Research Proposal
Annemarie Szeleczky - Research Pages
Master of Arts by Research Project

Title of Investigation:
"The Development of Experimental Animation Techniques Using Mixed Media, Spatial Layering and Gestural Artwork."

Summary of Project:
This project will experimentally investigate and develop animation techniques which make use of mixed media, both wet and dry, paint, ink, sand and paper collage etc, and gestural drawing, to create and compose artwork that is animated directly under-the-camera.


This project will experimentally investigate and develop animation techniques which make use of (a number of working surfaces for) mixed media, both wet and dry, hand- torn paper collage etc,and gestural drawing, to create and compose artwork animated directly under-the-camera.

This investigation will explore the design aesthetic resulting from (using mixed media and animation method perculiar to each) spatial layering when a number of physically separated working surfaces are used (for example, a dry media layer, and a wet media layer), on which the artwork will be created. It will consider how the qualities of transparency, translucency, parallax displacement, depth of field and other optical properties, when using a number of different physically separated working surfaces, can contribute to the visual style of the animation.

Research Questions:

• What kind of 'under-the-camera' techniques were used by experimental animators during the 1940s-50s and in terms of style and animation method, what were their qualities.

• What is the effect in terms of design and animation style when various experimental techniques are used together?

• What type of interaction is possible between different mediums and techniques which are applied on different layers, e.g. paint-on-glass and cut paper, and how can this be successfully handled by animators?

• Can the technique of rapid gestural line work on canvas,that is used by artists, be employed as a method that works to animate spontaneously under the camera?

For this a test rig will be built consisting of a number of sheet of glass, which will provide surfaces onto which various animation techniques will be applied.


Animators usually work on only one surface and with one technique. This is for reasons of either visual style or practicality of production.

"While most forms of animation serve the particular ends of advertising and propaganda, story-telling and entertainment, and so begin with an idea or a need that originated outside the medium, experimental films normally germinate in the heart of the medium itself. The discoveries made by the experimentalists are therefore of constant use to the professional animator because they reveal both in their success and their failure what the medium is capable or incapable of accomplishing." quote; John Halas & Roger Manvell

This project will explore the use of a number of techniques at once to determine which techniques and method of applications work together in an expressive visual style.

In most cases, the animation camera is presented with pre -prepared images or artwork ready for shooting. This investigation will develop techniques which will enhance the spontaneous quality that would normally be part of a painter's working method, when working directly onto canvas. This project seeks to embrace these possibilities.

The variety of techniques used will lead to different qualities not only in the appearance of the image but also in the style of animation which the technique imposes, which in turn might be suitable for characters or elements within a narrative.

How can these different approaches and styles of animation be designed to look as though they belong together and indeed co-exist within the work.

I will work towards obtaining a visual richness, to express different things and find qualities on different levels.

As a painter I wish to gain immediacy of expression through gestural line to quickly capture the essence of shape or form. I will use this practice to see how I can by the same continuous movement give my images form. This technique is in direct contrast to the usual method of animating in which a systematic pre planned approach with heavily edited drawings are the norm.

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