More After Effects and Understanding Comics

Understanding Comics

Scott McCloud’s book Understanding Comics is ostensibly a book about comic books as an art form, including its history, evolution, and modern structure.

The author has much love for comics and fell in love with them as a child. I can partially relate in that when I was younger I looked forward to the Sunday newspaper and reading the comics. However, I never had an affinity for comic books and found them to be a waste of time. These days I only read Dilbert on a regular basis.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book. The book is about more than just comic books; it is about the visual dialogue of all art and storytelling. Although I don’t completely understand all of it, I can tell there is something important being communicated here that I need to understand. I’m looking forward to the class discussion to provide more context and re-reading the book again later to get a deeper understanding. What I want to do is to be able to understand what it is about successful art that makes it successful, and identify the specific mechanisms at work aiding art that resonates or appeals to me and others.

I particularly like Chapter 7, where McCloud identifies an artist’s path, starting with an Idea or Purpose and ending with the art’s Surface. I found this chapter to be thought provoking as it points out aspects of art that I am not aware of and am not able to channel in my own work.

On page 180, McCloud writes:

This is the path of great storytellers, creators who have something to say through comics and devote all of their energies to controlling their medium, refining its ability to convey messages effectively.

In other words, starting with an idea or purpose and controlling the medium to express that idea or purpose. This is very different from art that starts with surface details and only demonstrates a mastery of the chosen tools and technology.

I want to understand the ideas in this book because I would like to do more than demonstrate a mastery of technology.

More After Effects

I continue to work on my After Effects animation. Unfortunately I have run into some difficulties related to the 3D Camera Tracking. The camera tracking seems to be a fragile operation that doesn't always work. I thought I could get it to work by stabilizing the video but surprisingly stabilizing the video can make it worse. The Warp Stabilizer's subspace warp stabilizing method distorts the video in a way that makes camera tracking impossible.

I do have some potential workarounds so I am not giving up. This project is taking up a lot of time and I am doing the best I can.