1 Thesis Proposal for the Master of Fine Arts Degree Rochester Institute of Technology College of Imaging Arts and Sciences School of Design Computer Graphics Design Mirroring the History: Using Motion Graphics to Visualize the Battle of Gaixia in Ancient China Submitted by: Yinzi (Lindsay) Xiong Date: November, 2009 Thesis Approval: Chief Adviser: Assistant Professor Dan DeLuna, Computer Graphics Design Signature of Chief Adviser Date Associate Adviser: Associate Professor Chris Jackson, Computer Graphics Design Signature of Associate Adviser Date Associate Adviser: Visiting Professor Shaun Foster, Computer Graphics Design Signature of Associate Adviser Date School of Design Chairperson Approval: Chairperson, School of Design: Patti Lachance Signature of Chairperson Date
2 Thesis Proposal for the Master of Fine Arts Degree Mirroring the History: Using Motion Graphics to Visualize the Battle of Gaixia in Ancient China by Yinzi (Lindsay) Xiong Abstract In traditional Chinese philosophy, history has been poetically compared to the mirror. Sima Guang, the author of the most significant historical literature the Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government said, Take them (historical events) as standards if they were successful and as lessons if they were unsuccessful However, the world changed dramatically, and people are eagerly to know where are we going, rather than where we were coming from. The history has been losing its profound meaning gradually. Therefore, I am going to evoke audiences interests of history by using two-minute motion graphics to visualize the historical background of the Battle of Gaixia. The reason I chose this specific historical event as my thesis project, because this battle ended the wars during the Chu-Han contention, and resulted in victory for the Han. Moreover, it also led the most well known tragic hero, warrior king of Western Chu-Xiang Yu, committed suicide beside the Wu River. However, because of the Traditional Chinese literature, opera, and movies, the history of Chu-Han contention has been more like folk tales. Therefore, I am going to represent this history in an impartial way, which could be used in history class, museum, and website, for educational purpose. My thesis will break into five parts, including 3D modeling to represent the significant architectures, environment in that history; 2D traditional shadow puppet design; 2D shadow figure animation, 2d typeface design, and motion integration. Problem Statement Thanks to the development of the motion graphics technique, people have an alternative way to get information besides reading boring textbooks. Therefore, my problem statement is how could I as a computer graphic designer, using appropriate motion graphics, type face, color theory to narrate the background of the Battle of Gaixia visually and logically. In addition, in my project I will integrate 2D and 3D together, in order to give more sense of space and dynamic movement. Therefore, I have to figure out how to introduce 2D characters into a 3D environment cohesively and aesthetically. Furthermore, I have to find out how to use the strong visual impression to let the audiences have the interested to watch it and remember the content of it, including the period of the battle, the name of these two opponents, the regions they represented, and the causing and the ending of the battle. My thesis project will focus on the background of the battle, including the date of the battle; the geographical positions of Chu and HAN; two major leaders, Xiang Yu and Liu Bang; the military strength of two sides; the cause and the end of the battle. I will not only be used to represent the background of the event visually, I am hoping that
3 this project will also be a good way to promote Chinese folk art, shadow figure (shadow puppet), which is gradually fad in the modern life. Project Description My project will be a two-minute motion graphics to visualize the historical background of the Battle of Gaixia. Different from two or three dimensional animation, my purpose is not about to tell a story, but more like a title sequence to represent the main characters (Emperor of Western Han, Liu Bang and King of Western Chu, Xiang Yu), and an overall situation in the Battle of Gaixia. The Battle of Gaixia involves The date: the third month of 202 BC Location: Gaixia Opponents: Xiang Yu (King of the Western-Chu) Liu Bang: the first emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty (Emperor Gaozu of Han) Han Xin: a capable military commander who served under Liu Bang Cause: Xiang Yu s beloved wife Yuji was captured by Han troops. Xiang Yu led a smaller force of 100,000 soldiers into the canyon to save his wife. The trap Han s military strategy 1: Ambush from Ten Sides Everywhere Xiang Yu led his forces, there were ambushes and traps waiting for them. It not only caused heavy casualties for Chu, but also crushed the Chu army s morale, since escaping alive seemed impossible. Han s military strategy 2: To further break the Chu army s spirit: Chu Song from Four Sides The Chu songs made the Chu troops remember their families back home, greatly reducing their will to fight. Even Xiang Yu himself thought that the whole Chu had been conquered, while he had been trapped there. Ending Xiang Yu made a last stand against the soldiers that attempted to capture him alive. After being seriously wounded, he slit his own throat. Liu Bang won the game and became the first emperor of Han Dynasty The design component of my thesis will include visual design and color choice. For the visual design, I get the reference from the credit sequence of Kungfu Panda, The Hell Boy2: Golden Army. It will be visualized as 2D style motion graphics, with rich texture and handmade 2d typeface. 1) I will design the 2D shadow puppet. 2) I will find an appropriate typeface, and use Photoshop and Illustrator to cut its face, and make it like traditional Chinese Paper cut typeface. I would like to do research based on color psychology. I want to use the color to represent the cruelty of the war; the sorrow of farewell with beloved; the sad of death; and the glory of winner. Therefore, I will do the research about color theory.
