8.2.17: Final presentation

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(Wolstenholme, L. 2017)
(Nour, G. 2017)

Our final presentation!

Our group had a LOT of issues this morning trying to export our image sequences as mp4’s using the mkmeg script. It would just say that the path couldn’t be found and wouldn’t export anything. We’d arrived at 8.30am but even by 9.30, our deadline, it just wasn’t working. Jason, the technical genius of UTS had been spending the whole hour trying to work out what the problem was but by the end we had to just leave the files with him and accompany Chris to the Data Arena to start the presentations. It was a very stressful situation, and even though Jason had arrived with the files, which had worked on the lab computers, they wouldn’t play in the Data Arena.

We gave our verbal presentation, and Jason and I left to try work the script again in the level 3 computer lab. This time they finally worked, all three test sequences (that morning Helen’s was the only one that worked, and we hadn’t even had a chance to try the third sequence!). Turns out the sound file was the issue – it was an .mp3 and only a .wav file would run the script.

We managed to present our film at 12pm, which was actually quite nice because there were several visitors watching by that point, including an animation tutor, Deborah Szapiro.

We got a lot of good feedback – the sound made a great impression and Deb liked that our intention aimed to get museum guests moving around the space. Upon asking what we’d change in our piece, we expressed a desire to include a bit more depth into our piece.

(Nour, G. 2017)

Some slides from our in-class presentation:

 

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(Mindmap, Chun, H 2017; Presentation, Wolstenholme, L. 2017)


Overall the past two and a half weeks have definitely been a very intense, immersive experience. It was a steep learning curve but led to a great ability to make snap decisions and not become too attached to any one concept or idea, to analyse each critically and objectively and choose the best one for the brief. It was a good experience at looking at each team member’s strengths and making the most of them in the project. I’m really pleased with our concept and how our animation turned out. It was definitely stressful but it worked out without any irreversible/unsolvable hiccups in the process. It was also really great to learn a new program (especially being an animator) and gain experience working with a different space (especially such a unique one) and with people from different design disciplines. I’ve never worked on a solely abstract piece before and it definitely inspires an alternative way of thinking. It will definitely aid in future projects now I’m in the habit of asking, “What do I want to convey? What do I want the viewer to feel? How do I do that? Does my current work accomplish that? How can I tell?”

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7.2.17: Polishing; last minute work

I worked from home today – all my files are there and it takes so long to travel into the city for me, I figured that as we’re on a deadline I might as well not waste two hours of travel time and spend that time to work on fixing our primary animation, creating our third test sequence, and contributing to the final presentation. It wasn’t particularly necessary for me to work at uni rather than home, anyway, especially as Helen and I were responsible for animating and compiling the bulk of the primary and test animations. I had a few technical difficulties today – issues with Adobe/mac OS X updates (the level 7 computer I’d worked on on Sunday night was the latest 2017 version but at home mine was still 2015 and updating would take several hours so Helen had to save back a version of my file and send it to me), graphics card issues (ghost images on AE showing up), and so forth.

It took a while to overcome those but eventually we did and I fixed up the elements that Chris had suggested as best I could. I found fixing the extension of the ink, the force of ink pushing through really difficult. Lou had given me some MotionBuilder particle exports on my HDD but they were a selection of ones she’d already done and only a couple of new ones that just had a change of camera. I really needed more MotionBuilder particles with a quicker tail fade-out and different shapes (i.e. more iterations and tests using different joints from Dean’s mocap data – especially something more horizontal) but Lou just sent me the files to work on myself instead of adjusting them and exporting herself. Instead I pursued with what I had as I didn’t have time to work on that as well as the third test sequence (the second being Helen’s). A good challenge though to grapple with!

Under each still of the final animation I have included an overview of intention and visual background according to each.

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An exploration of how a clear direction/state of mind/river can evolve into murkiness. Point of connection between the saltwater and freshwater.
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Segmented portions conveying the tumultuous dynamics between freshwater and saltwater, rational and emotional mind. Each element is intrusive in the other’s space, there is a give and take, flow and recede of each estuary element.
screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-36-31-pm
Blocks of simple colours, showing the balance that can be achieved between the emotional and rational mind. They still exist together, but in a calmer state. Also is a reference to how saltwater and freshwater do not mix, but remain adjacent.

 

Overview (verbal component for our Wednesday presentations):

Our final animated sequence explores the tumultuous dynamics between the merging of freshwater and saltwater within an estuary, similarly to how the emotional and rational mind act as forces that fluctuate in strength, yet always remaining united. The use of black and white was introduced as a means of instantly symbolising two contrasting elements and transporting the individual to an illusory setting. We explored the notion of eruptions, force, and intrusion within a space by amplifying speed, thundering and dropping sound, and graphic images throughout this cinematic piece. We conducted a number of experiments with ink, oil, and water to visually represent contrast within a contained environment, just as salt and freshwater is contained in an estuary. These unpredictable liquids aptly act as a visual representation for how emotions and rational thinking occurs in the mind. Always varying in pattern and reaction to the opposing element, the force of the ink emulates how emotions drive rational thinking and act in tandem with it. Heightened actions based on purely emotional thinking result in tempestuous landscapes, seen in our piece by the gradual crescendo of particles and ink, filling the entire panoramic screen and overwhelming the viewer with so much to look at. They are encourage to follow the action, to move with the visual unrest before the dust settles and blocks of simply colour convey the balance that can be achieved between the two converging forces of emotion and rational thinking, and similarly the freshwater and saltwater.

Jack didn’t end up working on the sound but did some research into user experience, which Lou put into the presentation. Helen had written the 500 word rationale that Lou asked her to do, Lou edited that, and then I edited Lou’s (including more specific elements of the visual language, which was my focus in creating the animation).

Our final:

“The mythical freshwater river Alpha, which coursed through the saltwater sea and emerged wholly untainted on the other shore.”
            - (Caillois, 2003).

