Friday, February 28, 2014

Mesmerizing

Maybe it's just me, but the title sequence from Ponyo is incredible in my opinion. It doesn't actually start until around 4:40 though. Although I couldn't find the sequence online in English, the animation behind it is really what I love. The only two films I have seen by Hayao Miyazaki are Ponyo and Spirited Away, which is also really great! The animation in these films is just incredible and worth the watch. Miyazaki's work as a writer and director, as well as in the animation department has really made him an extremely well know successful Japanese filmmaker. 
Hayao Miyazaki Picture
 

2D features on 3D models

With lots of 3D animation in various movies, television shows and games, a fairly common animation and design feature is the usage of 2D features on the models. An example of this can be seen in the following:

The animator, Max Gilardi, uses both Maya and adobe flash to achieve this effect. It adds an interesting look to the characters, and makes things in many ways, easier. Facial rigging in 3D is very time consuming, and isn't easy.

Using 2D features for faces and fine details can be a good way to speed up production. This style is used in television animation as well. Most notably in my opinion, on the Spanish show "Jelly Jamm"

The show boasts an interesting visual style with great stylized animation. The characters' facial features are all 2D, save for the king, who has a mixture of 2D and 3D features. These features are implemented in a later render in the animation process.

Even I've used this visual style, both to speed up production and to save on polycount (I was working on a video game)
All the ghosts featured in the game have 2D textures for moving facial features. I wanted to still have 3D features on the face and body to give the models themselves variety.
Without textures, everything in here would be gray cubes!

The use of 2D textures in 3D things is actually very common, especially in video games. Keep and eye out for it!

It's OK to Be Different.

As a current attendee of Ithaca College's, Park School of Communications, I have noticed a certain tension between students studying Television/Radio and students working towards a degree in Cinema. Because the two majors share similar territory, every determinable difference between the two degrees are immediately picked out and then blown entirely out of proportion. Recently, I've come to the realization that the stereotypes held between TV/R and Cinema majors are strangely reminiscent of those between American, and Japanese animators.

I know it sounds ridiculous now, but allow me to elaborate. You may discover that the comparison isn't as absurd as you thought.

STYLE:

Let me start out by describing some stylistic characteristics of American animation. Here in the U.S., many animations tend to lean toward a "cartoon-ish" animation style.

For example, cartoon characters often possess rounded, highly exaggerated features. Furthermore, the characters/settings of this style of animation tend to lack both detail and shading.




The character, "Cheese," from Cartoon Network's show,
"Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends"
is a great example of the American "cartoonish" animation style.


Compare this style now to that of Japanese animation-- specifically anime. Anime characters often possess large, detailed eyes and small noses/mouths. Japanese animators are known to use angular strokes, and pay far more attention to shading and highlights than their American counterparts. 

Below is a classic example of the "anime eye."


Notice the degree of detail portrayed through color and highlights to add depth to the eye. 

One of the primary reasons that American animators avoid including so much detail in their animation has to do with merchandising. It's a lot easier to produce a Mickey Mouse doll than it is to produce an intensely detailed anime character.

                   Mickey Mouse Doll--  $0.50 to produce,
                   extremely cuddly, and very durable.

    

                                                                       Anime Doll-- $10.00 to produce,
                                                                    not so cuddly, flyaway hair guaranteed 
                                                                    to snap off on the ride home from the toy 
                                                                                            store.


Another stylistic difference between Japanese and American animation has to do with camera angles. Anime makes sure to incorporate creative angles and unconventional perspectives-- something that the majority of American animation lacks.

^Japanese angle chosen for dialogue between 2 characters ^

^American angle chosen for dialogue between two characters^

     
PRODUCTION:

I realize that so far I've been successful in making American animators look like lazy, money-crazed SOBs; I can fix that. What American's lack in technical detail, they make up in animation. As a rule, American animations contain far more animation than the Japanese do. Why? Well, the answer is simple really: the Japanese are a bunch of rotten cheaters. That, or they're just a little bit smarter. Maybe both. 

Here are ways our asian counterparts cheat the system:

  1. When a character begins reciting a long monologue, the creators only focus on moving the character's mouth and perhaps a few strands of hair-- ignoring the rest of the scene. 
  1. Action sequences are created by moving the background in a quick, stylized fashion, while the character remains frozen in a cool fighting pose. (see below)






AUDIENCE/CONTENT:

One of the main inconsistencies between American and Japanese animation has to do with the target audience: or the people whom the animation caters to. 

