MEANING…”  Allen, A. (2013)

If I have to be negative about any of PES’s masterpieces, it would be about concept of the idea, not in any way of the animation.  I find Roof Sex disturbing and odd and didn’t like the ending of it as I’m a cat lover!

Roof Sex

Roof Sex

How and why is he important in his field?

PES is very inspiring to any aspiring animator and his work done for advertising is broad and distinctive.  He was nominated for the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar, with good reason too as they are original and unique. Ironically, “PES doesn’t like to be called an animator as it’s too limiting.” Wilson, H. (2005)

Are there any related practitioners who are relevant?

PES’s style is different from most stop motion animators, but if I had to compare something to him it would remind me of Aardman Animation’s ‘Morph’: the use of objects ( pencils, craft tools etc). However, PES steers away from claymation figures.  Another source of his inspiration are video games : “I still don’t watch TV. I play video games!” (Zahed, R.  2008)

What has been said about his work, do I agree?

Whilst researching this artist ‘Childlike- simple and fun’ were repeatedly used to describe his work. I do agree with this though the adult material he uses and the innuendoes he develops are not always for a younger audience.

When researching the full series of his work so far, I am more drawn to his recent pieces as some of his earlier work is too short- even for  a short film! I prefer his commercials to his early work. I’m looking forward to The Garbage Pail Kids which will be his first collaboration for a film role and this might give him the scope needed to show off his talent.

Ritual- Day of the dead

This past week has started a new joint project on the theme of ritual. I had the opportunity if working on my own,  but felt that from my experience on the first project brief  I wasn’t confident enough yet with my editing skills. I’m paired with the very talented & witty Mr Mestre for this project who not only has excellent editing skills , but is an expert in Photoshop and great at choosing colour- what a great person to be in a team with!

Tuesday, I had a taste of Premier Pro– I found this difficult, firstly as I’d never done any editing in depth before and secondly as for those of you who use Adobe products ( amazing as they are) they aren’t designed for the casual user! My hopeful  Xmas present is a subscription to Adobe online.

From the original brainstorm of ideas for Ritual we thought of several options : sacrifice, hunting, celebrations, religion, festivals and many more.  We quickly decided on a  theme of the ‘Day of the Dead’.  For those who are unfamiliar with this celebration, it is yearly Mexican originated festival that like Halloween has the dead returning from the grave to reunite with their loved ones.    Unlike Halloween,  this is a joyous festival of love and fun, rather than scaring, haunting or terrifying others.

day of deadWonderful face painting, scenery and costumes are used. Central to the festivities is food and drink of all kinds- check out http://www.mexicansugarskull.com/dod/index.html for some beautiful sugar skulls.

day of dead day of dead day of dead

I began researching Voodoo halfway through the week, as I’d mistakenly jumbled these thoughts in my brain. I have a soft spot for snake dancers and I was a wee bit distracted…. I had Salma Hayek in Dusk til Dawn in my mind. Anyway, I will use this later on in a different project.

Salma Hayek

Looking in to famous Mexican Artists, led me to the work of Frida Kahlo- http://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org. ( Salma Hayek also played her in the film adaptation of her life.) The  use of colour within her portraits and paintings, I feel dilutes the darkness of her oftenemotional work.

The-Little-Deer- Frida Kahlo

Colour and character design has to be central to our plot development so far. Currently we’ve divided up the project so that I will be responsible for character design and Mr Mestre for the backgrounds. We’ve both contributed to the storyline and are now developing our Storyboards for comparison to start the making of the project this week.  Below are some character designs I have come up with so far…

My Day Of The Dead character designsfridge Look what I found when having a beer break!

COMPLETED PROJECT.

Our plot was originally very long- too long! It involved a little girl, who loses her mum and when she arrives at the  families sepulchre in a graveyard she finds her mother spirit rising to meet her from the grave. Along the way she sees parades of people and cars.

After consultation we decided that it would be too long, and not showing enough focus on the day of the dead. Too much detail would have to go into the development of unnecessary detail.

So version 2 involved a much simpler approach. The little girl walks from her house on the left and using a side scrolling pan shot we had her moving through the town, entering the graveyard. This distilled approach allowed us to complete quickly, but focus on smaller details for movement of characters and features.

We divided up the work: Mr Mestre. worked on the background for the stills. He drew, then scanned and finally edited in Photoshop. The smooth texture and quirky perspective made this a highly suitable background for our project. On reflection, I think it draws some of its influence from Lowry. ( see his picture below).

It also reminds me of the work Friz Freleng did on the Pink Panther show. (Unlike the theme tune I didn’t agree with the statement ‘everybody loves a panther that’s pink’ – I would only watch it as a child as it was  A) a better choice than the Waltons and B) it was a cartoon.)

background

A Village Square, Lowry

A Village Square by L.S. Lowry

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Pink Panther show by Friz Freleng.

