Japanese Bear Hunters

I have been doing a lot of research about bear hunters in Japan, because I have decided to do a story about bears and a bear hunter for my grad film.

After I started doing a research, I found out that there are old traditional bear hunters that is called Matagi in Japan. They pray to the mountain goddess before entering the mountain, they understand everything about bears. The clothes they wear and the tool they use is very traditional.

I did some research about the bears they hunt too. There are two different species of bears that live in Japan. One is the brown bear which only live in Hokkaido, the northern island of japan. Another one is Moon bear, also known as the Asian black bear which live in Honshu, the main land of Japan. The bears Matagi hunt are the moon bears. It’s called “moon bear” because of the moon shaped white mark on the chest. It has smaller body than brown bear.

Here is a concept drawing for my main character. Although it’s actually a male character in the original story, I changed it into a female character. It is not realistic as female were not allowed to enter the mountains in the past, because it said that the mountain goddess is a very jealous person. However I think the story will be so much stronger if the main character was female.

Atsushi Wada

Atsushi Wada is one of my favorite independent animators in Japan. He learned animation at Tokyo Art University where my another favorite animator Koji Yamamura teaches.

The timing of his animation is so unique and strange.  To be honest, I don’t understand anything about the stories in his film. I’m not even sure if I want to understand the story, but it’s just always make me smile instantly and watch until the end. The weirdly satisfying sounds in his films are all done by himself.

The Deluge

English National Opera has released our films on YouTube and I watched the film I directed for the first time in a long time.

At the time we completed the film, I wasn’t sure if I like it or not. It happens all the time when I do a long term project, because I work on the same thing for so long that I lose my sense of something. (Also because most of the time when I’m working, I’m very stressed or sleep deprived)

I’m still not sure if I like the film or not, but I’m happy we completed the film for now. And I’m pretty sure I will like the film if I watch it in few years. I hope people who watch this film on YouTube will like it too…

Making puppets

We created puppets for the last stop motion shot we had to do. I thought about what kind of animation I want, and plan what parts I need. I research the animals anatomy as well.

 

I drew the lines on the paper first and my group mates help me to cut it.

We used water colour to paint the puppets. Since I wanted to put very detailed pattern on them, I needed a lot of help.

Building a multiplane

For this project, I really wanted to try using multiplane for the stopmotion shot. However, because we did not have any multiplane in our studio, I had to build one from scratch. So I went to the internet and found some images of handmade multiplanes. I measure the camera stand we had at the studio and planned how big it should be based on it.

I had to have an induction in order to use the wood workshop at school. Then I bought all the materials, and built the frame.

Finally I god two acrylic sheets and put them in the frame.

I was able to animate on it when I did a test animation with one puppet, but after we made all the puppet for the shot, it was too difficult to put all the paper puppetsin only two layers. So I bought two more frames and  create the depth that I wanted.

 

Insipiration for ENO project

I went to the British Museum to get some inspiration for the English National Opera project this weekend. Since I have chosen to use paper cut stop motion technique for some shots in my film, I need to start makin an paper cut puppets for the shots with inside the ark next week. I am still thinking what kind of character design I want in my film. I was inspired by the ancient sculptures from Middle East, China, paintings from Japan. Especially for the god Hara tee in my film, it was great to see how different countries picture the god.

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Enki Bilal, The Knight of French Science Fiction

Enki Bilal is a French comic book artist/Filmmaker. Born in 1951 in Belgrade from a Yugoslavic family, Bilal moves to France at the age of 10. Remembering the misery of his childhood in Communist Yugoslavia, Bilal’s work mainly resides on critics of totalitarian regimes and Science-Fiction.

 

I find Bilal’s artwork beautiful, the colour blue is always present in all of his characters and stories especially on his female character who will often have blue hair, blue lips or both. In 2004, Bilal manage to find the funds to direct Immortal, a Science-Fiction/Apocalyptic love story based on his own comic book with the same title. Bilal using his comic as storyboard for his movie, the movie composition is incredible and we have this distinct graphic feeling throughout the whole movie.

You have to understand that dispite having a real identity in the comic book world with Enki Bilal, René Laloux, Jean Giraud, Alejandro Jodorowsky,  etc…French Science-Fiction is almost non existent. And Bilal is one of the very few filmmakers with Luc Besson and Michel Gondry who will fight for the right for Science Fiction to be more present in France.

My Very First Showreel

Here is my very first animation showreel I made with mainly from the animation exercises from 1 year unit 1. I made this for applying for internships in the summer holiday, and also for a self-reflection when I finished the term. It was a good opportunity for me to think about what I’ve learned so far since I started this course,and style has developed. It has been such a busy term that I did not have time to revisit my work.  The oldest animation I did in this showreel is the polar bear walk cycle I have put in the end. The latest animation is probably the under water animation with a lot of sea creatures I did for the second year student Ines’s grad film. I want to believe I improved..

 

Benji Davies, The Colours of Childhood

I am in love with the work of Benji Davis, He is one of the reasons I wish to work in the UK. His characters and concepts work so well in animation, mostly because of the colour he uses. Davies works mainly digitally, that allows him to really control his colour palette. My favourite book of his must be Grandpa’s Island and it is the most colourful book he has ever done which is quite particular because Grandpa’s Island mostly talks about the grief of the little boy after his grandfather passed away. Here is an animated trailer for his latest book The Storm Whale in Winter:

 

time is moving too fast

The Children’s Society Project was launched just after the Easter holiday. We’ve done pitches to the Children’s Society, finished storyboarding, and next week we are going to show them our finished animatics. This is the first time I make an animated short film properly and everything we’ve done so far is so new to me. It’s also challenging because we’re not just making animations for yourself but the client! I feel like time is moving so fast for the past few weeks.

My 1-min audio that has been given by The Children’s Society was about how they are helping the young people in the organization which is narrated by one of the workers. Since there is no any story in the audio, I thought this would be quite easy at the beginning. (It was not) I was thinking about how I can convey this audio with my animation in an effective way during the holiday and came up with this idea of making the young people in the film gigantic. This is a drawing of my really initial idea I did for send to The Children’s Society.

I’m not going to write the whole synopsis of my film here, but I was very relieved when I got replied from them which said they really liked my idea.

Last Monday, we showed our rough animatic in front of the class and the tutors. It was really really good to see what everyone’s working on and the ideas I saw on the pitches have started to look like films! I’m extremely nervous about my own film and wishing I could stop the time for a while, on the other hand, I can’t wait to see everyone else’s completed films in 7weeks time.