Archive for the ‘final project’ Tag

FEAR MY PHOTO EDITING SKILLS   Leave a comment

Sometimes, I really, really love studying history. We’ve delving a lot into primary sources, and I’ve discovered that primary sources are where it’s at, in terms of finding hilarity. I tend to define “hilarity” as “something not boring” though.

I have to find a newspaper article on my historical topic and analyze it, using methods that I don’t know. Right now I’m just finding newspaper articles. I have the how-to-analyze at home. I’ve found two decent articles, so I’ve decided I’m done with Step 2, but I…I couldn’t resist clicking on a third. For fun.

I will have to recreate the AMAZINGNESS that is this article.

New York Times
Sept. 21, 1911

Stover Plowing Up the Park Lawns

Going to Turn Over Fifty Acres, He Says, Which May Be Turf Again in Two Years:

Defiant of All Protests

“I’m Park Commissioner,” He Asserts, Adding That His Critics Are Ignorant of Soil Restoration.

OH SNAP, CRITICS, ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE THAT? HE JUST CALLED YOU IGNORANT.

…Mr. Stover, however, contends that he is acting on the recommendation of a Government agricultural expert who recently examined the park soil, and that of the Park. Those who opposed the policy as the only means of effectively destroying real grass to the neglected areas of the park. Those who opposed the policy, he declared, were “ignorant persons who do not know what they were talking about.”

ignorant

As for him, he was a Park Commissioner and was going to save the Park lawns after his own fashion…

park commissioner

Enter the Nazis   3 comments

Hahaha, animation blog, what animation blog? Anyway I’m editing my paper on women in Nazi Germany, and I came across this sentence:

In propaganda, women’s faces light up and beam at the sight of Adolf Hitler.

My professor circled this sentence and then wrote illegibly next to it, so I’m assuming that I could probably spruce this section up a bit. I decided the best way to do that would be to show, not tell. In Triumph of the Will, there’s lot of fantastic images of women looking ecstatic meeting Adolf Hitler during his arrival procession through Nuremberg. I popped up Google and started doing a search for Adolf Hitler and a woman in Triumph of the Will. Just typing in “Adolf Hitler and a woman” called up “Adolf Hitler was a woman as the first search option.

Well curiosity got the better of me.


Source


Source


Source


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At first it was hilarious, but right around the fourth image I realized that it was actually sexist, and now I’m not sure how I feel. On one hand, making the leader of one of the world’s most horrific dictatorships look silly is hilarious. On the other hand, isn’t photoshopping him into stereotypical female clothing kind of insulting to females? The last two photos are from articles on Britain’s attempts to turn Hitler into a woman…for some reason. It’s so stupid. I feel kind of stupid for laughing at it.

Anyway I think I’ll put this picture in my paper.


Source

All the crowd scenes from Triumph of the Will don’t have Hitler in them, and I don’t want an adoring crowd out-of-context. Otherwise I’d have to use a picture of Hitler and Leni Riefenstahl, who was part of the propaganda machine, or this picture:


Source

Which is the sort of picture I was looking for, but it has that url on it and I don’t like that border.

Final Blog Specimen: The Politics of Marriage in Disney Princesses (combined)   Leave a comment

There is, in fact, a canonical list of Disney Princesses, a who’s-who of Disney characters as it were:

Snow White (Snow White)
Cinderella (Cinderella)
Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty)
Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
Belle (Beauty and the Beast)
Jasmine (Aladdin)
Pocahontas (Pocahontas)
Mulan (Mulan)
Tiana (Princess and the Frog)
Rapunzel (Tangled)

Clearly the superior princesses managed to get their movies named after themselves! Heck, Jazmine’s movie was named for her love interest! For shame, Jazmine. This entry is dedicated to analyzing their marriage in a historical and political context.

As a note, I won’t be covering Tangled, as I have not seen that film and have no idea if she even gets married in it.

Snow White (1937)

Blatant lack of nose aside, Snow White is Disney’s take on the old German Fairy Tale, Sneewitchen, or “Little Snow White”, not to be confused with SchneeweiƟchen of Snow White and Rose Red, obviously. Rather annoyingly, the Disney version skips over the interesting part, where her mother pricks herself on a needle and wishes for a beautiful baby girl. Then she dies after giving birth to the baby. Then her father, for some insane reason, marries this woman:

The movie doesn’t say whether or not the father dies. Certainly if the woman can go scurrying off into the woods selling poisoned apples, she’s probably not running a kingdom, so I’d say, probably he is still alive. This is where the movie picks up. Snow White is forced to be a scullery maid and dress in rags, but she somehow manages to win the heart of…somebody good-looking.

