Final analysis report
In this report, I will be discussing my findings from my specialist study that I have conducted on animation. Things I will be discussing include the contextual perspectives of animation (factors that have influenced its development) and how each of these factors played an important role in animation’s history. I will be discussing what I have learned from each of the research tasks I have done as well as how each of the tasks I have completed and research I have done is relevant and useful enough to my upcoming project and projects in the future.
What I have learnt about contextual perspectives of animation (Historical, social, cultural and industrial factors that influenced its development)
Firstly, in terms of historical factors that influenced the development of animation. The biggest change I can see is the introduction of digital technology as this changed the way animations can be produced. However, the traditional processes are still present in current software that is used for animation. I discovered this from the research I did into the history of animation as I found out more about the traditional processes of creating animation and when experimenting for myself I found out more about the way animations are produced in the present day. This big change allowed for more people to be able to create animations for themselves instead of only really having the option to work for others and it changed the way animations in general are produced as physical work isn’t always involved anymore. Another historical factor that influenced the development of animation is previous existing drawings that date back to cave paintings. These drawings depicted motion despite being a still image which is just one thing that influenced the creation of animation itself as a more accurate way to show motion. Animation is also another way to create stories and an effective way to present them to viewers which is another influence for the creation of animation itself.
Social factors that influenced the development of animation are for example, where I looked into my practitioners I found that Akira Toriyama was a shyer reserved person like myself who lived in a rural area. Both of these things could have influenced the way he works as he got more time to himself and being shy and not too socially active may have made it difficult to get his work out there but in the end he managed to create one of the most successful franchises in terms of anime and manga. The action featured in his work seems to have been influenced by the Star Wars and Jackie Chan films, more so the Jackie Chan films as they feature more hand to hand combat which Dragon Ball for example featured a lot of. Pixar has been influenced by Ed Catmull who produced the first 3d cgi animation who I looked into when doing my research into contextual perspectives of animation. This is because he was one of the founders of Pixar animation studios and is the current president of Pixar. From research I also found that one of the employees (Jon Lasseter) was influenced by Walt Disney, a contemporary practitioner and was amazed by how the films took him to other worlds.
The cultural factors that influenced the development of animation were unclear to me and there wasn’t much I could find from the research I did do initially, I should have looked more into this as it’s just another gap I could have filled. For example in Fantasmagorie (first 2d animation) the main character was a clown which may have been influenced by firstly circuses that existed at the time as clowns play a large role in those and possibly even previous productions like The Humpty Dumpty circus as this was an animation that also featured clowns. The Humpty Dumpty Circus (First stop motion animation) may have also been influenced by clowns and circuses as this also featured in this animation although it was produced earlier, it was still around the same time. In terms of the 3d CGI version of Ed Catmull’s left hand this may have been influenced by other animations that existed at the time as it introduced another method of telling a story through animation that had its own benefits and downsides such as being cheaper overall yet adding the process of rendering the images which can take a long time depending on resolution and quality. This animation doesn’t seem to tell a story and seems like more of an experiment than anything. It seems more scientific overall than artistic.
Industrial factors that influenced the development of animation could be firstly, the introduction of digital technology. Despite the fact I mentioned this before it does also affect the industry in terms of how it is produced and distributed amongst viewers as well as making it possible for pretty much anyone to produce animations for themselves allowing more people to do something they might want to do. The introduction of 3d animation was also a big change for this industry as it allowed animations to be produced for less money as the assets could be produced and then they could be animated immediately after being rigged which is a much easier process of animating than drawing out everything frame by frame. Another example is the internet and social media as they allow for animators to share their work for other people to see and respond to with feedback. This is an effective way of getting your name out there and could attract the attention of larger production teams and companies that could lead to work depending on the level of skill of the individual. This allows for the individual to develop more as they go from constructive feedback they receive that can actually help them improve their overall work and get them closer to their end goals.
Analysis of what I have learnt about contextual perspectives and how this can inform my own practice
Looking at what I have learnt about contextual perspectives of animation I can see that I should have looked more in depth at factors other than historical that influenced the development as I think it would have been more useful to know more about other contextual perspectives of animation to inform my practice. The historical factors such as learning about the old processes of was useful because it’s important to understand how products are produced in the industry so I can apply these to my own productions. Learning about drawings depicting motion being an influence for animation’s creation wasn’t as useful to know I think the only use is now that I know this it may be a good idea to produce drawings depicting motion as practice for still frames of animation or just planning in pre-production. Learning about why animation was created was somewhat useful but knowing that it was because it was another way of telling a story was a bit of an obvious thing that wasn’t too useful as I already knew that they tell stories in most cases.
Looking into social factors was useful because finding out about what influenced the creators themselves helped me to understand more how taking influence from other people’s work isn’t a negative thing as you’re taking what is good from their work and learning and applying things that they do to your own work which helps develop knowledge further and improve the quality of work overall. It’s also useful to know what influences may affect my project both negatively and possibly to make sure it’s as good as it possibly can be.
Learning about the cultural factors was mainly useful because it made me think more about the things around me that might influence the creation of my product as the things I am interested in may determine what I want to create, they have already influenced what I want to explore in this project in the first place. The mind map I created previously details things that I have interest in and from that you can already tell I certainly have been influenced by my interests such as anime which is a form of animation in itself and that has influenced the way I draw and the things I do chose to draw.
Industrial factors were a good thing to look into as learning about the industry is pretty much always going to be useful as that is somewhere I am considering getting to and being a part of in the future. Learning more about how the industry has changed with the introduction of digital technology was useful because it showed how animations are now produced and distributed which is probably the most important thing to have knowledge about. This is because it teaches me more about how I would and create content for myself.
