Monday, March 28, 2011

Automatons & Curios

The interesting thing about this charming exhibition of 'inanimate' objects and constructions is that although we all knew they were constructed to 'look' as if they do something, and we want them to... they don't. Another example of the fact that our own imaginations are far more powerful and inventive than anyone else can tell us. In terms of animation its such a key lesson in showing less and telling more by investing in the referential knowledge and experience the audience brings.

200 Drawings

As a starting point for this project, I went back to the etymology of 'draw'. The word 'tragen' in German is particularly evocative; meaning to bear, carry, pull or drag.

I was also occupied with the notion that although the act of drawing is often associated with the freedom of expression, it is also fundamentally related to the idea of bearing a burden. Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty articulated this with his expression 'the labour of vision.'

To draw means to act upon something and make it move; it is traction, or friction that makes drawing possible.

Working on this exercise, I remembered Marcell Jankovics interpretation of Sisyphus (1974) from Greek mythology. His short film is an excellent example of using a few expressive lines to imply lines of action, weight, movement and stress. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Agents & Behaviours

This man has been in my head for a long time, and I like the idea of using him for the Agents and Behaviours brief...

He has a heavy city growing from his back, and no doubt over the years, the weight has increased as the city expands. How would he go about his daily business, leading an otherwise normal life.. What would it be like for him to use public transport? Just getting up out of a chair would be a challenge... I also like the notion that the city can reflect the emotional state of the character in itself and could even re-act to the actions of the man independent of him...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daily Sketch | Storyboarding with Chris

Hunter Gatherer | Kat Mew

Kat Mew (meow!dropped by the studio today to say hello, share with us her versatile body of work and talk about her current art practice.

Kat comes from a background in graphic design (Swinburne 1995) and has been through many incarnations to finally end up in the (very covetable) role as Head of Graphic Design at ACMI. Drool.

The really pertinent moments of Kats spiel, were when she spoke about the importance of experimenting as much as you can when given the opportunity. Illustrating this Kat spoke about her experience in the AIM program, describing the process of persevering with a technique and learning through trial and error. 

It was interesting to note that Kat confessed she wasn't particularly good at any one thing, but that she had experimented with a whole host of different mediums and genres, and this was an approach which had facilitated her getting work because she had such a diverse folio. Kat mentioned to me that the key was to work really hard now, so that it pays off later in your dream job..
"..I worked really, really hard...I worked my ass off..!"

An Aberration | Daily Loop

I had x-rays taken of my feet recently, and my partner has a few from years ago... I've always wanted to make them into lamps for our bedroom, and today when I was cleaning up I found these, started to take photographs, then started messing around in photoshop, then flash....and hence came up with this very strange loop...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On Learning New Software | Read The F***ing Manual!

It was so hard to get Jeremy in one position during class that I've had to draw him from memory; speaking about the perils of approaching a piece of software for the first time, as the majority of us will in Collaborative Project with Unity.

Moodboards | Individual Studio Practice




I'm obsessed with textures; I think there's something very evocative about a simple, beautifully generated texture, and I like using them in moodboards because I think they're particularly functional and adept at conveying atmosphere, especially if you are concerned with abstract ideas.

I tried to associate the three moodboards through a sort of three act structure with a loose narrative supported by organic/mechanical/textural/artefact-imperfection inherit images. I am drawn to narrative concepts that deal with decay, particularly urban decay, and the evolution of this occurrence. 

In making these moodboards; I had in mind the notion of a blank canvas, where a seed is planted and flourishes organically, only to develop and morph into something that becomes mechanised and processed and eventually decays. I guess, in short, possibly a piece of pristine bushland that in time becomes urbanised and developed.

Collaborative Studio Practice

I had to revisit the work of Canadian artist Char Davies in relation to the collaborative studio practice course the AIM team are undertaking with the 
aid of Unity. 

Davies is a new media artist, concerned with virtual spaces and interactive technology. She was a founding director of Softimage (now amalgamated into the conglomerate Autodesk) in Canada.  

The study of her two pieces of note, Osmose (1995) and Ephémère (1998), might be beneficial to generating ideas for the collaborative project and thinking about the theoretical space of the computer, and how we can treat and manipulate it. Davies has a doctorate in new media philosophy, and has written numerous essays on virtual space. Laurie McRoberts collected many of her ideas, processes and ratioanles in Char Davies' Immersive Virtual Art and The Essence of Spatiality; its worth reading just for the depth of information on her techniques. The paradox of her work remains that although her artwork used in the interactive real-time installations are algorithmically produced, they manifest as organic and ephemeral.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Collaborative Studio Practice | Strohmann

This piece was a great project to kick off the Collaborative Studio Practice course, as the resources were basic and the method of stop motion, although time consuming, is immediately rewarding and tangible. It was also nice to see the group dynamic grow and evolve over a short period of time, as we quickly allotted each other and ourselves tasks and time frames.

Karis Sim | Terry Formosa | Sophia Hanover
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology 2010

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Orgesticulanismus - Mathieu Labaye

"So when you're deprived of the ability to move, as I am, as many others order to survive you need to reinvent movement" - Benoit Labaye.

This film was part of the International Program series at MIAF last year, and I have been partly obsessed with the ideas in it since. I'm really interested in the 'everyday' movements, the cyclical morphing nature of the images, and the idea of repetition measured and quantified in a visual sense. They are notions that I'd like to explore in minor and major projects. Because I've been quite ill recently, the film has a certain resonance as I have found myself limited to bed in the past weeks, with only pencil and paper to express movement.

Daily Drawing

Just Relax...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monkey Business

A film site is in the workings, but you can still watch my grad film here on Youtube..

2d Animated Short
Writer | Director | Animator: Sophia Hanover
Sound Design: Justin Ashworth, otherwise known as Glasfrosch.
Produced at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), 2010

Screened @

Daily Drawing

Difficult conversations over a latte.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Some stills from a collaborative puppet project, under the rubric of Play & Inspiration; by myself, Karis and Terry. Moving images and audio to come!


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oh God. Just keep drawing.

Game On...

This year, I will really, really try to persevere with doing a drawing each day... Simon, I haven't forgotten our pact!

Hunters & Gatherers

As part of the Hunters and Gatherers lunch, week 2 brought John Bird into the studio on Thursday. Dedicated teacher, visionary, pioneer, enabler of the industry, and founding father of the AIM Centre courses, there was a palpable sense of reverence emanating from our small group of lecturers.
Professor John Bird has a background in art and graphic design, and was initially involved in the School of Film and Television at Swinburne University in the 70s. Bird was instrumental in providing Australia with its first ever accredited animation course and established the School’s postgraduate program in 1976.
In the late 1970s and early 80s, Bird recognised the enormous potential of making computers available to visual artists and animators; and convinced the Victorian Government to fund the establishment of the Computer Animation Development Centre in 1983. Bird’s contribution to the industry meant that the film school’s students had access to cutting edge resources and technology, in many ways pre-empting the development of the local industry and the creative potential of computer aided animation.
John continues to work as a consultant and policy advisor to government, education and industry bodies and retains an active interest in the courses he founded through his membership of AIM's Course Advisory Committee. Bird has engaged in research concerned with image recognition, telepresence and 'cluster' intelligence systems for airborne, autonomous, robotic aircraft.