Animation Evaluation

To evaluate my animation, I asked people a series of questions based on genre, target audience, mood, sound, what they liked and didn’t like, and whether certain elements fitted. These are the questions I asked, and the evaluation of each response to each question.

  • What genre did you feel the animation was?

The first response to this question was that they felt the genre was romance. This is because they felt that the poem was romantic and soft, using female pronouns and delicate imagery which the person associated with romance. Romance is often associated with femininity so this makes sense. Another response was that they felt the genre was drama. The reasoning was because they felt that the poem was deep and meaningful. This is valid, as the poem used focuses on the elements of nature and that we must look after it. The genre I decided to go for with my animation was drama, because it allows for a wide range of content and allows me to create mood within the product.

  • What age group do you think the animation was aimed at?

The options I gave for this question were: toddlers, young children 5-7, and older children 7-11. Responses said that they felt the target audience was older children aged 7-11. This response was based on the fact that the poem used literature techniques that would be suited to older children, such as the use of imagery and metaphors. I wanted to aim it at older children for the purpose of inspiring kids to look after the environment.

  • What mood(s) would you use to describe the animation?

The options I gave for this question were: happy, sad, peaceful and soft. The first response chose that the animation was peaceful and soft, and the second response was that the animation was soft. This was the mood that I originally wanted to create – I wanted it to be wholesome and pleasant to watch and also listen to. The soft and peacefulness coincide with this vibe, meaning that this is a positive result. This response also means that the animation was easy watching which also suggests that it is suitable to the target audience.

  • Did you think that the poem used fitted the animation, and was it effective? Why?

The responses for this question agreed that the poem fitted with the animation because ‘the lyrics matched with the imagery’ and ‘the poem reflected the visuals well’. These responses suggested that the poem worked with the animation because ‘The poem seemed to be about looking after the earth and animals in it so they fitted very well with each other’. This is a very good response because it means that the purpose of the animation (which was to entertain but also educate about the environment) translated and was recognised by the audience. It means that the poem made the product cohesive which is a good success.

  • Did you think that the sound effect fitted the animation, or was it distracting? Why?

The responses given for this question were positive – one response was ‘Yes, there was a good use of ambience sound and it was not at all distracting.’, and the other response was that ‘I thought the sound effects were subtle but you could clearly hear them. They fitted with the forest visuals and poem theme’. These responses show that the audio had the effect that I intended it to create – it shows that they added to the ambient atmosphere of the animation, making it a more interesting product to watch. In addition to this the responses have shown that the sounds weren’t overpowering or distracting from the poem – it was subtle but effective. 

  •  Was there anything you didn’t like about the animation? Could it have been improved?

The responses given for this question were ‘It could have used a bit more shot diversity.’ and also that ‘I feel the butterfly could have flapped its wings and fluttered faster around the elephant. It would also have been nice if the trees and grass moved. The only thing that could have been improved would be the little white edges that were still visible’. These responses were valid – there animation used only one type of shot, so if I were to recreate this animation I would include more shot diversity such as close ups or high angles to make the visuals more stimulating. In addition to this the second response is valid because more movement from the different elements of the animation would have added realism and diversity. Also, if I were to recreate I would erase the white patches in the visuals to make the overall visual look more professional.

  • Was there anything you did like about the animation?

For this question, the responses given were that ‘The elephant was cute, along with the orange sky and the butterflies.’ and also that they ‘Liked the deep thought behind the whole animation. It was thought provoking. The visuals were warm and desert/forest like and I liked the slow movement of the elephant. The poem itself was also thought provoking’. These responses show that I succeeded in creating the drama I was aiming to create – I wanted the animation to be something that would provoke thought towards looking after the environment and the responses show that this carried across. I wanted the visuals to be warm and pleasant to watch, and I also wanted the characters such as the elephant to be cute. I am glad that this was well received and overall I think that the animation was a success.

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Audio Pre-Production

Voice Over

In my animation there will be voiceover audio. I will record a classmate reciting the poem and overlap the audio with my animation.

Sound Effects/sourcing music

For sound effects, I will be including the ambience of the savannah in the background to make the animation atmospheric. To obtain this audio I will find an appropriate clip on YouTube, and covert it to MP3 using a conversion website.

