Saturday 2 March 2013

ACT/CGAA Live Project Brief: A Synesthetic Speed Paint Challenge!

A repost of Phil's briefing from the CG Arts and Animation Group Blog which can also be found here.

Wassily Kandinsky, Black and Violet, 1923

On Friday, July 12th at Grays Civic Hall, Essex, the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne will be performing a programme of music on a theme of 'rhythm'.  The programme of music will explore ideas of rhythm in classical music and in the celebrated jazz of the late Dave Bruebeck.  The director of the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne, Marc Feldman, has challenged the CGAA community to work collaboratively to create an original work of animation designed to accompany his orchestra's performance of one particular example of early twentieth century music that blends classical and jazz rhythms to exciting effect.  The animation will be rear projected onto a large screen measuring 8.5m wide by  6.2m high, in front of which the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne will perform live.

Marc Feldman, Director of Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne

Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne

Grays Civic Hall - auditorium

Grays Civic Hall - stage & projection screen

Synesthesia is the neurological condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.  Synesthetic art is the attempt by artists to evoke synesthesia-like effects and so explore the interrelationship of our senses.  A famous animated example of music transcribed into image is found in Disney's Fantasia (1940)

Animation, of course, is particularly well-suited to the exploration, creation, and communication of synesthetic visualisations of sound and music - some further examples of which now follow: 

Norman McLaren - Begone Dull Care (1949)

Norman Mclaren - Boogie Doodle (1940)

Harry Everett Smith -  Early Abstractions Part 1 (1946 - 57)

  Harry Everett Smith -  Early Abstractions Part 3 (1946 - 57)

John Whitney - Catalog (1961)

Walther Ruttmann - Opus 3 (1924)

Walther Ruttmann - Opus 4 (1925)

  Michel Gagne - Sensology (2010)

And now it's your turn - indeed everyone's turn - to respond visually to music; your live project brief is as follows:

Over a period of ten consecutive week days (Monday to Friday x 2), you will be challenged to produce abstract digital paintings in synesthetic response to segments of music featured on the CGAA group blog.  These ten tasks will take the form of 'Speed Paint Challenges' - familiar to most of you following last year's Christmas-themed digital paintings.  In essence, it's all pretty straightforward: look for the 'Speed Paint Challenge' icon on your blogger dashboard, listen to the musical extract accompanying it - and then respond to it visually through the creation of an original digital painting.  

You can listen to the extract as many times as you like, and there are no rules in regard to the way in which you choose to visualise what you hear and the way you feel about it - except maybe this one: this is an exercise in abstraction, not creature, character or environment design. We want you to respond instinctively, quickly and fearlessly.  We want abstraction, colour, form, shape, texture, mark-making, space, depth, tone, line - and everything in between! Take a few minutes to look at the animations above for ideas, inspiration and permission to get good and arty!

Tom Beg and Jordan Buckner - creative directors for  the  project - will use your digital paintings and from them seek to derive, devise and create the sixteen minute animation that will accompany the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne's performance at the Civic Hall on the 12th July. 

While you're encouraged to be as avant-garde, experimental and subjective as possible, there are some important bits of Photoshop housekeeping we need all of you to follow to ensure consistency in regard to initial set-up and work-flow.

Using layers is an integral characteristic of Photoshop work-flow, but we want you to use layers in a very conscious, 'automated' way - i.e. as you create your synesthetic paintings, we want you to create new layers frequently, so the 'build up' of your final digital painting is 'recorded' and can be 'unpacked' into multiple images or frames.  Tom & Jordan are interested in using the  individual layers comprising your paintings as one possible means of transforming your speed paints into animated loops and dynamic sequences.   When creating your digital paintings, consider using Photoshop hotkeys for the creation of new layers to keep things fluid and your work flow as uninterrupted as possible:

New Layer (without Dialogue Box) – “Ctrl + Shift + Alt + N”
New Layer (with Dialogue Box) – “Ctrl + Shift + N”

(For Apple users, replace “Ctrl” with “Command”) 

All paintings are to be created according to the following set-up:

4800 x 2700 pixels  
300 ppi

Your paintings are to be saved as PSD files, containing all of the layers created during the challenge.  Your paintings should NOT be flattened.  

Your file name should include your full name and challenge number:

If you want to produce more than one painting in response to a particular daily challenge (and multiple submissions from a single participant are welcome), please number your PSD files accordingly: 


When you've completed your digital painting(s), you need to do 2 more things:   1) upload your unflattened PSD files to your allocated Dropbox folder, which you will have been invited to share via the email address you've provided. 2) upload your completed digital paintings to your individual blog entitled 'CGAA - ACT Speed Paint Challenge' and include the number of the challenge; i.e. 'CGAA - ACT Speed Paint Challenge 1'. I will be creating ongoing showcases of your digital paintings on the group blog as the challenge progresses, and further promoting the project through the Post With The Most, the UCA Facebook page, Linkedin and the new ACT - CG Arts & Animation project blog:

You can follow the progress of the ACT/CGAA project at - add it to your blogger reading list; your feedback, support and discussion is, as always, invaluable. The first ACT/CGAA Speed Paint Challenge will launch on Monday 4th March and will conclude on Friday 15th March. 

Good luck, have fun, be amazing!

No comments:

Post a Comment