For example, the majority of American animation is intended for child viewers. Furthermore, the few animated series that DO cater to adults, (think Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad!, etc.) often possess absurd plots and vulgar humor. Because of their content, even adult animated series' may be considered "immature." 

In Japan, animation is not confined by generational boundaries. Anime is followed and enjoyed by children and grandparents alike. (This is why many American parents are shocked when they discover "mature" content in the anime "cartoons" their children are watching.)

Also, unlike cartoons in America that can be watched out of episodic sequence with little to no penalty, anime is distributed in serial episodes. Serial episodes require the viewer to understand the content revealed in previous episodes in order to fully appreciate the current episode. Some shows that follow this sequential building style in America include dramas like, "American Horror Story," or "Breaking Bad.


REASONS WHY TVR STUDENTS ARE LIKE AMERICAN ANIMATORS AND WHY CINEMA STUDENTS ARE LIKE JAPANESE ANIMATORS:

  1. Japanese animators like making the bad guys blonde-- Cinema students dye their hair dark to appear more "artsy."


"I hate blonde's because they're evil" -the Japanese and/or American cinema students

Ok, ok. You were right. My initial comparison between Japanese/American animators and Television Radio/ Cinema majors was unreasonable. But at least you learned a little something about animation. You'll thank me later.






Animation Used in the Medical Field

(WARNING: Some of the videos that you are about to see might seem graphic to some people. Please if you get grossed out easily do not watch the videos.)
So a week from today I will be undergoing Orthognathic surgery, in layman's term upper jaw surgery. When I first found out that I was getting the surgery I wanted to know really exactly what my oral surgeon was going to do. So I resorted to Youtube! I obviously did not want to watch a real live video  that would have made me faint. I found this animation video of what will happen.
(This video might seem graphic to some people, so please if you get grossed out easily don't watch)

This video was shared by Duane Grummons, who is an orthodontist in Washington.
video
Finding this video was really cool for me. I am able to see what is going to happen before my surgery and it also allowed me to understand the surgery more in depth. I am also able to show people who may not know the surgery or don't really understand what is going to happen. I know that my oral surgeon has used animations before to show me how he was  going to perform the surgeries. It definitely helped seeing a visual before to after. The animations are generally simple, allowing anyone to understand what will happen. I just find it amazing how much technology has grown. Allowing anyone to search any surgery without being completely grossed out, its just awesome! I definitely recommend to any and ever doctors office to use animations for their practice!

 Below are some links to other surgeries that I have had if anyone is interested.
Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzXzr-zDLX8

Really cool, cheap, DIY green screen


We're starting green screening in class, so I figured there's no better time than now to show off how you can make your own green screen, for very cheap. For only around $15, you can make your own green screen! Just take a trip to your local Arts & Crafts store, and find your nearest Hardware store, and you should be ready to record! While there are many ways of making your own green screen, I find The Slanted Lens' guide is very easy and cheap.

That's so traditional and old school though. I want something new! Something EXCITING! Well, look no further! Cheesy advertising aside, this new LED based chroma keying is AMAZING! I've seen it work in person, and I have to say, it's crazy revolutionary. Basically what they do, is put a special reflective screen behind the talent, and shine a bright LED ring light at the screen. The LED light can be green or blue, and doesn't require any additional lighting. From personal experience, I know how horrible lighting a green screen is, and this completely takes away the need for additional lights.

Now these setups can get pricy, ranging up to $700. I do think, however, that it might be worth it in a big budget production. This system's just so convenient and good, I can honestly say I think this might be where the future of chroma keying is headed.

My Favorite Rotoscopes

Something about this particular medium I've kind of found fascinating and pleasing to look at. From what I have come to understand, the animation technique of rotoscoping involves drawing over various parts of a live action film frame by frame. One of the earliest examples I've seen of this technique has been the 1981 Canadian cult film know as Heavy Metal directed by Gerald Potterton. 

