Convergence/Divergence Katherine Peever
Synopsis of study The majority of us enjoy collecting things, whether its small items such as postcards, books, thimbles, or bigger things like cars and antiques; but few of us are compulsive collectors, or hoarders. I find the concept of compulsive hoarding particularly interesting, why do individuals choose to collect things, or refuse to throw them away? Is it psychological or biological? And when does hoarding become a serious problem? I plan to investigate this ‘disorder’, as it is sometimes called, and the individuals that collect and hoard particular items obsessively and try and find out why. In the past few units I have stuck to 2D drawings/collages and consequently developed my drawing skills, however for this unit I would really like to translate my drawings and collages into 3D to create a screen based film/animation. I have briefly worked with model making and enjoyed the process of creating three-dimensional work and seeing the outcome, I’d really like to develop this much further and to push myself as an illustrator. I believe this will help me to understand the varying ways in which illustration can communicate an idea/concept. The idea of using
and making 3D objects, such as pottery, relates to the concept of hoarding well as they are personal
objects that people do collect. I recently visited the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, after seeing his ceramic pieces I have been inspired to create my own and to incorporate 3D pieces into my work. I will need to experiment with making my own ceramics/pottery and with found/collected items. I have also never worked with moving image before so I am also interested to where this takes my work, I plan to use my previously developed skills in drawing and collage to help me with this project. As a starting point I will look further into Picasso’s ceramics to study the techniques used and the type of images he created. The work of Grayson Perry will be important in my research as he incorporates both drawing and collage into his pottery and is very successful in his practice, his work is very inspirational and I believe it will help inform my research and development throughout this unit. As I am new to moving image I will also need to explore software such as Adobe After Effects and the techniques of filmmaking and stop motion, to do this I will attend workshops and study related texts. I hope that by experimenting with 3D illustration and moving image I will be able to push my creative practice into something new and interesting whilst expanding my knowledge and experience in various ways of visual communication. Including screen-based communication in my portfolio is a great way of showing versatility in my practice and in turn proves to possible employers that I have a wide range of skills.
My final moving image outcome will communicate the problem of hoarding/collective items that we don’t need through a sequence of images, my audience will be able to relate to this topic as the majority of the population collect at least one thing, therefore my piece will speak to variety of different people and can be shown in various different places, I would like to see what it looks like shown amongst hoarded items, for example in a hoarders home. I hope that the 3D element means that even though it will be screen based media, it still retains a tactile feel and the essence of hoarding, or a crowding of items. I plan to document my research and development throughout this unit in the form of an inkling that will be presented alongside my film.
I was initially inspired by the Channel 4 documentary: Obsessive Compul-
sive Hoarder, the documentary follows a man who has been living within tonnes of his own possessions and rubbish for decades, never throwing
anything away. As I watched the documentary I was particularly interested in the way he has to move about through his home; climbing over and squeezing through piles of what appears as rubbish to us, but as precious possessions to him. The use of camera angles throughout the documentary help to accentuate the amount of stuff, I was consider these while I am story boarding my own animation.
HOARDER â€œI exist here.â€?
Grayson Perry Initially I started my research looking at artists who create pottery to look into how they use this type of medium to put their message across. Grayson Perry is a prolific potter and is well-known for this ceramic pots that tell a story, I really like the way some of this pieces are covered with images and words, almost as if they are ‘cluttered’. It’s interesting how he chooses to use pottery as a medium for his artwork and to tell a story. I love the idea of this but as I’m creating an animation I want the movement and sound to help tell a story or to inform.
I really like these pots by Marcus Oakley particularly the use of colour and pattern and that they’re not perfectly shaped, adds a bit of character.
Clay Hickson From The Wiley Hickson 2011 Collection
On my recent visit to Barcelona I came across an antiques market full of various different objects, I really loved the layout of each table, which was crammed full of objects, piled on top of each other. This helped to inspire me, I particularly liked the stacks and stacks of books, I think this gave an interesting image. The market also helped to give me ideas on what objects I could use for my animation, Iâ€™d like to think about using books, ornaments and little nic nacs as I believe the combination of these will create a sense of clutter and excess. As I already have quite a lot of books and crockery this means I already have a lot of stuff to work with so I will begin my experiments with these objects. As I stated in my Learning Agreement, I intended to produce my own pottery and/or ceramics to use in my animation, however as I researched further into how I could do this, I found that the time and money that I would need to do this, is not effective and I think that using found objects instead would be more resourceful and help with my time-keeping.
