Unit 2 Assessment

-Realise the Project Proposal

In my Project Proposal i stated two main aims:

1. To further develop the contextual background of my work

2. To move from digital print to moving image

My first aim was realised in Unit 1 with the Research Paper,  with  the research I did then I have been able to develop a much better understanding of disgust and beauty, the two main subjects of my work.

The second aim, to move from digital print to moving image, has been realised too, and the final video has been ready for a few weeks:

Time-lapses / Stop-motions

After unit 1 finished I kept on making time lapses, stop motions and working on learning after effects

I started using a Light Cube (explained here), it let me contorlle the levels of light in the time lapses and stop motions and proved very handy on several occasions.

I did time lapse of flowers dying, fruit moulding and of meat going off, and stop motions of toy bugs, gem stones and octopuses.

Here is a collection of stop motions and time lapses:

As time went on I became more efficient at making the videos, but stop motions are very time consuming and even getting the fruit to rot had to be perfected. It turned out only English fruit would mould, the imported fruit would just dry up.

After Effects

I started learning After Effects in Unit One, and continued this in Unit 2. I found that my previous knowledge of Photoshop kame in handy and with the help of video copilot I quickly learned the basics. Then moved on to more complicated stuff and animating my drawings. Eventually i started putting all of the elements together.

Creating the final piece

The first start of the final film was created for the symposium, it was the first time i had put together the different elements, up to that point i was just making the different components.  It consisted mainly of layers of animated drawings, with some added time lapses.

I started putting the video together and doing low quality renders every day, allowing me to look threw it, take notes and then change it again. I published some of the videos, but most stayed on my computer due to their size. One early render can be seen here and another one here, in the second post i also wrote down the notes about what needed changing.

-Preparing for the final exhibition

Preparing for the final show was more problematic then I first envisioned. I had to learn much more about rendering, compression and HD video, and find the right settings to create a reasonably small sized file, and also a way to play that file.

When i first started the final render it all looked good for the first day or so, but once it got to the more complicated bits of my film it slowed down so much that the estimated time remaining was minus 35 hours, so i stopped the render and asked for help of my film friends, and one answered, camera man and general film wiz Matt King, taking his advice I made a plan that would eventually shorten both the final video size and the render time.  Ithe original project consisted of over 100 layers and several composition, making the render very slow, and also a lot of videos used were scaled down from other massive files, so i stared rendering parts of the video, like all the raspberries, then all the drawings, all the butterflies etc and then put them back together, making a much quicker render.I experimented with compressions, an after some research i fund that H.264 was the best option, and creates a much smaller file. H.264 is also the recommended compression for the play back option i would eventually go for.

HD

I always wanted to make my final piece HD, everything is going HD so there is no reason why art shouldn’t. Originally i wanted to put the video on a blu-ray disc, it seemed the easiest option. But when Mike from D-Fuse came to have a chat to us, I asked him about it, and he mentioned that burning a blu ray can be really really expensive! So I had to come up with another solution, the first thought was to use a mini mac, a newer one should have been able to play HD and play my large video, but sadly the ones at uni are too old and my old mac book pro would also have problems with the HD. After that Bill came up with the idea of using a simple dvd player with an HDMI connection, but the HD it playes would be fake. Eventually we found a solution!! The Wester Digital HD TV Media Player, its a box that lets you play pretty much any format music, photos and videos via an hd tv or projector.I had some problems getting it in the mail, but eventually i got one from PC World!

I had some thoughts about using a tv screen but eventually i opted for a full HD projector, because of the world cup renting one would be very expensive, so i got one from the internet, and with some sweet talk i got a good price and free shipping!

For the final show i got some help to build a plinth that fit my requirement, with good ventilation, shelves and a lock!

Organizing the final show

I also took a very active part in setting up and organizing the show, its been great fun, but exhausting! This site explains the proses of making the show from start to finish, for 14 weeks before the deadline to the final days.

-Present a resolved body of creative practice that has evidenced of the systematic enhancement of your knowledge and understanding.

