19 Apr 2012

Symposium Programme

MSc Animation & Visualisation Mock Symposium

25th April 2012

Matthew Lecture Theatre 5013

DJCAD, University of Dundee





Key Note Speech: Dr Chris Rowland


Session 1: Reflections on the Animated Story: Construction, Deconstruction and Reconstruction.

Innes Valente: From Past to Present: The Importance of Combining Technology, Nature and History in Animation

Lingfei Zhu: Heat Death: An Illustration Animation Approach Towards Literature

Lucy Teire: From Audience Member to Maker: A Journey of Discovery Regarding Storytelling Through Animation


Morning Break


Session 2: Reflections on Digital Feelings: Building Imagination, Light and Emotion.

Kareem Al Ali: Digital Lighting and Emotions

Sarah Dargie: Waverly: What Would Sant’Elia Do? A Reflection on An Attempt to Imagine the Futurist Train Station

Zihui Li: Exploring the Issues Around Combining Motion Graphics with Live Action


Lunch Break


Session 3: Reflections on Research into Animation Practice

Brian Lindsay: Edmund Mcmillen: Independent for the Right Reasons

Xiao Wu: How To Understand and Control Loop of Rhythm in Animal Animation

Hai Guo: The Position of Traditional Painting in Animaiton

Boyang Zhao: Animator as Actor: Acting in Animation


Afternoon Break


Session 4: Reflections on Studies in the Art of Data Visualisation

Kieran Baxter: Low Altitude Aerial Photography of Heritage: Capturing Context

Xiaoqian Wu: Cinderella’s Magic Mirror: An Experiment on Online Animated Data Visualisation

Mhairi Towler: The All Round View: C.H. Waddington Reconsidered


Closing Remarks – Sharon White, Module Leader and Dr John McGhee, Course Director

5 Apr 2012

Heat Death: an illustration animation approach towards literature by Lingfei Zhu

Question - How can an illustration technique applied to animation to enhance literature for

aesthetic and narrative purposes?

As the writer of 'Gravity's Rainbow', the most influential literature work in the second half of twentieth century, Thomas Pynchons undistinguished piece of post-modern literature work 'Entropy' has certain literal significance in my personal view. By introducing illustration aesthetic, commonly used in portraying words in still media, to the 3-D entertainment motion media of animation, popular to the wide audience, the aim is to visualize current academic discussion as well as to promote 'Entropy' and work with similar qualities.

Focusing on the production of a short adaptation, the final phase is to separate the animation for the design of an E-book in the post-production stage. This paper will demonstrate the new animation illustration media, and will reveal the importance of combining pop culture elements in publicizing a classical literature piece.

According to analysis up to the present, joining of science and literature is the most important characteristic in terms of its basic structure and concept, which needs comprehensive adaptation in the visualization process. While simple geometries with detailed decorative mechanical patterns and inorganic texture in 3-D software could show scientific quality, carefully mapped painted shading and dynamic movements under certain lighting could raise the organic feel needed for literature aspects.

Unifying these with narrative typography, the composition will be conducted with both cinematography and illustration composition principles applied. All is to ensure that the final visual achieve illustration-like unreal while maintaining digital 3-D real in the meantime -------- a fresh new visual to illustrate a post-modern literature as 'Entropy'.

See Felix's blog here

Animator as Actor: acting in animation by Boyang Zhao

Nowadays, as the market share of 3D animation in film industry is getting bigger and bigger, more and more people want to get into this business and become an “animator”. Therefore, more and more skilful professional educational services have founded and start to train people as animators. However, knowing the software does not mean knowing how to animate, just like getting the characters moving does not mean making the characters lifelike. The rapid development of 3D technique is blinding animators and taking them away from the essence of animation which, in my opinion is acting.

My project is about animating a character with different personalities, to see how the personality leads the way to the most appropriate reactions and movement. I believe that any practical work should be based on a theory, so in this article, I will explore and represent a way to act as an animator.

In my opinion, for being an animator, there are three levels of successful animation which is my main focus:

1. Basic software skills;

2. Understand acting and animating theory;

3. Explore the character’s personality.

For being an actor, there are two forces which blend into each other: inner force which is motivation and outer force which is physical principle; there are also two ways to express: Body language and facial expression.

I also will sum up all the motivations and the matched actions from my observation and experiences, it would be very helpful in future.

See Rudy's blog here

Cinderella’s Magic Mirror, an Experiment on Online Animated Data Visualization by Xiaoqian Wu

Every aspect of the modern society is filled with massive data. With the high development of technology, it’s now possible for people to catch and store these pieces of precious information. But most of the time, such large amount of data is hard to understand and analyze, that’s why we also need visual design to help the public to access to the content of data.

