Alison Lucy's Blog

The Black Monolith
November 27, 2009, 12:48
Filed under: Hidden

These ‘non-spaces’ got me thinking about the space contained within my broken hard-drive and how it holds so many invisible items within its black case. These items are very precious and hold a definite mystery about them. This might not be an obvious jump to many people but this hard-drive now reminds me of the black monoliths in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. I love how Kubrick builds the tension within this film with the appearance of these alien monolith objects and I think the eerie music that comes in around the 2 minute mark has a great deal to do with that in this scene.

The use of symbolism within this film is something that has become to really intrigue me when reading in more detail about the mystery behind the ‘Black Monolith’. There are theories that unconscious symbols are used across Kubrick’s work to effect audiences directly, so I’m interested in looking into the semiotics and steganography of Kubrick’s other films also. I like the concept of these ‘hidden’ symbols effecting us indirectly. The music that appears every time we encounter the black monolith throughout the film is of extreme importance, we also hear it at the beginning of the film and during the interval against the black cinema screen. What I found fascinating to discover was that at this point we are in fact looking at the surface of the black monolith, so the monolith is in fact a representation of the cinema screen itself and if we rotate the monolith 90 degrees we see that the dimensions between the two are quite similar.


The Rise of The Non-Space
November 27, 2009, 12:14
Filed under: Hidden


Hidden Spaces
November 26, 2009, 21:07
Filed under: Hidden




The concept of hidden ‘space’ began to interest me during a walk that purposely took me off of the ‘beaten track’. In the historical and critical studies part of our course we discussed how space often isn’t ‘free’ although this is largely psychological because we grow up with certain relationships to different spaces. The rise of the ‘non-space’, my own examples shown above, made me think about how the space within this vast derelict warehouse was somehow hidden. ‘Hidden space’ is a contradiction I still can’t quite get my head around but the spaces themselves are quite inspiring as being around them conjures up such a range of emotions- fear, excitement, intrigue, isolation. These feelings change as your relationship with the space changes and you move through time, through that given space.

Friday 13th…
November 18, 2009, 12:50
Filed under: Location

Friday 13th November and my external hard-drive decides it is time to move on, to cease working. Panic. Exhibition looming before us and Tor and I had lost the majority of our stop-motion animation, we were almost half way there. Over the weekend university technicians  attempted to retrieve some data but no luck there either. And before someone else tells me yes we should have backed up our work, I assure you I have definitely learnt that lesson. In a cutting frenzy Tor and I focused solely on the creation of the Escapist Garden scene where our character is transported to a different world. On Sunday we photographed our character in the garden scene leaving Monday and Tuesday to create the detailed paper set, re-size and print nearly 100 photographs of our character, cut each silhouette out and then re-shoot her in the paper garden set. We’re both pretty exhausted but we’re not defeated yet. We’ve achieved a lot in a few days and we will continue to shoot and re-shoot the remaining scenes because although we may have lost work and time but we haven’t lost confidence in our narrative yet.

Escapism- Into the Garden
November 12, 2009, 22:31
Filed under: Location

If you look closely at our animatic or storyboard you will see the rather amusing shot of Amber being ‘sucked’ into the washing machine. During this part of the narrative we want our character to enter an entirely new world and momentarily escape the endless drag of the launderette. If you visit Tor’s blog you’ll be able to watch an animation by Michael Aubtin Madadi who did an inspiring paper animation which both Tor and I both enjoyed due to the simplicity of his story-telling and paper cut-out technique.

We have already created hundreds of colourful paper leaves to path our character’s way into this ‘other’ place so it seemed fitting that we explored paper animation further for the entire garden scene. Below are a few examples I found particularly interesting with the use of paper cut-outs.

This is quite a light-hearted example, but the technique remains effective within the child-like environment and is in-keeping with the somewhat questionable song! There are other children’s animations which explore a similar technique, I particularly like Frederic Back’s ‘The Creation of Birds’ with such beautiful movement between the characters and their jungle environment. An old favourite of mine, Michael Bond’s Paddington Bear, uses a 3d character amongst paper human characters, this contrast is highly engaging.

Below is a scan of my drawing for a possible layout for the ‘garden’ scene. Our character won’t be in this ‘world’ for long but the contrast of her within this paper environment should be quite interesting visually. She can crawl out of the bushes on the left hand side of the scene and we can follow her making her way through the paper garden until she peers into the door’s window on the other side.

Garden Sketch

Animation Progress Update
November 10, 2009, 22:36
Filed under: Location

Slowly but surely we have begun our animation. As ever with a new project we have encountered a few problems one couldn’t have predicted but overall we have started so I’m pretty happy. Animating in a place that’s open to the public means that we’ve been restricted to an hour in the evening as this seems to be the least busy time at The Spruce Goose and also the best light for animating. You get the best contrast of colours which is important for the surreal quality we require. We’ve animated the beginning of the narrative sequence following our rough story-boards as a guideline, adjusting camera angles as we go, trying to keep in mind the symmetrical, almost uncomfortable feel we want to create.

Uncomfortable animations with a slight dark side have always interested me. Often because animation tends to be thought of as quite an ‘innocent’ medium so when they deal with a more loaded subject matter they can be quite shocking. Our animation doesn’t need to be remotely as dark as the ones below, ‘Dog’ by Suzie Templeton and ‘Madame Tutli-Putli’ by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, but I think they are excellent examples of how boundaries in animation can be pushed.

Here are some still frames of  what we’ve taken so far, hopefully you can see how we’ve focussed on shots that are symmetrical and I suppose quite simple but with a strong narrative I’m hoping it will be engaging.

Animation Stills

Animation Stills

Story boarding and Animatics
November 5, 2009, 19:16
Filed under: Location

After an initial run-through chat with Tor where we discussed our thoughts about the basic narrative structure of our location we met up again to create rough storyboards. Scans of my storyboard are shown below. It was a quick process to get an idea of how each image would sit within the frame and how each next narrative shot would vary from the next to keep it interesting.

Initial StoryboardInitial Storyboard2

With this storyboard Tor and I went to the Spruce Goose and took photos of Amber, our volunteer ‘animated person’ and then in turn turned this into a simple animatic. This has helped us to visualise the animation more and think about the importance of composition and symmetry.

After my first visit to the Spruce Goose I immediately thought of Stanley Kubrick to turn to for inspiration with the shots.  The washing machine geometry very much lended itself to the same surreal feel of Kubrick’s carefully thought over compositions.

The Shining screen (shot)

This opening scene to A Clockwork Orange is just brilliant. I love how much detail you can absorb from the close up of main character Alex DeLarge’s face as the shot slowly reveals more and more in a complex and perfectly symmetrical zooming out process during which the intensity of Alex DeLarge’s stare doesn’t diminish in the slightest.