Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Phil Hansen: Embrace the shake

Habits of Work - by Prof. Rusty Smith

Self Reliance:
Self-reliance is an active approach in which an individual drives their own learning and working process.  Rather than waiting for directions or blaming others for delays, individuals actively generates possibilities, weighs benefits, and makes choices.

Paul C├ęzanne, painter.

Paul C├ęzanne, painter.
Organized Persistence:
Beating your head against a brick wall is an example of mindless persistence.  It may take weeks, but eventually organized persistence results in a solution.  It gives us the ability to prevail, even when faced with the most daunting task.

Daily Practice:
Momentum is extremely powerful when you are working on a difficult problem.  Daily practice helps maintain momentum.  For example, when learning a new computer program, practicing for a couple of hours each night is better than working one full day a month.    

Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer.

Yves Saint Laurent, fashion designer.
Appropriate Speed:
Some tasks are best completed quickly, with brisk decision making and decisive action.  Slowing down to re-frame a question and weigh alternative solutions is necessary in other cases.  Knowing when to speed up and when to slow down is one mark of a ‘master learner.’

Incremental Excellence:
Most design problems are best developed in a series of stages.  Ideas evolve, skills improve, compositions are distilled.  Rather than trying for the ‘perfect solution’ on the first day, it is better to just start with a draft.

Yoshitomo Nara, artist.

Yoshitomo Nara, artist.
Valuing Alternative Viewpoints:
Listening to others, understanding diverse points of view, and considering alternatives expands our capacity to solve a wide variety of problems.  Even when the advice is off base, we can often use the idea as a springboard into a fresh approach.    

Direct Engagement:
Talk is cheap.  Work is hard.  The only way to solve most design problems is to get involved.  You will never win a race when you are standing on the sidelines.  

Learn More:
Workspaces of the famously creative >

Add a Comment...

Dale Dougherty: We are makers

Working like an Artist
Time management helps you achieve your goals.  Work smarter not harder.  tshirt-blog-9-3-1040202714.jpg

Set the Stage
Choose when, where and how to work.  If you like staying up late, bring work home and draw after dinner.  If you are distracted by clutter, clean your desk before working.  Minor actions like these will increase your productivity.  

Set goals, make lists and determine priorities.  Note which tasks are urgent and which are important.  Timing is crucial, finish urgent tasks quickly so you can focus on important tasks.

Incremental Excellence
A journey of 10,000 miles starts with 1 step.  A big project can seem overwhelming and even cause creative paralysis so break it down ‘bird by bird.’  By doing any job incrementally, you learn more, procrastinate less and increase your completion rate.  Projects are best done in a specific sequence.  For example, start with research, make thumbnail sketches, asses the results, make a full-size rough layout, consult, and then complete the fine artwork.  e794c57d29f454826cfd979cb56fe621.jpg

Start Early
Momentum is extremely powerful.  Start a long-term assignment right away.  Even one hour of research will help focus your attention and get you going.  A slow start is better than no start!

When in Doubt, Crank it Out
Fear is one of the greatest obstacles to creative thinking – we avoid action and miss opportunities.  Both habit and perfectionism feed fear.  Creativity takes courage.  When in doubt, do!  By starting each project with a sense of adventure, you increase your level of learning, creativity and production.  

Work Together
Collaborative thinking helps complete projects that are too complex or time-consuming.  Everyone gains.

Add a Comment...

Habits of Work: How I became 100 artists

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

Add a comment...

Choose from the list and use the video to illustrate its definition.
  1. Self Reliance:
  2. Organized Persistence:
  3. Daily Practice:
  4. Appropriate Speed:
  5. Incremental Excellence:
  6. Valuing Alternative Viewpoints:
  7. Direct Engagement:

