About Millie

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I animate, therefore I am a teacher. I teach, therefore I illustrate. I illustrate, therefore I draw on my environment. In drawing on my environment, I am animated!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Beginnings of the question...



Image result for drawings by Glen Keane
Mia progression. https://www.awn.com/animationworld/glen-keane-talks-duet-and-legacy-disney-animation

“ A drawing with a pencil is an expression of your soul.
A seismograph of your soul.
You put a line down –it’s a feeling and emotion.’
Glen Keane

Site-specific live interactive immersive performances that integrate with animation to engage the audience in story
The challenges to creators and storytellers on how to utilize the 360otechnologies toward narrative storytelling that engage the audience in the ‘suspension of disbelief’
Maintain the diversity of visual aesthetic offered in the traditional animation techniques into the new technology settings


Image result for drawings by Hayao Miyazaki

‘Creating animation means creating a fictional world. That world soothes the spirit of those who are disheartened and exhausted from dealing with the sharp edges of reality’



The new technology in animation is being pushed to new extremes in gaming, virtual and augmented reality. The screens are no longer limited to a fixed screen rectangle but can cover buildings, be 360o full dome or encased in a goggled virtual world.
The technology prioritizes the visual aesthetic toward hyper realism or absolute abstractionand much of the content relies on the sensational‘wow’ factor at a loss to storytelling and visual diversity.
The audience’s experience and interactivity is no longer as the ‘passive observer’ receiving the story as dictated by the director. They can pick and choose where, what and when they view and even interact with participating‘in’ the narrative experience.
It is geared to the individual’s experience not the collective audience making it limited access and not shared experience


What  would be the necessary/effective AESTHETIC and NARRATIVE considerations
needed to create  360o IMMERSIVE projected environments /performances/ experiences
that utilize traditional  2D ANIMATION techniques?

or Can the new 360o technologies be harnessed to combine with traditional animation techniques to create site-specific live interactive immersive performances that engage the audience, tell narratives and maintain the ‘suspension of disbelief’?

Through an Investigation of theory and performance analysis, experiments and practical process I aim to determine the variable and constants needed:

 • To design animation narratives that explore non-time based immersive 360 projection and audience interactivity
 • To develop live music and performance that integrate with immersive 360 animation projection\
 • From experiments develop further diverse animation storytelling experiences in live performance interactive contexts


Immersion Deep mental involvement
Interactive mutually or reciprocally active
Narrative the representation in art of an event or story
Aesthetic in particular when concerned with illusion and immersion
Performance the manner of reacting to stimuli a public presentation or exhibition
Illusion a misleading image presented to the vision; something that deceives or misleads intellectually
Animation To Breathe Life into….(something) especiallly when expressed as the perceived illusion of movement

Literature Theory
...analysis to come.
Paul Wells - animation narrative structures and strategies
•Understanding Animation
Animation: Genre and Authorship 
Werner Wolf - illusion aesthetics
•Illusion (Aesthetic) the living handbook of narratology University of Hamburg 2014
Marie-Laure Ryan- immersion vs interactivity
J. Yellowlees Douglas and Andrew Hargadon - Immersion
•The pleasures of immersion and engagement: schemas, scripts and the fifth business University of Florida Digital Creativity 2001, Vol.12, No. 3, pp.153-166
Robin Nelson – Intermediality and performance
•Mapping Intermediality in Performance Edited by Sarah Bay-Cheng, Chiel Kattenbelt, Andy Lavender, and Robin Nelson

practitioners of immersive and interactive animation experiences


Nam June Paik http://www.paikstudios.com/   Historical Video Installation
Opera North Love of Three Oranges https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPGPP773zFY  Animation theories applied in Opera Performance
Forkbeard Fantasy http://www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk/forkbeardinfo.php Animation interactivity in theatrical performancePRESENT
Team Lab https://www.team-lab.net/   International immersive interactive installations 
J Walt K Adamczyk  http://www.johnadamczyk.com/  Disney Imagineer
A dandy punk Projection Mapping https://vimeo.com/50197298  Disney Imagineer and Animation Performance practitioner

The research will be investigated through a series of experiments exploring the constants and variables:


Animation                     Traditional 2D
Music                       FIXED recording
Live Peformance                      NONE
Audience                       Fixed  seated
Story                  Circular Continuous
Interactivity              sensor activated
Aesthetic                             Illustration
Animation created in conjunction with Ayutthaya musicians
Test projections and interactive sensors
empirical feedback from audience              

Animation                   Traditional 2D
Music       Live performed set piece
Peformance        Scripted/adaptive   
Audience                      Fixed  seated
Story                                      Linear
Interactivity            with performers
Aesthetic                           Illustration
Redevelop existing animation story for an interactive opera performance
Work on Soundtrack and musical score with musical professional
Collaborate with Nuni Opera to devise the performance
Empirical feedback from audience

