Experimentation

After reading Kien Hoang’s Space Tells, Space Expands, Space Acts: An Exploration of Computer Animation through Spatial Concepts, I have been wondering what it means to me for a space to embody or what it takes for a viewer to engage in a piece emotionally. Besides the space and working to build it, I kept thinking about my relationship to the viewer. With no interactive elements, my perspective was that by watching a piece, the viewer was automatically in a more passive role instead of something, like Hoang’s Dash where the viewer becomes a part of the performance by moving in the space. When I was reading an article called Re-Centering Female Narratives through Murmurs and Song by Dr. Hilary Finchum-Sung, there was an argument that the listener is not passive but an active interpreter of the information delivered by a performer. This started to shift my way of thinking as this article addressed a performance called hunggulsori, which is an expressive way of singing based on an association to the performer’s personal life and trauma or desire. Finchum-Sung goes on to say that the participant in relation to the performer is “filtering it through personal and social history and experience in order to create meaning,” thus making them an active member of performance. As a result, this made me think about the translation of a designer’s experience or intent through the lens of the audience. I began to generate questions around the importance of connectivity through understanding the rules of a composition or art form and having honesty to the work to create a genuine engagement with a viewer.

In the midst of this week filled with many questions, I have seemingly stumbled back to this title sequence for The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez. The two things I am amazed by are the play between light and shadow. In this instance, the light feels like a narrator opening and closing a book to an important story. However, in that light that is constantly moving, it works with and against a shadow of the young boy, who represents Gabriel Fernandez. Even if it just an intro to the show, there is such a poetic and profound dialogue occurring through the juxtaposition of these components against such structured buildings that represent a justice system that has failed the youth.

As I approach the building of space around a narrative of child abuse, I am considering not only light as an aesthetic or emotional signifier in the arc of the story, but one that potentially acts as a character in the space in which it occupies.

When talking with my committee members, the idea of determining what would be important in a time frame was brought up. With a short time and wanting to get the most out of the project, I have decided to focus on the light and color and what that means in relation to emotion and embodying an idea, thus leading me into the first phase of modeling.

While I feel as though these images may be lacking, it was amazing to see how different I felt based on the lighting in the scene and how a subtle shift in intensity using the same lighting could impact a scene. In undergrad, lighting was honestly a last minute thing as I was scrambling to understand how to build a scene or animate a narrative. However, focusing on the light has been really fascinating. I still need to place point lights and spotlights to highlight and activate spaces that could be emphasized more.

In addition, I noticed my approach to building seemed to be different than I intended. Maybe it is all the reading I have been doing on Korean culture or maybe it is me now gravitating back towards my own heritage, but I started to combine aesthetics from both a Korean and an American classroom. While both are clearly classrooms, it was strange to once again see how different the approaches were to documenting classrooms and what it says about the structure of education. I ended up going with an overall Korean design as I liked the simplicity of the room as I would be collaging other images with this. However, I took chairs and tables from an American context as it felt more familiar than the upside down T-shaped legs of the Korean desk or wooden seats, which most schools have there.

Following building the classroom, I went back and looked at my chair from last week in comparison to what was developed this week in the reworks. In my mind, I knew that they were different based on the chair-shape and color. However, I was not expecting to see such drastically varying feelings and stories drawn from them. With the first one, it feels cold, lonely, and almost imprisoning. On the right even without the textures, the image feels warm and childlike. Through the use of warm and more saturated colors against a more rounded surface, like the chair, I feel like I am able to start to develop a good contrast to what will happen in the second half of the animation.

With the week wrapped up, I feel like I still have questions regarding lighting and its ability to direct attention and emotion. I like the idea of using “God lighting” or volumetric lighting to experiment with both an ethereal feeling but also drawing focus to a specific area in the room through line and direction. This will probably be something I experiment with in the coming days. Also, I am curious about how the addition of more color in the scene will influence the read in addition to lighting.

The next steps will be to texture the models. I definitely want to focus more on the lighting and overall color for this project in relation to the objects presented in each scene. After that, I will start rendering the first sequence, and then continue the cycle of experimentation and lighting in hopes of understanding embodiment more.

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