About Millie

My photo
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!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dialogic birds sky test

This screen is almost empty, the movement is meant to be very little and it should give a feeling of big sky. A bird flies across (one of the photos accidently has a real bird in it. (I have fixed this ) This test didn't work so well as the clouds judder from one to the other, (I have fixed this). I like the blue tinge. The bird I have softened a little. I think this will be good as a contrast to the caterpillar sequence which is quite busy and the tree which builds in its mood, this one is 'jai yen yen'.

This is a further test for the tree scene. I have added colour. I like the feeling this gives and the idea of sunset coming, the end of the day, the transition moment before the darkness of night. The red in the clouds seems almost blood-like, which seems appropriate and the clouds move in a pulsing way like a slow heart beat. there is a section which has some rain effects where I want to add a bit of CG After effects to enhance the rain.
A few more over night renders and we'll be rocking!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dialogic Death - animation stills

Stills from the caterpillar metamorphosis animation.

This animation appears in the first and last screen initially. I have been working on the textures of the backgrounds, editing with Final Cut Pro and mixing photographic realism, organic textures of water colour painting under the camera and the animated 'characters'. Through  I have been developing the layered montage look that I wish to give the piece.

The caterpillars journey through a textured landscape - the clouds within the landscape add an etherial quality which I feel helps give the scene an 'other world' appearance. A transition path between this world and the next.

The bridge over the river Styx, where the water darkens and effervesces - the bridge starts as a small japanese garden style but widens (ominously) as the journey progresses and the river rises and a darkens

Using the mirror tool allowed the metamorphosis of the caterpillar to develop into a mouth like gape that seemingly chews the grub up until it finally becomes a cat.

The cat, drawn with a simple ink brush line appears contented and asleep, before awakening and appearing to contemplate the clouds around which it sits. 

Eventually the cat, sat with it's back to us, morphs into a woman, whose form dances and turns into a pulsation of patterns. Playing with forms of multi-armed gods, female genitalia and firey wisps.

 I wanted to avoid images of horror and pain linked with (a particularly western perspective) of the sati ritual of wives walking on, and sometime sacrificing themselves to the fire of their late husbands cremation. I have no experience of this and don't wish to explore the suggested coercion, subjugation and possible exploitation that may well be involved in such practices.
I wanted to concentrate the imagery around the hypnotic euphoria that grief can project onto one at the loss of a loved one. The powerful physical and mental feelings of being torn apart and immersed in love and loss; not dissimilar to the physical and emotional feelings that act of love itself can project, and so it is by no accident that the images have an almost orgasmic pulsation. The sacrificial act of walking through fire acts more as a metaphor of the emotions here and not a commentary on the act. One of the key ideas suggested by Bua that I am working with is that the  theme is around transition and the spaces in between, life and death.

 The empty shell of the woman reflects the loss and emptiness after the grief has lessened.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Further tests for Dialogic exhibition

Here are further tests for the Dialogic exhibition. The tree section and the caterpillar to woman section run together for this viewing but are separate sections.
There are still adjustments to make. 
The tree section the aim is to get a feeling of stillness that is gradually changing naturally from a seemingly dead tree in winter to a spring/summer leaves. At the moment the changes are too jagged and not smooth enough. Also there were problems with the shadows cast when painting, I hoped these may be able to be incorporated into the piece but again at the moment I think these are not quite working. 
As I said I was just experimenting with the process of combining the images of the painted tree (done under the camera and edited) and the photographed clouds edited together. The clouds changing needs to be shot again and smoothed out. I wanted to create the feeling one gets when the clouds in the sky move very slowly and make the viewer feel destabilized and dizzy. The light changes aim to appear like natural sunlight changes on the landscape, creating strange shapes and forms as they move, sometimes shockingly quick floods of light sometimes gradually darkening brooding moments. Again this needs smoothing, but there are moments that are working. There is a point where too much editing makes the natural qualities become too digital for my liking. I want to maintain the organic feeling of the paint and the clouds. 
The caterpillar to cat to lady dancing and then horse section is also still in the experimental stage. The metamorphosis and journey through the scene is a significant part of this piece. each 'character' is representative of vehicles of the transition from life to death. The early part of the caterpillars journey has yet to be edited. So at present it starts with the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into the cat. The caterpillar is drawn with an ink brush pen and I wanted to show the form by the changing shape of the black pattern on each segment, no outline. Then I used both drawn metamorphosis and editing to exaggerate and expand the process of change.  
In drawing the cat I wanted to use suggestive lines that dance and breathe the shape of the cat. The representation and reference for the cat's presence is taken from the various cultural references about cats and death - a fear of cats around dead bodies and their ability (real or imagined) to predict death. Cats have a strange quality of metamorphosis within their own form and can stretch and squash into seemingly different volumes and shapes. The feline form is often associated with female and femininity. So with these things in mind I tried to both exaggerate the shape shift through to the woman; transitioning the cats form through the contentment and fluidity of form of a sleeping cat then waking and stretching sitting and looking in that all knowing manner they appear to have before morphing into the woman dancing. 
The dancing woman was an attempt to choreograph and represent the subtle motions that form what we read as feminine motion. The flow of the stylised hair, the steps side to side with shrugs of the shoulders and arms. I looked at various dances, particularly looking at the steps, hand gestures and arm movements,  referring to an Asian/Indian influence as this sequence is representative of the widows walk through fire (Sati).  This then transforms by the use of mirror editing into a stylisation of the woman that has an uncanny resemblance to (and this was a happy accident) female genitalia in a (I think) quite beautiful flower like patterning. The fire joins the pattern and then she becomes a rough line, indistinguishable as female, she sits mournful.
The transition to the horse and the style of the horse is not yet complete so this end section is just a test.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dialogic Installation exhibition