Yet to be conceived installation based on outcomes and methodological framework from first two

Millimations’ Elefunk Minitop Experience

Inspired by Pirates of the Carabina flying trapeze circus performances:

A bell tent/GEODESIC DOME with 360 o projection from 3-10 projectors.
Infrared sensors triggering off the projected films from audience. (VARIABLE)
Soundtrack determining the complete show time frame. (CONSTANT)
Simple looped sequences depicting various circus stunts performed by Elefunkseach eventually ending in disaster. (VARIABLE)


‘…immersive quality is achieved primarily through sequential drawings on single sheets of paper. You are always aware that the visuals are drawings –some beautifully rendered with detail and fully animated,[…], some drawings are wild scribbles, lines that coalesce into, and out of recognizable shapes’
John Canemakeron Glen Keane’s film Dear Basketball


The ideas started as an elephant...

 Went through an evolution exploring styles of other animators

Playing with action poses
Working in a template from The Animator's sketchclub

Kicking arse...

Following Fred Astaire
Walking the walk



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Zerum Rock Band get animated!

For the last year I have been an active member of Tony White's Animator's Sketch Club
Each month Tony sets a challenge that helps to develop observation, accuracy and character development, animation principles and well everything animated,  This month (June 2016) the challenge has been to create a set of four key drawings for a walk cycle that will appear in an animation on July 4th as part of the US Day of Independance day celebrations.

I have been working on some ideas recently where I am caricaturing some friends who are in Zerum  rock band here in Ayutthaya. Because the band cover some Gorillaz songs I started by using some of their design ideas.

Then I worked on the line up for the Animator's sketchbook challenge

And I couldnt resist making them into gifs!





This has been such fun and I think is starting anew set of ideas... who knows what can come from this shot of Zerum bringing life back into my animation!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ed Hooks - Acting for Animation

As part of the second annual Bangkok International Digital Content Festival http://www.bangkokdc.com/ from 27th -29th April 2015 there were workshops and seminars about Thialnd's Animation and Digital Content Industry. I was lucky enough to go along to Ed hooks' Acting for Animation Workshop at BACC on the 28th May with my Character Design and 2D Animation Production class. Ed Hooks is a most engaging speaker and passionate about the craft of animation and it's potential to create great narrative and story telling.

"Acting is behaving believably in a pretend circumstance for a theatrical purpose"

Theatrical reality is compressed. Time does not play out in real time and thus situations and events unfold often with  dramatic intensity. Each character within a story each has to play out their actions in order to reach their individual goal or objective.  But for the circumstances to be of interest to a potential audience there needs to be drama: for there to be drama there is a need for conflict. Ed identified three types of conflict: 1. Conflict with self; 2 Conflict with situation; 3 Conflict with other characters. 
Once there is a conflict - then there is a story, the character needs to do something to get their goal(s) and to do this they need to overcome the obstacle. 

                           "Action in pursuit of an objective while overcoming an obstacle" 

Within every scene each character should, at any given moment be able to be freeze framed and we should be able to read what their action is, literally "What are you doing?" and their pose should be able to be read. 

In theatrical acting, actors work in the present moment, their actions are part of action and reaction to the present circumstance and their skill is in performing believably to the character they are portraying. It has been argued that animators are actors with a pencil (or keyboard) but Ed argued that animators work in the fraction of the moment, in 24/25/29 frames per second, the actor in animation is the character, the animator is the puppet master/director/coach to the character's action. 

In being a puppet master the animator needs to engage with the emotion of the character. Emotion as defined as a reaction to a given situation/thought or other character. It is an automatic value response and impossible to have an emotion without thinking. Emotions lead us to actions. Thinking leads us to conclusions. Values are however different from person to person. Values are informed by experience, culture and personality. And these inform our thought and action. There are 7 basic emotions:
                                1. Anger
                                2. Happy

These two are the first emotions present in a baby. They are emotionally responsive to their world with either anger or happy. The other emotions are learned by experiences and by immitation of their parents and peers.
                               3. Sad
                               4. Fear
                              5. Surprise
                              6. Disgust
                              7. Contempt

