Author Archives: Izzy Singer

Conference: Blue and Tomorrow

Conference Post by Izzy Singer

‘Blue’ and ‘Tomorrow’ are a personal exercise in visualizing music. Music is an influence in all of my art. I am very sensitive to the moods or stories portrayed in songs. Abstract representations are in conflict with my traditional animation background, however, finding a link between emotions and movement became a challenging and fun task that I took on for my Conference.

I did not storyboard, I am sorry to say.

My After Effects pieces take shape based on a single song, album or Spotify Playlist. So for each roughly 3 minute-long piece I tried to choose songs that I had become too familiar with at one point in time. I chose ‘Ring (feat. Kehlani)’ by Cardi B and ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ by Gorillaz.

Blue 

Due to K. West’s recent political endorsement this song has lost my love. His actions in the last week were so sudden that I was not prepared to speak about it in my blog post but I believe it is necessary. I also changed the song and name of my video from ‘Blue Morning’ to ‘Blue’ and from ‘Good Morning’ to Cardi B’s ‘Ring’ from her new album, ‘Invasion of Privacy’. For the sake of understanding why I originally picked ‘Good Morning’ I am going to analyze the song itself and add some more personal information. I listened to Kanye West’s ‘Good Morning’, sparsely a few months before, religiously for three weeks before, and consecutively a few hours before, my High School Graduation. It was a big deal to graduate High School because of my life-long struggle with learning disabilities. It was also a big deal because for the first time I would not be coming back to a place that already knew I had disabilities. I would be on my own and I would have to put what little wordly experience and wit I had into protecting and supporting myself through college.  At the time of my graduation from High School, his song was a magical mix of cynical with a hopeful and hypnotic melody of “oooh’s”. He peers into the idea of growing up, or rather, “waking up”. Now, I cannot relate to his experiences as a black man which he references consistently throughout the song, but in all honesty, lyrics hold a 40% value to me when I listen to a song. His lyrics hold importance as does the composition of the piece, the “oohooh” vocals, echoing beats and electric-almost-old-timey-sounding piano. I’ve used the words hypnotic, hopeful, cynical; for the most part it is melancholiac, nostalgic. A graduation is a time for reflection because it is an end. It tosses a person into the ring. And, as it happens, I am graduating again. This time into the world. So what color to best represent a little sadness and nostalgia? Blue. ‘Ring’ also encapsulates this sadness. It comes from fresh wounds. It is romantic. And there is something about it that rocks me to sleep and gives me a feeling of validation.

Blue Morning #1

Blue Morning #1

Blue Morning #2

Blue Morning #2

I used a vibrant blue against a black background and tried to keep the particle movements as atmospheric as I could. There are no 3D effects in the work but I love the deep-space look that expanding particles along the Z Radius can create and I played with that a lot while I worked. Once the second chorus began I sought ways to keep the video engaging while sticking to the Z-Radius format. I had begun the video with an immense amount of orbs and circular objects so I moved away from it for a moment to introduce them in an alternative way. I also introduced a new color: red.

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 8.57.53 PM

Blue Morngin #3

By the end of the video I reverted back to faded orbs and circular objects with pink tones.

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 8.58.06 PM

Blue Morning #4

Tomorrow ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ by the Gorillaz interlude is very similar to Good Morning but it has a message that comes from a different ideology. Almost all songs by the Gorillaz has some joke or irony in it. I found Gorillaz a year ago and now associate the songs with certain friends who have become very important to me, as well as my own darker shade of humor and love of weird animated art. The personal connection may seem less deep but if bonding over a band is an experience that you can relate to then please understand it was very meaningful for me. I do not bond with others easily, or find artists who make me feel “got”. Where K. West goes big out of ego, the Gorillaz go big for the sake of absurdity and fun political satire. (Gorillaz’s last album was a criticism of conservatism and party culture so we shouldn’t be expecting any hasty Pro-Trump tweets from them.) There is something sarcastically gung-ho about ‘Tomorrow…’ so I wanted to keep it as separate from Blue Morning as I could. I also felt that in the lead singer, 2D’s, voice there is a groundedness and earthiness that always compliments the traveling sounds of the instruments in the background.
Photoshop Texture

