Final Analysis Report
For this report, I will be looking at the research I have been conducting over the last six weeks and will be assessing the historical, social, cultural and industrial factors that have influenced the development of my specialist area. I will also be considering how I can apply these contextual perspectives to my practices, along with also assessing what I have learnt from the research activates I have conducted and how they inform my own practices.
Historical, social, cultural and industrial factors that have influenced the development of my specialist area
When conducting research into my discipline, I found out some industrial factors within the animation industry. I found that the two main types of 2D animation used are frame by frame animation which is where the animator draws each frame of animation individually, and vector-based animation is where the animator creates key frames for the animation and the software generates the in-between frames of the animation. I also discovered the different types of software used in the industry like After Effects which is used for vector-based animation, Adobe Flash for more traditional animation, Photoshop which can be used for both, TV Paint, Toon Boom and Anime Studio. A cultural factor I discovered was the people in the animation industry that have had a big influence in the way animation is today, such as for Walt Disney, they revolutionised the way cartoons are created, like how it is animated, the techniques used, etc. Hayao Miyazaki revolutionised the way Anime films were created, like how it is animated, how the story is told, the art style they used, etc. I also researched into some historical factors in animation and found that the first projected animation on screen was in 1877 with a Praxinoscope, invented by French science teacher Charles Emile Reynaud; he also invented the Theatre Optique in 1888, which severed the first public screening of animation at Musée Grévin in Paris in 1892. Another historical factor I found was that the first animated film was made in 1908, which was called Fantasmagorie; it was created by a French artist named Émile Cohl and contained stick figures encountering various inanimate objects that they interacted with.
When researching into vector-based animation, I first did secondary research into the process behind a vector based animated show which was Archer. I found that the process was similar, so chose to look more into how they animate it and I discovered what software they use for animating which is Adobe Illustrator and After Effects. They use Illustrator because it can easily create smooth rounded elements for the character, such as the characters’ mouth, eyes, head, hands, etc. Another reason why they use Illustrator is because the files are compatible with After Effects, making it easy to transfer the characters’ elements to After effects to be animated; the files also keep the vector measurements from Illustrator, allowing the images to be changed in size without worrying about it losing quality. I then did more primary research into how difficult it is to do vector based animation, I found that it was a little more difficult than frame by frame animation which stranger as most people find it the other way around. I believe that this because I know more techniques and methods used in frame by frame animation than vector based animation.
When doing my practitioners report, I discovered that the techniques and methods animation studios use are different to each other across time, some are due to lack of technology, others are just techniques that came about by pioneers of animation. Some of the differences are that we have been using more CG in animated films and animated TV shows, whereas back before the 2000s, they lacked the technology to do so. Another difference I discovered was that animators have been blurring characters and objects that are moving through the animation, this creates an Illusion of speed; this technique was not used in old animation that aimed for realism whereas it was used constantly for old cartoons like Looney Tunes.
How I can use these contextual perspectives to inform my own practice
From my contextual perspectives in the research I did into my own discipline will help me choose the direction I want to take for my FMP, this is because it has helped me understand the different types of animation which I can decide to use in my FMP, it has shown the different software I can use to achieve those types in animation and has allowed me learn who influences me in my discipline which I can do more research into to help me decide the animation style and type I should use for my FMP.
My research into vector-based animation will help me with my FMP: I can apply this to my FMP if I decide to use vector based animation; if I do vector based animation, I would know what programs to use to create the animation such as using Illustrator to create the parts of the characters and then using After Effects to animate them, and what techniques and methods to use to create specific elements for that animation such as when creating a background, create a 3D environment and paint over a render picture.
From my research in the practitioners report, I can apply this research to my FMP if I decide to do animation for my project; if I do frame by frame animation, I will use the blur technique I have seen to create the illusion of speed for objects or characters I want to look as if they are moving very fast.
Research activities: what I have learnt and how I can use these to inform my own practice
Looking at the beginning of the term, I began research into myself, creating mind maps about my interests, conducting interviews with different students and doing a personality test on myself. When doing research into myself, I found that my interests are strongly centred on animation, from films create Studio Ghibli to anime and cartoons; the films I watch for filling my interests in the production processes behind them, such as looking at the animation, the colour, the art style and listening to the music, I have found them very interesting. With cartoons, I watched them mostly for their comedic humour with a little bit of interest behind how it was created; from this, I can see that a lot of my influence for animation came from the animated films from studios like Ghibli and my influence for wanting to do research into script writing is from comedic animated shows I’ve watched.
