Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Minor Project: Editing techniques

After my tutorial with Phil about the flow of my animation, it has been suggested to consider discontinuity as an editing technique.
 I have researched into discontinuity and found it relevant to what I want my animation to communicate.

Discontinuity is an editing technique pioneered by Soviet filmmakers of the 1920's, including Sergei Eisenstein. The style of editing is done through a series of jump cuts, unrelated cut shots and dislocations or exaggeration of time/space. These functions lead to a more complex yet engaging experience.


I have also looked at the French new wave, a movement during the late 1950's/60's. It is considered as one of the most influential movement in cinema.
It was characterized by a large use of close-ups, freeze-frame shots, fragmentation, discontinuous and long takes techniques.


This will help me put my animatic together (which I am working on) and communicate this disorienting, magical and dream-like experience.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Minor Project: Character walk cycle

            A quick walk cycle experiment done on Animation Desk, an Ipad app.


Monday, 20 October 2014

Minor project: Slow-motion idea

While thinking of ways to express the mood/emotions of the market experience, I have thought of considering Slow-motion. It will be some sort of metaphorical way to a literal recreation of the past experience.
The effect of slow motion on our minds is really interesting, as it is impressive and more memorable. This is due to the way people react to events, as they perceive events occurring in slow motion and accompanied by a feeling of awareness and vividness.
 It is known that in the mechanism of perception, the brain perceives longer time due to concentrated information.
I believe this will be a very helpful technique to incorporate into my work, as the animation is about rich memories and experiences, to put the viewer into lifelike experience.
I will be experimenting with this when working on the animatic.



Saturday, 18 October 2014

Minor project: Influence and Characters

After having collected keywords about the market from family, I have started researching into the characters listed. (water men, storytellers, fire breathers, exotic dancers, snake charmers, beggars, fortune tellers)
Below are some photographs I have taken during my holiday back home, Morocco, and others I have found very interesting in terms of exaggeration and style.

These are some drawings of the characters I find most interesting, however I will be drawing the rest of the list and pick those who would be more 'influencing'.

In order to loosen up, I have experimented with ink and tried to get the gesture of the characters and went on to draw the characters in a slightly exaggerated, expressionistic style using graphite, charcoal, ink and watercolour.
Next I will be focusing on facial features using the african masks research as well as experimenting with colours to find the right textures.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Lifedrawing: Week1

I was trying not to get lost in details, and work on the overall installation.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Minor project: Drawings

These are some drawings done after the tutorial, however after researching into appropriate styles, the drawings will be more exaggerated in terms of gesture and face features using the influences I have gathered through research.

Minor Project: Animation Idea + Style Influence

After my tutorial with Phil, it has been suggested that a different approach to the project was necessary in order to successfully communicate the message.
The animation will be more focused on my own experience and portraying that exotic, magical feeling in the market rather than an adaptation of the "Last Storytellers: Tales from the heart of Morocco" however it will still be inspired by it and will include voiceover using extracts from the book.

This will be done through slow motion cuts*, from character to another. Some of them will be looking at the camera, others will be doing what they normally do (snake charmers, herbs sellers, storytellers…) 
* This will be clearer as I am working on the animatic.

To start I will gather as much information as possible from family and from personal experience about the market (colour, senses, noises, feelings…) which I will respond to through drawing and painting.

As for the visual style, I am aiming for a painterly style, dynamic, exaggerated and expressionistic gestures which I believe will really emphasise the importance of each pose and action in the shots.
Below are some initial influence images to get me started:


An early 20th Century movement that aims at analysing an object, fragmenting it and reassembling it in an abstract form. The object is depicted from multiple viewpoints, thus expanding the subject's context. Some of its characteristics:

- Simplification of objects into geometrical components
- Overlapping planes
- Distortion of the figures


A modernist movement which originated in Germany, 20th Century.
It was developed before WW1 and is sometimes suggestive of fear and anxiety.
Its characteristics include:

Colour is used as an emotional device rather than a reflection
- Dynamic and distorted forms to evoke a sense of fluidity and movement
- Exaggerated face features


It began around 1900 and focused on the use of painterly, strong colours and wild brush work to evoke excitement. It is also considered as a form of Expressionism. Main characteristics:

- Simplified drawing with dark outline around some elements.
- Bold brushwork
- Use of bright and unnatural colours.

