Pixevolución: Monkeys and pixels.

Monkey games

In 2006, for my workshop course in that year’s first semester, I created a graphic work that ironized technology and how the Monkey King (humanity) wreaks havoc on Earth through its lack of restraint and its egocentrism. The next semester I was to base an animation on that work.

This was a semester-long project (it kind of doesn’t show, due to a long preliminary process) for Sebastián Skoknic and Bryan Phillips’s course. Other than being my longest animation since, it marks the first time I ever did anything resembling sound design; I even splashed a bit in the tub to get some water sounds. The most interesting part was using the Game Boy Camera (thus the Game Boy sound hardware) for the electronic noise, which I think worked very well.

The subject of this piece remains the same as the one it’s based on, though I didn’t make any specific references to video games this once, just computers.

Volcano.

A few weeks ago, Matt showed me a preview of a song he was working on, called Volcano. I liked it so much that I decided to make a video for it. After I graduated, I finally got around to making said video. And now it’s done!

In the meanwhile, he released the EP the song is a part of; it’s called Moonfish Moon. I recommend you give it a listen if you liked Volcano.

This was about a week’s work, shooting around the neighborhood, here in Santiago, Chile. I filled up almost three miniDV tapes of footage, which seems to be a lot for under four minutes of edited video, or maybe I’m just not used to this kind of stuff. I also discovered only yesterday that this Handycam that I used has a manual exposure setting, which would have been useful for many of the earlier shots, but such is life.

I also got myself a new bycicle a week ago, which can be partially seen in one of the shots. It’s a cheap ‘beach cruiser,’ but I love my new bike.

‘The story of my sneakers’.

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This is a video I made in 2007; it was my final exam for an experimental video class. It’s the story of a young girl, as she documents her own cathartic ritual. The script uses some stereotypes, to match the ingenuity and simple mind of the main character, and also to leverage immediate recognition. I also let many scenes drag on, despite the initial storyboard‘s briefness, because I felt that such a contemplative style suited it best, and a fast editing would have done a disservice to the aesthetic. This was proved later, in fact, when I made a 30 seconds ‘digest’ (no subtitles) that didn’t really capture what I was after. That short version was created for an awful contest which I only entered because the topic matched perfectly: stories of sneakers, and it was an advertising campaign for a department store.

As you can see, the video could not have been made without the help of the star, Sigal, who was also the main camera-person. In fact, the concept was created around her, so, had she not agreed to help, I would have been forced to make something else entirely.

And since I’m on the subject, here’s another video I made for that same class, as an exercise in shooting and editing. All of the material was recorded at the Diana arcade in San Diego, Santiago. My original idea was to make it much more musical, but due to time constraints, I was only able to do so much.
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‘Recaída’ in depth.

This is called Recaída (Relapse,) a decidedly bad and rather cheesy name (the ‘caída’ part means ‘to fall’) for an animation I made for school in 2006. It’s, as I describe it in the video page, ‘a simple story of lost love,’ as told in wiggly pen lines, abstracted characters and two colors.

The story behind its creation should start, I guess inevitably, with my getting dumped by a girlfriend that year…, or maybe the year before that (I’m not putting the ‘water under the bridge’ act, really.) Either way, the truth is that I’ve always liked misty love stories, the more heart-wrenching the better. Yes, yes, I know. The point is, though, that the girlfriend deal I just mentioned was really only an excuse for me to make a story about dropping down from a great height in hopelessness. No, I never considered suicide, don’t worry.

Well, I never stopped to think about this so deeply while drawing the storyboard; it was the night before I had my class, so I had to get something done, and I had previously come up with that squarey character, which looked rather charming and easy to animate to me. In general –and this is a characteristic of mine– I can finish things quicker and be more satisfied with the result the less time I spend thinking about it, and the more I let it just be whatever and blah: get it over with. So then I can be surprised if it turns out sort of nice, instead of underwhelmed because of all the effort I poured into it (like with another animation I made later, Pixevolución.) So for giggles, here’s the storyboard in its finished form, and a pageful of sketches, for those of you who… Ah, who am I kidding, no one cares about this other than myself.

Only thing left to add is that every frame was drawn freehand with a pen. I didn’t even use fancy light boxes or nothing, just like real men do. I cut paper into square pieces and drew on them, then scanned them and… put them in Flash. Which is ridiculous, since Flash is not exactly made for that, but still, it worked I guess. The point was to make an animation using Flash, that was the assignment, but I wanted to make it hand drawn, so I just did it. Oh, and about that breathing sound? Yeah, that was my lazy way of adding sound, which was a requirement; it totally doesn’t fit it, but I wanted everything to be made by me (it’s an obsession, perhaps,) and I can’t play an instrument, sing or make any sort of music, so…