Different objects and actors were rotoscoped to give the film its uniquely 80s feel to it. One of my favorite segments of this piece was the segment with the car in the opening segment known as "Smooth Landing." 
Some of the other movies I have come to learn used rotoscoping were Max Fleischer (the creator of the process) cartoons with characters like Betty Boop and Coco the Clown from the Out of The Inkwell series. These segments mainly used their rotoscoping capabilities to capture the human movements of the actors for the very realistic movements they were seeking to convey. Of the various cartoons created by Fleischer, I would have to say one of my favorite ones from his group was the 1939 animated film Guliver's Travels. (link specific time in vid of rotoscoping example)
The other example of rotoscoping I've come to know growing up was the "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" scene of The Beatles Yellow Submarine film. This segment's subject matter of LSD is portrayed in a psychedelic manner as far as its art style.  
One of the other examples of rotoscoping that has come to be one of my favorite examples of this style of animation is the 1986 award winning music video "Take On Me" by A-ha. The video uses a pencil sketch style of animation drawing the approximately 3,000 frames needed to make this video possible. The video's director . The original video for this song was the band members signing against a blue background,  the didn't pick up on popularity with this video.

     


 In 1985 Warner Brothers had the band re-record their song and using them in a revolutionary style of video. The Norwegian group teamed up with director Steve Barron, director of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean." The other key player for this video's success was animator Michael Patterson, made it to the team at Warner Brothers thanks to his 1981 USC Student Academy Award winning film Commuter. 
Of the different forms of animation I have come to see thus far in this class, this is the one I would want to master the most. I do realize that the process of drawing on several frames to get an effective display of this animation, but for seeing the end product of stuff like A-ha's famous video makes me want to at least give this style of animation the old college try for a pursuit. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rotoscoping

Out of the Inkwell was a silent animated series  produced by Max Fleischer.  Max Fleischer came up with the rotoscope concept to simplify the process of animating each individual frame. Rotoscoping is a technique in which you trace over footage frame by frame for use in animated films.





The image below shows how rotoscoping began.






This is another video with some cool rotoscoping involved. It's awesome how you can use the same clip to rotoscope into several different videos Rotoscoping saves so much time and leaves you with a realistic looking clip.
There are also reasons to rotoscope. Some rotoscope to animate a scene completely using a live action reference; or to add animation to live action scene while tracking camera movement.

The Titles of True Detective

We're not even two full months into 2014, and people are already name-dropping True Detective as one of the best shows of the year. I have to say, I'm one of them; the show has great writing, amazing production (that six-minute tracking shot, anyone?) and don't even get me started on the acting. It's basically an 8 hour movie broken up into bite sized pieces, and it's pretty damn close to being perfect.



And all of this - the acting, the production, etc. - starts with the title sequence. Art of the Title pulled through once more, this time with a really fascinating interview with Creative Director Patrick Clair (check out his design studio, Antibody, here). Clair was given the first three scripts of True Detective ahead of time, to get a feel for the tone of the show before he started exploring with visual ideas. The main focus of the title sequence is to juxtapose the show's characters with the landscape of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, as the setting is almost a character in itself.
"It made sense for the titles to feature portraits of the lead characters built out of the place they lived. "
Many of the images are based off of the style of double exposure, and Director Cary Fukunaga  immediately agreed with the direction that Clair was taking things. They decided they wanted to make the still images seem more like living photographs, so the production team actually took some shots and slowed them down to about 10%-20% of their original speed. They also digitally recreated certain still photos, so that they could move the camera around objects that were previously in 2D. It's subtle, but a very effective technique, much like what we messed around with in class a few weeks ago.

When all was said and done, they added lots of effects and optical flares and matched the cuts to the music (the brooding "Far from any Road" by the Handsome Family) to get the final credit sequence. I thought it was really cool to get an inside look at a sequence from a show that I'm so currently in love with, and it was a little bit of an inspiration for me to get going on my own credit sequence.

Read the full article here

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"Zero" and "The Maker" Short Films

I recently watched an amazing 12 minute stop motion film called "Zero." Directed by Christopher Kezelos, this film is about a world in which "people" (who are little hand-sewn figures) are judged by what number is assigned to their stomach. Zero is a boy born with little to no hope for him, as he is assigned the lowest number you could possible have. After a living a life filled with much shame, he finally meets a girl Zero, whom he falls in love with.  Chaos ensues as their love is forbidden. The rest is for you to watch, as the ending is done incredibly well!



The 12 minute film took TWO YEARS AND HALF YEARS to make. Wow. The team that created the film has made a video that covers all of the production. They started with drawings and designs, then began building prototypes, which took 6 months. After this, they began work on props, final puppets, and sets.


