Sunday, 29 April 2012

Unit 6: Influence Maps #1

A selection of medical art illustrations posted by newscom:

A selection of cellular images and microscopic closeups of muscle fibre:

Both of these influence maps have a wide range of bold neon colours on a dark black background and strong internal glowing; it's something that I want to carry over in my animation for a strong visual effect.

Unit 6: Idea #2 Mitochondria

The mitochondria are membrane-enclosed organelles housed within the cell's body; they act as the cell's power-plant producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for chemical energy. Mitochondria are also responsible for other functions to the cell's growth and also the cell's death so they can be considered the maker and death dealer within the cell so if they malfunction then the cell corrupts.
One way the organelles begins cell ageing is by releasing a byproduct of ATP production which free radicals. Oxidative stress then mutates the mitochondrial DNA and produces abnormalities and ageing effects.

Mitochondrial malfunction has also been linked to the shortening of telomeres so I've been thinking that I could tie in my idea of telomerase with the mitochondria.
Bringing in the same act system from my idea #1 I can house the mitochondria next to the chromosome factory (nucleus) as two big engines. As the factory and chromosome production begins to fail the mitochondria engines swell and enter a state of overload. This in turn corrodes the whole cell and then the cell replicates into another cancer cell.
Also mitochondria group themselves massively in areas with a lot of aerobic energy consumption like the brain, organs and muscles so I could locate the scene within a muscle strand to get a visually appealing background.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Unit 6: Idea #1 Telomeres

Telomeres act as the protective caps for chromosomes and as with the shoelace metaphor it protects the chromosome like the shoelace from outside damage. As a human gets older and the chromosomes split more and more the telomere cap gradually gets shorter and the chromosomes are exposed to damage which in turn ages the human body.

However there is an enzyme called telomerase which carries a genetic template and could return the telomeres to their original length to continue protection. The only problem is that telomerase can effectively continue the production of too many chromosomes and in turn lead to an overload. Cancer also has a telomerase template which is why cancer can duplicate itself infinitely.

My idea for the replication of chromosomes:
Act 1:
A little organic looking factory within the human body is producing chromosomes. In one end one chromosome pair goes in and out the other comes out two pairs. This goes on until they seem to get shorter from the telomeres deteriorating and the factory starts to produce them at a slower rate.
Act 2:
A glowing telomerase enzyme floats down from the darkness and attaches itself to the factory. The output of the chromosomes goes back to normal length and the factory is even more supercharged in its production. Everything seems like its going great but then.....
Act 3:
The chromosomes start coming out too fast and the factory starts becoming warped. The chromosomes starts to look deformed and the same goes for the factory. It ends up really bloated and swollen and turns into a cancer cell spewing out misshapen chromosomes.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Unit 6: After Effects intro

Dabbled in effects and how things work in After Effects, going to be interesting to use in the long run.

-learned about layers
-how to keyframe effects
-photoshop to after effects
-the uses of 2D in time limited animation production

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Unit 6 Commision: Intro

Our final project of the year opens up with a commission introduced to us by Dr. Klappa about the human body and its cells. We are to produce a 3D animation of up to 2 minutes that expresses the complex biological processes within cell reproduction for an audience group of our choosing. We've been given a choice between three scenarios of how to engage our animation: the intricate reproductive cycle of the human cell in which chromosomes duplicate, the introduction of cancer and how it begins from lack of reproductive control, and finally the process of ageing and the theories around immortality and its concequences, particularly the Telomere Theory, the Mitochondrial Theory and the the Insulin-Like Theory.

I will be closely following the latter of the three choices and focus on ageing and possibilities of immortality and concequences of cancer and tumors that could follow. I'll create a possible animation scenario for each of the three theories and then each combine or narrow down my choices following further developement.

We also have to choose an artistic direction in terms of our audience group (eg. children's informative cartoon, student's informative video, or discovery channel-like animation) and I've given some thought and decided to take a cinematic direction for my animation. My animation will rely on visuals and camera movements to create an animation that has the possibility of cinema developement; this will give it a wide age group and also non-scienctific audiences.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Unit 5 Animator Bio: Winsor McCay

 Winsor McCay can be described as one of the first pioneers in drawn animation and though not the very first he was the first to show that animation could be used for commercial use in cinema instead of a cult following.
His birth remains a little elusive to this date but it’s narrowed down to 1867-1871 in the Great Lakes region, most likely on the Canadian side. Ever since a child McCay was an excellent artist and continuously drew throughout his childhood and teen years. In 1886 his parents sent him off to a college in the neighbouring Michigan to become a businessman however at the same time he was taught art by a James Goodison at a different college in the area. Even though this was his only formal art training it was enough to drive his already existing talent towards the right direction.
In 1891 not having enough money to attend university and having finished his job with an engraving company McCay moved to Ohio, where he met his wife, to work at a dime museum as an artist. His career as an animator started little by little from this point; he began to do vaudeville (a type of theatrical genre) chalk talks by drawing faces and then aging them. At the same time one of his other jobs was creating comic strips for publishing and newspapers.

The vaudeville acts then led him on to creating Gertie the Dinosaur, in which he would also participate in the animation making it seem like the dinosaur was alive. This was the critical point in which animation could be seen in a new light of film industry. It was also one of the first animated features to present a character with a sense of a real personality which other animation were lacking at the time.
McCay continued to draw editorial cartoons in a newspaper, American, till his death in 1934. His drawing was his dream and creative release, “He wanted animation to be an art. He wanted newspaper strips to appeal to the eye and the soul. He wanted to draw. No matter how many barriers stood in his way, he managed to accomplish that.” (Vadeboncoeur, 2000)

Vadeboncoeur, J. (2000) Illustrators At: (Accessed on 21.04.12)
Illustration List
Fig. 1 Winsor McCay [online image] At: (Accessed on 21.04.12)
Fig. 2 Gertie the Dinosaur [online image] At: (Accessed on 21.04.2012)

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Unit 5: Animatic

I've already started animating but amongst the rush to begin I forgot to post my animatic. It really helped me out with getting the frame ladder setup for the shot lengths.

Thursday, 12 April 2012