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.


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.

Chubby cat

I think chubby cats have the most adorable shapes of all time.

This is a cat running cycle I did for one of our assignments.  I’ve chosen one of my mum’s cats in Japan for a model of the character.  I also grew up with many cats when I was small, and it was really fun to animate something you know how they move from heart, because sometime it is the hardest thing to animate something you can’t imagine how they move.

However, I thought it is a bit boring to animate my cat straightforward, so I put butterfly wings on its back. I tried to make it look like it is floating in the air a bit.

Masaaki Yuasa and Flash Animation

Today, I finally finished my presentation.
I was extremely nervous because it was my very first presentation in English.
Here is what I presented today.

I chose this director for my presentation because I personally really enjoy his work even though I am not a big fan of Japanese anime. Yuasa is interesting to me because of his unconventional approach to animation and his studio ethos.

Masaaki Yuasa started out working for an obscure contract anime studio called Ajia-do.
The studio was formed by very skilled animators who also knew how to handle all of the other directorial processes. Yuasa experienced almost every animation role during his time at this studio, where he worked on a lot of anime shows that every Japanese person has heard of.

He directed a movie Mind Game in 2004. Yuasa had worked for the industry for a considerable time at this point.
Following Mind Game, he directed three TV series: Kemonozume, Kaiba and Tatami Galaxy.
On all three of these productions, he worked as a Director, animator, writer and storyboarder.
It’s not common for directors to fulfill this many roles but Yuasa uses his diverse set of skills to help almost every department of his anime. Because of this –even though most of the work he has done are adaptations of Manga or novels– his visual style is instantly recognisable as it significantly differs from standard anime.
Yuasa’s style is known for his great use of wide camera angles and distorted perspective, rough but clean lines, flat and vivid colours, simple designs, and experimental narrative.

He also directed, an episode of Adventure Time as a guest animator. Yuasa was the second guest animator on Adventure Time after David O’Reilly. It is animated in a style different from most other episodes of Adventure Time, and it has a style very unique to Yuasa.

– Finn and Jake’s constant motion through 3D space
– Constant perspective changes
– Use of colour gradients
– Use of patterns
– Stylistic changes to Finn and Jake’s character design
– Change to narrative pacing

just before he did the episode of Adventure time, he set up his own studio, Science Saru in order to make the offer from Cartoon Network viable. For Yuasa and his studio, the experience of working with Cartoon Network was significant. He once mentioned in an interview, that when he visited the Cartoon Network studios, he was very surprised and shocked that everyone working there looked Happy. Yuasa felt this way because even though animation is obviously big business in Japan, the working conditions in the Anime industry is very poor.

After this experience he aimed to change working environments in the Japanese animation industry while maintaining the appeal of Japanese anime and quality.

At the same time, Yuasa was directing “PING PONG The Animation” for Toei, a large Japanese studio. Yuasa used his own studio, Science Saru, to help with certain scenes on this project. Yuasa and his team experimented heavily with flash during this period.

Flash animation is animation created in the adobe software, flash.
Flash relies on point-based coordinates, allowing smooth transitions between frames.
Flash is technically CGI, as in Computer Generated Imagery. Animators don’t have to redraw every object in the entire frame from scratch.
Because of this, Adobe Flash is usually used for low budget animations. In an effort to save time and money, western studios are increasingly drawn to flash techniques over hand drawn ones. However, Yuasa’s Flash animation is a bit different from this.

Here is a video they are showing how they animate in Flash

“Flash’s real advantage is a smoothness of movement and a clarity of line. So it’s ideal for showing small objects growing ever-larger in size while maintaining their original form, or for constantly mutable forms like water.”

This quote from his interview helps us to understand why Flash is suited to Yuasa’s three dimensional and distorted perspective animation. Flash also, potentially, makes the inbetweening process for all motion more directly and immediately controllable than outsourcing/offshoring that process as the industry usually does.

This year, He released his first two feature films since Mind Game, in 2004. They used flash for both films, but one of the films “Lu Over the Wall” is Yuasa’s original story and it was produced entirely with Flash animation,

– Yuasa’s team drew key frames by hand and traced them in Flash.
– This saved them from having to draw more than eighty frames per scene as Flash took care of the in-betweens.
– This allowed Yuasa to produce a feature with a team two thirds smaller than a regular studio.

However the visual direction of Lu Over the Wall looks conventional and kitsch in comparison to Yuasa’s previous work.
Lu Over the Wall features very few appearances of his trademark style such as unusual angles and vibrant colours. Instead, Lu Over the Wall is primarily composed of orthodox shots and a more subdued palette.

I do prefer the old sketchy style rather than this new vector-like animation, and I’m a little bit sad to see this is the direction he wants to take.
On the other hand, Lu Over the Wall can be seen as good example of flash animation allowing smaller studios to create large, commercially viable features. Perhaps this is a vindication of Yuasa’s goals, mentioned earlier.
It’s proof that Flash animation can work surprisingly well even on the big screen.

The reason I would prefer not work as an animator in Japan (other than stylistic preferences) is because of the current working environment. Most studios can only pay animators very little for their work and the average yearly income is 1 million yen which is approximately 7500 pounds. Japanese animators average eleven working hours a day.

I hope there’s a way this can change in the future.

Science Saru aims to challenge these conventions, an example of this is their 9-6 work day policy. The studio’s co-founder, Eunyoung Choi, believes that animators need to experience life outside of work to be more effective in their approach.

I think the development of young Japanese animation studios, like Science Saru, is key to the industry’s future.

Science Saru will release the new series “DEVILMAN crybabybased on Japanese Manga Devilman for Netflix next year