Friday, May 9, 2014

That's a Wrap

So I am going to make this post short and sweet, but I want to say how much I have learned in this class. The information and skills that I have gained, I know I will be able to use in the future. Whether it be for a job or just because I am bored and want to have some fun. I know that I will be able to use after effects to help.

The projects that we made for this class were all a lot of fun and helped to expand out knowledge on each section of after effects. Making these reels from scratch though was the most fun because we can say that we created these things from nothing. And that is what I am the most proud of.

Thank you, Arturo, for making this class enjoyable and knowledgeable because I never would have been able to learn it otherwise.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

There's My Chippy

Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job! is perfectly representative of everything that I see funny in a television program. In my opinion I'm sure at least 9/10 of the general public will pass off the show as garbage but to me, it appeals to my sense of humor. It does not, for the most part, use expensive and complicated special effects; it uses simplistic and juvenile techniques and confusing writing/dialogue to create a unique and non-sensical product. Its heavy use of green screen and basic me-level of After Effects is laughable. It does, however, probably take a lot of skill to produce because while the humor is nonsense and confusing, it is still captivating and there is still a very faint plot to each episode. The simplicity is still gone about artistically. The eleven minutes flies by because you're both captivated and confused the entire time.

Friday, May 2, 2014

All My Favorites!

Because all of my post have been amazing I really just wanted to go out with a bang. So I figured I would share my top five favorite animation stuff. These can range from movies to clips. Lets get ready to rumble!!

Paperman (styled as paperman) is a 2012 black-and-white 3D hand-drawn/computer animatedromantic comedy short film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and directed by John Kahrs. The short blends traditional animation and computer animation. 

Wreck-It Ralph is a 2012 American computer-animated family-comedy film[4] produced byWalt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures.[5] It is the 52nd animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.

Up is a 2009 American 3D computer-animated comedy-adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl sets out to fulfill his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America and to complete a promise made to his lifelong love. 
Tangled is a 2010 American computer animated musical fantasy-comedy film produced byWalt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Loosely based on theGerman fairy tale "Rapunzel" in the collection of folk tales published by the Brothers Grimm, it is the 50th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series.

I honestly could not pick which of the Toy Story movies I liked best so I picked all of them! Toy Story is a CGI animated film series and Disney media franchise that began with the original 1995 film, Toy Story, produced by Pixar and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. The franchise focuses on a group of toys that secretly come to life and end up unexpectedly embarking on life-changing adventures.

Superman GoPro

     Ever wonder what it's like to be Superman. Well a crew named Corridor Digital have created something that may be closest you'll ever get to that experience. They created a video that shows Superman in an attempt to return a young mans GoPro camera by wearing it directly to him. Along the way Superman has to deal with some measly gunmen and a burning building.

     The video is created by combining the footage from the actors head mounted GoPro with footage captured on a remote control drone from Dronefly.


Final Post: More of My Favorite Animation

Well folks it's the end of the year. Our screenings start next week and most of our projects are done…I hope.

For the posts I've researched this semester, I've finally had the chance to find out how some of my favorite pieces in animation were made. A lot of the other posts that I've seen on here have shown me some motion graphics and animated topics I wasn't aware of.

      The Master of Sex (Never heard of this show but found it really surpassing)
      Twitch Plays Pokemon (Really wanted to get in on this)

I want to end my entry time here with some of my favorite forms in animation I've come to to love over the years. 

You Are a Pirate
Fred Perry
Gold Digger Time Raft 
(Hand-Drawn Animated Style)

The Boondocks
Adult Swim
(Japanese Animation Style)

Robot Chicken
(Stop Motion Animation)

The Mask 

This last video has been one of my favorite animated transformations. I've been looking around to find what programs they used for getting the mask on Jim Carrey, but my research has yet to yield results. 

As for its sequel Son of the Mask….

….I like to think of it more as a weird phase Loki was going through before he returned in Thor and The Avengers.

Maybe that round with the Hulk brought him to his seneses
While I don't think I'll be pursuing a career in animation to the degree of Toy Story, I'm glad I was able to get the experience of learning some of the basics of using after effects.

Commericals using Animation

As the end of the semester rolls around, final papers, projects and exam suck up all my time. This week post contains more interesting content than my own words.
I remember seeing these individual videos online or on tv one time or another and I thought they really nailed there purpose.
As with my usual posts here are a number of videos as examples for how corporations and various companies are utilizing various types of motion graphics and animation in advertising.