Screen shots (left) from The Joy of Books by YouTube user crazedadman. I really love this animation, it has really inspired me to use books as part of my project as they create a really interesting effect when animated, the use of movement here helps to add a sense of clutter and almost as if the books are alive with a mind of their own; I would love to experiment with this concept of anthropomorphising objects. I think the choice of music in this also makes the books seem alive, for my own animation I want to investigate different forms of soundtrack: score or sound effects, to find out which works best with my film. Watch The Joy of Books here.
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet The film is about a group of misfits gaining revenge, there are some scenes within the film that show a room built inside a scrap yard filled with nic nacs and clutter. The scene pans around the room showing the amount of stuff inside, I really love this scene in the film, the use of set design is incredible, I find it really inspiring. The music, which is composed by RaphaĂŤl Beau and Max Steiner creates a sense of magic, Iâ€™d consider using a similar soundtrack for my own animation.
Watch the trailer here
“Clutter is things you no longer use or love. It’s too much stuff and furniture for the space you live in.”
After my first tutorial I needed to investigate into the reason why people become hoarders, what was it that made them keep everything and never throw anything away, I had to look into psychology behind the disorder to help inform my research. I also needed to look further into how other artists have animated 3D objects and how effective it is, from this I searched YouTube and Vimeo and found many examples of 3D stop-motion, some that have worked well and inspired me and some that aren’t as effective. I started to research online about the actual problems behind hoarding and when does it become an issue.
“For some people belongings are a source of comfort and pleasure, for others they have become a cause of irritation and disorder” No More Clutter by Sue Kay (Mobius, 2006)
“I can’t possibly let go of my books- they are the map of my life.”
Randy Frost -TIME Magazine.
All of us have a special relationship with things and that relationship is in some ways magical. We get carried away with those attachments and while that could get more of us into trouble with our possessions - most of us are able to decide when an object begins to interfere with our life. We do something about it at that point. That’s the thing that is so troublesome for people who hoard: when that object begins to interfere, they simply put up with it rather than deal with it.
“How does an inanimate object come to acquire so much emotional significance and meaning in your life?” No More Clutter by Sue Kay (2006)
Part of the phenomena is a tendency to anthropomorphise things and give them feelings.
We were given a basic tutorial on how to create a stop-motion animation using Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Bridge. We then had a few hours to storyboard and create our own using objects we found in the studio; our initial ideas were to use some model buildings to create a mini village, a dragon and a Hello Kitty doll, which were all found in the illustration studio.
Stop-Motion Workshop This workshop was really helpful, not only because I learnt how to produce a stop-motion, but the practice helped me to realise what sort of timing and patience goes into the production, although the final animation produced on this day is a quick and fairly basic one, I think we were all surprised at how long it took. This helped me gain experience and knowledge for when I begin my own animations as I now understand how important time keeping skills are.
I then began to start my own animation relating to my theme of hoarding, I started really basically with mugs and books just to get the hang of how I could animate the objects and the location. I was happy with my first attempt, the objects fill up the screen towards the end which adheres to the concept of hoarding and overflowing.
CLICK TO WATCH
The concept for my first stop-motion animation, is that the space is empty at first then one by one the space is filled with objects until they take over the screen - the space here represents the space within a home.
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Stop-motions by PES with an interesting use of sound effects, especially in ‘Western Spaghetti’ (right) where they appear to be slightly exaggerated and are very effective, watching the animation with no sound gives a completely different appearance, I am beginning to realise how important sound is within an animation. I’d like to experiment with using sound effects in my animation.
LE TRAVAILLEUR By Château-vacant
An amazing stop-motion using various found objects in a warehouse creating movement and the human form. This is really inspiring for my project, the use of objects alongside the music is different to any stop-motion I’ve seen before.
Sound Design Workshop
Chris Reed from The Paper Cinema came in to give us an overview of sound design and it’s uses, this was really interesting to learn about as I’d never really considered the effect music or sound effects has on a piece of film, he gave the introduction to Bladerunner as an excellent example of how sound design can give impact to a scene.
