The Cascade – Animation Experiment 1

Video is high enough quality to view full screen.

The range of possible output formats for the evolving Cascade project are nearly limitless–but many viewers this residency said they’d like to see me experiment with animation, video and projection. The idea of re-animating layered stills with printmaking, drawing and videographic elements is intriguing, to say the least.

In response to this, I’ve been experimenting with video that can be projected, large-scale, into a viewing space. The footage would ideally perform as a morphing 2D work, rather than a cinematic narrative, though narrative elements can almost be grasped.

Getting the right kind of pacing, overlay and fade is important. I want each still to remain long enough for new stills to develop within it, before fading back away. If the transition is too rapid, it feels more like a family slide show. If it’s incredibly slow, it’s far more subtle and mysterious, but it may not be evident that a transition is taking place (a viewer might see it and walk past, thinking they’ve got all of it).

It is designed for viewers to pause, see a few evolutionary relationships, then move on when they feel satisfied (not unlike viewing William Kentridge’s work in a museum, where a viewer can stay for the entire piece if they wish, or move on when they have a sense of understanding).

This is my third experiment. I’ll try projecting it on a wall to see how it behaves. If it were to become a more finished iteration of the project, obviously some stills could be added, removed or changed completely.

2 thoughts on “The Cascade – Animation Experiment 1

  1. Kiera McTigue

    Good for you! It does somehow seem natural that this should come back to motion picture, though in a more poetic way. I think your timing is pretty spot on, although I wonder (and I know this implies more work) if you might make transition slides that are half one image, and half the next to get a more seamless fade. I had a classmate one time animate his project in photoshop some how so that he could make one layer visible at a time to create a building affect. That being said, this seems pretty effective. I’m a little scared on animation myslef, not gonna lie, so double kudos from me!

  2. plasticpumpkin Post author

    Thanks for commenting, Kiera!

    Slowing it down gives it a more seamless fade, but starts to become agonizing at a point, though it achieves the concurrent existence of the slides that I was aiming for. I’ll play with more interim slides, though (I like the set where there’s a mountainous landscape and a large figure that enters, then vanishes), but I want to stay away from specific narrative. I suspect that projecting this at 60″ or 100″ on the wall will have a different impact as well. Still scoping out a projector. 🙂

    Animation/art videos are harder than video and cinema, I think, because we’re often not trying to deliver a story, or anything that’s expected from film. In this case, I imagine the piece to be as if it were a large-scale digital painting, which morphs as you watch it.

    I’ve never tried animating anything in Photoshop, so I’ll have to check that out. Thanks! I’ll also experiment with some half/half, interim slides. The building effect is definitely of interest. I’ll keep playing with it and I’ll share different versions and experiments. I’ve been using a combination of Lightroom and Adobe Premier.


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