Walk is a three-part project which consists of two short animations and a flash interactive piece.
Having lived in Taiwan for the past seventeen years, being in New York City made me take notice of all the little details in the surrounding environment. From sirens that occur everyday, the changing color of leaves, the texture of the paving to how people are connected in urban life; do people pay attention to their surrounding or do they take it for granted? Some of the issues I would like to touch upon are the honest interaction between strangers. By using different means, I want to share a perspective. The overall atmosphere is an average day in the city perceived in a humorous fashion, yet it allows people to step out and take a look at some of the things they see every day but tend to ignore it. In addition to my appeal for observation I like to incorporate the idea of sections. After years of practice in architecture, sections are relatively important fundamentals in expressing space. This representation of space allows designers to "play God" by observing and imagining how the highly crafted designed area is used.
Domains and Fields
The domain and fields of my final project covers areas of animation including time-based sequence represented in two narrative animations, "Puff" and "Underneath," and a mini interactive visual game called "Ramble". The animation is separated into two parallel stories that happen simultaneously. The diagram below illustrates how the stories occur in time. "Puff" is represented in red; "Underneath" is in blue. Even though both stories stand alone, there are series of events that intertwine with the other story.
The visual game extracts the characters within the animations and plays with the interaction reaction between the individuals.
Research and Precedents
Listed below are several sources in which I have found appealing and could benefit from by modifying and incorporating the technique or idea to my project.
"When The Day Breaks" By Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis
The animation "When The Day Breaks" (1999) by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis uses rotoscoping technique - Forbis filmed actors including Tilby with animal costumes on, then painted over the film to create the textural look. The story illustrates how people are connected in urban life. Here is a brief summary of the story by National Film Board of Canada :
"After witnessing the accidental death of a stranger, Ruby seeks affirmation in the city around her, and finds it in surprising places. With deft humor and finely rendered detail, 'When the Day Breaks' illuminates the links which connect our urban lives, while evoking the promise and fragility of a new day. Co-directors Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis use pencil and paint on photocopies to achieve a textured look suggestive of a lithograph or a flickering newsreel. In 'When the Day Breaks,' the ordinary--a lemon, a toaster, a chance collision on a street corner--is endowed with a visceral power."
Rotoscoping technique is a method I would like to include in my project, as demonstrated in "When The Day Breaks" it makes the action more realistic. I also admire the way the story is set up in which it is their destined fate how and when strangers clash.
The HBO Voyeur Project
The HBO Voyeur Project (2007) is an example of watching people through sections, the videos in each household plays through their story simultaneously. The audience, "The Voyeur," pieces through the video revealing how each story and each character connects. Summary from Wikipedia :
"The HBO Voyeur Project was a theatrical multimedia experience and marketing campaign launched in the summer of 2007 using Voyeurism as a vehicle. Content related to the characters is scattered online in fictional web pages, in photo and video clips on media sharing platforms such as Flickr and YouTube, in blogs and social networks, on the HBO channels, and through mobile content. The focus seems to be on people living in eight fictional apartments on the corner of Broome Street and Ludlow Street. The display was projecting on a massive scale on the side of a building on Broome and Ludlow Street on June 28 - July 1, from 9 - 11pm, and again from July 5 - July 8. The same film is set to music on the website at HBOVoyeur. The site's slogan was 'See what people do when they think no one is Watching.' The residences and their respective stories appear in New York City. "
As I mentioned earlier having a bachelor degree in architecture made me extremely intrigued by this piece of work. I like the idea that life still goes on elsewhere while the audience is focused on something specific, yet afterwards it all pieces up together revealing everything and everyone is somehow connect, it just depends on the time. Also the idea of "Voyeurism" allowing the audience to have a limited omniscient approach, spying on people arouses a sense of morbid fascination whereas the audience would relate differently if it were in a first-person narrative. Having this gap in space creates a show where the audience steps out and watches as if they are some other force of nature. Building of that idea I believe it would benefit the audience more in relating to what is happening.
Halston film for New York fashion week directed by NEZ portrays a different approach to the term "runway." The film features Dree Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's granddaughter, running down a set of New York City strip that covers from uptown to downtown. As she runs through the streets the camera pans along and the audience see people from all works of life wearing Halston.
