Thursday, October 27, 2011

USC Alphie Results: Animators Win Grand Prix

Yes, the USC animators, collaborating on just one entry (Aha Moments under the direction of Jabril Mack), conquered the USC Freshman Short Film Competition, beating the dozens of other live action entries submitted by the rest of the cinema school. That said, all the other entries were amazing--most incredibly funny, and some surprisingly thoughtful and emotional. It was a great competition.

Week 9 Color Exploration to "My Body is a Cage"

(Please listen with audio, as the music enhances the meaning of the film.)

So the theme this week was color, and the color I was assigned was yellow. While people typically associate yellow with its positive connotations--such as sunshine, energy, happiness, youth, and enlightenment--there is actually a darker side to the meaning behind the color. Yellow can also represent loudness, decay, cowardice, age, waste, and sickness. I was very interested in the fact that yellow means both youth and old age/decay/sickness. I also wanted to incorporate the loudness of yellow, making it feel like my character was screaming or moaning. Enlightenment and cowardice were also contrasts I wanted to work with. I thought following the life span of someone who could not come to terms with their aging process, body, or mortality--and who faced both their birth and death with gracelessness and fear--would be an effective means of exploring each of yellow's connotations through my character's facial evolution and expressions.

Miscellaneous symbolism: Upon their death my character reluctantly receives enlightenment as signified by the growth of long hair that halos their face. When you see the character at 30 with a mohawk, the orange tears he cries are actually the male sign (O-->). This represents his inability to accept his adult form or the gender roles society imposes upon him. The opening and closing doors illustrate the rapid speed at which life passes him by. Doors of opportunity open for him, but he is too caught up in his imminent death to notice. The doors then close for him forever.

This is probably my favorite animation so far. In this short film I am telling a story that is actually important to me, in a style that is very much my own. I hope I can continue to tap into the source I used for this in the future. I think it actually helped that I did not use any pencil work in this animation, so my lines were bolder and more free. I enjoyed this loose, flexible style.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week 8 Rectangular Color Scheme to "Tangled Up in Blue"

This week's challenge is dedicated, of course, to my twin sister. This may not be her favorite song anymore, but I thought she'd enjoy an animation about Dylan. I like the characters in this piece, but next week I want a real story and not just reactions, and I want to animate a more realistic character--maybe even use sources. I keep jumping to cartoons without exploring the 3D realm.

I actually stayed up so late making this, that I was still shooting it at 9 in the morning though I started work at 5 the night before. I was so exhausted that while the file was converting to Quicktime around 12, that I just laid down on the classroom floor and slept. Forget that I was using the room containing the graduate students' cubicles and that many of those cubicles were occupied at the time. I was so tired that sleeping on the floor in front of strangers without warning seemed perfectly normal. I was only hours later when the adrenalin hit to keep me up the rest of the day that I started facepalming myself.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Aha Moments! A Frosh Animation Collaboration, Amalgamation, Alphie Application

A short film for the Alphies--a USC Freshman film competition. Jabril decided the USC animators were going to enter this generally production-dominated competition, and directed this film created with the aid of most of the freshman animation class. We made the film in 2 weeks, and learned a lot about the complex collaborative process needed to make an animated movie in a timely manner. It was also incredibly fun.

That said, this took two intense weeks to create. TWO WEEKS, production students. Not one weekend. Especially not the ONE WEEKEND RIGHT BEFORE the SUBMISSION DEADLINE.