An Estuary is a fluid environment within which many diverse forces exist freely and in union, filled with saltwater and freshwater that is divided in the same space. Our concept looks at the interaction between the emotional and rational mind and how that correlates to the nature of salt and freshwater within an estuary. Subdermal Currents has responded to the National Maritime Museum’s brief on river ecology with a graphic representation of the collision, eruption and convergence of two forces, employing animation and manipulated footage to deliver a highly engaging sensory experience for a wide audience to enjoy. The museum attracts a variety of visitors and we have designed our animation to be inclusive and enjoyable for all, with a more specific focus on the individual and personal reflection. With an experimental focus on the spontaneous and free form, this work provides respite from educational content at the centre of the exhibition and individuals leave feeling replenished.

Subdermal Currents has great respect for the important role the National Maritime Museum plays as a treasure chest of oceanic stories and history. Thus, we have explored the idea of antiquity in our work, framed by an examination of the opposing views of Homer and Plato. The characters in Homer’s poetry are emotional and prone to intense mood shifts, yet Plato’s dialectic text argues that they are child-like in letting emotion govern logic. Utilising motion capture data of Dean Walsh’s choreography on aquatic modalities, we have identified emotion with the flowing delicacy of the siphonophores and rationale with the rigid, structured movements of the arthropods. This association is complemented by Caillois’s (2003) allegory which likens freshwater to “lyricism” and saltwater to “science”. Furthermore, research into schismogenesis, the harmony or division between two opposing forces (Bateson, 1972), has led us to also consider the conflict between ‘territory’ and ‘intruder’ and what happens when one of these states is predominant and when they are balanced.

The aim of this work is to provide a meditative experience by separating the individual and provoking an internal reflection, ultimately finding balance between the emotional and rational mind. Our final animated sequence explores the tumultuous dynamics between the merging of freshwater and saltwater within an estuary, similarly to how the emotional and rational mind act as forces that fluctuate in strength, yet always remaining united. The use of black and white was introduced as a means of instantly symbolising two contrasting elements and transporting the individual to an illusory setting. We explored the notion of eruptions, force, and intrusion within a space by amplifying speed, thundering and dropping sound, and graphic images throughout this cinematic piece. We conducted a number of experiments with ink, oil, and water to visually represent contrast within a contained environment, just as salt and freshwater is contained in an estuary. These unpredictable liquids aptly act as a visual representation for how emotions and rational thinking occurs in the mind. Always varying in pattern and reaction to the opposing element, the force of the ink emulates how emotions drive rational thinking and act in tandem with it. Heightened actions based on purely emotional thinking result in tempestuous landscapes, seen in our piece by the gradual crescendo of particles and ink, filling the entire panoramic screen and overwhelming the viewer with so much to look at. They are encourage to follow the action, to move with the visual unrest before the dust settles and blocks of simply colour convey the balance that can be achieved between the two converging forces of emotion and rational thinking, and similarly the freshwater and saltwater.

 

That night I also created the third test sequence as supporting material. I was able to include a lot of the assets that weren’t in the primary piece – a plate of paint and ink that Helen and I had filmed, the black “blob” Lou had made a while ago, more ink drops in water.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 2.28.53 pm.png
(Nour, G. 2017)

In the far left portion I layered the different ink films as a testing of Miyanaga Akira’s film traits that I had been so influenced by. The middle is Lou’s black flaky particles. Adjacent to that is the flowing ink Helen and I had filmed, and on the very right is footage from some ink drops in oil that I’d filmed when reshooting the out-of-focus oil jar tests.

scn_0024
(Nour, G. 2017)

 


References:
Caillois, R. 2003, Frank, C., The Edge of Surrealism: A Roger Caillois’s
Reader, Duke University Press, accessed January 29 2017.

6.2.17: Data Arena test 3; Kevin Sumption

Our group presented our animation to our tutors Chris and Holger, and special guest Kevin Sumption (director of the Australian National Maritime Museum). He wasn’t able to give us specific feedback but as our piece is meditative and focused on the individual, he asked the hypothetical of how one might measure whether our goal was successful. He suggested (to all groups) to consider implementing beanbags as an option to extend the watch-time of museum visitors.

(Nour, G. 2017)

Back in the labs we discussed further plans for Tuesday (our last day to work on our piece) and Chris brought up really valuable ideas to improve our animation. Primarily:

  • Emphasise the aspect of the ink PUSHING THROUGH to the end of the piece, especially as the MotionBuilder assets at the end of the animation don’t really feel like they match the rest of the panoramic area.
  • Another layer is needed – whether it’s unwinding particles, another element to the piece (and thus a longer sequence, as we didn’t want to complicate and crowd our established 30 seconds of animation)
  • SOUND: matching sounds to different elements, such as submersion, repetition, extending. Synchronising and creating motifs of matching sound and visuals. As Chris put it, “assign qualities to elements”.

Chris also liked the idea of eruptions, force, voluminous forms in our animation.

Holger thought our piece was a bit jumpy, a bit too much to constantly turn one’s head and look at all the elements. But we discussed the notion and agreed that it was the sort of piece that we wanted to have the build-up/tension/unrest that one does become overwhelmed, before it settles to something more calm and balanced. I also brought up the idea that we were all sitting down when we watched it in the Data Arena, but in a museum perhaps it’d be more effective if we didn’t have beanbags for guests to sit on, and instead encourage them to move around the space to look at all the elements. I had appreciated this aspect on our first day in the Data Arena when we could turn and check out the Google Earth.

Our plans for the next day and a half:

(Nour, G. 2017)

Jack:

  • Fix up the sound, as per Chris’ feedback – attribute sound to elements.

Lou:

  • More MotionBuilder assets/tests, something more horizontal so I can implement a stronger sense of push/force in the end scene.
  • Head the presentation, her area of expertise.

