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Honours Project

Questions – Continued

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Following the exercise on writing down questions I expanded on some of them. After meeting with Lynn Parker it seemed I was missing questions regarding stop-motion even though it is one of the animation mediums I am most interested in exploring this year.

One of the questions I wrote down was “What about animation interests me?” To expand upon that I ask myself “What about stop-motion animation interests me?” This is a question I’m not sure I can even fully answer and will no doubt play a part in my project in some way or another.

Stop-motion animation appeals to me because like any animation medium, its mesmerising to see something come to life. Everyone as a child has played with their toys, moving them around and pretending as if they are alive. I see stop motion as the next level up, taking that imagination and making it real.

The physicality of stop-motion particularly interests me, I like building things and working with my hands. I’m not a particularly strong drawer so having something physical to work with means I don’t have to worry about maintaining volumes or keeping character drawings consistent.

I’d like to expand on this further and have began reading “Stop Motion: Passion, Process and Performance” in a hope to understand more about the finer details of stop motion.

Over the next few weeks I’ll also do some media tests involving different stop motion materials and look further into the features of stop motion that I want to explore further into.

A couple of other questions I could explore:

  • What is appealing about the visual quality of stop-motion?
  • Why would stop-motion be used over 3D computer animation?
  • How does the process of stop-motion influence the content of the animation?
  • How do the imperfections of stop-motion actually enhance the animation?

Exploring My Interest in Animation

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A lot of the questions I wrote down in this week’s tutorial were mostly related to the final product and what it would be made from.

I felt it would be beneficial to look into the features I like in animation other than the craft. I wrote down things such as film-making techniques and narrative and characterisation features that interest me in other animated works.

These aren’t necessarily topics to focus my entire research around but they are things I may want to incorporate into my project. It felt better to write these thoughts down rather than to keep them in my head.

Questions

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Today in the “Concept Development, Pre-Production and Professional Practice” tutorial I participated in a task involving writing down questions I had. Questions about what we had on our mind and what we wanted to know about in our field of study.

These questions were originally written on a large sheet of paper where after we identified themes that were emerging. I have typed these questions up and grouped questions into themes I’ve identified however many questions can fit into multiple themes. I also added to some of the few questions I’d already explored in my sketchbook:

Some questions are straight forward, some obvious and some that will not be relevant to my project a few weeks down the line. It was important to put these questions on paper to try and identify a direction to focus research.

These questions ask how I may go about researching things that may inform my project:

  • What do animators like to research?
  • What are animators currently researching?
  • What research projects have animators done in the past?
  • What books do I want to read?

These questions focus more on what animation medium I may want to explore:

  • What animation medium do I want to use?
  • Should I mix animation mediums?
  • What are good examples of mixed medium animation?
  • Why are mixed medium animations good?
  • Why where those mixed medium animations made?
  • How are stop-motion animators doing outside of a studio environment? (i.e. can I animate outdoors?)

This set of questions concerns what kind of final product I want to make:

  • Should I make a short film, a series of short films or an interactive piece?
  • What story do I want to tell?
  • Should I focus on enhancing a style of animation?
  • Whose story do I want to tell?
  • Should I come up with a story first or let my research guide me into developing a story?
  • Should I put more focus on narrative and characterisation?
  • Why should I put more focus on narrative and characterisation.

I also had a few technical questions that involve the limitations of my own skills and scope:

  • How would I make a 3D computer animated film without being too knowledgeable in 3D modelling or rendering?
  • How would I go about including music that would fit an animation I had made?
  • How are minimalist environments/backgrounds used effectively?

The final set of questions involves ideas I had and how I may go about developing them further, as well as general questions about things I want to find out more about:

  • How can I incorporate audience interaction into an animation?
  • Why is humour so often used in animation?
  • How do I keep my humour in animation spontaneous without being affected by storyboards and dwelling on story beats and story refinement?
  • Can nostalgia be factored in to an animation style?
  • What makes animation interesting/important to me?

To summarise, there are a lot of questions here. Some of these are the right questions to ask, others not so much. There are also questions I’ve yet to identify and I need to think on this some more. Following this, I will consider which questions are important to explore and which ones I would like to research in to. Hopefully this is a step closer into identifying a larger research question that will become my the subject of my dissertation.

Mind Map

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To begin working out a direction on what to do and what to research I made a mind map on some of the rogue thoughts and ideas floating around my head.

This mind map deals mostly with the medium of animation I want to work with and in doing so I hope to identify some mediums that can be combined or blended.

I also wrote down some strengths and weaknesses I have to hopefully work out the best route to take this year. Obviously I want to play to my strengths as much as possible but also hopefully work on a few of my weaknesses.

Some ideas on the final artefact of this project include:

These are ideas that are more of “I wonder how I’d make that?” thoughts that have crossed my mind. I’m more than sure that I’ll look back on these ideas in the future and have different thoughts on them. I’m hoping that through research and practice I’ll form a better base for any research question and final product I’ll make.

Honours Blog First Post

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Hello and welcome to my honours year blog. This is week one and ahead of me is a year which I have no idea will pan out. All I know is there will be a lot of researching, a lot of work and a lot of stress. However I hope this year will also be inspiring, enjoyable and allow me to develop my skills.

What I’ve began to consider so far is what I will want to be making this year. I want to continue focusing on animation as my main specialisation, in particular: 3D computer animation.

Researching and practising in animation may lead me to produce a short animated film as my final product, but I may also end up creating a series of animations or another piece which involves animation.

I have a couple of ideas in mind which I want to expand upon, these include mixing animation mediums such as 3D animation with stop-motion or live action film footage. Over the summer I have been working on stop-motion projects and really enjoying it, I would love to incorporate stop-motion into my project somehow if its possible. This is an excerpt from my sketchbook mapping out which animation types could mix:

On the narrative and characterisation side of things, I’ve not yet thought about what to explore. One idea I did have was animating stop-motion characters in real life locations, I would use the locations to tell the stories of the people who lived there.

So as you can see, a few ideas and a vague direction in which to go in. Obviously I’ve got a lot of research ahead of me. I will look into books that can help guide me in the right direction and discuss with others which ideas are worth developing.