Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Norman McLaren Research

Mini Biography
Norman McClaren is one of the most awarded filmmakers in the history of Canadian cinema, and a pioneer in both animation and filmmaking. Born in Scotland, he entered the Glasgow School of Fine Arts in 1932 to study set design. His early experiments in animation included actually scratching and painting the film stock itself, as he did not have ready access to a camera. In the early 30s he worked as a cameraman in Scotland and England, and in 1936 went to Spain to film the Civil War. He emigrated to the US in 1939, aware that war was imminent, and in 1941, at the invitation of John Grierson, he moved to Canada to work for the National Film Board.

McClaren made several propaganda films for the NFB, but continued develop his experimental work in his spare time. He later founded the animation department at the NFB, where he was at his most prolific. His most famous work, Neighbours (1952), utilized a style of animation known as pixilation, where the camera films moving people and objects a few frames at a time, giving the action a frantic, unearthly look. The short film won McLaren an Oscar. He continued to use a variety of styles and techniques on his animated shorts, including the optical editor to film _Pas de Deux (1968)_, filming through a prism for _Line: Horizontal (1962)_ and also using live action featuring himself in Opening Speech(1960).

In addition to film, McLaren worked with UNESCO in the 50s and 60s on programs to teach film and animation techniques in China and India. His five part "Animated Motion" shorts, produced in the late 70s, are an excellent example of instruction on the basics of film animation.

McLaren died in 1987, leaving behind a lasting legacy to the film and animation world. The Canadian Film Board recognized this in 1989 by naming the CFB head office building the Norman McLaren Building.

IMDb Mini Biography By: Mike Konczewski 

Is renowned as one of greatest geniuses in animation, best known for his films which he developed new animation techniques such as drawing directly on film stock and pixilation.
He was awarded the O.C. (Officer of the Order of Canada) on June 28, 1968 and the C.C. (Companion of the Order of Canada) on June 19, 1973 for his services to communications in Canada.

Norman McLaren was born in Scotland in 1914. His interest in filmmaking began early in life after he became acquainted with works by the great Russian filmmakers Eisenstein and Pudovkin and the German animator Oskar Fischinger. While a student at the Glasgow School of Fine Arts, McLaren’s fascination with dance led him to make such stylized documentaries as Seven Till Five(1933). He subsequently joined the General Post Office Film Unit (GPOFU) in London, where he worked under John Grierson. It was there that he created Love on the Wing (1937), using the technique of drawing directly on the filmstrip. In 1939, McLaren immigrated to the United States, where he made several abstract films, including Stars and Stripes (1940) and Dots (1940). In 1941, he came to Canada and met up once again with John Grierson, who, at the request of the Canadian government, had founded the NFB. Grierson asked McLaren to put together the NFB’s first animation team.
McLaren animating <strong><em>Le merle</em></strong> (1958) in paper cut-outs. © NFBMcLaren while shooting the film <strong><em>A Chairy Tale</em></strong> (1957). © NFB
McLaren animating Le merle (1958) in paper cut-outs. © NFBMcLaren while shooting the film A Chairy Tale (1957). © NFB
McLaren’s personality and philosophy are inseparable from the direction animation took at the NFB. A tireless innovator, he perceived animation filmmakers as artisans who, much like artists in their studios, control every step of the production of their films. Consequently, McLaren set an example for his colleagues, motivating them to develop their own tools and experiment with new techniques. Owing to such masterpieces as Begone Dull Care (co-directed by Evelyn Lambart, 1949) and Blinkity Blank(1955), McLaren’s name has become widely associated with drawing and etching directly on film, yet his impressive filmography shows a variety of techniques: paper cut-outs (Rythmetic, co-directed by E. Lambart, 1956; Le merle, 1958), animating a chalk drawing through a series of modifications (Là-haut sur ces montagnes, 1945), the systematic use of cross fading (C’est l’aviron, 1944), pixillation (Neighbours, 1952;Opening Speech: McLaren, 1961) and superimposing images obtained by an optical printer (Pas de deux, 1967), etc.
<strong><em>Neighbours</em></strong> (1952). © NFB<strong><em>Blinkity Blank</em></strong> (1955). © NFB
Neighbours (1952). © NFBBlinkity Blank (1955). © NFB
Thematically, McLaren’s work sets itself apart through its humanism (Neighbours; A Chairy Tale, co-directed by Claude Jutra, 1957), its refined sense of humour (Rythmetic; Canon, 1964), and its surrealistic overtones (A Little Phantasy on a 19th Century Painting, 1946; A Phantasy, 1953). While the films where McLaren works with dancers (Pas de deux; Ballet Adagio, 1972; Narcissus, 1983) express a classical concept of beauty based on principles of harmony and balance, his more abstract works (Begone Dull Care; Lines Vertical, co-directed by E. Lambart, 1960) are rooted in a choreographic concept that essentially defines animated film as a kinetic art form unrestricted by theatrical or novelistic influences. Nonetheless, in this last category of films, McLaren does not stray from abstract expressionism. In fact, his work is reminiscent of Jackson Pollock and Barnett Newman.
Begone Dull Care marks a summit in McLaren’s work by the radical freedom of the technique he adopted—painting directly on a frameless filmstrip as if it were a long, thin canvas. The effects achieved by synchronizing images with the piano of jazz artist Oscar Peterson are complex and brilliant: images and music interact through a network of associative connotations that reveal their essence, their rich texture, patterns and energy.
Another highpoint is Blinkity Blank, which unfolds like a fireworks display etched on film. McLaren pushes the explosiveness of etched lines to an extreme—lines that let light burst forth while subtly creating space of astonishing depth. With a few luminous streaks, characters take shape to tell an embryonic albeit satirical tale.
Over his long career, Norman McLaren received an impressive number of awards, including an Oscar for Neighbours and a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for Blinkity Blank. He holds an unparalleled place in the history of world cinema. McLaren died in 1987. In 1990, the NFB produced a full-length documentary film on his life and work: Creative Process: Norman McLarenby Don McWilliams.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Maya Unit 5 Week 2