I  developed the character designs using foam board sheets. I see my research on the day of the Dead to inspire me and give greater detail.

living dead female
characters day of dead

The final cast

Dragon frame
Capturing the stills using Dragon Frame. This was much easier this time around. Familiarity with software is they key!work in progress

Signor Rossi was a cartoon , which I loved as a child with a far better theme tune than the Pink Panther Show tune! The abstract backgrounds, psychedelic colours and catchy music I feel are reflected in our final pieces.

The final Videos. After capturing with Dragon Frame the video was edited using Final Cut Pro.

Day of the Dead COlour

A still from the video- the undead mariachi band. Click on the film for a real life version!

Our Final Colour Video

Day of the Dead COlour

Click above  for the colour video

The video was then edited into black and white.  I think in this style it looks reminiscent of Disney’s Silly Symphony Skeleton Dance. When shooting it we wanted it to be set in the 1920′- having a vintage, blurred atmosphere.

Skeleton Dance

Click to see full Silly Symphonies

Day of Dead B & W

Our Final black and White Video- click above

Overall, The videos simplicity worked in its favour. I did realise that simple does improve things sometimes! I thought it would be quicker using foam board as time could be saved in colouring each individual piece, however the fiddliness of manipulating these tiny pieces in the animation process slowed us down. Looking back- these were quite awkward to animate and even though I loved the end effect I may not use them for a while!

 

Plasticine Model Animation

Following on from the drawn morphing animation, we in groups this time were given the opputunity to create and make our own characters to animate.   From modeling clay, the objective was to focus on the way our models would move to capture the ‘walk’ of the character.

Because of this aspect, I wanted my model to have weight and structure in the build to emphasise the movement.  So I created ‘Miss Strong’.Miss Strong: Stage 1 IMG_1943

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Here are photos I took of the character, my design ideas and the modelling process.

If we had to do this animation again, I would have slightly exaggerated her stride and walk more.  Also I would have liked it if she was positioned in the centre of the screen rather than the far right. We animated it quickly, so in doing that she got man-handled and slightly squished in places.

Morphing Animation

Last week we worked as a group to develop our skills in how to create animation by merging two objects together.  This was done in a chain-like way, in that the whole piece flowed with other drawings so that everything continued from each other, and then formed a looped motion.

Morph Animation

This exercise worked really well, and the result was very successful.  The object I took in was a mini snake-lamp light, which I thought was an interesting item to use for this task because of its articulation.  The second was a pair of dark sunglasses.  Starting off with the first drawing of the lamp as Picture One, I drew the lamp as normal.  My next drawing was the last (the sunglasses) as Picture Fourteen, and then the middle scene drawing of Picture Seven that was a blend of both objects together.  Working in-between these three stages allowed me to create the rest of the morph-from snake light to sunglasses.

Morph Animation

Morph Animation

To me, it had a Sci-Fi, shape-shifting alien feel to it.   My only worry is that it may look a little phallic?

Photomontage: Unit 2 Week 1

My pathway: Moving Image and Photography Pathway

New set of projects this term for my new pathway at Farnham UCA. I’m looking forward to developing my photography skills as I sometimes feel I don’t quite have the ‘photographers eye.’ I am intrigued to do some more photography projects so I can pursue my art through the lens.

As part of a group project we were given a random subject for which we had to produce a photomontage for. My groups scenario was ‘Spaceship’ – for those who know me they could guess I was looking forward to this.  We took shots around the campus both inside and out of the building aiming for that Sci-Fi/futuristic feel.  Images of buttons, switches, monitor screens and vast lighting filled my head for this photographic collage. We were limited to one camera to use in our group of five, I helped source and choose interesting images and angles for the project, but didn’t take any myself. Next time in a group project I would like to have the opportunity to swap roles, allowing others to find the shots and for me to take them!

We explored the stage area, the library and the canteen. When searching for images that could be used on the interior of a spaceship the Stage area close to the refectory gave the best output as it had sound and lighting control panels, lighting props and an artificial rocky wall texture ( chosen for the surface of the moon). The dark interior was perfect for the lower section of our spaceship for creating a different level.

There were some  photos which I would have liked to add to this project if we had been given more time/ opportunity: Taking a variety of shapes to create the wings of the shuttle, using pipes to create gun turrets and some logos/ signage for a ship number ( e.g. BFS9000). I think the addition of these things would have added a further development of character to our subject.

We were given our images on the next session, we had exceeded our 50 picture limit so the first task was to cull! We had to select the best pictures amongst the group and then arranged them onto sheets of A3 paper.

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Our final outcome was celebrated amongst the class as a success, firstly because they could guess our theme without prompting and also the clarity of the images.

spaceship

spaceship

We have lift-off.

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Final piece with feedback

Overall I was very pleased with the way this project turned out. We worked well as team, took a huge variety of photos, but culled them without argument and also our final piece represented the original word!