4 The technique component of my thesis is using MAYA shading and rendering technique to flat 3D modeling, which could be integrated with 2D elements cohesively. Moreover, for the 2D elements, the shadow puppets and paper-cut typeface, I will apply the texture to planes, animate, and render them out with 3D background together in MAYA. Therefore, I could keep the sense of 3D space, and do more dynamic motion in it. The software I will use is Autodesk Maya, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effect, Adobe Illustrator. Sketches/ Examples Technique (Toonshader)
5 Using MAYA to finish 2D animation
6 Literature Survey In my research, I am working on an exploratory study to investigate the history I want to represent; the 2d, 3d, and motion techniques I have to use; the reference resources, which could inspire my works; and other psychological elements, which could enhance my project visually. 300 movie sequence By Carson Yu yu+co movie sequence looks like a graphic noble, and the bloody battle scenes are really attractive. Moreover, I love the way to put the types on negative color, which makes them really pop up. In addition, the smooth transitions in 300-title sequence are another significant spot I have to learn, and apply to my own works. Advanced Maya Texturing and Lighting By Lee Lanier Sybex; 2nd edition, 2008 This handbook mainly teaches about advanced shading, including custom shading networks, particle texturing, pelt mapping, GI, FG, HDR, MR, normal mapping It is an indispensable handbook for me, because shading is a significant part in my project. Because I could get the same nice quality; meanwhile, safe times of rendering time if I apply appropriate texture and lighting instead of using complex modeling. Advanced Photoshop magazine Editor Julie Easton Imagine Publ Ltd Advanced photoshop magazine is the perfect magazine for polishing up already great Photoshop skills. Each month it has bunches of workshop tutorial, which could help me to develop my 2d techniques. Since my thesis project would use lots of 2d elements, I use this magazine as another great reference book, and appreciate the inspiration that come from other artists design. After Effect CS4 Master motion tracking By Shotopop Computer Arts This tutorial is mainly talking about how to make designs and illustrations to match your shot footage with motion tracking in After Effect. Learning how to use motion tracking is important for me, because it is useful in compositing digital elements into final shots and results in text, images, animations, effects.
7 Build your own bespoke brush library By Tom Lane Computer Art This tutorial talks about the processing of how to create unique catalogue of custom-made brushes in Photoshop. I find it useful for my thesis project, because I am planning to use bunches of calligraphic brush with ink and wash. And it would be a better idea if I could make the brush by myself, which would be exactly what I want. And it also gives me the idea about to create the texture. Cambridge History of China: The Ch in and Han Empires 221 B.C.-A.D. 220 by Denis Crispin Twitchett, Michael Loewe, John King Fairbank Cambridge University Press 1986 This book begins the historical coverage of The Cambridge History of China with the establishment of the Ch in Empire in 221 BC and ends with the abdication of the last Han emperor in AD 220. The author summarizes every significant aspects of China in that period, including political, economic, religious and social development. It is important to my study, because I could use it as a good English version reference. And it could help me to descript the historical event with the appropriate terms in English. Chinese folk design By Seyssel Francess Hawley New York, Dover Publications 1971 This book contains 300 solid-silhouette designs printed in colors: phoenix, chrysanthemum, lotus, plum blossom, butterfly, fish, boat, etc. Provides rare source of ideas and direct reproduction wherever Oriental flavor is needed. Therefore, I could use this book as a good reference to create traditional Chinese flavor patterns in my project. Color Index By Jim Krause Color Index provides more than one thousand color combinations and formulas-guaranteed to help graphic artists solve design dilemmas and create effective images for both print and the web. This book will help me to find the appropriate color combo in my motion, which could be used to evoke audiences emotion efficiently. Graphic design: the new basics By Ellen Lupton, Jennifer C. Phillips Princeton Architectural Press, 2008 This book is about type and design. The author visually demonstrate how to use build interest and complexity around simple relationships between formal elements of two-dimensional design such as point, line, plane, scale, hierarchy, layers, and transparency. It is an indispensable resource for me seeking a smart inspiring introduction to graphic design, and it is definitely a good reference book in design.
