Monday, 30 April 2012

Diagram of Mitosis

The diagram below is essential to my understanding of the process of Mitosis. The research beforehand gave me a basis to work from, as I simplified the information into something I understood. At the moment in terms of what I hope to create on screen I may purely focus on Mitosis, as the process in its self is complex enough to animate.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Maya Cells Experiment 2

After researching into the cell cycle and mitosis I gained a better understanding of cell structure and decided to experiment again with texture and lighting. The images below are the outcome. So far my experimentation seems to be a million worlds apart from what I have as a more finalised concept in mind. I think for now I need to leave Maya alone till I come up with concept art and my final script.

Research: Cell Cycle Control System and Mitosis

Let's start with the visuals!!!

Type of Cells - Eukaryotic cells are present within the cell cycle

Now for the scientific breakdown ... 
Most eukaryotic cells follow a process of growth and division called the cell cycle. The cell cycle has 5 key stages, this is called the interphase:

G1 – Cell grows

R – Cell decides whether to continue

S – Synthesis and replication of DNA occurs

G2 – Cell prepares to divide

M – Mitosis (cell divide)

G1 - Normal cell functions occur, as well as cell growth

R - This is where cells are checked (as if a health check-up) to see if they're correct for cell and DNA replication

S - In this phase DNA replication occurs, making two copies of chromosome

G2 - Preparation for mitosis and cell division
M - Mitosis has 4 stages (1) Prophase (2) Metaphase (3) Anaphase (4) Telophase

(1) Prophase - Chromosomes become more visible, shorter and thicker. The nuclear envelope breaks down and spindle fibres form, moving to opposite sides of the cell
(2) Metaphase - Chromosomes line up along the equator/centre of the cell preparing to divide
(3) Anaphase - Chromosomes are divided by sister chromatids and move away via its spindle fibre
(4) Telophase - Chromosomes reach the opposite side of the cell and develop a new nuclear envelope around the chromosomes - they then uncoil

Cell Division - Cytokinesis (where cytoplasm separates) occurs and the cells divide into two genetically identical cells  


Bibliography (Accessed on:24/4/12)

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Maya Cells Experiment

There's a slight chance I may have got a little carried away with experimenting in Maya . . . Anyways this is what I created, to be honest not entirely sure what cells I had in mind for this! I was experimenting with textures and colours that I could use later on. However, in terms of style I'm not sold 100% on it, as in previous posts I have shown I wanted to contrast of two dimensional and three dimensional objects. I want to produce an animation that’s so unconventional.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Inspiration Overload

Art Vs. Science


This is me at the moment thinking how I can combine art into science i.e. having balloons and bubbles as red blood cells and viruses.

Style Influence Maps

Style: Previous Work

Although the content of these images are unrelated to the topic I feel in terms of style and colour they could assist in narrowing down which direction I continue in. The following images I created by scanning objects into the computer and then editing colour, contrast etc. There are two different edits from the original scan; the first is the original image, the second is a bold contrast and colour image and the last focuses on certain colours and remain pastel. I like the bold contrasts within the first edit, yet there's something so appealing about the bluey pastel colours.   

Influences and Inspirations

My initial concept for this project was the idea of a pop-up book animation, when each page turns different cells etc. jump out and are animated above the book itself. I wanted the animation to be original and have multiple appeals, yet at the moment the target audience is a little hazy. Researching further I found the following video clips, giving me numerous ideas of how I can work with this idea and what can actually be achieved with the somewhat static pop-up book. With the first two animations, they portray how movement can be conveyed. I like the style and flow of the first animation, everything is clean cut and the colour palette is contained. The second is great style wise, slightly long winded in places, but I like the unfolding of the environment. The third clip isn’t portrayed as a pop-up book, but I just found it so mesmerising to watch, its simple in terms of design, yet the projection brings it to life. It is truly stunning and I felt I wanted to share as it could prove to be an inspiration within my work. The final animation included is being used in terms of a strong, bold sense of style and colour. At the moment I’m thinking of making the elements on flat 2D planes and applying detailed, in-depth textures – for example the door in the second clip. Although scientific content is vital the style is too. So far style wise I haven’t got a definitive path, I was thinking to either go with one of the following; vintage with pastel colours, retro with bold, bright shapes and colours or an ‘illustrationistic’ quality with soft colours, but bold outlines and definitions.

