Dafydd Williams Photography

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Raising the Bar.

Today’s workshop has been set up as a self directed day supported by UWTSD’s Artist in Residence and professional Photographer Dafydd Williams. The students have been granted access to the Universities Photography Studio with the use of their specialist equipment.

The session begins with a relaxed atmosphere, the radio is playing and the students view their screen printed T-shirts that they produced with Bella Kerr and Tim Stokes in the first Raising the Bar master class.

Daf introduces himself and demonstrates the possible outcomes of the studio shots, helping them form ideas surrounding what can be done with the equipment. He encourages the group to chat, join in and discuss ideas and to take the lead.

After experimenting with poses and getting warmed up in front and behind the camera, the group request the use of the wind machine to blow newspaper shreds across the model who is standing with colours projected on her.

The group explore a lot of shots that are ‘set up’ but have a large element of chance. They move from throwing newspaper, to throwing their screen printed T-shirts at the same time.

At the end of the day the group view the photographs on the bigscreen and assess what they have done. They all request copies for their own social media and college/ portfolio work folders.



Tim Stokes Animation

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Tim begins by introducing the history of animation and the different films that revolutionized the industry. Jason and the Argonauts was the first film that blended live action with stop motion animation, Tim explained that stop animation is what the participants will be experimenting in today. From this however it was Star Wars that revolutionised everything, these special effects sped forward the generation we’re living in now which informs the basis of films like Toy Story. The rapid pace of how animation techniques develop is shown in the fact that even this once ground breaking style, is now out of date. Although it suited the skills of the time, we have come much further and the lines have become blurred into realism. For example the Animators who worked on Jurassic Park, actually built the skeletons of the dinosaurs. Building from skeleton they were able to create the layers of muscle and skin, which allows the creatures to move as they ought.

3D Animation is a lengthy process, however what the students will be looking at today is stop animation. This is still a long process but is much less complex and more doable in their timeframe.

Tim uses the classic anime film “Spirited Away” as an example of what can be achieved using this method. Spirited Away is also interesting because it’s the visuals that inform the story, not the other way around. This is the style participants will be working in today, allowing their drawings to inform their animations.

These animations will be small “gestures” morphing from one stage to another. Tim asks the participants to think of them almost as memes or GIFs, and how we are living in a world that communicates more through images than sentences.

The first task is a quick two-minute self-portrait with charcoal. Tim tells the students to avoid shading and be imaginative and playful. This exercise is followed by an example of how easily recognisable some animated characters are- the students are asked to quickly draw a character without it’s name, and the other students have to see if they recognise what’s been drawn. This is used to illustrate simplicity is key when creating well know characters.

They are then split into groups and their own characters are then painted onto MDF board, the groups then swap boards and add to each others paintings. These characters will form the basis of their “gestures” later in the day.

Students are then introduced to the mac suite, and practice the art of digital drawing. They then create their small digital emojis/gestures in Photoshop. These sequences are only a matter of seconds long, so students are asked to consider little movements and “quality over quantity” The result of the day are some very weird and wonderful animations. These will be looped together and showcased in their final exhibition.