Altered Memories (2003)
Altered memories was an animation I completed in 2003. It used the cutout animation technique but using digital software. The star of course was Isambard Sprocket! The basic premise of the story was that Isambard gets bored with engineering and decides to go surfing. It is a semi autobiographical work!
The images were taken from various sources, including old photographs of my trips to Newquay Cornwall. The above scene is constructed by hand a drawn character and background . The images were then digitised by scanner and coloured using Paint Shop Pro. For animation I used Adobe After Effects. This is very useful and allows modification of the time line in order to get the animation smooth.
In the above image you can see the use of photographs for the background. I experimented with Isambards walk cycle. I considered an 8 cell cycle as shown above. I tested it but the results were unsatisfactory and looked a little disjointed from the body. I returned back to a simple stick leg approach and it seemed to suit the character better. In fact when I showed the film to my friends, there was a comment of how funny his walk was. There was a lesson to be learned here that in trying to get the animation more lifelike was losing some of the identity of the character.
In the above shot you can see that the Isambard is unhappy! I used the technique of changing the visibility of layers in the After Effects software in order to achieve this effect. The background was originally a still of an old ambulance we used for our holidays. I split this image into two layers, one for the ambulance and one for the background. I used the clone tool in Paint Shop Pro to replace the area where the ambulance had been with road tarmac on the one image and left areas transparent in the ambulance image where the windows were. In that way I was able to get Isambard to push the ambulance off screen to the left. The final animation was about 4 minutes long and included start and end credits again all done in After Effects. It included a music sound track. This improves the presentation very much and I would recommend this.I exported the finished work to mpeg2 format and burned it to CD so I can watch it on my DVD player.