My purposed work for Masters involves not only the development of technical and visual art skills but also the ability to tell a compelling story through the medium of animation. I intend to implement and develop these skills intensively in my class assignments and during the production of my final animation project; tentatively titled ‘Little Guardian’. The animation will tell the story of the rivalry between a young animistic guardian spirit and a spoiled house cat.
The spirit in Little Guardian is a young entity that is ‘born’ when a animal statue is brought into a home and tasked with the responsibility to protect the home and its residents. This narrative concept of the film is the based on the spiritual perspective of animism. Animism is a term for a belief system that all beings including plants, animals and inanimate objects possesses a spiritual essence (Stringer, 1999).
For the visual style of Little Guardian, I am mainly inspired by “The Dam Keeper” (2014); an animated short film directed by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi. The film has a strong visual style with limited animation and made to resemble a children’s illustrated storybook come to life (Kondo and Tsutsumi, 2014). Another film that I take reference from is Disney’s animated short “Feast” (2014) which is told from the perspective of the dog. This concept is translated in the film through the use of low angle camera shots that presents the dog’s limited visual perception of the world around it to the viewer. As Little Guardian will be told from the perspectives of the cat and the spirit I hope to employ the same method. It is also for this reason that I am choosing to limit -or omit entirely- the use of dialogue and vocal narration in the short film and focus on telling the story visually.
Having a passion for painting, I am very keen to understand and practice a traditional realist approach to rendering an animated short film. My strengths lie in digital painting and I enjoy the flexibility of the medium. However, I find that I lack a deeper understanding and practice of basic artistic concepts like perspective, tone, form, value as well as colour and light theory. These skills play a pivotal role in the process of creating an animated film from story and world building through concept art, to story boarding, modelling, shading, effects and lighting for animation and rendering . Colour and light in particular are essential tools in storytelling as both add dramatic depth and complexity to the atmosphere of each scene (Rangaswamy, 2000). My goal has always been to be able to convey a story effectively and for this digital animation project I intend to focus on colour and light to visually illustrate the narrative.
In order to achieve this directive I intend to approach this animation project as an intensive learning process. Through regular tutorials, practice and tutor feedback, I will study and understand the fundamentals of understanding perspective, form, value, and the observation of light and colour throughout production. The animation of the film will be in 2-dimensions and slightly limited, but I will not neglect to study and practice animation principles. I feel that at the end of this project I will have gained not only knowledge and experience on the different aspects of animation production but also a greater confidence of my own capabilities.
- Stringer, Martin D. ‘Rethinking Animism: Thoughts From The Infancy Of Our Discipline’. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 5.4 (1999): 541. Web.
- The Dam Keeper. Tonko House, United States of America: Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, 2014. film.
- Kondo, Robert, and Dice Tsutsumi. ‘Lightbox – ‘The Dam Keeper’ Directors Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi (Pixar/Tonko House)’. YouTube. N.p., 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.
- Feast. Disney: Patrick Osborne, 2014. film.
- Rangaswamy, Sudeep. ‘Visual Storytelling Through Lighting’. Frankwbaker.com. N.p., 2000. Web. 26 Oct. 2015.