We were then given the chance to experiment with making our own sound effects using found objects and Adobe Auditions, this again helped me to gain knowledge on the program as I had never used it previously and had no experience with sound design. The workshop made me really exited to start making my own sound effects for my animation.
How I am going to create a stop-motion animation: as the workshop we were given at university showed me how to do this on Adobe PhotoShop and as I am familiar with the program, I am going to use PhotoShop. As a basis I will put my animations at 10fps as I believe this is a good starting point for me, once I have finished I will play around with timing. I then plan to import my film into Adobe After Effects to add music/sound effects and any editing that is needed. From the sound design workshop I also now have a basic knowledge of Adobe Auditions where I will be able to play around with the soundtrack and sound effects and synchronise it to my animation.
Again experimenting with objects within a Experiment with objects ‘passing through’ the space, representing restriction.
walls of the space to depict a kind of ‘overflow’
I’m very happy with these tests as a beginning, I believe the combina-
For my second test animation I decided to
tion of mugs and books works well, helps to emphasise the idea that
animate mugs and cups in a similar way
hoarders don’t just keep one type of object.
to my first test but this time use a confined
I’m pleased with the use of a restricted area, however I need to work
environment, to represent to constrictions
on composition and movement but I think by using a confined space
of a hoarders home. I chose to use a
to work with links to the confined space of a compulsive hoarders
bookcase for this, I did a few experiments
home. I want to work on how else I can animate the objects to give
using the bookcase as a confined space.
them a sense that they are alive, referencing Randy O Frosts findings
I think this works well, particularly with the
of hoarders anthropomorphising objects.
concept of hoarding.
animation so I decided to experiment further using books
Rough storyboards from my sketchbook I wanted to work on the movement of the objects within my as a basis to see in what ways I can move them using stop-motion. In these testers I think that the movement of the camera books, however I need to convey the idea of clutter/excess much more extensively. I will need to translate what I have learnt from these testers into a confined space again; I will return to using the bookcase but Iâ€™d like to look around my own personal environment in my home for confined spaces.
works well as it helps to show the excessive amount of
Monday 19th March Midway Critique Following my critique I realised I need to experiment much more with what objects I use and the setting/environment. This gave me an idea of using plastic bags as an experiment to see how well they animate, I also thought about using an object to â€˜followâ€™ and move about through the house into different spaces, to appear as if they are passing through the walls - breaking the boundaries - overflowing.
The Collyer brothers were two brothers in New York who were renowned for their obsessive hoarding which in the end caused their death, after police had broken into their apartment they discovered, among others, these items... INFORMATION FROM WIKIPEDIA
A horses jawbone A piano X-ray machine Doll carriage Rusty bikes Old food Potato peelers Guns Glass chandeliers Bowling balls Camera equipment Folding top of a horse drawn carriage Sawhorse 3 dressmaking dummies Painted portraits Pin up girl posters Plaster busts Mrs Collyers hope chest Rusty bed springs Kerosene stove A childs chair Old newspapers Folding beds and chairs Half a sewing machine Boxes Parts of a wine press The frame of a baby carriage A rake Old umbrellas tied together 25000 books Several outdated phonebooks Human organs pickled in jars Eight live cats Tapestries Hundreds of yards of unused silks and fabric Clocks 14 pianos A clavichord Two organs Banjos Violins Bugles Accordions A gramophone and records
THE COLLYER BROTHERS
Images from my own home inspired by Song Dong.
Song Dong Waste Not. 2005 http://www.moma.org/ Artist Song Dong created an installation from all of his mothers possessions that she had hoarded throughout her life â€˜incase they became usefulâ€™. The use of layout and composition here is interesting and is something I could take and transfer to my own work. This has also inspired to do a similar thing with all my possessions on a smaller scale.
Following my critique and further research I chose to animate plastic bags filling a confined space, of a kitchen cupboard, then one bag falls out and travels into the next room, where a book appears in the bag and then continues to travel towards the bookcase, where more books and cups fill up the spaces. Shown above is a storyboard of my idea before I began animating, I have been having trouble using storyboards as so far I have been using my camera and observing my surroundings and the objects around me and story boarding as I go along, I have found this easier however as my animations are getting larger and more complex I believe I need to start storyboarding correctly before I begin so I don’t waste any time.