Traditional African masks

Through further research, I have found out that the traditional african masks played a huge role in influencing movements such as Cubism, Fauvism and Expressionism. It would be a great idea to incorporate that in the style, focusing on the exaggerated features and head shapes.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Minor Project: Storyboard

This is a very quick storyboard just to get my idea down.
After going through the extracts I have posted yesterday, more specifically the characters descriptions, I have felt like the 4th character description of Ahmed Temiichaa would create a mysterious, attractive and engaging feel to the story which I am going for.

Digital Painting Practise

A quick silhouette practise on an Ipad app called ProCreate, I really recommend it, I was impressed by all the options it offers.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Minor Project: Extracts

In order to have a clear understanding of my environment and characters I have thought of locating important extracts I will be responding to.
Even though this might be long, I felt like I needed to get this mind opening description on the blog that will certainly accompany me throughout the project.
The next step will be using these passages as guides to put an animatic together in order to decide on the narrative/story which will show what I need to design.


- "When I first arrived in Marrakech as the BBC's correspondent in Morocco, in 2006, it felt more like 1006; it seemed to be somewhere that had not changed for a thousand years. Even today a strange cast of characters who would not look out of place in Scheherazade's one thousand and One Nights peoples the city. There are rich and poor, merchants and mad men, beggars and thieves, travellers and tarts, hustlers and holy men, dark-eyed beauties and disfigured cripples, and they all swirl around the giant plug hole that is the main square of Marrakech.

- "The Jemaa el Fna has been Marrakech's marketplace, sacred space, cultural crucible, melting pot and meeting point for centuries. Looking down from onr of the multi-tiered cafes, it looks like an intricate Moorish mosaic."

- "All human life is here. By day, you can be heckled by orange juice sellers, pestered by men with Barbary apes on their backs or women trying to squeeze tubes of henna onto your palms. If you escape their clutches and manager to slither past the snake charmers, the herbalists clad in blue Tuareg robes selling medicinal plants and aphrodisiacal powders, fortunes tellers, fire eaters and scribes, you will probably be approached for a photo opportunity by a water carrier in his wide-brimmed hat. The continual sound track to this incessant invasion of the senses is provided by Gnawa musicians dressed in blue, wearing skull caps decorated with tassels and cowrie shells. If nothing else, you have to admire their stamina, as they constantly play reed pipes, bang drums and shake their krakeb, a type of castanet.

The thumping beat can be heard miles."

- "Jemaa el Fna is an open space for street performers. There are musicians, acrobats and actors who play out farces and mini-dramas, but it is not sophisticated theatre."

- "At this point, my love affair with Marrakech began to take a battering. I started to think of the phrase that King Hassan 2 once famously uttered to a British correspondent: 'The more you know of Morocco, the less you understand.' Marrakech can be deeply impenetrable. Just when you think you know it and have deciphered what is going on, it slips through your fingers like sand, and you are left empty-handed, wondering why you came."

- "The exotic sound of the muezzin wrestles for control of the airwaves with manic mopeds."


1 - " On my first visit to the Jemaa el Fna, I was lucky enough to meet Moulay Mohamed El Jabri. A bearded man with just two remaining teeth on his lower gum, he was sitting outside the Cafe de France in a faded grey Djellaba, surrounded by devoted listeners"

- "Born in 1935, Moulay Mohamed had been a storyteller for 45 years. He used to come to the square as a qide-eyed little boy and listen to the old men tell their tales. He was so entranced by them that he became a hlayki himself. In the beginnig, he said, he was so shy that he only told stories at night, with his hood turned down over his head. But a fakir told him that he had no reason to be embarrassed: the man who dances does not hide his beard, the wise man said."

