Mark Matamoros ITP Blog

ITP Courses

Communication Lab: Animation

Week 3: After Effects and Group Project. November 8, 2019

Within our makeup class on Saturday, the class was introduced to the Adobe program After Effects. As my experience within this environment was rather limited, I attempted soak-up all of the provided information and instruction. This notion was a necessity, as our upcoming group animation project required the utilization of this particular tool.

After Effects Project GUI

After forming groups towards the end of class, my partners and I began assessing each other's schedules, as we desired to begin this project as soon as possible. Within our first meeting, our group decided to pursue a collage-based project set to the song Breezeblocks, written by the alternative band alt-J. After determining the utilization of this particular song, our group thought it would be best to trim the work to an appropriate time amount, as the original piece was quite lengthy. Thereafter, the song was trimmed to approximately 1:30 through the utilization of Apple's digital audio workstation, Logic.

Logic Session GUI

During the editing of this music, two of the members began brainstorming ideas pertaining to the type of visual assets for animation. It was determined that the nature of the song, regarding manipulation and abuse within relationships, would provide a guide for the asset acquisition component. Thereafter, images focussing on women subjected to male dominance were pulled from the internet through Google searches.

Asset Example 1 Asset Example 2

After acquiring various images, a storyboard was created for the work, where each image was placed into a sequence in accordance to sections of the edited song. After this sequence was documented, our meeting ended.

Storyboard 1 Storyboard 2
Storyboard 3 Storyboard 4

During our second meeting, further refinement of the storyboard was handled. Additionally, additional images were also placed into the sequence.

Logic Session GUI

Thereafter, we began organizing and editing the images within Adobe's Photoshop, where various layers were created for the animation. Furthermore, this organization was handled within Google Drive.

Storyboard 1 Storyboard 2
Google Drive organization screen capture Google Drive organization screen capture

After finishing these edits, we began our journey into After Effects, attempting to create our first sequence. However, time ran short within this process, and we decided to end this meeting and await our next one after class tomorrow (November 16).

After Effects Project GUI

Regarding this next meeting, we are intending to continue our After Effects project and complete the assignmnet before the following week.


Week 2.1: Reading - Understanding Comics. November 8, 2019

Understanding Comics book

As it has been approximately four years since I've picked up Understanding Comics, I've forgotten how enjoyable it was to read. Throughout the re-reading of this work, I was remained impressed by the author's ability to carefully and smoothly explain the pyschological and historical components to the art of comics. Plenty of moments within the book left me within an internal "Aha!," where my impressions of this medium were left in a state of "That makes total sense."

The most impressive component of this work pertained to its "meta" nature, as explanations were directly reflective of the handling of images and text within the pages. This approach only further illustrates (no pun intended) the effectives of conveying information in this manner, as the mind naturally "fills in the blanks" of the presented topic. Amusingly, this notion was presented within the book.

I must note that I found chapter seven's Six Steps rather appealing, as it is applicable to any art form. Furthermore, it is reflective of my prior work within music composition. I am finding that this idea will serve as a reference point within this course, where I can not only draw production techniques from the book's content, but also pull similar ideas from my music production workflow experience. At this present moment, I do not recall why I resold this book after reading it during my undergraduate years. This particular one, at the very least, will remain in my collection throughout my ITP graduate studies.


Week 1 & 2: Stop Motion Project. November 7, 2019

INRODUCTION

For the first week of Animation, our class recieved lecture pertaining to the art of stop motion animation. In accordance to this lecture, we students were tasked to collaborate with a partner to produce a 30-second stop motion animation.

I was fortunate to have partnered with my fellow classmate Jan, as her background pertained to the visual arts. Since my background pertains to technical production, we decided to approach the project with separate areas of emphasis, where I would handle the camera work and direction while Jan focussed on the narrative and object manipulation. With that said, these roles were blurred throughout the project, as we both had interest in each role.

PROCESS

Our initial day of collaboration was focussed on the conceptual side of our work, where we discussed ideas pertaining to narrative and stop motion objects. After spending this day familiarizing ourselves with the equipment, establishing a workflow, exploring stop motion techniques pertaining to clay and paper manipulation, and taking a "shooting at the hip" approach to the shoot, we left the facilities and decided to brainstorm other ideas and approaches for the following day's meeting.

Upon our Sunday arrival to ITP, Jan had a great idea for our project. Within this work, an individual prepares a snack for a cared one, packages this snack, and delivers the snack via digital messaging service. Upon recieving the message, the other individual unpacks the message's snack, plates the snack, and consumes the snack. It must be noted that this snack is a "cut-up" orange made of clay.

Jan's storyboard Cut-up Clay Orange

As our project revolved around character actions in a stationary manner, the necessity for various shooting locations did not exist. More specifically, the work only required the utilization of the kitchen for cutting/messaging and a work table for message recieving and snack consuming.

ITP Kitchen Bar ITP Work Table

We were able to shoot the project with minimal hiccups, since had had visualized and documented the majority of the work. While delays primarily pertained to the creation and deconstruction of objects, a small delay pertained to the most interesting process of the work, where we needed to shoot a scene in reverse. With a bit of discussion and coordination, alongside some reshoots, the issue was resolved.

Cut-up Clay Orange

After rendering the video in Dragonframe, loading/editing the project in Premiere, and editing/adding a music track for the work, we were left with the following finalized video:

CONCLUSION

Perhaps the biggest "take-away" from this work is the necessity of planning prior to attempting any shooting, as our intial attempts within our first day were unsuccessful. Only upon the full conceptialization of or project were we able to properly and efficiently handle the work.

Additionally, visual documentation was lacking as focus strictly pertained to "hammering-out" our project. This issue will be appropriately handled within future undertakings.

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