[-empyre-] Melanie Beisswenger joining in

Melanie Beisswenger (Asst Prof) Melanie at ntu.edu.sg
Tue Feb 16 16:18:35 EST 2010


Melanie Beisswenger here. Not wanting to repeat my formal intro by Renate, I just want to add that I am foremost a character animator and director, and very hands on practice based in my approach. Having worked both in the commercial realms of animation for feature films and TVCs and on my personal animations, the storytelling, performance and acting aspect is at the center of my interest. This work typically results in movement, yet I want to look at what creates and motivates this particular movement. Taking a step back and considering the root of the word ‘animation’, as you are all familiar with I presume, it means to bring to life and give a soul to. Thus in my work I am looking at ideas, concepts, thoughts and emotions that drive movement in an action – reaction way. This is primarily character based in that the audience follows the emotional motivations of the character on screen, yet on an abstract movement level, it also applies to movement which makes the audience experience an emotion or applies to camera movement through space. To me, character animation itself is a crucial element in the storytelling process and I approach it with a similar sincerity as a performance would be in life action film.

Getting on to another subject which has cropped up in earlier discussions here, the question of tools and techniques and the shift to the digital: I believe in the coexistence of 2D, stop motion and 3D animation, as they are mere techniques and each provides stylistically different expressions and advantages. Each of these areas have adopted and developed new techniques and a partially digital workflow.
The older forms such as 2D and stop motion have profited enormously from the technological and digital advancements such as coloring software, stop motion frame grabbers and motion control cameras etc to enable the artists to focus on the refinement of their art itself. 3D computer animation is in some way still in the middle of its development – technically some techniques have made huge leaps, compared to just 1 or 2 decades back, yet in regards to artistic possibilities, the medium has not yet reached its peak - in my humble opinion. I should mention at this point that I am a 3D character animator, with experiences dipping my fingers (or wacom stylus if you wish) into generalist 3D work and VFX with live action and stop motion hybrids.

This also brings me straight to animation education, and the question how and what to teach. Without dissecting the animation structure of the school where I teach in detail, the School of Art, Design and Media at NTU Singapore (ADM), I am personally extremely happy that drawing, 2D animation, stop motion and 3D are all taught in our classes. All of these practices create a visual thinking and well rounded artist, each area with its own challenges and opportunities. First and foremost stands the artistic conceptualization, ability, and visual expression which need to be nurtured. Finding the right button in a software application is comparatively a very simple process to learn.

Best regards,

Melanie BEISSWENGER (Asst Prof) | School of Art, Design and Media | Digital Animation
Nanyang Technological University, 81 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637458
Tel: (65) 6513-8054 GMT+8h | Fax: (65) 6795-3140 | Email: melanie at ntu.edu.sg  | Web: www.ntu.edu.sg

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