Falling, the Making of

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By Bryan Brinkman

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SuperRare Release #24

I wanted to briefly talk about my new piece, the 2nd in my series of rotoscoped figures. The first of which was “Groove,” a happy and fun dancing loop. Colorful and bright, bouncing to the music. More info on that piece here: https://beta.cent.co/brinkman/+27wqlo

For “Falling,” I wanted to show the inverse. The background is now black, the lines are neon, and instead of feeling fun, there’s a sense of doom. Since I was young, I’ve had a near-crippling fear of falling from great heights. Even seeing people near the edge of a roof gives me intense anxiety. I’ve felt like I’ve been falling throughout the past year, whether it’s down the rabbit hole of cryptoart and feeling lost in all the possibilities, or feeling disconnected from friends and society due to COVID.

I’ve been playing with the idea of falling for a few weeks. Originally I wanted to play with a tall aspect ratio and have someone falling from top to bottom. After experimenting, I thought a static loop would feel more dynamic, chaotic, and endless.

I’ve always enjoyed using the process of rotoscoping, which has been around since nearly the beginning of animation. While there are numerous techniques to accomplish it, the basic idea is your draw over footage frame by frame.

ABOVE: Patent drawing for Max Fleischer‘s original rotoscope setup. The artist is drawing on a transparent easel, onto which the movie projector at the right is beaming an image of a single movie frame. Source: https://patents.google.com/patent/US1242674

Here’s a wonderful example of it used on Cab Calloway in an old Bettie Boop short.

As an animator, I have utilized it in various forms. I used it to execute tough-to-animate scenes in short films, such as this scene from my thesis film:

The Coffee Bird (2007)

Also, I used it in early digital animation experiments:

Rotoscoping (2005)

For my recent SuperRare releases, I’ve returned to this concept of using rotoscoped figures along with frenetic drawings. Taking the planned nature of the rotoscoping process and creating chaos. The other aspect of the piece is the motion. I used randomly generated particles to convey the direction of the fall, along with an animated shake at random, which, using code, randomly positions the figure in a different spot every couple of frames. 

I was able to take a process that is usually pretty straightforward and clean, and randomize almost every aspect of it, creating a wildly frenetic piece that embodies the feelings of chaos, disconnection, and despair that I often felt this past year.f

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Bryan Brinkman

Animator, Late Night TV Graphic Artist, Visual Effect Artist, Pop Culture Gallery Artist.

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