Animation Project – Research (Task 1)

Meaning of hope

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Research what Hope can mean

“the miserable have no other medicine. But only hope” – William Shakespeare

Hope is an abstract concept that a bad situation or seemingly impossible task can be improved and or solved. Hope can and has been used as a tool/weapon by leaders to manipulate and control others.


Animation History Timeline

Thaumatrope – 1824

‘The Thaumatrope is a Victorian toy constructed from a simple disk or card featuring a different picture on each side and attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled rapidly the card rotates on its axis and the two images appear to combine.’

http://www.mhs.ox.ac.uk/exhibits/fancy-names-and-fun-toys/thaumatropes/

Phenakistoscope – 1831

‘The optical toy, the phenakistoscope, was an early animation device that used the persistence of vision principle to create an illusion of motion. It was invented by Joseph Plateau in 1841.The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s centre were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture. A variant of it had two discs, one with slits and one with pictures; this was slightly more unwieldy but needed no mirror. Unlike the zoetrope and its successors, the phenakistoscope could only practically be used by one person at a time.’

https://www.juxtapoz.com/news/illustration/short-history-of-the-phenakistoscope/

Flip-book – 1868

‘The flip book looks like a small notebook – originally stapled, mostly bound today- that you hold in one hand while you flip through the pages with the thumb of the other hand, either from front to back or from back to front. Pictures or drawings give the illusion of motion, slower or faster depending on the speed.’

http://www.flipbook.info/history.php

Praxinoscope – 1877

‘The Praxinoscope is a typical optical toy from the 19th century. It consists of a
cylinder and a strip of paper showing twelve frames for animation. As the cylinder
rotates, stationary mirrors in the centre reveal a ‘single image’ in motion.
The Praxinoscope was invented in 1876 by Charles-Émile Reynaud (1844-1918).’

First animation with sound – 1928

The first method for recording sound onto film consisted of a varying white stripe along the edges of the film strip. A lamp would shine through from one side onto a light-sensitive detector that would translate the light into sound.

Snow White: first drawn animated feature film – 1937

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated feature in colour and with sound. The risk-taking film made use of the multi-plane camera to create an illusion of depth. It introduced human characters modelled on live actors and used larger painted cels and drawing boards than previous films. It took almost four years and an astronomical (at the time) $1.7 million to create. Its single nomination was for Best Score. The film was “recognised as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon.”

http://www.filmsite.org/snow.html


Animation Technique

Cel Animation

Cel animation is the process of creating different transparent layers on cellulose sheets on top of each other. Each layer is then either painted or drawn on by hand. This means that each frame doesn’t have to be entirely animated and the animation can be smoother.

Pros

  • produces a higher quality animation than other classic 2d animation techniques

Cons

  • Incredibly time-consuming – Have to draw each individual frame

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Animation Examples

Animal Farm (1954)

How was it made

The original film was probably made using a similar process to Disney’s Snow White (released 1937) using a camera and multiple hand-drawn and painted cells. The CIA played a large part in funding the film as at the time it was anti-communist propaganda, and had a hand in changing the ending of the film to a less pro-revolutionist version.

Story

the animation is about a group of animals on a farm that decides to overthrow their (drunk and bad-tempered) owner. They then create seven commandments stating that all animals are equal. As the animation progresses the pigs start taking more and more power for themselves, editing the commandments as they wish until the pigs run the farm. “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”. The animated film is an adaption of George Orwell’s book ‘Animal Farm’ which was written as a political statement about the soviet union and communism.

Characters

  • Old-Major – The old boar that inspires a revolution in the animals, before dying and leaving Napoleon and Snowball to fight over power.
  • Napoleon – The pig that becomes the final leader of Animal Farm, through force and manipulation.
  • Squealer – The pig that spreads lies and false statistics about Napoleon and Animal Farm’s success.
  • Snowball – Napoleon’s opposition, is less manipulating and devious than Napoleon, other animals preferred him as leader before Napoleon took over by force, exiling Snowball.
  • Boxer – The workhorse who goes along with everything blindly, until he overworks himself and dies

Style

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The art style is similar to many animated films of its era, made using many of the same techniques. The colours used vary throughout where peaceful and relaxed moments use light colours like greens, blues and yellows. Whereas, moments of tension or conflict use much darker colours like reds and blacks.

