Image The style of drawing for Vox is based on the flat unshaded technique typical of late Edo-era portraiture prints and their modern application in anime. Heads are formed as self-contained ‘orbs’ with two levels of flesh: lit and shaded. Selective minimal line work is then applied to refine and distill nuances of facial expression. Vox uses these key design features to retain a flatness to the imagery. This flatness is an integral aspect of the animation, in that the flat imagery is mobilized through computer motion. The purpose is to ‘mechanize’ the iconic representational face through contradictory ‘natural’ movement – to clash realistic momemtum and dynamism with unrealistic objects and surfaces. Caucasian fleshy tones are employed to create a restricted palette which less references human flesh and more evokes unhumaness: plastic surgery, mortician make-up, sex dolls, store mannequins, toy dolls, idol figurines, etc.. The concept of infusing these ‘figures’ with post-human sexuality is a prime directive in the design and rendering of the images in Vox. Animation A test video was filmed to provide tracking data for facial expressions. From this shoot, the best uninterrupted performance was selected, lasting 1 minute and 48 seconds. From this performance, 168 keyframes were tabulated and registrated, each with specific timings attached. The resulting sequence totals 3,700 frames. From these keyframes (ranging from completely still profiles to wildly contorted faces), hand drawn sketches were constructed to generate a template of elements which were then redrawn as vector elements in Freehand. One set of these keyframes was adapted to iconically represent a male visage, a second set was adapted to iconically represent a female visage (proportionally reconfigured without adam’s apple, a larger forehead, a smaller nose and a thinner neck). In Freehand, these vector keyframes were then blended into shockwave files at 25 frames per second (ie. no ‘limited animation’ was employed). The swfs were then imported into Flash and layered. Tests were carried out with the shockwave files from which the facial blends and expressions were modified back in Freehand, then re-exported. Once the facial expressions had been completed, design of the ‘organs’ was undertaken. A set of male and female organs were hand-drafted. The Male and Female sequences each entailed 9 components, indicated below in their emerging form and their maturated form: Each of these 9 components undergoes 8 phases of growth and reduction across the 168 keyframes. They were then redrawn as vector elements in Freehand and postioned according to the framing/positioning of each of the 168 keyframes. In Freehand, these vector keyframes were then blended into shockwave files. The swfs were then imported into Flash and layered. Tests were carried out with the shockwave files from which organ registration was modified back in Freehand, then re-exported. An overall frame registration check was undertaken in Flash at dual-screen scale. The final Flash project was exported as Quicktime Movies for single-screen positioning in Final Cut Pro. The Exported MPG2s were then used for the authoring of the DVDs for the first version of the work installled at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, and the Institute of MOdern Art, Brisbane. A more jittery/messy/less-seamless version was ideally versioned, so Steven Whatmough was employed to design a Flash script that would allow for generating a version of a final completed Quicktime Movie to be scrubbed back-and-forth. A real-time performance was recorded of this ‘scrubbing’ – one for the male and one for the female, each lasting around 5 minutes. These performances allowed for greater focus and detaling on the minute changes in facial expressions and organ mutation which passed too smoothly and quickly in the original short version. These recorded performances then became exported MPG2s which were used for the new version of the work presented at the Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney, and the Coreana Museum of Art, Seoul. Source.