My project began as a campaign against deforestation; I wanted to raise awareness of this matter through the medium of film and 3D. Film was a medium I was unfamiliar working on my own with. I set out to concentrate this subject matter by focussing on the changing textures from natural landscapes to the manmade world we live amongst in suburban and urban arias. I knew I wanted to create a popup book because of my experience of book binding this year, I wanted to experiment with different formats of books. When I began making the pop-up machetes it was harder than I anticipated so I decided to abandon the idea of focussing on texture as I felt it was more important to have a high quality pop-up with strong narrative. Looking more into a narrative for the second part of my project, which was to be film, began to mold and change my idea further. I created storyboards and developed a narrative of comparison between nature and industrialisation; this is how the idea of deforestation evolved into general eco friendly awareness.
As I have progressed in the creative further education system, beginning with my art foundation, I developed a growing interest in illustrating animals and landscapes around myself. Looking further into issues like animal extinction, endanger, the ‘being green’ campaign and the general changing habitats of humans and animals from pure interest created a drive to express and communicate these issues to others. I particularly enjoy trying to communicate to people though a speechless objective, for example through the perspective of animals or inanimate objects. I find communicating with out speech often creates a more interesting out come and leaves more opportunity for the relationship between visual and audio aspects of work to be more flexible. From these interests and previous knowledge I was drawn to deforestation as a subject matter.
I feel my strengths lie in hand rendered products and creating ideas, technically I lack in skill and knowledge. I wanted to use this project to broaden a medium I was comfortable in but also allow me to learn new skills in another. I chose to make a pop-up book because it was a 3D, hands on task I knew I would enjoy and could familiarly work my way around even though I had no experience in paper engineering I though it would be a matter structure design. I then chose the medium of film for the second half of the project. I settled for the idea of stop motion after watching several short films and processes. I have always appreciated and been interested in all kinds of animation but thought the techniques were to advance for me. I took this project as an opportunity to do some thing I had not done before and because of this I realised that I not only appreciated animation I also thoroughly enjoy the process of making stop motion animation.
I began my research on Pintrest, which is linked on my WordPress blog. Through this I was able to pull inspiring, creative images to create a mood-board of the kind of product I was aiming to achieve. I asked for advice at Vernan Street from Sarah, the lady who had taught us book-binding previously in the year, and she recommended I looked at pop-up maker and designer Robert Sabuda. Through researching his website I found helpful books such as ‘Pop-Up Design and Paper Machanics’ and Playing with Pop-Ups The Art of Dimensional Moving Paper Design’ these process books helped me understand paper engineering as it was one of the hardest things I found through out the project. I also looked at artists- Duncan Birmingham, Claire Littlejohn,Sam Ito, Jenny Thorne and John Tenniel. I found it difficult finding artists that had designed or illustrated pop-up books that weren’t for children, this is why I found Pintrest a useful website to look at as there were more sophisticated and varied images I could look at. If I had the chance again I would have taken out of the library or bought some pop-up books that I could have had a closer first hand look at.
I enjoyed researching information of filmmakers, animators, shorts films and music videos for the film aspect of my project. The first film I looked at was a film I found on Vimeo- Life Cycle Of A Drop Of Water, this film allowed me to see that the vision I had created in my head was possible. It inspired me in the sense of stylization and gave me an idea of how to make a stop motion engaging. Making sure to keep close caution of different speeds and directions in which subjects within the set could move in order to really make them look animated and as though moving on their own. Vimeo was a particularly helpful resource that I used and I soon came across the work of Kirsten Lepore who is director and animator based in LA. I found her work so intricate and fun, she has an ongoing style with in her animations, which is some thing I would like to trend in my own work if I was to carry on making animations. All her sets are so ambitious and have a notion of any thing is possible if planned correctly. I also looked at books ‘Frame-by-frame stop motion: the guide to non-traditional animation techniques.’ and Stop motion: craft skills for model animation. Although these were helpful to gain information I found the research of different films more useful as I was able to see for my self the different affects that could be achieved.
The most significant moment in my project I feel was when I was making my animation. I began the process with a narrative and storyboard ready to film but as the process progressed I realized how easy it was to mold the story into more exciting possibilities. I had not planned to have the emphasis of the narrative on the bicycles but the idea to make these inanimate objects have an animated mind of there own came to me half way through making the film. I felt excited that this medium was so flexible that I was able to change and develop ideas even as I was shooting the footage. This project has definitely made me more interested in animation and different forms of it, I wish to carry this practice through to second year to develop, explore and experiment further.
I have achieved what I set out to achieve at the beginning of the module, for the first time I made a day-by-day plan of what I was to do each individual day and made sure each task was achieved in the set day it was applied to. This strongly helped me keep my time management under control, some thing that has been a serious problem and downfall in previous projects of mine. I asked for help from resources provided by the college, which is also some thing I have struggled with previously. The help provided particularly from Matt in AV was extremely useful to me as I was able to make mistakes and learn from them without panicking myself. If I was to do the project again I would be sure to do an equal amount of research and backup work to match the quality of my final piece. As I feel I may have been slightly tunnel viewed in the sense that I was very set on finishing my final product, that as it was going on I didn’t look at as many artists and resources as I could have done.
For the exhibition I displayed my pop-up book along side my animation. I did this so that people could physically see and appreciate the hand made aspect of the project, although I felt uncertain to display my book as it had become wilted and week from filming and moving around the studios. I’m glad that I decided to display the two parts of the project together as it shows both handmade and technical aspects of my work. I wanted my work to be engaging to a wide audience which I why I made almost a story like aspect to the narrative. Although the film has a delicate, airy aesthetic to it the concept is significant and relatable to people, especially of my generation growing up with such an emphasis on recycling and being eco-friendly.
Frame-by-frame stop motion: the guide to non-traditional animation techniques. / Gasek, Tom (2011)
Stop motion: craft skills for model animation. / Shaw, Susannah (2003)
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Sam Ito
Dinner with Fox – Claire Littlejohn
Alice In Wonderland – Robert Sabuda
‘Pop-Up Design and Paper Machanics’ Duncan Birmingham
Playing with Pop-Ups The Art of Dimensional Moving Paper Design’
Frank L. Anderson is a stop-motion animation director, and also a life-long musician, composer, and producer. And he reached stop-motion animation at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.