The film has sense won countless awards and has been re-dubbed into 39 different languages.


Here is another one of their films that is truly fascinating, "The Maker."



And for behind the scenes footage, check out the video below! The Maker, which is about a creature called, you guessed it, The Maker, is racing against time to make the most important and beautiful creation of his life. The film took 6 months to create with a crew of 30 people, has been to 22 film festivals, and has been nominated for an Australian Academy Award. It is beautiful!


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Having some fun

So over the weekend I decided to experiment a little bit by creating my own moving shapes that "bounce" with the music. I'm not exactly sure how much I can write about this, but I'll definitely give it a try.

Making this did take me a little while because I had to try and remember all of the different elements that we used in it. In order to try and make it come out good, I wanted to make two different sets of Treble and Bass. However, I made each respective pair have the same settings for Treble and Bass. I didn't try and make one higher than the other so the bouncing ratio was different. If I wanted to redo it, that's one thing I would change. But anyway. I wanted to try and make each shape be seen by rotating the rectangles as they get larger. So in order to do that I created the 4 rectangles - actually two and then just duplicate that specific layer - and rotated two of them in order to give it that look of more than there actually are. This was done for both Bass and Treble. Once that was done I added a circle to cover up the middle parts so it looked as though the rectangles were coming out of the circle. Once the whole piece was done I had to make some minor changes to the background and the color of the shapes so it was colorful and bright, but that was nothing too major.

Anyway, all in all, I really like doing this specific project. It is always so much fun and I always smile ear to ear when it is all said and done.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mad Men


Project Info:
"Mad Men" is about the high-powered and glamorous world of advertising in the 1960's. We created the main titles and marketing campaign for this original AMC drama series created by Matthew Weiner, executive producer of the "Sopranos".

We won the 2008 Emmy Award for Outstanding Title Design for the "Mad Men" opening sequence. AMC commented "We love the graphic Imaginary Forces opener for Mad Men: a mini-story, setting up the larger story that follows. The final frame resolution of that open - the silhouette of the back of Don Draper's head - has become the iconic image of the show: bold, clean, confident, modern, and ultimately enigmatic".

Mad Men has received critical acclaim, particularly for its historical authenticity and visual style, and has won multiple awards, including nine Emmys and four Golden Globes. It is the first basic cable series to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series, winning it in 2008 and 2009.
Director: Mark Gardner and Steve Fuller

The edit of the instrumental "A Beautiful Mine" by RJD2.


The necessity of layering


MPC Wrath of the Titans VFX breakdown from MPC on Vimeo.

Despite the fact that it's what I do in most of my posts, I'm not a huge fan of discussing topics in a vague, general sense. I'd much rather make a point using specific examples. Well, here's one of those times where I actually know what I would like to discuss, and I have a specific example to make my point. I figured it'd be a nice change of pace. So, assuming that you've watched the above video (if you haven't, please do), let's delve into the complex process of effects layering.

It's no secret that there's rarely one super, awesomely fantastical effect that makes an animation what you want it to be. That would simply be too easy, and if animation were as simple as applying a single effect to a sole layer, everyone would be making the big bucks. And they're not. So, yeah. Point proven.

As I was saying, it's not uncommon for there to be dozens of layers for a single animation. It's the only way for an animation to look and "feel" the way you want it to. I apologize for the painstakingly long amount of time this may add to your current projects, but I can promise you the audience will notice the lack of effort in your final product.

Watching the above video will serve to better understand just how many different layers go into just one animation. Even an erupting volcano requires about 5 or 6 different layers of dust, smoke, and debris, not even to mention the enormous rock-like creature climbing out of said volcano. When the creature is destroyed, there's approximately 3 layers of smoke. Oh yeah, there's about 15 or so other layers that go into the monster and exploding debris as well. It's no problem, though. I mean, I'm sure you could do that. Right?



Boom. Second example. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I happen to believe it's an excellent example of layering. Think about this: when you were watching the final Harry Potter installment (because who hasn't seen it?), were you really paying attention to the visual effects? I seriously doubt it. You were probably just sitting in the theater on the verge of tears as your childhood came to an end right in front of your eyes.