Treatment

Project title: Make The Earth Your Companion – Animation Unit

Genre: Drama/Animation

Target Audience – Young children, 6-10

Duration – 30 seconds

Synopsis: The poem used for my audio assignment is a poem about nature and how we must look after it and treat it as our equal. I chose this poem because I wanted to create a wholesome vibe with my animation and the audio backs this up.

Locations

The location I will be obtaining the savannah sounds is a college classroom, likely to be 2.008. When I record a classmate reciting a poem I will use a spare empty classroom. The acoustics in the classrooms at college are appropriate for what I am trying to achieve so that is why I chose this location.

Production schedule

Production Day 1:

Date: 11/05/18

Location: College classroom, level 2

What was produced this day: Poem recital audio

Production Day 2: 

Date: 18/05/18

Location: College classroom, 2.008

What was produced this day: Conversion of savannah sounds in YouTube

Equipment list

  • MAC computer, for audio upload
  • Adobe Premiere, for audio editing and mixing
  • SD card, for recording audio down to
  • TASCAM, the device used to record audio
  • Microphone, to capture audio
  • Headphones, to listen to audio through

Audio Material:

Raw audio of poem recital:

 

Animation Pre-Production

My idea for my animation is to focus on the beauty of wildlife and nature. My idea is inspired by the opening to the Lion King – I want to animate a sunrise with animals and plants gathering at the edges, focusing on two elephants coming together in the middle as the poem below is recited. It will be colourful and peaceful which I can also mirror with the rhythm and mood of the poem below. The poem I will be using is Make The Earth Your Companion, by J. Patrick Lewis. I will convey the poem through the visuals of the animation – it focuses strongly on different features of nature, such as rivers and sky. I will show these visuals in the animation. Another way I can convey the poem through the animation is through the pace. The scene will be moving slowly but kind of gracefully – I hopefully will include an elephant raising its trunk which is a graceful motion, matching the pace of the poem.

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The animation technique I will be using is time lapse. I will be photographing every frame of the animation and stitching them together, most likely in an Adobe software. To create my animation, I will be using paper cut outs and moving them by hand for each scene. For the sunrise, I will cut out a colourful sun and tuck it behind a piece of paper representing the land, and move it up gradually. I’ve chosen this method as I like the homemade look and I think it is sweet. It also appeals to a younger demographic which is great for my target audience.

The frame rate I will be using for my animation is 12/FPS, also known as 12 frames per second. For a 30 second animation, this would equal 360 frames/shots. I chose this number as it is fluid and the actions will translate smoothly, but also because it is a lower frame rate than high professional standard (24/FPS) keeping it to the homemade look which is consistent with what I hope to achieve.

The lighting I will use will be soft and warm coloured, so that the colours of the animation will shine through properly. In my animation the sky changes from night to day so having a neutral, not to harsh or too dark lighting will allow for better realism and saturation of the colours.

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These are the kind of lights we will be using at the college filming studios. You can put coloured screens over them for effect, and change the brightness.

 

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Character idea development

The main characters of my animation will be two elephants, coming in from both sides of the animation (set in a savanna with the sun rising) together and meeting in front of the sun. The poem will be recited to the pace of the elephants walking.

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The other characters in my animation will be a flock of birds, which will rise from bottom to top in front of the sun as it is rising. I chose to add them as it makes the scene more interesting rather than just two characters. It also adds realism as elephants are not the only species to inhabit the grassland. The birds will also add contrast of colour against the bright sun.

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This is my set design for my animation. I took pictures from google and stitched them together to create the basic design. I will use silhouette imagery against a colourful background which will create a nice contrast. There will be grassland at the bottom, as this is typical elephant habitat. On the left, there will be a large canopy tree. It will make the scene much more interesting and complex. It will also add realism as it is typical grassland greenery, and it will also add scale so that the sun, tree and elephants are coordinated in size. The sky will be a reddish orange, the colour of a traditional sunrise sky. The sun will be big and bright, adding contrast and adding more peace to the scene.

To create the elephants movement, I will cut out the silhouettes of the elephant and have the legs, head and trunk separate which I will move manually. I may use a certain pin to attach the limbs on and then move them, so that the limbs don’t look uneven or inaccurate. Elephants walk slowly because of their weight, putting their left legs forward, then back, and the right legs will move in opposite motion.

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For the birds, the motion is simple to recreate. The birds will be secured in the middle with a pin, whilst the wings will move up and down.

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For the sun, I will cut it out of yellow paper and the grassland will be in front of it. I will glue the grassland down only at the sides and bottom, so that there is a pocket that the sun can be tucked in and moved upwards by hand.

