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You are currently browsing the MotionArt blog archives for August, 2014.



The Amateur in Animation

By Pell Osborn

Belinda on LightBoxWhen you get right down to it, there are four basic constants in animation: motion and energy occupy physical space as they persist in time. A big part of being successful with the art of animation is learning to work within tight time and space constraints, while one manipulates these constants. In the LineStorm Animation Digital FlipBook workshops which MotionArt animators supervise, we constantly battle with timelines, deadlines and pipelines to complete everything “in scope” — that is to say, within the time frame the project allows. And while amateur animators figure things out — in animation, there’s just as much planning and figuring out how things will look as there is the actual work of animating — they play endlessly with design and invention, the basic mechanics of creation. In LineStorm workshops, we may not be breaking new ground by going back to the basics of animation, but we sure do enjoy the pleasure of creating movement where there shouldn’t be any! An art critic for the New York Times put it well, “With so much of our daily experience mediated by technology, there is something refreshing and alluring about being mystified with…something very unassuming which happens directly in front of you.”(NY Times, Friday 6/24/2011, p. C30) That’s the flipbook: literally, right before one’s face, it’s magic under one’s thumb! When an amateur works in animation, the action should be clear: a bubble pops, a wave breaks, a cloud rains… John Durant, Director of the M.I.T. Museum observes, “I’ve always found that talking about science [with] people who are not scientists — who have a general interest and are prepared to ask any and every question that occurs to them — [is] really compellingly interesting.” (NY Times, Tuesday 10 April 2012, p. D3) We can say the same about Amateurs in Animation. It is endlessly fascinating to work with them, and to enjoy their epiphanies — their moments of insight and clarity as they bring the inanimate to rollicking, rolling life! To see what we mean, please watch the award-winning “Six Simple Machines – animated at M.I.T.” when you have a chance!