My blog has been submitted as part of the Professional Practice module and Honours Project module however I feel the project is not yet complete. I still have things to discuss such as my final presentation and preparation for the Abertay Digital Graduate Show. While this post and those that follow it are technically not part of the submission (and therefore not gradable?) I hope that they are taken into consideration as part of my Professional Practice grade as the Graduate Show has not yet started and therefore I am still working on this part of the module.

Last week was pretty intense with my Honours Portfolio submitted very close to the deadline on Monday night and working day and night to amend and finish my dissertation for Friday evening. There was a big sigh of relief following the dissertation submission but I quickly got to work on my presentation and preparation for the graduate show.

Presentation Practice

All the students who Lynn supervises were invited to a presentation practice session on Thursday afternoon. While my dissertation was still being worked on I managed to wrap together a presentation draft on Wednesday night which I presented the next day.

The presentation followed this structure:

  • Introduction of project – aim and objectives, recap of previous presentations.
  • Show final animation outcome.
  • Show the journey of the project – start with early practical work.
  • Explain how case studies were beneficial.
  • Show how animation discussions led to further findings.
  • Explain some of the stylistic affordances.
  • Show side projects and how they contributed to the research project.
  • Show pre-production of the final animation including story changes.
  • Explain the production process and some challenges.
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the final animation.
  • End with project blog link.

As I didn’t have much time to practice the presentation, like the first progress presentation I completely messed up the plan for what I was going to say and stumbled over many of my words. Even though I had notes, I get too lost to use them effectively to get back on track. However as I had a very visual presentation, other students were able to follow and understand the process behind my project and so despite my mess-up of the talking, I was able to get some good feedback.

The way I structured the presentation was good and I seemed to be spending the right amount of time on each section. I did however rush the evaluation and didn’t entirely conclude what my findings were (what the stylistic affordances actually were) or explain how what I made led me to conclusions.

Again, I was surprised to the positive response to my work. People seemed genuinely interested in what I had made and were entertained by the final animation. Because I spend so long creating the animations I forget there are parts that are funny and an audience laughing reminds me that sometimes I can be funny. I was amused by the reactions to my Lego Batman v Superman slide in which I explained how this side project was a distraction but helped shape the project in many ways. My classmates seemed to find it funny that I did get distracted by that but also seemed to want to see more of it. Lynn described it as a good distraction and it was worthwhile to focus on re-launching my YouTube channel.

Presentation Revisions

Having handed in my dissertation on the Friday I was free to spend more time working on my presentation. I overhauled the design of the presentation, adding a cardboard textured wallpaper, aligning images and improving layout. I also added in the odd quote to make connections to the work I was doing to the literature I was looking at.

Despite revising my presentation in response to feedback, I didn’t address the issue of my lack of rehearsal so when I came to practice presenting in front of my housemates, I completely fumbled while talking and so this was disheartening. But I spent the whole of Sunday rehearsing what I was going to say and added in a few additional slides to keep me on topic.

Final Presentation

With a little more confidence and my latest presentation ready to go I was second to present this morning. While I’m usually critical of my own presenting, I can happily say that I thought I did well on this one. Not perfect by any means but I managed to say nearly everything I wanted to and didn’t fumble over my words (that much).

I will make the presentation slides available to view here once I reduce the file size.

The structure remained the same as above while taking into consideration the previous feedback and revisions I made to it. Feedback was generally positive with David Lyons praising my practical tests as being “terrific” and enjoyed seeing the progression since my last presentation. David asked again about the research question and noted that my approach to using a research hypothesis still allowed me to be creative and explore things I wanted to make.

Brian Robinson asked about the advantages and disadvantages of stop motion’s straight ahead process as opposed to other animation mediums. While I briefly touched on this in the presentation I explained how mistakes and errors aren’t so easily corrected and you often have to commit to the shot once you’ve started. However the subtle changes in light and jerking movements are imperfections which may crop up stay in because you have no other choice but that can add to the charm and appeal of stop motion. Brian also noted similarities to Aardman’s Morph animations which I had always been familiar with but chose to research animators I wasn’t so familiar with.

Lynn also thought the presentation was good and that I’d taken into consideration feedback from the previous presentation practice. I still didn’t entirely conclude my presentation as well as I could have and didn’t explicitly state the conclusions of what the appeal of stop motion animation actually is. I explained that my project has identified and explored techniques such as materials, texture, quality of movement, imperfections and the unseen animator’s mark as a number of attributes that contribute to the appeal of stop motion animation and this builds evidence to the longevity of stop motion animation. Lynn also praised my focus on professional practice of focusing on my brand, YouTube channel and other things that put me in a better position today. She agreed that my Lego Batman v Superman trailer was a distraction but a worthwhile distraction (which is a rare thing).

Overall I am very happy with how my presentation turned out and I am pretty satisfied with how my project turned out overall. While I know there were certainly things I could have done sooner, the year has been a journey of self discovery and working things out as to what I wanted to do and what I was going to make.

Other Presentations

At the previous round of progress presentations I stayed and listened to many of the other students’ presentations which I found to be interesting and beneficial as hearing the feedback on other presentations helps to contextualise the weaknesses and strengths of your own presentation.

Some of the projects which I enjoyed seeing the outcome of was Karolina Jacobsson’s animation Yuanfen: A Fateful Coincidence¬†which was a mesmerising dance exploring relationships and destiny and how its not always a fairytale ending. What impressed me the most other than the stunning quality of animation was the collaboration with both dancers, a choreographer and a music composer and the end result that all parties involved were able to achieve. Another project which I really enjoyed seeing the progress of was Connor Cameron’s biocultural influenced monster designs which consisted of a series of monsters each with a role in the monster world he created. I get a sense of fun that Connor had creating gruesome creatures, playing with a lot of different horror themes such as mutations and sexualised imagery. And lastly Yana Hristova’s project impressed me for both her level of artistic ability and use of composition theory. She looked at a lot of films, a few of which are favourites of mine, so the final concepts she created were equally as impressive as the films she researched.

Looking back on the presentations there were a variety of different projects covering a vast range of different practices, theories and outcomes which really shows the artistic abilities of our year on the whole. While my own project doesn’t look nearly as visually impressive as some of the projects, I am pretty happy with my approach, the theory I looked at and the different content I was able to create. For once, I do feel like I am on the same playing field as other people in my year as opposed to feeling my work was never worth sharing. This year has been a year for discovery for me and for many others too. It may have taken a few years to learn how to approach creating work and building the worth ethic but I am glad of where this year has taken me.

On a side note, I’m also pretty happy with the overall design of my presentation. Centering and aligning things, spelling things correctly and being overly neat with my layouts is one thing I can do well. I was also one of the people that utilised the 16:9 ratio of the projector screen so could make full use of the screen. The perfectionist nature in myself comes in handy every now and then.

I would’ve liked to have stayed longer and listen to more presentations but needed to prepare my dissertation for printing/binding and to finish and print my poster. I will probably attend some of tomorrow’s presentations just to see how other classmates got on with their work.

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