Just in the first shot of the video (also the preview image of the video), there's a layer for the environment (the ground, mountain, etc.), a layer for the people, a layer for the stadium, a layer for the smoke, and a layer for the fire. I'm also just guesstimating. That would be the absolute bare minimum that would have to go into a shot like that. I bet you there are at least two layers for each of the objects you see on the screen. There's usually at least a few layers of smoke to give it more depth or density.

It's pretty interesting to see the orc-like creatures in the "stampede" shots are actually pretty much the only real-life things to be seen. The environment, the people, and the smoke are all added later. It's astounding to realize what may seem to be the most obviously animated aspects of a shot are actually the only things that were shot. Obviously, the specific shot I'm discussing would need at very least 4 or 5 separate layers in order to make it come to life. I'm sure many more layers than what we're shown, though, were actually used.

It'd definitely be an interesting game to try to guess just how many layers go into certain shots of a film.

Another Sleepless Night

Things have changed. A lot. Relative to how long existence has existed, the period of time it took us to go from the invention of radio to the technology dependent society we are today may as well have happened at the speed of light. With the innovation of the internet, it's become much, much easier to appeal to a wide crowd (the entire world). News travels the world in seconds as opposed to a week. That being said, anybody can upload their brainchild to YouTube and get a million hits.

So I ask myself, Why are we still working hard to learn all kinds of extremely difficult techniques when someone can make a stupid game, where you hit the screen over and over with your stupid finger, and make $50,000 a day? Why learn the craft of photography and storytelling when you can take a solitary stupid picture of a shifty-looking shiba inu and have it take over the internet for months, even years to come? Why work hard and spend thousands to make a meaningful, impressive and heartfelt project when an idiot with a stupid accent can play video games while filming his reactions and put them on YouTube so millions can watch them?

Maybe this is less of a blog post and more of an existential crisis. But with the innovation of technology, job opportunities and success are eons different than they were even just ten years ago, and they'll be completely different in ten more years. Now of course, film companies will always be around. I can always get an internship with a company and slowly work my way up the ladder. But in a business that involves heavy competition, how can someone with a creative mind but intense social anxiety stand out, or, convince someone important that he's worth keeping around? How can someone feel important in a job that took four years of college to achieve, and someone can post a video on YouTube they made in a day and get a celebrity endorsement? 

The internet has changed the game tremendously. Whether it's for the better or worse, is up to the user. Does it make me uneasy that I might have to scramble for a job following graduation and work up from the bottom and (hopefully) make it somewhere, while I instead can post a funny video of my cat and maybe get a call to be on Ellen? Of course it does. Does it bother me that I'm good at most things, but not extraordinary enough at any of those things to shine above my peers? Of course. Does it bother me that in a business where networking and ass-kissing is key, I freeze up making my order at Moe's? Quite a bit. 

I cover this topic not because I'm feeling sorry for myself, but because I do not want to be known on any false pretenses. My dream is to be well-known in the film/television industry but I face many demons. I don't know what I could possibly do to stand out from the rest, but I don't want to give up. I guess what I'd want someone to get from this is that even if you feel absolutely worthless you have to push that part of you aside and tell yourself that perseverance will hopefully pay off in one way or another. I'd feel better having tried and failed than never having tried at all. I'm sure there are others out there that are too afraid to truly find their calling because they think they're not good enough. I blindly started off college in engineering and hated it for two years before dropping out for a year, then starting over and coming here to take a last-ditch shot at my dreams. It's proving to be an extremely difficult and tiresome journey, but all I can do is try. So I am. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Greenscreen or GreenScam?

So over Winter Break I finally got to see the first part of the Lord of the Rings precursor series The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Now being a big fan of the original trilogy of the Lord of the Rings, I had high expectations for this Peter Jackson production after all of the the first series was such a huge success and best produced movie series in a long time in my opinion.

Back on target now, the first Hobbit movie was nearly three hours long and I could not have been anymore let down and depressed at what I had just seen. The script was just flat out boring and bland but what got to me most was that the special effects looked so overdone. The one thing that made the original trilogy so well done and having grossed over two billion dollars in revenue since the release was the groundbreaking special effects. Watching the Hobbit, I feel really bad having to say it but they dropped the ball big time.

Now I did not see The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug because I was so upset at the first part so I do not know first hand if the design team dusted themselves off and got back on the bike but this is sadly what is happening more commonly in Hollywood pictures nowadays.

