Films : How to Get Rid of Information : direction & collaboration
Damian Gascoigne joined Picasso Pictures in 1993, already an established illustrator and animation director, having directed work such as the BBC Holiday Programme titles and a number of short films. Whilst at Picasso Damian has directed many successful title sequences and commercials whilst continuing his filmmaking.
His BBC titles for Situation Vacant (‘95) and Proms (’97) both won silver BDA’s, and Damian directed The Franklin’s Tale on the much acclaimed Canterbury Tales for S4C in ’98. Other notable projects have been commercials for Mercury One2One and Watermans for McCann Erickson in New York.
His previous short films include How to Get Rid of Information, an animate! film commissioned by The Arts Council and Channel 4, and a personal story about Damian’s own family, told through the eyes of his mother, in A Cream And 2 Plains.
Damian has supplied Illustrations for magazine and print work. Presently he is working on long form sketches for various new animated comedy shows.
1988 – 1995: Visiting lecturer in Animation and Illustration at Camberwell School of Art
2000 – Present: Lecturer in animation Kingston University
14 September 2005
Damian took a Graphic Design BA at Kingston Polytechnic in 1984, and is now a lecturer there in animation. He is London-based and has worked as a freelance animator on commercials and titles, staged live animation/dance performances on the Southbank, London, and is currently completing a tv series for the BBC. He made the self-financed short film A Cream and Two Plains in 2001.
In 1998 he completed his first animate! commission How to Get Rid of Information.
Careful is an attempt to wrestle with the seductive charms of the digital world and protect and push on the idea that drawing is King, no matter what technology promises.
3D Computer animation offers amazing possibilities, especially in relation to movement through space, which have until recently been beyond the fingertips of the drawn animator. However, this Pandora’s box comes with its own brand new set of problems. In particular computer animated movement tends to deliver an over co-ordinated, smoothed out visual language. Once objects and ground are linked they tend to form a very severely locked together sense of space. This becomes both ugly and boring- the trick is seen and the game is up. Another problem is that computers are by nature ‘anti dirt‘. Most of the accidental components that make drawing and movement exciting – dirty mistakes, smudges, glitches, scratches, and ‘wrongness’ – are not going to be found in a software package.
To counteract these tendencies I decided I needed to push against the working process that one is nudged into in working with 3D animation. I did this in a number of ways, working closely with a gifted computer animator, James Kirkham, whose own aesthetic and ‘eye’ I trusted completely.
Firstly I questioned the way in which the 3D line work objects are constructed, by putting together deliberately mismatching surfaces of objects, so that the final piece looked liked badly made flat pack furniture. This betrayed its origins as a series of drawings.
Secondly I left in all the rough by-products of my ink drawings, spatters and blobs, inconsistent line weights, accidental transfers from page to page. The exciting thing for me was that these elements began to exist in the space as well as the main objects, trailing around on their own strange orbits, as chairs and turntables twisted and turned.
Thirdly I decided to disconnect the objects from their ground and background, because somehow every time we connected them together to a camera, the whole thing just ended up looking like an arty computer game. To do this we separated layers of line work and set them on slightly offset paths and then created faked backgrounds that did not follow the same camera path at all, but moved in independent but sympathetic directions.
Fourthly I decided to leave some objects as 2D drawings and others as full 3D objects. Placing them in the same space we allowed the nature of drawing as suggestion of form to remain close to the surface.
The thinking underpinning these decisions came from a belief that the pursuit of ‘reality’ that dominates current thinking in 3D computer animation is a misguided and limited path. We don’t need to worry about how things really look. We can see them perfectly well. It is our job as artists to imagine them again.
22 September 2005
Two Stations – drawn and 3D animation (12 mins) 1994 How to Get Rid of Information – (7mins) 1998 The Franklin’s Tale – animated version Chaucer’s Canterbury Tale (5 mins) 1998 A Cream & 2 Plains – live action and animation (7 mins) 2002 Careful – animation for animate! (6mins) 2005
Powergen (Miller Bainbridge), L’eggs Khakis (DDB Chicago), First Plus (Black Cat), Panto (UK Gold), Waterman (McCann Erickson NY), Which? (BBC Broadcast)
Evan Dando Stop my Head (Pop Promo) Morty Ikea (BBC Broadcast), Monkey Dust (BBC), Sketch Show (Cartoon Network US)
14 September 2005
14 September 2005