Drawing A Motion on Death by Millie Young

“The young, the old, the dumb, the wise, death awaits them.”
Phya Anuman Rajadhon [1]

Animation means to breathe life into something, so the creation of animation to represent ‘Death’ is something of a challenge. I was invited to collaborate with performance artist Pattarasuda Anuman Rajadhon on the installation exhibition, ‘Dialogic’ 2(inspired by writings about Thai culture by her great grandfather3) at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre in July –Sept 2011.
Pattarasuda devised the setting and the context for the lotus maze installation and I had the task of creating the animation following her brief. As a guide to the creative concept I consciously employed narrative theories from Dr Paul Wells to help structure the four looped projections.

This abstract aims to explore the creative approach to the subject of ‘Death’ and the installation exhibition.

Areas that will be discussed:
·      Animation that is only ‘alive’ when in projection depicting ideas of death where no life (as we know it) exists
·      The relationship of the audience (as the only actual living thing in the gallery space that journeys through the maze) to the death on the screen
·      Narrative strategy theories employed include Metamorphosis, Symbolism and Condensation. However particular attention to the use of
o   Associative Relations – the juxtaposition of images familiar and unfamiliar in a setting that creates a new meaning and context
o   Choreography – the use of motion in a lyrical and poetic form of rhythm and pattern to create a meaningful expression
o   Penetration – The animating of a memory of something culturally and traditionally accepted but which is (as yet) unknown to us in life
The animations will be constructed as cyclical representing – ‘This is death and the end of the journey and the beginning’; and multi linear as there are four screens which will project simultaneously and continuously looping.

[1] Life and Ritual In Old Siam,Three Studies of Thai Life and Customs

2   ‘Dialogic’ means the point at where the art of finding logics meet. It is the art of ‘the space between, in the middle’. And it is fluid, reflective and always changing. This exhibition is a playground for discussions and aims to fill the gaps between us.
The eight artists will base the exhibition/idea from the 8 basal behaviour as Phya Anuman Rajadhon has mapped out in his book of Tradition in thai Life and Customs: Birth, Age, Illness,Death, Eating Excretion, Mating and Sleeping

3 “We all have responsibilities in the past, the present and the future, continuously and coherently’ Phya Anuman Rajadhon

Phya Anuman Rajadhon occupies, or rather has created for himself, a position in the field of Thai letters and scholarship which is unique and paradoxical. Though he is not an academician by training, his scholarly attainments have placed on younger teachers and students at his feet and made him one of Thailand's most highly respected university professors. Though he is not a trained anthropologist, no one has made so great a contribution as he to the study of traditional Thai culture. Though he is not primarily a student of language and literature, no one can proceed very far in Thai philological or literary studies before he has to seek enlightenment from the contributions which Phya Anuman has made in these fields. Though he is not a product of Western education, hardly anyone has done more than he to introduce and popularize Western learning among the Thai. Though he is much more than a popular author, one could hardly find a professional writer in Thailand who can match the grace and wit of his prose style. Most astonishing of all, though he is not a Thai by ancestry, no student of Thai culture, history, liturature, and language, has displayed greater devotion to these fields.
The translator of any of Phya Anuman's prolific writings is faced with two conflicting aims. On the one hand, he wants to render the content as accurately as possible, since foreign readers are likely to be most interested in the factual material that he presents; on the other, he would like to preserve as much as possible of the delightful flavor of the author's prose style, which has all the vigor and pungency of the best conversational language. In the translations presented here it is to be feared that the latter desideratum has had to suffer at the expense of the former.
Thai terms are transcribed in the phonemic system devised by Professor Mary Haas as revised by her in Thai Reader (American Council of Learned Societies, Washington. D.C. 1954).
William Gedney, May 1961
Essays on Thai Folklore
by Phya Anuman Rajadhon
Publisher: Editions Duang Kamol

Death -  Pattarasuda Anuman Rajadhon

The young, the old, the dumb, the wise, death awaits them (from the book “Traditions on Death” by Phya Anuman Rajadhon {Bua’s Great Grandfather})
To convey the theme that humans and other living things have to die eventually.
To urge people to create and make the best of today. For tomorrow is not certain.
The exhibition consists of a maze built of dried/dead lotus flowers. This maze stands for our life,  journey, a path surrounded by death.
*note* when the flower has withered totally, take it out of the stand and leave it on the ground. Take a new dried lotus and replace.
From the ceiling, hangs a bunch of fresh lotus, upside down, to let it dry. Flowers represent life. Therefore, lotus, stands for life and intellect which will soon be taken over by death.
The video/ animation is projected onto the right wall.
-caterpillar travels from the body and never return (cause of dying)
-dying as a journey
-animals which serve as vehicle of the dead
Whatever exists, exists, and will always exist
The audience is the only living thing in this exhibition. The maze and the flowers are dead.  The video is actually one’s memory.

At the moment it is planned in a corridor like space with 1 m high maze created throughout from the lotus flowers and stems. (These could be substituted for lilies)

Here is a rough sketch

There are 3 projections next to each other along the right wall and a further projection (a repetition of the 1st) on the far exit wall/screen.

Concept art:

Test pieces:

1. Tree test

2. woman test

3. caterpillar enters

4. caterpillar morphs to woman

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dialogic test caterpillar

This is juts the beginning early test.