Recreating the World for Pacific Rim


I recently sat down to watch the 2013 film Pacific Rim. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, this movie follows the journey of small team of individuals as they attempt to stop Kaijus, colossal aliens, from terrorizing mankind. In order to combat these giant beasts, the humans built Jaegers, giant robots that are piloted by people. Although these robots are slowly being phased out by the government in favor of a protective wall around the Kaijus' portal, four a chosen to fend off the monsters until the wall is complete. Eventually, after some giant battles, the Jaegers use a bomb, blow up the portal, and save the day!

Although I thought plot of Pacific Rim was particularly strong for a science fiction movie, what really impressed me were the special effects. In my search to find out the techniques used for the film, I came across the above video. In particular, this video focuses on the special effects used in the climatic battle scene between a Kaijus and a Jaeger. Because these behemoths are the size of skyscrapers, the visual effects team had to recreate the entire world were this fight takes place, which is suppose to be Hong Kong. It was particularly eye-opening to hear of all the little details that had to be added to create a realistic scene, such as rain bouncing of the monsters and dust coming out from collapsed buildings. Although much of the battle sequence relies on computer-generated graphics, it was also interesting to see how the visual effects team used scaled down versions of buildings for several shots. Unfortunately, although I would like to see a sequel to Pacific Rim, that seems unlikely to happen given its financial disaster at the box office.



Motion Graphics and Special Effects in "Lazy Town"

When one thinks of television shows that are heavy with special effects, action shows tend to be the first to come to mind. But one of the most VFX filled shows out there is Iceland's "Lazy Town"

Focusing on promoting healthy habits in children, the show is action packed when it comes to the movements of main character and show creator Magnus Scheving, who is a impressive athlete. The show itself is bright and colorful, with a mixture of human and puppets populating it.

But the most interesting thing, is that most of the backgrounds and environments are created digitally!


Often, the puppet characters are controlled by multiple people. The puppeteers wear green suits so that they too can be edited out like the green screen!


This allows for lots of complex movement on the puppets' part, which is important in a show all about moving around and getting active!

When all the elements come together, they look fantastic! Take a look:

The Making of Ted



One of my all time favorite movies is the movie Ted. It is one of the funniest and most entertaining movies I've ever seen! Not only was the humor great but the CGI used to create the main character Ted was fantastic. Seth MacFarlan and his crew did an amazing job in creating him. So because I was such a fan I had to look up how they did it. They used what is called a Xsens MVN Motion Capture rig, which allowed MacFarlan to act for Ted.
Here is just a little video to show you how the Xsens MVN Motion Capture rig works.
It's pretty amazing how actuate the animation is to his actual movements.

So this Xses MVN Motion Capture rig allows Ted's movements to be as realistic as possible. So with this suit on Seth MacFarlan would act out, in a room near the other actor in the scene, Ted's scene like he was in the scene with the other actor and say Ted's lines. Below is a behind scenes video of the making of Ted. Definitely recommend watching; it is truly amazing what technology can do!


There is a longer behind the scenes of Ted in the link below.

Animation Inspiration

This week I was in desperate need of inspiration for our title sequence projects. I'm going to get a bit nostalgic on you because I immediately thought of my favorite title sequence I absolutely loved as a child growing up. It was the title sequence from 101 Dalmatians:


I love this sequence because it is absolutely fun and thrilling to watch. As a child, there were not very many interesting title sequences and more often than not, we would end up fast-forwarding through them. Yet, I ALWAYS watched this specific title sequence because I never knew what was going to come next. I vividly remember dancing to it even when I was little because even the music is fantastic.
Upon watching it again, I was shocked to realize that I recognized several techniques that we have already learned in class! For example, the spot revealing or erasing the words or even the spots pulsating to the music. I was thrilled to find out that my favorite sequence as a kid, I actually understood now as a college student! 

I kept thinking of other sequences that I enjoyed. Here is another one from Tangled, though I believe it is the ending credits:


I think what is great about this title sequence is that we can see more of the story being told. Aspects of character development and fun story moments that weren't necessarily in the feature are seen. I think this is the hardest part for title sequences or ending credits: making them interesting and entertaining enough to hold peoples interest. I'm always happily surprised when I find I have sat through one and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Another one that I really, really enjoyed, that is not an animation, is from Sherlock Holmes


I love the style and the feel of this sequence. It is not only interesting, but it fits with the period of the film with the images changing to what looks like drawings on old parchment. Here we see the story revealed, but in a increasingly interesting way. I came across this tutorial on how it was made by AgezMedia on youtube when I first looked for this video:


I didn't get through all of it yet, and it is very advanced, but it was incredibly fascinating to learn.