Unit 6: Comission - The Brief

Unit 6 begins and so does the challenge ‘to produce a complete 3D animation that demonstrates creatively your ability to interpret, transcribe and represent complex ideas in engaging and dynamic ways.’ In my head I’m excited and raring to go … in reality the science is going to be testing indeed! Science wasn't my strongest subject at school, hence making sense of the research at the moment feels daunting. But hey I’m here to learn, even if it is about non-nucleated prokaryotic cells, and complex, nucleated eukaryotic cells!!!! 

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Animator Profile : Bill Plympton

Fig. 1
Bill Plympton (1946-present) is an American cartoonist, animator, director, screenwriter and producer. His style of sketchy colouring pencils is engaging and there’s something so wonderful to about the flow of his work, not smooth, yet fluid. Plympton’s love for animation began in 1968, where he majored in cartooning at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Magazines and Newspapers such as The New York Times, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair etc have all featured Plympton’s illustrations and cartoon creations. His style became distinctive and recognisable to the public. Plympton’s love for his animation and pride in his ability earned him the first animator in history of animation to hand-draw every frame by himself for his feature film, The Tune (1992). By 2006 Plympton had created a staggering 26 animated shorts and 5 animated features.

Fig. 2
Plympton's fascination for animation was always present, even as a child he dreamed of becoming a successful animator. Robert Khor states, "All his life, Bill Plympton has been fascinated by animation. When he was fourteen, he sent Disney some of his cartoons and offered up his services as animator. They wrote back and told him that while his drawings showed promise, he was too young. It wasn't until 1983 that he was approached to animate a film. The Android Sister Valeria Wasilewski asked Plympton to direct and animate a film she was producing of Jules Feiffer's song, "Boomtown." Connie D'Antuono, another of the film's producers, "sort of held my hand through the whole process," Plympton says. "It was a great way to learn to make a film."" (Khor 2003) Khor states and observes Plympton's background in animation. He discusses his early attempts to break into the business and states where he started when he first began to animate. The fact he started of wanting to work for Disney, but then thrived as an individual proves how strong his talent and style has been.
Fig. 3
The majority of his animated shorts are humorous and prove effective within the 'layout' of narrative and the voice overs used. His work is very playful in the way he experiments with angles and the breaking away of features, for example in My Face the way the character on screen appears to be singing constantly, even though his face rotates and folds in etc is pure amazement. Paul Brenner argues, "As far as animation films go, Disney is good, Pixar is better, and Miyazaki is best for folks hankering for that big, monolithic feature fix. And nothing can beat it, much like a six pack of ice cold beer on a hot summer day. But those bulky monoliths are nothing compared to the mellow, full-bodied savoring of a short, sweet, and slightly askew independent animated short. And one of the best and most consistent brands of this heady brew is the work of animator Bill Plympton, whose Plymptoons are a signature bit of pure, edgy fun." (Brenner 2009) Brenner emphasises his admiration for Plympton by comparing him to two of the greatest animation pioneers and stating his work is substantially on par if not better. Brenner's bold statement gives his audience a pre-perception of what this animators work could be perceived as.

