Forefront of my current work

So where is my work in relation to the forefront of animation? I would categorize my project Love Returned as a 2D based animation, placed in a 3D world. 2D animation currently is not seen to be at the forefront, instead VR is the next steps in the development. 3D animation and 2D/3D hybrid follow behind. Nowadays, instead of massive transitions in the visual quality of 2D animation, it is the technique, method, software and style that allows for efficiency and diversity.

It is clear that Disney has made the transition from 2D to 3D film production. Many question if there will be a return of 2D from Disney. However, in other parts of the world, 2D still plays a significant role in the animation industry. Makato Shinkai has been made known to be the ‘new’ or ‘second’ Hayao Miyazaki. Within the world he creates, there are elements of 3D and CGI that are seamlessly used. I would regard him and his work at the forefront of 2D animation.

There are other places we can find to be the forefront of 2D animation and those out there testing and sharing their knowledge of its application. Such is Klei Entertainment from a GDC session. Such conferences and talks can help us understand the industry and the directions people are exploring.

Festivals are also good places to keep up and involved in the forefront of animations that associate with the 2D style and technique.

Future direction of 2D hand drawn animation?

In Ireland, director Tomm Moore argues that 2D animation can still evolve and survive, just like how stop-motion has been revived through unique perspectives through studios such as Laika and Aardman. 2D animation is similar to stop-motion in the sense that the techniques have been adapted and mixed with CGI and other media. In this modern age, it is clear that most, if not all animated films are mixed media. However there will always be a main medium that is clear to the viewer of where it is stemmed from.

References

Fenlon, W., 2012. 2D Animation in the Digital Era: Interview with Japanese Director Makoto Shinkai – Tested. [Online]
Available at: http://www.tested.com/art/movies/442545-2d-animation-digital-era-interview-japanese-director-makoto-shinkai/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Game Anim, 2017. 2D Animation Klei Entertainment – GAME ANIM. [Online]
Available at: http://www.gameanim.com/2017/06/06/2d-animation-klei-entertainment/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Lamble, R., 2016. Studio Ghibli: Marnie, its final films, the future of 2D animation | Den of Geek. [Online]
Available at: http://www.denofgeek.com/movies/studio-ghibli/37209/studio-ghibli-its-final-films-the-future-of-2d-animation
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Little White Lies, 2016. Makoto Shinkai: ‘You can’t be Miyazaki, you can only be the second Miyazaki’. [Online]
Available at: http://lwlies.com/interviews/makoto-shinkai-your-name/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Slurpy Studios, 2009. 2D Animation vs 3D Animation Argument, Debate. [Online]
Available at: http://www.slurpystudios.com/2d-animation-vs-3d-animation/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

Stein, M., 2016. Will Disney Ever Return to Making Hand-Drawn Animated Films? – The Mickey Mindset. [Online]
Available at: http://www.mickeymindset.com/will-disney-make-hand-drawn-films/
[Accessed 17 August 2017].

 

VR Animation

VR has been the latest and most exciting technology for the past few decades since the late 50s that has stirred up many forums, discussions and generated ideas. Especially with the multiple possibilities such as games, art and film.

history_of_vr_by_worldviz

What interests me about the latest development is the story building by Quill from Oculus Rift Story Studio. One of the short VR film narratives is titled Dear Angelica about a daughter recalling memories of her and her mother.

This technology is being trialed by many around the world and shared through the internet. Youtubers such as Draw with Jazza has been able to experiment using one of the first developed animation programmes for VR.

 

References

Bye, K., 2017. #477: Top 50 VR Storytelling Interviews + Oculus Story Studio Roundtable Discussion | Voices of VR Podcast. [Online]
Available at: http://voicesofvr.com/477-top-50-vr-storytelling-interviews-oculus-story-studio-roundtable-discussion/
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

Draw with Jazza, 2017. My First VR ANIMATION – StickDeath in Virtual Reality! (AnimVR). [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-o1sV4xlqJQ
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

Freefly VR, 2017. The History of Virtual Reality – Timetravelling. [Online]
Available at: https://freeflyvr.com/time-travel-through-virtual-reality/
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

Freefly VR, 2017. The History of Virtual Reality | Freefly VR. [Online]
Available at: https://freeflyvr.com/history-of-virtual-reality/
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

VRgamer.no, 2017. Dear Angelica | Virtual Reality | Youtube. [Online]
Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wepdt31Fk0M
[Accessed 11 August 2017].

 

 

 

What is the Forefront?

From the past Wednesday’s symposium on what is the forefront and what that means within our specific field of focus has been very informative. From that session we discussed and shared what we thought the forefront was and was provided a presentation by our main tutor. It has helped clarify a number of things such as something within the field being popular does not necessarily mean that it is at the forefront. The forefront means pushing boundaries and expanding knowledge.

