Really very stunning piece of experimental CG animation. His sense of timing and editing are very top notch. It makes me strangely happy to watch this piece – which is refreshing. No one ever said that all experimental animation has to be grungy and dark and moody…
A really great answer from Bakshi – he hits it right on the head peeps. My respect for him has always been high, but now I really am impressed. Well said Ralph, well said.
This film is absolutely stunning. Alex’s choice of camera composition and movement is sublime. Not to mention the simply stunning visuals – its hard to believe that this is NOT live action but CG. A really great film to study for lighting, composition and use of music. His choice of renderer… VRAY. Nice work Alex. I hope you take this to festivals and win some accolades. I’ve also included his compositing breakdown for you tech heads out there…
Here’s the film -
Here’s the breakdown -
With the upcoming winter quarter starting the much heated topic of grading has been stirring up in my mind. Grading is one of those things that with objective based things is pretty straight forward – but with art – well talk about a subjective area of study. Without going down the slippery slope of what defines art or makes art good I want to talk about my feelings on grading, how I approach it and finally a list of guidelines.
Grading in general I feel hampers the learning process and can in a lot of cases force students to develop strong senses of elitism or entitlement- the well I got a 4.0 so I deserve that nice cushy job. Society often looks at and praises this sense of achievement rather than the process or the knowledge that is exhibited or learned from mistakes. All that seems to matter to the student is achieving that “A” and not what was been learned or gained in the experimenting process. So we have hordes of students whom did well on their SATs but couldn’t problem solve their way out of a paper bag. Our sense of grading, I believe, is helping to support a cultural system that is teaching our children to be drones and not independent thinkers.
I believe in order to define an “A” student we must look at how we define failure. Dictionary.com defines failure in part as “The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment.” This part of the definition I believe is crucial to grading art. The key word here is experiment – all art is an experiment. Sure there are formal processes and techniques and sure just like any craft there are known dos and don’ts to achieve the desired recipe of art but what is missing here is the passion for experimentation in that process. When one is so focused on the end result, the grade, you often loose sight of the true learning and growth.
I often use this analogy in reference to being an animator verses a film maker. It is the same between a line cook and a chef. The line cook knows how to cook a very specific set of recipes, and a good one does it good every time. He follows the recipes and learns them by heart, he cooks and fast. He is about getting consistent good orders out every time on time or his customers will not return. Where as the chef (our film maker) he writes the recipes of his heart. Sure he can cook and often does but he is after something different. He experiments, he is not afraid of trying bizarre things, going off recipe because his gut tells him too. He enjoys the process of cooking, the creation of elements, the mixing, the blending, the smells. He will offer up things that are good, sometimes mediocre, but depending on the quality of the chef sometimes- life changing.
The pressure that the customers place on the line cook prevent him from this process of experimenting and thus it prevents him from growing outside of the proscribed recipes. Grades are the students customers, and as we all know the customer is always right – right?
Wrong. When trying to grade something as subjective as art you can break it down into two very vast areas for review – Craft and Idea. By looking at what the intent of the artist is/was you can then measure his/her use of craft against it. How well does it in fact communicate to the viewer? How strong were the technical aspects of his/her craft? etc. But wait isn’t the viewer subjective? My reaction to film is vastly different to my fathers or brothers reaction. And what if you don’t know the intent of the artist?
Well luckily when training artists, specifically animators, by setting up assignments and giving them specific goals and outcomes (what they need to communicate and how they need to communicate it) you can then begin to measure their progress- but even still this sense of quantification is risking formula. We must be careful to not fall into the trap of objectifying the art into something so much that it then ceases to be art. You have to allow for the “wow” factor. I have often heard my fellow professors say – man you know its an “A” when it makes you go wow. When you ask them how do you define “wow” their first reaction is point to existing imagery that instilled wow and say that. There is a natural sense of what works – the more engrossed, trained, aged the artist the more intrinsic this sense or feeling of what works or doesn’t work becomes. There is/was a reason for the mentor/apprentice system for artisans. Students lack this sense or have the inklings of it. Through repetition, experimentation, discussion and time it grows and strengthens.
By using rubrics and setting up specific goals to each assignment so that the student knows what he/she is supposed to be learning and experimenting with we help the student polish that inner sense. This allows for them to mature as artists and eventually launch into the stage of self evaluation where they begin to evaluate themselves as artists, and set up their goals for expression and success.
My mentor and good friend Edward Kinney shared with me about a year ago a list that he has been compiling and refining in his 20 years of teaching. I have added only one thing to it to make what I believe to be a very comprehensive top 10 list of what defines an “A” student.
Characteristics of an “A” Student
An “A” student never thinks of their grade as they work on projects. They are creating artwork.
An ”A” student never tells me how hard they worked on a project. They were unaware of how much time they spent on a project. For the “A” student the activity was not work…it was joy in the art making process.
An ”A” student never misses class…NEVER. Not because they are trying to please the teacher but because they enjoy the course content and the class dynamic. They would rather be in class than elsewhere.
An ”A” student is totally involved from the first class to the last. Their effort is even and steady and comes from a love for exploration, creating and learning.
An ”A” student never works to please the teacher but rather to explore and refine the expression of their artistic impulses.
An “A” student hands in work on time even when equipment fails.
An ”A” student knows of all the gods that affect our lives the art god is far more significant than the grade god.
An ”A” student is learning to welcome the Muses. Seeking an “A”, by comparison, is a trivial endeavor.
An “A” student is self-motivated and focused on problem solving.
An “A” student never whines, complains, or offers excuses.