Photoshop Texture

The earthiness I conjured by creating textured patterns in photoshop. I plugged those into After Effects and played with Kaleida and Color Change.
Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 9.49.45 PM

Color Example #1

Screen Shot 2018-04-29 at 9.49.54 PM

Color Example #2

Unlike Blue Morning I could not imagine one color to signify the song.  I pushed it beyond what I usually like (not too many bright colors) and attempted to even the whole thing out with a slow-moving star on the side. A slow-moving thing against an insane background was something I thought captured Gorillaz’s irony very well. It’s almost kinda funny looking. So it is perfect. Once the second part of ‘Tomorrow…’ began I made a very dramatic change to small particles. I tried to keep it from being too linear for as long as I could. I created a ghostly background and had the star fade out for a time as the particles split across the screen. Once I got there, however, I created a linear path by making a vortex of the particles and moving it across like a tornado. I wanted the realistic quality to make an impression during a longer and mellow-er part of the song to keep attention.
Tomorrow #1

Tomorrow #1

Tomorrow #2

Tomorrow #2

Tomorrow #3

Tomorrow #3

The end of it centers around the dark background, moving star, and very sparse particles on the screen. The irony in Gorillaz’s songs are very broad but also dark. In the end it is fair to admit that there is something very ominous about ‘Tomorrow Comes Today’ that deserve a still-ish end.  

Kinetic Text: Wait

Kinetic Text by Izzy Singer  
Wait

Wait

The song Wait by M83 is from an experimental series of music videos that I have hardly watched. They tell a surrealist story involving industrial America, folk lore and space. I haven’t watched it in years, not since the song was featured on the ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ movie soundtrack (no matter the film movie soundtracks are goldmines for sound). At the time I saw the movie I was having trouble developing emotional attachments to pieces of art. The medication I was taking for depression/anxiety had a numbing effect that made seeing movies and hearing music frustratingly dry. This song plays at the very end of the film when the main character goes through a transformative experience which leads her and her family to accept a harsh situation. The song made the end of TFIOS into something powerful enough that I felt satisfied when I exited the theater. Powerful enough that I could feel a lot when I listened to it on repeat after I got home and 5 years later when I listen to it now.

I am on better medication now. Art effects me and the song has lost none of its beauty. So for this process I did not make any sketches. I listened to the song on repeat and kept it as simple as I could. Particle and Scatter are good for this. I slowed them down and lowered the opacity very slightly. I timed the scatter of the first two “Sings” at the beginning of the video catch the viewer’s attention in the beginning so they would be more inclined to stay on. The rest of the video is, however, fairly low-key apart from the Kaleida effects. The opacity on those were also played with. The word “Wait” which stays in place for the entire video goes in and out of focus as an additional eye-catching motion. I could not decide how fast or slow to make it and I have submitted it with uncertainty.

Particles

I created a pink particle layer and added three masks over top it to give peeks at its slow journey into a twist. I also included the words, Wait and Sing. The moving kaleidoscopic effect was the result of me applying Kaleida to a text layer that read:

Sing

Sing

Sing

I think adding those subtleties to the work helps it to match the song. There are so many layers to it and slow turns. The Kaleida adds the unexpected to ready the viewer for the end which is when the climax of the song occurs and it makes all kinds of turns. My worry for this was making it too languid. My own attention span is very short. I have to be in the right headspace to even listen to the song completely, though I enjoy it so much. However, in the end, I feel the particles and extra additions made it interesting enough.

