Sunday, 23 January 2011

Critical Study (Auteurship)


I am going to look at the work of Hayao Miyazaki, as I personally enjoy his films and animation genre. I will discuss a little information about Hayao Miyazaki as i feel that it helps to understand him better.  
Hayao Miyazaki is a famous anime artist alongside animator and film director, he has received numerous awards and nominations for his films. 
After graduating in Tokyo he joined Toei Animation studio as an artist who only created the in-between frames. Slowly rising in the ranks and getting a better understanding of the animation industry throughout the decade, he created his first feature length film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. His second film NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind led to the establishment of Studio Ghibli in 1985 alongside Isao Takahata. Studio Ghibli was the start of something new for Miyazaki, where he had more control of his work as a producer. Walt Disney also has distribution rights of the movies which Studio Ghibli make.

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Princess Mononoke tells the story of an epic fantasy where Ashitaka (protaganist) is driven to leave his village to find a cure to the curse which is inflicting him. Throughout his journey in the land he meets a small town (Iron town) who is run by Lady Eboshi (antagonist). Eboshi's mission is to exploit the surroundings for iron/weapon resources causing her to see the forest and the animals as the enemy. Although she seems to be the antagonist her compassionate side shows when it is revealed that she buys girls who were sold to brothels and gives them work, making her a respected figure.
Ashitaka also meets San, a fierce girl who was raised by mountain wolves ('gods') and believes she is one of them. She has fury against humans who invade the forest, causing her to constantly attack Iron town. When she meets Ashitaka her heart swings between the 'gods' and the humans giving her mixed emotions.

Princess Mononoke's themes revolve around the earth and nature in a fantasy genre, showing various beautiful atmospheric value alongside a brilliant plot, which is much of Miyazaki's work. The film received a great reception and became the highest grossing movie in Japan until Titanic was released, but it still remains the fourth highest grossing anime movie in Japan, next to Howl's Moving Castle (2004), Ponyo (2008) and Spirited away (2001) which were also made by Miyazaki. 

Spirited Away (2001)

Spirited away follows a 10 year old girls moment in time where she moves houses, and experiences a magical moment of moving from one world to another full of monsters and spiritual beings. Spirited away amongst many other films shows a little girl, Chihiro Ogino (10 years old) innocent and child-like. Miyazaki's work shows a trend in similair characters, especially female protaganists. In an interview with Miyazaki the following was asked in matter to female persona's used frequently in his work:

"Why do you always choose a girl as your theme?"
Miyazaki: 'I don't logically plan it that way. When we compare a man in action and a girl in action, I feel girls are more gallant. If a boy is walking with a long stride, I don't think anything particular, but if a girl is walking gallantly, I feel "that's cool." Maybe that's because I'm a man, and women may think it's cool when they see a young man striding. At first, I thought "this is no longer the era of men. This is no longer the era of taigimeibun."[1] But after ten years, I grew tired of saying that. I just say "cause I like women." That has more reality.'
[Kikan Iichiko, October 20, 1994. Reprinted in Shuppatsuten by Hayao Miyazaki; published by Tokuma Shoten, 1996.]
[1] Taigimeibun can mean justification, justice, or a big good cause something like "for the human race" --ryo 
Quoted from: 

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

 My Neighbour Totoro is one of many touching films produced by Miyazaki, again a similair plot to that of Spirited away, girl's move houses, connect with nature, discover monsters/spirits in the garden and struggle to come to terms with their mothers illness. Satsuke (10 years old) and Mei (4 years old) are the central focus of the film just as Chihiro is of Spirited away. The character's show a resemblance, especially between Chihiro and Mei, as they are both quite fearful and adventurous at the same time. The story's climax usually involves some form of happiness i.e. Mei's mother starting to recover and the growing bravery of the girls to represent that they have overcome their fears. 

Miyazaki uses recurring themes and similair characters in his films, one can compare the enviromental messages given in various of his films, from the beauty of the lush natural landscapes or the dramatic urban city set in a fantasy enviroment made to perfection and enough detail to fill the user with awe.

Howl's Moving Castle
My Neighbor Totoro

Spirited Away

I like Miyazaki's work because I enjoy the mood and the atmosphere which he creates in his films. It's something which I can relate to when I was a child and it brings out those memories. Much of his work is really imaginative which brings out the 'wow' factor and the plot's are unique injunction with the art visuals which work brilliantly, it shows the passion which Miyazaki has in his work. You can definately tell what sort of style he has in his work, fantasy elements mixed with epic and dramatic storylines, female protaganists, scenes where characters usually fly, plots which fill the viewer with hope, these are some of the things which make Miyazaki's work his.

