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Television Shows and Movies Are Good, But Books Are Better.

Last week I wrote an article titled Animated Films and Television Shows Are Underappreciated in America. Writing this article got me thinking about other artistic mediums used to tell stories, specifically books. To me “books” include anything from poems, short stories, novels, magazine articles, blog posts, and any other form of written material that you can think of.

As I mentioned last week live action and animated films both have merits of their own, and I enjoy both quite frequently. That being said books, and writing in general has qualities which cause me to proclaim that I enjoy reading a good fantasy novel on a quite afternoon more than watching a good movie. Just sitting for a few peaceful hours following the adventures of a hobbit as he seeks to destroy the one ring in the fires of Mordor. Being amazed by the scenes unfolding in front of my mind’s eye, or saddened as tragedy strikes, and warmed heart and soul by moments of comradery.

There are some differences between written material, and films that I would point out that you may or may not be aware of. Firstly is the greater degree of freedom afforded the writer to further develop his characters and story. Secondly you have more relaxed time constraints that what a film is burdened with. Lastly the audience, or reader as the case may be, is more closely involved with the events and characters of the story.

A Greater Degree of Freedom


First of all is the greater degree of freedom afforded the writer to further develop his characters and story plot. That is when compared to television and movies of course. Which means he gets to go more in-depth with the physiological profile of each important character. This helps you learn how a character will react in certain situations, and why they act the way they do.

The author is also able to explore more fully the depths of the story and the world in which it takes place. He can give a more complete history of events so you as the reader fully understand why the world is in its current state(whatever that may be).

More Time to Wander

Secondly you have more relaxed time constraints then what a film or show is burdened with. Where a movie is usually about one to two hours in length, and a television show lasts between twenty to sixty minutes. It is true that most long novels are around 200 pages, but they can range anywhere from say 150 to 300 pages in length. I believe the length is determined by the content and progression of the story. This is unlike tv which is determined by the cable company, not the author.

Audience Involvement

I feel the fact that more work is required on your part when reading a novel is a good thing, because it makes the audience become more involved in the preceding tale. Being more involved in the story gives you a better idea of what the characters are experiencing, and how events be they good or bad affect them and those around them. This all in turn gives you a better experience, making you feel as if you are truly a part of what is happening, something greater than yourself.

Conclusion


As I mentioned last week live action and animated films have merits of their own.. That being said books, and writing in general has qualities which cause me to proclaim that I enjoy reading a good fantasy novel on a quite afternoon more than watching a good movie.

Above I have explained the reasons I feel this is so. To sum it up books by nature give an author more room to explore their stories, and the characters that inhabit them. The whole idea is for the audience to be as close to the characters, and as involved in the story as is possible.

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Animated Films and Television Shows Are Underappreciated in America

Today we are discussing how animated films and television shows are underappreciated by American audiences. Through my observations of the american psyche I have found that people tend not to fully accept any story; be it a novel, comic book, cave drawing, etc…; until it is made into a live action film or show. As if that is the be-all and end-all of any good story. Some people feel animation is only acceptable for children’s entertainment.

I am here to remedy this by explaining that animated films can be just as good if not better than live action films and television shows. Both formats do have their own pros and cons and this article will cover the ones I believe are important. I will also explain the different artistic styles used in animated films and television shows. As mentioned earlier these are simply my observations, meaning if you want to learn more you have to do your own research.

The Pros and Cons of Animation

I believe wholeheartedly that live action has its’ merits, it is just that animation has its’ own merits, but no one gives it the respect it deserves. I will admit my opinion is somewhat bias being an artist myself, although that does not change the facts in the least. The following paragraphs explain the pros and cons I believe are important, not being in the industry myself.

One of the pros in animation is that you only hear the actors voice, you do not see the actors themselves. All you see is the fictional character in their own world, which draws you into that world made by the writer/ director. You are not distracted by thoughts such as “ I really like that actor.”, or “Where have I seen them before?”. Instead the character and his world is all you focus on.

It is also feasible to do some special effects that aren’t otherwise financially or physically possible such as, explosions on a grand scale, flying, or a wizards magical powers are all easily accomplished.

The one con is that all this freedom requires more time, effort, and sometimes money than live action. For the simple reason that everything, including the background scenery, must be created by someone which takes time, and they must be paid for their time.

Different Animation Styles

I have watched many animated films over the years and discovered that there exists a plethora of different animation styles. Here is a short list to illustrate my point.

First of all is the Disney animation style, which most people are familiar with.It has a particular look with semi-realistic big eyed characters. They are also very dynamic with bright primary colors. Even that has differing stylization depending on if it is a traditionally or 3D animated film, such as Hercules compared to Tangled.