I would like to say that, for the Record, we never find out how Snow White knows he’s a prince. We just assume, because we all know the fairy tale. And Snow White just assumes he’s a prince, because he’s a good-looking guy, and good-looking people back then tended to be either nobility (or demonically possessed). Snow and the Prince never actually talk. She’s singing about how much she wants to meet her true love; then he shows up and talks about how he has one song for her (creatively entitled “One Song“). She runs away before they have a chance to do something as simple as tell each other their names.

Skipping forward to the end,

People talk about the Prince like he’s a necrophile, but actually this was a common thing to do at funerals, as a way to say goodbye to the dead. The ritual was practiced up into the 20th century. It…it very rarely ended in the princess waking up and marrying you though.

So that’s the situation. We have a young man, who may or may not be a prince, marrying a young woman, who may or may not be a scullery maid. Now, she’s definitely a princess. And he’s a prince. The story appears to take place in medieval-era Germany, judging by the outfits the characters are wearing. This would mean that the story takes place during the days of the Holy Roman Empire (962-1802), which was when Germany was a loose confederation of princedoms under the nominal rule of an elected Emperor.

What is an almost-king doing running around the backwater provinces, checking out scullery maids and attending funerals? That’s what I want to know.

Cinderella (1950)

Not to be outdone in the swishy dress department, Cinderella came roaring along in 1950, to prove that you could be a princess AND maintain a nose.

The opening narration of Cinderella merely states that Cinderella father was wealthy and devoted to Cinderella. He remarries, in order to give Cinderella a “mother’s touch”, and then dies an untimely death. Her stepmother then squanders the family fortune and forces her to be a slave in her own house. At least this time we got to see some of the action, even if only in a brief montage!

Also this time, we know the person she ends up with is definitely a prince. He’s in a palace and has a nose and everything! In fact, his father is a king sort of king, and is looking to marry him off! So he arranges a ball in the big fancy palace, and whoever the prince sets his eye on, he’s going to marry!

Excellent point, Agatha Heterodyne! How does Disney justify this complete lack of political brains? Why, by making the King absolutely baby crazy!

If you read Disney’s version of “Extended Edition” or “Word of God” or “Behind the Scene Notes” you know that the stepmother’s name is Duchess Tremaine, implying that Cinderella herself is probably some manner of Duchess as well. This would make her fairly high up in the nobility. GOOD SAVE THERE, DISNEY. Of course, given that Cindy herself has very little to her name — her stepmother probably fired all the servants so she could save a little money to spend on her daughters, which is probably what led her to force Cinderella to do all the chores. The house is therefore a wreck, and she has no money, or clothes, and probably a horrible upbringing. Cinderella needs a little bit of princess school, and a lot of luck, to keep this marriage politically convenient.

She needs to have a boy. That’s what I’m saying.


A horrid, horrid little boy.

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

What can I say about Sleeping Beauty? They cover all the angles here. The marriage between an actual prince and princess was politically arranged between two friendly kingdoms. Or is it princedoms? Both Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty seem to take place in a weird French/German nation. Cinderella’s home is described as a “chateau” and the Duchess’ name is “Tremaine”, yet that castle is totally Neuschwanstein, in Bulgaria.

At least we get a sense of geography from Cinderella: southern Germany somewhere, or possibly France. Heck, people in France didn’t speak French until nationalism was invented in the mid-1800s! So either way works. But Sleeping Beauty manages to be really really vague: “Aurora” is actually a Spanish/Italian/Portuguese name. But those kingdoms weren’t really unified in any sort of manner until Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon hooked up in the mid-late 1500s. Philip specifically says, “Now, father, you’re living in the past. This is the 14th century!”

It’s the 1300s, so IT DOESN’T MATTER. PRINCESS AURORA COMES FROM NOWHERE. HER MARRIAGE IS FINE.


It’s the 14th century, so teenagers can make out in the forest now!

