Art 1 – Non-objective abstraction Due 2/10


As you watch these short films, watch the use formal elements to create non-objective designs.  Notice the choice of shapes in relation to the music as well as the movement and rhythm created by repetition and gradation (in terms of both color and shape.)  Think about space and form, dominance and opposition, balance and unity.

Comment on the areas in each film that you find most pleasing/interesting and do your best to analyze why you find it appealing and how the formal elements and principles are “working”.  Answer some of these questions: what kinds of colors are used? do you recognize any color systems like analagous or complementary? how is movement created? how is balance achieved (is it symmetrical or asymmetrical)? is there dominance or opposition (how is it set up or created)?  or consider other questions you consider to be important ones to consider.

Finally, consider the element of animation and the fact that this is a sequence of moving designs; when you freeze a frame, is each frame composed or is it out of balance and only whole by taking in the whole sequence?

Sketchbook homework: Spend an hour working on many designs that you can use for your one shape and two shape non-objective paintings in class.


38 responses »

  1. 1)I thought the moment that was the most interesting is around 3:48 when the artificial looking stars glimmered across the more realistic looking colorful blue sky. I like it because it kind of looks like a collage because the stars are animated and cartoon looking against a vibrant sky that seems to be moving in real time but is also flashing a bit. The blue sky is much more dominant in the overall scene, even though the blue colors seem faded and then vibrant, but the yellow glimmering stars across the screen balance it out. I don’t recognize any color systems. The animation really affects the balance of the scene. If i freeze the animation only one or two stars pop up in the corner and they are small and don’t deliver the same effect.

    2)The moment that was most pleasing to me was the elephant stomping the ground and then changing colors and shape at 2:07. I liked this scene because it was in sync with the music and the perspective and angle at which they showed the elephant stomping was very powerful. I recognize red and yellow analogous mixtures within the elephant. The movement that is created when the elephant stomps is interesting. When it stomps colors burst and fly from it and the elephant turns into strips of color that intertwine with each other. The animation doesnt affect this one as much but you get a better experience if you watch it in video form with the music.

  2. My favourite part of the first movie was the section around 7:45 because it reminds me of the Glowcloud, a character from Welcome to Night Vale. The red and orange in it are analogous colours and it’s movement is pulsing and asymmetrical. For the second video, my favourite part was at the very end when everything seems to be ancient and dead but then the purple, pink, and orange stag just appears out of nowhere. Its colour scheme is mostly analogous within the deer, but it is complementary in relation to the background. Because the stag is on the right, it is asymmetrical, and there is not much movement other than a panning out. For the first one I feel that to see the balance properly you must view the sequence, but from clicking around to random parts of the second, I’d say that each frame stands alone.

    • That’s a great coincidence – the animation coincides with what you have imagined from the story! I think the analogous scheme is used in many of the frames in the animations because it helps the transitions and the movement. Good observation – it is so important for most of the frames to be well balanced as “stand alone” compositions as well as working in the overall scheme of things.

  3. 1) My favorite part of the first video was at 4:02 when all you can see is the bows of the string instruments and the blue background becomes a really cool looking sky. I think it is really cool because you still see the music but it becomes more artificial and confusing for the viewer to understand what exactly is going on. The bows correspond to the music and it is cool to see them move across the screen. The background is blue and the bows are a yellow-orangeish color so that shows some complementary contrast.
    2) This video is really interesting because every moment has something cool going on. In the beginning with the chair, the red against the blue is really bold and all the other colors are analogous blues and violets. I think my favorite part is around 1:20-1:50 where you can see animals but then they disappear. And the hoof-prints go from normal to lines at 1:26. I think all the colors look really amazing together, and the movement corresponding to the music is really amazing.

  4. My favorite part was in the first few minutes of Fantasia when the musicians were playing and then splotches of color would show up, making more of the musicians visible. I noticed that there were a lot of analogous combinations with violet and blue and that it starts out being geared to cool blue, but towards the end of that segment, before it switched to the violin part, it got more warm using yellow orange and red orange. there were not as many complementary combinations shown as analogous. I think single frames could be complete, but it’s better to finish the sequence.

    • Great observations about Fantasia. They did make great use of those gradations with the silhouettes of the musicians, making us more aware of them as formal shapes rather than musicians. Don’t forget to share your ideas and responses to the second video.