While the main character is constantly "static" the viewer's attention then explores the surrounding that is constantly changing. In both animations that I am creating, similar to the Halston project, I use long pans and no cuts excluding the beginning and end. What I want to achieve is the idea brought up earlier that the viewer is someone afar, in addition to creating a viewpoint showing what happened is "everyday," nothing particularly special.
"Between" by Tim Bollinger
"Between" (2008), a short video by Tim Bollinger as he describes," It's a journey through worlds of the subconscious, allowing us to catch sinister glimpses of the human psyche's ambivalence."
In the initial stages of my brainstorming, Bollinger's techniques in his film had great inspiration on providing suffocating tension for my work. However as my story progressed I chose to advance in a humorous mocking state rather than having a cynical serious approach. The camera shifts is something I would want to try out further in the continuation of the "Walk" series that I envision making.
xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle by CLAMP
In the Japanese manga series xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle created by the artist group CLAMP, the story takes place in the same fictional universe that is often times inter-related with other comic series. Quoted from Wikipedia :
"The storyline of xxxHolic crosses over with that of a number of other CLAMP series, the most notable of which are Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle which was written in tandem with it, and Cardcaptor Sakura, whose history it draws on at several points. The world of xxxHolic is directly connected to several other of CLAMP's works through dimensional traveling. The series is directly connected to Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle, while other series including Cardcaptor Sakura, Legal Drug, and Magic Knight Rayearth are referenced at different times."
The intent of the animation is to create two separate stories that would stand alone, yet reveal different aspects when viewed together. Like CLAMP's methods, I am creating one universal environment.
Iterations of my prototyping process derived from numerous sketches, "Ramble" uses graphing and paper prototypes for layout and testing purposes. Both "Puff" and "Underneath" went through the process of storyboards, then lastly in the form of an animatic.
Initial ideas for "Ramble"
Tying my final projects together, I planned to extract the characters from the animation, using them to create an interactive art piece. The concept is a series of interactive mini animation creating a platform where the user can have a (limited) choice to choose to see what would happen to each individual rather than a whole animation playing through. The objective is to reveal the stories of each character by clicking on the characters that walk across the stage; by doing so, the characters perform something different. Each character has its own story. If there is another character nearby, the character that is clicked then interacts with the second character.
Revision and the second iteration of "Ramble" were changing the purpose to a small game to help motivate users to explore further connections of the characters. When characters interact with each other, one most likely will kill the other character. Clicking on the dead bodies then resurrects a new character to the screen. There is a counter that keeps track of the number of deaths one can cause, when it reaches a certain amount something may or may not happen. When all the characters are dead, something may or may not happen.
After several discussions, I came to the conclusion and back to the initial purpose of the piece was that it acted as a teaser for the animation and a banner to play with while waiting for the movie files to load on the website. The last iteration was to create a art piece that laid in gray zone between animation and game, not to take the thunder away from the two animation yet interesting enough to click through a short time span while killing time.
Walk- "Puff" and "Underneath"
Tilby, Wendy and Amanda Forbis. "When The Day Breaks" 1999.
National Film Board of Canada. "Review of 'When The Day Breaks,' by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis."
http://www.onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/collection/film/?id=33251 (Accessed on November 14, 2009).
The HBO Voyeur Project. "HBO|Voyeur." http://archive.bigspaceship.com/hbovoyeur (Accessed on November 20, 2009).
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. "The HBO Voyeur Project - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_HBO_Voyeur_Project (Accessed on November 20, 2009).
Halston. "Halston Fall2009" http://halston.com/fall2009/ (Accessed on November 20, 2009).
Bollinger, Tim. "Between." http://www.between-film.com/movie.html (Accessed on November 20, 2009).
CLAMP. Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Weekly Shonen Magazine, 2003. http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/tsubaholi/ (Accessed on December 17, 2009)
CLAMP. xxxHolic. Young Magazine, 2003. http://kc.kodansha.co.jp/tsubaholi/ (Accessed on December 17, 2009)
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. " XxxHolic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XxxHolic (Accessed on December 17, 2009)