Creative Habit: The “Lethargy” Saga

Lethargy, 12/10/15

My original idea for the creative habit assigned was to create a definitive story sketch, with a beginning, middle, and end, within an hour. Gradually, that idea evolved into much looser, sketchier parameters for what would pass as my habit. The plots became less tethered to traditional means of storytelling, and more “modern.” For example, the sketches I created above were more about my own lethargic disposition at the time, rather than the content of the plot. Without context, it lacks an arc; its only business in existing is establishing some sort of relationship between the two characters. I would dare say these short, 30 minute sketches are less about the story of a character, and more a brief snippet of their lives.

(On a side note, I learned that pen work looks pretty neat, and is easier to show than pencil. Might do it some more.)

I learned to do work that was more for myself than for anyone else, and more importantly, that failure, even succumbing to lethargy, is fine for what a creative habit is.

Without further ado, I present some of my past failures and…well, other sketches!

Cat, 11/19/15

One of my earliest works. This was sort of my “break into a habit of do whatever you want,” which I would later follow and expand upon as time wore on. Features a cat and a tailor.

Snake, 12/9/15.

Had the cleanest line art out of all of them, I think. Snakes are probably not every relevant to what it’s trying to say. In fact, I’m almost positive it’s not really trying to say anything here.

Bouquet, 12/2/15

Unlike the others, it consists of no written word. Only images drive the story forward, and it was pretty fun to draw. Probably a favorite.

Timers, 12/7/15

My personal favorite. One of the few to feature a clear beginning, middle, and end (though the end is obviously rushed, and anti-climactic). I just like writing dumb, silly stories.

And lastly, for reference this final week, I was particularly intrigued by an Eleanor Davis exhibit I discovered during my class’s Columbus Museum visit. She uses very clean line work and colors to write rather emotional comics; the Adam and Eve comic comes to mind. More importantly, her sketch books were absolutely brimming with personality; it was apparent she uses her sketches to develop her ideas to their maximum. I wanted to borrow the idea behind these sketches and have some sort of conversation with myself. Thus, works like Lethargy and Snake were produced. HOW-TO-BE-HAPPY-eden-650x856

Scene from How to Be Happy, by Eleanor Davis

I highly recommend checking her out.

Well, that’s all for now folks. Your host, La Vier Narcisse, signing out.

See You, Space Cowboy

Visual Storyboarding Extra Credit

Mind Game- Whale Escape

 

Space

  • Generally, very claustrophobic and cluttered. Deep space can be found during the “calcium” memory scene, in which we see a foreground, midground, and background, as well as the outside world. However, the scene mostly utilizes flat space to truly maximize the intensity for the animation (budget constraints). Nearing the end of the film, the negative begins to match what’s on screen, until a fair

Line and Shape

  • Sharp contours provide definition for characters, who are otherwise surrounded by  edges of space (the insides of the whale, the current, etc.) High contrast in mostly diagonal lines from the character’s sweeping, secondary body movements. Notably, at the end of the film, lines draw to a horizontal angle, winding down all the adrenaline.

Tone

  • Pumping, intense, desperate, adrenaline-full, until the end, which in contrast, is slow, reflecting, harmonious, and peaceful. Achieved staunch, dark blacks within the whale, which is contrasted with blinding whites once the protagonist exits the whale.

Color

  • Intense, blood red colors within the whale, like the color of adrenaline, rage, and desperation itself. Below the water line are pale yellows, ominous and deathlike. As the animation reaches the end, extraordinarily bright blues begin coloring the sea, and sky. Also, the protagonist himself begins glowing vibrant yellows, and oranges; colors of life signifying his last push to freedom. The colors that exist between inside the whale and outside provide extreme contrast, as if to represent a great struggle, and the struggle’s reward.

Movement

  • As fast as it can go, only winding down as freedom inches closer. Lines sprawl out as much as they can; almost nothing is still. However, slow-motion is something utilized to provide a “break-point” or “hopeful event” for our protagonist(s), such as when the old man is saved by the dinosaur.