I know it feels like I’m giving Princess Aurora a short shrift in this analysis, but honestly, everything is perfect to start out with. There’s so little conflict that I feel that it kind of ruins the story somewhat. A lot of other analysis going into the movie has noted that the true heroes of the story are not Aurora and her Prince, but the three fairies, who are working to defeat Maleficent. Aurora and her beau act as mere props for the true story in that case.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Disney’s The Little Mermaid is pretty much the cover page for “bowlderization” or “Disneyfication.” Their Snow White tossed the evil stepmother off the cliff rather than forcing her to dance to death, and had Cinderella burst into the room before the stepsisters could cauterize their feet into submission. In the original Hans Christian Andersen tail tale of The Little Mermaid, it pretty much opens with Ariel and her sisters celebrating Ariel’s new womanhood by singing bawdy songs while watching storms sink ships, the Prince is in love with a Beautiful Land Princess, and it ends with either mermaid suicide or a heavy Christian parable, depending on your interpretation.

Disney’s The Little Mermaid has the story end happily. The Beautiful Princess is the (now evil) sea witch in disguise. Eric (the first Prince with an actual name!) murders the Sea Witch, King Triton sees that Eric is not a Bad Dude, and grants Ariel her legs for reals now, and everyone lives happily every after until the sequel.

I actually have no idea what Eric is the Prince of. I’m pretty certain his parents are still alive, although that’s based on a foggy memory of a line early in the film, before his ship sinks. He lives in a castle by the sea, with an alarming amount of windows.

Not that I can even tell what the time period is. Puppets are the height of entertainment, so that’s probably a hint. Ariel’s decked-out dress is a little too decked-out for me to figure. However, Grimsby’s cravat screams the first quarter of the 1800s. So probably, the story takes place in the early 19th century. What country had its own prince in the early 1800s, and had a castle by the sea?

I have no idea, but any kingdom by the sea could probably use all the sea help it could get.


We got it all worked out. In exchange for never eating fish again, and having to take on the burden of importing all their protein and the loss of their fishing industry, we’ll give them safe passage through the seas. I think the sea kind of won out in this venture. Thanks, sweet tits! I mean, daughter.

Beauty and the Beast (1991)

There are so many things wrong with Beauty and the Beast. So. Many. Things.

1) The Prince is cursed at eleven. He’s freed from his spell at twenty-one. This guy?

No one has ever seen this person before, ever, because this person did not exist before.

2) Stockholm syndrome. Everyone mentions it. Yes. That is probably what is going on. However, there’s a theory going around that the story was invented to help girls get used to the idea that they’re not all going to marry handsome, charming princes. Why, they may marry men who are downright beastly!

3) This story takes place in, like, provincial France. Sometime in the 1700s, according to the Internet. Assuming that this takes place before the revolutions of the last quarter century of France, that means that people have completely forgotten about a direct relation to the King of Absolute France. King Louis isn’t demanding that he attend court? Where are his tributes? Where do the dancing dishes get the food to dance with?

I find all of that more weird than the fact that Prince Adam (he has a name btw) married a fricking peasant girl. I think the only reason he’s getting away with it is because everyone important assumes he’s dead.

Aladdin (1992)

I know that Jasmine ends up with the Hero, Aladdin, and that is all well and good because it’s True Love, and also Aladdin is an actual Prince. Think about it: his wish is “Make me a Prince”, not “Make me look like a Prince”. So all those dancers and singers in the show-stopping “Prince Ali” actually exist, and are actually Aladdin’s loyal subjects.

Jafar is obviously a creepy bad guy (“so old”) who is up to no good, but I imagine that, in most cases, marrying off royal daughters is a politically savvy move.

Apparently Jazmine is the Sultan’s only child — out of a harem? Really? One child, and a daughter at that? Did some wife get smother-happy or something? Or maybe he only married once, and then never bothered with any mistresses, because he loved his wife so much. Maybe.

Anyway, if you only have one child, therefore one heir, do you really want to set your country’s future on the whims of that one person, with no sense for the politics? “Only a Prince can marry a Princess” doesn’t mean a whole lot, considering that Prince Hypothetical would be getting all of the Princess’ asset, namely your entire kingdom. What if that prince’s country wants to ruin your country, or enslave your people? What if the prince she chooses is in a country that is at war with an ally? Do you ruin your alliance and risk war? What if there aren’t any princes available? What if you need to tie yourself to a local, powerful family?


Let’s not ruin this with words.

Or…you could marry her off to your grand vizier, who’s had you and your country’s back for so many years. A trusted advisor, with links to your country and its people. You know. A princess is a pawn, whose purpose to marry well enough to raise the family’s fortunes without risking the loss of the family fortunes. Marrying her to a grand vizier to ensure his loyalty is a good way to do that.

Pocahontas (1995)

Pocahontas holds the record for Disney Princess with the most publicity photos of her hair blowing randomly, the most geometrical face, and also the least amount of marriages. She does, however, follow a long Disney tradition of not having a nose.