Mech Leg Rigging.
Mech Leg Preview + CTRL Channels:
The Outliner of all the objects/items:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Story Idea!

Hey everyone I've been thinking all week what my story could be about. and I think I've come to terms with it.
A RAPACIOUS KITE: The story.. The kite is a 'box-kite' like below.

  • The story begins with, Day 1: a young boy letting his kite out, the kite soars through the air, getting quite high it see's a bird. The kite 'chases' the bird trying to catch it in its so-called mouth. (The front of the kite flaps about as if he is getting hungry.) Doesn't quite catch him, the boy brings the kite back down and goes back indoors.
  • Day 2: The boy comes out again, sends the kite up again, like before, the kite soars around, and spots the same bird again. He tries harder this time to catch the bird, you can see him trying harder due to 'stretching + distorting' again he doesn't quite make it and decides that's all for this day.
  • Day 3: the boy comes out for the final day, this time the kite goes up, soars about for a while and spots the same bird! He sets up the chase, he speeds towards the bird, he is now right behind the bird, nearly got him in his 'mouth', when the camera cuts to the kites' string, we see it start to fray and snap

  • The string snaps and the kite shoots towards the bird, the bird carries on flying normally and the kite shoots  right around the bird and plumets to the floor. The camera cuts back to the bird who is 'laughing' at the kite, the bird then hits the wall face first and the scene fades out.

  • Now.. Does that get too complicated? I would love to have some input please people :) Thanks.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Maya - Character Rigging #1

    Hi all, heres a quick tutorial which showed me how to create a fully functional 'basic' joint structure. Here it is:

    Well. I just realised I have missed out the Pelvis CTRL. I will add it and upload in an edit..

    Monday, March 15, 2010

    Research Timeline Continued.

    March 9th.

    Lotte Reiniger
    • Cinderella - 1922
    • Death Feigning Chinaman - 1928
    • The Golden Goose - 1944
    • Aladdin & Magic Lamp - (Not sure of date - 1954?)
    • The Frog Prince - (Not sure of date)

    Norman Mclaren
    • Begone Dull Care - 1949
    • Lines Horizontal - 1962?
    • Lines Vertical - 1960?
    • Hen Hop - 1942
    • LeMerle - 1958
    • Pas De Deux - 1968

    • Fantasia - 1940

    March 11th. - Suzie Kent - Guest Lecturer
    • Tina Price?
    • Monika Forsberg
      • His Passionate Bride - 2004
    • Tim Schafer
      • Monkey Island Series - 1990-2009
      • Grim Fandango - 1998
      • PsychoNauts - 2005
    • Black Heart Gang
      • Tale of How - 2006

    Tuesday, March 09, 2010

    Late Uploads Alan Maya:

    Hi Alan, sorry for the late upload. Heres my Playblast of the Maya Tutorials for Unit 4.

    Ok. all maya tutorials done and uploaded.