  1. Cognitive development [which] is a field of study in neuroscience and psychology focusing on a child's development in terms of information processing, conceptual resources, perceptual skill, language learning, and other aspects of brain development and cognitive psychology compared to an adult's point of view.                                                                                                                              Wikipedia 
  2. Much of what we learn as children builds our survival strategies. Sometimes through experience but more often from story and story telling. 
Ed Hooks advocates the idea of empathy in story telling. The heritage of which goes back over 6000 years, probably more! Linked to the storytelling shamens of Mesopatania (Old Iran) who would unravel the values that helped to keep the tribes together. Also the historical account of Thespus in ancient Greece who stepped forward of the chorus to 'become' the god.
'When you tell a story you are helping to keep the tribe together, Story tellers are different from others - they see things others cannot see' Ed Hooks
Ed emphaised the need for the animators of today to recognise their role as the story tellers of the modern age, And the responsibility to understand why people do what they do so that their characters take on the roles to tell the story.
Empathy is crucial and the difference between empathy and sympathy need to be recognised:
Empathy - Feeling in tune with the emotion not thinking what it would be
Sympathy feeling (sorry) for the situation

The key issues are the role of thinking which lead to conclusions and based on the conclusions you/the audience gets automatic value response (emotion) and based on that emotion you do something - an action.
This is fundamental in acting in animation because it is not the words that are spoken that show what the character is thinking, it is the actions. 
The example he gave was from the facial acting of Gollum in Lord of the Rings. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEyFvGXnD7g)  The lead animator was Bay Raitt (http://www.extremetech.com/gaming/55934-the-making-of-gollum) where the animator split the script and added the thoughts into the action thus as well as the video reference and (limited) motion capture he was able to make the character and Andy Selkis acting face really become as one. You can read more about this here:
 ( http://www.cgw.com/Publications/CGW/2013/Volume-36-Issue-2-Jan-Feb-2013-/Of-Gollum-and-Wargs-and-Goblins-Oh-My-.aspx)
and here: (http://www.awn.com/animationworld/two-towers-face-face-gollum)
Ed Hooks went on to talk about and analyse the earliest storyboarded sequence in teh Disney's repetoire Playful Pluto. Where just the sequence involving the flypaper sticking on Pluto is story boarded. The sequence clearly stands out from the slapstick randomness of the rest of the film as we 'see' the thought sequence of Pluto. the storyboard demonstrates the ACTION OBJECTIVE and OBSTACLE motivation of the character as he gets more and more stuck - each time the obstacle is overcome a new one arrives setting off the next action Objective obstacle. The key to clean clear animation is to keep each action (and it's intents) separated. 

The next example he gave a breakdown of the scene Clip from Pixar / Disney's Toy Story (1995), in which Sid learns first hand what happens when you don't take good care of your toys. It demonstrates the ida clearly that at any given point you can freeze frame and ask, 'What are you doing?" of any character in the scene and the Action/Objective and Obstacle are all clear.

One of the conclusions presented by this theory is that drama is about man's potential (to overcome obstacles) and comedy is about man's limitations or failings to overcome. 

He then illustrated this with a (damning) critique of the gag driven opening to the Croods which relies on an overload of gag driven actions that are playing for laughs (at someone) rather than developing character and empathy. I tend to agree that this lacks depth but for gag driven humour it's fast.

Playing for laughs has it's uses for stimulating a quick laugh and perhaps focusing the attention of the sugar filled cinema audiences into sitting down for the film. But in terms of real attachment to character and story it leaves a blank. I'm kind of in the same place as Ed on this that with such huge budgets needed for these films it seems a shame not to invest in the potential for film to be viewed and viewed repeatedly because of it's storytelling powers to teach us about life, obstacles, emotion and failings. 

More of Ed's in depth analysis for the 2015 Oscar nominees can be found in Cartoon Brew:





On an aside he went into details based on ideas he has gleaned from Educational Psychology Survival Studies. (recommended reading Roger Shank: Tell Me  A Story: Narrative and INterllegence" https://books.google.co.th/books/about/Tell_Me_a_Story.html?id=3fah9UGzVJ8C&redir_esc=y
An area of study Ed advocates for it's usefulness to character development and acting in animation.

He then made some very useful points about the acting role of BLINKS! 
  • there should be roughly 3 blinks per second for naturalism (functional blinks)
  • All other blinks are related to THOUGHT
  • when you stop a thought, you BLINK
  • we communicate through BLINKS - to emphasis and show where thoughts are
  • BLINKING goes with a thought
  • BLINKING  also happens in response to show understanding
And key to understanding how to animate conversation we have to recognise that LISTENING is all about thinking what you are going ton TELL next  - your addition to the STORY being TOLD, or your DEVIATION from the other person's STORY  
To help with this animators can use the EYEBROWS which tend to respond involuntarily and thus 'give away' the TRUTH of a character. We (humans) TRUST eyebrow communication. 

The Hero he argues is a regular person who overcomes an extraordinary obstacle to achieve their goal. And that makes a good story! The story hero is the one who has the character arc, through whom the story is told. They change throughout the narrative and we, the audience learn from their journey. All other character's are supporting. 
The villain however is often determined by the target audience - how old they are. The younger the audience the more stereotypical the character tends to be. 