Space Oddity: Princess Leia

Space Oddity by Izzy Singer  
sketch1

sketchbook drawing1

 
sketch2

Sketchbook drawing 2

  If I thought harder on the project, did some research, or found some good art depicting space I probably could have found a song to animate an exploding star too…or something. I didn’t do that. I went back to my basic interests. Though exclusive, and perhaps lost on some who do not know the Star Wars franchise I justified making this piece of art by making it for myself. And I did. I had fun, I got to listen to a track that brings up a flood of emotions and visualize an abstract to pay homage to a character (and the lady who played her–you can’t really have one without the other, as Ms. Fisher put it herself: “I am Princess Leia and Princess Leia is me. It’s like a Möbius striptease.”).   Okay, I’ll stop now. On to the project.   When made the first sketches I imagined something with far less structure. My initial idea included the use of colors–royal blues and purples for the most part. I was going to play with the size and opacity of the shapes against a black background whilst the colors within turned different shades in a cycle. Then adding lasers once the horns in the track swell to gather our attention. I knew I wanted a silhouette from the beginning and wanted it to capture movement.   Once I was introduced to “Kaleida” however, my “simple color” ideas all got sucked into the nearest black hole. I began to bank on the 2-Dimensional movement by making it as flat as possible so the Kaleida effect would keep our attention. I used a pattern I found online by Eloise Renouf:
"Curves" by Eloise Renouf. 2014. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/203134847/curves-blue-giclee-print

“Curves” by Eloise Renouf. 2014. Link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/203134847/curves-blue-giclee-print

I played with the color with the “Color Offset” effect. Initially, I chose the pattern to play with the possibilities of Kaleida, however, once I got hold of the beautiful gold, blue, white and turquoise version I decided to keep it. I felt that gold and bright blues were more accurate to the character anyhow. Sorry purple.
My Project

My Project

It would also help with the yellow echo and lines later but I’ll get back to that. A too-realistic silhouette would have hurt the project alongside the Kaleida. It would be too adverse, maybe a little too creepy. I do not know if I avoided creepiness, but if the silhouette stands still without any implication of motion I thought it would help to avoid making that part of the piece distracting. Or, less distracting. A figure that did not look as though she were about to walk around.    

The Art of the GIF: Evil IZ

 I decided to use my own brain as a base to make this series. My brain is always a source of contention and release. I chose to really focus on the negative with two of my GIFs hoping the third might make up for it as a small homage to the parts of me I truly love. (I never like anything to be 100% dark–even the most difficult minds aren’t.)

Evil_Iz_Gif2  

In my first GIF, Evil Self, which was from an earlier assignment. I began to add things halfway through that would make it scary. When I glitched the code it made my first self-portrait (the one in the middle) whited out and electric. It reminded me a bit of why certain aspects of Undertale were terrifying to me. The fights in the game are black and white and due to my sensory deficiency disorder I react very negatively to bright and white light. (Which is unfortunate because everyone in the art and photography communities seem to love it!) I added the static for that reason. To me, static is a fast animation of white and black attacking itself. Or, that’s what my SDD makes it feel like. What this all results in is that my Evil Self Portrait GIF is a combination of my struggles with Depression and Anxiety (namely, all my resentments and frustrations that I highlight with the words “Help Me I’m Sick” and “Mental Illness Hurts”.) But it is created not from my Mental Illness’s point of view but by how my SDD causes me to see the world. Essentially they are two very different things happening in my brain at once, but I used one to compliment the other in hopes that it may get an interesting visual narrative across.

  truth  

In my second GIF, Truth, I had a lot of fun animating and glitching it. I wanted this one to be a representation of both sides of me meeting in the middle. The good and the evil. I think it stemmed from a bit of teenage angst that I had harbored over the years (don’t we all still have a little?). Well this was going to be VERY angsty, I had a drawing of a humanoid figure caught in the chains of a heart for goodness sake! But glitching saved us all. It also reminded me that simple is sometimes better.

 

breathein

 

The third was the hardest to come up with. I went back to some old to emulate what I have done in the past because it is difficult to really know who you are in the moment. I added text and color over a pattern I was initially going to use for a brush effect. However the corners and gradients worked with the words well enough that I left it as it was. I was inspired by the gifs that help people who struggle with anxiety breathe at a calming rate. Adding a repeater effect and layering the moving structure on itself was done to further symbolize a heart. To individualize it (hopefully).

System: Polygons and Colors

 
Final

Final – a series of separately colored polygons rotating as two flow across the screen in the front. Name: Polygons and Colors.

For this project, I did something very new—maybe not at this point because it feels like I have been repeating that statement a lot in this course… but at the time it still felt new! I began working on the polygon starter file with no real linear ideas attached to it. The most stable ideas I had included two goals: make something that could resemble deep space, and experiment with color. I also wanted to work with the snowflake sketch.js, but I left that out because I thought the piece was going in another direction and I could not find a way to fit in that felt right.