Gisele (me):

  • Fix up the test sequence (extend the line of force from the ink to the particle effects that Lou will make). Will test out different effects (e.g. a single asset at the end, a tiled sceen, oil covering the screen, Chris’ suggested “unwrapping” of the particles)
  • 2nd test sequence (brief asked for 2-3 test sequences to accompany the primary one. Helen’s test sequence is one of them).

Helen:

  • Write 500 word rationale (Lou hadn’t done it on Sunday like she’d said she would so gave the job to Helen)
  • Try out another test sequence using some of our oil tests.

 

GROUP MEET: 3pm Tuesday to practise and go over our presentation.

4-5.2.17: Compiling and editing

4.2.17

I spent today putting together our assets to create our first more comprehensive animation sequence. I still had to reshoot the oil jar effects and needed to meet with Helen at uni at some point to give her the high res footage but I was more concerned with getting the bulk of the animation done first as I was concerned about how it’d turn out.

(Nour, G. 2017)

I quite enjoyed compiling the footage to create our animation. It was a little difficult including the MotionBuilder particle effects in a way that blended well with the rest of the piece. My intention was to create the effect of a build up of tension and visual busyness before the action settled into a balanced “block” effect.

Lou had came up with a cool “bubble” effect yesterday that paralleled our theme of the oil/water division on MotionBuilder and I also had one that Jack had done at the beginning which I used. We had a few issues with exporting in MotionBuilder – Lou wasn’t able to export with a transparent background which meant we couldn’t use her choppy black particle on an animation with a black background, which was a shame.

(Wolstenholme, L. 2017)

Below is a graph I made inspired by the one Helen made yesterday (seen on yesterday’s post). I wanted to make a diagram more specific in terms of a singular, core idea to convey in the animation sequence. Being only 30 seconds it would be easy to go overboard and not be able to convey clearly our message/ideology of balance/meditation if we were to include every element. This helped guide the focus of the piece and make sure I didn’t go astray or too far off on a tangent in editing the animation. As can be seen, it focuses on two opposing elements – the emotional/volatile/unpredictable side and the rational/still/blocky side. The climax of the piece occurs when they meet and merge, fluctuating before they find a balance together.

scn_0018-copy
(Nour, G. 2017)

I drew the rough storyboard plan below concurrently while I worked on the AE file so I could see a basic step-by-step progression of action. I didn’t like the idea of planning beforehand seeing as we had a fair amount of assets and most of what I’d be doing would be playing around with a lot of different tests.

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(Nour, G. 2017)

I tried to consider the points Chris emailed about:

Colour/form:

  • Black and white to convey two obvious opposing elements
  • Graphic style to have a bold, overwhelming effect on the viewers

Stillness/disturbance:

  • This is a primary element of our sequence. The essence of our animation is the meeting of two forces that experience a period of unrest before settling into a balance, a stillness.

Cinematic language:

  • Tried to maintain a smooth transition between each shot of the animation and a clear flow between the two dynamics.
  • High salience that fluctuates between white/black > different strengths and influential power of either the rational/emotional mind.
  • The manipulation of footage with a focus on editing, time, and speed to communicate a sense of gravity, force, push/pull, cause/effect to parallel the merging of salt and freshwater in an estuary, and the turmoil between the emotional and rational mind (during a situation of decision).

As well as working on her test sequence, Helen wrote out the 2-3 sentence statement for Lou to say on Monday to Kevin (Lou’s a public speaker so taking the role of lead public speaker is her domain):

The Estuary is a space where dynamic forces are in play yet it is a meeting place of these elements. Our piece explores when saltwater meets with freshwater in an estuarial space. Taking into account that the National Maritime Museum is a treasure chest of oceanic backstories, this artwork explores antiquity framed in Homeric and Platonic notions of emotion and rationale and whether these states converge in an estuarial space for its viewers, in order that they may find that metaphoric and meditative stillness where freshwater meets saltwater.


That night I reshot the oil/ink/water footage from Thursday to hopefully attain better, more in focus footage. Mission accomplished! I used a macro lens this time instead which did the trick, and created a basic “recipe” of measurements based on the previous out of focus video to be able to create a similar effect of spidery tendrils, which had looked great in the Data Arena in our Friday interim tests.

scn_0019-copy
(Nour, G. 2017)

(Nour, G. 2017)

This time the ink bubbled up a lot more, intruding into the oil and gradually popping and receding, which looked really cool and was an improvement on last time.


5.2.17

I had work today so couldn’t work on our project during the day but went into uni at night to give Helen the updated high-res footage of the ink/oil to replace the old ones (luckily in After Effects you can just “replace” the footage so you can keep working on the project with old assets until you can update them). We both stayed till about 1am fixing up last bits and pieces of our tests (Helen had been working on our first test and I’d been working on an alternate version). I spent the night fixing up last bits and pieces – fade-outs, timing with the music, exporting several versions.

Screen Shot 2017-02-11 at 3.44.11 pm.png

Jack worked on sound yesterday and this afternoon he uploaded it, it sounds fantastic! Really immersive and dramatic. Lou said she’d work on/edit the 2-3 sentence concise statement that Helen had already written to deliver to Kevin Sumption tomorrow and start our 500 word rationale.

Helen’s test sequence:

1-turbulence2-_enter_the_estuarine_space

3-_metaphoric_estuary
(Chun, H. 2017)

My test sequence:

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screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-11-36-31-pm
(Nour, G. 2017)

3.2.17: Data Arena test 2

Today we tested our assets in the Data Arena. They were a very rushed job to roughly put together.

(Nour, G. 2017)

Notes from Chris’ and Holger’s feedback:

screen-shot-2017-02-04-at-5-45-52-pm

(Nour, G. 2017)

Overall Chris and Holger liked our experimentation and number of assets but wanted to see evidence of planning and how they would look and interact together on screen. However I was rather confident that we’d be able to put something together, but personally I prefer to work things out as I go, and not plan so much (especially when it comes to abstract animation).