2- " I did, however, meet Abderrahim El Makkouri, nicknamed El Azzaliya, who was still performing to the crowds before sunset. Abderrahim is a tall, imposing man with a distinctive Fes hat, or tarbush, jet-black hair, beady eyes, a short beard and prominent nose. He was born in 1956 and had been telling stories since he was 12. His style of storytelling was more bombastic and theatrical than that of the softly spoken Moulay Mohamed, whose acolytes had to crane their necks to hear him. Abderrahim's 

vocal range was such that his stories would start in whispers and end in shouts.
He would have his hands and arms around manically and clap loudly beneath the bemused noses of his listeners when they least expected it. 'When I tell a story and say something like, "the hero draws his sword," people often duck as if the sword is about to swing towards theur heads,' he told me proudly."

"Abderrahim was brought up by his grandmother, as his mother died young. Abderrahim's grandmother infused him with a love of heroes and heroines, monsters and ghouls."

" When Abderrahim considered actually becoming a storyteller, his father's response was unambiguous; he beat him black and blue."

"You must be honest with your listeners, Abderrahim explained when I asked what skills a storyteller needs. ' You also need talent, a good voice and will power. You have to attract people's attention and capture their imagination.'

"Many people, he said, would not specifically set out to listen to a tale, but would get caught up in it once they heard his voice."

3- " I did, however, meet Mohamed Bariz. Mohamed Bariz was also better dressed. With elegant corduroy trousers, a well-polished leather satchel, a pair of intellectual-looking, horn-rimmed spectacles and distinguished wisps of grey hair, Mohamed looked more like an academic then a storyteller."

"Mohamed was born into an extremely poor family, and in the 1970s, he had to leave school and help his father at work. But words were his first love. He recalls hearing his father telling the story of Hdidane and Mdidane or Aicha Rmada. Once he had heard the storytellers in the square, there was no going back. But one day, when the hlayki failed to turn up, Mohamed plucked up the courage and took the old man's place. Looking up, the was delighted to find the crowd growing around him. That was the moment, he said, when he discovered the power of storytelling. But his father was furious. By deciding to become a hlayki, he told his son, he had brought dishonour to his family. As Abderrahim had done, Mohamed turned his back on his family and set off to pursue the life of a vagrant."

4- " Ahmed told me. 'He's the master storyteller'."

" The only problem, Ahmed added, is he is very old, he is going dead and is already blind."
" There must be something about blindness. The greatest storyteller of them all, Homer, was said to be blind. When I started my career at the BBC, my editor told me that radio had the best pictures. Perhaps in the same way, blind people have the best stories. Deprived of vision, they are the most skilled at tapping into the mind's eye of their audience. Some stories, such as the Antariya and Azzaliya are so long that by the time you finish them, the legends say, you will go blind. Perhaps that is what happened to Ahmed Temiicha, one of the most accomplished storytellers in Marrakech."

"Ahmed Temiicha was praying beside his bed: a mattress in a dark room. The walls were bare except for a verse from the Quran which hung at an angle. He had little for company apart from a radio and a clock that ticked in the darkness. He wore a green burnous with a pointed hood. He looked very frail, but when he started telling his tales, his face lit up and his lips grew into a broad smile. Sometimes when he looked at me I thought he could not only see me, but see right through me. When I asked about his life, it sounded like a potted modern history of Morocco itself."

"Ahmed Temiicha was born in Marrakech, in the 1920s. His family who were Berbers from further south, fell on hard times and came to Marrakech to find work. A decade later, he joined street performers in the Jemaa el Fna. He would help the snake charmers and learned to play a drum called a bendir." 

" As I listened to his memories and recorded his stories, told in a hypnotic lift, I felt as if I was going into a trance, that by entering that room I had climbed into a time machine. Time and space loosened themselves from their fastenings and ceased to have meaning. The storyteller speaks the others simply listen. It had been an immense privilege to sit and listen to Ahmed Temiicha in that humble room, with its broken black and white tiles and old mattresses. By telling stories, he seemed to keep himself alive, and he enchanted us. In the land of the blind, the storyteller is king.

"When we left his house that afternoon, I blinked in the sunlight, feeling disorientated, as when emerging from a matinee performance at the cinema. We walked down a narrow side street, ascended a ramp and a hole in the wall to find ourselves back in one of the bustling main thoroughfares of the city. It was as if we had emerged from a ghoul's grotto or a cavern of treasures that featured in Ahmed Tamiicha's stories."