Project Masterthesis: Animation Technique & Storytelling

Masterthesis: Animation Technique & Storytelling

MultiMediaArt, 2015

Über Masterthesis: Animation Technique & Storytelling

“Art challenges technology, and technology inspires the art.” ~ John Lasseter // This master thesis explores different analogue animation techniques, their possibilities and challenges in regard to storytelling. There is more needed then only an animator to animate a puppet or drawing and to enable the audience to feel its emotions and understand its seemingly own thoughts. The magic here can be only achieved through technology. This thesis outlines and explains that the tool shapes the fi...

“Art challenges technology, and technology inspires the art.” ~ John Lasseter // This master thesis explores different analogue animation techniques, their possibilities and challenges in regard to storytelling. There is more needed then only an animator to animate a puppet or drawing and to enable the audience to feel its emotions and understand its seemingly own thoughts. The magic here can be only achieved through technology. This thesis outlines and explains that the tool shapes the final work as well, which applies to all arts and crafts. The work is not just shaped by the artist, but also by his or her tools. This hypothesis forms the core of the thesis. It is further explored in technology theories and film theories, and demonstrated in an analysis of four exemplary feature films. It is argued, that if artists were to work and create only within the boundaries of a certain technique, no creation in its true sense would occur. Therefore, art pushes technology and the same applies vice versa: technology and sciences inspire artists to come up with new art forms, and create the possibilities for new techniques to develop. Especially animation is deeply connected to its technology. No animation of an inanimate object could be achieved without a tool or at least a device that projects the images and creates the illusion of movement. To examine the relation between animation techniques and storytelling, four feature films have been analyzed, explaining the connection between both aspects and looking at how each film pushed the boundaries of what had been believed to be possible. The three techniques, which are explored and described in detail, are: 2-D cut-out animation, hand-drawn animation and stop-motion puppet animation. Concluding, it can be said that analogue animation currently experiences a revival, especially in the case of stop-motion animation. Thus a look back into film history proves necessary to look further.

Visuelle Eindrücke

Flacktrick-figur: Silhouette auf Tricktisch

This figure is from Jörg Herrmanns silhouette animation film
This figure is from Jörg Herrmanns silhouette animation film

Tricktisch im Mediahaus Kreischa

Traditional silhouette animation is lit from underneath. The camera can move in all directions (sideways, as well as up and down) and the glass plates on the table are movable, too. Unbelievable Friedrich and Jörg Herrmann build it themselves!
Traditional silhouette animation is lit from underneath. The camera can move in all directions (sideways, as well as up and down) and the glass plates on the table are movable, too. Unbelievable Friedrich and Jörg Herrmann build it themselves!

Zeichentrick / hand-drawn animation photographing process

Here are we capturing the frames of our first hand-drawn animation (2013).
Here are we capturing the frames of our first hand-drawn animation (2013).

Silhouette figure - how it is fabricated

Figure fabricated by Jörg Herrmann.
Figure fabricated by Jörg Herrmann.

Soleil - stop-motion puppet animation

Puppet-fabrication and design by Lilija Tchourlina. "Touching a puppet and feeling the life inside it is another discipline that takes us back to simpler times and a world of magic." - Ken Priebe
Puppet-fabrication and design by Lilija Tchourlina. "Touching  a puppet and feeling the life inside it is another discipline that takes us back to simpler times and a world of magic." - Ken Priebe

Animation on 'Soleils Welt' set

Puppet animation is performance. Like real life moments, it can never be repeated in the exact same way. And that is the appeal of this particular technique: It is deeply connected to the moment of its creation.
Puppet animation is performance. Like real life moments,  it can never be repeated in the exact same way.  And that is the appeal of this particular technique: It is deeply connected to the moment of its creation.

Armatures

These armatures have been fabricated by Martina Großer, former artist at DEFA Trickfilmstudio. The inside of a puppet determines how it can move and thus its animation.
These armatures have been fabricated by Martina Großer, former artist at DEFA Trickfilmstudio. The inside of a puppet determines how it can move and thus its animation.

Research and writing process

I really loved the books. They were so inspiring =)
I really loved the books. They were so inspiring =)