Monday, September 13, 2010

Birthing Creativity: Animation Mother

The largest computer animation conference in the world is the International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, and is called SIGGRAPH for short. Every year SIGGRAPH opens their doors to submissions before the conference starts, and out of all the submissions they pick a piece that exemplifies the theme of progress and creativity that is the underlying goal of every conference. In 2008, the piece that was selected for the prestigious SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival Award was called “Animation Mother” and was created by Meats Meier.

At first glance this picture might appear to just be a whimsical piece that has no real motivation behind the subject matter or the execution, but as you delve deeper into the “Animation Mother” it becomes clear that it was thoroughly premeditated in every aspect. The color in this piece stands out right away, ranging from a fiery orange to subtle sea greens. The blacks are rich and dynamic and give exceptional depth to this delineation. The light greens and blues in her bust and hair give it a focal point, while your eyes slide through the rest of the picture, soaking up details as they go. The bright white of the hands also demands attention and suggests that she posses power, and it might even be construed that this power is the power of creation, similar to the ability of reproduction that women have. This aspect alone would have made the a strong candidate for the SIGGRAPH award, eluding to the capability we all have to “birth” creative ideas independently.

Another aspect that is quickly noticed by the eye is her striking pose and expression. A welcoming, loving gesture, conducive of the attitude of someone opening their arm for an expected embrace. The slight tilt to the head gives her a less rigid, and more welcoming feel, similar to your real mother. As your eyes travel downward, they notice the almost skirt shape of the grid material below her waist, once again, allowing her to take on a more motherly form.
From an artistic stand point, this is a marvel, but it is even more so from a technical stand point. If you look closely you start to see the vast amount of detail that went into her, from her delicate framework that is made up of thin, mesh like material, to her incredibly realistic looking face and skin texture. The unbelievable level of minute detail continues in the hair, which if you look closely, you will notice thousands of ridges, spines, bumps, dots, barbs, feelers and bristles that make up the individual strands.

The shadow and lighting in this piece also are quite the technical feat, ranging from the ethereal glow of her hands to the specular background of the heavens to the dynamic shadows of her hair and body. It also should be noticed that her form is giving off a delicate glow that could suggest divinity which also could bring to mind the creation aspect. Overall, this picture probably consists of somewhere in the range of the tens of millions of polygons and probably took Meier weeks to complete, if not longer.

Not only does this delineation exemplify all the attributes that SIGGRAPH encourages and promotes, it also gives a clear window into the future and of the possibilities of computer graphics and animation. “Animation Mother” lets your mind explore the creative possibilities that are inside of your own mind, inspiring, stimulating and encouraging the imagination to go towards new heights and possibilities, in a never ceasing effort to quench the inventive nature of the mind and give “birth” to something new.

Any insights for this paper would be appreciated and constructive criticism is welcome. Length is also a consideration, anything that sticks out to you about the picture that I didn't cover, let me know and I will consider adding a paragraph about it. Also, any titles ideas are welcomed! Thanks in advance!


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