Animated Self Portrait – Final

REIMAGINING THE FAMILIAR

As a filmmaker and art student, I re-imagined what was most familiar to me – the software. I originally intended to do an animated self portrait but I felt that was a little ambitious with the graphics and it was not me enough that I was having fun. I thought about what defined me and thought that was similar to creating a Sim in the Sims game. So hence, I re-imagined the little tools and windows of photoshop and created this.

Defining Appearance

When I asked my friends about how they defined my appearance they said a few things – my unkempt hair, my glasses and my obsession with flannel shirts. I decided to convey this first – through using the add content tool and re-imagining the patch tool.

Defining Personality

Secondly, I defined my personality and character. When I asked my friends what defined me as a person they mentioned my strange sense of humour and my emotional levels. I thought, well – some people are annoyed by enthusiasm, so I added this humour into this segment.

Defining Knowledge

Then I looked at myself and asked “what do I know as an art student?” and noted that I had a lot of useless knowledge – like random facts about cats (did you know cats are nocturnal?) and how to take aesthetic instagram pictures. I decided to kick it up a notch and add humour by adding everything useless I knew to the extent that even the computer questioned it.

REFLECTION

Overall, it was a fun experience doing this project – I decided I could handle this project two ways – in a conventional artistically creative way focusing on skill and craft or do it casually in an entertaining way. I picked the fun way as I felt with my restrictions, skill and time was something I could achieve and have fun doing so. No regrets to this approach as I felt this was much more fun and exciting for me.

I could have explored other capabilities of AE such as 3D camerawork, tracking, CC tools and text animation – but I felt that simplicity worked best.

To see the process, click here!

okay, bye. 

Animated Self Portrait – Process

PRE-PRODUCTION

I started to think about what was my art style and what was something I wanted to explore in after effects that was simple. I chose to go for a flat graphic approach as it was simple, cute and elegant.

Abode Peoplemaker_Audio Visual Script

PRODUCTION

VISUALS

I started with drawing out all my graphics I needed for the project. I studied all the windows that pop up when I worked on photoshop – from the New files to right clicks to the pop ups that ask you to save your file. I tried to make it as similar as possible to the actual thing while adding and tweaking some details to make it comedic. I just repeated this for the adjustment panel, the toolbar panel and the windows.

Left: Actual // Right: Tweaked

I then put it in after effects and played with the composition to make it as similar to photoshop as possible.

Left: Actual // Right: Tweaked

Then I just repeated this process for all the different parts of the video – from the warning sign, loading bars and pop ups that appear.

Then I used simple animation to create the video – simple things like adjusting scale, position, opacity and simple masking to create the animation. I felt there was no need to make exceedingly ambitious animation as this was a simple flat graphic animation – so I kept it as simple as I could with plain colors, no shadows and simple layers.

Perhaps one of the trickiest part of this assignment was the glasses segment of the short as I had to work with a few layers at a time and I occasionally got lost with the parenting, null and masking settings. But taking things a step at a time allowed me to organize myself and my thought process.

SOUND

When I edited the sounds I thought about diegetic and non-diegetic sounds as well as tried to edit them layer by layer. With after-effects being a fussy and complicated software I knew I had to be clear on what I was intending to do.

Layer 1 –
Physical Sounds: Mouse Clicks, Mouse sliding on mouse pad, keyboard.

Layer 2 –
Computer Sounds: Error beeps and Pings

Layer 3 –
Music or Soundtrack

With prioritizing my sound I had a simple workflow and I knew where each and every sound is without too much layers and sounds coming from unknown tracks.

RECORDING SOUND

I used my phone to record the audio files from the mouse clicks to the mouse slide in my room. There had to be some distortion applied to it to make it sound distant, but overall I was quite satisfied with how cleanly it worked and blended with the soundtrack.

To see the final outcome click here.

Dreams Short Film – Final

Wow, what an adventure shooting this.

If there’s anything I love about the themes of dreams it’s the freedom that comes with it – the freedom to create an abstract concept, to break the rules of what is familiar and to challenge myself to create something that, in a way, make sense but doesn’t.

In this film I explored the concept of impossible imagery. 

Click to see my Audio Visual Script

Time

Through manipulating time, I created visuals that intrigue and manipulated what was familiar. Such as reversing the falling balloons to fly, reversing the wineglass to empty like they’re being beamed up. I also sped up some footage like the overflowing teacup and jumpcuts of the apples being re-arranged.

