Animated Documentary Reflective Writing

For the summative assessment the brief was to plan and create a short film in the form of an Animated Documentary. To begin this project I first gathered information, collected photographs and video recordings. This provided me with a good starting point to explore a place that has some form of importance to me, in this case I chose Cyfarthfa Park in my home town of Merthyr Tydfil. Through the course of this project I also came across articles and papers that explore the animated documentary genre itself.

At first I found this brief quite challenging because it stated that the film had to be a documentary. Documentary implies that I had to document something or show some kind of reality or truth about something. I knew what I wanted to say about my chosen place but it was difficult to find what angle in which I wanted to my film to be told through. My initial idea was to create a documentary through my memories of being at school in the castle but after speaking to my mother about the castle when gathering information I found that her stories and experiences of the castle were much more interesting. Although this proved quite challenging I found that through research and making a start I was able to find the perfect angle in which I wanted to create my documentary. From this, I am able to say that in the future I will start producing work relevant to my project and then from these new ideas will arise.

For me, the most meaningful aspect of this was learning that animation can be used as a tool in documentary film making to have greater impact on the viewer. This meant that within my own film I could break away from the usual documentary style and incorporate animation in an interesting way. I learnt this through reading papers such as ‘Against Animated Documentary’ from Annabelle Honess Roe. I was then able to take what I had learnt from this paper and integrate this into my film.

I believe that through the course of this project I have significantly improved my skills when using industry standard computer programmes to animate my work. The brief specifically stated that a range of animation techniques were to be used, this pushed me to use new techniques that are not usually my strongest. When producing work I feel that my knowledge of animation and video editing software has greatly improved, specifically Adobe After Effects. I learnt sophisticated techniques such as motion tracking which turned out to be very effecting in my film. As a next, I need to keep making work using these programmes to become more confident as well as developing my skills.



Shadow play Field project and my Final piece

During the Field module the most interesting part in my opinion was the ‘Shadow play’ project. I was drawn to this project in particular because I enjoyed creating the clay sculpture at the end based on the shadows. When the Field module came to an end I decided that my individual piece would be inspired by what I learnt in the ‘Shadow play’ project.

The main aim for the project was to play around with lights and projectors to cast interesting shadows. The next step was to generate some sketches from the shadows and construct a maquette from cut cardboard. The final part of the project was to sculpt a small clay sculpture.

Initially I planned to make a figurative sculpture in which i could shine light onto to project a shadow. However I wanted the shadow to reveal something different to what the sculpture was physically.

My final idea was to construct a sculpture using cardboard cut outs of figures falling-relating it to my Inside/Outside theme. From what I learnt during the Field project I applied it to my final piece and I was very pleased with the outcome. Once the piece was finished I experimented with different types of lights and projectors to achieve different shadows. I found that the LED light worked best.

Summative assessment


-A post about an artist that has informed my first final piece for Subject.

-A post about an artist that has informed my second final piece for Subject.

-A post about an artist that has informed my final piece for Field.

-A post about an influential artwork I saw on a London trip, or any other trip throughout the year.

-A post about an artist of my choice who has inspired my work for either Subject or Field this year.



-A post documenting one of the material projects that I did at the beginning of the year that has inspired my first final piece for Subject.

-A post documenting one of the material projects that I did at the beginning of the year that has inspired my second final piece for Subject.

-A post documenting one of the Field projects that has influenced that work I have made for Field.

-A post documenting a new material skill that I have learnt through the year.

-A post documenting a piece of work that failed in some way, or did not turn out as you originally planned.

-A post documenting a key moment in my work through the year of my choosing.


Things that didn’t go to plan

When experimenting with different materials I started to use cement and concrete. My intention was to make a series of concrete blocks which vary in size. I planned to use these blocks in my final piece, however I found that casting concrete blocks wouldn’t work because they would be too heavy for the work.

I then started using blocks of polystyrene which I covered with cement to make the blocks appear as if they were cast in concrete or made of cement.

After doing this the outcome didn’t turn out as I had expected, the blocks started to crack and fall apart. I came t the conclusion that either the cement was mixed incorrectly or that it was layed on to thin.