Our tutor Ian explained it as comprising of either it being a new original idea or a new perspective of an old idea or a new way of established practice process. There also must be an identification method of defining the forefront. Ian suggested finding 10 items that relates to what might be the forefront of my field.

Below is my improved presentation attempt to defining the forefront:

noun: forefront

  1. the leading or most important position or place.

Linked words to the forefront:

  • Innovation
  • Current Trends – what is being pushed forward, reinterpreted or discovered
  • Originality, uniqueness
  • Technical progression

“A great film shows us old truths in new ways.  A great animated film requires we show that truth through powerful visual invention. The more you buy in emotionally that the cartoon characters on screen are real and in real peril, the greater the animated film.” Mike Gabriel, Art Director on Wreck-It Ralph

šThe Story – emotional aspect

šCreative impact – uniqueness

šVisual Effects –  technical quality

Where to find the forefront: VR technology and Animation Festivals

To me personally, the forefront must be active and regularly updating. I have also linked a number of trends with some innovative forefront activities listed within it. Such trends would be the come back of stop motion. However, it is not just popularity because people have been re-moulding the concept of stop motion and reinventing alternative portrayals, therefore linking to the innovative forefront.

References:

Aszman, A., 2016. The Biggest Animation Trends in 2016 – and what’s coming in 2017 | HowDesign. [Online]
Available at: http://www.howdesign.com/design-firm/design-firms-to-watch/biggest-animation-trends-2016-whats-coming-2017/
[Accessed 03 July 2017].

Creative Bloq Staff, 2014. 5 new animation trends for 2015 that will change everything. [Online]
Available at: http://www.creativebloq.com/3d/animation-trends-2015-111413522
[Accessed 03 July 2017].

Sarto, D., 2013. How Do We Judge the Best? | Animation World Network. [Online]
Available at: https://www.awn.com/vfxworld/how-do-we-judge-best
[Accessed 03 July 2017].

Animator: Toniko Pantoja

An active animator and artist that I admire is Toniko Pantoja. I like this art style and the different animated shorts he has worked on. Last year, his work was shared on Cartoon Brew as Artist of the Day.

Pantoja has a tumblr blog account where he posts updates of his work and the online classes he provides. He also is active on other social media such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.

Through his posts on Youtube of his animated shorts has gained him recognition. Be also began posting tutorial videos and thus opened his own website for online learning. He also streams allowing people to follow along in his work and technique. Pantoja boldly shares his knowledge and skills. On Vimeo however, is where he posts his finalized work.

Not only does he share with people the ins and outs of animation and what he has learned during his time at Calarts, but he is a down-to-earth person. On his blog, he provides an FAQ about film, advice and opinion related questions on being in the animation industry.

Within the industry itself, Pantoja has worked for Dreamworks Animation, Cartoon Network, Chavvo, Picnic Productions and most recent work Tonko House. Having worked with a mix of mainstream and smaller studios, it is clear through observing the studio style that it is not too drastically dissimilar. Therefore it is possible for Pantoja not to compromise his style that he enjoys.

References:

Flores, T., 2017. Tonko House Unveils First Look at Hulu Japan Animated Series ‘Pig: The Dam Keeper Poems’ (EXCLUSIVE). [Online]
Available at: http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/tonko-house-hulu-japan-dam-keeper-1202469989/
[Accessed 26 June 2017].

McDonnell, C., 2016. Artist of the Day: Toniko Pantoja. [Online]
Available at: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/artist-of-the-day/toniko-pantoja-141343.html
[Accessed 26 June 2017].

Pantoja, T., 2017. About Me | Spring Bing – Toniko Pantoja. [Online]
Available at: http://stringbing.tumblr.com/about
[Accessed 26 June 2017].

 

 

The Me Bird

My tutor showed us an animated short that appeared beautifully handmade with some digital editing. When I watched the making of video however, it was very poignant that they did not use paper as their main medium! That the dance was extracted from an actual dancer filmed on green screen, then watercolour paper textures were placed after. The final effect produces an attractive hypnotic outcome. The play with colour sets the mood, correlating to the events that occur to the central character – the ballerina. The idea of the ballerina desiring to break free from her cage carries some of the ideas from the inspired poem by Pablo Neruda.

The Me Bird was produced by 18bis in 2013 with creative directors Gabriel (Animation director) and Maria Ilka (Art director). Their aim is to increase interaction and connection between people through the convergence of medias and techniques. To play with the relationships between craftsmanship and computer, poetry and keyframe, drawing and rhythm, sight and storytelling.

From their website, their reel begins strongly and ends strongly with extracts from the same animated short. The middle shows an eclectic range of work demonstrating the breadth of skill. They also have a range of social media links such as blog on WordPress, Twitter, Behance and Vimeo. It is unfortunate to see that they have not had any recent posts or activity, yet the style they have built up is something I appreciate.