Displacement

Through displacement, I took what was familiar and switched it to something unusual. Such as filling a teacup with candy, a wineglass with milk and changing the color of familiar fruits to pink.

I pushed it further by making the imagery strange. The raining of m&ms that seem endless till it overflow the cups, the milk that pours from nowhere, and the banana that reveals a yellowish interior. There is something logical yet illogical about this and I really loved this curious feeling it creates.

Triadic Color Scheme

I created a consistency with using a triadic color scheme of pastel yellow, blue and pink. The reason I chose these few colors as they evoked an idea of a candy/sweet/childlike mood to the film to elaborate on the sense of curious impossibility.

Conclusion

Overall this was a fun little experiment in impossible imagery – I loved the theme of dreams that pushed and challenged me to think of imagery that are intriguing and allowing me the liberty to break the rules of film to make something that is surreal.

I also enjoyed experimenting with what I had – I challenged myself to stick to a triadic color scheme and thus prompted me to do things I don’t normally do – which is to consider background, wardrobe and even spray painting props to fit the scheme. This is actually one project I’m very proud of and I am so thankful I have something new to add to my portfolio.

With that being said, one challenge I encountered was making the images sort of match? I felt and was feedback-ed that some imagery are out of place and I do see it that way, but I tried my best with keeping it a little more consistent by playing with the colors, speed of footage and cutting to the rhythm and beat of the music. But it still didn’t feel right, but I’m still satisfied with the overall outcome!

Clicky click to see my research and process.

and for something extra!

Dreams Short Film – Process

Pre Production

Knowing I had experimented with surrealism and photo manipulation in the previous assignment, I knew for this video assignment it was both a familiar landscape as well as a new experience for me. I knew the bits and pieces of techniques to surrealism and creating impossible dream-like imagery, but at the same time removing my comfort and familiarity of photoshop made certain elements hard to play with. I knew I had to achieve these magical visuals in-camera and being limited in terms of software, I challenged myself to conceptualize some impossible visual trickery.

Pre production was an interesting process. I rarely work with a concept that is not tightly drawn to a narrative. As this was a mise-en-scene video I thought about what visuals were surreal, what colors to use and how I could make it out of the ordinary. I thought about displacement, using unorthodox props and working with the concept of time – reverse, slow-motion and timelapses. I settled on some simple, minimalist and clean visuals, and knowing this is a surreal concept, I knew I had to do a lot of experimenting. I texted a friend whom I felt could effectively convey the mood and who also had a very extensive wardrobe.

Production

DAY ONE

Firstly, shout out to my Dreams team, Amanda, Hannah and Jacob for helping me with the shoot.

The day started with shooting certain visuals I had in mind, I decided to keep it to a simple pastel blue, pink, and yellow color scheme. So I started with simple actions such as expensive milk into a wineglass, raining balloons and stretching balloons. It was good to have so many extra hands helping out cause honestly I don’t think I could’ve pulled it off on my own.

I feel extra hands helped add that little more to the visuals – I could focus exclusively on the outcome of the shots on camera than perfecting the pouring of milk or perfecting where the balloons fell in frame.

behind the scenes of milk pouring

I feel the props and wardrobe helped out a lot to bring out the vibrant and sweet mood of the film. I was very appreciative that my team also suggested some visuals based on the concept of the shoot such as varying the camera angles, reversing certain simple actions and also suggesting how else I can play with colors!

The shoot took about 2 hours before we wrapped and I really liked how the visuals turned out – it really radiated the mood and visuals I imagined.

behind the scenes of other visuals

DAY TWO

The second day, I got Claire and Hannah to help me out with the scenes. It was a little less fulfilling than the first day but I was pleased with the outcome still.

Hannah and I started with spray painting the fruits then while waiting for it to dry, I shot the m&ms scene with Claire. It turned out a lot less “fluid” like I’ve imagined but I thought the image of it was still pretty surreal. I played with the diagonal lines from the yellow art card and considered my color schemes.

We then went back and Hannah helped me with being my hand model and arranging the fruits in a aesthetically pleasing manner. I really liked the whole idea of surrealism at play in this segment as when the banana was peeled it revealed a wonderful tinge of yellow.

behind the scenes

Overall I learnt about how to be imaginative with my films and it was a difficult task imagining how elements would work in both forward, backward, slow motion and at unique angles. But I guess that was the fun with this project – the idea of creating the impossible, the surreal and the unique. I was quite pleased with how the footage turned out!

Post Production

I wanted to die editing this, but low-and-behold, my mac chose to die first.