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The target audience for my animation will be kids, aged around primary school aged. The animation takes inspiration from the opening to Lion King, Circle of Life, voiced by Carmen Twillie and Lebo. M. The Lion King is a film by Disney about a family of Lions, which teaches a message of respect to the world around you. Likewise, the poem that will be recited for my animation focuses on respecting wildlife and nature, so the target audience will be the same. In addition to this, animations are typically targeted towards young people – animations from studios such as Disney, Dream Works and Aardman create animation targeted at kids, such as The Little Mermaid, Shark Tale, and Shaun the Sheep.

In terms of visual effects, I will be using filters and colour editing to make my animation seem more digital. I will be creating my animation out of coloured card, and using specific pins to attach the limbs of the elephants and birds together. The pins will allow the limbs to be secure and rotated to demonstrate walking, but not be moved where they shouldn’t be. In the editing application I will adjust each frame so that it has a more digital appearance.

For sound, I will use a TASCAM to record the poem being recited. I will be doing this in a studio at college, with the help of someone in my class doing the voice over. I will then bring the animation into Adobe Premiere and match it with the poem. In addition to this, I will download nature/savannah sounds and have those in the background so that there is a variety of audio.

The software I will use to edit my final animation is Adobe Animate.

Storyboard/production schedule/

Project production schedule

2D Animation Essay

Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation is the original form of animation, dating back to the early 1800’s, which is a method still used today. This form of animation composes of a series of images, one after the other, captured frame by frame. By stitching together picture after picture in a very short time period, it tricks the brain and gives the optical illusion that the subject is moving. This brain process is called the persistence of vision, based on the theory that the brain and eyes work together to retain the memory of the frame we last saw and patch it up to the next one, and so on.

To create this optical illusion, the brain needs to see approximately 15 FPS (FPS – Frames Per Second), meaning that for every second of the animation there must be at least 15 still images. The smaller the amount of frames per second, the less smooth and believable the animation becomes, so for a smooth, good quality animation at least 15 FPS is needed. For a professionally smooth animation, such as in cartoons, you would need to use 24 Frames Per Second.

Early Forms and Pioneers of Stop Frame Animation

John Ayrton Paris – Thaumatrope

Some of the early forms of animation were the thaumatrope, zoetrope, and the mutoscope. The thaumatrope consisted of a circular disk with an image on each side and a string through the middle. When rotated at a fast speed, the images appear to blend together. For example on one side there could be a person with their arm to their side, and on the next in the air so that when spun it appears as though the person would be waving. It was invented in 1824 by British physician John Ayrton Paris.

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Thaumatrope

William Horner – Zoetrope

Another early form of animation device was the Zoetrope, invented in 1834 by British mathematician William Horner. This device was a cylinder that spun with slits in the side for viewing and a sequence of illustrations on the inside. As shown in the gif below, the image sequence could be a bird flying and as the cylinder spins, you can look through the slits so as it spins it shows the images in sequence making it appear as though they are moving.

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Zoetrope

W.K.L. Dickson and Herman Casler – Mutoscope

In addition to this another early form of animation was the mutoscope. This device was Victorian and was invented by Scottish inventor W.K.L. Dickson and American inventor Herman Casler. It was a series of cards (about 850) attached to a circular core much like a rolodex. The viewer would put in a coin and crank the machine and it would roll through the cards at a fast speed, like a flip note. It could only be viewed by one person at a time.

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Mutoscope

Eadweard Muybridge – Chronophotography and the Zoopraxiscope

One of the earliest pioneers of animation was a man named Eadweard Muybridge. He lived from 1830 to 1904 and collated together photographic images of animals and people moving, frame by frame, stitching them together creating some of the earliest stop motion animation. This technique is known as chronophotography. To do so he invented his own device known as the Zoopraxiscope, a key predecessor to the movie projector. It was made up from glass disks with images printed on them that move in sequence as the device was cranked by hand.