After looking into all of these, I think I'm ready to give my title sequence a try. It will be a challenge to make something intriguing, unique and entertaining, but if these examples can do it, I'm sure I can too. 

Here are some student examples that I came across during my search on youtube. They are all for Pixar's film UP

By Amber Capogrossi






Twitch Plays Pokemon

     What do you get when you combine random people from the internet and a 90's video game about little fighting monsters? Well you get Twitch Plays Pokemon. But first what is twitch and maybe even what is Pokemon?
     Twitch/Twitch.tv is a site that streams live video that focuses mostly on e-sports (organized computer game competitions between professional computer gamers) and general video gaming. The website was created in 2011 from Justin.tv. Justin.tv was a site that offered different content, but it's most popular was gaming which inspired the spin-off site twtich.tv. Twitch gets 35 million unique visitors a month where the adverage viewer watches about an hour and a half a day.
     Pokemon is a role-playing-game made for the Nintendo GameBoy that was created by Satoshi Tajiri and was released in the United States in 1998. The game focuses on a world that is inhabited by creatures known as Pokemon. These animals for the most part resemble animals and objects in the real world. The goal of the game is to capture, raise, and battle with other trainers.
     The Pokemon franchises was and still is extremely popular with kids and people that grew up with the games. Now with the addition of the internet things are getting strange. It wasn't unheard of for people to stream themselves playing Pokemon on Twtich.tv, but before it was simply just watching others play or battle. Twtich plays Pokemon now puts the controls into the hands of the viewer and expects them to be able to work together to beat the game.
     The idea is pretty simple: You enter the control you want to see happen in game in the twitch chat box and after some delay to process the request the action will take place in the game. It sounds simple enough, but this series has become extremely popular now. The number of people currently watching as this blog post is being typed at 6:40(EST) on a Friday night their are over 75,000 people watching and imputing commands and there has been over 21 million total unique views on the stream. This makes it extremely complex to complete even the simplest tasks in the game.
     Do to the interesting actions that the character is forced to make the internet has created a story and two rival religions. The random action also cause a lot of tragedy and strangeness. Multiple Pokemon that viewers grew attached to were released into the wild and causing the more popular religion of "The Helix Fossil" to blame the the religion of "The Dome Fossil".
     Among the the chaos and confusion there is an option for order. One of the commands that can be enterd into the twitch chat is "Anarchy" or "Democracy". Anarchy is the preferred method of play in which players post their command and eventually it will be entered into the game. If Democracy wins the tug-of-war style voting then for 20 seconds viewers will input their desired command and the highest voted one wins. By most viewers this is considered to be the easy way out and not as much fun.
     The game so far has been going on for almost 9 days now and the thousands of players are less than half way done. We will have to wait to see if support for this very strange idea will run out before the players can finish the game or if this will result in some new internet fad in which one game is played by thousands at the same time.

                                                             A 90minute Timelapse of Play 
                                   

With a Little Help From My CoPilot

Of the effects that we were learning this week in Adobe After Effects, the one that stood out the most for me was Monday's exercise with the Sure Target plug in. When I saw the film Star Trek Into Darkness over the summer I was captivated by JJ Abrams' retelling of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, I was even more drawn by the closing credits they created for this movie.


As we worked with sure target this past Monday, my mind instantly went to this particular credit sequence. While sure target was a small element that made up this credit sequence, it was encouraging to see one of the techniques we learned in class being used in big productions as one of the basic parts to function.
The other reason this credit sequence stood out for me was the fact that it was made by by some of the members of the video copilot website. Some of the other plug ins I saw used to make this sequence was Elements 3D, the particle replicator along with different particle effects to make the illusion of the solar flames on the planet. One of things that I was hoping Video Copilot would mention, was how they created some of the 3D objects like the various planets and asteroids. I understand that they only had a limited amount of time to present the information they did, but this would have been another element of this intriguing sequence I would have loved to know how they created. 

Anthony Schepperd, the Manimator.