Reference:

18bis, N/A. 18bis. [Online]
Available at: http://www.18bis.tv/
[Accessed 19 June 2017].

 

June: Animated short in the making

From the makers of ‘Paperman’ comes a new animated short titled ‘June’ for the ride-sharing service Lyft from the States. Directors John Kahrs (Paperman) and Kevin Dart (from boutique design and animation studio Chromosphere) discuss their inspiration of how the animated short came to be.

 

The origins of June is poignantly moving. Ricardo Viramontes the creative director of Lyft called Kahrs up in attempt to make his short story about a Lyft driver a reality. He began with the framework of a woman, a single mum who lost her job and was struggling to make ends meet. This character continued to evolve, eventually becoming a character from the neighborhood of Bronzeville in Chicago.

Similar to Paperman, what is striking about the animation is the 2D aesthetic with an added dimension, except instead of merely having monochrome, June is full of colour. In fact a kaleidoscope of colour. This idea came from the wheels of the car and how the kaleidoscope is a bunch of pieces that come together to create a beautiful mosaic that they want it to represent it as what it is like to be part of a big community. This display of spinning multi-colours produces a wonderful aesthetic effect and transition of the kinds of people that hop on for the ride.

The team had definitely done their research by actually going around Chicago, also using Lyft services and asking questions and being surrounded by the culture and the people. It was helpful that the music artist they worked with ‘Sir the Baptist’ had experience as a former Lyft driver. They also showed their work in progress to drivers and people to get feedback to see how relatable the experiences were.

Understanding how Kahrs and Dart has collaborated helps me understand others thinking process of getting inspiration. Through their thorough investigation, they are able to not only achieve a wonderful aesthetic, but achieve a touching short story.

References:

Failes, I., 2016. How ‘Paperman’ Director John Kahrs and Chromosphere’s Kevin Dart Combined to Make This Animated Short For Lyft | CartoonBrew. [Online]
Available at: http://www.cartoonbrew.com/shorts/paperman-director-john-kahrs-chromospheres-kevin-dart-combined-make-animated-short-lyft-146389.html
[Accessed 12 June 2017].

 

Shorts Worth Investing?

Why invest in short films? Entertainment, accessibility, understanding human cognition. Historically, all forms of film had it’s beginnings as short films. This grew into feature films has people were able to develop more with the growing technology to exhibit more complex story lines. This was able to match up to the theatre and opera at the time and therefore were seen as respectable.

Short films were initially shown before any feature-length film, however this eventually proved unpopular and they were disregarded. However, MTV opened a new opportunity for short films. Tim Pope who directed for many musicians such as The Cure, The Bangles and Neil Young believes that the music video has allowed for a new type of short film-making. With the rise of technology, it was easier for more individuals to gain access to equipment to experiment. With the new age of technology and its platforms YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Facebook, Twitter and so on, the more people have become drawn to ‘bite-sized’ pieces of information.

Although it is unlikely for short films to enter back in the cinemas before feature-length movies, Pixar has been screening delightful animated shorts.

Webseries is now a current thing, especially in Australia. Each episode is normally around 10 minutes. The difference between this and series from YouTube, is that it is classed as a more professional level. An air of seriousness with a twist of wit.

However, it is not always so fortunate for independent film makers to have the necessary finances; social media and crowd funding has become the main source of allowance. This is especially the case for web series where they rely on their own connections and social media outreach for there to have a demand in the first place.

When there is something unique, something exquisite to invest in, there is opportunity. Such an encouraging example is Trejur’s short animated film below.

Kickstarter, Patreon and Ko-fi are great places for people to support and invest creations. These platforms are helpful in understanding how to reach out, connect and show people why it is worth investing in a project.

Although it appears that Pixar has become seemingly reliant on sequels, the animated short ‘Piper’ from Pixar has proved how animation can be emotional and expressive without relying on the traditional anthropomorphizing of the characters. Perhaps through short film experimentation, this new department would take advantage of this new channel for exploring creative visions.

References:

Davies, R., 2010. The long history of short films. [Online]
Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-life/7593291/The-long-history-of-short-films.html
[Accessed 05 June 2017].

Flores, T., 2017. Oscar-Animated Short Nominees Break With Tradition. [Online]
Available at: http://variety.com/2017/film/awards/oscar-animated-short-nominees-break-with-tradition-1201981892/
[Accessed 05 June 2017].

Maher, M., 2016. 10 Revolutionary Breakthroughs in Animation History. [Online]
Available at: https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/breakthroughs-in-animation-history/
[Accessed 05 June 2017].

Shepard, J., 2017. Pixar launches new experimental aniamtede shorts department. [Online]
Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/pixar-original-film-experimental-animated-shorts-department-a7763581.html
[Accessed 05 June 2017].