Love this one

I'd have to say this one is probably my favorite. It is simple, but complex at the same time. It doesn't take outrageous effects, but what it does use it is clean and stylized. I think this use of effects are my favorite kind. Subtle, effective and entertaining.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Trans-media storytelling vs. Traditional storytelling

It’s interesting to watch the change in how stories are being told. Traditional story telling tends to be boring while trans-media storytelling tends to be more entertaining. Today we tell stories across multiple means of media because a single for of media is not as entertaining. People enjoy being able to read a book, watch the movie on it as well as play their games.  With technology being so prominent in our society people are going to fish for content all over the Internet. Hoping to find games to match the books and/or movies they’ve read and/or seen.

Here’s a chart of franchise trans-media.  This chart shows you how multiple platforms create a collection of individual experiences:

This is another image of traditional storytelling vs. trans-media storytelling:

Gifs as art

Since this is my last post and since I've been putting off doing other work ever since I finished Arturo's three projects, I figured that I'd write about something (a little too) near and dear to my heart. Gifs.

I don't care how you pronounce it (although if you say it with a soft G you'll really jet on my nerves) or which ones are your favorites; everyone who has used the internet in the last five years has some sort of appreciation for gifs. This led me to think that maybe, just maybe, gifs will one day get the appreciation and attention that they truly deserve. Turns out, they already are.

Recently, Google Plus held a competition dedicated to finding gifs (which some are beginning to call 'motion photography') that can really be considered as art. They got over 4,000 submissions from "artists" in countries all over the world.  Most of them are really awesome, too; beautifully framed, well shot, crisp, and continuous loops. Professional gifs, if you will.

However, as Joseph Flaherty mentions in his article on the subject of gifs, the competition didn't really capture the general...well....point of gifs. Culturally, they're not used to be beautiful. They're used as witty responses in Facebook comment threads, or as come-backs via texts, or to make blog posts *cough cough* look more interesting. In that regard, gifs continue to just be reposted ad nauseam on Tumblr and in the Cracked/Working Title Facebook groups.

As Flaherty also pointed out, Graffiti was largely considered pointless and not treated as art by the general masses until Bansky made it cool a few years back. Gifs, as far as I'm concerned, are just another form of self-expression. Sometimes I can't quite put my feelings into words, and that's where gifs come in. Sometimes I just want to make somebody laugh. And sometimes I just want to see Joe Biden fondling a hot dog.

This doesn't have anything to do with After Effects or Greenscreens or Mike Levien's title sequence, but I'll be damned if it's not related to motion graphics and or animation. Maybe I'm just trying to justify my procrastination by calling gifs art, or maybe I genuinely think that they are. We may never know. Until then, here's what google tells me is the best gif ever. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

12 Oz. Mouse

Recently I had an awesome experience witnessing the magic that is 12 Oz. Mouse. This show ran on Adult Swim from 2005 to 2007, and was created by Matt Maiellaro (creator of Aqua Teen Hunger Force). It is an insanely weird show, and is known for it's signature style, something that I would call a mix of awkward, passionate, western, mysterious, dark, and humorous all at the same time. The show centers around a mouse named Fitz who goes on various adventures so he can buy more beer. Over time, Fitz begins to recover lost memories of a child and wife he once had that have now vanished.

Maiellaro jokingly states that he convinced Adult Swim to produce the series by telling them it would cost 5 dollars and they could just use some of the paper in the copier to produce the images. This does not seem like such a stretch, because the animation in this show lacks so much, but in doing so gains a great amount and develops its own signature look. Maiellaro also stated in an interview that he chose the people in his writers office to play the characters, with himself voicing the main protagonist.

The animation studio who helped create the show, Radical Axis (based in Atlanta, Georgia), has animated for shows such as Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, and the currently airing Archer. They have offices all over the world, and may even be something I will consider looking into, so I can give people coffee and make no money. However, it's really amazing to see the style contrast from 12 Oz. Mouse to a show like Archer which I am also currently in love with!

Once you watch, you'll understand that the show sort of takes on a life of its own, first starting out sort of dark and dreary, and then gaining life and humor as Fitz embarks on his adventures. It's awesome!

Here is a clip from an episode!

Also, here is the site for Radical Axis.

