Étienne-Jules Marey , Chronophotograph of a bird in flight

Étienne-Jules Marey (1830–1904), Chronophotograph of a bird in flight.

This is a lovely photo capturing a bird in flight, but the images are reproduced together…

When my animation is projected I would like it – if it were possible – to have the animation appear over itself, so that you could see a moving representation of the whole shape of the flight.

This would happen when the trigger is stepped upon more than once, up to 12 times, so as not to muddy the shape, but to make the form more beautiful.

So as above, but moving and flowing across the installation, and again similar to the Geoffrey Mann glass sculpture in the Norwich Museum.


Charcoal, Feathers and printing…

After testing out getting feather texture into plaster, I wondered how much texture I could get into the hand-drawn section of animation, so with my trusty charcoal and feathers in hand set about experimenting..

I was very pleased with the results, now I have to figure out how to consistently incorporate this beautiful texture into my animation..

One thing I need to bear in mind though, the last set is on the newspaper that I like, and it doesn’t fix quite so well, or have the lovely texture of the cartridge paper…

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Plaster, Feathers and imprints

Friday was my first opportunity to get into the 3D workshop and I wanted to try 3 things, carving polystyrene, skimming the polystyrene with plaster to see how smooth I could get it, and somehow getting feather texture into the plaster itself.

I started by carving the polystyrene, that went fairly well, I’m confident I could get the rough shape carved into a large block of poly, then I skimmed it with plaster.. I made the plaster to thick though so it went of quicker than I had anticipated, but the half I was happy with I could see would be smoothable. Also talking to some of the BA students putting up their final plaster pieces proved that smooth was possible!

Then i used the thick plaster to try and get feather prints into, but that has mixed results, so a final test perhaps using plaster to impress and making a plaster mould from that would be more succesful.. but this I won’t know until next week when I can get back into the studio and release the plaster from their moulds, as it wasn’t quite set when the 3D studio was closing..

to be continued…
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Presentation Day – Interactive, Augmented, Audio Installation

Masters Presentation Day loomed last week and in my presentation I made a positive effort to be less technical , use less jargon and not to dig down into the wires and connections that will make my installation work… I wanted to concentrate on the visual and audio research I had already undertaken and the beautiful animation style I hoped to output for my final piece.

So I put in my outline

“I am interested in line, form and movement, particularly figuratively using rotoscoping, but want to use current technology such as motion sensors and augmented reality to introduce interactivity”

but on reflection it should have mentioned that I want to add more dimensions, whether it’s layering sound or adding extra texture into the animation, I’m looking to use hand-drawn lines using charcoal and newsprint and trying to introduce actual feathers into the artwork/animation/model to give it ‘real feel’ .

and I should have delved into the Augmented Reality and projection mapping a little more to give a  rounded background to the project…


This link if for a PDF version.

Here is the first sound file from Norfolk Brecks

The sound from Salisbury Plain.. unfortunately not clean as the wind sock wasn’t on and the cows made a lot of noise, just outside the hide..

The animatic flight video


Great Bustard Call



and the link to ‘Thought of you’ for animation charcoal style

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/14803194″>Thought of You</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/woodward”>Ryan J Woodward</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Great Bustard Photos

Now edited all of the images from my visit down to Salisbury and uploaded onto my Flickr stream.



This first image is of the group of 5 males.


A closer view of the two older males


One of the elder birds, pink 2, starts to display


My best photo of the day.

I was surprised at just how tricky it was to get a good shot of the Bustards, I expected my 80-400mm lens to be spot on for the job, I knew the hide was 300m away and assumed I would have enough zoom to get some lovely shots.
However added into the difficulty was the actual movement of the lens itself when focusing, which I did turn off and gained some slightly better shots, and the amount of movement from pressing the shutter button, on such a long lens made for quite a few soft shots, very frustrating.
All the shots were held on just a monopod and I sincerely wished I had brought a traditional tripod, but I didn’t know the terrain or how much space we would have.
What I really wanted to get was some footage of one of the Bustards taking flight, but viewing them for over an hour, it was quite clear that they tended to strut around more than anything and being such large birds would tend to conserve energy for only real emergencies.

Image from Mike Ashforth, Birding Yorshire

Image from Mike Ashforth, Birding Yorshire

This image from Mike Ashforth was what I hoped to come back with, but my photos are very far away from this stunning image taken in Spain.


As you can see from the video on full zoom the image moves even though I am trying my hardest not to move a muscle, but I did capture one of the birds giving a good flap to reveal what it looks like under his wings.

The link below will take you to the full set on flickr.


Great Bustards in the wild

Over the last few days I travelled down to Salisbury Plain to visit the Great Bustard re-introduction site…

When I arrived it looked like this…


So I didn’t hold out much hope for actually seeing the Bustards and after a 200 mile journey down to Salisbury was feeling a little deflated.

Lynne from the Great Bustard Group (GBG) turned up in theland rover and we waited for a while for the last two visitors.

wpid-wp-1399106508274.jpegThe view from the landy as we approached the hide.

Off in the distance I could see a small group of birds, which did turn out to be the Bustards.

Lynne told us that there were only 13 Great Bustards at the moment and half of them – the females – were hopefully off sitting on nests, so the small group of males were the only birds to be seen.
The hide is 300 metres from the release pen area which the birds enjoy coming back to and a particular clump of grass seemed to be their favourite spot.
We could see 5 young males and another younger male off to the left, besides the 2 decoy birds that the GBG use to tell the Bustards that this is a safe area to be. They are fenced in here, although they can fly free anywhere on Salisbury Plain and have been known to be found in France.

As we sat in the small hide, the cows who shared the same field obviously use the hide as a bit of a toy and proceeded to push shove, scratch and eat the wood, especially on the corners, so it made it very tricky to record any useful sound, but I did get sense of the space and what the surroundings should sound like, so below find my best 3 minutes, but please excuse the snorting, rubbing, scratching and general cow noises…

So, it’s an open space with summery background birdsong, the odd crow, but a real sense of a wide open green area.
We only had an hour in the hide and it went all too quickly, but off we went to their little shop and headquarters just back from the release pen.
In here they had the most fantastic stuffed Great Bustard, which Lynne was kind enough to turn round for me to get a good photo up close.

wpid-wp-1399124290543.jpegThe little shop was amazing and stuffed full of stuffed Great Bustards and clothing, and you could even buy Great Bustard beer!

I must say a big thankyou to Lynne, who helped me sort out the visit and has been more than helpful in any contact I’ve had with the group, and has amazing landrover driving skills as we squirmed and slid through the muddy bottom gates!