In post production I painstakingly looked at each and everyone footage forward and backward and had to play around a lot with the sequencing to see what flowed and what didn’t. I unfortunately had to not use a lot of footages as they weren’t surreal enough, lacked imagination, or just plain weren’t aesthetic. It was quite painful considering how I actually planned for some but didn’t turn out well or how they just didn’t fit in the big picture of things.

Such is life. 

Click here to see my final and my research

Dreams Short Film – Research

For this film I decided to explore visuals.

Dreams, to me, is about surrealism – it is about the things that are impossible suddenly turning possible without us questioning how it could be so, a suspension of disbelief. I decided to explore the idea of creating impossible or unusual visuals.

I explored this through playing with visuals and time. Having the medium of videography I decided to utilize minimalism to convey this. Time, with videography, can be manipulated in a few forms: Forward, Reverse, Slow Motion and Timelapse. 

So, I turned to vimeo for some minimalist visual suggestions and this is what I found!

How exciting. 

Click to see my final outcome and process

Poster Assignment – Final

Hello world,

Runaways tells the story of two runaway siblings who explore old places to create their new sense of home. Miles (left) is a protective older sibling while Joy (right) is a starry-eyed younger sibling.

The whole reason i chose to work with double exposure is firstly, i wanted to explore the digital technique of double exposure, and secondly it conveys the metaphorical meaning of home throughout the film’s moral. In the film, I explored “how home is a place but a feeling”, a feeling that they realize they find within each other at the end (oops spoiler).

I chose to keep the background a simple and neutral white so that the double exposure becomes more prominent. I layered the text with an image to give texture to the words and allow it to feel more “alive” in the neutral background.

I realized that with a neutral background, textured, dynamic and layered images are more “alive”, and realized this is highlighted when contrasted. So i worked hard to keep it simple and dynamic.

Overall, I liked how simple the poster looks yet upon closer inspection is filled with graphics and visuals.

Touch Points

I picked these three locations as they are areas of high traffic and allows the most number of appropriate audiences to view them.

Bus Stop – With people having nothing to do while waiting for the bus, allows them to look into the film in their free time and perhaps even catch a review or two about the film.

Outside the Cinema – Having it broadcasted to “Coming Soon” allows viewers to anticipate watching a film of similar tone and mood to those being premiering at the current moment.

MRT Board – High traffic (no pun intended) of people, it is also a common place for movie posters to be put. Having it in city hall allows people to view it in a nearby mall at Suntec City.

Banner – Explores other composition styles and a place of high human traffic. Allows people to watch it in cinemas if they are interested, too.

to see my process click here
visual references click here

okay bye.

Poster Assignment – Process

Conceptualization

Conceptualization began with me sketching out some rough ideas of how the posters will look like – I looked into some research materials of what are some examples of double exposure posters.

I thought about the theme, story and genre of the movie.

Theme: Home
Story: Two runaways revisit old places to create their new home.
Genre: 
Drama, Coming-Of-Age

From there I did some sketches of my favorite layouts that I came across while looking at the web.

Notebook sketches of concepts

Visual References for posters

I looked into examples of creative double exposure movie posters and Singaporean film posters (rather than blockbuster Hollywood posters).

I realized there’s a sort of poignant, quaintness, calmness to a local film as compared to something compared to Transformers or Avengers. I noted this observation to allow my film to evoke less explosive tones.

Mood Board

I looked into one of my favorite cinematographers styles and color tones of my favorite movies for inspiration. It was interesting to note how I was very attracted to a certain look and vibe of a shot – such as that from Millennium Mambo, Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love. 

I realized that the vibes, mood and tone of the film was rather dull, cold and muted, so I chose the movies that reflected as such. Cold colors, desaturated and earthy tones of sorts.

I knew as compared to digital painting, photography was a little more restricted in terms of playing around with colors. So I asked my casts to be in earthy, neutral and dull tones, but I knew my source images were going to have purple, green and blue tones.

Post Production

Bonus points if you can see all four photos in the collage.

I played around with some color concepts as well. I consulted my design friends about the colors and they somehow agreed that it was either a dark gray or a neutral white suits the mood and tone of the film best.

Some colors looked too odd against the already complicated portrait of my characters, others drowned my design with matching tones, and the rest just did not match the tone of the film. Some were just plain painful to look at.

I opted for a much simpler neutral white, but my design friend suggested exploring with textures to keep the background interesting. So I went to dig out my canvas and snapped a picture of it.