And The Survey Says... After Effects!!!

So in my random search amongst YouTube, I happened to stumble upon a really cool YouTube Channel of a foreign studio who has made videos of different movie clips. So the one that I watched the most recently was a Fast and Furious RC Car chase.

The use of After Effects in this video was quite clear and quite obvious. But the cool thing is, it's subtle enough to not know that it was an RC car race, besides knowing or clearly seeing that they were RC cars.

The use of smoke for the burning rubber in the very beginning was really cool, but I have to say that the two coolest FX that were in the video were being able to see the heat coming from the tailpipes when the cars were lined up at the line waiting for the green light. And also the fire at the very end of the clip.

The entire video featured After Effects to help enhance that feeling of being able to trick the mind into thinking you were watching a real car chase. I know that I have learned enough to be able to do some of these effects, but I hope to strengthen my knowledge of After Effects to be able to know much much more.

Unnoticed VFX Vs.Big Budget VFX

 Everyone always blogging and talking about the big blockbusters with huge budgets and amazing special effects that really stand out to the audience. But what about the smaller budget movies that have visual effects that people don't notice. The visual effect that are subtle that are hidden from the viewer. Wes Anderson  does a great job of this is "The Grand Budapest Hotel". For the people that don't know who Wes Anderson is, a American director and screenwriter. His films are known for their distinctive visual and narrative style. You might know him for the academy award for best animated feature for "Fantastic Mr. Fox" back in 2009. In the video below it shows the small sets that they went through from green screen to miniature sets but it shows more than just the miniature sets that went into this movie. 

For a big blockbuster like gravity it is no surprise that it has won seven awards and was such a hit in the box office. Alfonso Cuarón’s 3D space epic "Gravity" leads the 86th annual Academy Awards with seven wins, including the prize for best visual effects. Gravity has taken in $704.9 million globally including $270.5 at the domestic box office and $424.4 internationally. The video below talks about the film from script to screen and it really shows the narrative behind the dramatic story. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Title Sequence: My haves and have nots

As everyone currently taking this class (Motion Graphics and Animation) already knows, we are all currently working on our very own title sequences. Some of you are "done", some of you are "almost done," and some of you are beginning to panic that there's no way your project will be handed in on time. The reason for having 'done' in quotes is due to the fact that no project is ever actually finished. More can always be done.

For my project, I decided to make an opening title sequence for Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight. The film doesn't actually have its own opening sequence, so accidentally copying the original hasn't been an issue at all. The image above is actually a screen shot taken from the end of my sequence. I don't mean to toot my own horn or anything, but it looks pretty good if I do say so myself. Just like a movie trailer, though, I really only like to highlight the best aspects of my work. What I really want to do is put out my successes and failures with this particular project in writing. Why? I have absolutely no idea.

Let's start from the beginning. Now, I'm writing this post on Monday, but the project is due on Wednesday. Some faults I write about may be fixed by the time I submit the title sequence (probably not). As I was saying, the first noticeable issue with my sequence spans over the first 30 seconds--yes, it's a pretty big problem. The problem is that there's simply too much empty space. As the production companies' names are displayed, there's probably about five seconds of black between each of them. It's a bit boring and needs to have something there to kill the time. The idea of somehow incorporating the bat theme into this section of the sequence was given to me, but I'm not quite sure how I'd do that. Maybe just some audio? I don't know. The good part about the opening is that it's clean and simple. It looks good and it gets the job done.

The second part of the title sequence is a bunch of Sure Target. Again, it's really simple. I find that totally OK for this section, though. Each name that appears is matched to the music. They come and go on beats and no name sits there for longer than two or three seconds. The pace is certainly much faster than the opening. I was also able to work with a light that really added to the feel of the sequence. I parented the light to the Sure Target camera, which gave more of a focus to the field of view, and added a blue tint to it to match the color scheme of the film. I also messed around with the depth of field to give a greater sense of focus for viewers. This part of the sequence is definitely simple, but it has a bit more artistic value to it than the opening of the sequence.

As the sequence comes close to the end, I needed to find a good transition to move from the name credits to the movie title and bat symbol. Since, after all, the guy's name is Batman and the character's disposition largely stems from his phobia of bats, I figured there must be a way to incorporate the creatures into the sequence. What I ended up doing was using the bats as a sort of wipe transition. I keyed out the background of the video I found on YouTube and colored the layer so the bats were a dark gray instead of black (don't want them disappearing into the background, now do we?!). I have yet to add any bat sound effects--which will definitely add to quality of sequence--but I'll get to it eventually.

