★Mark Ingham: Animated Robots

☆Lecture 9!

  • Date: 07/03/12
  • Lecturer: Mark Ingham
  • Topic: Animated Robots

I was excited for this week’s lecture due to the topic being based on ‘Animated robots’. Starting off the lecture we were asked what animation was, it can be defined as: the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions to create an illusion of movement. I think that the words ‘illusion’ & ‘movement’ are the most essential part of defining what animation really is, though to confine to describing it as just drawings & movements can be an understatement in my opinion. To me, animation is not that simple. Of course, it may just seem to be a series of frames/images put together but as soon as it plays we are able to see it come alive before our eyes. Animations speak to us in another level, it not only entertains but brings out a whole new sense of fantasy as we humans cannot compete as much on that level. Take for example, one of my most favourite animated comedy films produced by Pixar Animation Studios, ‘Finding Nemo’. We can view the sea life from a complete different perspective, from identifying with Marlin while he struggles to search for his son to the most anticipated scene; also my favourite scene where Nemo is reunited with his father.

We as viewers can sense the emotion these animation films give and there may genuinely be a sense of emotional attachment to these characters. This is primarily because they possess such human like characteristics in relation to their personalities, they can talk, sing, dance and most importantly love one another. Such human like behaviour naturally drives us to like these endearing cartoons some way or another.

Going back to robots, I personally do not really have a favourite animated robot although I remember watching many cartoons/animation films in the past. Although recently I have watched the short animation film by Kibwe Tavares, ‘Robots of Brixton’ which I was really impressed with. Making an animation requires so much work and I could clearly see how much effort he put into producing this piece. The dystopian atmosphere is emphasised by the deliberate slow movements of the robots who populate the area. Although unlike other animation films, instead of warming up to the robots we feel a sense of fear hanging within the air of Brixton. Almost like a barrier is placed between us and the robots.

I liked the way Kibwe Tavares included some slow motion scenes, it really helped add tension to the outbreak of violence of the human and robot side, mirroring the riots in 1981. We were also shown a clip called ‘Fantagasmorie’ created in 1908 by Emile Cohl, one of the first animations ever created. I imagine it to be surreal to see drawings ‘coming alive’ back then when this was shown, something so new and unfamiliar must have caused such commotion and excitement for people. Fast forward more than 100 years later thanks to advance technology many people have created award winning animations that are both entertaining and beautiful. The power of animation and impact it has on our lives is incredible.


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