Our team is highly interested in using light as a visual communication tool in order to tell our narrative. Light can me manipulated and used in so many ways as an effective means on storytelling – it controls ambience and the mood of a piece, so much so that a change in lighting directly changes the environment. Changes in lighting can effect the audience’s perception of a setting, a dark and cold environment, once lit with soft warm lighting, completely shifts an atmosphere.
“Stained Glass” was a concept that received a positive reception from the team, we all liked this concept of light reacting through the prism of coloured glass, and how we could take these effects and play with them for our 15 second animation. However there was slight hesitation in running with this kind of idea as we need to recognise our own limitations before we get too ahead of ourselves, lighting is notorious for being difficult to get to grips with in Maya, and our time is so so limited. So much so that we could spend too much of our allocated time budget learning the fundamentals of effects that may not even work in the end. It’s all a matter of which risks are worthwhile.
Nevertheless, research was done into the stylistic possibilities of stained glass. We looked at the Gothic Irish Artists Harry Clarke (left) and Aubrey Beardsley (below.) The dark approach and graphic juxtaposition of extreme detail against negative space seems like such a fascinating visual direction in which to take a short animated film, but once again it’s a matter of execution. And also we need to recognise that our limitations are not conceptual at this point, but technical.
Narrative-wise at this stage I was very inclined to research ideas surrounding a surrealist approach to story-telling. This largely derived from our group’s interest in light and shadow work as well as a common interest in abstract visual elements. I was looking into the early Surrealist painters, particularly Rene Magritte, whose observations provide interesting grounds upon which to base a narrative. For instance,
“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see.”
The idea challenges the perception of the viewer – an idea communicated masterfully through the thought provoking piece “La fidelite des images”/”the treachery of images”. The idea being that the images that the viewer believe to be a certain object, or concept, are not what they seem to be but are rather a representation of what they can be perceived to be. The Treachery of Images, 1929, is a painting, a series of scores on a canvas in an arrangement of colour that could be seen to represent a pipe. This image is followed underneath by “This is not a pipe”, this idea directly challenged contemporary attitudes (brought about with the rise of photographs and early cameras) of accepting images at face value for being what they represent.
Surrealism challenges conventional notions of the viewer, The Treachery of Images creates a paradox out of our understanding of how words and images correspond to one another. In terms of building a narrative out of this concept, it would have to challenge the viewer’s perception of what was happening. Within the 15 second short, the built up perception of what the viewer thinks is happening is shattered by a final reveal. In visual arts and narrative, indirect and direct surrealism is the philosophy of perception and debate over the nature of the conscious experience. We could have had something that explicitly questioned the notion of whether the world we see around us is the real world itself or an internal perceptual copy of that world that is generated by our brains’ means of processing and understanding the world. This is the philosophical position that our conscious experience is not of the real world itself but of an internal representation;
Narrative based around the audience’s perception of what is happening, the character appears to be something that it is not, revealed that it is the character’s shadow being cast and created.
Trees. We were interested in forest settings, everybody seemed to be inspired by this. Photography series following ancient tree stumps, National Geographic.