The closing of the title sequence is certainly my favorite part of the entire project. As you can see from looking at the first image in this post, it's clean and just looks really damn good. The bat cleanly drops from off screen and the actual title fades up on a beat (which is pretty awesome). The best part about the closing take place in the last couple seconds. What I basically did was made the title and bat become engulfed in black. It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself. To really make it look like it was disappearing into the blackness, I added a quick blur with a couple keyframes to the title and then dropped the opacity once the bat was completely covered so the text would completely disappear. It's a simple concept, I know, but that didn't make it any easier for me to figure out, so I'm quite proud of it.

Overall, I'd like to say I'm proud of this final project. It's not perfect, by any means, and it needs a lot of work. I'm happy with what I hope the final product will be, though, because it really showcases what I've learned this semester (which is a whole lot more than I knew four months ago).

Friday, April 25, 2014

Source Filmmaking

Technology is constantly trying to reach new heights in every aspect of filmmaking; that includes animation. I decided to do some research to see what I could find. The most interesting article I came across, described a new animation tool from Valve called the Source Filmmaker (SFM). This is a program that allows you to make films by using the world of a video game. The video below does a great job on describing this technology, but what I thought was the most interesting was that SFM allows the animator to create scenes from action, camera, to lights, instead of the typical order, lights, camera, then action. Even after they have created the whole film, they can pause a scene and play with lighting, camera angle and even change facial features in order to tell a different story. The facial feature aspect was the most impressive, since the technology allows for subtle nuances. 

Though I can't see this technology becoming a huge hit in the professional world of animation right now, I think it offers a lot of opportunities to viewers, especially since new audiences are starting to lean towards stories and environments they can influence. Look at how many reality shows rely on audience tweets or participation to determine the outcome of the participants (ex: Opposite Worlds). They have already done this with some chapter books. At the end of the chapter, the reader can decide which action the character should take and will be told which chapter is the next one to read based on that action. There are even websites that allow you to create shorts where the audience can decide what will happen to the characters. All of these are in the beginning stages, but just think what this could mean for the cinema experience. Instead of being drawn into a story, we can decide how the story should end, which defeats the whole purpose of watching a story unfold in my opinion. I'm not saying that this is what SFM is trying to do, it's just the concept of always being able to manipulate a story in anyway that is growing. I think SFM is actually very interesting and can't wait to see where it takes the industry, although I think most animators will stick with traditional methods for now. 

Here is a link to the SFM website for more information. Here is the article I first used as a reference.

By Amber Capogrossi

The Making of Small Soldiers

So many of us 90s kids know the movie Small Soldiers. Well if you don't I definitely recommend you watch it, its a pretty entertaining movie! After taking this animation class I have really been watching movies in a different way. I now need to watching all the behind the scenes so I can learn how they created what they created. This blog I am going to spend time explaining how they created the Small Soldiers.
Just for the people who haven't seen the movie here is a little back ground information. Small Soldiers revolves around two teenagers, who get caught in the middle of a war between two factions of sentient action figures, the Gorgonites and the Commando Elite.
(Link to more back story)So obviously the creators of the movie had to figure out how to make these action figures move like action figures but also make them seem more alive. Since CG was still in its expensive infancy, Stan Winston Studios was called upon to create puppet versions of the sentient action figures in the film. Controlled by rods and cables that would later be digitally removed in post production, the characters required carefully choreographed performances from the studio's puppeteers to create lifelike motions.
Here is a video that just show you the puppeteers controlling the action figures. It is pretty impressive how life like these characters are created! Check it out!

The Steam Machine

     The steam machine is a new gaming console coming out 2014. It developed by Valve Corporation, the creators of many popular games such as Half Life, Team Fortress, and Portal as well as the digital game distributor Steam. To understand the Steam Machine first we have to know what steam is. 
     Steam is a digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer, and communications platform developed by Valve Corporation. It is used to distribute games and related media online, from small independent developers to larger software houses.As of January 2014, there are over 3000 games available through Steam and 75 million "active" users. In February 2014, it was announced that Steam had surpassed 7.5 million concurrent users.In October 2013, it was estimated that 75% of purchased games downloaded for the PC are through Steam.