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Eadweard Muybridge’s horse photographic animation

Developers of Stop Frame Animation

Walt Disney

Walt Disney was born in 1901 in Illinois and was an American pioneer and developer of cartoons. He was an animator, voice actor, film producer and entrepreneur of Disney Brothers Studios. He started his career as a professional film producer developing different directions that animation could take, from comedy to romance. His animation form was stop motion animation using cel animation. In the 1920’s he developed the infamous character Mickey Mouse which he himself voiced, making comedy sketches designed to make people laugh. These were short and though rewarding, Disney wanted to go further and make full feature length films in technicolour that could make the audience feel a wide range of emotion. The first feature length animation he produced with this goal in mind was Snow White. When it premiered in 1937, the audience found themselves captured by it’s many emotional turns. The film was a huge success, and so Disney went on to produce many other feature length films during this period such as Bambi, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo. Since then his brand has become one of the largest brands in the world, winning many awards and some of his films are included in the National Film Registry.

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Snow White (1937)

Willis O’Brien

Willis O’Brien was an American animator and special effects pioneer, born in California in 1886. In his early years he worked as a marble sculptor. He crafted a caveman and dinosaur and in his spare time, with the assistance of a local camera man, created a 90 second stop motion animation. It was viewed and praised by Herman Wobber who then commissioned him to make The Dinosaur and the Missing Link: A Prehistoric Tragedy. Thomas Edison hired him through Edison Films after being impressed by the film. In 1917 he then worked on the first animations to combine stop motion models with real actors – Nippy’s Nightmare and The Puzzling Billboard. He then produced the effects for, wrote, co starred and directed The Ghost of Slumber Mountain earning a box office sum of 100K. He worked on other films such as The Lost World, and after several cancelled film plans, developed King Kong in 1933, a well known film and concept in the cinema world.

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Willis O’ Brien working on an animation

Contemporary Animation

Aardman Animation

Aardman Animation formed in 1972 when David Sproxton and Peter Lord came together as school students with the ambition of becoming animators. They worked on small productions such as Take Hart, before being commissioned in 1982 by Channel 4 to produce Conversation Pieces. Then after they worked on a film called Early Bird, giving them the platform to show that characters can parody real people. In 1985, Peter and David met Nick Parks who joined Aardman full time, when he was working on the debut Wallace and Gromit film A Grand Day Out released in 1989. Working together with the direction of Nick Parker, they made many more Wallace and Gromit films, such as The Wrong Trousers and A Close Shave which were both extremely successful and won awards. Since then, Aardman Animation has made many more films and won many awards with the partnership and funding of DreamWorks, such as Chicken Run, Flushed Away, and The Curse of the Were Rabbit. Awards include BAFTA’s, Academy Awards and Oscars.

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Wallace and Gromit

Genres and Forms of Animation

Flick Book

There are many different forms of animation depending on the effect you wish to create, or the time period it was made. One of these is flick books. Flick books are a compact form of animation, much like the mutoscope. It consists of a book with a large number of frames, each page containing a different frame, so that when the book is flicked through the images mould together in sequence giving the illusion of movement.

Flickbook

Rotascoping

Rotascoping came about in the 1800s, when Eadweard Muybridge painted his chronophotographic images on disks. The art of rotascoping is where real motion picture is traced over as animation on glass panels. It is done frame by frame, and when the panels are put together in sequence and played on a projector or other device, they play out as an animation. It was developed by Polish-American animator Max Fleischer.

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Rotascoping – the B/W images are photographs, imitated in drawing for Peter Pan

Drawn On Film

Drawn on film animation is where animators draw and create images directly onto film strip. The film strip can be black, which must be already developed, and is either etched, sanded, scratched or punched. The film can also be blank – if it is blank it will be undeveloped, and can be painted, drawn on, stamped, or even glued. It is done frame by frame, so when it is produced it is shown in 2D sequence. Some famous practitioners of drawn on animation are Norman McLaren and Len Lye.

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Drawn on Film

Claymation

Claymation, also known as clay animation, is a malleable form of animation in which the subject is made from clay or sometimes plasticine. A set will be built (likely to be built from clay also), and the subject will be moved gradually, and a photograph will be taken for every frame. Then it is stitched together so that it looks as though the film is moving by itself. Some examples of famous claymation projects are Wallace and Gromit, and Shaun the Sheep.

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Shaun the Sheep

Cel Animation

Cel animation is a traditional form of animation. It is a hand drawn format, using transparent/translucent sheets of paper that can be drawn on and layered over each other. To save time and effort, the backdrop, and other elements that would be stationary for the scene, will be drawn first and then the characters will be drawn on other sheets and traced for each frame. It is very time consuming, so in 1937 when Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs the artists were pushed heavily for time to meet the release deadline.

