Today we began our new topic, animation. We were welcomed back to school by a brief discussion about the different types of animation (stop motion, CGI, flick-book, etc.) and how to define it. The definition we eventually settled on was ‘playing still images at a high speed to create the illusion of movement.’ – Which is a pretty accurate definition if you think about it.
After setting out the different types of animation, the obvious next step was to watch some for ourselves. We looked at a clip from a surrealist film in stop motion/clay animation, which was an interesting combination of live action frames crossing over with clay versions of the scene. I found it quite terrifying, actually, but it was useful and perhaps inspiring to see. Secondly we watched some stop-motion pez work to contrast. I’m a fan of their work, and find the quirky retro feel adds to the amazing talent that the animation clearly portrays. After that we watched some of Cyriak’s work, which I enjoyed, me being a fan of his dark-humoured, disturbing brilliance. I will elaborate on my opinions on it in my next post, but to say the least he has huge amounts of technological intelligence and talent in what he does. Finally we watched a clip of drawn-frame animation, an old quirky children’s show involving a cat. I found the way they managed to get the story across without huge amounts of movement and quite a few loops / stills was very impressive.
After this we were finally introduced to our project brief. This term we are going to be animating a piece inspired/based on a story from the anthology ‘Bristol short story prize’: The Bovine Histories.
I was at first sceptic of the story, as if the initial impression of the plotline is misspelt bovine creatures who talk and sing did not appeal to me in the slightest, but as the story progresses I find it is actually rather well written and the thoughts behind it show to be good, and it provoked an idea for the animation that I deemed to be suitable for bringing forward.
The story follows a day of Kow-one, a cow who remembers. It portrays the building of the friendship between her and the leader of the herd, the oldest, wisest, and keeper of the Kow Histories. It plays with the idea of ignorant bliss and hidden darkness. I found it to be very well done.
My idea for an animated interpretation of this story is what first came to mind after reading it.
I thought that animating singing, talking cows would be a little too Disney, cliché, ridiculous. It works as literature but as genuine imagery I don’t think I could do it justice without looking ridiculous. So, as a resolve, I decided to personify the characters.
My vision of this is that it is set in a post-apocalyptic-esque world, in which resources are scarce and humans are few. The cows are in captivation ruled by the stickman, but are not aware of their fate thanks to the fact that they were born after they could have possibly been told that their way life could be different, they live in blissful ignorance with hints of Stockholm syndrome. This is background information that will be subtly portrayed by the derelict scenes, the barbed wire fences, the bare brick walls, the grey skies for pathetic fallacy. The cows are a group of females, all wearing the same outfit of black trousers and a shirt with their number on. All of them have a number except Hathor. (she will either have a question mark or simply no design.) The stickman is an anonymous figure, wearing a trench-coat and holding a whip/cane type thing, his ‘stick’. The Fangiyap was never said to be a dog, so I re-designed it to be a fanged hybrid creature, with tiny pupils in small sunken eyes, and row after row of razor sharp teeth. It looks like a sort of hybrid between a dog, a cat and a hyena. Kow-one will have short hair and a young face, whereas Hathor will have long hair and a calm, wise, mysterious appeal.
We are yet to decide on the section of the story we want to animate, but I think the best ideas yet are either the scene in which Kow-one runs away, and the scene where Hathor explains how the stickman kills and eats their kind.