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DAS UNHEIMLICHE

Das Unheimliche is the final Animation short of my Honours Degree in Design and Animation at UNSW Sydney.

It delivers a brief, layered look into baseless fear, shame and entrapment that occur in many people experiencing anxiety. Rotoscoping (see below) is used very consciously to support feelings of discomfort in both the viewer and the protagonist. The haunting presence of the live-action body used to create the final product  promotes an anxious notion of something feeling amiss. This natural uncanniness of the medium moves the viewer to reflect more deeply on the message of the animation, beyond the simple narrative being presented.

What is Rotoscoping?

Much of my animation work extensively utilises a methodology known as rotoscoping, and Das Unheimliche is no exception. Rotscoping is achieved by filming video footage and then hand-tracing it frame-by-frame (I do so in Photoshop). While undoubtedly being a "cheat's" way of animating (though equally time consuming), I consciously chose this technique for Das Unheimliche due to its visual thematic correlations to narratives presented in the work, such as anxiety, the uncanny, retreat into the mind, and the potential for juxtaposition between realism and abstraction.

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On Failure and Letting Go

Over the course of developing this animation, many aspects of it changed dramatically. For one, the succession of events is unrecognizable to the original concept, and significant amounts of work ended up having to be discarded due to no longer suiting the overall work. As an animator and story teller, one has to learn to come to terms with this happening frequently. To the top left, you can see two lengthy animation sequences that didn't make the final cut, and at the bottom right are the various colourways and shading approaches the animation cylced through to get to its final iteration.

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