Fig. 4
Plympton's work Richard Harrington observes, "The majority of the film features Plympton's familiarly spare, fluid color-pencil and charcoal caricatures, though a few of the segments find him stretching in new directions. What's also familiar is what Plympton does within the segments: Too often they're reduced to rapid-fire variations on transformation themes, or one-punch-line blackouts. Sometimes these work in wonderful and mysterious ways, but the process wears out its welcome long before the 70-minute movie is over." (Harrington 1992) Harrington sums up Plympton's style beautifully, expressing how his colour pencil animations captivate the audience and bring them into his world. The Tune although another one of Plympton's visual masterpieces just lacks in narrative and feels prolonged. However, the imagery is so pleasing that the majority will forgive this.

List of illustrations

Figure 1.Bill Plympton. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 2. Plympton, Bill (1989) 25 Ways to Quit Smoking. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 3. Plympton, Bill (1989) How To Kiss. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 4. Plympton, Bill (1992) The Tune. At: on:2/4/12)


Robert Khor (2003) Biography. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Paul Brenner (2009) Bill Plympton's Dog Days: A Collection of Short Films 2004-2008. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Richard Harrington (1992) The Tune. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Friday, 13 April 2012

Animator Profile : Phil Mulloy

Fig. 1
Phil Mulloy is an English animator. Studying painting and film creation, Mulloy always understood his artistic passion would lead him down his career path. Mulloy worked as both director and writer for his live-action films into the late 80’s, before progressing to animations. As an animator his works have been described as “satirical grotesque” and are often of a dark human nature, expressing contemporary political and social values. Shockingly humorous his works aim to displease and disgust the audience. His style is immediately recognisable due to its minimalistic setting and incredibly stylised characters. Over the years Mulloy has created just over thirty animated features, many being based on Hollywood genres.

Kino Lorber, Inc observes, "One of animation’s most prurient, dark and mischievious masters, multi-award-winning animator Phil Mulloy stands as an antidote to all that is kitsch and sentimental. Using simple brush pens and ink, Mulloy's works are witty and acerbic fables, loaded with graphic images of sex and violence that are both perceptive comments on human nature and challenges to contemporary values." (Kino Lorber, Inc 2011) Lorber expresses the devious motions of Mulloy's work and how he creates such an impact with such basic designs.

Fig. 2
His animations are like a surreal and contemporary art form - constantly pushing boundaries in order to shake in to his audience the taboo subjects of today’s society. Mulloy’s work can be appreciated, yet his grotesque nature will only be liked by a select few. Jeremy Mathews argues, "Phil Mulloy's work exists somewhere between the realm of the scatological sophomore and the defiant artist. At any moment, the British animator can be offensive, clever, bizarre, obvious, muddled, smug, distinct, or any combination of those traits. It would be easy to brand many of his scenes as pornography if his visuals weren't so primitive and ugly that they cancel out any sense of eroticism. He makes sure you always feel uneasy and dirty, never aroused." (Mathews 2009) Mathews makes it clear his view upon Mulloy's creations, branding it as something despicable. Mathews's views are shared by many and with the imagery and dark sexual humour it is easy to understand why some would shy away from such an animation.
Fig. 3

Intolerance has to be one of the most well-known pieces that Mulloy created and is memorable, even if not enjoyed. Joseph Jon Lanthier describes Mulloy's Intolerance, "Using crudely drawn but eerily entrancing stick figures that appear to be scratched out by a deformed hand clenching a barely functional Sharpie, the artist depicts the most abrasively sadistic tendencies of mankind with haunting irony. Most of his animated shorts can be breezily summarized as three-to-five-minute socio-moral scenarios populated with humanoid creatures sporting Freudian distortions (phallic noses, jagged, beastly incisors, and detachable penises that are wielded like clubs) and a penchant for exhibitionist anal penetration. But the laconically narrated stories often complicate, or simply mock, the issues they're purportedly meant to dramatize, lending the humor a cruelly ambiguous edge." (Lanthier 2009) Lanthier describes fluidly the various aspects of the animation and brings in theory to discuss further in depth the meanings from the sub text of the animation. It is clear that Mulloy isn't everyone's cup of tea, but he sure is the most vividly remembered.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Phil Mulloy. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)
Figure 2. Mulloy, Phil (2000) Intolerance. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 3. Mulloy, Phil (2000) Intolerance. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)


