Monday, 30 April 2012

Transformation Animation

Here’s my final Transformation Animation complete with soothing Japanese audio…enjoy!

Final Transformation Animation

My animation skills are poor; I’ll be the first to admit it. I guess that’s the reason for the arrangements that have been organised for every Tuesday morning since the beginning of the semester whereby the moving image tutor has been available to help us create a short transformation animation. I don’t see it as ‘unrelated’ or ‘pointless’ as some others do, and if you are of this opinion then that is totally fine, no offense, it’s just that everything I do and everything I see I’m inspired by and would like to feature in my creative work. My only negative thought was time. In eighteen weeks I am expected to have such a huge body of work and several quality finished outcomes – plus an animation. As I say my animation skills are poor so to pull this off I had to learn how to do it too. But as you can see my animation is here and although it’s not the most advanced it works nicely and highlights my working method.

To create my animation I used a copy stand, which held the video camera nice and secure, and filmed my stitching the dove underneath. I taped the cartridge paper between two level desks which were pulled slightly apart so that there was room for me to stitch into the paper and be able to return the needle from below. To keep the paper taught I taped two rulers underneath, one at the top and one at the bottom of the sheet and to the desk creating a basic kind of frame. So that the recording wouldn’t be too big a file (as I was recording in high definition) I kept cutting the recording at regular intervals so that I ended up with six smaller files rather than once huge one which would be easier and quick to convert later. I made the holes for the stitches with the needle first following a feint sketch and then stitched through these holes creating my initial six short film files. When I had these and checked that they played back ok on the camera I unplugged the equipment and hooked the camera up to the Mac to convert the files to movies which would be easier to work with. When they were all converted I started to sift through each file and select only the frames I wanted to see in my finished animation. This meant selecting only frames where my hands weren’t visible and ensuring that the amount of frames for each stitch etc were consistent. Then I pulled all these selected frames (over 700!) into After Effects and started to create my transformation animation.

The whole process including filming took around eight hours. I added audio to the animation afterwards which I converted from Youtube to an Mp3 file through an independent site and then pulled into After Effects and overlaid over the whole animation. My animation could be better if I had an even better understand of After Effects and the things that it can enable a user to do as it’s benefits and uses weren’t really specified, I still only know it as a piece of animation software, I don’t know how it compares to something like Flash for example. Because of this, the finished result is still pretty amateurish but I enjoyed the process and watching my work come to life. Again it could be better if I knew how to trim audio using After Effects, as I was only shown the After Effects software I don’t even know if this is the correct software to use for audio trimming or where else to turn to do this. I did initially want to apply the effects that I looked at when I produced my pre-visualisation on After Effects before I filmed the original files. Obviously because Rick was in such high demand with a bunch of amateurs I didn’t like keep pestering him for help on other bits when the bulk of it had been finished. The following of the stitches then to reveal the dove at the end had to be scrapped because there wasn’t enough time left with the final deadline looming and with Rick having other people to help too.

I think that it is important to know the basics of how to make an image you have created move. If ever I were to be asked to create a short animation using stop frame and After Effects I think I could now survive…just. Plus it helps when collaborating on projects not to have to rely on others or for others to carry you. Overall, it was a useful project and hopefully a tool I will use in the future. 

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