Wednesday, October 31, 2007

chinese sculpture

Chinese artifacts date back as early as 10,000 BC -- and skilled, Chinese artisans have been active up to the present time -- but the bulk of what is displayed as sculpture in Euro-culture museums come from a few, select, historical periods. The first period of interest has been the Western Zhou Dynasty (1050-771 BC), from which come a variety of intricate cast bronze vessels. The next period of interest was the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD) -- beginning with the spectacular Terracotta army assembled for the tomb of the first emperor of the very brief Qin Dynasty that preceded it (Qin Shi Huang) in 210–209 BC.) Tombs excavated from the Han period have revealed many figures found to be vigorous, direct, and appealing 2000 years later.
The first Buddhist sculpture is found dating from the Three Kingdoms period (third century), while the sculpture of the Longmen Grottoes (Wei dynasty, 5th and 6th century, located near Luoyang, Henan Province) has been widely recognized for its special elegant qualities.

A wooden Bodhisattva from the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD)
The period now considered to be China's golden age is the Tang Dynasty (coinciding with what in Europe is sometimes called "The Dark Ages"). Decorative figures like those shown below became very popular in 20th century Euro-American culture, and were made available in bulk as warlords in the Chinese civil wars exported them to raise cash. Considered especially desirable, and even profound, was the Buddhist sculpture, often monumental, begun in the Sui Dynasty, inspired by the Indian art of the Gupta period, and many are considered treasures of world art.
Following the Tang, Western interest in Chinese artifacts drops off dramatically, except for what might be considered as ornamental furnishings, and especially objects in jade. Pottery from many periods has been collected, and again the Tang period stands out apart for its free, easy feeling. Chinese sculpture has no nudes --other perhaps than figures made for medical training or practice -- and very little portraiture compared with the European tradition. One place where sculptural portraiture was pursued, however, was in the monasteries.
Almost nothing, other than jewelry, jade, or pottery is collected by art museums after the Ming Dynasty ended in the late 17th century -- and absolutely nothing has yet been recognized as sculpture from the tumultuous 20th century, although there was a school of Soviet-influenced social realist sculpture in the early decades of the Communist regime, and as the century turned, Chinese craftsmen began to dominate commercial sculpture genres (the collector plates, figurines, toys, etc) and avant garde Chinese artists began to participate in the Euro-American enterprise of contemporary art.

tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty

For me,it is a cut sculpture.In Tang Dynasty,Chinese is a prosperous and strong country. The culture is open at that time.the gesture of the sculpture is relax and free. I can see the soft sensibility gesture.
tri-colored glazed pottery of the Tang Dynasty is the essence of chinese art.the color is glaze on the pottery.the main color is yellow,green,white.the pottery reflect the style and the age feature in that time.the warrior figure pottery are all strong and powerful.the horse and camel are husky.the woman are all plentiful and fat.the figure shape are vivid and can see the shape is more open and relax.It shows the Tang Dynasty is strong and rich.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Laban Movement Analysis

Our seminar speaker, Margot Apostolos, mentioned Laban in her discussion of gesture and dance. Along these lines, I took a closer look at Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). What's interesting about Laban Movement Analysis is that unlike our earlier posts on classifying gesture into iconic gestures, emblems, etc., this approach relies more on understanding movement as a continually changing, but orderly and intentionally sequenced series of gesture elements. In particular, this approach looks not only at the elements of the gesture (i.e. Shape) but also the way in which the elements are put together (i.e. Effort).

Thus, two gestures that very similar in structure (an example on Wikipedia is punching someone in anger versus reaching for a glass) can be differentiated by the intensity or Effort of the gesture.

In contrast to simply categorizing gestures, I think that this form of gesture analysis also leaves plenty of room for emotion as a driving tool for gesture, which is something that both the animators and dancer at our seminar presentation stressed.

Synthesis and Acquisition of Laban Movement Analysis Qualitative Parameters for Communicative Gestures
Liwei Zhao, Norman I. Badler