She gets married in the sequel, to the man she married in real life, John Rolfe.

I’m not going to lie: the only Disney sequel I’ve ever seen was a sequel to The Little Mermaid, which I think was called The Littler Mermaid but I’m probably wrong (it was Return to the Sea). According to the Wikipedia synopsis, John Rolfe and Pocahontas fall in love while she acts as ambassador to England, trying to prevent a war between the Powhatan tribe and England; hijinx ensue, lessons are learned, Ratcliffe is a jerk, etc. The love story between John Smith and Pocahontas is not forgotten, but apparently the story ends with Pocahontas saying that it’s time to move on.

In real life, Pocahontas and John Rolfe met on April 5, 1614, when she was about 19, and he was 39. He was a tobacco farmer, looking to introduce Spanish tobacco into the area. She was a Powhatan princess. They were married (his second marriage), she was baptized, given the Christian name “Rebecca”, and eventually had a son, Thomas. Unlike in the Direct-to-Video sequel, she was received as royalty on her trip to England. So she was viewed as a princess, and she married a tobacco farmer? Hm.

Mulan (1998)

Now wait a second! Mulan also doesn’t get married at the end of her movie! Did Disney go through a weird period of deciding that marriage does not, in fact, make one a happy and complete person? No wait, according to Wikipedia, she and Shang got married at the end of the second movie. Hey, that’s faster than Jazmine, who waited three movies to get married.

Hijinx ensued before Mulan and Shang got married. Not just the cross-dressing part, or the extremely short war against the Hun/Xiongnu, but also in the sequel, where they have to escort three princesses to their arranged politcally-advantageous marriages. Unfortunately, the three princesses fall in love with Moe, Larry, and Curly on their way to the wedding.


Oops.

Mulan and Shang make sense. In that time period in China, the gentry was split between military families and gentleman scholars, who pursued painting and calligraphy. Mulan and Shang are both from prominent military families; it makes sense for them to marry. But Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po are conscripted men — peasants, most likely, whose military service is a form of taxation. While it’s noble to marry for love, it’s hard to stay in love when you’re so far down the totem pole your father-in-law could have you executed in the square, and no one would care. Their lady loves can read, write, maintain family accounts, and have been trained as international ambassadors and diplomats since they could talk. The three stooges can bring in a crop, maintain mulberry trees, and count on their fingers. They come from such opposite worlds, I can’t even see their love lasting, much less being allowed in the first place.

The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Disney covered all their bases with this one. Yes, a poor black girl from New Orleans married a prince, like a real prince kind of prince. It’s stated in the movie that Prince Naveen such a hopeless layabout, constantly spending his cash and causing political scandals, that his parents have cut him off from money and political interests, in favor of his little brother.


Who may be starting on some scandals of his own pretty soon

So essentially he’s royalty enough to magically make poor girls frogs into princesses when they get married, but not royal enough for the secular world, so he can kick back and help Tiana run her restaurant without worrying about the rate of taxation in Maldovia. A princess in name only, in other words.

Posted May 7, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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Blog Post 12a: Last-minute animations   Leave a comment

I’ve actually made a grand total of three animations. You can view my first video in this entry here. I have two others, Pizza Boy vs. The Mole, which has like an actual plot, and Give Me the News. That one was based on a song I hate, Robert Palmer’s “Bad Case of Loving You”.

The three animations, together, took me about six hours to make. Do you know what else took me about six hours? This animated gif.

gif maker
Gif maker

I made this back in late January, or February 1 at the latest. It was extremely difficult to make the images all look exactly the same, yet moving. Six hours, ten frames, my mouse, and MSPaint (I am not cool enough for photoshop). I even found a way to turn a grid on, and I still had difficulty lining up the face.

Goanimate took all the work away, which was something I was looking for. But it had its own limitations. In the end, I think I lost something, in not having to do the work, in having to force my ideas into pre-built animations..

This (final) video features bad language.

This video, sent to me by a friend, encapsulates a lot of my later frustrations with Goanimate. Yes, you can make things move and say what you want them to say. But they say it with canned, electronic voices, and very, very limited movement. I had to edit my stories, such as they were, very heavily in order to get from the beginning to the middle to the end. They didn’t feel like my characters at all.

I suppose, after all this, I’ll go back to writing and drawing comics.

Posted April 17, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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Blog Post 11b: I Came to Bury Caesar   1 comment

GoAnimate.com: I Came to Bury Caesar by Kelsey
http://goanimate.com/player/swf/0Xuu9-4vbi2Y?autostart=0
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It’s free and fun!

