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The visual archaeology Before ‘the era of AIGC’ 03


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By: Mog、Qi

Hunger by Peter Foldès(1974)

Hunger (Hunger), produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in 1974, is an animated short film that was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 29th Academy Awards. Directed by Peter Foldes, it was one of the earliest computer animation films. The story is a moral tale about greed and gluttony in modern society.

Peter Foldes worked in collaboration with the National Research Council's Division of Radio and Electrical Engineering's Data Systems Group, who decided to develop a computer animation application in 1969. NRC scientist Nestor Burtnyk had heard an animator from Disney explain the traditional animation process, where a head animator draws the key cels and assistants draw the fill in pictures. The work of the artist's assistant seemed to Burtnyk to be the ideal demonstration vehicle for computer animation and within a year he programmed a "key frame animation" package to create animated sequences from key frames. The NFB in Montreal was contacted so that artists could experiment with computer animation. Foldes made a 1971 experimental film involving freehand drawings called Metadata.This was followed by Hunger, which took him and his NRC partners a year and a half to make. It cost $38,893 (equivalent to $233,358 in 2021) to create.

We can see that in Peter Foldès's short film, by making use of computer technology to massively realize the function of creating animation sequences through keyframes, the transformation and replacement between forms are all related to the form of many animations today.

Here is the video link for the metadata (Peter Foldes' first short film):

Here is the viewing link for Hunger:

Powers of Ten™ (1977)

The Powers of Ten films are two short American documentary films written and directed by Charles and Ray Eames. Both works depict the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.

The film begins with an overhead view of a man and woman picnicking in a park at the Chicago lakefront — a 1-meter (3.3 ft) overhead image of the figures on a blanket surrounded by food and books they brought with them, The man (played by Swiss designer Paul Bruhwiler) then sleeps, while the woman (played by Eames staffer Etsu Garfias) starts to read one of the books. The viewpoint, accompanied by expository voiceover by Philip Morrison, then slowly zooms out to a view 10 meters (33 ft) across (or 101 meters in scientific notation). The zoom-out continues (at a rate of one power of ten per 10 seconds), to a view of 100 meters (330 ft) (102 meters) (where they are shown to be in Burnham Park,near Soldier Field, then 1 kilometer (3,300 ft) (103 meters) (where we see the entirety of Chicago), and so on, increasing the perspective and continuing to zoom out to a field of view of 1024 meters, or a field of view 100 million light years across. The camera then zooms back in at a rate of a power of ten per 2 seconds to the picnic, and then slows back down to its original rate into the man's hand, to views of negative powers of ten: 10−1 meters (10 centimeters), and so forth, revealing a skin cell and zooming in on it—until the camera comes to quarks in a proton of a carbon atom at 10−16 meters.

Here is the link to watch this work:

Unused Lisberger Studio Animation Sequence|TRON (1982)

TRON (TRON) is a 1982 American science fiction action adventure film written and directed by Steven Lisberger, with a story co-created by Lisberger and Bonnie MacBird. The plot follows computer software engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who is accidentally sucked into the electronic world and tries to escape from the Master Control Program while trying to destroy its program.

TRON was a groundbreaking film in terms of both visual effects and aesthetics in film history. The question of whether the 'neon aesthetics' originated from this film is also worth discussing.

The development of TRON began in 1976 when Lisberger became interested in the then-popular electronic game 'Pong' and established an animation studio with producer Donald Kushner, intending to release an animated film called TRON. To achieve publicity effects, Lisberger and his team produced a 30-second animation short featuring "Tron" as the protagonist. Eventually, Lisberger decided to present the film in live action with backlighting and computer animation to realize his story concept. Lisberger and Kushner began seeking sponsors with their story concept but were rejected by many production companies until Walt Disney was willing to invest and distribute the film. In the film, many scenes were presented using a combination of hand-drawn animation, computer animation and live action, with most of the hand-drawn animation completed by Hong Guang Company in Taiwan.

Many people have seen and been deeply influenced by the animation style of this film, so this time we choose the 30-second animation material from this film that we have not used before to further understand it: