Between The Lines

As my first self directed project Figure/Ground: Figure Found was largely based on the figure ground principle and how we perceive and make sense of different spaces within an image I decided to base this brief on the principle of Closure. This links nicely from my previous project in that it is again about how we understand and make sense of ambiguous and not always ‘complete’ information but using a different format. Seeing something in nothing.

Closure Principle:

Initial inspiration came from this image i found whilst researching my dissertation subject and reading into the principle of closure. It interested me how by removing the exact same amount of line we can much more easily make sense of the images on the right than the ones on the left. Just because of the way in which the contour has been left are we able to make sense of the image. I wanted to explore this idea further using line drawing and again looking at our ability to understand and recognise faces in particular. How much information do we need to ‘see’ a face again linking to my previous self directed brief in that matter. Do we even need the face to see it? What key areas and contours would need to be highlighted in order to recognise it and which to not recognise it?

Tracey Emin i found to be a good example of my ideas in that she highlights just key points to maximum effect.

Initial experiments:

In a nutshell I wish to create an animated piece using the barest of suggested lines exploring what are the best contours to highlight showing and explaining the theory of closure and how we all use it. Like a visual and informational piece to go alongside my dissertation and the main theory behind it.

Feedback from todays tutorial was that there were some really strong underlying themes running through my work which i’m glad was noticed. But it’s just making sure that others see it and know that i’ve thought about it, instead of simply seeing the visual side of ‘oh this is a nice animation’ So it’s how i can really get this across.

One suggestion was to have the same piece of footage on a loop which adapts and changes. I like the idea of the figure changing through this looping system fading in/out and missing key features, because after seeing it once we will viualise it even when its not at all there, the looping maybe enhances this feeling and gets the point across even more?

It’s not really about the lines at all but its the white space we view and im really glad my tutor picked up on this and i want others too aswell. Instead of having stark black/white contrast images ive tried to even get rid of the black tones and just leave suggestion. Its about highlighting those key points which most effectivly allow us to read the image well.

Projecting onto glass was also another interesting suggestion, that would really mean reading the empty space but the background behind could distract and reduce the intensity of the image, I really like the idea however if presented suspended in a purely white room, with all the different angles.

I want to make clear the deeper meaning and get it across well.

I need to try and articulate exactly what the deeper meaning is. Dissapearing/blanked out/identity/how we place ourselves in space.

Malcom Le Grice’s Berlin Horse:

Look at trying to create similar feelings within my piece, the repetition, the morphing beyond recognition and back in.

Expression: Martha Graham


We agree that adding ny other dimensions such as sound etc would distract away from the meaning and it really didnt need it. It’s the minimalism of it that works, and what isn’t there, after all thats the whole point of it? However i can’t help but feel something really subtle backing it could work? Something minimal just to get across the mood and ideas of the piece, psychology? Something appropriate.

Find footage, and start playing with loops, loop the footage but draw over it differently each time, different amounts, different fades untill almost nothing, strengths and abstractions. Gets across the point we can always see?

Latest sample test screenshots and analysis..

I experimented with lots of different lines and weights to see what possibly gets the idea across most? I’m happy with the initial sample and concluded that i like the contrasting harshness of some of the lines and how the visual kind of fades in and out intensity wise. Maybe stick with the softer lines, because the beginning bit seems quite intriguing and i like the fluidity of the line. and i think the block sections of black work well but maybe not the thick black line drawings.

It’s interesting how some of the frames when you pause on one it is very abstract and if you were to ask someone what it were they probably wouldn’t know what to say. But when played as a piece of footage the movement allows us to understand the shapes in a way we wouldn’t be able to if they were just static. I like this idea It’s creating closure but thats only present when in animation form. Would there be a way of creating a piece where no one frame made any sense when viewed alone but when played as a video it did somehow?

‘Closure is a tendency to perceive a set of individual elements as a single, recognizable pattern, rather than multiple, individual elements.’

-This idea is usually set to still images but not video. Thats why movement will be important in the piece, so possibly dancing or some form of performance like i have been looking at.

2nd Sample Lamentation:

Fleeting nature of being itself

Even subtler a suggestion, i really wanted to experiment with how little we can have but still see, i like how the image slowly built up from completely nothing at times pulsing in and out. However I thought the footage was a little slow and not quite dramatic enough compared to the first sample.

With the idea that pausing the piece at any given time will give you a simple line with little meaning and getting this point across, It was suggested that maybe i slow some of the slides down like an altering strobe effect? (to show that it really isn’t the images themselves in isolation your reading.) Thats essentially what the frame by frame animation is? I think this could work well.

Also starting to think about the display and presentation of this piece, one idea was of the glass projection:

Could deffinatly be interesting if presented in a completely empty white room maybe? The viewer could walk around the piece and view this single black line floating? With the idea that the negative space really is negative space. I like the minimalism of this format.


Like with the first zoetrope example, maybe some kind of control over the speed of the piece would communicate the point? Seeing the frames individually without so much movement.

Experimental strobe frame samples:



I think the strobe samples work well, not so much the black as it’s very distracting and harsh. But i think the grey isolates some of the frames well especially when it’s held on a frame a little longer between strobes (also seems more dramatic).

I’ve continued to experiment drawing more samples focusing on performance, expression and movement, captured with stripped back detail, and different intensities of strobe and frame length to try and isolate frames to show the lack of what we are actually seeing.

New Samples combined:

New Samples with strobe:

Strobe Colour Swatch:

Here is the development of which tones of strobe i think worked best with the animation, settling on the 4th.

However In the crit some said that they found the strobe a bit distracting in such a minimal piece, and it maybe looses the quality and some of the movement becomes too busy?

Also some of the new samples seemed a little too ‘choreographed’, and lost something that my original sample had, it also maybe distracts away from the point i’m trying to make and being too much about the dance.

They suggested to maybe find other ways of isolating the frames in some sections but without the use of the ‘strobe-flash’ effect. So maybe simply slowing down the frames?

Select Frames in Isolation:


Limbo is a web-based artwork and iPhone App which presents and delivers live digital drawings by the artist Simon Faithfull. These samples from his project Limbo (shown below) and many of his other drawing works I think really reflect the same bare minimalism and simplicity of suggestion that I am trying to achieve in my animation work.

New Sample- No strobe but slowed frames

While i agree that removing the strobe effect makes the footage less distracting i still feel there’s not something quite right, I think maybe the varying and inconsistent frame-rate make it seem more like it’s a slow connection or something? And i think maybe the frame dosent freeze for long enough? I’m going to try either a more consistent slower frame-rate or less of them but freezing for a longer period to isolate these frames..

I feel like i prefer the less frequent but longer pauses as you can focus more on these frames in isolation, however i think that with a more steady piece of footage the more frequent quicker ones will be more effective.

Other thoughts to incorporate some thicker lines like my earlier samples?

****Final Sample Plan (30 seconds long of the strongest footage)****:

Original Video > Original Video with slowed frames > Again with different slowed frames (longer and less?) > Different slowed frames (maybe a couple of strobe?) > Fade to very little detail and full frames > Slowed little detail frames fading back to original video >


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