Hanna-Barbera was an early animation studio in the 1960’s who produced shows exclusively for television. They made classics many kids grew up on , or are at least familiar with, such as The Flinstones, Scooby-Doo, and The Jetsons. They were created as children’s entertainment, as such they have that 60’s childish, comical feel about them.

The Anime genre alone has tons of animation styles depending on the studio and director. Albeit there are similarities amongst the styles, they still each have their own style. For example you have shows like Naruto, DragonBallZ, and Ghost in the Shell which each have a differing degree of realism. Ghost in the Shell being very realistic, and DBZ on the cartoony side. Naruto falls somewhere in-between the two. This gives a good range of what the anime style entails.

Movies like Titan AE and The Iron Giant produced by Fox Animation Studios look similar to the Disney animation style. For a while I thought they were Disney based on the characters’ facial expressions and gestural movements. It is possible to tell who produced an animation based on how it looks, this is also possible but not as simple with live action films as well.

Films have a variety of filming techniques that give them a particular look and feel. Even the clothing and demeanor of the characters lends itself to the directors filmic style. The only thing they cannot change are the people themselves. They look how they look, you cannot change their. With animation you can go a step further and make even the people’s physical proportions fit your style, you have the power to shape every aspect of the world which is both amazing and overwhelming at the same time.

In Conclusion


Everything above is my take on animation and how it is perceived by American audiences.If you disagree with any part please comment below.

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Should You Have Your Artwork Critiqued?

Professional and weekend artists have many differing opinions on the viability of art critiques as a way to improve ones artistic ability.

Some say they are useless, because that would assume there is a list of common rules that a work of art should follow in order to be considered correct. Due to the fact that art is a freedom of expression it is not bound by such earthly constraints, so how can it be critiqued if it follows no rules.

Artists on the other side of the issue feel that art is nothing but a set of rules and techniques that take a lifetime to master. As a result art critiques are as simple as spotting the artists flaw in technique and correcting it. They believe by repeating this process many many times an artist improves, and eventually becomes a master of their craft.

I feel the viability of art critiques is a mix of these two paths of thought. First off art is a freedom of expression and is not bound completely by such earthly constraints. Although there are a few fundamentals such as perspective and lighting which make artworks look more realistic, they are not vital to the process.

These fundamentals are one (albeit a small) aspect that can be used incorrectly, and easily critiqued by others. At the same time there are other aspects such as style and personal preferences which greatly affect the resulting work, but are specific to the individual and are never incorrect, thus it is ny impossible to critique.

Considering all this I believe art critiques can be useful to some degree. You must remember to take any critique with an open mind, think about what is said and look at it as a neutral observer, do not get to emotionally involved. It may just be that your art is different than most mainstream art, but you work will never evolve if you do not get other artists perspectives of it. As we all know personal bias can sometimes stop us from seeing what is right in front of us, and an artists artwork is no different.

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My First 3D Printing Experience

Charles Hull invented the first commercial 3D printer in 1986, which used stereolithography. He sold this invention through his own company called 3D Systems, which still exists today. The reason many people are not aware of this technology is because it is used mostly by large companies and not individuals. Not until 2010 did this technology become widely known and popular due in part to U.S. government funding and commercial startups.

I am getting my first 3d objects that I designed in Blender 3d printed by Shapeways. I am very excited and hope it works, but it will be atleast another week. So I will tell you how it went then.


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How Do You Define Art?

Art Defined


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines art as: the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects; also : works so produced b (1) : fine arts (2) : one of the fine arts (3) : a graphic art. Such an open-ended definition leaves the skill and creative imagination aspects up to the interpretation of the individual artist. So long as it falls under the umbrella of aesthetic objects it can be considered a work of art.

For instance a young artist uses a new material for his latest painting and is criticized as not being a ‘proper’ artist simply because he has not followed any of the predetermined doctrines of what constitutes a work of art. In actuality he has used art in its truest sense, as a form of self-expression which adheres to no doctrines. As a result regardless of the materials or methods this person used a physical work was created from their creative imagination by employing their skill as an artisan. It meets the criteria mentioned earlier of falling under the umbrella of an aesthetic object and therefore it can be considered a work of art.

In Conclusion


Art can not be categorized or labeled for it is a form of self-expression which is as individual as the artist creating it. There exist many predetermined doctrines of what constitutes a work of art that try to do this. They are just that predetermined being created by those who came before, and may not necessarily fit your personality. So do not be afraid to break the molds and reforge them as you see fit.


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What Is the True Complexity of Art?

