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Animation · Week 2

Response to Understanding Comics

Reading Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, by Scott McCloud encouraged me to reflect on the various ways and forms of story telling, and how comic plays a role in the arts. Through the chapters in the book which dissects and explains in detail about the properties of comics, I was able to grasp the core of the magic behind comics and learn about the various components which help makes comic engaging and fun to read.

In the book, six types of comic frame transitions were introduced. With the visual examples provided for each, I was able to clearly understand how these different type of transitions work and think about what kind of effect the jump with these different transitions create. I find it interesting that through the analysis of various comic artists’ works provided in the book and presented in bar graphs, action-to-action, subject-to-subject, and scene-to-scene transitions were the more dominantly used techniques in American comics. However, growing up in Asia and being slightly more exposed to Eastern and Japanese comics as a kid, the other slightly more indirect or gradual transitions makes sense to me as well. I agree with how storying telling in Eastern cultures seem to emphasize a little more on setting the scene or establishing a mood or context, which may feel a little tortuous or more indirect in some parts of the story telling. Despite that, I definitely think that finding a balance between the speed in which the story is presented wether with the number of frames, gradual or quick jumps in between each, or the selection of transition techniques is critical in comics.

Furthermore, the book also covers different elements in comics, such of the nature of timing, use of lines, and the addition of various colors, which I find super comprehensive and compelling. Despite multiple elements or reactions in a scene may have happened almost simultaneously, I find it interesting and have never really thought about how the way that us readers look through bubbles of a scene or frame invisibly creates a delay in time. In addition, the examples of various kinds and position (or curves) of strokes used to create the lines the indicate a movement within the frame(s) also inspired me to think about how these little details or additions can have a humongous impact on the way readers perceive the visuals and story. I personally really like the use of spot colors, and the other various ways of including color in comics to create hierarchy or establish a certain mood shown through the examples in the book also inspired me to hopefully experiment more with color in the future. Overall, I was super engaged by the way which the information is presented in this book, find the rich content of both the information and visuals very inspiring, and reading the book definitely deepened my understanding of comics.

After Effects Animation Project Storyboard

I am working with Rachel and Alina together on this After Effects animation project, and our current plan is to create an animation based of an excerpt of ancient story, XiaoYaoYou (逍遙遊), by ZhuangZi (莊子), a famous Chinese philosopher who lived around 4th century BC during the Warring States period.

The mythological story is about a Kun fish (鯤魚) which transforms into a Peng (鵬, large bird) that glides through the sky to surrealistically symbolize and represent his philosophy about the enjoyment of untroubled ease.


Storyboard Created by Alina

Our animation starts off with a piece of falling leaf which lands onto the water, the the scene continues to zoom out until a large Kun fish can be seen. The Kun fish swims in the water, slowly takes off from the water, and starts surfing through the air as if its flying. At the end, with a little bit of a surprise element, the scene then zooms in to show that the leaf at the beginning actually fell into a tea cup instead of a large water surface and the entire story came from the surrealistic imagination of ZhuangZi.

Visual style:

In terms of our stylistic choice, we plan on using elements of traditional Chinese paintings to create assets and collages for our animation. We hope to present our animation in a more Eastern and traditional painting feeling style to bridge together with the content of our animation.

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