Rhythm

  • Extreme staccato; no stops, only faster, faster, faster, until, like all adrenaline fueled rages, it winds down in exhaustion. After all the struggling, the protagonists break free. This is shown by the absolute constant movement; so much so that visual contrast in rhythm is created only by memory sequences.  The tempo is constant. Frequent editorial cuts also help keep the pace quick and fast. With its fast cutting, it’s harder to pick up more repetitive cuts.

The Return of the Habit

As a word of warning, this post is going to be very light on…words. Notable changes made to the project was reducing the time limit from an hour to 30 minutes, and using a pen. The time limit reduction paradoxically gave me more free to produce something I wouldn’t worry about perfecting; the pen gave me a similar effect (while at the same time being aesthetically pleasing). On the subject of story, things changed quite a bit, too. It’s less novelish, and more like getting a glimpse into a particular character’s life. It was enjoyable this way, I thought. One day is missing, but 9/10 isn’t so bad, right? Without further ado, a long list of stories await!

LIMBER

THE ART OF THE REALEST HIPSTER AROUND (NOT REALLY)

NAT-NAT

GUNDAM

TIMERS

R

BOUQUET

MI MO

COLE

 

Various references/inspirations:

The_Last_Outpost

Gundam, The Last Outpost vol.1

20th-century-boys-1562567

21st Century Boys by Naoki Urasawa, featuring grumpy old man, Otcho.

 

Until next time!

 

 

Choo-Choo: All Aboard The Shame Train!

I didn’t realize how personal this project would turn out to be. By personal, I mean “poor.” By no means are these “stories,” if you can call them such, well-developed, nor do they possess any strong continuity. It would be perfectly fine for me if I didn’t have to expose such things to the outside world (by outside world, I suppose I’m talking about 9-10 people). However, I am no coward (a lie)! Today, I am perfectly happy to unveil my ungodly sketches with you all (another lie).

So, without further ado:

TAILOR

Now.

Uh…

These…these projects were meant to exercise storytelling. I’ve also learned that I do not know how to draw a great many shots. It was frustrating trying to piece things together so quickly, but it provided good challenge.

Please forgive me, I’m a bit frazzled at the moment.

Now…there were other stories. I’m going to conclude this blog with those other stories I produced. Due to mismanaged time, the aforementioned sketches aren’t scanned in as well. My apologies for that. Apologies as well for the poor handwriting. Next time, I intend to type out captions below.

So far, the process has been both frustrating and amusing.

JETPACKER

NEWSCASTER

 

Until next time!

A Habitual Storybook- Proposal

It’s occurred to me that as much as I enjoy creating stories in my head, I haven’t much experience in jotting them down. With the next project, “Creative Habit,” I thought I could use this time to perhaps get some more experience in telling a finished story. So, without further ado, I present my idea: “Improv Storybook.” Everyday of the week, for one hour, I plan to tell a finished story accompanied with images. It would look a bit like a children’s book, much sketchier and sparse, done traditionally. In addition, these stories would be told mostly through improvization, resulting in, most likely, rather absurd tales of woe and merriment. To keep it short and sweet (and to make sure that I don’t end up with an incomplete story), the only planned part of this experiment would be the story’s end; and it’s my job to burrow a tunnel to that end.

As an example, here’s what I imagine the layout would look like for one page/panel:

storytime

Please excuse the poor quality of Mr. Lanks.

I’m still debating on whether or not writing an ending before hand is necessary, but we’ll see!

Until next time!

“Bittersweet- A Sad Story Meant To Be Shared as The World’s Smallest Violin Is Played In The Background”

I was disappointed in myself, to say the least, when I read an email from Olivia detailing what changes were made to our final project. To keep a story short, with what I saw Tuesday, the animation we worked on was cut due to unsatisfactory quality, and replaced with cut-out animation done by another member outside the animation team. I regret my choices in regards to last weekend; honestly, I could have very well stayed, but went home to relax. Terrible mistake on my part, and the consequences of that action show. What I’ve learned from this project overall, in terms of working in a group, is really to be flexible, and ensure that you’re communicating with all your team members.