I conducted my research into my discipline by doing a case study on it, I learnt the correct names of the types of 2D animation, there is traditional animation which is where each frame is drawn by hand, there is key framed animation which is vector based, this is usually done by creating separate parts of an object like a character and then creating key frames with those parts. The last type of 2D animation is motion graphics, this is mainly animating logos and text using After Effects. I also did research into the history of animation and discovered old techniques and methods of animation, some well-known and others quite obscured. For instance, the magic lantern style of animation was when you move certain shapes over a projector, to create movement on the screen it is projecting on. Well known old types of animation are the Thaumatrope which was a disc with two images on either side of it, when rapidly rotated, it gave the illusion that the images of either side of the disc were one. The Phenakistoscope which is a disc that has every frame of animation along the outside of the disc, the disc is then spun to create the illusion of movement from the pictures drawn on it. The last type of animation I discovered was the Zoetrope, like the Phenakistoscope however it was spun by a motor, had inbuilt lights and would only work if the viewer was looking through the panels of the contraption. With this knowledge, I can apply it to my FMP by using it to decide what type of animation I would use for my FMP and whether I should create a digital or physical type of animation for my FMP; I can also decide to take a much more physical route than digital as I now know how to do it.
From the experiment on vector based animation, I found something interesting about the process of creating one episode of Archer which is how they create the backgrounds for their scenes. The way they create backgrounds is by first creating a 3D environment that matches with the storyboard, they are then able to control where the camera is facing in the scene, this allows for multiply shots be taken of the scene, allowing more freedom to the creators. The shots of the environments are then rendered out and sent to a painter team which paint over the rendered shots to make them have the same sort of art style as the show. I did more primary research into this process to find out whether it was an effective way to make backgrounds with good perspective; I found that it was a very effective process to create backgrounds, it is able to achieve a great 3D perspective and give a lot of control to the creator, however the process takes more time which makes sense as it has more steps but I believe that it is worth the time as it is a very effective process. I found this out when conducting an experiment using this technique to find out whether it is an effective process. This is connected to my influence as a background is an important element in animation as it establishes scene and sets the atmosphere; this process can be used in both types of animation, however the first case of this process being used that I have found is in a vector based animation TV series.
When researching for the practitioners report, I researched into two well-known animators, Hayao Miyazaki and Mamoru Hosoda. I then researched into two films that they have worked on, for Mamoru Hosoda, it was his most recent work, The Boy and the Beast and for Hayao Miyazaki, I chose to research his first directed film, Lupin the Third Castle of Cagliostro. When analysing the films, I looked at a specific scene in the film and analysed its animation, its colour scheme, its art style and its music. I found that both films are similar in colour scheme, having light and bright colours but other than that, both films are vastly different, the first case being that The Boy and the Beast use CG in their film to allow them to animate the background characters quickly and in good quality as the background characters do not matter as much as the main characters, meaning that the less time they spend working on them, the better. The reason Castle of Cagliostro doesn’t have CG is because they lack the technology to do it back then. When comparing the animation, The Boy and the Beast uses a lot of blurring in its animation for fight scenes or fast moving objects, this gives the illusion of speed to the viewer, however Castle of Cagliostro seems have no blurring in the animation, this is probably because the technique didn’t come about until later on or it is a decision Miyazaki chose not to use the blur technique. Either way, I find that not using this technique in Castle of Cagliostro gives the film a somewhat charm to it. As for The Boy and the Beast, they use it to make fight scenes more intense, as the blur makes the objects seem they are moving a lot faster and seem to have more power, making each movement look dangerous. Finally for the characters, I found that Castle of Cagliostro use cartoonish proportions for the characters, this is done to fit their themes which is comedy and action, this works because the style allows comedy to still exist in action scenes whilst also being able to keep the intensity in some scenes. The Boy and the Beast focuses for more realistic body proportions, this is because the film aims to tell a story, so to make it more impactful, it uses that realism of body proportions to make the characters seem more real. I conducted all this research in my Practitioners Report; this shows that I am heavily influenced in frame by frame animation from anime, especially from Hayao Miyazaki, this is because I found that I was more interested in doing a report on frame by frame animation than vector base as I wanted to look at something that was fluid in movement (frame by frame animation) and that wasn’t stiff (vector based animation).
From this, I believe I know more about frame by frame animation than vector-base, along with also being more influenced in the animators who create frame by frame, and the techniques and methods they use in frame by frame animation. I have also discovered that I take great interest in creative processes and techniques, ways to achieve a final outcome that people don’t usually think up on the spot; I discovered this when looking at research I did which was an experiment looking into whether creating a 3D environment and painting over it, was an effective process to create a background. With this knowledge, I can make a well thought out decision on which path my FMP will take, I can ever choose to do frame by frame animation or vector-based animation; I can also decide on researching and putting into practice different techniques, methods and processes to use in my FMP to achieve different results.