Seeing it for the first time in the Data Arena was a good way for us to visualise how our elements might work together. We all liked the changing states of liquid and Lou and Jack particularly liked the “royal blue” that would fill the screen.

Another note was that our footage was a bit too blurry so I have to reshoot tonight or tomorrow morning before putting together a more final animation together.

Helen made a really concise graph of our conceptual progress and how our ideas link, which was super helpful.

mind_map
(Chun, H. 2017)

Many things to do over the weekend!

2.2.17: Experiments

Helen and I spent the day in the photography room on level 2 doing oil tests.

(Nour, G., Chun, H. 2017)

Helen and I experimented using milk, ink, food dye, oil, water, glitter, glue, and paint, and blended and mixed with toothpicks and moving the plate. Overall I didn’t feel that it was overly successful. Thinking it might be the large area we were working with, we tried using a glass jar lid, and it was a little better with a smaller surface, but it was still hard controlling the elements we introduced. We would see a little variation and then it would blend together into a big black or grey mess.

On level 3 Lou tested a few bubble simulations in MotionBuilder and Jack worked on a bit of sound.

Lou and Jack left early, and Helen and I had to pack up and return the camera equipment by 4pm (when the photo lab closed). We went home and continued doing the experiments there that we didn’t get to try at uni that night – ink, oil, water, food dye, glitter in glass jars, for a layered, divided effect (see below).

 

(Nour, G. 2017)

Plans for tomorrow:

  • continue working on particle effects in Maya; export old tests with alpha for transparency
  • adjust WB (white balance) in AE and test layering the oil tests from today
  • data arena testing

 

1.2.17: Data Arena test 1; visual research

We tested our assets that we created yesterday within the Data Arena today. Overall quite successful, this is a collection of the feedback from Chris and Holger and notes of things we discussed:

  • Targeted at the individuals within the crowd. An opportunity to self-reflect, personal growth.
  • Can extend into other binaries – love hate, fear hope
  • Look at estuaries – where the salt and water meet
  • Study on water molecules
  • Explore an educational context
  • Is it a passive space? Is it an interactive space? Responsive space?
  • Thin line above and below – 2 seconds then change. Abrupt shots and glimpses.
  • Cross section of oil and water and colour in jar (2 spaces).
  • Think about interactivity.
  • **** HOW have you considered dean’s data? Don’t have to use it for the majority.
  • Render with an alpha channel and export into AE.
  • Consider what (literal) objects we could use? Amoebas, particle/growth underwater (similar to moss?).
  • Get panoramas made at a higher resolution
  • Consider the space as a whole, not just individual elements.
  • Sound: increasing into a cacophony, cluster, cocoon of sound.
  • Look at actual estuaries – find areal, birdseye view.
  • Look at topographic maps.

 

(Nour, G. 2017)

After getting back to class, Lou left early and Jack worked on some sound while Helen and I planned for our oil experiments tomorrow.

scn_0014-copy
(Nour, G. 2017)

Helen suggested the cool idea of looking at a cross-section of oil and other mediums in a jar. We’re also going to attempt marbling paint on paper, smearing paint using twigs, film underneath perspex and plastic sheets to see the effects of paint and other materials dropping and interacting. If the oil, paint and water tests work then they’ll be a great opportunity to layer in AE (influenced by Miyanaga Akira), use as particles within MotionBuilder. They also should reflect topographic maps of estuaries, which will be another great interlinking of the concepts. We’re really excited to test these out tomorrow!

We discussed the film ‘Place Beyond the Pines’ which conveys an incredibly strong sense of immersion when watching the film.

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 7.36.52 pm.png
(Place Beyond the Pines 2012)

This also reminded me of another compilation of images from other sources that I made last year for a different subject, also conveying strong immersive sensory images.

Screen Shot 2017-02-01 at 7.37.00 pm.png
(Firewatch 2016); (Journey 2012)

‘Journey’ in particular is a video game based on the idea of being immersed in an environment. The game is almost more about the beautiful art than the actual gameplay (which is just a story-type exploration game). And ‘Firewatch’ has a beautiful sense of light in the game and how the colours and environment changes with it.

IDEA: look at the marine colour changes within estuaries, see what variations and shadows there are. Could be cool to incorporate into our film.

Based on Louise Zhang’s art (below) we added some extra mediums to take to uni tomorrow to play around with and looked at Ruslan Khasamov’s short films (stills seen below) for ideas of different ways of mark-making and footage.

We also looked at some references and art from different artists that related to our plans to stimulate some thoughts/ideas and brainstorm about our ensuing process (citation at end).

Louise Zhang

(Zhang, L. 2013-2015)

Ruslan Khasamov

Warm-up

(Khasanov, R. 2014)

Swept Away

(Khasanov, R. 2013)

Magnetik North ‘Fuck the Napkin’

(Khasanov, R. 2013)

Lumen Type

(Khasanov, R. 2012)

Miyanaga Akira

(Akira, M. 2012-2016)


I also set up a pinterest board to pin images more easily and have things to reference!

 


Our plan for tomorrow’s actions:

Helen: (with Gisele) a range of oil and colour tests using a variety of materials. Paint tests, paper marbling. Collect other assets: illustration, photos, montages, etc. Other animation possibly (don’t know if you’re comfortable with that)?

Gisele: (with Helen) a range of oil and colour tests using a variety of materials. Paint tests, paper marbling. Explore more particle effects and export them as alpha for Jack. Possibly test importing the oil tests into motionbuilder and layering them in AE. And if time, some 2D animated tests, if it fits the style.

Jack: create sound options, look at sound bites, sound sound sound. Also AE testing of tests and maybe some panoramas. Could look into the IPD design skills for designs we could import into motionbuilder re: arthro and sipho (e.g. shapes). Also asset building: montages, images, photos, etc.