Some tweaking and feedback from my friends later, I had my final piece!

Poster Assignment – Visual References

For this assignment, I’m exploring double-exposure photography. I was intrigued by this method when it was first introduced to me for it’s ability to show the inner thoughts of a character visually.

I looked up posters and examples of double exposure photography and studied how they composed the various elements into a character.

I then did a quick youtube search on how to double exposure, oh goodness – there are thousands of them too!

Four Emotional Image – Final

Dreams.

What are dreams?

It is the place we escape to every night into the world of impossible. It is the world we imagined and built in our deepest recessions of our minds and it is the very place where the impossible becomes the possible, where we suspend our disbelief and take the world as it is.

I took inspiration from Brooke Shaden, Kyle Thompson and Alex Stoddard, my few favorite surreal self portraiture photographers and created this concept using styles of their’s I found interesting. There are a few common items that ties this series together.

First, the bed – it is where we sleep, where we rest and where we are transported into the world of dreams. I utilized this space and the things associated to this space to bring forth the idea of dreams – blankets, pillows and the mattress itself.

Secondly, the square frame. Brooke describes her choice in square frames allows us ‘a window into the portrait’, and I figured that was an interesting perspective. In here, the square frame defines us looking into the world of impossible through a window than immersing ourselves in it.

Thirdly, the wardrobe. I dulled my wardrobe into a simple black and white as I wanted the props to speak the message for me than use my face, my expression or me as a way to speak the story.

Happiness

Happiness / noun
feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.

There comes a certain type of joy with freedom – the freedom to do whatever you want when you are unburdened by time, the freedom to get whatever you when you are unburdened by money and the freedom to eat whatever you want when you are unburdened by weight gain (oops, related too well there).

How better else to interpret this freedom than the freedom of flight. To be unburdened by where to go, how to get there and something that defines physics, gravity.

I used yellow balloons in this portrait and poised myself to ‘levitate’. The semiotics of using yellow balloons convey the idea of weightlessness and freedom while the levitating body represents flight.

To bring attention to the balloon I desaturated slighty all the colors except yellow thus allowing the vibrancy of the balloons to stick out much stronger.

Sadness

Sadness / noun
feeling or showing sorrow; unhappy.

When I looked back to the times I felt sad, I thought about being trapped and struggling to stay afloat. I thought there was something apt about drowning that spoke to me. There’s also a common image in our minds when we combine the worlds ‘sad’ and ‘bed’ it would bring forth – crying in bed. Hence there’s this idea of tears and water.

So I thought about it and interpreted myself as drowning in a claustrophobic jar of water, clutching onto a pillow. I used the semiotics of water and fish to show I’m drowning.

Like before, I desaturated slightly all colors except blue to convey the idea of sadness in this image. and the semiotics of goldfishes and a jar of water conveys the idea of the sea and drowning.

Disgust

Disgust noun
a feeling of revulsion or strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant or offensive.

This portrait took me super long to think about, but when I thought of disgust I thought about being trapped in a room full of rotting fish. Strange. There’s something about the smell, the sight of raw fish and being trapped, forced to live in the rancid environment evoked disgust.

So that’s what I did, I put placed fish around me and laid down. The semiotics of raw fish and the strong greens evoke the idea of disgust. The tight framing of the photo conveys the idea of being enclosed or trapped in a space and the moody purple-green colors support the mood of disgust.

Thank you Deryck for the fish.

Fear

Fear / noun
an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.

Nightmares without saying are one of the scariest types of dreams – but then it brings a question, what dreams are considered nightmares? One could say the feeling of flight is a nightmare because he’s afraid of heights, while another would say it’s a wonderful dream because he loves the freedom of it.

I thought about what would be the scariest and interpreted it as the fear of the unknown. There’s nothing scarier than walking into a room knowing something bad will happen. Yet, you are unsure of what exactly might happen and that’s when our minds starts to derive its own sense of fear as to what could be possible.

I got the idea from the fable of red riding hood with my blanket as the hood (subtly, of course) and the lights from the lantern to evoke the idea of fear, the darkness overwhelms the frame and builds anticipation as to what could be lurking in the shadows.

I experimented with a few poses and decided on this shot as the light from the lantern lit my eyes slightly and this conveyed this idea of fear a little better.

Reflection

This was an interesting take into exploring surreal photography, I was very intrigued by compositing various elements. I learnt that it is important to consider lighting, mood and ambience through colors. I liked how film-like some of them turned out.