Caleb Kelly

During the Covid 19 pandemic I have taken inspiration from the current need to wear masks to create a personal response to the theme of body, identity and character. The work is a short video, including animation, that investigates the social and cultural use of masks within a historical and contemporary context. I was keen to challenge myself by learning new technical skills and combining my specialist areas of interest in media production and animation. 

I was inspired by research into virtual avatars that could be interpreted as a different kind of mask. Some of the key influences came from YouTube animators and artists, such as Jaiden Animations, who creates animated videos using autobiographical narratives, and Scott Falco whose videos include hand-drawn and computer animation. I also researched traditional processes of rotoscoping such as in the animated science fiction movie A Scanner Darkly (2006) directed by Richard Linklate where lifelike characters appear in animated sequences. 

The dynamic carnival aspect of the annual Mexican Day of the Dead festival and the visual imagery drawn from the masks worn, also influenced how I explored a vibrant colour palette and simplistic designs in the animated section of the video. 

The project developed my skills across a range of technologies: I used Celtx video script writing in pre-production, and Adobe After Effects and Illustrator to create the animated sections of my work. I used them because Illustrator would allow me to draw the parts of my character and allow for them to be imported and edited in After Effects. I used After Effects for my animating because it had specific tools that made the animating process much easier. The pin tool in After Effects enabled me to enhance the movement of the character during the animation process.