I think his work is good for analysis because I am quite intrigued by his work and passionate about his artistic style. As i wish to become an environment designer within the gaming industry, his work holds high inspirational value for me, and I could learn how to develop a similair style by using Miyazaki's work as inspiration. 

Tuesday, 18 January 2011



After brainstorming and looking at inspirational videos we as a group decided that our final idea was to create a sandwich and a cup of tea. The storyboard starts with showing an extreme close-up of a clock to show its lunch time followed by a character who is hungry. 
He/she decides to make a sandwich and a cup of tea. We follow him/her through the course of making a sandwich and a cup of tea, using cut scenes and different materials. 

Storyboard of 'The lunch hour'
We decided on some of the materials to use, so me and Memoona went shopping, while the others looked for some of the things around the university. A lot of the things we got were different objects which had similar aesthetics to represent various different foods and materials.

 Finished strips of bacon in each stage of cooking
Maltesers used as diffusing tea
Other materials bought
We planned on using replacement animation throughout, hence why we had three different forms of the bacon, i.e. raw, cooked, and well done.
Also the cricket ball was to act as the tomato, and we used plasticine to show the slices being cut off.



After we had gathered all the materials we had made some tests in preparation for the final. This helped us decide on what to do and what not to do.

When we started our final we looked at the set and checked different lighting to portray the mood we want.

We used this for our final lighting scenes after experimenting with different lighting and hues, we felt it was slightly on the cold side, which was what we wanted.

To add a bit of humor to the video we decided to use a cuddly toy cow to show that it is providing us with milk. We used emotion on the cow by adding sound effects and using replacement animation on the googley-eyes by making them bigger.


All of the sound effects were put in by Andy Mo.
For the sound effects we wanted something relaxing and piano based. We decided to use Left Bank Two's 'Little Big Planet' tune, which worked out effectively. We used various other sound effects which we had to choose carefully in order to set the mood and tell the story. 


The final video was a success and was what we planned it out to be. We finished the editing in good time and added the credits too. 
The only problems we encountered were materials not working to our expectations, so we had to change some of the materials such as the maltesers which were too big, we overcome this problem by using crumbled chocolate buttons instead. We also improved the video as we went along by adding new things which we thought would work well, like the spinning biscuit to represent the momentum of the tea after its been spun.

As a group we did very well, everybody put in their input to make this a successful stop-motion video. We used pixillation and replacement animation in this video, and found it to work quite effectively.

The principles of animation do change when working with stop motion and live objects, i.e. you cannot use the principle straight ahead action or pose to pose, as that refers to drawing. The principles we used were:
* Staging
* Anticipation
* Slow in and slow out
* Arcs
* Exaggeration

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Stickfas animation


 Inspirational videos

Final drunk walk cycle
* Anticipation
* Exaggeration
*Follow through & overlapping action
*Secondary action

 My character's profile (Goro)
Inspirational sources for my four armed character came from multiple legged insects as well as one of the characters called Goro from Mortal Kombat. 

We decided for our group animation to create battle scenes in the format of the popular game 'Mortal Kombat'. Sticking to the theme of Mortal Kombat we were going to use the battle screen from the game to make it look like someone is playing. To make it more engaging we also decided to use the theme tune and sound effects from the game itself.

Inspiration Sources:

We used this video as a source to look at many different types of battle within the game, so we could incoporate some of the moves performed here into some of our scenes.


Final Video

The final outcome of our video was what we hoped for to an extent. We found some of the problems that we encountered were camera difficulties and computer problems, which caused us to lose time and disruption of a smooth recording, hence why we had to add a pause during the final battle sequence where the screen turns purple, we wanted to show that the screen was paused by adding typography to make it look more effective but due to lack of time we couldn't. Another problem is that the rounds are quite fast, if we had more time we could have added longer fight scenes.

I think that some of the things which worked really well are; the sounds, the life gauge on the top of the screen, the character profiles at the beginning and the final scene where the hand comes in to destroy the character, this was the first form of pixilation we used. Some of the principles we used were:
* Anticipation
*Follow through & overlapping action
*Secondary action