    Monday, March 08, 2010

    After Todays Briefing

    I have walked away today feeling more confident about this project than the past ones.
    We have also been asked to produce, over the next 5 weeks, a History of Animation - Timeline.
    We watched a documentary about 2D animation it featured the following:

    • John Lasseter - Pixar/Disney
      • 101 Dalmations - 1961
      • Where the Wild Things Are - 1963 (book)
      • Snow White and The Seven Dwarves - 1937
    • Otto Mesmer - Paramount Pictures
      • Felix 1919-1930
    • Chuck Jones - Warner Bros & Sib Tower 12 Productions
      • Bugs Bunny - 1933 (Warner)
      • Daffy Duck - 1933 (Warner)
      • Road Runner & Wile E. Coyote - 1933 (Warner)
      • Sylvester - 1933 (Warner)
      • Tom & Jerry - 1940-1959 (SibTower)
    • Winsor McCay - 
      • Little Nemo - 1911
      • Gertie the Dinosaur - 1914
      • The Sinking of the Lusitania - 1918
    • Steamboat Willie - 1928
    • Snow White - 1937
    • Tin Toy - 1986
    • Wallace & Gromit: The wrong trousers - 1993
    • Toy Story - 1995
    • Chicken Run - 2000
    • Looney Tunes: Back in Action - 2003
    • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabit - 2005
      • Wallace & Gromit used references to Alfred Hitchcock
    These are a few of the animations we looked at. I have noted the dates of them, which will help towards the timeline.

    Unit 5 Intro.

    Unit 5 is my unit for change. And this time I mean it. Lets begin.
    Example 2D Hand Drawn Animation:

    Unit 5's main focus is on the traditional hand drawn 2D animation.

    The Rapacious Kite, he's a greedy character. I think i've come to terms with the kite being male,
    as he is 'Greedy'.
    Is he greedy for clouds?
    The strings holding him up?
     The birds flying in the sky?
    Maybe even leaves on the trees?
      These are just a few ideas I've had this morning. I think the most likely one that I might use is the Clouds or Birds. But I can still change my mind :D

    Wednesday, March 03, 2010

    PHIL please read:

    Hi Phil or anyone else who wants to read this, Could you please leave feedback on what needs to be changed or edited in? There may be some spelling mistakes too for the meantime as I had to write it on Notepad -.- still need to get Office. Ill change it all over to Word file tomorrow at Uni but for now here it is. Thanks in advance..
    Essay Question:
    1,500 word written assignment that analyses critically one film in terms of the
    relationship between story and structure; you should consider camera movement,
    editing, and the order of scenes.

    In this essay I will be writing about the relationship between story and structure, and I will take into consideration camera movement, editing and the order of scenes. Films are usually shot with different types of camera. I will be analysing the technical side of a film. The film I have chosen is, GAMER. Directed by Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor. The film was released in cinemas on 16th September 2009, and on DVD the 19th January 2010. There are various techniques and camera tricks used which I will be analysing step by step.

    The film begins with the song: Sweet Dreams (Are made of these) by Marilyn Manson, I find this song quite fitting with the film as the film is about 'dream' worlds where you can interact with one another in various ways and forms. The first camera we get to see is looking down a street which looks like a New York style. The camera uses a Fisheye effect to make it seem more enclosed. The scene has been sped up a bit. And the word 'SLAYERS' has taken over the whole city. Being projected onto buildings, walls and printed onto posters. On the next shot we see the name 'Kable' this will be the character we follow during the film and begin to feel for him. The next several shots are from various angles, helicopter cameras, crane rigs, and static floor cameras, these are used to show how SLAYERS, Kable and Mr Castle have taken over the whole city, and from a few more shots we see pyramids and London, which gives us the idea of this SLAYERS franchise being a world wide icon.

    Then the action starts, at 01:24 we are looking down on an alley way, SLAYERS again is plastered to the wall above, and an explosion blasts it's way through the alley. We are now 'looking through the eyes' of Kable, he gets an adrenaline rush and we see bullets fly past his head, just missing him by milimeters. When Kable shoots his gun and hits another 'person/character' (As its a 'game' we will call  them characters) the screen gets distorted and we see the video 'noise'. Whilst Kable is shooting another lot of 'Characters' we see a Heads-Up-Display, which shows Kable/Us where the 'Save Point' is. This is very common in a video game which then gives us the thought of it being real. The camera starts to shake quite a bit during the following shots due to the intensity of the action going on, explosions every 5 seconds, non-stop shooting, and Kable running, which is giving us even more of a sense that we are 'playing' this game. Another part of this section is where a 'Player' runs over to a dead body and T-bags him, a common thing to find in any shooter gamer (e.g. Call of duty). When a grenade gets thrown its like the bodies are 'rag-doll-like' as they get thrown about so much like in a video game.

    'Turn me around!' is one of my favourite quotes from this film, this is where we find out that Kable isnt able to control him-self. We can see from Kables facial expressions that he is worried and nervous about this moment. But the 'Player' turns him around and kills the 'Bad-guy'. Then Kable makes it out of the game zone into the Save Point. We are now inside a vehicle and are now introduced to a few more Characters. We are taken to a news studio and start to see an interview between Gina Parker Smith (Like Oprah) and Ken Castle (Owner of Society and Slayers). We then learn that Ken Castle surpassed Bill Gates' wealth practically over night. We then find out that Simon Silverton is a 'Gaming Superstar' who controls Kable. The cameras used during the interview are similar to that of ones used in TV shows today. This creates a realism that we might be watching a 'documentary' about a new simulation game.

