Tag Archives: digital tools for artists

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

four_eyes_large When making my GIFs, I drew inspiration from the styles of Paula Scher, Daniel Buren, and Anni Albers. Paula Scher and Daniel Buren often evoke bright color schemes, which was something I wanted to experiment with this semester. Albers created patterns that were very concerned with movement on the page – some of her designs are almost optical illusions – and I wanted to carry that concept over to my GIFs. My first attempt at a GIF as the one below – I call it “The Disappearing Button.” l started by creating the red and black button background, then overlaid a large white button across the top. Because of the way that the background moves and the white spaces connect, the white button on top seems to disappear and reappear – even though only the background is moving. This ended up being one of my simplest GIFs, but one of my favorites, and I thought, most successful. It’s able to create the appearance of more movement than is actually happening within the frames. Compared to the first GIF in this post, it was fairly simple to make – I just kept transforming and wrapping the background by about 25 px every frame. It only took me about an hour to make, but it looks complex. I ended up trying to recreate the success of this GIF for the rest of the GIF assignment, though I don’t know if I succeeded. disappearing_button I continued to play with white space and movement, but also focused on color palettes. I generally have a very dark color palette in my artwork but after seeing Daniel Buren’s experiments with light and color, I decided to experiment as well. I decided to continue playing with empty space and overlaps and made the GIF below, which I call, “Red and Blue All Over,” which is a play on bruising. I wanted to just use red and blue but also attempt to make a third color, purple, out of them. I used the same layer-transform-wrap process as in Disappearing Button, except I had the red and blue circles moving in opposite directions, rather than the same direction. I think it works to some degree, but is not as successful as I would have liked. Ultimately, to get the brighter purple that I wanted, I would have had to devote some time to make sure the thinly striped red and blue circles lined up more perfectly – so that only red and blue, no white, showed. This GIF ended up being a lot more stagnant than I wanted it to be – it’s cool, but because the background isn’t moving, the top layer doesn’t get much of a sense of transformation.  If I had to remake this GIF I would have had the background moving, rather than the individual circle layers. It was a lot more tedious to have both those layers moving in opposing directions, and not enough payoff. red_and_blue_eyes_gif I had a lot of fun playing with movement and colors in these GIFs. If I could go back, I wouldn’t have stuck so rigidly to a primary color palette. It definitely got me out of my comfort zone and into areas that I wanted to explore, but it would have been cool to look at some other bright colors. Buren and Scher both play with bright colors a lot but certainly don’t just stick to primary colors – I think their work might be less successful that way.

Conference Project Post-Mortem: Liquid Light

fullsizeoutput_143e For my conference project, I combined a digital projection of various poems I had written with a liquid light show;  dishes filled with mineral oil, water, and food dye projected on an ELMO overhead projector. IMG_5566 A lot of my poetry aims to simply create another world in which the reader can enter. For my conference project, I aimed to take this experience farther by using the projection to visually create a space. I felt as though I certainly created a space through the projection, but perhaps not my words, as most people didn’t really take much time reading the poetry. IMG_5591 At first, I originally only used two dishes for the oil, water, and dye. However, I decide to try using a third vessel, a large flat-ish plastic box top. I felt as though this made a huge improvement on the quality of the liquid light show, as it allowed me to use more colors without them mixing. If I were to do this again in the future, I would try something other than food coloring, as it didn’t quite have the vibrancy I wanted. I would also invest in clear glass clock faces or something similar as opposed to what I used. It was shockingly difficult to find a clear plastic or glass dish that didn’t have a logo or something on the bottom. Finding materials was probably my biggest frustration. fullsizeoutput_1465 Overall, I was pleased with how this project turned out, as I felt it for the most part accomplished what I wanted it to. I will definitely be using both projection techniques for other projects in the future.

Video Mapping: Projector Night

IMG_5609   While I had done several test runs of my projection prior to projector night, I certainly was surprised about how the show went. The way people interacted with my projection was interesting, when walking in front of it, many people ducked or apologized for temporarily blocking it, which was interesting. I was actually quite pleased with this because I felt as though that meant my projection conveyed authority and commanded attention, it was certainly not an afterthought in people’s minds. IMG_5334 The work on my part was interesting too, the longer I stood there, the more meditative it became for me. My intention to create a separate world in which the viewer could enter and exit as they pleased, and I felt as though I had achieved that, and in turn entered into that world myself. I also very much enjoyed the performance aspect of it, people seemed to be interested in watching me manipulate the projection as much as the projection itself. I felt like a witch performing a mysterious ceremony of some sort. IMG_5612   Overall, aside from getting mineral oil all over my hands, I felt as though projector night was a success.

Conference Project Proposal: Liquid Light Show

liquid light show

Glenn Mckay stands in front of his liquid light show “Glenn Mckay’s Headlights”

lucifer rising gif

Still from Kenneth Anger’s film “Lucifer Rising”

For my conference work, I am incorporating kinetic text with a 1960s-inspired liquid light show. Numerous musical acts, in the 60s and today performed with liquid light shows, such as 13th Floor Elevators, Jefferson Airplane, and Jimi Hendrix. Filmmaker Kenneth anger, while he didn’t necessarily utilize the exact liquid light technique, had an aesthetic sensibility in his films that i wish to evoke here. The liquid light show itself will be made by putting two-three dishes filled with water, mineral oil, and food coloring on the surface of an ELMO overhead projector. This will create a psychedelic, swirling projection of colors that I can manipulate in real time as I digitally project my kinetic text.
liquid light show projector

Bill Hamm’s Light Show in Avalon Ballroom SF

  In the combination of the liquid light show and my poetry-based kinetic text, I hope to create an atmosphere, or even a separate world that the viewer can enter by looking at the projection, or even stepping in front of it.

Digital Tools: The Art of The Gif

In making these gifs, my aim was to make them fun and playful, nothing too stiff. In making digital artwork, I oftentimes feel as though it is easy to lose the fluidity that comes with working in traditional media, due to the precise nature of items such as the brush tool, the shape-making tools, etc. In general, some of my favorite artists whose work I generally attempt to draw from are Aiden Koch, Maria Ines Gul, my good friend Valerie Wrede (@eggflowersoup on instagram/tumblr–seriously check her out) Daniel Clowes, Kendra Yee, Raymond Pettibon, and Hellen Jo. However in making my patterns and gifs I found myself being very inspired by pictures and illustrations I’ve seen of cells and protozoa. There is something very appealing to me about the way these organisms move and interact with the environment, and in the chaotic-yet-organized way that they are composed. wavegif This gif is definitely my favorite, I was aiming to give it a sort of 60s psychedelic feel without being too corny, and i think I succeeded in doing so. I was also satisfied with how the changing of the colors conveyed a sense of motion, like ripples in water. splotchgif This gif was an experiment in color more than anything. I wanted to challenge myself and go beyond my typical pastel pallet. I wasn’t expecting the motion to be all that interesting, but I think it turned out to be more exciting than I anticipated. boringgif In this one I was trying to be more illustrative. I do illustrations that use a lot of comic-type elements without really explicitly being comics (like Aiden Koch’s work). This gif felt very fun and in-line with what I typically doodle in class, giving this doodle-like thing motion felt very satisfying. I would love to maybe even attempt a short animated film in the future.