Tuesday, 12 January 2010


Persepolis is a war/drama film, which is animated in 2D by hand. I wanted to watch the DVD and write about it because it is so different in style and content to films I usually choose and I felt that it would broaden my horizons.

Persepolis is about a young Iranian girl's memories of growing up, and is based on the real-life experiences of Marjane Satrapi. Marjane sits at a Paris airport and looks back to her childhood during times of war and revolution, her difficult teenage years in Vienna, her return to Iran to study and her final escape to Paris. We see the way she has to deal with social problems such as strict religious rules for women and music and alcohol being banned. She also has to deal with personal problems such as the break-up of her relationships and her marriage; being apart from loved ones; having nowhere to live, and feeling lonely and depressed.

The movie is mostly in black and white, as this is used to show her memories.
I really like the graphic demonstration of her feelings, even though this is done in a very simple way it is highly effective. For example when she is being treated by a psychiatrist for depression, she takes an overdose of the tablets she is given and she is shown flying around on the screen, with images of lots of different tablets.
I also like the way that smoke is animated throughout the film, in a very unusual, spiralling fashion. The lighting and the scenery really helped to create the right atmosphere and were very effective.

The appearance of the characters and the way they behaved in her memories changed, to correspond with her feelings about the person, which made it very powerful to watch and helped me to identify with the way she felt. For example, when Marjane was living in Vienna, she had a landlady that she really did not like. The landlady was rather prim and proper and had a small, yappy dog, which used to wet on the carpet. The landlady was animated with an exaggeratedly snooty air and her dog was drawn with a very ugly and distorted face and body. I also liked the way that her ex-boyfriend, who was a playwright, had a distorted face and acted like a child when Marjane was annoyed with him.. This was the opposite to how he was portrayed when she loved him. This technique really impressed me.

One criticism that I could make is that through the animation, the characters’ faces showed either extreme expressions or none, when it may have been more interesting to show more subtle changes on their faces. This may have been to emphasise the dream-like quality of the memories where faces are remembered as e.g. happy or unhappy. Another improvement to the film that could have been made, is to show the background pictures as changing more, as sometimes it seemed as if it was one drawing that did not alter.

I think this film will really influence my animating from now on. The way that the film tackles a very serious subject matter but uses lots of humour has made me think about how I could animate a story with a thought-provoking message. I have also been inspired by the very creative way that Marjane’s feelings are passed across in her animated memories.

I now plan to watch the animated film Waltz With Bashir (on Sky Movies in January), which is about the memories of a soldier in the first Israel/Lebanon war. I think it will be useful to compare the two films.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Finalised Idents

Some more comments after uploading my idents:

The version above is not the final version as I made a change to the sound after I uploaded this one.

I changed the positions of the camera when the character is at the door exiting the tram as I had some recommendations to make what he is doing clearer.
I would have liked to have made a couple more small changes. One is at end of the ident when the logo character is morphing into the official logo. His feet would not stand out, if I had put him in a higher layer on Flash than the official logo's layer. Another small change I could have made is again when the character is morphing. I notice that at one point he looks different to how he did earlier on when he is morphing. It was caused by part of the character being rubbed out by mistake when a screen shot of him was being used for the morphing.

One more change that I would have liked to have made to this ident is that at a couple of points I have noticed lines on the fisherman's face that aren't meant to be there.

I am pleased with this ident but I would like to clean it up a bit in the future.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

My Opinion of My Final "Turismo de Portugal" Idents

  • Tram
Overall, I  feel that this ident is not as good as it could have been, if I had used my time more efficiently .  I am pleased with the background scenery and the people on the tram, but I am disappointed with the way the logo character walks towards the exit. If I had more time,I would work on improving this by changing the arm movements. I had a problem, because to keep with the logo, the character does not have proper legs, with knees etc, so I couldn't make him walk properly. Also his legs are a bit small and with the benefit of hindsight I wish that I had given the character better legs. I feel that this lets the ident down, as otherwise I think that it has been successful in portraying the impression that I wanted to give the viewer.  

  • Fisherman
I am quite pleased with the fisherman ident. I like the way that the fisherman character turned out, but I do feel that I would have liked to have shown more expression on his face and to have given him more power in his movements so that they look more realistic. But I am very pleased with the scenery in this ident. I think that the boat, sea and sky are quite simple and work well, although they were not at all easy to get right. I spent a lot of time tidying up the boat and the movements of the fisherman and I think this was time well spent. I kept the sea very still, without waves, so that the overall impression of Portugal is of calmness and tranquility, rather than a rough sea.
  • Crab
I am quite pleased with my crab ident, even though I feel that there are a few improvements that I could make, if I had more time.  The main thing that I could upgrade would be to give the crab more character by giving him more movement and facial expressions. However, the time that I spent in changing the crab's original position, with his back to the camera when he throws the photographs, was really worthwhile and this is the reason that I am so pleased with my achievement. Having the crab facing forwards and digging his claws into the sand to find the pictures looks far better and much more polished.
Overall, I think the final result is quite pleasing. 


I really enjoyed working on this brief and feel that I have learned a lot, even though I had already used Flash on my previous course. I struggled a bit with my timings to complete the task, partly because I wanted to make quite a few changes too late in the assignment. For the future, I need to get further ahead early on so that I can have more time to review my work and make the necessary changes. For example, I decided  to have the logo on the screen at the end of each ident for the same length of time, so this added to my work right at the end. Therefore I  have learned for the future that it is important to take on board from early in my planning to include  ideas that can link a series of pieces of work.  I would incorporate ideas that can link a number of  animations together from the beginning of my planning stages, as a key component of the design. 
I have also learned that feedback from a group or team is invaluable, to help refine the animation and my ideas as they progress. It is useful to have regular feedback from others, to avoid progressing too far and finding that others see your work differently to yourself. This regular dialogue  has been most helpful and I would enjoy working as part of a team in the future, helping each other and pooling ideas. 

Thursday, 3 December 2009

My Opinion of my Ident Animations So Far

  • Portuguese Tram Ident

  • Portuguese Fisherman Ident

  • Portuguese Crab Ident

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

How the Symbol Came Alive

When I first designed the Portuguese logo for my tram ident, I was only going to allow limited movements. 

After lots of experiments here is my final logo character, I decided to give him freedom of movement and the same flexibility as the other characters in the idents.

Character Drawings

Here are my first side drawings of my fisherman I showed the final one (lowest down) to my family and they laughed at his hair style (I had added him to Flash as well!) they said he looked like he was wearing a wig :(. So I sent him to the hairdresser and now he looks fine :).

Here's my first tram ident character attempt. hmmm not quite what I was expecting!!

sketched and scanned a selection of hairstyles they really helped to bring the passengers to life (bottom left)

I didn't want to use them all though... bottom left and top left hairstyles ... don't know where they came from 

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Character Designs

Character Designs

Portuguese Fisherman

Today I finalised my character deigns - over the past week I have made a number of changes. I've been using different skin tones and facial expressions. 
At last I think I've captured the fisherman's personality  



I am now going to use the Portugal "logo" as my main character in my tram ident.
The tram character's design is shown in the post above.