Anthony Schepperd is an award winning director and animator who does work in music videos and commercials. He posted on his vimeo that "Animation gives us the rare opportunity to spill our most coveted attribute, the imagination." I have been a huge fan of Schepperd's work ever since I started watching the music videos below. He not only takes animation to a whole new creative level, but works with many of the musicians that I know and love. His animations have also been featured on such channels as Adult Swim. I don't want to post too much about what to expect, because it's really just something you have to see for yourself. But the bottom line is, I can't imagine how much time and dedication must go into these projects.










Here is a link to his website! http://themanimator.com



"The Look of Saul Bass: Title Designer"




Saul Bass is a major influence on the rise of title sequences for feature films. As a graphic designer and a filmmaker heis best known for his title sequences, film posters and corporate logos. He made title sequences for Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. His sequences started a trend and moved title sequences in a new direction.


"He did something very simple very graphic very modern. And he did that with very economical means."

"To set up a context. To take you from the time when you're getting your popcorn to to bring you to the place where you need to be to follow this story to put you in that context."

"People kind of woke up and said, hey the main title sequence can be a vehicle by which he artist may express himself...he did something that was graphically innovative."

File:Saul Bass.jpg


His simplicity, but very telling and purposeful titles re invented another aspect to the entire art of storytelling.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fibonacci's Sequence and The Golden Ratio

95% of the time, I hate anything involved with math. Like most TVR majors, it's never really been my thing; and that's perfectly ok. I realize that almost everything I use in my day-to-day life involves math in one form or another, but I kind of just don't care.  However, every once in a great while, I have to admit that math does something that really, truly impresses me. This is one of those moments.

A few weeks ago, Arturo talked about something called the Golden Ratio. I'd heard of it before, maybe in a middle school math class or something, but I decided to a little more research on it to see what I could find. I wasn't disappointed. In a nutshell, the ratio is based off of the Fibonacci Sequence (each number being the sum of the two numbers that come before it) where any two adjacent numbers in the sequence, if divided, form a ratio of 1.618. This ratio had been proven to be the most pleasing ration to the human eye. TVs used to come in a ratio of 16:10 (now they're most common in 16:9, which is still pretty close), as do credit cards, and even older iPhones and Ipod Touches. This isn't a coincidence.

What I find to be really strange, however, is how often this seemingly random pattern appears in nature. A great article on io9 points out how the Fibonacci sequence shows up on everything from flower petals to seashells to hurricane formations: even spiral galaxies, an unfathomable amount of distance away from Earth, have this shape, this ratio. It's unexplainable. If you search for this on YouTube, there'll be plenty of scientists and mathematicians trying to explain what's going here, but there will also be lots of crazy people trying to make some connections that just aren't there. It's crazy, and I just think it's so so cool.

So there you go. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with animation or motion graphics, and I understand it about as much as I understand how to use After Effects, but it's something to always keep in mind. If you want to make something look good; like, really good; use the magic, golden ratio. Everything else in the world does, so why shouldn't you.

Here's the link to one last article from the Guardian.

Technology is mind blowing

I am an Emerging Media student and everyday I am learning about the new and emerging tech ideas and it is CRAZY!
In this blog I am going to talk about some of the items I've learned about in other classes.
  • Tile



Tile is literally a small tile with some adhesive tape and can be stuck to anything. Tile comes with an app that allows you to find any missing item with a tile attached to it. The tile app only works within a certain range of the missing tile. What's cool about this is that if someone else also has the tile app and your missing item is close to them, it will alert you about where your missing item is.
This item is relatively cheap ($20.00 for one or buy 3 get one free) however it only has a shelf life of one year.


  • Leap Motion


Leap motion is a computerized device that supports finger and hand movements. With this device you can play games, use programs like photoshop, create and explore. According the to the company this is only the beginning. They are planning on expanding this idea and extending 3D interaction into many other digital devices

  •  Coin

Coin allows you to store all of your cards into one card. With this one card you can press a button that allows you to select which card you would like to use and swipe it like a regular debit card. Coin also comes with an app that allows you to swipe your card and store your information on the coin as well as take a picture of the card so you know which one you are referring to. This app also has a GPS bluetooth signal that detects if you leave your card somewhere and alerts you of that.

  •  Oculus Rift / VR

This device is completely mind blowing. This is a head set that basically places you into the game. This device combines 3d rendering with a massive field of view. This takes gaming to a completely different level.

This is all only the beginning to what there is to come with technology. Technology is moving so rapidly, it's kind of scary.