Lou: motionbuilder tests, exploring multiple particle forms (like we did in class), attaching particles to different mocap joints and looking at the different shapes and interesting movements you can produce, thinking in terms of arthro and sipho. Also asset building: collages, illustrations, textures, etc.

 


References:

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

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

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

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

Campo Santo 2016, Firewatch, video game, PS4, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Data Arena 2017, posted by G. Nour, Pinterest, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://au.pinterest.com/giselenour/data-arena/ &gt;.

Khasanov, R. 2014, Warm-Up, Vimeo, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://vimeo.com/92839404 >.

Khasanov, R. 2013, Swept Away, Vimeo, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://vimeo.com/61765017 >.

Khasanov, R. 2013, Magnetik North ‘Fuck the Napkin’, Vimeo, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://vimeo.com/78155256 >.

Khasanov, R. 2012, Lumen Type, Vimeo, viewed 1 February 2017, <https://vimeo.com/52305654 >.

Place Beyond the Pines 2012, Motion Picture, Focus Features, US.

thatgamecompany 2012, Journey, video game, PS3, Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Zhang, L. 2013, Impressions, Louise Zhang, viewed 31 January 2017, <http://arthound.com/2013/09/artist-crush-louise-zhang/ >.

Zhang, L. 2014, Vermiform Steaks, Louise Zhang, viewed 31 January 2017, <http://louisezhang.com/VERMIFORM-STEAKS >.

Zhang, L. 2014, For the Love of Goo, Yen Magazine, viewed 31 January 2017, <http://www.yenmag.net/louise-zhang-and-her-goo-love/ >.

Zhang, L. 2015, Plomp, Louise Zhang, viewed 31 January 2017, <http://www.sightunseen.com/2015/01/louise-zhang-artist/ >.

30-31.1.17: Creating assets

We presented our concept and work yesterday to the class. It went okay. I don’t think we were able to portray all the research we did (and we did a lot), and we didn’t have much to show for the animation assets because we were so focused on the research. But at least concept-wise we’ve developed since our last class on Friday, and even after the presentation we’ve progressed into an even more established concept.

Our feedback from Chris:

scan024
(Wolstenholme, L. 2017)

At this stage we really just need to work on building up our assets in MotionBuilder, Soft Image, and possibly Maya (for Helen and I). Although we’re finding it difficult transitioning from concept to design in such an abstract setting, I’m hoping that looking at our past research can inform our ideas by picking out specific elements and designing ideas and images around that. So that’s what I started with today (31.1.17). I have both MotionBuilder and Maya at home (as well as other animation programs) at home so I just stayed home to work on everything rather than wasting 2 hours on transport.

Concept:

I created this text-image mood board to keep me on track while designing and animating assets, especially as we’re on a deadline and running a little behind schedule. It had the basic ideas and research that I liked (from my and some of the others’ research) that I thought I could create imagery from. It helped me a lot to have starting points all laid out in front of me so if I got confused or muddled, there was a life ring buoy I could grab onto.

moodboard.jpg
(Nour, G. 2017) (Clark, J. Getty Images) (See ’25-26.2.17: MotionBuilder, preliminary research’ post for photograph citations)

While designing we had conversations about the direction we could go in terms of our concept aligning with designs, taking into account the feedback Chris and Holger gave us yesterday. Lou and I had an interesting conversation about our progress (on slack.com, our messaging platform of choice that Helen suggested) that I thought really helped strengthen our message and give us a clear direction (and luckily was already in line with what I was designing!):

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.46.08 pm.png

Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 4.54.09 pm.png

Designs:

“Rage against the machine”, based on the vending machine rage where men would kick vending machine that would in turn fall on them and injure or even kill them.

"Notoriously, however, people sometimes get angry when they are frustrated by inanimate objects, which presumably cannot act wrongfully… In 1988, the Journal of the American Medical Associationpublished an article on “vending machine rage”: fifteen injuries, three of them fatal, as a result of angry men kicking or rocking machines that had taken their money without dispensing the drink. (The fatal injuries were caused by machines falling over on the men and crushing them.)"

- Popova, M. 2016
scn_0010
(Nour, G. 2017)

Oil and water – this idea originated in the research that I conducted during the weekend. I was reading about a study where people were given a series of numbers to remember and then offered a piece of cake or fruit. The study showed that to a great degree, those with more numbers took the cake, and those with only two, were about to use their rational mind in determining that the fruit was the better choice. In turn I thought about how this is like procrastination, and how I’ve pretty much worked out the secret to overcoming it now. This dichotomy between reason/emotion taking over the mind I thought resembled how oil and water can exist together but not blend. Each have their own unique role. And each can move the other liquid around.

I purposely made these images very cartoony. I thought it could make a nice contrast to the abstract void, having bold, cartoony elements to give more of a narrative feel.

I looked at images of oil and water and remembered an experimental video I saw last year, ‘Odyssey’. That was fantastic for exploring how I could visualise the dynamic between oil and water. Tomorrow Helen and I are going to film this effect using glycerin, water, glitter, and colour dye (though tbh it’ll probably just end up being food dye because that’s all I have haha).

(Khasanov, R. 2015)

This also links in well with the story of the untainted seawater and the idea of the bubble that Lou mentioned:

"The work is structured by an allegory of the mythical freshwater river Alpha, which coursed through the saltwater sea and emerged wholly untainted on the other shore. The sea represents =the realm of science (technology), letters, and language. In contrast, the tenacious undercurrent - “some kind of rebellious or perverse instinct” - represents Caillois’s latent lyricism or unmediated contact with the world, a “meager and personal existence, whose haunting memory I had preserved against currents and tides.”"

- Caillois, R. 2003
“a gigantic parenthesis, also a bubble, brackets off his absorption in the saltwater sea tot let him focus, in a literary epoch, on the essential origin and conclusion of his life.”

- Caillois, R. 2003

Lou linked me to her pinterest which had some cool images that related to our concept too.