Data visualization is the study of how to communicate information in a clear and effective way by graphic methods(Fry+Oram, 2007). Traditional attempts do great jobs in visualizing the data through graph drawings. But as the fact that data is always with rapid change and many dimensions, these static display are not enough for people to take full advantage of data. We need dynamic and animated ways to effectively visualize data. Processing, which is the creation of Ben Fry, provides us the possibility to present data with its attributes of time and dimensions.

My project aims at creating an online animated data visualization system, which is based on female style preference and the story context of Cinderella. If the content is thought of as a story behind the data, animated visualization could tell the story freely with creativity and existent art styles. Online system encourage convenient accessing and real time renewing of the data. With this experimental project, I hope to find some interesting and efficient way to visualize the data, which also means to achieve better communication with information so that we could deeper discover the society and human life.


Ben Fry and Andy Oram (ed.) (2007) Visualizing Data. United States of America, O'Reilly Media, Inc.

Matt Woolman (2002) Digital Information Graphics. London, Thames & Hudson Ltd.

See Cindy's blog here

How to understand and control loop of rhythm in short animal animation by Xiao Wu

Nowadays, action
design plays a significant role in the whole of animation. Of course, the developments of story, the character and scene design or emotional expression are also the important factors in animation.

In the Disney animation “Tangled”, the action of the horse is really vivid- the audience has empathy the horse because of its actions and facial expression. Inspired by this animation, I decided to make a short animation about an animal in my project.

Although the action is a complicated area in animation, it also includes some different elements, such as the rhythm. But the actions of animals are different from the actions of people, especially the loop of rhythm, like jumping, running. If the rhythm can’t be controlled well, the animal would look strange through the whole story.

In order to make sure the animated animal moves in a natural way, we need to analyze the difference between the actions of animal and the actions of people.

My research questions for this project are:

· How can I understand the rhythm of the action?

· How can I control the loop of a repeated action (like running)?

· How can I use the colour contrast better to show the animal standing out from background?

· How can I combine rhythm, loop and colour to produce an overall natural effect?

Therefore, I must have the rhythm respect to do a deeper research in animation. Through analyzing the characteristics and functions of rhythm and color expression in some outstanding animations, I hope to be able to answer my research questions in the future.

See Miely's blog here


Throughout the last decades, Animation has become a true centre of attention, due to its potential for reaching a vast and diverse audience. Hence its power, since both adults and children can easily and deeply, connect with it. This enables the artist to transform one’s attitude and identity, through their work.

This paper will focus on how traditional Storytelling is being adapted to New Media and how combined with Animation it creates an important balance, bringing back certain values that the New Media itself, tends to erase. This becomes particularly relevant nowadays, when the sense of identity we used to apprehend from History and Nature, is becoming lost. Storytelling lives through a population’s imagination and memories, creating and preserving knowledge that would otherwise be quickly forgotten.

More than ever, we live at an unsustainable pace fed by technology, frequently dismissing what immediately surrounds us.

Nonetheless, our social, environmental, and historical contexts are a big part of who we are.

Can Storytelling and Animation effectively show the importance of finding a balance between Technology, Nature and History? Can it help people discover their place in the world?

How to create an animation that reflects these concerns, is this papers key question.

A collective memory must be preserved1, in order to reach a sustainable balance between Past and Present.

1 “…by opposition to the ever fierce proclamations of the most utterly recent novelty, a prudent return to our origins, to a historic perspective of our time, to an thorough interpretation of the age…”



Lipovestske, Gilles, 1983. A Era do Vazio, Relógio de Água, Lisboa.

See Ines' blog here

The All Round View: C.H.Waddington Reconsidered by Mhairi Towler

As a scientist turned artist I am exploring how animation can be adapted for scientific visualisation. My work aims to investigate different visual/digital methods to tell the story of biological processes. As the focus for this paper, I will describe the work I have carried out on my placement module with artist Dr. Paul Harrison at the Visual Research Centre at the University of Dundee, and discuss how this experience has influenced my own practice and development as an artist.

Dr. Harrison was invited to be part of a European network of excellence entitled ‘Epigenesys’. Epigenesys combines interdisciplinary research into epigenetics and systems biology, and work is required to visualise this research in both a specialist and public context. Dr. Harrisons project, ‘Epigenetic Landscapes’ will include exhibitions, workshops and publications – one of which will include a retrospective/reappraisal of the work of Conrad Hal Waddington, a leading geneticist from the 1930’s onwards, who first established the term ‘epigenetics’ (Slack, J.M.W., 2002). The brief for my placement was to work collaboratively with Dr. Harrison to explore the work of Waddington, and produce visual outcomes for the ‘epigenetic landscape’ concept that he conceived.

Throughout my placement I have been reflecting upon, and evaluating the way in which my creative/artistic practice is affected holistically. I hope this reflective process will give me a deeper insight into what can improve/hamper my practice. My findings from this experience, both practical and theoretical, will be discussed.

See Mhairi's blog here