Regardless, for what’s it worth, I do not regret the choice I made in choosing to follow this project. I enjoyed working with my team throughout this project, and was not proud, per say, but relatively impressed with the final outcome of the project. In summary, I wish I had taken things more seriously, and not have been as careless with the embarrassing mistakes I committed over the course of the project.

At this point, I’m merely repeating myself. What’s done is done, and I certainly wouldn’t want to end this blog post on such a gloomy note.

So without further ado, people like puppies, right?

“Really, you’re gonna introduce puppies? That’s going to save this blog post? Are you serious right now?”

No, and I’m beginning to think that’s a good thing.

black-labrador-doggy-sad-eye-800x480

Hello. I’m a dog. A sad dog. Crime is high, and that’s not okay.

dog-thinks-hes-a-cat-1

I’m cool dog. I make dog milkshakes for my friends, and even the dog bullies don’t pick on me at dog school! I’m just the coolest dog around!

shutterstock_195973736.0

I’m not a dog. I’m just a bundle of sticks. And that’s the joke, everyone!

The joke is my life.

The life that I don’t have, har har har!

alien family

We’re an alien family. And if we’re here, then that means La Vier doesn’t know when to stop a crappy joke.

Our son is dead, and he treats this like a game. Do you see how unamused we are? We will have our revenge, you sick, greasy-ass motherfucker. (“Dad alien brings home dead son to horrifed mom” by Lizzy3059)

Until next time!

The Animation is Roughly Finished (maybe)!

Right after I wrote last week’s blog post, I went to class only to hear something that came as a bit of a shock; our previously shot footage was unusable due to our makeshift green screen. Upon hearing the news, I, and what I assume to be in the thoughts of the rest of the animation team, interpreted that as “we need to shoot everything over again,” and immediately became a bit downtrodden.

Regardless, the animation team had to pick itself up; after all, clay Elijah and Poe were not (I hope) going to animate themselves. With more experience under our belt, we were at least given the hope that the process would proceed much quicker. Luckily, our director told us that wouldn’t be necessary, and told us to begin shooting new scenes. We dodged a bullet, but it really shows how fickle this process can be.

Another obstacle impeding our progress were technical difficulties with the camera. After I regretfully dropped it, the camera we were using began showing trouble in letting us access previous film, or acquire new shots. Through a turbulent week of needing to acquire a green screen, and having issues with the camera, the animation team pulled through in time to finish our rough.

And so, without further ado, please allow me to take a second and celebrate our victory over the forces that be:

That about sums up our week; now of course, it would be quite rude of me to end this post on a block of crude text, wouldn’t it? Here’s some progress pics to send the reader on their way:

IMG_20151022_083212_418 IMG_20151022_104016_716 IMG_20151022_104030_772

Until next time!

Light blog post from me, this week (mostly because I goofed up and forgot to take any progress shots). The animation group, despite some setbacks, was able to sufficient progress this week. As of the time this blog post is written, we have approximately 21 seconds of animation completed. Keeping the clay models stable and firm on the ground for our shots was a far more laborious task than I had previously anticipated. Even so, I would be lying if I didn’t say such an earnest process left me a tad bit proud. It was also pretty cool to get insights from the group; from improvisation, other group members ended up adding a few interesting shots into the animation, which I thought turned out great. In summary, the animation’s a bit harder than expected, but it’s also rewarding.

Since I would feel a little bad if no pictures were introduced in this blog post, to compensate, I remembered that I came across some interesting set-pieces/dark stills, from stop-motion animations the other day, which I thought shares a bit of the “horror” Poe is going for.

