Wednesday, September 9, 2015

And that settles that: Thoughts on Sabbatical Process

About an hour ago, I was about to make some notes on the reading I'm doing today, the classic Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics by Maureen Furniss.  I'm working through some classic animation texts and also some newer work.  I wondered, should I make notes in my sketchbook, by hand, or on the computer? Maybe on this blog? What should my process be, and who are the notes for?  I know that I would be slower and more self-conscious if they are on the blog, and decide they are only for me.  I think I would probably work slower if typing, but the notes would be more useful in the long run if typed and digital (easy to pop into notes for writing, future lectures, class materials, etc.).  Maybe it would be more enjoyable to write by hand in the notebook, where I also sketch, and then type what I need to later, but would I ever type them later?

Anyway, I sat down at my computer, and here it is an hour later.  I've gone through email, joined Women in Animation, and various other things that I wouldn't call unproductive BUT that are NOT notes on Furniss.  Would I have been just as distracted by my sketchbook?  Is my propensity to be distracted the issue here, or have I fallen into the habits I've formed when I sit behind my desk at my computer?  I'm trying to create a sensible, creative practice for myself for my sabbatical project that includes the reading program, some writing, some animation tutorials, and some animation-making, in varying proportions on different days of the week, so there is structure to my days and weeks, and I can accomplish over time what I've planned.  Part of the challenge is figuring out how to implement.

Whatever the reason for the failure to make some simple notes, the result is my decision to move away from the computer for the short term at least.   If I decide I need the digital form, maybe I'll try a laptop someplace the than my desk, or taking the notes on a tablet.  I'll probably continue to use this blog for weekly or biweekly progress notes.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 1: Sabbatical Officially Begins!

It feels like the last days of summer vacation, still a few days away from Labor Day weekend and my kids' school starting, but it is indeed the official start date of my sabbatical.

Last Thursday was the final class meeting of the Animation course at the MFA.  It was an excellent whirlwind 5-week introduction to traditional animation techniques. We used the class time to make our animations, so they were short, and there were more/other things I would have done for each had I been working on my own time, but it was also great to push through the cut-out animation (2 sessions) and also the claymation stop-motion technique.  Being able to use the camera setup was also terrific and helped me focus on the animation.  I had very little sense as I was doing it, though, what I would get as a result.  Maybe that's what experience gives you as you get used to the medium in which you're working.

Here is my cut-out animation, and I'll post the stop-motion claymation one when I have the file.

The idea is that the robots have time traveled to the 1920s.

When I was on the Cape last week, I found some great rocks that I thought I could use in my claymation animation, and so instead of working with the bots again for this, it has a sea theme.  Here are some pictures of the puppets.