Last semester, Video Contest 2014: Make a Point was conquered by WE, an existential animated short as thoughtful as it is charming. This summer, I got to sit down with the film’s creator Cissy Tan to discuss her theory, her method, and her aspirations as an animator and director.
Feeling inspired? Well you’ll be happy to know that while the patience and discipline for animation are still rare, the tools are more accessible than ever before. iStopMotion is a very affordable solution, and while not as robust as Dragonframe, it’s more than capable enough. Even Photoshop has its own rudimentary system for animating frame by frame and exporting either as a video or as an animated .gif file. In Cissy’s case, the process consisted of photo editing, scanning, printing, arranging, and photographing–working from digital to analog to digital again.
If you’re interested in experimenting with stop motion, the Vitale Digital Media Lab has software to help with animating (Photoshop, After Effects, Premier, etc.), cameras and tripods available to borrow (the very same used to film this interview!), and we are happy to offer advice on setting up your own animation studio. You can also check out our Photoshop and Graphic Design WICshops this semester, which teach fundamental skills for working with static digital images–of course we can show you how to string multiple images together as well!
Looking back at the winning videos of past mashup contests, you’ll see that each year the bar is raised. Cissy’s work is no exception, and I know her video will motivate students to continue exceeding our expectations. Remember, it’s never too early to start planning your entry to next year’s contest!