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Time Lapse

Time lapse animation is where a large number of photographs are taken and compressed together into a short space of time. Cameras will have a function that allows a constant stream of photographs to be taken at once, without having to press the shutter every time for each shot. This can save time and the subject can move continuously without needing to stop. If you were needing to make a 30 second time lapse, you would need 24 frames per second to be professionally smooth, equating to 720 shots, so this function is highly useful and saves a lot of time. If not, each shot can be taken individually.

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Time lapse of a rose

What are the ways in which animation is used, and what form is best for each use?

Animation is a versatile form of imagery. It can be used to be both entertaining, and also educational. It can be used to make us laugh, cry and provide a platform for us to escape to and be imaginative. In terms of entertainment, you can find animation in television, cartoons, films, music videos and many more formats. On the other hand it can be used for educational purposes, to illustrate how things work, for example in primary school a teacher may use animation to show how photosynthesis works. It makes the lesson interactive and more engaging for kids.

Idents

There are many different uses and functions for animation. Idents are short animations of usually around 5-10 seconds that a TV channel will use in between airing programs. They are often used when a narrator announces the next program as an entertaining visual whilst they speak. They are also a form of identity – what the ident shows is often synonymous with the nature of the channel – it gives identity to the kind of content a channel shows. For example, the BBC 2 ident has a more formal relaxed image than the E4 ident – BBC 2 shows an animated ‘2’ that has shown different forms, to a tent opening shape or a robot. It targets the audience that is aged around 30 – 50. The E4 ident is a lot more active and fun because of the younger 15-30 demographic. It is a purple robot, but the difference is that this robot has been given a clumsy personality and features, making it more youthful for the audience.

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BBC 2 ident

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E4 ident

Children’s TV

Animation is a highly used form of entertainment on children’s TV. Animation as a visual style is exciting and often colourful, and so it is very engaging for children to watch. In addition to this, when it comes to animation, there is no limit to what you can create. You can create any character or setting in any style or appearance, so it gives a large space for creativity and imagination that couldn’t be used or found in the real world. Some examples of current children’s animation are Paw Patrol and Spongebob. They are popular amongst children because they are colourful, fun, engaging and funny for kids.

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Paw Patrol

Computer Games

Much like children’s TV, animation is consistently used in computer games as graphics. Computer games are very complex and require different actions for each choice made by the player, so it is far simpler to animate computer games than to film real actors. By using animation, there is no limit as to what the creator can make. The benefit of using animation over real image is that it can be as colourful and surreal as the creator wants. The more creative the more the audience will enjoy it, as many play video games as a form of escapism. In addition to this, as technology gets better, the better the graphics get and therefore more entertaining the game gets, and the more profit the game company gain.

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Skyrim (Bethesda) after being remastered – before and after

Music Videos

Animation can be used in many different ways in music videos to give the audience different vibes and show different creative flares in the artist. It might be used because the theme of animation runs in the song, or that the song has an imaginative twist and the animation represents that, or that the colours reflect or contrast the song. The reasons animation may be used in music videos are almost endless. Animation is a very versatile form of entertainment and art, so it can be used for many different functions such as music videos. For example, the Arctic Monkeys used animation as their music video for ‘Do I Wanna Know’ which reflects the grunge and sombre tone. This targets their target audience of around 15-30, focusing on mental heath and relationship issues.

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Arctic Monkey’s ‘Do I Wanna Know’

Software

To create modern digital animation, you may want to use a modern animation software. For example, this could be After Effects, Anime Studio, Toon Boom Studio, etc. These software pieces are affordable for the general public and are capable of producing high quality, professional level products – Adobe After Effects costs just $19.99 a month as a single subscription. These software are very versatile, offering hundreds of different functions and ways to make your project even better. They are easy to navigate and any mistakes are easily rectifiable – with just a few tutorials and exploring, anybody can create a well rounded piece of material with these software.

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Adobe After Effects

Summary

In summary, animation has grown in leaps and bounds since it first began in the 1800’s. It has grown from Eadweard Mubridge’s chronophotography to the work of Willis O’Brien to modern Disney, producing multiple films in short spaces of time such as Moana and Inside Out. The advantages of making stop motion animation is that it is a lot less time consuming, because of the introduction of software such as Adobe After Effects and Animate, where the program does the animation for you. Prior to this the introduction of digital cameras made it possible to photograph clay models, (e.g. Shaun the Sheep) and each movement photographed creates a sequence.