Thursday, July 23, 2009

Song Heard in a Dream

The second video in the Polyphasic series. This one was done primarily in Corel Painter. Partly inspired by the sand painting films of
Caroline Leaf, and partly by my own days as a performance painter. As part of an artist's collective we would experiment with painting-as-performance art, and I still find it fascinating to watch a canvas build and grow into its various manifestations.

Painter has the ability to record scripts, which acts like a time lapse screen capture: every few seconds a snapshot of the screen is taken while you paint. However, there's no good way to get these recorded script files out of Painter and into a useful movie format. There's a very limited and buggy export function that can export a frame stack as a movie, but nothing near the size or frame rate
demanded by this project.

So I settled on the following workflow: in Painter, record the session with the scripts window. Afterward, open a new file and play back the script (essentially watching the whole painting session in fast forward) while recording the screen with screen capture software (I used Snagit). From Snagit, a .mov or .avi can be output to take into After Effects. Piece it together with some slight time manipulation to match the soundtrack, and done. Once I figured out how to do it (lots of false starts) I managed to create the entire film in a day - basically one painting session. Whenever I needed to take a break, I just paused recording and then picked up on the same painting where I left off. There is great potential for this type of painting with the YouTube explosion going on, and I hope others decide to use these tools to further the art form.

In terms of content, I let the music lead the way. I listened to the track over and over, making notes, at first by way of words and then thumbnail drawings, until I had sketched out a loose narrative. Then it was a matter of acting it out as a performance.

Though I utilized a variety of brushes, the workhorse for this project was a little-known brush in the Tinting category (of all places), Oily Round, mainly for its propensity to "push" pixels much as Caroline Leaf would push grease paint around on glass.

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