Unlike a planned storyboard for a narrative film, I do not have a particular plan for the movement and timing of abstract forms in 3d space. Also, it is unlike 2d abstract animation where the movement is up, down, right, left or back and forth. My forms must move along a curve through 3d space. The forms change their appearance as they rotate and alter their speed along this curve.
My approach to planning is non-linear and unpredictable involving a great deal of experimentation. I like to play with combinations of form color and movement. It is a mixture of insanity and algorithmic thinking. I don’t have the tools I really want. But I do have tools which work within certain limitations. Sometimes these limitations force me to be more inventive in finding solutions. This is where a sense of the ridiculous helps.
I was doing oil paintings with some odd idea about visual structure and expressionism before I became involved with computers. As I create my animation the forms and how they change moving through space is important to me. I am more comfortable with non-narrative animation. I can’t tell a story or a one line joke. Abstraction is easier for me as it’s easier to bring focus to visual structure. My feelings for expressionism has drifted off into a domain concerned about the aura of beauty.
The movement is important but secondary to the feelings of form and space. Animation has become a balancing act between form and movement. I’ve always liked the idea of motion painting invented by Oskar Fischinger over 80 years ago. But unlike Fischinger I’m fortunate to have access to tools which allow me to play in three dimensional space using lights and three dimensional forms. I’m also lucky to be living in a time where animation can become an art form woven into the fabric of our culture. Things like YouTube and iTunes are full of opportunities. There is an exciting new world far beyond Pixar, Dreamworks and Blue Sky.
One of the things I have disliked about 3d computer imagery is that it still looks like it was created with a computer. The procedural processes used to create texture and surface properties still have a mechanical feel to them.
Over twenty years ago I used my drawings and paintings as texture maps. While I liked the combination of two and three dimensions, I was still uncomfortable with my brush and drawing marks looking flat in space.
experiment: digital brush marks
The above image represents a shift in thinking about my brush marks. While they are my brush marks scanned into the computer, their reality becomes a part of the curvature of space. The image appears less mechanical than other works I have done. I’m more effectively able to exploit my background as a painter. What is also taking place is a play of light and transparency where space clings to the object.