Saturday, 26 September 2009

the "S" word strikes again

I don't know what it is about me, but I often get too hung up on an influence and then I never seem to progress past it... Just recently on this animation brief I came up with the idea of making it like the digital comics I've referenced a couple of posts ago, but that led me into creating a small narrative that not only didn't fit the restrictions of the brief but it had gaps in the storyboard and it didn't really develop any sort of interest (apparently)... After a conversation or two, new ideas have sprung up which reign in my ideas and will hopefully stop me from over complicating the creative/production process, whilst giving it an "s" word closer to some of my main influences, as well as creating something a little more interesting to watch...

I have so many ways of creating a piece of work that I often sit there just trying to figure out which would be best for me to make it in... and in the end, I produce something that is just a copy of something that has gone before. I understand that it's nigh on impossible to create something completely original, since the whole educational process involves us researching work by artists from different movements, years or decades, but I'm often losing myself and any connection to my work by NOT doing this.

Rather than drawing out panels of a comic strip and making elements within them move, I am now going to be looking at something a bit simpler yet quirkier... the closest example I can give without telling you all about my animation is... the opening credits to "Catch Me If You Can".

Created by Olivier Kuntzel and Florence Deygas (, their 60's styled themed side scrolling animation uses nothing but cut out pieces of paper for the limbs of the characters, scanned into a computer and manipulated in the same way South Park is created. They themselves made the credits as a homage to Saul Bass and his intro's to films like "Anatomy of a Murder", and it shows in their work... although having access to newer technologies than in the 50's and 60's they still resorted back to a technique that suited the theme. (I'm pretty sure they did the album cover for "The Best of Nina Simone" and its advertising, but I haven't found out for definite).

I've been looking at the openings and credits to films like Bolt, Wall E, Monster's Inc and Kung Fu Panda and I've loved them, so much so that I've wanted to create EVERYTHING for this animation project.. such as a cast of characters, a variety of scenes/background to place my cast in and I've even wanted to experiment with the soundtrack... but I'm still missing the point... I'm not focusing on the fact that I should be trying to create a specific movement using what I already have, not trying to create something totally new and different... but who can blame me :P I am ambitious and eager to create something that I am genuinely proud of but I'm also somewhat big headed, I want to show what I can do but also that you should hire me, that I can do anything...

Also, during one of my conversations, the idea of representation rather than factual realism can provide more interesting outcomes in a piece of work. The example shown to me was this cartoon by Crockett Johnson, in which a child draws his surroundings from his imagination. As the story goes on, he's drawing out an adventure but all that is needed is just a horizon line for him to be travelling along and other suggested details... this stands as a great example that I don't need to go over board with the details.. (details always discouraged me from drawing anyway... I don't lke drawing hyper-realism etc so why am I making this difficult for myself?).

another example I found was the opening sequence to the film "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"...

and then just for fun...

i love this intro.. the animation, the movement, the "s" word and especially the music

finally, a student also paid homage to Saul Bass by re-making the intro to "Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope" ... this made me smile so much... the attention to detail is fantastic, it actually helps if you watch it a couple of times to get what I mean... ;)

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