Starter Colors

Starter Colors

Starter Colors

Starter Colors

Before starting with the code, I found the starter colors. I call them starter colors because I did not end up using any of them and knew very well that I would not toward the end. A majority of the code works around what colored polygons I wanted to emphasize over the others. In a sense, I tricked myself into thinking I had found my colors and worked from there. The colors I used were very similar to the abstract clock assignment’s colors in their saturation, which, looking at them both now, is surprising. Over this semester, coding has helped me play with color theory. Just like with coding as I explored it, I learned it. But before then I did not like bright and saturated colors. They can easily over-stimulate me due to my sensory integration disorder. But in my system piece, I think I found brightness levels I am comfortable with.  
Grid and Lines and Polygons 3

Grid and Lines and Polygons 3

Grid and Lines and Polygons 2

Grid and Lines and Polygons 2

Grid and Polygon and Lines

Grid and Polygon and Lines

Lines and Polygons

Lines and Polygons

When I started out, I played with semi-randomized lines in the front to add more of the dimension that I originally sought. I also played with a turquoise grid and kept the polygons small. But it was so separate that I felt it was missing the point of the assignment and thought I had coded myself into a corner. As I worked with them, the lines, grid, and circles grew apart into their singular characterizations. The randomized lines in the front never connected to the polygons in the back or added enough depth and, to my frustration, became more out of place after each session and seemed to be the only ones that were evolving. The code itself was also set up as very separate, and toward the end of the project, I felt I had coded and colored myself into a corner. How would I get them to work together as a functioning system?

Une retrospective

Une retrospective

At first, staring at Molnar’s Une retrospective for inspiration felt counter-productive. It was still separate! Looking at it now, I know that the more I worked, the more the colors began to expand and almost blend until it arrived at the final result. And I know now that Molnar’s painting isn’t actually that divided. Or, one doesn’t have to look at it that way. In each work, she uses the implication of movement. From Lettres da ma mere (Letters from my Mother) to the one I showed above her lines and shapes always suggest that a change is occurring. I already had the polygons spinning and wanted to keep that but then I began experimenting with making them move in another way as well. The spinning along felt monotonous. Adding a loop, I made two of the cut-off and off-center polygons rotate across the screen in a recurring wrap to make it a little less expected and languid. I also changed the direction of some of the polygons, the opacity and, of course, the size. I think the turning point was when I got rid of the lines. Once I did the subtle changes were highlighted more and made room for adding smaller and less translucent polygons in the back. To conclude, I think I accomplished a lot with this piece. The process felt natural and I think the spinning sequences and imperfect interactions help to make it more entertaining to a curious audience. The colors are vibrant (for me) but do not overpower it (or myself). And the movement remained odd yet weirdly calming.   Thank you for the opportunity. Izzy Singer

Scrolling Wallpaper

This wallpaper did not go through as many phases as my last project. Here I dabbled with the movement more than the official look. It is meant to capture some of the movement of a city. I struggled with the colors because most new york buildings’ are shades that do not translate well to code. Color-wise I ended up doing something very different from what I traditionally think of as “city colors”. Maybe some of Times Square made it into the project. (Which would be very upsetting for me because I am a native New Yorker and you must know how we feel about Times Square.)

  At first, I wanted to work with solids to get a feel of a crowded cityscape. I thought having it move strictly where the eye could see it might also encourage a feeling of closeness or stacked-ness. However, the disappearance of the moving rectangles (I called them the “buildings” in my notes) added another characteristic of the city: passing things by.