 

The Snowman (1982)

How was it made

Based on the picture book by Raymond Briggs, The Snowman was created for Channel 4 and was first broadcast on 26th December 1982. The score was made by Howard Blake which is entirely wordless except for the song “Walking in the air”. It was made with traditional animating techniques, using pencils and crayons to achieve a rough, non-polished effect, which contrasts with Disney’s style of polished, flat-colour animation.

Story

The animated short is about a boy that builds a snowman on Christmas Eve that comes to life. They then go on a motorcycle ride around the countryside, disturbing the local wildlife. However, the motorcycle starts to melt the snowman so the boy puts him in the fridge to cool him down. Then they fly around, past the boy’s village and to the north pole where he takes the boy to meet Santa, who gives the boy as a scarf. At the end, the boy wakes up the next morning to find that the snowman has melted and wonders if it was a dream, however, he finds the scarf that Santa gave him.

Characters

  • The Snowman
  • Boy (James)

Style

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The animation was made using crayons and pencils to create a textured effect to the final animation.


Wall-E Research

When I read the theme for the animation competition ‘A Sense of Hope’ what immediately came into my mind was the film ‘Wall-E’, which was released in 2008. To me, the plot implemented the human core idea about hope life and the human existence. I was deeply influenced by this film, so I decided to make my animation based on this.

‘Wall-E is set in a distance future when humans left the Earth on a giant spaceship. A robot named Wall-E and his cockroach Hal. This all changes when Wall-E meets Eve, another generation robot and fall in Love with her. The two robots are heading into space on a mission that could bring humans back to Earth. This film is Pixar’s ninth animated production. Luxo Jr and a pair of binoculars influenced the design of the main character. The emotions as happiness and sadness were demonstrated by moving the eyes up and down without the need to have other facial features as nose or mouth.

One of the key elements of the design was that the main character should be accepted as a machine first and then the focus should be put on his personality and human characteristics. The idea for the plot started from a single question: “What if mankind evacuated Earth and forgot to turn off the last remaining robot?” The film director loved the space movie genre and chose to convey the idea by giving life to inanimate objects. The film has no spoken dialogue in the first 30 min and the creative team relied only on the emotions and ‘body language’ to draw the audience attention to the plot. It was a risky approach but the team has solved the issue brilliantly using foley effects and sound to lead and compliment the plot. For the first time, Pixar used in this film life-action footage to give the CGI characters appearance that they have inherited from their ancestors, who left the Earth. The second character Eve, the next generation robot has a sleek high-tech design.

walle.jpg


Sources

Name (Year of publication) Webpage title | Website title. Available at: URL (Accessed: Date)

(2017) How is sound recorded on motion picture film? |HowStuffWorks. Available at: http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/question413.htm (Accessed Feb 2017)

Michael Brooke (2014) BFI Screenonline: Animal Farm (1954)| BFI Screenonline. Available at: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/574478/index.html (Accessed Feb 2017)

History of animation | Available at: http://history-of-animation.webflow.io/ (Accessed: Feb 2017)

Jez Stewart (2014) Animal Farm: Behind the scenes on Britan’s first animated feature film. BFI | BFI. Available at: http://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/news-bfi/features/animal-farm-behind-scenes-britain-s-first-animated-feature-film (Accessed Feb 2017)

SparkNotes (2017) SparkNotes: Animal Farm: Characters List | SparkNotes. Available at: http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/animalfarm/characters.html (Accessed Feb 2017)

Victor Opeyokun (2017) BFI Screenonline: Snowman, The (1982) | BFI Screenonline. Available at: http://www.screenonline.org.uk/film/id/530124 (Accessed Feb 2017)

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