From the Quay Brother’s back alley, closet nightmares (because I have no idea how else these things would be produced, and am a tad envious of that fact), I present to thee: Horrific Stills of Weird Baby Dolls and Other Assorted Creepy Things.

dollssss

The Quay Brother’s, (origin of still, unknown)

VERITGO

Stille Nacht- Dramolet

o-QUAY-BROTHERS-570They Think They’re Done, 1987

the comb

The Comb (The Comb From The Museum of Sleep), 1990

Until next time!

It’s-A-Me, A-Mental-Fatigue.

This post will be a bit on the short side of the written word, for below lies crude incentives for my viewership/project. To bluntly put it, this week was tough. 3-D modeling has never been my forte, nor has neatness or time management. I was tasked with placing clay on the wire-frame of Elijah’s dream sequence model, with a side helping of crafting some storyboards. The whole animation team shared an unexpectedly arduous task of creating storyboards for the script. What I have done is barely 1/5 of it, perhaps not even that much. Who knew that many boards were to be produced for a 2 minute short film? Actually, looking at the boards…I do think we’ll either end up exceeding the 2 minute length, or downsizing heavily. I’m sure the team will be able to work something out. All in all, I’m a bit disappointed that I was not able to produce anything greater than what I have currently. However, the most important thing is that I placed at least something on the table; with the help of my other team members, we can only go up from here! My apologies for the roughness of the storyboards.

IMG_20151015_063347_421

IMG_20151015_063505_634 IMG_20151015_063521_286 IMG_20151015_063535_476 poe 1 poe 2 poe 3 poe 4 poe 5 poe 6 poe 7 poe 8 poe 9 poe 10 poe 11 poe 12 poe 13 poe 14 poe 15 poe 16 poe 17 poe 18

Until next time!

Project 2: “Poe”

   “Poe”

   I have been given the opportunity to work on an in-class project, currently entitled Poe, as an animator of sorts. My first task as an animator has been to brainstorm the material we might use, as well as animation styles or anything that comes to mind. Since the story of Poe is of a rather dark nature (though I doubt any short film with Poe in its name would be without some form of horror), I considered the idea of claymation. You can achieve a large amount of both whimsy and horror with this material, particularly in stop-motion, because of its ability to strike the Uncanny Valley so frequently. Therefore, during the dreamlike states where Poe is an ally, it would be easy to present him as such; not too horrific or malevolent, but always a bit foreboding. Then, when the horror needs to ramp up, we let the misshapen, imperfect property of clay take the lead.

Some examples of “more ominous, dreamy than hellish” claymation:

theneverhood

Setting from The Neverhood (1996)

neverhood2

Klaymen, from The Neverhood (1996)

And then when things get serious…:

clay Is Scary

Image from Love Automatic- Nightmare (2011) by Lee Hardcastle

Crooked Rot (2008) by David Firth

An example of claymation used in tandem with live action (and a bit more unsettling):

silenci

Jan Švanjmajer’s Sílení (Alice) (1988)

Another proposal I have for the material used is simply meat: it’s dark, disgusting, and might be interesting to sculpt. Could possibly be used for the unveiling of Poe’s true nature.

Some examples of animated meat:

Lunacy-Animated_Meat

Lunatic (2005)

Sober (1993),performed by Tool, characters modeled by Adam Jones

In the climax of Tool’s Sober music video, there is a very raw, and surreal moment when the meat is unveiled; the combination of the meat’s slimy, heavy mass, and misshapen, irregular grooves helps turn the video from a nightmare to a real, living hell as it is pumped through the tubes. I believe our group may or may not benefit from using meat to push the artist’s dreams into full-on hellscape mode.

On a light side thought, I have also looked into using paper cutouts, animated primarily through paint, as well. It might be more manageable, as it wouldn’t require us to scavenge  for too many resources. We could easily use dragonframe in Kiney Hall, and place it in our live action film later, utilizing After Effects. However, painting our “Poe” and setting could prove to be too time consuming. Nonetheless, here’s an animated video done with paper cutouts I found with a dream-like atmosphere.

+Storybook+, compliation of short films by I.C. Markstrom