Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SS1- Character devpt.

What I have here are developmental stages of my character Harold for my adaptation of 'Harold and the Purple Crayon'. Based on my referencing and research, I have taken the direction of silhouettes and shadow in terms of stylization which is inspired by some of Michel Gagne's style from his work in 'Insanely twisted shadow puppets.'

These doodles that I have made are an exploration of contours in order to help me with the
 first stages of fleshing out a shape for my silhouetted character. I even attempted to give
my 'originally bald' character a hoodie, as you can see in the far right corner.

Over here, I've been trying to relate the shape of the character to
existing forms like that of a stretched carpet, a chess piece and a penguin.
(Sample below)

After narrowing down to a shape that is a morph between the stretched carpet
and a chess piece, I tried adding additional detail like that of the
feet and an opening for the eyes.
Though simplistic, I'm just trying to refine the
shape of the hands and feet.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SS1- Silhouettes on Flash

As I am going to make my animation tests on Flash, the video I found below is that of Michel Gagne who is known for his work in renowned movies like that of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille. The video is a compilation of his old independent animation shorts comprised of silhouettes and shadow puppets on Flash!

The animations incorporate the use of tweens and frame by frame which is ideal for my research as I too am attempting to work on Flash for my tests. In addition to that, the character designs are worth referencing in order understand how personalities are fleshed out from plain silhouettes.

It's amazing to see how traditional shadow puppetry derived from theatre has been catapulted to another level of medium like that of Flash.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

SS1- Shadow Play/Silhouettes as a medium

For the adaptation that I have chosen to work on (Harold & the Purple Crayon), I am attempting to create a couple of animation tests based on a few shots from my storyboard. The effect I am aiming for in terms of design is that of silhouettes.

Below are a few videos that comprise of the use of shadow puppets in storytelling for theatre and animation. The relevant aspects to my research from these videos, is the design of the puppets itself with some being very intricate in details. I am focusing more on the contours of the cut outs and it's rigidity. What I hope to incorporate in my animation tests is more of a loose silhouette drawing rather than a cut out. However, these videos will help me understand the intricacies of the designs within the cut outs and how I could perhaps use it to a minimal extent in my design.

SS1- Chosen adaptation

Having researched on some of the best sellers list of Children's books, the one that appealed to me most was Crockett Johnson's 'Harold and the Purple Crayon'. This concept particularly would allow me to playfully manipulate some of the elements in the story and interpret it with my own set of motifs that convey a certain underlying message. The story also gives me the opportunity to experiment the use of certain narrative devices that I have particularly learned from 'Paul Wells' reading material.

The video below is the 'literal' word to word 1959 animated adaptation of the actual book, directed by David Piel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SS1- CASE STUDY: Duck Amuck

DIRECTOR: Chuck Jones
STORY: Michael Maltese

In a series of comical mishap, the character (Daffy Duck) is tormented by a seemingly sly but initially unidentified animator who constantly manipulates Daffy’s existence by changing his locations, physical appearance and voice. Daffy’s constant attempt to return the chaos back to normalcy only ends up with the animator to be excessive in literally interpreting Daffy’s demands and eventually ignore him.

Maltese very diligently incorporates animation elements from real life such as film strips, paint brush erasers and other components which communicates the storyline uniquely, through interactivity between the creation and the creator with the use of elements like a paint brush which keeps manipulating the character's(Daffy) environment, appearance and also a pencil eraser which the unseen animator uses to 
rub out the character at certain points.

The initial scene is established with Daffy enacting the role of a musketeer set up in the appropriate time period and location. However, before even progressing quarter way through the act, he is in the middle of nothing but a blank canvas. On requesting for a scenery to suit his part, the animator paints on a completely contrasting location to Daffy’s role which forces him to resort to a change in clothing and role play. It is thereon, that the character is constantly forced to adapt to locations that are unsuitable for the part he plays.The use of this comical tactic really tests one’s funny bone as it exposes the demanding yet unquestionably hilarious behavior of the character which remains unchanged till the very end of the story. Conventionally, one would expect the character arc to end in a state of ‘realization’ where he experiences a change;however in this short, the characters persistent demands and mishaps manage to successfully entertain throughout till the surprising climax.

Prior to the actual climax, there comes a point where the audience is made to anticipate the end of the story where it appears to be a curtain close. However, the character is proving to stop at nothing till his demands are fulfilled, just as much as the creator who is also as much determined to pester Daffy till he is at wit’s end; that would include messing up the film roll as well. From that point, the characters sanity is put to the ultimate test with constant obstructions and hurdles which includes a failed attempt of sucker punching his body double who is literally erased from the picture by the creator. These series of incidences only cause further anticipation from the audience who want to further witness the amount of blows the character can take.

A great attempt of manifesting the nature of the relation between the creator and the creation is in the part where Daffy’s attempt of landing on ground with a parachute is slyly erased and redrawn into an anvil by the animator. What highlights the relationship is the revelation towards the climax where the quick witted animator draws out a door around Daffy and shuts it. This camera shot then zooms out from the paper canvas to an animators desk behind which is seated none other that Daffy’s best friend/arch-rival.

Behind every comical misadventure in the short lies a very simple concept of fate. No matter what life throws at you, one should adapt or make amendments rather than complain about what nature has designed for you.