What I have learnt from research activities undertaken (Explain what I have learnt and discuss how these can inform my own practice)
In terms of the research tasks that I have undertaken in the past weeks, firstly the mind map I created was a way of thinking about what I’m going to research into in preparation for my extended project. From this task I learnt how useful it is to plan out research mainly because it makes the task of researching clearer and easier to carry out.
The interview task we did was useful in teaching more about primary research, more specifically interviews. This could be very useful as an interview is a key primary research tool that we could use to get information from people in the industry with experience in their field. The Myers Brigg’s test that we did was useful at least to me personally as I found out more about myself such as how although I might act differently depending on where I am and the situation I am in, I only have ever really been my true self around my friends. It was also useful because it made me consider how my personality might influence the outcome of my extended project and how I get there. I think the main things are how I keep to myself, it can be useful as I can just get on with work without getting distracted. The downside however, is that I may end up not asking what others think and getting feedback on my work making it harder to improve. To avoid this weakness I will seek feedback on my work and try to focus on everything equally and try not to let other parts of the work be too flawed.
The skateboard research task I did was useful because it was practice for the next task and for research tasks in the future as the process of creating a mind map of what I already know and then researching what I don’t know. Also we looked at a film which can be a very good resource for research as long as it’s actually relevant to what you’re looking at (which in this case it was). This can be applied to my extended project as I mentioned the research was practice for future research I do which will be taking place when I’m doing the extended project. In the research task I did into animation, this was done in the same way as the previous task mentioned except this time I chose what I researched into myself. This was very useful as this was relevant research into animation that taught me a lot about animation’s history and the process of creating animations. This is very useful because knowledge on the creation is essential to creating an animation for myself.
The fear experimentation task I was given was useful in giving myself experience with using software for animation (Photoshop in this case) as well as looking at existing work that had a similar theme that I also followed in my own experimentation. I deconstructed the products to find how it was made. Looking at the existing work was useful because it showed how other people interpreted the theme of fear for themselves and the processes, techniques, materials and technology they used in order to achieve their final outcome. This taught me what is used to produce animations so I can apply this knowledge to my own work when I produce similar products. Experimenting for myself was useful because it gave me experience with using software to produce 2d animation which was useful because at the time I only had experience with basic 3d animation. I can apply this knowledge I have gained to my project as it enables me to produce 2d and 3d work which will both likely be featured in my project.
The stop motion experimentation I did in which I produced multiple animations, mainly experimenting with the effect of different frame rates of animation was also useful. It was useful because it showed the importance of frame rates within animation as the lower frame rates looked very choppy and the higher frame rates looked much smoother. Knowing this I need to consider a suitable frame rate to use, also considering quality and finding a good balance between the smoothness of the animation and the quality as I don’t want to prioritise one more than the other as it could bring the overall thing down. It also taught me to think about duration as well as frame rate because the frame rate will alter the duration of the overall product which is important as the pacing could be different to what initially intended if the frame rate is set incorrectly.
The work I did on the practitioners report was the most useful task in terms of my research as it was the most informative about production processes, technology involved, techniques and materials used in industry level productions. This was incredibly useful mostly because of the in depth look I had into the production processes of 3d and 2d animations from a historical practitioner (Akira Toriyama) and a contemporary practitioner (Pixar). I noticed many similarities between the two in terms of pre-production at least as creating scripts, storyboarding, voice acting are all featured in both in the same sort of order. This is certainly useful to know because it means transitioning between the different types of animation in early stages will not be too difficult, it will be harder to do further into production however, due to the animation including an extra dimension for 3d but considering I already have experience in both, this shouldn’t be too much trouble for me personally. Learning about the technology used such as the computers used to work on and render out 3d animations at Pixar and the software used for compiling the 2d animations. Learning about how powerful computers they use still taking as long as they do to create a single frame for the film really shows how much detail go into animations like that and I need to make sure I don’t create something too detailed for me to be able to do, I need to keep it manageable. I also need to consider how I am going to bring all of the assets I have created for the final product together as one thing. Finding out about the techniques was mainly useful in terms of Pixar as the way the way they rig their models is different. They add many more points for animation especially in the facial region allowing for them to show emotion in animation like no other animation company. Learning about the materials that are used was useful because it made me consider what materials I need to use for my project as things like pencil and paper for storyboarding and computers for running software necessary for animation. Although I knew they would be involved, I didn’t consider the importance of pencil and paper and how large of a role it plays in the production of both 2d and 3d animations.
In conclusion I have learned a lot from the research I have done in this specialist study that will be very useful when it comes to working on my extended project. The research has taught me things about each aspect of the production of animations, both contemporary and historical and his built upon my knowledge tremendously as prior my knowledge of the production of animations was rather limited, I only knew about creating basic stop motion animation from when I was younger. From this research I have found that the main things I need to improve upon overall to make the project as best it possibly can be are firstly to make sure my research is clear and focused, not just searching around randomly hoping to find something relevant. I need to know what I want to find in advance. The next big thing would be to conduct primary research for myself and not just rely on the information gathered by others, first hand research is guaranteed to be true and is an effective way of finding what you want.
I need to apply the knowledge I have obtained from the research I have conducted to make use of it otherwise it would have been pointless. I certainly will be able to do this because I made sure everything I looked at was useful and relevant and that is evident in this report alone. The research I conducted allowed me to have an in depth look into the production of different kinds of animation, to see the similarities and differences between each of them. In finding out more about this I am able to produce this type of content myself more easily by producing animations for myself using the processes, materials, technology and techniques used in animations produced by professionals in their field.
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