24 February, 2020. Calgary, AB.
Based off of SNOWBLIND by Tiffany Thomas. Sound, illustrations, and animation by me.
A REALLY exciting project.
I initially shot some slow-ish motion 60 FPS footage of Tiffany at Downtown West Kerby Station on my phone, but wasn’t totally happy with the way it had turned out, so, I ended up drawing and colouring on top of the footage by using what tools I had, which meant me turning off all the lights in our apartment, taping pieces of paper to a computer monitor and tilting it back as much as possible to, y’know, prevent arthritis, and then slowly tracing each and every frame of that footage for hours on end, creating over 100 pencil drawings which then had to be individually photo-scanned. Felt like a robot scanning one after the other, making sure not to mess anything up in the process. So so SO much work for ~12 sec of animation time, but I’m really proud of the result.
Edited in Premiere with custom vignette effects added on so the edges of the drawings wouldn’t show, and repeated certain frames during the fade ins and outs and text portions of the video. And obviously played it in reverse for the end of the piece. Really got mileage out of digitally zooming in because I photo-scanned each drawing in high quality. I found an amazing website which uses a neural network to automatically guess how to colour single images. Mostly used for anime-style thick-outline digital images. It’s really cool and doesn’t always get it right, but I wondered how it would look in animation with traditional media drawings, so I took each pencil drawing and individually ran all of them through it (took a very long time, it’s a glitchy site). The output image quality from this wasn’t great, but paired with a noise filter, some colour tuning, the original high quality pencil drawings layered back on top, and with a royalty-free snow overlay with a scribble effect also placed over top, it looks great and is the perfect amount of soft, water-colour-like trippiness without looking like a rave. The sound effect is a single take of myself blowing out wind noises towards a Tascam DR-05 with added reverb and sound isolation done in Audacity.
“I may go in circles in my brain, but I was always real good at directions.”
Part of OLD MAN: THE NAPI PROJECT, a co-operative Artist in Residence program with Making Treaty 7, we are pleased to welcome the World Premiere of SNOWBLIND, written and performed by Tiffany Thomas, to the Lunchbox stage.
Inspired by the Blackfoot story Napi and the Compassionate Woman, SNOWBLIND uses traditional storytelling, poetry, song and dance to explore the impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) on the Indigenous community. Told with humour and heartbreak through the memories of three characters, SNOWBLIND uncovers how our choices, our mistakes, and our history can lead us to understanding.