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Animation Music

A Jazz Band Improvises an Entire Track in One Take for an Animated Music Video Honoring the Brushstroke

February 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

The process behind most music videos begins with an audio track that an artist reacts to and pairs with a corresponding visual, an undertaking Vincent de Boer knows well. The Netherlands-based artist has been working with the jazz quartet Ill Considered since 2017, listening to the band’s largely improvised melodies and creating abstract animations, alongside stills for its 11 album covers, to match.

But for their most recent collaboration, “The Stroke,” the group flipped the traditional workflow.  With the help of his creative partner Hans Schuttenbeld, de Boer hand-drew 4,056 frames that range from dark, geometric shapes to gangly creatures to scenes that morph from one trippy composition to the next. Honoring the simple, unpretentious lines of each sweeping mark, the artist bills the completed animation as “the story of a brushstroke: a trace of a movement performed by the artist with his instrument, the paintbrush,” he said in a statement.

Once complete, de Boer shared the project with Ill Considered, who recorded an entirely improvised track on its first viewing. The resulting music video matches the jazzy riffs with de Boer’s shapeshifting sequences in a cohesive conversation between the two artforms.

You can purchase an LP of “The Stroke,” which is packaged with 12 of de Boer’s original artworks on the cover and inside, on Bandcamp, and see the full process behind the animation, including the painstaking drawing process and actual recording session, in the video below. Keep up with de Boer’s latest projects on Instagram and Vimeo.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Remarkable Short Film Dives into a Vancouver Lake to Document Tadpoles' Evolution

February 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

During the course of four years, Maxwel Hohn submerged himself in a remote lake on Vancouver Island to record the otherwise unseen life cycles of western toads. The hours of stunning footage culminate in the award-winning short film, “Tadpoles: The Big Little Migration,” which chronicles the tiny amphibians’ evolution from bulbous swimmers—Hohn notes how the critters look like they’re smiling constantly at this stage—to fully formed toads.

Because the ecosystem is incredibly fragile, the Canadian videographer details his precautions to not disturb the environment, which include passing through lily pad trails made by beavers and floating at the surface to keep the silt covering the lake’s bottom from clouding the water. “To see these aquatic tadpoles evolve into terrestrial animals before my own eyes was humbling and heartwarming,” he says.

To watch more of Hohn’s captivating projects, including footage from freshwater dives and a documentary on the sea wolves populating western Canada, check out his Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

 



Animation Illustration

A Wildly Relatable Animation About Existential Dread Reminds Us to Enjoy the Moment

February 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Existential dread, we all have it. A poignant animation by Alisha Liu captures our collective anxiety as it zeroes in on a typical Sunday afternoon in Central Park. The main character (i.e. all of us) breaks the calm with questions about the meaning of life, human insignificance, and of course, the overwhelming feeling that nothing matters. Through minimal scenes, the short film shifts between both mundane moments with passersby and expansive shots of the star-studded galaxy. Ultimately, though, Liu reminds us to get out of our heads and enjoy the afternoon sunshine.

Based in Los Angeles, Liu created the film while in her second year at CalArts, and you can see more of her classmate’s work on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Photography

Bursts of Inky, Technicolor Liquids Mimic Human Eyes in a Short Film About Optical Phenomena

January 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

An entrancing short film by designer and artist Rus Khasanov (previously) fuses multiple optical tricks into a single work. Splashes of glittery, inky liquids crawl across the screen, resulting in a series of bubbles that mimic magnified shots of human eyes. The hypnotic footage utilizes pareidolia—the inclination to see an object where it physically doesn’t exist—while referencing heterochromia iridum, a fairly common condition in which a person’s irises are multi-colored, sometimes in the forms of spikes radiating around the pupil or swirls that split the tissue with different hues. Khasanov’s rendition mimics that phenomenon through saturated droplets and innumerable veins that plume outward.

For more of the Russia-based artist’s work, check out his Behance and Vimeo, where he shares a range of technicolor photography-based projects.

 

 

 



Photography

A Mesmerizing Short Film Imitates Water Flowing Across the Earth with Ink and Dried Pigments

January 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

You’d be forgiven for mistaking Roman De Giuli’s new short film for aerial footage of Earth’s outer crust. As its name suggests, though, “SATELLIKE” is a mesmerizing timelapse that mimics water gushing through canyons and seeping over mineral-speckled regions with liquid ink.

The German filmmaker, who’s behind Terracollage and this hypnotic work about magnetism, created the topographic features on paper using sand, jade, malachite, and a variety of historic pigments dried to imitate their counterparts embedded within the planet. Mixing natural hues and jewel tones, the substances were reconstituted with water and sour flow release mediums, creating a stunning imitation of seismic shifts on Earth.

In total, the project took four months to complete before it was unveiled at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. “The results look different from my usual approach, way more realistic and less otherworldly. I was excited about the aesthetics of the images and decided to do an individual piece. Although this is the final result for now, it feels more like I’m at the very beginning,” De Giuli writes on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Animation Music

A Mesmerizing Rendering of Fiona Apple's Lips Dance Across the Screen in the 'Shameika' Music Video

January 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters was one of the few good things to come out of 2020, with the Grammy-nominated track “Shameika” even resulting in a heartwarming reunion between the singer and the schoolmate who inspired it. The now-iconic piano ballad is paired with an equally alluring music video created by graphic designer Matthias Brown, whose figurative gifs we’ve featured previously on Colossal, and follows a black-and-white rendering of Apple’s lips that shapeshift as she mouths the lyrics.

The video took a few years to complete, a lengthy process Brown documented in a timelapse and that began with rotoscoping, or tracing, videos of Apple’s face while she sang. The New York City-based designer then animated each drawing frame-by-frame and set it to the track. “I tried working directly analog, but my timing wasn’t working well with the music. I had a digital version of the animation completed, then printed every frame out and traced it using brush and ink,” he says. “All in all, there are about 4,000 frames. Scanning alone took about 20 hours.”

Brown says plans are in the works to sell stills from the video to raise money for Seeding Sovereignty and Harlem Children’s Zone. You can follow the designer’s most recent projects, which include a plafyul series of alphabet animations, on his Tumblr, Traceloops.

 

 

 

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