Kino Lorber, Inc (2011) Untitled. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Jeremy Mathews (2009) Extreme Animation: Films By Phil Mulloy. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Joseph Jon Lanthier (2009) Extreme Animation: Films by Phil Mulloy. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Animator Profile : The Brothers Quay

Fig. 1
Timothy Quay and Stephen Quay (1947-present) are identical twin brothers from America, best known as the Brothers Quay, they are stop-motion animators – and very influential within the industry. The pair work in England, since having moved there in the 1960’s to study at the Royal College of Art in London. Both studying illustration progressed where they made their first short film. In the 70’s, after traveling to the Netherlands, the pair collaborated with Keith Griffiths to form Koninck Studios in 1980. The majority if the films made by the twins feature puppets made from various objects from doll parts to other organic and nonorganic materials. The uncanny creations assisted in creating a dark, gloomy atmosphere. Their work style is distinctively gothic and the creations darkly and intriguingly unique.

Their work has most definitely been inspired by Svankmajer's dark, expressionistic animations. The feel of their pieces is bold and feels refreshingly eerie. Nathan Southern states, "Inspired by Eastern European literature and art (especially the animation of Jan Svankmajer), the work of the Quay Brothers is unique, unsettling, and absolutely fascinating. Their animation consists of unsettling symphonies of oddly designed puppets and mechanistic objects that act out enigmatic, often inexplicable narratives." (Southern 1998) Southern expresses his admiration for the Quay's style and mesmerising, enigmatic set and puppet design. His passion when discussing their work reads true amongst other admirers and Southern embellishes it in two sentences perfectly.
Fig. 2
The Quay Brothers' creations portray obscure and estranged vast influences within their work, including the works of Walerian Borowczyk, who happens to be their major influence, despite Svankmajer being better known. The Brother’s work was discovered not until they had already progressed with a bold and characteristic style. James Rose implies, "When reading through the many critiques, articles and interviews concerning the Quays one fact becomes readily apparent: like all of their artistic output – filmic or otherwise – these identical twins are an enigma. The persona projected within these texts can be read as one that is as complex and nearly as mythical as their animated films. Emphasis is equally balanced between absurdities (such as the brothers often finishing each other’s sentences and that they sign their correspondence simply with a ‘Q’) and the master craftsmanship of their imagery. Like their response to McClatchy’s request, the Quays present to the viewer a highly personal world that is simultaneously believable but so obviously a myth." (Rose 1947) Rose picks up on the reason why these two are pioneers within the creative industry and how, why they achieve this desired impact. The absurd and unexplainable stylisations through the stop-motion animations are pure genius.
Fig. 3
Brothers Quay’s best work has to be Street of Crocodiles, for its memorable imagery. Its success gave them artistic freedom to explore other themes and set poetry, literature in motion, varying stop-motion technique and experimenting with various materials for set and prop design. The Quay’s prospered in set design and proved that their style was pure dark enigma. European Graduate School observes, "As a piece of perhaps unsurpassed filmmaking, in fact their most famous work to date, Street of Crocodiles is a twenty-one minute animation film which evokes pre-war Poland, provincial and mystical, connected to the traditions of history before the destruction of the German war machine rolled across it. Shot in both a blue and sepia tint, Street of Crocodiles, is a step backwards into a mind seemingly locked in a frozen half-made world, something nearly mad yet instantly recognizable. Like the scene of a car accident (or film footage of the Warsaw Ghetto), it is impossible to turn away, yet horrifying to remain present. In this half-made world, ordinary items are enlarged and distorted, dolls' eyes peer out at the spectator, and screws, twisting and turning as though in a mad ballet, remove and insert themselves from pieces of wood." (European Graduate School 1997) The quote analyses the observations made about the feature in detail. Expressed admiration is apparent and the fact that a horrifying street portrayed through the feature can make its audience feel as engaged as it does is breath-taking. The best three phrases to sum up the Quay Brother’s work is stunningly eerie, uncanny within every sense and deliciously dark.
List of illustrations