I thin repeated the process with thicker layers of cement. This also failed because large chunks would break off and the blocks became out with rounded edged.

I tried mixing the cement differently and found that it worked better if the cement had more water mixed with it. I also found that to prevent the blocks from cracking, the cement had to be applied in an even layer. I used smaller pieces of polystyrene to see which would turn out the best. These pieces were made with wetter cement which resulted in a smooth finish.

When making artwork things commonly don’t go to plan. I believe this is part of the learning process and although the work might not come out as I expect it to, I may like the outcome that was achieved accidentally.

Indoor Suns and my Final Piece

During the start of the year I took part in the Indoor Suns material project. This project was all about using technology to create artwork. The main aim for the project was to explore different ways of using technology within artwork to create one big installation at the end of the project.

I began by making a programmable LED light circuit which included: wire cutting, soldering and programming.

The next step was to film two natural and two man made light sources using my smartphone camera. This footage then was taking into the editing suite where I experimented with different effects to make make one short video.

Finally, as a group we created a small installation in the dark space which each of our edited videos would be projected onto.

The most enjoyable part of this for me was the video editing because I liked playing around with the different effects to convey different emotions in the video. Therefore I decided to take this further and use this technique within my work.

My Second final piece for the subject module is a short video piece which depicts soft orb of light placed in untouched landscapes. I have used video effects such as the mirror effect to distort the footage. This distortion conveys a dreamlike environment which relates to my project of dreams.


When filming the footage I used a DSLR to achieve the best quality. I used a variety of shots to create a sense of movement and drifting through the environment similar to how you would in a dream.

I edited the footage using premiere pro where the video effects, transitions and colour grades were added. Here is some screenshots of the editing timeline and some of the effects I used.

The timeline of the footage with the effects before rendering
The distorted mirror effect i used throughout the video



Concretopia and My Final Piece

During the start of the year I took part in the Concretopia material project which was very interesting. The main aim of this project was to look at the built environment around us.

During the project I was introduced to the term ‘Brutalist architecture’-which was a style of architecture that included ruggedly designed brickwork and exposed concrete. Here is some of the brutalist architecture I looked at.

William Mitchell-Leon House
William Mitchell-Wall Mural
Victor Pasmore-Apollo Pavillion 1969
Spomenik (Podgaric, Croatia) , 2006

I began by taking unique photographs of architecture around the city which would later be made into screen prints and small sculptures. while paying close attention to angles, depth, levels and marks. When taking these photographs the focus was to think about the term ‘Phsychogeography’-which is the study of what is going on in sight, and how it affects you.

In regards to my final piece, rather than using the screen printing process as a skill to make the piece I decided to evolve the idea behind the project to influence my work. I thought the idea of Phsychogeography would be interesting to look at based on how  we create environments within dreams.

My final piece is a sculpture of a dreamlike environment which was inspired by the brutalist architecture approach. I have included exposed concrete blocks which are places amongst the landscape-this I thought would depict a dreamlike environment where the landscape is surreal and unusual. I wanted to explore how this surreal landscape would be created within a dream based on memories of architecture from reality.


Surreal Cities

My further research on dreams has led me too look at how we create the environments around us while in the ‘dream world’. After looking at surrealist artists such as Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte I found that their work aims to depict the kind of places we would see within our dreams. The juxtaposition between the landscapes and objects really plays on the surreal feeling of the works. Therefore I wanted to take my idea of creating small cities or utopias and apply some of the surreal aspects that these artists have used.

I knew I wanted to use the urban environment within my work so I came up with the idea of designing popular cities based on their nicknames. For example, New York is commonly known as ‘The Big Apple’, Chicago-‘The windy city’, etc…

Based on this idea I generated a series of small maquettes each inspired by the nickname of a city. I uses mostly paper, cardboard and found objects to construct each one. I felt making these 3D pieces would produce new and interesting ideas in which I could develop further into my final pieces. Here are some of the outcomes from the work I produced.

After making these small maquettes, I found that these surreal looking cities were a good depiction of what I imagined a ‘dreamworld’ to be like. I tried to include surreal aspects such as the large apple placed in the centre or the falling over landscapes to play on the idea of a dreamlike environment.