23-24.1.17: Initial ideas; MotionBuilder


Our first day – SO much information. I think because I didn’t really know what the subject entailed, except for the rudimentary knowledge I gleaned online and the few photos I’ve glimpsed over the years on social media, the first day was a pandora’s box day. I saw it all, didn’t really understand all of it, but I got the gist of what we’d be doing.

Holger taught us the basics of MotionBuilder today. It was surprisingly similar to Maya, which I learned in my 1st and 2nd year of animation, so I was very glad to have a basis of knowledge. The screenshots below are taken from a few of the exercises we’ve done.

(Nour, G. 2017)

We went to the Data Arena for the first time. The Google Earth was immensely apocalyptic, what with its lack of people and general destruction. I found the idea of searching for data visually really interesting and it seemed a much more effective method of acting on data.

That night I brainstormed ideas for the brief of ‘territory vs intruder’ and ‘estuary’.

(Nour, G. 2017)

Initial ideas in response to ‘Territory vs Intruder; Estuary’:

  • Humans on earth (humans vs nature, manmade vs nature, humans depleting natural resources)
  • AI/technology (e.g. outsourcing jobs to machines)
  • Creative copyright (plagiarism, copyrighting lyrics/titles/words, stealing artwork > ‘terra nullius’, not acknowledging/recognising the territory, the individual vs the community, personal vs public domain)
  • Homeless within the public space (public territory, yet there is prejudice against them. They use the public space/territory as their personal one, because they have nowhere else to go. Are they or non-homeless intruders? Are neither?)
  • Sleep (reflecting our place within our territory in our dreams, nightmares)
  • Thought patterns/mental illness – intruding thoughts, peaks and valleys, esp. for creative individuals)
  • Expanding nature – moss, rust. Both are elements of nature, it is their territory, though they intrude on the space of other living spacing. Comfortable intrusion. Non-disruptive intrusion.
  • Toxic water and bacteria (see ‘How to build a Universe’)
  • Female reproductive rights – and freedom from danger (rape – both female and male). The territory being the body, the intruder being obvious.
  • Equal marriage rights – the territory being rather nebulous for both parties. Both anti- and pro-gay marriage consider the other to be the intruder on their own rights/beliefs. The difference, of course, being that anti-gay marriage heterosexuals aren’t being persecuted, targeted, and physically and emotionally hurt by the opposing party.
  • Dogs and poles (had to be thought)

See: Miyanaga Akira for his layered films re: a transitioning world.

(Akira, M. 2012-2016)


Dean’s immersive workshop

The exercises we did today were really different from anything I’ve done before. It was a really cool way to think alternatively through movement and understand the topic of territory/intruder through the physical act of seeing those concepts embodied. Afterwards we talked as a class about how the activity could extend into behaviour and ideas in society – how people would purposely block others, the correlations of several men blocking/standing behind a woman, a mutual respect of movement, and how newcomers to a system with already decided rules (they were immersed in the music in the centre) would automatically try assimilate into the new “culture”. I think I liked this idea of assimilation most because I felt it quite strongly – I knew the rules, but it was a strange way of acting and I didn’t want to get it wrong or be too noticeable.

His mo-cap dances at the end were far more detailed than expected and utilised stillness and repetition in a really lovely, realistic (to the animals) manner.

Scanned pages from Dean’s immersive workshop:

Scanned pages from my journal of Dean’s immersive workshop containing notes from my thoughts and insights on the activity. (Nour, G. 2017)
The class taking part in Dean's workshop - ascending, descending, rolling at once.
The class taking part in Dean’s workshop – ascending, descending, rolling at once. (Nour, G. 2017)

(Nour, G. 2017)

We spent a couple hours after Dean’s workshop learning more MotionBuilder with Holger. I amused myself greatly by creating this masterpiece (model: Santa’s Little Helper):

(Nour, G. 2017)

As a group Jack, Lou, Helen and I all sat together to go over any concepts or ideas we’d come up with since yesterday (and also discuss group names), including the list of ideas I came up with last night (written at the start of this blog post).

First group brainstorming session
First group brainstorming session (Nour, G. 2017)

After our first group brainstorming session, our main interests lie in thought processes/mental illness/anxiety (> thought spikes), its relation to electricity (such as electrical synapses, shock treatments, how animals contain electricity in their bodies), and marine biology (organisms living where no one else can, nature’s connection to the universe, the elemental substances of life).

Group name ideas I came up with that night:

  • Symbiotic Vengeance (aw, so hardcore)
  • Subdermal Currents (winner!)
  • Electric Royalty
  • Flintwood
  • Something with ‘Short Circuit’ in it
  • Flash flood (because marine and also electricity)
  • Electrostatic Impulse



Miyanaga, A. 2016, teaser, Vimeo, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://vimeo.com/178053273 >.

Miyanaga, A. 2014, WAVY, Vimeo, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://vimeo.com/110559751 >.

Miyanaga, A. 2013, KIWA (excerpt), Vimeo, viewed 23 January 2017, <https://vimeo.com/80901407 >.

Miyanaga, A. 2012, NETWORKS “Phoenergy” MusicVideo by MIYANAGA Akira, Vimeo, viewed 23 January 2017, <https://vimeo.com/130606356 >.


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