Okay, so I’m not sure what’s going on, but the video box is not showing up for me. I was able to successfully post this to facebook and livejournal, but not wordpress? Also, lately wordpress has been blacking out whenever I go to a screen that has my site stats on it.

Clicking that link will take you directly to my video, though.

I’d meant to do a stop-motion animation version of this, but that was a better idea when I thought our animations were due next week, not this week. The site that I used — goanimate.com — was certainly a big help and saved me a lot of time, but there were definitely limitations.

1) No zombies (my original script called for a zombie)
2) The lip-synching is terrible — the mouths just flap, rather than matching the sounds. Which makes sense, but it’s distracting and makes you feel like you’re watching Godzilla. That’s why I chose to not have the teacher’s mouth move, even though most of the video is devoted to her talking. This, in turn, is why I made her movement so animated. Nothing like watching three people sit completely still for fifteen seconds while a computer voice recites Shakespeare in the background, amiright? I know that lip-synching is difficult, and they actually pay animators full-time to do nothing but match character’s lips to the sounds. That is probably why they decided to just have a lip-flapping movement, rather than full-on lip-synching.
3) The interface made me scared to screw up or take risks, because I had no idea how I’d fix it. There were originally three desks, and I would have had three students, but I accidentally scooted the third desk and couldn’t get it back in its original place. I just deleted the desk rather than deal with it. Towards the end of animating, I found the “undo” button. Also, both students were supposed to start out sitting, but as it turns out, I placed the boy’s movement as “entering”, and there was no way to get him to not enter. That’s why he walks to his desk and sits down. He had to “enter” the scene. Also, because I was scared of making a mistake, I couldn’t have an “open scene” frame and a “close scene” frame.
4) I wish I could have had the students scream. Alas.
5) No sound effects — just music. It would have been nice to start out with a bell.

Overall, though, goanimate was extremely simple and fairly intuitive. This animation was fun to do, and I did like the variety of art styles available. It’s written to be more of a comic book come to life than a piece of artistic brilliance, so keep it in mind if you ever use this software.

Posted April 9, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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Blog Post 2: Recycling the Frames   8 comments

This is one of my favorite animation videos available on youtube, and I get more and more fascinated with it every time I watch it. I’m watching it with more and more of an artist’s eye; what, exactly, is getting reused? Take the part comparing Snow White’s dance with a totem pole of dwarves with Maid Marian’s dance with a broken-legged dog. I hadn’t paid much attention to it before, but I saw that tonight, and I thought — what? There’s no way they match up. Dopey and the other dwarf have a long body and short legs, and the dog doesn’t. But nope. The dog has a long body and short legs, and the hobbled movement matches.

I’m trying to imagine where, exactly, the points diverge. It’s easy to see how Baloo and Little John can be recycled — recolor that big round bear and bam — but it really throws me when you’re comparing a vixen and a human, or a piece of paper and a human. In one shot, a sword is swung, but in the comparison shot, a paw is swiped, and in both cases, a short thing ducks. Is only part of the scene being recycled? Are they recycling, say, the ducking short thing, but redrawing whatever it is that causes the short thing to duck? Did I just use the same words over and over again, causing confusion? I apologize.

Try rewatching it, but imagine the characters as black and white lines, or even stick figures. I imagine that’s how far back the recycling comes from, the basic sketching. Most of the recycled animation is actually pretty difficult animation. Swing dancing, clapping, standing up when she’s wearing a long, flowy skirt, that complicated chase scene, beating a drum, those are all fairly complicated motions, involving multiple layers, lots of movement, and precise placement.

gif maker
Gif maker

Heck, even just doing this was pretty complicated, and half of this is recycled frames. For some reason I felt like this was moving two things at once. I guess not. Next I’ll try to pop a bubble, and then I’ll do something with two points of movement.

Last: I think Beauty and Beast’s final dance was more of a homage, considering it was drawn a couple decades later. Yes No?

Posted February 1, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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Blog Post 1: Wooooooo! First entry in a new category   Leave a comment

gif maker
Gif maker

So I wanted my first entry in my new Animation category to be really cool, and while this isn’t the coolest ever, this is still pretty exciting. Look! I made an animation! It’s just a dude waving, but still, I made him move! I just put some pictures through a gif animator, so, you know, high-tech. If I do this using the gif animator, I’ll have to hand-make every single frame, but eh. It’s an idea!

Posted January 29, 2012 by agentksilver in animation

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