  5. 1. The use shadow and especially negative space when used to convey color as music added an entirely different dimension. How the video shows the gradations of the color in proportion the either the intensity or the volume of the music’s tone also added another level to its communication and relationship. I enjoy how at 1:54 the harp is melodic and a break from the intensity the choice of the blue color also communicates a well thought out difference from the intenseness.

    2. The use of complementary and analogous colors represent a kind of balance heard by the music the opposing notes have a kind of dramatic opposition that works together just like the colors do. I also enjoy how the harp part keeps repeating as a kind of asymmetrical off balance opposite part of the piece. I find these continual breaks jolting but adding another element.

    3. Finally I think that as a whole the sequence is symmetrical but frame by frame it is asymmetrical as well as for a lot of the frames there the different musicians all on one side or the other but it switched so as a whole everything is balanced.

  6. My favorite part are the almost fantastical shapes of gold that stretch to the clouds. It feels as off it’s a city, but not quite defined. It has a nice sense of space. Colors in the fantasia clip were dark, and cold, there were even bright colors that were muddled with cold accents. There was a mix of different colors, but at 6:32 there are a complement of red and green, there is also a complement of orange and blue. To show movement he elongated the shapes left to right, as well as highlighting different part of the objects to show the movement of the object with relation to light. Space and distance perceived also changes, in the case of the cascading red hills. In the blockhead scene the artist like to use the light coming off the TV to cascade the object in the complement of the color on the TV (look at 1:02).

  7. In the first film, I found 7:18 to be particularly beautiful. The cloud towers were a brilliant contrast with the sky behind them and seemed so majestic. The colors didn’t seem analogous or complimentary, but they still worked well together. Movement was created by changing the colors of the cloud towers and making them more translucent. The clouds are dominating the setting, leaving the sky to be a colorful background. Each frame is it’s own picture; however, the work together to create a beautiful moving art piece.

    The very beginning of the second film was the only part I thought was nice and pretty and coherent. The rest of it was a mess of analogous shells and complementary centers. There was too MUCH movement, all cascading waterfalls of tubes of gross colors and disintegrating animals and humans. There was no dominance, I felt; it was all just a blend of colors. I couldn’t pay attention to all of it at once. Freezing frames only makes it look like a disgusting mash of colors, and you’d need to play the entire video to make it work together.

    • The trick for the second is not to try to focus on any one thing and see it all our of focus and recognize the shapes since their arent many details that require focus anyway.

  8. My favorite parts of Fantasia were 3:47-4:02 and 5:47-6:01. Both parts involved a simmering yellow/gold color which looked like stars. I especially like the 3:47 one because of its baby blue background and how the lines that came in looked like violin strings. The first part used complements yellow and blue while the second one used more analogous colors of red orange and yellow.

    I found the second one to be very creepy and did not find it pleasing at all, though I did like the deer at the end. It was made up of red pink, orange and purple colors. The colors were all mostly warm. They were partially analogous and partially not. That is because while the deer itself was analogous, the background was a dark blue causing a more complement effect.

    I don’t understand the final 3rd question.

  9. I love the bit in the first video that starts around 3:10 and ends around 4:09. It’s cool that when the music becomes “dark” and “ominous” the colours turn red and black but when the music become light and a little more playful, the background changes to blue with other colour like yellow and violet playing across it. It also changes in tone to and moves slightly to create movement and keep it interesting.
    I absolutely hated the second video. It creeped me out beyond belief. I did.n’t like the neon colours or the fact that nothing kept still. Everything seemed crowded and nothing was exactly what i should have been. Everything was slightly off. That and the music together made me feel very uncomfortable.
    I think that the first video can be paused at anytime and be be balanced and composed. The second one is a little different. It’ll only be balanced and composed sometimes if you pause it. The rest of the time it needs too be seen in a series to make sense.

  10. Inn the first video, my favorite bit has always been around 5:48, because as a kid I would try to decide if it was water or sand dunes they were trying to show (I used to watch Fantasia ever so often as a kid.) It’s also interesting how most of the music is shown as the dunes/waves, while the violin is shown as the sparkles/shine on the water, and how gradually more of the music is treated as sparkles, if that makes any sense. This uses dark and light values, while also using a yellow-orange and a red, which in analogous. When you pause it, each frame looks like its own picture, even if it is an abstract one. In the second video, I like the bit around 3:40, where the giant person is turning back into animals. The colors are all very bright and clash with each other. With the second video, if you pause it chances are it would not look as good because it’s too fasr paced for that.