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


The Story Board
What is a storyboard?
Once a concept or script is written for a film or animation, the next step is to make a storyboard. A storyboard visually tells the story of an animation panel by panel, kind of like a comic book.
Your storyboard will should convey some of the following information:
  • What charaters are in the frame, and how are they moving?
  • What are the characters saying to each other, if anything?
  • How much time has passed between the last frame of the storyboard and the current one?
  • Where the "camera" is in the scene? Close or far away? Is the camera moving?
Storybaord image from Gone with the Wind
Why make a storyboard?
Creating a storyboard will help you plan your animation out shot by shot. You can make changes to your storyboard before you start animating, instead of changing your mind later. You will also be able to talk about your animation and show your storyboard to other people to get feedback on your ideas.
Example of a six shot storyboard
How do I make a storyboard?
Most commonly, storyboards are drawn in pen or pencil. If you don't like to draw you can also take photos, cut out pictures from magazines, or use a computer to make your storyboards. Keep in mind that your drawings don't have to be fancy! In fact, you want to spend just a few minutes drawing each frame. Use basic shapes, stick figures, and simple backgrounds. If you draw your storyboard frames on index cards, you can rearrange them to move parts of the the story around.
Storyboard Language
CLOSE-UP SHOT:   A close range of distance between the camera and the subject.
DISSOLVE: A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in. 
FADE - A transition from a shot to black where the image gradually becomes darker is a Fade Out; or from black where the image gradually becomes brighter is a Fade In. 
HIGH CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which looks down on its subject making it look small, weak or unimportant. 
JUMP CUT: A rapid, jerky transition from one frame to the next, either disrupting the flow of time or movement within a scene or making an abrupt transition from one scene to another. 
LEVEL CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which is even with the subject; it may be used as a neutral shot. 
LONG SHOT:  A long range of distance between the camera and the subject, often providing a broader range of the setting. 
LOW CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which looks up at its subject; it makes the subject seem important and powerful. 
PAN:  A steady, sweeping movement from one point in a scene to another. 
POV (point of view shot): A shot which is understood to be seen from the point of view of a character within the scene. 
REACTION SHOT- 1.: A shot of someone looking off screen. 2.: A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just listening to the other person speak. 
TILT:  Using a camera on a tripod, the camera moves up or down to follow the action. 
ZOOM:  Use of the camera lens to move closely towards the subject.

Storyboard Examples
From the Jane Animation Project - Hunting Sequence
Jane Animation Project Hunting Sequence Storyboard
A simple storyboard made using stick figures
Stick figure storyboard example
A storyboard for a TV Western
TV Western storyboard example
More Links
Acting With A Pencil
Famous Frames - Storyboards from Hollywood movies

Perception of Forms and Forces

Goal Concept:
All visual fields are networks of interacting forces

Access Prior Knowledge:

“A painting speaks only when it is seen as a configuration of forces, generated by its various visual components.”  ~ Rudolph Arnheim

New Information:

The Perception of Forms and Forces
To fully control pictorial organization, you, the artist must be aware of the psychological forces in a composition and orchestrate them, along with visible elements such as shape, form and color to produce a visual-psychological synthesis.  

Look at the square with the dot inside it.
Ask > “How do I know the dot is in the center of the square?”

It is perceived to be in the exact center because the dot interacts with an “invisible grid” - a psychological force field that is mentally projected to the figure.  This psychological matrix is in the form of an “x” which connects the four corners of the square.  Ultimately the visible and invisible elements lead us to the correct spatial determination of the dot.  

The “invisible grid” is a psychologically projected matrix of visual forces which tells us the dot is in the center.  The dynamic forces are equally balanced.

In every perceptive act, there is a similar coordinated effort of eye-brain action which scans and maps the forms and force fields involving thousands of subconscious measurements that determine the size, position, proportion and movement of visual elements.

> Think about parking a car, spiking a volleyball, catching a baseball, squeezing through anything, passing a soccer ball or skiing a mogal.  

Apply Knowledge and Skills:

Studio Activity: Shapes and Forces
All visual fields are networks of interacting forces.
shapesnforces.jpgCreate a collage-drawing abstract composition using geometric shapes (circles, squares, triangles...)  Develop a design using one or more geometric shapes with repetitions and size variations.  Cut ten or more shapes out of paper, then arrange and glue them inside of a square or rectangle.  Arrange the shapes to create various relationships between the positive and negative spaces.  Allow spaces to exist between the shapes, but do not overlap or have them touch.
Next, visualize the psychological forces in your picture.  With a marker, draw the invisible forces on your picture.  Use big arrows to suggest powerful forces, smaller ones to depict weaker tensions.  There is no ‘right ’or ‘wrong’ way to do this exercise.  In your own way, try to feel the invisible ‘push-pulls’ that seem to exist and fill the composition with symbolic arrows

