In the discussion round of a recent talk, Ken Perlin discussed the linguistic allure inherent in the following sentence…
Time flies like an arrow,
fruit flies like a banana.
It tingles. And lingers. You have to go back and re-read it. Or you want to hear it again. Why? The words in the second half present themselves in one way due to the repetition, then reveal themselves to be something other than what they were expected to be. A verb becomes a subject, a preposition becomes a verb. They undergo a transformation and there’s a prickly moment in which they exist simultaneously with both meanings.
I’m convinced this is what happens with animation – particularly methods such as hand-drawn and claymation, possibly explaining why animation formats are more likely to be viewed repeatedly. You see something which is obviously a drawn line, or a chunk of clay. But frame for frame it becomes an animal, or a little girl, or a splash. Its simultaneously one thing and another. Its like business built on the rule-of threes; the first iteration establishes, the second confirms and the 3rd rips you out of your expectation, and there’s a key element of timing so that there’s a moment of ‘hang’ where both meanings exist simultaneously. Except with animation, there’s no pay-off moment… just a lingering tingle that accompanies the film.
Its an hypothesis which I’d love to see tested. How might this be done? Well, I’m not sure. I don’t know if anyone’s been brain-scanned while listening to the above sentence, or while watching a comedy routine, but there’s probably a tell-tale flickering of activity. Hook up unwitting college students up and show them a filmed splash and a hand-drawn splash respectively. Then ask them if it tickles.
Movement, attitude and animation were also important factors, since the show is based on wrangling creatures and behavioral experiments.
Marc Bourbonnais, Modus FX president
Discovery Channel does it again… Quebec house Modus had 25 artists work for 3 months to model, texture, animate and render a thick-legged Argentinosaurus, some Stegosaurs (are those cheeks?), Hypacrosaurus, Micro-raptor and (of course) a T-rex for a grand total of 192 shots using XSI and zBrush. Of course I’m itching to see some animation and find out how many seconds these 192 shots total up to. My first impression from these images is that the fine details don’t feel plausible, and that the rule of thumb for budget vfx once again holds true: darkness is your friend. The topic – behavior – is truly fascinating, yet it is the most singularly speculative aspect of paleontology, bounds beyond biomechanics… and so photoreal creatures comped with labcoat touting human actors (sic: scientists) immediately activates my more sceptic braincells. (Images of a generation thinking this is how scientists actually work taints my expectations.)
I’ll reserve final judgment until seeing the film, which – living in Europe – may be a year. If you’ve seen it, chime in. I doubt spoilers will be an issue here. Click here or on the image to read the interview. In the meantime… oil continues to pollute our world.
I’ve been a bit quite lately, and am now happy to present one of the reasons. brainpets GbR has been awarded 2nd place in the Berlin ProjektZukunft competition for our work on a dedicated non-photorealistic rendering environment.
Above: 1st place winners exozet (Frank Zahn, Nhat Quang Tran & Robert Anderson) my partner Tatjana Maas and special prize winner Nico Palme.
This photo (Dan Froomkin) is gut-wrenchingly aesthetic, as is the post it links to. Read the article – by presenting the Gulf spill as a short-cut for what fossil fuels do to the environment anyway, it tries to raise the catastrophe to a graphic representation. If the populace / politics would subsequently change behaviors as a result, the whole nasty event would win a silver-lining. Hate to be pessimistic, but it seems unlikely.
I’ll be interviewing Stuart Sumida for AWN (here on the left hunkering over a young Orobates pabsti with David Berman, and Thomas Martens – source) at this year’s fmx. His work is beyond exciting because he unifies hard science with social fascination. Click the image for great educational resources and check out his Ted talk below.