  11. My favorite part was when the abstract line shapes are superimposed over the red and black looking scary sky which is around 4:40 with the swelling strings. I think it empahsizes what the video shows.

    In the second film I really liked the monkey dancing especially at 57 seconds with the weird random/ surreal monkey with the banana eyes, I really lie the color contrast between the redbrown monkey and the purple/blue lsd type monkey. I think the funky music only adds to the sense of “what the is happening?”

  12. My favorite part out of the two films was the shadows of the orchestra on a red background that was shown twice when the music sped up, the red color scheme showing the heat and emotion of the speed of the song. I liked it because I like the slightly abstract depiction of the orchestra, and it appealed to me over other completely abstract entities. I think that the first video is very balanced both in motion and paused, because at almost all times there is a light part of the image and a dark part with contrasting objects within. The second one though, was completely dependent on the constant and bizarre motions of its characters to maintain some semblance of balance, and when paused looked very lopsided/unbalanced. In the first video, the color schemes were almost entirely analogous, switching primarily between reds/oranges to blues/violets with the occasional green or yellow.

  13. In the first video I liked the part around 6:30. It reminded me of rainbows, or the paths that skates make on ice, probably because I have been watching the Olympics. The colors used were different shades of blue and cool reds and a little bit of orange. The orange and blue are complementary. The scene was pretty asymmetrical.
    In the second video my favorite part was around 2:20, when the different animals popped in and out of the ground. I like this because the animals appeared and disappeared with the beat of the music. This part of the video had a contrast between the colors of the animals, with the one dark color of the ground and sky. In the animals I think there were some analogous colors.

  14. Of the two videos, my favorite is the fantasia one. The use of color to represent the music is very successful in their use of cool colors for lower tones in the music and warmer colors for higher tones. I noticed that it was clear that mainly primary colors were used on the individual pictures and for any mixing it looked like the colors were just overlapped. They also used many complimentary color systems. I think this use of complimentary colors also related back to the music and how the sounds from different instruments flowed together and matched each other. The movement is created by small shapes of color moving across the screen in different patters along with the music.

  15. 1. In the first video, I liked when the little animations were “dancing” over the more realistic sky background. The clouds would change from one analogous color to the next. I also liked the part with the red lined that cast shadows over the hills, because it showed depth. This video used lots of non-formal shapes.
    2. The second video was very interesting and kind of frightening how everything flowed from one to the next. I noticed there was a contrast between the colorful animal figures and gray, dull, human figures. Also in the stream of color, there were some contrasting colors, like blue and orange, but in the humans, the colors were mostly analogous. I found all the scenes where the animals would unravel and transform into a bunch of shapes and colors fascinating. This video also illustrated the surreal concepts of the previous unit.

  16. 1. In the first video with the orchestra, at around 3:50, when the violins bows are shown in a kind of faint way, they look like lighting bolts in the night sky. Around 4:00 they are showing a bit of cross hatching with the bows and different color shades. There is shades of blue and yellow orange colors with a bit of black. The movement if created by the bows of the violins playing the music. When i freeze a frame, some are similar and some are changing, adding more of the bows movements with the music.
    2. In the second video, the part that i thought was interesting was at about 2:12, with the panda bear, and it is moving side to side with the beat of the music. And as he’s moving, bursts of colorful paint are shooting out too with the beat of the music. Then all the objects and colors go into something completely different. Most colors that seen to be used are orange, blue, yellow and yellow orange. The movements seen to be created to go along with the beats of the music. When you freeze a frame, the colors seem to just be everywhere and everything still has a shape to it.

    • Nice observations! That is a wonderful coincidence of the violin bows with the lightening. I often wonder how long these animators spent coordinating the beats with the forms and images. It’s quite a challenge to synchronize them.