Introduction

Many people assume that art is as simple as throwing paint on a canvas, and that assumption made me wonder “Is art truly that simple?”. In any art class I have ever taken there are many terms you must learn to develop a firm understanding of the basics before actually painting. Terms such as hue, intensity, vanishing point, horizon line, etc. In the end are these terms necessary or just an obstacle to artistic endeavors? After delving into the subject I discovered that the questions are deceptively simple, and both have a variety of answers depending on what angle you look at them from.

How Simple Is It?

To answer the first question “Is art truly that simple?”, let me start by saying that the complexity of a work of art depends on ones personal views of the world around them, which affects what to them constitutes art, and that view determines the afore mentioned complexity, or lack there of. I personally believe art is as simple as throwing some paint on a canvas or lines on a page, because art is an innate ability everyone posses allowing them to start expressing themselves as children. As they age their arts complexity will develop along with their mental complexity, and will require more expertise to complete. From the artists perspective their art remains the same simple form of self expression it was in childhood. In other words regardless of the level of complexity and skill required art still is and will remain an innate human ability of self expression, plain and simple.

The Necessity of Art Terms

After much deliberation on the necessity of art terms I realized the answer depends entirely upon the circumstances. They are an indispensable asset because art as with any technical field requires terms in order to explain the intricacies of said field in an understandable manner. For instance, when teaching students the technique for shading a sphere it is essential to explain it by using skill specific terms so they do not become confused. This technique seems very complicated at first, however once it is broken down into its constituent parts of cast shadow, terminator, highlight, mid tone, shadow, reflected light, and core shadow, it is still complex but not as daunting a task as it first appeared. This also demonstrates how the complexity of a work justifies the necessity of these terms. In Regards to a child’s art no terms are required due to its simplicity, but as they develop, and their work becomes more complicated it reaches a point where they become necessary. On the other hand these terms are unnecessary for an experienced artist because they know what to do by instinct developed from repetition and countless hours of practice, and repetition. They can even become an obstacle to their artistic endeavors when they are putting their skills to practical use on a commission for a paying client.

In Conclusion

In the end there is no definite answer regarding the complexity of art as it depends on ones personal preference, and views of the world in which we live. Nor is there a definite answer to whether or not art terms are necessary. These topics are so vast I could discuss them forever and still not find an answer. When all is said and done only you can decide.

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CGSociety

Lately whenever I am in need of inspiration I have been visiting CGSociety. As the name implies most of the work is from 3d artists, and other digital media. With my current interest in Blender this is the perfect place for me to get inspired, and maybe learn some new skills. I find the articles about the behind the scenes of videogame creation especially interesting. They show how much artistic work goes into the development before the finished product hits the stores.

So the next time you are in need of inspiration check out CGSociety.


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Digital Age: Part 4

How does using these services affect the industry in question?

The fourth and final question that this discussion brings to my mind is; How does using these services affect the industry in question? Be it film, literature, or art, regardless of the industry you choose you must support it financially in order to enjoy its’ products. If you do not obtain said media in a legal manner, you do not have to pay for it. Some may ask “What is wrong with that?”, well first of all it is stealing, and secondly if you do not pay you are not supporting the industry, if you are not supporting the industry the artists do not get paid. If the artists do not get paid they can not make more of their particular media. After that occurs you in turn will be unable to continue enjoying the media you like, whatever it may be.

The answer to the question is the industry, whichever is important to you, is effected negatively by using any online services which I have been talking about throughout this series.


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Digital Age: Part 3

What is the legality of using such services?

The third question that this discussion brings to my mind is; What is the legality of using such services? The legal issue I am going to be covering is copyright; if you are not sure what copyright is read my article “Copyright and the Alternatives Part One, Copyright”, for now here is a definition from copyright.gov:

Ҥ 102 . Subject matter of copyright: In general28

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:

(1) literary works;

(2) musical works, including any accompanying words;

(3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music;

(4) pantomimes and choreographic works;

(5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works;

(6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

(7) sound recordings; and

(8) architectural works.”

All the artistic methods I have mentioned in my previous articles are covered in this definition, meaning that any site which uses media without ownership of the copyright would be doing so illegally, plain and simple. On the other hand if the author uses an alternative to copyright such as creative commons, or a free art license you would have to check the specific terms of the license to tell if the media is being used legally. I am not going to go into too much detail, because I have covered them previously in “Copyright and the Alternatives”.

Due to these complications it can be difficult to tell if the site is distributing the media in a legal capacity or not. It would seem the only solution is to do your research about the owners of the individual site(s), and the licenseing method used by the author of said media.


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