Funnily enough after battling with â€˜the-worst-digital-camera-in-the-worldâ€™ I found a good Fujifilm digital camera here in the house! I guess had my host (Chuck) been here, he would have told me about his own camera, doh, however he has been away for 10 days but gets back from a business trip tomorrow. I had a sneak look at the camera anyway and took a couple shots, itâ€™s quite a nice camera indeed, and so todays blog posting has some better pictures.
Wednesday 20th was split into 3 chunks. The morning found me lazing about on the couch, watching TV whilst practicing my ability to dodge adverts by flipping channels back and forth.
However, in the afternoon when it had warmed up a little, I got on with the given task of scrubbing down a collection of sculptures that are due to be shown at an exhibition sometime soon. I had been asked to clean off the bird droppings and dirt.
I spent a few hours on that, but it was fairly back-breaking stuff as there were 15 of them and each had to be rolled around and maneuvered so that I could get at their multiple undersides.
“15 ‘Rashomon’ Sculptures”, the work of Chuck Ginnever.
Just after cleaning the sculptures, I turned around and spotted a caterpillar making its way along a concrete wall.
â€œPah that is an easy crawl thought Iâ€? and so proceeded to make things a little more trickier for it with some obstacles and a â€˜reset zoneâ€™ where-upon I carried the â€˜pillar back to the start a few times to see if he would get better and faster at traversing the course. The exercise was slightly voided since caterpillar got spooked a couple times by some militant ants and either froze or shot off in a completely different direction. None-the-less he achieved his original destination in the end albeit with an amusing roll and bump down the slope at the end.
I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to take any pictures of the little hairy feller, but never mind, I present here instead, a picture of the wall and an animation demonstrating roughly the path of said caterpillar.
“Path of mentioned caterpillar”.
The previous night Karl had asked me online what I was doing today because he wanted to ask me about a â€˜Leadership Campâ€™, because every Wednesday night my father likes to goto the Jazz Jam at the Vermont Jazz Center I told Karl he could meet me there at the Jam and then we could talk some more.
Lo and behold Karl was there at the Jazz Jam and we sat and listened for a little whilst I showed off the new ASL I had learnt so far. Cool thing about signing is that it doesnâ€™t matter how loud the environment is, you can talk away freely over music and loud noise without any such problems with understanding each other, that is once youâ€™ve learnt the language sufficiently that is! I have a long way to go but Karl was very patient and spelling out words for me that I did not know. What Karl wanted it turned out,, was for me to take part in a weekend of activities that he was organising on behalf of Austine School for the Deaf, in fact he wanted me to give a presentation and host a workshop for about 30 deaf students, they would be from the 3 surrounding deaf schools (Connecticut, Manchester and Brattleboro). Well golly, I was a little taken aback, what could I possibly share with these budding deaf students? Karl went on the explain that the idea of the camp was to give deaf high school students of ages from 14–20 some inspiration for going on to further study. Karl had a Principle from the only deaf University in the World (!) attending to give a talk and another graduate ex-student like me to give a presentation. So it seemed to be that I could give a talk to the deaf students myself and tell them about what it was like for me to goto University in England and explain what I did, how I did it, and what I want to do next. Here comes the worrying bit.. Karl stressed repeatedly that my presentation and workshop should be interactive with the students so that then can essentially have a go at what I did at University..
â€œOK sure, so I did a Computer Animation degree, Karl wants me to show the kids how to animateâ€?
â€œWait-a-sec, how long do you want me to do this workshop for?.â€? To which, Karl whips out some poster print-outs that outline the schedule for the weekend. My name was already on there!
2:30 – 4:00pm: Activity w/ Myles de Bastion.
This guy moves fast..
Apart from being completely taken aback, it suddenly began to dawn on me a major problem, 1.5 hours to teach 30 kids how to animate? If you arenâ€™t aware of this, the art of animation is one of the most time consuming things you can do as a creative profession, each stage takes a lot of time, concentration and (for the best results) specialist equipment like Lightboards, Graphics Tablets, Scanners, Cameras, Render Farms, etc etc. You need a lot of time, resources and endless patience to complete an animation. Thankfully these days you can do a lot of the work straight into the computer and skip past many of the stages that cel-based animation houses used to have to do back in the pre-Pixar â€˜Disney Eraâ€™. But even so this requires at least a computer per artist and plenty of time.
OK, so weâ€™re not looking to create a block-buster full length animated feature movie here, but the ideal would be to have each kid make their own small animation sequence, the simplest form of animation that springs to mind is good olâ€™ pen on paper cards which are then stacked and flipped through with the thumb to create a flip-book, Iâ€™m sure a lot of people have tried that at least once? Trouble is, itâ€™s very difficult to make and view a convincing animation with this method for a number of reasons, one is the fact that altough paper is nice and easy to see through so you can trace your previous drawn frames, it doesnâ€™t the type of flexibility when stacked into a flipbook that you need to rapidly flick through the pages in succession. Card has this elastic flexibility but you canâ€™t see through it without the aid of a back lit surface such as a lightboard that professional animations use.
To get to the point, I feel that the kids are going to be disappointed by their hours work invested into a flimsy flipbook that doesnâ€™t flip, hardly the way to inspire kids about animation!
My brain starts to go into overdrive thinking of solutions to this near-impossible conundrum and as I sit here typing I have to admit I still havenâ€™t decided on the best way to do it. Any animators out there, feel free to suggest something!
However I need to decide something by tomorrow because Karl needs to order in the materials I need, and thus I feel a bit pressured there. Shall have to email him and voice my concerns.
Aside from debating about the workshop, I enjoyed a tea (strawberry mmmm), and a couple shots of Jagermeister (Mmmm!!) with Karl when we went out to a bar afterwards. It appeared to be an Open-Mic night in the bar and had people taking in turns to get up on stage with an acoustic guitar and warble away, I didnâ€™t pay much attention though as I had to concentrate more on what Karl was signing to me, it had been a long day too so my tiredness made things slightly more difficult, none-the-less we got to have a very nice chat and I found out a lot more about him and how he grew up in Boston but was actually from South Africa. I really like him and hope we can remain good friends in the future even if I move away from here.
Better end the post for now, will report back on the workshop and other things when I know more!
Good night all.