Figure 1. Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay. At: on:2/4/12)

Figure 2. Quay, Stephen and Timothy (1986) Street of Crocodiles. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 3. Quay, Stephen and Timothy (1986) Street of Crocodiles At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Nathan Southern (1998) The Quay Brothers Biography. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

James Rose (1947) Stephen and Timothy Quay. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)
European Graduate School (1997) Stephen Quay and Timothy Quay - Biography. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Animator Profile : Jiri Barta

Fig. 1
Jiri Barta (1948-present) is a Czech stop-motion animation director, he’s remembered for his refreshingly dark creations. His films gained critics praise and won him many a reward for his wooden crafted stop-motion features. Barta’s career took a major hit after the fall of the communist government in Czechoslovakia, as he was unable in 15 years to release and promote features or animated films. Through the 90’s he attempted to kick start his career again, yet failed in respects to becoming well-known within the industry. Recently he composed his first CG animated short and in 2009 released a children’s puppet animated film. His style is distinctive and seductive in the sense he brings his audience into the world he creates and makes it a believable environment.
Jenny Jediny states, "Jirí Barta is one such study; unlike Svankmajer, Barta’s work is not nearly as encompassing in its scope or output ... Initially dabbling with cutout shorts, Barta later experimented with stop-motion and puppetry, and within seven years of his first short completed The Pied Piper of Hamelin, still considered a masterpiece of Czech animation." (Jediny 2007) Jediny observes how Barta's career has progressed through the years and the impact his animations have bought to the eye of the public. His style is innovative and enigma is built in this estranged environment.

Fig. 2
A wonder world of wooden crafted shops and quaint streets are portrayed in Barta's The Pied Piper (1986). The film is easy to be engrossed by and the hidden themes of mortally are subtly prominent. The sound works well and adds to the enigma built. Ivana Košuličová suggests, "Barta's film creates a striking contrast to the Disney conception of the pied piper legend as a children's comedy. Barta's adaption is a challenging and metaphoric morality ..." (Košuličová 1985) Košuličová compares Barta's style and expresses how the adaptation is a far cry from the popular culture of children's animation.  

Fig. 3
 Jamie Rich observes, "Barta's longest and most famous piece [The Pied Piper of Hamelin]. He takes a familiar tale and twists it around, using stop motion animation to erect a town rife with gluttony. The citizens of Hamelin have resigned themselves to a life of drudgery and repetition, slaves to their own greed. Barta illustrates them trudging back and forth to work as flat figures straight out of a storybook, but styled more like woodblock carvings. They jabber at each other in a gibberish language, arguing over every little cent and playing cruel tricks on one another. Their city is bent and bloated, warped to look like an impressionistic painting, or something out of Picasso's cubist period. Only the rats that take over the town are consistently three-dimensional, decorated with real fur. The vermin taking over are a product of Hamelin's decadence, and the damage they cause brings the town to its knees." (Rich 2006) Rich expresses in detail the themes and narrative of one of Barta's best known pieces. He focuses on the hidden messages and stop-motion tricks that Barta uses. The attention to detail is expressed beautifully and the fact his backdrops are compared to Picasso's cubist period shows how artistically developed the piece.

List of illustrations

Figure 1. Jiri Barta. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 2. Barta, Jiri (1986) The Pied Piper. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)

Figure 3. Barta, Jiri (1986) The Pied Piper. At: (Accessed on:2/4/12)


Jenny Jediny (2007) The Animation of Jirí Barta. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Jamie Rich (2006) Jiri Barta: Labyrinth of Darkness. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)

Ivana Košuličová (1985) The morality of horror. At: (Accessed on:3/4/12)