(data immersion 2017, Pinterest)

I really like the bottom two. The left reminds me of the ECG of blank seizures image that I found for Friday’s conceptual collaging workshop (can be seen in the mood board above). And the right image I thought was a great way to express the change in mind from emotional to rational (or vice versa). Only problem is that I have no idea how I’d create this as a visual effect. It’d have to be a repeater effect…but doing it manually via After Effects would take an age. I might have to ask a 3D friend.

Maya and MotionBuilder:

I tried to create the idea of the oil/water effect in Maya by following a particle tutorial. I couldn’t find anything with the buoyancy and size of oil drops (rarely are they tiny because of their gravitation towards like matter), but I figured I could just adjust the gravity and size myself.

texture
Texture used in the black particles; (Nour, G. 2017)

The above texture is taken from a section I’d painted in Friday’s conceptual collage workshop. I used it for the particles in the black swarm above to try and convey the arthropod-esque rididness within a moving force. However they didn’t show up as large as I would have liked, and any attempts at scaling them were fruitless.

As for adjusting the size and gravity of the whole particle effect myself, obviously it didn’t work out that way. But the effects I came up with I still really liked. I tried importing to MotionBuilder as an .fbx file but every time I tried to bring it into the siphonophores_actor scene it would replace the mocap data, which was frustrating. I then tried to emulate the effect in MotionBuilder but it wouldn’t work at all. It felt like everything I tried just looked exactly like it did the first few lessons we learned MotionBuilder. I’m finding it hard to achieve variation in my tests.

These are stills from 10:1 tests that Helen and Jack made while they were at uni today. I kept in contact with them the whole day but I know they were struggling a fair bit trying to keep up and work with the systems (as was I).

panoramic-grid1panoramic-grid2

panoramic-grid3
(Chun, H. 2017)

Lou worked on some panoramas:

panorama1panorama2

panorama3
(Wolstenholme, L. 2017)

I like the idea of the bubbles within her panoramas, how they express the shattering of reality when one’s emotional or rationality mind is too much in control.

The second one has a nice contrast between the arthropod and siphonophore movements within our concept.

Sound:

Honestly, we just didn’t get around to sound today. We were too focused on trying to actually create enough for Wednesday’s tests in the data arena but we’re all finding it really hard. We can’t seem to get the imagery we want in Motion Builder and Helen and I focused on 2D rather than 3D during our animation course, so we’re not super familiar with it. Being an intensive course, it feels like there’s not really any time to make mistakes. Like the first go should really be the final go. But everything is taking so much longer to work out (as is typical in animation), and we’re remaining in the same position despite spending hours trying to work it out.

Helen and I were talking about it and think our mistake was in all of us doing research last weekend. It probably would have been better if she and I worked on animation assets (as we’re both animators) and Jack and Lou worked on the research. There were probably too many people working on research at the same time. In saying that though, I personally found doing so much research helpful in visualising ideas today. It’s just I wasn’t actually able to visualise all the ideas the way I wanted to. But we probably should have split each project element up and worked on animation assets so that we didn’t end up where we are now – a little overwhelmed and panicked, desperately hoping we’ll get back on track and create animations we enjoy tomorrow, but worried we won’t.

No one got around to making any still assets like montages, collages, or textures either.

Plans for tomorrow:
  • 2D animate (play to my strengths!) fluid stretching out (figurative) tentacles to create a suffocating web of fluidity when loaded into MotionBuilder as a particle coming from some of the Mocap data points/joints (emphasising the danger of thinking purely emotionally).
  • Helen and I will film the oil/water/glitter/dye conglomerates and take it into After Effects to act as another contrast between the emotional/rational mind. I think it’ll look pretty cool when seen as a whole – it’ll fit really nicely within the idea of ‘estuary’ as well, in terms of disconnection within a flow/current.
  • Ask Holger how to import the Maya particles I made today into a _plot scene of MotionBuilder.

I think that’s it for the list. Don’t want to have so much to do that I won’t be able to do any of it! Lists are great. They make you feel like you’re in control when previously you were feeling more the contrary.

 


References:

Caillois, R. 2003, Frank, C., The Edge of Surrealism: A Roger Caillois’s

Reader, Duke University Press, accessed January 29 2017.

Khasanov, R. 2015, Odyssey, Vimeo, viewed 30 January 2017, <https://vimeo.com/127468772 >.

Popova, M. 2016, ‘Philosopher Martha Nussbaum on Anger, Forgiveness, the Emotional Machiery of Trust, and the Only Fruitful Response to Betrayal in Intimate Relationships’, brainpickings, weblog, viewed 27 January 2017, <https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/05/03/martha-nussbaum-anger-and-forgiveness/&gt;.

Oil in water, Joseph Clark, Getty Images, viewed 28 January 2017, <https://www.reference.com/science/don-t-oil-water-mix-5fa85ae059405d10 >.

data immersion 2017, posted by L. Wolstenholme, Pinterest, viewed 30 January 2017, <https://au.pinterest.com/louwolst/data-immersion-concept-inspiration/ >.

28-29.1.17: Primary research

28-29.1.17

Worked on research and the panoramas for Monday’s presentation over the weekend.

Research

(see bibliography at end)

Summary:

I’m exploring the psychological correlations of the rational and emotional mind and their psychobiological (The study of the biological foundations of the mind, emotions, and mental processes) connection to instinct and natural selection.

[Emotions function within practical reasoning, are not just spurs to it. They are not separate or alternating, but are inextricably linked.] (Kirman, A et al, 2009).


