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Title: AQA GCSE Media Studies Animation

hamboy - June 25, 2008 06:18 PM (GMT)
AQA GCSE Media Studies
Practical Production: Animation

In this task, we had to create a media project aimed at an audience not of our own age. After deliberation, we settled on creating an animation. The idea was to produce something that could be done cheaply, without having to use to extensive resources.

Animation is the term used in film to describe the act of giving life to a lifeless object. This can be a drawing, a solid object, pixels on a computer, or clay. There are few codes or conventions regarding animation, both legally and logically. It is possible to create almost any object, and to place it into almost any situation. There is very little, if anything, that cannot be achieved through animation and it can be as realistic or as fantastical as the creator likes.

Animations were first created in order to do things that technology at the time could not achieve in live action. It was also far cheaper than a live action, and actors were not needed. In more modern times, it is still in use. It remains the cheaper object to live action, and more affects can be achieved on a far smaller budget. Another reason is that a lot of people simply like the charm of it, or, more recently, creators have found that they can get away with a lot more offensive material on an animated program (an example of this would be South Park).

The animation that I worked on was aimed at adult males. For an animation aimed at this target audience, people have come to expect a number of things, including adult humour, violence and gore. These can all be more extreme in an animation, as people are less likely to be offended by what they view as “fake”.

Our production was created with the intent of making a comedic animation, in an attempt to make the audience laugh. The animation was produced exclusively on close up, only the main subjects’ upper torso and head being visible on screen. This is done to create the appearance of being on a web cam. Using the main characters various mannerisms, the animation communicates humour. The character also “breaks the fourth wall”, meaning he knows that he is just made of clay. The plot line is not a strong one, simply being a series of visual gags, followed by a more humorous climax.

At the beginning of the production process, the first thing the production team did was create the storyboards that would show how the plot would play out. The next stage was the design. We designed the main character with a pencil drawing. The set was then designed in the same way. When happy with our designs, the next stage was to collect the materials needed to create the clay model, which would be the main character in our production. This process took a few painstaking hours of modelling. During this process, the set was completed. The next stage was the most taxing: animating. We encountered numerous problems at this stage. Firstly, the laptop, which had our animation program on it, ran out of batteries after we completed 185 slides. After acquiring a plug, further problems beset us. The animation failed to save properly, costing us time after having done sixty slides. Fortunately, no more problems stood in our way, and the production ran smoothly from there, and we finally completed our animation.

The original concept was very similar to our final product. The only minor changes being that we had originally planed to include a web-chat on the animation. This was removed due to technical difficulty and time constraints.

I believe we produced a successful piece of animation that was legitimately funny and well animated. It met the audience’s expectation of being humorous, and the humour was a mix of immature slapstick and adult violence that I think works well. However, we could probably improve upon it. Some of the slides were slightly out of place from the previous. Though this did not ruin the overall quality, correcting this would bring it to a higher standard.

This production has helped us to learn important skills in the areas of both teamwork and animation. It taught me some lessons about letting other people put their ideas in, rather than being controlling and only using my own. I now know some of the finer points of animation, and can now create my own using the Xipster program. We never came across any problems resulting directly from us working in a team. In fact, our teamwork made it easier when other problems arose. My media skills have increased during the creation of this animation, and I know more about catering to certain audiences.

Unfortunately, I do not have the animation itself stored on my computer, and the one member of the group I was in that has it has yet to put it on youtube. Dang.

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