  17. 1: I really liked at around 0:50 when the conductor is silhouetted against the orange sphere against the blue background because it instantly reminded me of the sun. at 5:14 when the colored discs are flying sround. I noticed that the red/pink was complentary to the light turquose and the yellow was between the two. Light and dark arestrongly contrasted with oneanother which draws your attention to the brighter focal points
    2:I though the second video was beautiful although(although the music isnt quite my cup of tea i liked it with the video and especially liked the scitar in it). My favorite part was when the people were quickly eating red apples that were mashed through the back of their heads on tv with everyone watching because its is showing how we just pick up the easiest things to notice(red) and dont understand the “core” of what we see(being mashed through their heads) and how people just live through others on tv for happiness. In the opening of the clip the dark blue background is contrasted with the warmer red vine to make them stand out. Movement is created through stretched and curved lines which fluid meld one shape into another creating a sense of uniting an/or contrast with complementary and analogous color pairing

  18. 1. I liked the surreal element in the first video because something would seem just like abstract shapes moving in rhythm to match the music but then it would start to resemble a real-life object. For example, there were these things I thought were lines for awhile but then they started to look like swords and before I could think about it anymore there was a new set of shapes to match the music. The changes were really subtle and I liked that a lot. The colors tend to be more analogous and the composition is asymmetrical. On a sidenote when I was a little kid I used to be terrified of Fantasia. Actually terrified. My grandparents would put on the video (yeah an actual CASETTE, weird, right?) and I would start sobbing uncontrollably
    2. The second video isn’t subtle about being surreal at all. The first video is flowing and slightly minimalistic at times but this is chaos. I can’t keep track of all the imagery. It seems slightly more symmetrical than the first but the colors are more complimentary. Fantasia was somewhat calming and pleasant to watch whereas this video was disturbing but I can’t really put into words as to why but I was also weirdly captivated by the imagery and rhythm.

    • Wow – I wonder what it was that scared you about Fantasia – do you think it was the dramatic music or was it the scenes to come like the Scorcerer’s Apprentice? (which is my favorite and I think it’s a great metaphor for our foreign policy.)

  19. Apart from the fact that we are watching an animation, I think we also need to consider the affect of music on the art and how the art tries to convey the music. In the first film, around 8:14, I noticed that the colors begin to become blinding rays of brown, orange, gold, and white (mostly analogous colors) eventually melting the whole blackness into a nova, when the music crescendos and all of the instruments are balanced, playing the climax. The colors reflect this as no one color seems to drown out the rest and stand out, and everything gradually fades into the white before dying out into a pause and the violins begin the fugal theme again– a red background with more analogous colors such as yellow and orange flickering quickly across the frame.
    Another example of this blinding cadential climax is found at 8:45, as the brass and winds join the strings and prepare for what looks like the death of the star– a few puffs of pink, red, and yellow gas among a golden glow (analogous colors again), fading into an expanding red resolution and ending with black nothingness.

    In the second film, because everything is moving so fast with the psychedelic funk, much of the main objects and beings in the scenes are colored brightly or in disparate contrast with the background, using mainly complementary colors. In other cases, like with the elephant stomping to the beat at 2:08, several analogous colors are used, perhaps demonstrating harmony within the nature– before the man made technological dangers sweep through and disturb the peace.

  20. 1) For the first video, I really liked the way the conductor stood almost in contrast to the background; the vibrant nature of the color behind him (mostly blue at that point) made him appear less as a human figure and more as a shape. Further, I liked how, when each side of musicians would play, his face was illuminated to reveal the true nature of the black shape we see. The rest of the video kind of reminded me of the program we wrote about last week. As the music became intense, then soft, then loud, etc. the colors seemed to reflect that change in mood (for me, at least). For example, when the music was fast and intense, the background was often red–a color I associate with stress–and lots of analogous color sets were shown–I think of analogous colors as more conflicting than complimentary colors. This video was particularly interesting to me because I had only heard this music with the Mickey Mouse Fantasia, so seeing it portrayed in a radically different way was quite powerful.
    2) In the second video, I was particularly struck by the way color was used to mediate the interaction of shapes. There is a lot of movement in the video–mostly lines that make up shapes morphing into other shapes at speed–and color was used mostly to ease the transition and to emphasize to the viewer when a shape was important. For example, whenever the music is fast-paced and the shapes are kind of exploding out of an object (a head, the floor, etc) the color combinations are analogous (mostly yellow, yellow-orange, orange and violet, blue-violet, blue) so the viewer has a harder time distinguishing between shapes and gets lost in the explosion process. In contrast, when there is an important shape that must be recognized, complimentary color combinations are used. A good example of this is, near the end, when there is an orange man/figure against a blue background. By using two colors (blue and orange) that are so different from another as to be complimentary, the designers underscore the fact that the man is there to be noticed, that he means something and thus must be acknowledged.