 

Fashion and Textiles

For fashion and textiles the aim of the week was to make a body adornment for a design within your own story.

The idea was imagine that there was a sudden environmental  disaster effecting the world, the land and the people inhabiting it. The story could be far fetched , but had to be based on a current known possible disaster. This is a Sci-Fi based project and having grown up with science fiction, fantasy and gaming I had a brain blender of ideas for inspiration including:  Insecticons from the Transformers, Sectaurs Toys from the 80s,  Despicable Me’s Cookie Bots, Men in Black, Blade Runner, Witchblade and Krull.

So in my future world it was not a pretty place. Planet Earth had been hit by a meteor shower, which triggered off a chain of volcanic eruptions. The plates have moved and the ground had given way – a Cataclysm in fact. Ash had filled the air and the world had become a dark, humid planet.

Humans still survived and since 100,000 years had passed our technology had advanced to a great potential. Bio:Cyber-Tech gadgets were in use before the shocking events happened and now aided mankind.

We weren’t the only organisms to survive, insects withstood the devastation. With their hard outer carapaces and underground living conditions they evolved into hulking behemoths greater in size and strength than their new prey, Homo Sapiens.

To aid the people against the Néos Insect Species our technology allowed us to have the use of remotely linked  spider bots. These were capable of not only fighting and protecting their organic counterparts, but they were ideal for searching, salvaging and securing materials.

My costume:

The main part I focussed on were the gloves. These were combat weapons  and where the robots stored themselves. I also created a robot mechanical spider and a bug- eyed nocturnal visor.

My design was influenced by Jenny Tillotson, Scent Whisper  http://www.transhumanism.org/gallery/jt.htm

Materials used to make my body adornments were a long pair of black Jessica Rabbit gloves, a discarded laptop keyboard and circuit boards, sections of a Transformer toy, cable ties, aluminium sheeting, goggles and a pair of used insoles…

THE FIRST STAGES

fashion

Here I was starting, I had though to use the mini CD’s.

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Showing my goggles and spider launcher bracelet at early stages.

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Attaching the bracer to the glove.

SPIDER BOTS

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Attaching legs made from cable ties, then stabilised with metal legs cut from sheeting.

LEFT: DEMO BIO SPIDER MADE FROM BRACELET  RIGHT: FINISHED PRODUCT WITH CHIP ATTACHEDfashion

Stupid laptop… Been wanting to do this for ages…

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In Foreground: Left arm glove -Long row of keys  were eventually removed but  I kept four letters on knuckles ‘O.U.C.H.’

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The Right Arm glove. Main control of Bio Spider with arrow keys and S.P.I.D.E.R keys ( Search, Pounce, Identify, Destroy, Energy Drain, Retreat)

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How to aim. ( Final design would have a shorter launch spindle)

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The final shoot

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Thanks J.P for modelling.

Fine Arts: Anti-Trolling Traces

For Fine Arts, our broad brief was around a theme of ‘Traces’, although this was just a helpful starting point as the final design did not have to be linked to this.

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We had to search the room for ‘traces’ of previous fine arts students remains… ( not dead bodies but the things they’d left behind.) I found a half used  tube of bright red fake blood and a kitchen fork. From these I created a very sticky Rorschach image. We could do what we wanted- mistakes were not an issue.

After this and learning to become even more experimental, I wanted my next work to link to animals. My initial thoughts were of dinosaurs- my first intention was to merge dinosaurs/ extinct species and modern animals together in a weird taxidermy picture eg a Velociraptor with bat wings or a Dodo with a lobster.

But, I wanted to do something based on an old Goat skull I’ve had for years…. I find it a fascinating object- it’s appearance, the past that could be behind it.  Saying that, how could I link it to traces?

IMG_1366 FINE ART

My next path was to do a brainstorm of everything I could think of relating to goats/traces.

Should I make a huge bust? Make it into a helmet? As it was spanish breed should it be painted in red, yellow and black? Play with colours- paint it vibrant shades of pink, purple, blue?

At lunch – Eureka– The children’s fairy tale ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ was always a favourite as a child. Finally, the troll in the story was defeated by the final goat by butting it off the bridge!

I had the idea of goat vs troll- whichbecame trolling, then internet trolling. “Being a pest on the internet just as you can.

WOW ≈    A Troll from Blizzards World of Warcraft Series.

I only had one attempt at this as I only had one resource- goat skulls aren’t easy to come by. So, a simple but effective idea was always my plan.

FINE ART

Painting the skull white, leaving the horns natural colour was a way to make the images stand out more. Also generally backdrops for computer screen  are pale.

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Finally I researched logos of sites ( old and new) where trolling predominantly happens. Not wanting to over clutter the skull, I selected the most recognisable designs: from chat sites, social networks and  the internet.

FINE ART

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Fine art

The Final Display

FINE ART

FINE ART