     Now within the year valve will be releasing its Steam Machine. The machine is basically a computer that runs an open source Linux based operating system called Steam OS. The machines will come pre-built and vary in size and hardware depending on the price of the machine. Like PCs however most of the machines will allow the owner switch out the parts with higher end hardware later on. The device is also going to come with a new style of controller that will give the user the same high level of precision and accuracy that PC gamers are used to with keyboard and mouse controls

Halifax Projection Mapping

It appears as though projection mapping technologies are making their way to sports arenas. Last month, the Cleveland Cavilers unveiled a new intro that brought the court to life by using it as a giant projection screen. Following in their footsteps, the Halifax Mooseheads, a minor league hockey team, created an intro of their own. As seen in the video above, there are a large array of possibilities with this technology. At one point, it appears as though all the ice breaks apart, leaving a pool of water before freezing over. In contrast to many similar attempts in the past, what sets these projections apart is their realism. If this trend continues, people may start showing up to games for the intros rather than the sports.

An Effective Yet Chilling Video Game Promotion

It has been said that the things we search for on the internet leave a trail. By going to a certain site, that  generates certain ads which follow and display products based on the type of person the internet thinks you are, and markets accordingly.

Recently I came across a video-game called Watch Dogs (PS3, PS4, X-Box 1 & 360) which involves hacking other people's phones and computers for information. One of the things I've find interesting about this game, is the promotional campaign used.

The website I included takes your Facebook account and analyzes it and calculates several things about you.
  1. Your approximate net-worth
  2. Stalkers in your life
  3. People that could be used against you 
  4. Pawns in your life
  5. People you'd run to in the event you were ever pursued by authorities  
  6. Possible internet passwords 
  7. How well you can be identified 
  8. What type of person you are and how easily can you be manipulated 
  9. The times you you most uses Facebook and what times you'd be most vulnerable for an attack
While I realize that this is only part of a game I'm surprised at how surprisingly accurate some of the things this app mentioned about me, and yet I'm not. Ever since I first got my hands on an internet accessible computer, my parents continually warned me about the dangers what particular information I put out there for the world to see, since that data is never truly deleted. 

The game itself takes place in an alternate version of Chicago where the entire world is connecting by a smart phone internet like operating system. With this world wide internet system it is possible to control just about any function of the city through a smartphone.
Functions including:
Traffic Lights
City Block Power
Subway Systems
Amazing what we can do with our phones

A lot of this potential ability to access and control different internet connected functions reminds me a lot of the TV series and video game franchise of Rockman EXE (MegamanNT Warrior for you American-folk), where things were not only connecting to an all-ecompassing internet system but people were able to battle with their smartphone equivalent avatars or NetNavis. 
NetNavi Rockman/Megaman

TV Series

Not only used as a phone an for internet access, but also for
fighting computer viruses and other malignant programs that
appear is this world.
Megaman Battle Network 6
…Wow, had not idea of the connections between these two things myself.

Sunny and Steve

Since Easter was this past weekend, I thought this adorable short was ever so appropriate. Now I know most of my posts are mainly shorts that I made for kids but this one I just could not resist!  This short reminds me of all my favorite clay-mation christmas movies that are normally played on ABC Family as part of the 25 days of Christmas special every year. Sunny and Steve is my favorite animated short for more reasons than one. MPC created the short and used many techniques to give it a distinct look.

MPC created the set by hand. Only the characters were created digitally. Each character also embodied the feeling that was given from the hand built set from scrap clothes and styrofoam. 
This short is quirky and cute. I think it is funny for all ages. Check out Sunny and Steve!

Anti Bullying Animation & Spoken Word

A friend of mine showed me this amazing spoken word animation on YouTube and I instantly wanted to watch more videos like this.
First I'll talk about the animation in this video:
-the animation is very relax with calm colors but also has a serious tone to it
-without audio you understand the story
-the drawings are cartoony and engaging
-great transitions
-typography is used and matches the audio

This video has a very powerful message, it talks about being bullied and what that does to a person.
The poet has a very soothing voice that makes it easy to listen to and understand. The music added in at about a 1:30 is also fits perfectly. It sets the tone and mood for this part of the video. The music, the words, the art..all makes you feel like you are in the shoes of the poor person who is getting bullied. The story is real and is a situation that a lot of people can relate to.