Here are photos depicting the main locations that I used in this animation. As before this animation is 10fps, I’m quite happy with the timing, I believe it’s more effective. However I want to extend the scene with the bookcase as it feels to me as if it ends too suddenly. I should experiment with an ‘alternate ending’ to make it longer and more interesting to watch.
I really like the way the bags fill their environment, I could potentially use more bags to really fill the space, or perhaps vary the objects. I think the bag ‘crawling’ out of the cupboard works well, and the movement across the floor seems to give it a personality which I want to continue through to other objects...
Following on from my previous test animation I made anther stop-motion using the bookcase again, this was to follow on from the animated plastic bags as I wasn’t happy with the ending. I believe this version is much more successful as the movement of the objects creates more of a sense of clutter and excess by filling up each space and spilling out into the floor. I also tried to anthropomorphise the objects to represent the idea that each thing has a mind of it’s own, taking over the space.
Here I attempted to create the appearance of objects passing through the ceiling and into another room, I don’t think this animation works well, I believe it’s obvious enough that the books are passing through the ceiling, I don’t think I will use this technique in my final animation as it may be too confusing and unclear about what it happening.
Get Your House in Order on More 4, March 2012
These are screen shots from TLC’s Buried Alive program featured a woman whose house is filled with collected items such as: junk jewellery, cook books, gardening books, cats, silverware, candle sticks, travel brochures, and so many hats that she has been given the nickname ‘the hat lady of Omaha’. The shots of this ladies house gave me some inspiration of the camera angles I could use to emphasize the amount of clutter and also this has given me some idea of what kind of object I could potentially use as I have been buying/finding items throughout this project, almost becoming a hoarder myself.
CLICK TO WATCH
Continuing with my stop-motion experiments I chose a different confined space in my house (a wardrobe) and used clothes,
CLICK HERE TO WATCH
shoes and mugs to fill the area. This is set at 10fps. I’m happy with the use of shoes appearing from inside the box, I think this adds a sense of surprise to the viewer and it also relates to idea of excess as the shoes seems to be multiplying uncontrollably. I will definitely consider using this technique in my final production. After having a tutorial I also realised that I need to consider using ‘unusual’ objects in a space, as in objects that you wouldn’t associate with that part of the home: for example the mugs in the draw, and the plastic bags in the kitchen cupboard.
Rooms can no longer be used as they were.
I then took my camera as a visual device and tried to find locations within the home that could be used as a restricted space and objects that didnâ€™t fit there and created short animations so I could get an idea of how well this worked. I liked the idea of filling the cups with lots of smaller items, the excess of smaller objects accentuates the idea of clutter and hoarding.
In an interview with a collector, who is the
father of a friend of mine, when asked “How
Following from my experience in the sound design workshop, I
much of a loss would it be to you if these
decided to experiment with sound effects to incorporate into my
collections were lost/stolen/ruined?” He an-
animation. I tried my hand at creating my own sound effects us-
swered: “I’d be a broken man!”. This to me
ing found objects and sounds downloaded from freesound.org,
emphasised the attachment hoarders/collec-
piecing them together in Adobe Auditions. The result of this didn’t
tors have with their possessions, I want to
suit my film, I believe that the music created a better sense of
show this connection within my animation
clutter and excess so I plan to use music rather than sound ef-
either through use of visual language or
fects in my final piece.
through the use of sound/music. As I’ve been thinking about the type of music I’d like to incorporate in my film, I considered a fairly upbeat, quirky song that builds in intensity throughout to create an overwhelming sense of loss of control, to represent the loss of control a person has over their disorder. As I was watching the Channel 4 program
Four Rooms I noticed that the music in the background was similar to what I had in mind for my animation, I therefore researched into who the composer was to try and find this music. I found that Tom Howe composed the score for Four Rooms and he had many other compositions that I thought could possibly fit within my animation. I also came across George Frideric Handel - The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, which I’d like to test with my animation as I think the fast paced music would work well. I have used Adobe After Effects to synchronise these compositions with one of my test animations, I believe that they both suit my film quite well, however I could find something
I decided to look back at my previous research to look for sound-
track ideas, I looked again at the film MicMacs (Page 6.) and studied the music used. Subsequently I discovered that track 3
CLICK TO WATCH SOUND EFFECTS TEST
from the official soundtrack: Larrons En Foire, has a quirky beat
CLICK TO WATCH SOUNDTRACK TEST
climax towards the end which suits my test animations and ad-
that builds to a heres to my initial ideas for music.