To make a story work well Ed advised:
  • Don't tell about what you think the audience WANT to hear
  • Start with what You CARE about
  • And ask WHAT do they NEED to know?
As an example of cleverly devised storytelling that gets a strong point over  he screened Sharon Coleman's Oscar nominated (student) film BADGERED
Having met Sharon at Newport University when the idea was first thought up, he went on to meet her again at the National Film And Television School where the film was completed and sent to festivals and finally nominated for an Oscar! The film is essentially about Sharon's passion regarding the nuclear missile deployment in Scotland which by the by was disturbing the habitat of the local badger population. The story however is told using the objective that the Badger was trying to get to sleep, but the crows were stopping him. This simpler pretext allows for the greater picture (nuclear missiles being accidently set off) to be seen through the innocent occupation of the Badger trying to reach his goal of sleep. The humour is gentler (than say the Croods) but powerful in it's context. We sympathise with the universal need for sleep, thus we empathise directly to the Badger's situation. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge famously coined the notion of 'the willing suspension of disbelief' and Ed Hook's referred to it as a guide for the animator to drive the character's narrative.  In order for the audience to empathise there needs to be a degree of distance. In animation in particular the level of disbelief needs to be established so that the characters operate within an agreed boundary. The audience is not a lurker, a voyeur to the proceedings, they must participate in the magic to empathise. They know it is pretend,  a story but they need to suspend their disbelief so they can FEEL the emotions. 
In the Opening of any film you must establish the laws of physics , the boundaries for the character's world.  One of the dangers with the present large studios productions is that they often start production without a full script or story. For example 'Up" went in to production with the story set up to the point where the house lifts up. Arguably up to the that point the ideas and narrative are directed to an adult audience. The world they live in has arguably the same laws of physics as our world. Thereafter the laws of physics change and dogs start to talk and fantasy takes over and the appeal is directed more to a children's story. The focus of what the characters want is changed.

A good story should be able to be summarised in 5 sentences. And within the story should be the adrenalin moment, the place where the hero changes. In evolutionary terms this is the key moment for our survival. The moment when our brain triggers the production of adrenalin. the moment of fight or flight, where your VALUES change. As storytellers this is the key moment to tell the audience what to do. To make a memorable story you need a memorable moment. 
These moments that turn a charatcer life, that change their path, their thoughts and therefore their actions. 
  • Shame
  • Pride
  • Love 
  • Fear

All these unforgettable moments, some may be big, others small but pivotal in the change of path. These moments need to be made clear. With Japanese films, particularly Miyazaki's works, there is a strong understanding of the Ma (the negative space inbetween - for instance the gap between the clap sounds This gap should be filled with intention and purpose. The pauses should mean something. 
Acting, and acting in animation, storytelling are a process of exposing the TRUTH, The UNIVERSAL TRUTH to the audience.

A big thanks to Ed Hooks for a great Talk.

Monday, May 11, 2015

May Challenge from Tony White

The challenge

First off I tried it in a sketchbook. page by page. A guessed 5 minutes each. It was tough!

It's Ok but there were problems with the volume and shape consistency, especially on the 3/4 turn

So I tried it again, this time working on my light box with animation paper and a set timer (discipline!)

This one works better and I'm pretty happy. There are still a few inconsistencies, but the turnaround looks much smoother.

Such a great test of observation! Looking forward to next month!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bouncing Balls

ICAP 112 Animation Studio 2 at MUIC

First Assignment exploring 12 Principles of Animation and it's the old classic Bouncing Balls. The bouncing ball animation is created using 6 Basic Principles of Animation

  • stretch and squash using elongated and contact frame
  • exaggeration
  • timing
  • arcs
  • keys - pose to pose
  • staging
  • Draw either on animation paper or use a graphics tablet in Photoshop, a sequence of a bouncing ball, plan the trajectory, build the sequence add contact, stretch, squash, slow in / slow out and timing, test and clean up. Determine what size, weight, momentum, bounciness and surface on which it bounces. 
Here's a first example from Ploy

Develop the same bounce into a sequence of your choice e.g. add more balls, add different size/weight, make the ball something else but use same trajectory, add spin, add more surfaces, add a gag….etc it’s up to you
A development from Mark

And one from Fun
Then onto the Home work Assignment
Flour Sack Stretch and Squash
Squash and Stretch exercise: Using the Flour sack explore the possibility of action involving stretch and squash
The Flour sack is your main key player for the semester. The various principles and technical exercises will involve using the flour sack to determine and develop your understanding of the skills without the distraction of other character design issues. What you do with your sack is open to interpretation and as the project progresses you can entertain a variety of scenario.
Here's Mint's test and developed sack! I think this term could be fun!