Monday, October 29, 2007

History of Performance Capture

1. History of Motion Capture (1970-1994)

  • 1970's Disney's Snow White - Rotoscoping

2. A Practical Approach to Motion Capture (Using Acclaim's Optical System)

Animation's Direct Influence From Silent Actors

Of all the famous characters that have been established in Animation, Felix the Cat was the original success story of comic art to superstar. This success can be credited much to how he was marketed and how the audience received his silent humor on screen. Much of his success has been credited directly to many of the panamime actions he performs, and of course the clever metamorphoses Felix performs by transforming his tail into a variety of objects for use in his adventures. In early silent films, the success of the film depends largely on the success of the silent performance of the actor, their facial gesture, and interaction with their stage environment. With Felix, we find an equaled success in the facial and silent panamime he performs, but find that with animation, Felix is able to manipulate his environment and surroundings based of the comic metamorphoses he performs, giving the character a unique fantasy-like comic ability that no live-action actor could effectively attempt to mimic. In this particular short film of Felix, "Felix Goes To Hollywood", we see the character directly interpret the actions of Chaplin in an animated run-in of sorts. The cartoon finds a way to visually poke fun of the influential ideas and personalities that were derived to form Felix's character in a sort of visual pun. The scene shows Felix humorously chased from an acting studio for "Stealing" some of Chaplin's material to make it big in a Hollywood acting studio. What should be noted of this cartoon, is that aside from soundtrack, all motions are conveyed silent to convey story and mood, as presented in early silent live-action cinema. Although some thoughts seem to be expressed through comic "thought-bubbles", it is the silent actions we are studying and their effectiveness in the performance of Felix and the ability to convey messages through silent gestural character animation. I think it is equally important as well to note the facial gestures of Harry Langdon and how facial gestures are used in characters in effective ways throughout the film as exaggerated gestural representations of emotion. For a direct reference to the Felix/Chaplin scene, scroll into the clip till 6:40.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another website idea from Tim

Check it out:

Performance Capture

There are many different ways to capture a performer's motion. Here is a list of the current methodologies:

  • Optical: multiple cameras triangulate the position of spherical markers on the body
  • Inertial: sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope) on the body transmit wirelessly to PC
  • Mechanical: performer wears an exo-skeleton and measures motion with mechanical parts
  • Magnetic: position and orientation of performer derived by the relative magnetic flux
  • Computer Vision Based: captures motion in a volume without sensors.
  • Electroculography: captures eye movement with electrodes, and sensors placed around the eyes.

  • Mova Contour System: cameras capture movement by evaluating patterns in phosphor makeup on the actors face.

Monday, October 22, 2007

about layout

I really like the layout idea Hyun design.Here are some other ideas I think about (1)

we can add a brief introduce when click the button.(2)It's another simple layout.the animal they dance in their bubble.The bubble keep going up.when you click the bubble.the bubble will break,and the animal will become bone stick animal dancer (3)when we need use the images to show on the website.we can use the mac flash.when you touch the image it will become bigger(the images near that one are also bigger.),and show the picture.I can't post flash on this blog.So I just use simple might help us think about the design of our website.I didn't have any completed idea yet.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

What is a Character?

This is a question that we haven't directly addressed yet, but I think it's important to consider. Certainly, a character in animation is not limited to the rounded biped anthropomorphized animals that we see most often in commercial animation.

There are at least two principles that come to mind when defining what constitutes a character in animation:

As we've learned from multiple seminar panelists this semester, humans are preprogrammed to recognize other humans. Thus, we are visually tuned to recognize both human faces and movements. In addition, we have an innate tendency to 'see' likenesses of ourselves even in inanimate objects. Thus, the headlights and grill of a car are a face to us, as are icons such as :)

(Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics goes into this subject in much greater detail).

In my opinion, squash and stretch, silhouette, and other principles of classical animation derive from this innate tendency to see ourselves in the world. In other words, even highly exaggerated/abstracted character animation 'works' because our minds are programmed to fill in the gaps. (The facial gesture reserach group also has looked into this)

Since we can recognize even highly abstract characters physically, a series of moving drawings/images become a character when a viewer can can identify with it emotionally. Moreover, this property can be independent of how realistically the character is rendered. For example, in his celebrated film 'Blinkity Blank', Norman McLaren pushes the idea of abstraction to an extreme. His character - a hen - is composed of the simplest graphic shapes, but is remarkably expressive as it dances around the screen. The character even disappears for several frames at a time, but the discontinuities do not prevent the viewer from looking at the hen as a character.

A still from 'Blinkity Blank':

Bill McClure mentioned during his presentation at seminar that all emotions are learned, an observation that implies that character animation is poised between the delicate interplay of nature (i.e. abstraction, which is genetic) and nurture (i.e. emotion, which is learned).


Another layout idea

I took Hyun's idea and modified it so the moles are a little more of the focus of the image. What do you'll think?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

website layout idea

my idea for the website is making like a mole game. As you see in these pictures, when a character is hit by the cursor, the character dances with his stick body.
What do you guys think? and any other ideas?

(click the image to see it clear)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Aardman website

Check out this site that Kathy showed me:

The character walk by and when you click on them, something happens to that character. Perhaps we can have something similar, so that when you put the mouse over the character, we get a brief caption below the character (e.g. "Gesture and the Brain"), and then when you click on the character, the character does a quick action and then the browser is redirected go to the blog.

Just a thought.