An exploration of the creative challenges in representing human movement in digital animation
: exploring the range and limits of human and quasi-human expression in animation and related disciplines, defined by technology, nature and imagination

  • Annabel Lagasse

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

The research began from Mori's Uncanny Valley hypothesis, which suggests that new technologies present significant challenge in animation for human simulation? If so, how can we better identify and engender an appealing, aesthetic reality that both Mori and Disney recommend in the context of digital animation? Can alternative mimodynamic methods used by Lecoq (in creative education) assist animation process, justifying a contribution to knowledge? The thesis explores the significance of Mori's theory of the Uncanny response by examining current opinion from within science and animation production, as well as analysing recent cultural and technological change. Disney's original Twelve Principles of Animation are re-evaluated, in the light of new additions (from Industry) and to see how far they address current concerns. Research into the influence of artistic (and social) trends on digital animation: aims to establish what constitutes appeal and aesthetic reality and whether views change. Research into body language (chiefly P. Eckman, Chap. 5 Ref. 1, and J. Navarro Chap. 5 Ref. 3) assesses newly uncovered insights and analyses the possible outcomes of knowledge or alternatively, knowledge gaps. This evolving science is also studied to assess the range and limits of human gesture and enable comparison between real and virtual movement. Performance methods are explored (particularly mimodynamic methods), to establish whether they provide any unique creative outcomes, relevant to animation. Diversity of research sources aims to reflect the interdisciplinary nature and complexity of animation and those attracted to it. The theoretical framework mirrors most closely design history; quality being partly defined by the scientific theory of evolutionary aesthetics. The research highlighted the importance of imagination and sensitive design, in creating movement sequences with digital tools. However exploration of cultural trends ascertained that new technology and the new realist aesthetic often contradicted design principles. Study of body language proved instructive but highlighted its limitations for creative invention. Finally, a review of performance practice validated the special relevance of mimodynamic method for animation production, training and critique. This research represents an important progression in the understanding and appreciation of digital character animation and an alternative creative approach to animation practice.
Date of AwardSep 2015
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Nottingham Trent University

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