  21. In the first film, I really liked the beginning with the conductor on the platform and the deep blue. Also, in the middle, it was really cool when the screen got all smoky and greyish–I used to think colors with grey in them were ugly, but I’ve been coming around. I think those colors can be a lot deeper and interesting than I thought in the past.
    In the second film, I thought the way the animation created each object was interesting–multicolored strings of ribbon (or something like that) kind of pulsed and flipped back and forth to create each figure. That was really cool, mostly probably because it integrated the beat into the images seen on the screen.
    I didn’t recognize any specific color schemes in the first video, though there were more coolish-feeling hues than warm and bright ones.
    In the second, I recognized a lot of complementary colors–for example, at around the one-minute mark, we see a string of purple and yellow images.
    For the first video, I think each individual frame is significantly less interesting by itself than they all are in sequence, probably because they are so simple. But the second video is different: I think each frame can almost stand on its own. The style of drawing kind of reminded me of surrealism or the stuff we looked at at the beginning of the year with the children’s book illustrator.

  22. My favorite part was when the people shoved fruit into their faces, and lines squirted out the back of their heads, closely resembling playdough. In general, there were a lot of pinks, purples, and orange colors. There was also a lot of dark maroon in the vines. The reddish pink was analogous to the purple, and the yellow (when it appeared) was analogous to the orange. The movement was created through growth, such as when the animals spun and rather than themselves moving, vines grew off of them.

  23. I liked the fruit part, but at the same time it was kind of disturbing. The colors are really strange to me. Honestly I don’t really find this to be a real movie, more like a bunch of designs and art. There were a lot of realistic things interlaced with non realistic/cartoonish things, interlacing each other.

  24. The artist uses a lot of bright complimentary colors and some duller analogous colors. I liked the rythmic patterns used because they connect the shapes to themselves and to time. The coloring made it seem really eerie. Some of the patterns reminded me of some Dr Seuss cartoons, but the coloring was much fuller and more vibrant. There are many repeating patterns but many of them are asymmetrical. Many of the darker colors seems to make different shapes more dominant.

  25. In the second video I like the scene towards the beginning with the monkeys. Both monkeys are made of analogous pairs of colors, one blue and violet, the other orange and red. I like this scene because its funny when bananas come out of one monkeys eyes and how calm the other monkey stays. The contrast of the yellow bananas to the purple monkey is interesting too.

  26. 1. 2:52. I liked this part because we see the silhouettes of the orchestra players in both blue and orange. They are contrasting colors — cool and warm — and this creates conflict within this moment of the music, which is very intense. It’s also fairly symmetrical, with identical figures on both the top and bottom of the frame. This particular moment is in focus, showing that each individual frame can stand alone, or go and contribute to the work as a whole.
    2. The moment I chose was 0:37. In this frame, the deer/moose thing has exploded into essentially a non-objective drawing. In the frame I’m looking at, there are no recognizable shapes. Also, in this moment, all of the colors are warm, as opposed to the preceding cool color scheme that had predominated the entire video up to this point. Also, this moment has no symmetry.

  27. For the second video I think the imagery of using the red tentacle looking things to creep up and intertwine with the blue was a really interesting use of color and animation. I also thought the interesting way the tentacle strings of colors really pulsated and melted with the music instead of being like finite shapes that did no move to the music i think colors were really intertwined with the music and representative of its style and melody rather than just its notes.

  28. For the first one, I enjoyed the use of different colors when silhouetting the orchestra, the way the colors were mixed and portrayed were interesting. And the use of analogous and complement mixes.

  29. 1.I like the first part of the video pretty much, which is the person commanding the band, with the music, the shadow from top to bottom gradually turining darker and darker, and the background color also changing as my favor.
    2.I like most part of the video, the twisted things and how is it twisting seems pretty abstractive. It twisted many times, some looks same, but some twisting in different ways. It has all warm colors or all cool colors for one time twisting.

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