After having finished Bon Voyage (which you can see here: https://sophieks.com/portfolio/bon-voyage/), I’ve started on a new project with the working title Singer Singer. This new project is a twist on an older one, previously called Supply and Demand, and will be done using 3D animation. It’s an interesting new challenge, as I’m learning to use Blender after having switched from Maya. The film itself is (very) loosely inspired by the poem ‘Ode to the Singer’ (Huldegedicht aan de Singer) by Paul van Ostaijen. Here are some screenshots of the process:
I expect the film to be done this year, as I’m already very far with the models.
It’s been exactly a year since I made my last post, and since then a lot has happened. I’ve now updated my website to include 3 new projects. Click the links for more information about each project!
In the beginning of 2020, in April, I made a film called ‘A Birthday in Times of Corona’ ( watch and read about it here: https://sophieks.com/portfolio/birthday/). It was tongue-in-cheek stop-motion project where I showed how I make facemasks to the music of the Tielmann Brothers. It was also part of a larger project where I made, together with my mother, over 100 facemasks for friends, family, and acquaintances. The selfies where people proudly displayed their masks were all collected and a selection of them were published in a little booklet.
Bon Voyage was the next project. A collaboration between me and my mother, based on a giant leporello designed by my mother. This one I had started in 2019, and I finally completed it shortly after Containment Now, in September. It had already been shown at an exhibition in Gouda, but in November 2020 it was shown in its completed form at the Haagse Kunstkring in ‘We zien wel waar het schip strandt’. You can read more about it here: https://sophieks.com/portfolio/bon-voyage/
And finally, the last update: the Zero-Covid posters. I made a series of six posters together with Thijs Vissia, again related to the subject of COVID-19 and the Dutch government’s strategy. These posters were shared by different organisations, all with the unified of goal of spreading awareness for a zero-covid strategy – keeping infections down to as low as possible (zero or almost zero), a strategy that is better for public health as well as for the economy. (successful examples are New Zealand and Korea) Read more about it here as well as the links where you can find free downloads of the posters: https://sophieks.com/portfolio/zero-covid-posters/
So Corona hit. It’s taken me a month to adjust to this new, terrifying reality. Not only was I scared, I was also furious. So I’ve been making face masks, partly as a form of therapy, partly as a form of rebellion. I’ve been sending these to my friends, and to whoever asks me for one, usually on the condition of that they send me a photograph of them wearing it (the photo is kept private of course). They’re made out of fabrics my mother collected all throughout my childhood. A lot of them are Nigerian, some are English, and most of them come from the famous Vlisco factory in Helmond.
It was my grandmother’s birthday today. So I made her one as well, and I made an animation out of the entire process. The animation turned out so well, that I’m making it a portfolio piece!
And here we are. Stay safe and wear your mask.
(PS: I added Oma to my projects. You can see it here.)
Work has been very busy, which has caused me to move the Rube Goldberg back. I always realise when I’m working on it how intensive it is, and because I have to learn so much along the way, it always makes me second-guess when it will finally be finished!
But, I still very much feel the need to work on projects in my free time, so I’ve chosen to work on a more classic 2d film that I expect will be finished much faster. I also very much need a fresh look at the Rube Goldbery, so taking this break will only be helpful (I hope).
In any case, the 2D film is called Breccies, and is a return to form for me – as it relies on classic animation techniques, together with all the new knowledge and experience I have gained in working in motion graphics. The film is based on a giant leporello (over 8 meters long now!) that is currently being made by Marianne Kaars, my mother who is also a fine artist, and with whom I have wanted to collaborate with for a very long time, on account of our style and themes being very similar. (I included a link to her website in her name, so you can take a look for yourself)
Here is a sample from her work:
And here is a little sneaky peek at what I am currently animating:
Yesterday evening I finished building the rigs to three different types of hands. I’m now at a point where I can slowly start animating and adding textures, as well as the nitty-gritty of getting deformations right as I hobble along.
I always have a tendency at being over-optimistic as to when I can start showing results, and as a result, I jinx myself. But reaching this point still feels rather big to me. It’s taken about two years for me to hash out this film’s concept, and then two more years just to figure out the style and production of this film. That’s more time than I ever spent on a film, and as a result the process also terrified me in many ways – what if it turns out disappointing after all this time? Unfortunately in art, it doesn’t really matter that much how much effort you put into something, it’s all about the result. I don’t know if this film will be good, but I do know how happy I’ll be when I’ve finished it, and that’s my motivation for now.
But all that said: to finally see a few scenes coming together with some really basic and rough animation is… pretty damn exciting.
I hope that I can show some playblasts pretty soon. And more textures, and renders, and animation, and a film, and and and… 🙂
Well, one work in progress to be honest. A project I’ve been giving the working title ‘Rube Goldberg’ over the last two years I’ve been researching and working on it.
It’s a strange feeling for me to realise that I’ve been working on this since 2015. It’s the longest I’ve ever dedicated to a project.
But in all honesty, that’s because I only worked on it in my free time. And I never intended for it to become an actual animation. It started out as an idea for an online interactive display, somewhat like the original idea for my Infomaze (that now only exists as a demo video, the site having crashed long ago). I made these little morphing animations specifically for that purpose, before I realised that I really wanted to make a proper animation.
I’m glad I did, the thought alone of having to figure out the coding again was not something I was looking forward too!
I’ve now finally moved into production, but it will still take a while before it’s finished. I’ve learned a lot during my research and in making the many, many little tests I’ve posted on this blog, but I’ll still be learning a ton more. Here’s hoping I manage to get it done by the end of this year!
I just finished a major hurdle in the Rube Goldberg project. I’ve been modelling a woman’s head that is loosely based on Mystic Meg: the National Lottery psychic in the late nineties whose predictions about new winners always turned out to be wrong. This Mystic Meg is a silent wooden puppet head with eyes and eyelids that can move. She’s ready for texturing, and I just finished giving her eyes a rig, which you can see in action here:
I’m very happy with how her face turned out, and I’m very excited to start giving her colours and incorporating her into the rest of the scenery!
My personal projects have screeched to a standstill over the last few months, and only now have I been picking up the pace. There’s not much to show yet, but hopefully soon I will have some new renders to show off. In the meanwhile, the films I make at work are an incredibly rewarding experience, as I get to experiment and try out new formats.
The two films I want to show off here are a film made for STOWA, (Foundation for Applied Water Research) and a film made for the Province of Overijssel.
STOWA was drawn by hand, using pen and ink on paper. The drawings were scanned, cleaned up, and then coloured digitally. Animation was mostly done in After Effects, with a few exceptions done in a traditional frame-by-frame animation. The film itself is about how certain diagnostic factors are being used to determine the health of bodies of water, so the style is based on old topographical maps and drawings found in geography and geology textbooks.
Omgevingsvisie Overijssel is meant to inform people about procedures used by the Province to determine the placement things like wind turbines, new neighborhoods, and business parks, which is reflected in the film’s style by showing these items being sketched onto the landscape itself, and using a crayon-like style for the lines. The animated parts are a mix of rotoscoping, traditional frame-by-frame animation, and animation in After Effects.