Research Statement

My research aims to investigate trends in animation appeal in consumer culture. I examine the nature of content that compliments popular mass appeal but also seeks to understand context allowing me to uniquely present ideas that may be an antithesis to the dominate themes but have equal appeal. With many media outlets available and several ways to deliver animation possible, significant investment decisions must be made when attempting to create content. To develop popular content effectively studios are ever vigilant in their pre-production measures when it comes to designing characters, sets and environments for the production of complex entertainment narratives. Careful and strategic investment into creative decisions regarding contemporary design trends and on-going narratives are considered before attempting to create content. My research attempts to create mechanisms that tackle these challenges.

As an research focused artist working in the field of animation, it is important that I produce contemporary content to maintain a fresh approach that tests my creative theories. I must have a firm understanding of the field as a creative playground to understand the subtleties of iconic meaning embedded in artistic aspects the work. My investigation explores methods to ease labour-intensive animation production enabling a further in-depth exploration of thematic trends. In previous research, I created a movie in a game engine, externalizing a facet of design in an interactive playback system. The system morphed in real-time visual design styles such as character volume and colours, camera motion and stylistically different audio tracks. The final outcome of the research is a 19-minute short film titled [Vengeance + Vengeance] where the visual design of the characters and sets change dynamically to manipulate the viewer’s experience. Having the research win 10 awards with 18 Official Selection in film festivals and competitions validates the theoretical aspect of the work on a tangible, international stage.

Although I explored action and science fiction in earlier work, of interest to me is the real time movie authoring system itself. The ability to quickly author content and modify the performance in such a way as to mimic the immediacy of theatre and music in the film-making experience is exciting. Our case studies will further an understanding of the mechanisms that result in animation that has popular appeal. Taking work that I did in 2002, I have begun to develop a diverse portfolio of characters that are presented online. They are set in numerous thematic scenarios and most notably are conversational in nature. The visitor to the site can speak with them.

By leveraging current animation technologies and social media platforms as a location for testing, acknowledging that distribution networks are in a state of active change, the immediacy that real time game technologies offer in the construction of narrative structures for short animated films will result in a novel approach to animation authorship. My current research looks at these issues as I develop real time conversational characters on the web, for mobile development and a YouTube channel where they are showcased in short form comical satire. The work attempts to transcend national boundaries and embrace, explore and extend emerging production practices, creating and enhancing experimentation in an animated form.