    The film then goes on to explain how the SLAYERS can be controlled. A short animated clip is shown. This means that any SLAYER can have a distinct IP address like a normal computer. Then the show is interupted by a transmission from the 'HUMANZ' group saying how Ken Castle wants to take over and rule everything. Moving on, 10 minutes later, we are running along side the Players, through the war torn city, the camera shaking. A 'tramp' like figure is sitting on the floor, shaking a can for money, we see some bullets fly past him, then he gets a splat of blood on his hand but he continues like before. There is a 'glitched' player which is just walking into a gate repeatedly to no avail. Now we see the full HUD, we see the kill count going up rapidly and the bullet count decreasing. Kable goes for an 'Upgrade'.

    The following scene is set around a 'dirtbike' course, with dirt ramps and hills. Bikes are racing around and Bad-Guys with flamethrowers are loose. Kable is now talking to Simon due to a 'Mod' Simon got installed. Kable is being hunted and for some reason he believes he was meant to die 'tonight' he asks for Simon to let him loose so he can make his own decisions. During the next 'Game' Simon gives control over to Kable, who then makes his escape, he finds a car and drives it off. He is followed by two big cleaner trucks with mounted plows. When he escapes he is pronounced 'DEAD' and is no longer in the game. Now we go to the 'Humanz' settlement. We see a dirty, run down town whose inhabitants are all 'hiding' we see a lady get off a motorbike, and tells Kable to go with her. The camera follows the bike, shaking as it goes along, the transitions between shots are fast paced and 'blink' like. She takes Kable to a hideout for the 'Humanz' leader where they are playing the 'old school' games, Air Hockey, Space Invaders etc.We learn now that Ken Castle wants to take over and control the country, he says he will combat disease with his genetic modifications and child birth is no problem with the gene transfer scheme. This means people will "live a longer life and have a fatter wallet". Kable finds his wife, she is being controlled by a dirty obese man. Kable says he wants her to be ok, but she cant say what she wants to say, as she is being controlled. More action follows after Kable is attacked by a guy from the begining. Then he is being chased by several 'Law' enforcement officers. Kables' wife leads us through a 'Rave' club, which has fast paced camera movements and transitions. Flashing lights and loud raving music acompany.

    Simon is in for questioning over Kable going missing. He is in there for aiding the escape of a convicted criminal. The cameras in this section are up close and personal due to the nature of the scene, we can see facial expressions from both characters, Simon and the interrogation officer. The first showing up for the Nano technology was when Castle decided to test it on Soldiers, saying that it will keep your body from growing old, and cell reproductivity fastened up. But a few weeks after testing one of the subjects died, the project was then shut down. Then a year later the same technology popped up in the game 'Society' now its playing around in 'Slayers'.

    In the near final scene we see Kable getting in to Castles' house. The characters are all being controlled and as such look like puppets. Castle starts to sing Ive got you (Under my skin). When Castle is controlling the other characters he sends them one by one to attack Kable. Kable comes out of this the victor. Castle says 'Your Awesome' to Kable another of the best lines in the film. Castle is controlling Kable with his mind.

    I have learnt that film makers use different camera angles, tricks, focuses to create a vast atmostphere in the short space of time they have to get the messages across. In Gamer, we see various Arial shots, Crane rigs, Dolly rigged shots and hand camera shots. I think the most effective shot is the hand camera, as it shows movement with the shakes and bumps. I thought the soundtrack to the film was brilliant, the music fitted in perfectly at the right time as well as the sound effects, the bullets were louder when needed and quiter when not needed as much.

    Well theres my essay people, please comment if I need to change or add things, its 1471 words so far.
    Ill make any changes needed during thursday whilst i'm in uni. Thanks

    Tuesday, March 02, 2010

    Story. May need tweaking..

    1. Opens with a pair of fire doors, a man (lets call him dave for the sake of this plan) walks through them allowing us to follow him inside.

    2. Upon the doors opening we see a variety of stunts being practised, fire breathing, sword swallowing, jumps, under water.

    3. Dave then walks past some acts which we get a better look at, and see that infact the stunts are very dangerous, a few people get hurt during this time.

    4. We see security come over to Dave and say to him that he shouldnt be here so he starts to run.

    5. He runs into a table which has some bottles on it, he gets covered in this 'liquid'

    6. As he is running to the nearest exit, he dives through a ring of fire, and being ignited due to the liquid being flamable.

    7. Then he runs out of the 'exit' and onto the Catwalk. He gets excited due to the crowd, and walks to the end, looks back and see's the security, and walks towards them.

    8. He continues to walk towards the security when the Fashion/Stuntman 'owner of the show' runs out and cried 'That was amazing Darling, Your hired!'

    9. The screen fades out with a circle effect (like james bond or looney tunes)