8 Kung Fu Panda movie title sequence By Michael Riley James Baxter Animation, Dreamworks 2008 It is a 2d sequences that bookend a 3d world. There are bunches of elements I could learn, including the theme color to use, the camera movement, 3d layers, compositions, typography (compose English letter and Chinese letter tigether) and so on. Since in my thesis, I am planning to compose 2d characters and 3d background together, Kung Fun Panda title sequences would definitely a significant reference for me to learn and get Lemony Snicket s A series of Unfortunate Events By Jamie Caliri Axion Design& MWP The end credits for this dark Hollywood fairytale is one of the most impressive credit sequences of Besides the nice floating image, smooth transitions, beautiful layout, I especially like the fabric texture, which been used in the animation. It inspired me to scan fabrics and used them as texture in the appropriate layers, to make an ancient Chinese flavor. Samurai Jack By Bill Wray, Genndy Tartakovsky, Dan Krall Cartoon Network Samurai Jack is a 4-time Emmy Award-winning American animated TV series that aired on Cartoon Network from 2001 to It is noted for its highly detailed, outline-free, maskingbased animation, as well as for its cinematic style and pacing. I extremely like the great brush stroke and texture be used in motion and background. Therefore, I am planning to use this into my thesis project. Seattle International Film Festival Digital Kitchen It is a hand-made qualities if early stop motion animation, which inspired me to use traditional Chinese shadow-figure looks like character and put them into a 3d environment. Moreover, I am also thinking about how to use 2d animation to mimic the shadow puppets movement. The Cambridge illustrated history of China By Patricia Buckley Ebrey Cambridge University Press 1999 The author, Patricia Buckley Ebrey, a leading scholar of China, gives an engaging, full, gloriously illustrated account of over 8000 years of Chinese civilization. It contains lots of high quality image including art works, armies, architecture, pattern. From this book, I could get the whole image of what that empire period looks like. Therefore, it could be a good reference for me to recreate that period by using 2d and 3d techniques.
9 The Elements of Typographic Style By Robert Bringhurst Hartley and Marks Publishers; 3rd edition (October 9, 2004) The reason I chose this book because Author Robert Bringhurst writes about designing with the correct typeface; striving for rhythm, proportion, and harmony; choosing and combining type; designing pages; using section heads, subheads, footnotes, and tables; applying kerning and other type adjustments to improve legibility; and adding special characters, including punctuation and diacritical marks. I definitely would like to use that theory into my project, in order to make good type design in motion. We are Royale It is a good motion graphic company, do both commercial and experimental motions. I like this website, because it successfully composing 2d and 3d elements together to make the motion really dynamic and fun. And I especially like it s experimental works, which consistently fresh my point of view of motion. Therefore, it could be another good illuminating resources for me to open my mind. Limitations Depend on the complexity of my works, I will postpone my graduate until Fall 2010, in order to have a well-organized and polished project. Marketing Plan Target Audience Male / Female : Both Male and Female Age : 20 to 60 Educational Level: High School - University Motivational Level: CG lover/ interested in history/ interested in different clutures Experience with Thesis Subject Matter person who like visual effect, 3d, motion people who is interested in history or different cultures Software and Hardware Requirements Macintosh G5 IBM Compatible PC with at least a Pentium IV processor Windows XP Professional MB free disk space and 256 MB main memory
10 Thesis Timeline Mirroring the History: Using Motion Graphics to Yisualize the Battle of Gaixia in Ancient China by Yinzi Xiong MONTHS October November December January February March April May DATES Milestones Proposal accepted Document Project Character design (sketch) Background design (sketch) Literature Review Research Content Animatic Done Storyboards done Animatic done 1st committee meeting 3D Architecture and environment set 2nd committee meeting Texture and render testing 2D animation (Shadow figure animation /Typography in motion) Final Proposal Finalize Flow Chart Write Abstract Sketch Character Design Environment Create Storyboards texture and render testing 3D Architecture and environment set Typeface Design 3rd committee meeting 2D 3D motion integrate Thesis report online Last committee meeting Thesis Web site Defense Prep Report Revisions Publish Report Thesis show Graduation End of Fall Quarter Mid Quarter End of Winter Quarter End of Spring Quarter
11 Thesis Timeline Mirroring the History: Using Motion Graphics to Visualize the Battle of Gaixia in Ancient China by Yinzi Xiong MONTHS October November December January February March April May DATES Milestones Proposal accepted Character design (sketch) Background design (sketch) Thesis document paper 2D animation (Shadow figure animation /Typography in motion) Storyboards done Animatic done 1st committee meeting 3D Architecture and environment set 2nd committee meeting Revising Defense Graduate Texture and render testing 2D animation (Shadow figure animation /Typography in motion) 2D 3D motion integration 3rd committee meeting 2D 3D motion integration Revising Last committee meeting Thesis show Defense Prep Report Revisions Publish Report Graduation SUMMER Fall Quarter Begin End of Fall Quarter