 
Stage 2 of Scrolling Wallpaper Assignment

Stage 2 of Scrolling Wallpaper Assignment

Stage One of Scrolling Wallpaper Assignment --adding the grid

Stage One of Scrolling Wallpaper Assignment –adding the grid

The piece hit a turn when I added more of what I noted as “clocks”. Unlike the green one they ended up being very stationary arcs but I felt that it got some of the idea of change across. I decided not the make the clocks move (perhaps I will in the future). After all, the city houses a very stressful look at time as well as the unexpected. I added the text simply because I like being a bit literal. I also knew the shapes, clocks, and grid might not get across everything going on in my head as I worked on the piece. The text consists of the phrases: “the city” “and all its people” “always moving” “do I have enough time?” I wanted the words to capture  the idea of walking through the city rather than stand as complete thoughts or phrases. So I took thoughts I had and cut them to a point I was comfortable with. I may not have gone as far as I could have with cutting the phrases. But in the end I liked where they ended up in the piece and felt they captured the idea even if they were a bit on the nose. In the end I messed with transparency; completely going back on my old idea. I cannot immediately explain why but one reason I came up with–that made sense to me—was: the city is too complicated to be solid and wordless. The dark colors are a choice that I fall in love with and fall out of love with frequently. However, they work well to emphasize the shadow that sometimes falls over the city.

  ClockFinal         ClockFinal2

Collage Assignment — Izzy Singer

Collage By Izzy Singer  
Collage -1

Collage -1

Collage - 2

Collage – 2

  First Idea: Irony   Before I started coding I made memes. In today’s world, memes are the best way of getting multiple ideas across at once with minimal words or pictures—I often struggle with getting my point across.   In addition, I wanted to make the piece about irony and my life and how well the two coexist. Irony is not something that can be easily described (at least for me), especially when referring to one’s own life. in my life (that I have always taken much joy in). Going back to the reading thing, I would still incorporate that because if you think about it falling in love with reading through such a controversial medium…   [see this comedic plea for respect on behalf of comic book artists in the UK: https://www.spectator.co.uk/2012/12/not-graphic-and-not-novel/]   …is ironic. The fact that I only read novels for seven years afterwards is even more ironic. And the fact that I have once again defected to comics (and similar mediums) is a kind of beautiful justice.    
Meme2

Meme2

Meme3

Meme3

Meme1

Meme1

Second Idea: Reading Pictures

After I abandoned memes and irony I wanted the piece to house all the different ways I read pictures. For a very long time reading pictures, watching movies, or simply avoiding written words at all costs, was a vital part of my childhood. I started collecting and editing pictures of book covers and illustrations that had an immense impact on me before I learned to love reading.  
Encyclopedia Edited

Encyclopedia Edited

Encyclopedia Not Edited

Encyclopedia Not Edited

Final Idea: My Ironic Relationship with Reading   I do not remember or know why someone bought me The Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Marine Fishes & Sea Creatures by Derek Hall and Amy-Jane Beer. In addition to my dislike of reading from age 4-7 I was a mostly mute, autistic girl with Nicktoon and TV-commercial inspired echolalia. But the illustrations were very lovely and I enjoyed staring at them endlessly, naming them and making stories for them, etc.   Things changed then I was eleven. Diary of a Wimpy Kid and a small copy of Baby Mouse Queen of the World had me fall in love with reading. Something about those stories made me forget how hard reading was as an action long enough to delve into the story. A year later my middle school teacher had us read The Lightening Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. It was first time I had ever intentionally challenged direct orders from a teacher. The rule was: “don’t read ahead.”
Harry Potter Versus the Dementors

Harry Potter Versus the Dementors

After I fell in love with reading my interactions with images were often restricted to the illustrated chapters from Harry Potter, TV, computer games, and the digital book covers of Twilight fan fiction made in the Mac Application: Preview.   Senior year of high school scared me away from reading: Tess of the d’Urbivilles by Thomas Hardy and Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis were traumatic for me—I ran to video games, anime, manga and the occasional memoir. I try to present this in the piece by putting pictures of anime and videogames alongside the book art. Though I do not like reading (again) I wanted to display their importance. I hope that the piece can stand on its own because I know that a lot of this background could not be captured in it.  
"...so many books" -Toriel from 'Undertale'

“There are so many old books I want to share.” -Toriel from ‘Undertale’

   

Self Portrait

Art From Code- Self Portrait

Art From Code- Self Portrait

I came up with the idea for this piece based off the concept of being two things at once: blank and thinking a lot. But I also wanted it to capture the opposite: very expressive with a blank mind. This represents something that I feel daily. I have a tendency to stare off while my thoughts are overloading (my mom has often called me “the space cadet”). Or be incredibly expressive without putting any thought into. Anyhow, I am new to abstract art and I hope that this successfully captures reserved and intense thought.