  1. Emotions drive rational thinking, but more than that, it is necessary to it.
    • Emotions create a guide for how we use our rational mind.
    • Famous case in neuroscience – a man’s brain was damaged and stopped him feeling emotions. However he could never make up his mind, he would debate the pros and cons of a situation that would normally take a moment for hours.”When this neural connection is severed – when our OFCs can’t comprehend our own emotions – we lose access to the wealth of opinions we normally rely on. It’s impossible to make decent decisions. This is why the OFC is one of the few cortical regions that are markedly larger in humans than they are in other primates. While Plato and Freud would have guessed that the job of the OFC was to protect us from our emotions, to fortify reason against feeling, its actual function is precisely the opposite. Humans are the most emotional animal of all.” (Lehrer, J. 2009)
    • Advertising – advertisers use a combination of the functional and sentimental to sell products and complete tasks.
    • Emotions help us progress in life. Past learning and anticipations stem from envy and regret.
    • Contemporary philosophy of emotion attempts something stronger, however, in according emotions a role in practical reasoning. Making this an integral role – understanding emotions as functioning within practical reasoning rather than just as spurs to it – means interpreting emotions in normative terms, as providing and expressing potential reasons for action, and as themselves subject to rational assessment and control, contrary to the traditional view of emotions as ‘passive’ phenomena.
    • This issue should provide fuel for this debate on the relation between emotions and rationality, and all the views expressed by the contributors suggest that even the most resistant of the social sciences, economics, can no longer resist the trend in psychology, the neurosciences and philosophy to avoid treating these two phenomena as separate or alternating but rather to consider them as inextricably interlinked.
  2. The more strain on our minds, the more vulnerable our minds are to make decisions emotionally.
    • Procrastination is a key example – under a lot of stress and number of things to do, it’s really easy to procrastinate. This is your emotional mind taking the reins because the stress is too much for our rational minds to cope.
    • “Vending machine rage” (Brainpickings, 2016)
      “Notoriously, however, people sometimes get angry when they are frustrated by inanimate objects, which presumably cannot act wrongfully… In 1988, the Journal of the American Medical Associationpublished an article on “vending machine rage”: fifteen injuries, three of them fatal, as a result of angry men kicking or rocking machines that had taken their money without dispensing the drink. (The fatal injuries were caused by machines falling over on the men and crushing them.)”
  3. Natural selection/survival of the fittest
    • Emotions evolved to facilitate decision-making (using the energy from emotions for rational reasons).
    • Physiological reactions, such as an animal’s instinctual habit – is that influenced by emotions or rational thinking? Are their primitive antics based on survival of the fittest – is that an emotional reaction to survival or a logical one? What is the difference between emotional and rational thinking and instinctual reactions?
    • Humans have emotional capacities that resulted in social norms, contrary to animals.
  • “Emotions have their reasons, and are not limited to instinctive traits selected by evolution that trigger basic and urgent reactions. They can also guide deliberations based on the relation between past learning and anticipations. ” (Kirman, A et al, 2009)
    • If we look into emotional and rational thinking in terms of psychopathy – psychopaths lack an emotional mind. They understand, for the most part, society’s emotional mind and individual reactions, but it is not a distraction from their logic-driven behaviour.
  1. Variations of emotion/psychology
    • Social norms, responsibility, risk (mixed emotions such as ‘elated relief’, ‘humble pride’), time (expanding and contracting), influence, all affect our decisions and balance between emotional/rational mind.
    • ‘self-poisoning of the mind’ (Eister 2010) – in an attempt to alleviate the emotion of envy, one might put down another person who has achieved success. Catch 22 though – they will never achieve their objective. > emotional/rational minds disjoined.
    • Using emotion to improve one’s rational decisions, such as social learning. Envy, regret > future betterment.
    • The ultimatum game

Relevant quotes and images:

"Reason leads to conclusions; emotion leads to action."
 - Saatchi & Saatchi (British advertising agency)
"The distinction between means and ends [...] gets back to the distinction between reason and emotion."
 - Gittins, R. 2008, Sydney Morning Herald
" Darwin's preoccupation with emotional expression suggests recognition of the importance of the social context, for the expression of emotions can only be useful if someone else perceives it."
 - (Kirman, A et al, 2009)
“Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions”
 - David Hume (18th century Scottish philosopher)
“I felt a funeral in my brain,
 And mourners, to and fro,
 Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
 That sense was breaking through."
 - Emily Dickinson

 

Self-portrait of Van Gogh (he had seizures, which apparently improved his creativity –> re: irrationality in art).

‘The Scream’, Edvard Munch. In reading about the inspiration behind this painting, it seems the painter experienced panic attacks and intense anxiety. I liked this for the reason that he forgoes rationality in his art, because it is purely about the emotions).

‘The Irrationality of the Rational Mind’, by Edonna Nome. I found it strange that when remembering this painting after first seeing it, I remembered it as a boy whose features was not rotated within the face, he was perfectly normal. Seems accurate to the title.

The venn diagram refers to a philosophy, ‘Wise Mind’, that states that only when you’re equally reliant on the emotional and rational mind are you wise and able to make good decisions.

Oil and water – reflects the dichotomy between the emotional and rational mind.

 

Images:

Van Gogh, V. 1887, Self-Portrait with a Straw Hat, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/67.187.70a/ >.

Munch, E. 1893, The Scream, Lego Menon, weblog, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://legomenon.com/meaning-of-the-scream-1893-painting-by-edvard-munch.html&gt;.

Nome, E. 2008, The Irrationality of the Rational Mind, Saatchi Art, viewed 28 January 2017, <https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-The-Irrationality-of-the-Rational-Mind-IRM/20820/792069/view&gt;.

Wise Mind [diagram], Brainstorm, WordPress, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://brainstorm.tammyrome.com/dbt-mindfulness-three-states-mind/ >.

Oil in water [photograph], Joseph Clark, Getty Images, viewed 28 January 2017, <https://www.reference.com/science/don-t-oil-water-mix-5fa85ae059405d10 >.