I decided to play about and experiment with composition in After Effects by using four separate videos in one screen. This was to create more of a sense of chaos and clutter, however I think this may be too busy and the viewer can’t concentrate on the movements in each video.
For my final animation I plan to follow this storyboard, and using Rapheal Beau’s Larrons en Foire as score music. I have noted the timing of the music so that when I’m creating my stop-motion I know how many photos I need to take in each scene/location, I will be using 10 frames per second as I this is the speed I have been working with in my testers and I believe it has been successful. My plans for the narrative of this final film is to begin with the front door of the home being opened then moving through the hallway, where various objects will fill and move about within the space. The camera will then travel down the hallways whilst aiming up the stairs and to the ceiling to portray the extent of the hoarding, the camera then moves back down to show a room crawling with various objects multiplying and cluttering the environment. I will use my knowledge and experience from my test animations to help guide and inform my production. From my research I want to take into account the camera angles/close-ups that help to accentuate the sheer volume of stuff; the high angles to show the whole area, close ups that fill the screen with clutter. I hope to use these techniques and a narrative structure to present the idea that hoarding and collecting objects takes over your life and your home and your possessions begin to own you rather than you owning your possessions.
After I began my initial filming for the final animation, I wasn’t happy with the movement from the stairs to the next room, therefore I stopped animating and ‘re-did’ my photographic storyboard to try out a different path. I chose to point the camera towards the floor instead of the ceiling so that I could cover the floor with clothes and follow them into the next room. Once I moved the animation into the next room I decided to use a selection of close ups of spaces instead of a panning shot of the whole room. The was due to practical reasons and I wanted to convey the idea that the objects fill every little space.
Final editing process.
In the editing process for my final animation, I imported my images into PhotoShop to create the initial stop-motion film (10 frames per second). As it’s my final film and needs to be a good quality I set the measurements to 1820 x 1210, to ensure a clear picture. I then imported the film into After Effects so that I can add music and edit the film. I used the program to add text to the beginning and end; I decided to use ‘Hoarding’ as the title and a short definition of the term to help inform the concept behind my film. I wanted the text to be fairly basic as not to distract from the animation, merely to introduce it, I used a basic font and used a fade out transition. After Effects also allows me to synchronise my chosen music to my film, I then placed and cut the film so that it fitted alongside the music. The song I decided to use is Raphael Beau’s Larrons en foire from the film MicMacs (Jean-Pierre Jeunet). I chose this as I believe it fits well with the quick movement in my film and helps to creates a lively feel which is what I was looking for. Before importing the music into After Effects to add to my animation, I edited it slightly in Audition in order for it to suit the length and timing of my film.
In modern times most of the information we consume is through the internet and interactive media, it is the easiest and fastest method of communicating and sending information to a worldwide audience. This means that we as illustrators are able to communicate our thoughts and ideas to broad audience very quickly, for this reason I wanted to publish my project and final animation online so that it is accessible to my target audience. As I stated in my learning agreement, my demographic is fairly broad, as the majority of the population collect or buy things they don’t need and grow attached to the item (perhaps for sentimental reasons) resulting in a refusal to get rid of it. Hoarding is an extreme level of collecting and buying, I believe that many people can relate to the concept of hoarders, and as my film shows what could happen if you never throw anything away it could be seen as a kind of warning against hoarding objects. For me personally learning about the disorder and using my own home and the objects within it to create the animation, forced me to realise that I myself own too many things that I don’t need, and can see some similarities with myself and obsessive compulsive hoarders. As I started this project I wanted to experiment with different media to illustrate a message or an idea, not only to expand my portfolio and knowledge, but to view how my work translates into screen-based media, I’m happy with my progress throughout this unit as I have developed new skills, particularly in Adobe After Effects and I have a whole new perspective on the art of stop-motion. I can now appreciate the skill and time management it takes to create even a few seconds of film. I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and I will take the skills and experience I have gained into my future projects. Along with my blog and vimeo, I also wanted to create something that presented my project that you could physically flick through rather than viewing online. As my animation features stacks of books/ magazines/newspapers, I had printed a newspaper version of my research and development. I’m happy with this as an addition to my project as it relates to hoarding itself. CLICK HERE TO WATCH MY FINAL ANIMATION