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What's Up With Abstract Animation?

A few weeks ago a colleague and I were invited to present a program of Australian animation to an audience of non-english speaking animation lecturers. The selection of the program was a challenge not because of the language problems in the presentation itself, we had a translator, but in the choice of films to screen. It suddenly dawned on us just how much Australian animation relies on dialogue for its delivery, which raised some very interesting questions. If animation is the universal language of visual ideas then why do so many animators lean towards narrative and dialogue driven delivery styles - and just what’s up with abstract animation anyway?

SIGGRAPH 08 celebrates the third generation launch of 3D cinema

SIGGRAPH is a premiere event in the computing arts programme with more than 30,000 attendees. Terri Dentry went along to see what was new this year and found the stand out programme to literally be standing out of the screen – in stereoscopic 3D that is.

Sound Designers Have Great Balance

Sound and images are brought together in so many ways around us. The films we watch on cinema screens with surround sound audio scapes, the television programs brought to us on lounge room size plasma screens, our multimedia monitors, radio, games, video mp3 devices, even the beeping fridge in the kitchen, have all been designed with sounds to evoke emotions and attach personality and meaning.

Flash 8: Exaggerating the Illusion of Life

Of the 12 basic principles of animation ‘exaggeration’ is probably the one most people think of first. This principle seems to encapsulate the essence of the art of animation itself – to take something in everyday life, or the context of our imaginations, and exaggerate it to enhance and stretch our understanding, enlightenment and enjoyment of the idea.

Flash 8: How to make a character appealing

Before an animator can go forward and craft with their chosen form of moving image they need to understand, if not master, the basic principals of animation. This is true of any of the animated mediums, but none more so than the CGI class of this art form.

Flash 8: Squashing and stretching your character

Squash and Stretch is the first principle of the infamous Disney twelve and is used to control the amount of non-rigid body deformations in characters and objects. It provides boundaries for volume and rigidity. Terri Dentry talks to Steve Piscopo from Nectarine, on how this principle is achieved with the tools available in the Flash8 platform.

Flash 8: Moving through arcs of motion

Learning to animate is a little more than just learning how to draw and how to make things move. There are ranges of movement to take into account. How much squash to add, how much secondary action to leave out. We can identify a lot of these fundamental issues because of the founding work done in the 30’s when Walt Disney set up classes for his animators, under the instruction of Don Graham, and developed the 12 basic principles of animation. In this chapter of the study of these principles using Flash 8, Terri Dentry and Steve Piscopo put Arcs of Motion under the microscope and find that woodpeckers probably do come from outer space.

Technologies Merge at WebDU

The annual pilgrimage to the “rock concert for geeks” was a little anxious this year as the Daemon run conference took on its new name – would it still hold its magic? Terri Dentry reports on the news behind the Adobe merge with Macromedia.

Filmmakers beware: DVDs simply don’t work!

Steven Spielberg’s latest blockbuster “Munich” missed out on nominations for the BAFTA (British Film Academy) awards in January this year because of a massive DVD error. Despite being elected to the BAFTA board of governors in 2001, it seems he still hasn’t worked out that the special DVD players, supplied by Cinea to the BAFTA members, only play the encrypted DVD’s if they are mastered for Region 4 (Europe). The screener for Spielberg’s film, not only arrived to the voters late, missing the first round voting deadline, but had been mastered for Region 1 (North America). Very handy if you live in North America, absolutely useless for anyone else, rendering the film completely unplayable for the 3,000+ voting members.

Stories in the Stars: Animating at the Planitarium

In the quiet surrounds of the ancient salt beds that make up Lake Tyrell the Boorong people gazed into the night skies and created legendary stories of the animals and people they saw twinkling back at them. Hundreds, and maybe thousands, of years later these stories have been rediscovered and come to life on the 16 metre domed ceiling at the Melbourne Planetarium.

The Persistance of Visuals: VJ technology

A VJ mixes time-based images like a DJ mixes streams of sound. ‘VJ’: A coin termed shortly before the beginning of MTV in 1981, referred to the presenter of video clips, much as a traditional radio DJ presents musical tracks. As the electronic technology to make music and pictures grew throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the concept of the VJ or the DJ has grown to include much more. From within the laboratory of the dance club, the DJ and VJ are these days involved in not only mixing streams of media, but also affecting the overall mix with real-time effects and computer driven overlays of additional sound and image. Terri Dentry talks to John Power, a veteran in the VJ sub culture and Emeritus Professor at the Centre for Design, RMIT.