 


Stitched panoramas:

panorama1.jpg

I blended the elements of rigid, static forms, representing the arthropod woven over with fairly fluid shapes to represent the siphonophore. I wanted to convey a sense that both the emotional and rational mind work at the same time, with sometimes the emotional mind taking the majority of control, sometimes the rational. I really liked the intercut photos that I made next to Helen’s woman with the contrasting hands and Lou’s “forest”. I think the parallels give a cool jarring effect (especially when the rest of the space isn’t so crowded, hence the version below).

panorama2.jpg

Mostly just made this second version for aesthetic reasons. I thought concept-wise the top one works but it’s just quite messy. Which I guess is like the mind anyway. But I like how clean the bottom version is. It has a nice flow of movement throughout it too. It could be more dynamic though. Images with more salience with the arthropod figures more interrupting.


 

References:

Ciraldo, J. 2012, ‘Rational Mind vs. Emotional Mind’, blog post, 20 September 2012, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa12/2012/09/rational-mind-vs-emotional-mind.html >.

Gittins, R. 2008, ‘Rational thinking and emotion: one without the other is a dangerous thing’, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 June, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://www.smh.com.au/business/rational-thinking-and-emotion-one-without-the-other-is-a-dangerous-thing-20080608-2njy.html >.

Kirman, A., Livet, P., Teschl, M. 2009, ‘Rationality and emotions’, The Royal Society, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/365/1538/215 >.

Lehrer, J. 2009, ‘Feeling our way to decision’, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 February, viewed 29 January 2017, <http://www.smh.com.au/national/feeling-our-way-to-decision-20090227-8k8v.html >.

Nirshberg, G. 2010, ‘Emotions and Rationality’, Cognitive Philosophy, weblog, viewed 28 January 2017, < http://cognitivephilosophy.net/ethics/emotions-and-rationality/ >.

Nome, E. 2008, The Irrationality of the Rational Mind, Saatchi Art, viewed 28 January 2017, <https://www.saatchiart.com/art/Painting-The-Irrationality-of-the-Rational-Mind-IRM/20820/792069/view >.

Popova, M. 2016, ‘Philosopher Martha Nussbaum on Anger, Forgiveness, the Emotional Machiery of Trust, and the Only Fruitful Response to Betrayal in Intimate Relationships’, brainpickings, weblog, viewed 27 January 2017, <https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/05/03/martha-nussbaum-anger-and-forgiveness/ >.

Shabi, K. 2013, ‘Meaning of The Scream (1893) Painting by Edvard Munch: Art Analysis’, Lego Menon, weblog, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://legomenon.com/meaning-of-the-scream-1893-painting-by-edvard-munch.html >.

SmartDataCollective 2017, Rational versus Emotional Decision Making, Industry Dive, viewed 28 January 2017, <http://www.smartdatacollective.com/garycokins/23935/rational-versus-emotional-decision-making >.

Van Praet, D. 2013, ‘The End of Rational Vs. Emotional: How Both Logic and Feeling Play Key Roles in Marketing and Decision Making’, Fast Company, weblog, viewed 27 January 2017, <https://www.fastcocreate.com/1682962/the-end-of-rational-vs-emotional-how-both-logic-and-feeling-play-key-roles-in-marketing-and- >.

 

27.1.17: Collaging; concept development

27.1.17

Conceptualising and Schematising

Pinning up research and images, discussing the connections, collaging, overviewing our concept, streamlining, refocusing, expressing our first conceptual collage ideas through our chosen modalities of the arthropod and sisonophore (?).

Research and images from yesterday’s research:

 (See ’25-26.2.17: MotionBuilder, preliminary research’ post for citations)

Process:

(Nour, G. Chun, H. 2017)

The sections I focused on:

(Nour, G. 2017)

I wanted to maintain a flow throughout the images, yet contrast it with the idea of an altered reality. As if when you have intrusive thoughts and anxiety, your reality changes around you in terms of what is territory and what is the intruder.

(Helen added the girl at the end, which I thought was really clever, in blending the environment and the “identity”).

Complete conceptual collaged panoramas:

data_concept_1

Based on the idea of the mind – thought processes, altered reality/perception, synapses and neuroses in the brain, surrealism and primitive forms. We were all pretty happy with this panorama, thought it conveyed a good flow throughout.

Notes made when collaging:

scn_0012-copy
(Nour, G. 2017)

Modality qualities:

scannedpage4b
(Nour, G. 2017)

After a group discussion of our two chosen modalities with Holger, the arthropod and siphonophore, we created a second panorama based on their movement in relation to our concept. We used paint to convey the flow of the siphonophore and pencils for the arthropod.

data_concept_2

We had a discussion with Chris at the end of our lesson where we were advised to streamline our concept a little – and mostly just have a message/reason for our concept. What do we want viewers to take from our animation?

We went over all our ideas again, what we liked most in terms of estuary (and territory/intruder), and looked into new ideas like the connection between body and mind, and Jack extrapolated the idea of the emotional vs rational mind. We were all pretty pleased with that concept as it didn’t stray too far from the research we’d already done but was a lot clearer in terms of a goal within the brief. It also fit nicely within the the contrast between arthropod and siphonophore, and territory and intruder.

That night I wrote out a very word-y overview of our discussions and conclusion:

“Our concept explores the fluctuation between the rational and emotional mind. Our estuary focuses on the ebb and flow of water currents as they combine and divide from and to different river paths. The rational and emotional mind is concurrent, intertwined, but separate and working on separate axes. An experience will be considered territory or intruder depending on which mind is taking priority. External stimuli affects and influences the mind towards a certain state. One can change between emotional and rational states of mind, but it is a slower, more specific, targeted approach. This emulates the movement of estuaries where the freshwater adjusts to become salt water.”

Helen wrote a much better worded theoretical stance for Monday’s presentation too:

“The Estuary represents a space where nature paradoxically displays its strength and it’s vulnerability within the ever-changing framework of state. The Estuary is the meeting place of the two. We will be approaching the concept of Estuary by analyzing the human emotional and rational state of mind and whether these states are diametrically opposing or whether they indeed meet and merge in an estuarial space.”