The final video was created over a long period of time, it was systematicly rendered and then I would take notes and change what I felt needed changing. As the project was based on the same contextual background as my pre MA work there were no extreme changes my practise. The objects used in the film were taken from the website I created in Unit 1, www.disgustingbeautiful.com. The website proved a very useful tool when I was a bit short of inspiration. The main influence for the work was the research paper, and the reading done for it, particularly reading Kant. His quote from The Critic of Judgement: “There is only one kind of ugliness that cannot be presented in conformity whit nature without obliterating all aesthetic liking and hence artistic beauty; that ugliness that arouses disgust” became one of the driving forces of my work, I want to prove him wrong by showing that some things can be experienced as both beautiful and disgusting at the same time.

The majority of Unit two was spent making the various stop motions and time lapses, and while doing the the look of the final film have changed, from being more of a classic kaleidoscope to the more organic, growing, ambient piece that it is now. I wanted to create a moving print, stay true to my original work, and make something that a continuation of my practice.

-Analyse and reflect coherently upon your own practice and others through your presentation at the programmed symposium forming a synthesis of your practice-based research.

For the Symposium I showed a first draft/opening sequence of the final film rather then a selection of videos created that far. I felt that it was more important I show my peers where the work was going instead of where it had come from.  I did add a few older prints for those in the audience who had not seen the work before. Instead of having a recorded voiceover i chose to talk over the video. That meant a lot of babbling but hopefully i managed to mention everything i needed too. I got a lot of great feedback from the symposium, the others seemed to like the pace of the work, i was worried that it might become boring to watch, instead it became mesmerising.

Seeing the others work was great, and it made us all more excited about the final show. I tried to comment about alot of the others work, and I think I gave some good constructive feedback. My background from Fina Art played a large part of the symposium feed back, the others are mainly from backgrounds in animation, graphics, advertisement etc, so their thoughts on the work would be very different from mine. I found that in some work i felt that a stronger artistic and contextual background was missing and needed to be pushed. And I do think that MA digital arts is basically a fine art course, we create art for us, not products or drawings for others.

Summarise your overall progress

The most visible progress I think, beside the technical skills, is my ability to work to time managed,  I has never been s strong point of mine, but now i feel i am much mush better at it. Threw the creation of time tables and to do lists I became more productive. I created work plans and often daily to do lists, both in my notebook and digitally, and the feeling of satisfaction you get my ticking of lists has become almost a driving force in my life.

I learned a lot of new softwares, and new ways to use software i use daily. Before christmas I had never opened After Effects before, but now it is starting to become second nature to me, and i’m excited about learning more. I also dabbled in learning about HDR photography for fun, and I think i might become useful in the future. Along with this I also learned more about time lapsing and stop motion animation.

I had a lot of fun organising the degree show and found that I really enjoy bossing people around and telling them what to do (hopefully in a nice way), the skills learned doing it will defiantly come in handy later too.

Another bonus came from writing the blog on a semi daily basis, it has helped my spelling a lot, and also my screen fright. Before this MA i would always have to write everything down in a sketchbook before typing it down, now im happy just to sitt down by the computer and type away.

-formulate a constructive plan for continuing Personal and Professional Development.

I wrote about my plans for the future is the Unit 2 essay:

“When I finish the MA I aim to continue working as an artist, and keep developing new video work, as I really enjoyed the process of making this work. If I can’t do it full time then I will do it in my spare time. I always wanted to be an artist and I’m not much for giving up.

I really hope that the skills I have gained over the last year can help me get a job in the creative industry. I want to continue using After Effects and the other software’s I have used during this MA, I want to get more confident with them. I finish this MA with all the tools I would need to keep working so I have no reason not to.

I will keep applying for exhibitions and residencies, and I hope to get an internship or two in something more work related, so that I can get some work experience in a wider field, and also create a more commercial portfolio. I also want to continue the reading and researching that I started with my research paper, and perhaps eventually go for a PhD.”

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