Peter & the Space Between

Peter & the Space Between

Release date:

2011

Running time:

4 minutes

Formats:

Available on DVD

Closed Captioned:

Yes

Availability in North America:

Available in CanadaAvailable in the US

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  • Audience level:
  • Elementary School
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Adult
  • General

It is difficult for Peter to create human connections with other. He has rationalized this through distorted scientific logic and because of this, ironically alientates those around him in the process. This animated short is about the difficulties of communication, its effect on relationships, and how one's internal logic can become distorted.

Much of the animation was in Photoshop with the lasso tool and composited in After Effects. The stop-motion clouds are made of cotton and composited in, and the rock is made of drawn textures that were scanned in and masked.

Award(s): Emily Carr University of Art + Design: President's Award 2011

Festival(s): Vancouver Asian Film Festival

 

Artist's statement:

Animation has the capacity to be a true culmination of all artistic mediums. As an animator, I have full faculty over the manipulation of these technique to fully express my ideas. This is the primary reason I chose a path in animation. I realized early on in my post-secondary career that outside of animation, it's difficult to take as many artistic liberties and to explore visual abstractions without alienating the audience. There's always this sense of empathy when watching an animated character because of an innately child-like quality to them. This is partly due to the simplification of forms and the propensity for allegorical narratives. This embedded empathetic mindset begs the audience to be more receptive to the characters; to see themselves in what the characters do and how they feel.

Animation is also transformative. One of the greatest assets of the medium is how objects and ideas can morph into each other seamlessly, to provide a clear, unadulterated expression of complex themes through the use of colour, movement and sound. Each aspect of the film must be methodically formed and this kind of required attention to detail is something I revel in. Animation is a time consuming but meditative process and being able to see a scene come to fruition, after rooting it for a specific intent and working on it for weeks, is personally gratifying.

I'm interested in this idea of visual poetry; elegant movements coupled with thought-provoking themes forms a certain melody, an autonomous visual rhythm that informs everything within the piece. This constant rhythm lulls the viewer into a vulnerable mind space, allowing for more complex ideas to be accepted. Unrequited love, existential futility and resignation to death are difficult themes to deal with, framed by inherent pessimism and melancholy but are beautiful ideas in themselves in how they relate to and expose the human condition. With animation, one can employ abstract methods to express these ideas, both creating a distance from the audience for them to view it objectively, but also as an accurate visual manifestation of psychological frustrations.

Using a Photoshop lasso tool to animate lends a fluid aesthetic as the distinct flatness and angularity of each shape can be blended together when put into a sequence.This emphasizes the transformative aspect of animation; the distortion of the body is accentuated but is still placed in a believable environment that is created by layers of compositing. Though the animation is precise in creating the fluidity of movement, the subtle flickering gradients that fill the forms and background allow for more visual interest; the tonal variations break away from the expected solidity of each shape. Colourful, soft-focused vignettes add more depth to the scenes and articulate a dreamy quality throughout the film, presenting a diametrically opposing treatment of the colour grading to the character's jagged form. This recalls ideas of the ethereal and those of the real, the tangible.

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