Trigger Mechanisms:
Repeat, combine, animate

paper, gluestick, ruler, compass, scissors, felt-tipped marking pens, templates

Studio Activity: Energy Encounter
different forcefields can be combined in a single plane of reference
image002.jpgImagine two different ‘teams’ of abstract shapes interacting in the same visual space.  Symbolize each ‘team’ in a different way, ex, by straght, curved or dotted lines.  With a sharpie marker “weave” the symbolic lines together to produce a gybrid energy texture.

Trigger Mechanisms:
Repeat, Combine, Superimpose, Animate

paper, black marker

image004.jpgGeneralize, Publish and Reflect:
Instructional Strategy
  • Providing Recognition
Learning Activity

Instructional Strategy
  • Providing feedback
Learning Activity

Blind Contour

The Blind Contour

Goal Concept:

Blind contour drawing improves eye-mind-hand coordination

Access Prior Knowledge:

Trigger Mechanisms:
Flow, peach, mindfulness, meditation consciousness  

New Information:

The fovea  is a small area of the retina at the back of the eye where the cones are packed tightly together.  The fovea is responsible for our ability to focus and see details.  

The remaining area of the retina is used for peripheral vision.  Peripheral vision is necessary for our perception of a broad visual field.

The eye is full of muscles.  The iris is a muscle that regulates the diameter of the pupil, making it small in bright light and large in dim lighting (to allow as much light as possible to enter the eye).  

Muscles attached to the eye and connecting with the eye socket enable us to move our eyes up and down, left and right permitting us to scan a broad visual field without moving our heads.  

Apply Knowledge and Skills:

Studio Activity 1: Blind Contour
  1. Find a visually complex object.  Ex. flower, crumpled paper, open purse…
  2. Sit comfortably with a pen and paper taped to a board in front of your object.
  3. Close your eyes and become aware of yourself sitting in space.
  4. Relax and feel your butt on the seat.
  5. Continue to relax by taking deep, slow, sustained breaths.
  6. Mentally visualize stress leaving your body as your breath leaves your body.
  7. Now turn your attention to a time you were visually dazzled. (concert, sunset, gallery)
  8. Really sense the intensity of your total awareness at that time.
  9. Remember the awe of the total and undivided attention towards the spectacle.
  10. Permit that quality of seeing to dominate this exercise.
  11. When you feel that quality of ‘seeing’ relax to a deep breath and open your eyes.
  12. Fix your gaze to the object you have chosen and look at nothing else.
  13. Continue to look at the object, permitting your eyes to wander only over it.
  14. Look as if you are exploring the territory of the object.
  15. With your eyes staying fixed on the object, put pen on paper and allow it to move as your eyes move...your hand following your path of vision.

Studio Activity 2: Blind Peripheral Contour
1. do the opposit

Studio Activity 3: Scanning Exercises

Generalize, Reflect and Publish

How did the time pass, were you able to stay focused?

Studies show that much of visual perception is learned and is subject to modification through learning.  This means we can improve and expand visual perception.  We can strengthen and sharpen our visual perception through exposure and exercise.

p. 8-11 Visual Literacy



Goal Concept:

Sharpening abilities to form mental images.

Access Prior Knowledge:

Trigger Mechanisms:
Visualize, Imagine, Fantasize

New Information:

Apply Knowledge and Skills:

Studio Activity: Visualization
  1. Look at the image of the black circle for one minute.
  2. Look away and close your eyes and image the black circle in your mind.
  3. Imagine the circle splitting in half vertically, producing two half circles
  4. Imagine the two black half circles suddenly turning a brilliant orange with white dots.
  5. Imagine the half-circles turning into the wings of a butterfly.
  6. Imagine a butterfly with wings of bright orange and white dots and a black shiny body.
  7. Imagine the butterfly flying away.
  8. Rate yourself: 1- Clear, 2- Vague, 3- A struggle
  9. With group, create an imagination exercise and share it with the community.


Creative imagination operates by the interplay of several key functions;